An MTT team visited Seattle in 1991. A Geftakys Assembly began. Mike Glesener and Russ Pittman were the leaders. Tim G., David G., Jim H., the Zach's, and other Geftakys leaders visited Seattle and Spokane quite often.
The following correspondence took place with Russ P. of the Seattle Assembly after the Irons took over the website from Brent T. Russ's previous correspondence with Brent is published in the Department of Corrections 2002.
Russ P.: I just wanted to say I really like what you’ve done with the website. I haven’t been back to see it for some time. Having a chance to look around again, I think it is very appropriate. God bless you.
Russ wrote again several months later, giving some details on the continuing Seattle Assembly:
October 28, 2003: It has been a while since I've looked at the site or kept in touch. I would like to share some of the things that have been happening here in Shoreline (Seattle). We are a pretty small group right now, just like you posted - just a few families and a couple individuals who come out here and there.
We continue to meet despite our previous association with George's ministry and despite the challenges facing us, because we believe God has put us together, has used us to affect many lives, has given us the desire to continue, and has given us the support of local churches and ministries who also have a desire to magnify the name of Jesus Christ, reach souls for Christ, and equip believers who seek to walk with Him.
Some may well be justified to question our wisdom, but with much prayer and consideration we are trusting God to grow this church in a way that is meaningful to Him. We are not seeking to reform, but that God would raise up something new.
We have not severed ties with everybody, desiring to maintain our unity in Christ and for the purpose of prayer, though there are some who I could not visit now with a good conscience because I fear George would be teaching at their meetings and because of the (rumored) manipulative behavior (speaking only from what I've heard).
Some of the changes around here regarding our meetings are the order, emphasis, music, preaching, leadership. Generally, we have fewer meetings and more family time, more interaction with other churches & ministries. We still use the Hymns & Spiritual Songs books as a base, but are learning together some of the newer worship songs.
One of the great things happening is partnering with new ministries who are making a local impact on the neighborhoods here such as Mom's In Touch, Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF), and a couple of local churches. Namely, with the help of CEF, we now have a Kids Bible Club on an elementary school (unheard of in liberal Seattle). Also, our kids on their own initiative have a Biblical Topic & Prayer Time at the Junior High. Family time has been great.
The biggies in my life personally that God has I believe fully delivered me from are in removing a prideful elitist attitude toward other Christians, putting an extreme emphasis on the "pattern" rather than focusing on Christ, people, love, and evangelism, and not seeking the fellowship and wisdom of brethren outside George's circle.
Things are going well, but as you know we need your prayer and encouragement. Your input is welcomed. May you stand with us in this endeavor.
In His love,
October 28, 2003
The editor replied to Russ, inquiring where they stood on several matters, particularly George's teaching on the second death. Russ replied that in Seattle they had not heard that teaching.
Russ, November 15, 2003: Thanks for following up. God is full of mercy and His grace is more than abundant towards us. Do keep us in your prayers for the teaching and preaching. We are carefully evaluating what we have taught and have been taught. I do wish to dispel any fears about our teaching. Our focus most recently has really been back to the basics: the person and work of Christ, growing in our personal relationship with Him, faith, grace, prayer, the word of God, life issues, evangelism, etc.
Regarding being hurt by the second death, I personally have never heard that taught by anyone in any of the different Assemblies I have been to. I certainly do not agree that a Christian will be hurt by the second death. Maybe this was said in some lecture somewhere but my ears have never heard it.
Also we have never taught there was a need to perform for God to gain His approval. I am convinced that as a wretched sinner what could I possibly do to please Him in my own efforts? Our faithfulness does not merit God's sanctifying work, its all by His grace. This isn't a new teaching for us.
We have always taught and believed that our righteousness and our sanctification is solely based upon faith in His finished work upon the cross achieving for us what we never could for our selves. The idea that we believe and taught that the inheritance, glory, rapture, overcoming, the kingdom, or the bride of Christ is meritorious is absolutely erroneous. It is ALL by faith. We have always maintained this here. God does not reward our self efforts, He rewards our faith. Also, we do not merit His grace by our faith either, He chooses out of His abundant love and according to His good will to accept our faith.
However, the Bible does teach that a believer will suffer loss for choosing to live a disobedient life in unbelief (1 Cor 3:13-15), but again the issue is faith and not works, and rewards, not salvation. If we trust the Lord, we will enjoy the blessings that His grace brings into our lives. If we choose to not trust the Lord, then we will experience the consequences of that as well (Gal 6:7 - Do not be deceived God is not mocked, what ever we sow, that shall we reap.)
That doesn't mean a believer will end up in hell, be thrown out of the kingdom of God, or hurt by the second death. It does however have baring upon our enjoyment of certain God selected rewards and privileges that quite frankly we don't yet even have a clue of what they really are. The reward is not based upon our works, it's all by faith.
I have read some of Steve's articles refuting the concept of the inheritance being confused with rewards but I think he's got some things wrong about what we really view as a reward and what is a gift. I know he was involved with George's ministry for many years but I think some things must have gotten a little fuzzy.
We can get into semantics and argue about whether or not rewards are a part of our inheritance, but the simple principle is the same: If we walk with the Lord, there are rewards that we will enjoy; if we don't, there are certain rewards we will miss out on. It's not based upon our works, it's based on faith.
