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Author Topic: Let the People SPEAK!  (Read 9298 times)
Janet Easson Martin
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« on: May 02, 2012, 12:50:31 pm »

This is in response to many of the bloggers posting here on this site and to those who try to silence them.

Let the People Speak!

Often, it seems God applies the balm of his word to a wound or difficulty, precisely at the point where the trouble is occurring in our lives.  This may include claiming by faith an application of scripture other than the specific original intention, though it is in line with scripture as a whole.  For instance in Isaiah 43:19b it says “I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”  Although it seems God is telling the Israelites he will rescue them from Babylon by a way they have not known, where it appears hopeless & impossible, we can apply it to our own deserts and wastelands.

Today as I read Isaiah 41:1 I felt God was addressing those “Christian" groups, and specifically GCx, who are independent and isolated as “islands” and in constant defense of their harmful ways.

“Be silent before me, you islands!

Let the nations renew their strength!
Let them come forward and speak…”


I felt perhaps these are the church groups who have isolated themselves from the rest of the body of Christ, even though they profess that they do not.  Most of us are familiar with “christian” groups like this.  No one who would disturb their traditions is allowed in; and no one who wants to be accepted by them is allowed out.  We have an island near us that has been so isolated (by water) that some of the people still speak a dialect that remains from Elizabethan English.  There are some groups with similar characteristics that pride themselves on their “godliness” and separatism.  Their methods of godliness are actually condemned by the Word of God, but they are unfortunately blind to this.  Most practice some form of shunning to those who leave their group.  This is man’s way of keeping their group in existence.  And, of course, they offer a “better” way to bid people to join with them.  They go so far as to publicly pronounce judgments on others who are not as "conforming to the Bible" as they are.  

These groups seem to not only isolate themselves from the general body of Christ, but in the process isolate themselves from the Head of the Body which is Christ.  I don’t mean they are no longer saved.  I mean they no longer follow Christ’s lead, but their own man-made traditions.  They have actually turned away from their Savior’s directing them, to treasured idols directing them, idols of their own making.   But the deceiver has blinded them, and they cannot see this.  

Another characteristic is that those who are part of their group are not allowed to share their true heart, or follow God’s individual desires for them unless they fit into the goals of the group.  They must conform or be looked down upon.  They definitely cannot question the validity of the group’s traditions.  And so like the animal that falls into the pit on the Sabbath, they are left alone to suffer.  After all, the RULES are greater than the men they are supposed to help.  These Rules make up their idol which they serve.  The people become weary, burdened and depressed, but are afraid to be labeled “ungodly”, and so they suffer under the weight of the idol in SILENCE!  

Who will help them?

These beloved people need a place to SPEAK, to have their voice heard; to have their heart listened to.  The GCx Forum Warning website is one place.  Although, even there, the GCx defenders try to HUSH them.  

I felt reading today that God was rebuking Gcx to ‘Be Quiet’ and ‘Let the people come forward and SPEAK’.  The verbalizing of abuse is the first step to HEALING: having a voice and relieving the pain, receiving help, and renewing one’s strength.  This may not be the specific original intention of this scripture, but I felt it was APPLICABLE to the bold intimidation by GCx in attempt to “mute” testimony of its abusive false dogma and practices taught as “truth” from scripture.

There is an appropriate but horrifying film depiction of what captive manipulation and abusive doctrine by leaders over a group of people produces. The devastation shown may seem farfetched, but it is probably a realistic analogy to the cruel outcome of such methods.  It paints the effects of oppressing, humiliating, and terrorizing followers into submission.  It is not a movie that children should watch.  I would even advise others not to watch it alone but with a trusted friend or group.  Its content is very heavy.  It would be very useful to discuss it in a group afterward to process all that’s going on.  You can get it from NETFLIX.  It is entitled “The Village”.

