Question: “What is the G12 vision / movement?”
Answer: The G12 vision / movement is a cell-church discipleship strategy pioneered by Cesar Castellanos at International Charismatic Mission of Bogota, Colombia, where he was a pastor. Castellanos believed that God spoke to him in a vision, laying out what He desired the Church do in response to the end times. This vision was the “government of 12” principle, a hierarchal pyramid scheme of discipleship and authority. He proposed that because Israel had 12 tribes, and Christ had 12 disciples, the Church needed to base their structure on this governmental model and become a cell-church.
The G12 model works this way: a pastor trains 12 people to be cell leaders. These cell leaders are each responsible for discipling 12 others in a cell group, usually with a minimum number coming from the community and not from within the church they attend. After a specified time, and after certain strict requirements are met, these cell members then become leaders themselves, and start their own cells. Thus, the membership of the church is multiplied, and the message of the Gospel is taken into the community.
Obviously, there is nothing inherently wrong with this cell model. Churches worldwide are constantly seeking to discover the right balance of model and ministry to be effective in their communities, and this is yet another method they can use. However, the teachings that often accompany this model are what need to be questioned.
Consider Cesar Castellanos himself. Castellanos is part of the charismatic New Apostolic Reformation, which is doctrinally unsound. This movement believes that God has raised up present-day apostles to continue the work of the original apostles of Scripture and that these present-day apostles are in charge of overseeing the work of the Church on earth. They are associated with phrases such as “name it and claim it,” the “Toronto blessing,” “word faith,” “signs and wonders,” and “health and prosperity,” all unbiblical teachings. Castellanos borders on believing that God gives them post-canonical revelation, including the G12 vision.
Leaders of the G12 movement have also made a number of questionable statements, such as, “The model of ministry based on 12 is the most effective means of obeying the Great Commission of Jesus Christ to win disciples and of growing the Church” (from a brochure for a G12 conference being held in India in 2003). Also implied by G12 leaders is that Government of 12 is what God is doing now, and that if you’re not on board with G12 you are opposing God. None of this, however, can be supported by Scripture. Dividing a church into cells of 12 cannot even be supported by Scripture. What we do find in Scripture is that the Church is likened unto a body—many parts make up the whole, each part just as necessary as another (1 Corinthians 12). The Church is led by elders, served by deacons, and filled with believers. How each individual church is to govern and organize itself is left open to interpretation and supposition by Scripture.
The G12 vision / movement simply isn’t found within the pages of the Bible, nor are many teachings its proponents espouse. This is where the true danger lies. As a church-growth model, G12 seems to have worked for many churches, but its association with doctrinally corrupt teachings leave much to be desired for those intent on retaining Scripture, and not man’s teachings, as the sole measure for one’s life (2 Timothy 3:15-16).
Evidence of Nazarene Involvement:
On the NMI Website, they are promoting this movement under the name of Master Plan.
The link is here: http://web.nazarene.org/site/PageServer?pagename=DisSum_Links
And another pages describes the Master Plan program: http://www.newchurchspecialties.org/International_Masters_Plan
You will note that the sponsor is New Church Specialties, an organization under the Nazarene Church which acts a consultant to churches, comes in and figures out what that church needs to do for future successful growth. It seems to be questionable whether they do harm or good, but the service is not free, and there have been accounts of problems with them.
Nazarene And Other Links:
In Argentina, some Nazarene pastors and laypersons are very concerned with the devastating effects of this movement. This is one of their blogs that are trying to help others become aware of this problem (in Spanish): http://nazarenosdeasourdeaux.blogspot.com/
Other links that are helpful to understand this movement:
http://www.g12cult.com/ (a website with links to many resources on the subject)
The G12 Controversy, by Pastor Rafael Maetinez of Spirit Watch Ministries
G12, reviewed by Tricia Tillin, at Into Truth
the following link is my testimony regarding my experience in two G12 churches. http://gotdiscernment.com/2009/11/17/the-truth-about-the-g12-movement.
The Lord bless you, brethren. Like you I am well aware of something very rotten and heretical in the G 12 Movement. Some years ago I saw that. I had attended for 3 Sundays a big church not knowing it had joined the G 12 movement. At that time I had not heard of G 12. The services looked good (at least at first) and the message sounded good enough. But when I asked about meetings during the week they said something about the G 12 plan and that I needed “Inner healing” before I could become an active member. I would have to take a long weekend in some unknown place to receive that—after paying a price! According to them no church outside their particular group was in condition to minister it. No other church??? AT THAT MOMENT I began to smell a rat!
Firstly, our Lord said: “Freely you have received; freely give”. Then, true inner healing God gives that to us by grace. “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.” (PSA 147 v 3). No money is mentioned there! Why do ALL candidates to become new active members in their church need to spend time and money to get “inner healing” anyway? What about a faithful brother full of the Spirit and wisdom already soundly healed internally who asks to join?
