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Author Topic: PSYCHOLOGICAL ENSLAVEMENT to “Lords” in GCx Churches  (Read 9675 times)
Janet Easson Martin
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« Reply #20 on: February 24, 2022, 08:45:25 pm »


Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is,
there is freedom.

2 Corinthians 3:17


Stealing Freedom ...

Intruding on Spiritual Gatherings ...

Withholding or Giving Permission to Marry ...

Prohibiting Outside Counsel ...

Claiming Possession Against the “Law” ...

Separating Immediate Family Members ...

Labeling Them as Inferior ...

Stealing Their Dreams and Future ...

Practicing False Authority Over Them ...

Leading Through Fear ...

Mastering Them as Slaves ...

Insisting that Nearly All Their Waking Hours are Given ...

Wounding Them Psychologically or Physically ...

Pressuring Them to Hide Their Pain and Real Self ...

Telling Them They Deserve to Be Humbled ...

Not Willing to Let Them Be Free ...

Taking Away Their Privacy In Discussion ...

Threatening Any Who would Think about Leaving ...

Forcing Them to Escape In Secret ...

Ruthlessly Accusing and Condemning Them of Causing Others to Leave ...

Offering Lies to Get Them Back ...

Seeking High Stature in Their Community which is Measured by Their Captive Workforce ...



These are all actions of the slave owners toward their slaves in the movie, “Harriet.” As I mentioned in my introductory post on this thread, I have no earthly idea of the physical & psychological pain caused by the horrible institution of slavery. So, I would not make a literal comparison here. But, there are surprising ties to our experience in GCx.

These are boundary intrusive actions of False Prophets or False Teachers toward their people. Every one has been described in the testimonies of those who write here (though the lingo may differ.) This is scarily what I and others observed in Jim McCotter as the “master” of GCx Leaders and their churches. Very sadly, this false and abusive authority has been tragically continued in GCx even after he left the organization.

When I watched Harriet for the second time taking in these enslaving characteristics in the order as they occurred, I was most struck by the cry of the slave owner’s wife, “Our stature in this community is measured in Negroes!” I could not help but think of the sick reality that Jim McCotter viewed and treated people as “slaves” building his empire to gain stature in the religious community which he obviously measured in captive bodies in his church organization. He didn’t really care how he acquired them or how much he required of them or how deceptively he threatened them ... not to leave.

We were indeed psychological slaves in nearly every aspect of our lives in GCx.

If any feel like they may be strangely held captive inside their church; like Harriet, they can pray, talk to God, get direction, and run ...



In freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore
and do not be entangled again in a yoke of slavery!

Galatians 5:1




Edited 3/4/22 by JEM
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Janet Easson Martin
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« Reply #21 on: February 28, 2022, 08:55:58 pm »

McCotter and other manipulative GCx leaders bragged about their close relationship with God; yet with arrogance constantly accused and shamed their members of not being committed enough to Him. We know first hand the behavior of these leaders didn’t scripturally fit that of God’s anointed shepherds or even elders for that matter. In fact, they were representing Jesus quite poorly. His life often did not overflow from them. They were too often arrogant, harsh, insensitive, demanding, manipulative, burdening, condescending, and disrespecting of those in their “care.” They could not have been abiding in Jesus and practicing such spiritual abuse at the same time.

Woa! This brief clip below on Christian Leadership by Floyd McClung explains one of the reasons some leaders become abusive. Talk about exposing their pretension! Something so simple and biblical, yet perhaps not suspected because of all the “talk” about their own “spiritual-ness” from themselves and others. What we often observed in them was not FRUIT as a result of abiding in Jesus, it was too often fruit produced of the flesh which resulted in much pride, manipulation, and enslavement.


Floyd McClung, “The Father Heart of God”, Essential for Leadership (1-1/2 min.)

https://youtu.be/X8q_uc208_c



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Janet Easson Martin
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« Reply #22 on: August 12, 2022, 07:54:16 pm »




"When I found I had crossed
that line, I looked at my hands
to see if I was the same person
There was such a glory over
everything; the sun came
like gold through the trees,
and over the fields, and I felt
like I was in heaven.

- Harriet Tubman, 1868





When I read this today about Harriet finally stepping into the Free State of Pennsylvania, I thought immediately of the season after I left GCx. Freedom was so tangible. Refreshment and joy was so present. It truly was like escaping a very strange captivity.



