Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Big Elephant: Contend for the Faith or Not!


 Note to Fred Butler:   My husband and I discussed this post at length, gave me his approval, and also said that if you want to call him, he knows you have our number.  


Here is the big reveal.  What is the big elephant in the middle of the room that so many pastors and religious leaders seem to avoid?    

Spiritual Abuse





As I was completing this post, I became aware that Fred Butler has posted a new blog post on his own blog in which he again discusses his disdain for spiritual abuse blogs like mine.  Instead of responding to questions in a timely matter here, where my readers posed very good and engaging questions, he has elected to take the questions to his own blog and answers some of them there, without even mentioning a thing here.   I think he should have responded here, where the questions are, and where people have been coming back to look for his responses.  Very strange, indeed.

But we do need to carry on.  There is a big elephant in the middle of the room when discussing this topic with some people, religious leaders, pastors.  Fred wanted to talk about everything under the sun:  my husband, my family, where I live, how long since I’ve been in the church, my current pastor’s thoughts, but avoided the elephant in the room, and let's face it, it's a lot easier to revert the topic back onto the grumbler or complainer than to investigate and see if there are any truths to the "complaints".   Who wants to get their hands dirty in a messy pastor/congregant church situation?  I understand that. 


I also understand the knee-jerk reaction that causes many pastors/church leaders to think the first thought that I am of the whiner, complainer-housewife-who-has-nothing-better-to-do-but-sit-in-her-lougewear-behind-her-computer-all-day-long-and-blog camp.  However, it’s interesting that the secular media and a huge number of atheists seem to get a clear picture.  The overwhelming response by secular media was:  “hmm, she says it’s cult-like and he sure is acting cult-like”   . . . . . or  . . . “what kind of pastor sues a former church member?”

Spiritual abuse - why does that issue get put on the back burner with so many?  Why are all of these other matters  (where's my husband, where I live) more important than the spiritual abuse which is affecting scores and scores of people, perhaps some for eternity.   I have found this response truly baffling.

For those still caught in the trap of ignoring the big elephant, I will attempt to explain it another way:

Imagine escorting your 16-yr old daughter to the police station to report her horrific rape.  
The rape was perpetrated by a stranger and happened 2 years ago while at a friend’s party.  
Imagine sitting in the police office with your emotionally scarred and shaken daughter as she recounts the horrific nightmare story and then the police officer interrogates her.  
How would you feel if she was asked questions like this:  

  • what were you wearing?  
  • was your skirt too short?  
  • where were your parents when this was taking place?  
  • what does your family think of this?  
  • do you go to church?  
  • why did you go to your friend’s party?  
  • why were you out so late?
  • why are you just reporting it now?   

How would most parents respond to this kind of questioning?   There would be outrage!  Questioning a traumatized victim in that fashion only re-victimizes her, makes her cower, afraid to talk, afraid to trust.  This happens time and again to those who try to report spiritual abuse.   The topic of spiritual abuse is ignored and diverted to other irrelevant topics.  This not only happened to me on Fred Butler’s blog, but with other pastors as well.

But now, I will be addressing one last part of Fred Butler’s comment to me here since it’s very difficult to maneuver through the large amount of comments on that post (thanks, btw, great discussions).

Fred, it is interesting that the world looked upon our case and thought his behavior inexcusable, yet seasoned, godly men, including you, chose to interrogate me as if I was the criminal on trial.  Am I the criminal?  I have felt that way sometimes. 






Fred, you are not alone in this way of treating me and others like me, but that does not excuse the behavior. 

The Bible speaks clearly about false teachers and abusive shepherds.  Why do you minimize this situation to issues of mere “grumbling” and “complaining” without looking at the more obvious sign of a pastor filing a civil lawsuit of $500,000 against mothers and their adult children?   Why does the focus stay primarily on me?

Here was your comment to me:

Look, Scripture does warn us about bad pastors, but it also warns us about many of the folks I have encountered over the last month out in Spiritual Abuse Survivor Land. Jude also writes,

These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ:  how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit. (Jude 16-19)

Are you using this verse in reference to me and my blog?  Am I the grumbler and complainer, walking according to my own lusts?   Is this verse being used to reference the “many folks I have encountered over the last month out in Spiritual Abuse Survivor Land”?   Are you using this verse to justify why you believe I should shut down this blog?   (Side note:  "Survivor Land"????  as if blogging about this subject is some sort of amusement-park experience?  Ouch!!!, Fred - that's a hurtful comment.)

I am no Biblical scholar, but when I looked at your words and the verse you used to back up your words, I trusted you to be using them accurately.  You also mentioned teaching at church, so obviously you are a respected teacher with a reasonable amount of Biblical knowledge to have that position at your church.   Here’s my point.  You used that passage in a way to prove your point that I (and spiritual abuse bloggers) am out of line, in a rebuking fashion.   There were quite a few people who read your words here on my blog (I think people liked the debate - around 800-1,000 hits per day).   That's quite a lot of people to read your words, coming from someone who speaks with authority. 

A reader (who happens to be a woman) contacted me privately and mentioned something that I had missed and perhaps many of my readers had missed (however, I think “The Other Tom” got it).  This particular passage that you quoted is from Jude - a book about apostasy and false teachers.  The verse you quoted is talking about false teachers who are grumblers and complainers, walking after their own lusts, not people like me. 

It took me little time to search biblegateway.com and look up Jude and read commentaries.  It took less than a minute to find the key theme from Mac's Study Bible notes that the book of Jude is about apostasy from false teachers.   I’m sure you have numerous references to this book on your bookshelf and you certainly have access to an envious amount of biblical reference books at your place of employment.  It is very clear, the whole book of Jude is about apostasy and false teachers in the church.  Here's a bit from John Mac:

From Introduction to Jude, MacArthur Commentary pg. 139
 "Satan's most effective agents, like spiritual terrorists, secretly infiltrate the church where they pass themselves off as genuine shepherds and leaders.  In reality, however, they are I posters and defectors, apostates who claim to know Christ, but in fact reject Him.    They verbally affirm their knowledge of His word, but their actions indicate that they are actually enemies of the truth.   ...The New Testament repeatedly warns of the danger that apostate false teachers pose to the church..."

and Pg. 148
The rest of the New Testament records similar warnings, instructing believers to guard themselves against the deceptive nature of false teaching masquerading as Christian truth.  (Matt. 24:10-14; 2 Thes. 2:3-12; 1Tim. 4:1-3; 2 Tim. 3:1-9; 2 Peter 2:1-3; 1 John 2:18-19; 4:1-3; 2 John 7-10; Rev. 2:6, 14-16, 20-23; 3:1-3, 14-18; cf. James 5:1-6) 

Right now this is what I am doing:
Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.  Jude 3

Now of course I suspect this was an oversight on your part, but what you have posted publicly on my blog is exactly what some pastors and spiritual leaders are doing intentionally all over the world:  some are twisting verses out of context in a lording and rebuking fashion to further their own agenda,  rather than using it appropriately in shepherding and protecting their flock.  Fred, that is one kind of spiritual abuse and you just demonstrated it on my blog.   Please reread that verse again and ask yourself if in fact you are the intended subject, not me  By twisting scripture to suit your own agenda, you are not doing God’s work, but are interfering with it. 

