Wednesday, June 20, 2012

How Far Will We Go to Contend for the Faith?

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have been waiting for this response from Mr. Butler for a while.  He has now addressed the issue and I would like to open it up for discussion.   I was concerned that we wouldn't hear from Fred again and that the questions might remain unanswered.  Thank you, Fred, for responding. 

My blood pressure rises each time I read his comment.  Mr. Butler is not the first person who has given me this response.  And sadly, I notice a trend of similar responses coming from people of Fred's ilk.   I may address that at some point because I believe we clearly have a systemic issue that has gone rampant in our churches - the failure to appropriately deal with false teachers and pastors who abuse their flocks.  Did Jude 1:3 - the part where we are to earnestly contend for the faith -  get removed from their Bibles?  Do pastors get to pick and choose their battles and ignore false teachers?  Really?  Is that how it works now?

While you read this, I ask you to do one thing.  Please imagine this is a situation in which there are abused sheep, a whole church full of abused sheep who are being misled.  Ask yourself what will happen with the abused sheep if we follow Fred's response? 



You have stated on more than one occasion that the blog on which we are now interacting should not exist. I'm curious: Under what circumstances would Julie Anne's blogging be appropriate, in your view?

Appropriate blogging against this current pastor and church specifically? Never.   If she felt inclined to leave a comment with google and it got removed, that honestly should have been the end of it. But she persisted. Julie Anne seems to suggest that she was under some obligation to warn everyone about this church, but why? She hadn't attended there in three years before leaving that google review comment, at least that is how I understand it. All of the sudden she felt she had to leave a negative comment and stir up strife with this pastor and church? I can be a gadfly at times on blogs, but if the blogger or web moderator is deleting my comments, I know when to take a hint.

What would have to transpire in order for you to concede that Julia Anne's blogging is no longer something she need repent of?

In my opinion, she needs to discontinue this blog and leave Chuck and that church alone. Her and her family live in an entirely different state now, as I understand it. This should no longer concern her. Further, make some sort of faith effort that she will cease and desist from bothering them again. That's I see it.



Interestingly, this is part of a similar discussion I had with Fred on his blog a while back.   I  posted the following comment and received no response from Fred.

Blogger Julie Anne said...
Fred: Let's back up a bit. I did not originally start a "Survivor Blog". I posted a one paragraph Google Review. Evidently, it was removed by the pastor. I added it again, and it was removed (repeat this story a few more times). This was the only place I intended to say anything. He removed my voice, so I went to a different venue.

I did what I felt was right. Yes, it is messy.  The whole thing is uncomfortable. What feels right about false teachers?   Nothing! However, after beginning the blog, I have been in contact with countless people who discovered the story thanks to the pastor's foolish lawsuit and subsequent media response.   These people have told me story after story of abuse that I was unaware of because they experienced it many years before me and I had never heard of them.   They have been living in silence for years, sometimes more than a decade, some families have been torn apart, some no longer go to church or are afraid to go to church - - - all because of this one man.  I felt by not doing what I did, I would be sinning:

http://apprising.org/2010/11/22/john-macarthur-jesus-and-false-teachers/

Criticize and rant all you want about my method, but until you walk in my shoes . . . .
9:17 AM  (Click here to read entire blog post and comments)

I would also like to remind Fred more words from his pastor,  Dr. John MacArthur.  In MacArthur's Truth War book, he mentions, "even some pastors and popular writers in the Christian market might be the enemy disguised as comrades.  The apostle Paul warned of that very danger in 
2 Cor. 11:13-15." 

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.  Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works. 
2 Corinthians 11:13-15



Once again - if all other appropriate Biblical methods were employed, if the pastor refused to communicate, refused to meet with a local pastor who offered mediation, if he refused to listen to MacArthur's people, including Phil Johnson, what next, Fred?   There were a number of pastors in the local area who knew of this situation and all chose to not get involved. 

Are pastors and church leaders the ONLY people whom God uses to point out abuse and false teachings?  Luther's nailing of the ninety-five theses to the Wittenburg church door was one method of calling out wrongs.  Do you think if he had the internet available, he would have snubbed modern technology?

Fred,  now what?  Walk away from abuse?  Don't you have a child, Fred?  Would you walk away from your son if you saw him being abused?  Would you take the blog down and walk away?  


Which reminds me of this brilliant post from Craig Vick, who asked you some questions that you perhaps missed earlier.  I thought I'd bring the  comment here so you'd be sure to see it:

Fred,

You are clearly very bright, and I think you are interested in real discussion. Consider, then, what I take to be a central problem in all of this. There are churches that do not overtly transgress orthodoxy and yet are very cult like in their behavior. Do you agree that such churches exist? If so, how do we spot them? I would find it more constructive, and a better use of your gifts, if you would wrestle with that question rather than simply tearing apart the tests that someone else has proposed. I don't think it's easy to do. Some wolves are very adept at looking like sheep. If we say, for example, that such wolves differ from sheep (or true pastors) in that they are manipultive and controlling it's easy to respond by saying that's a bit vague (it is). That doesn't mean, however, that this test isn't getting at something very real. So how do we distinguish between cult like control and normal, responsible teaching and care? What would you suggest? You yourself say "There are pastors who are controlling and lord it over the flock they are to shepherd." How do you distinguish these from those using Scriptural authority appropriately?


My readers have asked some great questions.  I hope you will be so kind as to respond.

Thanks!
~ja
 

188 comments:

  1. And I suppose that the Apostle Paul should have just shut his mouth about warning people, too, huh? Just move on and spread the gospel without warning people about false teachings that will be brought in by others, unsuspecting? Should he have just told Peter that he agrees to disagree? It's good to have an opinion, Fred, but your opinion is not in line with the Apostle Paul in this regard.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Mr. Butler,
    Is there ever a time when it is appropriate for one to warn another of potential harm? Does the amount of the potential harm determine the length of time allowed for the story to be told?

    If this blog saves 20 people from harm in this church, is it okay then? 10 people? 1 person?

    You say this should no longer concern her because she lives so far away. Does distance determine what we are called to do to help others? Since when does God only call us to ministry in our backyard?

    When you compare your comments on a blog being deleted with Google reviews reporting abuse being deleted, you trivialize the very nature of her comments. I suspect you do not understand the serious nature of spiritual abuse. Like any other abuse, it can cause severe trauma and years of recovery. The very fact.of the lawsuit gives weight to her story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jackie - I find myself nodding and saying uh-huh with each of your posts today!

      I think you are correct in that Fred does not understand spiritual abuse. He minimizes it, glosses over it, but has yet to validate what it is and fully comprehend the destruction it causes. To confuse spiritual abuse with being a disgruntled congregant is ridiculous.

      Delete
    2. Who dare challenge a church for doing wrong? Who has the courage to stand for what is right not what is considered acceptable abuse. The most common trait among abusers is " Don't tell anyone or you will be sorry."
      There is much abuse in churches that go untold because of fear. fear of being shunned fear of being sued.

      Delete
  3. "But she persisted."

    Good for you Julia Anne. If you are making guys like Fred Butler that's an indication you're on the right track.

    It amazes me how many people sympathize with abusers and blame victims.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I could understand Fred's comments if the pastor, say, hurt Julie Anne's feelings and she felt the need to picket the church. I could understand his comments if Julie Anne just disagreed with the pastor in a few areas and she felt the need to rent advertising space to shame him.

    That is not what happened!

    Fred, do you understand that this pastor has caused great harm to not only her family but many, many other families who have been under his control? That type of environment causes deep wounds that don't easily heal.

    All Julie Anne did was to try to prevent others from entering what she perceives as a dangerous situation, and from everything that happened after she began this blog, it appears that she is dead right.

    If you want to criticize someone for not walking away and leaving someone alone, please turn your attentions to the man who rails against people from his bully pulpit, by name, for the infraction of leaving his church, who condemns everyone who disagrees with him and goes to great lengths to silence and then shame them, and who brings a lawsuit against those who would dare challenge him.

    I find your targeting of the victims instead of the abusers disheartening and extremely disturbing.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Julie Anne (and your friends)
    I have stuff going on that I can't spend a good amount of time right now answering your all's questions. If anything, I'll try to give a fuller response in the next few days or early next week. You'll just have to be patient.

    if all other appropriate Biblical methods were employed, if the pastor refused to communicate, refused to meet with a local pastor who offered mediation, if he refused to listen to MacArthur's people, including Phil Johnson, what next, Fred? There were a number of pastors in the local area who knew of this situation and all chose to not get involved.

    Then you walk away from it Julie, it's that simple. Flee as the Bible states. I find it strange that you guys complain about this pastor leveling a lawsuit against you; how he is all in the wrong and is a bully and such, yet you keep insisting on stirring up strife against him. Why? Honestly, the words of Paul against Christians suing one another applies equally to you as it does to him,

    Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated? No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren! (1Corinthians 6:7-8)

    You claim none of the other pastors wanted to get involved? Why? Did they just not care or did they have the sense enough to realize it wasn't worth it? Did any of them explain their reasoning as to why they didn't want to be involved?

    Also, where's your husband in all of this? Your family. Is he supportive of your efforts? Are they? Speaking for myself, I would be discouraged to think my wife spends a great deal of time on the internet complaining about an old church and pastor who did us wrong and has a lawsuit against us.

    another commenter writes,
    Fred, do you understand that this pastor has caused great harm to not only her family but many, many other families who have been under his control? That type of environment causes deep wounds that don't easily heal.

    All Julie Anne did was to try to prevent others from entering what she perceives as a dangerous situation, and from everything that happened after she began this blog, it appears that she is dead right.


    But according to Julie Anne's testimony, there was a three year gap between her exiting that church and her starting this blog. THREE YEARS! IF the abuse is as severe as you claim it is, she waited three years? And went to the internet instead of proper authorities who could deal with this situation? Please. Additionally, as I understand what she has said in other comments, she lives in an entirely different state now. Am I right about that? And yet she can't cut loose from this church? Which raises the question as to what her current pastor thinks of all this? Does he care? Or does he think it odd?

    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)


    Again, I have stuff to do this weekend, so unless someone is accusing me of beating my wife, I'll probably won't posting any further comments.

    BTW, just so we are clear. I am not a pastor at GCC. I'm merely a member. Furthermore, I don't speak for GCC or GTY in any official capacity, so they are irrelevant to my interactions with you all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will be commenting on Fred's above response at length later when I get a chance. But there was one thing that was peculiarly absent in his response, perhaps that big elephant in the middle of the room?

      Anyone want to take a stab and identify the "elephant"?

      Delete
    2. An Attorney (same as earlier)June 21, 2012 at 11:28 AM

      Shunning people, failing to report a child sexual abuser and allowing months to go by with that abuser having access at the church to children, setting up a review of Julie Anne to post condemnations of her, filing a SLAPP suit against her, doing similar things to other members and former members. It is a herd of elephants. And responding to a suit by countersuit is a very common practice to collect attorney fees brought about by the original suit.

      O'Neal could have dropped the matter. But he an authoritarian serial abuser of people. As is Fred.

      Fred, crawl back into your hole and leave the good people of God, who only wish to be happy and to help others avoid and recovery from abuse, to continue without your abusive meddling in pots you have NO knowledge of.

      Delete
    3. "O'Neal is an authoritarian serial abuser of people. As is Fred."

      Delete
    4. My reply to Mr. Butler is so long, it has to be split up.

      Part 1

      “I have stuff going on that I can't spend a good amount of time right now answering your all's questions…...”

      But you did find time to post new material to your blog this morning.


      “Then you walk away from it Julie, it's that simple. Flee as the Bible states.”

      No, it is not that simple. Evil teachers and false pastors who are bringing harm to Christian people and dishonoring the Name of Christ MUST be confronted and opposed.

      But you once again have a difference standard for Cult Master O’Neal’s victims than you do for yourself. You felt it necessary to have lectures on King James Onlyism. You state, “Near the end of 2003, I gave a series of six lectures on KJV onlyism. The series was meant to be my testimony as a former KJV only advocate and the reasons I abandoned the belief system.” You did not “walk away from it,” as you are commanding Julia Anne and the Beavercreek Survivors to do. There is no substantial difference between what you did with King James Onlyism back then, and what Julie Anne and the others are doing now. But again, your hypocrisy shines forth. Just as with your making excuses for Turretinfan (whom, btw, I support), you have a blatant double-standard. Hypocrisy for you, Mr. Butler is a way of life.

      http://www.fredsbibletalk.com/KJVonly.html


      “I find it strange that you guys complain about this pastor leveling a lawsuit against you; how he is all in the wrong and is a bully and such, yet you keep insisting on stirring up strife against him. Why? Honestly, the words of Paul against Christians suing one another applies equally to you as it does to him.”

      This is one of the sickest and most perverted pieces of nonsense you have yet posted. So Poor Wittle Chuckie is quite justified in filing a lawsuit against the Big BAD Wady, because the Big BAD Wady said mean things about Poor Widdle Chuckie!!!! And the Big BAD Wady is sinning because she DARES to open her mouth to complain about it!!!!!!


      “You claim none of the other pastors wanted to get involved? Why? Did they just not care or did they have the sense enough to realize it wasn't worth it? Did any of them explain their reasoning as to why they didn't want to be involved?”

      Why no other pastors chose to get involved in it is something that they will have to answer for themselves for before the Lord. But by all proper and Biblical standards, Cult Master O’Neal should be a spiritual outcast in the Beavercreek area.

      Delete
    5. Part 2 to Mr. Butler.



      “Also, where's your husband in all of this? Your family. Is he supportive of your efforts? Are they?
      Speaking for myself, I would be discouraged to think my wife spends a great deal of time on the internet complaining about an old church and pastor who did us wrong and has a lawsuit against us. “

      So now, you have the arrogance to interfere in Julie Anne’s home and family life!!!! I’ll leave Julie Anne and her husband to address that issue themselves as how they see fit. But I will say this to you, Mr. Butler; Be VERY thankful that you haven’t done to my wife what you are doing to Julie Anne. And I hope you take that the way it was intended.


      “But according to Julie Anne's testimony,…blah..blah…blah..?”

      So much garbage here, I’ll let Julie Anne and others address it


      “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……”,

      Again you pervert Scripture in order to stand in judgment and to attack and slander those victimized by ecclesiastical tyrants in situations you know NOTHING about. May God repay you for your evil deeds.


      “Again, I have stuff to do this weekend, so unless someone is accusing me of beating my wife, “

      As heinous as beating you wife (poor woman) would be, your attacks against God’s people and defense of a false pastor are more reprehensible. The former brings pain to the body, while the latter affects their souls and possibly eternal destinies.


      “I'll probably won't posting any further comments.”

      The intellectual and ethical standards of this blog have sharply risen with that statement.


      “BTW, just so we are clear. I am not a pastor at GCC. I'm merely a member. Furthermore, I don't speak for GCC or GTY in any official capacity, so they are irrelevant to my interactions with you all.”

      No it is not “irrelevant”, because your arrogance, hypocrisy, scripture-twisting, slander, and defense of an evil persecutor of God’s people is an abomination before the Lord God Almighty. Your continued presence in any Christian church or organization is a stench to that church or organization. So glad I will NEVER be part of GCC or GTV.


      Finally, I do not and will not recognize Fred Butler as a brother in Christ. He has been repeatedly reproved for his false, evil, and sinful words by numerous individuals here, yet persists in his attacks against God’s people. Matthew 18 principles have been met; so to me, Fred Butler is an infidel.

      Delete
    6. ...and exhale. Whew!

      i'm gonna go back and re-read that again

      that was something else

      monax

      Delete
    7. on second read

      i'm gonna have to say "Amen!" and stand behind The Other Tom on this one.

      Delete
    8. Done with work for the moment, I respond to that two-part rant. It was awe-inspiring.

      But you did find time to post new material to your blog this morning.

      Two paragraphs? That I wrote up last night and scheduled to post? Not the same.

      You felt it necessary to have lectures on King James Onlyism. etc.,

      There is a major difference between talking on a subject and stirring strife with a church. King James Onlyism is an apologetic system, not a church with a pastor.

      So now, you have the arrogance to interfere in Julie Anne’s home and family life!!!! I’ll leave Julie Anne and her husband to address that issue themselves as how they see fit. But I will say this to you, Mr. Butler; Be VERY thankful that you haven’t done to my wife what you are doing to Julie Anne. And I hope you take that the way it was intended.

      Arrogant? It's a legitimate question. I can't sincerely ask that without being threatened with violence? And I'm suppose to be a bully infidel?

      Again you pervert Scripture in order to stand in judgment and to attack and slander those victimized by ecclesiastical tyrants in situations you know NOTHING about. May God repay you for your evil deeds.

      Can you explain how I did so? I'm curious.

      So glad I will NEVER be part of GCC or GTV.

      I think you mean GTY, but thanks.

      Finally, I do not and will not recognize Fred Butler as a brother in Christ. He has been repeatedly reproved for his false, evil, and sinful words by numerous individuals here, yet persists in his attacks against God’s people. Matthew 18 principles have been met; so to me, Fred Butler is an infidel.

      So. Because I press questions about this situation, don't take the words of an "abuse" survivor by prodding a little, I'm using sinful and false words? Isn't this the same thing you guys accuse spiritually abusive pastors of doing? Censoring and dismissing criticism? You guys are becoming a self fulfilling picture of the very thing it is you hate.

      Delete
    9. Mr. Butler writes: So. Because I press questions about this situation, don't take the words of an "abuse" survivor by prodding a little, I'm using sinful and false words? Isn't this the same thing you guys accuse spiritually abusive pastors of doing? Censoring and dismissing criticism? You guys are becoming a self fulfilling picture of the very thing it is you hate.

      It’s your `f-n pride and little proddle that makes you a sick abuser! And there you go, using the word ‘hate’ again. Honestly, Mr Butler, I only love you as a brother—if that is what you are. If you’re not, I invite you to be one. Otherwise, for the time being I don’t recognize you as my own.

      Delete
    10. Mr. Butler,
      I am sorry you are so unfamiliar with the world of abuse - not because I wish you had suffered it, I wish that for no one. If you had ever been familiar with this sort of situation though you would not have written "abuse" in quotes. We are called to treat those making accusations of abuse with respect. I understand you may not believe it, but if you had some experience in this field, you would recognize the very common signs in Julie Anne's story. Your insinuations remind me of the days when children were not allowed to tell of sexual abuse and when no one spoke of ministers sexually abusing children and adults in their churches (and statistically it happens as often in other denominations as it does in the Catholic Church). Yours are unfortunately the words of one who seeks to silence. This may be your aim. If it is not, however, then perhaps you should seek out some knowledge in this area.

