Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Six More Days Until Court Hearing

There are a number of Christian bloggers keeping up with our story.  Yesterday, two popular bloggers posted articles about our situation and I wanted to give more information so you can see how things fit together. 

I'll give a little background.  This is the original Google review that was posted February 25, 2012.  It has since been revised one or more times and I've had several readers tell me Chuck took it down entirely very recently after the media got the story.

Admin note:  If you click on the links below, you will see that the reviews have since been edited (in fact, multiple times).  Below is what was on the Google review site as of the date of this original posting. 

 Chuck O'Neal ‎ - Feb 25, 2012
DEFAMATION IS A CRIME: Pastor Chuck O' Neal, his wife, his children, and Beaverton Grace Bible Church as a whole, have suffered JulieAnne's hateful lying slander for well over three years. After seeking counsel from a pastor on staff with Grace Community Church (under Pastor John MacArthur) and reading him several excerpts from JulieAnne's endless defamation, he recommended that we FILE A LAWSUIT in an appeal to Caesar as the Apostle Paul did when falsely accused of crimes against God and the state. The lawsuit has been filed in the Washington County courthouse. JulieAnne and many of those involved in her present and historic slander will be served within the week. Her many lies and vicious criminal accusations will not stand in the light of day in the Washington County courthouse or in the coming courtroom before God. OVER THREE YEARS AGO the reviewer known as JulieAnne or “BROWN” was Biblically put out of Beaverton Grace Bible Church for ongoing vicious slander. You can see my 2009 response to her in the reviews below .

This "review" (it's not really a review of Beaverton Grace Church, it's a review of me, but strangely, I don't see "Julie Anne Smith" at the top of the Google site, but Beaverton Grace Bible Church).

Side note:  Can someone do me a favor and look up the rules on Google reviews and see if it is okay for a "business owner" to review the reviewer?   Also, can someone explain to me how my reviews were mysteriously removed?  I contacted Google to have one of Chuck's reviews removed (one where he is removing me) and they wouldn't do it.  They said they would need me to send them official court documentation before they would do it.  Well, nothing has gone to court yet, but many reviews of mine were removed.  How did they get removed?  Weird.   Sorry - that is just one thing that has bothered me for a while.  Anyway .  . 

Back to the story . . . . . after I saw that review stating we would be served, I made a phone call to Grace Community Church on February 27.  We played phone tag and I believe we finally connected on February 29.  I spoke with a "pastor of the day".   I explained to him my story about the threatened lawsuit, the difficulties and challenges our family had with the church and wanted to know if he had any way of determining if in fact Chuck O'Neal had indeed been told by pastor(s) of Grace Community Church (John MacArthur's church) to sue me.  

I don't have time to dig them up right now, but there are blog posts (on my blog) and/or comments discussing Grace Community Church's involvement in this.  A number of readers have quoted John MacArthur from his sermons/books/teachings where he discusses that Christians are not to sue other Christians.  In all of MacArthur's teachings that I saw, there was no exception for a Christian to sue another Christian, so that is why the interest in knowing if in fact a pastor from GCC recommended that Chuck O'Neal sue us.

The pastor told me, that as far as he could tell based on their record-keeping system, there was no record of Chuck calling any pastor regarding the lawsuit.  I made sure he spelled it correctly "O'Neal", not "O'Neil", and he again confirmed it.  He did say that if Chuck had a personal phone number of a pastor, then it was possible that he did hear from another pastor.   I was a bit surprised that this pastor didn't volunteer something like:  "Based on scripture, Christians should not be suing one another, so I highly doubt one of our pastor encouraged your pastor to sue you. "  John MacArthur does not mince words on this subject, so why wouldn't his pastors?  But that did not happen.

Six days later, on March 1, 2012, my husband received the subpoena.  Whoa!  It's pretty weird to see the names in all caps:  CHUCK O'NEAL/BEAVERTON GRACE BIBLE CHURCH  vs JULIE ANNE SMITH (etc) on an official court document. 

