De-Commissioned

We’re ex-GCM (Great Commission Ministries) church members who want to discuss problems we’ve experienced in the association’s practices and theology.

About

We’re ex-GCM (Great Commission Ministries) church members (most using pen names) who want to discuss problems we’ve experienced in the association’s practices and theology.

The reason many of us are using pen names is so that we can discuss GC as an organization and not focus on one specific church or to point fingers at certain individuals (though inevitably this does happen). We believe the problems run much deeper than a few isolated incidents. We are also blogging with pen names to help preserve relationships with friends still in GC.

These are sole individual personal points-of-view and the posts and comments by the participants in no way represent the official point-of-view of Great Commission Association of Churches, Great Commission Ministries, the contributers to this website, or any other organization. These posts are provided “as-is” with no warranties and confer no rights.

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79 Responses to “About”

  1. Mark Darling's Clone said

    I have been looking for a website of this nature for a long time. I will be looking forward in reading all the experiences that we all had, and I hope we can all someday meet in a ex-GCI or ex-GCM national gathering with a hopes in healing and helping others to get out of unhealthy patterns of life. I hope my name does not offend anyone, but I feel that I was so influeced by the main speaker M. Darling in the Twin Cites, that I must say the way it might be. It is a joke and mean to make some think about what really has happened to us all.

    Secondly, I have been wanting to do some informal interviews with people with this whole GCI and GCM Experiment, as I call it, and this is a great way of meeting some new people. I have a legal background, and must say that this writing is very much protected, and we will no longer stand for men like the GCM leaders that have nothing but emotional damage to offer the fold.

    It is like reading my own journal when I read all of these!!! It is so like the expereinces that me, other friends, and my family members had. I could go on and on. I have healed, but in some sense this blog and other website has been refreashing to read.

    Peace Out.

    -Mark Darling’s Clone

  2. Larry Pile said

    Some of you have probably heard my name by now. I am the author of Marching to Zion, and the compiler of The Blitz Papers–as well as GCI in the News and other anthologies of articles about GCI/GCAC/GCM.

    I retired from Wellspring Retreat last year, and I don’t have Internet access from home at the present, so I have to go to the library or my church to get on line. For this reason I am not able to spend as much time as I would like on line. But I am happy to answer any specific questions anyone would like to ask, and I’ll try to answer as expeditiously as I can.

    Sincerely,
    Larry Pile

  3. Anonymous #99 said

    Dear Mark Darling’s clone,

    I understand the name choice…it gets the point across and says so much about us former Mark Darling fans!

    At one point during our long tenure at a GCM church I actually fervently prayed that I would have a “Mark Darling” family. Christ was no where in the prayer, I had actually subconsciously replaced (or equated) Christ with MD. How telling is that!

    (By the way, I was not a new Christian and had been a member of several good churches prior.) But I was somehow sucked into some kind of aberrant thinking.

    I thank God I’m gone from all that unhealthy thinking.

    Good to hear from you Clone!

  4. Shepherd Adler said

    I am new to the forum. A little about myself. I lost a friend to a GC church in Ohio in 1984. In the process of trying to get help for “Tammy”, I began to see the shepherding and mind control dynamics in the collge fellowship and the pentecostal bible school where I was attending service. I walked out November 11, 1984. I have been involved in the anti-cult movement and Re-focus from 1984 right up to Scientology takeover of Cult Awareness Network in 1996. I have had friendship in previous years with former menbers who were counseled out. I value their support and encouragement. I was in Ohio when the statements of apology came out. I was impressed and skeptical at the same time. It is odd to hear encouraging and discouraging reports at the same time.

    The past few years I have shared my experience, strength and hope recovering cults and spiritual abuse on line in a web forum operated by spiritualabuse.com. Anyone still hurting is welcome to visit or join in the forum if is helpful.

    I have come to the conclusion there are some great Great Comission fellowship, some not so great Great Commission churches, some OK, and some still stuck in the McCotter era mindset, even some “you got to be kidding”. There some leaders I respect from an emotionally safe distance, some I like, and others I will run the other way. I have glanced at the links and can nod in empathetic agreement. I have listened to online sermons from other churches. My perceptions have ranged from adoration, to nausea, to bone chilling fear.

    I do want to be upfront that I am in a Great Commission church today. It just happened I like the church I visited and eventually uncerimoniously joined. The church is low pressure. It is also tempered with an seminary trained associate pastor who isfree to preach to his own devices. He usually runs a series of expository sermons from NT books. The church, pastors, staff, laity, and members know my complete history and are supportive and understanding. They know I cheerfully pay my tithes and send checks to Wellspring. There is room to disagree agreeably.

    I have no hidden agenda, no crusade, nor axe to grind either for or against. I know there are bad churches or the forum and GCM Warning would not exist. I still have a friend, even though she left GC, still feels I slander the brethren. I am truly glad you are here and sincerely value your prescence. My heart goes out to any former member who still hurting. There are plenty of cyberhugs to go around. I am interested in the posts. I confess I still have quite few unanswered questions myself. I hope you do not mind my asking as time goes along and get to know the forum better. I have a lot stuff to sort out and ask if that would be OK with you.

  5. hope said

    i attended a GCM church from 1997 to 2005. i’ve read some of the articles on this blog and also most of the gcmwarning.com website. although i disagreed with a few things that some people in the church were convicted by the holy spirit to do – i never personally experienced any of the negative pressures expressed by the afore mentioned websites.

    i’m here to say that EVERY church has skeletons in the closet. and i am encouraged that GCM was humble enough to acknowledge their past mistakes, publicly confess them, and seek forgiveness. (as issued in the famous 1991 statement).

    i think that people need to be more aware of the spiritual warfare around them. the enemy is looking to divide us. to pull us out from our Christian fellowship and make us vulnerable.

    i think people need to be more careful to discern between facts and feelings. i am wary of people who say – “i was made to feel this or that”. feelings are transient and can not be relied upon as fact. i think the enemy can use our feelings to lie to us. (not that our feelings are lies- our feelings are legitimate – but the enemy whispers lies to us that our feelings can feed off of)

    i would challenge everyone to “hold every thought captive” under Christ.

    if you think someone is making you feel a certain way- then confront the person and let them know how their actions are making you feel. go and read Matthew 18:15-17 for the biblical example of confrontation.

    no church is perfect. and i’m afraid if you are looking for one- you will never find it. and that is playing right into the hands of the enemy.

  6. genevievejones said

    Thank you for posting here. We’re all so glad you’ve found a place here. We’re definitely all about the cyber-hugs!

    Larry, thanks for all your help with ex GC members throughout the years. Thanks also for the Blitz papers. They were so eye-opening. God bless!

    Thanks, Mark Darling’s Clone for assuring us this speech is protected. We’ve occassionally been concerned about defamation from some commenters. Also, I think your name speaks to a lot of the problems we experienced in the movement as well. Leaders are imitated to the point of losing yourself.

    Shepherd, thanks for your thoughts. I’m so glad you’ve found a low pressure GC church. I think you’ve really hit on something with admiration, nausea, and fear. I absolutely agree, which may be one of the reasons this group is such an enigma. They do some things so well, but then there’s this dark side. And, of course, the denial. Absolutely feel free to ask questions. I’m sure someone will have the answers!

    Hope, thanks for your comments. I think that spiritual battles are only part of the issues. There are very real but subtle pressures that are not lies from the enemy. All four of us are part of other churches now, so we’re not looking for the perfect church. Being part of an unhealthy group because it’s not perfect anywhere seems uwise, and is one of the common arguments used to keep people loyal to GC when they might be better off somewhere else.

    Anyway, see you all on the blog!

