Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Why is this important?

The overwhelming amount of e-mail I have been getting lately is very supportive.  However, every once in a while I get a question that is not so encouraging, like the one below.  I already responded, but this person may speak for others who are wondering the same thing.   

This is blog about those who have been in spiritually abusive churches.  This is about those who right now are stuck, maybe afraid to ever step one foot in church again.  This is about those who are trying to sort out what they went through and figure out what's next.  This is a place to learn about spiritual abuse and get support.  I have a lot of readers dropping lately.  Who will chime in and inform this person and others who are wondering why I do this? 

The thought coming to mind when reading your story and some of the blog is why.  It seems to me your extended relationship to the church was like leaving with a church load on your back and over time dumping a little off here and there.  The only thing I became aware of for a person who left the church a couple of years ago is an individual who wants to be right.  Why should you care about people who shun you since you can get involved in something else and make new friends. 


  1. Maybe this blog post says it best:

  2. You speak the truth in love. You speak the truth hoping to spare someone else from the pain. Obviously this person finds it easy to leave friends and maybe that's because he/she doesn't have any or can't get close to people.

    We are angry, yes, about these kinds of abuses. If these people think you are doing wrong, and think you should really just be quiet and let it go, why do they feel compelled to write to you and rebuke YOU for doing what you think is right. They are only condemning themselves when they essentially 'judge you for judging.'

    It's very sad, really, that you end up continuing to be accused and constantly having your motives questioned no matter what you do, even by other believers, but that is in fact the life of a believer.

    Surely we all ought to examine our motives continually to make sure that we are doing things rightly, but if we are honest, we know that we are always of mixed motive. As long as we are alive we will not be perfect in anything we do. Thanks be to God that we have forgiveness in Christ for our sins.

  3. OK, I just posted the link to an article - My Personal Response To “Why Don’t You Just Move On?!”

    I also want to add ...

    Imagine a child who has been bullied all his life. He wonders, "Maybe it IS me." He knows that the bully is wrong, but you begin to believe it. It changes you, and your perception of yourself and everything you are involved in. The bully has a profound impact on your life, and on everything that touches your life. And you think that you are the only one.

    Then one day somebody stands up and says "I've been bullied. I learned how to stand up and speak out, and this is how I did it."

    You are blown away. But then another person stands up, and still another. You are not alone at all. It isn't just you! But all those voices in your head - so destructive. It takes time, with others who've been through it.

    Whether you are the one blogging about it, or the one on the reading end - the ministry is so important.God is there.

    Yesterday I was praying about confusion over my own spiritual abuse at the hands of a pastor/bully. Today I am different because of Julie's story. It is hard to explain how somebody simply sharing what they went through can reach into your heart and change you - but it is real. It is the body of Christ - each part supplies something. Sometimes healing is necessary. Right now, due to bullies in the pulpit, MUCH healing is necessary all over the body of Christ. So this is a huge help.

  4. Did you hear the one about Republican Jesus?

    He healed the money changers and cast the poor and opressed from the temple.

  5. Why is this blog important? Because of people like me! I stumbled on this site a couple of days ago when I saw a news article dealing with the lawsuit. My wife and I were part of the Pentecostal Holiness Church at a time when the Charismatic movement was well underway.

    Long story short, we were being fed "bread and water" at the PH church so we left there and went to a "Charismatic" Baptist church where we were subjected to control and manipulation from the pulpit and board members. Left there and went to a number of churches just looking for a place that would let God simply be God without 'man' having to control every single aspect of worship. Haven't found it yet...but I'm convinced it's out there, somewhere.

    Bottom line is, at every church we attended, we came away "wounded" in some form or fashion by "Christians" (and I use the term loosely) who bullied us, controlled us, manipulated us and shunned us. We were convinced there was something wrong with US...until the truth started to come out about the affairs (Music "Pastor" and Assoc. Pastor's wife), the money spent under the table (to keep said affairs quiet), the attitudes toward women, 'church' politics, and many others. We finally realized it WASN'T us, it was THEM all along! WE WERE RIGHT!

