Personal Testimony of attending a church in the G12 movement.
The Transforming Church: G12 Testimony
hank you for giving me the opportunity to share my testimony on the G12 movement, also called Government of the Twelve. Thirteen years ago, I started attending an independent Pentecostal-type of assembly. I was already a born-again Christian but with very little knowledge of the Scriptures. This local church had every service ending with a call to repentance from sin and a giving of your life to the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. There were healings and some miracles taking place in Jesus' name. This church functioned in home-cell groups.
Now that I'm doing my own homework - searching and studying the Scriptures for myself - I know that the pastor's position was a-millennial This explains why I felt uncomfortable when I heard him preach on the book of Revelation, which he very seldom did. I was Pre-Trib.
This bothered me a lot and instead of making it a serious matter of study and prayer, I brushed it off by saying to myself that salvation is by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and he - my pastor -does preach this truth. I thought that it was only a matter of having a different point of view. I knew precious little...and am now learning, by the grace of God. It was through the sound doctrine of the preaching of the Gospel that I did come to Christ and receive eternal life. Sound doctrine is important.
Since amillennialism means to believe that Jesus will not reign on this earth but is already reigning from heaven and in our hearts, many Scriptures [in my church] were given allegorical interpretation.
The senior pastor had, it seemed, a great desire to see the church grow in maturity and in getting many souls saved: he kept looking out for new methods, new structures, to get the wheel going. He would look up to churches all over the place - those with a big attendance. He went from trying one thing to another, taking hold of a method from a church in the U.S., to that of another church in another country, etc. hoping to guarantee success. (performance oriented) This caused a lot of grief and confusion to many members as the pastor would, each time, tell us to stop doing what we were involved in and that the church needed to be better organized for a greater efficiency.
Five years ago, still not satisfied with the growth of his church (Naboth and the vine?) and still looking for big numbers in attendance (popularity? success?), he was attracted by this new movement coming from the city of Bogota, Columbia: the G12.
He went over, together with some of his senior leaders. They were all very impressed and enthused by what they saw. They brought back a video tape that we may see for ourselves the result of their way of doing things. A shifting then started.
First of all, we were again told that God was doing a new thing and was bringing us in a new direction.
The G12 is quite a hierarchy. Its leader, Caesar Castellanos, has 12 disciples who each have a cell group of 12 disciples, and so on and on. The senior leadership cell group of a local church is called the first generation, each of their disciple's own cell group is called the second generation, etc. When you don't flow with your group, they transfer you from one generation to another, until they consider you are ready. (filtering, conformity).
Their goal is apparently to conquer the nations for Christ and present Him His Bride, the Church, without spot or wrinkle. Well...they do quite an "ironing out" of the literal interpretation of God's Word by different means. What an emphasis on sanctification.. so out of balance. The prolonged emphasis on sanctification was tightly intertwined with the pastor's vision of G12 being the sole way to serve God.
The weekends were often booked with the call to "come and sanctify yourselves before God", and the purpose was to be a "vessel meet for the Master's use", which - in their mind - meant to be fully consecrated to the G12 vision.
We ended up having a mixture of amillennialism and postmillennialism. A greater emphasis was also put on "you possess what you confess". I now recognize this from the Word of Faith movement. It's funny how things are starting to fit together now.
In G12, all disciples are called to become leaders. This is their basis for church growth in maturity and in quantity.
A school of how to become a leader (control of how to be equipped as a saint) was implemented and all were regularly invited to enroll themselves. I use the term enroll because of the attitude of militancy that transpired in their constant preaching on the G12 vision. Their interpretation of preaching the Cross became laying down your life to God - meaning living to fulfill the Great Commission through the G12 movement.
New songs were written, of course, filled with words appealing to "God's calling: winning the nations for Christ." (mental programming and shifting to new paradigms through the worship portion of the service). Meetings grew in frequency and cell groups now focused more and more on developing strategies to win souls to Christ, with written goals in order to attain a certain number of new converts to Christ.
You could go to your cell group one week only to hear its leader say: "I've fasted and prayed and the Lord showed me that we must go to the shopping mall tonight and witness to people about salvation in Jesus Christ." (control of your mind and free will; subtle coercion). By the way, the adult cell groups do not mix genders.