  7. ex-shep said

    Hope,

    Read your blog. It is late. It sounds like you got into a Great Commission fellowship long after the shepherding debacle. The group was probally long beyond the issues that some of the other bloggers referred. Scriptures do admonish us to “rightly divide the word of faith, a workman who not need be ashamed”. Unfortunately there has been some “wrongful and shameful” dividing of the word which has caused a major spiritual derailment. I will try to come up with some cases in point when I am more rested and alert.

    You have some excellent points which I will collect my thoughts and respond — assuming the blog does not get too buried. 🙂

  8. hope said

    after spending most of my entire weekend on this blog i am becoming more and more sympathetic to its cause.

    but here is why i am hope:
    in my 8 year involvement with GCM i never once had anyone try to disciple me in the unhealthy way by telling me what to do.
    i was ALWAYS pointed to the scriptures, prayer and the holy spirit living within me to find the answers.

    i really want people here to know that and maybe find some “hope”.

  9. Joshua said

    Hey Guys, I know I’m supposed to submit my story to you all, so you have more records of what has happened, and I’ve been lax on that. However, I’d like you all to check out the GCA site on wikipedia. If any of you are more skilled with wikipedia, it’d be nice to have some help. what I’d like to do is to merge GCM, GCC, GCLA and GCA into one page under GCA so that way if anyone googles any of the current organizations, they get the wikipedia page which lists everything and as of yesterday the wiki people officially endorsed listing the criticisms past and present of GCA. Go check it out!

  10. cerebralflatulation said

    GC Europe (GCE?), and GCNW (my region, “northwest”) might be good to add to the list too.

    i dunno if you’re one of the ones already involved in the debate, but there is going to be some drama in the drafting of that article. i’ve been keeping up with the discussion.

  11. agathalorange said

    Oh yeah. Drama. And I was trying not to be involved… Um except I posted. It took drama to get me back out again.

  12. Anon4Now said

    I discovered this blog and remnants of another while googling a GCM friend who moved away. I lost his email and was searching for his blog URL.

    I want to know if anyone at this blog had anything to do with a now defunct/removed blog. You only can view it with the google cache.

    Is this blog just a kindly gentler version of that one?

  13. genevievejones said

    Anon4Now,
    No, none of us here had anything to do with that blog. I’d never seen it before.

  14. Angry said

    Never seen it either.

    I do wish that the links were still available – looks like some good reading from some other DC’s out there.

    Angry

  15. ? said

    The “elder qualification” link on the right navigation is broken.

    Also, several days ago I e-mailed Larry Pile at Wellspring with the following questions, and have not received a reply. Does anyone have a current address for him?

    “I’m writing to you because you seem to be frequently cited (including on the Wikipedia page) as a source that serves as a warning against the Great Commission Association, even suggesting that GCA is a cult. Yet, most of the references on the site to you and other sources are dated 15-20 years ago. It’s being used to insinuate that what was written then (whether accurate or inaccurate) is still true now.

    Do you think this that “abuses” in some GCA churches documented from 1978-93 are still common enough today that it is a fair use of your past writings to infer such? Do you think the Great Commission Association of 2006 is sufficiently unique in its doctrine and practice from the evangelical Christian community that it should be branded as “cultish,” “dangerous,” or a “TACO?”

  16. agathalorange said

    Actually, I think most of what people have written on this site has occured within the past five years, some even in the past year. There are a few people who have written about the distant past, but that doesn’t make their experiences any less important or less in need of addressing.

    We have tried to keep from calling GC a cult or even cult-like as a movement. We have said some of the behaviors and practices are unhealthy, yes.

    The history of the movement is extremely important in finding the “hows” and “whys” certain things are the way they are in GC today. It is interesting to note that many of the old practices are still practiced today, so of course the early years are relevant.

    I feel as though you want to peg us as extremists who are just waiting for a fight while that is the farthest thing from our minds.

    This is a place for people to share their experiences, good and bad. If someone has a bad experience that is their story. And I think that it is unwise and uncaring to ignore that.

    If you have read our sight then you are aware that many people have many positive things to say about GC even in the midst of the bad things they experienced. Most of the people on this site have tried to deal with problems in the church from the inside and had no success.

    GC has a blind spot (or several). They refuse to address these issues in a meaningful way, and instead continue to brand people with legitimate problems and grievances as divisive, slanderers, not led by God, dragging private things into a public forum, and also insinuating that we are “unwise” or “unfair.”

    The fact that the past happened, yet many members never even knew about it is enough to separate it from any other major evangelical movement.

    No one has tried to hide the Crusades, no one has tried to hide the fact that people have been burned at the stake for heresy, the Catholic church does not hide the fact that there has been corruption in the highest places.

    If greater Christendom can be open with their failings, then why can’t GC be open with their faults? This is enough make this church dangerous. If no one knows the past and if the perpetrators don’t deal with the past, they are condemned to repeat it again and again.

  17. mamad said

    There is a letter from Larry Pile dated March 2006 on the gcmwarning.com web site. Here’s the link (I hope it works!)

    http://www.gcmwarning.com/Articles/LarryPileStatement.htm

    At the end of his letter, Larry Pile says:

    I am willing to receive any current information about Great Commission, positive or negative, in order to have as accurate an assessment of the association as possible. Information (and inquiries) may be sent to:

    Lawrence A. Pile
    32438 McGinnis Road
    Albany, Ohio 45710-9028
    Phone: 740-698-2800

    Larry Pile has retired from Wellspring, I believe. He posted on this blog a month or so ago and said he didn’t have a computer, but would try to find one and check in on this blog now and then. He was willing to be available to answer any questions people may have.

    Hope that helps you “?”

  18. ? said

    Agathalorange wrote >> Actually, I think most of what people have written on this site has occured within the past five years, some even in the past year. There are a few people who have written about the distant past, but that doesn’t make their experiences any less important or less in need of addressing.>I feel as though you want to peg us as extremists who are just waiting for a fight while that is the farthest thing from our minds.

  19. ? said

    Try again …

    Agathalorange wrote >> Actually, I think most of what people have written on this site has occured within the past five years, some even in the past year. There are a few people who have written about the distant past, but that doesn’t make their experiences any less important or less in need of addressing.>I feel as though you want to peg us as extremists who are just waiting for a fight while that is the farthest thing from our minds.

  20. puff of purple smoke said

    To quote text do this..

    <I> Text To Quote </I>

    Resulting in:

    Text To Quote

  21. ex-shep said

    I read both the article by Larry Pile and the blog on Mark Darling. I am not sure what to make of the blog. I would tend to defer to the comment by Dr Lopez to have some emotional recovery before taking one’s former group. There may some to the blog, but the agitated tone makes it hard to decipher.

    Larry’s article is well balanced and accurate. Curiously enough I have been straight forward with the origins of GC on two state universities when Tom Short came to preach. One campus fellowship who I dearly love are very much tuned into the past. I have had frank discussions with the student leader. I have not experienced any of the “shutdowns” that are endemic in many GC circles. Try that in two churches in another corner of the state and I doubt I would get too far.

    I guess it depends where one worships. There is a determination in some circles to get it right this time; and the McCotter era same old same old in the other. As another blogger said, it certain explains why GC can be something of an enigma.

  22. ex-shep said

    There may some to the blog, but the agitated tone makes it hard to decipher.

    Should read “There may be some truth …

    I was rushing out the door. That will teach me not to proofread my blogs 😦

  23. Nate said

    is there any way i could get the full archive of this mark darling blog? i’m messing around google, not finding out how to do it. if they have this page, would they have others?

    by the way – “agitated” sounds like a pretty big understatement, given that dropping the “f-bomb” was one of the criticisms here of mark, and the link i clicked had… more than one.

