Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Do I have an unforgiving heart?

David, a blog reader,  has been having dialogue with me and others in the comments section on previous posts and I wanted to highlight some of his comments and address them publicly.  We were discussing his thoughts that focusing on my personal stories shows a lack of forgiveness.  I asked David what forgiveness looks like and what he sees in me that shows lack of forgiveness.  I recopied his post and left off some sentences in order to try to condense a bit, but the main idea is here:

Julie Anne,

This is tough because I find that you are courageous and true to your convictions.

The length of time, this has been going on gives me the impression that there is an indefinite time frame before any ending resolution is possible for you and your former Pastor.

I think, when the focus of your Blog alters away from the negatives you experienced from your former Pastor and Grace Bible Church, healing will take place. I seems like things are getting too personal for healing to take place.

Even though I can see you have a nice smile, how is it possible for you to experience real joy as long as this blog keeps the memory of the pain you have gone through alive?

My Pastor is out of my life but in your case your former Pastor is still very much in yours.

For me I had to stop venting and replaying the things my Pastor did to me and our church. When that finally happened I went from two hours sleep a night to 7 hours a night.

I sense that you feel like you have been targeted when you attempted to understand where your Pastor was coming from. My Pastor used the word "Truth" and nothing else in describing his theology.

I can't imagine the pain you have gone through, but I do know the pain I went through and the burden of Un-Forgiveness was even harder for me to bear.

I have to be careful even now, because it isn't doing me any good thinking about the past.

What we all don't want to see happen is for Letterman and Maher to joke about 2 people who profess the Gospel attacking each other.

This should motivate Pastor Chuck to seek a truce and pull his Lawsuit if you agree to withdraw his Name and Grace Bible from your Blog.

Find comfort in knowing that the Holy Spirit is deeply working on your former Pastor.

I think you blog has greater things to focus on than your former Pastor.

In Christ


Hi David:  Thank you for your response.  I'm glad I asked you those question because I think you are missing the point and perhaps have misunderstood the purpose of this blog.  The purpose is not to go on and on about the abuse, but to mention it in personal stories in order to clearly identify it so that those who were involved can see it plainly for themselves.  I try to also include what a healthy church looks like and provide scriptures to back up my conclusions and beliefs.   (Keep in mind that when beginning this blog, I was fully aware that others might stumble across it via Google searches, etc.  This is how I learned so much about spiritual abuse - by reading the personal accounts of others on other church survivor sites like mine.)

I vented the first year or so after leaving.  I am not holding a grudge and don't feel that I'm bitter.  It didn't bother me in the least to sit less than 2 feet away from the pastor yesterday for 2 hours in the courthouse.  I hoped that he would look my direction so that I could acknowledge his presence as any decent human being would, but that did not happen.

I am angry about what spiritual abuse does to people.  I am angry about the long-lasting effects I have seen.   And now, after this media attention, the resolve in me is even stronger to expose this dirty secret after receiving so many stories in my in box and in the comments section of this blog.  People are so hurt and scarred and want to move on, but some are stuck.  Some entirely walk away from church . . . . . . forever.  Let's try it this way.  Our church thought we had the best methods of evangelism and went out weekly, door-to-door, all throughout the towns spreading the gospel.  Meanwhile, people were emotionally and spiritually abandoned within the church.  What utter hypocrisy.  Do we sit and do nothing?  Really? 

I pray for Chuck and his family and the church.  I care for all of them.  I was part of that church family for two years and I am doing this because I love them just as family/friends would gather around to confront an alcoholic and tell him/her:  there is a problem, you need help, I will help and support you, but you first need to see the truth about what you are doing to yourself and others.  This is true love that speaks the truth, even when it hurts.

I think they are blinded.  They seem to have set themselves up on a pedestal in the false belief that they are better than so many other churches and this prevents them from hearing common sense from even reputable religious leaders they respect, such as Phil Johnson, who urged him to drop the lawsuit.  Several pastors have privately e-mailed me telling me they have sent Chuck an e-mail urging him to drop the lawsuit as well.   Why won't he listen to godly men?  He has shown no willingness on his part to resolve this.  He doesn't care about Letterman or Maher joking, he would probably call that joking as being persecuted for Christ's sake.  His pattern in the past would be that the only way this will be resolved is if I publicly apologize for everything I have posted and come humbly back to him.

Let me be clear, David.  I will not apologize for exposing the truth.  I will not abandon those for whom I am standing.  This has become much bigger than I ever intended.  Now I represent a voice for many more than ever before.  Many others through the connections of the internet and media have discovered my blog and have also identified with the stories told here.  I feel honored to stand strong for my brothers and sisters in Christ who are too weak to defend themselves (and I so appreciate the many, many people behind the scenes who give me strength and continue to pray for me, because I do have moments of weakness). 

This is not about the relationship between Chuck O'Neal and me (although I would welcome restoration of our relationship).  This is about spiritual abuse in the church which must be exposed. This is about telling people that Christ is not represented by pastors who use their position to manipulate and control others and their personal lives.   I repeat what I have said over and over again - - - there are souls at stake!  

"But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone hung around your neck."  Mark 9:42


  1. My answer to David is here: http://wp.me/pmd7S-1wk

    1. So, I am trying to make sense of all this. Julie Anne, you say that you were "spiritually abused." So, that is why you've spent the last couple of years trying to make sure that everybody knows that you feel that you were mistreated, and to keep as many people as possible away from BGBC.

      I am just curious to know what role, other than victim, you played in all of this is. A conflict is very rarely caused 100% by one party. My family went to BGBC for a short time. It was only about a year, because the church was simply too far to drive to, and there was another really good church in our area we wanted to get involved with. However, most of the people there, especially Pastor Chuck were always very nice. In fact, we see them every year at Steps for Life, and unlike your experience, they don’t shun us. On the contrary, they go out of their way to visit with us every year. When we started going BGBC, I don’t remember you ever greeting us or welcoming us to the church, so perhaps you were shunning us?

      I don't know why they are shunning you, but there must be a reason for it, since this is not what we experienced. Most of the people on this blog probably haven’t taken the time to hear the other side of the story. As I understand it, BGBC is alleging that you (or someone named in the lawsuit with you) called Dept. of Human Services on them. If that, and some of the other things they are accusing you of doing are true, then I can’t blame them for not wanting to talk to you. It looks like you have made every attempt to paint Chuck as a monster, and BGBC as an apostate church. And, you wonder why they don’t want to talk with you?

      It seems that you have been really upset by the way your friend was let go from being on staff at BGBC. Does that have anything to do with why you can’t simply find a new church, move on, and leave BGBC alone? Or, is it simply their stance on modesty that you are so highly offended by that you can’t let it go? If that is the case, there are plenty of other churches that couldn’t care less about modesty, why don’t you just go to one of those? Who was forcing you to go to BGBC anyway? If it was so unbearable, why didn’t you leave sooner? Why pass the blame onto someone else. Exam the Scriptures for yourself, and if you feel that the pastor or church is in error, go somewhere else. That doesn’t mean you have to spend the remainder of your life attacking them.

      Didn’t you, and the other two families start coming to BGBC after leaving another church (I thought I heard it was Southwest Bible Church)? Did you have the same experiences there? I would be interested in hearing your experiences there, as well as hearing what the people who knew you there have to say.

