The Spiritually Abusive practices in The Assembly have been going on for some time. The next few articles in this section will document that many things were not well, even decades ago.  Everything that is written to imply a direct quotation is taken verbatim from tapes of Assembly Worker's meetings.  As you read this information, compare what was being said then, to what has transpired recently and then ask yourself, "What kind of person is this.  Is this the way a Godly man behaves?"

Again, what we are attempting to do is to demonstrate a clear, undeniable, longstanding pattern of sin and abuse. There is much more information of this sort that will be posted in the future. This is only the beginning. It is rather sad that this needs to be done at all, but the ongoing abuse has injured many people and it must be brought to an end, in order that people can again experience joy and freedom in Christ.


[This article was written by Steve Irons in the early 1990's. He revised it in 2003.]

George Geftakys’ Spiritual Abuse 

Spiritual Abuse has been raised as an issue regarding various Christian churches and ministries. David Johnson and Jeff VanVonderen define spiritual abuse in their book, The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse. Spiritual abuse can occur when a leader uses his or her spiritual position to control or dominate another person. It often involves overriding the feelings and opinions of another, without regard to what will result in the other person's state of living, emotions or spiritual well-being. In this application, power is used to bolster the position or needs of a leader, over and above one who comes to them in need."(p.20-21)

Dr. Ronald M. Enroth asserts in his book, Churches that Abuse, "George Geftakys' ‘Assembly' demonstrates every aspect of the psychological, emotional, and spiritual abuse that is characteristic of many fringe fundamentalistic churches." (p.209) George Geftakys is the founder and leader of numerous "assemblies" throughout southern California, the Midwest, the East Coast, Canada, and Africa.

From our position of close association with the Assembly in its inmost circle of leadership from the days of its inception, we believe that spiritual abuse is operating there, albeit often subtly and covertly, and that spiritual and psychological damage is being done to individuals. It is our observation that "Brother George", as he likes to be called, is directly responsible for the abuse.

Brother George discounted the evidence given by Kyle Larson, in Dr. Enroth’s book. According to George it was because "he left disgruntled." We agree that we too were pained by the excommunication of our son and by what was said about us when we left, but we are presenting here further evidence, which we believe will speak for itself, regardless of what may be said about us. We quote verbatim from Brother George's published writings, notes we took at leading brothers and workers' meetings in which George presided, and a transcription of a tape recording from a workers' meeting dated December 27, 1986. Brother George's own words speak for themselves.

The sins of some men are obvious... the sins or others trail behind them.  1 Timothy 5:14


 

How does George abuse others? What are his methods for controlling and manipulating the members of his group and his elite workers?

 

Insisting on His Own Way In the following excerpts taken from a tape transcription from a workers' meeting, George is describing to the workers what he means by visitation.

Visitation is going to their home...If you just go in and if you spend 10 minutes just to talk with them and have a word of prayer before you leave. Have a word of prayer and leave them a precious promise. Then you put that down as visitation... Get this thinking out of your mind that if I go visit the Lord's people I've got to stay for dinner, I've got to spend a couple hours. That's foolishness.[1]

Gay (one of the workers) asks, “George, if some of us don't get out a lot, can we include phone visitation, basically sometimes they turn into real...” George interrupted her, “No. No phone... I'm telling you, no. No phone. You can telephone all you want, but that's not visitation.”

Pam objects, “I don't agree... I've had some excellent opportunities to talk to people who can't get to me and I can't get to them. George replied, “You don't agree? Fine. You can disagree, but still do it my way.”[2]

It is interesting to note that visitation is a concern of the local “assembly,” not “the work.” And yet here George is dictating how visitation is to be done in the local assembly.

Another worker, Nancy, was in charge of an upcoming potluck. She made the suggestion, “What do you think, instead of having a big pot luck, why don't we have each family bring their own dinner, and then invite another family to...” George interrupted her, “I don't like that, friends. I tell you why I don't like it. Because I think the whole idea of what we do around here is sharing... We're not going to get each individual family-oriented. We're going to bring for everybody.”[3] George did not explain what was wrong with being family-oriented, or why two families bringing food for each other wasn't sharing. No one questioned: the discussion had come to an end. Nancy had done potlucks many times, and had considered how it might be expedited. But there was no room for her opinion or her contribution to the planning.

Someone was needed to write the articles for the prayer letter. When it was suggested that Frances write the prayer letter, Kevin, who was in charge of the Job Fellowship, expressed concern that she was busy already writing reports of lessons learned in the Job Fellowship to be mailed out to other assemblies.

Frances was already slated to become George's secretary, and he said, “I'm going to use Frances more and more, and I'm going to have first claim on her time.” Kevin replied, “Well, we should talk about that... Frances is walking before the Lord..." George interrupted, “So you're going to have a problem there." Kevin said, “This is one of Frances' main ministries..." George said, “We'll talk about it."[4]

When George said that, it was really the end of the matter. Everyone understood that George was going to have his way, and that Frances would no longer be fully engaged in the Job Fellowship. Timothy, understanding this, immediately suggested Kimber to replace Frances. Frances was present in this meeting, but she was not consulted at all in this discussion of her ministries. And the point that she had been walking before the Lord in the ministry was irrelevant to George. He autocratically swept aside the direction she believed she received from the Lord personally.

