Tuesday, May 15, 2012

MacArthur's Statement

Our former pastor, Chuck O'Neal, said in a Google review (now removed) that a pastor from Grace Community encouraged him to sue us.  This is the public response from John MacArthur/Grace Community via The Wartburg Watch blog.  Dee, thanks for posting the information. 

"In a story currently circulating on the Internet, a claim is being made that the elders of Grace Community Church (John MacArthur, Pastor) advised a church in another state to file a defamation lawsuit against a former member.
For the record, we would not approve of such a lawsuit, for multiple reasons.

'First, Scripture expressly teaches that it is better to be defrauded than to take a fellow Christian to court: "Does any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous and not before the saints? . . . It is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded?" (1 Corinthians 6:7). Here is what John MacArthur says about that passage:

Christians who take fellow Christians to court lose spiritually before the case is heard. The fact that they have lawsuits at all is a sign of moral and spiritual defeat (hettema, a word used of defeat in court). A believer who takes a fellow believer to court for any reason always loses the case in God's sight. He has already suffered a spiritual defeat. He is selfish, and he discredits the power, wisdom, and work of God, when he tries to get what he wants through the judgment of unbelievers.
The right attitude of a Christian is to rather be wronged, to rather be defrauded, than to sue a fellow Christian. It is far better to lose financially than to lose spiritually. Even when we are clearly in the legal right, we do not have the moral and spiritual right to insist on our legal right in a public court. . . .

. . . If we cannot convince the brother to make things right, and if he will not listen to fellow believers, we are better off to suffer the loss or the injustice than to bring a lawsuit against him. "Do not resist him who is evil," Jesus commanded, "but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone wants to sue you, and take your shirt, let him have your coat also" (Matt. 5:39-40). Contrary to the world's standard, it is better to be sued and lose than to sue and win. Spiritually, it is impossible for a Christian to sue and win. When we are deprived wrongfully we are to cast ourselves on the care of God, who is able to work that for our good and His glory. [The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: 1 Corinthians (Chicago: Moody, 1984), 139-40.]

, Jesus was very clear about what Christians should do even when we are vilified by unbelievers: "Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad" (Matthew 5:11-12). "Do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also" (vv. 39-40).'

That is our official position, and it is not merely theoretical. Having been at times targets of malicious slander in various gossip-forums on the Internet, we do appreciate the frustration of dealing with relentless character assassination.
But the example we were given to follow by Christ Himself deals with exactly such situations: "While being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously" (1 Peter 2:23)."
Phil Johnson- Elder, Grace Community Church

Ok.  This pretty much confirms everything we know to be true about John MacArthur's teachings on the subject.  There's nothing different there.

But it still doesn't answer the question:  did anyone from Grace Community encourage/suggest/advise Pastor Chuck O'Neal to sue us?  I can't find the answer to that in the public response.

I hope Bill Shannon will respond to my e-mail.  I keep checking. 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Side note:  I am getting quite a few e-mails about donations to help with our legal fees.  I would like to thank all of those who have asked.  It warms our hearts to know that you want to support in a real practical way.  Thank you so much!!

Does anyone know how this can work with regard to taxes, etc, and how to easily facilitate this process? 


  1. I would suggest you ask your lawyer how to set that up.

  2. I would suggest that the following quote above answers the question as to whether anyone from GCC advised Chuck to sue:

    "For the record, we would not approve of such a lawsuit, for multiple reasons."

    Whether some individual did so on his own, without church sanction, is another question.

  3. I would be quite shocked if it was any of the pastoral staff at Grace Community that would advocate filing lawsuits. It does`nt fit with what John MacArthur teaches and stands for. You can have your attorney raise that question in discovery.

    1. There is no discovery once an anti-SLAPP motion is filed. You can be sure it will be asked if the case goes beyond the anti-SLAPP motion.

  4. I doubt you will receive an answer to that question other than what has been stated. They will never admit it, and as mentioned above - if someone did, it was likely off the cuff and unsanctioned. Even if they chase the guy down and he admits to this, I highly doubt it will be something admitted to publically. Ever. I predict that your former pastor will back down, and MacArthur's church will hope this all disappears with the sunset. If your former pastor chooses not to back down, then clearly his pride has the better of him and his fall will be harder still.

  5. Probably discuss it with your lawyer but I believe you can setup an account at your bank for a "fund" that people can contribute to.

  6. Set up an account with PayPal and put a donate button on your blog.

    As for taxes and such your attorney should be able to advise you about that.

