Monday, May 28, 2012

Additional Former Church Member Has Been Sued!

I'll get to the subject of the former church member sued in just a moment, but want to make sure this point is told:  I believe that suing former church members is just an extension of the spiritual abuse.  How can that be?  Let me explain.

This is old news - the no-talk rule in spiritually abusive environment.  We are going to discuss it once again.  Please read this definition to make sure you understand the powerful effect it has on continuing the cycle of spiritual abuse.  This is so important.  Breaking this particular rule will often be the first step in getting out of the trap of spiritual abuse: 

No-talk rule
In abusive spiritual systems, people's lives are controlled from the outside in by rules, spoken and unspoken. Unspoken rules are those that govern unhealthy churches or families but are not said out loud. Because they are not said out loud, you don't find out that they're there until you break them.
The most powerful of all unspoken rules in the abusive system is what we have already termed the "can't talk" rule. The "can't talk" [rule] has this thinking behind it: "The real problem cannot be exposed because then it would have to be dealt with and things would have to change; so it must be protected behind walls of silence (neglect) or by assault (legalistic attack). If you speak about the problem, you are the problem. (The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse By David Johnson and Jeff Vanvonderen (Bethany House, 1991, 2005))

One of the most common characteristics of someone who is a spiritual abuser is they try to control their congregants and even former congregants.  Sometimes they try to control aspects of their personal life - as in what they can and cannot say.  In the church, if you talk about the problem, you are told that you are not obeying the authority God has placed before you, or you need to check the sin in your own heart, that you are being divisive, gossiping, etc.

When you voice the problem outside the church after leaving, you may be told that you are a Jezebel, have the sin of Korah, you are waging war with God and His church, slanderers, divisive, etc.   We, former congregants, have become the big "problem" in the no-talk rule.

For those new to this blog, my former pastor did not like me posting negative Google reviews about my experiences and had them removed.   This is an example of the no-talk rule.  I got tired of my reviews being removed and began this blog.  Within a few days of beginning this blog, I received my subpoena.  He did not want me to have this blog and to post my story because he knew it meant that the "problem" was going to be discussed.  In an unhealthy church, outside appearances are paramount and it ruins that perfect image by saying there are problems.  He was unable to get my blog removed as he had done with Google reviews.   Instead, he resorted to civil/legal measures to continue that spiritual abuse (no-talk rule) and used the lawsuit in order to force me and others into not talking.   

The original lawsuit included four defendants:  a mother and adult son, my adult daughter (Hannah), and me.  The adult son was recently dropped from the lawsuit before our May 21 court date, so that left 3 defendants remaining.  We had heard that they were going to subpoena another former church, Meaghan,  and received documents to that effect, but nothing happened, even though her name was written on court documents.

While normal people were enjoying this Memorial Weekend, Meaghan was finally served and got the formal notification that her former pastor was in fact taking her to court for saying her mind and for standing up against someone who seems to be trying to keep people from talking.

Meaghan was the first former congregant to leave her real name on a comment on this blog.  He apparently didn't like Meaghan commenting and soon after that first comment, my attorney was notified that Meaghan would be subpoenaed.  Doesn't it make sense that by suing the first person who left her name, he is sending the very strong message that if you dare to post on Julie Anne's blog, you, too, could be sued?  Are you getting the pattern?


How the No-Talk Rule was Enforced by the Pastor
 
I posted negative Google reviews ----->   pastor removed them
I began blog ------>   pastor sued me
Meaghan leaves comment on my blog  ------>   pastor sued Meaghan
I blogged -------> pastor amended lawsuit & added add'l "defamatory" phrases


I remember the first time I saw Meaghan's comment with her name.  My heart skipped a beat as I realized what a strong woman she was,  willing to stand strong in what she believes to be the truth.  Meaghan, I know there are so many who are reading this who are applauding you and your bold stance.

Note to my blog readers:  you've seen the pattern.  If you leave your name on a comment in my blog, you very well could be sued.  If you leave a negative review on a review site, you could be sued.  I want you to be free to voice your comments and I am absolutely fine with people using pseudonyms in comments - make up a name - no need to add an URL.  There is no way for me to track ISPs or personal information from people who leave comments here.  I don't want that fear to control you and keep you from talking if you want to share something here.
This method of bullying people into not talking by using lawsuits to keep quiet will only go so far.  There are over 970 reviews on the Google site now, approximately 940 are negative.   It costs $505 for the court filing fee. There are also most likely attorney fees.

Soon the congregants will most likely tire of seeing their church's name and pastor in the limelight for doing something they and most Christians know is forbidden in scripture.  Maybe it will eventually sink in that the church leaders they have respected for years (John MacArthur, Phil Johnson) absolutely disagree with lawsuits against Christians and they may not want to align themselves with a pastor who seems to be doing his own thing by disregarding the wisdom of so many.  


Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life? If then you have judgments concerning things pertaining to this life, do you appoint those who are least esteemed by the church to judge? I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren? But brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers!


Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated? No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren! Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals,[a] nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.   1 Corinthians 6:1-11


A number of pastors have privately e-mailed me and told me they have sent Chuck e-mails encouraging him to withdraw the lawsuit.  It appears he continues to disagree with their wise scriptural counsel, in lieu of protecting image/reputation.    This is a principle that is completely against scripture.  God is not so concerned about personal reputation and image, but the heart.

My former pastor doesn't know me too well.   He may have thought that I would back down in fear after being subpoenaed.  Chuck, I know you read this blog.  I saw the pile of papers in front of you as you sat next to me during the court hearing.  (How could I miss my son's large drawing from the blog page you printed out? )   I do not fear men, I fear God.  I will continue to tell my story.  Now, more than ever, I am compelled to stand up - not only for those who were bullied at my former church, but for all spiritual abuse victims who have contacted me in the comment section and via private e-mail - some who are living in fear, afraid to step one foot in church because of the similar spiritual bullies they have encountered.

This is much bigger than BGBC.  It's about all of those who use their spiritual authority to bully others.  Thanks, Chuck, for suing me so that I have a platform to speak out against this atrocity in churches.  If you keep suing others,  it will be clear to all Christians and atheists alike what is going on.  Those who spiritually bully people do NOT represent Christ.

Do you see John MacArthur suing because of this?  or this?  or this?  (and there are lots more)  I think not. 

There is righteous anger burning inside of me.  These precious souls should not be living in fear, afraid of pastors, unable to trust even decent and true Shepherds.   They need to be able to be free from that fear, to be able to be in a place with love and grace and truth.  

Meaghan - the world is watching as our former pastor sues 4 women:  3 moms and 1 young lady.   I love you, friend, and we stand together.  God is in control. 



139 comments:

  1. I appreciate what my friend Dave says: "If something happened to me and I choose to share about it, it's not gossip ..."

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    1. So true! Sharing your experience is not gossip.

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  2. Great article, Julie Anne. Meaghan indeed sounds like someone who, like yourself, is very strong and brave in standing up to the pastor and his elders who want to shut you down. You make a great point by hyperlinking to those two MacArthur websites.

    Chuck seems like a very, very small man. The truth will prevail.

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  3. I made a decision to leave the "institutional church" over a year ago (for a number of reasons), and have no regrets. Reading about your lawsuit and spiritual abuse experiences, simply reinforces my decision so that I have no desire to belong to a church ever again. Honestly, who needs all that drama??? Given this blog (and others like it) as well as my own spiritual abuse experiences, I have concluded that "church" is a stressful activity that I can certainly do without! :)

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    1. This is the saddest part of the story for me = one person creates such a problem that it turns people away from church entirely. Please do not let people like this rob you of the joy of a beautiful Body of Christ. My last church after BGBC was wonderful - shepherds who really tended the sheep and people (yes, unperfect) who truly cared and were like a loving family.

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    2. People walking away from institutional religion is not sad, Julie. Notice that the writer said he or she had NO REGRETS? That institution is not the body of Christ. We are His body. Those of us whom He has redeemed by His blood. Those of us whom God has called out, you could not pay us a salary to go back. We love our Lord, and when He is not welcome in the churches, we don't want to be there either.

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    3. What I am talking about is throwing out the baby with the bath water. Church doesn't always have to be in a designated building in the traditional sense - it can be in homes, etc (actually home churches might be more traditional than the churches of today). Believers meeting together = yea!

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    4. I also don't attend "church" anymore.
      It's not really church it's just a bunch of narcissistic people getting together, 2 Tim 3 Men will be lovers of themselves...

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    5. I am another who has kicked the dust off my feet and left. Will I ever return? Don't know. Church shopping is a major chore, especially when what you see isn't what you get anymore. It just isn't worth getting attached to new friends only to find they are committed to man's religion and will shun you if you cross one of the unspoken rules. I'm in the Portland area. Would you be willing to share the the names of any churches that can be trusted, are wholly committed to Jesus, and still share Christ's love ( I mean the real thing, not just lip service), even if you won't sign a membership contract form the get-go?
      There are many of us - pastors call us loners and say you can't be a Christian if you aren't part of a local congregation. But we are still members of the true church and seem to meet more and more like ourselves out there beyond the walls of the institutional "church".

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    6. "pastors call us loners and say you can't be a Christian if you aren't part of a local congregation"

      That's because they are arrogant and controling.Not to mention, they are God's right hand man. Their attitude is that if you can't find a place to "worship," then it's you that has the problem. Not them or the people in the congregation. I call this scapegoating.