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« Reply #23 on: February 27, 2023, 10:11:11 pm »



They practice a lot of a certain kind of evangelism. But that does not mean they are doing Biblical evangelism. At the very least, they are not being up front about telling potential converts all the stuff they are committing themselves to (submission to elders, marrying the church and not divorcing, etc.) when they get evangelized.

...since they never told you that you were getting "married" to the church when you joined, this is really more of an annulment than a divorce. And you might tell them it is VERY RUDE to marry someone without their knowledge and permission. ...

-MidnightRider


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« Reply #24 on: February 28, 2023, 08:58:11 am »



I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy.
For I promised you to one husband,
to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.

I am afraid, however, that just as Eve was deceived
by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may be led astray
from your simple and pure devotion to Christ.

For if someone comes and proclaims a Jesus other than
the One we proclaimed
, …. or a different gospel
than the one you accepted, you put up with it way too easily


I consider myself in no way inferior to those “super-apostles.”


2 Corinthians 11:2-5


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« Reply #25 on: March 17, 2023, 07:36:39 pm »


The cunning practice below sure explains why many of us didn’t leave our spiritually abusive group, GCx, much, much sooner. We were pawns to be played by some at the top. The Jerry MacDonald quoted below by Enroth is a former member of GCx.



Spiritually abusive groups routinely use guilt, fear, and intimidation as effective means for controlling their members. In my opinion, the leaders consciously foster an unhealthy form of dependency, spiritually and interpersonally, by focusing on themes of submission, loyalty, and obedience to those in authority. In all totalitarian environments, dependency is necessary for subjugation. Jerry MacDonald, a student of autocratic religious movements, notes that authoritarian religious groups manipulate "rewards, punishments, and experiences to systematically sever from members their past support systems, which include their own powers of independent and rational thinking, their ability to test, define, and evaluate, as well as their ability to freely interact with others about their experiences. These internal support systems are replaced with exterior support systems under the control of the leaders."

-Ronald Enroth, ”Churches That Abuse”





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« Reply #26 on: March 18, 2023, 05:20:42 am »

"...focusing on themes of submission, loyalty, and obedience to those in authority."

And from what I saw, loyalty was more important than truth. In fact, so were submission and obedience.  'Authority' was a favorite topic as well. It must do wonders for one's ego to think one has authority over everyone.
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« Reply #27 on: March 18, 2023, 09:09:53 pm »

Margaret, it seems you likely saw a lot being with GCx for 30 years. From what I remember you were a member before and after the disingenuous “1991 Apology Paper.” Is that right? Did you see repentance and change following it?

From the teachings I heard in my decade or so there, I also remember a burdensome number of those “teachings” of submission, loyalty and obedience. They were often accompanied with some sort of “biblical sounding” threat. Not infrequently was the concept that not fulfilling your vows had terrible consequences, after vows were pressured to be made in never leaving the GCx Church. I also signed a vow that I would give a certain amount monthly to the GCx Church. I was afraid it was wrong to break it when I was about to leave the Church. What I realized later is that it wasn’t God’s will for me to support a spiritually abusive church that didn’t fear Him in the first place. It was never God’s plan for me to stay, much less make a vow to stay. Most of these “vows” of the members were made under coercion and definitely false representation.

It helps many to understand now that the Bible’s Authority was often used under false pretenses in GCx Churches. The Bible “teachings” there were a kind of -cut and paste what suited their benefit, then pervert and present as if from the mouth of God, to get the results they wanted. GCx vainly exploited the Word of God to bully and harass God’s own people. That is a scheme that originates with Satan himself. No wonder some former members feel harassment just opening its pages after how it was pervertedly twisted to beat them down into subjection.



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« Reply #28 on: March 19, 2023, 07:59:50 am »

When I joined Solid Rock, I thought of it as a church where I could grow during my remaining college years. I assumed that the normal progression would be to graduate, move away, and then find fellowship elsewhere, while maintaining cordial ties with my closest friends in the movement. Never at any point before joining was I warned that it was a commitment for life; never at any point after joining was I asked to make such a commitment. It was simply assumed, on their part, that they now had lifelong authority over me. It was profoundly shocking to learn that I was now permanently stuck (or so I believed). It's a mystery to me these days how I could ever have accepted such a bizarre idea.