Mockery and Put Downs 

In a discussion about who to send out into an outreach on the East coast, George looked at me and asked,  

“Why do you want to go, Steve? You're the elder in this assembly. You've got to stay here. Mark's  got to stay here. You know I believe that shepherds, local shepherds in the flock need to sit on the heritage. They need to sit there because they need to take care of the eggs. See? And if the cuckoo is wandering too much, the eggs wouldn't hatch. You understand? Not only that, but snakes come in and steal the eggs. So you've got to sit there and take care of the eggs.”[5]

By contemptuously comparing me to a cuckoo bird that sits on the eggs, George was putting me in my place. I would not be allowed to go the East coast. My place should have instinctually been in the Fullerton assembly. 

During that same discussion, another brother and his wife were brought up as possible candidates for the work on the East Coast. Because George did not think highly of the brother and because he refused to have the brother come into the work, he caricatured the brother by telling the workers about a Disney comic strip he once saw,

“Friends, have you ever seen this cartoon years ago? It was a Walt Disney cartoon about this guy Mr. Milk-toast. He comes out of his house and he sees an ant and he steps over the ant. Then he gets behind the wheel of his car and he becomes a Mr. Hyde. grrrr...

Some brethren are great as long as they're working with peers. You get them on their own; suddenly they've got the big head. They think they're somebody. And they metamorphose into something that you wouldn't believe. I mean they become a horrendous locust with whirring wings, a lion's mane, and everything. They get out there and suddenly they think that they're the master of their fate, the captain of their fate.”[6]

This particular brother would not have “metamorphosed" into a "big head" when left to himself, but because George wanted to put this brother in his place, he spoke contemptuously of him.

When George wanted the sisters in the workers' meeting to conform to his standards of hair-length, make-up, and dress, he speaks contemptuously of them,

“But you know there's a problem with some sisters in the assembly. Some sisters come up with very short hair. And if you talk to them about it, you know what they tell you? They tell you, "Oh I went to the hairdresser and before I knew it, you know, she had me scalped and I didn't even know about it. I was reading a magazine." I don't believe it. I just don't believe it.”

He gives an illustration from his own experience with barbers to support his unbelief. When he's done, you feel guilty for not bawling out your barber the way he bawled out his barber if his hair was not cut to suit him.

“But when sisters obviously come in the meeting and they have their hair cropped way up here and its as short as my hair or thereabouts. Or they even have their neck shaved. I don't think that's honoring to the Lord. I'm going to tell you that. And if there's workers that are like that, you change your behavior. It's not honoring to the Lord. Lord says you should have long hair. It’s a shame for a woman to have short hair. Now it says that. Do you know it says that in the Bible'? Yea, you read it for yourself. 1 Corinthians 11. I'm not putting anything in the Word of God that isn't there. That's exactly what it says.”

George shows how he goes up to sisters who have “butched" hair and tells them how they are really dishonoring God and are bad examples. They are made to feel inferior for not being what George wants them to be.

“I've had a couple of older sisters in the meeting. Boy, they came in, their hair was butched up like this. And I told them... I went straight up to them... Generally, I let a sister go up and talk to them. But I went to both these sisters (they are older women) and I told them. "Listen, I'm telling you now, that's not honoring to the Lord what you're doing." I tell them. And I also tell them," And not only that but you're an older sister and you ought to be a good example."

Then George gets the husbands involved and makes them feel like jerks for not putting their wives in their place. 

“I want to say to you husbands in particular.  If your wife isn't looking quite the way she ought to look, it's your fault. You’re the one to blame. Your wife dresses pretty much the way you want her to dress. And if your wife has real short hair, it's your fault, because you want her to have it. If you're a worker you change your way and you talk to your wife and you say, " Apple dumpling" or whatever you call her. You tell her, "That's not the way we're going to cut our hair." You hear me? Do you hear me husbands on that? I want you to listen to me, because we're not going to have that around here.”

He mocks the sisters who wear excessive make-up by likening them to parrots and to circus clowns, and mocks the wives by calling them "apple dumpling".

“I got nothing against sisters if they want to wear some makeup. 1 got nothing against it. But when I see some sister walk into the assembly and she looks like a parrot, you know? She looks like she just came out of the ring of the Barnum Bailey circus. And she's got this thick goop on her eyelashes, you know. And I feel like telling her not only does it look bad but it’s not healthy. Did you know that? Read the nutrition books you'll see what they say about it.”

He tells the workers that if they are "good examples the majority of God's people will be good examples." He doesn't ever want to hear someone say, "She's a worker and look at the way she dresses." He then holds the husband accountable for a young man getting provoked by his wife's tight slacks.

