Council for Biblical Manhood and Woman: Will the Real Gospel Please Stand?

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Is Complementarianism the Gospel? Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) Seems to Confuse the Gospel with Their Agenda

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Today, Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) President, Owen Strachan announced three recent hires in their operations team: a director of operations, assistant operations director, and an intern. All three are men – as in, male. None are female. All three are students at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Three men, no women, all in seminary. Interesting.

I tweeted the announcement and here are some of the funny responses:

 

Additionally, on February 18, 2015, it was announced that Gavin Peacock was joining the ranks at CBMW as the new Director of International Outreach at the Council on Biblical Manhood & Womanhood.

If you’re doing the math, we’re up to four (4) men and zero (0) women recently hired. I’ve been doing statistics lately at school. Let me throw in a probability question for your amusement (and mine):

If a sampling of four men were hired in the last few months at CBMW, what is the probability that a woman will be hired in the next few months? In the next year?

Gavin seems to be the perfect fit for the organization  – one who makes “complementarianism” a primary doctrinal issue.  It almost seems as if their brand of complementarian marriage is the Gospel.  hat a shame for all you singles who can’t spread the Gospel with your Gospel Marriage.

Here are excerpts from Gavin Peacock (bolding is mine):

No one has spoken more clearly or passionately than John Piper on the issue of biblical sexuality over the past thirty years. He, along with Wayne Grudem and other pastors and scholars, formed the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood in 1987. Owen Strachan, who is the current president, now spearheads the movement. For a while now, I have admired Owen’s conviction, passion and bravery in accepting the leadership of CBMW and taking them forward in a time where complementarianism is being attacked on all fronts. In fact, as I have said previously, this issue is the bite point where the gospel is confronting culture today.

And more:

I will work within the existing framework and ethos of CBMW to expand our reach to other countries and nations through preaching, teaching and writing. God’s plan is outward looking. It is to spread the fame of Christ’s name through the conversion of the lost and the establishment and growth of healthy churches. And key to a healthy church is a healthy vision of complementarianism. There are plenty of complementarian churches that need strengthening and there are plenty of others who don’t know what they believe, so conferences designed to set forth the teaching of Scripture on manhood, womanhood, and marriage will be high on the agenda. (Thoughts on Expanding and Establishing with CBMW)

Conferences? Did he say conferences? Yes, we need more conferences telling us what they believe Scripture says on manhood, womanhood, and marriage. Evidently the Bible is not enough for us.

From another article by Peacock in January entitled, The Battle for Biblical Marriage is a Mission Moment That Will Define the Church, he says:

Just look at the cross. Marriage being redefined in culture is the perfect opportunity to confront the culture with real marriage and the gospel it pictures. It’s a mission moment. 

The battle is for the truth of complementarian marriage

To be more specific, complementarity is the biblical and historically Christian position on marriage. So the church must articulate a complementarian understanding of manhood and womanhood and must embody a complementarian picture of manhood and womanhood. (Source)

The church must conserve biblical gospel displaying marriage even as it commends biblical gospel displaying marriage to a watching world.  (Source)

Now, just for kicks, I looked up a few places online in which “gospel” is defined, even from people who hold complementarian views of marriage. For instance, here’s Matt Slick of CARM on the Gospel. Nowhere in this article do you find anything on marriage as he describes the Gospel:

Do you want to be saved from the righteous judgment of God? If so, if you want to become a Christian and follow God, then you must realize that you have sinned against God and are under his judgment. You must look to Jesus who died on the cross and trust what he did in order for you to be forgiven of your sentence and be saved from the judgment of God. This is accomplished by faith alone in what Jesus has done. You cannot add any human works to what Jesus has done.

Let’s see what R.C. Sproul has to say about the Gospel. He’s a well-known and respected Christian leader. The following is taken from Sproul’s article, What Is the Gospel?:

The Bible makes it clear that we are justified not by our works, not by our efforts, not by our deeds, but by faith – and by faith alone. The only way you can receive the benefit of Christ’s life and death is by putting your trust in Him – and in Him alone. You do that, you’re declared just by God, you’re adopted into His family, you’re forgiven of all of your sins, and you have begun your pilgrimage for eternity.

Did you see any mention of marriage in his article explaining the Gospel? Neither did I.

Marriage isn’t referenced in John MacArthur’s article on Getting the Gospel Right, and you can be sure that he is complementarian.

Here’s more MacArthur in an older video with Kirk Cameron. There’s no marriage message noted here, either:

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So, this should tell you something. The folks at CBMW sure seem to be going overboard with this marriage-as-Gospel thing. I’m pretty sure CBMW is taking the following verse as their reference of a Christian marriage being a picture of Christ and His church:

CBMW marriage battle gospel 3918317592_cf270b188f25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. (Ephesians 5:25-33)

The battle that I’m reading about at CBMW seems to be more focused on what they describe as a cultural battle – keeping marriage between one woman and one man, not a man marrying a man or a woman marrying a woman.

But are they twisting scripture for their “battle” agenda? I think so. Marriage can be a picture of Christ and the church when marriage is done well, but to make complementarianism as the Gospel, in my opinion, is a distortion of the real Gospel. This is just more of CBMW’s agenda hype.

SSB Gathering – February 22, 2015

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Spiritual Sounding Board – This is your place to gather and share in an open format.

by Kathi

 

Newport Lighthouse

 Newport, OR

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1 Corinthians 13

(1) And now I will show you the most excellent way. If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

(2) If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

(3) If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

(4) Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

(5) It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

(6) Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

(7) It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

(8) Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

(9) For we know in part and we prophesy in part, (10) but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.

(11) When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.

(12) Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

(13) And now these three remain; faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

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Feel free to join the discussion.
You can share your church struggles and concerns.
Let’s also use it as a time to encourage one another spiritually.
What have you found spiritually encouraging lately?
Do you have any special Bible verses to share, any YouTube songs that you have found uplifting?

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photo credit: Brian Bonham

Court Ruling on Calvary Chapel Pastor Bob Grenier’s Lawsuit against His Son and Former Member

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Court Ruling on Calvary Chapel Pastor Bob Grenier against his step-son, Alex Grenier and Tim Taylor

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With Alex Grenier’s permission, I am cross-posting the entire article he published yesterday. Since hearing this news, I have found myself in tears, angry, and shocked at this ruling and the implications. I can’t believe Tim and Alex have had this dark cloud hanging over their heads for over 2 years and they still aren’t done. The emotional toll is difficult. Please pray for my friends who dared to speak out against clergy abuse and are now paying a hefty cost emotionally, spiritually, and financially.