  24. puff of purple smoke said

    by the way – “agitated” sounds like a pretty big understatement, given that dropping the “f-bomb” was one of the criticisms here of mark, and the link i clicked had… more than one.

    All I can say is I’m glad whoever it is took it down. The way you argue something can be as important as what you are arguing. It will not convince anybody of anything if you curse throughout your arguments. No offense if that person is reading this, you might have valid concerns but displaying them in that manner will only hurt our cause.

  25. I completely agree. Maybe that is why the person took it down. I don’t know anything about it, but I ran across it last year I think. Anyway, I don’t want anyone to think that it is connected to this blog, because I don’t think it is constructive… it just seems angry.

  26. Nate said

    Um… it’s been connected to this blog already… I think the original creator of that blog just emailed the URL of this one to all of the GC* pastors in my region a few days ago 😦

  27. puff of purple smoke said

    Um… it’s been connected to this blog already… I think the original creator of that blog just emailed the URL of this one to all of the GC* pastors in my region a few days ago 😦
    As long as his letter didn’t sound like his website.. I mean, he very well may have had some valid points, and was too angry/inept to properly communicate them. Others here have done a much better job of that and perhaps he’s just going to calm down and let others do the talking for him. Wise move if that’s the case. I hope his email wasn’t inflamatory.

  28. Nate said

    I’ve seen worse I guess… Here’s the email, and it’s my business how I got ahold of it.
    ———————–
    Subject: Question about GCM Website on Past History and Abuses

    1) I wanted to share with you all the blog that many at GCM that talks about the past abuses and the current abuses.

    2) Comments from Spencer Bernard about Terry Dugan’s blog writing WILL not be tolerated any longer!!!

    PEOPLE ARE STILL BEING ABUSED AND IT IS BEING TALKED ABOUT.

    https://decommissioned.wordpress.com/

    Check it out and talk to some that left your church for a very good reason. You need to really re-think why you are doing what you are doing to people.

    -Hill House Blues
    ———————–

    To be honest, the email is kinda confusing, but pleasantly lacking in the “f-word” etc. How long has it been since Spencer left a comment on Terry Dugan’s blog, anyway?

  29. Kirsten said

    Nate — check out the internet archive at http://www.archive.org and put in the url there to see if they archived it. (A very useful site indeed for old, dead, or changed internet sites).

    Also, I think the commenter “Hill House Blues” who commented on this site recently may be either the author of that blog or someone connected to it, because he/she posted here things exactly or nearly the same as a couple posts I remember from the blog when I read it a year or so ago.

  30. Nate said

    Kirsten,

    ha ha this is almost like instant messenger we’re all talking so much! i just tried the archive site, they didn’t have it or else i suck at searching. about hill house blues, i totally agree.

  31. What the ding dong heckamadoodle? Well, I know that Terry had nothing to do with it and NO contributers did either.

    It sounds like he meant well… so whomever you are, thanks for meaning well… but it does sort of make it sound like other people are involved with the “bad” blog… plus it sort of sounds like a veiled threat from us… and we had nothing to do with it!

    Oh well.

  32. Or wait… is it connected to the “Bad blog” there wasn’t a link to those archives.

  33. How much could you guys retrieve because I have archived the cache of it from a long time ago and I could see what I have if you want to see it.

  34. Nate said

    Agatha,

    I can only see what is linked above…

    here

  35. ex-shep said

    I mean, he very well may have had some valid points, and was too angry/inept to properly communicate them. Others here have done a much better job of that and perhaps he’s just going to calm down and let others do the talking for him. Wise move if that’s the case. I hope his email wasn’t inflamatory

    That was what I thinking too. Some former group members get too wrapped up about their former groups before they have a chance to process the grief. I am guilty of that one. I had trouble taking the post seriously because of his/her agitated state.

  36. And maybe this person was hurt really really bad. I just don’t know.

  37. storm in a teacup said

    Why is the f-bomb such a big deal? Didn’t Mark use it in one of his sermons?

  38. terryd said

    How long has it been since Spencer left a comment on Terry Dugan’s blog, anyway?

    He has never commented on my blog. For anybody who wants to know, I explain on my Sept.1 post (tmdugan.blogspot.com) how the request to take down one of my entries related to GC came to me (via email) and what I’ve done about it thus far.

    2) Comments from Spencer Bernard about Terry Dugan’s blog writing WILL not be tolerated any longer!!!

    I’m not sure what this means…For whatever it’s worth, I will certainly “tolerate” whatever anybody wants to say about my blog–however sharply I might disagree with them–whether in cyberspace or in sermons or any other medium. There’s not much I can do about it anyway. Comment away…

  39. geneprince said

    Terry,

    Let me say that your blog is fabulous. thanks for tolerating!

  40. mamad said

    I think Terry’s blog is the best blog ever!

  41. mamie said

    Hi all –
    I’ve been visiting the site for a few weeks now. First of all, may I just say how much I appreciate the level of integrity and humility that you are striving to maintain, even while discussing issues that stir up so many strong emotions.

    I want to introduce a kind of new thread – I’m not really sure how to do that…this is my first adventure into participating in the blogosphere so please excuse the ignorance….

    I should probably say a little about me before I get going on my topic so you’ll know more where I’m coming from. I have an eclectic church background, although primarily evangelical (am blessed by very dear Christian parents). I was not introduced to a GC church until about 10 years ago, when I was in my mid-30’s. I have attended 2 GC churches (2 of the originals, so ones with long histories and strong influences), one for five years, one for 3. I left the last one about a year ago. Some of what I know (and abhor) about GC is from my own experience and observation but much more has come through friendships that I’ve developed with women who came into the “movement” in the 70s as college students. A few are still in GC, most are not. One dear friend just left a couple of months ago, after 30 years in GC – she said it had all of the emotional wreckage of what she imagined a divorce would have after 30 years of commitment to a marriage….

    …which leads into the topic. I’ve been surprised that so little of the discussion has centered around the attitudes, doctrine, treatment, and policies regarding women. “Walking wombs” started there but pretty quickly went off on a different track. Ditto with the marriage thread. So here are a few of my observations:

    – Although there is a strongly held belief that women are not to hold any leadership positions except over other women and children, it is not strongly communicated (another manifestation of what I would call deception…certainly not being forthright about the extent/extremism of their view). You really only find out the hard way, and even then, it’s not a flat-out “No, your genetic make-up disqualifies you.” The message is so incredibly subtle (with the exception of the position of elder – they are fairly overt with that)…it’s only after a long while of experiencing not so much what’s said and done but what’s NOT said and done that you think something isn’t right.

    – The stance of the leadership is muddied by the frequent situation in which women ARE allowed to assume leadership of tasks that men don’t want – they just aren’t given credit (title, recognition, etc.). It’s often behind the scenes – which is where GC women are told they should desire to be anyway. Of course, a person can’t bring that up because then you would be exhibiting “selfish ambition”….

    – I am stunned by the neglect of single women older than college-age. This is the demographic group that I have the most contact with and that I have been a part of while in GC. I personally know of at least half-a-dozen women who in their work-lives are or have been successful, high-level leaders in national-level businesses or agencies, managing multi-million dollar budgets. And yet they can’t even be head usher in their own GC church??? They are not even asked to serve in an advisory capacity (well, okay, one was, but only in private meetings with the pastor – and he always took the credit for her ideas in public). Their gifts are ignored. GC has NEVER known what to do with articulate, bright, visionary, dynamic women – except to get them “under a man’s covering” (whatever the heck that means!) as soon as possible! If marriage didn’t happen, the result has been invisibility. I don’t know any better term. We’ve not been spoken harshly to…we’ve just not been spoken to at all – not in any meanignful way. We’ve not been treated badly…we’ve not been treated at all… You get my point.