Imagine how easy it is for a power-happy pastor to twist a verse out of context to control and manipulate his congregation to further his agenda.  And the sheep follow, unknowingly, because they trust their pastor to be the man of God.  They are led down paths of false teaching, distorted half-truths, never being able to understand the true meaning of the gospel, of grace, of redemption, of forgiveness. 

In addition to misuse of scripture, I also see a disconnect between what your own pastor teaches (have you read Truth Wars?) about how to deal with false teachers and what you are doing.  God does not like false teachers and wolves, yet you appear to be allowing them a “get-out-of-jail free card" by focusing instead on the methods survivors use when crying out for help while dealing with this situation Biblically. 



 


I feel like I need to issue some sort of disclaimer to my readers, many of whom have gone through such horrific abuses I couldn't make them up in my mind if I tried.  I need to warn them about your blog, Fred, because I have not seen validation or a spirit of genuine love or concern there for survivors.  I am concerned about the ramifications if some of my readers go there, that it could trigger them emotionally.  Readers, please be aware of this should you chose to read there.  Fred's blog is known to be a debate blog.  Debate blogs are very factual and strong opinion and there is little regard to feelings.  Please be aware of that.

One more note to my readers:  Someone who cares about the abused is going to clearly demonstrate love to you.  If you don't sense the love, simply leave.  These verses can help you determine if you are dealing someone who is loving: 

 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  
1 Cor 13: 4-7


PS Kudos to Fred for getting my name spelled exactly right on his blog post.  And I look nothing like churchlady.

69 comments:

  1. This is a great, well thought out rebuttal. It really (doesn't) surprises me that the "teacher" didn't do his homework.

    You forgot to add that you probably eat bon-bons whilst sitting in your loungewear writing angry blog posts. I'm surprised you haven't been accused of neglecting your children for all of the time you must spend on your computer.

    All snarkiness set aside, I commend you for what you're doing. Keep fighting the good fight and speaking the truth! I'll be out of town your next court date, but I'll keep close watch.

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    Replies
    1. It's VBS week, so I'm covered there for this week:) whew!

      Thanks, Kathi!

      Delete
  2. Very, very true and right on! Thanks for being the woman of God He has made you into...not cowering back in fear, but standing on the Word of God, not emotions to speak the truth!
    It doesn't surprise me that Fred hasn't responded, what I am seeing is too many 'godly' men shrinking back from the obvious elephant in the room~starts with the C'ON, then Phil, now Fred~men on a fence hurling insults at those people whose lives have been in shreds due to a wolf....true colors are showing and God is being glorified as HIS sheep are being refined in Him, not men. ~THIS IS MY OPINION~
    Amen sister!

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    1. You can always tell who has been sued for defamation when you see, "THIS IS MY OPINION" after every online public comment posted.

      Love you, Lawsuit Sistah!

      See you in court!

      Delete
    2. "What a wife does publicly impacts that relationship. The husband mentioned in Proverbs 31 could safely trust in his wife (vs. 11). The implication being that the virtuous wife brought honor to her husband and family with her public interactions outside the family."
      ~ Fred Butler @ http://hipandthigh.blogspot.com/2012/06/responding-to-wolf-watchers.html

      Proverbs 31 -

      10 Who can find a capable wife?
      She is far more precious than jewels.
      11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
      and he will not lack anything good.

      25 Strength and honor are her clothing,
      and she can laugh at the time to come.
      26 She opens her mouth with wisdom
      and loving instruction is on her tongue.
      27 She watches over the activities of her household
      and is never idle.
      28 Her sons rise up and call her blessed.
      Her husband also praises her:
      29 “Many women are capable,
      but you surpass them all!”

      Delete
    3. I'm glad I added the note to Fred at the top of the page today :)

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    4. Wolf-watchers???

      I'm not watching wolves. (Jesus keeps an eye on them.)

      The Good Shepherd said (John 10:27,28) "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand."

      Psalm 116:8 "For You have rescued my soul from death, My eyes from tears, My feet from stumbling."

      I've been spending more time in the Word.

      Canceled Facebook and Cable TV, and cut down on blog-surfing.

      But I don't plan to quit reading this blog. It helps me encourage my friend who is suffering, and I see love here.

      After months of tears I have the joy of the Lord again.

      (I'm not anti-nomian, anti-authoritarian, or anti-scholastic.)

      John 15:10
      "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love."

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    5. "For You have rescued my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling."

      Delete
  3. Hi Julie Anne,

    I like what you have written. I totally concur. Well described!

    Go to the head of the class. An A+ in writing and communication.

    You have well-desribed the issue here. I trust that it is enlightening to many!

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  4. An Attorney (same as earlier)June 28, 2012 at 3:23 AM

    Amen, Julie Anne.

    There is a term for people like Fred, once used in the '30s: Excusers. These are people who provide cover and support for evil doers, helping them to gain power and stay in power. Church people said that Hitler was clearly in charge and should be obeyed because all leadership is appointed by God!!! What a falsehood that enabled horrible crimes.

    An abusive pastor is not properly in the pulpit. Either he is a usurper or he has lost his calling (e.g., through progressive deterioration such as dementia). To me, the history that has been presented regarding your former pastor suggests usurpation. And Fred is a spokesperson for those who justify that usurpation by attacking those who defend and reach out to minister to the abused.

    I pray that God will enable you to be courageous in seeking to comfort the afflicted, while afflicting the usurpers, the wolves who lead astray the congregations where they suck the life out of the flock.

