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Author Topic: Weaknesses Paper (Announced @ 1991 GCAC Pastor's Conference)  (Read 20449 times)
Janet Easson Martin
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« Reply #20 on: April 17, 2021, 12:32:36 pm »

Thanks VERY much, Huldah!!!

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Vince Capobianco
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« Reply #21 on: May 07, 2021, 01:33:52 pm »

The weakness paper was written by the "leaders" to kiss up to the evangelical association.  They were required to do that in order to be accepted into the organization.  Sorry to have to tell you the truth. 
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Huldah
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« Reply #22 on: May 07, 2021, 02:33:06 pm »

We already know the weaknesses paper was a sham. I'm not sure what your point is.
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« Reply #23 on: May 07, 2021, 04:02:08 pm »

So you’re saying GC was deceptive? You’re saying GC leaders lied to look good. Wow. That’s a pretty bold statement coming from a GC fanboy. 
The weakness paper was written by the "leaders" to kiss up to the evangelical association.  They were required to do that in order to be accepted into the organization.  Sorry to have to tell you the truth. 
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« Reply #24 on: July 15, 2021, 01:53:59 pm »

"So you’re saying GC was deceptive? You’re saying GC leaders lied to look good. Wow. That’s a pretty bold statement coming from a GC fanboy."

I left GCI in 1987.  Not sure where you get the GC fanboy from, but that's up to you to decide.  I'm a JESUS fanboy, and I think there was a LOT of good stuff before things went bad. 
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« Reply #25 on: July 18, 2021, 06:54:37 pm »

Vince, you describe yourself as a Jesus fanboy, but I wish you would behave like a Jesus follower.

I don't believe that Jesus would send anyone to this forum to represent and defend an unrepentant man who has caused so much unnecessary and undeserved pain to so many forum members. Jesus would be calling that man to repentance.

Jesus wouldn't falsely accuse people of lying or slander.

But even if we were the evil slanderers you claim we are, Jesus wouldn't keep posting here just to prove that He can. He would shake the dust off His shoes and leave us to our own devices

If you're a follower of Jesus and not just a fanboy, then please show that you have the heart of a follower. All you've ever shown here is how much you hate the people McCotter has ripped off.
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« Reply #26 on: July 22, 2021, 01:17:26 pm »

Has Jim been disciplined according to Matthew 18 or 1 Cor?  If so, please let me know!  As for being a Jesus fanboy, I'm in Atlanta and a part of a growing housechurch...  You are more than welcome to come visit us.  You can stay as long as you like and you can talk to everyone you want to.  Last Labor day, about 25 of us went down to Daytona to help build the fellowship Jim is a part of and we had a blast and worked hard.  14 people got saved and some are still involved down there.  While Jim is not part of our leadership here, we have a lot of respect for him and many of his teachings.  Although we don't agree on everything, we get along with all those in the fellowship in Daytona really well! I've known Jim for years and the claims against him on here don't match anything I've see or heard.

Jim has spent months sharing his convictions on every topic I can think of, and is always open to speak to anyone, so I just wish you would make an effort to clear the air on all these issues, so the slander can stop.

He's on facebook @Jim McCotter Live, on Youtube channel of the same name, so why not get out of the past and hear clearly what Jim says on the issues?
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Janet Easson Martin
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« Reply #27 on: October 07, 2021, 08:40:38 pm »


More Than A Decade Beyond The Weakness Paper




Though GCx Church Leaders have said it's errors were addressed in the 1991 Paper, that doesn't necessarily mean they have actually changed their spiritually abusive ways. That paper only scratched the surface of the harm inflicted on thousands of members. Those were only the errors they were willing to put on paper. They are deeper and more inflicting than they have described; and there are other errors they have never been admitted to. The depth of abuse presented there is viewed by former members as insensitive, uncaring, and white-washing grievous and life-altering wrongs presented as minimal and excused by "youth' and "zeal," though they already had 20 years to correct them.

There was zeal--alright, but it wasn't for Jesus, it was for GCx. Rather than Jesus, leaders were to be emulated, sought out for constant counsel, feared and blindly obeyed. Though thirty years had passed since its inception, and a decade since it's VERY WEAK ATTEMPT at "a façade of repentance" in what I like to call their "Weak Excuses Paper," MANY GCx Churches were still practicing too many of the errors they claimed to have repented from well into the 2000's.

