A Former Grace Community Church Pastor and Elder Admits the Truth: On Three Occasions He was Asked by GCC Leaders (John Macarthur) to Enter Their Ministries to be "An Agent of Change"
Kurt Gebhards is no longer the pastor of The Foundry, one of John Macarthur's Purpose Driven ministries. He is now the head pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel-Hickory in North Carolina. Hickory Chapel is an affiliate of Harvest Bible Fellowship. There are more than 70 Harvest Bible Fellowship affiliate churches. Having been to several of their websites, I would describe these affiliates as "church growth model" churches and as hybrids of the Purpose Driven model. Harvest Bible Fellowship is the church planting arm of Harvest Bible Chapel. The director of operations for Harvest Bible Fellowship is Mr. Bill Molinari. Mr. Molinari is a board member of John Macarthur's international ministry, The Master's Academy International and a board member of John Macarthur's Grace To You..
Hickory Chapel's congregation is formed into "cell groups" "for relationships to be developed." They have both a mission and vision statement. Their mission includes "building a community..." Their vision includes "...becoming a community..." and "change [ing] the people within our community." Within their vision statement they exhort Christians to "JUST IMAGINE..." followed by a list of church goals. Hickory Chapel's god, according to their website, is "a God of laughter, fun and joy."
Kurt Gebhards' assistant pastor at Hickory Chapel and the only other pastor I see mentioned on their website is Scott Jablonski. Pastor Joblonski is fully on board with Rick Warren's Purpose Driven agenda. He sent me the following email:
"I do know about Kurt’s [Gebhards] ministry at Grace, as well as Rick Warren. I have been a fan and proponent of Purpose Driven Life and Purpose Driven Church, two books which Warren has written. I also follow much of the wisdom of Doug Fields, his [Warren's] youth pastor. I believe small groups is the best place “to do life” together with other believers. It is a great way to connect and be held accountable, both of which God commands for believers to do. Anyway I hope you have a great week. In Christ, Scott Jablonski--Hickory Community Chapel--Pastor of Student Ministry."
This is an amazing revelation from Kurt Gebhards' assistant pastor. He sees no problem with Warren's books. Many believers have great difficulty with them. He is a fan of Warren - fan is short for fanatic - "fans" do not base their actions on facts - they are fans regardless of the facts - it is all based upon emotion. He follows "the wisdom" of Warren's pastor, Doug Fields. What about the wisdom of God? Doing life together in small groups? God calls each of us individually. Pastor Jablonski doesn't understand the shift that he has accepted - he has become accountable to his group, rather than to the Lord.
After warning Pastor Jablonski about the dangers of the Purpose Driven movement, I received the following reply:
"Since you were frank with me, I am going to be frank with you as well. I totally disagree with you! However I do need to address one issue from your email. You stated that you wanted 'help in warning others in our church.' As one of the pastors and overseers of the church, I am demanding that you not contact anyone in our body. Jesus spoke of false teachers in Matthew 7:15 and I believe you to be one of those. As a false teacher, who tries to lead someone astray, I will deal harshly. I don’t mind discussing theology and methodology with you. However I am called to protect our flock from heresy. If anyone has been duped, it has been you. I have studied PDC for over 15 years, even before it became a movement. So if you want to sit and argue sometime, great. However if you choose to continue “to warn” our body and cause factions, I will come against you with all authority that God has given me. The apostle Paul spoke against such false teachers throughout his letters. Philippians 1:3-7, he spoke to church leaders to command men not to teach false doctrines or devoting themselves to myths. So again, I am not asking you, but telling you not to contact anyone in our body. Needless to say, my communication after this email will stop. However I will be involving our church elders. In Christ, Scott Jablonski--Hickory Community Chapel--Pastor to Students."
Pastor Jablonski insists that I not speak to anybody - not a request, but a demand. Totally communistic, with thinly-veiled threats - "I will deal harshly," and demands that I not exercise my right of free speech. If he was teaching truth, then he would have the confidence in it that it could withstand, and prevail over false teaching. Christ says in Romans 12:19 -"Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord."
It's amazing that this Christian pastor has been studying the PDC for 15 years without discerning its heresy. The last thing that is perhaps most telling is that he is insisting that I not speak to anybody in "our body." The church is Christ's, not his.
Kurt Gebhards' resume in online. The cover letter dated June 2009 was written by Bill Molinari. It's a letter recommending Gebhards to his Harvest Bible fellowship affiliate in North Carolina, Hickory Chapel. In this letter Mr. Molinari describes Gebhards as having a "godly character" and as being "a passionate theologian."
