Please, though, let EACH of us be "Our brother's keeper" and remember that ANY deviation we notice, we need to warn each other about.
Interesting you mention the Lutheran Church. While in chatroom ministry in 2008, two locals, staunch Lutherans, enlisted my help with a monstrous deviation into the way Lutherans behave and thought occurred, centred on their Missouri Synod which at the time was the largest one in the world from what I was told.
The destruction of the Synod by its head honcho caused effectively a vocal streetcar.
I was hosting my own webpages at that time for various reasons, and many of us round the world including hordes of non-Lutherans (myself included) enlisted to support them, starting from the Augsburg Confession.
The LCMS destroyed what is called Lutheran Public Radio, by doing two key things.... a talkback radio show called "Issues, Etc" hosted and managed by two guys, an ordained man, and an engineering guy. They were both instantly dismissed on the Tuesday of Holy Week that year, and it appeared the programme archives were destroyed. The other thing they did, they turned off the transmitter, and the station KFUO (believed to be the earliest broadcast station licence in the world to be issued to a church) went off-air with (I believe) application to the FCC to cancel its licence.
I was asked to help by one of the two Lutherans in my chat room, and well within 24 hours I had created two web addresses and started to populate them.
- Too much detail to put here, but I point you to the two sites I put back on air early this year at:
read them in the order posted as the second is meaningless if not in the context of the first...
That was nine years ago, and unfortunately it seems that some in the Lutheran Church of Australia hasn't learned from its US brethren that you don't put money first.
Saying that, I don't mean the denomination as a whole.
Just some congregations who appear to "call" replacement ministers who like the happy-clappy feel-good music, the "buy-gurus'- books-and-teaching-aids-programmes" etc, basically while disassociating themselves with the liturgy which identifies Lutheran worship as different.
I remember while at CCA in my early days being very surprised by a remark I heard; DH and I were talking about his days with the "Gospel Firebrands" touring country Victoria, and I asked him what did they as a group do about Sunday church? His answer I found breathtaking, and was absolutely true.
I had expected - with his AoG - background something completely different, and remembering I was perhaps eight years in from a "conversion" to the charismatic world.
He said "We would go to a traditional liturgical service"
As you would expect, I did a double-take, and said "Why?"
His answer was simply "Because the entire gospel is in the liturgy".
In 2016 I was reminded by a post from the restored station that is no longer in Concordia University (St. Louis) so I started looking at the Lutheran church I was attending to try and get a handle on Lutheranism. I'll be honest, I wasn't convinced it was as dinkum as the faith of my chatroom associates, one of whom became the owner of the major chanel that several others had an association with.
The upshot was that my spiritual home is now with a church built on the very large campus of the biggest retirement village in Adelaide. One of the two ministers/chaplains to the villagers preached that Good Friday morning sermon I mentioned in an earlier post.
Leave it at that.
My belief is that you can see by reading closely those two pages just how any group of people who believe in the Almighty can have their faith white-anted.
The Lord bless you and keep you,
The Lord make His face to shine upon you,
And be gracious unto you,
The Lord lift up the light of His countenance upon you,
And give you His peace
I haven't kept great track of the Lutheran Church except I have fond memories of my time there and their mostly BIblical stance and I have a soft spot for them. LIkely they, as well as many other mainstream and independent churches, are and will give in via compromises to the vocal minority or majority over time. How this will all play out only God knows.
I am still digesting your links . .
The upshot of all this goings on at MCF (Melbourne Christian Fellowship) is what?
Was one family destroyed by one bad local elder? Was there something terribly wrong with us? Was it that local leader? Was it the local presbytery? Was it the BCF teachings?
1. It was not one family that was destroyed. We know PERSONALLY of at least 20 families, representing about 100 people) trampled or destroyed (and have heard of many others we don't personally know). Men taking up jobs in other cities told they were unworthy. Families broken up. Men told they can't start businesses. Seniors told their singing at old age homes was unworthy. Older couples told not to marry. Men told their hobbies were idols and to give them up and sell their gear. Ladies told to stop visiting family up country. Etc Etc Etc.
2. For goodness sake, for people who COULD have boasted we were incredibly unboastful. Award-winning PhD CSIRO particle physicist/biomedical scientist and CPA accountant wife (most boring combination on earth as said as a joke by our preacher on our wedding day . . not true)! I know we did not boast or have expectations of anything. But we never expected what we got in the end either. We just submitted like everyone else and had vices and virtues and plans and hopes and dreams and ups and downs common to mankind. Yes, I was ambitious in science and technology especially when the internet came out but not crazy ambitious. Just wanting to not waste what I had been given.
