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What do YOU think is CORRECT (& not well acknowledged by others) in the MCF/BCF teachings/culture?

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:49 am
by Paul Kovaks
Q. So, I'm still working out what I still believe after leaving Melbourne Christian Fellowship (MCF) in Nov 2016. What did they get right teaching & culture-wise that many other churches don't really acknowledge or practise properly?

My thoughts?
In addition to the basic Pentecostal teachings (which I believe), I think MCF/BCF got it right in a few other areas (despite some pathetic & misguided practical bunglings & horrific abuses):

* Multiple eldership (but they bungled it badly with Ray/Vic/elder worship)
* Priesthood of all believers/gifts of the Spirit (Vic almost completely destroyed this of course)
* End times (creative/redemptive week, tabernacle teachings etc from Offiler)
* Bible studies (focussed, all-in, direction for the church, absent in many churches)
* Home groups all-ages in one (great job here in my experience knitting together generations, absent in many churches)

I think most of the good stuff came from Offiler/Bethel Temple/Latter Rain and Ray/Vic et al mostly RUINED it I have to say. There might have been some good days early on.

What do you think?

Re: What do YOU think is CORRECT (& not well acknowledged by others) in the MCF/BCF teachings/culture?

Posted: Tue Oct 02, 2018 10:40 pm
by Wendy
Hi Paul
You have raised an interesting question or two. What did MCF / BCF get right? I'm going to just make some general comments here and maybe some more specific ones in later posts.

If you go back to the beginnings of what was called The Move we need to consider it was being run by a bloke who was having affairs with various woman. He had been challenged about this and denied it or minimised it. And so it continued for another 30 years. His doctrinal basis was vaguely Pentecostal with the addition of the Latter Rain stream and Offiler's teachings. To this Ray added his variation of the Shepherding movement which he called the Ephesian Pattern. None of these teachings are held by any 'orthodox' Christian denomination including the Pentecostal ones nor do any reliable theologians give any credence to them. A concern now is that Vic has taken these ideas further into heresy with his Messenger teachings and the control over people's lives that goes with it.

Another consideration is the fact that when I left in 1989 things had become so not right at all. Had the mob that came down from Brisbane, led by Vic, done the right thing and treated us with respect instead of initiating mass sackings - mostly of women - and laying down the law - certainly no grace was shown- then why would I have left? If at the time MCF /BCF had 'got it right' then people would not have left in droves and continue to leave.

I guess it could be said that some of the seed ideas of multiple eldership, priesthood of all believers and home groups have some element of being ok within MCF /BCF and these are not unique but are also done in other churches and definitely not in the same controlling way. I'd go as far to say that no, MCF/BCF may have these things happening but they certainly don't get it right either biblically or pastorally as they are tied up within the Messenger / Lampstand / and so on stuff that comes from Vic.

Will try to add some more later.

Re: What do YOU think is CORRECT (& not well acknowledged by others) in the MCF/BCF teachings/culture?

Posted: Sat Oct 06, 2018 3:59 pm
by Faith Hopegood
Paul, I think it helps to separate the various elements of the CF group. Personally I have been out of the CF for over ten years and I am just getting over things and don't think about the abuses on a daily basis. For me I was greatly helped when I have undertook some further study at a reputable christian college. Boy oh boy, it is such a start contrast when you compare the what the bible really teaches us compared to misguided and warped teachings of Vic Hall, Ray Jackson and others. Getting to know the true love of Christ through the Good News compared to the sheer distortion and control of the CF culture.

Wendy is quite right when she states that most of the CF teachings have not been take up by mainstream denominations and have been discredited over time. In particular "The Shepherding Movement" ended in disaster in the USA. RFI/CF is nearly a carbon copy of the USA discipling/shepherding movement. Vic likes to make out that he had a "special revelation but in fact all he has done is copy the Americans!

I would suggest breaking your question up into two areas and examine each question in the following light:
1. group culture interaction and activities
2. biblical teaching.

