I'm going to summarize the degrading, oppressive, destructive and pointless life we experienced at MCF (Melbourne Christian Fellowship) 1993-2016 in a series of posts in this topic.
In short, they butchered our lives and left us to rot. I lost the best 25 years of my life from age 25-49.
From experience I can testify that Melbourne Christian Fellowship is one of the most abusive non-violent cults I have ever heard about.
Feel free to reply in-between.
I want the world to know 8 things:
1. How disgustingly oppressive MCF & BCF got 1993-2010 amounting to psychological, spiritual and financial abuses
2. How MCF & BCF tried to cover it up 2014-2016 and further demeaned us and lied about us. I was betrayed by friends.
3. Why it happened IMO
4. That MCF had been a good place and its teachings on the Body of Christ are still correctly restorationist and edifying (despite serious fallings during that period too).
5. We got out in Nov 2016 and are very happy in a new church!
6. The origin of the abominable teachings is BCF and Vic Hall.
7. The origin of the delinquent, anti-scholarly, idiotic, careless, gutless and covering-up culture at MCF is MCF itself and its earlier incarnations.
8. That, yes, God knows all this, and vengeance is His, but, nevertheless:
(i) I warn EVERYONE not to be sucked in by the good elements of MCF today and
(ii) To MCF & BCF:
(a) You owe my family restitution as per Scripture and as per Vic Hall's direct request to the perpetrators
(b) You should mourn, repent and make restitution for the sin you have committed against 100s of families around the country
(c) Then you should change your name and join the rest of Christendom in the true Body of Christ. Your online reputation is FULLY deserved. No one in their right mind would ever enter your door after checking you out online. That is why only 2 families joined in 25 years 1993-2016!
PART 2. WHAT THEY DID TO US
You need to understand that during 1993-2016 the good teachings on the Body of Christ and multiple eldership and priesthood of all believers very GRADUALLY began to be overtaken by BCF Vic Hall controlling teachings on the messenger, elders as the face of Christ, self-naming, emptying, piercing in the hands of friends, family order, submission, suffering, (guru) headship etc.
Because it was SO GRADUAL, the occasional non-Scriptural aspects were forgiven by us initially because everything else had been so good. It was also very hard to fact check anything because of the intentional obfuscation (ie purposeful unintelligibility) of the new theology in the writings from BCF.
We were like lobsters boiling in a pot. It was GRADUAL.
Eventually the teachings on headship got so crazy that we were taught that:
1. Elders had 'sight' for every man's life choices and we had to offer ourselves before them because they were the 'human face of Christ' to us (I call this 'guru' headship)
2. If we disobeyed their edicts we would go to hell
3. If women disobeyed husbands we could divorce them on those grounds
4. Men were no longer allowed to start businesses without being asked to by elders
5. Some men were masters (business owners) and some were slaves (employees)
6. Almost anything you wanted to do was probably a self-named idol or 'projection'
7. If you ever wanted to do something in ministry it must be laid down and probably be given to someone else to implement
8. If you did something against the leaders advice you were declared 'unworthy'
In short everything was so black and white. In retrospect these delinquent and wolf leaders of ours were like nasty, self-obsessed children in preaching, life & pastorally.
What happened to us was that the elders insisted - AT THREAT OF MY GOING TO HELL - that I, as a PhD scientist/software engineer had to essentially ANTI-steward my hard-won career (despite being a 99.95 ATAR equivalent and uni and research award medal winner in my CSIRO work):
1. I was not allowed to do an ESSENTIAL OS internship (postdoc)
2. I had to stay in a dead-end job I hated for 5 years (and then they forgot they told me!)
3. All of my interests were declared idols
4. I was not allowed to start a business (just as the internet was exploding around me). This delayed the commercialization of my software 7 FULL YEARS which made my work pointless and when I did commercialize it, I was competing with FREE versions put out by Microsoft and Google!
5. I was told not to even think about technology or inventing
6. They refused to look at my prototypes
7. When they, without apology or announcement, backed off from such control around 2006-2010, they never told me their pronouncements on me were no longer binding SO I HELD MYSELF TO THEM UNTIL 2016!
