I am writing today in the hope that a person currently in the Christian Fellowship will receive a bit of a revelation in the word which will set them free from the bonds of the Christian Fellowship. This content below is biblically based and goes to the foundation of what it means to be a Christian.
How many times have we heard the following threatening statement from Christian Fellowship leaders directed at congregation members “if you leave the Fellowship your salvation will be in danger”?
This phrase was spoken to me and I have heard it used against numerous other people.
I always knew this statement was intended to enforce control upon the “independent thinking/rebellious” individual and their family, and I always wondered why the CF leaders use this statement so meanly and so frequently. Yesterday I twigged onto the reason why the CF elders can say these things with a clear conscience (comparatively speaking!), and it is based on their doctrine of salvation.
You see, because I was saved in a protestant mainstream church prior to joining the Christian Fellowship, I always knew that salvation in Christ was a free gift from God and there was nothing we could do to “earn” salvation through human works or actions. I was always confused when CF leaders used to threaten people with losing their salvation. However, some further formal biblical study has shown me the difference between the Catholic doctrine of salvation and the Protestant doctrine of salvation.
Catholic doctrine and belief teaches that the believers and followers in the Catholic church have no assurance of salvation. There is always a doubt. Therefore, the believer must have a mixture of faith of salvation in Christs resurrection as well as a mystical series of works and actions whereby the believer works toward possible final salvation in God when they die. Martin Luther observed that the Catholic Church was teaching a doctrine that was not supported by biblical scriptures/text.
The protestant belief, which stems from Luther’s and Calvin’s revelations in the 1500’s, clearly shows that we have salvation by God’s Grace alone – nothing else – end of story! We are justified by faith alone – Sola Fide – and this excludes all “works” and actions we would do.
Galatians 3:1-2 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? ….. Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law or hearing with faith?”
Basically, the Christian Fellowship is definitely not, and cannot be, a protestant Christian church because it does not believe or teach the doctrine of Salvation by Grace Alone – Sola gratia. They might think they are protestant Christians, as might the congregation members, but they cannot be. This is a strange deviation because several of the founding elders came from protestant Presbyterian church ministry at Wavell Heights Presbyterian Church in the mid 1970’s (Alex Wylie, Bill Barnes and Ian Barlow)! Talk about wolves in sheeps clothing. The Christian Fellowship doctrine of salvation is more Roman Catholic in nature (as well as other common cults such as Jehovah Witnesses etc).
If we examine the combined words, actions and doctrine of Vic Hall and the Christian Fellowship, we clearly see they definitely believe they have to continuously perform some form of activity or “works” in order to ensure continued salvation. These works/actions/activities start as directions/orders/peer and group expectations given by various CF leaders, and it is always with the unspoken threat, “if you don’t do this or do that, then you are not be being obedient to the leaders and thus God, and thus you, are not “fellowshipping” and your salvation is in doubt. You must attend all the designated events such as morning and evening church, home groups, regional bible studies, ladies’ groups, youth events, working bees etc because if you don’t then you are “not with us””. The entire Christian Fellowship operates on a doctrine of compliance, fear and anxiety and never truly knowing the peace of salvation. As soon as they go down this path, they are relying works (human actions) and not faith to ensure salvation. The bible teaches differently.
Knowing the peace of “salvation by grace alone” allows a person to truly “rest in peace” and have a big smile of Gods loving assurance on your face. Attending or not attending church will not change this wonderful assurance.
This assurance is given in the following scriptures:
Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith…”
Also see Acts 16:30-31; Acts 4:12; John 5:24; Matthew 9:6-8; Romans 10:9-10 to support this. You will not see a condition put on any of these scriptures that a person can be saved by any human action or work – it is purely God’s Grace Alone!
How then can a Christian Fellowship leader stand in front of a congregation member and say: “if you leave your salvation will be in doubt"? It is because they believe in works for salvation, not grace. The opposite position is also inferred by this statement: “if you stay/attend the CF you will be assured of salvation”. We can see that the “staying/attending” is actually a human action or works. The bible clearly tells us that actions and works do not save us – thus the CF leader is speaking heresy.
Now if the Christian Fellowship leaders truly believed in Salvation by Grace alone, they would be at peace and have no need to constantly harangue and threaten congregation members in very unchristian manipulative ways.
I hope the above explanation will bring some peace, hope and illumination to the reader.
In Christ, Faith Hopegood.
When my wife divorced me, her very words to me were "I am not going to let YOU stop my salvation"....It was then I realized how deluded she was.
The evil doctrine they preach fosters Delusion.
It is actually very difficult to work out one’s own path in life and salvation with the sword or hammer threatening to strike you down. It took me many years to recover from the threats that were either spoken or implied.