      As for prodding a little, have you spoken personally with her? I don't know her but upon hearing this story, I read every one of her blog entries. They all tell a very common, if unfortunate, story. You suggest your "prodding" is simple, but unless you are willing to hear her whole story, your dismissal of her claims is merely an attempt to silence her. I pray that one day your eyes will be opened to this reality in the church - denial will only cause more pain.

      Delete
    11. Jackie: Apparently Fred hasn't found the time to call me. He has my number.

      hmm, this conversation is reminding me that I also offered to connect the pastors of Grace Community with other men from BGBC who had availed themselves to speak with them. The Grace Community pastors, too, did not make the call to see if what I was saying was true. All of these former BGBC men had previously gone to the Shepherd's Conference - they weren't wishy-washy Christians, but committed to Christ. These were godly men who had been Christian for decades (some perhaps twice as long as the pastor).

      Delete
    12. Fred asks Julie:

      Also, where's your husband in all of this?

      He certainly is no Fred Butler. I say that because Julie's husband isn't wasting his time lecturing someone else's wife on the Internet.

      Where's your wife in all this, Fred?

      Delete
    13. David Cho kind of beat me to the punch on this, but I'll have to say in Fred's defense that I expected him to pull the Husband Card much sooner than he did.

      My question would be: If Julie Anne were "Julian," and all other conditions were identical, would he have asked Julian where his wife was in all this?

      It's a serious question, and I don't presume to know the answer, though I think have good reasons to suspect that, if I had to guess correctly, I could.

      SMG

      Delete
    14. SMG, he brought that husband card up much earlier (I can't find the date, but it was probably last week) on his own blog:

      And I am guessing your concluded this after a period of time at this church? And it didn't raise any red flags with you and your family? Your husband, whom I suppose is to be shepherding your family, didn't clue into this? Why? (http://hipandthigh.blogspot.com/2012/05/sheep-attacks.html#3322892521996149992)

      Delete
    15. “Done with work for the moment, I respond to that two-part rant. It was awe-inspiring.”

      Admittedly not one of my better posts, but it serves its purpose.



      “Two paragraphs? That I wrote up last night and scheduled to post? Not the same.”

      Just a truthful statement of fact, but its understandable why you would have trouble with truthful statements of facts, since they are a foreign concept to you.


      “There is a major difference between talking on a subject and stirring strife with a church. King James Onlyism is an apologetic system, not a church with a pastor.”

      Yes, I am quite aware that one involves a corrupt, tyrannical pastor, while the other is a kooky, nonsensical teaching. Thank you for that kernel of analytical brilliance. But BOTH involve situations where the people involve could not just “walk away” from it. Julie Anne’s with BGBC and yours with KJO. The fact remains that you are a hypocrite for condemning her for doing what you are doing, though the specific issues are difference; ESPECIALLY since few issues “stir strife with churches” as much as KJO.


      “Arrogant? It's a legitimate question.”

      It is only a “legitimate question” to someone with a sick, warped, twisted, perverted, mind like yours.


      “I can't sincerely ask that without being threatened with violence? And I'm suppose to be a bully infidel?”

      As a retired U.S. Navy captain I knew said, if you mess with a man’s food, money, or family, you deserve what you get.


      “Can you explain how I did so? I'm curious.”

      If you cannot understand a clearly written English statement, that is YOUR problem, not mine.


      “I think you mean GTY, but thanks.”

      You’re welcome. I’ll take a bath in a pig-sty before getting involved with any organization that you are associated with.


      “So. Because I press questions about this situation, don't take the words of an "abuse" survivor by prodding a little,…blah….blah….blah.”

      Any legitimate questions that you may have had have been answered…..and answered again… and again……

      But this involves so much more than ”pressing questions.” From the outset you have done NOTHING but attack O’Neal’victims, as evidenced from your May 22 blog entry, where you had already tried and convicted Julie Anne before you had the slightest bit of interaction with anybody involved with BGBC:

      “I'm sure Julie is as sweet as a plate of cookies, but she comes across, at least to me, as petty and vindictive…..Her comment wasn’t particularly slanderous. It's the kind of whiny comments that are typically found on any Google review page. You have to take them with a grain of salt.”

      “I've circled around the ministry block enough times to learn that the folks who start an active "survivor" blog outlining in scrutinizing detail their alleged spiritual abuse at the hands of a pastor or church are generally coming from the fever swamps of tin-foil hat theology. Not saying this is Julie; I’m just saying its been my experience – and I have a lot of it.”

      “But the biggest supporters are coming from these hives of spiritual malcontents (nearly all of them women, btw) who maintain various spiritual abuse survivor blogs.”

      “Moreover, with all the various “survivor” blogs I surveyed, pretty much everyone of them are overran by anonymous commenters who have a streak of anti-authoritarianism running through everything they write. In my opinion, these are some rather problematic allies. A person doesn’t want spiritually unhealthy individuals informing his or her decisions in matters like what Julie is dealing with.”

      “However, is taking to the internet with a blog called "shepherd watch" or "battered lambs" or "such-and-such survivors" the best course of action? No. Honestly, those blogs make a person appear loopy, demanding a double-portion of his pound of flesh at all costs. Their white whale must be destroyed or there will be no rest.”

      So, Freddie, you can take your wounded martyr routine, and STICK IT!

      Delete
    16. Hey Tom, you're not the person with the blue hippopotamus email address that cussed me out with the F word last week, are you?
      Wondering. Your comments sound similar.

      Delete
    17. Even though Freddie has shown what a low person he can be, he still manages to take himself down a rung or two. It is not at all surprising that he has to resort to lies and slanders, since he has repeatedly proven to be intelectually incapable of defending his position. He truly has nothing else to offer.

      Delete
    18. Ok, here is my response to Fred's comment addressed to me further up the page. I apologize for the length, but felt it would be easier to quote within the comment than scroll back and forth to get the context. My new responses are in bold typeface.

      I said earlier: “if all other appropriate Biblical methods were employed, if the pastor refused to communicate, refused to meet with a local pastor who offered mediation, if he refused to listen to MacArthur's people, including Phil Johnson, what next, Fred? There were a number of pastors in the local area who knew of this situation and all chose to not get involved.”

      Fred’s response: Then you walk away from it Julie, it's that simple. Flee as the Bible states. I find it strange that you guys complain about this pastor leveling a lawsuit against you; how he is all in the wrong and is a bully and such, yet you keep insisting on stirring up strife against him. Why? Honestly, the words of Paul against Christians suing one another applies equally to you as it does to him,


      Fred, you are confusing bad pastors with spiritual abuse - big, big difference.


      Fred said earlier: You claim none of the other pastors wanted to get involved? Why? Did they just not care or did they have the sense enough to realize it wasn't worth it? Did any of them explain their reasoning as to why they didn't want to be involved?


      I’m just as puzzled as you. However, the bottom line is God will be the one to deal with their complacency. I cannot force people to investigate further.


      Also, where's your husband in all of this? Your family. Is he supportive of your efforts? Are they? Speaking for myself, I would be discouraged to think my wife spends a great deal of time on the internet complaining about an old church and pastor who did us wrong and has a lawsuit against us.


      I hope we’re already settled this, but my husband has been supportive of my efforts. It’s not about a pastor who did us wrong, but about the big elephant: spiritual abuse.


      another commenter writes,
      Fred, do you understand that this pastor has caused great harm to not only her family but many, many other families who have been under his control? That type of environment causes deep wounds that don't easily heal.

      All Julie Anne did was to try to prevent others from entering what she perceives as a dangerous situation, and from everything that happened after she began this blog, it appears that she is dead right.

      Fred responds: But according to Julie Anne's testimony, there was a three year gap between her exiting that church and her starting this blog. THREE YEARS! IF the abuse is as severe as you claim it is, she waited three years? And went to the internet instead of proper authorities who could deal with this situation? Please. Additionally, as I understand what she has said in other comments, she lives in an entirely different state now. Am I right about that? And yet she can't cut loose from this church? Which raises the question as to what her current pastor thinks of all this? Does he care? Or does he think it odd?


      It doesn’t matter how many years it has been, where I have posted this information, where I live, what my current pastor thinks. All of those issues are irrelevant to the topic of the spiritual abuse.


      Fred said: Again, I have stuff to do this weekend, so unless someone is accusing me of beating my wife, I'll probably won't posting any further comments.

      BTW, just so we are clear. I am not a pastor at GCC. I'm merely a member. Furthermore, I don't speak for GCC or GTY in any official capacity, so they are irrelevant to my interactions with you all.



      I am speaking for myself, too. Can you not afford me the same courtesy of leaving my husband and family out of the discussion?

      Delete
    19. Bravo, Julie Anne.

      Delete
  6. Would it help here to note that in the writings of John, "The Apostle of Love," his warning against Diotrophes stands in virtual permanence?

    ... or that I listened to a interview segment posted June 20, 2012, on apprising.com, where a well-known teacher laid out a well-done warning against the heretical New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) and their erroneous attempts to create a moralist culture? I suspect this teacher continues to keep up with the NAR because they continue to present teachings and pull antics that confirm they have not changed ... and apparently he would feel compelled to continue to warn people about their false teachings and abusive actions, even if there were a three-year gap between his teachings and interviews on the subject.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oops. I think I may have put apprising.com instead of dot org. Sorry.

    And in case anyone is interested in that interview, here's the link:

    http://apprising.org/2012/06/20/john-macarthur-comments-on-linking-with-nar-heretics-to-reclaim-america/

    And in case anyone is interested in a research series I posted on the NAR and related individuals and organizations and their involvement in the Todd Bentley debacle at the "Lakeland Outpouring," here is the link to the first post:

    http://futuristguy.wordpress.com/2008/08/28/forthcoming-post-on-september-22-leadership-in-this-current-era/

    The NAR clan was doing the same old stuff ... over three years ago.

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  8. Julie Anne,

    I would like to respectfully suggest that perhaps in your anger and zeal for protecting the folks you care about from your former church you have mistaken the workings of a runaway ego for the teachings of a heretic. I have seen you mock your former pastor and belittle his ideas but correct me if I am wrong, I have not seen you point out line by line, verse by verse where he has taught something contrary to Scripture. Has he denied the virgin birth, the resurrected all sufficient Christ, the authority of scripture, or the complete and total inability of man to save himself?

    While you may disagree (as would I in a red hot minute!) with his managerial style, unless you can point out heresy, you cannot be said to be “contending for the faith”.

    It is incumbent upon all believers to keep seeking the scriptures for themselves and weighing any and all teaching they hear. This is a huge responsibility for each of us individually, and one which we cannot carry for anyone else. We cannot play the Holy Spirit in anyone’s life. Sadly, I’m afraid this is exactly what you are complaining about with your former pastor, and now what you are doing by trying to warn people away from that church.

    He has eschewed good counsel, and the biblical proscription for dealing with this problem. Don’t you do the same.


    Acts 17:10-12
    English Standard Version (ESV)
    Paul and Silas in Berea
    10 The brothers[a] immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. 12 Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men.

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    1. I believe it's a legitimate caution to consider whether we are justly contending or just contentious when critiquing someone in ministry. Each of us who blogs or comments will have to stand accountable for each word. I'm in my 10th year of blogging, have posted at least half a million words in that time (the equivalent of seven books) and I don't take that admonition on accountability lightly!

      I'd also suggest that looking only at doctrinal stances isn't sufficient. There are many spiritually abusive teachers, preachers, and pastors who absolutely come across as orthodox on paper regarding the core doctrines of our Christian faith - but their ministry practices do not qualify biblically as "orthopraxis." Their maltreatment of God’s children denies other truths – such as those about grace, liberty, priesthood of every believer to represent himself/herself before God and be accountable for his/her own actions. In effect, their unscriptural practices override whatever orthodoxy they have.

      The Jerusalem Council in Acts 15 rejects the practices of the Judaizers that would basically force gentiles to become Jews before they could become Christians. The Apostle Paul chews out Peter for schmoozing with the Judaizers, who want to impose their legalistic practices onto followers of Jesus – the Law can only point out the need for the gospel; the Law can never fulfill it or empower faith in action. Legalism that turns what should be individual wisdom decision-making into moral imperatives imposed by the leader denies the essence of the Gospel.

      Other passages warn against leaders who “lord it over the flock” – that surely isn’t about heresy, but about practices that subjugate believers to the will of the leader instead of leading them into freedom and responsibility before Christ. Even John, the so-called “Apostle of Love,” reprimands Diotrophes for these kinds of controlling practices. So, actually, a leader’s “managerial style” truly can be at issue in someone contending for the faith. Authoritarian controlling leadership contradicts the essence of the gospel, of spiritual giftedness, of legitimate boundaries and responsibilities God imposes on leaders.

      So, if there is documentable evidence from past and present, verifiable by multiple witnesses, of someone’s spiritually abusive leadership/management style, I’d conclude that there is something legitimate to contend for the faith with such a leader, on behalf of disciples who hope in Christ to be found faithful but are being wounded by said leader.

      Delete
    2. Old Mom,
      First I must say I wish I'd claimed that title. It is a good one.

      Julie Anne's comments did not simply concern "managerial style." They concerned a leader with power abusing people in his church. Would you agree that a teacher has a responsibility to be careful of his/her words and actions as he/she is seen as an example by students and families? Would you agree a counselor or therapist has a power relationship with a client and must take care as to how he/she leads the client in therapy? A pastor is no different. If he was using his power relationship to sexually abuse a parishioner by convincing her it was God's will they be together sexually, would that be something it would be acceptable to complain about? Emotional abuse is just as devastating.

      A pastor has a power relationship because we are taught to trust our ministers. You cannot simply say that it's each person's responsibility to connect with the Holy Spirit and therefore if they get caught up in an abusive relationship, it's their own fault. By that reasoning, we shouldn't register sex offenders. Would you agree? It should be each person's responsibility to watch out for their children and know everyone their children might come into contact with. Does that make sense? We register sex offenders because we know that they will most likely repeat their behavior and we want to warn others. The same is true of those who abuse power relationships.

      Just because this man calls himself a pastor and leads a church does not mean he should somehow be above being called into question. It is always our duty to call others into question, especially as Christians.

      Delete
  9. @ Fred Butler

    monax here

    In my balance this is the sum of the matter:

    Julie Anne is a watchman (even a warrior). She has the heart of a true shepherdess. As such, and in the situation God has placed her family in she has the responsibility of life and death in her hands. I know JA loves the sheep of God. YOu, Fred Butler, are a WOLF! I didn’t want to believe it at first. But now know this—the Freddie and Chuckie wolves within the fold will now be exposed for what they are! They are accountable to the light, and we Children of Light possess powers of discernment and weapons of warfare that are mighty in God for pulling down the likes of you.

    I’ve advised Shepherdess JA to sink an arrow into the heart of every wolf that threatens the flock of God. Not only does she hold a staff and a bow and many spiritual gifts and weapons, But our Queen (an oblique shout out to c.t. with this recognition of Kingdom royalty), Queen Julie Anne has a trumpet which she continues to sound. I heard the echoes of her trumpet sounding all the way to me in Pittsburgh, and as a ram who loves God’s sheep I came running, others from everywhere too, and now we’re engaged in defending the sheep and cleansing the temple gardens of wolves.

    YOu, Fred Butler, assume to be a teacher in the house of Christ, yet your heart is abundantly wolfish. I thought you may have been a confused lamb, but whatever you are, you need to step down from your teaching position of spiritual authority within the church. The evidence of your heart had been revealed by your words, your own words judge you as unqualified to teach in the church of the Most High God.

    You don’t know how to wield your sword without wounding the sheep you so sincerely want to lead. Who is your overseer?


    Hear, JA, the Apostle Paul’s instructions in 1 Timothy 5: “Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses. Those elders who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear. I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality. Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people’s sins; keep yourself pure. No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomache’s sake and your frequent infirmities. Some men’s sins are clearly evident, preceding them to judgement, but those of some follow later. Likewise the good works of some are clearly evident, and those that are otherwise cannot be hidden” (19-25).

    May all we like watchman—the women, children and all the men—Hear the Word of the LORD spoken through the prophet Ezekiel: “But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person is taken away in its iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman's hand” (Ezekiel 33:6)

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    1. sorry ja,

      let me reveal what is evident to some, but hidden from others

      one of the spiritual gifts our true shepherdess has in her bag of love is balm—healing balm for all those who have been wounded, torn to pieces by vicious dogs, trampled on by avaricious pigs, devoured by lustful bears, mislead by proud lions, suffocated in tiny cages, shorn and slaughtered all in the name of the LORD! to the survivors ja offers care, to the wanderer who is thirsty—waters of life. to the abused and wounded—there is an anointing BALM

      you are a Balmy Torch, Julie Anne!

      thanks for your warmth and light and love

      monax

      Delete
    2. Shine Jesus shine
      Fill this land with the Father’s glory
      Blaze, Spirit blaze,
      Set our hearts on fire

      Flow, river flow
      Flood the nations with grace and mercy
      Send forth Your word
      LORD and let there be light

      Delete
    3. For the record: I don't agree with calling Fred a "wolf".

      I do have issues with Fred and am still hoping to dialog with him. I do not believe that Fred has a full grasp of what spiritual abuse really means. But I would not call him a "wolf" without having much more information. Perhaps David has that information, but I do not.

      Delete
  10. May 31st Thy Peace provided a link to

    Wade Burleson > Lessons in Dealing with a Disgruntled Member

    In true Shepherd form Pastor Wade Burleson "made a promise three years ago that should [he] ever hear of a Southern Baptist experiencing some kind of spiritual or emotional abuse by a denominational or church leaders, [he] would not be silent..."

    HE WOULD NOT REMAIN SILENT!

    ReplyDelete
  11. It is God's nature to make something out of nothing. This is why God cannot make anything out of him who is not yet nothing.

    ReplyDelete
  12. @ Old Mom

    “And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing” (1 Cor. 13:2).

    Correct doctrine in itself does not elevate one to anything.