The women generally aren't aware of how they dress. They're not. But the husband should tell his wife, "Now those slacks are too tight." You understand. That's up to the husband to do that. So you be wise. And not only that we've got a lot of young men around here. And we don't want young men being provoked by some unwise sister or some unwise husband who doesn't know how his wife ought to dress. Okay?

He threatens to humiliate any sister who wears tight blue jeans.

I've nothing against sisters wearing slacks. But you sisters you watch it when you wear these blue jeans. I'm telling you. You're getting precariously close to wearing the wrong kind of clothes. Because blue jeans when they get too tight, it's not honoring to the Lord. I'm telling you now. So I'm telling you as workers so you listen, take heed, then 1 wouldn't have to say any embarrassing remarks to you, okay?

Finally, he gives the workers an opportunity to respond to what he's saying.

Now if you got anything you want to respond to that you feel free now. You're open... You're open. Everybody can hear ya. But say it now. If you don't agree with me, say it now, don't say it when the meeting's over. Because then I can answer you here. Okay. [7]

Would the sisters dare to speak up after being humiliated for looking like circus clowns and parrots, and after being threatened with the possibility of embarrassment if George finds them inappropriately dressed? And would the husbands dare to defend their wives after being made to feel guilty for provoking young men to sinful lusts, and after being told they are passively letting their wives do as they please? I don't think so.

Public Shaming 

Periodically, one of the workers will run afoul of George in some way, perhaps by speaking to others of a disagreement the worker has with him, or perhaps by instituting in ministry a practice or policy which George doesn’t like. In any case, the usual treatment in a workers' meeting is that at the very beginning of the meeting George calls out that person's name, or tells them to come sit in the front row, often with a comment such as, "I want you here where I can see you." Then he proceeds to address the problem without mentioning the person's name, but unmistakably identifying them as the subject, doing so with statements and descriptions filled with contempt.

George did this to my wife over counseling practices. He attempted to humiliate her before the workers by implying that she was counseling to feed her pride, because she had her own "private clientele." George began his remarks after calling her to sit in the front row by me.

In the workers' meeting we are open. When papas and mamas are talking about the family of God they don't bring in the kids. Now we want to talk about avoiding cliques, which are little power groups. They begin with special friendships where someone sets themselves up that someone can come and spill their guts out to them. Sisters are especially vulnerable to this. It feeds your ego and you become God. In counseling you don't have a private ministry, a private clientele. Is adultery worse than pride? The greatest sin is the sin of pride. [8]

Having only the counselor know about the problem fed pride in the counselor, so George gives the directive to all the leading brothers and workers that there was to be no confidentiality in counseling. The 1eadership wants to know about the failures in people's lives so that a pattern can be established and the past held over them.

"Don't agree to confidences. If a person has a failure in their life, we are going to know about it. If they get over it, but then they have another [failure], then there is a pattern. If they turn to wickedness all the past will be held against them.”[9] He then made reference to Ezekiel 33: 11-16.

 

After Paul finished telling the workers how he and his wife learned the difficult lesson of submission, George proceeds to humiliate them before all the workers.

Well, you see our brother is saying, "Its a real release." And he that hides his sin shall not prosper. Now our brother and his wife were liars. That's what they were. They were liars. They were compulsive liars. They couldn't tell the truth. Again and again. And their children were learning to lie from them. And other one of their problems was staying out of debt, balancing their budget. …And now... I can start believing them. In the past, no matter what they told me I took it with a grain of salt. Because they either twisted it or they just didn't you the half of it...[10]

The workers had no way of knowing if Paul and Debbie had actually lied or if they did, what they had lied about. Paul and Debbie were never given an opportunity to tell their side of the story. And even if they had, they probably would not have defended themselves, not wanting to be completely disgraced before returning to the assembly in St. Louis.

Raising the Ugly Specter of the Past 

The workers had just suggested that Don and his wife be sent to the East coast. In order to convince the workers that Don was not a suitable candidate, George raises the specter of his past.

We remember Don in the past. He really lacked the courage of his convictions. He was wishy-washy, compromising, everything. He's not a bad brother, but I never thought he was a strong brother... The problem we've always wondered about Don, in the past, has been that Don was a brother years ago (without going into detail) who always believed that we owed him something... and we had to sort of reimburse him in some way. We don't want that in the work, we want people in the work who are willing to count all things but loss and to make real selfless sacrifices. Because in the work we don't guarantee anything as you know. [11]

Upon hearing Don's compromising character and selfish attitude, the workers immediately suggested another couple (Don and his wife were not present at that worker's meeting.) 

Consequences 

Communal living was strongly encouraged for members in the group. A married couple (picked from among the workers) was usually placed in charge of the house. The couple minutely oversaw the schedules, finances, relationships, assembly involvements, and attitudes, of everyone in the house. Even wives and children were given chores to do, checked up on, and given consequences by the head steward of the home. If the chores, called stewardships, were not done on time or incomplete, the idea was to train people to be faithful in little things so that they would become faithful in greater things.

