Saeed Abedini, Naghmeh, Divorce, Domestic Violence, Arrest for Violating Restraining Order, Seeks Money for New Ministry
Yesterday, Naghmeh Abedini, wife of Saeed Abedini, reported on Facebook that her husband had filed for divorce.
It is with a heavy and broken heart that I inform all of you who have prayed and wept with our family the last few years, that Saeed has rejected counseling for anger and abuse and has filed for a divorce. There will be a time to share more fully, but for now, we appreciate your prayers.
Today, Saeed Abedini released a statement about the divorce on his Facebook page:
“My heart is deeply saddened to be sharing the news that Naghmeh and I will be divorcing. She has been my wife of 12 years and she will always be the wonderful mother to our amazing children. While we have experienced struggles, she, along with my children will forever be my heroes, both for what they had to deal with during my imprisonment in Iran and for how they never gave up fighting for my freedom.
There are no words to describe the ongoing effect of the trauma I experienced and my family has experienced both during and in the aftermath of my imprisonment. We are different people, and we are hurting people. It pains me to say, but I have decided the only path toward healing is apart, and not together. Sometimes as Christians, we experience pain for which there is no explanation in this life, yet we must continue, even in the hardest of times, to look to Christ for strength, grace and comfort. I am trying to do that now, and I know Nagmeh is doing the same. Even in our disappointments, when we don’t have all the answers, Christ is still Lord. He is good now and forever.” (Source)
It was also reported in the Idaho Statesman that earlier this year, Saeed Abedini was arrested for violation of restraining order:
Earlier this year, Saeed Abedina [sic] was arrested on three misdemeanor counts of violation of a restraining order. Those Ada County cases are still going through the court system.
Meanwhile, Saeed Abedini has moved away from Idaho, away from his children and is starting up a new ministry (Facebook note):
As you all know I was in prison for more than 3/5 years because Jesus met me 16 years ago and told me ; ” Iam coming back soon Go to preach my Gospel ” and until today I didn’t disobey him and I will never disobey Him.
I want to start a preaching Ministry to hundred thousand people and for this new start, I don’t have any financial support yet.
I need to have 200 people in 2 months who can support my ministry monthly with donating just 20 $ each month to start. You can be one of them, specially if you prayed for me for years.
I need your help to make Jesus known and I can’t do it without your help.
Please send me a massage [sic] and your email in my inbox which I can know when our team is completed to start and send you a news letter.
- About 7 months ago, Naghmeh first reported that Saeed Abedini was unwilling to seek counseling for abuse (Pastor Saeed Abedini Unwilling to Seek Abuse Counseling).
- In January 2016, Saeed denied abusing his wife: Pastor Saeed Abedini Releases a Public Statement Denying Abuse Allegations Against His Wife
God’s Design, Headship, Complementarianism, Biblical Gender Roles, The Fall
This series is a review of God’s Design, a children’s book which teaches children about complementarity. For an introduction of the book, click here. All of the titles below are chapters in the book.
Today, children, we are going to learn about how man and woman rebelled against God’s design. Spoiler alert!…We’ll talk about one more than the other.
Rebellion Against God’s Design
This is where Satan enters the picture to trick the man to turn away from God. But, does Satan go to man first? No. He goes straight to the woman. Honestly, I’m surprised that Satan doesn’t receive much more credit than this. With all of the articles on Desiring God’s site about Satan and spiritual warfare, I was certain that Satan would be given much more of a platform. But, no, we’re left with this:
When Eve took the fruit and ate it, she was saying no to the authority of God in her life. She believed that life would be better for her if she did whatever she wanted to do. She rejected the headship of God over her, and also the headship of her husband, by taking the lead and doing what her heart told her to do. She took the lead and led both herself and Adam into sin.
The account goes like this: (Genesis 3:6) “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” Is it a fair conclusion by the authors that Eve took the lead and followed her heart? I can see how one might come to this conclusion by reading into the text. But, it isn’t good textual scholarship, especially when dealing with a Jewish text.
As far as Adam is concerned, his main problem was that he decided to join Eve in her sin. Adam did not maintain his God-given design to protect and lead Eve.
In the end, the authors could have focused this chapter mainly on how sin entered the world. Instead, they focused on how Adam and Eve decided to go against God’s order by not following their roles.
Continuing Rebellion in Man
There really isn’t much to say about this chapter, except that it annoys the you know what out of me. There are 10 paragraphs: three cover what happens to man as a result of his rebellion, and one covers what happens to the serpent. That leaves six, yes, SIX paragraphs that are dedicated to woman’s punishment. Isn’t this a chapter about man?
About the only thing talked about in terms of man is that now he would have to work hard when he doesn’t want to, and instead of serving as the head of the family, he will want his wife to take the lead. Seriously. That’s it.
