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How to become a member

How to become a member of Greater Grace World Outreach.  Here are the details how it works:

My background was in a dead religious denomination -- that's where I grew up. Then just after my teen years I met a born-again Christian who shared the Gospel with me and by the Grace of God I accepted Jesus Christ as my pesonal Savior who paid the debt that I couldn't pay. But that Christian church in which I got saved as a young adult was very legalistic with an emphasis on baptism and so on.

Then I met TBS missionaries who were much more relaxed and actually gracious, loving and kind, especially to new people. The TBS missionaries seemed genuine without the religious structures. And that's how you get interested in GGWO and that's how it works: you meet these nice folks who can quote the Bible eloquently and who are interested in the Word of God and so on.

Sure, there was always an emphasis on that great pastor (CHS/Carl H. Stevens) in Lenox who was the founder of that Bible college and so forth. And there was an emphasis that we need to be precise in the Word of God. So the Greek and Aramaic came in handy for the TBS missionaries as they appeared to be experts in the Word. And often the attitude was reflected that yes there are other churches, but they just don't know the Bible as well as "we" (TBS/GGWO) folks do, so talking a little down on others, because TBS had the "Grace" revelation.

Then you start listening to tapes (preached by CHS) and there you get the vision: a fast growing church with missionaries everywhere and apparently eloquent Bible teaching and so on. There's seemingly "life" there and it's apparently great. Then among the "grace" messages you hear these special "motivational" messages against sin when CHS lets it really rip as they say in GGWO. Geeez, and that was "motivating" and powerful, especially if you have a legalistic background, because there you go and your old thought patterns are stimulated. But you had "grace" there and now you can live a holy life - at least that was imaginary idea.

So, as you listen to the tapes you get "hooked" on CHS as he begins to become the spiritual authority all along as the TBS missionaries applaud you in your new Christian "growth" - actually in becoming "one with the ministry" and in becoming a "yes" person and in becoming a "true follower of TBS" etc., etc., etc.

Then perhaps you get a chance to visit Lenox back then and perhaps even during the International Convention and there you go and it's such a great time as you're accepted "unconditionally" as the new person that just came into the ministry in the missionfield or in a branch ministry. Let's go and shake Pastor's hand and perhaps let's have lunch with him. And all your human needs of friendship, acceptance and apparently of being loved "unconditionally" are met. Congrats! ... you're in! Of course, seemingly also your spiritual needs are met as they (CHS and all the members at TBS/GGWO) have a lot of Bible knowledge and so on.

As you listen to the tapes and as you meet the new friends, etc. everything seems to go so well and you're apparently "growing" in Christ. Of course, the ministry or let's call it serving God is becoming number one in your life - and initially that sounds good too. But as this goes on you're manipulated and you're taken advantage of in the sense that you're being drawn into a cult. Everything CHS and the branch pastors say is absolutely true and faultless - it's the absolute Word of God and it's accurate - after all CHS and the other pastors are studying the Word of God for hours every day and often for many years.

The image in the mind is created that for a man in GGWO the goal is to become a pastor and for a woman the ultimate place of honor in GGWO is that she becomes a pastor's wife. Now, lets study and perhaps start taking Bible College classes as otherwise there isn't even a chance that a man can ever become a pastor.

And so on it goes. Your original family, like mom and dad and some brothers and sister won't understand that you've become so "religious" and soon they are alienated from you in some way. But you have new "friends" - often many - in GGWO, so that's a nice substitute. And the little legalistic messages, or excuse me they are called "challenges" or "motivational" messages or the "red hot" messages, they keep you in check and the psychological fear is established in your mind. Don't ever leave GGWO as otherwise your leaving may be a sign that you've never ever been genuinely saved. After all, GGWO and CHS are the only precise and true church and pastor/teacher here on earth. Sure, they praise other churches to get broader acceptance and to establish in the mind the general acceptance of all born-again Christians. But at the lunch raps and the different little sessions here and there, you hear the teachings about the differences of that group and this group.