It would be helpful, I think, if some could post (anonymously of course) as to the relation of the principles and practices used in this group to their experience in GCx.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2012, 08:45:08 am by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2016, 08:51:09 pm »

Speaking To Gain New Strength


"And let the peoples gain new strength;
Let them come forward, then let them speak"
Isaiah 41:1 (NASB)

I believe God is calling those who were silent victims of spiritual abuse inside the organization of GCx to come forward and speak.  One of the main controls of spiritual abuse is manipulating its people to be silent and never question their "authority" of wrong doing.  That in doing so one would be in "rebellion to God".  

Not according to the scriptures, including Isaiah 41:1.  It's instruction seeks to empower and strengthen those who have been harassed and beat down.  It offers opportunity to do what we have insidiously been told is sin - to voice the destructive wrongs done to us.

You are God's people.  He does listen to you.  I believe he initiated this wonderful website and deems it necessary to bring us together to listen to each others testimony to find out we are not alone, to VALIDATE THE SPIRITUAL ABUSE which we have been so falsely told 'is not valid', and to finally have a safe place to speak out and warn others.

If you feel God is calling you to come forward, though we recommend anonymously, speak here and be strengthened as God has said.  



« Last Edit: October 27, 2016, 09:09:41 am by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2016, 06:07:45 pm »

Pondering the Possibility


Perhaps you aren't quite sure if the strange experience you had at GCx was spiritual abuse.  Here are some questions you can start with to ponder for yourself.  They are based on characteristics outlined by experts and professionals in the field of spiritual abuse.


1.  Does my church boastfully claim that I will grow faster and more closely fulfill God's will if I stay loyal to them?


2.  Do the leaders of my church or church organization perceive comments or questions as a challenge to their "authority"?


3.  Has my encouragement level decreased from feeling less qualified to serve and be used by God?


4.  Is image management more important than honesty and telling the truth both for the people and the church?


5.  After being with the church for awhile, am I more dependent on the work of Jesus and his love for me OR am I more dependent on my own performance and what the leaders and those in the church think of me?


« Last Edit: October 27, 2016, 09:08:03 am by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2016, 09:25:24 pm »

When STRANGE Behavior Should Not Be Ignored


Here some more questions to give your attention to:


6.  Is information only "valid" when it comes from inside and the top?  Are outside sources that differ considered "invalid" or "rebellious"?


7.  Do the people there seem to be treated with very different levels of respect?  Does their seem to be an unspoken "caste" system (unofficially created by the leaders)?


8.  Is there an overwhelming amount of service that is expected; sacrificing time with friends and family, studies or personal pursuits, that often leads to depression, burn out and numbness?


9.  Are those who express their difference of opinion with total submission to the leaders treated with disdain and even "shunned"?


10.  Are the people discouraged from communication with those who leave the church?



« Last Edit: October 27, 2016, 09:08:39 am by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2016, 07:19:16 pm »

What FREEDOMS have you Relinquished?


There is a vast difference between surrendering something to God under his divine and personal guidance through His Holy Spirit and His Word; and giving something up for a group of people so you'll be accepted by them and prove you are spiritual enough in their eyes.  

You are already spiritual enough in God's eyes through Jesus' blood. Paul says if we as believers give up things to prove we are spiritually acceptable (instead of relying upon our righteousness in the blood) that Christ's cross will have no meaning or value to us.  I experienced this very thing after being in GCx a little while.  I became less dependent on what His Sacrifice did for me, and more dependent on my sacrifices.  I tried to get closer to God through my own "spiritual" works.  But they were not Spirit led so I never really felt closer to Him, as a result. They were in vain. Paul asks the Galatians through the Holy Spirit, "Have you suffered so much in vain?"

Giving up things truly for God is a response to his love, not to get his love.  So don't be misled. What are some rights that GCx has manipulated you into giving up, usually twisting scriptures to do so?  Here are some questions to ask yourself that may give light to what freedoms are actually between you and God  and not between you and your leaders?



Have you given them the right to choose who your friends are and aren't?

Have you been strongly persuaded by the leaders to spend less time with family and friends unless they support GCx?

Have you surrendered your dating or dating relationships to GCx's approval?

Are you reluctant to hang out with those whom your leader or GCx does not value or approve, but God might value and approve?

