A Young Woman’s Personal Story: The Residual Effects of the Teachings by Doug Philips, Bill Gothard, and Patriarchy

Doug Phillips, Patriarchy, Vision Forum, Stay-at-home daughters, Courtship, Quiverfull, Bill Gothard


It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything about Doug Phillips, Vision Forum, Bill Gothard, or Patriarchy teachings. A young woman who identified as “Done Running” posted her personal story and it deserves its own post. Done Running describes the residual effects of patriarchal teachings by Doug Phillips. These ideologies (stay-at-home daughters, courtship, quiverfull teachings) leave women completely dependent on their fathers for their choice in marriage partners, schooling, work, etc. It is abusive, and in my opinion, a form of emotional, if not physical kidnapping.

Young women whose parents participate in these teachings/ideologies are not allowed to have independent thought, to make their own choices for their future. The plan is to have the father pass his baton of authority over to a man he selects as her future husband. A woman is always under the authority of a man, never to be free to think for herself. Her role in life is to bear children (as many as the Lord provides) and serve her husband.

~Julie Anne

Ed note:  I bolded important notes, added headings, and added links to the personal story.

 


 

patriarchy

 

Personal Story by “Done Running”

I grew up in a Vision Forum household. My family dynamic led to my mother pursuing very conservative and patriarchal Christian groups. We spent a few years in IBLP, and then ended up with Vision Forum.

As I became a teenager, the iron patriarchal hold on my life strengthened with strangling force. The relationship between my mother and me is permanently damaged from this group, giving her license to completely devalue me as a human being.

I hated Doug Phillips from the beginning. I thought he was creepy and controlling and when I met him, these feelings only intensified. When I confided in my mother, I was told to stop being a rebellious and sinful child that bad-mouthed godly men.

It was scarring to be taught that my only proper use as a female was as a glorified incubator for as many godly little warriors that God chose to bless me with, and dedicate my entire life to raising them. It was debilitating to be taught that if a guy liked me for normal reasons and didn’t pursue a rigid courtship through my father, it was my fault for not being modest and chaste enough. Not being allowed to dictate my own boundaries concerning my body and personal space was horrible.

The ramifications of these parenting choices follow me every day. The “Return Of The Daughters” movie and the book, So Much More, by sisters, Anna-Sophia and Elizabeth Botkins, was held up to me as my personal guides on how to be a good daughter.

 

“I had no idea of the psychological ramifications

that would continue to follow me.”

 

I broke away from this when I was 17, and as soon as Doug Phillips was brought down by his abuse of Lourdes, I cried with relief that finally this cultish reign of terror was over in my family. I had already fought my way into attending real college, in person, and felt that I was finally free, but I had no idea of the psychological ramifications that would continue to follow me.

The Long-Term Ramifications

The next 3 years were basically an entire rewiring of my brain. I had almost daily anxiety attacks from normal daily interactions that were never allowed when I was growing up. Working in a regular workplace was both liberating and torture. I had no idea how to handle healthy adult dating relationships, which led to me falling into a short-term abusive relationship with a “Christian” man.

Through all of this I was still fighting my mother tooth and nail to maintain every fraction of independence I gained. She withdrew from Vision Forum, but still upholds some of the ideals, none of which I live up to.

I am now happily engaged to a wonderful man who respects and loves me for my fierce independence, and has no desire to use religion of any description to exert his control over me or my body.

My mother apologized one time for dragging me through the hell that was Vision Forum. She refuses to have any further discussion about it or to admit that any of her parenting calls were misguided. I feel like when you have hurt someone you don’t get to decide that you haven’t, or that you have done enough to repair the damage.

Conclusion

I’m not sure if my mother and I will ever have a good relationship. Any religion or parenting model that gives parents supreme power with no accountability and rips all agency from their children should be avoided with extreme caution and prejudice.

I have never had the outlet to talk about my experience before and I so appreciate this blog. Thank you for creating it and all of you that have shared your stories. I stand with you.