Then when you study the Bible by yourself, especially on the more gracious subjects you notice that there's something wrong with the legalistic little hints and teachings here and there. Then we're not supposed to gossip and question anything, but at the same time other ministries are being criticized for this and that ... it's very subtle, but over time you're a complete Stevens-ite and you think that GGWO is actually the "best" church in the world and the most active "mission" organization in the world. Why would ever want to go anywhere else? Then suddenly all your friends are in GGWO and mentally it is established that e.g. CHS or some branch pastor is your pastor/teacher and that GGWO is the fulfillment of a New Testament church.

But the "little" legalistic doctrines that have been established in your mind become the mental hooks and the issue of confusion, the back-and-forth of am I now wrong or is Pastor (CHS) wrong. And as you're not as old as CHS and haven't studied the Bible as long as CHS, it must be you who is wrong. But the Bible says this and CHS says something opposite ... how can that be? It just doesn't feel right.

Then you study the Word of God on a subject that bothers you and you discover after much emotional tumult, that the true Grace teaching in the Bible about a particular subject is contrary to what CHS teaches. GGWO doctrines, for instance, puts fear in your heart on the intrepetation of such and such a subject, while the Bible liberates you in this regard. And in John 8:31,32,36 we read that the Truth shall set us free and if the Son will set us free, we're free indeed.

While CHS and GGWO doctrine puts us under a yoke, the Word of God sets us free. The whole GGWO process is very subtle, and perhaps not even intentional on the part of CHS - I don't know and I don't know his heart - but nevertheless as sincere as CHS may be, I personally don't want to be sincerely deceived. Why should I live in bondage, when the Word of God by His Grace offers me freedom?

Looking at GGWO from the outside by someone who once was inside for many, many years with GGWO, you can see it very easily that there's a personality cult in GGWO and GGWO is very exclusive and there's twisting of Scriptures with personal interpretation. It also shows that CHS is very insecure as he constantly tries to manipulate and control the minds of people with his undue influence by using his Bible knowledge.

Well, it is obvious that a lot is going on in GGWO as otherwise there wouldn't be masses of people fleeing the "ministry." Over the years, many intelligent people left GGWO starting with P. Joe Swiader and many, many others. And there were always some emotional attachments, which is normal when you spent 5, 10, 20 even 30 years with the same group, and now you're out alone somewhere and everybody from the group looks at you as if you were devil himself - an enemy, although you didn't even do anything other than just distance yourself a little bit before you leave the GGWO pack completely. Of course, nobody will talk to you anymore and you "lost" all your "friends."

Right now there are thousands of former TBS/GGWO folks out there and they've gone on with their lives. Some are in great true Christian ministries and their Christian experience has never been better - they are happy and they have healthy marriages and families. Others were so burnt out and went back into the world - which is the sad part of the story.

Anyway, this contribution was about how every person becomes a GGWO member and how it works psychologically in layman terms - how someone gets hooked in GGWO and in any cult. There are many other hooks like perhaps a physical healing which came through a prayer by CHS or a financial blessing and so on - but these are only outward signs. The key is, do you have the peace of God that passes all understanding. Are you enjoying the Abundant Life to its fullest? Is the Christian life easy for you? Is the burden to follow Christ light? Or is there fear in your life - fear of losing something or fear of whatever? Are there emotional attachments that are above the Word of God? Is the "ministry" more important than your closest relationships with your wife and children?  Then it's time for a reality check!

May God bless you! HE is truly gracious and God loves you more than you can imagine and He really, really cares for each individual so much, especially if you're a child of God. HE wants to bless you! HE wants to set you free indeed! HE wants you to experience the true Grace of God so that you'll soar like an eagle and so that you grow with joy in the Grace and Knowledge of Jesus Christ and so that you experience the Abundant Life every moment of the day in your life here on earth.