      Look, all I know is that there are two sides of a story, and you are not playing the role of a fair and balanced reporter. I hope that the people reading this blog are smart enough to read the other side of the story before making a judgment. If you have found a perfect church to join up in Washington, please don’t join it, as you would just ruin it. News flash, there are no perfect churches because they are made up of sinners. Unfortunately, we are all sinners (hopefully in the process of sanctification), and will be until Jesus returns. That means that we need to step it up, and show patience, love, grace, and mercy to others, especially those in the church. If you have a problem with others in your church that is insurmountable, then it is best simply to peaceably move on. I don’t see how trying to destroy Chuck and the rest of the people at BGBC is doing that. Perhaps if you would just let it go, they would drop the lawsuit? It could be a starting point of discussion, anyway. I would hope that levels heads would prevail, and the courts could be left out. I don’t see how this blog is helping, however.

    2. I believe I have responded to a similar post of yours elsewhere, but I will respond again. I have numbered your paragraphs in order to save space & time:

      #1 - that is your opinion, but not mine.

      #2 - I am certainly not playing victim. Not greeting someone does not constitute shunning. That is a far-fetched conclusion.

      #3 - There are so many things wrong with this paragraph. All you have to do is simply leave the church and you will most likely get shunned. If you didn't, consider yourself one of the "lucky" ones. Are you implying that if you knew of a sexual offender in the church and that authorities were not notified, you would not report it? Ok, then. There is much more I could discuss on this paragraph, but you are simply speculating on what you have no clue about.

      #4 - What are you talking about? We found a new church within a couple months after leaving. We loved it there and no problem finding a new church. Modesty issue had nothing to do with it.

      #5 We have never attended Southwest Bible.

      #6 I am not playing a reporter here. I am telling my story, so I don't need to be "fair and balanced". As far as starting a discussion - why don't you ask Chuck why he has never responded to any phone call, e-mail, or accepted the offer of another pastor to mediate? Who is not talking? Chuck is the one who has people in church discipline AFTER they leave without informing them and then tells the church to shun them. Please provide the chapter and verse in the Bible for that concept. You won't find it.

  2. Julie Anne: I concur with the points you raised with David. As you know, I've made some vigorous comments previously.

    I'd like to share a few things about the faith body/church which I am a member of, which shall remain unidentified, since my intention is not to specifically single it out. I think these are hallmarks of a relatively healthy church:

    ABOUT US: "...Our doors and hearts are open wide to all who would come. We are striving to be a place where people from all backgrounds can explore and deepen their faith as followers of Jesus. We are “a community of grace” where people build deepening relationships with God and each other. Over the past 43 years we have grown from 13 families to 3000 strong, with dozens of ministries to meet a wide range of needs. Whether you are beginning on a journey of faith or a long time follower of Jesus, this is a place where you can belong."

    "I love _________ because of the relationships I have built there. The women in my small group have become my best friends. We have shared meals together, studied together, cried together, prayed together, and laughed together…a lot! We love inviting new people to join us because instantly they become a part of something wonderfully fun."

    "“One thing I like about ____________ is that it is accepting and non-judgmental to people who drop in or come to Alpha. It’s a place I love to tell people about.”

    "___________ walks the talk. I’m impressed with their missions and love Alpha, in particular. The class enabled me to renew my faith in a non-threatening way and has changed my life. I’ve watched so many peoples’ lives changed – it keeps giving new life and joy to my faith.”

    “Celebrate Recovery helped me to see God as my loving Father and myself as someone who can change and grow. I still have issues that I am dealing with, but I am confident now that with the help of God and the encouragement of my friends at Celebrate Recovery I will be able to deal with them."

    I could provide even more information, but my closing point here is that in terms of basic emphasis on Bible study, Bible-centric teaching and doctrine, the church described above (which I attend and am deeply involved with) is actually quite similar in most ways to what BGBC and Mr. O'Neal profess to belive. -RB

  3. I had to visit your blog.

    Unfortunately, your blog is like many of the others that are out there. The theme is the same. I have the right of free speech even if it deprives others of their liberties. My cause is for the greater good of mankind and I am a martyr for Christ. Anyone that opposes me is evil as my cause is much more important. Here read my blog and see my brilliance shine.

    Just another narcissistic blogger just full of granduer and ignoring the fact that you are the cause of your own problems. If you didn't write the stuff, you would not be in the trouble you are in.

    Go ahead.....correct my grammar or spelling in some childish and immature way to prove your mental superiority. Pull some scriptures together and let me know just how stupid I am. When you are done with your tantrum take a long look in the mirror.

    1. Well... looks like your hateful little ad hominem wasn't worth a tantrum to Julie Anne, or even a mild-mannered scriptural rebuttal!

      Sophie (See what I did? I put my name to my comment! Try it sometime when you have a little less to be ashamed of!).

    2. To the person who wrote, "Just another narcissistic blogger just full of granduer and ignoring the fact that you are the cause of your own problems. If you didn't write the stuff, you would not be in the trouble you are in."

      You are utterly unconvincing. -RB

    3. Wow...Julie, this sounds like an elder from your former church wrote that.

  4. I’ve been following Julie Anne’s blog since about the second or third week after it started. I’ve also long been working through my own process of healing from multiple instances of spiritual abuse. I’ve written extensively on the subject, dealing with theological, recovery, and organizational aspects – so I’m not new to the kinds of concerns David expressed. And I had some thoughts on his comments and Julie Anne’s responses.

    First, I believe that forgiveness is a vital part of the healing process. There are times when I go through a phase of praying to varying degrees of intensity for those abusive leaders who have harmed me and others in the churches/ministries I was in. However, I believe it is also accurate to say theologically that the exact nature of the healing process and the timing of particular aspects is not dictated. So, what describes the Spirit-led process of applying biblical truths in my life is not necessarily the standard to prescribe for everyone everywhere at every time. If a rigid routine for forgiveness (or other aspects of recovery/healing) were meant to be so, wouldn't the Scriptures make that specific for us? And yet, it is not a formula, though there are specific commands and general patterns for the process.

    Just as our transformation process differs, so can the purposes of what we share. The mere existence of a “survivors” or “refuge” blog doesn’t mean it is about perpetuating anger or hurt at what’s been experienced.

    I don't see Julie Anne's blog as a rehash-revenge diatribe against her former church or pastor. It’s not an attack blog under the disguise of a watchdog blog. I see BGBC Survivors as a key way that Julie Anne has available to share the documentation of her experiences. She also is "externalizing" her own process of repentance and recovery, as she responds to circumstances, and discerns wise counsel from others, and listens for the Holy Spirit’s leading. We learn from the experiences of others, so her sharing in specifics about events and responses, challenges and changes is of great benefit to readers. In terms of *prevention* it helps so that others might be kept from succumbing to a spiritually abusive situation. It also role-models some parts and processes in transformation for those who, sadly, have already experienced spiritually abusive Christians. And it creates a warning for *interception* of leaders at risk of controlling/coercing others, and even *intervention* for those who already demonstrate abusive, authoritarian relational patterns.

    [continued ...]

  5. [... concluding]

    One way that I see Julie Anne truly shines is in her gracious replies to those who comment. I marvel at how she often responds in “an opposite spirit” that is unexpectedly kind to those who seem purposely agitating, and she demonstrates a listening heart of compassion and self-reflection to those who need that. Seems to me she is ministering grace and truth, in a winsome way that I find could be quite disarming to people both inside and outside the Church who have been wounded by authoritarian Christians.

