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Author Topic: Abusive Churches by PROBE minstries: Great article!  (Read 3414 times)
AgathaL'Orange
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« on: July 08, 2010, 05:22:21 am »

http://www.probe.org/site/c.fdKEIMNsEoG/b.4227407/k.9467/Abusive_Churches.htm
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Linda
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« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2010, 07:58:45 am »

That is a great article. Control oriented leadership. Check. Manipulation of members. Check. Rigid legalistic lifestyle. Check. Changing of group/church name. Check. Denouncing all other churches. Check. Persecution complex. Check. Targeting young adults. Check. Painful exit process. Check.

I was even struck by the line at the beginning: "Some of these groups have networks of many sister churches." Check!
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Huldah
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« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2010, 08:07:49 am »

"Members of such churches frequently drop out of school, quit working, or even neglect their families to do the work required by the church." Check.
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Immortal_Raven
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« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2010, 10:50:57 am »

The name changing symptom really struck me.  Especially in the last decade, there have bee so many rearrangings and realignings.  GCC, GCLI, GCM, and a few more.  Why are they changing if not to avoid the bad stigma?

I was also struck by the legalistic culture.  It is so true and extremely disheartening.  On the other hand, it worked for Fidel Castro in Cuba.

-Immortal_Raven
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AgathaL'Orange
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« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2010, 01:00:05 pm »

Lately I have been imagining GC like a virus with it's efficient replication.  Each new virus is replicated with no variation or difference (I actually know nothing of viruses, lol, so this may be completely wrong!  Smiley  But anyway, there is no attempt to study together, dig deeper into the mysteries of our faith, to explore this Christian walk with it's myriad sources of writings, people of the faith, prayers, pilgrimages, mission work for peace and the poor.  There is no connection with people of faith centuries ago.  It doesn't feel like the faith of Peter, Chrysostom, Augustine, Calvin, St. Francis, Luther, the Pilgrims, the anabaptists, Martin Luther King Jr, the anti slavery movement, Rick Warren, John Piper, DL Moody, St. Nicholas, or anyone else... it's just Jim McCotter exponentially replicated.

Infiltrate
Replicate

Infiltrate
Replicate

No wonder we felt like something was missing! 
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theresearchpersona
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« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2010, 11:04:41 pm »

Lately I have been imagining GC like a virus with it's efficient replication.  Each new virus is replicated with no variation or difference (I actually know nothing of viruses, lol, so this may be completely wrong!  Smiley  But anyway, there is no attempt to study together, dig deeper into the mysteries of our faith, to explore this Christian walk with it's myriad sources of writings, people of the faith, prayers, pilgrimages, mission work for peace and the poor.  There is no connection with people of faith centuries ago.  It doesn't feel like the faith of Peter, Chrysostom, Augustine, Calvin, St. Francis, Luther, the Pilgrims, the anabaptists, Martin Luther King Jr, the anti slavery movement, Rick Warren, John Piper, DL Moody, St. Nicholas, or anyone else... it's just Jim McCotter exponentially replicated.

Infiltrate
Replicate

Infiltrate
Replicate

No wonder we felt like something was missing!  

I don't know. The Anti-slavery movement twisted scriptures. Does GC twists scriptures? Check. The anabaptists were often heretical and twisted Scriptures, had a lot of infighting and outfighting for it, and were unruly. Things true of GC? Check. (It's not really a dig on the anabaptists, either, they were: there's a lot of shared characteristics between anabaptists and GC.) Martin Luther King Jr...Martin Luther King Jr...arghh, gotta' go there, [deep breath], wonderful civil rights leader, terrible theologian (and heretical on the trinity); also had no laisons with women other than wife. Not going "there" (into these comparisons with GC) at the moment except on the Trinity: ever hear sermons on--to be more exact, sermons that allude to, reference, or mention the trinity, or persons within it, that contain heretical teaching in GC? Big check: to list a few things, denial of aseity in order to teach how much God needed, needs, loves, is focused around, insufficent and so needs, YOU? Unfortunately, check; un-defining the Holy Spirit as a person, and re-defining as merely a non-physical presence of God? Unfortunately, check; defining Jesus as having a fallen human nature? MORTALLY unfortunately, check. (In this single point one can discern whether a faith is ingenuine, or put another way, "the faith" vs. some substitute: it's not the only point nor can it tell if a faith someone has is genuine, just if it's ingenuine.) Wholesale swallows and implements principles which though don't say it explicitly, necessarily, but are designed with the consequence of implementing authoritarianism authored and propagated by Church growth advocates, church consultant business-gurus, and other such Charlatans, e.g. Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, Robert Schuller, (and many others, those are just the ones very well known among the general public and "mainstream" evangelicalism), Check. People seem to miss all the "YOUR Church" and "how to decide who should and shouldn't be in YOUR Church" and "how to make that happen" sort of statements, teachings, principles, measures, *winks*, contained throughout books like "Purpose Driven Church", and there's been a surge of abuse, trampling of the sheep, and exodus of people from Churches over authoritarianism, abuse, heresy, withdrawing of the gospel and of biblical teaching, since uber-popular programs like "Purpose Driven [fill in the blank]" have inundated the religious scene: though related programs/ideologies get cited, it's almost always that one that's mentioned, after which people spend years trying to figure out "what happened to Church?"