Below is one of many personal experiences with the same problems in GCx Churches more than ten years later!


I am relieved to have found so many other people who have had an unsettling experience at a GC church.  I had actually found this site while trying to look for more information on the church I left to see what kind of credentials GCM requires for their pastors and staff, etc. and discovered that the problems I had in my church were actually in all of the ministry.  Please read my story, if you dare, it will reveal a church that sounds as if the 1991 Apology had never been made, and I only started to going to a GCM church in 2005.
-Left, 2007
  


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« Reply #28 on: October 08, 2021, 09:53:14 pm »


The "Crisis," The Fix, and The Telling Timeline



Very telling details of the timeline of surrounding events involved in the history of the Weakness Paper are revealed in a "talk" at their Pastors Conference. Many on this site have discussed the insensitive and dispassionate manor in which some very harmful errors were approached; and explained the timing of it to be quite essential to it's intention. Some have stated how it appeared on the heals of GCx's exposure as abusive in the publishing of "Churches That Abuse." Reading the transcript of the recording would be the most helpful in getting the bigger picture together on why and when it was written.

Otherwise, I have excerpted what hopefully will explain GCx's dilemma and their ensuing "fix." The elder discussions mentioned surrounding this Paper may be enlightening to some. I have emphasized certain words or phrases. I have also arranged some of the excerpts in a different order than they originally appear so they might more closely resemble the stated timeline. This is from a text of the recording of the 1991 GCAC Pastors Conference which in the GCx Web Library (link below). The speaker is one of the GCx National Leaders. I realize it may be a "long" read for some, but it contents are critical to seeing a clearer view of the "crisis" at hand, the fix and the telling timeline.



A couple years ago, ah, we were, ah- members the National Association of Evangelicals...  we did not realize and in the mean time they received a packet of information from someone, I'm not sure who. Ah, that caused them a lot of concern about us and they didn't know us or anything, so they, ah- the administrative board, without any consultation from us or anything.. We just, out of the blue, got this notice that our- that our ah- our renewal or our membership was not being renewed because of conduct not becoming of Christian organization.

And so we tried to find out what it was we'd done- er, what the problem was, and uh, and finally we ended up having a hearing with them which was very very helpful and very very good.  ...   So that's what they counselled us, is to write a book of government, get your, ya' know, inner workings all worked out, ah, work on some of these problems you have with your critics and that type of thing before you join. And that was their counsel. They said we can join anytime we want, but we decided to take their counsel and we've just been working on those things...  But, ah, at this point we are not members of the National Association of Evangelicals, so that was a very traumatic period; all that happened. And, ah, I was involved a lot in kind of working with some of that along with Hershel and, ah, John Hopler. And I think we're just, more and more have been seeing some of the damage that's being caused by some of these critics and criticism.

...we have had some, ah, critics who have been quite critical. Some have compiled every negative newspaper article that's ever been published about any of our churches and put it in a thick volume.  ...

...there's been some conferences where some people have gotten together and, and told their testimonies of how Great Commision ruined their life and, and caused all these problems and hurt them and ah- so they've got something like 20 hours of video tape of all these people that have been damaged by their association with Great Commision.

...there's files of packets of information that are floating around, and some of them, of our critics, have been quite um, quite prolific in their writing and distributing information that's negative to us. And it has caused some damaging effects, across the country.

... six months ago at one of our meetings we decided that I should essentially concentrate full time on some of these difficulties and problems and trying to clean this up for the next couple of years. Um, working on some different things. So we put together the weaknesses statement ...

And I just learned a couple weeks ago or a couple months ago that evidently there's about I think 28 different people that have been deprogrammed from the Great commission church here and there.

But, ah, so I think that some of this is having effects. I know the church down in South Carolina and also in Raleigh North Carolina several of those churches just recently have had some difficulties with a lot of this information just floating around, and it seems to spring up in one part of the country then another part, and and that gets taken care of. ...

