What do I mean about a ‘Satanic-level of inactivity’?

I claim there’s a Satanic-level of inactivity going on at MCF/BCF.

What I’m alluding to is the fact that no one there has any plans.


Yes, they find activities that are kosher. Like endless sport and holidays.

But starting a business or stewarding a ministry is like living in a communist country.

At our new church every second person is working on a business or a ministry. Teenagers want to be missionaries and leaders. But at MCF (Melbourne Christian Fellowship) these were all ‘naming yourself’ sins. You couldn’t want to be anything or contribute in a way that you knew you could.

Richie Kaa Jnr asked the MCF youth a few years ago: ‘Who wants to be a leader or a missionary’? Not one hand. Really healthy. No one at MCF has been to an outside BIble School (or any Bible School) for years.

In the year we left, 2016, at the Easter convention, good ol’ Jona Wills preached saying, word-for-word: ‘Do not steward your ministry’. Instead he added, ‘just do what your admin leader tells you to do. Our skills are hidden in Christ to be revealed’. When? In the hereafter?

To do anything you would need to work through with the leaders for years. And likely have it banned or done by someone else. All via wonderful eldership ‘sight’ of course.

The amount of second guessing was horrific. So you didn’t bother.

No one there is doing anything. Except for the elders kids who go from strength to strength. I’m not kidding.

You ask about people’s plans and there just aren’t any.

I call MCF the ‘Satanic Church of the Vegetative State’. It’s a place to sit down and die.

I stand by my claim that the level of activity at MCF, both Christian and secular-wise, is Satanically low, in the sense that people are locked up to do . . nothing.

Maybe let’s call it the Church of Seinfeld.

How hurtful was it?

Some of you must be thinking how silly this all is.

Well, it isn’t.

We were taught, at MCF (Melbourne Christian Fellowship), gradually, like lobsters boiling alive, that we had to give up all prerogatives. Anything that could be an idol. Of course we all immediately assumed it was the very thing we loved.

Session by session, the men homed in on my interests in technology, innovation and business.

Were they actually idols? Who knows? But is banning the way to deal with it?

I wanted to achieve those goals. There was a joy in tinkering and coming up with something someone would want to buy. Making money would have been nice but wasn’t the driving force. After all, I was a PhD physicist, hardly a way to make money in Australia.

But, bit by bit they ate into me until I truly assumed God wanted me to simply be a servant in a job I had grown to hate. And maybe forever.

It was torture as I watched the internet industry growing around me. And I knew I couldn’t be part of it.

At age 16 in the 1980s I had designed my own microprocessor board and written its operating system. I was experimenting on a graphical user interface and AI interface in 1981, three years before the Mac came out.

All that counted for nothing to my local leaders. They said maybe if I was an IT guy they would let me do it because it was a natural fit. But as a scientist they couldn’t let me do it. Despite the fact I was a PhD computational physicist and coded-up way more complicated stuff than IT guys. They said maybe I should do a Microsoft certification course.

This is from leaders who were mostly school dropouts or primary school teachers.

They delayed me 7 full years from putting my software up for sale on the internet.

And banned me from doing an essential postdoc internship overseas despite my bosses telling me to.

The elders made me stay 5 more years in a job I hated and then forgot they’d said it.

These men who were supposed to be my friends became absolute bastards.

Fast forward 15 years and they tried to squirm out of it.

‘Did I really say that?’

Bastards. They said it a hundred times. And always with the threat of my going to hell if I didn’t obey them.

One time back then the nastiest elder, David Bonham said:

“No man can start a business
unless an elder asks him to”

I should have walked out then and there.

Another time he told me he didn’t even want me thinking about technology.

Every month mowing the lawn I would cry tears and cry out to the Lord why I couldn’t do the one thing I wanted to do. I would remember my father teaching me about science and technology and my mother buying me engineering toys and encouraging me to work hard. All for nothing.

