BGBC Google Reviews, BGBC Lawsuit, Crazy Things Church Leaders Say & Do, It's All About the Image, Meetings with the Pastor, Narcissistic Pastors, No-Talk Rule, Shunning, Spiritual Abuse, Spiritual Bullies

Additional Former Church Member Has Been Sued!

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I’ll get to the subject of the former church member sued in just a moment, but want to make sure this point is told:  I believe that suing former church members is just an extension of the spiritual abuse.  How can that be?  Let me explain.This is old news – the no-talk rule in spiritually abusive environment.  We are going to discuss it once again.  Please read this definition to make sure you understand the powerful effect it has on continuing the cycle of spiritual abuse.  This is so important.  Breaking this particular rule will often be the first step in getting out of the trap of spiritual abuse:

No-talk rule

In abusive spiritual systems, people’s lives are controlled from the outside in by rules, spoken and unspoken. Unspoken rules are those that govern unhealthy churches or families but are not said out loud. Because they are not said out loud, you don’t find out that they’re there until you break them.

The most powerful of all unspoken rules in the abusive system is what we have already termed the “can’t talk” rule. The “can’t talk” [rule] has this thinking behind it: “The real problem cannot be exposed because then it would have to be dealt with and things would have to change; so it must be protected behind walls of silence (neglect) or by assault (legalistic attack). If you speak about the problem, you are the problem. (The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse By David Johnson and Jeff Vanvonderen (Bethany House, 1991, 2005))

One of the most common characteristics of someone who is a spiritual abuser is they try to control their congregants and even former congregants.  Sometimes they try to control aspects of their personal life – as in what they can and cannot say.  In the church, if you talk about the problem, you are told that you are not obeying the authority God has placed before you, or you need to check the sin in your own heart, that you are being divisive, gossiping, etc.When you voice the problem outside the church after leaving, you may be told that you are a Jezebel, have the sin of Korah, you are waging war with God and His church, slanderers, divisive, etc.   We, former congregants, have become the big “problem” in the no-talk rule.

For those new to this blog, my former pastor did not like me posting negative Google reviews about my experiences and had them removed.   This is an example of the no-talk rule.  I got tired of my reviews being removed and began this blog.  Within a few days of beginning this blog, I received my subpoena.  He did not want me to have this blog and to post my story because he knew it meant that the “problem” was going to be discussed.  In an unhealthy church, outside appearances are paramount and it ruins that perfect image by saying there are problems.  He was unable to get my blog removed as he had done with Google reviews.   Instead, he resorted to civil/legal measures to continue that spiritual abuse (no-talk rule) and used the lawsuit in order to force me and others into not talking.

The original lawsuit included four defendants:  a mother and adult son, my adult daughter (Hannah), and me.  The adult son was recently dropped from the lawsuit before our May 21 court date, so that left 3 defendants remaining.  We had heard that they were going to subpoena another former church, Meaghan,  and received documents to that effect, but nothing happened, even though her name was written on court documents.While normal people were enjoying this Memorial Weekend, Meaghan was finally served and got the formal notification that her former pastor was in fact taking her to court for saying her mind and for standing up against someone who seems to be trying to keep people from talking.

Meaghan was the first former congregant to leave her real name on a comment on this blog.  He apparently didn’t like Meaghan commenting and soon after that first comment, my attorney was notified that Meaghan would be subpoenaed.  Doesn’t it make sense that by suing the first person who left her name, he is sending the very strong message that if you dare to post on Julie Anne’s blog, you, too, could be sued?  Are you getting the pattern?

How the No-Talk Rule was Enforced by the Pastor

I posted negative Google reviews —–>   pastor removed them

I began blog ——>   pastor sued me

Meaghan leaves comment on my blog  ——>   pastor sued Meaghan
I blogged ——-> pastor amended lawsuit & added add’l “defamatory” phrases

I remember the first time I saw Meaghan’s comment with her name.  My heart skipped a beat as I realized what a strong woman she was,  willing to stand strong in what she believes to be the truth.  Meaghan, I know there are so many who are reading this who are applauding you and your bold stance.

