Testimonials and Feedback 2002
This is the archive of reader comments begun by Brent T. in 2002, and continuing to the present. Some of these comments have been reproduced elsewhere on this website.
Testimonials & Feedback Received by Brent T. in 2002
We hope you don't lose heart when the 'shoot the messenger' behavior continues to come forth. We think you're able to be so clear because you have been out from under these influences for a while, and have had time to really repent, work through and wake up to a lot. Some of us are just now waking up to the sorry facts and repenting ourselves. Your website is doing what the radio program 'Unshackled' from Pacific Garden Mission says: " The program that makes you face yourself and think".
Yes, you might make mistakes in your zeal to shed light, but it looks like you have also been quick and faithful to correct them. Reasonable people can see this, unless they're still completely deceived. That's what we think we hear in Russ's and Mike G.'s letters. Maybe they need time. The truth hurts before it heals.
We've only been away from meetings for a couple of weeks, and we honestly feel we were blind and now we see. More every day. It is so sad, but also very liberating. With the help of testimonies on your site, and Chuck Miller's postings on the Assembly bulletin board, we are now able to say to the Lord, 'Forgive us for getting involved with and supporting such a thing, for the pride that gave the enemy a foothold, and for the insecurities that kept us quiet when we saw things that weren't right'. And more we won't go into here. We were never leaders or "in the work" but we can relate to the list you posted for Mike and Russ just the same. May God have mercy on us all. Supporting the message and thankful for the messengers,
Phill and Becky W., Annandale
God has done wonderful things in my life. He has gotten a liberty and freedom I haven’t known since I was first saved. How wonderful it is to be spiritually healthy.
I am writing this because I want every member still "in fellowship" to know God’s deliverance the way I and many others have, and for the encouragement of those that have labored tirelessly to bring the hidden things of darkness to light. Every relationship that I have with God’s people is precious, and it is my sincere prayer that these relationships can be enjoyed in a healthy context in His proper time.
I was born again at the UCLA bible study in 1988 out of the darkness of the party life and came immediately into "fellowship" in West Los Angeles and have been considered (I think) a committed member and doorkeeper for many years. My perspective has changed recently thanks to the power of God’s grace and faithful brethren who have brought the hidden things of darkness to light.
I will just share what the Lord has shown me from his word, I will not recommend any course of action, I respect everyone’s free will - God bless you! This is just what I, David Kennedy, feel has happened and is happening in this ministry. The passage is:
Ezekiel 21. 24, "Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye have made your iniquity to be remembered, in that your transgressions are discovered, so that in all your doings your sins do appear; because, I say, that ye are come to remembrance, ye shall be taken with the hand. 25 And thou, profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end, 26 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. 27 I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.
Point one, verse 24: We have seen George’s transgressions (here is a sample of some):
-Immoral and Unseemly Relationships
- The David Geftakys situation and cover up
-(For more details, see articles in the Assembly Teaching and Practice section.)
Point two: In revealing his big transgressions, we have discovered that his sins appear in all his doings: quot;so that in all your doings your sins do appear"
Let me put it another way: the Lord has shown me and many others that this is a wicked and deceitful man, and that his wicked ways have corrupted every layer and aspect of Assembly life in all the assemblies, to varying degrees both explicitly and implicitly.
But what of all God’s wonderful blessings we’ve received in this ministry? Consider the parable of the wheat and the tares. There is indeed genuine wheat in this ministry, and precious friendships and we’ve learned a lot about the Word. However there is deep, insidious and systemic tares in this ministry.
These are some of what I believe to be tares in this ministry:
- The way we treat women. The man who gave us so much guidance about the relationship between a man and a woman is himself an adulterer, and all the sin that goes along with that and leads up to that. (See George Geftakys' letter of excommunication.)
- The way we treat our children. Just think about what it takes to get an 18 month old to sit on a mat for 4 - 5 hours a day. It’s unhealthy and unnatural.
-There are many other things that I have seen and if people would like to discuss them, send me an e-mail or give me a call or read the website. The absence of details is not due to a lack, but a desire to be sensitive.
Point three. I believe the Lord is doing what is described in verse 27, he is overturning this wicked system so God’s people can be freed. But many are resisting that overturning.
Now for the enjoyable part....
HOW GOD HAS SO TREMENDOUSLY BLESSED ME:
- He has healed my relationship with my wife. I now look at her as a complete equal, as someone I cherish deeply. Sure, I still believe the husband leads, but submission occurs in a healthy balance with all the other wonderful truths about marriage.
