We began to follow George Geftakys back in 1969 when he was preaching in various Brethren assemblies and "overcomer" groups, including Westmoreland Chapel. Here was a Bible teacher who didn't just drone safely through a passage of Scripture. George preached with the energy and charisma of an artesian well of spiritual insights. Within two years we were part of the nucleus of his Assembly in Fullerton, California.
Little by little the group became very controlling and legalistic, but we were like the frog in the kettle - we didn't discern that the water was heating up and we were being cooked. Until...
In 1988-1989 our son Lee was reading Martin Luther and John Owen at UCLA, and began to question George's teaching on salvation. When he tried to raise his concerns with George and the Leading Brothers he was slandered and excommunicated.
This event, along with a litany of heart-rending stories from people driven out of the Assemblies in years past, raised a loud alarm in our hearts. It began to dawn on us that a cancer of emotional and spiritual abuse and betrayal was in an advanced stage of development throughout the Assemblies.
For months Steve attempted fruitlessly to discuss Lee's situation with George. After being silenced and stripped of leadership roles we realized that we had reached an impasse. We left in March of 1990. We were, of course, slandered and shunned. Steve wrote about our ordeal and the problems we saw with the Geftakys ministry, hoping that someone else might be helped.
Life was painful after we left. We had serious issues to deal with - agonizing questions, family difficulties, spiritual turmoil, an aching void....But we were helped by understanding pastors and believers, and our own children. We went to Wellspring and to Christian counseling, and read a lot. We are not fully recovered and most likely never will be, but we are in happy fellowship and service at Christ Reformed Church in Anaheim, CA.
We have found that Reformed teaching has been most helpful in getting over works-based righteousness. But we don't want to overpower this website with our Reformed perspective - we know that in some evangelical circles it is anathema. Our purpose is not to stir up that debate. The bottom line is that the grace and love of God in Christ make all the difference.
We felt resolved about the past until the events surrounding George's excommunication in 2003 re-engaged us. The information that came out was eye-opening. We no longer had to wonder if our evaluation of the Geftakys ministry had been uncharitable - tragically, the situation was proven worse than we had ever dreamed.