The hypocrisy is striking. The very leader who started the movement, and who was most likely the source of the marry-the-church, commit-for-life heresy, was allowed to leave with the other leaders' blessing. The fact that he left to pursue secular wealth and power is all the more mind boggling. And yet he remains one of the heroes of the movement, praised by the leaders he left behind.
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« Reply #29 on: March 19, 2023, 12:59:12 pm »

You bring up a good point, Huldah, about never being given a choice whether or not to join GCx. We were deceptively entangled. I can remember about five years in having this “mantra” in my head when my heart felt otherwise —“I will NEVER leave this Church.” I’m not sure if I officially vowed this or it was the prevailing “divine” boundary not to cross after I was inundated with hundreds of teachings and discipleship “lessons” on it.

I seriously confused my devotion toward God with my devotion toward GCx. I pretty much saw them as one and the same, the elders being his mouthpiece. I feel the same as you today, that it is hard to comprehend such ‘zombie’ thinking. Proverbs 3:5 about not leaning on your own understanding was constantly and pervertedly used to stop any real thinking or weighing of realities regarding uneasiness, questionable observations, uncertainties and doubts about this “divine” group. We were trained to toss those real thoughts and feelings. We were brainwashed to deny our real selves.

Margaret, it seems it was a “head trip” for too many of those leaders, with little relying on God’s Spirit, Power, and Grace. Sadly, it was the steam of pure arrogance and human manipulation rather than the compassion and compelling of Jesus. You are so right that “Authority” was repetitiously battered into our brain so much that we couldn’t freely follow the Savior because they must approve of His plan for us. They blocked the communication between us and God. They became an idolatrous substitute for Him. And sadly the image of Him they too often presented was a distant and demanding taskmaster who punished and disdained believers who failed to comply to the law.


There is probably nothing more harmful and tragic to a believer than to separate him psychologically from Jesus’ true unconditional love, guidance, help, and comfort. This two-way relationship is the essence and joy of the Christian Life.



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« Reply #30 on: March 21, 2023, 03:59:26 am »

Janet, you wrote:

They blocked the communication between us and God. They became an idolatrous substitute for Him. And sadly the image of Him they too often presented was a distant and demanding taskmaster who punished and disdained believers who failed to comply to the law.

This sums it up for me. One, they were trying to usurp the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives. And two, I began to see just how different legalism and grace really are.
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« Reply #31 on: April 23, 2023, 06:10:36 pm »

Yes, Margaret! Separating us from Jesus’ love, guidance, and grace is the greatest crime of any so-called “christian teacher” says Paul in Galatians. It throws a love-relationship with God out the window and forces the law as our master instead. People can only serve under such a master for so long before they are depleted.

But, I will say there is a big difference between intentionally separating men from Jesus’ real guidance to create your own following; and cluelessly passing on deceptive teachings and practices while being psychologically enslaved by a person or group who claims they are following God. The first is evil, falsely representing God. The latter has been “bewitched” or deceived, and their actions have consequences, though much less. Thankfully, God KNOWS the heart and will hold each “teacher” accountable. The latter would never loose his salvation, but perhaps his potential reward for not trusting God in those instances. In contrast, the abundance of bad fruit of the evil “teacher” might indicate he never really KNEW Jesus, and as such would be eternally condemned.



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« Reply #32 on: April 23, 2023, 07:05:02 pm »



I left a Great Commission Ministries (GCM) [GCx alias] church in the midwest in the recent past, but I still can’t read the Epistles without cringing. I didn’t realize the effect the church had on me until after I left. ...

Certain pastors and members were believed and emulated like they were gods. They were listened to like the voice of God about who they should marry, where they should live, and what they should do with their lives. ...

Every decision had to have a basis around the church. You couldn’t just do something (go on a trip, attend a non-church event, hang out with someone) without a church or evangelical reason. Personal pleasure, joy, and desire had no place in the life of the church. Of course, if you did everything you were supposed to, you wouldn’t have time for anything outside the church anyway! ...

GCM does church like it’s the 100-yard dash, and everyone’s competing–and everyone’s keeping tabs. We all know about the meetings, conferences, and small groups. But more than that is spending hours in the dorms trying to evangelize and all the prep time (organizing, practicing, setting up, taking down) for college group outreach events. Then there’s teaching Sunday School, serving on committees, getting instruction and discipleship from others, and spending as much time as possible in the “Word” and prayer. ...

Basically, constant activity, even if that activity is reading your Bible and praying. But, you know what? It’s never enough. They’re constantly striving, trying to get more people in the college group, more people in leadership, more church plants, more missions trips, more giving, more salvations, more prayer. Frankly, it’s exhausting. ...

