In true Vic Hall form, he has taken an isolated passage in the bible (probably based on Eph 4:15) and turned a single phrase into an unwritten doctrine. On the surface, having a link or reference to the bible seems lend some legitimacy to the concept however a closer examination of the BCF doctrine of “Truthing in Love” reveals a much more complex and dangerous group mindset.
As with nearly every “special” doctrine that BCF has, the phrase and actions of “Truthing in Love” are nearly exclusively used to exert control over people.
BCF has a long track record of claiming that “they have a special Word” of a “special revelation” that has only been revealed to the Elders/Congregation Members of BCF and no other Christians or denominations in the history of Christendom.
The reality of “Truthing in Love” is as follows:
1. Some leaders, elders, family or church friends get together, single out and talk about a “Person of Interest”. Generally this talking is done behind the persons back, without the persons knowledge, and is based upon CF peoples observations and interactions with the Person of Interest and is also performed through the filter of BCF doctrine and teachings. (ie Groupthink).
2. The Person of Interest becomes aware that something weird is going on because all his/her usual church friends start behaving a little strangely around the person whenever they meet. Examples of this might be people being unusually curt or brief or dismissive in conversations or not as friendly, open and loving as has previously been the case.
3. Before too much longer The Person of Interest is confronted by one of the church leaders or “friends”, perhaps after a minor crisis, and then a whole ledger of wrongs and personal short comings, both past and present, is produced to The Person of Interest. In most cases this “ledger of wrongs” is greatly exaggerated and quite often completely factually incorrect. Remember the Ledger of Wrongs has been compiled by a secret hit squad behind the persons back and is nearly always based upon hearsay. But of course the Christian Fellowship is not really interested in facts or even about edifying a person, no, their whole focus is to bring the person down and control them.
The intention of confronting The Person of Interest is to point out all their faults and bring about a change (read – bring them more under the Elders control). This is done usually in a very blunt and accusing manner and is often extremely inconsiderate and has an element of vindictiveness in the way in which the whole of list of personal short comings. Truthing in Love is rarely done using the Fruits of the Spirit, most often quite the opposite.
At this point we should remember that the figure in the bible who is known as the “Accuser” is actually the devil/satan!! This gives us an inkling as to which camp the Christian Fellowship leaders possibly operate in.
It isn’t enough just to say “this is an issue, can you please fix it”. No, in true CF fashion, the knife must be sunk deep and quickly and is usually done with the intention of destroying the person emotionally, socially and reducing them to tears. In most cases the Person of Interest is in a state of complete shock, because not only are they traumatised by the original little crisis that caused them to seek the counsel of leaders and friends, but the people whom they thought they could trust have now betrayed them in a sense and, instead of providing loving caring support, these counsellors have virtually annihilated them as a person.
Another destructive tactic that is used by the CF leaders is to not allow the person time to think or respond to the List of Charges. The CF leaders just keep steamrolling the Person of Interest with new charges, quite often telling the Person of Interest not to speak because if they respond the POI is not listening to Gods Anointed leaders!
You can imagine the damage that is done to The Person of Interest. He/she came seeking help, love, advice, support and someone to listen to them but instead is given a spiritual flogging and receives accusations, condemnation, aggression and destruction.
A simple guide for us to follow is to look at what words, actions and intentions are involved.
Is it the Fruits of the Spirit? Love, Joy, Kindness, Gentleness, Patience, etc.
Or is a very different set of fruits being displayed by the Christian Fellowship participants?
What are people saying?
What actions are people doing?
Follow the money trail.
All these things will reveal the true intention and spirit that lies behind the Christian Fellowship unwritten doctrine of Truthing In Love.
The only thing that is true in this situation is that actions of the CF leaders are as far removed Godliness as East is removed from the West.
A true Christian counsellor will listen to a person, hear what the person is trying say, display the love and nature of Christ and always display the fruits of the spirit in all things – no exceptions.