    And as far as Mr Butler ever offering again his voice on JA's blog, I’m good with dismissing him from further commenting. He’s already shown his true colors. I do want to know who his overseer is so that he might also be dismissed from possessing any teaching authority within the church until a time of future maturity. Does anyone know if Fred Butler is an aberration within the JM camp? Or is this mean-spiritedness and bully-mentality a GCC structural problem?

    ReplyDelete
  13. Recovering PhariseeJune 21, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    In response to Old Mom, I respectfully disagree with your sentiments. I believe Julie Anne IS contending for the faith, for the very essence of the gospel to be seen, celebrated and lived out. Your challenge for her to spell out her former pastor's err line by line sounds eerily similar to my own church experience where the leaders did not want to be challenged and would answer a general observation with a one scripture, hang your hat on it response. For example, if a pastor is faithfully teaching from the word, line by line as is your preference, and the emhasis is a system of morality rather than pointing the congregation to the amazing freedom and joy they have in Christ, this IS heretical. If nonbelievers come to a church and are presented with a lengthy sermon in churchy jargon and leave with the impression that church is about dressing a certain way or knowing a lot of things, and they do not experience the same kind of radical love Jesus extended to sinners (all of us!), the church has missed the mark and ought to be challenged.

    If you read some of Julie Anne's past posts, she points out some pretty specific problems in her former church. A pastor is not given a free pass to hide under line by line style teaching if he creates a culture of fear and comformity. He may believe in the essential doctrines of the faith but if he promotes a system over Jesus, it reveals a lack of truly understanding free, unearned grace.

    No matter how much we all differ in tradition, style preference, theology, etc., we (lay people and leaders alike) must never lose our focus on the hope there is for all of us when we turn from our sins and cast ourselves wholeheartedly on Jesus who lived and died and rose for us.

    There is no hope or salvation in moralism.

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    1. Dear Recovering,


      You said:

      “For example, if a pastor is faithfully teaching from the word, line by line as is your preference, and the emhasis is a system of morality rather than pointing the congregation to the amazing freedom and joy they have in Christ, this IS heretical.”

      Can you point out where in my post I said that line by line teaching with an emphasis on morality is my preference? What I thought I was saying was that I had not seen Julie Anne offer a list of heretical teachings dealt out by her former pastor along with the scripture that they were contradicting.

      Please understand, that I am no apologist for her former pastor; nor would I ever attend a church with such rigid guidelines of behavior. My husband and I had visited (one time) such a church when we moved into a new area and we could not get out the door quickly enough after the service.

      I have a very close friend who suffered greatly, and I mean GREATLY, because of the tentacles of a hyper legalistic church. But, I believe you deal with that by discerning the problematic elder/pastor behavior, calling it sin, and moving on leaving God to reckon with both the sin and the souls who are left. Again…we cannot play the Holy Spirit in anyone’s life.

      I understand that it was painful for Julie Anne to see her friends left in a less than fruitful environment, but the bottom line is that we do live in a country where attendance at any particular church is neither mandatory nor prohibited. The folks left at the church, and the potential future visitors to the church that she felt she needed to alert, are all FREE , and yes even obligated ,to obey God as the Holy Spirit leads them though His Word.

      Delete
    2. Old Mom writes, Again…we cannot play the Holy Spirit in anyone’s life.

      Who has been your teacher, Old Mom? Are we not each elect one of us a temple of the Holy Spirit, the One who animates our lives to the pleasure of our LORD? What does Scripture tell us about being an expression of God’s good purposes?

      “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now... work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to do for his good pleasure” (Phil 2 :12-13).

      Whose are the hands of God that deliver and provide balm for the wounds?

      Delete
    3. Old Mom:

      I have really appreciated your tone as you have posted your two comments. I hope you don't think that I have ignored you. I have actually stewed about your first comment and discussed it behind the scenes with two others because while your question is quite simple, the answer does not come as easily.

      I don't think I'm going to be able to answer your question exactly the way you want, but I'll make an attempt.

      Do you understand the kind of spiritual abuse that leaves one spiritually dead, leaves one questioning God and and/or their salvation week after week, that convinces one of the need to get baptized, but then one never enters that sense of assurance knowing they have been redeemed, bought with a price and loved with an everlasting love? Spiritual abuse is not just a matter of words, but a matter of words AND actions combined. Although Fred made light of the spiritual abuse survey he discussed on his blog, the truth is that sometimes it is very difficult to identify facts.

      How would you describe emotional abuse in words? It's the same kind of thing. There are many more stories that I am familiar with, have first-hand knowledge of, but am unable to share publicly at this time. I know that makes my story seem less credible and that doesn't speak well for me. My blog is not a courtroom (although at times it feels like it).

      This blog does not exist to convince you or Fred of spiritual abuse. Those of us who experienced it know it. We aren't struggling with that issue. We are working through the painful process and trying to get to a point of healing so we can move on. Sure, we would like you to understand what we went through. But sometimes, you just may not get it until you go through it.

      I have a hunch that you may not be as familiar as you think with spiritual abuse. That is certainly not meant to demean you in anyway. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. Legalism is only a small part of spiritual abuse. When I'm talking about spiritual abuse, I'm talking about people who are abandoning their faith, who are in spiritual turmoil for years, who cannot step one foot in church for years, who distrust Christians, pastors, etc. We are also talking about destroyed relationships, families torn apart. Does that sound like what you are talking about?

      Delete
    4. Oh Julie Anne!

      I would never think you ignored any poster…you’ve always been a gracious hostess here at your blog. (hugs). Much more so than I could ever be! ☺

      I believe that I understand the phenomenon that you are describing. As I said, my friend suffered greatly. Perhaps the difference is that she was a child at the time, and therefore truly helpless where the people you are concerned about at your old church are presumably mostly adults, and therefore capable of determining where they attend church.

      I am REALLY struggling with the mentality that they are victims of abuse when rather it’s quite tempting for me to see them as people who are not accepting the responsibility for their own spiritual growth. I know that sounds harsh…but it is not meant to be. What pull, what attraction does a legalistic church have for certain people? Any contact I have had with legalism has made me run the other way; so I just do not understand what could compel someone to embrace it. That being said, I give full assent to the truth that the battle that we fight while in these mortal bodies is not against flesh and blood.

      A minor example of church conflict from my own life is that years ago my husband and I were members of a very large church that had weekly community group meetings. These meetings were really our “church” because it was not possible to have close fellowship on Sundays due to the large congregation. We loved our little group very much and thought the feeling was mutual. About this time I became chronically ill and many times could not attend the weekly meetings with my husband. After a few months of my spotty attendance due to illness, he was told that unless we were coming as a couple, that he would need to stop attending the flock group. Needless to say we were shocked and saddened. (This dictum did not come from the pastor, but from the flock group leader).

      We chose to see this, after much prayer and study, as coming from the hand of the Lord and began praying for another church. It took a good long while, but the Lord graciously connected us with a small body of believers where we are currently thriving.

      I’ve often thought of the people we left in our group. None of them reached out to us, quite a few have left that church and gone elsewhere; some to churches that caused us to really scratch our heads in amazement.

      What we learned is that GOD is sovereign over anything that anyone may do to us. I always think of what Joseph said to his brothers, “you meant it for evil but God meant it for good”. And that we can trust Him to provide fellowship since it was He who commanded us to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together.

      Delete
    5. Old Mom,
      I, like you, always had a hard time understanding why people are unable to see when a church isn't healthy. As a teenager I attended a youth group at a church similar to BGBS but quit as soon as I became uncomfortable. If I could see it, why couldn't adults?

      Then I became acquainted with a group of women survivors of clergy sexual abuse. For several years, the church retreat center I ran hosted their annual retreat. The women would call to make their reservations and start spilling their stories to me. At first, I thought they were simply idiots. Most of the survivors were not "traditional" rape victims, as we think of them. Rather the sexual abuse occurred in relationships with clergy (because of the power relationship and the connection from pastor to God, it was sexual abuse) so I couldn't see why they couldn't see the stories the clergy were telling them were complete lies. Like you I thought they simply weren't accepting responsibility.

      I really started listening and reading and trying to see the church through another's eyes. That when I came to understand that just because it's easy for me to see a minister as just another person who doesn't have any stronger a connection to God than me, doesn't mean everyone can do that. You know how pedophiles know which kids to pick and groom? Clergy do the same with adults. Some people, because of their childhood or their past, are simply more vulnerable. Some people are simply more trusting. Discernment is a gift not given to everyone. You can be full of the Holy Spirit yet taken in by a master manipulator. People can be completely convinced they are at fault when rejected or condemned by a pastor or by an entire church.

      I was going to suggest you read Julie Anne's blog posting about what happened with her daughter and her pastor - relating to them following his advice in dealing with her and that rupturing the parent/child relationship. However, it looks like that post disappeared. You can read "In Honor of Hannah" under April and get a feel for the story. It's such a typical story of a pastor using his power to give terrible advice to parents.

      Something else to consider - it's against the law in most states for therapists to have outside relationships with patients, even up to five years after they quit being patients. That's because people trust what therapists say - their education and position give them power. It's the same with clergy. Their position gives them power. Just because you and I don't see them that way (I've had too many friends who were ministers!) doesn't mean that's not true for many church members.

      Delete
    6. Jackie - That's a good idea to mention
      In Honor of Hannah. This particular post is by far the most popular post on the blog (nearly 1,000 hits higher than the next most popular). I think the link was sent around a lot when the media was hot on the story. I read a few sites where people posted the link and they were aghast and some were really, really angry at me at the way I treated Hannah. In fact, you can read that in the comments beneath the post. It's very heated and emotional. Spiritual abuse can cause one to lose even basic common sense on so many issues. Your brain can become captive to another person's rules and ideas. This is head-trippy stuff!!

      People (including pastors and naysayers) like facts to show what really happened and in this story, you can see it's really not about facts. It shows unspoken rules on how we dealt with our "rebellious" kid (who really wasn't a kid, btw). I still cannot read this without crying - I can't believe we did this :::::ACK::::: makes me want to scream!!!

      Delete
    7. It concerns me to see things along the lines of 'they are adults, they can decide where they attend church'. It appears to me the church in question did everything it could to create an atmosphere of fear and misinformation to eliminate in their minds the option of choosing to attend a different church.

      It's not far removed, in my mind, from comments about the Sandusky case as to why his victims continued to go to his home, or why Matt Sandusky 'allowed' himself to be adopted. Abusers work very hard to cultivate a sense of hopelessness and to eliminate any option for their victims to avoid these situations.

      We need to recognize this as a society in ALL areas of abuse - physical, sexual, emotional, spiritual - if we are going to be able to protect victims.

      Delete
  14. The Fred Butler's of the world give the Christian faith a bad name. He's an authoritarian type, a know-it-all, a self-righteous blowhard, in fact, a jerk. He is someone I would not choose to associate with in any way.

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  15. Julie Anne, I just have one clarifying question. Mr. Butler said you waited 3 years after leaving the church to post the first Google review. Yet in the copies of Chuck's 2009 Google review of you, he states that you had been complaining about him since you were put out of his church the previous year.

    Am I wrong on the timeline? Somehow I had the impression you started the Google reviewing soon after you left the church but the reviews were removed over and over.

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    Replies
    1. Jackie: Good question. I copied part of my declaration which was submitted to the court (and is public). We left the church Nov. 2008. There was nothing posted publicly about this church until the first review as state below:

      "On or about October 30, 2009, by posting my first Church review online on Dexknows and Google I continued the ongoing dialogue and my conclusions based on further prayer and Scripture. At the time, there were no other reviews posted for the Church. My initial review (under the name of "concernedchristian") was as follows:

      Grace? Think again by concernedchristian - 10/30/2009 Although this church touts to be "Beaverton Grace Bible", the "grace" word is lacking. This is more of a legalistic church where if you don’t do things their way (which is the "only" way), you will have challenges. Beaverton Grace is famous for shunning former members/attendees without giving an explanation or following Biblical principles on disagreements. You will be fine in this church if you never question the elders or pastor. Their emphasis is heavy on evangelism to the extent that you get the feeling if you do not regularly evangelize "their way", you are not a true Christian. Be wary of churches that broadcast that they are one of the only few remaining churches that preach the Word. There are true Bible-believing churches who preach the Word, don’t mince the hard teachings, yet also have a balance of truth and grace and humble leaders. Do not be deceived."

      Delete
    2. ja

      So that was your first trumpet call? And they wanted to silence you over that?

      Delete
    3. Yes, this was the first one. It was removed on Google, but last I checked, it was still on Dex. Stephanie and Chuck responded to it. Chuck said I was bibically put out (and then switched his story in the MSNBC interview) and Stephanie said our family was in church discipline (can't remember exact wording). This was the first we had heard of that.

      Delete
  16. Fred,

    I'm disappointed that you didn't take up my challenge and wrestle with the questions I asked. I believe you had an opportunity to turn this conversation in an edifying direction. Of course it's not too late. Taking shots at things that are written in anger and pain is easy, but not really helpful. You don't like anonymity. Make sure you're not hiding from the real agony of many on this blog. Roll up your sleeves, dear brother, and weep with those who weep. Then use your analytical skills to help us think through issues in a way that brings growth.

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    Replies
    1. Craig: Do you teach classes on how to communicate like that? Sign me up, now! If you were speaking like that to me, I couldn't NOT respond.

      Delete
    2. Thank you for your kind remarks. I feel very welcomed here. I firmly believe, however, that I have more to learn from you than you do from me.

      Delete
    3. Please pardon me for a sec, Craig. If you are the kind of guy I think you are, you might not like this attention. Oh well, it's my blog, deal with it ;)

      Readers: What you see above ^^ is humility. Just in case you may have missed earlier comments, Craig has identified himself as as an assistant pastor. Another time he admitted he is learning about spiritual abuse. He also reached out to Fred asking questions. He again reminded Fred that he wanted to wrestle with those questions/issues that Fred seems to be ignoring (intentional or not, I do not know) - not in a sense of who is right or wrong, but to get to a point of understanding these important issues.

      Let me just lay it out for you here based on what I have observed. We need to be looking for these kinds of characteristics in pastors (along with good doctrine):

      1. Humble
      2. Teachable
      3. Willing to discuss tough issues without retaliation or threats
      4. Speaks out against sexism


      Stay true to this, Craig. Good stuff.

      Delete
    4. Craig.
      I'm hoping to do "wrestle" with your questions today, DV.

      We are in the middle of preparing for a massive inventory this Friday at work. I have been preparing to teach twice at church once yesterday at the www.gracelifepulpit.com, and another this coming Sunday. Plus my mother is in town and honestly, I would much rather spend time with her, my wife (who is a happily barefoot and pregnant and keeps a mean kitchen), and kids.

      You're gonna have to be patient. Please. The fate of Western society doesn't rest on me given an immediate turn around to questions about what constitutes "bad" preachers. BTW, that accusation of sexism is over-the-top. See my other comment below.

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    5. Fred: My husband is on his way to work, but I just read your response to Craig out loud to him. He would like me to remind you that this discussion is not about bad preachers, but about pastors who manipulate the flock and do not care for them. He would like to encourage you to read Ezekial 34 regarding shepherds - with special note to verse 4:

      The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them.

      Delete
    6. Hi Fred,

      Thanks for responding. Take all the time you need. I'd rather have a thoughtful response than a prompt one. Julie Anne's husband's comment is, I think, very helpful and might focus your thoughts. The issue isn't bad preachers but abusive leaders who, at least on the surface, look orthodox. You give me a compliment by taking this seriously, and I appreciate it.

      I hope you'll forgive me for a little chuckle at being accused by you of being over the top in my remarks on sexism. Rightly or wrongly, that's exactly how I responded to your original question - over the top. Maybe we can both work at finding ways to be more gentle in our comments.

      Delete
  17. Some types seem to enjoy implying that all women are, to borrow Kipling's phrase from another unfortunate context, 'half child, half devil.' Thus, pretty much anything a woman does regarding a church or a pastor is suspect and most likely overly emotional and/or wicked.

    Also, there's a famous case in Fred's church of a guy who was disgruntled and went on a multi-years campaign against Fred's pastor, which I think included wearing a sandwich board outside the church, and handing out flyers, and maybe even taking out billboards nearby for all I know. I don't recall the case very specifically. I seem to recall the fellow had a name like Fish, or something related to fish. I suspect this history really (really) effects how Fred sees this kind of issue. Maybe Fred could confirm or deny...

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  18. Recovering PhariseeJune 21, 2012 at 9:50 PM

    Old Mom, I can understand how it may appear that Julie Anne is over reacting or taking it too far. And how it seems that there should be a distinction between those who suffer the most extreme forms of abuse from what appears to be disgruntled churchgoers. It sounds like you've seen the effects of a spiritually abusive situation in a friend but (praise God) haven't had to experience it first hand.

    What you may not be aware of is that in these churches where legalism reigns under the mask of "biblical teaching" and "sound doctrine" and such, those of us who care enough to challenge are automatically regarded as slandering or in sin. There is no room for discussion about unhealthy trends in the church, no room for challenging a leader for how they have hurt their flock, and yet you are not allowed to leave. Everyone who does leave is viewed by the congregation as in the wrong, and is shunned. A culture of fear instead of freedom drives the church. It is much more serious than simply legalism, although I'm convinced that is the heart of these spiritual abuse cases. Leaders are so consumed with the ideas they hold so dearly that they start seeing things as black and white that aren't so in the Word. People in their flocks are viewed as either walking in righteousness or not. They start measuring the spiritual state of themselves and others by outward things. When someone in the congregation starts noticing something is off and dares to point it out, for the pastor to agree with even part of the criticism would be for their whole system of faith to come crashing down.

    It is not right to elevate a church to the level of infallibility that the Bible has. There is a serious problem when people like Julie Anne are viewed as in sin for speaking out about not so pretty things that we don't want to hear. True we should not be quick to critique every little thing we don't like in a church, but when the things that she has described take place, it is wrong not to speak up.

    Dismissing her words because we ought not to ever speak negatively about a pastor or church is like telling a child who has been abused to be quiet because you are never to question an adult.

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  19. Dear Recovering,

    You said,

    “There is no room for discussion about unhealthy trends in the church, no room for challenging a leader for how they have hurt their flock, and yet you are not allowed to leave. Everyone who does leave is viewed by the congregation as in the wrong, and is shunned.”


