Getting Free From FCC

Posted: September 8, 2011 in Getting Free
Tags: , , , , ,

As a former member of FCC, I recall feeling trapped in a maze of seemingly right sounding church rules and behavior, but knowing inwardly that I would NEVER be able to be good enough unless I was willing to surrender my personality and free will in order to be accepted by “the leadership.” Somehow I knew…and you know too, that this is not the way Jesus intended the church to be.

One of the most liberating truths that I have ever received is the pure difference between Religion and true Christianity. Religion is; at its very root a very dangerous system to bring us into conformity with a belief about who God is and his guidelines for what are right and wrong ways of living. True Christianity on the other hand at its very root, is a lifestyle that has come to peace with the fact that our acceptance of the finished work of Jesus Christ is what brings us into right relationship with God. There is a world of difference between these two things.

If one wonders what causes the joy and wonder of our Christian experience to fade while a member at FCC, it is the wrong expectation that our performance of doing “right” things will produce a greater measure of favor with God. Whenever one must perform in order to be accepted or favored by God, there comes with it the fear- based dread that somehow, we must continue to jump through the “performance” hoops and, that we may do something, or fail to do something that will displease God ( or the leadership) and remove his covenant of blessing from over our lives. This flies in the face of Biblical Christianity.

Religion says, “I obey God and therefore, I am accepted by Him” True Christianity says, “I am accepted by God and therefore, I obey Him.” The drudgery of “works based righteousness” within the FCC system of religion forces a person to continually seek to “do” the right things and in “doing” we are righteous before God. But this becomes the basis for a person’s salvation. If you don’t do right things continually, you lose your standing as a “blessed” person. This is Phariseeism at its finest. The Pharisees were a strict sect of Jews who sought to keep every portion of the law. Jesus was at odds with their religious “self salvation” because it removed grace and substituted works as the basis for right standing with God.

One of the reasons that FCC separates a member of the congregation from his or her family is sadly due to the fact that if an objective person could see the works based Phariseeism at work within the organization, they would immediately identify it for the fear based fraud that it is…and that is simply something that a Pharisee cannot have…objective observation of its self salvation works project.

As a member of FCC you need only ask yourself the following questions.

1. Why do you serve God? If your answer has anything to do with fear of losing ones “blessing” or salvation, your service to God is done out of fear and not love. In fact, love based service to Jesus has NOTHING to do with fear at all! “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.” I John 4:17-19. Fear of punishment is not the same as the Fear of the Lord.

2. Do you feel yourself tense up when you must meet with a leader or elder? Do you feel yourself with restless anticipation or sleeplessness when there is a meeting scheduled with one of these people? Do you fear rebuke, censure or worst of all, that you could be “disfellowshipped if you do not conform to FCC rules? If so you are serving out of fear of man, and not the love of God.

3. Do you feel that if you left FCC, you would be outside of God’s will for your life…or put another way, does your confident salvation walk with Jesus Christ depend upon remaining within FCC? If so, you have substituted FCC for Christ. The overwhelming characteristic of Jesus is that he gives LIBERTY. Liberty is our ability to choose among many options. If your choices have been limited by a Pharisaical devotion to rules or “right” behavior within FCC, then you do not have liberty. God does not EVER call us to a particular CHURCH…he calls us to relationship with HIM. He gives each and every believer the freedom and the Liberty to choose where he or she will have fellowship. Phariseeism demands that “Our church is where God called you, and he will tell the leadership if you are to leave and go elsewhere.” This spiritual piracy has taken your liberty captive. It is insidious and it is NOT Biblical.

Ask yourself another question…Is there any other reason you should serve Christ other than fear of displeasing Him or being out from under his “blessing.” Can you imagine serving Jesus out of simply pure devotion to Him, because he is worthy and gave EVERYTHING for you and NOT because if you break a rule he will stomp you? Those of us who are now outside of the FCC stranglehold have discovered that Jesus actually likes us. He looks at our lives and the Holy Spirit wants to set us free from fears and worries and works. He wants you to discover that there is a life free of buzzwords and false spirituality. Freedom in Christ is far easier than FCC would have you believe.