If you’d like some background on this story, here is an article I did a while back:  Calvary Chapel Pastor Bob Grenier: Stories of Abuse As Told by His Children


 

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MAJOR UPDATE: Bob Grenier Calvary Chapel Pastor’s lawsuit vs. Alex and Tim

by Alex Grenier

We had a major set-back in our defense against my step-dad pastor’s (Bob Grenier) defamation lawsuit.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in California ruled him “not a public figure” despite his multi-state radio program, book, speaking at conferences around the nation and world, etc…and they denied our Anti-SLAPP motion to strike (which would have ended the suit) and he can continue his lawsuit in the lower court.

It is perceived as a big victory by him and his attorney and is certainly a legal set-back for us…but is not a final ruling on the matter in terms of winning or losing the defamation suit. The Court did not rule whether the statements (those we actually made) were untrue beyond a “preponderance of evidence” (previous version said “reasonable doubt”).

We can try to Petition the California Supreme Court (very much a long-shot, slim odds, but not impossible) to review whether or not clergy/pastors are limited purpose public figures. We can fight an old-fashioned defamation suit in the lower court (that will cost a lot of time and money and we don’t have a church and followers behind us to fund us). The most distasteful option for me personally, but an option, is to choke it down and try to settle with something both sides can live with (but I think this option is slim, Bob is very vindictive and despite what he preaches from the pulpit, he’s about as hateful and vengeful a person as you’ll ever meet and he wants blood and money).

We’re in talks with attorneys and planning our next moves. I’ll keep you posted as to significant developments.

Bob is currently doing a victory lap posting bible verses about how God will smite all his enemies and God upholds the righteous etc, typical Bob.

Bob’s attorney, Nick Pritchett, trolled me on a mutual friend’s Facebook page…I’m sure he’d love to see a broken family continue to fight so he can bill his client some fresh Jesus money and put food on his rich table.

Our attorneys are filing some sort of motion in an attempt to correct a factual error in the published Appellate opinion…something I cannot fathom happens very often in a prestigious State like California. The court must’ve missed something as they attributed a quote in their ruling to either me or Tim and concluded their opinion with that online statement…again, something that wasn’t my comment or Tim’s….something we pointed out in the case…something I have emails to back up calling this to the attention of my attorneys, etc…yet there the mistake is in a published opinion. I’ve got no problem standing behind the words I stated (and will)…but how can comments we didn’t make end up in a published opinion in such a credible and big State like California?

Obviously, we’re disappointed with the ruling and disagree…however, the Court is an authority and they saw it Bob’s way (despite the factual error in the opinion of the statement that someone else made online). We accept the decision, minus that error, and we will regroup and figure out what options are available and which of those options is the best from here.

This published opinion is significant because we believe it now defines pretty much all clergy (unless they are national figures like a  Billy Graham) as “not” limited purpose public figures…so anyone making comments online that a pastor doesn’t like can be sued with the low bar of Prima Facia…meaning the pastor can simply claim the comment defamed him and sue you without the threat of a high bar of Actual Malice and without the ability to Anti-SLAPP the suit. That’s scary, but that’s what it looks like. That will create quite a chill in the Church Abuse blogging community. My advice is be very careful, you can be easily sued for speaking out publicly about a pastor now…even if that pastor is very public.

Here is an article covering the Appellate Court Decision:

http://www.courthousenews.com/2015/02/19/pastors-defamation-suit-against-son-advances.htm

My Name is Gracie: I’m Married to an Unbeliever

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What is the church’s response to Christians who are married to unbelievers?

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I walked my son to his bus stop this morning and came across this lonely crocus in my front yard. Everything in my yard says Winter is still here, but this one little crocus showed her pretty face in the recent warm days we’ve had. I was thinking about the personal story (below) and wondered if this is what Gracie feels like – alone in her church. We’ve discussed singles in churches and how difficult that can be, but we haven’t discussed what it’s like for a married person married to an unbeliever and the church’s response.

I’d like you to read about Gracie, who is married to an unbeliever.  Sometimes spiritual harm comes to people in the form of emotional abandonment, apathy, not caring for an individual. Let’s read Gracie’s story. I’m thankful she was willing to share it with us.

~Julie Anne

 

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 My Name is Gracie: I’m Married to an Unbeliever

 

I am a christian, married to an unbeliever. Being married to an unbeliever is hard. It can be heartbreaking, frustrating and exhausting. Many times, the church is not helpful when it comes to this subject.

I renewed my relationship with God thirteen years ago. Occasionally my husband would come to a service for Christmas or Easter. I would introduce him to my friends, but we would often end up sitting by ourselves. No one would invite us to sit with them. I don’t really know why.

The church is missing the mark when it comes to dealing with spouses who are married to unbelievers. In my experiences (I’ve been to six churches since I renewed my relationship with Christ) at different churches, except for the one I attend now, it has always been the same thing. People find out you are married, but your spouse doesn’t attend church. They ask if he is a believer, and you say no. From then on, you feel like half a person because of the way you are treated.

In one church, which I attended for 8 years, I was involved in one ministry. I was in leadership. However, when I would give advice to others regarding their marriages, I was told “You have no right to talk to anyone about marriage. Yours isn’t so good.” I did attend outings with others, but I often felt like a third wheel to all the couples there. In all of those years, I was never asked to be involved in any other ministry, and although many of the couples I know were invited to dinner with the Pastor and his wife, I never was. The church is not huge either. It makes you feel less than. Churches focus so much on marriage and family, and marriage sermons are always geared to those who are believing couples. I only heard one sentence in all my years that slightly mentioned the unequally yoked issue. It basically said “If you are married to an unbeliever, act like a christian.” Wow, that’s helpful.

People in my situation have many struggles. We have divided loyalties. We want to be at church often, and are questioned when we can’t attend every event. We are told to be sold out for Jesus, but can’t be there all the time because our spouse gets upset, and the church then thinks we don’t want to be involved. We sit in the pews and feel sad when we see the happy couple with the two kids who are shining examples of a ‘christian family’ and feel like there is something wrong with us because we sit alone Sunday after Sunday.

I left that church two years ago after attempting to confront leadership in the ministry I was involved in. I did it biblically, per Matt. 18. However, when I attempted to bring in witnesses, the lead pastor wouldn’t allow it. It was going to be me against the three of them. I knew how it was going to turn out, as these leaders have been confronted before, and nothing was done. I left that church and never returned.