    – The archtype of the “ideal GC woman” is one who supports, serves and obeys her man, with a quiet and cheerful spirit and a focus on raising children (the more the better). I fully expect to see fallout in the next decade as the first generation of traditional GC married women hit the empty-nest phase of adult life and slowly wake up to the realization that there just ain’t a heckuva-lot for them to do any more and the men don’t really know what to do with them. And those whose marriages were based on serving compatability will be in the greatest trouble. I think we’ve already started to see the beginnings of a trend of failed marriages (whether by infidelity, divorce, or serious dysfunction).

    – For single women, the archtye was morphed in the early days into (from what I’ve heard) serving either the men in general (competing with other single girls over the privilege of doing an elder’s laundry or making their lunch – I kid you not!!) or being chosen as the “indentured servant” of a married couple who had begun “filling the man’s quiver.” These relationships were so manipulative and spiritually abusive that I know of at least one 50+ year old woman who still can’t bring herself to move away from the family that she has been emotionally tied to all these years. Of course, there is a great deal of love there – the real and good kind – but the loyalty card was played so long and so well that, in spite of the fact that she would be much more nurtured and connected if she lived in a city where her longtime girlfriends live, she can’t find the strength to leave.

    Well, that’s probably more than enough for a start. My guess is that these issues have not been brought up because there aren’t single, middle-aged former GC women reading this blog. There are gobs of them out there…and if any of you ARE reading, please share your stories. I know from face-to-face conversations that there are very deep hurts that still have debilitating effects for some. This can be a safe place to find support and freedom to talk with others about your experiences. Those of you regulars who aren’t in that demographic, maybe you know some women who are???

    Okay – I’m going to hit submit and see what happens 🙂 I hope the result is a rich discussion and not just mild cursing from me….

  42. ex-shep said

    Speaking only for myself, welcome aboard, Mamie. I just glanced at your post. Your observations are are exceptionally accurate. It certianly describes my experiences. Others will post later. I am sure you will find welcome and support. I did. I have to run. I feel confident that there will be some great fodder for conversation.

  43. third party observer said

    I came across your website as I was doing some research on American Christian movements still in their infancy. I’ve spent the last couple of days spending more time than I should have reading through the posts and comments. As an uninterested third party who is a brother in Christ, I’d like to humbly share a few thoughts with you that I hope will be helpful. As I do not plan to visit the site again or participate in your dialogue, there will be no offense on my part if you disagree with what I write. Nor will there be any pride taken if you agree.

    1. I saw in this “About” section that the purpose of this website is to “discuss problems …” After reading through some of the problems you’ve written about, I wonder what fruit will come from this site. Seems to me that those who have left the Great Commission churches are sour and not coming back. Those that are in them seem happy enough.

    So, there is no “winning” of a person from one side to the other. Essentially, that leaves this site as a “complaint suggestion box,” with supporters responding to the suggestions. (I think there’s even a posting about what Great Commission churches should do next on the task list — a suggestion box from former and some current members).

    The bigger question is “What is accomplished by discussing problems?” Does it bring joy to anyone to discuss these things? If it does … that is a long topic. If it doesn’t, what other emotions does it bring? Pain? Anger? Hatred? Distrust? Animosity? I would submit that none of these emotions are going to help anyone — not you, and not another reader. Many of you seem to be trying to distance yourself from the church because of hurts and disagreements with leadership. So, distance yourself already! Why voluntarily relive your pain every day?

    2. To those of you (Nate and Tony, I believe) who are the staunchest Great Commission supporters: I can’t believe you don’t have better things to do that debate with these former members. If you think you are doing God’s work by “ministering” to them, you are deceiving yourself. Your focus should be on the Great Commission that you have signed up for — to go out and share God’s Word, see people saved, and participate in disciple making. This blogsite is not your target audience. These people here are saved (I assume), and you are in no position to disciple them.

    3. I have seen many Christians (and include myself in this list) who gossip and slander in the name of “seeking truth” or “healing.” Don’t allow yourselves to be decieved by Satan. This site is either a tool to be used by God, or a tool to be used by the devil. After reading hundreds of your posts … the devil can and will use your words to hurt you and others, even if it is not your intent (and I trust that it is not your intent). Take it from a man whose been down this road of disappointment before.

    4. Some of you must not have jobs, or other responsibilities during the day. Either that, or you are addicted to this site. If you are, I can understand why, as I have been addicted the last couple days. It is interesting, provocative, reading. You post your thoughts, and wait for someone to respond. The “point, counterpoint” nature of the blog is compelling. But if it is keeping you from putting in an honest days work for your employer (I think Nate aluded to having a conversation with his pastor about this topic), then it is leading you to sin. For you non-working types — if it is keeping you from serving others, what a shame. Frankly, this is why I can not and will not hang around your site after my post — it is not profitable for me. I would ask you to consider if it is truly profitable for you.

    5. I have been around Christianity for a long time. I am, by most accounts, a happy, mature Christian. That doesn’t mean that “the walk” hasn’t had some pain along the way. When it has occurred, it’s almost always been caused by my disappointment with man, not with God. Clergy that disappointed me with their teaching or lifestyle decisions (like affairs, abuse, false doctrine) or good friends who wandered away from the truth. When you love people and trust them with your heart — and they disappoint you — it does hurt. Obviously many of you know what I’m talking about.

    I beg you to give it to God, right now. Say your goodbyes to your online network of fellow hurting people, and go find a group of believers to start afresh with. It’s easy for me to say, and hard for you to do. But is is the better way.

    6. Focus your energy on Christ and His mission. Who among you will save a single soul, or even plant a seed, on this website? Yes, it is possible … but highly improbable. Instead, go find the fields of God and labor in them. See what He has in store for you. Taste again of God’s goodness and see that the Lord is good. You never know which breath will be your last on this earth — why waste it?
    ——————————-

    My comments are not personal, and except where I’ve pointed out certain people, should not be taken personally. I beg you to be honest with yourselves about the value of this website. I don’t ask you to stop to protect the Great Commission’s reputation (there seems to be a lot of talk about conspiracy in your threads), as I don’t care about that. I do ask because your dialogue seems to bring out the worst in some of you, and not the best that God has sanctified you for.

    Peace and love to all of you.

    — TPO

  44. Genevieve said

    That research sounds really interesting. I wonder what he’s found. I guess we’ll never know…

    For a non-GC person, he sounds a lot like one. Perhaps this type of black and white, works-oriented thinking and living is more of an epidemic than I thought. Is this fundamentalism? Fundamental-evangelicalism (fundagelism for short)? Something new?

    Should our blog branch out?

  45. puff of purple smoke said

    It’s the old “if there’s a problem don’t talk about it” argument. Some people think that discussing a troubled Christian organization’s problems reflects badly on Christ, or that Christians should not “waste their time” doing so when there are unsaved people in the world. The problem with that logic is that abusive organizations remain unchecked. I mean, if Christians aren’t going to step up and point out that when “Christian organization” is behaving problematically, who is? I would agree that we shouldn’t let GC’s problems become the whole of our interest in Christianity, but how much time people spend talking about it is their own business. (Personally I am off the clock when I post.)

    This site has proved helpful to people who have left GC and want to understand their experience, it might also help others considering joining an unhealthy church organization realize what they are getting themselves into. I consider these good things, and don’t think Christ is displeased. Of course I’m preaching to the choir since this guy is never coming back. 🙂

  46. mamad said

    Dr. Paul Martin has written an excellent article entitled Dispelling the Myths. It’s in the resources section of the wellspring web site.

    http://www.wellspringretreat.org

    In the article he addresses the need to “talk” about the experience people have in getting out of high control groups..
    .