Have you given up investigating what other sound christian authors have to say because your leaders discourage it or disapprove of them or their teaching?





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« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2016, 07:39:35 pm »


DON'T BE AFRAID OF THEM!


After I left, when I first started to process the heavy burden on and the continual shaming of it's people I happened to mention it to someone who was still in the church and expected them to agree with me.  Instead, they said I was just "bitter".  I was taken aback and questioned my own conclusions because it was someone I had respected.  (Of course, I also got the phone calls that I did the wrong thing by leaving.)  BUT, I had to consider the source.  These were people who chose loyalty to GCx above all else.  Why should I expect them to say anything different?  It was a good opportunity to have my own thoughts and opinions and trust my gut, which I had stopped doing while under GCx's influence.

As God's Holy Spirit led me to SPEAK UP in the winter of 2010, He kept showing me over and over to expose the spiritual abuse that I had seen, and experienced.  His continual nudging led me to ask him how and where.  Within a few days I found this website.  As I started speaking up on here, he would support my actions in His Word with confirmation and encouragement.  He even told me NOT to be afraid of the leaders of GCx (even though they had created such a tall stature in my mind).  He told me to speak up for those confused and frustrated believers who were used and abused by them; and for those still captive to GCx's berating dogma. Here is the verse he spoke to me through:



"Don't be afraid of them.  Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes."

Nehemiah 4:14


So, as you consider speaking up about the abuse you witnessed or experienced in GCx - Don't be afraid of them.  Remember God who is great and awesome in your defense; and fight your brothers!


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« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2019, 10:47:28 am »

BREAKING The SILENCE about GCx Churches

These people are breaking the silence long held in GCx Churches.  Please hear them as they voice what really happens in these churches.  You are not permitted to discuss the truth about their spiritual abuse inside their walls.  This may be the only place you will learn what has actually happened to those once inside.  If you know others who have been wounded by these churches, please send them this link so that they can know they were far from being alone, they were far from being wrong, and far from being treated with the love and respect they deserved.  

Also if you would like to join their voices regarding GCx churches, please add yours (recommend anonymously because of backlash you may receive) to this post.  It is never too late to speak the truth about being spiritually abused.  It very often brings with it a measure of healing.  And, shame on any who criticize these wounded sheep.  This post is for the victims, not their attackers. Below are real life examples among a mountain of evidence on unbiblical and abusive silence in GCx churches (found on this website):



We left in August of 2005. ...my husband was asked by an ECC elder to remove a blog post he had written that explained our reasons for leaving ECC [GCx Church]. [His] post explained our reasons for leaving as kindly and as orderly as he could. ...The two letters (one hand written and delivered unexpectedly to our home one day and the other via e-mail) telling him to keep the post down were from Bloomington ECC elders. Removing his post, left me feeling like our voice had been silenced. ...Let me assure you that all of the men and women I know who left GCI [GCx alias] did go to their elders with their concerns and disagreements, and most also went to Jim McC [McCotter] either in person or by letter or telephone. The problem, however, was that none of us was able to take the process to the third stage, taking it to the church, because the elders controlled access to the church. The only way to take unresolved issues to the church at that time was through approaching people in person or writing letters. Today we have the blog [GCMWarning Forum].
-mamaD



You cannot call them on it as you will be labeled divisive. You cannot tell them they're wrong as it violates the authoritarian setup. Truth doesn't matter. Spiritual maturity doesn't matter.
-boboso



John Hopler [GCx National Leader] seems to be very proud of his statement, A Christian Perspective of Internet Criticisms, and the fact that it was accepted by the NAE as a resource.  It is my opinion that Hopler's article shows a lack of understanding of dynamics of abuse in the church.  It is a treatise on how to silence and ignore dissenting voices when victims refuse to play by the rules churches have set up - concerns only in private, only in person, perhaps to your abuser, etc.  I don't think rules like Mr. Hopler's are currently working for the church to address systematic abuses in the church.  Such rules aren't protecting the weak. ...They are protecting leadership and their power.
-Badger



We also felt that basic things about how the church was run were secret or not talked about until you were 'in.'
-Concerned



