G12 - CULT, ABERRANT CHRISTIAN GROUP, OR BOTH
A Warning About G12 Churches, Encounter Weekends and Spiritual Abuse
Written and Compiled By Chris Lawson
(Updated February 6, 2016)
Misión Carismática Internacional (G12)
César Castellanos Domínguez, Claudia Castellanos
(Alternate/Informal Names: government of 12, International Charismatic Mission,
ladder of success, Encounters, Encuentros, Soulfire Revolution)
G-12 is a "cultic discipleship course which is supposed to make every
believer a leader (modeled supposedly after the apostles).
- The G-12 Cult, Mike Oppenheimer (Let Us Reason) Exposing Cults and Spiritual Deception
"Every person that has called our ministry with concerns about G12 has either called to complain about it,
enquire about the abuses that are occurring in it,
or ask how to get their loved one out of it"
Distinctive Beliefs and Practices: Castellanos went to South Korea in the 1980s to learn how
to adapt the Korean cell-church model of David Yonggi Cho. G12 is based on a strict disciplinarian model
where individual members are accountable to their cell leaders and ultimately to the larger church and its pastors.
It is charismatic and involves control principles sometimes known elsewhere as "shepherding."
Controversies: The high-pressure methods of G12 recruitment/discipleship programs,
as well as the need to drastically restructure church priorities to accommodate the G12 system,
have caused turmoil and division across Latin America and elsewhere.
The secretive, manipulative weekend Encounters have been especially controversial,
with allegations of undue psychological pressure and spiritual abuse.
The G-12 movement has been defined as a full blown abusive "cult" as well as an "aberrant" Christian movement, depending on how one looks at the theological and social structure of the movement. The methodology that is utilized upon many current and former members speaks for itself and varies from church to church and how balanced or imbalanced church leaders are. Many people have left the movement because they have been severely abused under what is known as "heavy shepherding," in other words, they have been "spiritually abused."
SRN has listed numerous articles here from various research ministries. These articles are expressive of what one often times finds in G-12 churches and what are known as "Encounter Weekends." Please note that some of the articles listed on this SRN page are written by ministries that SRN does not necessarily endorse and are not listed on our SRN links page. Please use caution as you read. We also recommend that you first read our Missions Statement, History and our What SRN Is Not! and SRN Helpful Links pages in order to get a better idea of where SRN is coming from on this topic. We are not out to personally attack individuals or slander people, but rather, to warn about many of the dangers associated with the G12 moivement and many of its churches and leaders.
LOCAL EXAMPLE OF A G-12 CHURCH - MERCY CHURCH SAN LUIS OBISPO, CALIFORNIA - A G12 CHURCH
This SRN web page has been created in order to address widespread concerns about the G12 movement. There has also been a growing need to address the abusive G12 leadership issues on a local level, here on the Central Coast of California. The same was true on the local level when we lived in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Please note that our goal here is not to personally attack people. We are addressing this issue because there is a continuing exodus of people into and then out of the G12 Mercy Church in San Luis Obispo.
The new 2015 Mercy Church website is found at these following links:
MercyChurch.com - Home - http://mercychurch.com/
MercyChurch.com - About (Mission/Vision/Beliefs) - http://mercychurch.com/about/
MercyChurch.com - Mercy Discipleship Process - http://mercychurch.com/discipleship/
MercyChurch.com - Giving - https://mercychurch.com/giving/
MercyChurch.com - Connect (Let's Be Friends) - http://mercychurch.com/connect/
People who have left Mercy Church SLO have expressed the dire situation that is going on there and parents of students have also expressed theirs concerns. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Cuesta College are nearby.
The local G12 congregation in San Luis Obispo is called Mercy Church SLO and the leaders are Pastor Terry and Denise Page. They meet at 710 Aerovista Place, SLO, CA 93401 and they reach out to a large student population.
Former members have expressed great concern about the High School and Jr. High School children attending the Revolution Services as these young people are impressionable and susceptible to the unhealthy leadership dynamics (a pyramid with pastor at the top).
Note: the link to the "Revolution Services" has been removed from the Mercy Church SLO website:
Current Mercy Church services are at the San Luis Obispo Campus (link broken), the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Campus (GLO Service) (link broken) and in Santa Maria at the Santa Maria High School Campus (link broken). Mercy Church San Luis Obispo church service locations can be viewed here also (link broken).
NOTE ABOUT 2015 LINK CHANGES: Former Mercy Church links (before March 17th 2015) can be found in the WayBackMachine. However, there are current "redirects" to new Mercy Church pages.