    David mentioned not wanting to give Letterman and Maher the opportunity to rag on Christians because of the BGBC situation. However, if we look at the pages of comments on just the KATU article, for instance, we’ll see that a lot of people in the community are making generalized statements like, “This is why I don’t go to church anymore” or “This is why Christianity/organized religion sucks.” From what I read, it doesn’t seem they are so much commenting on the mere existence of the conflict. Where their comments are directed toward Beaverton Grace Bible Church, it’s generally on their perception of hypocrisy, in leaders they see as inflicting harm on the people they were supposedly called on to serve. Look at the comments directed toward Julie Anne, and we’ll find the vast majority are supportive of her standing for freedom and against bullying.

    Hope that makes sense. I understand the difficulty in carrying on dialogue in print. Communication is even more difficult when we’re attempting it through only words. I remember seeing some research that suggested only 40% of meaning is carried in words spoken, while the other 60% comes from tone of voice, facial expression, and body language. How much more difficult to convey what we’re thinking when that other 60% is absent! So, I appreciate the interactions on BGBC Survivors, because I trust that most of the people behind the posts and comments here are attempting to make sense of the often irrational and frequently devastating experiences of abuse, and the emotional and relational fall-out that inevitably trails behind.

  6. I think you might be misrepresenting the fact that you really never did commit to this church. You have stated that you were not even a member.

    Membership in a church like this is a dedication and commitment that would be like Marriage. Sometimes written, verbal, or both. In many cases the goal is to insure that the new member understands Salvation, and is willing to "be there" for other members too.

    You have clearly stated by your abstinence of membership that they meant nothing to you.

    I am investigating militant Roman Catholic Jesuit infiltration techniques designed to take Pastors and Christian schools and institutions down, and I have to say, they use the same techniques you are using perfectly.

    David really has pointed out a serious problem here.

    1. Oh good lord.

    2. Ok, I just got back home after a 4-1/2 hr drive and my brain seems to be lacking. Can someone sum up what this post is saying in Julie Anne lingo - lol. Sometimes my brain fails me and this is one such time.

    3. Anonymous is concerned you infiltrated the church to take it down. Kind of like a Russian sleeper spy during the cold war. Only instead of being Russian, Anon thinks you are an agent of the Jesuits.

      Anonymous, can you share where you got your information on these techniques the Jesuits use? It would be interesting to read.

    4. It says you are using militant Roman Catholic infiltration techniques (whatever those are) to covertly "take down" pastors, christian schools, the church (its a conspiracy and you are part of it).

      Oh, and they are implying that you should have signed a membership covenant (which is unbiblical), and not doing so proves your lack of commitment. You see, you should have been married to or in covenant with this church. If you had been, you would have kept your mouth shut and proven your loyalty through your blind commitment and unwavering submission. Then you wouldn't have brought this lawsuit on yourself.

      Sometimes, I have to laugh...to avoid crying at this kind of stuff.

    5. This is to the fellow who wrote: "I am investigating militant Roman Catholic Jesuit infiltration techniques designed to take Pastors and Christian schools and institutions down, and I have to say, they use the same techniques you are using perfectly."

      You are more than welcome to educate us as to the specific source of your information ab out the so-called Jesuit conspiracy. -RB

    6. Sophia Grace,

      I wish comments had a "like" button!

    7. Wow, ok, thanks for explaining it clearly. No need to respond to that :)

      And Sophia Grace - membership covenants sends shivers down my spine!

    8. Anonymous 9:43am,

      Creating an extra-biblical metaphor to describe the relationship a believer has to the church is part of the problem. Please read every passage in the NT that has to do with membership. Every one assumes that all believers are already members of the body of Christ, and none of them uses the analogy of marriage to describe that relationship. "Signing on the dotted line" is not in the bible, and there is nothing such a covenant or agreement can provide that is not already covered via baptism.

    9. Julie Anne,

      I had to look up the Jesuit infiltration techniques. It's a conspiracy theory going back to the 1960s and Alberto Rivera.

      But to be honest, if you are a Jesuit agent, you are a complete failure. You were supposed to get close to the pastor and support all his views, especially if they are divisive. Eventually the church splits over his views and he's out (still thinking you are his best friend). And you should be a man because women have no power in the kind of church you tried to infiltrate. Try the UCC or the UMC next time.

    10. This is the first time that I have heard about church members being expected to sign oaths of allegiance and non-disclosure agreements. Silly me, I always thought that belonging to a church involved mutual respect and mutual trust. I guess that I was wrong.

  7. AMEN!!! There have been attempts to repair the relationships but Chuck and his church, but they refuse. I agree with you Julie Anne, silence doesn't make abuse go away, only causes the pain to manifest and grow like a cancer.
    I appreciate your boldness in speaking the truth in love, and it is loving to expose the darkness.
    Any abuse when hidden and covered up is death to lives..I have seen it and lived it. I am blessed by those whom against all odds, go to Christ and are healed by HIS blessed Word and Spirit.
    I have seen what God is doing in my life personally as I go to HIM and ask for His help...He has blessed me with a forgiving heart for others who have hurt me, given me calm serene hope in exposing the darkness and walking in the sure faith He supplies when I obey Him.
    I pray for those who persecute me~that God would bless them and change me...and HE DOES!
    What a friend I have in Jesus...He delivers those who come to Him with a contrite and humble heart. What hope.
    Thank you Julie Anne for walking in the hope of Christ as you loving expose the truth of abuse.
    You bless my soul....the many people I have met at BGBC who are loved by Christ have ministered in my life of recovery and for that I am grateful. My hope is that there will be reconciled relationships from what has been very ugly behavior, and God is truly healing broken hearts and releasing the captives. Relationships are being restored, God is so good, even in the scariest of trials. Praise be to God.

    1. I am writting from Tanzania,East Africa.

      The thing you are doing is not good.Even if your father is naked you not allowed to speak of your father`s nakedeness(be it nakedeness of pastor or church ) in public be it google,media or court it can cause a curse even if it is true.Go and read what happened to Noah`s son Canaan when he went around advertising in public about his nakedeness of his drunk father (Genesis 9:20-27).Even if there is a problem the Bible commands us that things should be settled with supernatural love not human anger and hate.

      I pray for all involved to settle down this issue in christian spirit by removing all case from the courts of law and all evil comments on church and its leaders in media (be it google etc).

      I pray and believe God will help you all as Psalm 34:19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,But the Lord delivers him out of them all.May God give you all sterentgh to settle this issue.We love you all and pray for you.

      Andrew Mlawa
      P.O BOX 75690


  8. I believe David is absolutely wrong to attempt judgment on you. One of the most dangerous, abuse-perpetuating things we can do to each other is try to rush or change or question God's work in healing someone else. Spiritual abusers often attempt to undermine your ability to see or state the reality of your heart or your relationship with God.

    I believe the Holy Spirit is in you and leading you, Julie Anne. Your healing time line is your own. IF you have unforgiveness or bitterness or anything that would keep you from healing (which I haven't seen here), I trust that Jesus will bring that to your attention in a more gracious, loving, compelling way than any blog commenter ever could.