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  5. Serving in JapanJune 28, 2012 at 6:42 AM

    Dear Julie Anne,


    I've been reading your blog for some time now. First heard about your story through Apologetics Index. Though I've never experienced spiritual abuse first-hand (praise be to God), it's a subject that breaks my heart, and I'm eager to learn more about it and understand it better.

    No matter what Fred Butler says, I am absolutely sure you are doing the right thing. Your former pastor needs to be exposed, and both ex-members and current members need to know that they are not alone in their suffering.

    I especially liked your comparison above to a rape victim being badgered by the police. That's exactly how I thought about all of Fred's irrelevant questions to you. Totally beside the point, and of interest to no one who wants to see justice done and hearts healed.

    God bless you in all your efforts. You've even got support from across the ocean!

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    1. Thank you for your support, Serving.

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    2. blessings to YOu Japan!

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  6. I could read all day the words of Craig Vick, Arce, and even Old Mom who disagrees with you, Julie Anne, because there is love and compassion in their tone. I'm not meaning to be a Fred-basher, but Fred loses me because of the impatience and condescension in his comments. How much more effective would "Please be patient with me since my mother is here" have been than "I'm busy; you'll just have to wait." It makes me not want to wait, not because I'm impatient but because I have lost some respect for the author.

    Fred, in case you are reading these comments, I hope that you are neither impatient nor condescending and perhaps just don't realize how others receive what you write. I hope this is the case. From one brother to another, please be kind when you are dealing with others so that you don't inflict further wounds.

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    1. Brock, I could not agree more.

      Pleasant words are like a honeycomb,
      Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones. Pr 16:24

      Its difficult to communicate with one who assumes the posture of: you have to prove yourself in order for me to even consider what you are talking about (think of 16-yr old rape victim above).

      Are those the words of a closed mind?

      Those of us who have experienced this kind of treatment need to be cognizant of these kinds of responses and simply move on. It's not worth the time.

      I found it interesting that a reader sent me a note that our (because I truly believe it's not just mine) blog was held hostage while we were waiting for Fred to respond. That was a good point. And when he finally responded, the respnse wasn't even here, but on his own blog. Go figure.

      I have no regrets for waiting, though, because true colors showed, did they not?

      Delete
  7. Fred's posting on HIS blog instead of answering the questions here because he wants the internet hits.....ad revenues and what not.....

    ....and no sneaky 'anonymous' posters either......if he doesn't know who you are, he can't be sure what dirt you might know about him before he starts castigating you for your responses.

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    1. Buff: Good point about his anonymous poster rule. He is very clear on that and apparently doesn't like to see profile pages left blank.

      Fred's words speak for themselves:

      "Why don't you link to this post. I like the traffic just as much as you."

      This was part of his response to me on his blog.

      But his blog is entirely different than mine, so it makes sense there are differences. But why can't he see the differences and the reasons necessary for anonymous posting?

      BTW, this blogging/comment thing is kind of weird how we talk about Fred. It kind of feels like he's over "there" in his blog room and I'm "here" with you in our blog room. The reality is that Fred is most likely reading this and I am typing with that thought in mind. So, Fred, please jump in the conversation any time. You know I'd say this directly to you because we've previously discussed this topic.

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    2. Therein, I think, lies the difference. I don't think you are in this for the web traffic. Fred is.

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    3. Fred's posting on HIS blog instead of answering the questions here because he wants the internet hits.....ad revenues and what not.....

      and

      Therein, I think, lies the difference. I don't think you are in this for the web traffic. Fred is

      Yes. I want people to come to my blog. Not because of ad revenue (I have no ads), but because I want folks to see what else I've written other than rebuttals to survivor bloggers. There is nothing dishonest about it, nor am I running away from the discussion. All of this is great blogging fodder and I want to expose a wider reading audience to my opinion on the matter rather than keeping it mixed in the comments that will eventually disappear.

      I've got stuff going on this week at work that requires my time, so I can't sit at the computer all evening haggling with people, so sorry to disappoint.

      Just a couple of thoughts about Julie's post:

      First, the rape illustration is absurd. In fact, it's tasteless. There is nothing inappropriate to ask about where you husband is in all of this. I am only assuming you have a Christian view of husbands and wives, correct? You do submit to your husband, correct? I'm assuming he shepherds your home, correct? It would just be nice to have his opinion about this. I asked additionally about your current pastor where you attend church. I recall you giving me some vague answer, but does he see you maintaining a daily chronicle of your experience with this church as a spiritually healthy thing?

      As to the Jude reference, it is indeed appropriate to cite in response to regular folks, because the book is about apostasy in general, and not just bad leadership and abusive pastors, which you automatically equate to Chuck ONeal. If that is what Jude is about, then Chuck ONeal doesn't fit any of the marks he mentions, which includes teaching heresy (what heresy does Chuck teach?) and immoral behavior (what immoral behavior does Chuck and the leadership engage in?).

      False teachers come out of the laity, so you lay folks don't get a pass with Jude's words.

      The book addresses individuals who have infiltrated a congregation. Read the entire context. Once they do so, they lead people astray in false doctrine and lewd behavior. How do you note these individuals? Because not only do they teach heresy and act immorally with their behavior, they are noted for grumbling and complaining. What exactly would they be grumbling and complaining against? Probably the leadership they are butting heads with and they claim is "abusing" them.

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    4. Fred, you ask what immoral behavior Mr. O'Neil engages in - what is more lewd and immoral than protecting a pedophile while putting him in a position to harm more children?

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    5. Fred,
      "I am only assuming you have a Christian view of husbands and wives, correct? You do submit to your husband, correct? I'm assuming he shepherds your home, correct?"
      That is neither a Christian nor a Biblical view of husbands and wives. It is a patriarchal view held by some who claim to be Christians. It is based on a skewed reading of scripture in the KJV and related translations. Our 21st century concept of submission is NOT the first century understanding that was in the NT writings in Greek.

      Your lack of education on this and your whole approach to Julie Anne's blog is abusive and puts you in the camp of those who would excuse the sins and excesses of a usurper-pastor merely because he is in the pulpit, of his own accord and not of God, because God is not the author of such behavior as Chuck O'Neal has displayed toward the flock under his dictatorship.