    If you are doing research on American Christian Movements, you might want to check out this article which talks about how people who were in bad movements found some help. It also talks about what didn’t help.

    One of the things that doesn’t help much is for people who don’t know the situation to tell others to move on. The moving on thing can also be a little tricky when your friendships are mixed up with your former church.

    But, since you are doing research, you probably already have learned that. And, since you aren’t going to read this or comment again I will just leave my blog friends with a quote from the article.

    He or she may also need to talk out and relive the trauma again and again, as do the victims of other types of crises.[30] Unfortunately, the process of talking about the trauma is sometimes “short-circuited” by well-intended helpers who view such rumination as “unedifying” or “focusing too much on the past.”

  47. ex-shep said

    • I came across your website as I was doing some research on American Christian movements still in their infancy. I’ve spent the last couple of days spending more time than I should have reading through the posts and comments. As an uninterested third party who is a brother in Christ, I’d like to humbly share a few thoughts with you that I hope will be helpful. As I do not plan to visit the site again or participate in your dialogue, there will be no offense on my part if you disagree with what I write. Nor will there be any pride taken if you agree.

    As we are commanded to rightly divide the word of Christ and love and care for one another, may you should. In all humility, I would take the heart the admonition of James to be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger. The comments in your blog are shallow and uninformed at best.

    1. I saw in this “About” section that the purpose of this website is to “discuss problems …” After reading through some of the problems you’ve written about, I wonder what fruit will come from this site. Seems to me that those who have left the Great Commission churches are sour and not coming back. Those that are in them seem happy enough.

    Have you been in a destructive church? Have you had leaders tell you how to live, who to marry, how to spend your finances, where to live, and what to major in college? Have you been told you are not good enough you are not praying enough, studying enough? Are you are a parent or spouse who has lost a loved one or had a daughter married without notice? Have you been in a group that denies its history, its members, and even the fact they had churches which could be verified by newspaper accounts and advertisements? Have been in a church where you have not been able to have a rational disagreement over a scripture verse and then have the leader’s gang up on you?

    What you are telling me is I should deny the facts and stuff my feelings, go out and get drunk, engage in every addictive vice under the sun to hide my feelings? Sorry, brother, denial is not a river in Egypt. There is not one bible verse that says “do not feel that way” I believe Psalms 88 and 137 are in OT canon for a reason—and it is not to stuff one’s emotions. Jesus had it out with the Pharisees over the behaviors described above. He rebuked the leaders for putting more restrictive regulations and bogging them down. I think Paul’s diatribe to the Galatians was put there for a reason. Do you really think such leaders are going to get free pass on the great Day of Judgment?

    Obviously you are ignorant of the demographics of the blog. It includes current and former members. The current members are appreciative are the revelations discussed which the leaders seem fit to brush off.

    I believe Dr Sam’s allusion to AA is superlative. We admitted we are powerless over our groups. Our lives have become unmanageable. We came to believe in a Power greater than ourselves which can restore us from the sporadic codependent insanity. Most have made a decision to turn our lives over the care of God as we understand God. I look at the blogs as a fearless moral inventory. We are admitting to God, to ourselves, and another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. I cannot speak for the group, but I am entirely ready to have God remove all my defects of character and humbly ask Him to remove my short comings. I have been unable to make amends with members or leaders of GC, with the exception of the church I attend, for over ten years. I will continue to take personal inventory, and have admitted mistakes in my blogs. I do have a conscious contact with a power greater than myself and humbly seek out his will for me, former and current GC members and GC as a whole. For me the blog has been a spiritual awakening. In exchange for the perspective I receive, I will gladly share my experience strength and hope in recovery from abusive groups.

    So, there is no “winning” of a person from one side to the other. Essentially, that leaves this site as a “complaint suggestion box,” with supporters responding to the suggestions. (I think there’s even a posting about what Great Commission churches should do next on the task list — a suggestion box from former and some current members).

    No, but there is power in prayer. We can certainly hope and dream.

    The bigger question is “What is accomplished by discussing problems?” Does it bring joy to anyone to discuss these things? If it does … that is a long topic. If it doesn’t, what other emotions does it bring? Pain? Anger? Hatred? Distrust? Animosity? I would submit that none of these emotions are going to help anyone — not you, and not another reader. Many of you seem to be trying to distance yourself from the church because of hurts and disagreements with leadership. So, distance yourself already! Why voluntarily relive your pain every day?

    Obviously you seem not to fail the importance of support groups. I have been out of my groups since 1984. I would suggest you go the websites of Bill and Lorna Goldberg or the International Cultic Studies Association and bone up on emotional issue former members have and then we can talk. You say you are a Christian. Where is your caring and compassion? Former group members and incest survivors both deal with the same sense of betrayal. We feel like the emperor whose new clothes were nothing but the latest in Fruit of the Loom? We are told it is our fault? Many of remained in the insanity of the abuse because it was strongly implied that we would loose our salvation if we left. Most former members have to process the grief to get better. I had to. There is a withdrawal period similar to coming off chemical dependency. Not to do so will cause a former member to turn chemical substances, overeating, addictive relationships, or even suicide to avoid the pain. The best Christian friends I had during the early years of recovery were those who took the time to listen and let me vent and process my questions. When I lost a friend to GC and realized I was in a series of destructive groups, my world came crashing down. I realize this is a hackneyed cliché, but seriously what would Jesus do?

    2. To those of you (Nate and Tony, I believe) who are the staunchest Great Commission supporters: I can’t believe you don’t have better things to do that debate with these former members. If you think you are doing God’s work by “ministering” to them, you are deceiving yourself. Your focus should be on the Great Commission that you have signed up for — to go out and share God’s Word, see people saved, and participate in disciple making. This blogsite is not your target audience. These people here are saved (I assume), and you are in no position to disciple them.

    So you are telling me are all knowing, all seeing, and have all the wisdom in the world. First off we are doing what scripture commands. Test all things, hold fast to what is good. Abstain from what is evil. Have nothing to do with the works of evil, but rather expose them. If lying, deceiving, and psychologically tearing a person down is not evil, then I do not know what is. The Pauline epistles and writings of Peter and John are replete with admonitions of the pratfalls of false doctrine. McCotter’s Great Commission is no where close to Matthew 28. I believe in going out making disciples. I also believe they deserve to have safe, mature, well trained venues to grow in the faith. If the fruit is falling away because of the leadership, squelched joy in the Lord, and feelings of being a failure, there is something seriously wrong this picture. The blogs helps the casualties of those shipwrecked because of the faulty faith they were indoctrinated. Disciplers are mentors, not legalistic control freaks. Alcoholics Anonymous refers to such sponsors as the Big Book Nazis. My heart go out to any alcoholic who relapses under them.

    3. I have seen many Christians (and include myself in this list) who gossip and slander in the name of “seeking truth” or “healing.” Don’t allow yourselves to be decieved by Satan. This site is either a tool to be used by God, or a tool to be used by the devil. After reading hundreds of your posts … the devil can and will use your words to hurt you and others, even if it is not your intent (and I trust that it is not your intent). Take it from a man whose been down this road of disappointment before.