They told me:
1. We've spoken to your father and he didn't sufficiently discipline you
2. No one can start a business unless an elder asks them to (meaning I knew it could never happen)
3. All the good things lining up for me were tricks from the devil
4. All my plans were trophies I was trying to build up
5. While watching me crying in one of their sessions, the senior elder pointed at me and told his two assistants: 'That is a man with blocked goals'
6. I needed to learn how to 'impute' and not trust the ways of the world when I asked why they were doing this
7. A senior member of the presbytery grabbed my arm and quoted Prov 14: 'There is a way that seems right, and it leads to death'. 'You can't do it' (commercialize my software). So it was known at the highest level what was happening to me and I was threatened with eternal damnation if I disobeyed
They were heartless in CREATING crosses for me and lost all sense of love and common decency.
These men were:
What it essentially meant was that these primary school and TAFE teachers and two high school dropouts were directing the carefully nuanced career plans of an award winning PHD PARTICLE PHYSICIST purely based on their psyching-out sessions and judgements. It was INSANITY.
Through this entire time I had to live with these men as if they were friends and laugh and joke with them as they lorded over us. But at a football match the truth came to the top: we could not talk about ONE THING the entire match because everything was taboo: my interests, my work, their work, my projects, my direction, my plans, their plans. What is left to talk about? Everything was off the table. We sat next to each other like dummies. I knew they were wrong but I accepted their word that it was still good for me to obey 'marred headship'. Essentially these sick teachings destroyed any chance of us having a friendship entirely. How could that possibly be godly? In fact, talking to anybody at MCF became incredibly limited unless you were one of the special few free ones (essentially elder's children). These people had businesses and ministries and plans. MCF turned partiality into an art form.
This lead to the complete loss of my confidence, sanity, joy in life, hope for the future and earning capacity. Within 5 years I was unemployable. We later lost everything, our house and finances and now I and my wife and 4 teenage children only have our clothes, a $7K car and $40K in credit cards DEBTS.
That is after I was Dux of my school, won numerous uni awards, got my PhD, was Young Biophysicist of the Year 1997 and published 25 highly cited peer-reviewed papers as a CSIRO Project Leader. I was cutting edge and looking to do an OS postdoc or start an internet and/or biotech business to bring funds in for my family and the Body of Christ.
Next I will tell you about the MCF & BCF denials, cover-ups and what they did to my wife and our serving of the Lord.
Concerning coverups, I also attest fully to that as a fact. The xCFs have no qualms about distorting the truth and twisting stories around to the convenience of the defense of their 'elders' or 'presbytery' - if it is still worthy of being called that, because really, anything that even resembles the 'multiple eldership' has been thoroughly destroyed in RFI and the xCFs. It was all destroyed by a nasty little term that Vic 'the Vicious Hall' Hall coined - called 'collegiality'.
As for why it happened, Paul Kovaks, I would love to hear your opinion. From my side over here, the reason why BCF (and Vic specifically) took such a deep interest in turning the administration upside down and throwing countless faithful workers overboard while installing clueless upstarts in replacement, the reason is painfully clear. Vic didn't want opinionated and capable people in charge here in Malaysia-Singapore. He wanted sycophants. Blind 'yes men' who'd never emit so much as a whine to ANYTHING he commanded or demanded.
MCF was a good place, of that I'm sure. BCF, too, was once a house of God. So was Cairns, and Toowoomba, and Ipoh, and Kuala Lumpur, and so many other places.
I made my exit in late March 2015 - I view it now to be one of the greatest moments of liberation in my entire life.
And as for point 6, (ii) - I agree. They owe me restitution. Ridiculously high restitution. They owe me 30 years of work and serving. They owe me my worker's wages which were rightfully earned by me, and then denied me just because of their heartlessness. They do indeed need to repent and make amends for the countless people who have been scarred for life by their heartless actions.
My conclusions are similar to yours, as we shall see, but hopefully with some unique insights (that might help MCF & BCF in their journey and current MCF & BCF members).
I just can't believe these men have fallen so far and for such pathetic reasons.
To MCF & BCF: if you could conduct DISCUSSIONS without utterly treacherous provokations then we could do this privately!