  7. I just saw this story on fox today and couldn't believe it. So this pastor is trying to sue you over a bad review. The Beaverton Grace Bible Church reviews on Google are now flooded with negative reviews and outcry. Someone got run over by the karma train! I just hope this experience hasn't hindered your faith in Christ. There are good church homes out there.

  8. " doubt you will receive an answer to that question other than what has been stated. They will never admit it, and as mentioned above - if someone did, it was likely off the cuff and unsanctioned. Even if they chase the guy down and he admits to this, I highly doubt it will be something admitted to publically. "

    Exactly. We can tell from Phil Johnson's statement they are more worried about McArthur's reputation than they are Julie Ann for being sued. She is not even mentioned in passing. Yet Phil laments about their own "mistreatment". So typical of the small minded narcissistic celebrities.

  9. Over 300 negative reviews for The Beaverton Hypocrite Church. keep 'em coming!

  10. I don't know about taxes, but you can put a PayPal donate button on your blog. You can also set up a project through IndieGoGo (http://www.indiegogo.com/) where people can pledge money.

  11. Julie, I'm sure your attorney is looking at this, but if this goes beyond the anti-SLAPP motion, there is definite case law in other states where churches have been successfully sued for defamation of character and slander for making statements from the pulpit with regard to actions of discipline after the person involved has withdrawn their membership from the church.

    Separation of church and state many no longer apply as a defense when the former member is no longer a part of the church and is therefore not bound by church law. Public statements from the pulpit and possibly (my opinion) in the case of making a public statement on an online review site by the pastor or a church representative may well put the church at greater risk of a successful lawsuit against them than the frivolous suit that has been filed against you.

    Removing such statements from the site doesn't erase their footprint from the internet.

    I'm not an attorney. I worked in the past as a church administrator, and district business manager and part of my job was to stay current with church tax and law developments. I don't know Oregon state law. If your attorney isn't looking already, there's definitely prior precedent for consideration if this pastor mentioned you by name or clear inference from the pulpit or in a public forum after you and you family left membership within the church.

    A counter-suit is definitely something that should be considered if this apparent religious bully wants to see how the legal system he's appealed to works with regard to slander and defamation of character.

  12. Father Chuck is a real piece of work.

  13. This may seem crazy to most Christians, but you might want to reach out to the atheist community. Generally speaking, we are very very pro-free speech and really can make the world very uncomfortable for people who try to stifle it.

  14. Surviving the Ignorant Uncorrectables
    By Robert Winkler Burke
    Book #5 of In That Day Teachings
    Copyright 10/16/09 www.inthatdayteachings.com

    Sad to say,
    And it gives me no pleasure,
    Some leaders,
    This moment, this hour…

    Ignorant of yesterday’s blood-sacrifice lessons,
    Ignorant of ancient time-tested truths,
    Ignorant of how great-indwelt of God man can be,
    Proclaiming famed intellect is their ruse.

    Until mugged, the mugger’s great champion,
    Until enslaved, the slave shackler,
    Until humbled by man, God and Devil,
    The cause of epic human disaster.

    The deniers of the greatest revelation,
    That God lives in man, His creation,
    The propagandist of the greatest lie,
    Survival of fittest means others must die.

    Unenlightened, ignorant uncorrectables must live,
    All lesser others must die?
    That the indwelt of good depopulate earth themselves,
    And never ask why?

    The ignorant uncorrectables,
    Have an amazing blandishment trick,
    They, being deceived, deceive well,
    Diseasing multitudes yet appearing not sick.

    Ages come,
    And ages go,
    Fiat paper worthless,
    Gold always gold.

    Why rail against darkness,
    When gross darkness has completely now come?
    Batten down the hatches,
    Behold, oh world: Job’s unavoidable storm!

    Not to prove you or I are right,
    Or that the uncorrectables are wrong,
    But that in self-restraint is liberty,
    A lesson seven billion must learn strong.

    Even if just half of the people of the world,
    Believed in Lincoln’s, Jefferson’s and Moses’ precept,
    Mutual dedication to self-restraint,
    Then in liberty man would have his best days yet.

    But first the mad uncorrectables,
    Must rule and ruin their aureate roost,
    To disabuse the world of lies,
    And give peace on earth its best boost.

    Sanctimony dies hard,
    Lies die harder,
    But not all death is vain,
    Truth lives farther.

  15. The fact that these guys refuse to talk to anyone, make any statement, etc. just shows how cowardly and absolute scum they are. You should not have any doubt that you will win this lawsuit. In fact, my guess is that everything will be dropped in the first 5 minutes in the court room and that those pastors will have their hands slapped, but good.