I started attending another church, and things in my marriage were getting worse. I went to see the pastor and his wife. All I got for advice was the typical ‘pray more, submit more, have more sex, etc’. I told them he had committed adultery, and found out they don’t believe in divorce even for adultery. I was stunned. I confronted the pastor’s wife one Sunday and asked “So he can sleep around all he wants, I can’t divorce him? So, what, I’m supposed to keep loving him, having sex and just hope I don’t get HIV?” She paused and said “Well, no.” It was like that thought never even entered her mind! I left that church shortly after once I discovered they are heavy into patriarchy, too.

Many of the women I communicate with in a ministry which deals with this issue have had things said to them such as “You must submit, even to sin. You must obey, you have to be Jesus with skin on. Because how would you feel if you were married to your husband for life but he/she never got to know the Lord? It’s your job to get them saved!” This is unbiblical, and it puts a tremendous amount of pressure on us, especially wives. Our husbands are supposed to be representing Jesus, and we ladies are supposed to be the bride. We take on a role we aren’t meant to. If you are married to an abusive spouse, or an addict, it is even harder.

I will end by saying I have finally found a wonderful church. I did interview the pastor for two hours before I joined, and had a list of questions for him. I was very pleased with his responses. In the midst of all this, I found out one month ago my husband is having an affair. I did everything those former churches told me to do, I prayed, fasted, submitted, loved, encouraged, and he still had an affair. I have come to realize that even if you love perfectly, they may not love you back. Jesus loved perfectly, and they still killed him. Even today, people still reject Him. I know I did the best I could, but my husband still chose someone else. I went to my current church and explained the situation, as this has been a not great marriage for a long time. No one condemned me. No one told me God hates divorce. What did they tell me? “You are worth more than what your husband is doing to you. It’s not your fault. How can we support you?” That’s Jesus. That’s love.

 

 

Pulpit and Pen is Publicly Correcting Church Leaders: The 21 Egyptian Beheadings? They weren’t real Christians, so was it true Christian persecution?

Pulpit and Pen blog disses on Evangelical leaders who claim 21 Egyptian martyrs were “true” Christians.

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In the face of unthinkable tragedy – the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians, a contributor at Pulpit and Pen blog has gotten on his bully pulpit to criticize those who call these 21 Egyptian martyrs “Christians.”

Pulpit and Pen, persecution, Coptic Christians, 21 Christians beheaded

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From Pulpit and Pen blog by anonymous author. Could it be J.D. Hall?

Southern Baptist and evangelical leaders were stumbling over themselves yesterday in a race to demonstrate who was the most sympathetic to our fellow Christians and these brave martyrs for the faith.

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If you read the Pulpit and Pen article, the author does discuss the tragedy, but the main message is this:  People, you can’t call them Christians when they are NOT Christians.

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Interestingly, today, R. C. Sproul, Jr. (who is admired by many of the Pulpiteers) posted a tweet:

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and a blog post today and had this to say in his article:

While Christians can mourn over the persecution of believers, they ought never be surprised or ashamed.

And he continues:

And as we are recording today, much on everyone’s mind is the video that has been passed around of multiple beheadings committed by ISIS against those in Egypt who go by the name of Coptic Christians.

I will be watching Twitter to see if Pulpiteers feel the need to correct their friend, RC 2.

The most disgusting thing to me is these are the same folks who are friends with Tony Miano, who some claim was persecuted when he was arrested in Scotland for using homophobic language and had to spend the night in jail.  If you remember, Tony Miano planned his trip to Scotland after hearing that his open air preacher buddy had been arrested twice within 2 weeks, also for using homophobic language.  It was after those two arrests that Tony Miano planned his trip to Scotland:

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Miano knew the climate of the country and decided he needed to go to Scotland and made the choice to discuss the gay lifestyle in his Gospel presentation (because doesn’t everyone need to include that as part of their Gospel presentation?) and got arrested for using homophobic language. This “persecution” I believe was a planned event. After his release, he spent hours and hours on social media talking about his persecution in Scotland. It was easy to watch how he spent his time on his social media trail from afar (Twitter, YouTube, articles, comments on media articles, interviews). Tony brought attention to self and called it persecution. Why did he not use his time after the arrest to busy himself with Gospel work and postpone the media interviews?  Hmm

So, Tony Miano gets the pass among the Pulpiteers because his Gospel presentation matches their idea of a true Gospel presentation. His persecution is bona fide because he passed the Pulpit & Pen test:  first being a “true” Christian, secondly, presenting a “true” Gospel presentation when he was arrested = “true” persecution.

Award goes to Tony for having the full-meal deal:  he passes as a Christian and he was persecuted doing righteous works . . . . . . . and everyone said,”wowowowowowow.”

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But those poor Coptic Christians.  Nope, Pulpit and Pen is sad about their fate (and they are really trying hard to keep things kosher with their words under the sad circumstances), but you see, they didn’t pass the Pulpit & Pen muster. Because they were born into their religion and because Pulpit and Pen is able to judge the hearts of men all the way from Montana and wherever else the Pulpiteers live, those 21 Egyptian “Christians” died a sad death and will likely end up in hell. While they died a horrible death, they did not die the same kind of persecuted-for-righteousness-sake death, because they were not true Christians.  In the blog post you can sense the sad violin music playing in the words because the Egyptian’s death likely means they all went to hell, so no trophy for them. (According to P&P logic, of course.)

So, that is how P&P is spending their time lately – going after Evangelical church leaders who are tweeting about the atrocities of the beheadings – and Pulpit and Pen feels it is their responsibility to let all the church leaders in America know this really wasn’t that kind of persecution – you know the kind that earned Tony Miano a symbolic golden trophy among his peers.

 

 

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Related links:

 

photo credit: beta 2 via photopin (license)

Introducing Kathi, Spiritual Abuse Survey, and Free Domestic Violence Book for Ministry Groups/Organizations

 

Participants Needed for Research Work on Spiritual Abuse

I received an e-mail from Kathryn Keller Lamar with whom I have corresponded with and networked in spiritual abuse and survivor communities. She is finishing up her doctoral dissertation to complete her studies and I told her I’d be happy to pass along the information. Spiritual abuse continues to be largely misunderstood in the world of psychology and counseling and the more credible research we have on this subject, the better equipped mental health providers will be able to assist the growing number of people hurt by church leaders who spiritually abuse. If you have experienced spiritual abuse, please consider taking this survey. Here is the note Kathryn is sending out:

 Hi!