And, and uh, there's just a lot of things like this going around; and I think that some of this frankly is a result of some weaknesses and problems that we ourselves have had. And I think that we as national leaders have felt that we need to really face up to some things in our past that really weren't the most healthy, ah- in certain aspects. ... And so we have published, and a lot of you national leaders, or elders, I'm sorry, have gotten a copy in the mail, ah- of our weaknesses statement or our statement recognizing early errors and weakness in Great Association of Churches.

...we looked a lot at the example of Nehemiah where he was building the wall and he had his critics his out here saying. Tobias, and, they were, there were even some Jews that were, ah, on his side, and you know kind of siding with him and causing all kinds of trouble. And Nehemiah, he was, essentially his strategy was "let's get the wall up, let's just ignore our critics." And that was kind of our, 'ar idea. I think we felt that we had pursued as we could, we had done all that we could to seek reconciliation, but there wasn't anymore we could do so we just had to plug on.

And, and yet as I was, just been praying, I was praying about this one day and I just thought, well you know these people are really causing some problems. And it's one thing if the guy is just kind of threatening over there, and not doing anything, but if they are coming into your camp, and um- killing soldiers or workers it's time to do something. And we as, uh, shepherds of God's people, we are shepherds and wolves will come in. And it's our job to either drive those wolves away or, or kill 'em, or whatever we can do- not literally, obviously in our case but, ah. Just, just stick with the analogy here. But drive 'em away so that the sheep will be safe.




Link to Weakness Paper (GCAC Pastors Conference 1991)
http://www.gcxweb.org/Audio/WeaknessesPaper-GCAC-1991.aspx
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« Reply #29 on: October 10, 2021, 05:58:14 pm »


The Weaknesses Paper:  

Checking The Box “Repentance”



Today I read aloud the excerpts above (from “Weakness Paper Talk” at the 1991 GCAC [GCx] National Pastors Conference) to my husband. Then I ask this very wise and discerning man what he thought, based on that information, was the intention of their “Weakness Paper.”

He concluded, “TO CHECK A BOX.”


The UrbanDictionary defines “check the box” as:  A phrase which means to complete a task to the barest minimum standard, and subsequently cease working.


Many of us who witnessed GCx’s many and serious abuses that wounded it’s members’ faith, friendships, family ties, education, careers, finances and personal pursuits agreed after reading the “Weakness Paper” that it’s nonchalant treatment of the stated errors clearly trivialized the harm inflicted. They had the audacity to excuse their ungodly behavior in this Paper rather than truly be deeply remorseful and sincerely apologetic. This was not really a “public” admission or real apology as most of their members NEVER received it!

It was more of a minimum motion to check a box, and send it off to the National Association of Evangelicals. It seems it was intended not only to “pacify” them, but also the cult expert and author who exposed them in his book, “Churches That Abuse (1992),” as the Paper was written around the same time that author, Ron Enroth, notified GCx Leaders of the his coming book publication, according to testimony on this site.


I doubt God is pleased with “checking the box” repentance. The fruit of repentance actually makes obvious the heart with which it is sown.



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« Reply #30 on: October 11, 2021, 07:38:55 am »



"And, and yet as I was, just been praying, I was praying about this one day and I just thought, well you know these people are really causing some problems. And it's one thing if the guy is just kind of threatening over there, and not doing anything, but if they are coming into your camp, and um- killing soldiers or workers it's time to do something. And we as, uh, shepherds of God's people, we are shepherds and wolves will come in. And it's our job to either drive those wolves away or, or kill 'em, or whatever we can do- not literally, obviously in our case but, ah. Just, just stick with the analogy here. But drive 'em away so that the sheep will be safe."



Link to Weakness Paper (GCAC Pastors Conference 1991)
http://www.gcxweb.org/Audio/WeaknessesPaper-GCAC-1991.aspx


GC critics are "killing the workers"? That's so unfair, untrue, and messed up.

There are many accounts of former members suffering nervous breakdowns or even attempting suicide after being broken by GC. Not to mention educations abandoned, finances damaged, family relationships damaged. In contrast, l've never heard of a GC elder being driven to a suicide attempt by a GC critic. How dare they label the very people they've mistreated as "killers"?

If you do any reading on abuse (spiritual, domestic, or whatever) it's extremely common for abusers to flip the real story and make their victims out as abusers.