      Delete
    6. One who "gets it"June 29, 2012 at 5:54 AM

      Fred, you've lost my respect. Somehow kindness and compassion seem to be missing. Sorry, I won't be going to your blog. I've been abused enough. I have however said a prayer for those who you have hurt and will hurt in the future by your attitude, tone and lack of knowledge. I've also said a prayer and asked God to help you "get it."

      Delete
    7. So, ladies, let's recap:

      1) Don't have an opinion without checking with your husband first.
      2) If your husband says your opinion is acceptable, check with your pastor next.
      3) In the unlikely event that your pastor is a woman, because come on, women can't have opinions without approval, once you get your husband's approval and your female pastor's approval, be sure to get your female pastor's husband's approval before you have an opinion.

      Fred, you might try living in the present century at some point, just for an experiment.

      Delete
    8. Fred seems to have missed the multiple comments where I have said my husband okayed the Google review and blog. Oh, and look at the note on the very top of this post!! Fred, could you be skimming my posts? Tell me it isn't so!

      I have asked you 3 times: here, on your own blog, and on Twitter:

      Do you know my former pastor?

      I don't chronicle daily about my former church experience. For you to say that proves that you haven't read my blog and have lumped it into the category of the whining, complaining Spiritual Abuse bloggers that you post and tweet about. That's a mighty paint brush you've got going on there, Fred.

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    9. Arce and Buff, thank you for your responses to Fred. His very assumption that to be a Christian you must interpret the Bible as he does is offensive and builds a wall where none need exist.

      Delete
  8. Julie Anne

    I have periodically been following your post. I initially read your story, and was immediately drawn to it. I have experienced a church with spiritual abuse, and it has taken time to recover spiritually, and still struggle at times. Over time, my perceptions of God and His grace has changed from believing He was dangling my over Hell just waiting for me to make a mistake, to understanding His unconditional love for me. I learned that during my time under this spiritual abuse, I began to serve a man (the pastor) and aim to please him, and not God. I was raised in the church, and when I began asking questions that did not line up, I became shunned and ignored. A rather new member invited my wife and I to a fellowship during this time, only to have to uninvite us later when a leader in the church informed them we were not welcome. The hardest part was leaving, because I had been taught that they were one of the last few churches that were Bible believing churches, and should I leave, I would walk out of the destiny God had for me. I have been gone for over four years, and periodically struggle with mindsets that are not Biblically based or understanding of scriptures that have been misconstrued to fit a man's agenda. Thank God for His grace, and His mercy. God has been gracious and I have a strong relationship with Him now based on love, and not shame and guilt.

    However, when I left the church, I became bitter. Bitter that I spent years at this church and they hurt me; bitter that the people that I thought were there for me turned their backs on me; bitter that one man had caused so much destruction. My bitterness was not an excuse for the spiritual abuse inflicted, and it will never be. But I have a duty and responsibility to work out my own salvation. God graciously dealt with the bitterness and I have seen God move and change my life drastically in these four years.

    Without a doubt, this is a very real issue. It not only has hurt people, but has hindered relationships with God, and in a lot of cases, pointed them away from God. I read Fred's post, and while I do not think he fully understands the power of destruction in spiritual abuse, he raises a couple of valid points. There are very many people hurt by spiritual abuse, yet there is another large portion that don't want the accountability because it exposes sin. It is hard to distinguish the two initially, especially on the internet or if you have only heard one side. Another point Fred makes is the fact that a site like this HAS (I AM NOT SAYING THIS IS) the potential to rally a group of bitter people to grow bitter together.

    My caution is simply this. Please continue to point people to God and the healing that needs to take place. Stories are necessary so people can relate, but there needs to be direction given on how to move forward, and the revelations that have been revealed of the character of God. Julie Anne, I find your words refreshing and this site as a sanctuary to those that have been through spiritual abuse. So for that, I sincerely thank you. While I think Fred may not have a complete understanding of those who have been survivors of spiritual abuse, perhaps we can take the meat, and spit out the bones in his misguided blog of Wicked Sheep. Please do not let what God has begun here become a gathering of the bitter and complaining lest we contribute to the stumbling of other Christians. Rather, let this continue to be that light, that beacon that lets Christ shine through and minister to the very hearts of your readers.

    I for one am not interested with Fred and his thoughts as much as I am interested in the restoring love and power of Jesus Christ.

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    1. Jesse,

      Amen, and amen, and amen! So well said.

      You have hit on the head the need to heal. There is a difference between being a victim and being victorious, but many don't understand the sometimes long and often grueling road to get from one to the other.

      Thank you for the reminder that we find our hope in Christ. Comments like yours are one of the reasons I keep coming back to this blog.

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    2. Jesse, thank you for your story

      you write: “perhaps we can take the meat, and spit out the bones in his misguided blog of Wicked Sheep.”

      my answer: NO! not if it’s spoiled meat you don’t eat of it, that goes for drinking spoiled milk too! Stay healthy, not sick.

      some of the idols that need smashing are the very pastors themselves, their fundamentalist strongholds of legalisms and controls, their sick mindsets that bring only bondage and death, breeding monsters and ministers of righteousness

      smashing idols

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    3. (cont. from above)

      ministers of righteousness and despair..

      again, thank you Julie Anne for the hope and life and freedom your blog offers to all of us here

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    4. I for one am not interested with Fred and his thoughts as much as I am interested in the restoring love and power of Jesus Christ.

      Jesse - I so appreciate what you posted. The bottom line resonates with me so well. I don't want this to be a grumbling/complaint blog that Fred speaks of. He is right about that - there are spiritual abuse blogs that primarily complain and deal with bitterness. There is no hope in that. I don't want to fall into that trap.

      This is a difficult place to be at times. Sometimes it feels like a fishbowl - like every word I post can and will be dissected. In fact, I'm fairly sure that a certain pastor probably is dissecting each word. But I cannot be concerned about that. All I can do is ask that God use me. I know I will sin and fail. If you only knew how many times I have to delete and then delete again snarky words. Bottom line is this. I don't want to get in the way of this blog with my attitude. My e-mail is prominently posted if someone feels the need to contact me about something they see. I respond to my e-mails. Please keep me in your prayers - that God is honored through this blog. Thanks!