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    7. As I stated in the first comment on this particular thread, I have NO REGRETS for leaving the institutional church. My family and I have not left God, we have simply stopped doing "church" in the traditional sense. After 40-something years of "wandering in the desert" of institutional churches and putting up with spiritual abuse, toxic faith, and juvenile behavior.....I am DONE!

      Besides, there is no biblical mandate for belonging to, or attending a church on a regular basis - just not to forsake the assembling together of ourselves, whether it is once or twice a month or year at Christmas and/or Easter....or on the internet; the bible is not specific about "church" attendance! The human need that we have, is to belong to a group (or groups) of individuals who have a common interest and purpose, because we are social and relational. But, it doesn't have to be a "church" per se, since we as Christians, ARE the church and belong to the body of Christ.

      I have all kinds of opportunities to fellowship with other Christians, share my faith and minister to others -- including people at my work place as well as internet discussion groups. And, because I was raised in a "church" denomination that was deemed as a cult in 1995 (which I exited in '97), the Lord has used me to reach out to others within my former cult, to help them heal and move toward a place of healthy spirituality. One of the best books I ever read, was: "When God Becomes a Drug: Breaking the Chains of Religious Addition and Abuse" by Father Leo Booth.

      Also, here is a website I've been following lately: http://www.squidoo.com/the-dechurched

      And....a good article on "Thriving Outside the Box" (of institutional church): http://www.lifestream.org/bodylife.php?blid=42

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    8. With all the tragic personal stories in my e-mail lately, I can certainly understand why so many have become atheist and I also completely understand the desire to move away from the institutional church.

      I am glad to see Believers meeting together wherever they meet - especially after having gone through difficult spiritual abuse situations. I've been reading about a lot of corrupt leaders - perhaps equally as corrupt as politicians - with $$ endorsement, overlooking gross sins/crimes among cohorts, to keep their name in the spiritual leader spotlight. It's making me sick.

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  4. Beloved in RecoveryMay 29, 2012 at 8:29 AM

    I am floored that he has not backed down. Pride has him blinded. I've called it narcissism, and others have too, and it is - but it's original name is simply pride. There are many levels of pride, and Narcissistic Personality Disorder certainly has patterns that are being displayed here. I would have thought that the negative publicity that he has brought upon himself would be enough. It is makes me think of Pharoah and the plagues. You read that story, and you wonder why the first, or first two - three - four - plagues weren't enough.

    I have a question - do each of the defendants have to bring their own anti-slapp suit against him? If so, does that have him paying each defendant's legal fees?

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    1. I think Meaghan's case will initially be separate because our case has already been heard and I'm sure Meaghan's attorney will be filing the anti-SLAPP motion as well. The attorney might try to bring them together at some point because they are essentially the same case, but one key point to the anti-SLAPP motion is the timely process, so our case needed to continue without dragging it out.

      If we win, Chuck/BGBC will have to pay each defendant's legal fees and court filing fees.

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    2. I found this on another site and thought I would share it.

      Jesus would be so proud of this lawsuit. Think of all the upgrades it would mean for the church building!

      -New whirlpool tub for baptism.
      -Gold plated collection plates.
      -Real dinnerware for the potlucks instead of Dixie cups & plastic forks.
      -Hairplugs for the pastor. Oh YEAH BABY!!!
      -A new sewing machine - to turn them pants into dresses!!!
      -a website that doesn't suck (Amen, amen, amen?)
      -Welches grape juice instead of that generic crap
      And Suits of Armor for all the men of the Church, complete with sword (as shown on this website) so the Crusades may continue!

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    3. That's a bit funny, but mostly sad. Honestly, I don't think this church would go that route. I've never seen them use $$ extravagantly.

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  5. Stupidity is doing the same thing you did before and expecting a different result. Chuck continues to try to shut down comments against his dictatorial leadership. BTW, God does not give pastors the authority to act as Chuck has. The authority of the pastor is to be the servant of all of the congregation and to proclaim the good news of freedom in Christ, not to subjugate the congregants.

    The whole authoritarian thing is a heresy that began in the Catholic church, and is abetted by a misunderstanding of scripture, especially using the KJV, which was a deliberately patriarchialist translation to support the rule of the King of England.

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    1. Arce said: "The authority of the pastor is to be the servant of all of the congregation and to proclaim the good news of freedom in Christ, not to subjugate the congregants."

      Well said. This is also the principle of America, in that it is from the people, to the leaders; not the leaders to the people. Red Skelton said that.

      Ed Chapman

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    2. I do want to clarify that pastors and elders do wield real spiritual authority, so much so that Scripture tells us that those who do assume to be teachers within the church will be subject to a stricter judgement.

      With that understood I would be trembling in my boots if I were Chuck.

      David Johnson
      Pittsburgh Pennsylvania

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  6. Just a clarification:

    "If we win, Chuck/BGBC will have to pay each defendant's legal fees and court filing fees."

    Let me restate that a bit more clearly for the folks at BGBC that I'm sure are reading your blog:

    "If we win, the tithes and offerings of the people of Beaverton Grace Bible Church - the money that they thought was being given to God for the spread of the gospel - will be used to pay each defendant's legal fees and court filing fees."

    Or maybe they will just hold a special offering.

    :)

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  7. Is each person named being sued for $500,000 each, or is that amount inclusive for all? If he wins, is this the money for the church, or for him, or for him and a select few? If it is for the church, will each congregate receive a portion, or will it go to buy the Pastor and Elders New Cadillacs, bling, and new suits, or should I say, church expenses, i.e. Conferences in Hawaii, Las Vegas, to be on the same "stage" performing with the likes of John MacArthur, or even a new home, complete with a new hot tub. While his motive is to silence, I am sure he is making plans on how to spend the yenom (Money spelled backwards).

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    1. $500K total is my understanding. I have no idea how they would use the money. I imagine most likely it would go to the church, not the people. I've never seen BGBC as an extravagant or wasteful church money-wise. They did tasteful remodeling when we were there. I can't picture them going crazy with the $$, but then again, I don't think they will be getting any money, either. :)

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    2. Beloved in RecoveryMay 29, 2012 at 9:47 AM

      Thinking ...

      When my husband was threatened with legal action by a church, he sought legal counsel. In our situation, legal counsel said that the "church" could not bring legal action. That an individual that was part of the church would have to do that. It is probably a totally different situation, but "who" is actually bringing the suit? Who vs. whom? "Can do" or "Can't do" probably has to do with how the church was set up in the first place, and the laws of the particular state.

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    3. I've wondered the same thing. Way back before the media and extra reviews on the Google site, there was a review which was obviously from a member who was not very happy about the lawsuit. That made me sad that it was clearly not a unanimous decision. Was the lawsuit condoned by a majority vote? Was it approved by the elders representing the people? I guess we will never know unless they disclose.

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  8. A question for someone with legal expertise: I've been looking at the original documents again, which are in the public record. The Amended Complaint does indeed state that the plaintiffs in this case are "Beaverton Grace Bible Church, an Oregon non-profit organization; and Charles O'Neal, an individual."

    Am I correct that this means that IF THE DEFENDANTS PREVAIL, then:

    (1) The plaintiffs, who lost, are required together to pay for the filing and legal fees of the defendants? How does that work when both a non-profit and an individual are co-plaintiffs who lose?

    (2) Hypothetically speaking, if the plaintiffs lost and there were a countersuit by the defendants (and I am NOT advocating this, but just wondering about the realities, since this case is being closely watched and there might be similar issues in the future), then would the combined assets of Beaverton Grace Bible Church plus Pastor O'Neal be at risk to cover the filing fees, legal fees, and countersuit damages? Which means both this non-profit's and individual's buildings, land, financial accounts, and other assets would all be on the line to pay for losing the countersuit?

    (3) In the same hypothetical situation of a countersuit, if the fees and damages required amounted to more than the worth of BGBC + Pastor O'Neal's assets, then would the individual members of BGBC be liable for the additional amount or is their liability limited to the total assets available from the non-profit as one of the losing plaintiffs?

    Either way, this all has implications for the future ...

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    1. Great questions. I hope someone with expertise responds.

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    2. Futuristguy: I am not an attorney in Oregon, but you asked very good questions.

      Losing the lawsuits might endanger the financial assets of Mr. O'Neal and the BGBC. -RB

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    3. I would love to see this church foreclosed on and turn into a Hooters Restaurant.

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    4. Yeah I vote for Hooters but only if the rename their hot wings Beaverton delight and their Super wiener (all beef dog n a fresh baked roll, it's fantastic)the O'Nealer. Their grand opening should feature a $500,000 lottery style sweepstakes with the benefits going the newly formed Pew Sitters Legal defense Fund. A 501c3 dedicated to protecting the 1St amendment and church goers that are being attacked by rabid dog-like "pastors".

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    5. I guess it wouldn't be Hooters if the young ladies wore the homeschool uniform: denim jumpers, would it?

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    6. I'm still laughing - Pew Sitters Legal Defense Fund - lol

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  9. I'm so glad your attorney didn't have you shut down the blog. It is good that you continue to speak out and get as much out as you can now. It doesn't seem to deter him, which sounds crazy to me(forgive the bluntness, but blunt is who I am). For those who stay away from the church, I can't blame you. This is just getting ridiculous and it's not the ones who are speaking out against abuse that should be targeted but we are.

    Am I also correct in understanding that the Wartburg Watch site is down due to possible tampering? If this is true, their are those who call themselves Christians who are not going to stop there.