Regarding group culture, actions speak louder than words sometimes. Group actions such as abusive "counselling sessions", advocating divorce, breaking up families, and shunning, refusing to hear criticism are just symptoms of something broken in the foundations of the CF. Of course there are many lovely and beautiful people who are in the CF and they definitely have a heart for God. They just don't know they are being misled and are being taught heretical and cultish teachings because they blindly trust their leaders. Remember any organisation that does not allow a critical examination of their teachings/group culture is probably one that is teaching something that is off-beam. This motivation of not allowing critical examination of their teachings and creating an "Us versus The World" mentality means they have something to hide. And what they are hiding is control of people and their wrong teachings.

This brings us to the teachings of the CF. I would say that small elements of the CF teachings start off well intentioned and are in part based on the bible. This gives an element of legitimacy to those doing the teaching. Then the teachers teach that they have "a special word that is only revealed to them" (the CF leaders). This generally creates a little hook to attach to the listener. The listener genuinely wants to hear more about God and some listeners/followers also have a little prick of pride inside because they can say to themselves and others "we are special and we have something that no one else has". In effect the basis and majority of the CF teaching is now gnostic teaching. They have strayed from "The Good News" and are now focussed on the detailed minutiae and also teachings that exert control over others. This type of teaching attracts the same sort of people as leaders - leaders who are comfortable lording it over others and refuse to have a critical word spoken to them or to be critically examined.

These are just general comments and probably don't directly address your initial questions. I will endeavour to cover these questions in further posts. Best wishes to all. Faith.

Re: What do YOU think is CORRECT (& not well acknowledged by others) in the MCF/BCF teachings/culture?

Posted: Wed Oct 17, 2018 11:16 am
by Wendy
I like your dividing of culture and teaching, Faith. Good point! Every group has a sub-culture - whether it is a workplace, church, music group ... Or cult. When you leave and join a new one there's a whole new bunch of acronyms to get your head around and a fascinating period of observation while you figure out who really has the power and control in the office! Leaving a cult is like leaving a totalitarian state or getting out of jail and having to adjust to the real world and learn proper social skills can be quite traumatic.

I wanted to comment on the question Paul asked about the 'Priesthood of all Believers' which is a basic tenet of Christian life. To me it encompasses the freedom of hearing the voice of God for ourselves, the ability to act on those prompts from the Holy Spirit to go and do and say and pray whatever with whoever without having to check with a bunch of unqualified nosey blokes who want an application in triplicate before they let you open your mouth. It also includes 'all' - as in non-discriminating - as per Galatians 3:28. Gender, race, status - make no difference to who we are in Christ. There are many verses that express this freedom. In the gospels - Jesus said "my sheep hear my voice ..."; in the epistles there are many examples of Paul, Timothy, PRiscilla & Aquila etc just getting on with it and doing what they had to do; and in the Old Testament Jeremiah 31:34 talks about not needing to teach each other for all will know him from the least to the greatest.

I think Vic with his messenger heresy has completely forgotten this principle. The idea that you can only hear the voice of God via him or one of his chosen few is totally incorrect. It sets the MCF / BCF as a group who think they hold the keys of the Kingdom and truth comes only from them. There's already a long-standing organisation that thinks that way so really, what Vic has promulgated is nothing new!

Ironically I do recall a time prior to the great implosion of 1988 where Ray Snr preached on Jer 31:34 in relation to that other wonderful MCF teaching - the Ephesian Pattern. How far they have all strayed from the truth since then. :|

Re: What do YOU think is CORRECT (& not well acknowledged by others) in the MCF/BCF teachings/culture?

Posted: Thu Oct 18, 2018 1:10 pm
by Faith Hopegood
Thanks Wendy, your last sentence is a key. Having been in the CF movement since the mid 1980's, I can attest to the fact that there is certainly a changing chameleon-like teaching that is a very dangerous and heretical foundation of the Christian Fellowship group as a whole.

I am pretty sure that not much of the Unto Perfection, Jerusalem Passion or the Ephesian Pattern writings exist to this day. We must ask the question - "Why is Vic Hall not teaching such things as The Ephesian Pattern and Unto Perfection?" If these writings were so wonderful and revelatory, why haven't they stood the test of time and are preached on from time to time at BCF - They are not!

