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Author Topic: It's different in there: McCotter & Headcoverings  (Read 35827 times)
bertrandbaggersly
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« on: March 16, 2007, 04:55:08 pm »

Ah, another evening at Baggersly Manor — hickory crackling in the hearth, a scratchy LP spinning on the hi-fi, and a glass of something expensive at hand. My years in the Great Commission Association of Churches are now nothing but a distant memory. Why revisit them?

Good question. I sense I’m coming at this from a different perspective than the other de-commissioned members. For one, I can’t honestly say I was especially hurt by the Great Commission church I attended. Perhaps the absurdly expensive contents of my wine cellar have fogged my memory. More likely, as my dear wife and companion Mrs. Baggersly would tell you, I’m oblivious to my own emotions.

What’s weird is that even after all these years, Great Commission fascinates me. I’ve gone to other churches before and I go to a different one now, but none of them hold my attention like Great Commission. GCAC/GCM/GCC is different. Everything else is vanilla.

What makes it so different though? Part of it is the McCotter years. To me, the ultimate moment on this blog would be to get a comment from Jim McCotter or perhaps even to post an email from him. How can one man produce both of these reactions?

   1. Jim was “the most godly man I’ve ever known.” A GCM leader who got involved in the late 70s told me this in person.
   2. Jim was “the most evil man I’ve ever met.” This quote was in Paul Martin’s book “Cult-proofing Your Kids” and was spoken to Paul by his father.

Wow! He must have had amazing charisma and zeal — and perhaps amazing authoritarianism to go along with it. If that’s true, it must have been a subtle authoritarianism in order for people to remain convinced he was a godly man. “You need to get some counsel on that, brother” or something along those lines. Was it love on the surface (”brother”) and coercion underneath (get in line)? Or was he a humble leader whom disgruntled ex-members have painted in ugly colors? I don’t know, but I would love to know more about the inside story of the inner circle and what the average GCAC member experienced back then.

Maybe even more pertinent to today, what did a man have to be back then to become an elder? Let’s face it, all the current national leaders and most local pastors started moving up the ladder, as it were, in the bad ol’ days. Contrary to what GCAC maintains, GCAC’s history is crucial to understanding GCAC’s core beliefs and distinctive practices today. Great Commission does not bring in leaders from outside. Ever. Instead, Great Commission pastors are trained by other Great Commission pastors in an unbroken succession leading all the way back to Dennis Clark, Jim McCotter, and other early Blitzers. The zeal they instilled is obvious. What other patterns were learned?

I don’t know all the answers, but I do know it’s different in there, and it’s been different for a long time.
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Genevieve
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« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2007, 05:00:23 pm »

Very interesting post, Bertrand! I agree that it’s fascinating and that finding out what the inner circle was (is?) like is important. For a church that claims to want to go back to the roots of Christianity and bring back the New Testament church, it seems contradictory that they would feel like their own history is irrelevant.

Why did Jim McCotter leave? Was he quietly pushed out or did he really leave on his own terms? It just doesn’t make sense that he would leave willingly. When they talk about history, Jim McCotter is always there in the beginning but then he just disappears as the years go on. They don’t even talk about how much influence he had in the early years.
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AgathaL'Orange
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« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2007, 05:03:11 pm »

But there has been more talk about him lately, Genevieve. The link to the Story of GCM by Dennis Clark, Rick Whitney and Herschel Martindale is an interesting seminar where they do speak very openly and candidly about Mr. Mccotter.

Was he really an unhealthy leader or what? I sense that many do not feel that he was, and as Bertrand points out others, particularly ex-members from a long time ago think that he was NOT a good leader? What is the truth?

Is it some strange compulsion that the four of us share to root out the truth or is it something more? In my mind for an association of churches to be a solid, Biblical, God-led movement… it feels like there should be integrity from the first moment it began… at least among the leadership. And if there wasn’t this integrity along with Biblical practices, then real changes should occur.

Perhaps what bothers us the most is that GCM may truly just be a different denomination… but doesn’t see itself as such.

I have been thinking about this a lot, and doing some reading on the Plymouth Brethrens… a loosely affiliated groups of believers that differs in some key areas from other non-denominational, evangelical churches. This is that church I believe that Jim McCotter originally belonged to.

Is it possible that what doesn’t ring true isn’t anything especially sinister, but simply that they aren’t what they think they are? I mean they really aren’t like a Saddleback or a Willow Creek. They are something distinctly different.

1. No seminary is the big difference.
2. Raising pastor/elders out of the congregation is another difference.
3. Lifelong loyalty to the association on the part of leadership as well as many members.
4. A practical, non-contemplative bent to worship. Worship in GCM (I don’t want to overstate this, though) has a distinct root in HOW you live your life vs. any sort of mystical, charismatic, emotional bent (although that can still be there).
5. A desire to truly live separately from society in a way… nothing extreme like the Amish, but more subtle in practices of dating, schooling, career choices, choosing your mate, child rearing.