I hold to the thought that when Vic 'the Vicious Hall' Hall had his 'moment of ascension' in the late 80s to early 90s and became the 'top shot' in the network, bent on taking all the power for himself, that was the moment when the church's gradual loss of first love and true Christian fellowship became an unstoppable downward slide into dictatorship, bullying, shunning and downright abuse.
I will get to that in my section on 'why it happened'.
But to honour you now, let me 100% agree with you that there was horrific stuff in MCF prior to 1993 and began as early as the 1950s according to Kevin Connor and it set the scene for the horrors of 1993-2016. But, as you put it, many of us were shielded in those earlier years (I joined the scene in 1984, my father in 1975).
IMO, there was a group of sincere leaders who taught solid teachings all through that period (1950s-1993).
But, yes, the majority of 'the presbytery' were perpetrators against those elders who tried to warn the church of the horrific leaven present.
I feel now that the MCF presbytery were like teenagers seeking pop stars.
We were duped into following them by the good stuff. But, in hindsight, none of the promises of the direction they were going EVER came true. We thought they were trying to live according to the book of Acts, but after 1988 instead everything became more and more like a sick cult from a mystery movie.
Life at MCF began to look NOTHING LIKE the book of Acts with every passing year.
It all came to a head in early 2016 when I was challenged by a member of the current presbytery (Gary Worth) why my family's finances were in such disorder. I admitted that we chose to send our children to a (about half the price of a normal private school) Christian private school as a priority over other luxuries, but that THE REAL reason was because during 1993-2010 I was forced by elders - at threat of eternal damnation - to sacrifice my career and interests. And not even think about technology or inventing.
It was the first time I had verbalised it to anyone! It was Melbourne Christian Fellowship's great dirty secret that we ACTUALLY HAD been a cult. Any talking 'outside of your accountability' was murmuring. We all knew we could not talk about what our elder was 'doing to us'.
The response of that presbytery member was:
- It was only advice! (After all the word on obeying the messenger! And threats of going to hell!)
- You should not have listened to him! (Ha! What about obeying 'marred headship' regardless of whether it makes sense!)
- Unless it is sexual abuse there's nothing we can do. (Is the bar really that low at MCF? Yes, it appears.)
He said: 'We're not going to take warnings from you'.
They made it clear that nothing would be done. Those men were continuing in ministry. Perhaps not counselling, but managing all sorts of portfolios and homegroups, esteemed, everyone hanging off their every word.
I got really upset.
Over the next 10 months it just got worse and worse.
Gary described me as 'unworthy'. Matt said he preferred to believe David Bonham. (I said, but if you get all the Greensborough leaders together you'll find out the full truth because 2 out of 3 of them largely agree on what happened. No can do of course. We're MCF. No justice here.)
I took it to the remainder of the presbytery:
Although initially compassionate and admitting that something had to be done and that restitution was not entirely off the table it turned out all to be a delaying tactic.
Richie Kaa in private was entirely compassionate and admitted we had preached an over the top word and elders in the past were over the top. He said he believed everything I was saying.
But together with the presbytery Richie would say nothing like that! He betrayed me.
The presbytery began provoking me by stating:
1. It was only advice! You didn't have to follow it. (. . except I would have lost my eternal salvation!)
2. They didn't believe me anyway (even though the perps admit most of it!)
3. MCF had never preached anything wrong
4. They wouldn't get us together with the perpetrators (who I pointed out largely admitted it!)
5. They said the perpetrators had 'uncovered lots of secrets' about me (Ha! I confessed sins common to man because of my fear of God!)
6. They began accusing me of every past sin or financial problem we had ever had! (mostly exaggerated and/or caused by THEM)
Why would Richie let them say all that and not state his opinion? (Too scared? Playing good cop? I still believe there is some good left in Richie. The others I'm not so sure. I think they are sold out to a mantra irrespective of Scripture.)
How can any justice be done if we don't get the people in the room TOGETHER? (It's because MCF doesn't care about justice despite 100s of Scriptures indicating the top priority of looking out for injustice.)