Then something else clearly wrong was their doctrine on “the 4 generations curse”. It is definitely wrong according to EXOD 20. When God gave the Ten Commandments He mentioned “…visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me” (EX 20 v 5 – 6). The curse applies to the unconverted, NOT those who love and follow the Lord. The Prophet EZEKIEL says the same in EZEK 18 v 19 – 20. On the Cross Christ took away all the curses. (COL 2 v 12 – 14).
Then the insistence on the number 12 is totally ridiculous. The 12 Apostles did NOT try to disciple 12 each. None of them prepared 12 new apostles. The few other apostles in the New Testamant such as Paul and James the Lord”s brother came on an individual basis. With 3000 new brethren in ACTS 2 the 12 had many more to take care of. The Apostle Paul and his missionary companions had numbers to disciple that varied a lot with the circumstances. This must be true of any brother who is serving the Lord and pastoring others. The numbers keep changing!
Another thing that should be obvious is the G 12″s abuse of finances. I heard them say that God wants all His people to be richly blessed. Including (without fail!) enjoying abundance of material wealth. How can dear brethren believe that when it is patently clear in the Scriptures that is a big lie??? One of the first lessons I got after my conversion to Christ in 1970 while a student is that God promises to care for our needs, but not for our greeds! James says that God has chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which He has promised to them that love Him.
But in one of the 3 Sunday meetings I attended there they were putting pressure on the people to give; that meant plenty of spoil for the big leaders. And they mentioned a “prophesy” in which (supposedly) God promised a big revival in Argentina in which all His faithful people will be richly blessed including material abundance. No poor brethren, not even one! Did not our Lord say that always there will poor among His people??? Moses said the same in DEUT 15. I saw those church leaders pressuring people to give, and at the same time they failed to come anywhere near to practise the original instructions Moses was inspired to give concerning tithes and first-fruits. In several places in Deuteronomy we read that those special offerings were meant for 4 groups : the full-time workers (the priests and Levites then); the foreign immigrant; the widow, and the orphan.
I have lived and served the Lord in Argentina as a lay preacher since 1984. There are some new brethren—praise the Lord!!! But it is painful to see some dear friends leaving a sound church of good testimony and swallowing the bait—hook, line and sinker. Some have left badly hurt. Some unconverted family members of those G 12 church-goers have been really appalled at the whole thing. A dear brother in the Lord, a local pastor of excellent testimony, said he was at one of the weekend ” inner healing” gatherings and saw things far from from Christian there. He left and was highly relieved.
In one house meeting I came across by chance
There is much more I would like to say. But time is running short and I will stop here.
Tomorrow DV I will read more of your articals on the internet. The Lord bless you!!!
Your brother Tony Bowden-Smith.
P.S. Any correspondence from you will be most welcome!
Thanks for your testimony, brother. I will contact you soon.
God bless you,
I went to a g12 meeting and wasn’t at all impressed it was all emotions jumping and screaming. I got up and walked out immediately
I have been reading some of the comments about the G 12. With some brethren convinced it is a true movement blessed of God; others saying it is highly heretical, and others expressing a big range of viewpoints in between I need great care and wisdom from above in writing what will be helpful and edifying. Christ tells us in the Holy Word to be gentle as doves and wary as serpents at the same time. The Word of God endures the SAME for ever. With all the New Testament teachings just as originally written “Pentecostalism” is correct to say the spiritual gifts mentioned as in use in New Testament times ARE here now. To deny so will mean DENYING PARTS OF THE WORD OF GOD. It will mean CHANGING the text: “The Word of the Lord lives for ever” into “MOST of the Word of God lives for ever”. It means changing texts such as 1 PET 1 v 25 and 1 COR 14 v 1 and a number of others. Many brethren from older denominations did learn from their pentecostal brethren that their lack of fruit. had been from a false sense that “being a born-again Christian” one is AUTOMATICALLY in condition for much fruit. That is NOT SO! And the many cases of barrenness bear witness. Brethren we need a good dose of BROKEN-NESS, and of SEEKING THE LORD IN EARNESTNESS.. Let nobody dismiss “Pentecostalism” as weird.. The founders of early pentecostal churches and faithful ones today are sharing the SAME Gospel message as other brethren are today. As In the past. Among them I recognise gladly as faithful and much-loved brethren as great friends and prayer partners who I have known here (and still know) here in Argentina and in my original country the UK.and elsewhere. I am a member in another denomination but as a lay evangelist working among different denominations I often am present in a local pentecostal church. Why not—what is the problem????? We can pray together and learn from each other, Now as in the past we are facing the problem of fakes; wolves