If you are interested in supporting academic research on spiritual abuse, you are invited to complete the following survey for a doctoral dissertation on spiritual abuse. Feel free to contact the researcher, Kathryn Keller Lamar, for any questions about the study or for general conversation about the topic of spiritual abuse. The academic literature seems to be lagging behind popular culture’s discussion on spiritual abuse (via blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), so please help us “catch up” so we can better understand it. Kathryn is a psychology student at Texas Woman’s University and intends to use this study to enhance clinical work as well as further research. The following link will direct you to the survey. It takes less than 30 minutes. Thank you!
https://www.psychdata.com/s.asp?SID=164705

 


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Can you help get Barbara Robert’s book, “Not Under Bondage: Biblical Divorce for Abuse, Adultery, and Desertion” in the hands of ministries, shelters, abuse programs, and organizations?

Not Under Bondage, Barbara Roberts, Domestic Violence, Divorce, Christian Marriage

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One of SSB’s regular readers/commenters, Brenda R., contacted me about a project she took on and I want to pass it along to you. I think it’s a great project and hope that my readers can help get this important book in places where survivors of domestic violence can get better understanding about divorce when there is abuse.  This is one area I think the church has failed women and their children in a horrific way. ~ja

Last fall, I took on a project to search out ministries, shelters, safe houses, abuse programs of all kinds both Christian and secular for the purpose of distributing books. Barbara Roberts and her dad have graciously sent a large number of her book, “Not Under Bondage: Biblical Divorce for Abuse, Adultery and Desertion” to the U.S.

Barbara spent 3 years in research in order to write this book and it is excellent. Barb’s book is one of the reasons that I live free from abuse today. During this time, I have run up against a few stumbling blocks: the internet’s information is not updated, shelters no longer exist or have moved (10 years ago). I was even told by a Christian based organization that they could not hand out Christian materials because of their grant funding. Go Figure. Out of 96 letters sent to CA at the end of December about a third of them were returned with no forwarding address, however with the responses that I have had I have been able to promise 102 books. So all is not lost and all of the remaining books will find happy homes in God’s timing.

Rather than continue with sending letters to programs that no longer exist, I have begun asking for help from people on my favorite blog sites who live in the U.S. and Canada who might possibly direct me to programs that exist in their little part of the globe. Yesterday, I put out a similar request at another site and have promised over 100 books since then. I am ready to do some singin’ and shoutin’, but have a long ways to go before this project is complete. The reason that I say that books are being promised is they took a slow boat from Australia, where Barbara is from. I am told they should be arriving in the U.S. today (happy dance here) and then have to make their journey to the person’s home who is going to do the physical shipping of the books. There was much red tape to get through to make this happen, but we seem to be about through all of that.

If anyone knows of any of the types of organizations, ministries or programs that I spoke of that are operational in their area, I would so very much like to hear from you. If even one person reads this book and is saved from the ultimate sacrifice of abuse, it will be worth it. Oh, one last thing. This is a gift. There is absolutely no cost to those that respond and can use the books.

If you are interested in helping to get this book in places where survivors of domestic violence can access to it, please contact Brenda at bjrobbins123@att.net.

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Kathi’s Bio

And last, but certainly not least, I think it’s high time that we hear from Kathi. As most of you know, last Spring, I started back at college full-time. This has obviously made an impact on the blog in that I do not have the same amount of time to produce the kinds of articles I was producing, or with the same frequency. Kathi has been helping to feed and moderate the SSB Facebook page and has assisted in moderation on the blog. She’s contributed blog articles, and also for the last few weeks, has put together the SSB Sunday Gathering posts. This has really been a big help to me.

So, with Kathi’s more prominent presence at SSB these days, I think it’s important for you to meet Kathi. She’s been a long-time reader since the lawsuit days. We actually lived in the same town when I was going to BGBC, but didn’t realize it until after we moved. I wish we would have known each other back then as I know we would have had fun getting together and knitting.  We met for coffee on one of my trips to Portland and then last summer, Kathi invited herself to come visit me. I loved that spontaneous visit. We had a great time getting to know each other and especially enjoyed our picnic lunch in kayaks going down the Columbia River.

What I appreciate about Kathi is her heart for those who have been marginalized in the church. She can easily see through nonsense talk from church leaders and calls it what it is. She has spunk and compassion – I love that. I asked Kathi if she’d write a bio to share and she has done that below:

My church experience has spanned from Roman Catholicism to conservative non-denominational evangelical Christian to now considering myself a none/done who still has faith in Jesus.

I attended a non-denominational Christian college and earned an urban ministry degree and now live in the suburbs of Portland (another story for another time). Even though the college I attended was very supportive of women in ministry, while taking homiletics I realized how unsupportive the local church (even in Southern California) was in regard to women in ministry. I have always hoped that I would see a change in the church in regard to women in ministry during my lifetime. I am still waiting.

I ended up in a social work program and during college found myself in placements that worked with children who were abused. My passion for working with and advocating for those who are abused developed during this time.

After the birth of our second child, we decided that financially it made sense for me to stay home. I can honestly tell you that if I would have known in college that I would be staying home and raising children I would have laughed. That was not what I had thought I would do with my life, but it was how life was presenting itself. Also, if I would have known in college that I would also spend 10 years homeschooling said children I would have laughed even harder. Again, life was presenting itself this way and I followed along. While I started out homeschooling with all intent to lead my children in a Biblical understanding of the world, I found that our church experiences were leading me farther from focusing on the Bible to making sure that my children were well-rounded academically and socially.

Our recent church experiences have included a pastor that aspired to become a megachurch pastor. A pastor who strong-armed his way into the pastoral position who later proclaimed that we were not to question God’s anointed. And a house church pastor’s kid who bullied one of ours. When the pastor made light of the situation we decided that we were done with church. We had had enough experiences and had lost enough friendships along the way because we decided not to tow the party line.

Several years ago I found myself reading survivor blogs such as SSB. There were few during that time, but I found it refreshing. I truly believe that one can find genuine community among an online forum. That is what I hope SSB will be for many. Please know that you will always find a listening ear from me. I believe that everyone deserves to tell their story and to have it listened to.

Kathi

SSB Gathering – February 15, 2015

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Spiritual Sounding Board – This is your place to gather and share in an open format.