 

Church Member Responsibility and Church Discipline at Pastor Eric Davis’ Church

Church membership, church discipline, Pastor Eric Davis, Cornerstone Church


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Church Member Responsibility and Church Discipline According to the Cornerstone Church By-laws

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-by Kathi

I recently wrote about how Julie Anne and I dared to comment on an article at The Cripplegate which subsequently caused our comments to be deleted and comments to be closed. Pastor Eric Davis provided an entirely too long explanation about how the discussion had run its course, more humbleness in being a part of God’s community was needed, and that there was too much focus on logistics. Let’s not forget that he provided the wonderful 16-point article challenging excuses for not going to church. But who’s focusing on logistics?

I was up most of the night wondering who Eric Davis is and what kind of church he runs. Here is Eric’s profile at The Cripplegate:

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Eric’s bio on Cornerstone Church’s site states that he holds an M.Div. from Master’s Seminary and a M.A. in Biblical Counseling from The Master’s College. It is important to note that all but one leadership team member at the church hold some type of degree from The Master’s College or Master’s Seminary. Oh, look! Cornerstone Church even shows up on The Master’s College site as a TMS Alumni Church!

While I can’t find the specific article, I remember reading something on 9Marks (or The Gospel Coalition?) about membership responsibility. What stood out then was how members who live too far away from a “good church” should move, and if members are working on Sundays that take them away from church, they should get their work schedules changed. These two points were in Eric’s post and it caused me to be suspicious that Cornerstone Church might be affiliated with 9Marks. I looked up Cornerstone Church on the 9Marks site and sure enough, they’re affiliated (Search by zip code 83001. It’s a different physical address but same web link). No surprise to me.

So now we know that we have John MacArthur taught leaders in a 9Marks affiliate church. What could their by-laws be like? Since the original post Julie Anne and I commented on was specifically about members, we’ll look at membership and church discipline at Cornerstone Church which is found in Article V of the by-laws.

How to apply for membership:

Section 4. Applications for Membership – All requests for membership shall be made to a Pastor, Elder, Deacon, or Steering Committee Member. Upon making such a request, the person shall be given an application for membership, along with a copy of the Statement of Faith contained in the Articles of Incorporation and a copy of the Bylaws. …… Each applicant shall assent to the Statement of Faith, subscribe to the Bylaws, and shall testify publicly before a duly appointed Committee of the Board, per Article VI, Section 17 of these Bylaws, at a regularly held meeting for prospective members.

Your membership may be denied:

Section 5. Denial of Membership – If, upon review of an application for membership or after meeting with a prospective member, the Board of Elders, or Steering Committee if not yet replaced by the Board of Elders, determines that the applicant does not confess Jesus Christ as his or her Lord and Savior, or that there is a lack of evidence of a Christ-like lifestyle, membership shall be denied. The decision made by the Board, or Steering Committee if not yet replaced by the Board of Elders, shall be final and there shall be no appeal to any court from that decision.

The Board of Elders holds the power to deny your membership if they deem that you are not a true believer or if they think your lifestyle is not Christ-like enough. Forget going to court over it; their decision in final. Why bring up appealing to court over a denial for membership? Does this happen? I guess it must or, this is simply 9Marks talk to cover all bases.

How you are admitted into membership:

Section 6. Admission of Applicants – Applicants admitted to membership shall, if possible present themselves at a worship service designated by the Pastor and Board of Elders, at which service such applicants shall publicly affirm their membership commitment and be publicly acknowledged as members.

Here one stands before the congregation to acknowledge commitment to the church. Keep reading, though, . . . you’ll find that you might “stand” before the congregation for another issue – perhaps not physically, but surely in spirit.

Member responsibility:

Section 7. Responsibilities of Members – Members shall seek to exercise their spiritual gifts for the work of service to honor Jesus Christ and build up the church and shall submit to the loving shepherding of the Elders, or Steering Committee if not yet replaced by the Board of Elders.