Timothy Keller in his book, “The Prodigal God” says, “The story of Jesus tells us that our root problem is not just failing in our obediance to God [not being good enough…] but in RELYING on our obedience [being really, really good] to save us. Therefore, the gospel is a ‘third way’– neither religion NOR irreligion. The religious person may say, “I am doing the right things that God commands” and the irreligious person may say, “I decide what is right and wrong for myself.” But both ways reject Jesus as Savior (though they may revere Him as ‘Example’ or ‘Helper’). Both ways are strategies for self-salvation– both actually keep control of their own lives.”

The bottom line dear friend at FCC is simply this. It is not the hidden dark sins that FCC leadership needs salvation from; rather, it is salvation from their damnable good works in which they trust. True repentance is not merely turning away from doing bad things, as important as that is…but it is also repenting for the pride of doing all the right things for the wrong reasons.

“It is only when you see the desire to be your own Savior and Lord -lying beneath both your sins and your moral goodness- that you are on the verge of understanding the gospel and becoming a Christian indeed. When you realize that the antidote to being bad is not just being good, you are on the brink. If you follow through, it will change everything: how you relate to God, self, others, the world, your work, your sins, and your virtue. It’s called the new birth because it’s so radical. (p. 78) Jesus Christ, who had all the power in the world, saw us enslaved by the very things we thought would free us. So he emptied himself of his glory and became a servant. He laid aside the infinities and immensities of his being and, at the cost of his life, paid the debt for our sins, purchasing us the only place our hearts can rest, in his Father’s house… Knowing this will transform us from the inside out… Why wouldn’t you want to offer yourself to someone like this? Selfless love destroys the mistrust in our hearts toward God that makes us either younger brothers or elder brothers… We will never stop being younger brothers of elder brothers until we acknowledge our need, rest by faith, and gaze in wonder at the work of our true elder brother, Jesus Christ.” (p. 87-89 The Prodigal God)

We love you…and are here as our safety net. Contact any of us and we will help you.

Doug Pacheco

  1. Scott Moore says:

    Doug, this is a great post. Something that helped me tremendously was to ask myself some simple questions. If you just take a minute to step back and ask yourself some of these questions and remember that Jesus didn’t condemn people for asking questions, it can be very revealing and helpful. I was afraid to question anything for a long time, but once I did and I learned that God did not judge me for asking, I began my first steps towards FREEDOM.

  2. Bethany says:

    I am so thankful to find a website dedicated to this particular topic! I attended one of the churches listed on your Faith Christian Church and it’s offshoots for two years in Fort Collins. In that short amount of time I had changed from a confident Christian woman to someone who questioned everything I did. I was no longer Person (Jesus) Driven, but performance driven. Thankfully the Lord opend my eyes to the church leadership’s true colors through a series of events and I was able to leave before more mind control damage was done. I am continuing my journey of Freedom in Christ in a solid, Biblical church. It is not what I’ve done, but what He has done for me. I am so THANKFUL to see your courage in putting up this site. Praying for all those who are still in bondage – if you are reading this and still attending FCC or it’s off shoots, don’t discount this web site. Ask questions. Pray to your Savior and He will show you the way you should walk.

  3. Anonymous says:

    It was truly the Lord that led me to your site – its has provided a lot of encouragement that I was not alone in my feelings and the things I experienced. I will certainly pass along your site – Thank you!

  4. Lindsay says:

    Why I hate religion but love Jesus…wonderful you tube video. Would Jesus be allowed in your church?

  5. Padre Dave says:

    By the grace of God my son reached out to me when he realized that the “friendship” was getting pretty invasive and intrusive and the theology he was hearing was not consistent with Luther’s Small Catechism.

    We are in the extraction process now, so please PRAY for us. As a campus Pastor and Professor for 30 years I ran into the Boston Church of Christ, almost exactly like this group. It’s a pretty well worn formula for removing all of the work of Christ on the Cross, making Him an accessory to their works-righteousness.

