The new theology, under Vic Hall, at Melbourne Christian Fellowship (MCF) was essentially a huge over-reaction to ‘dead works’ (Heb 6), i.e. works one does of one’s own volition that may or may not be perfectly in-line with God’s will. The over-reaction was to make everyone seek God’s face via an elder. On almost anything. And threaten us with going to hell as the alternative.
We all do things we think are right. We try to do the right thing. But not at MCF.
MCF calls those ‘dead works’ and Vic Hall, from 1992-1996 developed an entire new ‘naming’, guru elder ‘headship’ and suffering theology around it and MCF and BCF have not taught on another topic for 25 years.
At MCF, it is emphasized that God ‘names’ people to their natures, careers and ministries. There’s plenty of Scriptures to support this. But it’s what you do with it that makes MCF a cult.
At MCF, they believed that your ‘naming’ could actually somehow literally be determined by interaction with elders. Like, on call.
And if you did things outside of that interaction with eldership you were ‘self-naming’ yourself. And that was like the worst thing you could do and deserved hell.
Again, it’s not impossible to find Scriptures supporting this. But it was the literalism of it all. That you could actually determine what to do with certainty, everytime, by having sessions with your ‘guru’ elder.
Guru headship & ‘sight’
So, your ‘guru’ (my derogatory terminology) elder was your local Wednesday night BIble Study (although I’d say it’s been 25 years since we actually studied the Bible at MCF) elder.
And the sessions the men would have with the elders varied from fire-side chats to the Spanish Inquisition.
At Greensborough ours were the latter type. We arrived shaking and returned crying. Huge lists of criticisms. Banned from goals in life, work and ministry. Like forever potentially.
The idea was that the elders were the ‘human face of headship’ (that was an MCF/BCF term). As God is head to Christ and Christ was head to man, and man to woman, well somehow they made elders the ‘human face’ of Christ and of course women received their headshio from men. So it’s like us men were married to . . the elders.
The elders supposedly had supernatural ‘sight’ for our lives. All Christians assume leaders have wisdom. But automatic ‘sight’ for our individual situations? Everytime?That must be obeyed or else damnation?
But they taught it all so sincerely and with beautiful music by the Kaa brothers:
“All my plans and vain longings,Richie & Bryan Kaa (song)
Of all I seek to be,
My desire to name myself . .
Keeps me from meeting You”
Hauntingly beautiful acoustic guitar.
But supporting a soul-destroying, self-serving cultish theology.
The Scriptures used were pathetically poorly supportive of Vic’s ‘proposition’ (he actually called it a proposition. We must have been lunatics to fall for it):
For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with themMatt 18:20
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.2 Cor 4:6
Do those Scriptures at all suggest that elders are the face of Christ? There was no better Scripture than these that I or they ever found. Yet we fell for it. If anything the Corinthinas Scripture suggests the opposite: Christ gives us light directly in our hearts!
But somehow they twisted it to mean that it was the light shining in the elders’ hearts that were like the face of Christ to us . . plebs.
If you can just imagine the seriousness that this was preached to us.
For 20 years.
Built into the theology was a get-out-of-jail-free card for the elders.
Of course they couldn’t be perfect. So we were taught that, just as Christ was ‘marred for us’, so too are the elders marred. Headship is imperfect but as we honour it, we build character. And so it doesn’t matter if your elder is actually right! Even if he destroys your life!
‘As unto the Lord’.
Then we spent another five to ten years learning about suffering for Christ.
We all already knew we had to ‘take up our cross’. But it went further to ‘making up for the suffering lacking in Christ’ (Col 1:24). So if you were suffering, often people wouldn’t help you at all because they didn’t want to deny your slice of suffering.
This was all vaguely Scriptural until it is put into practice by your, possibly lunatic local elder. The elders took us to our own customized crosses.
And we had to learn the word of ‘no’ before the word of ‘yes’.
It might take a decade or two.
I lost the best 25 years of my life, from age 25 to 49 as I was raising my children and trying to support my family, to this lunatic un-Biblical theology of Vic Hall.
Piercing in the house of your friend
One of the classic teachigns they used was from Zechariah where a farmer is told (piercingly) that he is a
‘farmer, not a prophet’.Zech 13:5
So that began the time of elders systematically labelling us what we were and weren’t.
And it was always the boring one.
The one we were.
Of course we need to ‘soberly’ see ourselves for what we are (Rom 12:3). But at MCF you got pigeon-holed by elders essentially forever. Any plans you had after that were considered in the light of your ‘naming’.
You hoped your elder was having a good day.
You went shaking to those sessions.
The Rich Young Ruler
They’re favourite angle was the story of the Rich Young Ruler (Mark 10:17-27).
Jesus of course ells the young ruler that to make it to the kingdom of heaven, in his case, he must sell everything and follow Jesus.
Well, for me, it was give up every dream, every plan I had ever had.
Can you see that if you are taught these BIblical stories ONLY, week after week you kind of start taking it to heart and you start believing it.
And apply them ALL to yourself. With the happy help of your local elder who is only too willing.
But that was the crazy: applying all of those stories to ourselves all and every time about everything.
So we did it. We gave up all our plans and dreams.
And did NOTHING instead.