You can see screenshots of these former pages is you cut-and-paste these links into the WayBackMachine. Find the date in the calendar results, then click on the date, and then click on the BLUE "snapshot" time for each page. Wait for the page to load and then you will see the original linked pages.
"Current Mercy Church services are at the San Luis Obispo Campus [ http://mercychurch.com/services/sanluisobispo/ ], the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Campus (GLO Service) [ http://mercychurch.com/services/glo-college-services/ ] and in Santa Maria at the Santa Maria High School Campus [ http://mercychurch.com/services/santa-maria/ ]. Mercy Church San Luis Obispo church service locations can be viewed here also [ http://mercychurch.com/locations/ ]."
Former members are also warning others and expressing their valid concerns about the continued influx of young college age adults who are being drawn into the Mercy Church SLO - Cal Poly Mercy Church GLO Service. Their concerns are legitimate as a number of them have seen first hand the sociological group dynamics of "breaking down and building up" that occur in the weekend Encounter retreats.
NOTE ABOUT 2015 LINK CHANGES: Former Mercy Church links (before March 17th 2015) can be found in the WayBackMachine.
"Their concerns are legitimate as a number of them have seen first hand the sociological group dynamics of "breaking down and building up" that occur in the weekend Encounter retreats [ http://mercychurch.com/about-us/encounter-weekend/ ]".
The first older link for the Mercy Church SLO - Cal Poly Mercy Church GLO Service was located here at http://mercychurch.com/main/services/weekendservices/newgenerations.html .
The second older link for the Cal Poly SLO Mercy Church GLO Service, which takes place on the Cal Poly college campus was found here at http://mercychurch.com/services/glo-college-services/ .
The following statement can now be found on the Mercy Church Facebook post, dated Januray 4, 2015:
Source 1: https://www.facebook.com/mercychurchca/photos/a.160079150677821.32857.111152815570455/931807456838316/?type=1&theater
Source 2: https://www.facebook.com/mercychurchca/photos/a.160079150677821.32857.111152815570455/931807456838316/?type=1&permPage=1
ARE YOU AWARE OF WHAT CAN HAPPEN WITH "GROUP DYNAMICS" AT "WEEKEND ENCOUNTERS"?
The following articles written by the authors at the Psychoheresy Awareness ministry should prove beneficial to all who want to avoid manipulated spiritual experiences such as occur often times in Mercy Church and other G12 church type settings:
ARTICLES ON DANGEROUS GROUP DYNAMICS
G12 MLM PYRAMID-STYLE LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE - A RECIPE FOR DISASTER
There is no excuse for manipulative tactics and "heavy shepherding" in Christian churches. The root and problem in all these things stems back to an imbalanced pyramid-style leadership structure, which is characteristic amongst the G12 movement. For those concerned about the G12 problems, both locally and internationally, know that your concerns are shared by numerous others who have left G12 churches, and are on the mend.
ARTICLES ON THE PROBLEMATIC TEACHINGS AND CULTIC METHODOLOGY OF THE G-12 MOVEMENT
What is the G12 vision / movement? (Question: "What is the G12 vision / movement?") By Got Questions.org
A Look at G12 Updated Article By Reachout Trust G12 Visionary - César Castellanos Domínguez ---->>
G12 Experiences: G12 Has Not Been A Help To Me By Reachout Trust
Glancing at the G12 Movement By Steven Mitchell (Power To Stand; posted at Let Us Reason Ministries)
G12 Cult - A resource guide to learn more about the G12 religious movement
G12 The Government of 12 By Mike Oppenheimer (Let Us Reason Ministries)
G12 Portugal By Reachout Trust ("This is an English translation of the Official position of the Assemblies of God Convention in Portugal." The original link in Portuguese is now broken. Original link accessed by Reachout Trust on 4 July 2005).
G12 Vision - Wikipedia
The G12 Discipline Movement Explained, Part One, Two, Three and Four
OTHER HELPFUL ARTICLES ABOUT CULTS, CULTIC METHODOLOGY AND SPIRITUAL ABUSE
Shepherding Movement - Wikipedia
Churches That Abuse (Online Text with Chapter headings, 228 pages.)
Cults In Our Midst (SRN does not agree with everything in Singers books, however, this article certainly applies to abusive churches).
Lava Pits to Avoid in Hawaii By Mike Oppenheimer (See first two paragraphs)
ARTICLES ON DANGEROUS GROUP DYNAMICS - WHICH EASILY APPLY TO G12 WEEKEND ENCOUNTER GROUPS
Manipulating Christian Through Group Dynamics: Part 1 By Psychoheresy Awareness
Manipulating Christian Through Group Dynamics: Part 2 By Psychoheresy Awareness