I’ll leave this section short by including one of the follow-up questions to the chapter:
“Besides passivity, what other type of sin can men fall into because of the power of sin now at work in our hearts? (See Genesis 3:16.) What does it mean for a husband to ‘rule’ over a wife in a ‘domineering’ way? How is this a distortion of God’s good design for men and women?”
Continuing Rebellion in Woman
Do we really need this chapter? Haven’t we already covered how woman is the cause of all the evil in the world? Sigh…let’s move on…
The authors provide a great rhyming mnemonic device to help us remember what happened to woman when she sinned in the garden. Really, the book says:
You can remember this if you memorize these rhyming words: pain, reign, disdain, and in vain. Repeat these rhyming words and try to memorize them to remember this true story.
What, no clever, catchy memory trick for Adam passive aggressively letting Eve start the whole process of getting kicked out of the garden?
The authors reference Genesis 3:16 (ESV) for our fun learning activity: “To the woman he said, ‘I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.'” Notice that this book was written before the new change to this verse which will now read: “Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.”
Back to our memory trick:
pain = Childbirth
reign = Woman will want to be in control of her husband. Betty Friedan is brought up as an example of the dreaded f-word (quietly whispers, feminist). This books seems to be targeted to young elementary age children. Do they need Betty Friedan slammed down their throat at this age?
disdain = The feminists! Again! Especially those who complain about being led by men. Oh, and women’s rebellion has brought so much sadness to the world. Feminists have brought abortion, blaming men for their problems and leaving their husbands, as well as not believing in submitting to men or wanting their protection or leadership (note: men and not husbands).
in vain = Nothing good has come of women being in rebellion.
I am getting the sense that this entire book is meant to teach little girls their place in the Christian home and church. Whenever the authors mention anything about men the text inevitably leads back to the design or problem of women. Nothing good is going to come of this book the longer that it is in my possession.
The final activity in this chapter is: “As a family, take part in a prolife activity or do something to support prolife efforts.”
I wholeheartedly say, “Yes!” Take part in prolife activities! Go to a nursing home and regularly visit an elderly person who doesn’t have family living near by. Take in a young pregnant woman who needs a safe home. Volunteer at school for kids who need extra tutoring. Support organizations such as Doctors Without Borders or Medical Teams International who are fighting in war-torn areas to save lives. Visit people in prison. There are so many “prolife” activities that parents can get their kids involved in.
If you would like to read prior reviews on God’s Design, here are links in the order of the book chapters:
Tullian Tchividjian,Clergy Sex Abuse, Expastors.com, Greg Atkinson, Jonathan Merritt
ExPastors.com Opens the Gate
My last post was about the new article written by former pastor, Tullian Tchividjian – The Freedom in Losing It All – published at the site, ExPastors.com. (It isn’t clear yet from a preliminary ExPastors.com article or otherwise whether this publication came about at their invitation or at Tullian Tchividjian’s request to post.) As the day went on, I watched the comments and noted a familiar pattern: The blog moderators were not comfortable with comments questioning Tullian Tchividjian’s character or their integrity. They started removing comments, and posted an explanation that the comments were not meeting the blog’s intended purpose.
When they started implementing that, the comment total was at 121. As of this morning (September 30th), it appears that a total of 4 comments were outright deleted, and 2 comments are still “awaiting moderation,” so the comment count total is 117.
What is the purpose of ExPastors.com?
We seek to be a place of help, healing and hope for expastors, pastors, and church leaders. We do this by hearing their stories, connecting them with people and resources, and focusing on spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional health. (Link.)
Now, obviously my blog has an intended purpose. The purpose of my blog is to expose abuse within Christian churches/organizations, and to supply a safe place for survivors of those hurt by abuse. I also have posting guidelines and will remove comments if someone is defending an abuser or if their comments make this place feel unsafe for survivors to participate.
So, that leads me to the obvious conclusion that ExPastors.com is doing the same, but the difference here is that Tullian Tchividjian has now become the victim.
Tullian Tchividjian was the perpetrator and the liar who left a trail of destruction in his wake. This celebrity pastor whose ministry collapsed because of lies and sexual sins, and now … he has reportedly turned his life around? Really????
In contributing to ExPastors.com, Tullian Tchividjian has been graced with a platform on a silver platter to share the depths of his despair, even to the point of contemplating suicide, to his large and ever-faithful following and to the regular audience there.
The Poster Boy
Tullian is a perfect poster boy for this site. What more could they want than a high-profile celebrity pastor whose tragic collapse has now been beautifully restored?
