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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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Reply with quote  #2 
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.
benyahmin

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Reply with quote  #4 
For me it was opposite. I was not appreciated and noone cared to seek after me. When I contacted people they did not tal to me or very shallow.
bjw

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Reply with quote  #5 
benyahmin,
You bring up a good point.  Your case was a lot like mine where they no longer wanted me around.  I was basically chased out where I was falsely accused of crimes, and from what I read on your post they dreamed up false accusations against you as well.  You had people following you taking pictures as harassment, and I had this as well when a private detective was tailing me and my friend.  I think in our cases the above doesn't apply, as we are no longer welcome and were basically intimidated into staying away and not saying anything about what we know.  

The advice I gave above mostly applies to the people who they want to be there but the people themselves no longer want to, or they have family, friends, or business contacts they will lose because of the restoration process doctrine and they don't know how to approach the idea of leaving.  I did witness many cases like what I described above where people did the wrong thing and it came back to haunt them.  A wife left her husband and took half of everything they owned because he expressed doubts about the doctrine, I took one college student to his mom's house to get his possessions because he was told he had to shun his mom because she would not recant her doubts after three attempts, while I was there they tried to make me shun my father, and some have tried to leave but get continuously harassed by people trying to get them back.  I wrote the above post for those that are in these situations based on real-life scenarios I saw when I was still in the organization.  However, people like us are in a different class than those that are in this situation, because they don't want us around because they feel we will cost them members (and thus money) in the long run because we know too much truth.
benyahmin

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Reply with quote  #6 
bjw,

makes sense. I know how they hunted down for years an ex leader of the German Inland Mission because he divorced his controlling wife he had 6 children with (mostly grown up). They still come after him, trying to convince him to come back to her and the churches.

Did you share your story on this forum?
bjw

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Reply with quote  #7 
Yes, I shared what I could of my story on the Education, abuse, and deaths at TMC and Ibex thread elsewhere on the forum.  I could only share the parts of my story that I could legally on the forum, as some of my story involves people that do not want their role in what happened disclosed, as well as the threats I got.  So I did share a lot without using names of what I did mention of my story.  If after reading the thread you would like to know more feel free to send me a PM.
benyahmin

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Reply with quote  #8 
Hi. I am not sure. It is her here:

https://www.dim-online.de/teams/team-nordost
bjw

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Reply with quote  #9 
Might be from the same family.

I ran the website through the translator into English.  A lot of the guys in my apartment building flew to Germany and Austria on a mission for GCC two times in one year, I wonder if it had something to do with this mission.  I read parts of the "Discover the Bible" section.  The small group techniques with discipleship and accountability seem very similar to GCC.  You can see the influence, especially with the emphasis on obedience.
bjw

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Reply with quote  #10 
benyahmin,
It sounds like even in Germany they are using the same techniques GCC uses here in the states.  The rumors of you putting the moves on an engaged girl or being given pictures by a teenager were setups that resemble things I saw myself.  The girl with the pictures was definitely told to do this, the idea being they can later set you up if you don't go along with whatever they were going to tell you to do.  I also described my final days in the cult as "weird" when I first left, as I was shocked by some of the things that were happening.  The techniques of using psychology and espionage that you describe are also how they operate, as the goal is to break the person down. 

Nouthetic counseling is also very destructive, as you describe, with breaking up friendships, relationships, marriages, and also is used as a mind control technique to break people down.  Anything you say in your sessions will later be used, maybe even embellished on, to either spread rumors about you or set you up later.  One way they may have planned to use the 15 year old girl (and I don't know the whole story) is to get you to accept the pictures and later confess about looking at them to your counselor.  If you do something they don't like later they will embellish upon anything you said to make you look like a pervert and like you had plans to molest the girl or something.  Something similar happened to me, so it was not unheard of.  If you are on step 3 of the restoration process you may experience what poster "gracetowho" at the cult ed forum called a "breaking session" though I'm not sure if that is nouthetic counseling's official term for it or not though.  It is when you are in a chair and screamed at over and over being forced to confess something.  If you have nothing they may become very aggressive with their yelling until they get something out of you.  This happened to me, one of my friends, and "gracetowho" that posted at cult ed.  So, these things you mention here do not surprise me.  The TMAI Network is training their satellite churches to operate just like they do in the states.

I wasn't sure if watchmanwakes wanted us to talk about the "m word" on here or not, but since you mentioned it in your post, the way it was dealt with at TMC was it not only would land you in the restoration process (and thus eventually to a nouthetic counselor), but once per semester they had "split masturbation chapels" that was the brainchild of Tatlock where men went to one building and women to another.  They had women in the gym I believe and they rented the local pentecostal church on the other side of placerita canyon that morning for the men.  It was required for all.  Tatlock gave a sermon on it (MacArthur wasn't there) and then everyone was given a survey they had to fill out.  I can't remember what was on it but I do know the questions were very personal about sexual thoughts, there were blanks to confess all the times you did it, you had to tell where you did it, what you were thinking, basically it was very detailed and I don't know why anyone would read that information.  You then had to hand it in to an usher that came around to your aisle.  My question is why?  Why would Tatlock or MacArthur want to read this, and I imagine the women were asked to fill out the same thing.  (I heard Betty Price led the women's version.)  This immediately made me wonder if someone with a sick imagination didn't do this just so they could read the info on the surveys.  What is even stranger was they didn't have you put your name on them, so they were anonymous.  However, it would be easy for the ushers to keep the papers in order when collected and if a hidden camera photographed the audience, they could easily piece together who's paper is who's.  I don't know, but I think this is just sick.  In my opinion, these things are between you and God and should not be shared in a group setting like this.

Anyway, I'm glad you are on here as you are backing up many of the things I've been saying for a long time.  Most find it hard to believe until they actually experience it.  Remember, if our experiences can keep just one person from getting sucked into this it will be worth it.  By telling our stories we can help others, and that may have been God's will for having us go through this.
jasonc65

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Reply with quote  #11 
Michael Bowen testified that he was bullied by lordshippers in high school. The staff humiliated him publicly many times. It sounds very similar to the sad stories of Masters College and Germany. (p. 8, 57-59)

http://expreacherman.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/i-never-knew-you-bowen.pdf
bjw

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonc65
Michael Bowen testified that he was bullied by lordshippers in high school. The staff humiliated him publicly many times. It sounds very similar to the sad stories of Masters College and Germany. (p. 8, 57-59)

http://expreacherman.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/i-never-knew-you-bowen.pdf
  I downloaded this as it seems like it is worth a read.  I've never heard of Michael Bowen, but it looks like from the table of contents that he has done a good compilation of many different teachers and their plans of salvation chapter by chapter.  What has me curious is one chapter deals with Ray Comfort, who was around a lot when I was in MacArthur's organization, so Im curious to see what the take is on Comfort's acceptance of lordship salvation.  Other teachers such as John Hagee and Joel Olsteen are included as well.
jasonc65

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Reply with quote  #13 
bjw, I agree. It is a worthwhile read throughout. It woke me up from my Lordship stupor. I take John 5:24 and John 11:25-26 seriously from now on.
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