A twisted counsellor will do the opposite of these things. Of course the above writings are just my personal experience. Please feel free to post about your thoughts and experiences and expand on this.
Clear, concise, and very much to the point, and based on real experience rather than theorizing or "Special Knowledge".
That "Special Knowledge" (aka 'We have a Word") is characteristic of Cults throughout time, and can be found in every religious set of beliefs in existence, not just Christianity. Even in Paul's time and for the first 150 years of the Christian faith, this "special Knowledge/Word" seeped in to corrupt the teachings of both Jesus and all the Apostles, not just Paul. This phase of Christian History is often referred to as the Battle with Gnosticism, and Vic Hall and his "Special Word" is one more example of how Gnosticism has never died and constantly seeks to damage the belief and faith of those who follow Jesus of Nazareth, and His teachings.
That process you describe of the destruction of CF members who fall foul of Vic and the Elders is characteristic of the coercive forces of "persuasion" found in authoritarian social systems, especially cultist groups. George Orwell described it so clearly in 1948 when he wrote "1984" based on what was happening in Stalinist Russia, and had similarly happened in Germany from 1933 under Hitler and the SS and the Gestapo. Under Mao and the Communist Revolution in China , especially during the "Great Leap Forward", this form of social betrayal was the norm. In the Catholic Church of the Middle Ages and early Renaissance this was how the Pope's power and terror was imposed on the faithful through the Holy Inquisition (i.e. asking THE questions), and supported by torture.
Since 1815 in America and the "Great Revival" which was supposed to be the overflowing of the Power of the Holy Spirit, the Christian Faith has been overwhelmed with both sectarianism and Cults claiming to have a "Special Word" usually associated with an individual who claims to have both special revelation and a unique relationship with "God" in all His personas. Vic Hall is just one of many claiming that "Special" relationship and Messenger status. Nothing particularly "Special" about Vic's "Word" other than that it is a grab bag amalgamation of at least 7 Heresies (of course it would have to be '7', as Vic is so entranced by the mythical magical numerological significance of '7') which he has cobbled together over the last 40 years, and plagiarized from out of Copyright material , but always unacknowledged. In his own way Vic is very little different to the recently deceased Charles Manson and his "Family" when it comes to being a cult figurehead/leader.
You're right, Faith, "Groupthink" is all the rage out there in CF land, and especially in the Samford Swamp, and it is interesting that the numbers right across the CF network continue to dwindle as Christian seekers break free of that burden of coercive Groupthink which Vic Hall, by way of Alex Wylie, brought into the CFs as the Messenger Movement, when Vic Hijacked the Wavell Heights Presbyterian Church.
I've really only scratched the surface of just how extensive and pernicious those processes of coercion can become in a group of sincere seekers of God's wisdom and faith, as you have led out in the situation in the CF network in talking so clearly about "Truthing in Love".
Stay safe and well.
Brings back recollections of a time in the 1990's when we were advised in Home Groups that we were required to write down our own personal history of everything that had ever happened in our lives (Pre/Post BCF).
I recall clearly thinking at the time - "This is Psychoanalysis", and thinking "I did not join the Church to be Psychoanalyzed".
I tried to go back and think of my childhood and began to write; but each time I started, I got frustrated and tore it up.
Eventually, I just ignored their directions and forgot about the whole thing.
Unfortunately, for those poor souls who submitted their writings to the elders, they were not to know that their experiences were being filed away to be used as firepower against them later on.
The whole thing is just so stupid to me now, a year later, that I am so embarrassed (and devastated) for being part of it for over 30 years.
It all hung on those doing the judging being at least mostly right and this would require completely supernatural knowledge. They taught us that elders and heads of homes just 'had this sight' automatically. And if they didn't, it didn't matter anyway because those under us were obeying marred headship so God would honour the obedience 'as unto the Lord'.
It's sort of almost right. But a million miles wrong too.
To actually put it into practice was soul destroying for everyone.
