Recovering From Churches That AbuseBy Ronald Enroth
The network known as Great Commission Association of Churches (GCAC) claims that it has taken significant steps in the direction of reform and reconciliation with disaffected ex-members. They have published and circulated a "Statement of Errors and Weaknesses" and have discussed the issues raised in that statement in several elders' conferences. The leadership believes they have made sincere attempts to seek reconciliation with disaffected former members. The group has taken steps to encourage accountability to others and has sought advice from several ministry consultants, including leaders of the National Association of Evangelicals and leaders of Campus Crusade for Christ, concerning the errors and problems of the past. They have also encouraged their staff and pastors to pursue additional seminary training, and they have instituted a Council of Reference, individuals to whom the GCAC leadership can go for counsel.
Dr. Paul Martin, director of Wellspring and a former member of Great Commission International (as the group was formerly called), concurs with the opinions of many other former members:
Some encouraging reforms have occurred in recent years after the founder, Jim McCotter, left the movement in the late 1980s. However, the current leadership has not yet revoked the excommunication of its earlier critics. The admissions of error so far have been mainly confined to a position paper, the circulation of which has been questioned by many ex-members. Furthermore, Great Commission leaders have not yet contacted a number of former members who feel wronged and who have personally sought reconciliation. There has been some positive movement in that direction, but most ex-members that I have talked to are not fully satisfied with the reforms or apologies and feel that the issues of deep personal hurt and offense have not been adequately addressed.1
GCAC leader David Bovenmyer indicated in a letter that "we have not been able to achieve reconciliation with all, yet our sense is that some of our most severe critics will not be pleased with us unless we fully vindicate them and join in their denunciations of Jim McCotter, something we cannot in good conscience do."2 A former member sees in such an attitude a pattern that "protects unequivocally the prophet-leader, keeping him in holy light, irregardless [sic] of the realities of distortion and problems seen from those not under the spell. The implication is, then, that they, even though having made significant moves, are still under 'the spell.'"3
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