    My wife and I had to work through all this stuff alone...there was nobody there but God to help us sort it out. We're on the other side of it now and a lot wiser and MUCH happier!!

    That's why this is important! For folks like me!

    1. This is why my "religion" is The Golden Rule. All the crap you describe would never happen if everyone made just doing unto others as they'd want done to them their way of life (their "religion," if you will). I don't think there's a single institution with more corruption than the (collective) CHURCH.

      I see so much pain because people are TOLD what to believe, how to act, who to trust, who to shun. Think for yourselves, people! Do what's right -- religion or no religion. God or no god. Just be good people. You don't need religion to tell you how to do that. In your heart, you already know how.

  6. I know that at first on my blog I began to speak out because I needed to process, ask forgiveness and understand all that happened to me. For years I did not put my name to it (I was terrified they would find me) nor my church's name to it.

    My next step was to own my own name. I put my name to it as an act of courage. I was beginning to trust that I could see truth.

    The last step was only taken in the last few months. Finally after hearing of abuse time and time again and meeting with people who had left hurt, broken and some not wanting anything more to do with God coupled with the fact that our local newspaper had just done a GLOWING piece on our former pastor and then coupled with the fact that again one more family had been thrown out, shunned and totally trashed, I decided that enough was enough.

    If I did not warn people of what I KNEW was going on there and the potential of devastation of their lives and souls then I was partially to blame.

    Yes you can walk away. But when abuse is happening and keeps happening sometimes the only thing you can do is to tell your story and the stories of others in hopes that it will stop or people will be forewarned.

    We have no way of physically stopping people from attending these churches but we don't have to be silent.

    1. I like the part about owning your name. In my original review on Google, I thought it was posted as a User ID name. When I came back to look at it, "Julie Anne" had posted. I thought about changing it and then I said to myself, "NO! I stand behind my name and what I am saying." It remember feeling something deep inside me when I realized what I was doing. Wow - to think back on that after all of theses years and where it has gone. Very powerful.

      Barb, thanks for taking me back to the Google review origins and also sharing your story. That is so important! So glad to be part of your team!

  7. "Why should you care about people who shun you since you can get involved with something else and make new friends?"

    Well . . . there is much one could say about this.

    The church is not practicing "love your neighbor as yourself" as Jesus prescribed. The church is actually teaching otherwise in this case.

    Julie Anne is actually "doing" what Jesus prescribed by "loving those that persecute you." She is warning her brothers and sisters of the wrong that has happened, even while they shun her. It is an atrocity that these issues are happening "within the church."

  8. No, not at all. It isn't about "someone who wants to be right" (in the sight of others, that is.) but this is about someone wanting to be right in the sight of God alone. It's a person (like me) who trusted some who sounded SO good at first, who painted such an idylic picture of the goal of the church--to be used to save souup ls by sharing the Gospel, but later I saw that they don't seem to understand that Romans 6-8 said we are new creations, dead to the law. These are persons who maybe unknowingly are trying to clean the 'old man'by doing good things--and that is legalism. Thus they are those whose use Scripture turned out to be most deceptive. (Just as Satan use Scripture talking to the Lord Jesus in the wilderness, but Jesus turned his usuage back around to what the Scripture really meant and adding the rest). Frankly it is just hard to believe that these 'godly-looking/sounding' "preachers" like thes truly are mean-spirited, haughty and impudent as they first appear. One finds yourself in shock and thinks'nah, no one could really be that proud and judgmental and condemning and call himself a preacher; I must have misunderstood them (as my husband kept saying I had); so I spent more time seeking the Lord (and hearing a lot of abuse about my character) and then the Spirit of the Lord spoke to my heart through great passages of His beautful Word the Bible, that yes, I was right from the beginning. They looked VERY good on the surface but the Lord was showing me they didn't go by what they preached in their attitudes and that is serious stuff; The 'preacher' was never qualified to be a preacher and worse, he never even acted like a brother in Christ. Love keeps believing the best of people, yes (even if they didn't love me); but there comes a time when I realized it was "speaking the truth in love"--means standing and speaking against hypocrisy shown in their double standards and 'respect of persons'. That meant losing my husband to them for they've poisoned his heart/mind toward me. He wanted to belong I guess but that was a big compromise of the truth. I am happy (even if it 's taken years to cope with it) that I stood upon the clear truth of the Word and especially of Galatians :O) I didn't lose the most important "Husband"--my Lord Jesus. He was ever faithful to me and I thank Him that He saw me through the deep deception so folks like Julie and I can warn folks away from that kind of thing. Truly the Lord's words about Pharisees (and His anger toward them) does apply to this kind of 'church' (which hurts our Lord's Name)and causes people to get involved with many false other things that "act loving" toward them (But don't believe the Bible)--so it's very serious.