But wait … has it really? How are we to know? Are we to believe the man who publicly confessed that he had an affair only after finding out about his wife’s affair? How convenient of him to leave out that he had previously had sex with another woman who was not his wife. And how hateful for Tullian Tchividjian to blame his wife for his more recent sexual immorality. And then when Pastor Kevin Labby took him under his wing at Willow Creek Presbyterian Church in Winter Springs, Florida, Tullian Tchividjian also failed to disclose the full extent of his sexual immorality. This is not a man who has a history of telling the truth. Are we to assume that a claim of spiritual restoration means he is now telling the truth? Because he claims God has done this work, does that mean we are exempt from fact checking?
I think not.
If you aren’t convinced of the opinion that he lies, see it for yourself by reading the extensive chronology, posts, and initial analysis in this Resource Bibliography. (That resource page is due for expansion and updating soon.) Patterns of deceit, failure to be forthcoming with the truth, blame-shifting, etc., seem clear enough.
Meanwhile, it’s important to note that the goal of ExPastors.com is apparently primarily to deal with ex-pastors, not any residual fallout caused by them (i.e., any people they may have victimized), nor to verify first if ex-pastors who contribute material on their site are being truthful.
So, on Twitter, I challenged the Executive Director, Greg Atkinson, during his conversation thread with my long-time Twitter friend, Andrew, who rightly is concerned about victims. Here are screenshots of that thread:
And then I, too, was blocked.
Our exchange was … interesting, yet it aligns with their statement of What We Believe:
We believe in God. We believe in the corporate church. We believe that we all have issues. But more importantly, we believe in grace. We believe in restoration. We believe in renewed individuals fulfilling the call of God on their lives. Whether it’s serving in a pastoral or lay leadership role or as the janitor mopping floors, we believe the expastor should, once again, become reintegrated back into ministry, into a place where they are fulfilling their call.
Why do we believe this? Because we’re confident that God is not done with you yet.
Notice this important part: “[W]e believe the expastor should, once again, become reintegrated back into ministry, into a place where they are fulfilling their call.” Yikes. Imagine those harmed by Mr. Tchividjian who are now reading this.
Religion News Service/Jonathan Merritt Widens the Path
Sadly, what often happens when news of a fallen celebrity pastor makes a comeback, they are given more media attention. Sure enough, Jonathan Merritt at Religion News Service (RNS) got hold of the story and decided to extend Tchvidjian’s platform to even a larger audience. RNS posted Billy Graham’s grandson on his near suicide and whether he’s planning a comeback on September 29th.
As a sidenote, I found out later that this was not Jonathan Merritt’s first time writing about Tullian Tchividjian. He has done at least two other personal interview-type articles:
Billy Graham’s grandson takes Christians to task: An interview with Tullian Tchividjian, Religion News Service, October 2, 2013.
Billy Graham’s grandson warns of New Year’s resolutions, JonathanMerritt.com, January 2, 2015.
Back to the article posted yesterday about Billy Graham’s grandson … Good grief, my blood pressure rose as I considered the implications of this – – – scores and scores of people getting to read about their hero making a wonderful spiritual comeback – – – based on what? Just Tullian Tchividjian’s word?
So, I responded to the tweet announcing this interview article, and here’s that thread:
Yes, that’s right. It took me all of seconds to contact key people directly harmed by Tullian Tchividjian to see if he had changed, to see if he has made things right with them.
- I contacted Pastor Kevin Labby, his former pastor and boss, and he hasn’t heard from Tullian. No one from ExPastors.com has contacted him.
- I contacted Kim Tchividjian, his ex-wife. She also said no one from ExPastors.com has contacted her.
- I contacted one of the women whom Tullian Tchividjian groomed sexually and then committed clergy sexual abuse with. She said that ExPastors.com did not contact her, nor has Tullian Tchividjian made any effort yet to make things right with her. She has seen no evidence from him of repentance or sorrow for the pain he caused in her family.
So, what we have going on here is a masterful show of supposed spiritual renewal by ex-pastor Tullian Tchividjian, with no fruit evidenced toward the above people he harmed, or by other I also contacted.
This how you fact check – – – you go to the people he harmed, and you do not take just a chronic liar’s word for it. It’s called “due diligence” – – – duh!!
So, sadly, now the Tullian Tchividjian fans are coming out in droves to read their hero’s words. But ExPastors.com and Jonathan Merritt failed to do due diligence when they allowed Tullian Tchividjian to uncritically report his own narrative. Someone who is truly repentant wouldn’t be taking center stage again without making sure all of his victims were okay with it. Tullian Tchividjian’s victims don’t matter to him. They are just excess baggage that gets in his way.
Wasn’t Tchividjian masterful? He appealed to an audience who wanted to hear his side, and what a perfect setup to gain back trust from his fan base to purchase his possible upcoming book.