- I see how deeply precious my children are, how God intends me to really enjoy them and let kids be kids
- He has so enlarged my relationship with Christ. I see that it’s all about loving him, knowing him, enjoying him and being a vehicle of God’s grace to others. It’s not about what I do for him or that I get it just right.
- The Lord has so ministered to me from the book We Would See Jesus by Roy and Revel Hession. Jesus is the great I AM. He is the one who is ever meeting our need, and in finding him meet our need, we are brought ever closer to him. I see that I’ve been in an unhealthy place, and that I have needs as a result, but oh how sweet it is to find them met in Jesus.
I'm No Better
Why wasn't I different? Why did I go along for so long under such great weights and burdens, with no power to continue but sheer grit determination? Why am I angry at those who helped perpetrate this hypocrisy for so long? Why didn�t I make the difference, but rather contributed to the system of religious bondage until it became unbearable?
Because I'm not much like Christ.
When I was making sure I would be heard in pre-prayer as a zealous supporter of the upcoming meeting, praying in the visitor so I could make them a zealot like me, Jesus would have been communing in His heart with the Father, bringing the eyes of the Almighty upon each heart there to search for sincerity and reality and inviting the Spirit of love and mercy. And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. "For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men" (Matt 6:5).
When I was making sure to greet one another, so that I could be seen as a saint who was on board, Jesus would have been listening to the Spirit's voice for what to do, what soul might be sorrowful from the days burdens, and He would have been there bearing, supporting, weeping or rejoicing for their sake and healing their wounds. It wouldn�t have mattered how many people He went out to nor who saw it. "They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues "(Matt 23:6).
When on the way to a meeting I was dictating to my children how they better behave or else they will hear about it when we get home, and don�t forget to have a good attitude� Jesus would have been waiting on the Father of mercy, perhaps not even worrying about the meeting but rather making himself a sacrifice if not just to listen to his children�s soul life and treat them like human beings with hearts and tender feelings, not like machines to be programmed for compliance so we don�t look bad in front of others. "Suffer the children to come unto me and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven."
As I look back at the thousands of times I supported and encouraged serving the "God of serving God" I can only say, Lord change ME. For how is anyone going to know how to really be if there are not those who are really like YOU. You must now do it right, for I have done it wrong. Make me bold before the Pharisees, humble before the weak, patient with the failing, longsuffering with the ignorant, gracious to the broken, for I am not that way. I see it now.
"No one can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and �the God of serving God" (Mt 6:24, paraphrased).
I just wanted to testify to you what the Lord did for me today at Calvary Chapel. First, I was totally blessed by the message pastor Bryan preached. It really met the need at hand and honestly, I have not heard preaching that so spoke to my heart since you gave a word at the prayer meeting and then before that it was pastor Ron at New Life. Second, I have been bothered that there has seemed to be an invisible block in my relationship with the Lord. I have not known why. It's been there for quite awhile. Today, as we were waiting on the Lord, I am not quite sure what happened. But as I saw Jeff B. and Gordon go to the front, it was like the dam broke and the wall was gone. The tears flowed and I knew I was free. Thank you for caring for God's people. If you have pastor Bryan's email address, would you have a moment to send it my way? I would like to thank him. It was really good to see you and Suzie today. Lord bless you.
It has been many years since we spoke. The efforts of the website have opened many eyes for which I am personally thankful. After 20 years in the Assembly, I have been greatly humbled to see the error of this ministry and have been repenting of my part in perpetuating the error. God is judging and shaking and clearly has been grieved by the sin that has been in the assembly ministry. In Arcata, we are grateful for God's opening of our eyes to our error. For myself, my intention was never to follow Brother George or anyone else, but in such subtle ways I see that both spoken and unspoken error was accepted and furthered. Zeal became spiritual pride and contradicted the very message of the scripture.
The past weeks can only be characterized by deep repentance like I have never before seen and many past wrongs being brought to light and made right. I would have never imagined that God could so move each of us as he has and that such a fervency for Christ come forth. It is nothing short of amazing. The "leading brothers" here ( I am one of four currently) have humbled ourselves before the saints. We are disassociating ourselves from the ministry of Brother George and are now collectively with the believers here seeking God's mind for what he wants. Each of the "leading brothers" are willing to step aside from this stewardship and are leaving this decision to God's people as well as any other decisions including their involvement in the meeting in Arcata. God is showing us that if He is to work in our midst, He has to put "new wine in new wine skins." Now we are prayerfully seeking to know what that means. We are asking God to show us anything of the old system that is not of Christ, that we might leave it behind and go forward with those things that will glorify him.