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    1. Hi Debbie: Before I had retained an attorney, many had given me the advice that I shouldn't take anything down, but perhaps I shouldn't add any more to the blog. That bothered me because that is what the lawsuit was attempting to do and what the shunning business was all about: silencing me and not allowing my voice to be heard.

      Thankfully, my attorney is a champion of First Amendment rights and was fine with me continuing to blog.

      I have been following the Wartburg Watch site situation with great interest and admit that the first thought I had was that it might have been hacked. I was saddened to find out that hacking was a real possibility. I know Dee and Deb will let us all know. Regardless of what may have happened to the site, all of us bloggers who expose the hard truths know that some people don't like negative exposure. They need to realize that we are not going to be silenced by bullies.

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  10. I was once sued by a former of my organization (not religious, but it was a non-profit, and I was one of the paid directors) my organization was named as was I (with about 5 others individually) for about 3 million. The short story is that this woman felt she was asked to leave our organization under unfair reasons (I dont want to say the specifics of the case).

    Because I was a director of the organization, the "company" liability insurance paid for all of our expenses, and in the event that the we were held financially liable, the insurance would have paid out and none of us would have been financially responsible.

    The aftermath, however was pretty bleak. We won the case (the woman was definitely in the wrong), but as a result, I was fired and a lot of members left just because of the talk of the lawsuit. 6 months after I was let go, the organization closed and filed bankruptcy.

    I guess what I'm getting at, is that Pastor O'Neal's frivolous lawsuit will leave damage in its wake, and I pray for all of those that will be left hurt by it.

    Julie Anne- you are a strong, brave woman. As someone who left their own church (SGM) I know how the spiritual loneliness feels and I pray that this nonsense comes to end for you.

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  11. Re: if Plaintiffs lose, who pays?

    In this case, Oregon has a SLAPP law which can short circuit this whole case, by declaring it a SLAPP and ending the suit. The plaintiffs are then generally jointly and severally liable for the legal fees and expenses of the defendants. Jointly means all are liable; severally means each is liable for the whole amount, in the event that one has insufficient resources to pay. In addition, few insurance policies will pay when the entity is the plaintiff, and those that do generally require their approval prior to filing of a suit.

    Then it becomes an issue between the church and Chuck as to who pays how much, and, of course, the church members may have a right to sue the pastor or elders for getting them into this mess, unless there was a majority vote in a properly announced congregational meeting or the bylaws explicitly permit the elders/pastor to initiate a lawsuit (probably not!!). Could get verrrry interesting!

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    1. Thanks for that information, Arce. This case may not spawn new law, but it certainly could help a lot of interested people on all sides of things to better understand the laws that already exist.

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  12. Looks like pastor Chuck had the reviews on yelp.com removed. There were about 9 reviews last time I checked, but all but one are gone. Will there be lawsuits against them as well?

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    1. be afraid . . . . be very afraid . . when you post reviews or leave comments!

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    2. There are 6 reviews that have been filtered by Yelp's filtering algorithm (probably not by Chuck)... it usually filters reviews by new accounts who just post once. You can read the filtered reviews by clicking on the "# Filtered" link towards the bottom.

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  13. I've encountered this no-talk rule by management in corporations. It is predominant in church management. It is a supression of the common man and not Biblical! not biblical at all!!

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  14. I applaud you on your bravery and your commitment to doing what you feel is right. Spiritual abuse is never acceptable in any way.

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  15. I have been following your story since it first came to light. I live in Aloha and have never heard of Beaverton Grace Bible Church until this time. While I am sure that there are some wonderful people there, I'm glad that this is a church that we have never visited.

    Please know that you have many people here supporting you and everyone else listed in the lawsuit. If you need any help at all during your court time, please let me know.

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    1. Thank you for your support, Kathi! It's true, there are some wonderful people who remain there.

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    2. You're welcome. And, I sincerely mean what I said. If there's some way that I can help, please ask. You've seen my blog and I'm a real person and an open book! ;-) This whole situation is so fascinating and I'm eager to see what happens. I was a ministry major in college and not once did this ever come up in a class!

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  16. This whole situation makes me so sad. The pastor and many in his church believe he is in the position of right, and he is so convinced that he is right that he is blinded to everything else. It sounds that, like Pharoah, his heart is hardened. Some of the comments (not on this blog but elsewhere) people have left have made it sound like all church discipline is wrong. Church discipline is necessary but should be used sparingly and in love. What this pastor is doing, though, not sound like church discipline at all. It sounds like iron-fisted control and not what scripture teaches about pastors. Jesus said to feed His sheep and tend His lambs, not to rule and reign over them.

    Julie Anne, I appreciate your soft heart for your former church members and even for your former pastor. You do not condone his behavior and are not silent about it, but it's apparent that you wish him no ill will. I pray that your anger continues to be the righteous type. I also pray that your former pastor will set aside his pride and seek the Lord's face in this matter, to ask the Lord if he could possibly be wrong even though he thought he was doing right.

    Again, it is very sad for the body of Christ. May God be glorified even through this ugly situation.

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    1. You are correct. I absolutely do not wish him ill, nor his family. I just want this extra-biblical and shunning madness to stop. I'm also tired of reading about all the people who have left that particular church and who no longer go to church whatsoever because they are hurt and actually believe they were never a Christian based on the teaching they got there. That's wrong.

      Thank you for praying for my anger to be righteous and please send me a note if you see something out of line on my part. I am weak and certainly prone to sin.

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  17. one of the ways to fight the no-talk rule is to always talk loudly enough to be heard by others and do not talk with an abusive authority in a closed door room. Insist on the door remaining open. Others who hear you are potential corroborators. Push the envelope on "keeping your voice down".

    never ever resort to personal attacks but only with the abusive behavior. Address only the behavior and not their personhood.

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    1. That's good advice. Thank you for the reminder.

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  18. Since Pastor Charles O’Neal’s mailbox [(503) 645-7471] has been full for weeks please allow me to leave a message for him here:

    “Chuck! You’re a sick and abusive man that I pray to the Most High God of the universe that He will timely and thoroughly judge you according to your diabolical works. You make a mockery of the Bride of Christ! That you preside over a house that has “Grace” and “Bible” assigned to it’s name is a heresy. You take the way of darkness as if it is light. You do what is evil in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and call it good and righteous and christian, but you are a worker of iniquity whose end will be according to your work. May the Holy Spirit convict you of your spiritual pride and abuse. I fear you are so sick that your conscience has been so seared by your culture of control, that you can’t even discern for yourself that what you are doing is dead wrong, that it goes directly against the precepts of the Spirit’s direction. I wish I could look you in the eye and rebuke you in the name of our God who inspired the very Bible that you by evidence of your works hold in contempt. May the blind sheep who you assume to shepherd have the strength and discernment to get out from under your control. And may God have mercy on your soul.”

    Thank you,

    David Johnson
    Pittsburgh Pennsylvania

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    1. David - I'm sorry you were unable to contact Chuck. The church website lists the e-mail address as: chuckoneal@cleaninter.net

      A number of readers have told me they have sent him an e-mail and he has responded. You might give that a try.

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    2. Amen David Johnson! Thank you for speaking the truth boldly. I am wondering where are the local pastors who would protect the sheep and stand up to this man in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? My husband did and he lost his job at the church but that is a small price to pay. I am praying with you that those still under this man's control would have the strength and discernment to leave this abusive church.

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    3. Yes, Julie Anne, I just found the church's website and his email. I will at least send him an email with a link to this page and an invitation for Pastor Chuck to engage me.

      On their website one of the first things I came across was a fairly ironic 2008 Independence Day video where Chuck was proud “to take the opportunity to express our civil liberties... and to celebrate our freedom of speech.” He doesn’t mind haranguing a Jehovah Witness convention goer by warning him, “You Sir, shall Perish from the Wrath of God!”

      Guess what! His freedom to stand in downtown Portland in a public space sharing his gospel warning is absolutely no different than me or anyone else writing a review and warning people away from the ungracious, unbiblical, controlling and abusive spirit operating in the leadership of Beaverton Grace Bible Church. Julie Anne, dear, make sure your lawyer is equipped with that little piece of the puzzle.

      I then saw pictures from a Shepherding conference. The title alone reminded me of the spiritually abusive Shepherding Fallacy that Sovereign Grace Ministries subscribed to. And it’s interesting that of the only five tenets of BGBC’s Statement of Faith they just so happen to include their position on Spiritual Authority. They write:

      “The Bible teaches that the congregation is accountable to the elders (pastors) and that the elders (pastors) are accountable to God. Therefore, all decision-making authority is vested in the elders (pastors), who shepherd the church.”

      However you parse that last sentence IT IS NOT TRUE, or at least in its vagueness it qualifies as a huge RED FLAG. Come on now, “all decision-making”? It is true the elders are overseers and are accountable to God to rule, but they do not govern every aspect of a believers life. Every member of the Body of Christ is first and foremost accountable to God. And without going into much detail why these sentences in the context of your experience are so suspect, let me just say: There is legitimate and illegitimate spiritual authority. The leadership of BGBC may very well have disqualified themselves from exercising legitimate spiritual authority. Not everyone knows the biblical difference, and for that reason alone it makes sense that those who assume the position of elders and teachers will be held by God to a stricter judgement.

      They also write:

      “Christ is the head of the church and He mediates His rule through the shepherding of godly elders (pastors).”