    Thank you for responding to Dave in such an intentional and kind way. I am proud of you for continuing to speak out against spiritual abuse in all forms, not just rail against a man. Thank you for continuing to express hope for renewal in the hearts of those who continue to practice abuse while NOT letting them off the hook. This is very difficult to do, and I pray that you will be able to continue.

    Information about abuse is a valuable resource to others who are still blind. Thank you for processing your journey openly and responding graciously to criticism.

    In related news, Frank Viola posted an AWESOME blog recently about "correcting" others and I encourage everyone to read it an examine their own hearts. I know I have often over-stepped my boundaries and tried to judge others, and this blog has helped me see that and motivated me to change: http://frankviola.org/2012/05/21/howtocorrectanother/

    Please note that I don't think responding strongly to abuse is "correcting." In fact, this list is helpful in identifying abusers and removing yourself from their authority.

    God bless!

  9. Amen! People need to be warned before they are taken captive by these abusive pastors/churches. I wish I had had this blog to warn me before I was spiritually & emotionally abused for 9 years.

  10. Dear Julie Anne,

    This is my first comment here. :-) I've followed your story and admire your courage. I would say this, in response to David's comment: when someone does something hurtful/evil and you know he is liable to do that to other people, the point is not that you do have the *right* to tell it to the world (and you certainly do have the right). The point is that you have the *duty* to do it, in order to prevent it from happening to others who are not warned. Especially if said behavior misrepresents what Christianity is and is supposed to be like.


  11. it seems like David is trying to brow beat JulieAnne into shutting up, perhaps because she is a woman, perhaps because he feels he is qualified to tell her how she 'should' feel, instead of allowing her her God given right to feel for herself.
    A little less of David would be nice, since I, too, have read most of his posts and it seems his goal is to rival anything JulieAnne posts, perhaps as a way to somehow strategically counter and shoot down her thoughts, beliefs, replies, etc... I'm not sure, but it does appear to me that he is up to something more than just being a 'caring, concerned christian observer'...

    1. David definitely has an agenda.

    2. Anonymous,

      I don't know Julie Anne or Pastor Chuck and what I have shared, I think Pastor Chuck would find it more difficult to choke down than Julie Anne.

      If there is anything in my language for you to make a presumptous statement of shutting up Julie Anne because she is a Woman, then I have been misunderstood.
      I don't think, I have written any language of trying to shut anybody up.

      I also might add that the kind of Methodology I'm concerned about, may be more abusive toward women who are considered "Doctrinal Challenges". (which is what I believe my wife endured)

      I have indicated that I would prefer Julie Anne to identify some kind of exit Strategy that would cause a truce and get this behind her.

      I have been more open about simular experiences that I have endured, than I cared to share. I was able to identify my own unforgiving heart.

      My Opinion in this matter is a lot deeper than a "Doctrinal Indifference" in a local church. I guess I also miscalculated the Grace Bible Church, maybe it was strictly local.

      The indication I got from this Blog is Julie Anne was mistreated. If you are mistreated there are 2 obvious options, either forgive or reject forgiveness. And maybe Julie Anne has already worked it out with God.
      I wasn't sure, because what I read indicated that she may still be going through alot of pain and now her former Pastor is going on the offense.

      I finally realize the problem I had, wasn't completely with my former Pastor, but the abusive Methodology he was defending that was instilled in him by an unknown Seminary he studied at. And I allowed it to get personal.

      If you are suspious of me, I'm not going to defend that because we don't even know each other.

      If I thought this site was designed to be a pep rally I would have never shared some of the simular pain I went through that is somewhat comparable to Julie Anee.
      I would never have given this site 5 minutes.

      Is suggesting a Truce trying to shut Julie Anne up?

      I have regrettably miscalulated the intent of this Blog. My intent was not to be Judgmental but to offer a way out of this mess.

      Personally I would rather see Julie Anne focus her Blog on what I believe is the real problem and that is the "Doctrinal Indifference" that is igniting the growth of abusive Methodologies sweeping into our Churches.

      In Christ

    3. David,
      If what you and your wife have been through is as bad as you say it was, and you can see and understand what JulieAnne has been through, as you say you can, shouldn't you be just a tiny bit more patient with her and not so pushy push to get her to call a truce?
      Right now there is no way she can do such a thing because she is the one being sued by her former pastor so the ball is in his court and until this thing gets BACK into the courtroom and before a judge (or unless her former pastor decides to cut the crud and knock it off!) her hands are tied.
      What if there are people out there who never would have known their own situation had it NOT BEEN FOR JULIEANNES BLOG?!
      From what I have read, there are countless others who have visited this site and gained a TON of information that they didn't have before; some of those people might now be able to see much clearer and actually be able to come up with a plan of 'escape' that they, along with their family can use to get out from a bad church..
      TO say that this site is wrong or unnecessary could very well be like saying a womans shelter for abused women and children is wrong and unnecessary so please, for the love of GOD, QUIT asking her to call a truce or take this site down; you are NOT GOD, David, and YOU do NOT KNOW WHO might be benefiting from this site that you dislike so much~
      Thank You!

  12. Answer to your question? Yes you do!
    Full of lies and malice. Reading page after page of this blog is sickening. I know neither party, but you have gone way over the edge here.

    1. Anonymous: May I ask you a favor? Please pray for me. Ask the Holy Spirit to show me where I am wrong. Thank you. I'm being completely honest. I do want to know if I have an unforgiving spirit. I don't feel that I do, but in case I'm missing something, maybe your prayers will help :)

    2. Julie Anne, I've never commented here, though I've prayed for you. I just wanted to say: what a refreshing, grace-filled response.

      God bless you. (And you too, Anonymous!)

      - René

    3. Julie Anne, your reply here is very Christ-like, so loving and grace-filled. I'm not a Christian, but I can fully appreciate behavior that reflects what the man Jesus would have displayed. I would have loved that man. Too bad religion has done so much harm to his name.

  13. Hi Julie Anne,

    I got a lot of that too...here is a post I wrote about how others unknowingly (or knowingly) apply the don't talk rule and why I refuse to be quiet.


  14. Spiritual abuse blog: Spiritualabuseinthechurch.blogspot.com

  15. Julie Anne,

    From reading your blog, you are navigating an epiphanic experience. Being brought past that point, you are now in a world with greater awareness and responsibility. Because of this, you can no longer compartmentalize your life between religion and reality. I believe the reality is that Chuck O'Neal uses Christianity to manipulate others out of as yet unknown questionable motives, he is not genuine. (Matt.7:16-17)"16)Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17)Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit."

    Personally, I made the same epiphanic journey many years ago. It's about survival, nothing more. Lack of forgiveness or guilt from such should not enter this. You should never sacrifice your family for a belief. That much is right. I find comfort in the genuine acts of kindness and empathy that I see all around me every day (doesn't matter if it's "Jesus-brand" goodness either) . I try not to dwell too much on the evil I see.

    But you should continue doing what seems right to you. When attacked, you should not go down without a fight! Christ didn't always turn the other cheek (Matt. 21:12). When you see injustice, don't back down.