    As I wrote in my previous response to Julie Anne concerning legalism, what you have written here is precisely what is confusing to me. How on earth can anyone keep you from leaving a church? If the answer is because people will shun you, then I’m afraid I must say that this would be putting fear of man above fear of God.

    Now, I understand that if you are a family with young children and teenagers that this would be very difficult for them to understand and endure. However, are we as Christian parents obligated to shield our children from the fact that sin exists, and its ramifications are numerous and far reaching?

    I heard a sermon MANY years ago that I have never forgotten, the point of which was that we Christians should be the least shocked of anyone at evil and bad behavior. I stake my life and my eternal destiny on the belief that sin is so egregious to God that He cannot bear to look upon it, and He must adjudicate it..which for believers, He chose to do in the penal substitutionary atonement of His Son.

    Do we really think this horrible entity that God took so much painstaking precision to deal with, at great personal cost to Himself, is not going to wreak havoc on the world, our lives, our churches, and even our families? We are cursed before we draw one infant breath due to our adamic nature. This includes pastors and elders. Why then would anyone be shocked when a pastor/elder sins? (As an aside, one of the things I love about my pastor is the fact that when I asked him which of his children he saw most of himself in he answered “I see my sinful nature in all of them”).

    Applying Matthew 18:15-20 to a out of line, unloving, ego-driven,pastor/elder, we are to treat our brother who refuses to repent as a “tax collector and a Gentile”, meaning one in rebellion against God. I read that as FLEE. Get out of the situation.

    Did Joseph equivocate about leaving his jacket at Potiphar’s? Did he stop and say, but this is going to make her really angry and be bad for me? No…he FLED. Many years enduring difficult consequences was his wordly reward for doing the right thing. But he entrusted himself to the Lord and look how mightily he was used in God’s redemptive plan and purposes.

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    Replies
    1. (Julie Anne, I know the follow 2 comments are long and if you want to edit or delete, please feel free)

      Old Mom,

      Okay, I will try to explain from my own experience.
      In these abusive churches, many people do leave. My former church has an incredible turn-over rate in membership. Here's the thing. For me, I grew up - from infant - in a spiritually abusive home and church. My very first pastor was a pedophile (and I was not one of his direct victims, though I was a victim of one of his victims...). In the home, I was taught not to question spiritual authority. Now, in my home, my mother was that 'authority' and boy did she teach me how much God was disappointed in me - starting with His being disappointed with me allowing myself to be molested. I was 2.
      As I grew up and did my damnedest to bury that, I also became more and more disgusted with the church in general. Unfortunately, what I was taught growing up so intertwined God and the religious institution that when I walked away from church at 16, I was pretty sure God was angry with me.

      Fast forward through twenty years of some pretty hellish experiences, including trying to take my own life, and you get to where I was so hungry for that felt presence of God (who never left me, by the way) that I decided to go back to church. I picked a real prize. At the time, however, I was so convinced that 20 years out of church and all the attendant crap I lived through, made me somehow spiritually inferior to those who were leading this church. And they sure made sure that idea was reinforced.

      (continued

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    2. (part 2 - Julie Anne, make that 3 comments)

      Understand, I am not stupid - I have a well above average IQ. It's not about intelligence. It's about self-perception. I was desperately looking for a place to belong - for family. And over the course of 7 years, I became very involved in this church. And here's the thing. It was reinforced - subtly, not blatantly, that this church was the only one that had the real, life-saving truth.

      Hmm...how to explain. One of the classic tactics of cult leaders in their efforts to brainwash is that they will make their 'sermons' a little interactive. The will ask the congregation simple questions that are obviously truth - like, 'God is Love, right?' They will ask several simple questions along these lines, then - after everyone is emotionally primed by responding 'yes' to these questions, they will begin slipping in the false statements, subtly, and the congregation has already been trained to say 'yes', so this slips under the radar - one piece at a time, until they actually have you believe that God talks to them about you and they hold the power of your destiny because they are appointed leaders over you.

      Afraid to leave? You bet! I was afraid to leave. The day I quit my leadership and membership, I spent 2 1/2 hours sitting in the pastor's office being interrogated and threatened by him and his wife. I was told that if I left, I would have no spiritual covering and would be quickly deceived. Ironic, that. I was afraid for my own salvation for two years after I left.

      You mention applying Matthew 18 to the situation. First, you have to be able to see that the pastor is NOT speaking for God - you have to be able to separate out from the teachings to recognize that any problems you see are not, in fact, just you.

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    3. (part 3)

      I anticipate that you might suggest that if we read our Bibles, we would know that we couldn't lose our salvation by leaving a church. Well, during the time I attended and led in this church, I read the Bible through from beginning to end at least 5 times - in different translations. I studied with great zeal - was even enrolled in a online Bible school that taught similar to what this pastor did/does. But this pastor is an expert at twisting the Scriptures to mean what he wants in order to control people. And it is so subtle. Even now, more than 5 years out, I still have difficulty reading the Bible because the twisting this man did lingers and causes pain and fear when I read those passages.

      You use the story of Joseph. When Joseph fled, he was not under the fear that Potiphar's wife was able to affect his standing with God. These men train you to believe that they hold the power of your very salvation in their hands. Leaving without their blessing meant probable damnation. Having been trained from infancy to believe that another - an authority figure - held power over my life made me especially vulnerable to this kind of manipulation.

      And it took watching this man who calls himself 'Anointed of God' target a close friend who came to him for marriage counseling because she was trapped in an abusive marriage to get me hurt and angry enough to leave. She was so starved for just simple human kindness, that she was extremely vulnerable to his attentions - which started gradually and built up over time. He used the things he learned from her in counseling to manipulate her. When the wife got tired of it and confronted him, my friend was thrown out, shunned, blamed and threatened.
      Then we found out that he has a pattern of doing this. We know for sure there were at least four.

      The thing is , these guys are master manipulators. It is, if you will, their stock in trade. I know for someone who has not experienced it first hand, it is difficult to understand and easy to pass judgment. I pray our Father give you wisdom and let you see and understand. How on earth can anyone keep you from leaving a church? The same way abusive husbands keep their wives from leaving - abusive parents keep their children in line. Teach them that the problem is their own sinful nature and if they would just get in line and behave properly/believe properly, all the problems would go away. Teach them to fear getting 'out of line'. That is how.

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    4. Dear Jeanette,

      First of all, let me thank you for taking the time to write out your story; it is very enlightening. Secondly, let me say that I am so sorry for what happened to you, and so thankful that the Lord is bringing you out of it. I know I cannot even begin to imagine how painful it has been for you. When I read it to my husband he said “don’t these “pastors” read their Bibles? Aren’t they afraid of how horribly they are offending not only their sheep but a Holy God”?

      It sounds very similar to what happened to my friend. When she would try to tell her mother about something that was done to her she was told, “you can’t tell anyone because then they (the perpetrator) won’t be able to go to church and they will go to hell and it will be your fault.” In both her, and your case it seems like a horrific combination of very misguided/deluded parenting AND membership in a church that perpetuated and supported ultra authoritarian behavior.

      My own background is very different, so I’m not certain that I will be able to completely and utterly grasp the concept of not being able to leave a destructive and evil situation.despite your very articulate explanation. I have never been in a position of feeling that my salvation was at the mercy of any human’s discretion. I can COMPLETELY understand, though how if raised that way from infancy…it would be part of one’s wiring and have a stranglehold that I am existentially unfamiliar with. Please forgive me if I minimized this or over simplified it.

      I have two major concerns over what I’ve been reading here on the posts and the comments:

      Firstly, if indeed there was illegal behavior as has been vaguely alluded to, then it should have been handled by reporting it to authorities and not by a Google/Dex review. I think this was both unwise and unbiblical. THAT BEING SAID what my mama’s heart wants to do is have Julie Anne over for coffee, put my arms around her, and cry with her for how out of hand this has gotten. It was foolish to publicly humiliate the pastor, and it was un-Christlike, I pray often that the Lord would see fit to compel Chuck to drop the lawsuit. Again, foolish and unbiblical….not to mention that he is held to a higher standard since he has called himself an overseer.

      Seondly, and almost more troubling to me, is that because in this case and the majority of the others, the perpetrators are males in authority folks here seem anxious to mimic the ardent feminism and male bashing that exists in our culture, and to place that preference over scripture.(understand...I am not saying there do not exist horribly sexist men in both the church and the world; I am saying that we cannot ignore God's design simply because it has been abused and misused by some) Poor Fred has been vilified and called all sorts of names for simply asking Julie Anne where her husband stood in all this. How can that be a bad thing to ask a Christian woman? Did the Lord not design male headship in the home, as pointed out in Ephesians?

      Delete
    5. Old Mom: The illegal activity was reported to authorities; however, there were approximately 8 months where it was "handled" by the pastor, because the pastor said he would take care of it (JA's admitted sarcasm: yea, right - and at whose expense?). During that time, I went to the nursery to nurse my baby and the offender was in there with me. No other adult was in the room. At that time I did not know he was a sex offender (I was told weeks after we were gone from the church). Obviously, nothing would have happened while I was in the room with him; however, it wouldn't have been out of the ordinary for me to ask him to keep an eye on my child while I excused myself to the restroom. It makes me wonder how many other lapses occurred?

      I've since read court documents that they supposedly had safeguards in place - that the offender was always to have a designated adult with him. Obviously, as my experience shows, there was a serious lapse in whatever system they had. Regardless, if you read what this teen was charged with, any normal human being would be shocked that a church could "take care" of this situation. Come on. The kid lived with young siblings at home.

      Regarding "poor" Fred? I'm sorry, Old Mom, but can you please copy and paste an example of Fred showing real love and genuine care for the wounded sheep? Isn't that what this is all about? Instead he distracts the real issue and gets on his pet topics wondering what my husband is doing, etc. The rest of your discussion on that topic is not giving me warm fuzzies right now, in fact, I need to hit publish right now and stop typing.

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    6. Julie Anne,

      I'm not an apologist for anyone, not your former pastor, and not Fred. I was simply pointing out that he was attacked for asking a very reasonable question because it seems to me that some are throwing out the baby (biblical gender roles) with the bath water(the sinful abuse of biblical gender roles).

      I don't in any way want to upset you, and if you would prefer that I not post any more comments, I will respectfully abide by your wishes.

      Delete
    7. Old Mom (I feel weird typing that every time - lol),

      No way! Please continue to post. Don't mind my ranting. This is the beauty of relationships and contending and getting to the crux of these difficult issues (which is why I so appreciated Craig's post). I don't ever want to squelch good discussion here.

      As I sit behind the screen and see posts to moderate, there are times when I hit the "publish" link and cringe, but this stuff is real, and painful, and strong emotions are evoked. We can't deny this reality.

      My point is this is not a topic about biblical gender roles.

      Delete
    8. Julie Anne,

      Well, I am a mom and I am old...and I'm not very warm and fuzzy in print...lol. Different story in my kitchen, though.

      While this particular thread, contending for the faith, may not be about biblical gender roles, I think that for the Christian….EVERYTHING is biblical. And, I think that in trying to sort out the circumstances that you find yourself in, other Christians are going to want to systematically go down the list and check off whether certain biblical precedents have been met.

      Can anyone explain to me what was so egregious about asking you where your husband stands in all this? (not saying you have to divulge that information…just saying it flows naturally from anyone coming from a biblical view of the family).

      Could Fred have put it a bit more delicately and respectfully? Yes, he certainly could have. But my goodness people….are we so touchy and so in love with our gender neutral world that a man asking a woman a difficult question is sexism???

      And Julie Anne, I stand corrected about one thing. If you had knowledge of the church harboring a sex offender and the full extent of the law was not put into place to protect the church’s children, then you likely had no choice but to issue a public warning. I respectfully suggest though that the ad hominem attacks on the pastor while doing that were not a good idea, as much as he might deserve them.

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    9. Old Mom - What ad hominem attacks? Can you please identify them?

      Re: my husband - this topic is not relevant to the abuse or the case

      Old Mom: You did not address this issue:

      Regarding "poor" Fred? I'm sorry, Old Mom, but can you please copy and paste an example of Fred showing real love and genuine care for the wounded sheep?

      Old Mom:

      Who is publicly speaking out about Chuck filing a lawsuit?
      Who is publicly speaking out about Chuck amending the lawsuit to add an additional person?
      Who is speaking out about the abuse?
      Who is reaching out to the people who have been abused and abandoned their faith?
      Who is showing real love and trying to help those people get back on their feet?

      What is all of this ridiculous time being wasted on me and my methods when spiritual lives are at stake?

      Is God sovereign? Will He deal with me as He sees fit if He thinks I have done wrong? Do you trust Him to do that?

      It feels like people are trying to spank me (not just you, Old Mom, many, many others). Okay, spank me. Now can we be done with me?

      I am very, very sad that Julie Anne Smith has become the distraction for many.

      Dear God, please remove me as the distraction so people can see clearly what is going on. Amen!

      Delete
    10. Old Mom,

      From my view, Fred's question is clearly sexist. I'm sorry if my writing that offends you. It's sexist because he writes it in the context of an argument concerning the credibility of complaints against a pastor. In effect the question says, "Julie Anne, your perspectives and feelings don't really count because you're a woman." Was that Fred's intent? I don't know. If his intent was to express, in the context of a Biblical understanding of marriage, a concern for Julie Anne's growth and marriage then I applaud his intent but am appalled at his poor choice of expression and venue. It cheapens a Biblical understanding of marriage to use it as a tactic in an argument that has nothing to do with marriage. I hope this doesn't mean I'm not welcome in your kitchen.

      Delete
    11. Old Mom,

      I’m going to risk sticking my nose in where it may not belong. But because I referred to Fred Butler's “playing the Husband Card” in one of my comments on this thread, I fear I may have contributed to some unnecessary rancor that has become a significant part of the larger discussion.

      Old Mom, I, for one, appreciate the contribution that your comments have made to this discussion. Regarding gender issues, I probably agree more with you than I do with many other readers of this blog and blogs like it, so I am particularly sensitive to the misunderstanding that my choice of the term “Husband Card” might have caused.

      You ask in one of your exchanges with Julie Anne, “Can anyone explain to me what was so egregious about asking you where your husband stands in all this?” Speaking for myself--and not Julie or anyone else--I don’t think there’s anything wrong with asking this. Long before Julie posted her first piece responding to Fred Butler, I myself wondered where her husband stood on all this. Where this type of question can become problematic--even for some of us with significant complementarian sympathies--is when the asking of that question is, in reality, coded language designed to shut down dissent, simply because the dissenter is a woman.

      An enormous and diverse set of doctrinal positions has been spun out of 1 Timothy, Titus, and other passages in the New Testament addressing relations between men and women. Your appeal to “God’s design for male headship in the home” and “biblical gender roles” gives us some idea of where you stand on those issues. Many readers of this blog surely reject these notions as prima facie sexism. I do not. However, in the seemingly endless horizon of positions on what constitutes “biblical” relations between men and women--both in the home and in the family--some have taken to extreme, and I believe demonstrably unwarranted, positions on gender relations. And that brings us back to the “Husband Card.”

      My deployment of this term is similar to that of the “Race Card”: a pulling of rank--based on the immutable characteristics of the card holder--in order to shut down conversations. By pulling the Husband Card, the dealer is saying, “Why are we even having this dicussion? What’s a woman doing with her own blog, publicly criticizing a man (and an ordained one at that) in a theological or ecclesiastical context? That’s a man’s job. Doesn’t this woman have a husband?”

      There’s a lot of this thinking going around. Rarely will it be expressed as plainly as I have done so above. Frequently, it’s couched in softened, albeit patronizing terms, such as, “When it comes to the public airing of theological controversy, that’s best left to the men” (both Tim Bayly and Doug Wilson have used almost identical language on their blogs in the last year). Leaving the biblical wrongheadedness of this view aside (even from a complementarian perspective), I trust that this explanation of my perspective -- and my use of such a loaded term -- adds to the clarity of the present discussion, and that you and others will find it helpful, even if you disagree with it.

      Finally, In my own defense, I want to point out that in my “husband card” comment, I had actually complimented Fred Butler for taking as long as he did to ask Julie about her husband. And if his curiosity is just that -- curiosity -- then I have no problem with his asking it.

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    12. Old Mom:

      First, there is no such thing as 'biblical gender roles'. Christ changed all of that and Paul said "In Christ there is neither . . .." So called biblical gender roles are for people who are NOT IN CHRIST. So if you believe in them, you are choosing a path that is not in Christ. Sexism is a sin of denying the priesthood of people of both genders. (Name a gender role and I can show you counterexamples in the Bible, other than the fact that one gender births children.)

      Second, Julie Anne was carrying out a biblical mandate to protect the sheep from a wolf, in this case Chuck O'Neal.

      Delete
    13. An Attorney (same as earlier)June 23, 2012 at 2:19 PM

      Jeannette:

      First, as an attorney and a Christian, I have dealt with pastors who sexually abuse church members and employees. Men come in three flavors: those who never cheat on their wives, those who cheat once and are so terrified that they never do so again, and those we call predators, always on the prowl for a victim. Applies to male pastors as well.

      Typically if anyone finds out, the victim is blamed for seducing the "man of God" (as if there were such a thing!), and he is forgiven, given a leave of absence "to recover (!!!)", and restored to his former position. This is a massive sin by the church leadership and the congregation if it is they who do these things.

      NO ONE SHOULD SIT AND LISTEN TO SUCH A PASTOR PREACH, EVER.

      And if the congregation does not boot the perpetrator (the pastor), then they are elevating him to a point of idolatry.

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    14. I had some very pointed and firm things to say to Julie Anne that I felt were inappropriate for public consumption so I have responded to her via email out of respect for her.

      I also told her that I would not be commenting here any longer because I feel very badly that I have gotten the topic away from the one that she chose “Contending for the faith”. Please forgive me; it is not my place to force a discussion about a topic that the owner of the blog does not wish to get into.

      God bless.

      Delete
    15. I received a private e-mail response from Old Mom (as she mentioned above). I responded to her e-mail and challenged her to bring her comments here, that they were fine to discuss on the blog.

      It is not inappropriate to disagree on topics. We learn and grow in these kinds of discussions. Old Mom might be able to teach me a thing or two and perhaps many others. Bring it on, old Mom :)

      We don't need to agree on everything. These are not salvation issues, but secondary issues. But these issues do have to do with what I have been running into when talking with pastors about my story.