      What they failed to include is that Christ first and foremost mediates His rule through the Word of God and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Something every American believer has access to. And it is by the Spirit and His Word that we discern the difference between what is godly and what is not. Between a circle of godly elders and a sick graceless leadership that is legalistic and ungodly.

      (cont. below)

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    4. (cont. from above)

      I will say this much, because I know the world is observing. And shame on BGBC for dragging the name of Christ and His Bride through the mud like this. What an ugly witness this is to the gospel of Grace! Shame on them! Nevertheless, let me say that I believe these are my brothers in Christ. As I look at their Doctrinal Statements they do have the True Gospel, that is to say I believe their soteriology is sound. However, I noticed that they hold to a Dispensationalist Pretrib Rapture position, an eschatology which is egregiously unbiblical, which absolutely contradicts Holy Scripture.

      Bear with me for a minute because I bring this up for a reason. [Allow me a quick tangent to offer to support my assertion that a Pretrib Rapture position is unbiblical. I’d be happy to demonstrate this Scripturally to anyone here privately, just ask. Or go ahead and ask your Teachers to ground it for you Scripturally. Thing is—they can’t. And if they claim they can, examine their words by the Word of God through the Holy Spirit. “It should be noted that [John] MacArthur stated that the Scripture only “suggests” the pretribulation rapture. While he often seems dogmatic and certain in his book [_The Second Coming_ which the author of the quoted article uses to represent the popular dispensational pretrib theory], it appears that he realizes that Scripture does not explicitly teach his view; in his view it is only suggested by the biblical material” [_The Pretribulation Rapture: A Doubtful Doctrine_ by T. Van McClain out of Mid-American Baptist Theological Seminary; pp233-245].

      Now the reason I bring this up is because it is has been my experience (and I grew up the son of a Baptist pastor who received his MDiv from a leading dispensationalist seminary, and, yes, I grew up for a time in a sick legalistic culture, so I can smell it when I smell it!)... it has been my experience that those who hold to a Pretrib Rapture position do so dogmatically. In fact the likes of John MacArthur make it a test for orthodoxy. If you don’t hold to this view then your not orthodox in your faith.

      It is a dogmatism which is blind and emotional. Because they can not ground their position in Scripture, they ground it in their emotions, almost militantly if you attempt to challenge them on the grounds of Scripture. Having noticed that BGBC is a dispensationalist church my sneaking suspicion is that they’ll probably be just as emotional and militant about their misreading of spiritual authority. This is what I’m discerning from spending about twelve minutes on their website.

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    5. I wouldn't be so sure about your take on doctrinal statements. Just be aware that not all of us are Calvinists, or Lutherans, or Catholics. I am non-denomination. I have my own doctrinal statement. Sometimes belonging to a denomination, you must believe what someone else already decided, or else suffer the consequences. In a non-denomination, the preacher reports, we decide. We search the scriptures daily to see if those things are so. I have debated many a Calvinist, Jehovah's Witnesses, 7th Day Adventists, Catholics, etc. For example: You say that pre-trib is unbiblical, I say that pre-trib is biblical, while my best friend states that he's always in trib. As I said before, I would rather hear someone quote Jesus, Paul, Peter, Moses, Isaiah, etc., rather than John MacArthur, John Piper, Mark Driscol, TD Jakes, Benny Hinn, etc., etc. I would be happy to take your challenge, as a respectful debate in private.

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    6. David - Sorry about the confusion on posts, it looks like the original Part 1 went into the spam folder. When I released it, it went to the proper place, so I deleted the 2nd 1st part you posted. (did that even make sense? - lol) It looks good now. Just wanted to let you know in case you were wondering what happened :)

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    7. Thank you dear. My heart goes out to you my beautiful sister. In fact, You make my heart warm and glad. Stay Strong and fearless in Him. And may every thought, feeling and word you write and speak be inspired by the Spirit in Whom we have Life, Joy and Wisdom. Bravo! Keep up the good work that is so encouraging to so so many of us. Blessings! And thanks for reordering my posts.

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    8. Julie Anne,

      I just responded to David in the middle of your reposting. Will it still post?

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    9. Ed: You two have been busy posting and I've been busy trying to comprehend David's amazing posts, but when I released the next posts, it looks like they all lined up beautifully (and I have no control of the order), so Julie Anne just sighed: whew!! Ed - I love your respectful tone with David as you discuss these highly debatable issues. BGBC was clearly Calvinist, but now that this case has world-wide attention, there are readers of all faiths here - including people who have no faith. I want to try to keep the discussion on the general topic of spiritual abuse and thank you for suggesting taking the debate in private. I appreciate that :)

      David: The first part of your post was simply wonderful. I need to stew on the 2nd part some more.

      Some may not like me for this, but I will just say it anyway (I seem to have developed thick skin lately - ha!): I have been easily annoyed lately by pet topics: pre-trib/post-trib, young earth creation, etc, evolution/creationism, friendship evangelism vs door-to-door, etc, at the expense of relationships and what really counts - the gospel message, being Christ-like and caring for the souls of people, getting in the trenches with people who need time and care and the love of Jesus in practical ways.

      David - if you don't mind, can you send me your e-mail address at bgbcsurvivors@gmail.com in case I have more questions?

      David - I can sense the genuineness of your tone to me - it has blessed me immensely - especially this part: "And may every thought, feeling and word you write and speak be inspired by the Spirit in Whom we have Life, Joy and Wisdom. "

      So good!!! That is exactly my heart - to be His vessel. Thank you for your encouraging words to me!

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    10. Julie Anne, I think you comprehended my response better than even I did...lol...you stated my point within your response, so there is no need for it to get posted. Since we are all from different denominations or non-denomination, we don't all share the same doctrinal statements. Thanks!!

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    11. Ed and David: If you both are agreeable, I'd be happy to facilitate an e-mail address exchange privately. Just send me an e-mail if you'd like to continue this discussion further: bgbcsurvivors@gmail.com

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    12. David,

      I disagree that pastors or elders are to rule the church at all. Jesus said not to let others call you, if you are one of his followers, a leader and not to get all authoritarian over people but to be a servant of all. He compared such to the Pharisees and called them hypocrites.

      So, the pastor and elders are to be servants of the congregation, not rulers over it. That suggests a different decision-making structure than pastors and elders deciding anything. They should be bringing everything to the laity to decide, and abide by the decisions of the laity.

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    13. @ Ed Chapman,

      I trust you’ll agree with me then that the measure of one’s doctrinal purity rests upon it’s faithfulness to Scripture, that a proper Christian worldview is necessarily a Biblical worldview. Doesn’t matter where we hail from, what sort of designation or denomination we align ourselves with, the decisive question is Does my statement of belief accord itself to the true teachings of the Word of God? Sounds like it may be a good healthy engagement of ideas as long as we hold Scripture as the ultimate decider of truth. So, Yes, thank you. I believe I have your yahoo email I snagged from your blog. Look for my email.


      @ Julie Anne,

      I can be a bit long winded, and I respectfully have no desire to stray off topic. Thanks for posting my thoughts as they were. You’re right, something like a pretrib rapture position can be highly debatable. My point was that its proponents, in particular those who write books from a dispensationalist standpoint, on the one hand admit that they can only infer their position from Scripture, yet then on the other hand they make it a litmus test for orthodoxy. If I'm not one of them then I'm outside the fold of orthodoxy. I just wanted to emphasize how often times it seems their dogmatism regarding this cloudy eschatological matter is grounded largely on their emotions, not on the simple word of God.

      To paraphrase something Spurgeon once said: “The truth of Scripture is like a caged lion. One doesn’t need to defend it, just let it out of it’s cage. It can defend itself.”

      Look for my email.

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    14. FTR, I think the discussion on authority is a good one. It's of general nature, not specific to any one denomination, and certainly applies to Spiritual Abuse. Please continue!

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    15. @ Arce,

      God’s will for our lives is that we agree with His Word, that we obey His Scriptural directives on how to live our lives, how to live together in community, how to do and be Church. It is true, that Jesus modeled perfectly what is to be a servant-leader. Our Lord is gentle and kind and patient with us. He shows us the way to obey, with humility and from a pure heart, working out the gift of life we have been given through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit Who empowers us “to will and to do according to His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12-13).

      There is a cooperative oneness in the body of Christ. It’s kinda hard for his church to be one with God’s will when one person says “I disagree that elders are to rule the church” and another person says “but I agree.” We are to have the mind of Christ, and His mind, His intent and design for His Church is that we obey Him and in so doing we obey the true and inspired Word of God. He did not leave us clueless, without direction. He communicated through His Apostles, those who spent time being taught by Him. Our Master laid the foundation and detailed for us the very structure of His Church. He gave to the church pastors and teachers and elders to equip the saints for ministry, to build up and mature the body of Christ (see Ephesians 4:1-16).

      One of the first places I would recommend reading is the Apostle Paul’s instructions to Timothy. These inspired letters are binding for the whole Church in every place and time. In 1 Timothy Paul lays down the qualifications for deacons and elders. And notice—because this is a precept that much of the Church is disobeying—that Christ has designated overseers to care for God’s Church, and that these elders and teachers are not to be recent converts, nor are they to be women. “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man” (1 Tim. 2:12). The term overseer (in 1 Tim 3:1) is _episkopos_. It’s often translated as elder or bishop, and refers to a leader who is charged with the care and oversight of the Church. This office of servant-leader is open only to qualified men.