Serve Jesus and accept loving shepherding. Now we move on to the “loving shepherding.”

Purpose of church discipline (Church Discipline is Section 8):

a.) Purpose: The purpose of church discipline is to glorify God by: 1) pursuing a sinning believer for the purpose of helping them be reconciled to God and the church (Matthew 18:12-18, 1 Corinthians 5:5, Galatians 6:1) 2) promote the holiness of Christ in the local church (1 Corinthians 5:6) 3) promote a biblical fear of God and turn away from sinning (1 Tim 5:20).

PPP – pursue, promote, promote. Honestly, it’s the pursuing that concerns me.

The process of church discipline:

b.) Process: Members of this church and all other professing Christians who regularly attend or fellowship with this church who err in doctrine, or engage in conduct that violates Scripture as determined by the Board of Elders, or Steering Committee if not yet replaced by the Board of Elders, shall be subject to church discipline including dismissal according to Matthew 18:15-18.

Say I’m a member of this church and I need to undergo church discipline. For this scenario, we’ll say I’m questioning the leadership by commenting on a blog post in regard to doctrine or church policy (because we all know that would happen):

First, someone who knows about my sinful conduct should come alongside me to warn and provide correction. If I do not repent, then the next step would be for the warning individual to find one or two other people who agree with my sinful nature. Those individuals would also provide warning and correction. But, I’m stubborn and I still do not repent.

My continued stubbornness causes the elders to investigate the matter. If they are able to determine that, yes, I am sinful in my questioning and that I have been warned but did not repent, then:

(b. iii.)…the Board of Elders, shall inform the church and the congregation thereof at a regularly scheduled worship service in order that the church may come alongside the erring individual to call them to repentance and restoration.

Yes, airing my sinful nature during a worship service would totally signify to me that they are walking along my side. Say I still do not repent, even after public rebuke. Now I am publicly dismissed from the church during a regular worship service. The elders can choose to bypass the first two steps and go straight to the congregation if I publicly refuse to repent, disseminate “doctrine deemed false or erroneous by the elders” or if I disregard two warnings.

But here’s the real kicker:

d.) The members of this church, and all other professing Christians who regularly attend or fellowship with this church, agree that there shall be no appeal to any court because of the dismissal or because of public statements to the congregation at the third or fourth stages of church discipline. Members who are under discipline by the church, as defined in the previous paragraphs, forfeit and waive the right to resign from this church. Resignations from membership are possible only by members who are in good standing and who are not under any disciplinary action.

Did you catch that? You cannot appeal this decision or any statements made publicly in a court. The only recourse you have is to appeal to the elders. If you are under church discipline, you “waive your right to resign from this church.” WHAT??!! With the expectation of members fully adhering to the leadership and the process of church discipline, is it any wonder that Eric Davis has opinions about the reasons people give for not going to church?

I did not see anything that states that members need to sign a membership agreement, but I would venture to guess that this happens. Don’t do it folks! You are only giving written permission for this leadership to call you out for what they deem as conduct that “violates Scripture.”

I’m sure that includes asking questions.

Comments Closed and Removed at The Cripplegate

Pastor Eric Davis of The Cornerstone Church (WY) Decides to Remove Two Comments from Women and Closes Further Commenting

-by Kathi

Thanks to Boston Lady, I looked up a blog post that was linked in a comment on this blog’s previous post. Eric Davis wrote, “Reasons We Miss Church (But May Not Need To)” which was posted on The Cripplegate.