Within his resume, Kurt Gebhards stated that he pastored John Macarthur's The Foundry
ministry from 2002 to present. In starting The Foundry, Gebhards was "casting [a] vision for a brand new ministry." Regarding another ministry he pastored at GCC Gebhards stated that he "steer[ed] cautiously a large ministry through a season of philosophical change." Under the heading, "Ministry Passions," Gebhards states, "...to implement new concepts is an ongoing pattern of my ministry." (The buzzwords for the Church Growth/Purpose Driven models in his lengthy resume are too numerous to mention.)
Also stated in Kurt Gebhards' resume under "Ministry Passions" is the following most remarkable admission: "I HAVE BEEN ASKED ON THREE OCCASIONS BY THE LEADERS OF GCC TO COME INTO A MINISTRY AND BE AN AGENT OF CHANGE...IN EACH OF THESE CASES THAT CHANGE HAS INCLUDED CASTING A FRESH VISION, DEFINING A NEW MINISTRY CULTURE AND PROMOTE [SIC] POSITIVE CHANGE."
This amazingly candid admission by Gebhards finally dispels the notion that the Purpose Driven model and Rick Warren's anti-Christ agenda entered Grace Community Church "by men who crept in unawares." In his resume, Gebhards is proudly revealing the awful truth: THE GCC LEADERS [John Macarthur is the leader at GCC] ASKED GEBHARDS TO ENTER MINISTRIES AT GCC TO "BE AN AGENT OF CHANGE."
After successfully implementing "change programs" within ministries at GCC, it became time for Kurt Gebhards to move on. Naturally, John Macarthur obliged by writing Pastor Gebhards a letter of recommendation which is attached to the back of his resume.
John Macarthur asked Kurt Gebhards to enter ministries within GCC to be a vision casting agent of change, and then Macarthur recommends him to the "Harvest Hickory Family," to whom his recommendation is addressed. Did John Macarthur recommend Gebhards to Hickory Chapel for who he really is: "An agent of change?" John Macarthur describes Gebhards to Hickory Chapel:
"[He's] a faithful and gifted man of God", "He has served the Lord well in his various ministries at GCC for several years.", "He loves Christ, has a passion for God's word, and is fully committed to biblical ministry."
(Macarthur asks him to enter GCC as an "agent of change" [to change ministries from a biblical model to a Church Growth-Purpose Driven model] and then Macarthur recommends him to Hickory Chapel by stating that he is "fully committed to Biblical ministry.") Macarthur's recommendation continues:
"Kurt is an exemplary Christian in every respect of his life," "I believe that Kurt's life and priorities are such that bring honor to the Lord", "His eagerness to be a faithful servant of the Lord is a quality that I am confident will result in much fruit in service of the King."
The Grace Community Church leaders asked Kurt Gebhards to enter their ministries on three occasions to be an agent of change, i.e. a facilitator. This fact raises several questions: Who are the GCC leaders that asked Kurt Gebhards to enter ministries at Grace Church to be an agent of change? Did the entire Grace Church elder board ask him to enter their ministries as an agent of change? How did the Grace Church leaders know Kurt Gebhards was a change agent? Where did Kurt Gebhards receive change agent training? Kurt Gebhards earned degrees from John Macarthur's The Masters Seminary; is it there he received his change agent training? How many other leaders at GCC have been asked to enter as agents of change?
What does God have to say about change agents and a process of continuous change in His Church? “For I am the Lord, I change not…” Mal. 3:6. “My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change. For their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth the ruin of them both?” Prov. 24:21-2
To learn much more about how change agents are transforming John Macarthur's Grace Community Church read the article here. Kurt Gebhards now pastors Harvest Hickory Chapel in North Carolina. This is a "Church of Life Groups." These Life Groups are facilitator-led groups. Click here to read my letter of warning to his congregation. The Elephant's Debt blog has done an excellent job of exposing James MacDonald and Harvest Bible Chapel. The following is an excerpt from their blog:
"By 2007, as a direct result of the unprecedented debt that had been accumulated under the leadership of James MacDonald, there were significant and routine conflicts occurring between MacDonald and the elder board. These meetings culminated in a particularly tumultuous confrontation which reportedly functioned as an ultimatum by the elders on MacDonald’s leadership. At the climax of this meeting, the Senior Pastor of HBC reportedly said something to the effect of:
"'If you want to remove me, you’re going to have to sue me to get me out of here. And gentlemen, I have two things you don’t have: control of the pulpit and the control of the money. So good luck.'"