At MCF (Melbourne Christian Fellowship), in addition to controlling our personal lives, they gagged our contributions in church and home groups.
The prophecies during ‘body ministry time’ were almost without exception related to the ‘present word’ of that month or year.
Does God really work like that?
And at home group, on a Wednesday night, post-1992, we very quickly lost the ability to share what was on our hearts. Instead, we learned from the local elder and his apprentices, what were the kosher contributions.
Early on it was just answering questions that matched what we’d heard in church that month, or what happened to be in the elders cheat sheet from Vic Hall and his buddies at BCF (Brisbane Christian Fellowship) headquarters.
Everyone joked about trying to luck out the right answers. But it wasn’t funny.
Then later, regurgitation of Sunday’s stuff became disencouraged and, instead, we were told to bring testimonies of how our life was living the latest Vic Hall revelations, whether it be laying down all our prerogatives or taking up our cross or learning to put away our idols.
We lived together in home groups in a varying mix of those modes for 25 years.
There was no room for any Priesthood of All Believers ministry. No sharing what was on our hearts. No room for the leader to choose a topic of need or interest of the group. Just scripted from BCF for 25 years.
When someone would move out of ‘order’ they were castigated for having learned nothing ‘these last X years’. In front of everyone.
We were gagged, and, as men, largely emasculated. And the women got it worse.
At the end the only roles handed out, were to young people, trained as puppets in front of our eyes, to take over from us 30-50 yo men and women who had wanted to contribute in teaching or testimony what was on our hearts.
The young 20s picked up the lingo really fast. It was like living in a communist country.
Sometimes we were told plainly that we had ‘missed it’, as if life was already over!
That was the lovely environment of MCF.
And, like young communists, much of the youth there must think it’s normal for their parents’ generation to be skipped over, shut down for 25+ years.