A Facilitator-led Church Group is the Gate to Hell: A Letter of Warning to Kurt Gebhards' Hickory Harvest Church, the Harvest Bible Chapel Affiliate in North Carolina: "A Church of Life Groups"
Dear Hickory Harvest Church Attendee,
I'm a fellow Christian that has an interest in your church’s recent transition to the Harvest Bible Chapel model. If you'd be kind enough to indulge me, then I'd like to pose some questions to you regarding your church transition: Have you felt that something isn't quite right regarding your transition to the Harvest Bible Chapel ministry model? Do you get the feeling that something is wrong with this transition biblically, but you can't quite put your finger on it? Do you feel that you are now being slowly led astray from God's biblical will? Do you get the feeling that somehow your church is being used to further an unbiblical agenda (an agenda for which you are footing the bill)? Have you felt that your new pastor may be hiding something? Have you felt that if there was a way to go back and NOT vote to move forward with the Harvest transition you would? If you answered in the affirmative, then please allow me to try to clarify for you what is now happening to your church since the Harvest Bible Chapel takeover. I'll try make it brief and to the point and rather than copy and paste, I'll place several links where you can read more if you so desire.
"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1
"For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works." II Corinthians 11:13-15
"And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage." Galatians 2:4
"For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them." Acts 20:29-30
As you know, your church is now being conformed to the Harvest Bible Fellowship organizational model. The basis of this organizational model are facilitator-led groups. At Harvest Bible Fellowship affiliate churches these facilitator-led groups are called "Life Groups." Because your church’s new leadership has recently “launched” Life Groups and because their importance has been stressed, I’d like to spend time explaining what these groups are in order that you'll understand that Christians should never participate in them and that they have no place in the church of Jesus Christ.
As you know, all church attendees are being strongly encouraged, if not required, to participate in Life Groups. All Life Groups have a leader who functions as a facilitator as well as an apprentice leader who will one day leave to start his own Life Group once he has learned group facilitation skills.
All Life Group participants will be held "accountable" to their Life Group leader who will be accountable to Flock Leaders who will be accountable to the church pastors who will be accountable to the church elders and so forth up the line. In this manner, all Life Group participants will be watched and monitored and can be controlled from the top. Five hundred members of a traditional church can’t be controlled, but those 500 members can easily be controlled if placed into 50 facilitator-led groups which are overseen by a hierarchy of leaders. “Accountability” is a word that will be frequently used by your new church leaders. But they aren’t referring to your accountability to God. Participation in “Life Groups” will shift your accountability from God to your group leader, group vision, and church leadership.
As stated, all "Life Group" leaders function as group facilitators. A facilitator is a term used in communist mind control. A facilitator is also known as a change agent. One researcher has stated that the actual socio-psychological name for a facilitator is a heresiarch (one who practices heresy). A group facilitator is often called a group "leader" who acquires group facilitation skills through "leadership training" or "leadership development."
A facilitator is not a traditional bible teacher. He won’t preach and teach God’s word. Instead, he will facilitate a dialogue to group consensus (what all in the group can agree upon and feel good about) through the use of questioning. This is also called critical thinking (questioning authority). The model social psychologists used to determine how a group facilitator should function was Satan. They studied how Satan was able to get Eve to disobey God in the garden by questioning authority (“Hath God said?”) and through dialogue.
A facilitator-led group is also called a Soviet and a Marxist dialectic session. It is also sometimes called an "accountability group," "consensus group," and an "encounter group." These groups were developed by social-psychologists (all of whom were Marxists). The dynamics of these groups were refined in social laboratories in the US called the National Training Labs which are Marxist incubators (they still exist today).
The facilitator-led group employs a "dialectic process." The dialectic process is designed to synthesize opposites (thesis-antithesis, believer-unbeliever) through dialogue. This process was developed by Hegel, who was a Kabbalist. The purpose of this group process is to change and transform (brainwash) the minds of all the group participants AWAY from faith in and obedience to authority (God) and toward a socialist religion based on human relationships (humanism).