This week has been a week of firsts. Tuesday, at the prayer meeting, a brother (in fellowship for nearly 25 years) was given the opportunity to address God's people and tell of God's leading from our gathering. He shared five wonderful promises, and was then given promises from brethren in our midst, one being Acts 20:32. It was a wonderful time of prayer and tears and we knew God's presence in great ways.
On Thursday night, instead of chapter summary, we had a time of promise sharing and a pastor of 46 years from a local Baptist Church meet with us. His counsel was sought by the leadership locally and we are trusting that "in the multitude of counsel their is wisdom and safety", and not just counsel from within the ministry that we have been a part of for these past years. Many hard questions were posed to this pastor including what we should do with other gatherings that seem not to be taking this situation seriously. This time was very precious and illuminating as to the blessedness of Christian fellowship.
We are seeking out other Godly men here locally and have a desire to function as part of the one Body of Christ in our community. There is unity to have nothing to do "with the unclean thing" and to keep our hands off of God's things. Please pray for us, that we would do the right thing before God. Many of God's people here are realizing new life and desire for Christ as a result of the exposure of sin and repentance. I am finding that the Word of God is like a new book and the deep inner burden of the past years is lifting. God is good to the penitent. Many of the saints have been enjoying fellowship with our brother Kirk C.. He continues to be our friend and has been a humble example of what God wants.
Thank you again for standing against what God does not want. [I might also add that I am standing for what God DOES want.... Brent T.]
January 19th, 2003, two letters were read in the assembly in Fullerton. One was regarding George Geftakys and his role in the situation at SLO, as well as his sins of immorality that have been brought to the attention of leadership in the past week. George was officially excommunicated and all financial support, as well as any other, has been withdrawn from him and his wife. Our hope is that he repent, but we're not holding our breath. Being involved in the book ministry in Fullerton, I got a surprise when I was told to take all of George's books off of the booktable. (Eventually I imagine they will go to storage or even a landfill --they had not been selling well for years.) This letter was signed by all of the leading brothers and remaining elders.
The second letter that was read this morning was concerning the leadership here. They felt that, in order to make a clean break with the past, they should all step down from leadership (which they have) and labor with us as brethren among brethren, to see what new thing the Lord would do here.
Brent, I cannot tell how glad I am of all this. At the same time, as I write this, I just want to cry and cry and cry (I'm starting to right now). I'm not sure why exactly. I'm writing to you so that you and the others offended will know what is going on. Everybody I have spoken to in Fullerton agrees that this is just what was needed. I'm certain that many of us would have said so even years ago but did not have the courage of our convictions to say so publicly. I have never felt that you were a tool of the devil in any of this. Perhaps a bit sarcastic, but it was needed.
Please pray for us in the weeks and months ahead. We literally are starting over again. I'm not sure what all this means for me specifically yet, except at least right now I'm willing to stick around and see what God will do. Why, by this way, do you call this a rebuttal? I'm not rebutting anything (I don't think) wink wink wink.....I will write something to Rachel and Judy soon...I know in all my years in Fullerton I basically only knew them by name and appearance, but I feel really bad about it all. May they not be bitter against God for all this.
Lord bless you mightily, and may the repentance continue.
Just a note of personal thanks for putting together a forum where a patient reader can piece together the puzzle of hypocrisy and deceit that passed for a Christian work: the work of George Geftakys. Though I have been in fellowship since 1974/5 it has only been recently, primarily through this website, that I've become informed of some of the "secret things of darkness" that are present in the gathering in Fullerton, and particularly the work of George Geftakys. Your site has been a help. Thank you.
Grateful for the light,
P. S.: Ephesians 5:11 "Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them." One of the things that makes your site different is that generally people are signing what they write. I think that's what's needed.
One last post and then I'll keep quiet for a while. After I left the Assembly it took a while before I attended any churches at all. But when I moved to Orange County I began to attend Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa. Because of all I had heard in the Assembly I expected the people to be very shallow Christians, because Calvary chapel had 5000 members at that time.
How untrue this was!! It had been ingrained in me that the Assembly was small because God had winnowed the wheat to a group of very faithful people. We were the elite so to speak. We were following "God's Pattern" while other "shallow" churches were worldly and not following what pleases God at all. But what I learned was that the people in the Assembly are faithful to the Assembly, not necessarily faithful to God. Calvary chapel was an explosively growing church, with other Calvary chapels springing up everywhere, with dynamic people who really wanted to reach others for Christ. they began the "Harvest Campaigns" in Anaheim stadium. I had the privilege of being one of the people down on the stadium floor praying with people to receive Christ.