I beg any of you MCFers and BCFers to get out of the cultish thinking and back to the true gospel for your and your family's good.
The whole thing was corrupt from start to end and us plebs just suffered for years under it.
I lost the best 30 years of my life and I cannot blame myself except to say that I did early on notice that FEW of the good things I heard about MCF was evident in practice and LOTS of horrors were evident! But you tell yourself that nothing is perfect so you put up with it.
My primary present challenge is: how do I follow God now near-fanatically (because the disciples were fanatics) without succumbing to similar failings of people again? I can only imagine that the disciples would say their fanaticism was always evidenced by . . evidence (Christ's love, works, miracles and predictions coming true etc). But what about for us today? We see so little of this really. Why does God expect us to base our life on something almost without evidence?
Of course we have our devotional life but it's so hard to ever be whole hearted again after the life-sucking horrors of MCF. Feel free to help me.
After I left RFI/BCF, I was lost. Then, I finally found a new church where I felt sufficiently accepted, to cautiously open up, to trust again, to allow the healing hands of God, working through caring brothers and sisters in Christ, to touch me once more. There in that church I found the family of God - the REAL family of God... with REAL godly love, instead of the stupid judgmental/dictatorial pretensions that the xCFs and RFI like to preach and write about.
For the first half a year after I opened up, things seemed fairly ideal. However... I felt a barrier when it came to me trying to re-enter ministry work. I managed to gain some access - but it always seemed limited to outside the main Sunday service. Anywhere in Sunday, I was only limited to ushering. I spoke to the pastor and to the worship team leaders, and was given some keyboard playing duties in Sunday worship, but otherwise, I remained somewhat relegated to the sidelines.
Why was this so? It boiled down to one thing. A certain person in the church's administrative board, who also happened to be the worship team's director, felt threatened by my presence (didn't help that I was around his age, and also very fond of church). Though many of my church friends zealously recommended me to that person... and though I myself repeatedly expressed enthusiastic willingness to serve, I remained that way. Sidelined. You wouldn't believe it, but this went on for more than a full year, with the pastor seemingly oblivious to it!
Now... when such things happen, old wounds tend to open up and the bleeding begins anew. I began to feel rejected and downcast again. Anger and frustration began to simmer. Then I felt the same way as you, brother... as in, 'Why do I waste so much time in my life being so sincere and eager for service to the Lord? Why am I giving so much of myself when I find next to nothing in terms of appreciation for what I've done?'
God answered me... in the form of one of my former youths in Kuala Lumpur who also left KLCC (the RFI fellowship there) shortly after I left. He was sharing with me about what he'd learned in his new church's young adults class, and he shared with me about his most recent lesson - 'Called to A Life of Service'. He told me and gave me verses on how God has called all of us to serve Him... and how in doing so, we're not accumulating treasures here on Earth - we're doing so in Heaven. He also showed me a song by a very good Christian singer (that is, good before he turned homosexual), Ray Boltz - 'Thank You'.
His words hit me like a thunderbolt and when I went home, I felt horrible. All along I'd been serving, and due to the horrendous wounds that Vic 'the Vicious Hall' Hall had inflicted on me, they'd not only hurt me but they'd changed my way of thinking. I'd taught myself that I DESERVED better than BCF/RFI's nonsense, that it was my right to receive praises, high positions and glory just because BCF's evil head and his minions had robbed me of what I already had.
How wrong I was... I'd lost sight of the reason why we run the race. I'd lost sight of the finish line. I'd forgotten why we should all run the race with all our strength - with whole-heartedness. It's not because of the praise we receive. Not because we got trampled, so we should run for the gold medal so we can hit back at the tramplers.
No. We run... so that in the end, our dwelling in Heaven will be full of treasures not of this earth. Treasures that do not decay, that cannot be stolen.