When I first started seeing and experiencing all this, I thought I was alone.  You don't ever hear about any of these problems in a GC church or small-group.  It's like they don't exist.  If you have an issue with something, you're supposed to bring it up privately with the leaders and even if they don't do diddly-squat about it you're supposed to keep a lid on it and not talk about it with anyone.  The excuse is that, in this way the GC can resolve things privately and internally while not tarnishing their reputation and--by extension--jeopardizing their mission for Christ.  The reality of it, though, is that keeping things quiet by and large just encourages the abuses to continue, covered over by pasted-on smiles.  As I went along, I began to research others, friends who had been in conflict with the Rock and this church before.  I found that everyone I'd talked to had struggled with overbearing authority and/or legalism at some point in the Rock, but no one was talking about it, so it was allowed to go on and find new victims.
-2xA Ron



Eventually it got to the point that anyone who resisted the many pressures, and shared their concerns with other members of their churches (outside the leadership), was in danger of church discipline. Ultimately, several people in many different fellowships in the movement were excommunicated on charges of “faction” and others. Much injustice was perpetrated in the name of God and maintaining “purity” in the church.
-Larry Pile



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« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2019, 11:20:57 am »

A highly used practice in GCx Churches was to silence those voicing valid concerns (amongst their own friends) by “alienatating” them.  Other practices to silence were slandering innocent people, including accusing them of lying.


...on many occasions, when he sensed people were suspicious of his inappropriate and highly controlling behavior, would ask his "special" inner circle people to cut off ties from the person that was  beginning to see through to his abusive and controlling actions.  This, of course, was done under the guise that they were not all in for the Gospel like we were.  A good friend of mine (while I was at Evergreen Community Church and in Mark’s inner circle) seemed to see through Mark Darling.  She found him to be controlling and felt uncomfortable around him. Mark Darling asked me to cut off all ties with her.  I sadly did so.  Years later I apologized to my friend and we are close again.  But still...It seems to speak volumes when a leader needs to remove people from his midst who "see" through him. ... I was abused by him and instead of Mark Darling "being driven out", I was made to be the problem.  I was told that in light of all Mark had done for me, that I was unloving and ungrateful to bring up the abuse.  I was told I was being divisive and slanderous.  I was told I was lying.  I know now this type of response is standard for abusive organizations.
-Scout



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« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2019, 10:10:38 pm »


Ghost, I hope you also find the post above encouraging as it confirms the scathing response (you received) to those who speak the truth, and that you were not alone in being cut off.  You were SO not alone.  
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« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2019, 01:54:44 pm »

BREAKING The SILENCE about GCx Churches

These people are breaking the silence long held in GCx Churches.  Please hear them as they voice what really happens in these churches.  You are not permitted to discuss the truth about their spiritual abuse inside their walls.  This may be the only place you will learn what has actually happened to those once inside.  If you know others who have been wounded by these churches, please send them this link so that they can know they were far from being alone, they were far from being wrong, and far from being treated with the love and respect they deserved.  

Also if you would like to join their voices regarding GCx churches, please add yours (recommend anonymously because of backlash you may receive) to this post.  It is never too late to speak the truth about being spiritually abused.  It very often brings with it a measure of healing.  And, shame on any who criticize these wounded sheep.  This post is for the victims, not their attackers. Below are real life examples among a mountain of evidence on unbiblical and abusive silence in GCx churches (found on this website):



To my fellow and former Great Commission members, please take these words with a grain of salt.

Just like Great Commission leaders do not speak for God, neither do the people from this forum.

Yes, please listen to their stories...take their words into consideration...but other then that, stick to Larry Pile's stuff and don't let your woundedness turn towards a bitterness aimed at destroying your current or former family.

If you want healing, turn to Christ and professional counselling...
not strangers on the internet (yes, I get the irony...here's a stranger on the internet trying to advise others to avoid advice from strangers on the internet)...
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« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2019, 04:41:47 pm »

Yes, please listen to their stories...take their words into consideration...but other then that, stick to Larry Pile's stuff and don't let your woundedness turn towards a bitterness aimed at destroying your current or former family.