I also found it a very brutal environment to be in after a number of years. It didn’t tally with the message of love in the New Testament. It didn’t tally with the grace that was shown by God to His creations, us.
It’s a very difficult environment to thrive in, and let’s face it, many, many souls were brutalised along the way. I would sometimes ask myself, why am I such a failure? Why can’t I agree to be crushed under the heal of these great men? Ultimately the answer was clearer to me, my personal path didn’t align with theirs. And while that was quite challenging for me to accept, eventually it was much healthier for me to be well away from them. Salvation is up to God. No man makes that call.
You have summarised the operation of BCF (and other RFI Christian Fellowship groups) very well. They survive and thrive on an atmosphere of fear and the underlying culture is indeed brutal.
If we look passed all the smiling middle class faces on a Sunday morning and scratch the surface, you will find an undercurrent of life that is similar to living in George Orwell's "1984". Group think is in, and, if a person does have thoughts where they quietly observe "all is not right here" or "what is being taught and the actions of the leaders do not align with what is being taught in the new testament", you quickly learn to submerge those "independent, rebellious" thoughts and fears and continue to participate in the group culture because you damn well know if you lift your head up above the parapet, you will get it well and truly shot off as well as losing your friends and family (and in some cases, livelihood and business income).
Quite often, the BCF congregation member wonders why one of their good friends (whom they thought they were bonded in Christ with) suddenly leaves BCF without notice and is never heard of again. They are written out of existence and never mentioned as though they never existed. No one ever leaves BCF with a blessing, only a curse and excommunication. Some smart BCF people who could see problems quietly got themselves jobs in regional or rural towns where no RFI/CF group existed thus allowing continued contact with family but non-attendance at BCF.
Good people of BCF, ask yourself this question:
1) how many of the books and music authored by David Falk and Murray Wyllie are no longer available for sale in the BCF bookshop?
2) Can you buy the groundbreaking "Unto Perfection" book anymore?
3) Can you buy the "Jerusalem Passion" DVD?
4) Are they available in BCF church community library? No!
What is that you ask? But they are no longer available in the book shop and Vic Hall no longer quotes from these timeless classics! Why is that? If these productions were so wonderful, foundational and groundbreaking (as Vic and everybody else claimed at the time) why haven't they stood the test of time? I will tell you what has happened. These books and their authors have been written out of existence, just like "1984" as if they never existed. Are they available in BCF church community library? No! Vic has taken over and any brethren of equal status have either died or have been demoted or kicked out. The only other leaders who are permitted are younger ones who can be controlled and pledge complete allegiance to Der Fuhrer. These new younger leaders have the same brutal management characteristics as Der Leader but are not quite smart or powerful enough to rise up and challenge.
All these wondrous works (and their authors) have been replaced by a very flexible "Present Word" and "Present Truth" authored by Vic Hall.
Whether they like to admit it or not, the congregation members of BCF virtually worship Vic Hall as a demi-God instead of worshipping Christ. I can still remember the endless pamphlets, booklets etc that were compulsory purchases and I remember my family exhorting me to purchase Vic's latest page turner! It was "Vic said this and Vic said that", "Vic is so in-tune with God, Vic receives all these revelations from God". This was all I heard for years and years.
Open your eyes, oh BCF people, who has bewitched you and dragged you away from following Christ?
I do apologise for having been away for quite some time. It's hard work out here in Malaysia, especially since the change of government. Economy's still struggling, money, not so easy to come by, so, it's been a very busy schedule for yours truly. However, since I have finally had some time for a breather (Thank God ) I'm back on! Hopefully not to fade off again soon...
What Faith Hopegood has just said indeed rings very true. Where are all the books that had better Word in them? Where are the wondrous works of music and good compositions? Everything has been wiped clean, as though no one else ever had any sound doctrine other than Vic 'the Vicious Hall' Hall himself! How disgraceful! And to think this network once trumpeted 'multiple eldership' at top volume, declaring the 'pyramid structure' hierarchy as evil and ungodly... and now it, itself, is a HUGE pyramid structure, with not a dead pharaoh but a living and breathing one gloating over it all at the top!
Indeed, BCF folks need to wake up. Faith Hopegood, you speak true. They are bewitched and led astray. May their eyes be opened soon.
One of the characteristics to assist in identifying false teachings is to look at the actions of those doing the teaching or leading.
When the leaders preach a word, are they Proclaiming the Kingdom of God or Manipulating the Congregation?
What is the effect of the Word Preached? Does it proclaim God's Kingdom without reservation or condition or does it preach a Word with conditions and strings attached designed to enslave and ensnare the congregation? Does the Word preached bring freedom and set the captives free?
Another question is to ask "Who benefits"?