I remember first hand when these much vaunted missives were first published by BCF - the books and their authors were extolled as god-like! Week after week, and year after year, these writings were accepted as nearly being as important as the bible itself. Oh, how I remember when BCF congregation members used to whisper quietly in hushed and reverent tones about how marvellous Vic and the other Elders were because they had these revelations that were going to change the Christian Church world wide. BCF was the true church and all the churches were going to gather to and join BCF! Yes, that was what was actually preached in the 1980's from the BCF pulpit!
Vic and the other Elders were put on pedestals and treated as demigods and worshipped by men - when people spoke it was "Vic said this and Vic said that".

But where are these teachings now? Where are these books now? Can you buy them at the BCF Book Shop as used to happen at every BCF meeting whether at communion at Chandler or the Sunday morning suburban meetings? I'll bet that you can't buy them!

Which brings us to the next question - What is being preached today at BCF? From memory, we have had The Word of The Messenger, The Lampstand, The Present Truth and lord know what else.

The only thing consistent with BCF teachings is that they are always changing!
The true Word of God (as opposed to Lord Vic's ramblings) has never and will never change.

This is a key idea to trying to understand what teachings and beliefs lie at the heart of BCF foundations.

Of course with hindsight and wisdom, we now know that Vic is just making up as he goes along and plagiarising teachings from the USA and dressing them up as revelations from God.
We also know that the behaviour of these men is tyrannical in their own little world of the BCF birdcage/echo chamber. They desire absolute control over every person under their sway and woe betide any person who doesn't toe the line or asks too many questions - it is the right boot of fellowship out the door onto Burton Lane, less your family and money.

Re: What do YOU think is CORRECT (& not well acknowledged by others) in the MCF/BCF teachings/culture?

Posted: Fri Oct 19, 2018 8:06 pm
by Wendy
Well, Faith - you asked what is being preached today at BCF? I found a website with a list of short 5 minute devotionals on video and here's one:
A summary of the first 3 cuts of Christ's circumcision - by Peter Hay.
:shock: :lol:

Words fail me!

Re: What do YOU think is CORRECT (& not well acknowledged by others) in the MCF/BCF teachings/culture?

Posted: Sat Oct 20, 2018 3:44 pm
by Faith Hopegood
Wendy. Hello! Dear God! I don't know what to say.

I didn't know Peter Hay was an subject matter expert on the various cuts made during a circumcision!
Seems like a very specialised area of biblical study and would require first hand knowledge of how a rabbi does the job. Perhaps Vic's jewish heritage was the key.

Without reading Peter Hay's no-doubt insightful knowledge into this crucial matter, which is something we have all been looking forward to learning about for years, I can assure any current Christian Fellowship congregation members and Streetcar readers, that any/all of this style of writing clearly comes under the banner of Gnostic teachings and is thus straying away from the focus of the teaching the Good News of Christ. Gnostic teaching is where people claim to have "a special revelation or inside knowledge that no one else has" and it pricks their pride and makes them feel just a little bit exclusive and above/better than everyone else (in this case better than any other Christians who are not in the CF stream of churches).

I haven't looked at the BCF website you found yet - I will savour that joy for another day.

Keep up the great work Wendy! These are priceless gems (or should I say nuggets but not the golden ones).

Re: What do YOU think is CORRECT (& not well acknowledged by others) in the MCF/BCF teachings/culture?

Posted: Sat Oct 20, 2018 4:12 pm
by Faith Hopegood
Hi Wendy, back again. I just couldn't resist having a sneaky peek at the video you mentioned - it is only 5:30 long so I didn't get a chance to go to sleep.

