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bjw

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Here are some pointers for those who no longer believe in Lordship Salvation doctrines and want to resign from Grace Community Church.  This is simply advice based on past experience from actual situations I have witnessed in the past, but every situation is unique so you may need to change things depending on your situation.

Over at the GCC website on the church discipline and restoration process page they use the phrase "they are to persue the person aggressively."  So, if the church knows you want to resign they will try to get you back by following this process.  Once it gets to the third step any friends, family, or business contacts you still have in the church may be told you have renounced Jesus Christ as Lord and to shun you.  So, be very careful who you tell your objections to, and make sure you know it is someone who will not report your objections or try to start this process. This is why you must consider your strategy carefully, as confrontation and calling people to repentance play a major role in this cult.

If you have moved out of the area you can avoid this mess by simply not resigning, and just saying (if they contact you) you have started at another church closer to home that is also "non-denominational."  This will at least stop any harassment from current members, and you can keep any contacts. The worst that may happen (if they manage to get your new info) is you will get magazines and free book or sermon packs with a donation envelope, if you don't give money these will probably get less and less frequent.

If you are still in the area it will be more difficult.  After missing several services your small group members and/or counselors will be sent to confront you, and they will report any objections to church elders.  Once step 3 of the restoration process is started, members may be told about sins you have confessed to, rather than any valid arguments you may have given against the doctrine.  If you feel any part of step 3 of their process slandered your character to others you may want to remind them of the state priest penitant privilege law, while I don't know much about that law if you feel you have been seriously harmed by this seeking legal counsel may be a good idea, as ministers are bound by confidentiality.

If at this point you decide to fight the church's decision, try to tell your friends the truth, or show indicators of being connected to any ministries exposing or disagreeing with MacArthur, the church will probably try to retaliate.  You should save any mail you get, no matter how insignificant, from the members or the organization itself.  Also, you should never agree to meet with anybody without witnesses or a neutral party present, even if the meeting is in a public place.  You do not want to put yourself in a place where any kind of embellishments can be made about things you may or may not say.  Also, take any threats made seriously.  Always stay within the boundaries of the law and never try to take the law into your own hands.  If any friends threaten to turn their back on you or call you a non-Christian for leaving, consider whether or not they are true friends or just pretending to like you because you are both in the same cult.

After leaving you may have issues with depression and anxiety.  Though you know realistically that this cult is wrong, you will always have a "what if" running through your head wondering if they were right and you are self-deceived and going to hell.  Also, the counseling at GCC is made to break down your self-esteem and strip you of your self-worth.  You should probably seek help from a psychologist or psychiatrist and let them know you were in a counseling cult.  They have experience with this and can help you cope with the trauma and get your life back in order, as well as deprogramming.  If you have joined another church, seek help from your new pastor as well.  Also, these can be good ways to get neutral parties involved that can help you see a fresh perspective as well as serve as a witness in your final dealings with the cult.

watchmanwakes

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bjw
Over at the GCC website on the church discipline and restoration process page they use the phrase "they are to persue the person aggressively."  So, if the church knows you want to resign they will try to get you back by following this process.  Once it gets to the third step any friends, family, or business contacts you still have in the church may be told you have renounced Jesus Christ as Lord and to shun you.  So, be very careful who you tell your objections to, and make sure you know it is someone who will not report your objections or try to start this process. 


If any church member wanted to leave a church, then it would be considered normal for that member to first discuss their intention to leave with the pastor and elders and it would be normal for the church leaders to give sound biblical counsel to that person based on the reasons given for leaving.  Depending on each particular case and considering God's word and will, some would be counseled to stay and some would be counseled to leave.  And if God calls one out of a church, then one must follow God's calling.  

Now what you are describing at Grace Community Church is different.  You are warning the church member who wants to leave to be very careful who they talk to regarding their intention.  You are even warning them to not speak to pastors or even their group members for fear of triggering this restoration process.  And you are describing a process in which God's will doesn't seem to be at all sought, and a process which does not at all seem to include consideration for the eternal soul of the church member.  

If a member who wants to leave Grace Church triggers this "restoration process," then according to you, they may be pursued aggressively.  And this "pursuit," if it gets as far as the third stage, may require church leaders to tell the member's friends and family to shun them; it may involve church leaders revealing to others the member's confessed sins, and even telling others that the church member "has renounced Jesus Christ."  The third stage of this process would, at the least, include shunning, shaming, lying, and breaking confidences.    

This kind of reaction or "process" triggered because a church member just wants to leave is absolutely cult-like.  It's a process I would expect to be described by someone who is familiar with Scientology or the JW's.  What's described here is cult-like and has no place at all in the true church which is the body of Jesus Christ.

BJW,  Thanks very much for giving these "tips for resigning Grace Church."  I think very few people would ever imagine that this kind of advice would be given to and needed by John Macarthur's Grace Church congregation. 


Callie

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Reply with quote  #3 
"If you are still in the area it will be more difficult.  After missing several services your small group members and/or counselors will be sent to confront you, and they will report any objections to church elders.  Once step 3 of the restoration process is started, members may be told about sins you have confessed to, rather than any valid arguments you may have given against the doctrine.  If you feel any part of step 3 of their process slandered your character to others you may want to remind them of the state priest penitant privilege law, while I don't know much about that law if you feel you have been seriously harmed by this seeking legal counsel may be a good idea, as ministers are bound by confidentiality. " - bjw

This information is very helpful.  That is precisely what I and other (former) members went through at Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley (renting from the Seventh Day Adventists in Sunnyvale, CA). GBFSV is a church plant run by a Master's College/Seminary graduate, Cliff McManis, and his friends - 'yes-men'/elders.  Attendance is taken at all church services. Those who miss are called to "not forsake the gathering."  Missing Bible Studies (I had to be at work and commuting) would get me calls from the Bible Study leader's wife to inquire about how I was doing, why I had missed, etc. 

These churches are bizarre and exercise iron-fisted control over peoples' lives.  It's like the Stepford Wives. We aren't supposed to think or have our own lives.  These pastors/elders take the place of the Holy Spirit in believers' lives.
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