Posts Tagged ‘FCC’

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

In my 10yrs at FCC, 7yrs of which I was on their staff and the last 2yrs on their senior leadership team, I was exposed to a lot of their mind control practices.  Here is a list of the major mind control practices at FCC and its offshoots that I experienced.  I got saved in April 1995 and shortly after, as I started pondering the need for water baptism, the mind control lies started to begin.  The first thing I was taught in FCC was that “All authority is from God; therefore rebellion to authority is rebellion to God.”  This statement had many implications: 1. The leaders in the church are infallible and like God (Steve used this to get people to treat him as if he was God.  What he said was straight from God’s mouth.) This false teaching does not apply to anyone outside of the leadership of the church, i.e. Bill Clinton or Barack Obama. 2. You begin to ignore your parent’s input and that of others that once held a position of influence in your life, because they are not in the church leadership.  The leadership (Steve and the elders) take the place of your parents influence in your life.  3.  You will do anything for the leadership of the church including submitting to anything they request.  4. You will second guess and ignore your better judgment just to submit to the leadership of the church.  5. You begin taking the leadership’s statements and comments regarding your life as being the Word of God and therefore God’s plan for your life.  This enables the leadership to take the place of the Holy Spirit in your life.  6. You begin to obey leadership’s OPINION on non-moral issues in which they have no real authority to speak into.  7.  You obey leadership’s OPINION on moral issues that they are absolutely wrong on, i.e. telling the husband to get a vasectomy after having so many children. (Children are a blessing from the Lord, therefore why would you want to cut off that blessing?)

The truth is, “All authority is from God, but only God is infallible.  Man is not infallible and makes mistakes all the time.  No one can hear God for you, but you.  Leadership is not God and neither is Steve Michael Hall Sr, so don’t treat them or obey them like they are.  Another false teaching that is used for mind control and bondage is that FCC and its offshoots are the only churches that are doing Christianity biblically.  Therefore to leave is to jeopardize your own Christian walk and most likely your salvation as well as that of your children.  To leave means never to get sin out of your life because you do not have the wisdom and spiritual authority of the leadership to help you get free from the bondage that you are in.  This teaching leaves you fearful to go anywhere else.  It causes you to submit to any abuse, mistreatment, insults and threats.  Oh yes, threats were made about employment, events in my life, that of my wife and my children.  The fact of the matter is there are churches all over this globe that are doing things in a biblical manner.  The truth is there are a lot of churches out there doing things much better than FCC and its offshoots.  You will not lose your salvation and if anything leaving FCC sets you free from a lot of bondage and will enable you to walk closer with God.

The other major mind control lie that is taught and has the longest term damage is this (It is a two part mind control):  As a Christian your sin separates you from God and that you must work on getting rid of that sin to be closer to God.  This fallacy is combined with the over-spiritualization of sin/ improper behavior and the second mind control teaching that was just mentioned.  This teaching leads us to constantly strive to be free of any sin.  It causes us to constantly feel like we are far off from God and that the leadership is much closer to God than we are.  Therefore they are holier, wiser and had a direct connection to God that we didn’t.  (There was this fear that God would tell them about sin that you had committed.)  This belief leads you to the thought process of, the less sin in my life, the more good works I perform, the closer to God that I will be.  This is nothing more than living according to the Law of Moses, this is not a life lived by grace and is absolutely unbiblical, yet taught at FCC.    The truth is that Jesus is not far off.  He is by your side, yoked to you, staring at your pile of sin that is before you.  He looks at you with His arm around you and says, “Boy that is a lot of sin! Son when you are ready, we will tackle it together.”  This correct view leaves you relying on God’s strengths and abilities to live your life as opposed to living your life according to your own strength and abilities.

The final mind control practice used in FCC and the offshoots are used to control married couples and families.  Husbands and wives were told individually that if their spouse was having trouble with sin, that they were to go to the leadership to get help to set their partner free from the sin.  This led to couples who were unwilling to share their feelings and thoughts with one another because they both knew the other one would go to the leadership, resulting in getting rebuked.  Times of correction and rebuking at FCC and its offshoots were intense and harsh.  This harsh correction led to a fear of correction.  Couples were therefore not honest with one another for fear of correction.  Their relationship was not a safe zone where husband and wife could be honest with one another.  They instead put on a façade of everything being fine.  Never being real with one another because they knew they couldn’t trust each other.  This weakened the couple not allowing them to overcome the oppression they were under.

These are the major mind control practices taught and used on a regular basis at FCC and its offshoots.  This is not all of them, but some of the major ones.  I made this list to help assist those in separating the good from the bad that they were taught and to help overcome condemnation.  On that particular point, conviction ends at the point of repentance, any bad feelings after repentance is condemnation.

Please feel free to add to this list.  I know that I did not cover everything.