Prayer became more aggressive. Everything became more aggressive. Words such as "if it be the Lord's will" were less heard.
God's will superceded by man's goals
We were told: it is the Lord's will for us to witness on a daily basis, we were given the Great Commission in Matthew. You are resisting the Lord's will and need to be set free from that spirit of rebellion and/or self-centeredness. It seemed that we, the members [so we were informed] were often either bound or under the influence of some demon. How oppressive this was and how guilty I felt - not that I never shared the Gospel with anyone but I would do so only when I felt impressed on my heart to do it. Now, I was being told when to fast, when to pray, how to pray and when to witness.
My prayer time with the Lord become a room filled with prison bars and I sometimes literally felt that I was surrounded by darkness. I didn't understand. I often thought "there must be something wrong with me".
I suffered a lot from physical illness, with pains inside, and felt tearful much of the time. After I left that church these things cleared up and I felt much better physically.
Other expressions they used were: "It is the Lord's will that you prosper: confess it" (Word of Faith influence); "You get what you see - faith sees the invisible and brings it into the visible realm" (mixture of Word of Faith: Kenneth Hagin & Copeland, with visualization coming from Yonggi Cho in Korea).
"Being slain in the spirit" (what spirit may I ask...) was an existing manifestation happening in this church before the introduction of the G12. There was more of the same after its implementation. They also laid hands on the cell group leaders of each generation in order to impart the necessary anointing, to help them win the nations to Christ. (impart the anointing?)
All I can say is that their ways do resemble those of the New Age and the occult. The hour is indeed late.
The christian family [in this system] is any church who welcomes the G12. They do not say that others are not saved but they let you know that they don't appreciate you going elsewhere for a visit. (control of information)
You are taught to trust the Lord in your leader. (Couple this with one of their expressions such as: "We don't always like the way the Lord comes to US..") This gives way to abusive leadership; gets your leader to slowly become your mediator; brings into idolatry.
Since the leader meets regularly alone with each disciple, an element of trust and some friendship take place. This makes things difficult because not all accept "I'm not comfortable with this" as an answer. The higher up in hierarchy, the greater the "grip". You are sometimes told "I won't take no for an answer.". You also hear "you cannot miss this week-end's conference". (control of your agenda).
The meetings were filled with Scriptures taken out of context and preached as "doctrine". For example, Abraham being the father of a multitude and we being sons of Abraham, we ought to claim that we are conquering the multitude and confess that they are coming. We must see them coming (here we go again); proclaim they are coming to Jesus.
Over and above this, you must put in practise what they call "spiritual warfare" in order to conquer the nations.
Every activity [appropriate or inappropriate] was seen as an opportunity to win a soul to Christ. They asked you to make a list of names of people you knew, pray for them for a period of time, meet with them and invite them to a gathering, which they called the "harvest feast".
I went through some flashbacks after I left. As far as these harvest gatherings are concerned, I had one where I remembered the senior leadership say, in prayer: "Oh God, we offer you these spiritual victims." My blood chilled, as I better understood the magnitude of it all. I know that there is a great onslaught going on.
Stages of Indoctrination
After the above, one then kept in touch with the new convert and introduced the person to the second step of the G12 ladder which is "consolidation" (to root someone in their salvation).
The first step was to "win" the person to Christ. Part of this second step was to bring them to a retreat for a weekend, where they taught on the impact of past sins, scars in the heart, the importance of forgiving those who did you wrong, etc. Some time was spent on breaking "generational curses". (Wasn't Jesus made a curse for us?)
You got to see quite a bit of "activity". It was a time of intense emotions. I found it quite disturbing to see and hear someone yell to the top of their lungs, suddenly believing that a demon of rejection had been part of all her life because she now knew (??) that her mother rejected her while in the womb. (is this "revelation" from God?) Vomiting, spitting, etc. went on. And this went on among "old" christians, not only babes in Christ. In these retreats, you confided certain things. This is very dangerous. It provides ammunition to the enemy for more subtle control.
Cult-like control and timetable
The G12 system is filled with criterias. For instance, in order to be "part" of the vision, you go to retreats, you go to your cell group once a week, go out to evangelize, go the the Sunday morning service and also attend special meetings with your leader's leader. You could end up being at church four times during the week.
Over and above this, you go to the school of leader, once a week, for twelve weeks -and there are three levels in this school. At the end, you should have your own cell group. This adds another meeting during the week.