Betty Geftakys, George's wife, introduced the use of consequences while working with sisters in "training situations." "How many of you believe in consequences?" George asked in his talk to head stewards.

If we don't do consequences we wrong the brother. Don't give long lectures: lecture after they don't do consequences. Don't make it personal. If the brother doesn't want to do consequences, he doesn't want to live in the house. We are to have regular consequences, not occasional consequences. We want the brother to learn. Just talking to a person doesn't change the behavior. Consequences help a brother take responsibility.[12]

A consequence was to be equal in time to the chore. The people being trained were to choose their own consequences ahead of time. They filled out a small 3 by 5 card with 3 or more easy consequences and at least 3 difficult ones. "Consequences should be things the brother doesn't want to do." Consequences were added to form a habit and to transform a bad attitude. The presupposition was that once you got a change in behavior, the attitude would change. If washing windows was a consequence, the individual was to think about how he was to be transparent and clear in all his commitments. Betty encouraged husbands to break their wives of bad habits or negative attitudes by "training" them with consequences. [editor’s note: keep this in mind when you consider the spousal abuse that was so pervasive in David Geftakys’ home]

The head steward was to never let the person being trained "off the hook." Betty said that even if the house burned down, it would not be an acceptable excuse for failure to do a stewardship or keep a commitment. Absolutely no excuse was to be tolerated. The person being trained was always in the wrong.

Projecting a Flawless Image 

George's unwittingly projected how important it was for him to have a flawless image, when he told the workers what his brother Eddie said to him when he first attended the meetings in his hometown of Goleta.

One thing he has told me, because my brother has lived a very rough life. He's been what you call a tough guy. And he told me when he first came to the Lord, he said. "George, I want you to know something..." He's very serious about everything he talks about. He doesn't make many jokes about things. And he says, "George, I want you to know, I'm never going to do anything to embarrass you."

[Editor’s note: we have had recent contact with the “other” side of the Geftakys family, mentioned above. Eddie is quite adamant that he wants nothing to do with The Assembly.]

When Dan Notti expressed the need for others to write articles for the "Torch and Testimony" magazine, he stressed the importance of making George's ministry look good.

I think that we have brethren in our midst that are gifted that can write supplemental things to the ministry that we receive from our George. I think it helps to fill out and really express to men and women that it's not a one-man ministry, that the Lord is speaking to others. [13]

George chimed in with the need for the writers to demonstrate exemplar behavior so that they would not some day cast disparagement on his spotless ministry.

There's one thing we want to keep in mind in light of people writing articles that we put in the Torch. We want to see a combination not only of skill but we also want to see a combination of behavior that goes with the article. Conceivably, we could have a person that has a real skill to write, but maybe their life is not what we would call a real example. We don't want to put articles by people in the Torch or in the Pilgrim Journal whose lives are borderline. Because then it becomes a disgrace, a dishonor if that person falls or something or you know they're questionable in their conduct and then we come along and someone says. "Who is so and so." "Well. we're sorry that this person is not going on with the Lord." or something like that. It would be very dishonorable. So we want to be sure that in the major publications we put in articles by not only people that are capable, but people who we esteem as being godly. [14]

The importance of image was given to the prayer letter as well. As Dan expressed it, "It is one of the main ways that we get out what the Lord is doing here. So again it must reflect the standard that we're doing here."

George relates glowing reports to the workers and Assemblies about how well his ministry is being received in the countries he visits. On his return from East Africa, George told the workers, "a great light was lit," in East Africa. Then he gets real quiet and tells them what one of the leaders of the Awakening Brethren said about his ministry. [editor’s note: the “light” is all but out now.]

Edward told me on the last day of my departure. He said, "You don't know the conversations that go on in the team meetings." Now their workers' meeting is what they call "team meeting." And they are the leaders from all over East Africa --from Uganda. Tanzania, and Kenya. These are the leaders of the Awakening movement. And he said, "You don't know the kind of conversations going on in our team meeting, since your ministry here." He said. "We've never heard ministry like this." And then he said this (and I know it's not like Edward Limo to tell me these things), but he said. "You know..." he said, "This fellow Isaiah," he said, "You know Isaiah?" (He's one of the main leaders.)  He said, "He's a very wise man and he told us after hearing such ministry, 'Brethren, let's face it, we're ignorant men and we don't know what we're doing.'"

To this all the workers respond with a loud "hmmm."

That's quite an admission on their part. So we need to pray. I'm sure that in my absence there's a startling contrast with what there was before I came and after I left. There's quite a contrast. And I'm sure they feel it...