Careful with your comparisons there!!! And sorry for the long rant after a long hiatus. : D

p.s. Viruses very often replicate very imperfectly, it's the fact that they replicate in such tremendous quantities that ensures functional replicates will even be produced at all. It also depends on the kind of virus it is, as some are "viruses", which replicate from genome, and some "retroviruses", which use reverse transcriptase to turn RNA templates into DNA strands that are then inserted into the host's genome for replication; even those categories are simplifying a bit, but that's good enough for most public-discoursing purposes.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2010, 11:18:01 pm by theresearchpersona » Logged
theresearchpersona
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« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2010, 11:10:44 pm »

Quote
[from article:] The leader assumes he is more spiritually in tune with God than anyone else.
Leaders implying that God communicates through them and by design the non-leaders obey God by obeying them, and/or that they're leaders for having more powerful prayer lives and by following such "tuning" will get "recognized" and for which also remember the all-important factor of obeying God in your life, that is, "following your leaders"? Check.
Quote
[from article:] He claims insight into Scripture that no one else has. Or, he may state that he receives personal revelations from God.
Reading and applying scripture haphazardly, "this is what it means to me", in order to use it to justify whatever oneself wants which, as a leader, God allows and even encourages, "the Holy Spirit led me", or "God told me" type claims? Check. The primate (I mean, the root and genesis of the organization, Jim McCotter, whose spirit and name will forever dwell with us blessed, holy, unquestionable) telling everyone that God has revealed to him a hitherto unknown plan for evangelizing the whole world from the Book of Acts [of the Apostles]? Check.

Quote
[from article:]Abusive churches are characterized by the manipulation of their members. Manipulation is the use of external forces to get others to do what someone else wants them to do. Here manipulation is used to get people to submit to the leadership of the church. The tactics of manipulation include the use of guilt, peer pressure, intimidation, and threats of divine judgment from God for disobedience. Often harsh discipline is carried out publicly to promote ridicule and humiliation.

Quote
...threats of divine judgment from God for disobedience.

Telling stories of selves and others by leaders of how they were shunned, having a really hard time, sick, or emotionally depressed and unstable and being pounced upon "like a lion" (--Brandon Pullen is who I'm thinking of specifically here) for "disobeying or having a resistant attitude to my leaders"? Check.

Quote
...members required or pressured to attend Bible studies five, six, or seven days a week.

Check. "Oh it's not *required*, just 'highly encouraged'", or "thought to be really beneficial to spend time with the Church and become a band of brothers/sisters doing more wholesome things than the alternatives"...cloaking this sort of thing behind sophistry? Check.

Quote
Members of such churches frequently drop out of school, quit working, or even neglect their families to do the work required by the church. There are also guidelines for dress, dating, finances, and so on. Such details are held to be of major importance in these churches.

Check. Check. Check.

Quote
In churches like these, people begin to lose their personal identity and start acting like programmed robots. Many times, the pressure and demands of the church will cause a member to have a nervous breakdown or fall into severe depression. As I reflect on these characteristics I think of Jesus' words concerning the Pharisees who "tie up heavy loads and put them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger" (Matt. 23: 4). What a contrast from the leadership style of Jesus who said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. . . .For my yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Matt. 11:28-30).

Losing personal identity and beging to play-back the "washing your mind with the Bible...and constantly listening to OUR messages, it's GOOD for you!"? Check. "the pressure and demands of the church ... cause ... member/s to have ... nervous breakdown/s or fall into severe depression"? Check.

Since leaving GC I've been repeatedly bringing-up Jesus' words with a friend at another un-church where the "preacher" delivers his own message, visions, ideals, ideology, goals, rather than the words, who is ever sinking deeper under such burdens and can't figure out why. Thank the Lord Jesus that He said what He did, "my burden is light", which is actually one of the things that gets people out of congregations that are of men and their own dreams and works rather than centered upon Christ and His memory, finished work, and work.


May be continued...
« Last Edit: July 11, 2010, 07:21:21 pm by theresearchpersona » Logged
AgathaL'Orange
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« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2010, 05:41:20 am »

I plead ignorance on viruses.  My point on the greater body of Christians was that GC didn't seem to be a part of the rest of Christianity with it's controversies, discussions, history, movements... it was it's own microcosm with a single focus! 

I am Orthodox, so obviously I don't share certain beliefs with those groups, but I'm "Christian" and with that label, we share a lot.  Not the least is a desire to see things "set right" is one, as NT Wright says.  But in GC it was "us vs them" and a commitment to replicate the same shallow faith of our father, Jim M.
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Janet Easson Martin
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« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2015, 08:54:26 pm »

Helpful Post, Agatha.
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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
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