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    5. Julie Anne - I will definitely keep you in prayer. No doubt you will be dissected and analyzed, which is what I have been doing, so I know that this task before you is great. My prayer for you is that God places the right words and the direction in your heart to write so that he may heal the broken with every written word. I don't envy your "fishbowl", but I love that God is using you so powerfully.

      Monax - If it is truth, it is not bad meat. As cliche as it may sound, God can even use a donkey to speak to us. We have a responsiblity to discern what we hear or come across, and if any of it bears credence or if we should ignore it. I believe Julie Anne understood the point I was making with my post.

      As for idol smashing, God will vindicate His people. What I have appreciated so much about Julie Anne's blogs is her constant use of scripture and wisdom that she brings. She isn't trying to get back at people, she isn't trying to seek revenge, rather her focus has been to help those who have been through spiritual abuse get back on their feet, understand the love of God, and give them a hope. The focus is not the offender, but how the violated can reconcile with God and not feel shame. This was my encouragement and thankful attitude toward Julie Anne and her blog, and I am sure you share the same gratefulness.

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    6. Thank you, Jesse. It's reassuring to see you write what my heart's intent is - - - it's telling me that some people are getting it about this blog and that makes me happy.

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    7. Jesse, my name is David, and like the relationship of our namesakes, I address you as a son to a father. I read your story twice, and I rejoice and thank the LORD with you and for you. One of the beautiful things about Julie Anne is her spirit of grace free of any bitterness. She wouldn’t be able to minister like she does if she were consumed with bitterness.

      One of the truths of scripture is that unless we freely forgive those who have sinned against us we can never be free ourselves. So I rejoice with you and Julie Anne and the others for the delivering and sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

      I like to make and eat fish tacos. I truly wish I could serve you up a tilapia taco for the tasting. Last time I made them they were pretty yum-yummy! I broke up a beer battered tilapia fillet inside a hot flour tortilla; covered the fish with some cooked-till-crisp and tender—sweet onions, mushroom, carrot, celery, cabbage with black beans; topped with fresh tomato, pineapple, parsley, banana pepper, and cheddar cheese.

      The secret to the yumminess, at least for my tastes, was in what I did to the meat. I marinated the fillet in a slightly hopped imperial stout; dipped it in egg, then a bread-crumb-and-flour concoction of paprika, blk pepper, cayenne powder, cumin, curry, chili powder, dried basil flakes; then I fried it in olive oil. None of my tilapia fillets have ever had a bone in it. Actually, I buy them that way, deboned. And even yet as I break up a fillet over a tortilla, if I were ever to discover a bone in the fish I’m serving, I would, of course, remove it. I want my guests to have full confidence in the cook as they devour my tilapia tacos, free from any hazard concerns.

      Jesse, you write: “If it is truth, it is not bad meat” and “perhaps we can take the meat, and spit out the bones.”

      So even if the meat is good, I still don’t want my eating experience inhibited by the possibility of swallowing a fish bone. We must always be discerning and aware as we feed off the fare of our teachers. But, No, I would not continue eating the food of a cook who doesn’t know how to take the bones out the meal. And also, even if it’s good meat, it’s how you present it, the toppings give it attitude, can either make or break the experience. Here’s my thoughts on this elsewhere.

      “If it is truth...” you write. And there’s the rub.

      The reason I discourage people from feeding off the teachings of Fred Butler is because of what I have read from his blogs—there's a lot of bad meat and bones there! Some of the ‘truths’ and ‘attitudes’ being peddled are outright biblically false and unchristian. I would not recommend anyone eating the meat Fred Butler’s serving.

      Let’s change the meat analogy to that of a lens. The lens Fred Butler wants you to take as your own, the lens that he believes will help you make sense of the end times or church government are in themselves highly sophisticated fundamentalist lies, unbiblical doctrines which if you were to use as your lens to make sense of reality, it would only cause your vision to be even more skewed and blurred and blind. No wonder these teachers can’t see the bones or tainted meat they’re cooking up for us to eat.

      Jesse, I believe, I, also, understood the point you were making above. I trust you’ll also understand mine.

      With cheerful blessings to you! And, again, thank you for your story

      monax

      Delete
  9. I have two thoughts to add today, but first a bona fides statement. I have read every blog post on this site and most of the replies written up to Monday 6/25.

    With regard to todays blog I have a question and a statement.

    First, Are you really appealing to the secular media and atheists for support that you are in the right in what you are doing. It would seem to me that if the media and the atheist community were supporting me in any spiritual matter I would want to re-evaluate my position.

    Second, with regard to Jude. False teachers take many forms. They are not limited to the people who stand on a platform Sunday morning. In fact a clear reading of Jude would not lead one to understand that he is limiting his warnings to leaders of the Church. But he is in fact talking about anyone who claims to be a redeemed child of God, but preaches, teaches, or supports a Gospel that is different from that which was given to the Apostles. In that light. Freds comments are spot on as to the meaning of the passage he used.
    Whether they apply to you or not is not in my purview to judge.

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    Replies
    1. 56 years a Baptist, mostly SBCJune 28, 2012 at 6:44 PM

      Anonymous 6-28, 4:11 pm

      If the Julie Annes of the world do not speak up, who will speak for them? Do you think she could sleep with a clear conscience if the let the abuse continue and did nothing to alert others to the abuses likely to occur to them if they attend that church?

      It is clearly taught in the NT that those who presume to lead, teach, preach, etc., will be held to a higher standard and should be careful about what they say and do. Julie Anne is not preaching nor teaching, but exposing a wolf and giving others the opportunity to share their experiences.

      Fred is nothing but an excuser of pastoral abuse and so contributes to the harm perpetrated by the abusive pastor. He is attacking the messenger FOR TELLING THE TRUTH in a gentle but public way, after some very aberrant behavior by that pastor. Are you an excuser too? And Fred is off base in his reading of Jude based on my library of commentaries, and applying it to Julie Anne's blog.

      Delete
    2. Anon: I'm impressed that you read every blog post. Wow.

      You asked if I am really appealing to atheists? I haven't appealed to anyone for support. They came on their own accord after seeing the media coverage. Can you please tell me where you are getting that idea?

      I don't understand your comment about Jude/false teachers. I've been driving 5 hours today and it's late. That my explain the confusion or maybe not. I'll try to read it again tomorrow with a fresh mind and see if I can make sense of it.