    I know how deep your religious convictions are and I totally respect your depth of conviction. I agree that you might want to explore churches and religious organizations that respect a wide variety of thoughts and beliefs and encourage whatever path you find toward your own truth. TRUTH and peace can be found in Christianity. It can also be found in other religions... or in no religion at all. In my opinion, all roads to truth are honorable and true, as long as The Golden Rule is followed. That is my religion. No wars have been fought over it and no one has EVER been harmed by it. I can't think of any "formal" religion that can say that.

    The pastors at that church certainly haven't followed The Golden Rule, let alone any Christian rule of compassion and love. They can NOT be called men of God, for sure!

    I admire your strength, Julie Anne. Hugs to you and to Hannah.


    1. Evidently he finally is speaking. Go check out msnbc.com and I've been told he issued a press release.

      Thanks, Carol

    2. msnbc!? This thing is blowing up. The MacArthur Organization's statement is showing itself to be true. Chuck is showing himself to be spiritually and ethically defeated, and now the world is finding out about him. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. Good job Chuck.

  16. Hello! I just saw the article at msnbc and I just wanted to stop by and lend my support.
    I figured out a long time ago that I'm agnostic, but I've also learned that when Jesus's words are actually followed, the world is a better place.
    Please stay strong and know that you have many local neighbors who support you.


    1. Hi Julie,
      My husband and I were both forced to attend abusive churches. Two sisters were sexually abused and the church elders swept it under the rug. I am referring to anal rape with a confession. But he was a country club church member. My mother was talked into being a "good Christian" and letting the church handle it. Please hold your head high and know that you are representing millions who are forever emotionally traumatized from bully pulpits. THANK YOU.

  17. Please don't make these kinds of statements unless you are completely serious. This is a very dire accusation and not to be taken lightly. I don't like Chuck myself but comments like this coming from a person who's profile states that their occupation is, and I quote, "doing ur mom", is both inappropriate and counterproductive to what is being address on this blog.

  18. I certainly agree with Anonymous above. Heywood, if what you are saying is true, then report it to authorities. I have issues with the way Chuck O'Neal pastors his church, but I have never, NEVER heard of him sexually abusing anyone. Let me be clear on that.

  19. I read the story On MSN about the lawsuit, which saddens me to hear one proclaiming to know Jesus yet their actions are nothing like Jesus. But it seems God is working hard on your behalf to bring the truth to light. Also the idea of working with the muslims isn't really a bad idea, My church here just outside of Memphis called "Heartsong" has worked with our muslims neighbors very often and we are building a park together called "Friendship Park" to connect our two properties. Two years ago, when across the country People we out protesting the building of Islamic rec. centers and mosques, we were all having thankgiving dinner with our muslim neighbors. Our prayers are with you.

  20. I would like to give you my support in your endeavour to expose this type of but to abuse that goes on too frequently in churches,I myself has been manipulate in believing that something that was totally false. God does not show favoritism he leads me ,But this was more like brainwashing.


  21. Anonymous stands with you. We shall crush the Beaverton Church.

  22. Hi Julie Anne,

    Hey, I like your new photo! I am delighted that my new article for my website has just been posted by my techie pal. This article looks at spiritual abuse from the experience of the blind man who was healed by Jesus in John 9.

    This article is entitled: Can the Blind Lead the Spiritually Abused?
    I think that the insights from this passage are pertinent to what happens to many people today. Enjoy.


    1. Yes, another Diva we know suggested it when I told her I was laughing at how news sites took a still from video to use for their photo. Ok, I'm not really thaaaaat vain, but must they publish pictures of me with my mouth opened as I am in the midst of saying a word? At least now, if they come to my website, I can offer something I like :) haha

    2. I want to let my readers know that Barb was among the first to reach out to me and show support. She "hooked" me up with an amazing group of friends who support each other in bringing awareness to spiritual abuse. It has been a blessing to be connected with such a group and I have greatly appreciated their prayers and support.

  23. "Smith, who used to play piano at the Beaverton church, said she and her family were asked to leave the congregation in November 2008, but it was almost a year before she took her grievances online. Church leaders, however, deny ever asking the Smiths to leave and claim her family left of their own accord."

    From the MSNBC article.

    Church leaders are lying.

    1. Yea, I saw that . . . . . . don't agree.

    2. RDixon - Thank you for the other message, too. Got it :)

    3. Oh, look what I found: http://bgbcsurvivors.blogspot.com/2012/02/chucks-reviews-of-me-on-google-and.html

      It sure appears that Chuck biblically put us out as he stated on his own review.