    Thank you Lord for our quick discernment. I will not stop praying for those vulnerable students being stalked and controlled. Please Lord, free them NOW

    • Grounded says:

      Dave, please keep updating here.Thanks and God bless.

      • ljp29 says:

        Thank you Father John for sharing. Extraction is painful and freeing. I remember feeling crazy and not trusting my own decisions. I was programmed to believe I could not make my own decisions and if I did I would surely be making an incorrect one. What helped me most was validation by those I did trust and respected, and by the holy spirit that I was not alone. I read whatever I could get my hands on regarding similar experiences of this type of church. I heard the same fears, shame, and validation of what was an unhealthy church. I am so thankful for this site. Unfortunately, and fortunately, this experience still brings up old fears and difficulties that stem from the abuse, but fortunately this is not who I am but a part of my story and without it, it is quite possible I would not understand who Jesus is. Praying for your family.

    • Anonymous says:

      Our son is deeply involved with FCC at the U of AZ. We are very concerned about the radical changes in his personality and behavior over the past year and a half and want to remove him from that environment. I would most appreciate any insight you gained when removing your son from his church environment. Unfortunately, our son does not see any danger signs within FCC and is talking about becoming a minister. We need help.

  6. Anonymous says:

    To tell you the truth, the leader that has disciples me that is also a minister in cornerstone has revealed to me his shortcomings and to let me know the Christian walk is not a perfect one. I think you all have to realize that you can’t tear down God’s announced. You made a website against the church, warning who exactly? What is your purpose? I have considered everything you said and I do practice discernment, in the bible it says go to the person in which you have the problem with, if that doesn’t work, bring someone with you the next time. If that doesn’t work talk to a person of higher council. It seems like you all are going off of hearsay. Meaning you speculate the reason why something is the way it is, then gossip about it to others without proof. I’mpretty sure God did not tell you to create this website. He is righteous. I would just like to tell you that this site is a distraction to those who want to hear from God and have a church body to be involved with. Everything I have heard the pastors preach have come from only God’s word. Your site reminds me that there is a diseaver still lurking around, seeking whom he may devour.

  7. Anonymous says:

    To anonymous: Just to clarify. Many of the folks writing on this page and the Facebook page (Former FCC Members and Its Offshoots) were actually on staff and many were on the pastoral teams in the various churches. None of this is actually hearsay but is actually first hand accounts of what has gone in these places and that continues to go on. We are making a stand for what is Biblically sound and right. Honestly, numerous people have contacted us because they were afraid their instances of abuse that are CURRENTLY going on were isolated incidences. Now, they no longer feel alone and have scriptural basis to make a stand themselves. Best of luck to you.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you for explaining, I hope God reveals to me what I should know and I wish you all the best of luck.

  8. Jeff Phillips says:

    Anonymous (from April 1st and 4th),

    I was associate pastor of Cornerstone from 2005 to 2007, and I knew Bill and Pete for 15 years before that.

    I believe that they think they are doing and teaching the right things. The problem is they have never received proper training or education on how to interpret the Scriptures. I can’t tell you how many teachings are from pulling verses out of context and stringing them together, or just flat out misunderstanding what is written. I would love to talk to you and give you another perspective on what the Bible says about authority. I really had to dig deep when I disagreed with Bill. I didn’t go off half-cocked. I really looked into what the Bible says about authority, obedience, etc. Another perspective on those things would be healthy for you. You can make up your own mind.

    Also, I’d love to tell you my story of how I left the church. The Bible says it is wisdom to hear both sides of a story before making a judgment (Prov 18:13, 17).

    Just email me if you want to hear any of this. I will send you my phone number.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Your insight and explanations are outstanding. The word of God is very powerful, and misinterpretations and misuse can be very damaging. I was a member of Maranatha Campus Ministries, and what I have read on this site sounds very similar to my experience. God Bless you and your fellow believers who have put up this site. I admire the spirit and purpose for which you have done it.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Maranatha Campus Ministries was the “forerunner” (pun intended) of Faith Christian Church. When Maranatha dissolved, the Tucson fellowship became Faith Christian Church. What you are describing is exactly how Maranatha operated. My husband and I attended for a short time in the early 80s. Run and don’t look back…they are a damaging cult!