Note to my blog readers:  you’ve seen the pattern.  If you leave your name on a comment in my blog, you very well could be sued.  If you leave a negative review on a review site, you could be sued.  I want you to be free to voice your comments and I am absolutely fine with people using pseudonyms in comments – make up a name – no need to add an URL.  There is no way for me to track ISPs or personal information from people who leave comments here.  I don’t want that fear to control you and keep you from talking if you want to share something here.

This method of bullying people into not talking by using lawsuits to keep quiet will only go so far.  There are over 970 reviews on the Google site now, approximately 940 are negative.   It costs $505 for the court filing fee. There are also most likely attorney fees.Soon the congregants will most likely tire of seeing their church’s name and pastor in the limelight for doing something they and most Christians know is forbidden in scripture.  Maybe it will eventually sink in that the church leaders they have respected for years (John MacArthur, Phil Johnson) absolutely disagree with lawsuits against Christians and they may not want to align themselves with a pastor who seems to be doing his own thing by disregarding the wisdom of so many.

Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life? If then you have judgments concerning things pertaining to this life, do you appoint those who are least esteemed by the church to judge? I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren? But brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers!

Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated? No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren! Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals,[a] nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.   1 Corinthians 6:1-11

A number of pastors have privately e-mailed me and told me they have sent Chuck e-mails encouraging him to withdraw the lawsuit.  It appears he continues to disagree with their wise scriptural counsel, in lieu of protecting image/reputation.    This is a principle that is completely against scripture.  God is not so concerned about personal reputation and image, but the heart.

My former pastor doesn’t know me too well.   He may have thought that I would back down in fear after being subpoenaed.  Chuck, I know you read this blog.  I saw the pile of papers in front of you as you sat next to me during the court hearing.  (How could I miss my son’s large drawing from the blog page you printed out? )   I do not fear men, I fear God.  I will continue to tell my story.  Now, more than ever, I am compelled to stand up – not only for those who were bullied at my former church, but for all spiritual abuse victims who have contacted me in the comment section and via private e-mail – some who are living in fear, afraid to step one foot in church because of the similar spiritual bullies they have encountered.This is much bigger than BGBC.  It’s about all of those who use their spiritual authority to bully others.  Thanks, Chuck, for suing me so that I have a platform to speak out against this atrocity in churches.  If you keep suing others,  it will be clear to all Christians and atheists alike what is going on.  Those who spiritually bully people do NOT represent Christ.

Do you see John MacArthur suing because of this?  or this?  or this?  (and there are lots more)  I think not.

There is righteous anger burning inside of me.  These precious souls should not be living in fear, afraid of pastors, unable to trust even decent and true Shepherds.   They need to be able to be free from that fear, to be able to be in a place with love and grace and truth.

Meaghan – the world is watching as our former pastor sues 4 women:  3 moms and 1 young lady.   I love you, friend, and we stand together.  God is in control.

138 thoughts on “Additional Former Church Member Has Been Sued!”

  1. David,I cited the teaching of Jesus. Any translation of an epistle that disagrees with the teaching of Jesus in the Gospels is inherently suspect. The epistle writers may have been divinely inspired, but Jesus was divine. Any appearance of discrepancy must be resolved in favor of the Gospel account.So did deeper into the meanings of the epistle verses you cite, they cannot authorize authoritarian rule by a pastor or elders over believers. Pastor (a rare term in the NT) and elders are to serve the believers not impose themselves over the believers.


  2. David,Further, the translations in English cannot carry some of the meanings. One example, many English terms imply gender where other languages do not. For example, any 'male" term in most languages includes females in the plural, unless explicitly stated otherwise. This even occurs occasionally in English, where "men", as in the "hearts of men" is not exclusively about the hearts of the male half of the species. There are many other examples.Most English translations, where there is not a clear choice among alternatives, follow the KJV choice, but the KJV was decidely and admittedly a politically motivated translation to support the authority of the King (and not the recent queen), hierarchy and patriarchy.Again, go back to the teachings and behavior of Jesus, as reported in the Gospels. Everything in the Bible must be interpreted in light of Jesus and consistent with Him. Any appearance of discrepancy from that must be studied more deeply and resolved in a way that preserves His teaching and life.