Also, if you miss more than three courses out of twelve (for whatever reason), you must start the course over. You have social activities with your cell group. You end up functioning very tightly within a circle.
A cell group cannot be held in the home of a christian who still smokes cigarettes. The place must be a "sanctified" place ...because, they say, the ark of God is going into that home. And who do they call "the ark"? The people! They say that we represent the ark; sometimes they say we are a "door" for people to come to Jesus. Tithing is another criteria.
Another example would be the "dancing" (choregraphers' group). They are told that they must lose weight, they must exercise and be a cell leader or at least be on their way to become a cell leader (with proof of this) in order to be eligible to participate in the worship/rejoicing part of the service on the stage. You must be sanctified.
Some people we've known in the past have become like robots. It is very sad.
I'm very very concerned about the youth who are not given an example of a balanced lifestyle; who are kept by human enthusiasm. What will happen to them when they wake up and realize that they flunked school because they didn't have the maturity to handle the pressure of attending all the meetings, being told to put God first in their life, (which, to the leadership, means to be fully part of the vision with all its meetings and criterias, etc.) and invest the necessary time to study and do their homework? What a bitter taste they will have in their mouth
What teenager doesn't dream or would like to have a dream that could come true, that he or she may have some feeling of accomplishment? What teenager doesn't have the need for a sense of belonging? Peer pressure in the world is hard; but this pressure in the "church" is very hard to the sincere teen.
Those who come from broken families and who are caught up into this "new family" are in for quite an emotional ride. I personally know some who are out. They are now back in school, going forward in a "normal life" and learning to trust God in their daily activities. They went from depression, suicidal thoughts to a genuine smile, to saying "I feel much better now, I'm more often peaceful, and most of all, I'm getting to know God through my personal relationship with Him and the quiet personal reading and studying of His Word."
I encourage them to get informed on different matters and to not be afraid of seeking truth before God in prayer. May God in His mercy, come to their rescue!
Submission and Threats
Expressions such as "you need to totally surrender to the Lord"; "you must die to self" and "you must submit to your authority (leader), as it is God ordained" were often said. This could bring you to the point where you nearly believed that leaving the group would be equal to backsliding. Just to think and decide to leave brought a lot of torment. I had to pray through.
Once out, there is a strong pull to go back. What happens is that they put the names of those who left on a prayer list and keep claiming, proclaiming their return. The result? I was visited by demons, had horrible nightmares.
Ever so often, I physically felt a strong pressure coming against my forehead, as though an external force wanted to overthrow me. It was real. I had to stand firm in the Lord.
One day while doing the dishes, I saw the face of one of the leaders. The face was coming to me, getting closer, till only one eye was looking at me. (I'm sure this has something to do with some occult practice). I just said "in Jesus' name, flee." It left.
Another day, this time at work, I felt an evil presence brush against me. In my heart, I asked the Lord to show me what was going on. Well...I saw the senior pastor's wife right in front of me, smiling. I thought to myself what's going on here? Is this a demon in disguise (if this exists I don't know..) or is this person practicing astral projection ? (OBE) Why would a born-again christian do these things?
Having trusted these people quite a bit, and being seduced to a certain degree, it was very difficult for me to believe what I was going through. Shortly after I left, while on coffee break, the Lord spoke to my heart saying "I will show you what they do in secret" and gave me Ezekiel chapter eight to read. I read and wept.
"He said to me, "Son of man, do you see what they are doing, the great abominations that the house of Israel commits here, to make Me go far away from My sanctuary? Now turn again, you will see greater abominations."
"And He said to me, "Go in, and see the wicked abominations which they are doing there." So I went in and saw, and there-- every sort of creeping thing, abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, portrayed all around on the walls. And there stood before them seventy men of the elders of the house of Israel, and in their midst stood Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan. Each man had a censer in his hand, and a thick cloud of incense went up. Then He said to me, "Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the room of his idols? For they say, 'The LORD does not see us, the LORD has forsaken the land.' "
"And He said to me, "Turn again, and you will see greater abominations that they are doing." So He brought me to the door of the north gate of the LORD's house; and to my dismay, women were sitting there weeping for Tammuz.