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    3. Hurt too bad to try againJune 29, 2012 at 6:11 AM

      Julie Anne, I've read every post as well. It's been refreshing for me to learn that I am not alone... It didn't just happen to me...
      And, yes, I do know how to spell your name!

      Delete
    4. Julie Anne,

      I did not read this as an accusation that you were actively appealing to the secular media and to atheists for support. But, when you wrote:

      “However, it’s interesting that the secular media and a huge number of atheists seem to get a clear picture. The overwhelming response by secular media was: “hmm, she says it’s cult-like and he sure is acting cult-like” . . . . . or . . . “what kind of pastor sues a former church member?”

      It certainly sounds like you are gauging the correctness of your actions on the quantitative (you used the word huge) response of folks who could in no way be seen (nor would they want) to be sifting the details of this situation through the discernment of God’s Word.

      While I have some very close friends and family who are atheists, and while I highly value their opinions on many topics, asking them to give me spiritual advice (or validation) would be like asking me to solve a nuclear physics problem in Mandarin Chinese…I don’t understand the subject or even the language.

      Delete
    5. Even the secular world knows the Bible says not to sue someone and that Christians are supposed to love their enemies. This isn't rocket science. It is not like they are having to decide church polity or end time views. If it looks like a duck and acts like a duck...IT IS A DUCK!

      Delete
    6. Anon 7:32 AM


      If by secular you mean, atheist or even non-Christian, why would one give credence to anything written in a book that was supposedly written by a God who does not exist, and take social norms (not suing each other, loving each other) from the teachings of someone who claimed to be this God?

      Can’t have it both ways. No God = no respect for the authority of His Word.
      No resurrected Christ = no value to His teachings

      Delete
    7. I am the poster Anon@4:11. I will post under Dino from here on if I continue to post.

      Julie Anne,(if I may use your name) Old Mom has it right in terms of my comment on secular validation. I was using "appeal" in the judicial sense, as in "I appeal to the facts to prove my innocence" I did not mean to imply that you have solicited their support.

      As to Jude, I meant to say that it is not aimed at "only" the professional pastorate. A clear reading would show it is aimed at a body of Christians about the body of Christians. Its teaching certainly applies to the professional pastorate, but it also applies to everyone else.

      Paul writes to Timothy that good preaching/teaching (as in the professional pastorate)will consist of, 1. Reproof,2. Rebuke, and
      3. Exhortation.

      My question to you would be; Are you engaging in Reproof (identifying bad behavior), Rebuke ( telling that bad behaviour needs to stop), and Exhortation (encouraging people to stop doing something or start doing something).
      If so, then are you not under the same guidelines as Paul, Peter, and Jude outline for both professional pastors, leaders and members of the body of Christ.
      If that is true, then how does this blog meet the test of "contending for the faith", that is the body of information that comprises the Gospel as originally given.

      To paraphrase Paul, it does'nt really matter what the world thinks of you and this blog, it doesnt even matter what you think of you and this blog, what matters is what God thinks, for he is the one who will judge.

      The only information we have about how God will judge is written in scripture through the office of the Holy Spirit. It is therefore highly important that we look at scripture to draw out what is true (Exegesis)n and not simply to use it to prove a point, or as justification for doing what we WANT to do rather than what it says to do.

      This applies equally to the leadership at BGBC, you, and those of us who are simply spectators of this, but participators in the daily struggle that is the Christian life.

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    8. Old Mom,

      Because there is a God, and because His signature is all over His creation, many atheists and agnostics have doubts. We are question marks to them. They want to know if our beliefs are real. They look to see if we really follow what we say we believe. Many are very good at finding inconsistencies. I think that's a voice worth listening too. Paul seems to think the same. He confronts a church that tolerates behavior that is not tolerated even among pagans. He also directs us to choose elders that are "well thought of by outsiders".

      Delete
    9. Hey dino!

      Fwiw, this blog for me is part of the sanctifying process of working out my own salvation.

      And as i get to be my free and happy self-in-Christ here, it is my delight on this blog to participate in the delivering and healing work of the kingdom, even as this involves reproofs, rebukes and exhortations, even helping “others by snatching them out of the fire” (Jude 23). All these noble things as we corporately-in-Christ here contend for the faith.

      Delete
    10. Dino,

      All Christians are to be priests, representing Christ to the world and praying to God for the salvation of the world, both the individuals in it that we encounter and the entirety. All of us have been called to that ministry, some by preaching and teaching, some by caring for the sick, hungry, downtrodden and needy, some by lovingly working with children (ours and others'). All of us have a responsibility to be on guard for false teaching and to expose it. All of us have an obligation to love those who have been hurt by it.

      Julie Anne obviously has a dual ministry here. She is ministering to those injured by abuse in the church and she is sharing the word of warning about the abuser to protect others who might stumble into the flock of the wolf in shepherd's clothing.

      She has done a noble job in both of these ministries and is suffering at the hands of the abusers and excusers.

      Any who doubt her or seek to throw road blocks in her path need to repent!

      Delete
    11. I've been in the car for quite a few hours today, driving teens to camp. Blogging is portable and on days like this, I am moderating comments when I get to a red light/intersection. Pretty amazing technology we have. The hard part about moderating by phone is that I can't comment very well without my computer.

      But in my absence and now that I'm at my computer and can see the order of comments and read in context, I sure am impressed with the great responses. Thanks, Craig, Monax, A friend - - you really *get* what's going on here.

      I have no desire to debate Jude. My time is better spent elsewhere. Using the commentaries at home/online/and friend's commentaries available to me, I stand by my words and continue to think that Fred was out of line in using the scripture as he did.

      Doing investigative analysis on issues of why, how, when on Julie Anne really does not help those who have and are in spiritually abusive situations, does it? Let's get better focus on the real issue.

      Delete
    12. In poking around the internet I found a discussion between Tim Challies and Bob Kellemen on spiritual abuse. Both have some healthy skepticism so may be helpful to those of you who are concerned that 'spiritual abuse' is simply a cover for grumblers. I like the working definition as well as the bullet points for identifying spiritual abuse. They don't address support and healing for those abused (at least in this article), but they do give some helpful ways of distinguishing abuse from normal conflicts in leadership. By helping us acknowledge that the abuse is real and giving a start at defining it they may serve to get us on the path of working on the elephant. The article is at http://www.challies.com/articles/spiritual-abuse

      Delete
    13. thanks, Craig Vick, for the link. the comments there were especially helpful for me to read

      Delete
  10. @Jessie June 28@12:07
    Amen big time! What you say is so true. I had a comment that I really didn't want to use because it would come across as a Fred-basher. So let me try a kinder and gentler approach. I heard a sermon awhile back that made a really good point. You know that preachers 'improvise' a little. So long as they don't go too far I'm OK with it. Here is an example.