    1. I should have proof read: read that they want to "save souls by sharing the Gospel with them"; and especially important for a believer is to come into identification with our Lord for Romans 6 explains we died with Him on the cross; Believers are truly new beings-new creations, which the Spirit of the Lord sanctifies over the rest of their earthly lifetimes. Their old man was judged (legally) and crucified on the cross. By faith in these beautiful truths, they grow in His likeness. There is more to it all than just 'sharing the Gospel' as important as that is. God is a God of variety and we don't lose our uniqueness after salvation but instead He is glorified in our being different. These legal folks truly don't know Him well (if at all?) And they relish making 'clones' it seems. But it takes awhile to see through what they're doing when they use part of the Scriptures and will not allow you to appeal to them with the others that you want to know about.

    2. However although God counts a believer as a new creation, these people I've encountered, like Julie has, treat one with blatant disrespect, dishonor, and suspicion; (and I'm an older person--"elder"); it was shocking to me after being a Christian for decades to find people who are 'proud' they go by the Bible (but I found they ignore large portions of it to justify their overbearing behavior. The Lord Jesus said the 'gentiles' did that but we're to serve one another in humility for that is just what He (God Almighty) did for us; why do they try and put themselves in the place of God and also do not follow His example to be loving leaders?!

  9. This is important because a storm is brewing in the Southern Baptist Convention. These types of abusive Calvinists are taking over the Southern Baptist Convention and using all the money and resources of the SBC to plant these same types of abusive, cultic churches. If you're familiar with these "survivors" sites think of all the damage done to people by SGM minsitries and Mark Driscoll - now multiply that times 20 because that's the kind of damage that can happen if the SBC loses this war against these agressive cultic Calvinists. The Calvinists have taken over the SBC seminaries, the publishing arm and now the NAMB. Al Mohler who is bosom buddies with the likes of CJ Mahaney controls Southern Seminary which indoctrinates these types of abusive pastors. Danny Akin, a Mohler approved President of SETBS continues to endorse and approve Mark Driscoll. The list goes on of the Calvinists/SBCers ties to these abusive people. People in the SBC have tried to sound the alarm for years now, but have been called liars and worse for daring to question these annointed Calvinists. Louisville is ground zero. If something doesn't happen in the SBC to stop the Calvinists - Christianity in America is headed for some serious times as people are bullied and abused by those being indoctrinated through the SBC. That's not an exaggeration - it's very serious what's happening in the SBC. Watch how the SBC will distract with a "shiney" thing - the election of the first African American President of the SBC all the while hiding the fact that this man was hand chosen by the Calvinsts knowing that any opposition to this man would be called racism. The Calvinists are controlling the SBC at all levels.

    1. Friend, your ad hominem attack on Calvinists doesn't cut it. There are just as many divisive and corrupt semi-Pelagians out there (have you ever watched TBN?). Could you do us all a favor and simply address the issues? I, for one, am a Calvinist who disapproves of such poor behavior on the part of Christians. So, address the issues, not people--that would be the Christian thing to do.