This post discusses all of the wrong reasons why someone might miss church. They include:

  1. “There is no command that says I need to go to church every Sunday.”
  2. “There aren’t any good churches in my area.”
  3. “Family/friends are in from out of town.”
  4. “The preacher/teacher I like is not preaching/teaching.”
  5. “I can watch the/another gathering online, or listen to a message online.”
  6. “Recent birth of a child.”
  7. “Gatherings are too long.”
  8. “It conflicts with the kids’/family’s schedule/sleep/sports/stuff.”
  9. “Church is far away.”
  10. “I work during the church gatherings.”
  11. “I am traveling.”
  12. “Some hard things have happened and I need space.”
  13. “I’m tired.”
  14. “The church isn’t a location or an event, but people, so I don’t need to be there.”
  15. “My spouse/significant other/roommate is staying home so I will too.”
  16. “I know all of these reasons, but you just don’t understand my situation.”

As noted by Boston Lady, the ever eloquent A. Amos Love had left some comments on there, so I decided to chime in as well.

screenshot-2017-01-07-at-9-11-16-pmThen I asked Julie Anne if she had seen it and she decided to comment too (her tweet came later after learning her comment was removed):

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A little bit later in the night I received a text from Julie Anne asking if I knew what happened to the post. Eric Davis decided that enough “robust discussion” had taken place and closed the comments. He also decided to delete my comment as well as Julie Anne’s (noted by the “Removed” sign in our screen shot comment).

screenshot-2017-01-07-at-10-29-54-pm

When I left my comment, I noticed that the previous one had been made a day earlier. Why all of a sudden are comments closed and two are deleted? I know I’m risking my attitude being questioned when I ask this, but was it because two women were challenging the authority of a pastor and elders over the congregants? Was it because we are outside of this congregation and asking questions? Lord knows if anyone within the congregation is willing/able to ask questions. If we had left these comments with male pseudonyms would they have been allowed to stay and perhaps had some discussion to follow? Did we step on authoritarian pastor’s toes and question why the church needs to have so much control over people’s lives?

When I first read this post it screamed 9Marks to me, and by golly they are affiliated with 9Marks. Then I went and read the church by-laws and I was left concerned about how much control this church has over its members. You can be sure that there will be more to discuss later. That was a valiant attempt at trying to leave us out of the conversation, Eric Davis.

Oh, and comments will remain on.

ExPastors.com Apparently has Deleted Posts and References to Tullian Tchividjian

by Brad Sargent

ExPastors.com writers Greg Atkinson and Bo Lane published several significant articles about Tullian Tchividjian, and one article by him, in September and October 2016. These unleashed waves of both criticism and of support, as it appeared Mr. Tchividjian had contacted them first and that he was positioning himself for a comeback into the public eye. His article was interpreted by Warren Throckmorton and others as preparing the way for his still-forthcoming book from David C Cook.

I have been writing an extensive case study on the situation of Tullian Tchividjian, and lessons in it about systems of accountability. In fact-checking and link-checking for that report, I discovered today (January 3, 2017) that two of the four relevant articles at ExPastors.com had been removed from their site – one by Bo Lane and the other by Tullian Tchividjian. Two other articles by Greg Atkinson had been edited without any notice or update that I could find, that he had made edits to the pieces. Also, a search on the ExPastors.com site for “Tullian Tchividjian” yielded no results.

Because there is no notice about removing/editing posts, we don’t know exactly when it happened, or why. Unfortunately, that leaves it up to readers to fill in gaps – and some may impute motives or hopes that are completely unreasonable and inaccurate. If ExPastors.com wants readers to trust them, it would help to know the reasoning behind these site alterations. Continue reading

Review of Children’s Book, “God’s Design” – Purity and Honoring God’s Design

God’s Design, Purity, Biblical Gender Roles, Complementarity

miraflores-statue

Embracing Couple, Miraflores, Peru

-by Kathi

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 underlined subtitles below are chapters from the book.

Today, children, we will talk about purity and honoring. It had to be covered at some point, why not now? Continue reading

Personal Story: Wife of Pedophile Shares How Her Husband Manipulated Her from Seeing the Truth

Pedophile, Wife of Pedophile, Sex Abuse


Today I am posting a personal story from a woman named Cindy who left a comment yesterday on the 3-1/2-year-old article, , which has continued to reach women who are searching for support.

