The way of ‘guru headship’, as taught at Melbourne Christian Fellowship, and its Brisbane counterpart, apart from being non-Biblical, was horrifically presumptuous and lazy. And dangerous. And, Biblically, complete nonsense.
But here I’ll focus on how, in the end, it was a con-job.
It put elders between man and Christ as an actual required-for-salvation doctrinal point. But was brought in very gradually.
And was all based on the idea that elders, automatically, have spiritual sight for the direction of people in their lives.
What used to be optional friendly ‘deep and meaningfuls’ became mandatory, scary and depressing sessions.
But how presumptuous that elders have this ‘on call’!
Unlike prophecy which was triggered by the Lord (you hoped), the words of direction from your elder were triggered by you turning up on his doorstep.
And if you didn’t obey, you would go to hell as a ‘self-namer‘.
And if you struggled with the bannings and accusations (or didn’t turn up regularly) you essentially became persona non-grata.
It might take you five or ten years to realize it. But upon reflection you began to realize that you gradually were becoming among the ‘walking dead’.
What you spoke carried no weight. What you suggested was humoured. They would let you clean the bathrooms but that was it. Eventually they even delivered Sunday School lessons by an approved committee. I loved the word and wanted to teach. Forget that! We couldn’t even teach Sunday School in the end!
And we were both born teachers but overlooked 200 times. I kid you not.
That was the danger of presumptional, preposterous eldership ‘sight’. You didn’t get to do anything that you knew you were good at! You had to wait to be ‘discovered’ by YOUR elder. Like a movie star. Just to help in planning a camp or teaching a Bible Study or running a family fun night.
Now, what about from the elder’s point of view?
Well, their so-called ‘sight’ didn’t seem to depend on any effort on their part. Prayer and study didn’t seem to be required. Certainly no counselling qualifications.
No, we were taught that men miraculously had sight for their wives and the same for elders for their flocks. It was because of the principle of ‘headship’ supposedly.
It was lazy.
And the counselling was always completely obvious. They read you like the cover of a book. What any man on the street would think is what they thought. If you looked like a business man, your business plans were blessed. If you didn’t, your plans weren’t.
It was almost always 100% predictable.
It was a complete sham. They weren’t getting it as prophetic sight every time! Or any time. It wa just presumption. And they knew it. We thought they were in deep prayer about us at least. But they knew they were just spouting off the top of their heads using totally human wisdom. Except, unlike at every other church, we had to obey it or else damnation.
That’s what hurt so much when we realised we’d been had by scam artists.
They knew it was just book-cover reading. Gary Worth (on the MCF presbytery) admitted it to me.
What’s wrong with that? Of course we read you like the cover of a book!Gary Worth, 2016
What happened to discernment and looking beyond skin-deep?
Paul, didn’t you understand these were just theories?Murray Wylie, 2018
I knew in my case I had a great piece of software to market but not as a traditional bricks-an-mortar-business. It was the new age of the internet.
But I had to try and get that thru book-cover readers who had no idea.
My future relied on, and was destroyed by lazy, presumptuous . . dishonest idiots frankly. They knew what was going on.