I don't know which leader you're quoting, Janet,  but his attitude is disgusting. Especially when they themselves have literally driven people to the brink of death.
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« Reply #31 on: October 11, 2021, 07:54:18 pm »

Huldah, I also think this attitude is contemptible. It seems most of the National Leaders were extremely influenced by McCotter and his response to ANY kind of negative feedback or commentary. Though he could slither his way around a confrontation, he ultimately falsely condemned the messenger.

As we well know a devoted follower of GCx was demanded blind allegiance to it’s ungodly traditions. Sadly, I believe these National and otherwise leaders were really blind followers of McCotter. Even if some were unhappy with him later, they had already been fully indoctrinated into a very harmful mode of leadership. It is so ingrained in them, they don’t allow themselves the freedom to actually examine the truth of what their critics say. It’s like a conditioned response.

Like the scripture says, they have entirely missed the beam in their own eye that is BLINDING THEM!


“Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit?

A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.

Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but fail to notice the beam in your own eye?

Luke 6:39-41


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« Reply #32 on: October 14, 2021, 09:06:42 pm »


More Than A Decade Beyond The Weakness Paper

Indignation Over It’s Downplaying, Obscuring, and Concealing Abuse



Part One

I among many others were deeply involved in GCx Churches for years in the very isolated GCx organization. Though it was not always official on paper they were very much under the control and leadership of Jim McCotter for the first 16 years. Those who didn’t subscribe fully to his teaching and practices of dictatorship and blind loyalty were either abusively booted out or tried to leave quietly. Sadly, these teachings and practices did not cease when he “left.” Very unhealthy and harmful traditions remained in this group. I was there before and after MCotter left. Others were there only after he departed but still experienced the same level of hyper & heavy control over nearly every area of their life.

When a “Weakness Paper” was put together in 1991 it seems in attempt to pacify it’s MANY critics including former leaders and cult experts including one who was about to expose GCx in an upcoming book publishing, the National Association of Evangelicals, and other well-known cult watchers and authors; the majority of its well-informed former members were appalled. First, few members —former, current, and future members, ever saw it. Too often, those who requested it were given the run around. Many former members (and even current) who did get to see it felt indignant. The glaring lack of true transparency was exasperating.

Pulling some complete sections of this Paper’s content, I have included my own (and seemingly common) reactions to the premises made. These were my “off the cuff” reactions years ago and I would still agree with them today. The Weakness Paper quotes are in DarkBlue while my reactionary comments are in Red.


Weakness Paper
...
I.  PRIDEFUL ATTITUDE

1. Improper response to criticism.

The problem. A commitment to responding to criticism with patience, understanding, and a desire to learn is a mark of spiritual maturity. And while parties with different points of view

Woa! Stop right there. The vast majority of criticism toward GCx and its leaders has nothing to do with gray areas where believers have different points of view. The criticisms have had to do with wrong, anti-scriptural attitudes and actions that are disobedient to Christ and his reign. They either cannot be found in the Bible because men made them up or they are in rebellion to God’s commands. For just one very prevelant instance, “Threateningly Lording It Over the Flock” in teaching clever lies about what harm befalls members who leave the GCx group.

might finally have to "agree to disagree," it is important that they first make a concerted effort to discuss and, if possible, resolve their differences. We confess that we have too often responded defensively to those both within and outside of our churches who questioned or criticized us, and at times exhibited an unwillingness to listen to their perspective.

Just one minute! It seems until your membership in the NAE was revoked, GCx and most of its leaders responded not only defensively, but often cruelly, and quite harmfully toward nearly anyone questioning or criticicizing their scathingly unbiblical and uncaring methods. GCx Leaders practiced and encouraged great disrespect toward very concerned parents of it’s members, including causing division between them and their believing parents. Come on now! GCx in the majority of times displayed utter contempt toward any teaching or perspective other than their own. Any “listening” that did happen to take place was mere pretense of hearing another perspective, unless you were fortunate enough to talk to an “elder” who was not blindly loyal to the top leader or the group.


Instead of too quickly concluding that these individuals were acting divisively or irresponsibly, we should have made a greater effort to carefully consider and respond to their views. Moreover, we should have made more of an effort to pursue those individuals who had voiced various concerns about our doctrine or practices, and aggressively pursued reconciliation with former leaders and members.

