By Chuck Miller. Also see Chuck's biography.
There have been any number of posts to various bulletin boards as well as to this site concerning the Leading Brothers in Assemblies around the country. Some of these men have "stepped down" publicly, while others have simply assumed a position of non-leadership (whether temporary or otherwise is yet to be seen).
Then there are some who have continued in their role as "leaders" on the basis of claiming or assuming non-complicity with the events surrounding the "ex-communication" of George and David Geftakys.
I won't address any of my comments to those Assemblies who still receive George and refuse to hear against him. They are more to be pitied than censured since they are wallowing in self-deception and God alone can reach them. They are the blind leading the blind and will all fall into the pit.
In virtually none of these aforementioned scenarios has there been evidence of there being very much, if any, consideration given to the scriptural qualifications for church leadership as outlined by Paul, Peter and Titus in their letters to the churches.
The question that each of these men should be asking themselves is, "What qualifications did I have for becoming a leader in the church of the Lord Jesus Christ?"
If we were to be honest, the only qualification any of us had was that we were chosen by George Geftakys, according to his qualifications for his church. And George's qualifications were based upon a willingness to place oneself under his authority.
In some cases, such as my own, it was that, plus a matter of expediency in the process of George taking over an existing gathering of believers. Since the little gathering in Omaha had been raised up in our home, as God had led, it would have been a bit cumbersome for him to have not included me in the ones he had selected for leadership in his newly attained "Assembly."
It was not a matter of spiritual maturity. I was no more qualified to be a leader than were any of you. I was, indeed, a Leading Brother in the church of George Geftakys, but I held no such distinction in the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.
But lest you might suppose that you were, nevertheless, spiritually mature even before being selected by George -- think about it - would a spiritually mature brother have been taken in by George's deceptive teaching about what came to be known as "church government?"
Would a spiritually mature brother remain silent when confronted with unscriptural practices, double standards, and even blatantly evil conduct? Would a shepherd of the flock stand by silently and tolerate the sheep being abused and lorded over by one who called himself "the Lord's Servant?"
Were we shepherds or mere hirelings, having been appointed by George, not Christ, to suit his purposes, not Christ's? And weren't we at least a wee bit proud to have been placed above the rest of the saints? And didn't we savor, at least a wee bit, being called "Leading Brother" even while knowing that Jesus abhorred titles?
Didn't we readily accept the deception that, having been chosen by George, we had therefore been chosen by God? Didn't we accept the lie that, even if we were in error, we were "untouchable" and above reproof from any of the saints? Spiritual maturity or spiritual blindness? Were we in God's hand or Satan's?
I too "stepped down" as a Leading Brother, but spiritually, in God's eyes, I never had been a leader, so the public act was merely an inadvertent acknowledgement of what Christ had never ordained.
So it is with the rest of those whom George had designated for the title. It's time to start being honest with yourself -- you were never qualified in accordance with Christ's standards, and, perhaps, may never be.
I will say, however, that those who have "stepped down," either publicly or privately, have exhibited at least a small measure of maturity that Christ seeks for those in his church -- each and every member of His body.
To those who choose to remain in "leadership" positions, I would have to ask, "On what basis did you become a leader, and on what basis would you continue?"
On what basis did you promulgate the rationale of leaders being immune from criticism or reproof? On what basis did you choose to ignore Paul's instruction, "Do not receive an accusation against an elder EXCEPT ON THE BASIS OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES?" (1 Timothy 5:19)
An elder in the church of George Geftakys may have been justified in ignoring such instruction, but one in the church of the Lord Jesus Christ enjoyed no such privilege.
To those who are still gathering as an Assembly, nominally or otherwise, I would only suggest that you consider what it is that you are seeking? What is it that binds you to this fraudulent church. Why would you want to retain anything of the sterile "liturgy" (for that is exactly what it is) or the practices of the Geftaky's church.
Oh, I'm sure there will be some who will posture themselves on the timeworn cliché, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water." Have you considered that this baby was a child of the devil himself?
Were these scrupulously orchestrated meetings led by the Holy Spirit, or were they orchestrated by Leading Brothers who acquiesced to the instruction to interject with a prayer when there were too many songs or to interject with a song when there were too many consecutive prayers?
Was it the Holy Spirit leading us to deny someone partaking of the Lord's supper when we deemed them as unworthy, based upon the standard of the church of George Geftakys?
Did Jesus attempt to reform the practices of the Jews in the synagogues? No -- he instituted the church under a new covenant. Should we attempt to reform that which was never of God to begin with? Can we, by any stretch of the imagination presume that God was "surely in our midst."
The George Geftakys Assemblies have defiled the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ and for having been a part of it, you will have to bear a stigma with believers and unbelievers alike, perhaps for your entire life.
For those who continue to meet, have you considered the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ to unbelievers as well as other believers? Is that of so little importance to you that you would consider continuing to meet in a manner that would even have the appearance of evil with outsiders?
But rather than be dogmatic in asserting that Christ can't reform old Assemblies, let me pose a few questions to those who choose to attempt to do so.
Considering the only thing of importance -- the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ:
Wouldn't it be better to err in exercising too much caution, than to err in assuming that you are now spiritually mature enough to discern the good from the bad?
Would you err by putting aside the old, and simply getting humbly before Him, whose church it is, and praying "Lord Jesus, we know nothing as we ought. Please forgive us for our blindness and guide us and keep us from error as we study your word. We desire nothing save pleasing you by obedience to your word."
Would not Jesus honor such a prayer? Would not the Holy Spirit reveal the truth to those who seek it with their whole heart? Would there be some semblance's of the "old" that Christ would redefine and rightly establish? I believe so.
Some would say, "But God hasn't led me to leave," or, "God hasn't led me to step down," To them I would ask, "What must God do to cause you to flee from the evil He has so blatantly exposed? How much must He do to convince you that you are not, and have never been, an elder in His church?
What excuse will you give at His Judgment Seat? Will you try to deceive your own children by refusing to acknowledge before them your own complicity in the sorry events that led to the exposure of the entire ungodly system that you helped to perpetuate?
We have a merciful and forgiving God who forgives those who repent. Will you do so today?
Chuck and Mary Ann Miller and their nine children were a Roman Catholic family in Omaha, Nebraska. In 1974 at the age of 47 Chuck became a Christian. Most of his children followed him into the faith and very soon a small church began meeting in their home. This gathering was soon taken over by George Geftakys and his disciples.
George Geftakys horrifically split the Miller family in 1978 and wrested control of the church that met in their home. After twenty-five years of estrangement and division, the family has been experiencing the Lord's reconciliation and restoration since the eventful days of early 2003.
Chuck is married to Mary Ann and is the father of Pat Mathews and father-in-law to Wayne Mathews, father of Chris Sjogren and father-in-law to Mark Sjogren, father of Becky Cohen and father-in-law to Wes Cohen, father of Nancy Lehmkuhl and father-in-law to Jeff Lehmkuhl, father of Mike Miller and father-in-law to Carolyn Miller, father of Ann V. and father-in-law to Chuck V., father of Tim Miller and father-in-law to Monica Miller, father of Bill Miller and father-in-law to Karen Miller, and father of Ed Miller. Chuck and Mary Ann are grandparents to 34 grandchildren.