  3. Anon 3:34When you refer to 2 Tim 3 as to why a Christian cannot have a narcissistic personality disorder, what did you mean? I might not be reading it the same way as you.Mental health, including personality disorders, is like any illness. Christians get cancer, are born with bad hearts, are born mentally handicapped, and are born with or acquire mental illnesses. Unfortunately, personality disorders are so complicated and so difficult to work with.Christians get depression, and it doesn't mean they are not Christians. We don't know a lot about personality disorders but we do know sometimes the person can do nothing about it and needs a lot of help just to move past the symptoms.I understand some churches do not endorse seeking professional help for mental illness, but I would encourage you to consider that Christians can have all kinds of problems and still be Christians. Just like a broken leg needs professional assistance, so does mental illness.I'm not suggesting that spiritual abuse should be ignored in those cases where it is caused by a leader with a mental illness. Knowledge though is powerful. And when such a leader is influenced by a mental illness, sometimes it is helpful if those around that leader understand exactly what is happening. Then it is up to those others to see the abuse for what it is.


  4. Jackie, NPD is not a mental illness. NPD is a character trait.Somebody who continues to abuse another with no remorse is not mentaly ill. It is a choice. There is tons of info on the web if you want more information about it. Also, 2 Tim 3 sums up what NPD is.


  5. Please help, Hebrew/Greek language scholars: Chuck's supporters keep describing him as "Godly". In your opinions, what does "Godly" mean from a Biblical perspective? Do Chuck's actions as described in this blog and by reviewers who have first hand experience with him fit the meaning of "Godly"? Because if Chuck O'Neal is biblically Godly then I really don't think I understand who God is.


  6. With all the tragic personal stories in my e-mail lately, I can certainly understand why so many have become atheist and I also completely understand the desire to move away from the institutional church. I am glad to see Believers meeting together wherever they meet – especially after having gone through difficult spiritual abuse situations. I've been reading about a lot of corrupt leaders – perhaps equally as corrupt as politicians – with $$ endorsement, overlooking gross sins/crimes among cohorts, to keep their name in the spiritual leader spotlight. It's making me sick.


  7. @ Anon941, first off, you're posting as Anonymous which doesn't distinguish you from any other Anonymous commenter. You can still remain anonymous by replying under Name/URL without having to enter a URL. You could post using any name or number that would distinguish you from others without having to use any personal identifying account. I did read all your comments, even read through 2 Tim 3 a couple of times. Yes, it seems that Chuck/BGBC fits quite well with much of the godlessness described in 2 Tim 3 – "proud" "arrogant" "abusive" "disobedient" "heartless" "unappeasable" "brutal" "not loving good" ""having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power" – we're told to "avoid such people." My ESV translation even uses the verb "creep"! In fact, in Chuck's case the Word of God is shown to be true in that "they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all." Amen! Good reference, Anon941. As sick and abusive as Chuck appears to be, he, nevertheless is no Hitler. Since you asked, I didn't respond to you because I didn't want to encourage what I read to be ignorant flamebaiting. I don't feed trolls.@ Anon1036, you don't have to be a language scholar to read our very good English translations that demonstrate clearly that Chuck is not acting in a "godly" manner. As suggested, 2 Tim 3 is proof enough against the man.


  8. In the June 2012 Voice of the Martyrs there's this caption: BEWARE OF NARCISSISM, followed by an excerpt from one of the late Pastor Richard Wurmbrand's books. Here it is:"An artist sang _Rigoletto_ badly. People booed her. Indignant, she said to her colleagues, "What an uneducated audience! They dare to jeer Verdi!" They did not jeer the composer but the performer. Perhaps those who beat us opposed not Christ but us Christians who admired ourselves without reason."I thought of this quote as I read 2 Tim 3:12, "Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." Chuck responded to my email, and I got the feeling that he believes he's being persecuted on account of his assumed "godliness." Hmm…


  9. Challenging morning at the Smith home front and sad e-mails of abuse sometimes gets to me, yet David, you gave me a moment of reprieve when I read this:"My ESV translation even uses the verb "creep"!" Made.JulieAnne.Smile 🙂


  10. Just so you know, I have asked this out of a place of pain and confusion. "Please help, Hebrew/Greek language scholars: Chuck's supporters keep describing him as "Godly". In your opinions, what does "Godly" mean from a Biblical perspective? Do Chuck's actions as described in this blog and by reviewers who have first hand experience with him fit the meaning of "Godly"? Because if Chuck O'Neal is biblically Godly then I really don't think I understand who God is."If all I can expect here is snippy replies, then you can continue on with your intellectualizing, and scholarship and forget about this being a place to heal.