  16. The Characteristics of one who Forgives...John MacArthur Philemon 4-7. Higly reccomend listening to it. Here is a portion of what he says in it

    "Unforgiveness just imprisons you in the past and for all the time that you go back to the past and regurgitate that unforgiving attitude you will accumulate in your life the tragedy of anger and hostility escalated, built on, accumulated, piled up which will rob you of the joy of living. You will go through life feeling just as bad as you do now or worse with no relief in sight. On the other hand, forgiveness opens the door and lets the prisoner out.Forgiveness sets you free from your past. As soon as you forgive it, it's gone, you're free. If you insist on remembering the offense and never forgiving it, then you allow the person to go on offending you the rest of your life and it's your fault, not theirs.
    Secondly, unforgiveness not only makes you a prisoner to your own past but unforgiveness produces bitterness. It produces bitterness. The cumulative effect of remembering without forgiveness some offense done against you no matter how brief the time or long the time is that you become a bitter person. The longer you remember the offense the more data you accumulate on it, the more recited memory you have for it the more it occupies your thinking. And the more it occupies your thinking the more it basically shapes your person. Bitterness is not just a sin, it is an infection. And it will infect your whole life. And bitterness can be directly traced to the failure to forgive. It makes you become caustic, it makes you become sarcastic. It makes you condemning. It gives you a nasty disposition, harassed by the memories of what you can't forgive, your thoughts become malignant toward others, you get a distorted view of life and you have literally diseased your whole existence. Anger begins to rage in you and it can easily get out of control. Your emotions begin to run wild. Your mind becomes the victim of that. You entertain continuing thoughts of revenge. And what happens? Even casual conversation becomes a forum for slander, a forum for gossip, a forum for innuendo against the offender and your flesh, that horrible remnant of your old self.

    1. Assuming you agree with John MacArthur.

  17. Julie Anne,

    Please know that I am going to say some harsh things but will try to say them without malice and with humility.

    1.) If you had started this blog to address your concerns with BGBC instead of using Google reviews and Dex, I believe this would be a different conversation. Ask yourself this…how many Bible believing Christians use Google/Dex reviews when looking for a church? How can a non believer know what I am looking for or need in a church?
    Most churches today have online sermons and statements of faith so that one knows what to expect when walking through the door for the first time. Using Google/Dex reviews has only served to give unbelievers more fodder for their criticism of Christ’s Church. Believers dirty laundry (and there is much of it, starting with my own wicked heart!) must be aired in front of other believers, not the general public. Chuck is obviously not choosing this route; he is bringing a lawsuit against a fellow believer.

    2.) Speaking of online statements of faith: I took a look at BGBC’s statement on spiritual authority:

    “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 (6).”

    I humbly submit to you, that when this statement is on the church’s website….you cannot call it “spiritual abuse” when the elders(pastors) exercise their authority in ALL DECISION MAKING. This is unchallenged authority! Contrast that to what Paul said:

    “Galatians 1:6-9
    English Standard Version (ESV)
    No Other Gospel
    6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.”

    Believers have responsibility to discern what is being preached from the pulpit, and can leave to the Lord the fate of anyone who would be labeled “accursed” in accordance with the verse quoted above. And certainly would not want to attend or join a church without checks and balances to pastoral authority. Do I believe that my own pastor has spiritual authority over me given to him by God? Yes indeed I do. And I happily submit to it because he has proven over and over again that he submits himself to God’s authority in every aspect of his life. I’m not saying that he is perfect…I am saying that I know that he keeps short accounts with the Lord. That is the type of elder/pastor that one can safely graze under as a well cared for sheep.

    3.) I am afraid that this label of “spiritual abuse” is opening a door into the world of
    medical definitions/diagnoses that has no place in the true church of Christ. If a pastor/elder is using his authority to hurt people or to preach “another” gospel instead of shepherding them in a Godly fashion, then he is in sin. It needs no other name. And not to minimize in ANY way the hurt that folks have suffered at the hands of a less than godly pastor, let us NEVER forget that the pastor(s) in question has/have offended a HOLY GOD. Let’s not become so wrapped up with the hurts that we have suffered. I know that personally, no human being can ever offend me as much as I have offended God.

    Meditating on the severity of the wrath of God that our Lord took upon Himself on the cross should enable us to keep even deeply painful offenses against us in perspective.

    1. #1 - I have no idea how many people or what kind of people read Google reviews. I use Google reviews frequently - for restaurants, hotels, businesses. It made perfect logical sense to post a Google review. Church webpages present an "image" of what they want to present. I'm not keen on that kind of facade - much better to visit in person.

      #2 - You would need to defer to my husband on this statement. I followed my husband there.

      #3 - If you don't identify the source of the hurts, it is pretty difficult to heal.

    2. Barbara,

      Can you list some boundaries of spiritual authority in practical terms? Authority works well when its boundaries are well defined and limited. Poorly defined authority amounts to tyranny. Would you agree?

      A traffic cop can pull you over for a driving violation on the road. He/she cannot pull you over for sporting a political bumper sticker he finds objectionable. His authority is well defined, and it works really well and keeps the roads safe when he works within the well defined boundaries. The law dictates the cop's authority, not his whims.

      I appreciate that you seek to define "spiritual abuse" in more clear terms so it doesn't get bandied around carelessly. I am with you on that. But how about "spiritual authority"? Shouldn't it to be subject to clarity? The term is very loaded to begin with, so someone needs to define it with clarity and precision.

    3. David,

      I think it boils down to one’s perception of the Sovereignty of God. After a life spent mostly refusing to see my own contribution to my “problems” (i.e. consequences of my sin) I now embrace criticisms/admonitions from others. I can finally rest in God’s care for me in the form of people He brings into my life. HE is the “Author and Perfector” of my faith. The sermon my pastor preaches each Sunday is what God has for me to learn from His word on that particular day. The friend who tells me that I’m being selfish is also acting as God’s agent. God is an ever active, ever effective Crafter of our very own customized salvation and sanctification.

      I am not certain that the paradigm of “Pastor as be all and end all” of spiritual discernment is necessarily biblical. Especially if believers neglect their own spiritual development and responsibilities by putting it all on the pastor’s shoulders. Should I value his opinion over others in matters of theology and biblical interpretation? Probably yes, because he spends 40 plus hours a week studying the Word of God. And presumably, God has called him to be a shepherd and thus gifted him with the necessary qualities for the job. At the same time, if I see inconsistencies in his life and behavior, it’s incumbent upon me to find out if I should keep entrusting the care of my soul to him or find another group of believers to fellowship with who have called a pastor with a more consistent walk.

    4. Barbara, why would another human being be entrusted with the care of your soul? What does that mean anyway in plain English?

      I am still not seeing any boundaries defined for "spiritual authority." Vague generalities should not define authority or we end up with tyranny. Even the president of the United States who occupies the most powerful office in the world is limited in what he can do and can't do by the Constitution.

    5. David,

      I think Acts 20:28 is a good explanation/answer to the question you pose. It is Paul speaking to the elders.

      “28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.”

      And, on that note…..out of respect for Julie Anne, I’m going to bow out of this side discussion as it seems there would be no end to the dialogue because our positions appear to be very far apart. God bless you.

    6. Barbara,

      I appreciate your gracious responses. Perhaps we can end this by exchanging some resources. These two are blog posts written by my fellow house church practitioner.



      I've been a part of a home church fellowship for a little over two years now. There is no paid staff, and because we don't have a building, every penny collected goes to the poor. Because the church does not have The Pastor to look to for leadership, it is up to each individual to step up to the plate and take the initiative. It's been amazing see what people can do free of trappings of institutional church and authority.

      I am looking forward to hearing from you with resources. You have the last word.