 

larches

 Larches at Lake Ingalls Trail, Washington

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Philippians 2: 1-11

(1) If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion,

(2) then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. (3) Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

(4) Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also the interests of others. (5) Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus;

(6) Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, (7) but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

(8) And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross! (9) Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,

(10) that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, (11) and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

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Feel free to join the discussion.
You can share your church struggles and concerns.
Let’s also use it as a time to encourage one another spiritually.
What have you found spiritually encouraging lately?
Do you have any special Bible verses to share, any YouTube songs that you have found uplifting?

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photo credit: Brian Bonham

Alecia Pennington Wants to Obtain Her Legal Documentation: Is Spiritual “Tough Love” Preventing Lisa and James Pennington from Complying?

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Alecia Pennington needs her birth certificate and social security card to help her in her adult life. Her parents, James and Lisa Pennington have not helped her obtain these important documents. Why?

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There’s a very sad story spreading throughout social media regarding a young lady (age 19) named Alecia Faith Pennington.

She goes by Alecia. Her father calls her Faith. Hmm. Think about that for a moment.

Alecia comes from a large homeschooling family whose parents are very active in the homeschool community. Mom, Lisa, is a blogger (Hip Homeschool Momsand The Pennington Point) and speaks at conventions.  Alecia left her home abruptly.

Lisa Pennington wrote this about Alecia leaving:

On Wednesday, September 24th my life was changed forever.  My 18 year old daughter left home.  She gave us no warning, no signs that it was coming.  She didn’t try to talk to us about it or work with us.  She, with the help of my parents, just left.  And with her she took pieces of my heart that had been torn to shreds.  I cried harder that day than I ever knew was possible.  So hard that it scared my little boys and I had to go in my closet and put a pillow over my face to muffle the sobs.

 

I can relate with Lisa’s feelings and her sadness. I’ve been there, too. Well, that’s Lisa’s side of the story. Moving on to Alecia. Unfortunately, since leaving home, Alecia has been unable to start her adult life very well without much-needed documentation which she claims her parents haven’t given her.

I want you to hear straight from Alecia:

 

 

This is from her father, James Pennington, who posted the following on Facebook, along with the YouTube video:

By now many of you have seen the video that our daughter made.

We made a video response, even though we would prefer to have handled this privately. But it’s gotten bigger than just us now.

We want to say loud and clear that we love our daughter and want her to have everything she wants in life.

We have offered many times to help her and have continued to offer since the video came out. We have never refused to help.

We had no idea what she had been through trying to obtain this information until the video came out. She never told us about any of it.

We wish her every happiness. (Source)

 

 

James and Lisa Pennington have a lot of supporters. Here’s one:

jp

 

I want to say up front that my creepo meter has gone off on this story for a number of reasons. When I see that Lisa Pennington has removed pertinent blog articles and comments, that is troublesome.

Alecia set up a Twitter account under the name @HelpMeProveit, along with a Facebook page with the same name, Help Me Prove It.  Can anyone tell me why her father would have a need to buy the domain helpmeproveit.com, except as a preemptive move to keep the story from spreading?  See this link.  (Those of you familiar with my story may remember my suing pastor also bought domain names similar to the name of my former blog so as to phish readers to his site.)  It is my understanding that this is a form of cyber bullying which can have legal ramifications.

This story feels very familiar to me for a number of reasons. My daughter left home abruptly and we (and our pastor/church)  immediately labeled her as rebellious. In our culture, an adult daughter just doesn’t leave home like that. The happily-ever-after story is dad selects an approved young man for adult daughter to court and they get married. To leave from under the father’s roof on her own means she is out from under the Umbrella of Protection. To those who hold to these ideologies, Alecia would be in a very dangerous place spiritually and you can be sure that is where their primary focus is.  It’s important to note that in this culture, the relationship between adult child and parent is not the most important agenda, the adult child’s spiritual state is the real issue for them. They will likely “sacrifice” their daughter permanently as “tough love” in order to feel the pain of the absence of her family and cause her to “come back.” This is a form of shunning and spiritual manipulation.

I can recall two other public cases within the last year of well-known homeschool parents whose adult children “rebelled.”  The parents publicly say they love their adult children and want what’s best for them. They also insist that their adult children are in the wrong. They place all of their hope in God and hope their adult children will turn from their evil ways. I get it. I was one of those parents. One of those public stories seems to be moving in a positive direction after the mother publicly humbled herself. The other, not so much.

I reached out to James Pennington on Twitter to see if he would be open to a 3rd party help in the situation, whether that be me or anyone. Here is the conversation:

 

 

 

I haven’t been able to confirm from Alecia if what her father says in the last tweet is true. Based on the recent online activity of Alecia, it seems she would have reported something if they indeed connected and Alecia’s requests were being honored.

I’ve seen the way this works in similar ideological homeschool circles. If you notice in my conversation with Mr. Pennington, he seemed to struggle with saying, “yes, I’d be happy to do whatever it takes, even 3rd-party help.”  Do you sense him dragging his feet?  I think for the Pennington parents, it has to be on their terms. If you notice in the video, he tells Alecia to contact him. Yes, that would be a normal way of handling issues, but this is not normal. This is an estranged relationship and a fragile one.

In the circles I come from, parents are always right, so this would be labeled as Alecia’s problem and she is the one who has to make it right. The thought would be that she needs to humble herself and go to her parents if she wants them to help her. I highly suspect that they are forcing her to “suffer the consequences” of her “sin” and that is why they are not forthcoming with the information she needs, and requiring that she make the move to them. It’s all cloaked in “we love Faith,” but where is the humility on their side? Even if they feel they have been wronged, humility says for them to reach out to her on her terms. Show her grace in actions. Defending yourself on YouTube is not humble. Loving action would be to reach out in a way that feels safe to Alecia. 

I don’t get these parents who will give up on their adult children, publicly say they are suffering for righteousness sake because they are doing “tough love.”  This love thing seems to be very confusing to a lot of people and if it were really love, why would so many people be in so much pain?

 

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Update:  Alecia posted the following note on her Facebook page:

UPDATE: I have some wonderful news! My father has begun cooperating with us! He states he is willing to sign any documents, and give me any information he has concerning what I may need as proof.
I would also like to ask that you do not post demeaning comments about my parents. Even though I do not agree with them on many things, I would like their reputation to be protected as much as possible. Thanks!

 

 

related articles:

 

Should Christian Leaders Use their Public Platform to Endorse Their Vaccination Preferences?