    We're looking at the Palm Sunday story: My version.. take it or leave it.. Just making a point.. Ref: John 12:12-12:19 + Mark & Luke

    Jesus is riding on the donkey into Jerusalem. The crowd is praising his name and laying down palm branches. The crowd is quite noisy and (let's say) they pass the temple. Prophecy has been fulfilled before their eyes. See Zechariah 9:9

    So now we have God on a donkey (outside) but are Pharisees in the Temple debating over when and how the Messiah would come. They hear the crowd outside and say, "Those crazy Jesus followers are disturbing us, close that door! We're trying to study the scriptures! We need more information. We need to figure this thing out! How will we know when he arrives?"

    But later the Pharisees realize what happened (John 12-19) and say, "We've lost --- the whole world has gone after him! They are just a little late. They missed the elephant.

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  11. Yes, the subject of spiritual abuse - even if it includes sexual abuse - seems to be one most 'inside-the-bubble' Christians tap dance around with amazing dexterity and vigor.

    Honestly, when you asked what the elephant was...after reading Fred's comments and his blog posts...I thought you were referring to the lack of love and compassion. But I think the two things (spiritual abuse and lack of compassion/love) go hand in glove.

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    Replies
    1. That is a good correlation, Jeannette. And I've noticed there may be an appearance of love, but it is just a facade.

      Delete
    2. Julie Anne, I think the only mention of love comes in the form of "shame on you, you should have love for those who hurt you." Aside from that, I see scorn and not much else.

      While that is true, that doesn't mean it's wrong of you to speak up. It is apparent that if your former pastor repented, you would rejoice. You don't have this blog to hurt him but to expose truth and offer balm to wounded souls.

      One of Fred's comments was something to the effect that it's not wrong to speak up, but that you may not be the right person to do it. Well, what if you are the right person to do it?

      Delete
    3. Luke - And I also wonder if in his/their minds if the issue is that a woman is the one speaking up. Would they "approve" if it was my husband? Who is the "right" person in their minds and where is that person? Why are they not speaking up? It's implied that if you're not the right person speaking, you shouldn't be speaking up at all. So then the issue gets ignored? There is no one to stand up for them? I'd die a slow death of survivor's guilt. Are you kidding me?!!!

      Frankly, the real issue to me is why isn't anyone speaking up? I know why former members aren't, they are afraid (who wants to get sued). But what about the pastors/elders in the area who have had to deal with the fallout? Trust me, there are quite a few who know him. I think it really boils down to not wanting to get their hands dirty like we see so much of in society.

      Delete
    4. Yes! There was a comment from the last post that has made me think about this. I can't remember it exactly, but it was something like either they don't see the elephant or don't know what to do about, so instead they curse the trampled grass. It does seem that there is an inordinate amount of attention on and criticism of you as a trampled person. In effect, you're being challenged to prove the elephant walked on you and/or rebuked for being in his path in the first place.

      I'm just glad many others have instead extended a hand to help you up, brush you off, and recover.

      Delete
    5. In response to your other question, Julie Anne, no, I don't believe "they" would approve if your husband started this blog instead of you. Your husband would have been similarly criticized. However, the fact that you are a woman just gave "them" an additional straw man to knock down instead of dealing with the real issue.

      Just my humble opinion.

      Delete
    6. "I will love you IF you meet these conditions, and I will shun you if you do not"

      Delete
    7. Luke - I am 100% in agreement with you. I feel like a broken record: Can we quit focusing on Julie Anne and now deal with spiritual abuse? What are you doing about the spiritual abuse? What can we do to stop it, to help those, etc?

      Delete
    8. Julie Anne -

      A facade of love is spot on. I wrote a post about that a few years ago called "Abusive Love".....

      http://truth-makes-freedom.blogspot.com/2008/09/abusive-love.html

      Delete
  12. Julie Anne says: "Imagine how easy it is for a power-happy pastor to twist a verse out of context to control and manipulate his congregation to further his agenda. And the sheep follow, unknowingly, because they trust their pastor to be the man of God. They are led down paths of false teaching, distorted half-truths, never being able to understand the true meaning of the gospel, of grace, of redemption, of forgiveness."

    This is why the Bible says, "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15). This command is not just for pastors and elders, but for all of us. I know in spiritual abuse, the pastor will often claim to have a special revelation or understanding of God's Word, but from this 2 Timothy verse, we know that is not true!

    Be affirmed in God's Word for yourself, Julie Anne. Trust God when He lays something on your heart to share or lays it on your heart not to share something. When you are in God's will for your life, you will face opposition. We have a very real Enemy bent on our destruction. He looks to our very weakest point and nails us there as hard as he can.

    I'm sure this is exhausting for you. I know there are a lot of emotions connected to spiritual things, and you never know what's going to trigger your emotions. It's hard when everyone is giving you their opinions on what you should or shouldn't be doing. It's hard when you have people telling you that you have to prove yourself.

    Dear Julie Anne, God doesn't ask you to prove yourself to me or to Mr. Butler. When you are in His will, He approves!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lydia - Thank you so much for your encouragement. I love that verse. Yes, it is exhausting at times. Sometimes I think my strength comes from all of you who are praying for me. I could not do it on my own, that is for sure.

      Delete
  13. Fred reminds me of my cousin's EX-husband. He gets out of jail in November after serving three years of a five year sentence. He still
    claims he was just taking a stand as the head of his household when he smacked my cousin around (hey sometimes you have to discipline the wife)assaulted three police officers (they are dammed to hell for interfering with his home) and resisted arrest. It is of course her fault for calling the police and rebelling against his God given authority. Although she divorced him, he claims she is still his wife and is coming "home" to work on her restoration. I took her to a gun show and she has become very proficient over the last year with her Glock 17.

    There is no limit to what some of these guys will spiritualize and attempt to justify as "scriptural". In Japan they once gave young brides daggers to kill themselves if the marriage was bad. With the growing trend of domestic violence within the church by these "spiritual leaders" and "godly men" perhaps we should start giving brides Guns so they can defend themselves

    Fred is just a bully and not a very impressive one at that.

