***This article was part of a file Brent received from Spiritual Counterfeits
Project when he first began to research the Assembly. The author is Lee Irons.
Statements Collected from The Published Writings of George Geftakys
(Torch and Testimony Publications, Fullerton, CA)
(This is Lee's introduction) Some of the books quoted here are the first additions. Serious criticism was raised regarding these and other teachings some years ago, which prompted the Assembly to quietly remove the books from the book table, without explanation, and change a few things. The net result of the changes was not a retraction of error, or a clarification, but merely a cover-up and avoidance of dealing with real criticism. In some cases, in order to confirm the claims and excerpts here, the reader must obtain an earlier version of the books than what is being sold at present. No one who has any experience with George Geftakys' teaching would suggest that he does not teach what is claimed below. In fact, these errors are at the core of his theology. The Assembly clearly teaches that entrance into the Kingdom is conditional, based on works. (They may call these works by other names: yielding, reckoning, appropriating, laying hold, etc., but they remain works nonetheless.) Geftakys' salvation is merit-based, in the most fundamental sense.
So Great Salvation
"As a result of His singular commitment to the cross, the Lord Jesus evoked the release of divine authority. He could say, 'Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again' (John 10:17). To elicit the Father's love, we must by faith reckon this divine example by laying down our lives …. This is the pursuit of love – to win Christ as Christ won the Father" (p. 44).
This is a clear denial of salvation by faith alone. Mr. Geftakys teaches that the believer must "elicit" the love of God, just as Christ did. But Christ's work was meritorious - he earned eternal life and divine favor as our substitute by his obedience to the point of death. We cannot earn God's favor. We can only receive it by receiving and resting in Christ's merit by faith alone.
Commenting on Romans 5. "Verse 8 of that same chapter says, 'But God commendeth his love toward us.' Men need to know that God is not at enmity with man. God never went away from man; man went away from God. Romans 3:11 says, 'There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.' The Word of God tells us that God has always commended His love toward man. John 3:16 says that 'God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son'" (p. 57).
Here Mr. Geftakys denies that Jesus Christ through his death saves us from "the wrath of God" - the very point that Paul makes in the immediately following verse (Rom. 5:9). If God has never been at enmity with man, and never had any wrath toward man, but only love, it follows that the death of Christ was not a propitiation, i.e., a sacrifice to satisfy divine wrath. The doctrine of the penal, propitiatory, substitutionary atonement is crucial to orthodox Christian theology.
"In 1 John 1:7 we read, 'But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.' Literally, it means His blood keeps on cleansing us. … And when we obey the Word of God through the Spirit, then God sprinkles our lives with the blood – that is, the virtue, the life, the power, the vitality, and the triumph of Calvary. He releases and fills us with His Holy Spirit" (p. 74).
The key phrase is, "when we obey the Word … then God sprinkles our lives with the blood." This utterly contradicts salvation by faith alone. Mr. Geftakys teaches that obedience, not faith alone, is the condition of receiving forgiveness through Christ's blood.
Commenting on Revelation 2:11. "The second part of the promise to the overcomer is: 'He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.' Notice first the converse of this promise: there is the possibility that believers who do not overcome will suffer awesome consequences; this is not to say that they could lose their salvation, but that there would be devastating consequences – they can be hurt by the second death" (pp. 30-31).
According to Rev. 20:14-15, the second death is equivalent to being thrown into the lake of fire. Thus, Mr. Geftakys teaches that believers who do not overcome can be be thrown into the lake of fire. But if Jesus paid for all of the believer's sins, taking the totality of God's wrath upon himself, how can a believer be punished? To say that we can be punished with hell fire, even for a temporary period of time, is to deny the sufficiency of Christ's finished work.