Facilitation means to make change easy and a facilitator is called a change agent because his job is to change the way people think from obedience to God and higher authority to a way of thinking that compromises God for group goals and human relationship building. Change agents refer to changing THE WAY people think as a "paradigm shift." Organizations that employ facilitator-led groups will make frequent references to change and transformation. It’s important to know that facilitators and change agents in the church are always Satan’s agents; for God said, “For I am the Lord, I change not” and “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
Facilitator-led groups are the basis for the "Church Growth" movement. Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Church is part of this movement. The purpose of the church growth movement is to transform Christians and churches from service to God to service to the community (to affect social change in the community). Social psychologists want to make “community” the primary unit of society above the family unit which must be destroyed. This is why church facilitators make statements like "walk with Christ in community." To learn more about the church growth movement click here.
Because all at Hickory Harvest will be required to participate in these groups, scroll down the article linked above to "Church Transformation and the Dialectic Process" and "Facilitators, Small Groups and Brainwashing" in order to learn more about these groups and how they function and to fully understand that all who participate in these groups will lose their faith in God.
It should be noted as well that Facilitator-led groups have their origin in the occult Kabbalah. Few realize that participation in a facilitator-led group invokes a demon that will place the group participants in bondage. Read "How Small Church Groups Invoke Demons."
Because small group participants are required to confess their sins regularly to each other (which is unbiblical) and to be “transparent” and “authentic,” the church leaders will be aware of the most intimate details of your life; they will also know who are resisting the “process” and who are threats to their control. Confessing sins and revealing intimate secrets to your “Life Group” can also potentially open the group participant to blackmail.
"Sins, as defined by the group, are to be confessed either to a personal monitor or publicly to the group. There is no confidentiality; members' "sins," "attitudes," and "faults" are discussed and exploited by the leaders. Even if not obviously promoted by the group, information is collected (usually automatically without set guidelines for collection) and fed to leadership. Shameful past events may then be exploited to manipulate individual compliance or as evidence for disciplinary actions. This information is also exploited by members who leave the group."
The reason why I'm aware of and interested in your church is because I have followed Kurt Gebhards from his time at John Macarthur's Grace Community Church. While at Grace Church, Gebhards was the pastor of a singles ministry called The Foundry. This ministry was based on Rick Warren's Purpose Driven model (though Gebhards and the Grace Church leadership will deny this). The "Life Groups" at The Foundry were called "Core Groups." To read about The Foundry ministry click here.
Pastor John Coleman and Dr. Robert Klenck, a foremost Christian authority on the Purpose Driven/Church Growth movement, broadcasted publicly on their radio show, "RAM Radio Live" (Reformation Apologetics Minstry), four years ago, that the ministry Kurt Gebhards was pastoring at John Macarthur's Grace Community Church was following the Purpose Driven model. Upon viewing this ministries since deleted webpages, Dr. Klenck stated: "Not only is it [the Purpose Driven model] there [at The Foundry], but it is going at full speed."
James Sundquist, author of "Who's Driving The Purpose Driven Church," has also confirmed the presence of the Purpose Driven Church model at Kurt Gebhards' The Foundry. Upon viewing the same webpages, Mr. Sundquist stated: "I do see many transformation philosophies that echo Rick Warren or hybrid it...PD [Purpose Driven] movement has infiltrated Grace Church under a different name or disguise...[ie., brought in through stealth]."