If it is solely the congregation member and the kingdom of God who benefits, or does the preacher somehow benefit?
Is their power or wealth or control increased? Is the preachers status increased?
By asking these simple questions, we can begin to identify the Truth from False Teachings.
But you couldn't mention the other Scriptures!
When you did, you got complete silence.
The thought was that that God is emphasizing THIS angle now and who are we plebs to bring up the other balancing Scriptures?
That was how I justified it to myself.
But it was really sad because it gagged us and the Scriptures.
Normal people could no longer 'search the Scriptures'. We were gagged in homegroup from bringing up any other theme not currently being looked at.
Eventually, this was formalized as:
* The Present Truth
* The Fathered Word
* The Elders Program
* The Proclaimed Word
* Oil coming from the 'bowl' of Zechariah (until they realized their symbology was wrong)
They even stated that they would not be justifying it. It was 'proclaimed'. They literally told us we would not be trying to carefully take it apart. It would just be accepted.
Of course we sitting their were wondering about all the other Scriptures that tell us to carefully test and understand how to make a defense of our faith etc. But we learned not to bring that up. I sat for 25 years gagged.
MCF/BCF, how you have fallen from the days when we could bring anything to homegroup and at least discuss it.
Can't you see how disgraceful this is?
I was recently made aware, as part of my theological studies, that one of the ways to identify false teachers and false teachings and false doctrine, is that when they proclaim a "new understanding" of the word which has an unbalanced emphasis of focusing on a single scripture or theme and developing an entire theology and doctrine around this scripture or theme and ignoring the other obvious writings of other biblical scriptures.
Vic Hall, BCF and MCF definitely fall into this category. Their focus and doctrine is "unbalanced" and biased. You only have to look at the endless stream of sermons, devotional guides, books and pamphlets that have been and are produced by the BCF printing presses. Their doctrine exclusively focuses on whatever "new revelation" Vic Hall has received after another of his late night visitation from his vision of Jesus, the unassuming guy! The practical effect of most of the CF doctrine is focused on keeping people under control and enslaved.
BCF/MCF has always been like this - they stand back and mock all other christians and christian groups by claiming BCF/MCF has this "special word revealed". Of course, this is merely a spirit of pride and a religious spirit and they have become blinded. They have become so blind and misguided they have actually walked away from the Good News of Jesus Christ by preaching a biased and unbalanced Word.
I would encourage readers to read 2 Peter 2 and have a look at it from a perspective of Vic Hall and BCF leaders being false teachers bringing destructive heresies as well as many other grevious actions. See verse 3 - "they will exploit you with false words" certainly applies to the Christian Fellowship leaders. Whilst it is true, sexual lust and sin might not be prevalent within the CF but there are certainly a long list of other abuses and controlling deceptive behaviours that are not supported by the Scriptures, in particular the way various elders behaviour has been in complete opposition to the fruits of the Spirit. Where you have an elder yelling and screaming at congregation members and getting angry is a sure sign their lives and heart attitude are not aligned with the scriptures. There are numerous stories and anecdotes of BCF and a former TCF elder getting angry and screaming at congregation members both in public and private.
We must remember that God, Gods Word and the preachers of Gods Word must be absolutely and completely consistent in their lifestyle, actions, message and doctrine. This of course applies to all of Christianity, not just the leaders and doctrine of the Christian Fellowship. Where there is a deviation from this consistency, a red flag must immediately be raised that something is foundationally wrong with the doctrine being preached and the belief system of the preacher.
What is the primary theological teaching focus of the Brisbane Christian Fellowship and the Fellowship churches as a group? What is their main thrust of teaching and thought? What is the main objective of their teaching?
In most Christian churches, the main focus of everything is always pointing back to Jesus as Saviour and Jesus as Lord.
There may be other peripheral things but everything works towards this theological argument and objective but this is the main focus.
Compare this to the Christian Fellowship churches. What are they always pointing to? What has been their consistent message over the years and decades?
I would contend that their main point of difference is that they are always pointing back to the Elders and the Administration of the Elders as their main theological objective and way of Salvation. They teach that, for you to have salvation, you must be integrated into their eldership administration. You can see this intention stated in their recent publications. They also state if you are not part of their Eldership administration fellowship you will not be saved.
All their teachings, writings, songs and sermons are nearly solely focussed on promoting the Eldership Administration as the way of salvation. They constantly and regularly promote this over and above the conventional christian teachings of Jesus as Lord and Saviour and as such are teaching false teachings and heresy. They have strayed from the primary message of the bible and are leading the sheep astray.
By subscribing to wrong teachings and faulty doctrine, a whole heap of other wrong ungodly behaviours are also allowed and justified.
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