Is that right? If this was so important to GCx, why didn’t you send out this “Apology” (Weakness) Paper to those you well knew expressed such concerns and hurt? Since your biblical offenses were pretty much nationwide, why didn’t you send it out to all the members current and former? Real reconciliation doesn’t happen without completely honest transparency, and real remorsefulness on the part of the offender. The tiny specks so many of you leaders shamedly plucked at in your brothers’ eyes, and the precious faces you cruelly crushed should have moved you to ACT SO REPENTANTLY that you could have never proposed to pass this off as a SINCERE APOLOGY.


Steps taken to correct. We are grieved by the rift that has developed between our churches and a number of former leaders and church members who have believed, in part because of our unwillingness to listen to them, that reconciliation was impossible. We apologize for failing to listen to their concerns and for failing at times to obey our Lord's command to be reconciled. We ask that anyone who has a concern about, or complaint against, a Great Commission church or leader to contact that church or leader. If that does not satisfactorily resolve the issue, please write to David Bovenmyer at the address noted on page 13.

Getting off on a technicality, huh? Do you suppose that since not as many grievances were written to Dave Bovenmeyer in this now required capacity, that discounts all those that were taken in person to GCx leaders over it’s 21 year history up until this paper? If you are so grieved, why have you consistently attacked those who post their experiences and resulting damage from your leaders and organization? Why have you told your members lies about the majority of us posting here 16 years after this Weakness Paper was given to its National Leaders? Why have you been rebellious to God’s commands to act justly and walk humbly toward God and his people by continuing to mistreat those leaving or honestly concerned with slander and shunning?

Many of the most serious grievances that former leaders and members had might have been resolved many years ago if we would have had a formalized, written policy on handling complaints, addressing divergent views, and resolving grievances. That is why we are developing, as previously noted, a Book of Government that will provide that needed formality. Of course, even the best policy will be ineffective if both parties to a dispute fail to approach the dispute with love and humility. For our part, we apologize to each former leader or member who we did not respond to in a spirit of love and humility, and express our commitment to excel in this in the future.”
- Weakness Paper

For real?! I’d say most of the grievances were all pretty serious! Most of the concerns of GCx members (and close non-members) were not petty matters of style, personalities, or physical environment. They were matters of character and actions unbecoming of Christian Leaders, unbiblical and disastrous traditions taught as scriptural “doctrine,” blind and captive loyalty, and serious errors taught by twisting the scripture for worldly competition and gain. As for a formalized policy back then, I doubt GCx would have put in writing their harmful teachings and practices for all to see. They were kept as “secret” as possible except for the few brochures McCotter put out. So a real change in heart would have had to precede such a thing. According this website, the Book of Government was never done, unless any know different. This Paper did not accomplish what it alluded to. Perhaps some leaders took it to heart and changed, but it seems they often were booted out according to testimony on this site. The majority of GCx Churches seemed to practice the same abuses for many years beyond the Weakness Paper and up until 2019 —for nearly 30 more years! Here are just a few of many, many instances of continued and defended abuse in GCx Churches:
 


That was what made me take a step back and begin to examine what I had been a part of for four years. I never thought I would witness an excommunication, but I was there when the pastor of Coulee Rock was excommunicated back in 2014. And I had friends present when one of the CedarCreek pastors was excommunicated in 2016. The meetings that Suzanne has mentioned, where they talk about "what really happened" with the excommunicated? The cutting people off, telling people not to talk to them, and implying that sides should be taken? Oh yes, it still continues to happen.
-Alexa


I helped start 2 churches and was in GCI for over 20 years.  I left in 2003 after a divorce and went to a Evangelical church. After getting remarried, my former pastor told the church to shun me. He never told me or warned me. He then told me I was not allowed to attend my daughters wedding that year.  After watching the A&E documentary on the cult of Scientology I realized how similar the two churches are. They lie, discredit and shun anyone who challenges their authority.
-Loro


...I will just say that the next few months I received some harassing phone calls and emails from former friends at the Rock [GCx Church], leading up to me being told that I probably shouldn't associate with people from GC [GCx alias] anymore. I even saw several people who I knew and used to have pleasant relationships with turning and walking the other direction when they saw me on the street. ...I know in my brain that I made the right decision to leave but it was just so hard to have people that I thought were my friends attack me and cut me off.
-crp87    [left ~ 2011]



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« Reply #33 on: October 18, 2021, 06:31:16 am »

Quote from: Janet
First, few members —former, current, and future members, ever saw it. Too often, those who requested it were given the run around.