Kurt Gebhards admits in his online resume that he was asked to enter ministries at John Macarthur's Grace Church as a vision casting "agent of change." A change agent in the church is a facilitator. Church facilitators will engage in “vision casting.” They will encourage their congregation to “catch their vision.” Vision casting is unbiblical and anyone who casts or catches a vision is tapping into the demonic realm. You can read where Kurt Gebhards admits to being a vision casting "agent of change" on page 4 under "ministry passions" here. The director of operations at Harvest Bible Fellowship and your new church elder is Mr. Bill Molinari. Mr. Molinari is the chairman of the board of Leadership Resources International (LRI) as well as being a board member of John Macarthur’s international ministry which is a “church growth” org that partners with foreign governments. Churches partnering with governments is in keeping with the communitarian agenda. To read more about your new church elder, Mr. Bill Molinari, and LRI scroll down to the section on Bill Molinari here. The presence of the facilitator-led group organizational model can be known not only by its structure, but by its particular buzzwords. I have listened to Craig Steiner’s 4 part “Small Group Leadership Training” series on your church’s resources page. Mr. Steiner is a trained facilitator. Please allow me to repeat some of Mr. Steiner’s quotes from his talks to your church members that are indicative of this infiltration and that should give you notice that something is very wrong (unbiblical) with what he is teaching. (I will place Mr. Steiner’s words in quotations and in red and my comments in parentheses.) From Part 1: Mr. Steiner said, “cast a vision for healthy small groups” (This quote is taken directly from Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven model. Vision Casting is from Marxism and taps into the occult. In “church growth," a “healthy” church is a church in which there are no Christians who obey God. In a “healthy church,” all will have been transformed to compromise God for the group goals and the group vision.); “walking with Christ in community” (Christians are not to be holy and set apart, but are to be synthesized into community. To gain respect in the eyes of the community is to compromise God.); “walking with Christ implies change” “small groups are discussion-based learning—not someone lecturing the whole group” (The small group leader doesn’t teach in a didactic manner which is biblical, but rather in a dialectic manner. God’s word is to be preached and teached—not dialogued to consensus. A traditional bible study is scripturally-based and not discussion-based.); “fellowship in the biblical sense is a deep community” “building relationships” (Facilitators emphasize the building of human relationships because they want you to be bonded to the group through peer pressure where the fear of man will override your fear of God causing you to compromise God.) From Part 2: “ …in addition to the small group facilitator” (Mr. Steiner is admitting at 41:50 that the Life Group leaders are facilitators); “a small group leader is one who facilitates a discussion in a meaningful direction through the use of questions” (This is an unbiblical dialectic method—it’s based on the method Satan used to get Eve to disobey God in the garden.) “small group leaders shouldn’t lecture people” (The facilitator won’t teach or preach from the bible. Group dialogue must be facilitated if everyone is to freely experience group life [communism] and group think [socialism]); “Jesus was a master of asking questions—wasn’t He?” (Steiner is equating Jesus, the master teacher, with Satan, the master facilitator. Jesus never questioned God’s authority and He never asked anyone what they thought or felt about God’s word, nor did He dialogue God’s word. He preached and teached.); "A key to leading dynamic discussion is to ask good questions” (The facilitator does this to find out your position and to see how you think so that you can be manipulated. Whoever decides what questions to be asked controls the answers as well.); Steiner wants the facilitator to ask the group member questions like, “What do you think the text means?” so that “everyone has had an opportunity to offer what they think” (These kinds of questions, which have no place in a bible study, cause the group members to open up and share so that the facilitator can dialogue all opinions to a pre-determined consensus. ); Mr. Steiner says that the facilitator should be asking "open-ended questions." (In the dialectic process, the facilitator asks open-ended questions [what, how and why] and not closed questions [requiring a yes or no answer] in order to bypass the absolutes of God's word.) “It is not about what people have learned, but about who people are becoming” (The facilitator doesn’t want to inculcate knowledge “traditional teaching”, but wants to change your behavior and way of thinking in conformity to group goals); “Be known as a church of authentic people” and “I’d like to know the real you” (Steiner wants people who are willing to reveal their inner most thoughts and feelings to the group so that they can be better manipulated); “We are all interconnected and part of the body” (A basis of church growth is called General Systems Theory. It is similar to Eastern philosophy. It states that people only have value as part of an organization—as a cog in a machine.) From Part 3: “Opening up to each other involves informing others of your needs” (reveal your “felt needs” so that you can be manipulated); “We need to be doing life on life” (Where does God command this?); Steiner encourages