And they said to me in Uganda, after the wonderful meeting we had there at Kam... what did I call it? Kampadi... huh? Thank you brother. Kawempee. Kawempee. And they said to me, John Ujata said to me and he's the leader there... He said to me... we're having tea... a big mob of people... we're getting ready to leave. And quickly you had to drink the tea, because that's a matter of protocol. You've got to drink the tea. So sitting there and quickly drinking the tea... people milling all-around. He's a very conservative man. And he said to me, "Bro. George..." He looked at me and he said, "This will not be your last time to Uganda." He said. "You must come again." He says, and then quietly, you know, he waited a couple of minutes. He looked at me again, he said. "God has given you an open door in Uganda.”[15] [editor’s note: since this time, all the names have changed, because most of the leaders in East Africa have rejected George.]

Of all the things that could have been said about the visit to Kenya, George chose to emphasize as particularly outstanding the comment of the Awakening team that they were ignorant men when it came to doing the work of the Lord. In actuality, these men were responding to George's ministry with humility. But George twists their humble and self-deprecating remarks into statements of worthlessness of their ministry in comparison to his. George feels that nothing much would happen for God without him. 

Motivating by Guilt 

In order for George to have the satisfaction of well-attended meetings, it became the all-consuming job of getting yourself and your family to all the meetings. George would regularly announce the requirement to be at the meetings: Bible study, prayer, all day on Sunday. If a meeting was sparse in attendance, he would start a campaign to get people to come out. "Tell them, 'We missed you and what a great time we had.'" There was tape ministry on Saturday morning, outreaches or couples meetings on Friday nights, and a prayer tower on Monday and Tuesday. He expected the workers to be at an all day meeting every other Saturday. He held 3 seminars a year. (A seminar was a 3-day marathon of lectures three times a day with prayer and meditation in between.)

Supporting the ministry by attending the meetings was of higher priority than the family. We went to George to ask for help about how to get more time with our children. George had Betty, his wife, come in and join the discussion, and their solution was, "You spend time together as a family every time you drive to and from meetings. Just make sure that time is quality time--discuss the ministry together. And also take the children with you when you do visitation. That is all the time you need together as a family.

 

This idea of 'family time' that the world has is all wrong. It leads to putting your family before the things of the Lord. What the Lord wants is getting your family involved in the things you are doing for the Lord."

 

In the early years, before George himself had grandchildren, the mothers were commanded to bring their newborn infants to worship when they were a week old. George would say to the father, "Now don't you let this baby keep your wife from the meeting. This baby is not going to be an excuse for her to stay home." In several cases, workers have been expecting the delivery of a child during the week of the workers' seminar in Colorado; the husbands have been required to attend the seminar anyway, leaving the wife at home to deliver the baby without him.

People were expected to be at the meeting; enthusiastic, rejoicing, and "expecting something from the Lord." If you looked glum, you would be asked, " Are you rejoicing, brother'?" Leading brothers were especially to be rejoicing at meetings and were to never project any negativity. George told the workers to pray for a certain brother, who was prone to negativity,

Pray for him. Stand for him for victory in this area of his life. Our society is conditioned on negativity and we have to learn to say, "God forbid, I'm not going to allow it." By acting joyful you'll begin to feel that way... have exuberant overflowing joy… prime the pump. If you're fasting and suffering, wash your face when you come out and say, "I'm doing fine, if I felt any better I couldn't stand it." We don't project our negativity.[16]

A newcomer thinks that the unusual degree of zeal and commitment is spontaneous in each individual; not realizing that there is a list of rules which everyone must adhere to in order to be thought of as "spiritual", and which produce the convincingly "superior" atmosphere of "spirituality" in the assemblies.  George uses all this activity (all nights of prayer, gospel marches, Christmas eve and Christmas day outreaches, large attendance at his seminars and meetings) as evidence that the Lord is powerfully using him. The result is that the members exude an attitude of spiritual elitism, which is noticeable and repugnant to others, but which feels very satisfying and reassuring to themselves, and is a major factor in making it very difficult for people in the assemblies to see the errors and flaws in their beliefs and practices. [Emphasis added]

It was always George's dream to have the fame of the Moravian brethren who sent thousands of missionaries throughout the world.

Now there's another thing I've always wanted to see here that we have never quite realized yet, but we're coming to it. Its been the desire of my heart that we could have a prayer tower going that would go day and night, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Now you think I'm crazy don't you'? But I want to tell you something friends; the Moravian brethren had a prayer meeting going for 110 years, day and night. And it was the greatest missionary movement of church history. I don't know how many thousands of missionaries they sent to the ends of the earth, the Moravian brethren. For a hundred and ten years they had a prayer meeting going. Now the Moravian brethren are by and large modernists, they are apostate. But in the days of great awakening 110 years they had prayer meeting going day and night unbroken. You say those things, people think your crazy. But church history has seen that kind of thing. Now thank God we have as much prayer as we do around here. But to me it’s not enough. I think every day we should have prayer meetings going. [editor’s note: Betty Geftakys never attends prayer meetings, and misses 90 per cent of all other meetings.]