  18. "Assuming you agree with John MacArthur."

    Anonymous, I get the impression lots of people involved agree with John MacArthur, because this appears to be a 'Reformed Baptist' church or some such, as far as I can judge from their web-site. They follow an 'Elder Rule' form of church polity, which is to say an oligarchy as opposed to a democracy like most Baptist churches. Personally I think the congregational democratic self-rule of the normal Baptist polity is more Biblical, but the entire Presbyterian Church follows this form of church governance, so I can't see the point of insisting it is one man's narcissism which has led to it. Any church governed this way is going to seem less democratic and more authoritarian that a normal Baptist church, because it is is less democratic, by design. Since this pastor did not think up this form of church governance, John Calvin did, I can't see the point of personalizing the controversy. I wonder whether some of the people sending Julie Anne e-mails explaining they told the pastor to drop the law-suit actually do themselves support the 'Elder Rule' form of church governance, which is inherently elitist no matter by whom practiced.

    1. I completely agree with you on this. It was an off the cuff way to point out that quoting John MacArthur did not make something so. I also had an experience like Julie Anne's with a neo-calvinist church. So, please forgive the sarcasm but I have no respect for all the "big names" in the calvinist circles.

  19. Church leavers are often characterized as unforgiving people with sour grapes who had their feelings hurt by sleights both real and imagined. A typical scenario pegs them as unrepentant sinners who had their feelings hurt when confronted about their sins.

    My own departure from the conservative Evangelical brand of Christianity has little to do with spiritual abuse directed at me. I got tired of having "enemies." I got tired of leaving almost every church meeting with my heart full of anger at "them."

    The "them" of the day could were liberal theologians one day. The "them" were the evolutionists in the next Bible study. And then the object of scorn moved onto the Catholics. Then came the Muslims who are now the new gays. Then I got appalled at the feminists who refused to submit.

    The enemies list grew exponentially but I considered that as evidence of "discernment."

    I may harbor resentment at conservative Evangelicals, but at least my enemies list has been cut down by 99%.

  20. Soooooo, been reading the comments here. Lot's of points brought up. But, A: The carnage laying around out there is just over the top. B. How much of this stuff do you forgive and forget? C. Other leaders not taking a stand against other leaders has really put the laity in a bind here. C. Look away? I'm just really uncomfortable with that. D. Does MacArthur think maybe that it would be easier for victims of CJ Mahaney to forgive him if Mac was busy making a hero out of him?

  21. ....and another problem: in order to reconcile with these people, it usually requires lying, ie., confessing to sins that "we see, but you can't see." That would be another problem. In regard to the Mac article: the apostle Paul said to, "Be angry, but sin not." Anger in and of itself does not always lead to more anger and sin. People who don't get angry over injustice need to examine themselves. Another thing that one must remember regarding this theology is that they don't believe that there is any such thing as "righteous indignation." Since we are all totally depraved, that's impossible, and always accompanied by ill motives. And by the way, do we love Chuck by "forgiving and forgetting" his ill behavior without him repenting? Here is the test: If Julie Anne passed him or his family on the road and they needed help, would she stop and help them. Yes, I think so.

    1. Paul - this is soooo good! You are absolutely right. In order for a "truce", it would require me to lie and repent or recant whatever I have said, saying that it was false.

      I cannot lie about the truth. Everything that I have posted on the reviews/blog was true as I knew it based on information I had. I don't recall leaving negative reviews because if I have a problem with something, I try to get it resolved first. And then I would write a review that there was a problem, but the management handled it beautifully, so it actually becomes a positive review. I'm not a vindictive person. But when I saw the how horribly people were treated and how so many were walking away from their faith, something had to be done.

      There certainly was not going to be many people who would read a Google review about a church, but I thought if it helped one family to be more discerning and have more information before visiting, then at least they were forewarned. With the size of that church? Maybe 10 people??? But he couldn't leave my review alone and then lied about us being in church discipline. And it was obvious that this lie was spread to the congregation because Stephanie posted that we were in church discipline, too. That did not sit well with me. And look where we are today.

    2. To Barbara, I posted on the blog. An experience I had 2 years after leaving BGBC, and am presently being suedalthough have not been served. I don't believe it would have mattered where Julie Anne posted.
      Bullies just bully and attempt to silence their victims. This is abusive.

  22. Geez, I have a lot to say tonight. But I was just thinking. Pastor Chuck called Mac's church and got lots of counsel. In my situation, where the behavior of fairly well-known elders towards me was totally outrageous, others and I pleaded with leaders, some at MacArthur's church included, to intervene. Our pleadings (sometimes with tears) fell on deaf ears. The sheep are expendable. Enough is enough.

    1. The sheep are expendable? So sad. Yuck. You're right, enough IS enough!

  23. If history is any example, Julie, I expect you’ll still have this blog 4 years hence and still be hosting people who are still recounting their various hurts at the hands of a “ narcissistic authoritarian” at the helm of a church they left.
    I predict that is your future. You’ll not be happier for it.
    (Oh, and you’ll no longer be a member of a church anywhere though you might attend periodically.)
    America, was the land of the free but now the land of the eternal victim instead.

    1. Your comment comes across as highly cynical, Mr Brown, and I wonder what it is exactly that you yourself do/recommend for helping those who've been victimized in malignant ministries so that they can move beyond the wounds and into freedom and healing in Christ?

  24. To all of the people that are using names of hierarchy:

    Was Chuck crucified for you? Was Mac crucified for you? Discipleship is what the job of those two people should be in their preaching and teaching.

    Discipleship is not an authoritarian dictatorship, emphasizing discipline on it's members when they fall. One plants, one waters, but God makes the increase. John Mac is just a man. Chuck is just a man. Why are people quick to emphasize what John Mac preached, wrote in a book, etc., when we have the word of God, the Bible, as the authority?

    I have seen where some people say such things as "Look it up for yourself if you don't believe me". That is code for, "Trust me, and me only in knowing what I am talking about".

    This is why I do not believe in "doctrinal statements", or the such.

    I am non-denominational. In a denomination, someone else already decided what you are to believe, and you must conform to that belief, or suffer the consequences based on man made discipline (not God ordained).

    In a non-denomination, the Preacher reports, we decide. How do we decide? We search the scriptures daily to see if what the preacher said was true, or false. We study to show ourselves approved.

    In other words, we are not to take what any preacher man/woman states as the Gospel until we check it out for ourselves.

    It would be nice to see such statements as "Jesus said...", or "The Apostle Paul said...", rather than "John MacArthur said..."

    1. "Forgiveness is not trusting someone who has hurt you. And forgiveness is not neglecting justice for the oppressed."

      Hi Julie Anne, here is something I wrote about Mars Hill's call to reconciliation...along the same lines of what Debbie is saying


  25. Julie Anne,

    I've come to the realization that forgiveness is not really an across-the-board requirement for the Christian. It is so often tied to repentance of the offender. It is the case with God. Did Jesus forgive the Pharisees? Did Paul forgive Alexander the coppersmith?

    Does Matthew 18 require forgiveness? or does Jesus tell us to take it to the next step if the sinner doesn't repent? Treating a fully unrepentant sinner like a heathen and tax collector doesn't even hint of repentance. But...if your brother repents, you have won your brother.

