Editor's Comments on the Nigeria Report
The Geftakys Assembly ministry in Nigeria shows the same characteristics of abusiveness and undue influence over people as it does in the U. S.
Samuel Ochenjele has many times told the story of how he was introduced to the Geftakys ministry. He had been invited by an American go visit America to buy a projector and films to use in evangelism in Nigeria. Justice James Ogebe gave his blessing to this project with verses from Psalm 34. Verses eight through eleven say,
"O fear the Lord, ye his saints, for there is no want to them that fear him. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger, but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing. Come ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord."
Samuel was disappointed by the American, and was standing on a street corner in Chicago not knowing what to do. Along came Roger Grant, who was very happy to take him to his Assembly to meet George Geftakys.
Using the promises Justice James gave him from Psalm 34, Samuel would recount this story and say that God had miraculously guided him to Brother George, who indeed came to Nigeria to teach the Word of God and show them "the proper expression of the Heavenly Vision." And he helped the financially--"They that fear the Lord shall not want any good thing."
A scripture that is intended to encourage someone's faith is slightly twisted by the recipient as he tells the story later, to have been prophetic and a proof that what took place had been marvelously directed by God himself. This is what Robert Lifton calls "mystical manipulation". George Geftakys taught us all to do this. In fact, it may have been George who suggested this interpretation to Samuel and brought about the fulfillment of the prophecy by giving Samuel financial help and promising to come to Nigeria to teach the Bible.
When this story is told, the interpretation is so convincing that the rational facts are completely forgotten: These verses in a Psalm of David are applicable to all God's people. They were never intended to prophesy that Samuel Ochenjele would meet George Geftakys and bring the Geftakys ministry to Nigeria. In a developing country where elements of superstition are still strong, such mistaken mysticism finds a ready reception and a strong grip. We now know that the Geftakys ministry going to Nigeria brought pain and oppression to God's people through Samuel.
Notice that the CEFN was split and Samuel brought some of them under the authority of the Geftakys ministry. George Geftakys began his ministry in the USA and in Europe with this same tactic of taking over existing groups. See Background and Development of the Assemblies and Midwest and Tuscola History. Of particular note is the allegation by CEFN of misappropriation of funds by Samuel, an allegation that was raised again in the context of his own local assembly in Otukpo.
George Geftakys' offers of gifts and financial help came with a price tag. They were used to secure loyalty, extend his influence, enhance his reputation, etc. This is a common and well known element in the use of undue influence. It is called the "rule of reciprocity". It looks as though GG and Samuel refused to help Dr. Sunday with the customs fees because he was not going to allow them to take control of his clinic through monetary "gifts".
Who people may contact has been controlled by Samuel from the beginning--prohibitions against attending CEFN, against contacting the American Workers in the Geftakys ministry, against talking to people who leave the local Assembly, against the internet, etc. This is called milieu control. It is a well-documented characteristic of cultic groups. Samuel prohibiting the internet is another example.
In George Geftakys' view, the local Assembly must be a "lampstand of pure gold." Any impurity must not be allowed to remain. Samuel is using that concept against the woman married to a polygamist, and against Joshua, the brother guilty of adultery. This is an example of "doctrine over person", another characteristic of cultic groups. Instead of dealing with them as persons whose sins have been paid for by the blood of Christ, they are dealt with as objects, stains on the pure image of the group. The woman and her daughter who were sent away are another example.
The Assemblies teach that in order to have the "heavenly vision" and be a part of God's best, people must fellowship in the Assemblies; therefore to dismiss, suspend or excommunicate someone from the Assembly is to assign them to negative spiritual consequences. This is sometimes carried to an extreme, as it apparently was in the case of Joshua.
George Geftakys often spoke as Samuel did in "The Spirit of Offence". He used many scriptures that speak of God's judgment on the wicked. What he was doing, in effect, was cursing those people before the Assembly. (See The Story of Denise Stanford and Why the Irons Left for other examples.) This is another cultic characteristic. It is called " dispensing with existence." When the excommunicated person suffers adversity, the Assembly points to it as proof of their belief. The fact that others leave and prosper, such as Dr. Sunday Ochenjele, is ignored.
Unscriptural Authority is Exercised
Overall, it is seen that Samuel's ministry uses unscriptural authority just as George Geftakys did. Please consider the articles, Checks on Power and Authority in the New Testament, Robert Lifton's Criteria for Thought Reform Applied to the Assembly, and the articles in the 'Dynamics of High-Demand Churches' section of this website.