There was complete and utter silence after George expressed these longings of his heart, because it was like pulling teeth to get people to man the existing weekly 2-day prayer tower which prayed through the wee hours of the morning, and to get people to come out to the monthly all night of prayer, which went from 10 pm to 5 am (for years) and later changed from. 7 pm to 2 am. George was willing to have others sacrifice so that he could take credit (and even boast to others) about the great things God was doing through him. He even wanted to conduct preaching services every night of the week.

There's another thing I've wanted to see that we have seen pretty much here, but not consistently. Are you listening? I've wanted to see that every day the Word of God is being preached, some where’s that people can go and hear the ministry. Why not friends'? (I'm not saying that everybody has to go, but everyday there should be a place where people can say, “I can go and hear the Word of God being preached.” A Bible study or ministry meeting, or whatever. [17]

Communicating “Spiritual Vision"

People attending George's seminars say, "I don't understand what he's talking about, but it sounds glorious," which he receives as a high compliment. George imposes upon the Scriptures meanings and applications never intended by the original authors. These interpretations and applications give the listener the impression that his understanding of the Bible is insightful and "deep". He uses word images to give his audience a "spiritual vision." An example of his use of word images can be seen from this quotation. His text is Ephesians 3: 17-19.

Each time I read this verse, instead of breadth, I see breath, for that is how it generally comes; like a whisper, like a breath of wind, like a sliver of light... All that is needed is a quickening ray, a glimmer of light, a breath of wind, a heavenly breeze. This is how it begins, for the way of the Spirit is simple, a touch. And then that breadth becomes an elongation. It becomes a length... it becomes a shaft of light, and God begins to deepen it. I call that the fourth dimension: the depth of Christ.[18]

Comparison with Other Ministries 

George often compares his ministry with other ministries in order to convince everyone that to leave his ministry to go to another would be "to settle for second-best."

When the pamphlet, Sufficiency of the Scriptures, was just about to be published, George told the workers what kind of reaction to expect from the pamphlet from other Christian groups.

Now they can throw all the brick-brats at me, because it's in writing. It's in black and white. They can see it for themselves. And when the persecution comes and the government demands that we register, and we refuse to register, they'll have a good statement of faith why we will not register. Praise God."[19]

George makes the unfortunate statement in this pamphlet that all Christian organizations have departed from a walk of faith and dependence on the Lord.

“In contrast to this kind of simplicity, we believe that all ecclesiastical organizations, missionary societies, public lists of membership and funds, etc. are a denial and departure from a walk of faith and dependence on the Lord for all things.”[20]

George goes on with comments about the new pamphlet. 

Friends, you're going to hear a real ripple from this pamphlet. I'm telling you. Because it is really an expression of what we stand for and what all faithful men in the past articulated that some groups now have departed from. But you're going to get a response, You're going to hear a reaction on this pamphlet.

And I can tell you this, that these organized churches around, you know, who say, "Until you people get a statement of faith and until you people pay a salary, and until you people get incorporated, and blah blah blah," now they're going to have a statement why we don't do it. It's not just a matter of neglect or inconvenience. We've got a conviction as to why we don't do it. And they're going to chatter on that and chomp on that for a while. Praise the Lord for that.

You see I know some things that a lot of you people... all you know is what we've been doing and you take it for granted. You don't realize... What I'm going to be interested in is to get the response of Open Brethren groups. You know, the P.B.'s --Plymouth Brethren, who I used to be with. Because that's what they used to stand for -- what I've put in print here. That's how the movement began back the early 19th century.21

 

This pamphlet was to be his answer to those who criticized him for not incorporating, not paying the workers a salary, and not having a doctrinal statement of faith. However, you wonder what the real reasons are behind these "convictions." Because, in time, George has formed two separate corporations, one for the school and one for the printing ministry. And he gives both his sons and two other full-time workers a fixed amount of income month by month from the offerings.

You wonder if it really is because of spiritual "principles" or if it's because he does not want to be accountable financially. No one, except perhaps Betty, knows the exact amount of money that comes in from the offerings of assemblies throughout the United States and Canada. All moneys are given in cash and the members arc told not to report any of their contributions to the I.R.S, When one of the leading brothers once questioned George about his lack of accountability in regard to the finances, he said, "It grieves me that you don't trust me." Sometime later, at Betty's insistence, George produced a small notebook in which Betty had listed major expenditures that had taken place over a period of months, These expenditures included airplane tickets for George's journeys and printing bills for his publications. George allowed the leading brothers (the brother who first raised the question was not present) to briefly inspect the notebook in the privacy of a back room. There was no accounting of the amount of moneys received from the assembly in Fullerton nor from the outlying assemblies, neither did anyone ask for such an accounting, fearing that George would accuse them of not trusting him.

George believes strongly that people should not remarry after divorce. He claims that evangelical leaders are ashamed of their position of allowing remarriage after divorce, and that he was right in taking his stand all along.

