Welcome to De-Commissioned, a place for former members of the Great Commission movement (aka GCM, GCC, GCAC, GCI, the Blitz) to discuss problems they've experienced in the association's practices and theology.

You may read and post, but some features are restricted to registered members. Please consider registering to gain full access! Registration is free and only takes a few moments to complete.
De-Commissioned Forum
June 01, 2023, 04:24:07 am *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
 
  Home   Forum   Help Search Login Register  
Pages: 1 [2]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: PSYCHOLOGICAL ENSLAVEMENT to “Lords” in GCx Churches  (Read 7895 times)
Janet Easson Martin
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1640



« 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
« Last Edit: March 04, 2022, 09:54:58 am by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.        - Saint Augustine
Janet Easson Martin
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1640



« 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



« Last Edit: March 04, 2022, 08:20:56 am by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.        - Saint Augustine
Janet Easson Martin
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1640



« 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.



« Last Edit: August 14, 2022, 08:08:28 pm by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.        - Saint Augustine
Janet Easson Martin
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1640



« 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


« Last Edit: February 27, 2023, 10:15:23 pm by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.        - Saint Augustine
Janet Easson Martin
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1640



« 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


« Last Edit: February 28, 2023, 08:59:45 am by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.        - Saint Augustine
Janet Easson Martin
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1640



« 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”





« Last Edit: March 17, 2023, 08:14:04 pm by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.        - Saint Augustine
margaret
Veteran (100-299 Posts)
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 185



« 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.
Logged
Janet Easson Martin
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1640



« 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.



« Last Edit: March 19, 2023, 05:36:10 am by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.        - Saint Augustine
Huldah
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1023



« 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.
Logged
Janet Easson Martin
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1640



« 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.



« Last Edit: March 20, 2023, 07:57:51 am by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.        - Saint Augustine
margaret
Veteran (100-299 Posts)
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 185



« 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.
Logged
Janet Easson Martin
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1640



« 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.



« Last Edit: April 24, 2023, 06:03:43 am by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.        - Saint Augustine
Janet Easson Martin
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1640



« 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



« Last Edit: April 24, 2023, 06:06:18 am by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.        - Saint Augustine
Janet Easson Martin
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1640



« 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



« Last Edit: April 30, 2023, 12:21:39 pm by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.        - Saint Augustine
Janet Easson Martin
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1640



« 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


Logged

For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.        - Saint Augustine
Janet Easson Martin
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1640



« Reply #35 on: Yesterday at 07:15:37 pm »



I remember that our 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


Logged

For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.        - Saint Augustine
Pages: 1 [2]   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  


Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
SimplePortal 2.1.1