I am sure there are other differences, but these are the ones off the top of my head.

Anyway, that story is very interesting… let me put the link for anyone who would like to read it.

link

Hopefully that works. It is definitely a curiousity buster if you want to know more history!
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Glad to be free.
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« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2007, 05:03:49 pm »

You write:

“Great Commission pastors are trained by other Great Commission pastors in an unbroken succession leading all the way back to Dennis Clark, Jim McCotter, and other early Blitzers.”

So, what you are saying is that every local pastor was trained and “recognized” by the local elders. The local elders were trained and “recognized” by the elders who sent them. Those elders were trained and “recognized” eventually, going back far enough, by the elders in Ames. And the elders in Ames were trained and “recognized” by self appointed apostles Jim McCotter and Dennis Clark.

It seems to me that this means that I could “recognize” myself and a buddy as apostles. And, we could start “recognizing” other people as elders and if the system worked long enough it would seem authentic.

Wow, how gullible are we anyway that we bought into that system!

So, Bertrand, I recognize you as an apostle! Shall we start a church?
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Anonymous
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« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2007, 05:04:30 pm »

I do appreciate the wit and humor emerging on this blog. The process of coming out of GCM has to include a little chuckle once in a while.

The somber aura of pseudo-spirituality that develops around leaders in fringe groups like this disguises the essential absurdity of some of their premises.

Picture a little group of men in Ames, Iowa “recognizing” one another, ceremoniously placing paper crowns on each other’s heads and then essentially declaring themselves the conduit of New Testament Christianity and heirs to the Apostolic ministry of Paul. Oh please….
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Anonymous
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« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2007, 05:04:49 pm »

“GCAC/GCM/GCC is different. Everything else is vanilla.”

I disagree with this statement. There have been numerous Christian churches with problems similar to Great Commission Ministries. So many that they’ve been categorized differently than a “cult,” via the term Totalist Aberrant Christian Organization. This means a group “which teaches orthodox biblical doctrine while committing emotional, spiritual, and behavioral abuses.” I think it’s okay to be fascinating with GCM because of your own personal experiences (I am), but to say that GCM has something about it that is quite unique to all other abusive churches in history is giving them a bit too much credit. Just my thoughts, cheers.
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bertrandbaggersly
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« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2007, 05:05:11 pm »

“GCAC/GCM/GCC is different. Everything else is vanilla.”

Agreed, I should have qualified that statement. GCAC/GCM/GCC is different from any other church I’ve attended.
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Dan Bovenmyer
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« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2007, 05:05:56 pm »

” 1. Jim was “the most godly man I’ve ever known.” A GCM leader who got involved in the late 70s told me this in person.

2. Jim was “the most evil man I’ve ever met.” This quote was in Paul Martin’s book “Cult-proofing Your Kids” and was spoken to Paul by his father.



Wow! He must have had amazing charisma and zeal — and perhaps amazing authoritarianism to go along with it. If that’s true, it must have been a subtle authoritarianism in order for people to remain convinced he was a godly man.”



This is very observant Bertrand. I knew him as a child, and he was perhaps the most charismatic man I’ve ever met–and that includes Ronald Reagan. He believed about as much in the Great Commission as Patton believed in war. For that matter though, I doubt he has ever done something half heartedly in his life…I know as such at least.



I remember feeling like I was coming before someone incredibly important when I was around him. I remember getting red in the face and stammering when he asked me a question. I remember desperately wanting him to be happy with my answer…hard to describe.
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Dan Bovenmyer
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« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2007, 05:06:08 pm »

I’ve only seen Jim once since the 80’s…it was very brief..I just shook hands with him. I think my dad has only spoken with him a few times. I asked him a few years ago, and at that time, Dad wasn’t sure what Jim was doing or where he was. They haven’t kept up since the late 80’s early 90’s to my knowledge.
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Miss Current
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« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2007, 05:06:19 pm »

Things change Dan, things change. From what people describe Jim from decades ago, he is no longer that. Not even close. Try and read what you can on this blog and his. That is who he is now. I just wonder how Paul Martin’s father figured it out so long ago. Decerning, huh?

The good thing though is this, things can change again, for the better.
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Miss Current
nateswinton
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« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2007, 05:06:46 pm »

Dan -

Maybe I should just call you back in person… nah!

Jason thought that Jim had visited your parent’s house a few years back. Right before he moved to IA City I was starting to ask questions about GC* history and he told me about Jim for the first time (apparently he’d dug around a bit too or something). He could have been wrong, though. His wording was something along the lines of “I think Jim and Dave still see each other from time-to-time” if I remember right.