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  14. "These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit. (Jude 16-19)"

    That's funny, I could actually use this same verse to describe Chuck...

    1. Grumbler, Complainer, Walking according to own lust. I have had limited experience with Chuck but from what I have seen he consistently preaches about sin. And not just sin in general but sin specific to members of his congregation, something that I feel should be really kept private. He complains about peoples behaviors all the time. There is no Gospel message in his preaching, there is only grumbling and complaining. The fact that he pursues matters like indecent dressing and sexual promiscuity so heavily makes me wonder if the third statement is being fulfilled by him in private...

    2. "They mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage." - I have not known chuck to be a flatterer, but I have known him to bloat scripture into meanings that simply do not exist on a contextual basis.

    3. "mockers... who would walk according to their own lust... these are sensual persons who cause divisions, not having the Spirit." Again, my limited experience with Chuck is that his "message" has nothing to do with the salvation Gospel whatsoever. He is so fixated on sin and people who sin, that it's like Christ did nothing on the Christ. Chuck is going to fix every member of his congregation, and if they don't meet his standards of Christian perfection, then they go under "church discipline". He is not following the great commission shared by Christ to go forth and share the Gospel, making disciples of all the nation. Chuck's only interest is to grind people down until they are nothing, so that he can satisfy his own pride about being a superior Christian. Lust does not pertain specifically to sexual contexts. In this case, Chuck lusts after a perfection that only God can provide. And anyone who does not meet it, is not worth to step foot in his church. It's like he forgot that he is a sinner, and thinks he actually has the ability to determine a persons righteousness before God, something only God can do.

    Continued...

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  15. Continuation...

    Julie on the other hand seems to be following the next couple of versus of Jude which go as follows, ESV 20-23

    "But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt, save other by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh."

    Perhaps there was a time when this blog was about some sort of vengeance or warning people away from Chuck's Perfect Church. But I have seen this blog evolve into a safe haven where people who have been burned by false teachers, can find the answers to know that what they experienced was in fact wrong. Christ does not come down in judgement like Chuck does. Christ does not condemn like Chuck does. Christ does not shun people from his presence like Chuck does. Christ does not hate people like Chuck does. Christ is not like Chuck at all, and hallelujah for that! Those people who gave up on church, and gave up on pursuing their walk with Christ can know that the example they were given was WRONG! And that is the purpose of this blog, to show people that this kind of spiritual abuse is in fact spiritual abuse and that those who have suffered at the hands of that spiritual abuse are free in the mercy and grace of Christ to pursue that relationship with Christ separate from the false teachings of a prideful pastor who does not love them.

    Fred, I appreciate where you are coming from. But put simply, brother to brother, you are wrong.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hallelujah, Uncle D!

      let me echo some of your allusions registering with me:

      “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death” (Rom 8:1-2).

      “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death” (1 John 3:14).

      “And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing” (1 Cor 13:2).

      “not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock” (1 Pet 5:3).

      “I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God” (1 Cor 4:4-5).

      “persecuted, but not forsaken” (2 Cor 4:9),

      and as the LORD said to his servant Joshua: “I will not leave you or forsake you” (Josh 1:5), he says to us: “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Heb 13:5).

      Jesus: “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. Amen” (Matt 28:20).

      Delete
  16. I read some of Fred Butler's blog entries after encountering him here. I was first led to the one referring directly to you, Julie Anne, and then checked out a few others. I do not understand his theology or worldview at all, but that is not the important part other than to say that I hope few hurting people visit his site. But here's the blessing in all this and in his condemnation of survivor blogs:

    He has a link to this blog in his blog when he speaks of you specifically. If even a few people are drawn here out of curiosity and learn another viewpoint, it will be a wonderful blessing. Even if they don't originally agree with people telling their stories, they may remember them and when they encounter spiritual abuse either personally or through a friend, they will be more educated than if they had read his blog alone. And if they are someone who has suffered abuse, they may finally discover they are not alone.

    I imagine with people like Fred it feels as if you are banging your head against the wall, and you may be. However, remember Romans 8:28. Julie Anne, it is obvious you love God and have been called according to his purpose - God will bring good out of even something as simple as a conversation with Fred.

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  17. Julie Anne, as one who is already disillusioned with the church, reading the story of you being sued by your once pastor just made me shake my head. How does Chuck think this action is going to demonstrate to non believers and even folks like me that he believes we can trust God to take care of us, defend us, and provide for and meet our needs? What does he think he is communicating to the words and those on the “worldwide web”? God says that He will contend with those who… He says that “vengeance is mine…” He says that we can trust Him with our reputations… Wowie, guess this is a pastor who might know what the Word says but doesn’t believe God will do, or can do what He says… or he figures that he’s got to help Him out. So sad…

    And by the way, you girl are in my prayers! Believe that God will defend you, provide for your every need and you can trust Him with your reputation! And smile while you wait, singing praises of God’s faithfulness!

    And then smile again knowing you’ve even made some new friends and encouraged several thousand along the way!

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  18. I agree, I believe that he’s a bully. Even though I’ve never met him, his words in black and white have spoken.) Yet, it's hard for me to believe that Fred is so naive in his thinking, buy it's harder for me to believe that he is writing such for enjoyment and he gets a kick out of belittling others. You see, it is possible to state a position, or make a point without demeaning those Christ died for. I don't get it, Fred, which is it? Are you having fun at others expense? Having a good time while people are feeling your sting? Or do you not understand, really understand the pain people have experienced at the hands and mouths of those they have trusted to be their spiritual leaders? You may not realize it, but please take time to ask God to help you understand and comprehend the way you come across to others. The world does not need any more bullies, no… what it needs are those who will embrace those who are wounded, fallen and in need of grace and forgives. We also need believers who can agree to disagree and do it with grace, teachers who lead by example and whose lives speak God’s truths.

    Tonight I wonder if the “woman at the well” would have been invited to Fred’s church or even Chuck’s church for that matters. I wonder how they would react if she showed up sitting in the second pew with all around knowing her past and sin. I also wonder if Fred or Chuck (as leaders) understand the power they hold to either do good in the lives of others or to do harm. Either way, they will one day stand before God and be accountable for every word they have said. ME TOO!

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