The following week, I received a phone call and the Caller ID said "Grace Community".  I thought that was odd - perhaps a follow-up call from the previous pastor to see how I was doing?  No, it was a pastor from Grace Community, Bill Shannon.  I had no idea who this pastor was, but he said that he wanted to hear my side of the story regarding the lawsuit.  He told me that Chuck had requested counsel.   Chuck O'Neal and other men from church were in S. California to attend the annual Shepherd's Conference put on by Grace Community.  Bill asked me background questions and said they were planning on meeting with Chuck O'Neal later in the week.   At the very end of the conversation he asked what it would take for me to remove my posts off the internet.  I gave him conditions. 

Later on in the week, they did meet.  I had sent an additional e-mail of conditions we would like if Chuck agreed to drop the lawsuit.  Chuck did not agree and so I received a follow-up e-mail from Bill that Grace Community could no longer help.

What I failed to do was ask Bill if he could confirm or deny that any pastor encouraged Chuck to sue us.  

This is where things take off regarding Grace Community.  Of course I personally wanted to know GCC's stand on this issue, evidently FBX Jax did as well and made it part of the focus of his post.

After I saw FBX Jax' blog post on Mother's Day (Mother and Daughter Being Sued by Their Former Pastor - Pastor Claims He Was Told to Sue by John MacArthur's Church),  I remembered I had a draft copy of an e-mail I was going to send to Bill Shannon asking him to let me know whether or not he or any pastor at GCC had recommended to Chuck that he sue us.  This had been a matter of discussion on my blog recently, so I finally sent that e-mail to Bill yesterday (May 14) afternoon.

A few hours later, I noticed that Dee of Wartburg Watch Blog also took off on that same topic.  

Pastor Makes International News by Suing Blogging Critic-Is John MacArthur’s Church Involved?

There were a couple things I wanted to talk about regarding the post, so I called Dee.   I was surprised to learn that she, too, had contacted Grace Community on the same day - only a few hours earlier, asking about the same info.   That was a strange coincidence. 

Late night, I saw a reader comment from Phil Johnson:

Phil Johnson UNITED STATES on Mon, May 14 2012 at 09:53 pm
I just learned about this story for the first time at noon today. I couldn’t locate your e-mail address, bit if you’ll e-mail me, I’ll send you an official statement from Grace Church and John MacArthur that you can publish. If you want to talk further by phone, I’ll tell you what I learned about this situation this afternoon. I’ll give you my cell # by e-mail.

So I left this comment on Phil's blog since I couldn't find a place to e-mail him:

Blogger Julie Anne said...
Sorry, Phil, I see no other way of contacting you. Can you please have someone contact me regarding the situation with Beaverton Grace Bible Church lawsuit against 5 former members? I'm one of the defendants named in the lawsuit and most likely the primary reason Chuck O'Neal had a meeting with Bill and another pastor. I would like to have this information since it pertains more to me and friends (former church member) than anyone else.

Bill Shannon has my e-mail and phone number. Or else you may contact me at bgbcsurvivors@gmail.com

8:40 PM, May 14, 2012

Feb 25 -  Chuck posts review saying he is suing us
Feb 29 - talked with pastor of the day from GCC
Mar 1 -  Received subpoena
Mar 5 or 6 -  Bill Shannon phoned me to ask questions
Mar 9 - Bill Shannon told me he can no longer help in our situation after meeting with Chuck

Did they or did they not encourage Chuck to sue us?  That is the question!

So, now we wait for Dee and Phil Johnson to connect so she can post the official statement from John MacArthur on this situation.  Would someone please send me a dose of patience?


  1. Does google allow more than one review per person? Just wondering if your new review replaces an older review. Maybe that is what gets older reviews removed. Sorry - I haven't finished reading this post in full yet, just trying to offer a possible explanation to the removal of your reviews. I have no idea, just a thought. OK, back to reading ...

  2. Julie Anne - I would not hold my breath waiting for a response from Phil or anyone at GCC. Now that this is in litigation, they probably don't want to say anything publicly since GCC may be drawn into this lawsuit eventually.

