Retirement or Repentance?
Dear readers, this letter is definitely authentic.
2007 Calle Serena
Fullerton, CA 92833 USA
January 3rd, 2003
Beloved friends and family of God in Fullerton (and elsewhere):
As you know from my letter, as of the 23rd of December 2002, of turning over responsibilities and privileges in the work as to its direction and God's leading for the future to younger brethren because of perceived physical and health limitations at 75 years of age. Not knowing how much longer I have.
Also because of my increased absence due to extensive travel in the work, both at home and abroad, at least eight months out of the year: it is not possible to properly maintain responsibility as an elder in the local gathering of an assembly. Therefore it is appropriate for me to step down from this function and allow those who are here regularly to function freely in their leadership.
It has been a great privilege from the beginning of this Assembly, for over 30 years, to see its establishment, its great prosperity; dividing many times in blessing, the raising up of numerous assemblies from our midst. I have always found it a joy and privilege to labor with all the saints in this place.
It is with much love and continuing prayers that I take this decision for the future direction and good will in this place, before the Lord.
Brethren, pray for me and my continuing labor for the Lord.
My promise for you now, as always, has been: Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity. Ps. 133.1
As a father and brother in Christ:
I remain in the joy of serving Jesus,
While not letting ourselves get distracted with the obvious run-on sentences, what this first paragraph has to say is really shocking. Why should a self-proclaimed "Father" in the Lord, who has enough energy to go on an exciting evangelistic journey to China in a week, turn over "responsibilities and privileges" in the work. Shouldn't an older man have much to say about "direction and God's leading for the future?" Oh, but it is explained by "perceived" health limitations and advanced age. There is no mention here of the fact that a small part of Mr. Geftakys' reprehensible behavior, and a very large part of his son's sinful behavior has been exposed. It would seem that these things might be slightly touched on in a sincere "retirement letter."
It would seem that Mr. Geftakys' perceived health problems have caused him to limit his travel to only eight months out of the year. Perhaps he will soon recover from perceived illness and be gone for twelve months out of the year. Many are praying for this to happen. As for his responsibilities as an Elder, the scriptures say much more about a man's character than they do about his travel schedule. Surely a case could be made that the elders in the New Testament were gone for months at a time, without having telephones or email. Also, why should Mr. Geftakys need to step down in order for others to "freely function?" This makes perfect sense if we conclude that as long as Mr. Geftakys was in charge, others were NOT free to function. Everyone knows this to be true, yet the letter mentions nothing about repentance from authoritarian leadership and abuse. Perhaps the reason for this is the same as the perceived health limitations. Again, if there is only room for one at the top, then Mr. Geftakys must step down in order to make room for another. Hopefully, the other will be the Lord Jesus Christ, and not another man handpicked and trained by George, as all of the current elders are, with the exception of Timothy Geftakys, who is George's son. Again, if being gone for eight months makes one unable to be a responsible elder, we must ask the question, "Why didn't Mr. Geftakys step down fifteen years ago?" He has been traveling for decades, why is he only now coming to realize that he has been an irresponsible elder? Again, no repentance is seen in this paragraph. There is no mention of the REAL reasons he is being asked to "step down." This brings up another important question: "Why are the younger brethren, who are now "functioning freely," allowing George to say things like this?" This is obviously deceptive, vague and false. We all know the real reason Mr. Geftakys is stepping down, if he really is stepping down. His character has been exposed. Everyone needs to remember that David Geftakys also "stepped down," recently. What this involved was not going to meetings, and not partaking or preaching for a while. In a short time, he was restored and publicly preached again. All the while, David continued to receive money from the Lord's Treasury, even when Mr. Geftakys, Sr. maintained that he didn't. This was probably due to traveling eight months out of the year, with perceived health problems. How can the new management, if they are indeed now able to function freely allow this sort of double-talk?
This part is truly amazing! The Assembly has been anything but prosperous. Despite the tremendous dedication of its members, it has remained a small and woefully ineffective group. None of George's "books" has been published, except for self-publishing, and most of the Assemblies continue to be small, stagnant groups. Compare Mr. Geftakys' church to another church that began at the same time and place, Calvary Chapel. As for dividing many times in blessing, I must agree with this. Each time there was a major division in the Assembly, the people who left were blessed. This is good.
I agree that we should all pray for Mr. Geftakys. He is an elderly man, who has perceived health limitations, thus making him unable to travel more than eight months out of the year. He is also unable to function as an elder in the local assembly. We also need to pray that Mr. Geftakys will come to his senses. [What follows is not meant to be sarcastic, but serious and sober:]
We need to pray that George Geftakys would confess his sins, and repent, openly and publicly. If this was really to occur, he must first and foremost contact the many people who have been victims of his abuse over the years. At the top of this list is his daughter-in-law and his granddaughter, followed by hundreds of others. He has done no such thing, and has made no attempt to contact these people, let alone even allude to them in his farcical "retirement" letter. Mr. Geftakys is right about one thing, he doesn't know how much time he has, like all of us. Let's pray that he does indeed repent, and has these sins washed in the blood of the Lamb, who takes away the sin of the world.
Mr. Geftakys does not refer to biblical unity, which thing his ministry has so markedly lacked since its inception. He is referring to uniformity around his own ideas. Biblical unity is rooted in truth. It cannot be maintained, but by the Holy Spirit, who is also called the Spirit of Truth. What has been going on for the last thirty years is fraud. Mr. Geftakys has miss-represented his past, exaggerated his importance and effectiveness, treated others in a shameful manner, and has vigorously lied to cover up his mistakes. The unity that came about when he taught people to excuse his sins, and support him in spite of it, is NOT biblical unity.
Again, let me state that in spite of all of this, there is still grace to help. This is certainly a time of need, and Our Lord promises grace at times like these. Let us not be deceived, no healing will take place unless confession and repentance occur first. Part of Mr. Geftakys repentance includes voluntarily disqualifying himself from any position of leadership or authority. He is no Father in Christ, quite the opposite. The same holds true, to a lesser extent, for those who have served him and enabled his abuse over the years.