    1. Oops, I should have written, "Treating a fully unrepentant sinner like a heathen and tax collector doesn't even hint of *forgiveness.*"

    2. Thank you Steve. Great points here.

  26. This is standard victim blaming in abusive churches. They even use against victims of sexual abuse.

    Christians can be forgiven anything if they just say some prayers, so they can get with anything. So the abuser says they've been forgiven by god and then place the burden on the victim by demanding forgiveness by them. It's sick beyond words

    1. everything you said is so true and because of that careless attitude of, 'God has forgiven me, so you have to also', more and more ppl are being driven away from christianity...

  27. Julie: You ask "Do I have an unforgiving heart?" I don't know that this matters at this point or if it is for us to judge. You have the Holy Spirit in you who can answer this question which is a question only you can answer.

    If you don't however, I don't think it matters. Forgiveness is a process. It's not a word we banter around like we do the word love. These are two words Christians throw around and really they are just words. If people were honest they would also acknowledge forgiveness is a process. To forgive too quickly or to use the word forgive simply means we push down the pain and refuse to deal with it which leads to depression or at the least prolonged anger.

    It wasn't until I was able to write on spiritual abuse and the pain of it that I could begin the process of forgiving. It's like death, no one can tell you how long to grieve and I don't think anyone can tell you when to forgive. It will come when it comes. All in the healing process and in God's good timing.

    1. That's good, Debbie. That's exactly what I believe about forgiveness - that it's a process. I feel like I'm in a pretty good place right now. Yesterday in court, there was no ill feelings whatsoever toward anyone from the church. I felt at peace. That's a nice place to be. One thing that has always helped me is to separate the sin from the person. We hate the sin, but never the sinner.

  28. Steve Scott,

    Yep. People want to bring the gospel into it. Ok, how did God forgive us? When we repented. Does God acknowledge that we have enemies? Yes. What's an enemy? This would seem evident: somebody that we are unreconciled with. We are to love our enemies and as much as it depends on us, be at peace with all people which doesn't = compromise and putting others at risk. Doing good to our enemies serves as opportunities to be reconciled, but we don't grant forgiveness where their is no repentance. God doesn't even do that.

  29. Even David rebuked Saul - and so many take that "Touch not God's anointed" to mean you can never speak about what someone is doing. Saul was God's anointed king, and He was removing him - but David would not kill him. It did not mean he would not speak truth about what Saul was doing wrong. There are several people who could have come to us and told us not to choose the pastor due to this, and this, and this ... but they followed the "don't talk" rule. SO MUCH PAIN could have been avoided. These pastors have been able to continue their bullying because they know that in the church - people are going to follow the "don't talk" rule. I hope that this makes for a different atmosphere where they can no longer abuse so readily, and so that people in abusive churches will be able to recognize it sooner. If we could think in terms of a child who is being assaulted at home - and to her, she thinks this is normal. Then she sees a commercial on TV describing abuse and saying "call this number ..." and for the first time she begins to recognize that the feeling in her gut that something is just wrong is correct. I think that this could bring a HUGE change. And me - I believe we are in the end days, and that judgment will come first to the church. There is so much wrong in the church right now - might it get turned right upside down and set right! Also, David sees the bigger picture different than you. I would say that YOU - Julie - are the one who has to determine the ministry that God is laying on your heart. And I would also say that pastors that abuse their authority cross all denominations and doctrines. It has to do with their heart. A charasmatic pastor might use the "God told me" card. A hyper-Calvinist might use the "If you are saved, then THIS is how you act" card. And there are many different cards, depending on the abuse of the doctrine - not necessarily the doctrine itself. Although, there is one truth - and personally, I think that everybody has it just a bit wrong. I say that not because I think that *I* have the corner on truth, but just knowing that mankind is flawed, and we try to put God in our own box. But the closer the man is to Christ, the more he will live humility - and this control thing has no place there. They are not to "lord their authority" but have a servants heart - like Christ. Enough said - I'm rambling now. Carry on :)

  30. I have wrapped up my thoughts on this issue here: http://wp.me/pmd7S-1x5

    1. And those are very good thoughts, Paul!

  31. Anonymous,

    I thought a Hyper-Calvinst will verbally emphasize:
    "If he doesn't see enough persecution and suffering for Jesus sake, if you aren't serving at your fullest capacity, if you have more than you need, (even owning a home in some cases) while professing the Gospel and knowing that Jesus died for your sins and you have assurance of salvation, that your salvation is questionable"

    And then the Hyper-Calvinst will flip it around and say:
    "even if you are suffering, going through persecution for Jesus, serving God at your fullest capacity, if you are frugle and meek and you profess the Gospel and have fully surrendered your life to Jesus, believing and accepting that Jesus died for your sins and you have assurance of salvation, you still might not be saved"

    A Sin, Guilt, Works and doubt based theology.

    The Hyper-Calvinist will emphasize why everybody is going to hell because of sin but lack balance of redemption of our sins through the blood of Jesus, thereby holding their Congregation captive in Sin.

    I'm under the impression that some Hyper-Calvinist theology is centered around an emphasis of "Elect" and "Non-Elect" doctrine.
    They will present the Gospel in a way in preserving their interpretation of the "Elect and Non-Elect".
    The abuse gets out of hand when by appearence they are doing what the Pharisee's did to the Sinner and Tax Collector, Judging and not forgiving, lacking redemtive balance holding them Captive to Sin.
    (another words the Pharisee's openly interpretted themselves as the "Elect" and the Tax Collector as the Non-Elect"

    If the "Elect" already have salvation they must be "Spiritually well already" and the "Non-Elect" are "permanently spiritually sick" having no hope, so it wouldn't be possible to lead them to Christ.

    Is this a reason why you won't see any (or minimal) invitations of making a decision for Christ in a Hyper-Calvinist Church.
    Why have a "Non-Elect" attendee make a decision for Christ?

    The Pharisee's who were legalistic in Luke 5:31 were described as "whole" and the Sinner as "sick" by Christ.

    In Luke 5:31, The Pharisee's held the Sinner and Tax Collector captive in their Sins and rebuked Christ for ministering to them. Christ responded
    "they that are whole need not a physician but they that are sick"

    Why were the Pharisee's so blind practicing foreknowledge on the Sinner and Tax Collector while judging and unwilling to forgive them?

    Are some modern day Christian Churches and their Congregations doing the same thing today?

    Are we in some sense doing the same thing making personal judgments that is either good, bad or neutral toward others?

    I think the problem we are facing in churches today is conflicting Methodologies and Interpretations of how to present the Gospel.

    If we choose attending a church that embraces an aggressive form of New or Hyper Calvinism and we don't even have partial understanding of their "Methodology", you may have problems.

    Some Hyper and New Calvinistic Preachers are endoctrinated to present the Gospel in a Method that is agressive and sometimes retaliatory in order to protect the Holy Bible if they detect competitive interpretations.

    Another words if you are going to be a "Doctrinal Challenge" to this Methodology you are going to be "rebuked" and if you are unresponsive eventually "shunned".

    These Preachers (or Messengers) are protecting their Methodologies the way they have been trained.

    On a larger scale why not dispute the source where this Methodology is being taught instead of getting personal with a messenger?

    I think Julie Anne and Pastor Chuck need to call a truce.

    In Christ
    Sophia and a certain Anonymous please consider my 5/22/12 at 4:11 p.m. response to you.

