Spiritual Sounding Board – This is your place to gather and share in an open format.
Acts 3: 1 – 10
Acts 3: 1 – 10
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 marriage and singleness, husbands and fathers, and wives and mothers. Continue reading
Acts 2: 29 – 47
I’m sure you have noticed the sporadic blog posts these past few weeks.
After taking off last term to recovery from a hysterectomy, I have gone back to school with a full load this term. I’m still not at 100% and require more sleep/rest than normal. All of the women who told me that this recovery takes up to a year are absolutely right. Whew! I just spoke to my advisor and we mapped out my classes. It looks like I should be able to graduate Spring 2018 with my Bachelors if all goes as planned.
I am trying to juggle a lot of things (mom, blog, school). I continue to do a lot of behind-the-scenes work on the blog. I still have the final post in the series on Tullian Tchividjian to post. Last week, I finally received a statement from a source that I had been waiting for, so that post should be coming soon.
Trying to balance all of the above is a challenge and I’ve needed take my own advice when it comes to self-care. Carrying so many abuse stories in my heart is taxing, so sometimes I just need to take a breather. This is important so I can be a better advocate, a better mother, a better student. I’ve had to mentally give myself the freedom to not write a post if I need to do self-care.
I have no plans on stopping here. There is a consistent cycle of wives of pedophiles who find the old 2013 blog post and ask for help. That has been a unique ministry here as Anon3 and Brenda support these precious ladies.
Although right now I cannot do the in-depth stories that require a lot of research as I used to do, there is obviously a need here, as I keep getting more personal stories. Personal stories are such a powerful way for readers to connect with their own abuse. They also help survivors to validate themselves as they own their stories and use their voice in a powerful way. Personal stories will continue.
I have to think simply when it comes to the next year or so. My upper-level classes are more challenging in my field of study, so I have to allow for that, as well as a possible internship which is highly recommended.
I think I will try to at least post an open blog post each week. This will help give a dedicated space for those who wish to connect, share articles, share if they are going through a difficult time, get connected and support/encouragement. I’m grateful to Kathi who has continued to post the Sunday posts. She has been such a help to me.
I’m so thankful for all of you who have continued to be part of this SSB family, providing support to others, sharing your stories. You’ve all been such an encouragement to me.
Acts 2: 14 – 28
Earlier, I posted about the reconciliation between Alex Grenier and his parents. I don’t think I’ve ever done that before — reported on a situation that has a positive outcome. The thought of restored relationships after years of harm makes me cry. This has been so amazing. When I first got involved with Alex’s story and then formed a group to work on the “Who Would Jesus Sue” campaign to bring media attention to this story nearly 5 years ago, I don’t think I ever expected to see such a positive outcome. My thoughts were that hopefully Alex would win the court case, but I don’t think I ever imagined that something this beautiful could have occurred.
Alex is my friend. We have many things in common, and I love him like a brother. After he lost the first couple of rounds in the court process, I saw him change. I saw him go downhill spiritually and emotionally. He was angry (and rightly so). The new Alex was more cynical. I saw close his circle of friends get tighter. He became serious and driven, and he had to do things his own way. There were several friends I know who remained steadfast in their support of him, even though Alex sometimes lashed out.
About 6 months ago, I noticed a change in Alex. He wanted to prioritize the important things in his life: his family, his business, and I think it was around this time that he also wrestled with his God. For me, it was difficult to observe this long process over the years. I was watching the fruit of what happens when someone is harmed. We all know it can happen, but when you have been closely connected to someone, the sadness is real. You know there’s nothing you can do except continue to extend love and grace. You just hope and pray that your “brother” will get it all figured out. Alex is one tough dude and I knew he’d have to get hit hard (because he and are so alike). The nearly five years of legal battles, and all of the emotional and spiritual strain in his life, left him spent. He was done. And apparently, it was in this place where Alex was humble, and was able to find truth, love, and healing. I love you, Alex. I think this is your life verse, literally:
Alex has released more information about the background of his recent reconciliation with his parents on his Facebook page and gave me permission to share it with you.