As another just mentioned, part of the TRUE pattern of the Church is GROWTH. After all of that time I happened to be driving through Fullerton and saw a tent set up beside the road--it was the same tent that had been used for years by the Assembly. To me it stood like a ghost, unchanged by time. I knew in my heart that the Assembly was probably the same size if not smaller, because I knew that the legalistic patterns there left little room for the Holy Spirit to really work. As I've mentioned before, the patent reply (at least when I was there) in defense of little growth was, "Despise not the day of small things". It was a basic statement of, "Be proud we're small because we are the truly faithful ones".
[Brent's note: The passage where God encourages us not to despise small things, Zech 4:10, clearly implies that bigger things are soon to follow...ask yourself, "Is this happening in my church?" ] It's amazing what floods back to you when you look back at your years in the Assembly. The absurdity of things that happened makes me wonder how I could possibly have stayed there as long as I did. I remember how in one brother's house he instituted a "morning time" that all must attend. He did this because some brothers were missing their morning times or falling asleep during them. It was in effect a "forced" meeting with the Lord each morning. So, instead of the morning time being something someone chose to have in order to be close to God, it was something you "had" to do.
But, added to this was the fact that you must be there by 6:00 A.M.---or there was a fine. Believe it or not the fine was that we all HAD to have a morning time together a half hour earlier the next morning!! Imagine that!!! Making the punishment for being late to morning time with the Lord HAVING to meet with him a half hour earlier the next morning! So a time you were supposed to be enjoying and fellowshipping with the Lord was turned into a legalistic meeting with fines attached! There are so many examples of this that I could write about. It simply amazes me each time I read what I have just typed and realize that, YES, this all did happen and I stuck around for years there.
I am also glad that there are current Assembly members who read here and I hope that they are blessed as well. From the contact I have recently received from one Assembly, I would say that things are much more oppressive then when I left! I was told that they don't have fellowships any more because the Leaders felt "the Saints" shouldn't have friendships?!!
I also heard that George's teaching is getting more wacko then ever. According to a brother, who recently left, he is teaching that God created man on the 7th day(?). He was said to teach that you need special vision to see this as it is not explicitly mentioned in scripture. I think the Assembly cup needs not only washing but possibly some crack repairs as well.
You are quite correct; there is no way to "fix" a system without first admitting you have a problem. We experienced this many times over the years during our involvement in the Assembly. One such situation was the child discipline in the meetings. Mothers were instructed to bring little switches, or wood spoons into the meetings to enforce good behavior for their kids.
An "outsider" observed this and complained, so the whole program went underground (which meant you took the kids out to the bathroom for their beating--- er-- ah-- I mean discipline.) When my wife was told there was to be no more switching in the meetings she asked, "Why the change in policy?" and was told that, "There is no change, as no one was ever told to discipline in the meetings." Why couldn't they just say, "We were wrong"? Because once you've set yourself up as God's messenger, in the center of God's will, who hears God's voice, there is no room for error.
All the wonderful teaching regarding grace in the Bible cannot find a place to dwell where stubborn pride exists. God dwells in the humble and contrite heart. For the heart that is honest with God, and with others, will be flooded with the washing and renewing of the Holy Spirit. This is why, my dear Assembly friend, you have to confront you leaders re. issues that you know are wrong:
- Where does the money go that I put in the box?
- Who is Brother George accountable to?
- How does he square his teaching with the bible and with orthodox evangelical teaching?
- Why is it so difficult to leave and why are you shunned when leaving? and etc.
If the leaders are not entreatable it shows that they are not men of God, for the bible teaches that wisdom from above is not only entreatable, it is EASY to be entreated. My experience was that the leaders not only would not hear any questions regarding their teaching, and/or practices, they would turn the tables on you and attack you for even asking such questions!
Brent's note - I have verified that George has indeed taught his new theory of Seventh Day Creation on several occasions, and in a pointed, "expository" way at that.
"The Bible clearly says in Gen 1:28-2:3:
Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth." 29 And God said, "See, I have given you every herb [that] yields seed which [is] on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. 30 "Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which [there] [is] life, [I] [have] [given] every green herb for food"; and it was so. 31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed [it] [was] very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day. 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. 2 And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made (emphasis added).
If a person were to look up the Hebrew word for "sixth" (Strong's 8345) they would find that it means sixth, every single time it is used. It only means "seventh" if we allow for "new revelation." This is merely a brief little peek into the window of Assembly theology, which flows from a man with little education, and no accountability. If George is able to contradict scripture in this manner on a relatively trivial subject, what of major topics like Grace, Rewards, Sanctification and our Inheritance? Has anyone tried to confront George regarding this very dangerous exposition?"