And then there was my love of God’s word and being effectively banned from any involvement in teaching at church because you had to be sold out to Vic Hall’s messenger word. More tears and groanings.

And then we watched the elder’s kids, all younger than us, gradually take up wonderful careers and business opportunities and positions in the church. It was like torture. But we just told ourselves we were the sinful unsubmitted ones.

All we wanted to do was be part of it. But if you ever said what you wanted to do you were banned from it.

And they made the Lord a monster to me. It was HIm that was doing it to me through David Bonham and the others.

I had to keep it a secret from everyone at church because of the code of silence and make up lies at work why I was staying in a job they knew I hated. I had not one person I could confide in fully because I didn’t want to entirely put my wife off the church in case I really was wrong.

It was almost impossible to leave the church. Our family was embedded in there. We and our kids baptised there and all our friends there.

So, yes, the abuse was real and went on for 25 years.

Those men started out well but allowed themselves to become absolute bastards with no common decency. And have not repented or made restitution.

I asked one of them how he would feel if we told his daughter that she couldn’t do a DipEd after completing her degree just like what he had done to me with my postdoc banning.

No comment.


Why am I blogging this?

As I mentioned in an answer to PW’s comment, I feel a need to NOT have this just ‘forgotten and swept under the carpet’.

I have indeed lost the best 25 years of my life.

I can never be young again.

Yes I have a family and am now happy in a new church. But I was not, for those 25 years, anything like me. MCF took the me out of me, leaving . . almost nothing, a shell of a man. I suffered horrific psychological abuse at the hands of those men and that presbytery and that church.

I was banned from doing anything I wanted to do career, business or travel-wise for 25 years. Maybe not a big thing for some. But for me, that was me. I was not a sportsman or talker or counsellor or musician. I was an innovator, inventor and entrepreneur and deep lover of God’s word. Undoubtedly. And I’m doing really well at it now.

But MCF just loved pigeon-holing us. Neither were we allowed an independent thought or contribution in the word or ministry for all those 25 years. 25 years of homegroups without being able to say anything off topic. It was like death. And because we got black-listed we couldn’t even contribute to anything on topic either unless it was confessing how relevant Vic’s latest word was to our life. Richard Kaa Snr said ‘why haven’t we had Paul teaching Bible studies?’ That was right up my alley but had never crossed their mind because I couldn’t settle in laying down all my prerogatives.

But most of all, I had some amazing opportunities in technology and business which I had to just ‘lay down’. Including working a job I hated for five additional years.

In the end it was just stupid and wasteful and caused unemployability, depression and financial ruin.

But I am healing. I used to cry almost daily. Not just for me. My family suffered hugely in this. And the church destroyed my mother. And took my father for granted. My sister and brother-in-law were treated poorly as well.

I rarely despair about it now. That doesn’t mean I don’t think about it. I’m still trying to work out what it is that really happened. And what do I still believe?

And of course I hope some MCFers will read this and realize the true human damage their ridiculously one-tracked emphases and ‘obey your particular elder or go to hell’ teaching and psychological abuses and lies and cover-ups have done to people who love the Lord.

Just because I chose to finally write it up in more detail here in this blog does not mean I am ‘still ranting’. I just don’t think it should be swept under the carpet.

Like I say to my wife: if David Bonham, Laurie Holland and Vic Hall stole my car we would go get it back from them. Well, they stole a lot more from me than that. Remember all their words carried the rarely said (but not never said) authority of ‘otherwise you will go to hell’. They were firing with live ammunition and they knew it.

For the record, I was asked by MCF what restitution I would expect and I suggested those 25 years were worth at least $10 million to me but I discounted the restitution to $200K to help us restart our life. Nothing received yet of course. We still have no home and owe about $80K to various institutions.

What happened to me was real, systematic, continuous, known by the presbytery (who deny it, even though one of the presbytery was a perpetrator), not that long ago and it’s still happening to people.

And I still suffer every day from it.