So they essentially denied everything by the end despite the fact the perpetrators admitted - between them - 95% of what I said!
That is the lovely presbytery of MCF!
Huge amounts of the past were just completely re-written. Richie Kaa even pretended the Isaac play was just about the historical Isaac, not about us laying down our lives! I pointed out all the songs he had written about us sacrificing our interests, our 'vain longings' as Richie's songs say. Silence.
They pretended they had not spent 15 years preaching that we must GIVE UP EVERYTHING and let an elder decide which things! We heard this word day after day for 15 years. It got crazier every year.
Finally I wrote a letter to Vic Hall who I had fellowshipped with even outside of church on a few trips up.
Vic said in a return letter: 'Paul is a good brother. If anyone has gone beyond their mandate, then apologies and restitution are in order'.
This was read to 3 of the 4 perpetrators (including 2 past presbytery members). The apologies were very guarded and partial. They all deny hearing the word restitution or a similar synonym.
3 of the 4 perpetrators DENY ever saying to me the things they said. They tried to claim it was just advice! I reminded them that they were firing with live ammo: they were telling me what I had to do or else go to hell, I was crying at the end of their sessions. That's not advice! That's full on psychological abuse. In the past they had said I was dead, needed a spark and a conversion experience. Oh really? Where do I get one of those? You need to stop wanting to achieve these plans of yours. They are all idols. We can't use you at MCF until you can settle in this.
It was psychological abuse. Sustained for 15-25 years.
One of them said he would do it all again. Buffoon ex-friend.
In the end I also challenged Vic Hall. I said: what about your part in it Vic? You preached very dangerous stuff. it's not even in the Scriptures Vic! And what care was had in what each elder was doing with it? My perpetrators largely DID follow your directions! After your preaching or books, the next week they were doing it to me!
That's when I came to the full realization that I had been duped into living the most pointless existence possible. I was living in a prosperous country with lots of opportunities, the Lord had given me abilities and opportunities and for NO reason whatsoever I had spent 25 years THROWING away every good opportunity - with the promise that God would make up for it - AND now I was a penniless and unemployable PhD ex-CSIRO project leader living as if I was in North Korea!
What a fool I had been!
This whole place - MCF & BCF - was a joke, a sham!
Friends at MCF, there is no middle ground. You can't sweep this under the carpet because of the nice music or the solid past word! The place stinks to high hell! Yes, the current presbytery, the past presbytery and the rest of them. The current presbytery have treated me treacherously. NO differently than Bob Holland and Kevin Conner were treated. The leaders of 1993-2010 DESTROYED me. Its now AND then. Even Rick Seltman, my last HF leader, betrayed me.
The preached word 1993-2010 gave elders license to be BASTARDS (there is no other word for it)! License to violate all common decency and love and duty of care. They destroyed relationship and my life and loves and joys and hopes and dreams.
The care of my parents bringing me up. Stewarding my interests and studies all through school and uni. To work hard and try and do good. I cry thinking of my father teaching me about science and creation as a kid. My mother buying me engineering toys as a child and always teaching me to steward my responsibilities seriously. All my hobby work on my inventions as a kid. And my proud parents standing beside me at my award nights at uni. All my years designing, building and testing prototypes. All wasted.
These MCF men turned my ENTIRE LIFE into a LAUGHING STOCK. My life: ALL TO BE WASTED by these pathetic men who lorded over us. I worked hard FOR NOTHING while others lazed around.
Now we realise these MCF leaders were charlatans and hypocrites. They are the saddest, stupidest men alive: worshipping an unscriptural mantra.
I asked one of the perpetrators, who I used to count as a friend, in late 2016: What would you think if we told your daughter she could not complete her Dip Ed after her degree and instead trust God to get her a teaching job without a Dip Ed? And what is the point of you telling me about your kid's sports prowess or carpentry skills if any success can be turned on someone like you did to me?
Why celebrate any success for anyone for that matter?
And then he said: 'I would do it all again'.
Yep. That's who I lived with for more than 25 years.