  11. PS to Anonymous – I so appreciate your willingness to ask again, in that pain. That means so much to me. I don't like to see people in pain and I absolutely want this blog to be a place where you can get answers. Thank you for speaking a little louder so we didn't miss your post. I hope others will chime in as well – ones who have more Biblical expertise than me. Come on, people, let's give Anonymous important information to read so he/she can settle in his/her mind! This is so important.


  12. David,You asked me: "In terms of “obedience” let me ask you Ed, how do you read Hebrews 13:17 that instruct us to “Obey [our] leaders and submit to them.”"My response is a question to you: Would you submit to Chuck Oneal?Properly, before obeying/submitting to a leader, the leader needs to be a leader with accountability. As far as I am concerned, there are and must be prerequisites to being a leader, including standards and accountability as mentioned in the Bible. Would you submit yourself to Hitler just because he was your leader, overseeing you? I don't think that you would. If the leader is not exhibiting the qualities that allows a person to respect that leader, then NO, I would not submit. Discipline should NOT be a part of any church whatsoever. Discipleship should be the ONLY thing to do. The proper way to approach a sinner backsliding is not in discipline, which the Catholics call penance, but in grace and mercy. If the person has an UNREPENTANT heart, then you kick them out based on 1 Corinthians Chapter 5. But it must be of a sinful nature. Questioning the pastor, or anyone in leadership is NOT A SIN. Sin is defined biblically as "transgression of the law" (1 John 3:4). In review, no, I would not submit or be OBEDIENT to just any willy nilly just because he has a title of RULE over me. Based on the law of Moses, I have a conscience of good and evil (as opposed to right and wrong). The law of Moses convicts me in sin. Chuck Oneal seems to be falsely accusing people of being in sin, i.e. rebellion. That, in the military, is known as the UCMJ Article 134, which is a catch-all charge, meaning, that if you can't find it in the law, you can charge an article 134. It isn't like that in the Law of Moses, however.


  13. Anon 12:33 – Did you read David's response to you? He definitely gave a great answer:@ Anon1036,you don't have to be a language scholar to read our very good English translations that demonstrate clearly that Chuck is not acting in a "godly" manner. As suggested, 2 Tim 3 is proof enough against the man.David was brief and concise. In Julie Anne lingo, I interpret David's response to mean thathe believes Chuck is not exemplifying godly character based on 2 Timothy 3: "But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 6 For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, 7 always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth."Here is my response to your question: the actions I have seen, the preaching I have heard, works with little grace, the meddling an invasion in people's personal lives long after they leave the church, the use of recording devices without permission to record private conversations, the refusal to communicate with people who are trying to understand why they are on some strange form of church discipline, the way he has encouraged families to shun their own family members, the refusal to meet with a neutral pastor for mediation, the potentially defamatory statements he has made publicly regarding some of us, the lawsuit which was discouraged by well-respected wise pastors, etc, I am no biblical scholar, but in my limited interpretation of scripture, I do not believe this man represents Christ whatsoever. I would say he is a False Teacher and does not belong behind the pulpit. This is all my opinion based on my knowledge of Scripture, of being a Christian for over 30 years, and of my personal dealings with Chuck. No, he is not godly, but he puts on an air of godliness that can be very confusing until you dig deeper. I hope this clears it up for you. You must look at the fruit of a pastor and the fruit in the lives of his flock.


  14. Ed, you ask: "Would I submit to Pastor Chuck?" My answer is a resounding "HELL NO!" Why? I think you broke it down nicely for us. First, he's not my pastor or elder and I don't believe he's even qualified to be anyone's pastor or elder. Someone stated elsewhere that we have a responsibility to discern the character of those we support. I would never subject myself to a spiritually abusive environment, and neither should anyone else. It comes down to this, if your pastor assumes any sort of authority that strays beyond the bounds of Scripture he is disqualified from being listened to. Also see my word studies above concerning the words RULE and OBEY and SUBMIT.