Yes God knows. And bottles my tears. And revenge is His.

But for the sake of others, I’m not going to keep another MCF secret ever again. I kept this secret from everyone for 25 years because of their evil code of silence.


Fortunately, recovery comes . . in the morning.

Well, not literally the morning. And it comes in stages. Actually, the day I left in September 2016 I felt an enormous weight lifted off. The feeling of being free was immense and drinkable.

God was no longer a monster. And every and any plan was now possible!


Except, due to MCF . . I had become unemployable over the last 15 years, working jobs as a kitchen hand or gardener and a few brief, not entirely successful stints at startups in AI (artificial intelligence). I was a graying PhD 49 year-old scientist with the experience of a 34 year-old, had never done anything I had wanted to do since I was 29, had no middle career, no money, no confidence, lost our family home and had $80K in debts.

Yet I had fantastic 20 year old prototypes, or at least business plans, for multiple startups. Most probably still viable despite MCF’s 20-25 year delays. But no network. No money. And a track record of unemployability and failures.

Well, in this post, I’ll cut to the chase.

We put the Lord first. The trusting wife came to her own, but similar conclusions, and all four of the teenage kids supported the move out of MCF. We found a great new church with no hidden agendas. We started living again!

But beginning with a very raw life together in a tiny rental house (all three boys in one room). Lots of dysfunction. But we still deep down loved each other.

I prayed to the Lord for a miracle.

And, thank goodness . . nothing came (i.e. nothing visible)!

Because? I had to stand up and strategically rebuild my career. Myself? Yes, but God was there too. But I had to do it.

I thought long and hard about it and positioned myself for a gradual climb to where I ‘should be’ at this stage of my career, starting at the highest point that I thought I could realistically be appointed initially.

It worked! It’s three years later now, and three jobs later I’m on $200K + superannuation per annum. That’s from kitchen hand and gardening a few years earlier.

So, there was a miracle, but I had to participate with the Lord in it and take gradual steps with effort, despite my lack of confidence, and trust that they would lead to something that would enable us to rebuild our life and pay back our debts.

Sometimes God just clicks his fingers.

But to help me regain confidence I think the Lord knew that I needed to achieve some of it through strategic thinking and hard work. Makes sense now I think about it.

Have I fully recovered? Not really. But the first year out I cried weekly. at all the waste. Now it’s very rare that the thought of the waste turns beyond frustration to genuine anguish.

Is this blog a sign I haven’t recovered?

No. I’m writing this blog to document something horrible that happened to me and is still happening to people as we speak. And I am, in places, carefully going through the MCF theology and correcting it.

And it’s hard for someone to make restitution if they don’t know what it’s for.

Do I forgive them?

Yes. Any and every day. Yes.

But I don’t release them from making restitution to me.

They know how much I asked for when they asked me.

They stole much more than my car from me.

If they find it in their hearts to give it back to me . . I’ll accept it any day.

Irrespective of my forgiveness or not.

What the sessions looked like

The reasons for their cultish behavior when I asked in 2016 include the full spectrum:

As a man, you were expected to ‘open your life’ up to the local elder and his apprentices about once every 3 or 4 weeks.

While some elders were sensible and had a fireside chat, many other elders, including mine, gave you the third degree. You arrived shaking and drove home crying.

It was always multiple ‘nos’ and accusations.

Never edification or being called forward.

Almost never.

  1. ‘We just followed David’ (i.e. the local leader, when accusing me of everything from idolatry and trophy hunting for wanting to start a business) to
  2. ‘We thought you were trying to become some sort of superstar’ (when I wanted to do an essential postdoctoral internship in the US or UK) to
  3. ‘You weren’t sufficiently chastened as a child’ to
  4. ‘You wanted your goals too much’ to
  5. ‘You needed to learn how to impute (ie make something you want impossible so that God can make it possible again)’

And of course, at the time of the abuse, David Bonham told me:

No man can start a business
an elder asks him to

David Bonham, 1997

They stood over you while you were crying and made an example of you:

That’s a man with blocked goals.