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Do Christians have a responsibility to vaccinate their children? Is this a matter of religious liberty? Should Christian leaders use their platform to influence us in this health matter?

vaccines church leaders 5116249876_84663fc237

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It seems that we have been getting barraged with religious leaders trying to convince us one way or the other on the recent vaccine issue in the news as Measles has made a comeback with a recent outbreak.  I was surprised to see numerous tweets from religious leaders and wondered what you thought about this.

Below are just some of the tweets and articles, including some excerpts I have found.


And Now a Brief Word on Vaccines – by Doug Wilson

The claim I am making here is very limited. If a person has decided personal convictions about the contagious disease he is carrying, the society in which he lives has an equal right to have decided and contrary convictions about that same contagious disease he has. And if there is an outbreak of such a disease, and the government quarantines everyone who is not vaccinated, requiring them to stay at home, the name for this is prudence, not tyranny.

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3 reasons Christians should vaccinate with confidence by Justin Smith of ERLC (The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission)

In the midst of all the confusion about vaccines, I believe that Christians don’t have to be the ones who are confused. We can use the gift of vaccines with confidence knowing that, ultimately, our lives and our health are in the hands of our Father.

Cripplegate is blog with 4 contributors who seem to have connections with John MacArthur’s seminary/church. This article was posted on Cripplegate:  Anti-vaxxers and epistemological narcissism

Take note at how they use scripture to justify vaccinating:

  1. Vaccines are a form of common grace that have dramatically changed the world for the better (Gen 3:18; Ps 145:9-16; Matt 5:44-45; Acts 14:16-17). Participating in the blessings of common grace in a post-Babel society means that we bond together as nations, and we use common grace to make quality of life better (Gen 9:6, 2 Kings 12:2, Luke 6:33). We work, we marry, and we protect each other. A basic way to do that is to be vaccinated against diseases that plague the cultures that don’t vaccinate.
  1. Thus, being vaccinated is a form of loving your neighbor (Lev 19:18; Matt 5:43,Rom 13:8-10, Jas 2:8). Knowing that some are too little, too young, or too weak to be vaccinated, we protect the weak by being vaccinated.

The last paragraph admits this is gray area which is bizarre because if it truly is a gray area, can you really use scripture to 100% back up your stance?

I recognize that this is a Christian gray-area, and it goes beyond what is written to say that a person is sinning by being an anti-vaxxer. But it does not go beyond what is written to appeal to believer’s discernment: don’t undo one of society’s crowning scientific advancements because of epistemological narcissism.


Rev. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, Executive Religion Editor for the Huffington Post posted an article and a podcast at Huffington post.  (The podcast will start immediately as soon as you open the page, but you can turn it off and read the article:  Love Thy Neighbor: Vaccinate (All Together Podcast).  Dr. Claire McCarthy, a pediatrician at Boston Children’s hospital, Dr. Robert Klitzman,  professor and Director of the Bioethics Program at Columbia School of Public Health, and Sally Steenland, Director of the Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative at the Center for American Progress, were on the podcast and discussed why this is not a religious liberty issue. Paul concludes:

Jesus commands to love our neighbor as ourselves. This gets to the heart of the vaccination issue. It’s not just about loving your own family. It is also about caring for the well-being of your neighbors and your community. Everyone should vaccinate their children as an act of love.

In this case, we have a reverend with a highly visible position in public media using his platform to push his agenda. Is this okay?


Pat Robertson Says He’s Against Vaccination Mandates:

I’m sure that there’s some serious consequences to measles, and perhaps vaccinations is the answer, but I don’t think any parent should be forced by the government to vaccinate.


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If I looked longer, I’m sure I could find even more articles from religious leaders. I have some questions:

Is it a religious leader’s responsibility to inform private citizens about their views on immunizations?

At what point do religious leaders cross the line when it comes to health concerns and using their position of authority/celebrity-ism to influence?

How much credence do we give to religious leaders on issues of health?

As you can see above, some say this is a gray area or a religious liberty area, where others say it is not. Do you think we can discuss this topic, specifically the bolded questions without getting personal and debating the pros/cons of vaccines?  Please exercise caution when commenting. I specifically would like to keep it to the subject of Christian leaders pushing their health agendas using their public platforms.  

 

 

photo credit: Flu Vaccination Grippe via photopin (license)

SSB Gathering – February 8, 2015

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Spiritual Sounding Board – This is your place to gather and share in an open format.

 

Light rays

 

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Psalm 5

Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my sighing.

Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray.

In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice;

in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.

You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; with you the wicked cannot dwell.

The arrogant cannot stand in your presence; you hate all who do wrong.

You destroy those who tell lies; bloodthirsty and deceitful men the Lord abhors.

But I, by your great mercy, will come into your house;

in reverence will I bow down toward your holy temple.

Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies -

make straight your way before me.

Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with destruction.

Their throat is an open grave; with their tongue they speak deceit.

Declare them guilty, O God! Let their intrigues be their downfall.

Banish them for their many sins, for they have rebelled against you.

But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy.

Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

Fore surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

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Feel free to join the discussion.
You can share your church struggles and concerns.
Let’s also use it as a time to encourage one another spiritually.
What have you found spiritually encouraging lately?
Do you have any special Bible verses to share, any YouTube songs that you have found uplifting?

***

photo credit: Brian Bonham

Second-Generation Homeschoolers: Will They Be Homeschool Dropouts?

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Will Second Generation homeschoolers continue with the vision given to them by their first-generation parents, or will they stagnate and decay?

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Posted on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/westernconservatory/posts/773859062683731

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Second-Generation Homeschoolers:  Will They Be Homeschool Dropouts?

by Kathi

Homeschool Dropouts is a documentary which features the children (Anna, Benjamin, David, Elizabeth and Isaac) of Geoffrey and Victoria Botkin. The Botkins have been long time leaders in the U.S. Homeschool Movement. This film was made in 2009 and the description of the film by the Western Conservatory of the Arts and Sciences says:

Five years ago, the Botkin siblings produced this documentary about the homeschooling movement after talking to their peers around the United States. In discussing the future of this movement, the film raised a number of controversial questions, examining the history of the movement and the character that would be required to sustain it into the second generation.

Today, many of the problems addressed in this film are even more apparent.

If you have 57 minutes of your precious time available, please watch. If not, I’ve done the work for you. Allow me to present my thoughts below.

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Please know that even though I homeschooled my kids for 10 years, I am still fairly new to people within the Christian Homeschool Movement. Julie Anne (and if Hester is so kind to offer assistance) would be able to answer specific questions about the Botkins. I still feel like I’m a bit of an outsider on the Christian Homeschool Movement.