-Genevieve,   2007



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« Reply #33 on: April 29, 2023, 07:34:22 pm »



I attended a GCM church from 2004-2006… I was involved for a little while in college but left because of many reasons including the controlling nature of the messages and many of the other weaknesses of the church that stem from the origins of the GCM group.  In this group unity is preached time and time again to extremes, it is important for every member to be unified in their mindset down to not questioning authority and pressure to live in the same way as others have from the beginning. …

The church has its own way of bringing up leaders and it does not include encouraging seminary education.  I believe that the lack of seminary training among the pastors is the main reason that the GCM roots live on at this church. … I started to notice that the messages were getting to become very similar and they were definitely elitist, anti dating, and all too focused on being submissive to the church and being a part of it for life.  I was growing uncomfortable because  I already knew a lot about the bible and the [GCx] bible study I was attending was not helping me to grow.  This was because the material that we studied was much like the sermons, batched together scripture that was taken out of context to mean what they wanted it to mean.

-nelliepooh



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« Reply #34 on: May 26, 2023, 08:27:33 pm »



I was at Summitview, in Fort Collins, CO, for about 5 years starting in 2007. ... I became very involved, very quickly. Within a year, they asked me if I would become an apprentice on the discipleship team. I agreed. This is when things starting getting bad (although I didn't realize this until several years later). I committed so much time and money to church (with the encouragement of my leaders) that I worked myself to death and went into debt. My grades suffered. My relationship with my family and old friends suffered. etc. ...

There was simply a cultural mood, an extreme peer pressure, that pushed these ideas often without specifically preaching them from the pulpit. I eventually started to see problems, and fight against the culture, thinking I could change it. It didn't exactly end like I had hoped... Summitview is more or less the same from what I can tell, and I burnt out and became quite depressed and zombie-like for about a year and a half. Also got myself kicked out for being "divisive" and not being "unified with the vision of the team."

I think that a lot of the problems at this particular church were hidden until you either challenged leadership, or joined leadership (at which point most of the time you have accepted the lies as truth anyway). As long as you stayed on the fringes you were ok, except the constant pressure to commit more and more time.

-araignee19


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« Reply #35 on: May 31, 2023, 07:15:37 pm »



I remember that our [GCx Church] non-student small group members were expected to quit their jobs in order to go out on evangelization sorties a few times a year. ... I remember that one of the leaders of our small group 'disciplined' their infant son to the point he had welts on the back of his legs. Years later when I saw that child it certainly looked like some mental damage had been done because of that. To this day I wonder what happened to that kid...

After I got out I heard that one of the women had had a miscarriage ... I also got the impression the group was blaming her for it. Even if they weren't, it's very likely she wasn't getting the kind of support she needed.  I also saw someone I'd known in the group become pretty much like a zombie in the years after I left...and she stayed.

-CarolR


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« Reply #36 on: July 16, 2023, 07:15:23 pm »



…we were told to leave and did leave the GCx movement after 18 years…

I now *would* rejoice if the GCx movement went away, crumbled, fell apart. Not because I have any animus toward any of the people in GCx, but because I see that the leaders and pastors of GCx twist the gospel to such an extent that people in the movement are entrapped in a system that glorifies and magnifies the leaders of the movement rather than Jesus Christ. The leaders usurp the authority that belongs only to God and enslave their members in a system that takes the focus off of Jesus. We can all see now how the head honchos of this movement have abused their authority in many spheres. …

The mountain of unsound doctrine and practice, and the many instances of abuse of power, are the reasons why I would be happy if this movement was gone.

-GodisFaithful,   2019


What I did not know till 10 years into my GC church experience was that they believe that the pastor is your spiritual "master" and you should do EVERYTHING he says including take his advice on who and when to marry, how many kids to have, where to work, where to live, and committing to your local church and pastor for life. I believe parents, students, church attenders have the right to know this up front.

-Linda,   2010


After receiving Christ, I started attending a GCx group where I was taught that pleasing God meant obeying the church leaders without question.  The leaders of GCx essentially became a substitute for Christ's intended rule over the church.  We were told we that we should follow the leaders like the Israelites followed Moses, yet God clearly states the old covenant has been done away with and a new one is in place with direct access to God through Christ.  GCx seems to be perverting the means by which God's people communicate and relate to Him..  They have set themselves in a very disturbing position between God and his people.  

