Via Candy Guilherme
I am Candy the ex-wife to pastor Greg and a mother of five boys.
ARC was my church for 20 years.
In ARC church, everyone called me ‘mum’. I loved the title because I earned it. My shoulder was always wet with tears from those who hurt. I gave my all to love, understand, encourage, and lift those in need.
A QUICK BACKGROUND OF ARC CHURCH
The Association of Related Churches (ARC) church is based in the United States with branches across the world. It started in the year 2000 and is expanding more and more.
ARC’s planting organization is popular. The planting organization ensures leadership and financial resources are provided by the mother church to a new branch called a ‘plant’. This ensures that no ARC church begins small. However, the financial support is not a kitty but a loan to be paid.
MY FULL COMMITMENT TO THE CHURCH
I was not just a submissive wife to Greg; I was a devout member of his church. Most of my days were spent in church and visiting brethren. I was fully committed to serve my church, more than I was, to my family.
ARC doctrines are based on the scripture:
- The Holy Trinity is acknowledged – God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
- Jesus Christ was born in a sinless state by a virgin.
- The only way for repentance is through Jesus’ precious blood.
- The Holy Spirit sanctifies and enables us to live a Holy life.
HOW I JOINED THE ARC CHURCH
I loved the way Greg carried himself in college. He was quite different from us.
He’d carry a bible to school! This was astonishing—we thought he was weird. Who wouldn’t want to attend the free movie night, to watch the latest series?
Greg would instead find this precious time to sit alone studying his Bible for a whole five hours.
‘Your parents force you to do so, right?’ I was so convinced that it was beyond his will.
‘Why should they? I’m past sixteen.’ Greg’s voice was that of damsel soothing her pet; too meek for life, I thought.
‘I bet you are just under some unreasonable pressure; hope you recover soon.’ I did not appreciate the way he carried himself so holy, making the rest of us seem like we didn’t know God.
Greg was selected to be my project partner, I hated it. For the next three months, I would spend five to six hours with him.
But it wasn’t as boring as I thought it would. I learned how devout Greg was; how intently he studied scriptures, how close his relationship with Jesus was. I loved his honesty; following Jesus’ example.
He spent his life trying to attain the perfection of God through grace. As Mathew 5:48 tells us to be perfect. With time I was convinced and later joined his church.
My relationship with Greg changed from a classmate to a church-mate to a fiance.
After college we got married. Events unfolded too fast and Greg became the church pastor.
DEEP INSIDE, DEEP INSIGHT
With time, I saw changes that were intriguing and not aligning with what I had learned about Jesus. This was not what I had always thought of my church.
Things were different and with time, I got more distracted. We had no more prayerful mornings and bible study sessions with my family. Holiness was no longer our goal in life.
- I found it very controversial when I realized that, the ARC church didn’t help its plant churches. Rather, they gave loans, to be paid with some interest. The amount was to be deducted from offerings and tithes. This is against the Bible teachings. The art of selfless giving is widely taught in the Holy Scriptures.
- Precious love of Jesus, His willingness to forgive, cleanse sinners, and His grace abundantly showered to all should be the base of preaching. In ARC it wasn’t. The fellowship of believers and constant prayers, just like the disciples, was missing in the ARC church. It seems like no one cared about the rapture anymore.
- Greg being a pastor, his core role was to help as many souls as possible get saved, just as the disciples in Acts 6:4. But it wasn’t. I thought his position would bring us closer to God. I hoped for more night prayers, more time dedicated to studying the Scripture and closer and stronger relationship with Jesus Christ. This was not the case. Instead, he had meetings after meetings with other pastors. His spiritual life went down.
- Our family alter grew weak day by day, it hurt. Morning devotions and studying the scriptures were no more.
- The holiness we eagerly pursued there before, spirituality, state of flawlessness and innocence were not core value in ARC. This came to me as a big disappointment. Several pastors had been accused of sexual scandals, and to add salt onto the wound, their sin was covered up. This tore my heart. I had always wanted to be part of Christ’s body, Holy and striving towards perfection.
I found the state of the church to be just as 2 Peter 2:1 states; false prophets will be among us bringing destructive heresies rather than God’s word.
I felt like a traitor of the truth. I was no longer comfortable with pretense. I just had to follow the scriptural truth. The battle within myself was tough. I was ready to sacrifice everything including my family, to pursue righteousness.
It took me one year to decide. At this time, I searched the scriptures and prayed more. I got a clear view of what God wanted for me. Surely God gave me the strength to quit.
I left my family. I did it with no regrets, but I’m praying and I know Greg will soon find his way out of the deceptive life.
I’m hopeful for my family reunion and a closer relationship with God.