  11. Alex P. says:

    I remember when I first came on this site to defend the offshoot in which i am currently getting away from. During my period being at the church in tampa, I have been seeing a lot of unforgiveness, mockery, and malice. For instance, when someone would leave the church and I would ask someone else where they went; I would receive the answer “oh, they’re doing their own thing” and “whatever”. I would never hear them say, well they have left us and we just need to pray for them that they will stay on the path of righteousness, or something to that effect. I also felt myself sacrificing my time to spend on priorities to do “church related” things, and felt if I didn’t conform to what everyone else in the church was doing that there would be a problem. For instance, I was on the ushers team and I couldn’t be in attendance every week because of other commitments. I went and spoke to a leader about it, and they basically told me I wasn’t fulfilling my commitments, I was unwise, and maybe I should quit the team. I was displeased with this answer and quite frankly disheartened. I went and called another usher leader to try to work out my schedule. They didn’t reply back to me until I was called into a meeting. They even told me when I approached them before church, that It couldn’t be discussed at the moment and “thank you for joining the team”. It obviously had already been discussed as I didn’t let on what I wanted to talk about. During the mini-meeting my side of the story wasn’t accounted for, and I was blamed for the sequence of events that transpired with the other leader. I was also informed about seniority, the reason why some of the ushers did not have to serve every week like I had to. There is more to that story, if you would like to hear. I felt at that moment that I was in a dictatorship, where my thoughts didn’t matter and that the leadership could never be wrong in its intentions. Now, I have come to the conclusion that my walk with God is being hindered by staying in this organization and that it is time for me to take my leave. If I wanted to associate with such ill-hearted people, then I would have just stayed in the world. I never thought that I would be one of the people who has had to deal with something like this. My parents had warned me and persuaded me to leave and find somewhere else to attend, .I saw all the signs from various people in various situations including this site. Right now, I am currently in a dilemma. How do I take my exit? I am currently in the process of leaving the usher’s team, but I am in such things as covenant groups. I know that I am not to blame, and that God only expects me to obey him. With that being said, any suggestions?

  12. ljp29 says:

    Alex, congratulations on making a very difficult, but healthy decision. To be clear, are you asking for suggestions regarding step out of activities or the church completely? Do you live with guys in the church? Once you make the decision to step down from “leadership” roles, it will become probably one of two things, you will be spoken to and “rebuked” or you will be ignored and separated from the other members. God is your best friend and will never leave you nor forsake you. Lean on him and if you have “outsides” that you are close to and are healthy lean on them. You will make it through this. As far as stepping out and how to do it. Well, you could be honest and speak to someone about your concerns, or you could be honest with yourself, not share you reasons for step down (your right to privacy), you have to decided what is best for you in the situation. If it is only to change someone else, good luck, haven’t been able to change a soul myself, oh but I try 🙂

  13. Alex, I used to be the associate pastor of Cornerstone. I know all the players there well. Email me if you’d like to talk. I’d be glad to help you in any way I can.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Hi Alex, I agree that you should contact Jeff Phillips, listed above, but allow me to give you the best wisdom I have ever received. during my same dilemma of how to “exit” I recognized that the mind control to “submit” to the elders was so prevalent, and hence, would prevent them from hearing me and my reaasons for leaving, that I exercised my personal initiative, gathered my family and LEFT…I asked no permission. I was slandered and to this day, have a sister still trapped in this terrible mind control along with her husband and at least her daughter…who is in leadership. This is FCC’s defense…slander, accusation and control. In all love and respect to you, I suggest you leave immediately. Make a plan, a location, seek legal advice if necessary and GO… your friend, Doug Pacheco

  15. yo mama says:

    Doug you left cuz you were boinking someone right?

  16. Excellent Web page, Carry on the good job.

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