  10. "Why should you care about people who shun you since you can get involved in something else and make new friends"

    I doubt very seriously if it was about making new friends. This makes church sound like a social club. It is the Body of Christ and we are members of the Body of Christ if true believers no matter where we are. If two or more are gathered, HE is there. So it could be your paradigm of what is church is stuck in institutional mode.

    Another reason is that we are to "beware of wolves". Why would anyone want to see other hurt by the same people? We are to expose deeds of darkness.

    This question seems to want to make Julie Ann out to be the sinner for posting a google review. This is a typical spiritual abuse tactic and you might not even be aware of that. Most aren't because they have been in the hierarchical institutions so long they view scripture through that filter. If the pastor had ignored the review, we would not be here discussing it. He is paid to model Christian behavior and uphold the Word.

    Julie Ann is warning people not to put their trust in a man. And this man sounds like he craves that too much to the point of "lording it over" others like the Gentiles do. It is not of Christ. We should warn others to run away.

  11. For the Anon. who is talking about the SBC and Calvinists. I find what you are saying very, very interesting, and agree. I am glad that somebody is talking about it so boldly and plainly. But I would add that the church I was in had nothing to do with SBC or Calvinism. It was an independant Baptist church, but the same "spirit of abuse." I think that it has something to do with the whole set up of Pastor/Authority, and how it attracts (or seems to attract) the narcissistic personality.

    1. Anon@ 3:17pm I agree completely about the set up of these churches leading to these cultic/abusive practices. The SBC is following pretty much to the letter the examples of Acts 29 churches in new NAMB church plants.
      FWIW anyone interested in the invasive Calvinism in the SBC can start at Founders.org and read how this whole ministry was set up to return the SBC to the "Founder's" Founder's has been around for thirty years now. These are the people who are responsible for Al Mohler being given a seminary position at such a young age. They also caused a lot of church splits back in the late 90's early 0's by going to chuches for the purpose of "reforming" them.

      Well, the Founder's and their ilk all looooooove SGM and Acts29/Driscoll. Now Founder's has it's own church planting network (in addition to Al Mohler's pastor being installed as head of NAMB) the Founder's church planting network is PLNTD or something like that - it is an exact replica of Acts 29.

      So NAMB is giving SBC money to church planters who go through Acts 29 boot camp and Founder's has it's own network - all planting these same cultic abusive churches. They all practice this same type of discpline being discussed here, they are very controlling of what members say and who members associate with. These are all going to be SBC affiliated churches who can send messangers to conventions and associations.

      The Calvinists have already taken over several conventions at the State level and many associations.

      The SBC has a lot of money - that money is now being used to plant cultic/abusive churches who will send their people to conventions influencing the SBC at large - taking over the other intitutions.

      Watch Southwestern Seminary when Patterson retires within the next couple of years. If Al Mohler gets Russel Moore as President at Southwestern than all is truly lost for the SBC. The largest seminaris will be churning out nothing but these angry narcissitic militant abusive Calvinists.

    2. "Well, the Founder's and their ilk all looooooove SGM and Acts29/Driscoll. Now Founder's has it's own church planting network"

      Friend, such broad generalizations are not becoming of Christians. I, for one, do not approve of Mark Driscoll's tactics, language, view of the Lord's day, and many other things. I am a Calvinist. Further, there have been just as many (if not far more) churches and conventions split by semi-Pelagians; so to engage in mud slinging is wrong, and far from the Christian way of handling things. Perhaps the issues should be addressed here and not "those dirty old Calvinists." There are just as many "dirty Arminians." It is called sin, and men on both sides of the divide are affected by it.