Other esteemed elders, HF leaders and other pillars just sat and watched despite my begging them to help me and at least talk to the presbytery on my behalf:
David Hall Jnr
You abandoned me. Some said 'There is nothing we can do, it's not our accountability'. Or you pretended it was a situation of 'who to believe' even though I had told you the perpetrators back up my general claims. A few of you admitted it was terrible but you still said all you can do is accept the injustice, we can't talk to the presbytery (as if they were greater than God). You all ignored the Scriptures that say to 'take a witness with you'. Most of you were witnesses of MANY injustices yourselves (you shared them with me!). That is what I needed because the presbytery was arguing that 'they had never preached or acted out a harsh or incorrect word'! We all know the word was CULTISH back then.
None of you can see past the fact that this leadership has clearly become corrupt. Who cares what rules a delinquent leadership has set out before! It's time for justice for the LITTLE ONE. Nope. No rocking the boat. You care more about your positions in a corrupt, delinquent leadership team.
How sad. I counted you all as friends and brothers. But you have allowed yourselves to take on amoral, godless, selfish, brainless and gutless tendencies.
Read the parable of the Good Samaritan.
You men, brothers OF HIGH STANDING at MCF, I sought you out at last resort because I trusted you - you are the Pharisee who walked past. You let me down hugely. All my past friendship and obedience of you all, as you managed various portfolios over the years, was returned by treachery. Not ONE of you did a thing. I would have gone side-by-side with you to the presbytery to give you a character reference and outline any similar examples I knew of if it had been you asking me. You betrayed me after 30+ years.
When will you be moved by love and compassion rather than MCF law? When will you switch your spirits and brains back on? For your sakes and for the young and weak! Many of you are living without your children at church BECAUSE of the treacherous, looney and unwelcoming nature of MCF. Come to your senses men! Stand by Scripture, not Vic's selfish mantra!
I forgive all of you. I forgive everyone involved in this abomination. But I will not forget or release you of YOUR DUTY to make good.
MCF & BCF have become enemies of God, His word and mankind.
I am so sad for you and yours. I am familiar with "elder abuse" through an association with the SA Minister for the Ageing's advocacy service - which is now an international crime according to the United Nations.
You are very brave coupling your real name to this history. I use a pseudonym purely because I always have when online, not out of being scared.
In fact my real name is visible at my original website of eagles-lair.org - if you visit the subdomain of oldsite.eagles-lair.org which I quote extensively in my most recent post which is about heresy in the wider church.
You would know Jeff Hammond from when he was screwed by them on his return from Tentenna
I think perhaps we should talk so I can bring my long-ago online writings about "Immanuel" up to date?
Forgiveness as you have mentioned is CRUCIAL to getting hate and despair out of your system, my friend. Send me a PM if you wish, I have a good cheap mobile phone I can call you on, that is inclusive of calls
no dust so not flying backwards
Raining most of the day in SA
Most of the leavings at MCF occurred before the full onset of the 1993-2016 cultish behaviour so there is not much expression here of the sorts of things that happened to me. It really seems that almost everyone else at MCF is intermarried and that will keep them there no matter what Vic starts teaching next. In fact they have just begun teaching: (1) No expression of sonship ministries until after the 2nd coming (so just obey our administration leaders and that's all you need to do) and (2) Some strange re-interpretation of John 3. My MCF friends are all fine with this.
I do know of another dozen or so similar stories to mine here in Vic and in Qld. Lovely families reaching out to seniors described as 'unworthy'. Families forced to sell their brand new boat and brand new water sports gear because of 'idolatry' and then losing their kids who realized how nuts it was (imagine the kids' excitement at the new boat and gear . . and then having it all sold back because of a BCF-forced edict!). Men finding that they couldn't get a word in unless it was in Vic-speak, realizing that they were robbed of their own identity and manhood. Men forced to knock back promotions. Older couples told not to marry etc. Women totally shut down (I'll list here what they did to my wife for example). And some simply realizing it was a cult and getting out before they got hurt.
Why am I vocal? Because I wished my friends who had left 10-20 years earlier had told me WHY they left because I had been THINKING it for 20 years! I just bought the 'word was too hard for them' story BECAUSE they wouldn't tell us why. So I'm telling anyone who NEEDS to know, why I left.
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