1. Peter Hay has certainly taken on Vic's mantle of being able to talk at such a level that it is almost impossible to follow (ie BS artist). Of course Vic does this deliberately to try and bamboozle people into thinking that Vic (and now Peter Hay) are such smart learned people and are a cut above everyone else. They need to do this to maintain their control over people whom they make out are dumber than them.
2. The video date stamp was Easter 2018 - imagine having to sit through 3 days of this "revelation" teaching! OMG!
3. Does any one know if Peter Hay has actually done any formal biblical studies or is he "self-taught" in the CF Budgee cage/echo chamber?
4. the really important thing that I noticed about the words and concepts that Peter Hay was using is that he is twisting scripture and giving new (incorrect) definitions to all the words and concepts he is using. He is clearing mixing up/confusing different concepts such as Circumcision, Feasts with the Passion of Christ!!!!!! There is a good shrinking of references to Old Testament Law and Feasts to make people feel guilty and worthless with such priceless lines as "those of us who know our Feasts" - what a condescending pratt!
5. Readers need to be very very clear - The whole objective of Peter Hays teaching (and Vic's teaching) is to bring the listener into condemnation and feelings of guilt and then gain complete control (CF elders and leaders) over every aspect of a congregation members life. He keeps making references to this. the other thing he is trying to reinforce is the old BCF/Vic Hall chestnut that God hates "our will", God wants to cut of "our will".
6. Peter Hay is preaching chains of enslavement - not being released from shackles of sin to everlasting life.
7. He is preaching misery and condemnation in a polite snake charmer type of way. There is absolutely no joy or life in the word he is preaching. He will not bring life to the hearer - only condemnation, worthlessness and control.

Good people of BCF - Christ has made you free, Do not let a new set of shackles of gnostic teachings, works,law and condemnation that Peter Hay is trying to lay upon you!

This is the Good News of Christ. Christ, the Son of God, came to earth as God walking amongst mankind, was crucified for our sin, took ALL our sin upon himself as a completely innocent man without sin, was put to death as a once for all sacrifice for our sin, rose again and is now seated with God. All our sin is taken away once and for all time. Those who believe in Christ, will have eternal life with God/Christ - what is not to love about that!!! So simple.

Until next time.
Faith Hopegood.

Re: What do YOU think is CORRECT (& not well acknowledged by others) in the MCF/BCF teachings/culture?

Posted: Fri Oct 26, 2018 10:22 am
by Wendy
I'll have a go at your end times question, Paul. It is a bit scarey that I can still draw Offiler's chart from memory and have a working knowledge of the Latter Rain teaching even after all this time! However it is all filed away under interesting end times theories with a bunch of others that have been explored over the years.

One of the most heretical things I found about Offiler was his prediction of the 2nd coming to be in 1996 or thereabouts. I can't find my Offiler book at the moment but when I do I'll put the date he said. Well, that date has come and gone and we are now 18 years past 2000 AD when all things were to be finished. Was Offiler a false prophet or just someone who liked to analyse things and make everything neat and orderly? I've got some old books with 2nd coming predictions from the 1800s and early 1900s so he was not unique in trying to predict a date despite Jesus' saying that No one knows the hour or the day ....

Offiler's 3 divisions of time - Sun, moon, stars; Father, Son, Holy Spirit; Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and so on ... And the overlay of Moses Tabernacle etc is IMHO interesting at best and a fanciful fantasy at worst. My question about these things is 'What does this have to do with my life today? how is this helping me show the love of God to my neighbour, my workmates, my students? We live in a Now but Not Yet paradox - Matthew, Mark and Luke have a lot to say about that!

The setting of dates and the 3 divisions produced what I think was a fatalistic thinking in people and affected their decisions and behaviour. I remember in the 70s & 80s people saying that it was ok to buy a house and get a big mortgage because Jesus would return before you had to pay it off. :roll: I also remember Ray J Snr in the early 80s - could have been on of those NYE concerts - preaching about 'man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward' and suggesting people shouldn't have children because it was coming up to the time of the end and things would get very bad. I recall people who had just had a child were very upset ... And now those children are having children of their own!

This is a bit of a mish-mash of a reply ... Sufficient to say that I no longer believe the eschatalogical calendar as set out by Offiler's chart nor any of his other ideas. Living in the kingdom now and looking for the kingdom to come is about where I'm at. :)

Re: What do YOU think is CORRECT (& not well acknowledged by others) in the MCF/BCF teachings/culture?

Posted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:29 pm
by robocop
Thank you Wendy for your thoughts here. Yes, I can concur with you regarding those ESCHATOLOGICAL teachings being another avenue of the hierarchy to prove that they had the 'revelations' that the plebs could'nt understand. It was really another form of CONTROL whereby they could keep you in a place of bewilderment and awe because they know things of a higher order. All those predictions of end-time events (read RAPTURE here) kept us in a constant state of FEAR.