Her comment was posted at 4AM on the West Coast the day after Christmas. It got me wondering . . . maybe Cindy lives on the East Coast and was posting this in the quiet hours of 1AM after a pleasant Christmas day (the story ends on a positive note). What struck me was that she posted this around the time where families are gathered for the holidays. Perhaps she, too, was reminiscing of Christmases past, of what it was like when their family appeared to be whole and happy. But obviously she also thought about the pain and felt at liberty to share that with us the process of getting to acceptance and peace with herself and her family. The memories of living through the destruction that pedophilia brings to a family doesn’t ever entirely leave. And maybe that’s why Cindy shared her story – to personally acknowledge what she went through, to share it in a safe place where others who have walked in her shoes can also identify.

Although this story is not about abuse in church, this is about abuse that many families go through. How can the church connect with these hurting families and support them?  I share these stories because pedophilia is yucky and disgusting. It’s easier to walk away and let someone else deal with it. The reality is that being the wife of a pedophile is a lonely place. Once the pedophile is discovered, their family will never be the same. They don’t need to walk this path alone. Continue reading

SSB Gathering – December 25, 2016

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

-by Kathi

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Merry Christmas everyone! Today’s gathering will be the final day in the Advent season. May you have a wonderful Christmas day with loved ones and may peace, love and joy fill your home.

Continue reading

3. Research Findings on Publishers of Books by Tullian Tchividjian

Part #3 of 4, by Brad Sargent

SUMMARY. The public ministry platforms of Tullian Tchividjian — including his books — have become an issue of public concern and debate, in light of his various degrees of involvement with multiple women. Part #1 introduced the third woman reportedly seduced by Tullian Tchividjian into a sexual relationship. Her story extends his womanizing behaviors back into 2013. Part #2 shared an infographic showing what Tullian Tchividjian’s pursuit of multiple women looks like, when it is layered over some of his ministry platform and publication data for Fall 2013 through 2016.

This post provides reference information compiled by Brad Sargent about Tullian Tchividjian’s publishers and his publications, both out-of-print and presently available, from three publishers: Crossway, David C Cook, and Multnomah. It also highlights the “Christian Living” category bestseller status in 2014-2015 for his most recent book, One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World (David C Cook, released October  2013), and related character contradictions in light of his self-admitted moral failures plus newly emerging reports of emotional grooming and clergy sexual misconduct. This research writing is part of his due diligence to produce a forthcoming case study on this situation, focusing on systems of accountability and how they succeeded or failed, and possible reasons why. This information on publications is all drawn from publicly posted documents and websites.

This series concludes with Part #4, in which Julie Anne Smith addresses issues with David C Cook specifically, given their reported intention to publish a future book by Tullian Tchividjian.

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The above infographic was provided to Spiritual Sounding Board by a reader who wishes to remain anonymous. The preparer based this chart on information that appeared in the Partial Timeline post, which provided details of various women whose connection with Tullian Tchividjian has been made public, and publication information that was likewise available online.

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Continue reading

Issues of Language: Removing Neutrality Toward Abusers and Negativity Toward Survivors

 

Tullian Tchividjian, Spiritual Sounding Board, abuse, language

by Brad Sargent aka brad/futuristguy

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Introduction: Changing Our Language to

Remove Neutrality Toward Abusers and Negativity Toward Survivors

Who typically gets trusted or distrusted by default — the reported perpetrator, or the victim who reports? That is especially important in understanding the realities faced by survivors of abuse. Language is crucial to communicating what abuse took place, and specifics of whether it involved violation/violence that is emotional, physical, spiritual, sexual, or all of the above. But there are problems with victims speaking up about such things. Continue reading

SSB Gathering – December 18, 2016

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

-by Kathi

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Today is the fourth Sunday of Advent. Advent is observed by many denominations as a way to prepare for Christ’s coming or arrival. Advent is a time to be mindful that Christ has come, that he is with us and that he will come again.