      And note, Arce, how 1 Timothy 5:17 clearly states that the office of elder is a ruling position: “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.”

      And of course this ruffles feathers, because so much of the Church wants to do things the way the world does. Church is not a democracy as you have suggested. And I also don’t see a clergy/laity distinction as being Biblical. Let me flesh this out by way of describing the ideal dynamic (from a Biblical perspective) within a marriage. As God has purposed male headship within the Church, so has He purposed from the beginning that a husband is the head of the wife. Let me quote Ephesians 5:22-33 in it’s entirety, because the mystery of marriage refers to the relationship of Christ and the Church.

      (cont. below)

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    16. (cont. from above)

      22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

      And let us not forget that this passage is preceded by verse 21 that states we are to “submit to one another out of reference for Christ.” A pastor and elder and husband and every Spirit filled one of us should model what it’s like to love and submit to what is righteous and honorable, first to God, and then to others. (See 1 Corinthians 13) Love doesn’t insist on its own way, Love isn’t a monster who lords his agenda over others. Love isn’t proud. Love bears all things—even a godly rebuke (you got to read Psalm 141:5). Love is a self sacrificing act. Love is serving others. Love is godliness worked out through our words and actions. We do so wonderfully recognize love when we see it, do we not?

      Now here’s my point. As members of the body of Christ we are to have the heart and mind of our Savior. We must be after God’s will and together be one with it. Every submitted Spirit-filled believer has access to God’s will, not just the elders. However, one of the things that makes an elder qualified to lead is his knowledge of God’s Word that is our guiding light. Not everyone in the congregation is mature enough to know God’s will. It is the function of the teachers to model submission to God’s Word and to mature others in the process. We stand as one together in Christ. This is true for a marriage too. There is a oneness, but sometimes in a marriage (and rarely so when a husband and wife is equally yoked in Christ) when a husband and wife will reach an impasse on a decision. When this happens it falls upon the husband to make the call on how to proceed. But this should be done as he consults His godly wife, as they pray together and seek God’s direction and will for proceeding. Proverbs 15:22 tells us, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”

      See how this works. Husbands and Elders possess a soft authority, However sometimes it has to be hard—like my rebuke to Pastor Chuck. And if Pastor Chuck was submitted to an authority structure of other Godly men they would direct him to drop the charges, for as Christ has forgiven Chuck so must he forgive the felt offense of a former congregant. Part of Chuck’s problem (if I can end my rant with this) is that he is not submitted to other Godly men who are submitted to God’s Word on how to do and be church.

      (cont. below)

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    17. (cont. from above)

      One more thing that may be helpful. I have a godly Aunt and Uncle who model (imperfectly of course, but more perfectly than anyone else I know) what it’s like to be submitted to Christ in their marriage. They both are submitted to Christ, and my Aunt is submitted to her husband. But you know what? They front such a oneness of heart and mind that I have never seen a difference in opinion or belief. My Uncle gives way to my Aunt in many areas that is her gift and expertise, all the while as she honors her godly husband as her covering, a real man of God who nourishes and cherishes his wife. And in like manner my godly Unlce also cares for the small local body of believers that He is had been ordained an elder of.

      Arce, we need to honor the godly elders within the church who rule in such a way as they must give an account for how they lead. Scripture tells us,

      “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you" (Hebrews 13:17).

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    18. Again, David, you and I have a much different take on scripture. We are to look at the perfect law of liberty. You seem to be emphasizing that word "rule" as something that it is not. In my opinion, you sound just as much a dictator as Chuck in the "obedience" department.

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    19. @ Ed Chapman

      Check out a Greek lexicon, you’ll find the word _proistemi_ means literally to “set over” or to “be over,” to “rule” in such a way as to be a “servant-leader.” The ANLEX defines the Greek term as it is found in 1 Tim 5:17 to “put oneself (responsibly) at the head, lead, direct, rule.” It’s synonymous with the idea of shepherding, caring, guiding. It no way does it possess a dictatorial tone.

      I hope I qualified that the type of leadership that an elder is called to is absolutely NOT dictatorial, a lording oneself over others. It is a caring, loving, nurturing, self-giving direction.

      In terms of “obedience” let me ask you Ed, how do you read Hebrews 13:17 that instruct us to “Obey [our] leaders and submit to them.”

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    20. David, I disagree that they are "brothers" in Christ.
      If people show themselves to be very narcissitic or pathilogicaly narcissistic, that is completely opposite of what Christ is. Therefore it is just showing who they really are, 2 Tim 3. The Bible says that by their fruits you will know them.

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    21. @ Anon1224

      The wonder of God's saving grace is that His Church is filled with broken and sinful members, even sick and spiritually abusive pastors. I embrace him as my brother in the spirit of 1 Corinthians 13:7 that reads, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” I personally recognize Chuck to be my brother, but ultimately Christ makes that call.

      But I have to heed Scripture, and what you say is true. Let me quote the context of your reference. In Matthew 7:15-20 Jesus says:

      “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

      Admittedly, there are many wolves in our midst arrayed in shepherd’s clothing. I know very little about Charles O’Neal. But I do know of other well meaning elders who are so blind in their passions that they are unwittingly abusive. Spiritual abuse disqualifies anyone from being a leader in God’s Church, it, however, does not disqualify him from the body of Christ.

      “For by grace we have been saved through faith. And this is not our own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:8-10).

      Chuck needs to examine the fruit of his actions and start walking right, for I fear there’s a storm on his horizon that’s gonna prune his unhealthy branches (see John 15: 1-11).

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    22. David: You mentioned Hebrews 13:17. I did a 2-part series on this because this was the particular verse that was "lorded over me" by an elder on the last Sunday at the church. I avoided that verse long afterward because of the negative emotional connotations with the way it was used until I recently did a study on it. I'd love to read your thoughts on my conclusions:

      http://bgbcsurvivors.blogspot.com/2012/03/obey-those-who-rule-over-you-and-be.html

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    23. David, There is no such thing as a Christian who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder.I'm guessing that you don't understand what NPD is. Do you deny 2 Tim 3? Because you didn't comment on that scripture and it's not refering to the Christian.

      Your thinking is one of the reasons why there are so many problems in the church. Again, scripture is clear that by their fruits, you will know them.

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    24. Also David, Hitler professed Christianity. So would you give that same reasoning knowing what he did to others? I'm refering to your 1:31pm post.

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    25. Julie Anne, I read both parts of the series and all the comments, and I’m in agreement with the spirit of what everyone wrote. However, I did not altogether agree with the contents of every link you provided. I did truly appreciate the John MacArthur quote left by one of the commenters: "the only authority any pastor or elder has is the Word of God. When you step beyond the Word of God you've overstepped the bounds of your authority." Amen to that!

      I looked closely at the Greek of the verse in question. The grammatical construction has an imperative verb in the middle voice followed by the dative. So the two best English words we have for _peithesthe_ is “obey” and “follow.” The ESV of Heb 13:17 I quoted above is a good translation. Since Greek is a highly inflected and nuanced language we can translate it with a fair degree of precision. Problems arise when a given contemporary English word such as “obey” or “submit” or “discipline” bears certain authoritarian energy, or as you put it so well, a certain “negative emotional connotation.” It should be recognized and taught that _peithesthe_ carries no authoritarian import whatsoever. As you brought out in your post the root word is _peitho_ which is best translated as “persuade, convince; trust, believe” (EDNT). Might be interesting to also note that as a proper name Peitho is the goddess of persuasion, seduction and charming speech.

      I’m thinking of the Hebrew word _shema_ which means both “hear” and “obey” depending on context. The only reason I would not translate _peithesthe_ as “listen” is because “listen” can be a neutral word. The thrust of the verse involves a positive response to what is being taught, an assent. Using MacArther’s limited definition of pastoral authority, the phrase "Obey your leaders and submit to them” basically means to agree with the Word of God to the point of obedience.

      Not to go into too much detail with the word _hupeiko_ which literally means to “yield,” but as it is used here figuratively it means “to yield to someone’s authority, submit” (BDAG). The expression basically means to “submit to someone’s authority” (ANLEX). This is why the NIV inserts the word “authority” here.

      I spent some time on this and I’m convinced that the translations we have such as the ESV, NASB, NIV, and the Holman (the only versions I consulted) have translated it correctly.

      Thanks, Julie Anne, for directing me to your series. Good stuff!

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    26. Thank you, David for taking the time to check my earlier post on Heb 13:17. Even doing a very quick word study using online resources yielded a different meaning than what was expressed by the elder. I've never had a pastor pull the Heb 13:17 card before, but now I see that probably only those with control issues would do that. Pastors who are true shepherds don't think along those lines because it is not about them, but about the sheep and guiding them properly.

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    27. David,

      I cited the teaching of Jesus. Any translation of an epistle that disagrees with the teaching of Jesus in the Gospels is inherently suspect. The epistle writers may have been divinely inspired, but Jesus was divine. Any appearance of discrepancy must be resolved in favor of the Gospel account.

      So did deeper into the meanings of the epistle verses you cite, they cannot authorize authoritarian rule by a pastor or elders over believers. Pastor (a rare term in the NT) and elders are to serve the believers not impose themselves over the believers.

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    28. David,

      Further, the translations in English cannot carry some of the meanings. One example, many English terms imply gender where other languages do not. For example, any 'male" term in most languages includes females in the plural, unless explicitly stated otherwise. This even occurs occasionally in English, where "men", as in the "hearts of men" is not exclusively about the hearts of the male half of the species. There are many other examples.