    If GCC does say anything, it will be to publicly distance themselves from anything Chuck does or did, denying giving Chuck any counsel at all about suing anyone, and they will give a quote from MacArthur on his stand on Christians filing lawsuits against other believers. But given that it might be hard to completely separate themselves from Chuck since a minister at GCC has already talked to you, GCC lawyers will probably tell their clients not to say anything until after the lawsuit gets thrown out next week...or until Chuck comes to his senses and withdraws his complaint - which I still believe will happen by the end of today. :)

    1. I just finished a radio interview Bob Miller with KPAM in Portland and he actually asked about John MacArthur's involvement. This is interesting.

  3. Hi there! I'm not religious, and you don't know me, but I love what you are doing and wish you all the best in your court date. You may not see or hear them, but I assure you that millions of people support what you are doing. More people need to stand as you are against the corruption that occurs in the church.

  4. Julie, it is up at Wartburg Watch

  5. Julie Anne, is there a link to audio for the interview with Bob Miller?

    1. I don't know. I'm going to assign my son the job to look that up!

    2. Terriergal - my son did find it. I'm going to try to post all of the interviews (tv and radio) on the sidebar when I get a chance. Will someone please find me that chance? I've lost it.


      http://stationcaster.com/player_skinned.php?s=99&c=849&f=533441 Victoria Taft: I start talking at 28:40

    3. Thanks, hopefully it's still there.
      Argh, of course, May 16 is the last one there... what are the odds I would show up one day late to grab it?

  6. so...are you just determined to point out every flaw in every church? Also, what about counseling confidentiality issues? Even though Chuck is a pastor, if he seeks counsel from a pastor, is he not entitled to some privacy? You seemed to have a huge problem when yours was violated, but are insisting that a pastor violate someone else's?

    1. This is my story. Grace Community contacted me. I can share it. Thanks for commenting, though :)

    2. He received counsel to take a fellow believer to court. Unbiblical counsel. He made that fact public, which makes him open to public criticism. What we make public, we can be held accountable to publically. It is right that MacArthur's church be given a chance to state whether or not they did indeed give such unbiblical counsel to another pastor, which this pastor has made public.

    3. what about the other half of my question? are you determined to point out every flaw in every church? What good is this doing to Christianity? The world is seeing Christians rip eachother to shreds.

    4. What are you EVEN talking about Anonymous? Chuck is the one who claimed GCC advised him to do it, not Julie-Anne. Who violated privacy here?

      Those of us even slightly familiar with Macarthur's ministry doubted the veracity of the claim and several set about to verify it. Chuck was doing this to try and intimidate, no doubt about it. Someone who has grounds for his case would not feel he has to go around intimidating his opposition.

      It certainly is possible that there's a renegade pastor on staff at GCC that advised Chuckie wrongly. He ought to be disciplined as well and ought to offer a public apology for involving Macarthur's ministry wrongly, or offer SOME explanation.

    5. and yes, I realize BGBC is at fault for suing you and creating so much attention. You don't have to blog so much though. Also, interesting to note that at least one comment I put up regarding the truth of BJU was never published. Are you standing for the truth or not?

    6. I am absolutely standing for the truth, hence, the blog. People were denied the truth with no recourse. I wish you could read my e-mails of stories from this podunk church - story after story of grief, heartache, torn up families, people abandoning their faith because of spiritual abuse. I will continue to blog. I don't mind if you don't read it.

      I will not be publishing BJU comments on other posts. Please keep them on the original BJU post as I stated earlier. This is not a debate blog, but I have said I would allow it to continue there, but will not be participating. Thanks.

    7. "are you determined to point out every flaw in every church? What good is this doing to Christianity? "

      My recollection may be lacking lately due to lack of sleep and a frenzied life due to media involvement, but to my best knowledge, I have not posted about every flaw of every church. Please let me know if you discover otherwise.

    8. "are you determined to point out every flaw in every church? What good is this doing to Christianity? "

      This is hyperbole in its purest form (get it? that statment was hyperbole itself! Ha! I crack myself up). What do you mean by "every church"? How many Churches besides this one has Julie Anne posted about?

      Also, I would argue that as Christians it is our duty to criticize Churches if we feel that they are not behaving in a biblically correct fashion (not to mention warning others away from said churches). This is one of the main things that separates us from Roman Catholics: it is each our individual responsibility to interpret Gods word, and the pastor/ preist/ etc is NOT the final authority.

