"This Ministry" Chart
These are comments by a student about "The Testimony to Jesus" class given in Fullerton. Brent T. also wrote an in-depth article on this subject.
The chart below was handed out in the fall of '99, to those who attended the "Testimony to Jesus" class in Fullerton. Dan Notti and Rod Zach alternated teaching it. What the chart represents is how the seed of "the vision" (note, it is not the Word of God, but the seed of the heavenly vision that George "received") goes into a place (locality) and there takes hold of the lives of certain individuals who will receive it and let it grow in them. That is the inner dot. [A computer version of this chart was also in use.]
The growth of the seed results in the reverberating concentric circles – unity (note, unity first--interesting), then worship. And it goes on further to produce the outer dotted concentric circle (outreach, prayer, etc.), which in turn are the impetus for the seed to be carried out to other localities and pollinated there and gives birth to new Assemblies. The new patches of concentric circles demonstrate these assemblies. (In this graphic there are four of them).
The lines inscribing the square that are marked by a "W" represent the Workers (worker bees, aka drones, hmmm, wonder who the queen bee is...) who carry out the seed to the new localities. The "I’s" represent itinerant Workers who travel between the Assemblies to ensure their proper growth and health. From the letters of several leading brothers who left, it appears itinerant ministers supersede the authority of local leadership.
You see the verses they use Acts 1:17, 25 and II Cor 4:1:
"For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry." "That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas fell..." "Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not."First of all, please tell me what these verses have to do with anything. The argument of the Assembly leaders who taught this vision is that these verses refer to the apostolic ministry, which is what they are continuing because of the revelation of heavenly vision that George was given.
These verses are being used totally taken out of context and have nothing to do with what is being taught in the Testimony to Jesus class, other than they just so happen to include the words "this ministry" in the KJV. To put it bluntly, George's "heavenly vision" is not at all the same as what the Bible is talking about when it says, "this ministry" referred to in those verses.
As is mentioned elsewhere on this website, George believes he is like the apostle Paul and that his ministry is apostolic -- Fullerton is like Jerusalem (or maybe, he thinks of it as Antioch), and the proceeding Assemblies are places like Colosse, and then Laodicea and Hierapolis (Col 4:13) in that the "seed" went in, germinated, and produced other Assemblies. The vision is being "sounded out" to the SF Valley, Spokane, and the far reaches of Nebraska (I Thes 1:8).
Now, when Dan taught this class, he said that the inner group of circles was not the Assembly in Fullerton, but could be any Assembly. "However," he said, "It just so happens that Fullerton was the first one where the vision occurred." However, in practice, the itinerant brethren are sent mainly from Fullerton and exercise authority over the local leadership of any local assembly, (which is contrary to what is taught and claimed, i.e. that each Assembly is autonomous). Dan mentioned something about the reason why it seemed like that was because these brethren were mature and had the original vision that needed to be communicated and adhered to, administering correction when needed. Refer to George's book, Itinerant Ministry.
Rod and Dan alternated teaching the class, but Rod didn't quite grasp it. He wasn't able to teach it like Dan did. Dan had an answer for every question, though he got ever-so-slightly flustered and defensive a couple of times. Attending the class was mandatory for those who lived in certain "training homes." Not many other people showed for the class. It was kinda boring, though there were doughnuts.
The "Testimony to Jesus" class was taught repeatedly by others, as well. Danny Edwards taught a "Testimony to Jesus" class in Pasadena in the summer of '99 when there was an MTT there. Bill Bradbury also gave a class on "Testimony to Jesus to the MTT" to Fresno in the summer of '00.
It seems to me that the reason they feel it needs to be taught is because they hold it as something valuable -- a vision that they don't want to lose. When I heard them teach it, it was like something that made them special, something that no one else has -- but that's because it's not in the Bible.