[House Church Talk] Gene Edwards' Dec. 2002 Letter

peter-collins at lycos.com Thu Feb 26 13:52:28 EST 2004


All,


I am sorry I am not familiar with this entire situation.  When this letter
refers to Frank, which Frank is it?

RC
-----Original Message-----
From: peter-collins at lycos.com

Sent: Thursday, February 26, 2004 12:58 PM
To: House Church Talk
Subject: [house church talk] Gene Edwards' Dec.2002 Letter

-------------------------

Recently, someone emailed x?x., and mentioned that they had heard
of Frank Viola's 'problems.' Frank Viola replied in part by forwarding two letters,
one from Frank Valdez & the other from Gene Edwards. 

More: 

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Dear Saints,

I have been lurking for the last couple months but due to time constraints hadn't posted yet. But I feel it appropriate for me to jump into the recent conversation since I have first hand experience with churches planted by Frank and also experienced Gene's influence. From the age of 18, I spent 25 years 1971-1996 in a Bible based cult....the Alamo Christian (?) Church. The Alamo group was extremely spiritually abusive, authoritarian, manipulative and controlling and after coming out of there, I was helped tremendously by reading Gene's book Letters To A Devastated Christian and Frank's book Who Is Your Covering? In 1999 my husband, sons, and I moved to Brandon (which just happened to be 5 miles from where we grew up and where all our relatives live) to be near family and the church in Brandon that Frank was "planting".

Approximately 50 believers met together in homes in Brandon. To make a very long story short, this past March about 15 of us left this group, including Frank's wife. Throughout the almost 3 years I was a part of the group here, the manipulation and control by Frank increased. It really took me off guard initially because I couldn't understand how someone who wrote and spoke against "spiritual gurus" could act like one. He talked a good talk but it didn't play out in reality. For instance, one example (a year into this) there was a big push to get everyone to move into the same neighborhood. At first, when Frank was asked, he answered, "No, it's not a condition of fellowship". Later it became "expected" by Frank that everyone should move into the neighborhood and shortly thereafter it became "disobedience to God" not to move into the neighborhood. People were told not to ask "why" when people left the group. Frank would "suggest" things and than EXPECTED that everyone agreed, with no dialog.

I could go on and on but maybe you get the idea and don't want to hear all the gory details. This past Feb I asked three of the older brothers to come to my house so that I could share my many concerns with them and I wanted them to go to Frank on my behalf... (they then expressed to me that they shared some of these same concerns). They went to Frank but there was no change. Right afterwards Frank was pressing for us to do something that I thought was very controlling, I balked and said I felt it was manipulative. A special meeting was called because of my saying this. We tried to discuss the issues but instead the whistle blowers were personally attacked. And a few days later Frank shut down the church. Unknown to me until that day was that Frank had also been romantically involved two years earlier with one of his former high school students who had started coming to the meetings and to keep things quiet she had been whisked off to one of Gene's churches. Now if Frank had repented with Godly sorrow I would be the first to forgive him, but this doesn't seem to be the case.

To date.. several respected men in the homechurch realm have confronted Frank (about the manipulation, deception, and his affair) to no avail. He feels that he need only be accountable to Gene and his minions.

In the last couple months many people are wising up in these groups being planted by Gene and his "workers". I have heard personally from the groups in Conroe, Tx Naples, Fl and a group frank was working with in Arizona that people are leaving because of this manipulation and deception.

I want to stress that I am not sharing these things to be mean spirited. I am hearing now that Gene has had a reputation for many years for "gathering unto himself, not unto Christ". I wish I had know that three years ago. I was in a very vulnerable place 3 years ago, and the contrast seemed so great from what I had been a part of for many years. But people need to speak out when they know these things. There is no excuse for spiritual abuse. These guys deceive and twist the scriptures to make people believe they should just suffer quietly. Jesus had plenty to say about the spiritual abusers of His day!!

(name witheld) Brandon, Fl


------- <><><> -------

House Church Talk is sponsored by the House Church Network.

House Church Talk has been renamed. These discussions, via the web, now occur at the Radically Christian Cafe.


house church eldership servanthood lord's day lord's supper world missions