There's a lot of evangelicals today that are getting ashamed. A lot of evangelical leaders today are getting ashamed, because they see they've made a mistake. Really, many of them today are just buying a lie. They bought a lie for a long time. They're seeing the results of it and the harvest is being reaped because of it. Really sad.[21] [editor’s note: Who is ashamed?]

 

He disdains the Plymouth Brethren groups who have now departed from the "Scriptural principles of New Testament gatherings," which he stands for.

Now they're organized and some of their chapels now appoint pastors and give them salaries. Things that they've never believed in before. And they've got the big Stuart Foundation where they loan money. At one time the Brethren never believed in owing money to anyone. Now they loan money and they charge interest to their own brethren for the money. Can you imagine that?  To do the work of God. I mean, really, it’s sad, no wonder they're in the condition they're in. And their big chapel in Ottawa. Riddeview Chapel --they've just built a big dance hall up there so they can have discotheque on weekends for their young people. Really sad.[22] [editor’s note: while it is true that The Brethren have declined as a movement, they are still far larger and more vital than The Assembly has ever been.] 

With particular glee, he rehearses how in the early days he swept up some of Calvary Chapel's communes into the Assembly, because of his seminar on "The Sign Gift Ministry."

But you see when I gave it in those days what I was doing for you people... I was sort of giving you an overflow because you didn't have any kind of direction. Some of you were coming out of the charismatic movement, so I had to really just overflow like a volcanic eruption and let the lava flow.

It's what caused Calvary Chapel and all that ilk to say, "Stay away from George, he's a dangerous man." Because it swept some of their communes... they didn't want anything more to do with Calvary Chapel. So that was very, very controversial. The House of Prayer, the House of Christian Love, the Philadelphia House all left Calvary Chapel because of that seminar.[23]

Editor’s note: Here I must vociferously interject. We have in our home Bible study, every Wednesday night, a man who lived in the Philadelphia house, which George mentions above.  He does not remember George, and insists that the Philadelphia House never left Calvary Chapel, which is an easily verified fact. It would seem that Calvary Chapel, and all the other churches that George freely mocks are all doing exponentially better than his dysfunctional band of sycophants. Perhaps George's version of events is not quite accurate.

What a wonderful way to talk about your brethren in Christ, "all that ilk." Actually, the House of Prayer was not even in existence at the time, and the two other communes were not involved with Calvary Chapel.

George expressed his disgust to the workers when he heard a leader at Biola University bought videos at a video shop.

I listened to a fellah on the air the other day, a leading evangelical, one of the main leaders at this Biola University where I went. In fact, he and I went to high school together... He was on the air and he was talking about "When I go to the video shop... I buy double oh seven movies, I get this and I..." Now, I'm going to tell you, dear friends, what a testimony? I mean, what a testimony? I mean here you have an evangelical leader saying he goes to the video shops to get double oh seven films and Rambo... How in the world can you tell me, how can you walk with the Lord, just from the advertisements you see in these kind of films and the violence and all of this sort of thing and the Lord says. "He hates those who love violence."[24]

George took this opportunity to comment on the whole state of evangelical Christians based on one evangelical leader's confession that he rents movies. He said," And here's a guy boasting, he goes to a video shop and he gets these movies. I mean, you know, you just see the state that the evangelical world is in today."[25] And was this man "boasting?"

There was to be absolutely no dating among the single people in the Assemblies. A brother was to seek counsel and direction about a relationship from either George or an elder before they could get together. And if the relationship was to be prolonged over a period of time, the brother could do so only under counsel.

I thank God that we take the stand we do here. I'm telling you. You know sometimes we take a lot for granted here. What God has done here. We're by no means perfect. Believe me, we've got a lot to learn. But God has done something here. And I thank God we take that stand we take line on dating and this sort of thing. I had a Christian woman recently whose been saved, a dear sister was telling me. She's been coining up to the meetings. And she says she's gone to many places. She's gone to Evangelical Free and Dr. Hocking's church down in Santa Ana. All these places around... all the big evangelical churches. And she says, "I become distressed." She's a nurse at the St. Jude Hospital.  And she says, "I'm distressed. Aren't there any Christians who live like Christians?" She says, "I meet all these single women that come in from these churches where I go to and..." she says, "and they're pregnant." Very sad. friends.[26]  

The impression that George leaves is that all the single women from these churches are pregnant, because nobody sets and enforces moral standards, as he does in the assemblies. 

Ridiculing Other Christian Leaders 

George ridicules other contemporary Christian leaders in order to make himself look superior. He publicly ridiculed Chuck Swindoll’s book, Improving Your Serve, substituting "swerve" for the word "serve." He denounced John Macarthur, of Grace Community Church in Panorama City, as "a tare sown by the devil," because he teaches that Jesus was not eternally the Son of God, but became the Son at His incarnation.[27] At no time does George tell the people that John Macarthur takes great pains to present the Biblical interpretation of a passage of Scripture, or that his teaching on Sonship was pronounced orthodox by the National Association of Evangelicals. John Macarthur is well known for his integrity in his handling of the Scriptures.