Thanks for this analysis.

Right away, this jumped out at me. We started attending our GCC church in 1995 and had no idea that this paper existed even though it was only 4 years old.

We learned of the Statement of Error in 2005 through a Google search that referenced it. Keep in mind that in 2005, this site did not exist so there were limited internet resources. We asked our "senior" pastor, Brent Knox, about it while having lunch with him and another pastor, Spencer Bernard. I am pretty sure that Spencer was honestly unaware of the existence of this document. Brent gave us a perplexed look and said he vaguely remembered a paper, but thought it was more a "statement of clarification" rather than error. He asked us if we would like a copy. We said we would. He said he'd look for it.

A couple weeks later, after church, we asked him if he had found it. He had not. We contacted Larry Pile. Larry sent us "Marching to Zion" which included the statement. The things they "apologized" for were the things we were concerned about them currently doing. We left.
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« Reply #34 on: October 19, 2021, 07:37:24 pm »



When I found out that McCotter heavily influenced both Brent Knock and Mark Darling personally in their beliefs and teachings we made the personal decision to leave based on who the main pastors of Evergreen were directly influenced theologically by. We personally felt some of the issues raised in the 1991 weakness paper had crept back in regarding some of the teachings in the grey areas, and that we couldn’t serve and fellowships without a discouraged heart.
-GoingClear, 2007



Under pastors who now run several GC churches across the state, I personally have witnessed a culture of leaders attempting to BE the “Holy Spirit” for people, and equating how well people went along with this attempt with how serious they were about God. This and many other problems were unlike anything I had ever experienced in a Christian church before. I had no idea people could exert their “spiritual authority” in such an unhealthy manner. When I finally saw the weaknesses paper (which I didn’t know existed until near the end of my time there) I was shocked. A 15-year old paper described to a ‘T’ almost everything I experienced firsthand in the modern movement. The elitism, the inappropriate response to criticism, the coercion, preferences being treated as commands, on and on and on.

... There are others here who had a hard time getting ahold of the statement, and I do believe certain elders have attempted to clear their congregation’s minds of the statement. However, I think even more people ended up in the kind of situation I was in: a simple lack of knowledge that an error statement/seedy past existed at all. I’m fairly sure I could have gotten a copy of the statement, if I had asked, IF I had known it existed. And if I had known it existed, I would have been much more aware of what I came to believe was going on in my specific GC church: they were living life like the error statement had not occurred.

It did not benefit them in any way for people to know it existed, because the pastors were from old school GC, wanted to live out the things taught to them during the early years, and for those reasons didn’t believe the error statement should be widely known. That is the only conclusion I can reach, given my experiences. Given the experiences of many others, I am inclined to believe this type of situation is more prevalent across the board than some current GCers would like to admit.
-puff of purple smoke, 2007



When we were told about the Weakness Paper from sources outside NL [New Life Ann Arbor, MI], our jaws dropped. We did approach the staff and asked about it. We were in no uncertain terms told “there was discussion of a paper being written up, but it was never finished or published.”

We pushed and pushed, we were finally able to get a copy of the weakness paper from Columbus/Orlando - even that was difficult and was initially met with denial. JS came unglued when he found out we went over his head to get this information. We were asked to leave shortly after that.
-Angry, 2007




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« Reply #35 on: October 20, 2021, 11:49:12 am »

This person attended Cedarcreek Community Church in Eau Claire WI, from 1997-2002 as a single young adult. She experienced much interference in the friendship with her husband before they developed a dating relationship. She “witnessed or were subjected to everything in the correction statement.” She reported that the problems supposedly addressed in the correction are STILL going on there, including an excommunication for "gossip and slander" in 2010.  And we occasionally listen to their teachings and they are still unhealthy, focusing on unity, submission, authority, gender roles, abusive parenting, etc.



They did write a lengthy correction statement, [Weakness Paper Link] but later minimized it by writing: “Even though we believed that many of the criticisms were unfair, exaggerated, or based on false reports, some were valid, whether universally or in specific churches.” ...

There is no real accountability.  The whole process is rigged from the beginning.  However, they do also include in their written materials the necessity to be humble and open to examine whether the criticisms are true, etc.  This manipulates people in to thinking that concerns are taken seriously and examined, when usually they are just defended from moment one. ...

When it comes to information control, they have crafted a careful paradigm that paints criticism or opposition to them as persecution.  To be honest, when I was in the group I was unaware of any criticisms and had no clue about their past troubles so I did not hear these defenses but can now read them.  In my former church they have been accused of spiritual abuse within the past year and have publicly framed it as persecution. ...

Unfortunately much of their correction items are still happening. ...

In my former church, the leaders held meetings about specific people they were in the process of excommunicating (or who had accused them of being abusive) and told direct lies about the individuals, or distorted the truth i.e. “So and so was invited to attend this meeting because we want to be transparent and include them, but they declined,” without mentioning that the invitation had been extended less than 24 hours prior.  The pastor would write extensive documents about their interactions with those individuals that were not completely false but definitely slanted the narrative, i.e. “We met with so and so on 11/14/2011” when it would have been more accurate to write “We showed up and so and so’s house unannounced on 11/14/2011.”

From what I have seen in former member groups, meetings like this are not isolated to my specific former local church but happen elsewhere in the denomination.
-Rebel in a Good Way, 2018


« Last Edit: October 20, 2021, 12:11:53 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
Huldah
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« Reply #36 on: October 20, 2021, 12:40:25 pm »

Under pastors who now run several GC churches across the state, I personally have witnessed a culture of leaders attempting to BE the “Holy Spirit” for people, and equating how well people went along with this attempt with how serious they were about God.

"Leaders attempting to BE the Holy Spirit..." How interesting that Puff put it that way. That was exactly my impression as well. But it wasn't just leaders. Even some of the members felt entitled to act as the Holy Spirit toward other members, especially the part about convicting people of sin (real or imagined). It was a spiritual patina over a pattern of bullying and verbal abuse.

In one respect, though, my experience seems different from the norm. When I learned about the Weaknesses Paper (online, having had no personal contact with anyone at GC for many years), I emailed GC headquarters, identified myself as a former member, and asked for a copy. I received a prompt and courteous response with the Paper attached. I'mjust mentioning this because I believe in giving credit where credit is due.
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Janet Easson Martin
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« Reply #37 on: October 20, 2021, 07:33:25 pm »


"Leaders attempting to BE the Holy Spirit..." How interesting that Puff put it that way. That was exactly my impression as well. But it wasn't just leaders. Even some of the members felt entitled to act as the Holy Spirit toward other members, especially the part about convicting people of sin (real or imagined). It was a spiritual patina over a pattern of bullying and verbal abuse.
-Huldah


I agree, Huldah. A good description of the horribe dynamic of “faithful” members CONSTANTLY talking down to newer members, which too often was done with shaming and condemnation, leaving its members feeling they could never be good enough. I love that Jesus instead calls the Holy Spirit our Counselor, our Comforter, and our Helper. He is NEVER our Condemner! He is NEVER our Accuser!

I seriously remember “older sisters” sharing that certain men & women who wanted to rise up in the ranks were told they needed to reprove others more, they weren’t doing that enough. There were probably very few cases that were actual sin that were “reproved”. But, those brothers and sisters would be considered more spiritual. They became little spiritual “guides,” and they sure did follow you around trying to be your “conscience.” If that kind of competition of constant criticism were to start happening in a healthy church, most would leave that intrusive nonsense and cult-control ‘faster than you can say Jack Robinson’ and warn others of it.  

Most of the “reproofs” according to my experience and observation were “perceived sin” or breaking a GCx “law”- supposed “wrong” motives, desires, priorities, style, preferences, goals, etc. Usually matters of the heart that none other than God & the Holy Spirit could truly see and guide. GCx OFTEN praised or CONDEMNED people based on a prideful and “all-knowing” attitude that they KNEW HEARTS.

« Last Edit: October 21, 2021, 06:59:21 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
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