"In view of the awesome possibility that some Christians can be 'hurt of the second death,' we read in Luke 13:23-24, 'Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.' Many will not be able to enter that gate because they are bound by distractions and diversions. [Mr. Geftakys goes on to quote the rest of the passage, Luke 13:25-30] … The Lord tells us that there will even be some of the children of the kingdom which shall be cast out 'into outer darkness' (Matt. 8:12). We need to realize that there is no guarantee that all believers are going to get into the kingdom; again, this is not speaking of their salvation, but of entering the kingdom by the narrow gate. … In light of such passages we begin to see that a majority of the evangelical world today needs to repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand" (pp. 32-33).
Same as above. In addition, notice that Mr. Geftakys thinks the "majority of the evangelical world today" is in danger of being cast into outer darkness.
"If there is the possibility that Christians can be hurt of the second death, then it follows that we are involved in a pursuit of overcoming, a course of personal suffering. … Hopefully, this consideration will grip our lives with a greater seriousness that we may not be hurt of the second death, but rather be found in a pursuit of overcoming that we may be worthy of the crown of life" (pp. 34-35).
To avoid the second death, we must have "a pursuit of overcoming." We should pursue this "that we may be worthy of the crown of life." But the truth of the gospel teaches that my worthiness is found only in Christ, who has fulfilled God's law for me. I am totally unworthy and sinful. But Christ's perfect righteousness has been reckoned to my account, and only in this way am I "worthy" to receive the crown of life. Mr. Geftakys places the burden upon the Christian to be worthy on the basis of his or her own inherent righteousness.
"The second provision we notice about this promise is the security it provides to the overcomer: '… and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life' (Rev. 3:5). … God has a book and to have one's name inscribed in that book assures life to that person. We can see from this passage, however, that there is the possibility of these names being erased out of the book. This does not mean that we can lose our salvation; rather it refers to the loss of the inheritance through sin" (p. 61).
Here the author makes an unbiblical distinction here between "salvation" and "the inheritance." 1 Peter 1:3-9 equates the two concepts. The inheritance is given to all who are heirs. Who are the heirs? Those who are adopted as God's sons by faith in Christ. All believers are sons and heirs (Gal. 3:26).
"Implicit in the letters to the seven assemblies in Revelation 2 and 3 is the transcendent vision that God has constituted a corporate community – the family and house of God. It is essential to Christian growth and stature that we are involved in the house of God, for it is the school and training center of the believer. So, to be an overcomer, we must respond to the call of God concerning corporate fellowship. Overcoming begins with corporate relationships" (p. 84).
This is perhaps the most important and cultic aspect of Mr. Geftakys' theology. In order to be an overcomer – and thus in order to escape the second death and being cast into outer darkness – one must respond to the call of God to be involved in the Assembly, which is "the house of God." Other churches are not acceptable. One must be a part of the corporate community of one of the Assemblies in order to be an overcomer. These Assemblies are the "training center of the believer." You must be trained, not only by being a part of the Assembly, but by living in their communes ("brothers' houses" and "sisters' houses").
Stages on the Journey
"In the New Testament, salvation is spoken of in the past, present, and future tenses. It does not only refer to salvation from sin. Full salvation means our spirits are saved, our souls are being saved, and our bodies are going to be saved. The salvation of our spirits is unconditional. We are justified by faith. But the salvation of our souls and our bodies is conditional. The guarantee that these will be saved is that we avail ourselves of the resources He has provided for us on our daily journey. Hebrews 2:3 speaks to believers when it says, 'How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?'" (p. 10).
The distinction between the salvation of our spirits, which is unconditional, and the salvation of our souls and bodies, which is conditional, is unbiblical. The Bible teaches only one salvation, of body and spirit, and this one salvation is unconditional, since it is by grace alone through faith alone.
"Chapter VI. The Second Level of Approach. … What does this have to do with the second level of approach? In order to know this divine representation, this heavenly autograph, in our lives, we must know what it means to commune with God. The first level was conversion, or the obtaining of a passport to begin the heavenly journey. The second level is communion, which implies fellowship, partnership, and mutual enjoyment" (p. 47).
