I'm a Christian truck driver. I am not a church leader, worker, psychologist, counselor, scholar, or Bible teacher. I hope my letters do not come across as sounding presumptuous. I contribute here in response to what our Good Shepherd has worked into my heart. I care about these dear souls very much. My comments regarding the Assembly are general in nature and are not meant to mean that all individuals experienced it in the same I did, nor that I am an elite interpreter of Assembly experience.
I think one needs to see the Assembly as a system, because I believe the Bible teaches us to analyze individual church doctrine and practice in this way (spirit of truth and of error). I have spoken with those who were in the Assembly almost 30 years who are totally unaware of what GG was teaching, or of it's ramifications.
One wonders why they were there at all? They have no clear opinions at all regarding the nature of the Gospel or of the Christian life. They tell me they saw how cruelly some were treated, and that they knew that it was wrong, but they made no effort to protest this behavior. It seems they attended only for some private experience with "the Lord" that gave them a sense of being safe, or helped them deal with certain bad habits they wrestled with. "It was good for me". Since these individuals could not be coaxed out of their own private experience to examine teaching and practices right before them, they were able to happily endure for decades in a place that ravished other lives.
The Bible says we are to earnestly contend for the Faith once delivered to the Saints. The Faith is a body of truth that can be learned and wherein is found "The Way, The Truth, and The Life". The Faith is the means whereby we hear the Good Shepherd's voice and follow Him. To not hear that Voice clearly is to be in danger of being consumed by wolves and false shepherds who will ravage unsuspecting souls. Those who do not think through carefully and clearly their assumptions (especially after being in a group whose teaching was controlled by one man who had the character of a wolf) are in a very dangerous position indeed.
I have dedicated my life to helping wounded pilgrims recover their faith and to go on to healthy and prosperous lives in Christ. A true understanding of the Gospel is absolutely essential for this to happen. There is no other path to this knowledge other than through our thinking. It is false spirituality to think that this knowledge comes through some kind of "spiritualizing" process through our emotions. In this false spirituality words all have different meanings and/or no meaning at all. In this mindset all that is important is my attitude or feelings regarding the Lord. Christianity becomes a private experience only, which is different from everyone else's experience -- who's to judge?
Personal experience and emotion are very important, but must spring from the safe fountain of living water found in the Gospel. Understanding the Gospel will cause us to grow in grace and in the Knowledge of Lord Jesus Christ.
God Bless, Mark Campbell