Many of you have been praying for him and for a peaceful resolution for the lawsuit. The story of abuse by Pastor Bob Grenier of Calvary Chapel Visalia was not just about Alex and his immediate family. The abuse extended to staff members and people in the church. As I said earlier, this reconciliation and restoration of relationships is a process, and it appears that Pastor Bob Grenier is making efforts to do that.
The understanding of “what happened” that Alex and his parents have now, will be different in a year after trust has been proven over time. But what I do see here is a sincere and heart-felt effort to seek understanding and to have humility from both Alex and his parents. Folks, this is a beautiful thing to behold. Let’s continue to pray for Alex and his family.
When Alex shared his note on Facebook, he also shared his father’s note with it:
To any and all. You are invited. Please come and rejoice with us on this special evening.
My parents and I have reconciled. This will be hard for some on both previous sides to understand, but it’s happened and is real. It’s a messy human situation that cannot be unraveled perfectly and what I’m learning about Reconciliation and Forgiveness is that it can’t be and doesn’t have to be. I know I did a lot of things wrong, for which I’m sorry and apologized and received forgiveness and I forgive for the beefs I had.
We were raised “old school” by our Marine father who saw combat in the jungles of Vietnam. He was raised “old school” by his dad before him and repeated the same mistakes. Times are different now, we as parents and as a society have learned from past mistakes and we do things much differently today. He has apologized to me and I forgive him.
Having said that, I want to correct the record on the two other major issues: CC Visalia was investigated for financial issues and came out clean and actually received a good report from Detective Haney who specializes in those issues. Some of the info I had received was incomplete, some lacked context, some was true but differing opinions of how money should be spent and some info was recanted by others and false.
The most serious issue was my brother’s molest accusation. He has fully recanted that accusation and I now believe the recantation after getting much more of that story. Our dad forgave him for that claim, that is remarkable. My parents love him and have acted like good parents in helping him after-the-fact. He was not bought-off as was cynically speculated by yours truly, for which I apologize for jumping to that overly-jaded conclusion.
I spent a few days with my parents recently, the long battle has taken quite a toll on them. It actually breaks my heart now and I have a lot of regret for going after them as I did. I wanted “justice!” and they suffered way way too much and for some major things they didn’t do.
My dad, Bob Grenier, is reaching out to some of you to extend an olive branch to make peace as he offended you over the years when he was your pastor at CCV. He is sincere. He walks with a limp now from this long tough battle, as I do. He is an old man who God has humbled as God has humbled me. He wants peace and no more wars. I am of the same heart and mind. Those of you who were blogging against him, I know you were angry and hurt, as I was at one time. Forgiveness is righteous and good for the soul.
Not every relationship has to be reconciled, but I now understand the importance to Forgive quickly and to Repent quicker. Anger, unforgiveness, negativity only breeds more of the same. It took me down a terrible path. I repent of that.
May we forgive as we all require much forgiveness. We are all the Prodigal, we are all the Pharisee, we are all the Tax Collector, we are all the Roman soldier driving the spike into the hands of Jesus. We are all the victims and we are all the perps. Peace, Love, Mercy, Forgiveness and Reconciliation….that is the heart of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Acts 2: 1 – 13
Acts 1: 12 – 26
Many long-time readers will remember the ongoing lawsuit (nearly 4 years!) between Pastor Bob Grenier of Calvary Chapel Visalia (and his wife, Gayle) against his step-son Alex Grenier (son of Gayle). I have written many articles about this case over the years in support of Alex and consider him as friend.
I am happy to bring you this news which was originally reported on Michael Newnham’s blog, Phoenix Preacher. Michael has given me permission to copy it entirely.
Alex Grenier has informed me this morning that the lawsuit between his step father and mother and himself has been dropped.
No money has changed hands and true forgiveness and reconciliation has taken place.
We would ask that prayers for the whole family go forth as they resolve family issues and learn to love each other again.
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 Continue reading
Acts 1: 1 – 11
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:
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.
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.
Luke 24: 36 – 53 Continue reading
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:
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.
Then 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):
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).
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 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
Luke 24: 13 – 33 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 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
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, Being Married to a Pedophile: A Wife Speaks Out and Offers Hope to Other Wives of Pedophiles, 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
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.
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.
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.