you to observe your fellow group member and to say, “I’ve noticed that you don’t spend enough time with your wife and kids” (A father has God-given authority to rule his family. No man has the right to question that authority. The church facilitators through the group dialectic process will negate all God given authority because this authority hinders human relationship building.); “You need to get to that transparent level where you’re sharing personal feelings and fears” (The group dialectic process often begins with ice-breaker exercises to get people thinking with feelings so that they can be changed more easily); “People are able to be vulnerable” Steiner and facilitators want church members making frequent prayer requests. “How can we pray for you next week” (Through Jesus Christ we can all pray directly to our Heavenly Father. Prayer requests are a way the church leadership can shift dependence on God to dependence on the group. Prayer requests are also a way that the leadership will know your personal business.) From Part 4: This part contains an amazingly candid admission from Steiner: “Our men’s and women’s and student ministry is a TRICK to get them into small groups” (So he is admitting that these ministries aren’t for the purpose of serving Jesus Christ. In fact, the entire agenda at Harvest Bible Fellowship is a satanic trick); “the purpose of small groups is to make disciples” (“to make disciples” means to transform group members so that they can become change agent-facilitators who will form their own groups); “experience the level of community you’ve experienced” “great way to cast that vision” (A man made vision [what can be] is antithetical to God’s word [what is]); “So the DNA is throughout everything” (These facilitator-run churches replicate like cells that all have the same DNA. It is Satan’s DNA.) Kurt Gebhards is also a change agent-facilitator. The following quotes in red are from his recent sermons regarding the urgent need to usher the Hickory Harvest congregation into “Life Groups”: From Life Groups 1 “The Next Big Thing”: Gebhards said, “I don’t want to sell you anything you are not in the market for” (Are you in the market to be brainwashed and to lose your eternal soul? The buyer here had better beware.); “Life Groups is not one of our ministries at Hickory Harvest. Life Groups IS our ministry at Hickory Harvest. We ARE a church of Life Groups.” (Hickory Harvest is being conformed to a “cell church” model. This model is not unlike a militia structure.); “Our life groups will be life changing agents” (Gebhards is telling the truth here. Life Groups will change the way the group members think--from an obedience to God way of thinking to a human relationship building way of thinking.); Gebhards says that he has served in past ministries where hundreds of Christians “have had lives radically altered by the dynamics of Life Groups” “You need to open up and be vulnerable to others.” “I don’t get a bonus in Heaven for being in a Life Group” (How true! Your Life Group is the gate to Hell.) From Life Groups 2 “Our Hospital for Life”: “Our heartbeat is that we would all participate in Life Groups.” (All must participate in this change program. No child left behind. Even your children will be required to be in a group); “Life Groups are intended to be a hospital that facilitates healing and life…” (They lead to eternal death.); “God’s word is to change us” (Facilitators seldom mention that God’s word judges and divides); “The word of God is the most life-transforming dynamic in this universe” (I’ve noticed that Gebhards often uses the word “dynamic.” Facilitators often use this word because it means change.); “Be a doer of the word of God, so be in a Life Group” (Being a doer of God’s word means to STAND ALONE for Jesus Christ.) From Life Groups 3 “Our Home of Love”: “We are a church of Life Groups” “These are not your father’s small groups” (Gebhards is saying that Life Groups aren’t a traditional bible study with a leader that preached and teached God’s word [didactic teaching]. Life groups are dialectic, mind changing sessions.); “Life Groups are a life changing environment” (Facilitator-led groups were developed to an extent by Kurt Lewin who headed the National Training Labs. Lewin understood that it’s easier to change people’s way of thinking and behavior [to brainwash] in a group setting than to change them individually [like on Freud’s couch]); “Unity and community in the body of Christ” (“Unity and community” is the slogan for worldwide socialism. Facilitators want church member unity at the expense of facts and truth.); “Life Groups were born to multiply” (Get as many community members as possible into groups for mind control. The plan is "to connect the entire planet to healthy small groups."); “All living things exist to reproduce” (Cancer cells also reproduce); “We want to be invested in the 10 minute strategy” (Be social and bring others into the groups. Do you want to stop socialism in the church? Become anti-social by adhering to God’s word in all things without compromise.) From Life Groups 4 “Our Sanctuary in Holiness”: “Lives being changed for the glory of God” (Facilitators are changing the way you think. One day the loyalty of the group to its leader will be transferred to the Anti-Christ); “Recognize your spiritual vulnerability” “Open your heart” "Share and open up with the body” (So your feelings can be heard and dialogued to consensus—so that you can be manipulated.); “Step out in risk” (The dialectical process requires a "risk free" and "non hostile" environment where everyone can feel free enough to confess their own beliefs and values within the group setting without