When a brother from Grand Rapids wrote to George telling him that it was too simplistic to say that the Scriptures alone were sufficient, that you also need proper exegetical interpretation of the Scriptures, George debunked his remarks by saying, "Rules of hermeneutics based on the study of the Greek and Hebrew paralyzes... You are bound. Greek authorities will knit-pick... It is not necessary to have a course in hermeneutics to understand the Word."[28]

George mocks those who study the Scriptures to understand its objective, propositional truths by saying they are "funny-mentalists who go around with Bibles on their heads."

We cannot know this Word as a dead letter, we can only know it by Divine Revelation. We need to be taught from above. We will never know it through systematic theology, this will only result in our being dead fundamentalists.[29]

After hearing him talk so negatively about these groups and leaders, you were eternally grateful to the Lord that you were with him. George said to the workers,

I'd much rather have David's 400 mighty men that mean business with God, than to have the vast host that was following Saul who were marching to their defeat. David had a small host, but I tell you they knew they were on the winning side. Do you know you're on the winning side?[30]

George thinks of himself as God's king with a host of "mighty men." And to follow through on his analogy, Christians who do not "mean business with God" are following leaders who are "marching to their defeat." But, of course, we were following George and we were on the winning side. After all wasn't "divine permission granted"[31] him to "go on to perfection" as he so enthusiastically announced to all the workers the last morning (August 18, 1976) of his seminar on "Christian Perfection?"

George wants great meetings and lots of them, "packed to the walls with people," eager, enthusiastic, skillful, committed, dedicated, and loyal to him to the end that his ego would be bolstered and that his ministry would be applauded as a great work of God. George once related a dream he had of some majestic being who showed him a book. The title of the book was The Atlas of the Apostles. In it were gigantic color prints portraying George's mighty deeds. 

Conclusion 

From the evidence we have presented, we believe the following conclusions are warranted: 

This is what David Johnson and Jeff Van Vonderen describe as spiritual abuse.

 

It's possible to become so determined to defend a spiritual place of authority, a doctrine or a way of doing things that you wound and abuse anyone who questions, or disagrees, or doesn't "behave" spiritually the way you want them to. When your words and actions tear down another, or attack or weaken a person's standing as a Christian-- to gratify you, your position or your beliefs while at the same time weakening or harming another --that is spiritual abuse.

 

I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.

Romans 16:17-19



[1] Tape transcription of workers' meeting, Dec 27, 1986

[2] Tape transcription of workers' meeting, Dec. 27, 1986

[3] Tape transcription of workers' meeting, Dec. 27, 1986

[4] Tape transcription of workers' meeting, Dec. 27, 1986

[5] Tape transcription of workers' meeting, Dec. 27, 1986

[6] Tape transcription of workers' meeting, Dec. 27, 1986

[7] Tape transcription of  workers’ meeting, Dec. 27, 1986

[8] Notes from workers' meeting, December, 1989 .

 

[9] Notes from workers' meeting, January, 1990

[10] Tape transcription of workers' meeting, Dec 27, 1986

[11] Tape transcription of workers' meeting, Dec 27, 1986

[12] Notes from the Purpose of a Brother's House

[13] Tape transcription of workers' meeting, Dec 27, 1986

 

[14] Tape transcription of workers' meeting, Dec. 27, 1986

[15] Tape transcription of workers' meeting, Dec. 27, 1986

[16] Notes from workers' meeting, March 5, 1977

[17] Tape transcription of workers' meeting. Dec. 27, 1986

[18] p 36. Geftakys. Jesus is the Son of God, First Edition

[19] Tape transcription of workers’ meeting, Dec. 27, 1986

 

[20] p. 13, The Sufficiency of the Scriptures, Geftakys,  Torch and Testimony Publications. 1986

 

21 Tape transcription of workers’ meeting, Dec. 27, 1986

[21] Tape transcription of workers’ meeting, Dec 27, 1986

[22] Tape transcription of workers’ meeting, Dec 27, 1986

[23] Tape transcription of workers’ meeting, Dec 27, 1986

[24] Tape transcription of workers’ meeting, Dec 27, 1986

[25] Tape transcription of workers’ meeting, Dec 27, 1986

[26] Tape transcription of workers’ meeting, Dec 27, 1986

[27] John Macarthur has since publicly recanted this doctrine, yet to this day George continues to berate him for it. George himself has quietly removed his books from his book tables and re-written things, but he never admits that he has ever said anything wrong, let alone publicly clarify error.  Macarthur’s church continues to prosper, and The Assembly continues to decline.

[28] Morning class on Church and Bible history, Feb. 1990

[29] p. 37, Geftakys, Jesus is the Son of God, First Edition

[30] Tape transcription of workers’ meeting, Dec 27, 1986

[31] Notes from Workers’ Seminar, August 15-20, 1976