Something I’ve alluded to a few times is that in both the earlier, pre-1988 incarnation of MCF (Melbourne Christian Fellowship) and the post-1992 Vic Hall period, there was an varying emphasis on the ultimate ‘perfection of the Church’.
This was always, to me, a no-brainer, that this was correct, as it’s based on the Scriptures on unity of believers (John 17) and the promise of a spotless Bride of Christ (Eph 5:27).
Now, MCF/BCF’s emphasis was that this perfection was to be on Earth before the 2nd coming. And John 17 is consistent with that because Christ prays for perfect unity ‘so that the world would know’.
So that all made sense. The Church would have a brief glorious ministry before the 2nd coming. Not standard teaching, but makes sense of those two Scriptures (and Revelations in detail actually).
But here’s where it sometimes got weird and cult-ish. When they talked about personal perfection. They quoted Eph 4 re reaching ‘the stature of the fullness of Christ’. It’s there in Scripture. But what does it mean exactly?
I think this over-emphasis on personal perfection and ‘dead works’ (Heb 6) got to their heads and they started to think they were ‘there’ already. And then imposed it on everyone else.
And assumed their ‘sight’ for others was ‘perfect’.
Then it’s not a long bow to think ‘the end justifies the means’.
Hence harsh treatment of the flock. If we’re moving towards perfection, then we only accept virtual perfection from the flock. Or at least perfect obedience.
And it was similar when they wrote books. They were so scared about writing something down wrong initially that they didn’t write books. Then they wrote them carefully together. Then they churned them out like beer from a tap.
But that’s the thing, the fact, they thought that, here on Earth, we could get it ‘perfect’, even before the appearance of the spotless Bride. That was cult. The idea they could write perfect books! And the irony is that we know that, in the end, they are horrifically flawed books!
The torture this idea of perfection puts on people. And even on themselves is hideous but is the common thread thru this move.
When I write this blog, I know that the only thing that is really important is the integrity I write it with. Not its 100% accuracy. Integrity is more important than accuracy. Those men substituted personal integrity with locking everyone into 100% obedience to a model that turned out to be horrifically flawed and yet supposedly infallible. Irony after irony.
So that’s where it became cult. When they thought they were right all the time. It became plain unwelcoming and . . stupid and dangerous.
It ignores the fact we are all at different stages in our journey. And we all have different interpretations of ‘disputable matters’.
And, for now, we see ‘dimly as through a mirror’.
So forcing stuff on people is just crazy.