The Botkin children open this documentary by lamenting about how they are hard pressed to find anyone within their circle of friends who is willing to follow their parents’ example of Biblical homeschooling. As a result, the Homeschool Movement is in a crisis. According to the Botkin clan, the young adults of today lack direction, lack vision, are moving away from their parents’ principles, and are abandoning what their parents sacrificed so much for. Young adults need to stop blaming, take stock of their own sin and take action.

In other words, this is nothing more than a propaganda film for the parents and the soon-to-be-fading leaders of the Christian Homeschool Movement. The entire focus of this video is how young adults are abandoning their parents’ views, which leads me to wonder (and wander off topic for a minute) if any of the parents’ parents homeschooled them?

I would guess that the First Generation parents were not homeschooled. Wouldn’t that mean that the homeschooling parents rejected and abandoned their parents’ views of education? Why was it alright for them to move away from what their parents thought about education, but it’s not alright for their children to educate differently? When I think about our family, my children were not educated the same way I was. Was I rejecting what my parents thought was important for education? Absolutely not. My husband and I are not my parents and we have different life circumstances and decisions to make. I don’t expect that my kids will homeschool their kids. They need to make their own life decisions based upon what is best for them and their family.

Since this video is more about the parents, it is not surprising that the problem with the impending doom of the Christian Homeschool Movement is the Second Generation: it is the sins of the Second Generation, not the weaknesses of the families or leaders, that are the problem.

These sins are:

  • The Second Generation doesn’t seek God for ourselves. The First Generation had a desperate need for God because they came out of non-Christian homes. The Second Generation doesn’t have this desperation and displays false piety and are not truly saved.
  • Second Generation Adults don’t take their sins seriously. They are careless, lukewarm, and hostile to God.
  • SGAs are proud. Kevin Swanson enters the fray here (Yay!) by stating that homeschoolers talk all the time about higher test scores, admittance into good colleges, etc. However, God isn’t interested in achievements, but is interested in how kids honor their mother and honor God. The problem with this line of thought is that K. Swan and other homeschool leaders are constantly bragging about how much better homeschooling is to public school or Christian private school. At the end of this, one Botkin child says that pride is the silent killer of the Homeschool Movement.
  • Second Generation Adults don’t engage the world. They are called to take dominion of the world (judge it, disciple it, overcome it) and Second Generation Adults are not contending for the faith.
  • Second Generation Adults are defined by laziness and complacency. The First Generation knew that life is a battleground and that they were fighting a battle. The Second Generation doesn’t care about the war. There is no room for being laid back or pursuing one’s own interests.
  • Second Generation Adults are bitter instead of grateful. Ugh! – my least favorite word ever – bitter. SGAs who were homeschooled need to stop blaming and despising their Christian parents’ homeschooling because they are despising the plan of God. The right response is to be grateful for everything done for them. My favorite line is, “Some of us were not given a very big vision, but we can take whatever we have and grow it. Even if we don’t have perfect parents.”

 

What will become of the Christian Homeschool Movement if the Second Generation Adults don’t follow in their parents’ footsteps? Of course, the freedom to homeschool will be lost. Statism will take over every aspect of our lives. And, if Second Gens are not homeschooling, they are not honoring their parents. I do not agree with this at all, especially since we are seeing a rise in homeschooling across the United States, as more parents are displeased with the school environment or curriculum choices. Where I work, I talk to parents all the time who are thinking about, or are new to homeschooling. Homeschooling is not going away any time soon.

I think the Botkin’s concern is that if the Second Generation Adults who were homeschooled don’t homeschool exactly like they did, the chance of Christian dominion over the world fades. And, as the First Generation homeschool parents and leaders age, their influence over the second and third generation begins to fade. Growing old stinks, doesn’t it?

K. Swan offers these words at the end, “I am very optimistic of the future.” He’s only optimistic if you Second Gens follow in your parent’s footsteps though. You better get busy – leading your own lives and making your own decisions!

Owen Strachan Speaks out against Fifty Shades of Grey and Says that Christianity Disciplines Abusive Men

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Owen Strachan speaks against Fifty Shades of Grey and attempts to show how complementarians do not abuse their wives, and says that Christianity disciplines abusive men

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An Update on Bethany: Almost Trapped in the Christian Patriarchy Movement

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Last year, I posted a personal story (A Young Woman’s Relationship with Her Boyfriend is Shattered by Christian Patriarchy) from “Bethany” who was struggling in a relationship with her boyfriend, whose family was involved in the Christian Patriarchy Movement influenced by the likes of Doug Phillips, Bill Gothard, etc.

I received a follow-up e-mail from Bethany, almost a year later who has written about what has happened since then. I like stories with good endings and this is one with a good ending, but it took a little bit of maneuvering to get there.

~JA

 


 

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This time a year ago, I was torn down and heart-broken because the man I was in love with had returned to the fundamentalist teachings of Doug Phillips and Bill Gothard.

Having suffered from emotional, psychological, mental, and spiritual abuse in this relationship, it’s safe to say I was a mess. I had trouble eating and sleeping. I cried so much my eyes burned all the time and I was constantly worn out from this. I was distracted frequently from thinking about him. After being so close to someone for months on end, I found it extremely difficult to learn to live without him.

 

I thank everyone at SSB, especially Julie Anne, for being there for me during this hard time. Your comments and support helped me through this break up more than you can possibly imagine. During a time when my head was telling me he was not good for me but my heart was still yearning for him, the daily reminders were very helpful.

Returning to school after the holidays was hard for me. I was scared of seeing him because I knew the pain that it would bring. I was also worried about completing a 19-hour semester while still recovering from the traumatic end of a relationship. When I returned, I decided to make a change in my daily schedule. I figured any change that I could make to my environment would be good for me since I was forced to stay at the same school as him. I stopped going to the campus ministry where we met and were in leadership together. At this point, I had also made the decision to prepare and apply for physical therapy school again. With such a heavy semester on top of my emotional, mental, and psychological baggage, I cut way back on every aspect of my life besides church and school.

Little did I know that his plan was to try to get me back under his thumb.

 

Shortly after the semester started, I noticed that I ran into him an awful lot for it to not be planned. Eventually I concluded that he had figured out my class schedule and would sit around the campus buildings just to see me come and go from classes.  These meetings were also confusing to me because I still had deep feelings for him and his behavior was so unpredictable. There would be days where he wouldn’t dare to look at me and there were days where we talked for at least an hour. I felt like I was walking on eggshells just like I did at the end of our relationship because I never knew what to expect from him.