      Most English translations, where there is not a clear choice among alternatives, follow the KJV choice, but the KJV was decidely and admittedly a politically motivated translation to support the authority of the King (and not the recent queen), hierarchy and patriarchy.

      Again, go back to the teachings and behavior of Jesus, as reported in the Gospels. Everything in the Bible must be interpreted in light of Jesus and consistent with Him. Any appearance of discrepancy from that must be studied more deeply and resolved in a way that preserves His teaching and life.

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    29. Anon 3:34
      When you refer to 2 Tim 3 as to why a Christian cannot have a narcissistic personality disorder, what did you mean? I might not be reading it the same way as you.

      Mental health, including personality disorders, is like any illness. Christians get cancer, are born with bad hearts, are born mentally handicapped, and are born with or acquire mental illnesses. Unfortunately, personality disorders are so complicated and so difficult to work with.

      Christians get depression, and it doesn't mean they are not Christians. We don't know a lot about personality disorders but we do know sometimes the person can do nothing about it and needs a lot of help just to move past the symptoms.

      I understand some churches do not endorse seeking professional help for mental illness, but I would encourage you to consider that Christians can have all kinds of problems and still be Christians. Just like a broken leg needs professional assistance, so does mental illness.

      I'm not suggesting that spiritual abuse should be ignored in those cases where it is caused by a leader with a mental illness. Knowledge though is powerful. And when such a leader is influenced by a mental illness, sometimes it is helpful if those around that leader understand exactly what is happening. Then it is up to those others to see the abuse for what it is.

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    30. Jackie, NPD is not a mental illness. NPD is a character trait.Somebody who continues to abuse another with no remorse is not mentaly ill. It is a choice. There is tons of info on the web if you want more information about it.
      Also, 2 Tim 3 sums up what NPD is.

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    31. David, I find it interesting that you won't answer my questions about 2 tim 3 and Hitler. Hmmm... Why is that...?

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    32. Please help, Hebrew/Greek language scholars: Chuck's supporters keep describing him as "Godly". In your opinions, what does "Godly" mean from a Biblical perspective? Do Chuck's actions as described in this blog and by reviewers who have first hand experience with him fit the meaning of "Godly"? Because if Chuck O'Neal is biblically Godly then I really don't think I understand who God is.

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    33. @ Anon941,

      first off, you're posting as Anonymous which doesn't distinguish you from any other Anonymous commenter. You can still remain anonymous by replying under Name/URL without having to enter a URL. You could post using any name or number that would distinguish you from others without having to use any personal identifying account.

      I did read all your comments, even read through 2 Tim 3 a couple of times. Yes, it seems that Chuck/BGBC fits quite well with much of the godlessness described in 2 Tim 3 - "proud" "arrogant" "abusive" "disobedient" "heartless" "unappeasable" "brutal" "not loving good" ""having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power" - we're told to "avoid such people." My ESV translation even uses the verb "creep"! In fact, in Chuck's case the Word of God is shown to be true in that "they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all." Amen! Good reference, Anon941.

      As sick and abusive as Chuck appears to be, he, nevertheless is no Hitler. Since you asked, I didn't respond to you because I didn't want to encourage what I read to be ignorant flamebaiting. I don't feed trolls.


      @ Anon1036,

      you don't have to be a language scholar to read our very good English translations that demonstrate clearly that Chuck is not acting in a "godly" manner. As suggested, 2 Tim 3 is proof enough against the man.

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    34. In the June 2012 Voice of the Martyrs there's this caption: BEWARE OF NARCISSISM, followed by an excerpt from one of the late Pastor Richard Wurmbrand's books. Here it is:

      "An artist sang _Rigoletto_ badly. People booed her. Indignant, she said to her colleagues, "What an uneducated audience! They dare to jeer Verdi!" They did not jeer the composer but the performer. Perhaps those who beat us opposed not Christ but us Christians who admired ourselves without reason."

      I thought of this quote as I read 2 Tim 3:12, "Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." Chuck responded to my email, and I got the feeling that he believes he's being persecuted on account of his assumed "godliness." Hmm...

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    35. Challenging morning at the Smith home front and sad e-mails of abuse sometimes gets to me, yet David, you gave me a moment of reprieve when I read this:

      "My ESV translation even uses the verb "creep"!"


      Made.JulieAnne.Smile :)

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    36. Just so you know, I have asked this out of a place of pain and confusion.
      "Please help, Hebrew/Greek language scholars: Chuck's supporters keep describing him as "Godly". In your opinions, what does "Godly" mean from a Biblical perspective? Do Chuck's actions as described in this blog and by reviewers who have first hand experience with him fit the meaning of "Godly"? Because if Chuck O'Neal is biblically Godly then I really don't think I understand who God is."

      If all I can expect here is snippy replies, then you can continue on with your intellectualizing, and scholarship and forget about this being a place to heal.

      Delete
    37. PS to Anonymous - I so appreciate your willingness to ask again, in that pain. That means so much to me. I don't like to see people in pain and I absolutely want this blog to be a place where you can get answers. Thank you for speaking a little louder so we didn't miss your post. I hope others will chime in as well - ones who have more Biblical expertise than me. Come on, people, let's give Anonymous important information to read so he/she can settle in his/her mind! This is so important.

      Delete
    38. David, you assume I'm a troll. Good way of diverting yourself of having to not answer the questions with a real answer. Typical....

      Delete
    39. David,

      You asked me: "In terms of “obedience” let me ask you Ed, how do you read Hebrews 13:17 that instruct us to “Obey [our] leaders and submit to them.”"

      My response is a question to you: Would you submit to Chuck Oneal?

      Properly, before obeying/submitting to a leader, the leader needs to be a leader with accountability. As far as I am concerned, there are and must be prerequisites to being a leader, including standards and accountability as mentioned in the Bible. Would you submit yourself to Hitler just because he was your leader, overseeing you? I don't think that you would. If the leader is not exhibiting the qualities that allows a person to respect that leader, then NO, I would not submit. Discipline should NOT be a part of any church whatsoever. Discipleship should be the ONLY thing to do. The proper way to approach a sinner backsliding is not in discipline, which the Catholics call penance, but in grace and mercy. If the person has an UNREPENTANT heart, then you kick them out based on 1 Corinthians Chapter 5. But it must be of a sinful nature. Questioning the pastor, or anyone in leadership is NOT A SIN. Sin is defined biblically as "transgression of the law" (1 John 3:4).

      In review, no, I would not submit or be OBEDIENT to just any willy nilly just because he has a title of RULE over me. Based on the law of Moses, I have a conscience of good and evil (as opposed to right and wrong). The law of Moses convicts me in sin. Chuck Oneal seems to be falsely accusing people of being in sin, i.e. rebellion. That, in the military, is known as the UCMJ Article 134, which is a catch-all charge, meaning, that if you can't find it in the law, you can charge an article 134. It isn't like that in the Law of Moses, however.

      Delete
    40. Anon 12:33 - Did you read David's response to you? He definitely gave a great answer:

      @ Anon1036,

      you don't have to be a language scholar to read our very good English translations that demonstrate clearly that Chuck is not acting in a "godly" manner. As suggested, 2 Tim 3 is proof enough against the man.

      David was brief and concise. In Julie Anne lingo, I interpret David's response to mean that
      he believes Chuck is not exemplifying godly character based on 2 Timothy 3: "But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 6 For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, 7 always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth."

      Here is my response to your question: the actions I have seen, the preaching I have heard, works with little grace, the meddling an invasion in people's personal lives long after they leave the church, the use of recording devices without permission to record private conversations, the refusal to communicate with people who are trying to understand why they are on some strange form of church discipline, the way he has encouraged families to shun their own family members, the refusal to meet with a neutral pastor for mediation, the potentially defamatory statements he has made publicly regarding some of us, the lawsuit which was discouraged by well-respected wise pastors, etc, I am no biblical scholar, but in my limited interpretation of scripture, I do not believe this man represents Christ whatsoever. I would say he is a False Teacher and does not belong behind the pulpit. This is all my opinion based on my knowledge of Scripture, of being a Christian for over 30 years, and of my personal dealings with Chuck. No, he is not godly, but he puts on an air of godliness that can be very confusing until you dig deeper. I hope this clears it up for you. You must look at the fruit of a pastor and the fruit in the lives of his flock.

      Delete
    41. Ed, you ask: "Would I submit to Pastor Chuck?"

      My answer is a resounding "HELL NO!"

      Why? I think you broke it down nicely for us. First, he's not my pastor or elder and I don't believe he's even qualified to be anyone's pastor or elder. Someone stated elsewhere that we have a responsibility to discern the character of those we support. I would never subject myself to a spiritually abusive environment, and neither should anyone else.

      It comes down to this, if your pastor assumes any sort of authority that strays beyond the bounds of Scripture he is disqualified from being listened to.

      Also see my word studies above concerning the words RULE and OBEY and SUBMIT.

      Delete
    42. Julie Anne, if what your saying is the case concerning Chuck's actions then in my estimation you had an absolute obligation to warn others about the man and his church.

      Also, to answer Carol's question below asking if Chuck ever broke the law. I believe his use of recording devices in private conversations without permission counts as criminal, at least here in the state of Pennsylvania that would be the case.