I'm a bit confused by the remark about Larry Pile's stuff. Do you mean Marching to Zion? I'm one of the people quoted in that book (although only about a paragraph, and not by name). I don't understand why my words would be considered reliable when published by Larry but not when I post them here. Or am I missing your point?

As for bitterness, I think there's something that people on both sides do. That is, when we (definitely including myself in this) read something "our side" has written, we hear it in our heads as though it were being spoken in a calm, reasonable, good-natured voice. When we read things "the other side" has written, we hear a voice that's angry, bitter, and immune to love or logic--even when the writer was guilty of none of those things. I'm absolutely convinced that there are people who find bitterness on this forum simply because they've been pre-conditioned to find it. It's discouraging, but I understand how it happens. And I know I've done it myself a few times (edit: that is, misreading something negative into someone else's words). Unfortunately, nobody is exempt from the frustration of being misunderstood.
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« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2019, 05:10:10 pm »

Yes, please listen to their stories...take their words into consideration...but other then that, stick to Larry Pile's stuff and don't let your woundedness turn towards a bitterness aimed at destroying your current or former family.

I'm a bit confused by the remark about Larry Pile's stuff. Do you mean Marching to Zion? I'm one of the people quoted in that book (although only about a paragraph, and not by name). I don't understand why my words would be considered reliable when published by Larry but not when I post them here. Or am I missing your point?


Sorry If I wasn't clear.
Yes, mostly Marching to Zion, as well as other sources that have been referenced by him and others on the GCX Warning site, since they have citation.

The issue I have with Janet posting people's stories using anonymous names is the issues of citation.
Yes, these are individuals who have specific names and stories that can be sourced...
...and I understand why they don't use their real names, and don't fault them for that at all.

My issue is feeling like Janet is using these individuals stories as propaganda in the same way that GCX uses the stories of others to project their own agenda.
And this happens on a frequent basis here on these forums...and here is why this is a problem...

You guys have good information and good sources on the GCX Warning site...but that information gets muddied when individuals with agenda's against GCX come on here and start posting why they think it's God's Will that GCX be defeated...

Don't you guys see how that makes the information come across as inauthentic (thus defeating the very purpose the forum exists)?
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« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2019, 05:49:38 pm »

Quote from: Lost Creature
You guys have good information and good sources on the GCX Warning site...but that information gets muddied when individuals with agenda's against GCX come on here and start posting why they think it's God's Will that GCX be defeated...
Please advise: Who are these "individuals" who have "come on here" and started "posting why they think it's God's will that GCx be defeated"? I've posted here a lot and have seen posts asking GCx to CORRECT bad teaching, but I've never seen posts where anyone felt it was God's will that GCx be defeated.

Again, I would emphasize to you that the purpose of this forum is "for former members of the Great Commission movement (aka GCM, GCC, GCAC, GCI, and the Blitz) to discuss problems they've experienced in the association's practices and theology."

People (like you, for example) post here and read comments apparently for other reasons. That is allowed, but the goal of this forum is for people to express problems they have with GC practice and theology. The "agenda" is to have a safe place where people can tell their stories and perhaps find a kindred spirit.

Most of us have never met. We come from a variety of GC churches and some go back to the 70's and the early days. Some have left as recently as this year. There is no organized agenda. Just people discussing their experiences. No one is expecting you to believe anyone's story. No one is even expecting you to be reading these stories.

Question: I post by name, as does Janet and many others. Are our stories more "believable" because we are not anonymous?
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« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2019, 06:38:43 pm »

Thanks for your reply, Lost Creature. I do appreciate your taking the time to answer, but I just happen to see it differently than you do.

Personally, I wouldn't consider this a propaganda site, since it allows all sides to post, question, debate, discuss, refute, and rebut each other, which is the very opposite of propaganda. That openness is something that a number of Christian sites don't even allow. (For example, when has GCx itself ever allowed its critics a voice on their sites?). But here, people can read and make up their own minds. If they won't accept someone's word because that person chooses to remain anonymous, well, maybe they're wise not to be too trusting. (Edit: I mean maybe it's wise for the readers not to be too trusting. But the ones who choose to be anonymous are wise, too.) I try to be as accurate as I can, so of course I want to be believed, but whether people believe me or not is out of my hands.