David Bonham to Steve Anderson & Steve Holland (about me)

This type of abuse was referred to later by Gary Worth as ‘it was only advice‘!


What about when Laurie Holland comes up to me later that week, from the pre-church meeting:

There is a way that seems right to a man,
and that way leads to death

Laurie Holland, 1997

That’s ‘only advice’ is it?

To someone who is embedded in that community?

Or isn’t that exactly what psychological abuse is?

I cried every week.

And blamed myself. Or the Lord.

Every week. For more than 20 years.

At least 25 families destroyed

It wasn’t just us.

It is true that my local elders, Laurie Holland and David Bonham, and their apprentices, Steve Anderson and Steve Holland, were among the harshest (or most robotically obedient to Vic Hall’s crazed teachings) in the entire franchise.

But we know of 25 other families affected significantly. Probably scores more across the nation.

Destroyed hopes and dreams and relationships.

Lost children for stupid, stupid reasons. A man sold his newly bought water sports equipment and boat because it was declared ‘an idol’. And they lost their son forever.

Banned from marriage. Declared ‘un-marriageable’. Older couples not allowed to marry. Disadvantaged couples not allowed to marry.

Women divorced by elders for not 100% obeying BCF teachings! Where’s it say you can do that? Why would anybody want to do that to your wife?

People banned from entire careers. Declared not a businessman. As if all businessmen come in one mold.

Elderly people told they were UNWORTHY because they were singing in old age homes!

Disabled people told to hand over their compensation payments to the church.

Fathers turned against their sons. Sons turned against their fathers.

Preacher’s kids banned from talking to their young relatives. Grandparents banned from talking to their grandchildren.

Men’s career dreams shattered. Multiple opportunities sacrificed to test ‘imputation’ or ability to lay down desires. I was told I needed to learn to ‘impute’. That is, make something possible impossible so God can make it possible again. It was never discussed that I simply really wanted to do it and it had nothing to do wiht my loving God or not.

Destroyed finances as a result.

Unemployability as a result.

Lost house as a result. Frayed nerves, loss of confidence, dysfunctional living as a result.

Nothing, in the natural to look forward to.

Only thing left is the next life and prayer. (Fortunately God does restore. But not instantly).

All for Vic Hall’s ego.

We lived a life of non-stop judgment

Scripture tells us not to judge each other (Matt 7:1, Rom 14:3, I Cor 4:3).

But at MCF we lived a life of being judged about everything.

There was no grey. There was no letting us find out ourselves through prayer and circumstance. We were told.

Scripture tells us not to concern ourselves – or burden others – with ‘disputable matters’. Like disputable decisions about foods and religious holidays for example.

Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters . . . 

 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? . . .

Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.

Romans 14:1-16

If these things about foods and religious holidays are ‘disputable matters’, then how much more is it disputable whether or not I start a Bible study? Or a business? Or apply for a job? Or go to live in Sydney?

But at MCF, these were not disputable. If your elder said it, we were taught they were the ‘face of Christ’ and we did it.

When I wasn’t going to obey the ‘advice’ one time, Laurie Holland, a top member of the presbytery grabbed my arm before the communion meeting and told me I was going to hell if I didn’t obey David Bonham, quoting Proverbs:

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.

Proverbs 14:12

So I obeyed.

And gradually died inside for the next 20 years.

Charles’ 2012 vision of MCF leadership

Unbeknownst to me (until 2018), my Dad, Charles, a well-respected ex-MCFer of 45 years membership, had a vision of the MCF eldership (& other church leadership that is not listening to the Lord’s voice). And he told the MCF presbytery about it (they did nothing).

He had been their biggest fan.

But the Lord showed Dad in 2012 that the leadership were on a pathway into a dark abyss, CHAINED to each other and CHAINED to coal-carts heading down into the abyss (just like in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom). With long flowing robes and hair, indicating previous anointing, and with INVERTED gold crowns thrust down over their heads onto their shoulders like millstones.