Notice the clear teaching of two levels of spirituality. Level one is conversion. Level two is going on to deeper fellowship and communion with God. Mr. Geftakys has been deeply influenced by the "higher life" teaching of the Keswick movement, Watchman Nee, and others. This higher life theology teaches that the second level of Christian experience is available to all Christians, but only those who have a second blessing or deeper work of grace will experience the second level. This means that ordinary Christians who simply believe in Jesus Christ for salvation are second-class citizens, and have not attained to the heights of spirituality promoted by the Assembly.
"It is no small matter to become the object of the Father's affection. The Father will set His love upon us if we love and obey the Son. 'He that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him' (John 14:21). … This is not automatically true of every believer; it is for those believers who keep His commandments, those who love Him. For this reason, David desperately cried, 'Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me' (Ps. 51:10-11)" (p. 49).
In this paragraph, Mr. Geftakys plainly teaches that the only way to obtain the love of God is by obedience, keeping the commandments. The Biblical gospel teaches that God loves us, not on the basis of our obedience, but Christ's. Christ is the only one with whom God is well pleased. We are "accepted in the Beloved" (Eph. 1:6).
"He wants to get intimacy in our lives as well, referring to the heart. He wants us to be His intimates. He wants to unveil His secrets to us. He wants to show us His glory. Next, He wants to endue us with power through the mind. 'Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind' (Rom. 12:2). He wants us to have the mind of Christ. As long as He does not have our mind, there is no spiritual power. Power comes with getting the mind of Christ. … And last of all, by being partakers of the divine nature, He will make of us a mediatorial, intercessory instrument. We stand not just for ourselves; we stand for God and for others. The Lord is looking for an instrument of mediation who will stand for God and for man, between the living and the dead" (pp. 56-57).
This is a good example of the mysticism taught in the Assembly. Notice especially the reference to "being partakers of the divine nature," which is interpreted as being "an instrument of mediation" between God and man. The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5).
"As the beloved, this is what we should be saying, 'Lord, draw me. Let me know Your call in my life. It is not enough that I am saved. I need to know Your holy and heavenly calling.' This is the prospect of the one who allows her Beloved to bring her into His chambers. … When two people are engaged, they know that they belong to one another, yet they are waiting for the day when it is going to be consummated with a kiss of union. That is the goal desired. She wants to be brought into His chamber. Do we want to be brought into the King's chamber? Then we need to be sanctified, set apart for Him; we need to spend much time in secret with Jesus alone" (p. 68).
Mysticism again. Note that the consummation of the mystical union with God is achieved by works. If we want to be brought into the King's chamber, then we need to have a certain level of sanctification, which comes through spending much time in secret with Jesus - i.e., through mystical meditation and prayer. Scripture teaches that union with Christ is a sovereign work of grace, not something we can achieve by anything we do (Eph. 2:1-10).
God's Eternal Purpose in Christ Jesus
"What determines the selection of God, the principle of inclusion in God's genealogy, is the character of an individual. Man looks upon the outward appearance, but God looks upon the heart. God looks for an obedient response to the divine will. Where obedience is present, then all failure and inability is cancelled out. However, on the other hand, we see that the principle of exclusion – not referring to salvation, but to possession and inheritance – is also based upon character. Where obedience is absent, all rights and privileges are cancelled out. These are fundamental principles of divine calling and inheritance" (p. 29).
"Inclusion or exclusion in the divine record is based upon the character of the individual, demonstrated by either obedience or disobedience to the divine will" (p. 35).
These are clear statements of the false teaching that divine election is based upon the character and obedience of man. Paul teaches that God chose us not on the basis of our works, but only on the basis of his grace, so that no one can boast (Rom. 9:6-26; 1 Cor. 1:26-31; Eph. 1:3-14; 2 Tim. 1:9).