    9. Anon - you are suggesting that keeping silent or at least, low profile, is somehow more "prudent". You seem afraid of "tarnishing" the image of other Christian churches.

      These people stepped outside their domain (their religious institution) to pursue Julie and her family. It is they who took this "public", that is to say, beyond their domain. In this country, men and women have died in battle to ensure that Julie and her family can join and then leave any church of their choice "at will", without harm, mental or physical.

      I assume you're an American. You should be championing her as an American for standing up for her rights and the rights of her family, not trying to shut her up. By your logic, Scientologists who leave should stay silent about abuse - that is to say, not warn others of the mistake they made in joining. Abused children should never speak out as to protect "the family", and people bilked out of their life savings should never speak out because it may hurt the growth of the "Church" they supported.

      Joel Osteen and others have stated publicly that they don't believe in the "Austerity Gospel" and say the wealth they've amassed as preachers and leaders of the "MegaChurches" is God's gift to them - and yet they never seem to mind that many in their flock DO live lives of austerity in order to tithe or otherwise support them.

      In too many cases, coming between a Preacher and his intake of cash is sufficient cause for that Preacher to attack people like Julie Anne. It is exactly and precisely the same modus operandi for the Scientologists.

      Julie is providing an invaluable service to her fellow citizens. It is folks such as yourself that work in the background, complicit in the abuse. Certainly, you don't consider yourself "abusive" rather, you feel that shutting up people like Julie Anne is ultimately "better" for "the Church" as a whole.

      There's a gentleman called Bill Donohue (I believe that's his name) who feels precisely the same as you do. He goes after and files lawsuits against people who out the priests who abused them as children. They are "damaging" the (RC) Church and damaging the Church is bad - so they must also be "bad".

      There's another word for this sort of behavior - expecting people like Julie and others abused by religious institutions to shut up and go away under threat of continued harassment and lawsuits. Its called, "evil".

    10. We are right to address the mistakes made within a church. As a church body we are supposed to uphold the image of Christ, and if that image is being corrupted, especially by a leader of a local church, then yes it needs to be identified and corrected. It's simple enough to blame Julie for being a tattle tale, but you should probably know the full story before you come to that judgement. I can personally tell you that I and my own family have been negatively affected by BGBC and their policy of shunning people who leave their church. It has caused all sorts of strife, and it needs to be stopped.

    11. Hey - I didn't say she had pointed out the flaws. I asked if she was going to. Since she is so great and pointing out how other people don't answer her questions, perhaps she could answer mine. Or not. Whatever. I know where I stand, and I know where you stand. So I guess, it doesn't matter what you do.

    12. oh yeah...I came from BGBC too.

    13. Anon with a Tude,

      After reading just the first line of your first post it was clear that you had an affiliation with the church in question. Why else would anyone in their right mind find fault with someone telling their truth about an abusive church experience?

      I pray you find your own healing from the control tacticts and other abuse that you endured as well. Just understand that bashing Julie for bringing these things to light isn't the way to find your own peace.

      All the best.

  7. From here: http://www.benedictionblogson.com/2012/05/13/beaverton-grace-bible-church-pastor-sues-former-parishioner-for-google-reviews/comment-page-1/ “What lawyer wouldn’t want to defend Julie Anne? Her lawyer filed a motion to dismiss in April and it goes to a judge May 21st. Chuck still doesn’t get it. He amended his lawsuit the first week of May, adding another person and again claiming defamation. Needless to say the Google reviews on his church are multiplying, and those reviews are not in favour of pastor Chuck and Beaverton Grace Bible Church.”

    And here is what is so amazing to me. This former pastor of yours - his narcissism will not allow him to stop this incredibly self-destructive behavior! He is destroying his church and his testimony, while validating your story. Incredible.

  8. Wow, nothing proves a narcissistic personality disorder like suing someone to shut them up. And nothing proves naivety about the new world of social media activism like thinking you can quietly sue someone into silence.

    Even if there was any substance to your old pastor's protests (which from what I've read appear ludicrous, whining about your public statements of what are clearly opinions) he has now made his weak character internationally public.