    In the Greek the word for slander is “diablos” where one get the word diabolical. After the slander comment, it makes me wonder if you not a dispassionate observer but a cowardly GC plant. Before I joined a GC church in 2005, I hid myself in the church library doing extensive studies on slander and gossip. I pulled down every commentary and bible dictionary we had in circulation. In context using slander and gossip is speaking evil of one to the virtual point of devil worship, in short evil accusation. I have a short fuse for soap opera gossip. I find it nauseating. Great Commission has twisted slander as any negative comment. With this line of reasoning, any constructive critique or opportunity of growth by learning from one’s mistakes. I could stay in denial and false doctrine for years by playing the “slander card” If I were to have a drinking problem, the church could practically enable my drinking by playing the slander card. I could theoretically accuse my wife of slander or gossip because she tried to seek treatment for me. I do appreciate the proverb, “open rebuke is better than hidden love; faithful are the blows of a friend, but profuse are the kisses of an enemy”.

    I believe the Lord is using this site to bring about some incredible healing. The blogs have answered several questions for me and have brought about some healthy closure.

    4. Some of you must not have jobs, or other responsibilities during the day. Either that, or you are addicted to this site. If you are, I can understand why, as I have been addicted the last couple days. It is interesting, provocative, reading. You post your thoughts, and wait for someone to respond. The “point, counterpoint” nature of the blog is compelling. But if it is keeping you from putting in an honest days work for your employer (I think Nate aluded to having a conversation with his pastor about this topic), then it is leading you to sin. For you non-working types — if it is keeping you from serving others, what a shame. Frankly, this is why I can not and will not hang around your site after my post — it is not profitable for me. I would ask you to consider if it is truly profitable for you.

    I think for the most part we disagree agreeably.

    5. I have been around Christianity for a long time. I am, by most accounts, a happy, mature Christian. That doesn’t mean that “the walk” hasn’t had some pain along the way. When it has occurred, it’s almost always been caused by my disappointment with man, not with God. Clergy that disappointed me with their teaching or lifestyle decisions (like affairs, abuse, false doctrine) or good friends who wandered away from the truth. When you love people and trust them with your heart — and they disappoint you — it does hurt. Obviously many of you know what I’m talking about.
    Some people can walk away from their groups. Others are not so lucky. Again what would Jesus do?
    I beg you to give it to God, right now. Say your goodbyes to your online network of fellow hurting people, and go find a group of believers to start afresh with. It’s easy for me to say, and hard for you to do. But is the better way.

    Obviously are ignorant of the emotional issues, former group members go through. I wish it were that easy. Go volunteer a week at Wellspring in Albany, OH or Meadow Haven in Middleboro, MA or least read Twisted Scripture by Mary Alice Chrnalogar or the Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse by Jeff VanVonderen and then come back and we can talk about it. Telling a former member to straighten up is about as cruel as telling an incest victim to go to an adult bookstore to get over it. Jesus never said, “Oh forget it and straighten up” He did say come all who burdened and heavy laden and I will give you rest. In the book of Revelation, it recounted that Jesus will wipe away every tear from their eyes. I feel there is very much a present day application here.

    6. Focus your energy on Christ and His mission. Who among you will save a single soul, or even plant a seed, on this website? Yes, it is possible … but highly improbable. Instead, go find the fields of God and labor in them. See what He has in store for you. Taste again of God’s goodness and see that the Lord is good. You never know which breath will be your last on this earth — why waste it?

    So again you are telling me you know exactly what God is going to do for this forum? We are focusing energy on Christ’s mission. There too few lighthouse for those whose faith was smashed to bits by unscrupulous leaders. If were to tell an alcoholic he has a drinking problem and continue to harangue him, I will only drive deeper into the pattern of shame and more drinking to hide the shame. A former member has a truckload of shame and a defense mechanism of not wanting to go through that again.

    I would liken the blog to a group of Good Samaritans who are not concerned with one’s affiliation, but so have an ample supply of ears, bandages, and cyber hugs for those need the time and space to recover. Most of the blogs are from a perspective of experience, strength, and hope. I have only been on the blog for a month and a half. I have already read several posts from new members saying the blog was a gift from God. I certainly feel that way.

    My comments are not personal, and except where I’ve pointed out certain people, should not be taken personally. I beg you to be honest with yourselves about the value of this website. I don’t ask you to stop to protect the Great Commission’s reputation (there seems to be a lot of talk about conspiracy in your threads), as I don’t care about that. I do ask because your dialogue seems to bring out the worst in some of you, and not the best that God has sanctified you for.

    Great Commission started the conspiracy not us. I have been upfront and forgiving with GC leaders so have others throughout the history of the group. I would challenge you to try to refute the volumes of documents in http://www.gcmwarning.com/Default.aspx. I am still a far way from drawing conclusions; however the largest flaming seems to be from GC members who are on the defensive. That just might be a good thing as it does get one thinking. I will trust the Lord to guide me a direct as to where he wants me. Considering my past experiences and how I still help the still suffering former member, I feel the Lord has me in the right place and the right time.

    Peace and love to all of you.

  48. Angry said

    Thank you ex-shep.

    It could not have been said any better.

    Angry

  49. genevieve said

    Yes, thank you, ex-shep.

  50. mamad said

    As I do not plan to visit the site again or participate in your dialogue, there will be no offense on my part if you disagree with what I write. Nor will there be any pride taken if you agree.

    It’s a curiosity to me why someone would take the time to write such a lengthy opinion, write it with an air of authority, and then say, “Ta-ta, I won’t be back!”

    Also, why would someone mention GC people who post on this blog by name and give them a little nudge to stop doinng it…hmmmm.

    Maybe I will watch that Mel Gibson/Julia Roberts movie tonight…let me see what was the name of that movie…

  51. Kirsten said

    Also, why would someone mention GC people who post on this blog by name and give them a little nudge to stop doinng it…hmmmm.

    But if you don’t see Tony and I post too much in the next several weeks, don’t take it as a conspiracy…Today Tony was just offered a job in MN and we will be moving in about a month. So, our time for reading blogs may be more limited than it has been recently. 🙂

    Definitely not sure what is up with that guy who posted above…I am not enough of a conspiracy theorist to think he is really an undercover GC* guy of some sort…but I agree with the rest of you that he seems to lack understanding of what’s really going on here.

  52. genevieve said

    Congratulations, Tony and Kirsten! I hope your move goes well, especially with a toddler and a baby on the way!

    Also, Kirsten, thanks for being so great on the blog. I hope you’ll be back when things settle down.

  53. mamad said

    Congrats on the new job!

    MN is a great state!

    God bless you in 2007!

    (I knew you wouldn’t give up on us, and we are all busy at this time of year so imagine the commenting from all of us will diminish some. I was mostly trying to figure out why third party observer came on so strong when he hasn’t been around this blog long and doesn’t know any of us. I think it’s pretty obvious that we all think very differently about things, but we still like each other, so don’t know why TPO would suggest to Nate and Tony that:

    This blogsite is not your target audience.

    I would like to think that we are engaging in discussion because we are all believers and don’t view each other as “projects”, but as human beings who are genuinely trying to figure some stuff out.

    I don’t think you should ever give up on a believer. Love, after all, covers a multitude of sins.

  54. ex-shep said

    As far as the origin of the blogger, there are two schools of thought. It could be somebody not schooled in spiritual abuse and mind control recovery issues. There was a belief among evangelicals that if a former member just prays, reads his bible and goes to church, he would be fine. Thank God that altruism is starting to go the way of eight track tapes and carburetors. New Life clinic and Lifeway counseling centers do have licensed therapists who can professionally address the issue. I am in Celebrate Recovery. I have watched testimonies of those who grew up in spiritual abusive environments. Slowly but surely we are not as terminally unique as we were twenty years ago.