On this issue in particular I suspect there are some Reformed Church interpretations assumed as being the theologically correct interpretations of which I may not agree with, as do several other major evangelical denominations. I am currently studying this topic carefully and am open to what you would have to say about this, as my desire is not to cling to any preconceived notions but to honestly understand what the scripture truly says about these things.
Many of the issues here, I believe, were not so much doctrinal in nature, but issues of the heart - arrogance, hypocrisy, pride, which prevented us from walking in the light and the love which we ourselves taught even as Christ Himself said. Therefore because of a self-centered preoccupation, the emphasis was upon on ourselves instead of on Christ. Its amazing how the Word of God has power to bring us to center so to speak and cause us to be focused on His priorities rather than somebody else's as we trust God to soften our heart.
Anyways, God is doing great things here. Keep us in your prayers.
The Seattle Assembly disbanded in 2005.
Brent commented in June 2007, when the correspondence was posted here. He says he feels badly taking issue with things that were said a long time ago, but he hopes discussion of the issues will be enlightening to folks.
Brent asserts that Assembly teaching in regard to practical matters, such marriage, was definitely implemented in the Seattle and Spokane Assemblies. He cites evidence that the Seattle "saints" were certainly exposed to George's doctrinal teaching in seminars and tape ministry.
Note, however, in Russ's two letters that the concern uppermost on his mind was the heart attitudes of the people, not the doctrinal issues raised by the editor. The editor has heard other former Assembly members express a similar lack of conscious awareness of George's teaching on "the second death" of believers. It would be interesting to hear what others have to say. Here are Brent's observations:
Brent T.: Tim G., David G., Jim H., various Zach's, and other heavyweight Geftakys followers visited Seattle and Spokane quite often. I went there on an MTT myself. So the Seattle Assembly was actively supported from headquarters.
I can tell you, without a doubt and with certainty, that orthodox Geftakysism was taught and followed in Seattle. The harshness of Assembly marriages was definitely practiced. Just ask Troy A., and his ex-wife Lisa.
The Seattle Saints were famous for driving to the seminars in Fullerton, all packed into trucks and vans. They would drive straight through, and straight home after the last meeting. That kind of dedication doesn't jive with the idea that they never had a "clear understanding" of George's teaching." The tape ministry alone would be enough to indoctrinate someone. Russ may never have had a clear understanding, and if that's the case, I envy him.
Ed.: Someone else sent some comments on this, and Brent added some further comments after reading Russ's posts more carefully. Both are refuting my assertion that maybe Seattle didn't have a "clear understanding of George's teaching."
They are right, and I have amended my statement to clarify that what I was referring to was specifically George's teaching on the second death and "overcoming", nothing else. But even regarding the second death teaching, they cite good evidence that it was generally understood in the northwest Assemblies, and Russ was apparently an exception.
Karey commented on June 11, 2007, that she agrees with Brent 100%. Arcata got itinerant preachers and hung on every word. They wanted to be MORE because they were further away. She says she would be willing to believe that maybe not everyone heard all the teaching, but, "The main point, the yeast in the bread, so to speak, oh yeah, it was there in spades. I'm sure there were differences between Arcata and Seattle, but there has been, and continues to be, fallout from GG, even Arcata. So...the potential was there for Seattle, too. Whatever Russ heard, well, as I said, I'm with Brent. I'm envious if he got away unscathed. "
Brent T., June 11, 2007: As is my habit, I responded very quickly when I read the post about Russ P's correspondence. While I stand by everything I said in that email, there is something I missed that I think bears mention. The following is a quote from Russ in 2003:
Family time has been great. The biggies in my life personally that God has I believe fully delivered me from are in removing a prideful elitist attitude toward other Christians, putting an extreme emphasis on the "pattern" rather than focusing on Christ, people, love, and evangelism, and not seeking the fellowship and wisdom of brethren outside George's circle. Things are going well, but as you know we need your prayer and encouragement. Your input is welcomed. May you stand with us in this endeavor.
The suggestion that perhaps George's teaching wasn't clearly understood in Seattle is not valid, unless we agree to limit our definition to intellectual understanding only. Using Russ's own words:
George taught spiritual elitism---Russ practiced it. The fact that he expresses remorse in his email indicates that while he wasn't intellectually aware of George's teaching and influence, the lessons were well learned and internalized.
George taught an "extreme emphasis on the pattern." Russ practiced this. Certainly this isn't a common evangelical doctrine. It is all GG.
George was completely against outside influence of any kind, let alone "fellowship and wisdom of brethren outside George's circle." Again, Russ's understanding of George's teaching and preferences are perhaps far deeper and clearer than he might realize. At least he recognizes that he was isolated inside "George's circle."
Speaking personally, one of my biggest challenges since leaving George's ministry has been having to face the fact that I have wrong, even dangerous ideas, about many important doctrinal issues. These wrong ideas, sadly, are not confined to the intellectual realm, but were well established in my day to day life. The negative effect they had on every single relationship I had can only be fully understood by someone who has "been there."
I feel bad about discussing Russ's email from several years ago. However, it does bring up some enlightening issues that could very well help someone put the pieces together. I am hopeful that the recent "unrecognition" of George by Riverside and Pasadena might stimulate a few curious souls to read the website.