    The people in my life who most clearly demonstrate the quality of spiritual excellence are those who cry out and fight against the wrong-doings towards others and are humbly able to ignore slights against themselves. Suing you for the equivalent of $5000 per parishioner is such bald-faced greed and ignorance on the part of a religious "leader" that I am ashamed to admit I have found discovering your story today to be highly amusing! Wishing you the best of luck in helping to clear a new path through the dark. You should easily prevail.

  9. Note: Posts regarding the BJU fiasco will not be approved on my blog except on the BJU previous thread.

  10. Julie, my heart is breaking for you right now. You and I have never met, we have never attended the same church, and we do not even live in the same state. I do not know why you originally left your church, and to be honest, I do not think that the reason for your leaving really matters. What I do know is that I support you 100% and will pray for you daily.

    I know from personal experience what it is like to be ostracized for questioning. Sadly, my experience did not cause me to leave my church...they asked me to leave. I do not have any ill will toward our former church, God will move through them and use them as God sees fit. However, the actions of my former pastor and congregation members were emotionally devistating to me and my family and really jared our faith...not in God, but in the church.

    As I began sharing my experience with those around me, I found that I was not alone. There are many Christians that have experienced similar situations. I have even found some individuals who were so deeply wounded that they turned away from God altogether. It shakes my soul every time I see or hear someone claiming to follow a faith that teaches brotherhood and love YET their words and actions are in direct opposition to those teachings.

    Stories like yours and countless others I have heard recently tell me that the church as an institution is in a sad state; that it is in desperate need of councel; that it needs to turn back to the teachings of Christ instead of turning its back on the people.

    One thing I have found through my experience is that your story, your thoughts, your opinions are just that YOURS. I have found that those who choose to lash out instead of listen do so because your words have touched the truth. They know there is at least some truth to your words and that is why they are angry.

    Stay strong my friend and I will keep you and my family in my prayers.

  11. Can i ask what you conditions were that you emailed to them????

    1. I'd have to look at it, but my quick recollection is:

      apologize from the pulpit for saying that were in church discipline

      Provide proof of legal retraction

      Agree to absolutely no contact with former members

      There were also specific dates/requirements because of the legal deadline. We needed to verify completion, otherwise we would automatically lose the case if we did not respond to the court in a timely fashion.

    2. Oh Julie Anne,
      Don't you know that by Chuck's own admission he never apologizes, not even to his wife?

  12. " Can someone do me a favor and look up the rules on Google reviews and see if it is okay for a "business owner" to review the reviewer? "

    The review of his can be flagged for conflict of interest. He should not be able to review his own business or church.

  13. This guy clearly does not know anything about the law. Defamation is NOT a crime. It is not criminal activity. It may (MAY) be a civil tort, but it's it's certainly not a crime.

    1. You are correct. It's too bad that when he sought legal counsel, he wasn't told that. The lawyer will likely still get paid for the time he put into this. He should have been told he didn't have a case, and that it would not be wise to move forward.

    2. That is correct. Damages (asking for $500,000) are not awarded in criminal trials, but in torts.

  14. Hello Julie,
    Just a quick question: Were you asked to leave the church(BGBC), or did you leave on your own accord? Can you clarify this matter?

    Whatever the answer is, you still faced issues of SA.

    Thanks and God Bless you!

    1. We were told that if we did not recant what was said during a recent meeting that we were not welcome to come back. That is part of my declaration submitted to the court. I signed my name to it :)

  15. Yes, hello Julie, what would you (but you mentioned 'we')need to recant? Or is that mentioned somewhere on the web? This is such a diheatening situation for you and everyone. As I am a Christian this is difficult to process as I have never heard of this type of 'abuse.'

    In Christian love.

    1. Hi! I was actually confused by that request because we had 11 hours of meetings. I wasn't clear on what they wanted us to recant. That was a moot point, anyway, as there was nothing to recant. It was just another method of manipulation and attempt to control.

  16. Hi Jule Anne, I must admit I am naive on 'spiritual abuse' but looked it up for a definition and, from what I can gather, the closest examples I can come to are those like Jim Jones and David Koresh. Are there similarities w/this group at BGBC? If so, this is truly scary.

    Blessings and thanks so much.


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