      It is my personal opinion that this questioning about my husband's involvement/non-involvement is a diversion tactic that has been used to avoid dealing with real issues of abuse. So in that sense, it absolutely is a relevant topic.

      I would like keep this thread going to allow Fred an opportunity to respond. Sometimes when I put up a new post, the tendency is to let the old thread die out. So I'm allowing Fred this extra time. So, carry on . . .

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    16. An Attorney (same as earlier)-

      Yes. Your comment just very accurately describes the state of affairs that still exists in this 'church'.

      Delete
    17. Hmm...I have thought about this response all day. It may be a rant and, as always, Julie Anne is welcome to delete....

      What I am responding to is the the question of whether or not Fred should have asked where Julie Anne's husband was in all of this. It has been suggested that this is a reasonable for him to ask and that disagreeing with him is going against 'biblical gender roles.'

      Please understand that this attitude - the one that implies that a woman has no business speaking about things without the permission of a man - is exactly the attitude and teaching that creates the climate where abusers can abuse with immunity. Any time the abused tries to speak up against the abuse, they are told to be quiet, they have no right to speak.

      Do you not see how that perpetuates the abuse and re-victimizes the victim? I am going to be blunt. It is the same kind of attitude that tells a women who has just been raped that her 'story' doesn't matter because she didn't tell it the way the hearers think she should have told it. When someone who is being/has been abused tells their story and the response is 'you didn't tell it the right way', that implies that the 'way' they communicate their story is more important than the story itself - more important than they are.

      I have run into this my whole life in religious circles - trying to tell my story, find help - compassion - and being met with the whole religious 'how dare you say that.' It seems, from my experience, that often people would rather play the role of 'doctrine police' rather than really hear what is going horribly wrong within the institutional system called church. I often wonder if it is because people care more about the religious status quo and their position in it and they don't want to hear anything that might threaten that. It seems, from my perspective, that they would rather sacrifice the abused on the altar of doctrine. Is it any wonder that many of the abused walk away from the church for good?

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    18. Jeannette - Julie Anne just rose from her comfy couch and is waving the white hanky! Oh myyyyyy, Sistah, this is e.x.a.c.t.l.y. along the lines I have in my unfinished response to Fred.

      hahahaha "JA is welcome to delete" - - - I think NOT! :)

      I'm glad you were stewing on this all day, your words spoke for me. Thank you!

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    19. Jeannette and Julie Anne,

      Seems that sinful, bullying, abusive male domination of women is being confused and related here to the God ordained male headship with regards to a HUSBAND and wife in the home. (Ephesians 5:22-24).

      Is it so hard to believe that God in His wisdom appointed an arbiter in the marriage relationship so that if both parties are submitting to Christ and yet disagree that there is a way to solve the issue at hand? Is it so hard to believe that God in His wisdom and creative genius also shaped this arbiter to be equipped for the job? And…that He gave that arbiter VERY strict instructions? “Husbands love your wives, as Christ loved the church, and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25----the verse that bullies and jerks seem to ignore when they hone in on vs 22-24).

      Delete
    20. Brilliant, Old Mom. Thank You!

      How simply profound!

      Delete
    21. David and Old Mom - Would either of you please break it down for me and apply it to my situation on how Fred asked about my husband's involvement?

      I am simply not getting it. Speak very s.l.o.w.l.y please - I haven't had my Sunday nap :)

      Delete
    22. Julie Anne,

      I cannot speak for Fred. For myself, finding out if your husband was on board with what you are doing was sort of a Shibboleth. It told me that you were interested in obeying Ephesians 5:22-24. It is much easier to be sympathetic and supportive when the excrement hits the fan, as it has in this case, when you know that someone has gone out of their way to do things in a godly manner.

      I don’t see it as sexist to ask if your spouse was on board because frankly I would have wondered the exact same thing if it were your husband who was the face of this blog/situation. I would have wondered if he had consulted his wife and considered her feelings and opinions before posting that first Google review.

      I said I wasn't commenting any more on this issue! Here I go talking too much again! :)

      Delete
    23. Old Mom,
      That is a terrible interpretation of the Ephesians 5 passage, which has NOTHING to do with HEADSHIP. The biblical word translated head in the NT means source not the location of the brain, and does not mean boss in any way shape or form. Further the modern concept of submission and what they word in the original language of the NT mean are rather different.

      Even at that, submission is to be mutual, and a wife is to be submitted to her own husband as he is to be willing to be crucified for her -- a rather stark difference from the then current standing of a wife as chattel property that (not who!) could be disposed of at will with a simple piece of paper handed to her signed by her by then ex-husband. BTW, he could also have sold her if he had chosen to do that, and could do that with her children by him as well.

      The whole headship and covering thing is total nonsense based on a misunderstanding of the bible, fed by a terrible translation by the KJV translators who were busy working for a king who wanted to strengthen his position against women in the monarchy, for the divine rights of kings, and other authoritarian understandings. What better then than to push that view into the English NT of the day, by skewing the translation and interpretation processes.

      Delete
    24. Hmm...You have just said, in effect, that if we do not agree with your doctrinal interpretation of certain passages in the Bible, then we are not godly. Are you saying that victims of abuse who speak out against the abuse have no right to compassion and support unless they toe your doctrinal line? Do you not see how this can be used to perpetuate the abuse? Seriously, ouch.

      Delete
    25. Old Mom: And as I said before, I'm fine with the debate. It causes us to stretch and grow.

      (Ok, to appease OM and other people who are like OM and Fred and anyone else: I will mention once again that my husband was completely on board with the Google review and the blog.)

      However, what does my husband have to do with it - regardless if I had the support or not? So I'm not considered credible without this information? Why not?

      When someone is reaching out to a pastor for help to report abuse, why should a bad marriage or good marriage even enter into the conversation? The conversation with the pastor us supposed to be ABUSE not my marriage.

      What am I missing here?

      Delete
    26. Sorry Julie Anne...what pastor are we talking about here? I'm confused now.

      Delete
    27. Jeannette,

      What I was trying to say, and perhaps did not do it well, is this. Some how the problem at Julie Anne’s church, i.e. the sinful abuse of power by the leaders has devolved into a discussion here of men hurting women. And every time someone mentions the term “spiritual abuse” here it is fraught with overtones of sexism.

      I’ll venture to say that nearly as many men have been/are being hurt by the situation as women.

      I don’t see where I said that correct doctrine was necessary to receive compassion. I would be lost for eternity if God had not loved me while I was still stuck in my sin and rebellion against Him. So, how then could I deny compassion and understanding to anyone?

      Perhaps it would help to state that I am not reading this blog because I am a victim of spiritual abuse, and therefore probably don’t belong here. My daughter saw the story on the news, told me about it, I went online to read about it and found this blog. I felt great compassion for Julie Anne and have been attempting (perhaps clumsily and ineffectively) to encourage and support her.

      As she is a professing believer, it seemed completely in keeping with the way I would speak to any Christian friend to ask them when they told me about a problem they were having if they had followed Scripture in trying to deal with it.
      I have no other tools! ☺

      Delete
    28. Let's try it again (oops - noticed a typo I missed above):

      When a wife is reaching out to a pastor to ask for help and to report another pastor for spiritual abuse (or any abuse for that matter), why should a bad marriage or good marriage even enter into the conversation? The conversation with the pastor is supposed to be about ABUSE, not my marriage.

      Delete
    29. BTW - my comment of June 24, 2012 2:22 PM was meant to address Old Mom's comment, not Acre's - just wanted to clarify. :-)

      Delete
    30. Julie Anne,

      Obviously I fall into the complementarian camp and not the egalitarian. Not here to debate the correctness of my position on that, so please don’t anyone engage me because much, much smarter people than myself have written eloquently about it and it’s there for anyone to see if they search for it.

      So, my answer to your question is going to come from that position.

      God>Christ>Husband>Wife (I Cor 11:3)

      That’s the pecking order. I didn’t make this up!

      So, if I went to a pastor and started to express concerns about a fellow pastor, it would be perfectly logical for him to say, “What does your husband think about this, have you discussed it with him?” He’s following I Cor 11:3; he’s showing respect for the fact that you are a married woman.

      NOW, I’m not saying that it would be a good thing for him to dismiss you if you had not spoken to your husband. He should give your concerns JUST AS MUCH WEIGHT as if your husband was there with you. But he probably would want to speak to your husband before taking it any further. Not because you were incapable of communicating the issue but because he would want to follow I Cor 11:3.

      Delete
    31. 55 years a Baptist mostly SBCJune 24, 2012 at 3:58 PM

      No Old Mom you didn't make it up, but it isn't true. Christ is not submissive in eternity to God, nor after the resurrection, he was only submissive during his time on earth. But that is a terrible misunderstanding of the passage you cited, and especially of the original language.

      Patriarchy, which is what you are suggesting, is totally out of place in Christianity. And your endorsement of continuing the wife as a second class church member and therefore second class Christian is contradicted by Paul who said, IN CHRIST, THERE IS NEITHER MALE NOR FEMALE. So when outside of Christ, do what you want and be as submissive to whomever you want. But once you are in Christ, you are equal in standing to every other Christian and responsible for you own interaction in the Kingdom, with God, and with other Christians.

      Delete
    32. This is what I read and said 'Amen!' to.

      Old Mom wrote: "Is it so hard to believe that God in His wisdom appointed an arbiter in the marriage relationship so that if both parties are submitting to Christ and yet disagree that there is a way to solve the issue at hand? Is it so hard to believe that God in His wisdom and creative genius also shaped this arbiter to be equipped for the job? And…that He gave that arbiter VERY strict instructions? “Husbands love your wives, as Christ loved the church, and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25----the verse that bullies and jerks seem to ignore when they hone in on vs 22-24)."

      and now I double my 'Amen!' on this. I have thoughts on all the rest, but I'm on my Sabbath.

      love the discussion, very healthy and heart-warming

      Delete
    33. David -

      Leaving varying interpretations of a few key verses aside....your last sentence troubles me.

      This discussion may be healthy, but heart-warming? For me, it is heart-rending. It makes me want to weep that people seem to believe doctrine is more important than coming alongside and not breaking a bruised reed. This doctrine of gender roles is one that is used heavily to justify abusive behavior and silence those who would speak against it.

      Heart warming? When Old Mom wrote - "It is much easier to be sympathetic and supportive when the excrement hits the fan, as it has in this case, when you know that someone has gone out of their way to do things in a godly manner." - it was like a knife cutting. Why? Do you not see the inherent attitude in this statement that says, "if you are not doing things according to the doctrine I subscribe to, you are not godly and it will require a lot more effort to to hear your story." Do you all not see how this makes it about doctrinal behavior standards and not about helping those who have been terribly hurt by the very people who were supposed to teach them about the love of Christ? When doctrinal correctness is insisted upon before help is offered, it sounds very mush, to the one who has been abused, as if you are saying the same thing the abusers said - i.e., doctrine and theological correctness is more important than people.

      "...who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." ~ 2 Corinthians 3:6

      Delete
    34. Jeannette,

      If someone is driving on the wrong side of the road into oncoming traffic, would it be loving to say to them, “keep going, I’m right here with you, your biggest fan, you can do this, don’t pay attention to anything or anyone that suggests you might be going the wrong way”?

      Did you happen to read my post where I said that Ephesians 5:25 was ignored by bullies and jerks as an excuse to run roughshod over their wives, and by misguided extension..other women? Or where I mentioned that sinful male domination of women was being confused here with male headship in the home?

      Just so we are clear, I am in COMPLETE agreement that the actions of the pastor/elders at Julie Anne’s former church are sinful. Sin hurts people, it offends God, causes chaos (sometimes for generations), besmirches the name of Christ, and ultimately leads to exactly what is happening here.

      I’ve often wished that my own sin only hurt ME, but sadly that is not the case. And when you have the egregious sin of an overseer…my goodness look what has happened! People are turning their backs on God, and on the true and faithful teaching of His Word. The very place they need to go for healing(into the arms of our Lord) has become anathema to them because of the sinful abuse of power, and the ignoring of the clear scriptural mandates for behavior of an elder/pastor.

      Delete
    35. Old Mom, But from your e-mail to me and what you've posted here, it seems like you still think I am wrong about having this blog. Am I correct?


      Jeannette - If you don't line up with me doctrinally, there is nothing to discuss (and no relationship) is what I'm hearing. I love your comment to David and great scripture reference.

      Delete
    36. Julie Anne,

      Let me address the second point first:

      “If you don't line up with me doctrinally, there is nothing to discuss (and no relationship)”

      I guess I need to go back to English Composition 101 because I do not seem to be able to make this point! ☺ Never said “nothing to discuss”, never said “no relationship”. At least I certainly did not mean to say those things. What I did say was that your position on Ephesians 5:22-24 was sort of a Shibboleth for me. If I’m discussing something with someone who does not believe in a literal interpretation of Scripture, it’s going to be a very different conversation than that with someone who does not hold that view. Does that makes sense? I could not expect to hold someone accountable to the teachings of scripture who did not think that it was the final authority on all matters of Life and Godliness.

      Which leads then to point number two,

      “Old Mom, But from your e-mail to me and what you've posted here, it seems like you still think I am wrong about having this blog. Am I correct?”

      I do, yes. If I really were your “Old Mom” I’d be begging you to take it down, to take the Google stuff down (except the notification of the harboring of a sex offender), and leave in its place a blog called something like ,
      “Come grow with Julie Anne past the experience of toxic shepherding” (not poetic, but you get the idea).

      My one rule on that new blog would be to NEVER mention, to borrow a phrase from J.K. Rowling “he who must not be named”. He’s done enough damage; don’t give him any more ink, or any more fuel for his fire.

      Delete
    37. OM -

      Regarding my statement:

      “If you don't line up with me doctrinally, there is nothing to discuss (and no relationship)”

      You didn't say that and neither did Fred nor anyone else, but that is what it seems like you're saying by the way I'm treated.

      Your 2nd point: I've already mentioned I am not comfortable with the title of this blog. It was appropriate for a time, it's purpose has been served. I'm waiting for resolution of legal case to decide what to do next because as I discussed on earlier post the focus of the blog has shifted.

      I respectfully submit to you that we will have to agree to disagree on your last paragraph. It appears that you are coming from the angle of what you feel comfortable with, not a clearly established Biblical precedent for outing false teachers (even by name):

      Jude 11
      2 Peter 2:15-16
      3 John 9-11
      2 Tim 4:14-15
      2 Tim 2:15-18
      1 Tim 1:18-20
      Gal 2:11-14

      That being said. I, too, am uncomfortable with naming names. I've never enjoyed it. But it came to a point that it wasn't about me anymore. I was ready to deal with the wrath that people might give me because to me, spiritual lives are more precious than whatever pain I might feel by their rebukes. And yes, it is painful to read your posts and comments of others telling me I'm in error. Every time I read it, I have to do more soul searching or scripture searching, or talking with people I respect to see if I am wrong or not. I don't take these things lightly and I know that I am human and sin.

      I don't know if you've noticed, but I rarely use his full name anymore (others do in comments, tho). I rarely name the church's full name. Very few people would have stumbled across the blog before the media. He chose to make it public by filing a PUBLIC civil lawsuit. I did not disclose the story to the media. He also chose to drag MacArthur's name through the mud publicly by claiming a pastor from GCC gave their endorsement to sue us. GCC was forced to publicly correct the record. Who made this public? He did.

      Let's also not forget that by filing a civil lawsuit and subsequent media, he has made me public and my daughter. I have never posted my full name publicly online. After this media barrage, I decided who cares anymore.

      Delete
    38. Julie Anne,

      I’m so sorry if it comes across that I am “treating” you badly. I certainly never wanted to do that.

      Let me point out something that was written today in the comments section that illustrates just how complex and tricky this issue is. In response to ROOT you wrote,

      “I can understand the desire to honor your parents to the church of their choosing, but what about your daughter? Your parents witnessed this situation. Have you considered trying another church (where your daughter feels safe)”

      You just said to her precisely the same thing that I have been asking you, “Why didn’t you just leave the church?”. See how difficult it is to even talk about this? If I were ROOT, I might misinterpret what you are saying as “treating me badly”.

      I KNOW your former pastor had done something terrible by dragging your name into the public. Civil courts have no business adjudicating a problem in the church. He is wrong, wrong, wrong.

      As far as the Scriptures you listed…I want to look them all up and consult some commentaries, but I cannot do that now as I procrastinated doing the reading I need to do for our ladies bible study tonight and I have to do it pronto!

      I’ll just say briefly that I see the Scriptural mandate from Matthew 18 as this: tell them once, tell them twice, take it to the elders and then if there is no repentance, you walk away. As my pastor said to me when I was struggling once on whether to continue confronting someone on something “You are certainly free to do so, but I don’t see that there will be any fruit from doing it any longer”.

      Delete
    39. 56 years a Baptist, mostly SBCJune 26, 2012 at 2:07 PM

      Old Mom.

      A lot of people say that they believe in a literal reading of the Bible, but that is never really true when they confronted with passages that have little or no literal meaning but are loaded with spiritual meaning, and they are numerous. Further, I could live with a literal reading of the Greek NT, because what we have are translations and not "The Word of God", which in the case of the NT is Greek, even though Jesus spoke Aramaic and not Greek. Do you begin to get the nature of the fact that you do not even read what could be read literally. The problem of Ephesions 5:22-24 is that the have been terribly mistranslated with English words that mean something different than the concept of the Greek words. And the context tells us more than the mistranslated words. "Submit" in the first verse of the bunch is really the idea of mutual cooperation. Mutual submission is a strange concept indeed--two who are both under and over each other!! And in fact that is the better meaning in the other verses. Paul tells women to cooperate with their own husbands and not anyone else's husband to that degree ("her own") and is not telling a woman to turn herself into a rug for her husband. He on the other hand is to be self-sacrificial to his wife and willing to die ignominiously for her, as Christ did for the church.

      Jesus spoke about not dominating over others and said anyone who would lead must be a servant or slave to all of the others. Paul is saying the same sort of thing, in a different way. Christian leaders are to put others as more important than themselves and seek to cooperate with all, and that includes the husband in the family.

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    40. I will just address this part, OM, because all of the above, we will go around and around and that is just not a good use of my time. You and I hold firmly to our positions, we are very strong women. Let's not waste any more of our time.