    It is plausible that the blogger may be a GC plant. There were cults which used to wreak havoc in the cult recovery conventions in the early Nineties. The most likely scenario is he may be a member with his own agenda. It is oddly reminiscent of an incident last fall when a GC evangelist came to speak. Of course the evangelist has a well thought out position on gays and why their behavior is incompatible with scripture. In the crowd was a clergyman in black uniform and collar. He made the comment that the issue is nowhere addressed in the gospels. The evangelist opened up his bible and quietly replied, “I beg to differ with you. I know of three”. Before the evangelist had a chance to validate his thesis, the clergyman displayed an obscene gesture and left in a huff. The evangelist was a little irritated, but gracious nonetheless, “Now that was not nice of him to leave like that…..” Even the hecklers in the crowd had to concede that was a curious display of cowardice on the good Reverend’s part. There may be some credence in the GC plant theory as well. I guess one will have to tune in tomorrow to find out.

  55. a brother said

    On TPO — Man, so many out here are quick to jump to “conspiracy theory” when a poster doesn’t feel as negative about GC as you do. Sheesh.

    1) I think this is a good point about the purpose of the blog. A personal support group in a room with other people going through 12 steps is different than a blogsiite. A 12 step has a beginning point and an end point. What is the end point on this blog? What determines when it no longer is fruitful? Each individual will probably answer differently.

    2) The part I picked up on was the “disciple” part. Those that are more anti-GC are primarily because of the discipling issue (or leadership inn general). I think it is true that young bucks like Nate have their hopes misplaced if they try to come in and disciple the hurt among the ex-GC crowd.

    3) The item on slander/gossip is overgeneralized by the poster. But it is true that some posts by some authors cross the line. Maybe the writer got an eyeful of “Angry” posts about cults and individual people (Darling).

    4) Why is this not a valid point? It’s a known fact that corporations lose billions of man hours a year to web surfing at work. There are support groups that exist for web addicts. We all know how the porn industry has benefitted from the web. Let’s take this as a gentle reminder that our attraction to an internet site of any kind needs to be held in check.

    5) Part I is dead on — most of our disappointments in life are because of people, not God or inanimate objects. In the church, we tend to put people (both leaders and friends) on pedestals. When they fail in our eyes, it is hard to recover.

    Part II is debatable.

    6) Maybe the writer doesn’t fully understand the intended purpose of this blog’s originators, but he obviously understands the primary goal of life. An analogy — let’s say we were all a company manufacturing cars. But, when we got to work each day, we mostly sat in the breakroom and complained about the third shift floor manager (who everyone agrees is a jerk). Are the complaints justified. Perhaps they are. But do the complaints advance the production of automobiles? Let’s take point six as a reminder that whatever hurts we experience in life and the church, God’s purposes for us are bigger. God is big enough to heal our pain, and wants us to move on to greater love for Him and each other.
    ———————–

    With any post, we can find some good and some bad. Internet print is hard to interpret without a face and a handshake (look how many times you’all have to apologize to each other for innocent misunderstandings in interpreting posts). My opinion? This guy came in just as he said, read a bunch of posts that seem angry and bitter, and stuck his nose in where it maybe didn’t fit. It reminds me of the guy who originally posted the Wiki article about GC — well-intentioned, innocent churchgoer who had no idea the can of worms he had found.

    — A brother

  56. ex-shep said

    Good counterpoint. One point from one who has been in 12 step groups for nearly 20 years, it is a process not an event. One never graduates from spiritual abuse. I am just a little wiser to it. There is no end point. A similar point was raised in a Mens Bible study and Celebrate Recovery at church. I remembered II Corinthians 5.17, according to one pastor was actually translated in the present progressive from the Greek. I will have to take his word for it as the study was back in college. It should translate, “We are new creatures in Christ, all things are passing away and things becoming new.” If this were true, it would certainly lend credence to recovery being a process not an event.

  57. ex-shep said

    As an afterthought, I was trying to give equal weight to both possiblilities of the blogger either being uneducated to what was going on or a plant. I can see with the amount of space devoted to the latter, why you arrived at the conclusion you did.

  58. mamad said

    I’ve gotta run today (would love to comment on more that brother said, and maybe will later), but when I mention the “conspiracy theory”, I am joking!

    That was a phrase Mark Darling used to describe the Wellspring guys rather than to talk about the issues that the Wellspring guys brought up.

    Now, I gotta run, I think I see some black helicopters outside my window.

  59. Agatha L'Orange said

    The thing is “Third Party Observer” just did not sound like a researcher. He was just too biased. I don’t think he was a GC leader or “plant” or anything like that. Not at all! I think the GC leadership is above that sort of sillyness. But I do think that this person was not an unbiased person. I think there was a reason to post and it wasn’t just to rebuke and chastise. In fact, the rebuking aspect is interesting to me. A researcher would see this site and after reading history on the movement (there’s so much more way beyond Wiki) and would think, “Wow, this sounds interesting. Is this a common phenomenon for new movements to have these sorts of issues?” No researcher who is going into a situation completely unbiased and as an observer would cut down people who might possibly give him more information for his research… whether it was research for a purpose or for curiousity.

    I too am joking whenever I talk about a conspiracy. That doesn’t mean that I believe everyone on this site is who they claim to be. Simple reasoning tells me that TPO was trying to do something on his own agenda while pretending to be here for a different reason.

    Not really fair to lie and then accuse others of always smelling rats, now is it…

  60. a brother said

    Agatha comment #59 — “Rebuke and chastice” Where do you get that from? I didn’t see any rebuke or chastising in those comments.

    “Not really fair to lie and then accuse others or always smelling rats …” Let’s not resort to calling someone who identified themselves as a Christian brother a “liar.” Can’t we be more charitable than that?

  61. ex-shep said

    I would tend to agree with Agatha’s take on the blog.

  62. genevievejones said

    Me too.

  63. terryd said

    Brother,

    You said:
    “Agatha comment #59 — “Rebuke and chastice” Where do you get that from? I didn’t see any rebuke or chastising in those comments.”

    You didn’t see any rebuke or chastising in TPO’s post???

    Agree or disagree with his views, there was little else there.

  64. mamad said

    It reminds me of the guy who originally posted the Wiki article about GC — well-intentioned, innocent churchgoer who had no idea the can of worms he had found.

    I know. I feel really sorry for that guy.

    Here’s a guy who had attended a church and had no idea about the “baggage” that there was.

    I think that there are a lot of people out there who are “mininformed” (see Agatha’s definition). And, I think a lot of those people are leaders and pastors. I don’t think every leader at the church we attended knew of the history, the statement of apology, the excommunications, etc. And, when you are part of a system that defines “slander” as listening to the history, you can never be fully informed.

  65. ex-shep said

    That was a phrase Mark Darling used to describe the Wellspring guys rather than to talk about the issues that the Wellspring guys brought up.

    Could it be “slanderers of the brethren” or gossips? That was the party line from the Columbus church. In the bible school I left, I did not have my eyes on Jesus and was turned over to Satan for the destruction of my flesh. I sweat, I toil, have my quiet time, and support my former groups through my tithes and offerings, and what thanks do I get. I should be so lucky. [I knew growing up in Jewish neighborhood would come in handy] Eh, it’s a living.

  66. mamad said

    Nope, never heard the phrase “slanders of the brethren” or “gossips” applied to Wellspring…just conspiracy theory.

    My husband and I, however, have been called “divisive” and “slanderers”. We even have it in writing.

    The accusations against us probably have a lot to do with why I am blogging on decommissioned. If you are a pastor and you think people should just “move on” and stop talking about their experience at GCM, I suggest that you don’t write them letters a year after they left telling them they are divisive…just let them go.