* * * * * * *
Edited 09-30-2016 to clarify that it is not yet known whether the ExPastors.com article came about at the invitation of ExPastors.com or from initiation by Tullian Tchividjian.
Tullian Tchividjian article at ExPastors.com, clergy sex abuse, suicide, repentance, restoration
Only one month after Tullian Tchividjian remarried, he has publicly released a new article at a site for former pastors, ExPastors.com. In the article, The Freedom in Losing it All, Tchividjian shares lessons he has learned about himself since his sexual scandal.
The following is an excerpt from the article: Continue reading
God’s Design, Headship, Complementarianism, Biblical Gender Roles
This series is a review of God’s Design, a children’s book which teaches children about complementarity. For an introduction of the book, click here. All of the titles below (except for The Answer We Already Knew) are chapters in the book.
Today, children, we learn about God’s perfect design for man and woman. Oh, and remember how men and women are equal, but different? We’re totally equal. (sigh) Continue reading
Spiritual Sounding Board – This is your place to gather and share in an open format.
Clergy Sex abuse, consent, sexual abuse, pastors who abuse, Tullian Tchividjian
Last week I got in a Twitter debate with someone and I wanted to post a few significant tweets on:
clergy sex abuse
We were referencing Tullian Tchividjian and the sexual relationships he had with women while he was married and serving as pastor. Here are some tweets and discussion questions. (By the way, I am working on an update on the Tullian Tchividjian saga. I’ve been sitting on some information for quite some time.)
Let’s talk! Continue reading
This series is a review of God’s Design, a children’s book which teaches children about complementarity. For an introduction of the book, click here. All of the titles below are chapters in the book.
Today we are gathering children around to discuss the first three chapters of God’s Design. Here we will learn that we have a creator and we are his creatures. Continue reading
I promised an update on me and so here goes. It seems that my generation and older seems to squirm about personal issues, but frankly, I’m tired of that. So, I’m posting what’s been happening with me because more often than not, when I do post on something personal, several people will usually e-mail me and tell me a similar story. We really are not alone in this world and I’m absolutely fine with this discussion. Continue reading
Complementarian, Egalitarian, Teaching Children, Children Desiring God, John Piper
Vaccinating Children with Complementarianism
I spent many years reading books to my children. Homeschooling families know all too well the importance of reading. However, I can say that I never read a book like this to my kids.
God’s Design is a children’s books which teaches about the importance of gender roles.
Oh, yes. You read that correctly. Continue reading
This is a very insightful statement from C.J. Mahaney.
How to help a family member or friend leave a high-controlling church group or cult: spiritual abuse, trapped, thought reform, mind control, freedom
“Mind control is the process by which individual or collective freedom of choice and action is compromised by agents or agencies that modify or distort perception, motivation, affect, cognition and/or behavioral outcomes. It is neither magical nor mystical, but a process that involves a set of basic social psychological principles. Conformity, compliance, persuasion, dissonance, reactance, guilt and fear arousal, modeling and identification are some of the staple social influence ingredients well studied in psychological experiments and field studies. In some combinations, they create a powerful crucible of extreme mental and behavioral manipulation when synthesized with several other real-world factors, such as charismatic, authoritarian leaders, dominant ideologies, social isolation, physical debilitation, induced phobias, and extreme threats or promised rewards that are typically deceptively orchestrated, over an extended time period in settings where they are applied intensively.”
― Steven Hassan,
I’ve heard it said that losing a child to death can be a parent’s worst nightmare. Now imagine having lost your adult child and their family, not to death, but to a high-controlling church or cult. Imagine not being able to celebrate birthdays or major holidays together. Imagine having only limited contact with your adult child and their family. How could your loved one entirely dismiss you, act like you are a stranger or enemy when you did nothing to them? Continue reading
Before we get into today’s article, we’ve passed an important milestone here. Today, I noticed in my Facebook’s “On This Day” feature, that it is the 4th year anniversary date of the judge’s decision on the defamation lawsuit brought on by my former pastor, Chuck O’Neal of Beaverton Grace Bible Church (BGBC) vs. me and 4 others. Our attorney filed an anti-SLAPP counter suit which meant that O’Neal and BGBC had to prove that our case met the legal definition of defamation. It did not. Not even one phrase that I used (or anyone else used) met even the first tier of the defamation definition (that we had intentionally lied). In order Chuck O’Neal to have won, he had to prove that we knowingly lied about him, AND, we lied with the intent to harm. Judge Fun dismissed the entire case.
When I think back on four years, the amount of information I have learned is remarkable. So much of that has been because of you. Thank you. God has restored what the locust has eaten. Through my pain and now the information I’ve learned along the way, SSB has been a safe and a growing place for me and for others. Yea God.
Here’s the note that appeared on my timeline 4 years ago by a friend: