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Author Topic: how do I get my student out?  (Read 10113 times)
worried parent
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« on: December 28, 2012, 03:37:35 pm »

My child has been at WCCC for quite some time and we were aware that all she does is with the church and her participation at Drake is only in classes.  She was very involved on various boards and such at Drake until all of her time started getting taken up by church group activities, Bible studies and reunions.  Now she has said yes to a committed relationship with a church member.  We do not want to alienate her but need to find a way to get her to think clearly about the situation before she ends up marrying him. He chose her and she believes that was God's will. It very well may be but we want her to step back and look at the whole situation. Does anyone have any advice?
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EverAStudent
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« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2012, 05:26:40 pm »

First, understand that your child is involved in a Christian organization, one that is overly authoritarian, but Christian nonetheless.  In other words, her life will go on, and with God's intervention, your relationship with her should continue.  

GC has many doctrinal problems and overly controlling practices.  One way they control others is by convincing them that the pastors (sometimes called elders) have a direct insight into the secret will of God.  It is a highly mystical belief and practice and gives the ordinary member the sense that the pastors are spriritually evelated, wiser than other people, and speak for God Himself.  

To not do what God has mystically "revealed" to the pastor that someone "should do" is considered spiritual rebellion.  In GC the charge of spiritual rebellion brings harsh consequences, so people jump when the pastor says, "God has revealed to me that you should jump."

Is it God's secret will for your daughter to marry this one guy?  No one really knows, not the pastors of GC, not the young man, not even your daughter.  God does not reveal His secret will except to prophets.  This is a very freeing truth.  

Consider reading these articles, then advise your daughter to read them too:  http://craigwbooth.xanga.com/724889918/knowing-god%E2%80%99s-will-in-advance-the-have%E2%80%99s-and-the-have-not%E2%80%99s/

She may be very happy marrying this young man, but she should not do it because she thinks it is God's secret will.  
« Last Edit: December 28, 2012, 06:09:14 pm by EverAStudent » Logged
worried parent
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« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2012, 10:22:11 pm »

Thank you everastudent for taking the time to respond and send me the links regarding the will of God.  I especially thank you for reminding me that she is in a Christian church and that the world will not end if she does stay in this church and even marry this person.  She will be back from Faithwalkers this week and I am praying we will have some good conversations before she goes back to Iowa.  Thanks again. My husband thanks you as well.
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Janet Easson Martin
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« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2012, 10:50:30 pm »

Dear Worried Parent,

Here is a compassionate and comforting instruction from Psalm 55:22 - "Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken."   Below are some specific things you could pray from scripture back to God. 

1.  Ask God, believing he will help, to deliver your daughter from the hypnotism of false "christian" teaching and following after men; and to return to pure devotion to Christ to follow simply after Him.  (A believer's devotion can become turned away to a substitute god, and thus defiled.)

"You foolish Galatians! Who has hypnotized you...?"  (Galatians 3:1)
"For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy, because I have promised you in marriage to one husband—to present a pure virgin to Christ. But I fear that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your minds may be seduced from a complete and pure devotion to Christ"   (2 Cor. 11:2-3)


2.  Pray that the spiritual eyes of her heart will be opened so that she can see the REAL glory of God, and is no longer blind to false teaching.
 
“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
    and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
 See, darkness covers the earth
    and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you
    and his glory appears over you.


"I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.  I pray that the perception of your mind may be enlightened so you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the glorious riches of His inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power..."    Ephesians 1:17,18,19


3.  Pray for wisdom from heaven in what to say to her, and what to pray for her specifically.

 "Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord."   (James 1:5-7)



Praying for Your Daughter With You,

Janet Easson Martin

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For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.        - Saint Augustine
Linda
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« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2012, 08:21:27 am »

Welcome, "worried parent". I'm sorry you have found yourself in this position with your daughter.

One of the difficulties with Great Commission is that on the surface, to the "outsider" (and to many inside the group) they seem like a "normal" Christian denomination with a special zeal for evangelism/outreach. But, they aren't. There are some significant theological differences and these differences which have not been corrected (even though leadership claims they have been).

A few thoughts came to mind in reading this. I write with the assumption that you are a Christian. I am a 50something Christian parent of 5 who, along with my husband and family, were quite active in a GC church for 10 years. Almost to the day. 7 in our family. 3 played in the worship band. We were close to many pastors and their kids for years. We always assumed the best about them and gave them a pass on some questionable teaching because, after all, we knew these people quite well and thought they were "nice" Christian people. They were our friends. You give friends a pass. Besides, they were "untrained men" and doing the best they could. This was a huge mistake. Bad teaching should always be questioned. Good people who find they have taught error do all they can to publicly correct it in the biggest, most public way they can and for as long as necessary.

What Janet wrote resonated with me. Particularly point number 2. As I look back, I can see the blindness. I can almost give you a day and time when my eyes were opened. It had to do with pastor Mark Darling telling a gathered group that we were his (Mark's) bride and that we were borrowing the sanctuary (we rented a meeting area at a larger church for this particular gathering) of another man's bride. Mark Darling also told us that leaving our church was the equivalent of divorcing your spouse. It was the beginning of the end. I can't emphasize enough the importance of praying that your daughter's (and her friend's) eyes are opened.

I have more thoughts, but this is getting long so I will post again soon. My suggestion is that you listen to all the old Faithwalkers messages you can find online. You might want to start with "Swerver" messages. This is the name GC gives to their concept of "non-dating". Basically, a young man goes to his "mentor/discipler" (creepy in itself) and gets permission to go ask a woman to pray about marrying him. (Parents are bypassed in this arrangement unless a dad is the discipler.) If the woman says, "Yes," they have a few "dates" and get married. Often within weeks. It's kind of like arranged marriages, but without the families doing the arranging.

Let me just say this. If my daughter said she wanted to marry a GC man, I would get down on my knees and beg her not to. I would pray that her eyes be opened and I would pray for the young man that his eyes be opened. There are consequences in marriages where decisions in the marriage are made by an elder who believes he is speaking for God when he advises a husband who believes an elder speaks for God.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2012, 08:23:24 am by Linda » Logged

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worried parent
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« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2012, 12:05:57 pm »

Thank you both so much, you don't know how grateful I am that you have take the time to write your points, find Bible passages that relate to the situation and warn us of what might be happening.  Our daughter (who had never dated) announced that this man asked that she prayerfully consider a relationship with him and she was going to say yes.  We quickly realized this isn't going to be a normal dating situation.  She is visiting him for the first time today on her way back from Faithwalkers and her dad and I are in prayer. Haven't felt like we can tell anyone at home about this as it would be hard for them to understand.  We had been so pleased that she was so involved in her church although we were concerned about her lack of involvement in college sponsored groups and activities, decision to stay in Des Moines after graduating, deciding not to do the study abroad she had dreamed about, etc. Now our son has been there a semester and we see him going down the same path. actually thinking of asking him to go to college choice #2 for the next semester and then pray that God's will will be revealed for him and let him to choose whether to go back to school #1 or stay at school #2 where there is not a GCC in the area.

I have been listening to the Faithwalker sessions that the kids have gone to this weekend but will also listen to the swerver one.  My son went to the one about dating with a purpose. I'm praying that maybe he is questioning what is going on with his sister.

I'm sorry to tell more than I should here but feel like I have to tell someone. Thank you both so much, I will be sharing your thoughts with my husband.  Blessings to you.
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Linda
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« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2012, 12:45:28 pm »

worried parent,

I'm so glad you are listening to the messages. A few words from people like me can be easily brushed off by people saying we are hostile to the Gospel, or are handling "personal offenses" incorrectly, but when you hear things "directly from the horse's mouth", it's hard to refute.

I think you will find a couple of major themes happening in GC churches. The first is commitment to THEM (GC) for life and the second is obedience to elders. They believe that the elder speaks for God in all matters (including school, jobs, where to live, who to marry). Hebrews 13:17 is the "go-to" verse for that one. There is a rich history of students ignoring their parent's advice and listening to their "elders" for matters pertaining to schooling/living arrangements/marriage.

Have you been to this resource page?

http://www.gcxweb.org/Audio.aspx

I'm sorry you have to be dealing with this. Attending a GC church was my biggest parenting mistake. I still ache for my children's lost friendships (probably more than they do). They had to learn the hard way that GC friendships are highly conditional and there is no loyalty in friendships once you leave GC. So, in that sense, the sooner a person leaves, the better.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2012, 12:47:25 pm by Linda » Logged

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TheAtheist
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« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2012, 11:27:29 pm »

I am really sorry you are in this position. You must have many hopes for your daughter which you may rightfully feel are threatened by this relationship. The fundamental question requires a second look, though. You have assumed that there is a way to sever multiple relationships which your daughter seems to have entered of her own consent. This may not necessarily be true. Accepting this and respecting her consent gives you the high ground and teaches free will by example.

You should also understand that these relationships have been cultivated by a high degree of rhetorical persuasion, and may have also been fostered by what's known as "love bombing", in other words, being surrounded by the sudden attention of a cohesive peer group tends to give one an intense feeling of belonging. Past cases reported through academia and media about the Great Commission movement support this. In my experience, GCx churches use certain scriptural passages to create a strong impression that if an adult child must choose between parents and the church, they must choose the church. Ask yourself: is it more important to maintain a relationship with your child, or is it more important to force them to choose? I would submit that your daughter needs your relationship now more than ever, or risk being further isolated.

Instead of forcing a choice which could cause your daughter to choose badly, I suggest picking your battles wisely. One of the best opportunities you can take advantage of to foster independent thought is to notice when your daughter is experiencing discomfort between what she sees to be true and what she believes to be true. This is know as "cognitive dissonance". It can be a painful experience to resolve, and if your daughter trusts you, you can help. Always be sure to affirm perceptions based on what she observes, when you are sure that those perceptions are correct and supported by reality.

Also, study the history and methods of the church movement. If your daughter confides a problem she is seeing, it is okay and very astute to say, "Yes, I don't think you're imagining this. This has happened before." This can open up a conversation where you are able to share your understanding of the history and methods of the movement. This is a conversation which may require a good deal of patience to arrive at naturally and at no risk to your relationship: months or even years from now. For now, it's okay to share general impressions. If asked for your thoughts or blessing, it's fine to say, "Thanks for asking. We think this is a very sudden decision, and wish you'd wait, but we support whatever you decide. You're an adult." I fear that anything stronger risks undermining your relationship and the self-image in her necessary to foster independent thought.

I hope that this makes sense. Please don't hesitate to message me with further questions if you feel that anything I might share would be constructive, or if you wish to probe further my reasoning behind this suggested course of action. I am a father myself and deeply empathize with your situation.
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Huldah
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« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2013, 04:43:01 pm »

Hi, Worried Parent, I don't know if you're still reading here, but I'd like to share my perspective from having been where your daughter is (minus the marriage part).

Everyone has already given you a lot of good insight. I really, really like what TheAtheist wrote. I can just about guarantee that your daughter already knows something is wrong with her church. At this point, she's invested enough that she's willing to overlook the problems, but that doesn't mean she's totally unaware.

Along with all the love-bombing, she may well be getting a lot of pressure and subtle criticism designed to keep her in line. One thing you can do is be her refuge. As TheAtheist said, don't be the one who forces her to choose. Be the one she feels safe venting to. If she expresses dissatisfaction with any part of the church, don't be too quick to pounce in agreement. A noncommittal response such as, "Really?" or "How so?" may serve better to keep her talking. Some day, you can show her all your research, but only when she's ready. Forcing it on her before she's ready might just harden her resolve.

That's my opinion. At least, it's the way I wish my parents had dealt with me, instead of putting me on the defensive all the time. I'm pretty stubborn, so trying to get me to see the error of my ways just backfired on my parents. Of course, you know your daughter best, so if my advice doesn't seem right to you, then feel free to disregard it.

Two more things to remember: your daughter is the age where it's normal and natural for her to want to exercise independence from you. It's part of growing up. Unfortunately, groups like GC hijack and short-circuit this process. Instead of learning to stand on their own as adults, young recruits in GC end up replacing biological parents with spiritual "parents". It's not healthy, but you should probably be aware of the dynamics. You're dealing with an adult so be sure to treat her as one, instead of making her feel like she's a foolish child you want to bring back under your control. (I'm not saying you're doing the latter. I'm just speaking from my own painful memories.)

Finally, on the assumption you're a Christian, please understand that there's spiritual warfare going on here. The "god of this world" plays a role whenever there's deception of this magnitude. Pray for your daughter, pray without ceasing. Ask God to open her eyes by whatever means He chooses. Even if you do nothing else, pray.

I wish you all the best.
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worried parent
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« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2013, 10:04:39 pm »

Thank you, I am still reading and have done so much research.  Great advice to avoid the temptation to throw it all on her at once.  We have only had 1 short conversation so far and she was not aware of the apology from 1991.  We have our son coming home shortly from a trip after Faithwalkers. He has no idea of our concerns, that will be another tough conversation. Hoping to encourage him to transfer to another school for a semester to step back and evaluate.  Thanks again for the suggestion not to dump it all on them at once.  there is so much, it is hard to know where to start! I appreciate this forum.
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Linda
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« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2013, 10:10:58 am »

worried parent,
I've been thinking about your situation and agree that making the case against GC teaching too strongly could backfire. GC people thrive on perceived persecution. I also agree that this is a spiritual battle. These people have been deceived. Everyone from the top leaders to the newest campus members. They need their eyes opened.

God is in the business of opening eyes and it might surprise you to learn that two of our children made a decision to leave GC after listening to a Faithwalkers tape. Literally, in the middle of the tape they said, "That's it. I'm leaving."

The tape was a Mark Darling talk from 2005 in which he mentioned that early in his married life he told his wife that the best thing she could do for him was not be a weight at his feet because he was going strong for the Lord. That did it, they saw how wrong that was for a husband to say, and they never went back. Praise God!
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