3. The local elder, David Bonham, was a non-stop nay-sayer who thought he knew everything. He practised giving to those who already had and taking the little those with nothing had away from them. A bit like a famous Scripture but he applied it literally. In other words, confident-type people that looked like leadership material were wined and dined and called forward. Those who ummed and ahed he took everything from and ridiculed their hopes and dreams. Funny. As a leader I would call EVERYONE forward, especially the umming and ahhing one.
But at the end of the day his accusations and judgements on us were perfectly within the teaching we were receiving from the pulpit from the local presbytery using material sourced from BCF. In other words: treachery.
Incredibly legalistically applied, but quite accurately.
BY HIS ACTIONS he is the nastiest and stupidest person I could ever imagine now I think about it: to conduct such a fierce and systematic, dogged campaign against one person for 10-15 years! He was Inspector Javert in Les Miserables to my Jean Valjean. Why? Did they boast to each other about how many constructed 'crosses' they got us to accept? What insanity went on at their Tuesday elders' meetings? 'I got Paul to give up on his OS internship AND not start his business'. 'NIce one, that's 2 more gold stars: you're our Bastard of the Month, David!'. He must deep down be extremely insecure and naive despite his desire to appear wise. At another level I still love the good side of David. Crazy.
Whether they preached Lordship crisis, Rich Young Ruler, Isaac, Idols, Piercing in the house of your friends, Burnt offering, Conversion, Headship, Imputation, Chastening, Slavery, Priesting, Laying down etc, I got it done to me perfectly by David Bonham and his henchmen Steve Anderson and Steve Holland, often the very next week.
Even David began with good intentions. But he allowed teachings that only ever built himself up - and at the expense of common decency and our lives - to dominate his life. He LOVED the teaching on elders = face of Christ. He told us it was so calming for us, taking the pressure of the flock but allowing us to touch the glory of God through the face of Christ = them/him. He REVELLED in it and the accompanying song 'Lift up your heads Oh ye gates. And the King of Glory will come in'. Do those Scriptures in that song support face of Christ = elders? At all?
And he just LOVED the teaching on 'imputation' which, for me meant: sacrifice all your opportunities and skills and watch God make up for it! (God never did of course because of our ridiculous, forced presumption). All at threat of loss of eternal salvation of course. He couldn't get enough on the word on imputation. That he thought he could could work out EVERY TIME what we were to sacrifice and impute and what to live normally is indicative of the lunacy of the entire BCF word of the 1990s and 2000s. He took copious notes. I wonder if he's kept them since the kerfuffle? Steve Holland reminded me of that as if it helped his case. I said 'bring it on'! It would damn them all to hell on the spot 100x over. Imagine all the stupid stuff I've actually forgotten?
Their 'sight'. For goodness sake. I asked Bob Stevens if he still believes all this 'sight' stuff. He nodded but not when I said: really, about what job or course or business I should sacrifice or take up? So what sight for us do you have Bob? Maybe it's just general good advice like everyone else believes about their leaders!
Bonham and his wife were mean to us on many occasions in between the lovely nicenesses. They thought it nothing for us to take when they announced to us privately that new ones with obvious flaws were thought so much better leadership material than us. 'Oh wonderful' they expected us to say. Another time: 'There's one last chance for you guys because they're only calling people forward this once-in-a-generation, but we're afraid you just aren't there yet so you're going to miss out because you aren't settled (!) in this word on laying down your idols and you also need a conversion experience (where do I order one of those?)' (meaning all the younger elders' kids would be leading us for the rest of our lives despite all our hard work and study while they were in nappies, and BTW, you'll never, ever be any good and you've missed the boat FOREVER!). 'Oh how wonderful, thanks for that little Easter titbit for I and my family David. I wonder if anyone else is getting shafted like this in their careers and hopes and dreams WHICH BTW HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH OUR SERVING OF THE LORD?'
That is the lovely environment of competition and judgement and presumption and yuk in which we lived with David and Rhonda Bonham.
Then of course there was the time they announced to the group that our family fun night idea had originated from the lovely hearts of two other couples . . who hated it AND would be run by them. How nice, as usual. All on top of destroying my employability and banning my interests, hopes and dreams.
We really had nothing to work towards, to hope for, to steward, It was all taken away.
Would I publish one word of this if any one of the perpetrators admitted what they did to me to the presbytery in front of my face? No, I would not. My outspokenness is due to a sickening, systematic cover-up in 2016 of sickening, systematic treachery that was going on as recently as 2006 and even, to a lesser extent, today.