Also, Tim Borseth thought that Jim was in Ames once last year and visited with your dad briefly. I was starting to listen to older teaching tapes and wonder about things a few months before GCMWarning and decommissioned came around and Tim said something like “Yea, I bet you could meet him [Jim] if you ask Dave about it.” But at the time I wasn’t all that interested. Just moderately curious.

Now I’d sell my cat’s soul for a couple hours with him. Cheesy
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The Clone
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« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2007, 05:07:10 pm »

My mom told me that to expect a woman to change AFTER marriage is not a fair expectation. Fair enough. What I gleaned from Larry Pile’s email responding to all of us, is that Jim McCotter is the same man that he was back in the 1960’s: an idea man, and not really a very compassionate soul. Is that true now with his many businesses? Not sure but I get now what my dad said is that the apple does not fall far from the tree. I expect Jim to be the same soul now as before. Why not, he’s the same man, but with more resources now then before.

So I get what Dan B says, but really, can we expect compassion from a group that loves performance, who was baby-trained by Jim McCotter?
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nateswinton
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« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2007, 05:07:34 pm »

I dunno if you can expect it at another church, because the Ames one is the only one I know for 100% sure, but I know enough people all over The Rock to put myself on the line and say “I’d be surprised if you didn’t get compassion and grace here. There are some people that have some performance-based thinking, but most of them are steered away from working much with people because of their tendency to hurt. Most people I know are decidedly compassionate, caring people.”

All that said, I get the feeling you’re speaking more broadly and conceptually.
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Dan Bovenmyer
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« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2007, 05:07:52 pm »

Nate,



I do believe that Jim and his wife Barb stopped by briefly a couple years ago to see my mom and dad. I think it was a pretty brief visit, but I’m unsure of that…you should ask my dad.
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nateswinton
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« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2007, 05:08:03 pm »

I’ll see you both on Saturday. We’ll talk then.
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Miss Current
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« Reply #15 on: March 16, 2007, 05:08:17 pm »

Nate & Dan:

This is a sincere request, can you discuss the things written about Jim McCotter on this blog site and on the Jim McCotter blog site with Dan’s dad on Saturday?

I wonder if he is really aware of the “shady” side of Jim…post GC? Does he really know the “Jim” of today? Not recalling the good ‘ole days, but how Jim conducts himself today. Not just a brief visit through Iowa…all of us can put a good show on for others briefly.

I challenge your dad, Dan, to seek the truth on this matter. Seek the truth…not what I say…seek the truth. Today the word “Holy” came across my mind as a thought and it hit me…I can not put the name Jim McCotter in association together with the word “Holy”. I realize they do not go together. I am not trying to throw around slander…I’ve known Jim post GC. For you people thinking I might be throwing around slander here, I ask you “Do you know Jim McCotter today?”

I am seeking anyone who would today say Jim McCotter is holy, another sincere request. Please come forward on this blog or to me privately by email. Let me know if you need my email address.
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Miss Current
Dan Bovenmyer
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« Reply #16 on: March 16, 2007, 05:08:31 pm »

Miss Current, You seemed to have read my mind. I am planning to ask him about it when I see him. I’ll let you know what he says. I can give him a copy of 27 if you wish.
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nateswinton
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« Reply #17 on: March 16, 2007, 05:08:45 pm »

Miss Current -

I’ll be in the car with Dave and Dawn for a while, and I had planned to bring up some of the stuff mentioned here. I’m not terribly close to him, but we have been getting together more regularly lately.

I’ve been curious about McCotter for several years now and had wanted a chance to sit down with some of the GCI alums and ask some questions.

It’s important for me to point out - and I won’t speak to Dan here - I’m not going to speak to Dave as an advocate of this blog. I’m not sure if I’ve come off like that in the past. I relate to Dave like someone I’m slowly becoming friends with, and I don’t want it to become a utilitarian relationship in any way. I have alot of healthy respect for him, as a man with alot of experience and insights.

So whatever gets talked about will get talked about in a fairly casual way, because I’m a casual relationship kinda guy. It’d probably be different if I was interviewing Jim McCotter, but in this context I’m just curious what my pastor thinks about an old friend of his.

I hope that makes sense. If it doesn’t, just lemme know and I’ll try and clarify.
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nateswinton
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« Reply #18 on: March 16, 2007, 05:09:06 pm »

oop - Dan answered before me. It looks like you’ll get your wish!

Smiley
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Dan Bovenmyer
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« Reply #19 on: March 16, 2007, 05:09:22 pm »

Miss Current, I don’t know if I have met you sometime or not, but I wonder if you have some negative experience with Jim yourself. You don’t have to tell your story of course, but somehow I can hear pain in your posts, and I want to tell you that I feel sorrow about it. I hope that in some way I can be of help.
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