    3. Reminder: I'd like to try to keep on topic. I don't want this blog to be a debate blog on various religious groups, but more general spiritual abuse. There are lots of debate blogs around with a quick Google search. Thanks for your help :)

    4. Anon @4:51 p.m. -- I find what you are talking about SO very interesting. I wish I knew who you were and where we could talk further. Not that it would be necessary. I just am a little taken aback at the plainness with which you speak, and so hard hitting at the truth. I have been so affected by that which you are speaking of. I was in a church that was invaded by a Calvinist who came over the fence and was dishonest about who he was and what he believed. It was my husband and my questions for him that brought things to light, and we were ignorant to Calvinism, but pressed to understand his beliefs. He made it seem to others what it was not, and that we were chasing him out when in fact we were just trying to understand what he believed. He took our questions as a threat. I have always felt that this "climbing over the fence" was intentional, and we ruined it for him. His turning others against us worked, and we lost close friends AND family. My heart was broken, and I cried every single day for about a year. My family has never been the same, as my children lost cousins and aunts, etc. My husband and I and a few other families remained in the church, and wouldn't you know - the pastor we chose who came off as so sympathetic to what we had been through, was in reality an abusive legalist. In the end, we were bullied and just left last May. Interestingly, this pastor was against Calvinism, but just as abusive. Just yesterday I was praying like crazy for encouragement and for God to "just please help us." Then I found this blog due to the news about the lawsuit, and because of this I found Battered Sheep and read a great article "Escape from Churchianity." I feel that God is sending in the troops.

    5. Julie Anne, thank you for what you're doing here. I think the point has been proven very well about what happens when people point to facts of what is happening in the SBC. You get called names. Let me just leave everyone with this thought. Notice anonynous Calvinist couldn't dispute anything that was said about Al Mohler, Founder's etc. just a childish attack of "both sides do it!" and you're not very "christlike"

      Again Julie Ann thank you for what you're doing. It matters in ways that perhaps you or others cannot imagine.

    6. Anon @6:14, I just saw your response. You can see what happens when the SBC is brought up.

      I'm sorry for what you and your family have been through. Unfortunately, many, many others have gone through your same experience, including my family. And yes nonCalvininsts (notice how Calvinists love to throw out the insult of semi-peligian which is heresy) yes nonCavlinists can be legalistic. The difference is that there is an entire movement in the SBC to take the SBC in the direction of these abusive/cultic churches.

      For those who are new to the issues in the SBC start with the Founders.org and read their own words about how they have planned for 30 years now to "restore" the lost Gospel which is defined as the doctrines of grace. Read "the Quiet Revolution" at Founders You don't have the Gospel if you're not a Calvinist.

      What's also interesting about Founder's is that they were the big push several years ago for a resolution on "regenerate" church membership. You can follow now to 9 Marks, which is Mark Dever's crew where they actually believe they can declare who is saved and who is not. Also 9 Marks declares that the church and not the member decides when a membership has ceased. All these threads are connected. Mark Dever (who is SBC) is connected to CJ Mahaney (SGM), Mahaney to Driscoll(Acts 29), Mahaney to Al Mohler and Mohler to Founder's. All these churches have similar makeups - pastor's who abuse in the name of church discipline.

      JulieAnn I apologize if I've wandered off topic here. I think it's important for those who perhaps are unaware of the threads connecting the types of abusive practices you've experienced to what the Calvinists in the SBC have planned.

    7. I think you're okay, Anon 7:25. I think it is important to note the connections of churches that promote that type of leadership. I was so tired earlier, I read it as debating doctrine. Now I've had a power nap and see where you're going - lol. As long as it's like this, it's fine.

      I learned so much about spiritual abuse by reading SGMSurvivors.com. I believe another area of spiritual abuse which is especially prevalent among homeschooling families is the patriarchal movement. You can find a number of blogs written by now adult children of those families. And their stories aren't always pretty.

    8. Julie Anne, May God bless you and yours greatly. I know if God had called me to go through what you're experiencing I'd have ulcers or be in the ER with anxiety attacks already. Please know that for everyone responding to you here, that there are countless others who are praying for you, cheering you on and wishing you well.