      Delete
    43. Julie Anne, David also said that he believes that Chuck is a brother in the lord. So there is a contradiction there.

      Delete
    44. David - Good point about recording possibly being criminal activity. Being recorded sure felt like a violation - especially when he refused to stop the recording when my husband asked. Additionally, he said he would send us a copy of it, but of course that never happened. Also, I have heard of people listening to it who were not privy to the conversation. Folks, that is CREEPY, CREEPY, CREEPY!

      David - So, to be sure I understand, I take it you wouldn't submit to my former pastor? ;)

      Delete
    45. Anonymous: That's right, I do remember David saying that. I may be getting into an area over my head - but is it contradictory? Can a pastor be in gross sin, yet still be a Christian? David said he wouldn't submit to him, but does that mean he's not a Christian?

      Delete
    46. Julie Anne, Yes, I believe David is contradicting himself. You can't say that you believe that someone is a brother then say that 2 Tim 3 applies to chucks character. This scripture is talking about non-believers.

      Second, I believe that we as humans sin everyday, that's a givin. I believe it is what the intention is of a individual. The intentions of an individual will eventually show itself. Whether he wants to please God or whether he is being a pretender. Judas was a pretender and the disciples had know idea until he was finally exposed.People eventually end up exposing themselves.Some are more obvious from the get go. Anybody can profess christ but were is the evidence.

      Lastly, I'm not sure who you are talking about in your last sentence.

      Delete
    47. I'll try the last sentence again: David said he wouldn't submit to my former pastor (because he's a pastor), but does that mean my former pastor isn't a Christian? (meaning - could David be thinking this?)

      But anyway, I do agree with you about people exposing their true character eventually. I have seen the rotten fruit.

      Delete
    48. Julie Anne, When David said that he believed that Chuck was a brother in the Lord, I believe that's what he meant.

      Delete
    49. i'm on the fly here. .

      the question isn't is he a christian, but can he be redeemed? does not love believe all things?

      Delete
  19. Wow! You posted a blog where a few people could read about your situation, and your old pastor in your blog. Then he sues you to keep people from reading what you wrote about him. The media got wind of this, and now the whole world knows about the very things he was trying to silence you about! LOL!!! That is SO funny!! And not only that, but now spiritual abuse is a hot topic on church forums, and in church groups, and people all over the country are talking about this stuff. I bet that because of your situation, more and more people will start blogs and begin telling their stories. I bet more and more people will grow bolder because of you. I am so thanking God for allowing your story to go nationwide. This would not be happening if Chuck hadn't file suit. Oh the wisdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is so worthy to be praised.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amen! That seems to be the only part of this that delights me.

      Delete
    2. PS - I'm curious - can you please send me a note as to which forums this is being discussed? bgbcsurvivors@gmail.com or post here.

      Thanks!

      Delete
  20. I must say this...i have seen some comments saying that thia blog brings a negative light to Christianity. What is saddening is that this blog is a helpful place to come and read about a issue that has affected many people...me included. This is a place to help in the healimg process. What has given Christianity a negative light is this over zealous pastor who has decided not to follow a simple biblical truth that has most likely been uttered by him from the pulpit...turn the other cheek. From my experiences..people react in this way when there is truth that they are unwilling to except. If this church truly was about "Grace" as their name implies then they would have let their walk do their talk. Since they have decided to let the court of men decide the truth and not trusted in God, this just proves to me as a neutral party that this man fears the truth and will use any method to stop it.
    Keep blogging Julie Ann!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is very insightful, Nate. Thanks for commenting.

      Delete
  21. Religion has no place in an American court room. Unless you broke a US law, you (and anyone sued by a pastor for speaking one's mind) have nothing to fear, because of something called the US Constitution and the First Amendment. Does Chuck not realize that you have the right to speak freely in this country? Does he not realize that the US court system will throw out anything with religion as the basis? God does not make American laws, and neither does Pastor Chuck. Silly man.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think he realizes it. He states it boldly on the church's website on the front page!

      Delete
  22. Agreed with the above. After a few hair-bending experiences with bad churches, I went to the Internet to see if ANYONE shared my experience ... and found nothing. If a few folks hadn't tracked me down, to relay their experiences, I'm not sure if I could have recovered. It is a very hard thing, to sort out abuse in the name of God vs "church discipline."

    So, please keep doing what you're doing.

    PS - I came across this blog in my feeds. The writer is recounting bullying in the workplace, and is writing anonymously. Since bullying victims are going public, I thought I'd post the site: http://bulliedatworknetwork.blogspot.com/

    --Amy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for replying, Amy. I, too, searched "spiritual abuse" in my journey and came upon the SGMsurvivor blogs. I kept getting confused thinking I was reading about my church, but every time I looked at the top of the web page, it read SGMsurvivor blog :)

      Delete
    2. I live a few miles from one of the original SGM churches and it is as bad as presented on the site, maybe even worse. When I heard about your lawsuit, First Baptist of Jacksonville and another equally disturbing local situation it made me want to cry. Our church leaders are out of control with egos ruling the day.

      Delete
  23. Hello,
    My name is Meaghan Varela. I was served a summons yesterday, though knew it was coming as my name was added when Linda Williams filed the anti-slap motion.
    I am not surprised that Chuck would sue me, you see I attended that church for 16 years, though left for a couple of years while there. I saw and experience a lot while there. Was it all abusive? Not necessarily towards me at first, but once I left I too was being shunned. We also were put in church discipline months after leaving.
    Before we left I was noticing a pattern of family after family leave and with just a small exception (those who moved out of town!) most families were spoken about as though they were not saved, thus left. One woman was in the middle of getting out of an abusive marriage and she was cut out, being accused of being a goat. After I left I had to go back and apologize to her because I had not supported her during this horrible time. It was hard to believe what she said he'd said to her because I had never seen this behavior in my 'pastor'.
    When we left the church my husband and I had dinner with Chuck and Tonya. Tim explained he had been listening to sermons on the internet and wasn't being fed Christ. At which Chuck blamed a former employee of the church to poisoning us. Not true then, not true now.
    When I posted on this blog, I had already suffered defamation and slander from Chuck, he sent letters to our pastors as we tried to find a church to worship. I eventually quit going to church for a time as it was too emotionally hard on me. Never did I quit believing in Christ. I was very confused.
    My lawyer has given me such comfort and great guidance, I am grateful for her. I am grateful for Christ and His Spirit for leading me fearlessly through this. I apply the Word to my heart and walk in the peace that God so freely provides for me.
    I pray for Chuck, and the folks at that church. It is sad to me the anger and pride that is blindly propelling a man and church I loved so dearly into such hard hearted darkness. The Word of God is such a blessing, the things that sanctify me are always a welcome to experience the grace of God.
    Thank you Julie Anne for starting this blog and helping me to grow and be a blessing to others,
    I love you
    Meaghan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing part of your story Meaghan. And for being truthful. Don and I are praying for you.

      Delete
    2. Meaghan: I am sorry that you have been targeted for a retaliatory lawsuit initiated by Mr. Chuck O'Neal.

      In my opinion, Mr. O'Neal may be coming perilously close to committing a "hate crime" against others based on their religious beliefs. It would be interesting for someone with legal expertise to research "hate crime" laws in Oregon and see if they could be applied to Mr. O'Neal.

      P.S. In my humble opinion, O'Neal does not merit being described by the title "Pastor". "Pastor" s not a credential awarded to a graduate by an accredited educational institution., like "Ph.D." or "MD". Rather, the title "Pastor" is a job description title used by many Protestant churches. -RB

      Delete
    3. I have heard (and I hope someone here can provide facts or correct any misinformation) that O'Neal doesn't even have any kind of Theology or Ministry degree. He completed his B.S. in Psychology, a field of study in which he himself rails against. So he has not earned the title of "Pastor" in the academic sense, either. Also, I believe he caused some trouble at Multnomah Bible College by accusing a professor of heresy and trying to get him fired. He clearly has a problem with authority unless the authority is all his. His lawsuit against a Christian shows he is going up against the authority of Jesus Christ Himself. Plain and simple, Chuck O'Neal is nothing but TROUBLE.

      Delete
    4. This was discussed at church while we were there. It is true that he completed his BS degree in Psychology at Corban University (a Baptist college) in Salem, OR. I recall he was just a few credits shy of his degree at Multnomah, but didn't want to complete the degree there because of disagreements he had with what they were teaching (one issue I recall was women pastors/teaching).

      I know he raised concerns with faculty regarding this particular issue and more. Hopefully others will chime in with details as they remember them. I've heard bits and pieces of the heresy/firing, but not enough to comment.

      Delete
  24. I will not be silenced nor shamed into silence when I know of abuse. I, like Julie Anne will speak to whom ever I feel would benefit with having knowledge of better ways of living, exposing light into the darkness. Then it is up to each individual to do with the information that they choose.
    I could give many more stories, and may still. I do find it humorous that I am being sued over giving them back their family heirloom piano...this is the craziest experience in my life thus far.
    Peace to all

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As an accompanist, Meaghan, I must know - - - was the piano in tune when you returned it? ;)

      Delete
    2. hahaha, no it was not! I was only storing it, however Jordan did take lessons while we had it. His piano teacher kept telling me I needed to get it fixed but since I was only storing it didn't want to invest that kind of money into it.
      And of course, you know Tim and I can't carry a tune so we didn't think it sounded bad~lol

      Delete
  25. I'm sorry that all of you are going through this. To a non-religious person, this in-fighting, fear, abuse, and distrust between Christians sure looks weird. This sort of thing is unfathomable among people who simply tout kindness as their doctrine without reference to any god or religion. Maybe the most "godly" people are those who are beholden to no god at all.