4. The local presbytery, clearly did not check the word coming from BCF or check what local leaders were doing to us (unless they agreed with it). Certainly one member of the local presbytery knew exactly what David Bonham was doing to me: Laurie Holland. He's the one who grabbed me and told me that I had to obey David or else I would go to hell. So either the rest of the presbytery did not care what was going on in home group areas or else they agreed with it.
5. The source of the abomination teachings was BCF and Vic Hall. A I mentioned, what happened to me was pretty much what the books from BCF said. Vic Hall claimed we were hearing the present truth word coming from 'a bowl' of oil (a vision from the book of Zechariah). Everyone at MCF assumes this bowl held by the regional MCF/SCF/BCF presbytery is almost infallible.
Yet in 2016 Vic Hall admitted they had got a lot of teachings wrong! No apology for how it affected people though! Just sorry for the wrong theology as if it was some technical detail!
Murray Wylie told me over the phone last month 'Didn't you understand Paul that these teachings were just interpretations!' After they shoved it down our throats and threatened us with unfaithfulness and unworthiness if we questioned it or wanted to critically examine it! After they told us it is a FATHERED, PROCLAIMED word, like Moses coming down from the mountain not to be questioned!
I want to tear my hair out.
I can't even trust Murray Wylie, composer of the Jerusalem Passion oratorio!
So what is the upshot?
Yes WE ARE ALL idiots. But it happened SO GRADUALLY.
The 'bowl' of teachings 'held' by our leaders is A LOAD OF GARBAGE. It is now ALL suspect. They have been preaching garbage as if it is pure word of God! It means much of it was never Scriptural and that is why it has destroyed 100s of people!
Of course we should have ALWAYS checked it against the word and not put up with their EVIL excuses (fathered word, you don't have a grace for that etc).
Vic Hall is a heretic, false apostle (he does claim to be an apostle). And his father warned him of it as I do now.
So why would we ever submit ourselves to such fickle, deceptive and pompous leaders again?
The local presbytery never checked the word or checked what the local elders were doing to people. Zero duty of care (or else they knew and didn't care or approved). They then tried to cover it up and lied about me and the entire sordid history of 1993-2016.
The local leader and his team mostly denied, lied and 'forgot' to try and cover it up and must have been as insane as I was to think they could do what they did to me and maintain common decency and friendship and sanctification and get away with it.
The bowl stinks.
Vic and BCF stink.
David Falk is in scandalous ruin.
The MCF presbytery didn't check the word and wouldn't let us.
The MCF presbytery tried to cover it up and further trampled me.
The MCF presbytery knew what was happening and they stink.
They ALREADY did all of this to Tony Lyon, Bob Holland and Kevin Connor ANYWAY in the 1970s/1980s!
The Greensborough HF elder David Bonham and his team of 1993-2010 stink (only one member has properly apologised but refuses to fully admit what he said or to take responsibility for its effect on our lives).
So the WHOLE place stinks to high hell.
Get out as fast as you can!
The good part of coming out in 1988 is that for the last 29 years we have had excellent teaching by excellent ministers. I feel so sorry for all our friends left in there.
I notice that Ray Jackson's name doesn't come up much in your writings. But you can be sure that he is behind most of it and motivating David Bonham.
I have heard people say that he is pure evil.
He is very good at keeping out of the workings and is also very good at secretly orchestrating situations. As his father was.
I overheard a conversation between the young Ray and another elder after which Ray made the comment, "Take the HARD line towards that person". (Exact words) I thought to myself that after all his preaching on fruits of the spirit - eg LOVE joy and peace, he certainly wasnt practising it himself!! And that was before 1988, apparently things could only get worse.
In early 2016 he was compassionate towards me but then 'handed me over' to the current presbytery.
But by late 2016 I drove to his house and thought we might be able to talk about 'what was really going on'.
He betrayed me. Accused me of everything they were accusing me of. I was quite shocked that he couldn't see through it and stand up for the truth.
So maybe you are right and he is a man of low integrity. It's so hard FOR ME to say that about him. i just can't be 100% sure either way.
He certainly headed a group of looneys accepting screwy words from Vic Hall for 20 years and dishing it out to us not just as gospel, but as gospel to be put into action even if it meant asking people to drop all their interests, opportunities, dreams and livelihoods! That's what they did folks.
Then Murray says Its only " interpretations?"
When confronted they are really good at finding an
explanatory word from the dictionary.
Nothing's changed apparently. Its always been like that.
They dont seem to be able to make up their mind one way or the other.
That's not so much their teaching about headship etc but about church leadership ALL coming from ONE apostolic bowl. They've admitted now that this was probably an OT pattern for Israel.
Zechariah does contain Scriptures about 'piercing in the house of your friends' (Zech 13) which they preached on for at least 6 months to justify HORRIFIC NAZI-LIKE sessions with elders.
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