"From this [Dan. 12:2] and other scriptures we know that there are two resurrections. The first resurrection will include those believers who have kept themselves undefiled. Other Christians will rise in the second resurrection because they were ashamed at Christ's appearing. They will enter into eternal life after the thousand years of reign and privilege. How this realization ought to stir our hearts in a daily response to the Lord!" (p. 53).
Carnal Christians will miss the privilege of reigning with Christ for a thousand years. This is presented as a motivation for holy living.
"It is important to emphasize that although the church is engaged to Christ, it does not necessarily follow that all the church will be the bride! Only those who are faithful to their betrothal will be fit for the Bridegroom. 'Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish' (Eph. 5:25-27). By keeping ourselves clean by the washing of the prophetic word, we can be a fitting companion to the King" (p. 61).
A distinction is made between the church and the bride. Not all who are part of the church are part of the bride. The bride is composed only of overcomers who have kept themselves clean to be a fitting companion to the King. Again, we see that Christians are divided into two groups, making the vast majority of simple believers in Christ second-class citizens.
"We begin this consideration by saying what perhaps many would rather not hear – that entrance into the kingdom of God is based upon a condition. Salvation from the consequences of sin is unconditional; but to know all the privileges and the inheritance associated with the kingdom is conditional according to our response after we have been saved. According to the Word of God, love for Christ is the determining factor of our entrance into the kingdom of God. 'If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha [literally, let him be accursed, the Lord cometh]' (1 Cor. 16:22)" (p. 63).
Commenting on 1 Cor. 6:9-10 and Eph. 5:5. "Even a Christian, if he is living an unrighteous life, will not inherit the kingdom of God" (p. 67).
Summary of problems with the teaching of George Geftakys
1. Salvation by grace alone through faith alone is compromised. In Mr. Geftakys' theology, our response of obedience plays a significant role in receiving God's favor, love, and forgiveness. Biblical Christianity affirms, by contrast, that our obedience plays no role at all in receiving God's favor, but functions only as the evidence of true faith. We are justified by faith alone apart from works (Rom. 3:28). God justifies the ungodly (Rom. 4:5). He does not declare us to be righteous because of our own righteousness, but because of the righteousness of Christ (Phil. 3:9).
2. Election is conditional, based upon human character, obedience, and works. Consequently, the elect do have a reason to boast, contrary to Paul's explicit teaching.
3. Christ's atonement was not a propitiatory sacrifice that satisfied the wrath of God, since God has always commended his love toward man. The enmity is only on man's side, not God's. The atonement therefore does not accomplish anything Godward but only manward. This is known as the moral influence theory of the atonement, which reduces the effect of the atonement to producing a subjective change in man, thus denying that Christ did anything to objectively satisfy divine justice and wrath.
4. The uniqueness of Jesus Christ as the only mediator between God and man is undermined if not totally destroyed by the teaching that spiritually advanced believers can become instruments of mediation for God.
5. Christians are divided into two classes, based on their level of spiritual attainment. The second level is achieved through a second work of grace. Mysticism is encouraged as a means of spiritual growth.
6. Although no Christian can lose his or her salvation, carnal Christians will suffer "consequences" like being hurt by the second death, cast into outer darkness, etc. This denies the sufficiency of Christ's atonement, since it implies that Christ did not fully satisfy God's wrath for all of the sins of all believers. The logical implication is that carnal Christians will have to suffer punishments in some sort of purgatory after death in order to fully atone for their carnal behavior and their failure to be overcomers. It is difficult to see any difference from Roman Catholic theology.
7. The cultic application is that the way to avoid these "consequences" and to achieve the second level of spirituality is to be involved in the Assembly, which is the only true "house of God" and "training center of the believer." To leave the Assembly, then, is to endanger one's relationship with God and to risk the "awesome consequences" of the second death, outer darkness, etc.
8. A negative assessment of the majority of evangelical Christians today as being unfit for the inheritance. The Assembly is a sect which has separated itself from the universal body of Christ, which it has deemed to be largely apostate.