Thursday, May 22, 2003

Marty and Cathy Wooten of the LA COC have posted an open letter concerning the events of their wrongful termination from the fulltime ministry. This letter reveals much about the inner workings of the upper leadership. Read background on the letter first. 'Catherine' is the Wootens' daughter.


I was fired last Sept. for my alleged unspiritual behavior, which meant I opposed the "group" hypocrisy, dishonesty, abuse, and favortism I saw in the leadership here. Several leaders had been involved in the "shaming" of a teen who was desperately trying to deal with having been physically attacked and fell into drugs for a few months to deal with post-traumatic emotions she did not know how to deal with. When she did get open, the information was not kept confidential which left her too ashamed to come to church and they called her a fallaway. I opposed how she was treated strongly and later found out that one of the leaders/elder who participated in her shaming had recently been involved in more serious drug abuse and sexual addiction, lied about it, and yet was not dealt with. When I stood my ground, I was fired for my anger and lack of humility. At least I can sleep at night.

Marty "Marty Wooten: Issues of Contribution"

The Letter:

From: Marty & Cathy Wooten
To: Brothers and sisters in Christ, especially to the membership of the Central Region of the Los Angeles International Church and the Northern Federation World Sector
Subject: The Termination of Marty and Cathy Wooten

A series of events began to unfold in the Northern Federation World Sector which culminated in what I consider our wrongful and unscriptural termination in September 2002. I have tried to the best of my ability to follow Matthew 18:15-17 to resolve this matter since May 2002.

Matthew 18:15 states, “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you.” Jesus directs the person sinned against to take the initiative in resolving the offense. As his final effort (third step) to resolve the offense, this individual is to “tell it to the church.” (Matthew 18:17) Since my wrongful and unscriptural termination has not been resolved after following the first two steps of this passage, I have decided to “tell it to the church”.

I reviewed how such issues were communicated and dealt with in the first century in order to determine how best to proceed. Paul’s letters to the Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and 1 and 2 Thessalonians were all directed to the individual members of the church, to those in Christ, called saints. The only mention of leaders in Paul’s salutations is found in Philippians 1:1, “To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons”. Clearly, the pattern established in the first century by Paul and the other inspired writers, was to communicate church issues directly to the membership for their consideration and not necessarily through a leadership structure first, and then to the individual member. Paul believed that Christians have the ability to discern the truth in settling disputes. He wrote in 1Cor 6:4, “Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church. I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers?” It is my hope that the church can help us resolve this matter. The balance of this letter provides the details of our termination for your evaluation and consideration.

Reese Neyland and I were appointed WS elders for the Northern Federation World Sector in August 2001. In March 2002, Reese and I drafted and sent out an email to other WS elders and teachers voicing our concerns and to solicit input about the failure of the WSLs to disciple one another and how they seemed reluctant to relinquish control in the decision-making process at the top (see attachment 1). This email upset Marty Fuqua and resulted in his angry outburst. Reese Neyland, Marty Fuqua, and I met in our living room to talk through this conflict. Cathy and I mistakenly thought the matter was resolved.

As an elder, I also attempted to address various dynamics in the Northern Federation discipleship group that I felt were wrong and hurtful. Some of those issues involved the type of leadership dynamic that existed in our fellowship around the world and how I believed the Fuquas had been trained to lead. In my opinion, how the Fuquas viewed people, talked about them, and treated them were serious issues. Also, the Fuquas had a habit of not talking to people face to face about their true feelings, avoiding conflict, then gossiping about them. Cathy and I discussed these things with the Fuquas several times. Reese Neyland and Gregg Marutzky told me on several occasions how afraid they were of Marty Fuqua. They said it was difficult for them to be open with Marty Fuqua because of the threat of losing their jobs. I had personally witnessed how Marty Fuqua dealt with leaders with whom he had trust issues and understood that job loss was a real possibility. I had often felt the same thing. For example, because of fear, I agreed to a meeting I did not feel good about.

In April 1999, soon after Catherine became a Christian, she confessed sin to her discipler. Catherine agreed to speak to Chris Fuqua, but before she was able to get with Chris, Mary Kay Neyland initiated a talk with Catherine about her sin. Chris Fuqua and Catherine’s discipler got with Catherine the following day to discuss her sin again. After these talks had already taken place, Marty Fuqua called me and insisted that Catherine meet with him. Cathy and I expressed our reservations about such a meeting, but were given no choice and reluctantly “consented” to the meeting. During the meeting, Marty Fuqua asked Catherine very specific and inappropriate questions about her body. He made other very inappropriate statements to Catherine to “sober” her about her sin. Marty Fuqua shamed and frightened a fourteen-year-old girl. Catherine felt humiliated. Cathy and I deeply regret that we “allowed” this to happen to Catherine. Foolishly, we had no idea how this affected Catherine until three years later.

Click here for remainder of the letter. "Wooten Letter"

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home