    As for the accusations, you know what, I take them seriously. When someone suggests that you are being divisive and slanderous, a sensitive person will not just brush that off.

    There comes a time, though, when you have to face the facts and speak up, even when you know that people don’t understand and maybe even think you are bad.

    I really believe that many of the pastors are sincere, but misinformed. Others, I believe are deceived.

  67. MidnightRider said

    Greetings,

    I have been reading the blog for about a month. I was once part of a GCx church in Texas. I entered in the early 1980s, and left in the mid-1980s.

    So 20 years later, why do I still care? Partly because I never had the opportunity to talk about the experience. Thanks to whoever started this blog.

    My “icebreaker” question: What is Slick50? What is its place in the history of GCx?

  68. ex-shep said

    Midnight

    Welcome aboard. Feel to share when you are up to it. I lost a friend to the Columbus church in the 80’s and was had an ear to what was going on.

    I currently live in Texas and attend a “liberal” GC church. I have heard Tom Short at Texas A&M and University of North Texas. I do visit a campus church about an hours drive away.

    Jim McCotter used to run a multi-level marketing scheme with Slick 50, a fuel additive. Some the members apartments were packed to ceiling with cases of the stuff. There was a running joke that an elder would check on the efforts at evangelism and slick 50 receipts at the time. One former member had a derisive doggaral. “Go out the door and do something nifty. Praise the Lord and sell that Slick 50.” It does remind me of Jesus and the moneychangers. Feel free to post if you have any other questions.

  69. Adam Hirschhorn said

    *Wretching* God bless my stinky ex-church.

  70. MidnightRider said

    ex-shep, Thanks for the info on Slick50. That explains the occasional references I heard about the stuff when I was in GCx. But the multi-level marketing of it had already blown over.

    But I do see on the Slick 50 web page that you can buy it at the big auto parts stores. In case anybody wanted some, for old times’ sake. 😎

    I also saw Tom Short and Jim McCotter speak a few times. But I did not get to know them.

  71. MidnightRider said

    To whomever is in charge: Is it possible to have earlier messages on the RSS feeds? Right now they only have the messages from the current calendar day. I usually read the messages at lunch time, so the messages from the previous afternoon and evening don’t show up on my menu.

  72. Nate said

    Hey – New admins –

    Thank you for changing the home page to just show summaries of the main posts. It just made my life alot easier.

    xoxo

  73. Ex-GCI Dude said

    Wow!!!! First time I have seen this. Amazing…A lot of people were hurt. Me too. I realized that the people who hurt me were mostly very young leaders (too young) who were just trying to serve God. I feel very certain that my experience with GCI gave me exactly what God wanted me to learn…which is that you must not take any one person’s word about the scripture, but you must search it out, and know the truth, not because man has told you, but God. I am so thankful to God for this lesson. A very painful lesson it was.
    I felt very ashamed for many years about my cautious post GCI attitude toward men of God (Pastors). I now realize we should all have people to look up to and to learn from, but examine every bit of knowledge and know for sure it is true. 21 years old at the time…45 now. Wow!!

    I found this site because I didn’t feel well enough to go to church today. I think about the men who were involved in my life of those days. I wonder how they are, and if they realize the pain the inflicted. And, if they are aware, what kind of burden that is for them. Some of them, If they were to show up at my door, I would huge and kiss them. Many of them had hearts of gold, but were just caught up the GCI grinder. How ironic….the people who would leave the church (those who were presumed to have fallen away), were actually the smart…or just lucky ones.
    Ex-GCI dude

  74. Ex-GCI Dude said

    Oh, by the way. I have heard that things have really changed for the better. I can’t help but wonder about an organization with such a shaky foundation as being sound.

  75. ex-shep said

    Welcome aboard.
    Glad you found us. There are some great GC churches and some not so great ones. Why is a mystery to me.

    Your story is typical. Lack of maturity was certainly a legitiamte complaint. Feel free to make yourself at home.

  76. long gone said

    I attended the Ames Fellowship church from 1974-1982. I personally knew Jim McCotter, was knit into the small groups,worked on the newspapers, went on the mission blitzes, attended 3-5 meetings per week, and lived a life of voluntary underachievement so that I could devote my life to God’s purpose.

    In 1982 my wife and I were having marital problems and she was excommunicated and shunned.This was because of her decision to leave me. She continues to live in the area and has never been reconciled with the local church. She underwent therapy for “guilt”.

    The divorce worked as an impetus to wake me up. I saw the “group think” dynamic and the complete incapacity for the immature leadership to take responsibility for thier words and actions that had contributed to my troubles.

    I drifted away over a period of 4 months, and finally sent a letter to inform the church that I was withdrawing from fellowship.

    I have never been bothered by them since. I was financially and emotionally destitute and maybe they didn’t want to bother with me.

    Fast forward:

    I’ve lurked around these pages for about two weeks and have seen so many names that I recognize, some being named as active in the GC, but most are mentioned as having left.

    I long ago made my peace about this phase of my life. However I can vivdly recall the cold turkey process of de-programming myself at the time I chose to leave.

    Only someone who has experienced the withdrawal from a strong authority can know about the “voices” inside your head. My voices had something to say about every verse of scripture so that you know what it “really means”….

    I thank God I have peace to read and understand what He is saying
    without a running commentary.

    Jim McCotter made alot of money in Multi-level marketing schemes involving church memebers and that likely had alot to do with his eventual change of heart about mammon, his getting away from the association, and his eventual shame around the world.

    I haven’t much else to say.

  77. Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D. said

    Ex GCI Dude said: “Wow!!!! First time I have seen this. Amazing…A lot of people were hurt. Me too. I realized that the people who hurt me were mostly very young leaders (too young) who were just trying to serve God. I feel very certain that my experience with GCI gave me exactly what God wanted me to learn…which is that you must not take any one person’s word about the scripture, but you must search it out, and know the truth, not because man has told you, but God. I am so thankful to God for this lesson. A very painful lesson it was.
    I felt very ashamed for many years about my cautious post GCI attitude toward men of God (Pastors). I now realize we should all have people to look up to and to learn from, but examine every bit of knowledge and know for sure it is true. 21 years old at the time…45 now. Wow!!

    I found this site because I didn’t feel well enough to go to church today. I think about the men who were involved in my life of those days. I wonder how they are, and if they realize the pain the inflicted. And, if they are aware, what kind of burden that is for them. Some of them, If they were to show up at my door, I would huge and kiss them. Many of them had hearts of gold, but were just caught up the GCI grinder. How ironic….the people who would leave the church (those who were presumed to have fallen away), were actually the smart…or just lucky ones.”
    __________________________________

    I like your attitude and balance. I think, you could say that all the leaders had good hearts. The main flaw with GC has been that there has not been tempered and aged wisdom of old “Gandalfs” of the faith who could provide wisdom to youthful and excited zeal. Most of the issues come from dysfunctions and developmental deficits that were amplified and enhanced by young leadership. It has happened in history many times. GC is another case to be added to that list. “There is nothing new under the sun”… Solomon 😀

  78. Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D. said

    Long gone,

    I appreciate your candor. I probably know you and may have even rented your basement apartment at one time when I was a newly minted “elder” in Ames. If I contributed to your pain, then please forgive me, my dear brother. If you are who I think you are, let me say that I have always had a VERY high estimation of you… ALWAYS!. Feel free to email me at imaginesomething@yahoo.com

  79. long gone said

    Hey Sam,

    We may know each other, or perhaps not. I will publically reply and say that you did not rent from me, I didn’t have enough money to own anything, let alone a house! I do suspect that I know who you may have rented from, but it is a moot point, I was not harmed by you, my friend. Grace and Peace to you.

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