It’s their unwavering faith in Vic Hall and each others’ masterful use of the in-house lingo and books that neutralizes their faith in the grassroots congregation and the Bible and the Lord Himself. We in the congregation are almost always wrong about everything. The spirit of Antichrist is strong in that place.

I beg you all at MCF to come out of that place.

And beg your leaders to repent for the sake of their souls.

Here’s my Dad’s drawing:

MCF’s ‘messaging’ was never tested

We were taught non-stop for 20 or 25 years that we hear usually through messengers, usually our local elder. And that they have supernatural ‘sight’ for our lives.

The key thing is that MCF’s ‘messenger word’ was NEVER, EVER tested or suggested that it should be. That goes back to the duty of care issue. None. I’m not talking about state-enforced OH&S. I’m talking about care for care’s sake. None.

When it comes to prophecy, Scripture tells us to be careful: test the prophets (1 John 4:1), let the hearers judge (1 Corinthians 14:29).

But when BCF/MCF instigated the so-called ‘messenger’ word, namely that men should open up and listen to elders for their life choices, we were taught to do it almost without reservation.

And that if we disobeyed we were ‘naming ourselves’ and would go to hell (Prov 14:12).

Firstly, Scripture certainly never tells us to take advice unreservedly.

It was BCF/MCF that told us that.

But, secondly how could even BCF/MCF put this concept of ‘messenging’ above prophecy, a gift of the Spirit?

Of course, the problem is that the BCF/MCF messenger word is a huge over-emphasis of one or two Scriptures about the origin of the word:

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

Rom 10:14-15

But MCF mixed up genuine preaching of the gospel with fluffy, customized ‘deep and meaningfuls’ conjured up by your local elder in his one-on-ones with you.

How sickening it was to have them dump their reading of your life on to one’s self. Given how one-tracked and un-edifying it was.

It was more like clarivoyance.

It was supposed to be ‘grounding’ to hear from a person rather than Christ himself. But it was almost seance-like because you knew that suddenly the elder was speaking with the authority of God and something supernatural was going on.

About the business you wanted to start. Or the job you wanted to apply for. Or the ministry activity you wanted to sow to. Or not.

It never happened. We never did any of those things. Not once.

Vic Hall and his followers have replaced Christ with elders.

I call it ‘guru headship’.

It’s utterly Satanic.

MCF is a church of utter waste of human life

After 35 years at MCF, after so much promise of good, the place we gave ourselves to turned out to be a church of waste. A waste of humanity.

We literally watched our lives wasting away. I remember at age 35 looking out from the decking thinking, if they are doing this to me in another 10 years, I’ll be 45 and never have done anything I’m actually good at or want to do. Whether in church, business, work, hobbies or travel.

And I let it happen to me. In the end we waited until I was 49 in 2016 to leave that hell on earth.

It didn’t matter whether we wanted to start a business, or a Bible study or a craft group or change jobs. No matter what we wanted to do, it was too much of an expression of us and we were banned or delayed by 3, 5, 7 years. Or decades. Until it couldn’t work. Or . . never.

When I did hit age 49, almost 15 years later, I realized I had indeed lost almost my entire life to this place of fantastic promise and initially well-meaning leaders . . but leaders who had ALLOWED THEMSELVES to become utter bastards. No common decency. No true love or care. Absolutely zero duty of care. Living in complete unreality, yet thinking they were the masters of reality.

We fully understand where Melbourne CHristian Fellowship was coming from. God values humility. But this was ridiculous! No one was allowed to do ANYTHING! For decades! This was psychological abuse. And we weren’t allowed to talk to each other about it.

I now call it the ‘Satanic Church of the Vegetative State‘.

Because it is.

Everyone is waiting for an elder to ask them to do something. Anything. Maybe for decades.

It is a Satanic level of inactivity going on there.