  24. All you have to do is click on Heywood's name and you'll see it's bogus...FYI

  25. WOW! I saw this article on MSNBC earlier this morning and have been reading your blog ever since! I was touched by the story of your daughter and her leaving, that placed the seed of doubt in you about this chuch. I was raised in a small town in TX and went to a Southern Baptist Church every time the doors were opened and while I met wonderful people and life long friends, I can see where some of their teachings and beliefs were down right backwards. Fast forward 40 years. I have been able to travel and see other places and what a big big place it is!

    Our generation's children are growing up being exposed to many, many things and much available information. I think the sooner some of these antiquated, hell-fire and brimstone churches and their teachings realize this the better off they will be. They are going to lose young people in droves. Fortunately, my parents had enough common sense not to completely smother me with this religion (as some parents did), but let me learn and choose what to do in my heart. I know that Jesus is the son of God...isn't that what it's all about?

    How many times did you have to hear the story about the prodigal son?? I can only imagine...I love how people take snippits of scripture and use them for their own benefit. And when you really think about it, the Bible was written by men, edited by men and who knows what their intentions were, but I have faith that Jesus was a good and just teacher and I like to think he had the best intentions for his followers. My husband was raised Roman Catholic and we couldn't get married in the Catholic church because I had been married before. My hubby questioned a family friend, a priest, and the priest told him "There's a bunch of old guys in Rome that make up the rules". The bible doesn't say anything about getting a marriage 'annulled'...what would that make my kids? Illegitimate? Silly!! Anyway, I'm praying for you and your family and also for Chuck...seems like he's let himself go to his head! Loved the 'Men Shouldn't wear Pink' blog! I have a red-headed son too and he looks fantastic in Pink!

  26. Standing up for what you believe can be very hard, seeking the truth can be even harder, but faith is both rolled up into one. God is working for you and with you hun. Keep strong, this is going to benefit you and hopefully enlighten many to the truth.

  27. Just goes to show that any church can become a cult or at the very least, cultlike. I have been through this myself almost 10 years ago. I read the article on MSN and just wanted to encourage you to keep up the fight. I was shunned or "marked" by the church I attended. The pastor told outright lies on me that he later apologized for. I too took to the internet to speak out on any forum about the church, became a volunteer to provide support for people leaving the church and even contributed to news articles about this Christian cult. I have never felt safe or felt like I could trust any church again. I am still a believer and hope to overcome this one day. I don't want others to go through what I experienced. Churches like this can be so damaging. They give the illusion of winning souls for Christ but in many cases end up doing the work of the devil by discouraging people from believing in God or from fellowship. I will definitely check back and click adds for support. It is the least I can do.

  28. So from what little I know about the law, isn't the pastor required to sue everyone who makes a negative comment on the Internet? It's impossible to prove you caused the negative effect if several hundred others have also contibuted to the negative effect (including his very public lawsuit). And btw, his mass email I received about why he's right hasn't helped his cause.

    I hope you'r lawyer has suggested a counter suit in the form of harassment so you can at least pursue your legal fees.

    This church looks extremely IFB, which is my background. Cult is an understatement!!

    Stay strong,
    Melissa fletcher
    Cult survivor

    1. We are at a non denominational Church after leaving another Church that experienced terrible issues when a new pastor came on and was clearly in love with himself. Disagreement equated to disloyalty. Yet there were many dedicated Christians at that Church who were unable to deal with the pastoral issues, as was the national organization.

      This is not a cult. It is a church devoid of hearing the Gospel. It lacks strong elders who are the true heart of a Church and are needed to shepherd a pastor as well as a congregation. Perhaps the best news is that the attacks on you are bringing to light the opportunity to address issues long ignored.

      This is not a problem with Christianity. Christian Churches offer hope with a humble heart. Pretenders threaten. Perhaps the congregation should meditate on Luke 10:27.

      You are in our prayers.

  29. My prayers go out to those who have been negatively impacted by the actions of Mr O'neal and anyone like him...

    I personally know someone going through similar spiritual abuse and suffering very similar to what's going on here. The funny thing is the church at issue also follows and deeply supports John MacArthurs works and opinion. If you do some research, you'll find that many others accuse Grace Community Church of advocating similar tactics towards those who "ask questions.". If you read some of the cult forums out there, there is specific mention to Grace Community Church and how they counsel other Pastors to do the same as Chuck O'Neal... I'm not certain but I wouldn't at all be surprised if Grace advocated Chuck O Neal to sue and then turned there back on him when this went public... Regardless, I hope the truth comes out about GraceCommunity Church's Involvement in Mr ONeals decision to sue...


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