"Then He said to me, "Have you seen this, O son of man? Turn again, you will see greater abominations than these." So He brought me into the inner court of the LORD's house; and there, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five men with their backs toward the temple of the LORD and their faces toward the east, and they were worshiping the sun toward the east.
"Then He said to me, "Have you seen this, O son of man? Is it a trivial thing to the house of Judah to commit the abominations which they commit here? For they have filled the land with violence; then they have returned to provoke Me to anger. Indeed they put the branch to their nose. Therefore I also will act in fury. My eye will not spare nor will I have pity; and though they cry in My ears with a loud voice, I will not hear them." " (Ezek 8:6-18)
God's mercy and deliverance
When looking back, I can only praise God for His mighty power to deliver me. I thought I was safe because I was in a church. Now I know that the Lord has brought me out of Babylon, where there is witchcraft, control, manipulation, mental programming and perversion.
Now I know that their words "you must die to self" [although biblical] were only a cunning device from Satan for me to wholly adhere to their ways and new paradigms. In fact, I know that the enemy through them wanted to "crucify Christ in me / the work of Christ in me." They don't openly say "away with the Cross" but they seem to actually do it, voluntarily or not, only God knows.
My wake-up call from the Lord happened one morning when, out of breath and tired of not living the abundant life in Jesus, I said: "Father, I often hear them say that we must die to self. What do You want me to die to?" I was shocked when, in His own way and in no uncertain terms, He showed me to walk out of the church.
I knew that I was at a crossroads and that I needed to make a choice: follow man or the Lord Jesus Christ. Did I cry!! I had to repent from idolatry. I was somewhat friends with a few. I was scared of leaving. Nevertheless, He gave me the grace to rise above my fears and say: "Ok, I don't understand why exactly, but I'll follow You. Please guide me and teach me all the way."
It was only after this day that the Holy Spirit started opening my eyes. It's been a long, slow process. I couldn't take much at a time because I had been quite entangled with this church.
My family went through very rough times. I've often went in prayer, asking the Lord to strengthen us by the power of His might and consoling them, gently telling them not to permit themselves to be so very impressed by the different manifestations of the enemy.
We would get physically ill, often had nausea when reading the Word of God and being enlightened by the simplicity of the Gospel. It was a fierce battle.
Shaken by the truth
The very first thing I experienced after my wake-up call was when my husband and a friend of ours were simply talking about a secular matter. To my surprise, I suddenly had the word "witchcraft" strongly impressed upon my mind. Since it would not go away, I figured that I better check this out with the Lord. I simply went to my room and prayed "Lord, IF I've been under the influence of witchcraft at that place, whether through preaching, teaching, singing, praying, I ask you to please burn/destroy all of it in my heart, that You cleanse me by the blood of Jesus and that you renew my mind by Your Word. Please do the same for my family. Thank you, Lord."
I went back to our company. Well - while I had God's peace, a burning took place in my heart and I knew, beyond the shadow of a doubt, although I then had no clue as to how that type of influence was communicated.
One day, as I started praying for the senior leader, I saw the word "ruin". Another time, I dreamed this: I could see from afar that a person was laying down naked in front of that church building. I walked towards to help. When near I was in shock to see who it was: the senior leader of that church, his hair in a mess.
I cried: this can't be! He was alone. I ran to get a blanket and covered his nakedness, crying, and I woke up. The same week, my daughter and a friend both had the word Babel coming clearly to their mind when they started praying for that church.
"Come down and sit in the dust,
O virgin daughter of Babylon;
Sit on the ground without a throne,
O daughter of the Chaldeans!
For you shall no more be called
Tender and delicate.
Take the millstones and grind meal.
Remove your veil,
Take off the skirt,
Uncover the thigh,
Pass through the rivers.
Your nakedness shall be uncovered,
Yes, your shame will be seen;
I will take vengeance,
And I will not arbitrate with a man."
[See Isa 47:1-3]
As far as my husband is concerned, he was reminded of the statue of Nebuchadnezzar
in Daniel 2:43 "And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay." I don't know if this is out of context, but he was under the impression that the Lord is calling His children out of Babylon, where iron reigns. The Lord cannot have His way with iron but He can mold the clay.
To Him be all the glory, in Jesus' name.
After we left, we went to another church, this time Pentecostal. One day, the pastor asked the people to stand up and make an alliance with him, before God, to remain in his assembly, whatever happens. My heart sunk. Most of the people stood up and lifted their right hand before God and confessed this. I never went back.
We had a friend attending this church. I called him and warned him about this, begged him to please be careful and to study the Scriptures for himself. A few weeks later, the pastor advised his congregation to expect to see a lot of new manifestations from God in the church. That was it! Our friend left that church. Since then, the Lord has been dealing with him also. He is starting to see what has been taking place.
We've asked the Lord to guide us to a local assembly. No answer. We keep our personal relationship with Him on a daily basis, read and study the Scriptures, share, sing His praise and pray one for another.
Assembling together doesn't mean "church"
By the way, I have two Bibles. A French one, Louis Segond version and an English one, King James version. One day, I was reading Hebrews 10:25 which says: "...not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together..." I was curious to check out how this was written in my French Bible. Surprise! If I translate, it gives this: "Let's not forsake our assembly." One is a verb of action, whereas in French it is a noun, making "assembly" equal "church". I laughed. Never again did I experience guilt for not attending "a church". God is so very very good!
So, I'm still learning and trusting the Lord. There are subjects where I am still confused and in need to prayerfully study the Scriptures, which I actually do, for they cause some hesitation in my prayer life.
I've been putting my beliefs before God in prayer, asking Him to teach me and guide me by the Holy Spirit into all truth, that is, according to His written Word. Up till now, I noticed:
- Since Jesus-Christ is the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Can you be as full or more full than God can be full of God??) and that people around Him were not slain in the Spirit, I can safely conclude that the spirit in operation, in the lives of those who practice this, is not of God (at least, not at the time of this manifestation. This is a lying sign.
- Since our Lord Jesus-Christ has taught us to pray to the Father in His name, I conclude that praying to and singing to the person of the Holy Spirit is not scriptural. It is therefore a type of worship initiated by a seducing spirit.
- Since the written Word of God is the full revelation of God and from Him to mankind, I conclude that God is not doing a new thing.
- Since tithing is an Old Testament practice that was done for specific reasons and that it was not practiced in the New Testament Church, I conclude that all my substance is on the altar, in service unto the Lord. What a blessing it has been, since I left, to let the Lord lead me into meeting needs of people...and this, without tax deductible receipts...and with great rejoicing!
The Roman Catholics may have their pope but born again christians have many little popes. I find Christianity has become a religious system with its idols. As in the days of Saul, people want to be like the other nations, meaning to have a king (leader) rule over them, instead of developing a personal relationship with Almighty God, which relationship has been made possible through the shedding blood of our Lord Jesus-Christ.
Do not put your trust in man
As a young christian in the faith, you tend to trust man, thinking that he is appointed by God - which he may be - but the tragedy of it all is that we neglect putting the Word of God in practice, that is: to diligently heed the Lord's warnings concerning false teachers, etc. In such churches, we are not encouraged to study the Scriptures for ourselves but have our minds kept very busy with the preacher's "revelations" and "teachings" received from, apparently, the Holy Spirit - using Scriptures out of context -.I find that the hierarchy in G12 is a return to Old Testament priesthood under the Law.
I believe that some are seduced through their own ignorance of Scriptures, taking whatever information they received for granted, without going to the Lord in prayer and studying the Scriptures for themselves, whereas others are plainly there for greed, power and some sort of success.
There is a great famine of God's Word in many churches but I was deeply touched and grateful to the Lord when He brought me into Ezekiel 34, especially verse 10, where His precious word talks about setting His own free from the type of preaching (doctrine) they've been fed by the pastors who haven't taken up their office properly:
"Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them." And also I was touched by the Lord's willingness to manifest His lovingkindness to them saying, in verse 15: "I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord God."
I feel I need to prepare myself for things to come between now and the Rapture of the Church. (the literal interpretation of the Rapture, please) What exactly, I don't know.
May He bless you abundantly and protect you from all evil.
© Tricia Tillin of Banner Ministries. All rights reserved. Cross+Word Website: http://www.banner.org.uk/ This document is the property of its author and is not to be displayed on other websites, redistributed, sold, reprinted, or reproduced in printed in any other format without permission. Websites may link to this article, if they provide proper title and author information. One copy may be downloaded, stored and/or printed for personal research. All spelling and phraseology is UK English.