      This is the part I will address:

      I’ll just say briefly that I see the Scriptural mandate from Matthew 18 as this: tell them once, tell them twice, take it to the elders and then if there is no repentance, you walk away. As my pastor said to me when I was struggling once on whether to continue confronting someone on something “You are certainly free to do so, but I don’t see that there will be any fruit from doing it any longer”.


      You may not have seen the fruit in your experience; however, I do see the fruit in mine. Although I did not know it at the time, the fruit is this blog and what God is doing in the lives of others - not only from my former church but from all over. Through this blog people from my former church who were silenced over 13 years ago discovered that they were not the only ones silenced. They learned that they were not the only ones who were treated poorly and had lasting effects. For them to identify that it wasn't just in their heads, for many it began the healing process - a chance for hope, a chance for restored relationships with former members, family, and their God.

      On top of that, this has caused the story of spiritual abuse to become one of the nation's top news stories for several days. Because of that many people read the story and recognized similarities with their personal stories. Some have never told their story before they either posted it here or sent to me privately. Most days I get more than one e-mail from people thanking me for having this blog because they find it helpful to them.

      Old Mom, I do not and will not ever regret what I did, even though it was not fun to do (and even if you and others do not approve). I see the fruit. It is evident. Helping people get back on the right track to restore their relationship with others and God - - - if that is not fruit, then I don't know what is.

      Delete
    41. Julie Anne - Yes, you are hearing what I am saying. Thank you.

      OM - I'm not sure what else to say right now. I will come back to it after I've let it set a bit.

      Delete
    42. OM -

      Okay...first, to equate doctrinal differences with "on the wrong side of the road into oncoming traffic" seems like further evidence that your position on these verses is paramount to all else.

      You went on to write "People are turning their backs on God, and on the true and faithful teaching of His Word."

      Do you think that because I disagree with the interpretation of Ephesians 5:22-24, I have turned my back on God and the true and faithful teaching of His word? Ouch. I have not turned my back on God. He is the only refuge I have. I invite you to read my blog sometime if you care to see what my journey through the pain of healing from spiritual (and other) abuse has looked like. Without Christ, I would never have survived it. Please hear me. You say that finding out what Julie Anne's position on these verses was your Shibboleth. What I hear when you say that is: a person's position on these verses is your test to see if they have turned their back on God or not. Again - it is putting doctrine ahead of people - ahead of understanding.

      There are a ton of translations and paraphrases of the NT out there and many of them disagree on the translation of these (and many other verses). If the meaning were so plain, there wouldn't be so many translations.

      I suspect we will never agree on this. But can we agree to disagree and move on?

      Delete
    43. Jeanette,

      My wrong side of the road analogy was not about doctrinal differences, but was referring to my opinion that Julie Anne was wrong in posting that first Google review. My opinion….not doctrine. My wisdom (or lack of it, depending on your stand on the matter). I feel it was an unwise and dangerous thing to do, hence the road analogy. Not a doctrinal matter.

      When I said people are turning their backs on God and on the true and faithful preaching of His word, it had nothing to do with anyone’s interpretation of Ephesians. It was in the context of the consequences of the sin of her former pastor. It has been written on this blog that people have left the church, left the faith, and even left God because of what was going on in that church.

      Here is what I wrote:

      “And when you have the egregious sin of an overseer…my goodness look what has happened! People are turning their backs on God, and on the true and faithful teaching of His Word.”

      Please point out where I said anything remotely akin to:

      “Do you think that because I disagree with the interpretation of Ephesians 5:22-24, I have turned my back on God and the true and faithful teaching of His word?”

      Frankly Jeanette, you are twisting my words.

      Delete
    44. OM-

      It was not my intent to twist your words. In rereading your comments, I can see that that portion was not directed at me. I apologize for misunderstanding and the misrepresentation that came from that.

      You are right that people are turning away from God because of the abuses that are far more commonplace that most realize.

      It's ironic, as I think of it. You write that the 'driving off the cliff' analogy was regarding Julie Anne's posting of her comments on Google and starting this blog. I do understand your opinion on this. But for me, the analogy works as a reason in favor of the comments and this blog. These abusive religious leaders are dangerous to people's souls. How dare we not speak up and post warnings? If one person - one family - is spared the torment that comes from this kind of spiritual abuse, every word typed is worth it.

      Again, I apologize for misreading your comment to me. I am still sensitive in some areas (no kidding, right?). My intent was not to cause a fight but to defend against what felt like an attack. Forgive me?

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    45. Jeanette,

      Sending hugs, forgiveness, and prayers. I know there was no malicious intent…it’s just a topic you have very strong emotions concerning. SO hard online to read someone’s “tone” and thus it’s easy to misconstrue meaning.

      Nighty-night and sweet dreams.

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    46. Thank you, ladies, for debating these tough issues so respectfully. Nicely done! You make my job easy.

      Delete
    47. Julie Anne,

      Wish I could take credit…LOL…however:

      “For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, fthat those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” (2 Cor 5:14-15).

      That and decades married to the most reasonable person that ever walked the earth (he’d have to be to put up with me!) who encourages me by his example every day to work very hard to always try to see the other person’s point of view.

      Delete
    48. Jeanette and Julie Anne, I believe I agree with everything I read from you above.

      Last Sunday when I Brilliant-ed Old Mom’s post above me—I was on my Sabbath and hadn’t followed closely the blog. It was touch and go for me, and I touched down on Old Mom’s last comment because I had spoke so pointedly to her before and wanted to soften what I felt was a heaviness to my earlier words. I even, like JA, felt crushing by calling her “Old Mom.” I’m only now getting back to read the fuller context of what was written. My apologies for interjecting without reading the full story.

      Jeanette, your story was powerful and heart-rending! You underscore for me the need for us to both tell and hear ours and other stories—good and bad, so that we might be ever so wise and vigilant in discerning the righteous from the wicked.

      “Then those who feared the LORD spoke with one another. The LORD paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the LORD and esteemed his name. “They shall be mine, says the LORD of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him” (Malachi 3:16-18).

      The back and forth between you ladies was bittersweet, both heart-rending and heart-warming! Much of what OM wrote, yes, cut like a knife! As I agree with Jeanette and JA, there was much I disagree with OM. What was heart-warming for me to see last Sunday (even though, at the time, I didn’t read the actually words, I merely saw a whole bunch of paragraphs going back and forth), Yes, what was heart-warming to see was the lively discussion. I believe the life blood of every healthy relationship (with a spouse, a church, even this blog) is open, honest, loving communication.

      I remember once my geometry teacher was teaching me something, and I told him, ‘No, I don’t see it.’ It had yet to be a truth for me. And my articulation of my confussion gave him the opportunity to make his mathmatical truth clear to me. There was a little back and forth, but I soon understood what he was teaching.

      also

      I thoroughly appreciated Sergius Martin-George’s well reasoned and helpful reply

      thank you everyone for broadening my understanding of understandings

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    49. Arce,

      your comment: “there is no such thing as 'biblical gender roles'” and your reading of Galations 3:28 seems to be in line with Dr. Gordon Fee’s ‘new creation’ egalitarianism [“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” 2 Cor 5:17]. His interpretation of Galatians 3:28 [“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female”] weighs heavily toward his position that for the new order of humanity it is God’s intent that there be no gender restrictions for positions of authority within the church, and that “[t]here simply is no biblical structure for the household,” according to Gordon Fee.

      Now, it is true that all of us who are in Christ are a new creation, yet this does not imply that all the aspects of the original creation are to be negated. Male headship in both the church and the home according to 1 Tim. 2:13 and 1 Cor. 11:3-10 is based upon the created order. Adam’s headship over Eve was established before the fall and was the divinely created foundation that God considered “very good” (Gen 1:31).

      When we read—what in itself may be a rather ambiguous statement—that “there is neither male nor female” we should never understand it in a way that contradicts Scripture. The primary focus of the letter to the Galatians concerns the way of salvation. We are all saved and justified not by the works of the law but by our faith in Jesus Christ. Every single believer has an equal share in the benefits of our union with Christ regardless of our ethnicity, socio-economic standing, or gender.

      Now, while it is true that all Christians possess an equal status before God and each other, this equality-of-essence can by no means nullify the distinct roles or functions that God has designed for His church.


      Arce, two weeks ago I launched spiritualauthority.wordpress.com in both an attempt to come alongside Julie Anne in her fight against spiritual abuse, but also it was with hopes to pull some of the more theologically minded into discussions over what true, God-ordained, spiritual authority looks like—wherever that conversation may take us.

      My prayer is that the spiritual authority blog would be fair ground for a complementarian / egalitarian discussion on ‘biblical gender roles’ sometime this Summer. I hope you’ll join the discussions there.

      In Christ,

      David Johnson

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    50. and apologies to Jeannette for misspelling her name

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    51. @monax

      My pleasure; thanks for those encouraging words. I have your new blog open in another window and look forward to checking it out.

      SMG

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  20. All I can say is, I love this blog! I also wrote my own story but chose not identify the church or pastors because I knew I would be sued if I had. I was sexually harassed, gender discriminated and pregnancy discriminated against while I was employed at my old church. I have strong suspicions (but no proof) that my old pastor went so far as to hire a private investigator to follow me for a week (He had done that to a prior ex-member a few months before I had left). I was even witness to a conversation where my old pastor and the associate pastor discussed the possibility of taking this ex-member into the woods behind his trailer and beating him to a bloody pulp; so I fully understand the fear and caution of anonymous commenters. On my blog there is not a single comment that is not anonymous, and it seems to me this Mr. Butler just doesn't understand what it is like to be a victim of spiritual abuse. Let's just pray that he never has to experience what a lot of us that read this blog have had to endure. I would not wish that on anyone. I suggest that we allow Mr. Butler his ignorance and we pray that the compassion of Christ would compel him to reach out to the hurting and abused instead of further victimizing the victims because they dare to cry out, "no more". I understand Julie Anne's heart with this blog...it's a desperate plea for those who can to do something about the abuse to stand up and do something, and to possibly spare just one person the abuse, hurt and torment that she endured. If my story could have gone viral I would have celebrated it because it would have brought exposure to a faulty church system and those false teachers at my old church would have had a few less people to manipulate. We, who speak out against spiritual abuse, may not always do everything right, biblical, or correctly because we are a hurting people; but, every christian who has endured any type of injustice in this fallen world is in the same boat we are and falls victim to the same short comings that we, the victims of spiritual abuse, do. So, should we say that those who are hurting should never speak out because we may sin in the process? No, of course not; because then all us would sit in our pews every Sunday morning with nothing to say; including our pastors.

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    Replies
    1. Malinda - proud to call you my sistah! :)

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    2. M Shephard
      i just bookmarked your blog for reading
      http://myjourneyfromspiritualabuse.blogspot.com/

      something you said above reminded me of something i posted two days ago: 'we are models who model. and hurt people hurt people'


      some new ground i’m breaking to come alongside Julie Anne in the fight against spiritual abuse and legalistic fundamentalism

      Delete
  21. Julie Anne,

    I'm not sure which elephant you wanted exposed, but one thing that made me very uncomfortable with Fred's comment was the crassly sexist remark. The elephant is not so much the remark itself but the fact that it's something that can be said when we know our audience is mainly conservative Christians. I'd be very surprised if Fred didn't have the good sense to never ask an applicant in a job interview, "Where's your husband in all this?" If he did lack the sense he'd find himself in trouble very quickly (and rightfully so). Some might say that our morality shouldn't be like that of the world. I agree. It should be better. In wrestling with how abuse can find fertile ground in basically orthodox churches we should take a look at sexism. When our circles tolerate what is clearly seen more broadly as wrong, our moral compass is compromised. This opens the door to abusive control. It's also a partial answer to Old Mom's very good question, "Why don't people just leave?" When our moral center is compromised we make bad decisions, ones that are destructive even to ourselves or our families. I would expand on this, but I don't want to hijack the thread. Perhaps this would be a good topic for another time.

    To be clear, I'm not saying Fred is a crass sexist. I don't know him well enough to pass such a judgment. I'm more than willing to think better of him than is indicated by what I hope is just a careless remark.

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    1. Hi Craig,

      Great comment, as usual, Craig. I was probably too focused on what I thought to be bigger issues that I didn't identify that comment as sexist, initially. I believe it was a comment meant to distract from the bigger issue and get me roused up and I didn't want to take the bait. But the bigger issue to me (and what I think is the biggest white elephant of all) is pastors who are supposed to be looking out for the flock, yet abandon them when the battered sheep cry out for help.

      I'm noticing a disturbing trend especially among popular and celebrity pastors to defend pastors, even overlooking blatant abuse issues, in order to protect the image of the pastor. I find that behavior abhorrent and completely against scripture.

      Craig - can you send me an e-mail when you get a chance? I'd like to ask you more about that topic for another time. bgbcsurvivors @ gmail dot com

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    2. Craig states,
      I'm not sure which elephant you wanted exposed, but one thing that made me very uncomfortable with Fred's comment was the crassly sexist remark.

      How exactly is it crassly sexist to ask about Julie Anne's husband? Are they not one flesh as the Bible states? Is she not to honor and respect her husband as the Bible teaches? Is her husband not to be leading his family, which would include his wife? Do you not think he should have some concern as to how Julie Anne presents not only herself, but by extension, her marriage to her husband and his reputation as well?

      Rather than being crassly sexist, I am merely working out of a biblical model of men/women, husbands/wives. Instead, I get the inference that I advocate something akin to wife beating from antinomians.

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    3. Fred - that's why I asked my husband first before posting the Google review and the blog. He gave me the okay. So now that that issue is settled . . . . . are you willing to discuss the main issue I've been trying to discuss? spiritual abuse?

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    4. 56 years a Baptist, mostly SBCJune 25, 2012 at 7:55 AM

      Fred,
      It is a characteristic of abusive sexists that they call their version of patriarchy 'biblical', but that is a misinterpretation of the scripture, including one dating to the KJV translators. The so-called household codes of the NT are transitional from women as chattel to women as priests of the church of Jesus. Paul said, In Christ, there is neither male nor female . . .. So the Christ-following thing to do is to move away from gender distinctions in the priesthood of all believers. That does not mean that we do not recognize differences among individuals in ability and proclivities, but we do not enforce some gender-based roles on people who follow Jesus. The Greek in Ephesians does not support a woman having to consult her husband on everything she does as a member of a church. The meaning is more of being cooperative with, rather than subservient to. SO it is irrelevant and sexist to ask whether Julie Anne, an adult Christian, had consulted her husband; that is between them and none your business, even to ask.

      Delete
    5. Fred,

      For what it's worth I took no pleasure in posting my comment on sexism. I was afraid it would be a distraction from the main point (and it has been). In my initial response to you I ignored the issue. My conscience, however, wouldn't let me go. I couldn't pretend that your question was an appropriate part of what was, in many ways, a very good conversation. I feared my silence was condoning something our Lord would not want me to condone.

      With respect to your questions above, I, of course, agree that husband and wife are one flesh, and that Paul underlines respect in his remarks to women (as he underlines love in his remarks to men). I agree that being a husband entails a leadership role, though we may not always agree on what that leadership looks like. Paul seems to me to emphasize a leadership of service and sacrifice. I agree that husband and wife should be concerned about the reputation of their marriage and family.

      How can we agree on so much and yet I find your question offensive whereas you find it innocent and even helpful? It's all about context. In the context of your discussion/debate with Julie Anne, how does your question function? Julie Anne, as far as I can see from her blog, has given you no reason to suspect her blogging isn't in accord with her husband. Whether you intended it or not, your question appears to simply call out the fact that Julie Anne is a woman. Here is a woman crying in pain over damage done to her and to her family. At great risk to herself she's taken a stand. She's called out the abuse. I believe that taking such a stand does honor to her husband and family. Your question, since it seems to come out of the blue, has the effect of saying, "Your cries of pain and warnings of abuse don't count because you're a woman." I'm more than willing to believe you if you say that was not at all your intent. I've been careful not to call you a sexist. I don't know you. What I want you to see is how your question functions in the context of the discussion, whether intended or not.

      As far as wife beating and antinomians, you've lost me. I have no idea what you're getting at. I will say this, however. Had I asked you out of the blue if you were a wife beater I would hope that someone would confront me with the fact that that's an inappropriate and sexist question.

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    6. Craig - I can't let you take credit for the sexism "distraction" as you worded it. The comment about my husband is just as much of a distraction as the other issues brought up: why it took me 3 years to begin the blog, why it matters when we live in another state, what my pastor thinks about this situation, etc. Those are complete distractions that have nothing to do with the ELEPHANT.

      It's strange how that elephant hides himself so easily for some people, yet is glaring in the face at others.

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    7. Maybe because we're afraid of the elephant or worse, see it but have no idea what to do about it. So instead, we scorn the trampled grass.

      Delete
  22. Another great example of suffering without retaliation is Jesus!

    1 Peter 2:18-23 – “Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth. When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly.”

    Of course, we cannot live up to this example. And when dealing with the emotional effects of spiritual abuse, we all fall short. (Those who have been through it, that is). We react angrily, instead of responding lovingly. We say things we should not, and do things we should not. We just have to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and surrender to God and His ultimate plan for us (to conform us to the image of Jesus - making us like Christ).

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    1. Hi Lydia: Thanks for commenting. You said "Amen" to Old Mom's post (which seemed a bit critical of me) earlier and now I'm reading this comment from you and trying to make sense of it without speculating your intentions. Can you please just lay it on the table for me? I won't bite. Well, I'll try not to. :)

      Are you troubled by this blog? Do you think I am reacting in anger instead of lovingly? Do you think I should just dust off myself and walk away? I really want to understand you and where you are coming from.

      Thanks!
      JA

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    2. Hi Julie Anne,

      I agree with what Old Mom said, which is why I said "Amen." :) I felt that she has a Biblically sound perspective on the matter, and she expressed it non-abrasively. I don't feel she was trying to be critical in what she said, nor was I trying to be critical in agreeing with her.

      I am not troubled by this blog. I completely understand (being victorious through spiritual abuse) the emotions that come with spiritual/emotional abuse. (I feel the two are connected). Sometimes, our feelings take precedence (I've seen some mention of your anger in one or two posts) over Christ-likeness. I certainly don't feel that's the general tone of your blog, and I certainly don't condemn you for it ... I've been there myself.