in sheeps clothing. In other cases we have genuine brethren who have joined places where they should not, but did not know at the time. They got deceived. Then we have some real brethren in their zeal to protect the flock who have over-reacted. Having seen some clear cases of deceivers at work they have mistakenly taken some others as “deceivers” as well. Some have a big list of “frauds” while some on the list are NOT truly deceivers! Let us be REALLY SURE before we accuse anyone in public! There ARE MANY frauds, yes, and mire are coming. But we need more discernment, and prayer and compassion in the Holy Spirit. AND MORE USE OF THE GIFTS THAT SOME WANT TO DENY!!! As for G 12 I have seen it cannot be right. Abuse of finances by leaders; the insistence that the founder (according to his story and vision) was given the revelation that it was the method “lost” after the early church left but was “revealed” to him. What about all the revivals since then??? Besides many writers before him gave clear instructions on church growth. Read the Puritans; read articles by Spurgeon, Charles Finney, Edward Bounds, and the history of John Wycliffe, or the Methodists. Billy Graham gave clear guidelines, also Tozer not long ago. Also some well-known missionary leaders. Also in G 12 leaders insist that their method is the ONLY ONE . A real lack of humility that sounds to me! Let nobody confuse it with orthodox Christianity! I recognise that some true brethren are in the movement. OK. Perhaps some places they are not following the G 12 rules so strictly. What I DO say is: DEAR BRETHREN EXAMINE ALL WITH THE WORD OF GOD The key to growth is a real outpouring of the Holy Spirit and walking closely in the light. PRAY MUCH. THE LORD BLESS YOU.
Thank you for exposing this movement, the G12 movement has invaded South Africa, and the leaders in the movement are very powerful, deceiving, arrogant, unstoppable and followed by a lot people, I have also become part of movement and I am now free Praise God but a lot of people are caught up in this movement and its growing fast how do we help.
Thank you for sharing the good news that the Lord has set you free from that movement. Let me begin by saying that the G 12 movement leaders, for all their skill and apparent show of energy, are NOT UNSTOPPABLE. We are in real spiritual war with the enemy, not war of flesh and blood.. Key verses I have here are EPH 6 v 10 – 19 ; 2 COR 10 v 3 – 5 ; JUDE v 17 – 23 ; you can add others.. We have the true Gospel of the grace of God in Christ, the Everlasting Gospel that will never change. Our job is to go to the needy people full of the Spirit and proclaim Christ..With much compassion and in tears if necessary. We are to demonstrate that He really makes a big difference in our lives and that we are not making treasures on Earth. It is painfully obvious that the G 12 leaders and others into the false “material prosperity” way of thinking are living so unlike the life our Lord lived on Earth. And the Apostle John says we are to walk the way HE WALKED. Believe me, a life truly unlike the materialistic rat race, unlike the greedy and boastful G 12 LEADERSHIP can enjoy GOD”S ABUNDANT SUPPORT AND BLESSING. God resists the proud, but gives grace to the lowly. Let us humbly trust God, wait on Him, seek His face, cry out to Him for the lost around us and for the many brethren in need. As you walk by faith and honour God, God will honour you, and many people will see you have CREDIBILITY, which the G 12 do NOT HAVE! Where I live in Argentina 2 excellent friends have done a great job exposing the heresy in G 12. And their ministries continue to be blessed of the Lord. One is a pastor who saw a big growth in his original church in a poor neighbourhood in Buenos Aires in a shanty town area. As the church grew and grew several new ones were formed which also grew well. He and one of the pastors went on to be national overseers of Evangelical fellowships of churches.. Today he and the other pastor are still active, in 2 areas in Buenos Aires. He ministered the Word for a time in the USA. The other friend opened a mission for the persecuted brethren. It works with other Gospel missions and churches and we get plenty of fuel for prayer. I will add some prayer for your country South Africa. It so happens that the oldest son of a Christian cousin lives in Johannesburg. I hear he is a brother in Christ who needs to be restored. Among his brothers who used to live there, one, a dedicated Christian, met his wife—she is from the black community in SOWETO. They are now a zealous missionary couple serving the Lord in London. In conclusion may I recommend you find a small united prayer group fast and pray and you will see how the Spirit of God will send you out to minister to those in need. The place is dark but the light in you will shine more brightly. The Lord bless you. ISA 54 v 17
I was coming back to comment, but I think your thoughts said it all, Tony. Thanks very much for sharing this with Xolani and others who have been affected by this unbiblical movement. Jesus is Lord, and there is nothing better to fight these things than through consistent prayer with likeminded believers. Thank you for sharing the encouraging examples as well.
If you have a private way for me to write you I have some additional information for you. Look into Extreme Nazarene Missions out of Boise, Idaho partnering with the Cali , Colombia “Casa de Oracion.”
Yes of course. My email is email@example.com