    In-fighting Christians = junior high school.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Julie Anne's jaw just dropped.

      So true, Anon! Sad, but true.

      Delete
    2. (I posted that Julie Anne. Not sure why my "reply as" was set to Anonymous! I'm not hiding. :-) )

      Delete
  26. Wow. I stumbled upon this doing some research. I am an American currently live in Europe. More and more I learn how extreme on both ends the US is from afar. I'm am also a Christian. All these resources, energy and time wasted by churches like this boggles my mind. At the tail end of debacles like this, churches like this could have fostered a child, provided water to people in need and built homes for the homeless. But instead, they suffocated themselves and others for what!?!?! To feel better? To appease Jesus!? Jesus loves us enough so that we can live...not live perfectly. LIVE A LITTLE PEOPLE!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, that was a great reality check. Thank you!

      Delete
  27. Have you seen this, Julie Anne? http://youtu.be/1t6npABeFcI (Not sure why the odd URL. The link is good - goes to YouTube.) This is the type of thing that religious megalomaniacs and narcissists do to people, under the guise of "saving" them. SO scary!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Boy, that is extreme, and thankfully, it didn't get to that point, but you do have to look at how this starts. One way is by getting into the personal affairs of people. We have heard story after story of this occurring. Personal affairs are just that: personal.

      Delete
  28. From what I understand, Chuck is a military man. In a military organization, there is a commander and their subordinates that are under the commander. If those subordinates get out of line, then it is the commander's responsibility to whip them back into place and make sure that they don't screw up again. If they continue to screw up, then they are out. A soldier that can't follow orders is no use to the military. I believe it's called a dishonorable discharge. Chuck views this whole situation as a spiritual battle. He believes that he is fighting for the souls and the integrity of his church. When things start getting out of control, it angers him, because he knows it's not how the church is supposed to look (in his mind). He is trying to maintain order and perfection with a group of people that are not military minded at all.

    Chuck is not going to back down from this suit because he believes very honestly that this is a battle that has to be fought. He feels that the ministry of his church has been threatened too greatly and as a result he needs to silence/end the opposition so that the ministry is no longer damaged.

    I do not say this in support of Chuck. I say this more as an objective opinion, to hopefully provide insight into the mind of this guy. He might even be reading this now and agree with the assesment.

    The battle for the souls of mankind is happening daily. Each and every one of us is being tempted constantly to go against God. Those of us that have no faith in God are considered the enemy. Those of us that have a faith in God but are actively participating in sin are considered to be an enemy or at the very least, corrupted and in need of discipline. Only those who are perfect, and not committing sin are on the right side with God. Chuck is not stupid. He knows that no one is perfect and that people are going to screw up. In his mind, the way of dealing with someone who steps out of line is to discipline to the harshest extent of the law so that they don't screw up again. I don't know if he understands that he is not in the military. The matters of the human soul are not handled with brute force. If that were the case, Jesus would have come as a conqueror, not as a sacrifice for our sins. We are supposed to be Jesus to the world. Yelling at people to stop sinning, and shunning them for their sin, is not what Christ did. He knew we were messed up, and that is why he died for us. Because he loves us. He doesn't push us away for screwing up. He draws us close to him so that we don't have to suffer the sin.

    Chuck, I understand that you feel that what you are doing is right. The it is exactly what needs to be done. Please search your heart and please dwell with Christ on this. Ask yourself very deeply, "What we Jesus say in this circumstance." If Jesus was standing their in the room with you, what do you think his reaction would be to what is going on?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your observation about how military handles battles and how Chuck handles his battles is spot on. Chuck frequently uses battle/war terminology/pictures on the website and correspondence. I do believe he thinks this is a spiritual battle and that I am the enemy at war against God, his church, his family, etc.

      Delete
    2. and yet Julie Anne you aren't the enemy, nor is Hannah, nor am I. Does it really matter 'why' he is doing what he is doing? Beahvior's that kill, steal and destroy are at work here, not behavior that brings life and life abundantly. Fear is the opposite of love, nothing loving going on here. I think I have said enough for now.
      It is kind of Anon835 to look from Chuck's side and give him grace.
      Those of us whom have been at the end of his self appointed wrath simply did not agree with him and left. We didn't start a lawsuit against him, and believe me there is plenty I could sue him for. I am going to daily give this over to God, trusting and loving those He puts in my path.
      Praying for God's peace for those who still are under his control and comtempt.
      Praising God Jay and Kay are able to go about their lives without the 'wolf' trying to devour them any longer. (In my opinion)

      Delete
  29. Yeah, I did notice that Chuck has a Marine background, he's a trained fighter. And Anon835 seems to paint a picture of the pastor as practicing some sort of spiritual jiu jitsu. Let us remind him that our battle isn't with flesh and blood, and especially not with members of his own body wherein flows the sacrificial life blood of Christ.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Does anyone know whether Chuck has broken any laws?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't believe so. He wouldn't have been able to be active duty military with a criminal record and he got into ministry after he got out.

      Delete
  31. So I reckon that if this "pastor" had lived a few thousand years ago he would have sued Jesus as well after he was told by him he was of a brood of vipers. Or perhaps that he is a whitewashed tomb? Maybe even driven a few nails himself just to shut that pretty radical Jesus guy up. That which we preach about most vehemently is the thing we most fear about ourselves "pastor Chuck". Pet doctrines and the abuses that follow them reveal a lot about the proclaimers inner man because it is the thing that is most on their mind and wish they could rid themselves of. You're human. Don't worry about it. All the ways of the Lord are mercy and truth. Just hang your hat on that and forget about trying to make yourself and the whole world perfect. You can't. We tried. We failed. We were wrong. We changed. You can too.

    The thing I hate most about what we now call "christian" is that there is nothing left of Christ's actual message of peace, love and dare I even say it...tolerance for another human being who may not be quite as perfect as we perceive ourselves to be. I too lived for many decades under the same abuses as "pastor" Chuck lays down. I held the coats myself and did nothing many times as the stones were cast at the innocent guilty. We are all a little of both of those aren't we? "Pastor" Chuck...wake up then read "12 Steps for the Recovering Pharisee" by John Fischer. Here's the Amazon link. http://www.amazon.com/12-Steps-Recovering-Pharisee-like/dp/0764222023 Or you can just post a comment here that you would like to read this book and I will have a copy mailed to you because I think it is that important. I am sick of seeing people hurt by these abuses laid down by the radical religious of all stripes. I just have to wonder who would Jesus sue? Paul for killing all his people? Pilate for false accusations? Herod for attempted murder? Perhaps Judas for aiding and abetting in a plot for murder for hire? Solomon had it right...

    Now all has been heard;
    here is the conclusion of the matter:
    Fear God and keep his commandments,
    for this is the whole duty of mankind.
    14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,
    including every hidden thing,
    whether it is good or evil. Ecc 12:13-14

    It's not your job Chuck. Follow the advice of Michael Jackson...yeah the singer...start with the man in the mirror and take off the facade of perfection first. I did...I didn't like what I saw.

    p.s. I am not one of your "flock" and never have been,(and doubt I ever will be) but I have become a bit of an "expert" on spiritual abuse having lived through and witnessed its ugly head for a lot of years. I have spent many years studying this phenomenon and it is rampant. It's pretty easy to end this "Pastor" Chuck and you really should for your own sake.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Excellent advice, beautifully written. You sound like a good person, Scott.

      Delete
    2. Amen! Scott.

      Delete
  32. You can be sure WOLVES like Perry Noble, Steven Furtick, Benny Hinn (who has tried and failed to sue people for exposing him in particular) are going to be on the edge of their seats waiting to see if they have legal precedent set to go after all their critics.

    Have you read the story about what happened to James Duncan, who wasn't even a member at New Spring, when he blogged about Perry Noble? Check out his story at Pajama Pages blog. Unreal. Perry apparently wasn't in on the whole goings-on and did have the sense to fire the guy, but he basically said the blogger deserved it, no apology was made for the behavior of the hirelings under his supervision.

    It reminds me of this whole new news story about Brett Kimberlin stuff that is going on, about dangerously harassing political bloggers, fake 911 SWATting calls etc. (look it up folks, and if you dare mention his name, don't be surprised if he sues you too.)

    ReplyDelete
  33. Feel so sorry for your ex-pastor.I pray that God will vindicate him. Carlos

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why do you want to pray about vindication ? Isn't that the same as you are giving someone an ill wish? Should you pray for his salvation instead ?

      Delete
  34. Reformed churches routinely bring church discipline on former members, and in some cases, people who have never been members.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Crazy! How do they biblically justify that?

      Delete
  35. "A number of pastors have privately e-mailed me and told me they have sent Chuck e-mails encouraging him to withdraw the lawsuit. It appears he continues to disagree with their wise scriptural counsel, in lieu of protecting image/reputation. This is a principle that is completely against scripture. God is not so concerned about personal reputation and image, but the heart."

    I wish that those pastors would post something publicly, like the email they sent and any response they got.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. terriergal - the responses that I've seen (I've been cc:ed) in a few have a one or two-sentence response with the entire "press release" copied and pasted to the bottom. Not much there. Same ol' stuff.

      Delete

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