      Now, I did not say to dust off and walk away. I said in the context of finding ourselves away from Christ-likeness,"We just have to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and surrender to God and His ultimate plan for us (to conform us to the image of Jesus - making us like Christ)." The only time you need to walk away is when you need to walk to surrendering to God's will. I can't determine that for you. (Haha, nor do I want to). What I think in this situation, or what I did in this situation, is irrelevant in light of God's will for you. You are the one who prayerfully determines that.

      There have been multiple comments regarding not just sitting silently, and certainly those verses in 1 Peter speak directly to that.

      Julie Anne, I think you have been quite loving to the people you used to attend church with. You clearly let them know that even though they shunned you, you have open arms for them. That's quite a testimony. However, based on how you speak of him, I wonder: would you have the same open arms for Pastor O'Neal if he ever came to you (in a repentant spirit, of course)?

      What I take issue with is how our brother Fred Butler has been dealt with in this post and the previous post. I don't know what comments before these two posts he has posted, but I did browse his blog for a considerable time the other day. While he may be abrasive in what he says, it's so very clear to me that he is just trying to be Biblically discerning about this. (From his blog). And yet above, we have people trying to discredit him in ministry, saying that they don't regard him as a brother in Christ. That troubles me.

      I hope this comment doesn't get me labeled as a wolf or a non-believer :)

      Delete
    3. Fair enough, Lydia - you gave me some things to think about and also raised some very legitimate points. I think I see where you are coming from. I'm sure that someone could find places where anger or sarcasm has shown its ugly head from me here. I give permission for you (or anyone) to call me out on that. That is an ongoing personal battle.

      Nothing would give me greater joy than to see Chuck repent. Obviously there is something good in him or we wouldn't have remained for two years. I have a draft post discussing one of the most difficult relational/forgiveness experiences I have dealt with - maybe I should scoot that up on the publishing schedule. I think you would understand my heart better after reading it. There is so much wasted energy in revenge and retaliation. That's not my goal.

      As far as Fred goes - I have been disturbed by some of his comments, but am willing to continue dialoging with him. I really don't think he understands spiritual abuse in the sense that so many have experienced it here.

      I am sometimes saddened by the comments that I publish from readers. That's a hard one. I do want this to be a place where people are free to discuss differing opinions and sometimes people don't comment as graciously as they could (put me in that camp). These are emotional issues and sometimes it's not bad to express a little righteous anger, but I hear you that sometimes it crosses that line.

      Thanks, Lydia!

      Delete
  23. David Johnson wrote in another thread: "ok, c.t., i'll buy that. i don't see in any holes in what you wrote. you're re-framing things for me. giving me some language i believe i have lost."

    I find that the older theologians, like an a Brakel from the Dutch Second Reformation, use this language. In his massive systematic theology he titled the Christian's Reasonable Service, he has dedicated chapters on how Christians are prophets, priests, and kings; and a dedicated chapter on what the fear of God means vis-a-vis the fear of man. Things like that.

    Fortunately this expensive four volume work has been made available by the English translator free at his blog in PDFs:

    http://www.abrakel.com/

    Click on 'a Brakel's Magnum Opus' in the top bar.

    Keep in mind that is the English translator's blog, so there are no copyright issues.

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    1. quick fly by

      snagged all four volumes ty he’s new to me

      looks like quite a summer reading project
      you maybe want to highlight something of aB over on your site?
      prime this pump you want me to drink from

      Delete
  24. Jesus kicked the money changers out of the temple, and, quite frankly, the laity need to be prepared and, when pastors abuse and seize control of the church, and do damage to the flock, then the laity needs to kick the abusive pastor out of the church. The church Jesus created needs to be a place of love not of abuse and control of the flock by an abusive person.

    Laity means the "people of God" and all Christians are priests. The ground is level at the foot of the cross, all are equal. There are no super Christians, and authoritarian rule by the pastor is not appropriate in a Christian congregation.

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    1. Beloved in Recovery (B.R.)June 23, 2012 at 3:23 AM

      I'll tell you when that becomes hard to do (kicking him out). When his manipulative ways have worked on insecure folks who he manages to rally to his side. When the *thinking* congregation - one by one - has left. And the laity who has hung in there realizes too late that this guy has to go - but there's nobody left in the church any more who will stand against this bully (they don't see him that way, and they want to be told how to tie their shoes). Those who've had their eyes opened have already left, and rightly so. What I am asking myself these days, is ... is this whole church set up with a pastor at the top even scriptural. It seems to tempt and lure those prone to authoritarian ways.

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    2. True, BR, and those who remain have already seen the way those who have left are treated. So, to them it becomes:

      do I stay endure the pastor and his ways which are only somewhat tolerable if I tow the line and stay out of trouble?

      or

      do I leave and risk lawsuits, unannounced visits months after leaving, nasty e-mails, etc?

      There's no win-win situation here. That is why I am speaking out. These people are stuck. It's not just a matter of leaving and being done with it.

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    3. wish I could edit my typos: toe the line!

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  25. Here I've made it easy to reference the great Dutch Second Reformation theologian Wilhelmus à Brakel (1635-1711) on the subject of Christians being prophets, priests, and kings, and how Christians are:

    http://electofgod.blogspot.com/2012/06/wilhelmus-brakel-on-christians-being.html

    Also I give a reference to the free online edition of à Brakel's work to where he talks of the fear of God (vs. the fear of man) which is relevant to Julie Anne's blog's subject.

    For doctrinal reference Wilhelmus à Brakel was a Dutch Puritan, a straight Calvinist (classical Covenant - Federal - Theology) and about as staid and authoritative a Christian theologian one could ever find in any part of the world in any era. You'll see in the section on how Christians are to be kings how strong the Puritans were on the subject of liberty of God's people. Not license, not antinomianism, but real liberty in Christ.

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    1. Thank you, c.t. for this information and showing us how to find it more easily.

      Delete
  26. The more I see of "Macarthur people" the less respect I have for the man. His zealots/fans seem to elevate him to a level of god-like worship that totally creeps me out. This Fred clown strikes me as a hanger on that fantasizes about achieving notoriety. The best thing the church can do to clean it self up is stop tithing, buying all these books from the likes of Macarthur and supporting all these parasites. Fred is just another parasite watanabe. The church world is full of them.

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  27. After reading some of these posts, it just reminds me that my hope is to be in Christ and Christ alone. Keeping my eye on the prize, my hope and belief that God holds pastors at a higher standard and they will answer for the uncaring and slaughter of HIS children.
    The pastors who have slunked into the background or taken the fence approach, while passively rebuking those who have been ripped to shreds by wolves will be held accountable by God Himself.
    So then what am I do to? Walk humbly with my God, love mercy and love those who He puts in my path with action and truth.
    I pray for you Julie Anne for being in the front of this battle must be exhausting at times, but I know you are aware of who gives us the peace, strength and resolve to stand strong and be courageous. Thankfulness to Christ who delivers us from every fear and makes us victorious~when we meet Him face to face and are welcomed into HIS LOVING ARMS!
    Keep up the good fight, be loving and discerning and remember not to engage with those who won't stand for the truth.
    You are a blessing to me.

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    1. Those are good words. Really! Thank you :)

      Delete
  28. Jule,

    Stand Strong in the knowledge that you have done and are doing what is right and proper. The attacks on you are totally scurrilous and come from the kind of people who empower abusive pastors (and sometimes abusive husbands and fathers), because they have been taught a false interpretation of the New Testament (in part based on a bad interpretation of the original languages). Even the family codes in the NT were so advanced for their time that they elevated women above where they had ever been since before the fall. There is much literature on these issues that advocates from Biblical perspectives for equality of women in the home and in the church. Keep in mind that the first Apostle (person commissioned by the Risen Christ to share the message of his resurrection) was a woman, Mary Magdalene, who then preached that message to all of the then existing church except the two who left for Emmaus.

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    1. Thank you, Arce. Coming from a bit of patriarchal influence, your thoughts are a bit foreign to me. However, after experiencing four people (3 pastors and now Fred) use this "method" in dealing with me, and realizing they completely missed an opportunity to get involved in this issue in a positive way, I am convinced that there is something amiss. I will be digging deeper and I always appreciate your support, as you well know.

      Delete
  29. I would like to say how delightful it has been to read many of the comments in this thread. Especially to Craid Vick, Old Mom, Lydia Thomas, and Julie Anne--thank you for responding truthfully but in love. You in particular have demonstrated that we can disagree and challenge one another without getting nasty. Hats off to you and others I didn't mention.

    P.S. Old Mom, may we all come to your kitchen? I'll bet it smells like cookies...

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  30. Just to make sure there is no confusion: in my e-mail correspondence with Old Mom, she said she was not aware that my husband had given me the green light to post both the Google reviews and blog. I showed him the initial Google review, he read it, gave his okay for me to post. The same goes for the blog. My husband subscribes to my blog. No, I do not submit each post to him for approval. I post to my little heart's content (well, after prayerful consideration and most of the time, attitude checks - I may have missed some of those attitude checks from time to time --oops).

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  31. Julie Ann, I find the conversation above interesting...yet for me, I just want to know how to heal from the spirtual abuse that my family and i have experienced. Even though it happened years ago, I feel the sting every day... Even though I am involved in ministry, I keep a protective wall build around me. Yes, I have asked God to heal me, even expected Him to do so. I've taken what I can from my experiences and learned from them Yet what these couple people in leadership did to me and my family and their shunning have changed who we are. The hurt is so deep for my daughter that she did not even want to be married in the church. Yes,she so loves God, she honors him. Yet being told that she was not welcome to attend the youth group at our church due to the fact she was an insulin dependent diabetic almost ended her life. In junior high, she quit testing her blood and quit taking her insulin as she thought, if I can't go to church and fit in, I don't want to live. I know that the people in leadership made a very wrong decision. I know this. But, we have never heard an "I am sorry" and to this day, my daughter feels that she does not belong at church. This was just one situation that has been painful. Nelieve me, there are more. So, my question is, how do we heal?

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    1. Ran out of tears: I want to tell you that of course I saw your post when I released it from moderation. I want to respond to it, but will have to wait until this afternoon when I have more time to give a thoughtful response. Hang tight, okay?

      Delete
    2. Ran: Hugs to you from a mother of another child discriminated against in church. I haven't got the answer. At least my child is young enough that he was not aware of the rejection we received. I would also like an apology, but it wouldn't change anything. I am choosing to forgive, not because they deserve it but because I do not deserve the forgiveness of Christ. All I know is that we are all imperfect and those who exclude the "different" among us are still being worked on. It helps to realize that sometimes trials are not about us and that sometimes extremely beautiful results come out of heartache.

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    3. @ Root

      Jeremiah 8:22

      Is there no balm in Gilead,
      Is there no physician there?
      Why then is there no recovery
      For the health of the daughter of my people?


      The William and Mary Choir sings
      "There is a Balm in Gilead"
      by William Dawson at their 2008 Homecoming concert.
      Soloist: Michael Blaakman

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    4. Wallflower - you do have answers. "sometimes extremely beautiful results come out of heartache." That's what Romans 8:28 says.

      "I am choosing to forgive, not because they deserve it but because I do not deserve the forgiveness of Christ." Ephesians 4:32 "Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you."

      I've watched dear friends suffer abusive treatment at our former church. (not just women, but men also.) At first I was shocked to see this happening, then I struggled with fear, anger and pain, but at the same time I was driven into God's Word to seek answers. The lawsuit story in the news led me to this blog. Here I've met people who are by no means perfect, but Julie Anne and others KNOW they are sinners in need of a Savior. And isn’t that why we turned to God’s Son in repentance in the first place? None of us can say we are without sin - not even church leaders.

      What the two pastors, Ken Garrett and Craig Vick, have written has ministered to my husband and I - and to our friends. It’s a special blessing to have these men “walking alongside” here and setting a godly example. I've also read posts online condemning "wicked sheep" and "women whining about spiritual abuse on the Internet" – people asking women "where is your husband?" Reading those comments evoked the same type of fear I had when seeing the abusive treatment. One day I realized Jesus was also beaten, treated harshly. Religious people thought they were doing God’s work. But they didn’t know Him.

      THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD. He sees what is happening - he knows the hurt. He understands the pain. He's been on the receiving end of verbal taunts, spitting, physical pain and death on the Cross. He understands suffering like no one else could.

      Ephesians 5 is one of my favorite chapters - Ephesians 5: 1,2 "Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 and >walk in love<, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma." If people are following Jesus’ example and that means LEADERS and SHEEP of all kinds (women’s groups can have “ugly battles” and be unloving), it’s not just “Pastors”) We should have churches that LOVE like Jesus, and minister LOVE and GRACE, and we won’t see perfect fulfillment of LOVE until heaven. But that doesn’t mean we need to give up hope.

      Ephesians 5:21 "and >be subject to one another< in the >fear of Christ<. We will all stand before Him and give an account, sheep & shepherds.(Teachers will "incur a stricter judgment"(James 3:1)

      Ran Out of Tears, Sometimes apologies never come. We need to look to the Lord for healing. Psalm 34:18 "The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit."

      Go to an online Bible - search "love one another" or anything the Lord leads you to. Let God's Word minister to you. Being in His Word has brought grace, peace and healing. I'm walking in more freedom and joy - I can't fake this, it's all His doing.
      And yes, I did go to church today. We sang this song:
      www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6_oUbGhYtQ Check it out and sing along.

      I pray all will find healing from the Lord through His Word. Look to Him, He has the answers. He will not disappoint you.

      Thanks, Julie Anne, for providing this blog to help people heal.
      Love you! :)

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    5. Hi Ran out of tears:

      Thanks for being patient so I could have some time to gather my thoughts. Yours was the first post I woke up to this morning. As I read your name: "Ran out of tears", it struck me how you could have chosen any name "Wilma Flinstone", "Daisy Duck", anything, but you chose something so very deep and painful. I found it interesting that tears were streaming down my face when you didn't have any more. We've never met, but we can connect at such an emotional level because of the pain of spiritual abuse: both having experienced it personally and our children. I know your pain so well and I'm sorry that you and your family are hurting. You are right - the abuse does change us.

      Can you please tell me - are you currently in the same church? Did you go to the elders/pastors anyone in your church to report this?

      One of the interesting things about abuse that often happens is that we carry the pain years later as if it just happened. We may never get apologies from those who have abused us. That is a very sad reality. But how do we respond to that? Do we allow "them" to take away our joy forever? How do we wrestle with this stuff? It's very difficult. We want things to be made right, but sometimes there is no perfect resolution.

      You asked "how do we heal"? First step is coming to grips of what happened and the results of the abuse. Healing doesn't happen overnight. It is a process. Pastor Ken Garrett mentioned he is still recovering so many years after the spiritual abuse his family experienced. But look how God is using him so beautifully even though he's not "finished". His words have ministered to me and so many others.

      I'd like to solicit the help of others to give you ideas on how to get out of that place of being "stuck", though, and I'll also wait for your response to my questions above. There are so many here who can share what has worked for them in the healing process.

      Thank you trusting "us" with your painful story.

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    6. We almost lost our daughter when she quit testing her blood and taking her insulin. It was not until the third day in the intensive care unit that she told her doctor her problem. " if I can't go to the youth group at church then being a diabetic is too hard and I don't want to live.". Oh you bet, the doctors and hospital wanted to call the newspaper. Yet, the church we were going to was the church I had grown up in and was married in. My parents worshiped there too. We had an interm pastor at the time. He said he held no authority and there was another man in charge. I was so torn. I wanted to expose, but I also wanted to protect. Mostly I wanted to restore my daughter. My husband, parents and I did go and meet with an attorney who went to the church. He went and set the man making the crazy rules straight. No one helped to restore our daughter. To this day she feels that she is not welcome at church. The pain runs deeper than deep. Time has not eased the sting. Prayer makes it manageable. We are aching for the day that our daughter is made whole and feels that the body of Christ is for her too! Thank for your wisdom. I am listening.

      Delete
    7. Ran out of tears (ROOT):

      Ok, it's interesting, once again, as I began to address you, it occurred to me to abbreviate your name and I noticed "Ran out of tears" became the word "root". Is it a coincidence that immediately my mind went to Psalm 1 which talks about the tree planted by the water? Please read it, it also discusses that the Lord knows the way of the righteous and the wicked will parish. As someone who has been abused, this is important to acknowledge. All we know now is the perpetrator may have gotten away with destroying lives. But God knows. It helps me to know that we have a righteous God looking out for us.

      And then also, please take a look at Colossions 2:7. I like the simplicity of the NLT translation here:

      Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.

      Sometimes these big trials can threaten our faith. The idea here is that if we are rooted in Christ, then if people/pastors fail us (and we know they will), we will be able to stand strong in spite of that. Christ will give us the strength to ride those very difficult waves when people harm us.

      I'm still a little unclear. Are you at a new church now or the same church where the abuse occurred? Regardless, I'm wondering if you know of a trusted pastor (think: true shepherd qualities) who might be able to talk to you and/or your daughter? I'm just thinking that there are some decent pastors out there who would be aghast to hear your story and would want to reach out to your daughter and say something on the lines of, "I'm so sorry this happened to you. What happened was wrong. Is there anything I can do to help?" - to bridge the gap.

      My heart goes out to you, Root!

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    8. Dear ROOT,

      How heartbreaking, indeed. When you say that your daughter was not allowed to attend youth group, does that mean that she was forbidden to go to any meetings at all? I’m just trying to understand this.

      The only reason I could possibly see that made any sense at all was the sponsors/chaperones feeling uncomfortable taking responsibility for the welfare of a type one diabetic on a long trip or an overnight journey WITHOUT THE PARENTS OF THE CHILD. Even if that was the case, it certainly was not handled in a very sensitive manner. I’m so sorry your daughter is still reaping the consequences of this.

      Delete
    9. It's me Root. The youth pastor was nervous and I get that. My husband and I offered to become parent sponsors, to go to the events bit sit in a parking lot and come when needed. Every idea and suggestion we had. We were told no to by the man who was in charge. We were told our daughter could attend church but not the youth group (a few treat earlier the church supported me when I worked with Youth for Christ. My husband and my patents talked to a lawyer who attended the church. That was after two meetings with the man and an elder. The elder concluded the man was not being truthful. My parents and husband and I scheduled another meeting with the man. My husband suddendle had to fly to Washington and could not make the meeting. The man then refused to meet with my parents and me. We then left the church in hopes to restore our daughter. A few years later the church got a few pastor. We went back as that is where my parents and kids friends went. I did ask the man who is still at the church and in leadership to tell my daughter it was okay for her to attend church. He said that she could attend but what we had experienced--didn't happen. He is a very sick man. We go to church now to take my aged parents. But we go and do not feel wanted, loved .