One thing I've observed over and over is that people will usually believe whatever they really want to believe, regardless of the facts. For example, there have been several different occasions where I've been talking to Jehovah's Witnesses, and I show them one irrefutable passage in Scripture about the physical resurrection of Christ. (JWs believe that Jesus was raised as a spirit being, but that his body wasn't resurrected.) Their eyes will fly open in surprise, and just for one brief second, you can see them struggling to take in what they just read. Then they close down and they're back to vigorously denying the resurrection. In spite or what they just read. This is a human trait, not just a JW trait. So applying it to this forum, I don't think there's any way we could re-frame what we write here to make it more acceptable to people who don't want to believe it.

I also think Janet's posts are helpful because you can see all the different writers, spread out over time and from different locations, essentially confirming each other's concerns and experiences. So, if someone had an objection to the content of the posts, that would be one thing. But objecting to the format? Because it might not meet the expectations of a hypothetical future reader? I can't follow you there.
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« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2019, 08:11:39 am »

I've given this some more thought since posting last night. There are a couple of things I wish I had covered in my previous post.

Yes, mostly Marching to Zion, as well as other sources that have been referenced by him and others on the GCX Warning site, since they have citation.

That leads right back to my original question. I'm one of Larry's very minor sources. I never met him. He quoted (with my permission) from a letter I wrote to a third party. How is it that my words are more credible when cited by a man who never met me than when I write for myself on this forum?

My issue is feeling like Janet is using these individuals stories as propaganda in the same way that GCX uses the stories of others to project their own agenda.

Janet has documented, on a topic-by-topic basis, patterns of behavior that are not limited to a single location, time period, or pastor. The value of her work is that it shows certain problems to be systemic, rather than isolated instances.

Doesn't it say something positive for this forum, that you feel safe coming here to criticize Janet for "using these individuals stories as propaganda"? You feel like you can have your say, you can be heard, and nothing bad will happen to you. (And you're right. No one here is going to harm you.) Yet you admit that GCC does the very same thing (using people's stories as propaganda), but you aren't challenging them on it. You aren't calling them out on their own turf the way you're trying to call us out on our turf. Why is that? I don't know your heart, but your actions suggest that you believe you're safer here on this forum which you seem to resent than you are at the church you keep defending.
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« Reply #15 on: June 03, 2019, 11:37:22 am »


Doesn't it say something positive for this forum, that you feel safe coming here to criticize Janet for "using these individuals stories as propaganda"? You feel like you can have your say, you can be heard, and nothing bad will happen to you. (And you're right. No one here is going to harm you.) Yet you admit that GCC does the very same thing (using people's stories as propaganda), but you aren't challenging them on it. You aren't calling them out on their own turf the way you're trying to call us out on our turf. Why is that? I don't know your heart, but your actions suggest that you believe you're safer here on this forum which you seem to resent than you are at the church you keep defending.


That's far from the truth...If I were safer here, I would use my real name and tell everyone which GCX church I go to...

This is not a safe place for the broken nor a sounding board for the lost...especially if you hurt is used as fuel against those who you feel hurt you...
There is no healing from that kind of environment...
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Linda
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« Reply #16 on: June 03, 2019, 12:27:27 pm »

Quote from: Lost Creature
That's far from the truth...If I were safer here, I would use my real name and tell everyone which GCX church I go to...

Anonymity does give a bit of “safety”, so in that sense you are safe.

I am not anonymous and have had to endure a lot of ad hominem attacks from those who disagree with this forum. It is a distraction from the meat of the discussion, but ad hominem does work on many.

I am told that many find help on these threads because they understand they are not alone in their experience. It’s fine if you don’t find it helpful. You can move on. I wish you well. May the peace of the Lord be with you.
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Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
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