 

On the days he decided it was okay to talk to me, he was not even pleasant. He was rude and always said hurtful things to me, which did not help my case given how fragile I was at the time. He mostly talked about how terrible aspects of my life were, from my friends and family to where and how I lived my life. He practically criticized anything he could about me. This caused me to not like him as much and helped me recover from him when I saw how unkind he was toward me. I learned, however, through my extensive study of these fundamentalist religious groups that this was his way of getting me back. I am firmly convinced that his father was feeding him instructions on how to get me back under his control. He was simply using the manipulative tactics on me that have been used on him his entire life: fear, control, and withdrawal of affection. The more I saw into his life, the more I wanted to be far from it.

 

Throughout this semester, I was still hoping that he would change and come back to me. I sought to meet with a man who was educated and trained to deal with people who have been influenced by churches with dangerous and cultic teachings. My mother came with me to this meeting for moral support. I learned a lot from this man and he educated me on the psychological tactics that my ex-boyfriend was subject to throughout his life from his father. It was a very eye-opening meeting for me but I still held onto that desire for him to see the light and come back to me. This man was more than willing to counsel him, so he asked me to open the door for him. I asked to meet him one day and was very nervous about it to say the least. I knew his response would be a defining moment in my recovery process. What resulted was very disheartening to me. When I first mentioned this man, he seemed willing to think about paying him a visit. It didn’t take him minutes, however, to talk himself out of it, become defensive, and make excuses for why he couldn’t visit the counselor. I gave him the business card anyway and decided that this ship with him had sailed.

 

By the end of the semester, I had watched him go down hill tremendously. He had dramatically changed his appearance and I knew he was not taking care of himself because he looked sickly. I knew by this point that there was no hope for us, but I wanted some answers and closure from him. I asked to meet with him one last time and he was even more unkind and rude than those little snippets of conversation I got from him throughout the semester. He gave me an ultimatum and said I had 30 minutes to speak with him. I knew he didn’t practice what he preached so I wasn’t too concerned about this time limit he had imposed upon me. I don’t remember the details of our conversation since this was back in April, but I do remember him trying to still put on his charm and act like nothing he did to me was wrong and that our whole situation was all the fault of my parents and me. I could truly see the crazy in his eyes and speech and I knew things were way beyond well with him.

In this moment I finally stood firm and called him out on his poor behavior and that I knew the truth about him and his family. I showed him that I had gained my strength back and he would never be able to control me again. Needless to say he was bewildered by my strength, but it was important for me to be able to call him out on his wrongdoings and show him that I could not be torn down again.

 

It took a whole semester for me to let go of him, but I saw him be so unkind that he made it to where it was impossible to miss him. I knew that I didn’t deserve to put up with someone like him. The Lord proved to me time and time again, and is still proving to me today, that I made the right choice to leave my life with him behind and start again. At the end of that horrible semester, I was given good news by my adviser that I was able to graduate a year early from college and apply for physical therapy school! By the grace of God, I was interviewed by this school in early September and was accepted just a few weeks later! After being told for months how stupid I was, I was overcome with joy to be one of the first picks into a doctoral program!

 

As I move forward in my life, I take a lot of lessons learned from this difficult experience with me.

For one, I learned that you can have a desire to help all people but that does not mean that all people will be helped. As much as I wanted my ex to be helped, he wouldn’t let anyone help him. This was incredibly frustrating, but I learned that people can only be helped if they want to. Second, a lot of people can be falsely mislead about you, but that does not mean that a manipulator can fool everyone. While some of the people in my life believed the lies my ex told about me, I still had friends that stood by my side and refused to be swayed by him. Thirdly, there are followers of these fundamentalist leaders that will always remain faithful to their movements, regardless of any evidence indicating that they are not good things to be associated with.

 

With the failures of Doug Phillips, Bill Gothard, and Mark Driscoll, I have watched my ex’s family continually defend their systems and teachings regardless of the abusive findings that have come out. I have also watched them slip further into madness and it horrifies me to know that there are still young children involved in this. I still love and miss all of my ex’s siblings, especially his two sweetest and youngest sisters who are around 11 and 7. Furthermore, I have learned to never put my faith in a religious movement or minister. I have noticed more how a person’s faith is completely shattered when a religious movement falls to the ground or a person is discovered as corrupt.

 

 

I have been asked on more than one occasion how I can still be a Christian after dealing with my ex and his people. My answer is simple: “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold (Psalm 18:2).” On CHRIST the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand. I put my faith and hope in Jesus Christ only, not in people or religious movements. When I was told that I wasn’t living for God because I wasn’t serving the man in my life as a slave and having multiple babies, I understood that these people did not speak for God on my behalf. People today are fortunate to have personal relationships with Jesus and I am so fortunate to rely on Him above everyone on this earth.

 

I hope my story encourages someone who is going through hardship to not give up. More importantly, I hope by sharing my story with you that I can lead someone who has been discouraged by Christendom to find their way back to Christ. The true Christ. Our Lord Jesus who wants us to look to Him and Him ONLY for guidance, strength, and refuge. When I decided to give my life back to Christ and away from my ex and his family, I was amazed at the ways He worked through me to glorify Him. He gave me continual evidence that I was meant to be a light on this earth and that’s not something I can do if I am hidden away to be an eternal breeder. I was also meant to use my passions and talents to serve God’s people by providing them with healthcare through physical therapy. I hope to continue to achieve great things in the name of Christ Jesus my Lord, for I have so many things to be thankful to Him for!

 

photo credit: Filmstalker via photopin cc

Pastor Mike Sperou Will Have His Day in Court: Seven Women Come forward with Sexual Abuse Allegations

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Pastor Mike Sperou of North Clackamas Bible Community will get his day in court: indicted on three counts of first-degree unlawful sexual penetration of a child under the age of 12

Continue reading

Phil Johnson Claims the Main Trouble in Churches are the Sheep, not Wolves

Continue reading

Dissecting Gracealone1’s Comment

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Sometimes we have commenters here who like to challenge us. Sometimes the language and tone used seem familiar to what we experienced in our abusive churches. Commenter “gracealone1″ has been engaging SSB readers on the comments in this article, JD Hall of Pulpit and Pen Launches Voice in the Wilderness Radio, and one of his comments in particular set off alarms for me. Most likely others had the same reaction. If you did, let’s talk.

The comment begins below and I added more paragraph breaks for easier reading.

 

-Julie Anne Continue reading