So, I changed my attitude. I served with no more complaints (other than my appeals to the Lord via prayer)... and in October 2017, at long last, the pastor noticed that something was wrong. He himself had personally expressed interest in me leading worship - and yet the worship director seemed to be ignoring his hints. So, in October, I guess the pastor probably lost his patience... and issued a direct order to the worship director to include me into the team, and I've been leading regularly since then.
And now what? Did I take grimly joyful retribution on that hapless director? No... I just do what I should do. Lead with enthusiasm and zeal on the Sundays when it's my turn. Take it easy on my team - the musicians, the accompanying vocalist and the audio team - knowing that if God would not put a heavy yoke on me, I should likewise be easy on my team... and I've made good friends among the worship team for this.
So... Paul, in conclusion, let me say - sometimes, even in our new churches where we've settled in after the damage done, sometimes things may happen that can convince us that all our godliness is bringing nothing. That we're not getting anywhere... that we've now ended up sidelined. But brother - look to the finish line. And look to your left and right - we're all here. We're running with you. If you falter, we'll hold you up and slow down with you... because we want to finish the race together with you, so that we might all hear God say to us on that day, 'Well done, good and faithful servant!'
Strengthen up, Paul... we can all pull through this.
Luther's great revelation was that we can not do anything, Jesus has done it all for us. This frees us from having to think about ourselves and allows us to show His love to others. Concentrating on ourselves and what we need to do to please God leads to dark places...not just in Christianity.
Thank you for sharing your struggles with us. I've been thinking about how to answer because it has been a while since I left. Some triggers remain but overall life is pretty damn good!
One of the things that kept me sane after the madness of MCF was, as you have already expressed, getting back to the simplicity of who God is, what does it mean to follow Jesus - things like that. I did some study to gain a clearer understanding of what the church - the real one, not the craziness perfection, 5-fold ministry, Ephesian pattern one - was on about, how it operated etc. Church history was fascinating - nothing has changed really. BR has already alluded to the Gnostics who were alive and well in the first century and Victor H has well and truly continued their subversive, heretical and destructive teachings.
But there is simplicity in other things too. like just getting on with your life and doing things that ordinary people do. Catching up with family - that was a challenge. I think they thought I'd joined a nunnery or something! I got myself a job that I enjoyed and re-learned basic social skills so I could learn to get on with my workmates and be kind / sensible / friendly within boundaries to clients - that sort of thing. Travel, fix the house, do the garden ... which is where I was when one of our neighbours said not long we had left - how come you aren't at church in the afternoons anymore? So we told them and they were very supportive and we are all great friends now. We got to know a few more of our neighbours and now we have quite a good little network going at this end of our street where we look out for each other.
I stayed out of 'doing' anything in church for many years. Someone said that the number of years you've been in an abusive cult is the number of years it will take to get it out of your head and to actually leave it behind. I was in Immanuel / MCF for 18 years and it was for about that length of time after leaving I experienced things like triggers with names, scriptures or songs and anger when I saw someone from the cult as well as a total inability to talk about it or share anything of significance about it. In one of the courses I was doing I had to do a presentation about family trauma or something equivalent. I decided it was time that I needed to talk about cults - getting in, being there and getting out. It was 19 years after I'd left ... So maybe that theory is reasonably accurate.
I still don't do much in church. I enjoy the freedom of choosing what to do - or not - which means I've been able to try things that I wouldn't usually do - like helping to organise a fair trade market and fete! And do a series on a chronological run through the Old Testament. Variety is the spice of life, they say!
So basically my recipe for survival is to get on and do the things you probably would have done before the cult stole your brain and your life. Wrestle it back. It's the past you cannot change. Enjoy your future whatever it may bring.
Absolutely true about just getting on with life and re-learning basic social skills! I call it 'common decency'. We of course interacted in the past outside of church but - even when we thought we weren't doing it - we were JUDGING.
So it's relearning social skills without non-stop judging of others. We always lessened, in our minds, but probably in our body language, the contribution that anybody else could make.
I hope we can get over this before the time we were 'in' elapses. It was 33 years.
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