      I just had the thought tonight that what we need is an SBC Survivors network. There used to be more people in the blogosphere who tried to tell the stories of abuse in the SBC at the hands of Calvinists, but the SBC Calvinists can be particularly nasty.

      Understand the doctrine of Calvinism is not the issue. In the SBC Calvinism has been a flag at which to rally. That's not to say that Calvinists don't believe the doctrine but it has been used to entice the young with this idea that everything that has gone on in the SBC for the last 75 years is absolutely wrong and so the young guys can come in and learn this old new doctrine of Calvinism and they'll be praised and lifted up and then push out all the old people who "lost" the gospel.

      It's horrible and heartbreaking, what's gone on in SGM and now we're seeing the stories of Acts 29. For independent Baptist Anon Friend go to Wartburg Watch and look to the right for a list of other blogs - the most recent being Joyful Exiles??? of survivors of various orgs.

      I thank you, Julie Anne, for allowing me to ramble on about the SBC. I hope others can see the connections between these churches with all the same MOs on church discipline. I think the SBC has contributed greatly to this rise in New Calvinism (not to be confused with the Calvinism of say Spurgeon) and it's these New Calvinists that are putting all this emphasis on "church discipline" and that's where all the abuse is coming from.

      I'll sign my name as Concerned SBC to differentiate myself. (I made the mistake about seven years ago on a blog of using my name and telling my story of a Calvinist coming in and deceiving our church and causing a split and someone knew the name of the new church my family fled to, gave it to other Calvinists and the church was flooded with angry Calvinists calling and emailing demanding that I be disciplined. This was after I was called a liar and unregenerate and told a woman shouldn't be on the internet without her husbands' knowledge - my husband actually knew, but you get the point!)

    9. Oh and Julie Ann I just noticed what you said about the patriarchal movement. Another scary "ministry" to research is Vision Forum - which also has ties to the SBC and I think Mahaney. They are also part of the "quiverful" movement (no I'm not against people who feel "quiverful" is the way to go, but there are a lot of abuses coming out of that movement) Voddie Bacham of the SBC is a big patriarchal advocate. There are so many connections between the SBC and all these abusive movements.

      And did you know you were mentioned at The Blaze? That's one of the reasons I think it's important to list all these links for people who stumble over here and perhaps haven't connected all the dots.

      Concerned SBC

  12. Julie Ann is not trying to be right - she is gracefully sounding the alarm. For those who have been fortunate enough to never have been wounded and abused by a pastor, church, etc are very blessed. For years my husband and I were hurt so deeply we had no interest in any church ever again. Abuse leaves deep wounds and they have to heal - it takes a lot of love and time to work it out and build trust again. I have seen how legalism and abusive control has ruined so many people's faith and families. Satan just loves it - but he is the father of all lies and darkness. I am so happy for Julie that she has seen the light - is reconciled to her daughter and is now warning others in love. To bring a lawsuit against her shows how deeply insecure this man is, how angry, such lack of grace, its tragic to the name of Christ. He died to bring us life again - free us from the bondage of legalism - which is life more abundant. I would bet this church is a reformed baptist type of church - I have seen their style before and the damage they cause. Thankfully my husband and I have found a place to worship and study again where we are loved, safe, can trust and can breathe without constant criticism from the "pharisees". You are in my prayers Julie Ann - God is using you and your courage and He is on your side! Amen!

  13. Yes you will see this kind of behavior in all sorts of Churches and organizations both Christian and Non-Christian, as small a unit as a family and as large a unit as a country. All it takes is a Narcissistic leader that wants to control. In my case the offending group were Charismatic in nature and belonging to the New Apostolic Reformation led by Peter Wagner and gang. The twist with them is that they believe that Apostles are being renewed to the Church today and with that comes authority. Not all are evil but it sure does draw those who want power over people groups.
    Spiritual abuse is and will be rampant. It has always been. The twist now days is that people have a platform online to warn, encourage and break out of the silent hell that spiritual abuse put you and your family in.


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