fear of reprisal.); “Obey the command to confess sin to one another” “In Life Groups you’ll be expected to confess your sin” “Open your heart and confess your sins to each other regularly just as scripture commands you to do” “Come every week to confess your sin" (Does God command Christians to regularly confess sins to one another? Absolutely not! Scripture is to be compared with scripture. In James 5:16, Christians are told to "confess your faults one to another..." The modern corrupt bible versions (NASB, NIV) translate this to "confess your sins one to another." Confessing sin to each other is to be done rarely and only when the need arises. As Christians we are to confess our sins regularly to God and to ask for His forgiveness. Facilitators want you to confess regularly to men because confession is an important component in mind control. Confession is also utilized by the Catholic Church for the same purpose. Facilitators know that TO WHOM YOU CONFESS IS TO WHOM YOU SUBORDINATE YOURSELF. Yes, there are perhaps times when a Christian may have a need to confess to his brother, but facilitators want you confessing regularly in order that you subordinate yourselves to the Life Group and not to God.); “Talk about deepest hurts with the Flock Leader” (Besides being unbiblical [for we are commanded to deny ourselves], will your deepest hurts be kept in confidence?) From Life Groups 5 “Our Greenhouse of Growth”: “We are going to be an equipping church” “We are called as leaders to equip you” (“Equipping” comes from Rick Warren’s PEACE plan. The “E” stands for “equip leaders.” It means to train them in facilitation skills.); “God expects every Christian to be discipling and mentoring others” (Really? Chapter? Verse? Facilitators want to reproduce change agents who will engage others in a facilitated dialogue.); “money back guarantee associated with Life Groups--if you don’t change we’ll give you your money back” “Join a Life Group—not to be left to the immaturity of a solitary Christian” (Church change agents like Rick Warren are constantly emphasizing that “there are no lone saints.” This is because a lone saint who holds to God’s word without compromise and independent of others is a hindrance to and is blocking to a facilitated unity and community [Satan’s communitarian one-world agenda]. John the Baptist was a lone saint. Several of the apostles died alone in their service to Christ. The true agenda of Christianity is to stand alone for Jesus Christ. If by God’s grace you can find a few like-minded Christian friends, then that is a blessing. But we aren’t called to assemble in an apostate church of facilitator-led groups. We are all solitary Christians. THERE WILL BE NO GROUP GRADE ON JUDGMENT DAY.)
In these talks Kurt Gebhards employs the language of social change, transformation, and revolution. It is the same language employed by social-psychologists, Marxists, socialists, and communitarians the world over. His words aren’t the Word of God that leads to life, but the words of change agents and facilitators that leads to eternal death. Kurt Gebhards and the Hickory Harvest leadership want you in Life Groups. Life Groups are the gate to Hell and will be “Eternal Death Groups” for all who participate in them.
I pray that the true Christians at Hickory Harvest wake up; for a dialectical trap (Life Groups) has been set for you: a trap laid by facilitators and change agents (the pastors and elders at Hickory Harvest) and concealed with Christian terminology. Let this be a word of warning to those who may be seduced into this trap and a word of rescue for those who have already fallen into this trap.
If you know someone else at Hickory Harvest who would find this letter of interest, please feel free to forward this as I probably did miss quite a few of your attendees.
"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." 1 Thess. 5:21
"But he that is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is judged of no man." 1 Cor 2:15
"And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret." Ephesians 5:11-12
For Jesus Christ and His Church,
I have exchanged emails with Jon Krick, the Associate Pastor at Hickory Harvest Church regarding the Hickory Harvest Life Groups. Pastor Krick has told me that the Hickory Harvest "Life Groups" are not facilitator-led groups.
John Macarthur wrote a letter (see page 8) recommending Kurt Gebhards to Hickory Church. I've been told that John Macarthur is "good friends" with James MacDonald and that he attends James Macdonald's "Straight Up Conference". Another friend of John Macarthur, Al Mohler, has also attended James MacDonald's Straight Up Conference. The Harvest Bible Fellowship Training Center trains seminary graduates to "launch" a "healthy church plant" based on the Harvest "Church of Life Groups" model. Who is currently attending this 8 month long training program? I'm told that attendance includes recent graduates from John Macarthur's The Master's Seminary (TMS). Upon conclusion of this training, these TMS graduates will be obligated to plant "churches of facilitator-led groups." Click here to read "John Macarthur and The Master's Seminary Graduates Support James MacDonald's Network of Facilitator-led Churches." John Macarthur's close friend, James MacDonald, has also signed the anti-Christian Manhattan Declaration. See that he signed it here (though he signed the Declaration, his name has been removed from this list). Learn more about the Manhattan Declaration here. The Elephant's Debt blog has done a fine job of exposing James MacDonald and the Harvest Bible Chapel. The following is an excerpt from the 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.'"