I’ve mentioned the Shepherding Movement a few times, and lately have had a couple of request to explain something about what this movement was all about. Rob McAlpine‘s forthcoming book, Post-Charismatic contains a good overview of the movement as well as the Latter Rain and other charismatic movements… the book should be out shortly, but I can’t just link to it yet… so here goes.
In the early 1970s, four well-known charismatic leaders responded to a moral failure among charismatics in south Florida. Bob Mumford, Derek Prince, Don Basham, and Charles Simpson felt a need for personal accountability and covenanted together for this purpose, submitting their lives and ministries to one another. Ern Baxter, who had ministered with William Branham, was later added to the group and they became known as the “Ft. Lauderdale Five.” They formed Christian Growth Ministries in 1974, and in the movement that they began, the accountability they shared became an emphasis that all believers should submit to a “shepherd” in order to be discipled in the Christian life. Their prominence helped gain wide acceptance for their teaching, which included what was felt to be correctives to the charismatic movement at the time. Other charismatic leaders began submitting to the authority of the Ft. Lauderdale Five in what was known as “covenant relationships.” A network of cell groups was formed, with members submitting to a shepherd who in turn was submitted to one of the five or a representative who was submitted to one of the five. At its height, it was estimated that some 100,000 people were involved in this network in the USA. In conjunction with this pyramidal authority structure, the movement taught that every believer needed to be under a “spiritual covering” from a leader in authority over them. Other doctrines taught by the movements included echoes of Latter Rain theology, such as restorationism.
Full article here:
by Velour/MtnShepherdess ©
Cartoon used with permission. By David Hayward. The Naked Pastor blog. Canada.
Several people who comment on the well-known blog The Wartburg Watch looked at my former church’s (Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley’s) website and they did not like what they read.
Jack on The Wartburg Watch:
“Just went to the website of this church [Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley]. The membership contract is a vague rip from Purpose Driven Life but the bylaws are the meat & potatoes!
In short, this corporation has no members. Members abrogate their rights upon signing the contract.
Just reading the bylaws lights up every warning alarm on the TWW [The Wartburg Watch] checklist of what to look for in an abusive church.http://www.gbfsv.org/by-laws
No doubt new attendees are love bombed before they read the fine print.
You should write this up as a case study of churches to stay away from.
It would be interesting to know how you became involved.”
Statement of Faith
“BTW, I looked over the website of your former church [Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley], their resources page reads as a veritable who’s who of nefarious organizations discussed here. I also note that least half the elders are staff, this inverts the accountability and put way too much power in the hands of the pastor. The preface of their statement of faith gives me the shivers and don’t get me started on their membership covenant.”
Statement of Faith: http://www.gbfsv.org/gbf-statement-of-faith