The Sunday Gathering during Advent will have readings from the Revised Common Lectionary. Music will be selected based upon common songs used during the Advent season. Advent can be celebrated at home as well. The Christian Resource Institute has good information on the meaning behind Advent and ways to celebrate.

Continue reading

2. An Infographic on Tullian Tchividjian’s Pursuit of Women and a Public/Publication Platform

Part #2 of 4, by Julie Anne Smith and Brad Sargent

Part #1 introduced the third woman reportedly seduced by Tullian Tchividjian into a sexual relationship. Her story extends his womanizing behaviors back into 2013. This post shows an infographic on what Tullian Tchividjian’s pursuit of these women looks like, when it is layered over some of his ministry platform and publication data for Fall 2013 through 2016. (UPDATE: The revised version below of 12-17-2016 replaced the original version posted on 12-16-2016. See the updates in Notes #1 below the infographic for details on the differences.)

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(Click on infographic to see it full screen.)

Continue reading

1. Third Woman Victim of Tullian Tchividjian’s Seduction Gives Details; She Reportedly Extends Timeline of His Adulteries Back into 2013

Introduction to Four-Part Series:

Tullian Tchividjian Situation Update

We (Julie Anne and Brad) were planning a two-part series to update the situation on Tullian Tchividjian, focusing on what has been happening with his current and former publishers, and individuals who’d been promoting him over the years.  However, we are now able to share related breaking news — a third woman with whom I (Julie Anne) have been in touch gave us permission to share certain details of her story. She was reportedly drawn into a sexual relationship by Tullian Tchividjian, with a very similar pattern as other women have stated he used for grooming them emotionally. Tchividjian lured them in to trust him and doubt themselves, and then in two other cases at least, eventually seduced them into sexual involvement.

This newly revealed woman says that her connection with Mr. Tchividjian started in October 2013 and ended in August 2016 before he got remarried. Her additional account changes things — her narrative extends Mr. Tchividjian’s apparent manipulative patterns back into 2013. It also means he has kept silent about this relationship for over three years, which fits the general pattern he has displayed with two other women, of not admitting to adultery until it has been exposed publicly.

And so, this has led us to reconfigure the material we had into a series of four posts: Continue reading

Learn to Discern: Franklin Graham’s Tweet on the Outcome of the Presidential Election

Franklin Graham, Twitter, Spiritual Abuse


 

I would like to discuss this tweet without making it political. I find it spiritually abusive, but not because it has to do with Trump winning. Look within the message. What can you find here that is spiritually abusive?

 

R.C. Sproul, Jr. Steps Down from Ligonier Ministries and Reformation Bible College

R.C. Sproul, Jr., Ligonier Ministries, Abuse, Reformation Bible College


 

R.C. Sproul, Jr., Ligonier Ministries, Spiritual Abuse, Spiritual Sounding Board

Twitter Photo (note the lock indicating the account is now private)

 

Ligonier Ministries has reported that RC Sproul, Jr. is stepping down from Ligonier Ministries & Reformation Bible College citing personal reasons: Continue reading

SSB Gathering – December 11, 2016

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

-by Kathi

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Today is the third Sunday of Advent. Advent is observed by many denominations as a way to prepare for Christ’s coming or arrival. Advent is a time to be mindful that Christ has come, that he is with us and that he will come again.

The Sunday Gathering during Advent will have readings from the Revised Common Lectionary. Music will be selected based upon common songs used during the Advent season. Advent can be celebrated at home as well. The Christian Resource Institute has good information on the meaning behind Advent and ways to celebrate.

Continue reading

Review of Children’s Book, “God’s Design” -Examples of Godly Womanhood

Ruth, Mary, Sarah and Proverbs 31: Examples of Complementarian Women

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-by Kathi

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 underlined subtitles below are chapters from the book.

Today, young girls have the chance to learn what makes a godly woman. I know you all were thinking hard about who the examples might possibly be. Now’s the time to find out! Continue reading