      Delete
    10. Root: I can understand the desire to honor your parents to the church of their choosing, but what about your daughter? Your parents witnessed this situation. Have you considered trying another church (where your daughter feels safe) and finding other transportation arrangements for your parents? It seems they would want to see their hurt grandchild in a place where she feels safe and loved. Have you discussed this with them? They might agree to go along with you so you can remain together as a family.

      Delete
  32. An Attorney (same as earlier)June 24, 2012 at 12:38 PM

    Any pastor and/or any church that rejects a child or youth because of a disability or other difference must be exposed to protect other children and youth from harm. Please do not just forgive, forget and move on. Please go tell someone. As an example, go to the religion reporter for the local newspaper, or to a denominational official if the church is affiliated with one, or, do as Julie Anne has done and post a review. Tell the truth and only the truth, use the name of the church and staff member involved, use an assumed name for yourself and your child with an age range (it is not untruthful to be less specific about facts than you could be -- elementary school age, under school age are examples), but PLEASE expose the abusers for what they are and protect other innocents.

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    1. I don't have to expose him/them, Julie Anne has done it already. And if you haven't heard it JA, thanks from those of us who weren't in a position to take the heat. :)

      Delete
  33. An Attorney (same as earlier)June 24, 2012 at 1:32 PM

    IMPORTANT NOTE: Someone made a false report to Symantec that Julie Anne's site is a malicious phishing site. The site was briefly on their list of such sites prior to a fuller investigation, which apparently cleared the site. However, if you use Symantec and happened to update the list in your system during the time JA's site was on the list, you may get a warning. You can do a manual update of the lists easily, just by clicking on the icon for your security system.

    If you use some other security provider and find yourself blocked, please notify JA and your security provider.

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    1. Gee, I wonder who made that false report to Symantec? (rolls eyes) I mean, who would have the motive?

      Still, is there a way for your attorney to identify the party?

      Certain people may not like everything that is said, but it does not give them the right to control it. What is the harm in having a real discussion?

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    2. I'm sure there are ways to identify, but that is out of my league. My attorney is aware of what is going on.

      Certain people may not like everything that is said, but it does not give them the right to control it. What is the harm in having a real discussion?

      Maybe the "harm" is exposure to the truth?

      Delete
  34. Come out of the harlot religious system:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XU9WH7HUDuk&feature=plcp

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  35. Julie Anne:

    I've reflected on many of the comments offered here.

    My suspicion is that Mr. O'Neal and his henchmen are reviewing all of these comments, and looking for opportunities to file lawsuits against others who post comments critical of him.

    That brings me to my two cents' worth.

    Mr. O'Neal not only should drop his lawsuit, but he should resign from the ministry. O'Neal needs to find a vocation more suited to his true and correct life skills - and to do so sooner rather than later.

    This certainly would be my prayer request. I acknowledge that God answers prayers, although He is not Santa Claus and his answers may well be "mysterious, but very real". -RB

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  36. For the record, Julie Anne, my Norton Anti-Virus software is no longer (at least at this time) giving me a warning page when I click on your blog link.

    There *is* a bit of an anomaly with your blog that I noticed though. Norton has a 'safe site' system, but you have to register your blog to get that status. Yet your blog *has* that status, though it only shows the general 'blogspot.com' url. My blog has safe site status (I had to go through the motions to get it) and when I click on the Norton page to see it it shows my full URL. That probably sounds confusing (especially if you don't have Norton anti-virus), but it is strange.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. c.t. - Thank you so much for letting me know. It is confusing for me and so to preserve precious brain space, I'm going to copy it and send it to an expert - whew!

      Delete
  37. Wow, 128, mine will probably be buried. But, when a church excommunicates someone Reformed elders vow to inform any church that person attempts to join in regard to that person being under discipline. BUT, when a parishioner leaves a local church, what went on at that church and is still going on shouldn't be any of their concern. Hmmmmmm. So, in regard to Reformed elder hacks, the interpretation is that of the universal church, but in regard to parishioners, it's a local expression. HOW CONVENIENT! And also really really bad hermeneutics.

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    1. That's a point well taken, Paul. So, it puts (ex-)parishioners into a double bind. You can't publicize a malignant minister or a toxic church organization to warn other people to stay away or you'll face abuse, because that's a naughty thing to do. But they can tattle on you to the next church you go to, because that's warning that flock and its leaders.

      And no one can blog about abusive pastors, teachers, and Christian celebrities regardless of their purported gifts. But the apostles can put on the permanent record the names of Hymaneus, Alexander, Diotrephes, and others who create havoc among the disciples.

      The blocking by abusive leaders is insidious. Truly insidious ...

      Delete
    2. Paul, yes buried, but duly noted. Excellent comment!

      Delete
    3. Insidious indeed! And double binds have no place in the Kingdom of God.

      Delete
    4. futuristguy, Dohse,

      fwiw, let me share another example of a common double bind in certain churches today:

      [[ I had a former pastor who often leveraged this saying, “Obedience is better than sacrifice.” He employed this phrase in the context of manipulating congregants toward the pursuit of his own ends. I’m certain he meant well, however, what he was unwittingly doing in this misappropriation of Scripture was coercing us with a double bind.

      What was the pastor saying in this? I suspect most people assumed he was quoting a Scripture that spoke to the moment, that we’re called to obey the Pastor as he directs. Personally, knowing the context of the quote, I felt what he was doing was quite slippery.

      I remember one sparsely attended service where people had found seats from the front pews on toward the back pews of the sanctuary. At some point the pastor graciously asked everyone who was sitting behind a certain so-and-so who was sitting in a middle pew to take seats at or forward of him or her, and then he’d throw in, “Obedience is better than sacrifice.”

      The double bind and implication (as found in the context of Scripture) is this: if someone fails to come forward, then he or she is in rebellion against God. Even if he or she felt most comfortable in the last pew, or needed to be back there to be close to the ladies’ room or whatever, to fail to respond to the pastors request left them in assumed judgement. ]]

      full context here:

      http://spiritualauthority.wordpress.com/2012/06/24/obedience-is-better-than-sacrifice/

      Delete
  38. Julie Anne,

    You said that you were reluctant to start a new post so that the discussions in this post would not be dropped. However, you might consider using your elephant-in-the-room comment as the basis for a new post. I still can't get out of my mind what you said about the battered sheep crying out for help.

    Perhaps having a post dedicated to that issue would help some of us focus on that instead of bad preaching, sexism, and other issues that are distractions from the real question.

    Bring on the elephant, please!

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    1. SQ - I know, I'm chomping at the bit, too. It's coming. I really want to get some closure on this topic with Fred It's very important to me. I know it's not the usual way I do things around here, but I think it will be worth the wait.

      Side note: I'm realizing that I do not care for the way Blogger has the comments. I'm trying to figure out if there is a way to change that because it's a hassle to scroll through all of these posts (but don't stop posting - lol). I can't seem to find a way to fix that in the setup tools.

      Delete
  39. Finally, I am able to post! Anyone using Firefox that can't post, switch to explorer. I have tried to post many times with no success until switching :)

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    1. Oh, I'm so sorry, I was going to post about this.

      Another reader had the same problem and found the solution for Firefox. Evidently you need to enable third-party cookies in order for it to work otherwise when clicking "publish" all your text you just entered will disappear.

      Delete
    2. Google Chrome and Internet Explorer both work, but most of the time I am on Firefox and it works fine, like right now.

      Delete
  40. Bottom line: I get info about efforts on the part of New Calvinists trying to get in bed with the government. I don't have time to verify all the information concerning their efforts, but Calvin believed the government should enforce church polity, and that's exactly what happened in Geneva. Right now, they can only use slander, bogus church discipline, a proclaimed ability to declare people damned, etc. As John Immel noted in his third session regarding Susan's testimony that she was told by a pastor that she was not allowed to leave a church, "What's next if Susan says 'no'?" In Geneva, you didn't say "no" unless you wanted to be a street light that evening.

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    1. I think Paul's comment goes along with this thread.

      Delete
  41. Some of you guys need to stop with the canards about Calvin and Geneva. Calvin's relationship to the government in Geneva was complicated and in no way was it "Calvin believed the government should enforce church polity."

    As for: "In Geneva, you didn't say "no" unless you wanted to be a street light that evening." This is as historically ignorant. Alister McGrath wrote a very well researched biography of Calvin, breaking new ground in some areas, but regarding this he stated only one person was ever put to death in Geneva during Calvin's time for heresy. That was Servetus. Geneva was full of Libertines. Were they routinely put to death? No. The myth of Calvin's Geneva being some sort of totalitarian police state is not based on reality, but is mostly derived from history and biography written by Roman Catholics over the centuries and repeated by people who hate Christianity in general.

    Don't use bad experiences with humans as an excuse to abandon or attack hard truth apostolic biblical doctrine.

    I can work up a lot of disgust for church leaders as well, but I don't allow it to cloud my reading of history or effect my discernment for and valuation of biblical doctrine.

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    1. Readers: This is where Julie Anne sits back and merely "publishes", taking a spectator seat. :)

      Normally, I don't want to encourage doctrinal debates here that don't have anything to do with spiritual abuse; however, Paul is saying this does tie in, so as long as you are able to make the connection with the subject, please carry on.

      Delete
    2. In our area of the country, “discernment disagreements, doctrinal debates” are causing a lot of division (and pain). People are either on one side or the other – there is a lack of unity and love among brothers and sisters. This afternoon an older woman who graduated from Christian college in the 1940’s and has much wisdom called to tell me she’s been reading Galatians 5 & 6 and encouraged me to look it up:

      Galatians 5:13-15 “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through >love< serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “ YOU SHALL >LOVE< YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.”

      Galatians 5:22-26 “But the fruit of the Spirit is >love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control<; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.”

      I value church history and the contributions of the Reformers, and sound doctrine and apologetics and discernment, but I don’t want to get "stuck in the ditches" having a “Hatfield vs. McCoy family feud”. Too many people get hurt. And it is not a good reflection of Christian character.

      Are we obeying our Lord's greatest commandment to love the Lord and love our neighbor, which appears in His Word in more than one book? Have we neglected to focus on what the Bible says about love in our zeal to defend the faith? Where are the online discussions about love as the Bible defines it? I'm not sure if love is a doctrine or what part of systematic theology addresses that aspect of the Bible, but I can't help but think we're majoring on the minors and missing the mark on love. Not preachin', just saying'...

      Delete
  42. Fred's comments brings to mind that scene in the Wizard of Oz where the 'wizard' doesn't want anyone paying attention to the man behind the curtain. I guess if you're not from Oz that gentleman doesn't concern you.

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    1. i have a feeling jo'mac is the man behind the curtain

      Delete
  43. In addition to asking how far will we go to contend for the faith, we need to ask how far will some of these incompetent and extraordinarily evil church leaders go. Whether it is just protecting their little income producing fiefdoms or ego driven need to control others, it has reached a point that must be addressed by the Christian community much more broadly. What we have seen happen within Sovergn Grace Ministries, Jacksonville Baptist and with the foolish Little tyrannical twit at Beaverton seems to be a trend. Men that don't have much to offer the world in marketable skills suddenly get called to be a pastor so they can live off the plate. Common traits seems to be incompetence, anger management issues (probably from having had many past failures)and a bizarre need for total control over other people. Unfortunately these same "little men" don't have the discipline to complete seminary (most flush out within months), a heart for people and often they even lack a relationship with Christ.

    Apperently there is enough brainless drones floating around within our churches to keep these "churches" open even after they are totally exposed. I mean what kind of idiot shows up at someone else's home and tells the police (investigating the trespass) that the pastor gave them permission to be there. These are not exactly deep thinkers. Anyone that is will eventually see through the likes of incompetent, mean spirited, control freak "pastors" like UPchuck ONeal (as in enough to make you vomit). What kind of people still go to "his church" after all of this exposure ? Unbelievable. I hope they find the peace and freedom within a well balance church that will never exist at a sick place like Beaverton "Grace" Bible.

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    1. 1) lacking a heart for the people - this is so true and is something that can easily be missed. You have to see the heart in action in not-so-loving situations. It's easy to love on the outside and put on a facade.

      2) The question, "what kind of people still go to his church after all of this exposure"?

      I have a hunch they are people who are scared. They know how we are treated on the outside and don't want to be treated like that. Sometimes it's just easier to quietly remain.

      Delete
  44. Julie Anne,

    Please let me share with this blog a short story.

    About two hours ago I typed in the google search bar the words "beaverton, church, and apologetics." The first many links were about Beaverton Grace Church...I beleive is the name, and almost every one of the links had some sort of brief description of the Pastor's lawsuit or defence against accusations of...
    I decided to read the Churches defence,praying that in the spirit of their defence I might be inspired to either attend or avoid a service there.
    I might ask from you a favor Julie Anne? Would you tell me your story? Please hear my statement, that you might see the need I'd have in hearing your story fully, or at least stories of others that may be anonymous but that you could stand completely by their testimony pure of heart.

    I have already long ago prejudged the church of our age to be crumbling rapidly, if not entirely. Please forgive these words, and understand my plee. I believe that in my youth this judgement was false, because the fruits of that judgement covered my eyes from our Heavenly Father.
    today I am a wounded lover, walking just next to perfect darkness where the only real constancy is conflict. I read and I pray, and I find great comfort in scripture, in lectures, apologetics, and many wonderful books. I find God's greatness as he shows me truth through the folly of the fool...But not before I bow my head in shame that the fool is me.
    And so I reach for a public body to pray with, and share not only my prayers and my labor with, but my mind. And I must state, I am almost incurably sceptical of church bodies, but my hope is that this fear is a seed planted by the enemy. I long for real fellowship.
    Where is Godly fellowship though? There is so much hate on this blogsite, and if the representatives of much of this hatred are the perfect opposition of the Pastor of your old church, then what am I to believe he is? I'd say he must be a saint.
    And to those whose words are cruel, blunt, and untamed... I do not mean to call you evil - for the same hand points back to me. But let us be Christlike in everything we do.
    I have somewhat of a feeling that you "Julie Anne," do not agree with such hatred. Because of this, I would like to hear what you have to say.
    In my life I have learned that to be Christian is to suffer emence abuse. The great accuser will twist our own prayers into nightmares if we are not clinging to our Lord. We need to remember the enemy, and reprove him always. But we must remember that even if the wolf that devoured our brother cannot be saved from himself, Jesus is able to save our brother still from the wolf.

    What would I avoid by avoiding this church?

    Please, respond as you will. Thank you.

    Peter :-)

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    1. Hi Peter: Thank your for stopping by and also for your words to me, even though some were difficult to read. I do understand where you are coming from, though, and appreciate your heart.

      There are a number of questions in your comment. I haven't typed up the whole story. It is interspersed in this blog. Sometimes things come to my mind spontaneously which becomes a new post. I understand the confusing aspect of publicizing the situation. I believe I am following scripture to expose someone I believe to be a wolf. There are many verses to support this. I have never done anything like this before in my life, so this is certainly unusual for me. Please hang around a while so you can get the feel of the blog. My intention for it is not to wallow in the sorrow and pain, but to learn from the experience, get back on our feet and be healed. Right now so many people are stuck in their pain. That's not a good place to be. I'm hoping the blog will give them a sense of hope to continue to contend and seek Him.

      ~Julie Anne

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    2. Julie Anne,

      “My intention for it is not to wallow in the sorrow and pain, but to learn from the experience, get back on our feet and be healed. Right now so many people are stuck in their pain. That's not a good place to be. I'm hoping the blog will give them a sense of hope to continue to contend and seek Him.”

      -----You just made my heart SING with these words! I’m trying really hard this week not to cry because it’s messing up my sinuses, (so darn you…LOL.).but I just want to weep with thanksgiving to see you point out what in my mind has been missing from this conversation. I’m just blown away.

      Either our God is Sovereign and can uphold us through any trial or He is not. Either the admonition to “forsake not the assembling of yourselves together” is true regardless of how a former pastor/elder/church has hurt us or it is not. Either our God is Jehovah Rapha (the Lord your healer) or He is not.

      Fantastic point, eloquently made. I’m going to go up to my roof and sing Psalm 95 right now!

      “Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;
 let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
      2
      Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
 let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
      3
      For the Lord is a great God,
 and a great King above all gods.
      4
      In his hand are the depths of the earth;
 the heights of the mountains are his also.
      5
      The sea is his, for he made it,
 and his hands formed the dry land.
      6
      Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
 let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
      7
      For he is our God,
 and we are the people of his pasture,
 and the sheep of his hand.
      8
      
Today, if you hear his voice,do not harden your hearts,"

      Delete
    3. Old Mom, it's interesting that you felt that piece was missing from the conversation. I have followed this blog for several weeks and am familiar with the writings of some of the posters (know none of them personally) and I have seen that strong faith running through many of the entries, including Julie Anne's. Many of the people posting obviously have a strong faith, which would indicate a belief that God can heal all. That faith that God will uphold us through anything does not excuse us though from exposing abuse when we encounter it.

      Delete
  45. As I mentioned in a few previous comments (before the current debate blew up), I am an atheist and a friend of Julie's. (Yes, it's possible to be both, thanks to Julie's warm and loving heart.)

    I just have to say that I think it's really sad to see the in-fighting going on here. We all know that most wars are fought over religion and, albeit on a smaller scale, you can see the very beginnings of how that true happens, right here on this blog.

    Abuse is abuse -- sexual, emotional, physical, spiritual. All are heinous and none are excusable. Distractions? The discussion regarding Julie's husband and the role of the man in a family have nothing to do with what took place at Chuck's church. It sounds like laws were broken. If Chuck allowed that known sex offender to be alone with kids, he should be convicted. End of story. If he spied on or did anything else suspect, he should be convicted. Religion can and should be left out of this case. See what happens when it isn't? Christians hatefully battle each other.

    I'm sure this isn't the intended message y'all want to give, but I have to say that, after reading all this, atheism is far preferable (for me) than any religion with such anger, intolerance, animosity, and judgement as what I've witnessed here -- especially against JA. :-(

    Carol

    ReplyDelete

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