-Janet,   2011




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« Reply #37 on: August 05, 2023, 07:42:11 pm »


A pastor who is truly concerned for the sheep more than his own ranking in GCx will point out the treacherous errors. Here is one such man and former GCx leader who is to be commended and thanked!!! The following are excerpts from Resignation letter by Pastor Gregg Walters, distributed to some at [GCx] Summitview Community Church, Fort Collins, Colorado, on March 16, 2004:


I feel that truth has been lost in the following areas:

...There is a greater emphasis on authority than I see in the Scriptures.  I do not sense the pastors laying down their lives for the sheep, but an entrenchment.  Pastors work hard at defending each other rather than listening to the sheep.

There is an overemphasis on loyalty to the leadership team compared to the emphasis on loyalty to God.  When loyalty to God is equated with loyalty to leadership, the sheep become confused as to who God is – is it God or is god the leaders? ...  It is written that we are to trust God and not man.  I also think the line gets blurred when we say we are to trust God through the leaders.  This thinking begins to set up a clergy-laity system where men are the mediator between God and man. ...

1Timothy 2:5  For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus ...

Members are motivated to serve the pastors. I was told that my growth would be that my wife and I would cheerfully serve the pastors.  I think this overextending what Jesus said:

Mathew 20:25-28  But Jesus called them to Himself and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. "It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

Divisiveness has been expanded beyond the Biblical explanation in Titus 3.  Titus writes that anyone who shares something that one particular group of people (whether they embrace some specific teaching or based on ancestry) is blessed over another group should be warned and rejected from fellowship – having Jesus is our only basis of blessing.
...
Respect for the Holy Spirit in the individual has been lost.  I have not experienced a safe environment to share my concerns. Also as a church I feel that there should not be secrets about what is taking place. ...

I believe there is an over emphasis in Summitview on the immaturity of the sheep and a "putting down" of what they can understand and handle.  Some of the sheep have been discipled for over 19 years.  They have grown in maturity and discernment.  Summitview is their church as well. ...

A number of years ago, the entire church went through Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby.  In Unit 10 of the workbook, God's Will and the Church, a dynamic of interaction between the people, the pastors, and God himself is described that I really have not experienced at Summitview. I may have missed it, but everything seems very choreographed here.  Maybe I helped choreograph it, but I don't think it is right. ...

-Former GCx Pastor Gregg Walters,   2004



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« Reply #38 on: August 28, 2023, 07:00:10 pm »



For any parents reading this who have children planning on attending this year's [GCx Faithwalkers 2008] conference, please note the December 30th session entitled "Totally Committed to Devote Yourself to the Local Church for the Rest of Your Life!"

This is a talk that was given in 2005 to our then 17 year old daughter at an HSLT session away from home and was the thing that led to our departure from our local GC church. Our daughter was asked to make this commitment while still a minor under the authority of her Christian parents who were unaware that such a thing was being asked. Obviously, parents decide where their children will attend church, not elders or youth leaders. This was a fundamental violation of the trust we put in those leaders. ...

They teach that you have to stay with a Great Commission church forever. ...

-Linda



It is important to note that the annual GCx Faithwalkers conference referenced above has now been replaced by “Fusion Midwest.” Many of the same leaders (or their disciples) are behind this new conference. For instance “GCX” Candlewood Church in Omaha, NE which is discussed a number of times of this site was part of this conference last year. It is quite interesting that this is the same name of other Christian Conferences who are not related to these churches. Is that perhaps so it would not be searchable online? Deception has been a definite characteristic of these “GCx” church groups so it would not be surprising if it is intentional so it could fly under the radar of Christian watchdog organizations and this site.

Here is the link to this year’s 2023 conference.  Parents and students beware!

https://fusionmidwest.com/


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« Reply #39 on: August 29, 2023, 02:10:52 am »

I clicked on the link to the Fusion Midwest Conference, and started down a trail of clicks and searches. I found this article, which named a lot of people I knew back in the day. It seems to present two sides to the story.

https://culteducation.com/group/1046-great-commission-international/13260-pastor-were-just-new-testament-christians-critics-subtle-danger.html

And the broader article about GCx:

https://culteducation.com/group/1046-great-commission-international.html

Uh-oh, I can see spending a lot of time on this site!
« Last Edit: August 29, 2023, 02:13:32 am by margaret » Logged
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