From Joe S. - I'll never forget my last conversation with an Assembly Member--it was George himself. I finally worked up the nerve and called his house--the conversation( I swear upon the Lord Jesus Christ this is the absolute truth) went like this: "Hello" "Hi, is this Brother George?" "Yes it is, who's calling please?" "My name is ____, and I used to be a member of the Assembly. I went through a lot of pain there and wanted to talk to you about it." "Oh, this is George's brother, George isn't here right now". "What? I thought you said you were George" "No, I said this was George's brother." "Well, Can I talk with Brother George then?" "Brother George isn't here right now". (CLICK).
I couldn't believe what I had just heard. I called back immediately and a woman answered. I asked for brother George and she said he had just left. I then asked if George's brother was there. "George's Brother??" she said. "Why would you ask for him?" "Because someone on the phone just said they were him" "Well George's brother lives in Chicago I think, and he hasn't visited here in quite a while." "Well, someone just said they were George's brother after saying at first they were George." "Well George was the only one here, and he is a holy man, why would he lie to you?" She promptly hung up the phone.
I tried to explain this to some members and they all called me a liar and said George was incapable of such a thing. But he did--he was afraid to confront and talk to a former member of the Assembly, or he simply felt it wasn't worth his time. But he chose lying as a way to deal with the problem.
I FINALLY realized who this person and this Assembly was--it truly was way off base. believe it or not this event began to really bring me closure and I was able to REALLY investigate some of the teachings without a supreme feeling of fear overwhelming me for questioning doctrine.
You see, I had felt that because I left the Assembly God would no longer bless me as those who were still in the Assembly. But when you turn that thought around you see how "pride-filled" and horrendous it is!!!! To think that God would bless 300 people far more than all of the other children in all of his other churches, and give them deeper insight and spirituality is spiritual pride carried to it's highest level.
Life for an average member of the assembly can often take the form of a long, drawn out mind game. Under these circumstances, trying to find a basis for which reality can be interpreted is very difficult. At times these games almost drove me crazy. Maybe the following story will help you understand what I mean.
After spending 15 years in the assembly I "left fellowship" (see glossary). Yet I was still a Christian and a student at Cal State Fullerton. I became involved with "Campus Crusade for Christ," an evangelistic group that outreached to students. During this time I became good friends with many people. One friend I met, Jen, mentioned to me that she was in a "Great discipleship group." "It's called "The Anchors," she said. I responded by telling her that I had been involved with that group and that I thought that she should know some things that they might "forget" to mention, specifically regarding relationships. The men are required to get permission to date. Women are required to just wait for a brother to start courting them, they aren't allowed to "take the lead." Upon hearing this she approached her discipler and told her what I said. The response from her discipler went like this: "Who told you that! We don't believe that! He is a liar! He's in darkness!"
Now I would just like to stop for a second and point out that at this point I, a Christian leader in Campus Crusade, was identified as a "liar" by another "Christian," and implicated in "darkness." What does this mean? Today, in some circles, if a Christian is identified as "in darkness," the thoughts that would come into my mind would be extreme immoral behavior. Did Jen think I was an immoral person? This is a very serious charge! I would also like to point out that I, at that time, had made no such accusation towards them.
The very next day after hearing it, Jen told me what the "saints" said about me. I then proceeded, with Jen in tow, to approach my accusers. While Jen was standing next to me, the "saints" seemed tremendously non-threatening. I asked Enoch, the brother at the book table, to explain why he called me a "liar." He then regretfully looked down at his shoes. I confronted him, "Is it not true what I said about assembly beliefs and practices?" He reluctantly said, "Yes." Whereupon Jen said, "Thank you," and walked away, not to return to their group.
Yet after she left, Enoch turned on me and became very angry, "You told her the truth and now she doesn't want to fellowship with us!" Now this threw me. He said "YOU TOLD HER THE TRUTH..." Again, I would just like to point out that Enoch had admitted that I had not lied, thereby admitting that he was a liar. Yet where was his apology? Did he ever say, "I'm sorry brother I lied..." Certainly not. To go on, Enoch began to condemn me, "You are causing division... I'm going to talk to the brothers...
Now lets step back a minute and examine what happened. I told the truth, which got me in "trouble" with the saints. This makes a lot of sense doesn't it? About a week after this, I was confronted by Jim Hayman. He "politely" informed me that I was excommunicated. Even after I pleaded with him, "Please don't do this! Let's get together and talk this out," "No," was all he would say.
This is ludicrous. To say the least it is very frustrating trying to reason with people who have no real basis for right and wrong. These are mind games the assembly plays with its members and ex-members. They will never own up to sin. It leaves a person feeling horribly treated, wronged by people who were supposed to love them. I had dedicated 15 years of my time money and life to these people. Was this my thanks?