  15. Julie Anne, if what your saying is the case concerning Chuck's actions then in my estimation you had an absolute obligation to warn others about the man and his church. Also, to answer Carol's question below asking if Chuck ever broke the law. I believe his use of recording devices in private conversations without permission counts as criminal, at least here in the state of Pennsylvania that would be the case.


  16. David – Good point about recording possibly being criminal activity. Being recorded sure felt like a violation – especially when he refused to stop the recording when my husband asked. Additionally, he said he would send us a copy of it, but of course that never happened. Also, I have heard of people listening to it who were not privy to the conversation. Folks, that is CREEPY, CREEPY, CREEPY!David – So, to be sure I understand, I take it you wouldn't submit to my former pastor? 😉


  17. Anonymous: That's right, I do remember David saying that. I may be getting into an area over my head – but is it contradictory? Can a pastor be in gross sin, yet still be a Christian? David said he wouldn't submit to him, but does that mean he's not a Christian?


  18. Julie Anne, Yes, I believe David is contradicting himself. You can't say that you believe that someone is a brother then say that 2 Tim 3 applies to chucks character. This scripture is talking about non-believers. Second, I believe that we as humans sin everyday, that's a givin. I believe it is what the intention is of a individual. The intentions of an individual will eventually show itself. Whether he wants to please God or whether he is being a pretender. Judas was a pretender and the disciples had know idea until he was finally exposed.People eventually end up exposing themselves.Some are more obvious from the get go. Anybody can profess christ but were is the evidence.Lastly, I'm not sure who you are talking about in your last sentence.


  19. I'll try the last sentence again: David said he wouldn't submit to my former pastor (because he's a pastor), but does that mean my former pastor isn't a Christian? (meaning – could David be thinking this?)But anyway, I do agree with you about people exposing their true character eventually. I have seen the rotten fruit.


  20. Yeah I vote for Hooters but only if the rename their hot wings Beaverton delight and their Super wiener (all beef dog n a fresh baked roll, it's fantastic)the O'Nealer. Their grand opening should feature a $500,000 lottery style sweepstakes with the benefits going the newly formed Pew Sitters Legal defense Fund. A 501c3 dedicated to protecting the 1St amendment and church goers that are being attacked by rabid dog-like "pastors".


  21. I live a few miles from one of the original SGM churches and it is as bad as presented on the site, maybe even worse. When I heard about your lawsuit, First Baptist of Jacksonville and another equally disturbing local situation it made me want to cry. Our church leaders are out of control with egos ruling the day.


  22. You can be sure WOLVES like Perry Noble, Steven Furtick, Benny Hinn (who has tried and failed to sue people for exposing him in particular) are going to be on the edge of their seats waiting to see if they have legal precedent set to go after all their critics.Have you read the story about what happened to James Duncan, who wasn't even a member at New Spring, when he blogged about Perry Noble? Check out his story at Pajama Pages blog. Unreal. Perry apparently wasn't in on the whole goings-on and did have the sense to fire the guy, but he basically said the blogger deserved it, no apology was made for the behavior of the hirelings under his supervision.It reminds me of this whole new news story about Brett Kimberlin stuff that is going on, about dangerously harassing political bloggers, fake 911 SWATting calls etc. (look it up folks, and if you dare mention his name, don't be surprised if he sues you too.)


  23. Why do you want to pray about vindication ? Isn't that the same as you are giving someone an ill wish? Should you pray for his salvation instead ?


  24. "A number of pastors have privately e-mailed me and told me they have sent Chuck e-mails encouraging him to withdraw the lawsuit. It appears he continues to disagree with their wise scriptural counsel, in lieu of protecting image/reputation. This is a principle that is completely against scripture. God is not so concerned about personal reputation and image, but the heart."I wish that those pastors would post something publicly, like the email they sent and any response they got.


  25. terriergal – the responses that I've seen (I've been cc:ed) in a few have a one or two-sentence response with the entire "press release" copied and pasted to the bottom. Not much there. Same ol' stuff.


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