    1. I thank God for Julie Anne who is standing up for all of us who have been severely harmed by spiritually abusive pastors and elders. Rape of a persons soul (which is what spiritual abuse is) is every bit as harmful, if not more so, than the physical rape of the body. There should be no 'truce' in court for a 'soul rapist', just like there is no 'truce' in court for a 'physical rapist'.

  32. I will hereon call myself Beloved in Recovery to assign a name to my comments.

    David, you seem to have the abuse in the Hyper Calvinist camp down pat. But that is only one camp. As told in my 6:38 response, abuse from authority is in much more than this hyper Calvinist camp. I don't see this blog as being about Julie's experience - that is simply the launch. This is about spiritual abuse. I would say that when Julie and her husband sought mediation, and her former pastor refused - that put the ball in his court. So it isn't what Julie and her former pastor need to do - but what her pastor needs to do. He has already been advised by MacArthur's church to drop the lawsuit. And he used MacArthur's church to sort of - justify himself (initially). Now he uses John Calvin, as per his press release. The ball is in his court. Julie is simply protecting herself legally by going to court to have the charges dropped. It isn't her against him. It is her protecting herself and others in response to his attacks. As an observer, that is how I see it.

    Attacking the methodologies (your bigger picture) would not do as much as I see Julie's blog doing. Your bigger picture is only a subset of a much bigger picture.

    As I mentioned, in the Charismatic circles, you have pastors or other leadership stating "God told me ..." In the Gothard churches, which go across the board in the denominations, you have an unquestioning YES to authority no matter what. The pastor is the last word. Period. I know plenty of Gothard churches that are not Calvinist. And not Charasmatic. That just covers a few instances.

    Basically, abuse comes from any pastor who wants to control his flock for financial purposes, narcissistic purposes (because he can and he deserves it), for an misguided understanding of the word of God, for whatever reason - he wants to control. He feels insecure about losing congregants. He feels like a "real" shepherd and builds a fence around a fence around a fence to keep his sheep in and the world out. But it is beyond anything God ever intended, and like the Pharisees, God would have harsh words for that shepherd. "You bind up heaven against men, and you're not even going in yourself!" "White washed sepulchres."

    I stand by what I said. There is a bigger picture. You see a subset of that picture very clearly, and it is valid. But there is so much more. And this blog deals with that, in my opinion.

  33. Anonymous 1208, you explain the methodology issues very well, especially for those of us who may be considered outsiders. Thank you.

    David, maybe you need to set up your own blog about your specific concerns. There are probably many who share your methodology concerns and would appreciate a forum for discussing them. It appears to be something you are very passionate about.

    I understand you desperately want Julie Anne's situation resolved to your satisfaction. God is at work here though, and I realize that may be uncomfortable for you. I am sorry.

  34. David,

    I have a question for you. Could it be possible you are wrong? Could it be that Chuck is guilty of spiritual abuse, that it's not just a difference in doctrine, and therefore a truce is not possible?

  35. Julie Anne: I have meditated on this post and the responses, as well as studying the Book of James as sets forth many benchmarks in this area.

    The retaliatory actions by Beaverton Grace Bible Church against you and your family, and to significant numbers of members of other Christian churches who have been arbitrarily and harshly "disfellowshipped", "excommunicated", "shunned", sued for alleged defamation, and mentally abused by totalitarian-focused church leaders, have deeply troubled me.

    I will not deny that your story, compounded by dozens of other stories of church abuse that I have begun learning about, has left me very worried about the possibility that my own church - which at this time seems to have a relatively "sane" approach to member relations - could at an unknown point in the future be "taken over" by devotees of ecclesiastical totalitarianism (which would be my polite characterization of the governance practiced at BGBC).

    I have actually started losing sleep at night lately worrying about the proliferation of extremely radical, dogmatic, in-your-face theology in American churches that underscores the notion that the decisions and teachings of a pastor and church elders cannot under any circumstances be questioned or challenged.

    Frankly, the whole topic of "abusive churches" is starting to raise some painfully difficult questions for myself, as to whether any Christian faith community is a "safe place" for learning and practicing basic discipleship skills as taught in the Bible.

    Maybe I'm over-reacting, but just had to get this off of my chest. -RB

    1. I'm glad you got that off your chest, RB. Now your comment has me stewing and I think this will be part of a new post soon. This aspect must be discussed. Maybe that loss of sleep was not in vain. Stay tuned. Thank you for sharing your heart. This is good.

  36. "Where there is no counsel, the people fall, BUT in the multitude of counselors there is safety." Proverbs 11:14
    "Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, BUT afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel. Plans are established by counsel; by wise counsel wage war." Proverbs 20:17-18
    "Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; Lest the Lord sees it, and it displease Him, And He turn away His wrath from him." Proverbs 24:17
    This is a war of powers and principalities, not flesh and blood. I am grateful you have counsel during this trying time, as do I. Who would want to be falsely accused or horrendous crimes against God and man~however I do believe there are 2 perceptions to the same reality. "Allegations" of abuse, makes me wonder why this comes up...if said individual would have made the moral and ethical call to DHS they would not have darkened his doorstep. Instead I see blaming and a war waged that is personal...there was abuse going on and the decision to not report it.
    God will not be mocked, He will not leave us nor forsake us.
    "He has shown you, O man, what is good;
    And what does the Lord require of you
    but to do justly,
    To love mercy,
    AND to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8
    There have been attempts by godly men, pastors to bring this matter to an end and reconcile...but someone else has no desire for that to happen. Makes me wonder why, but I desire to walk humbly with my God and not shrink back. He will conquer and has conquered sin and death.

    1. That is the exact verse that came to mind this weekend before the hearing. I love Micah 6:8. It is so good!

      I cannot control the "other" side, I can only be responsible for my words and actions. I want to continue to be humbly, to love mercy and do justly!

      Thank you!

  37. "I think, when the focus of your Blog alters away from the negatives you experienced from your former Pastor and Grace Bible Church, healing will take place. I seems like things are getting too personal for healing to take place.
    For me I had to stop venting and replaying the things my Pastor did to me and our church. When that finally happened I went from two hours sleep a night to 7 hours a night."

    Let's just assume you're right David...So what you're saying David is that healing is "up to Julie." Perhaps this is how she is 'healing'? Is that how God works? Waiting for us to take initiative? To heal ourselves? If that's the God you serve I have to wonder what Bible you're reading.

    I do think it's wise for Julie to keep in mind that this may never be resolved to her satisfaction. In fact, often when we get what we 'want' we find we aren't satisfied. But I don't see her as wanting anything punitive from the pastor. She wants him to repent and/or just leave her alone to have her own opinions which she is free in this country to publish. That alone speaks volumes about her level of 'healing' in this. She seems gracious and well balanced, far more so than I am in ordinary life when things are going well.


    Sure, we all need to forgive those who have wronged us. She seems already to have done that and is now compelled to keep working out the ramifications of dealing with an unrepentant jerk and in love, warning others to keep away from him. But there will always be gluttons for punishment who won't listen.

    I'm off to listen to some Chuck ONeal sermons to refresh my memory. I did a little in May when all this first came out, and they weren't particularly inspiring to me... really law-focused, surprise surprise... when you have a pastor focused on how to be a godly person (LAW), it's not really a stretch to see that he's going to redouble his efforts at applying LAW instead of grace/gospel when you don't match up to it in his mind.


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