Fred Butler, Spiritual Abuse, Spiritual Bullies, Uncategorized

How Far Will We Go to Contend for the Faith?

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Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have been waiting for this response from Mr. Butler for a while.  He has now addressed the issue and I would like to open it up for discussion.   I was concerned that we wouldn’t hear from Fred again and that the questions might remain unanswered.  Thank you, Fred, for responding.

My blood pressure rises each time I read his comment.  Mr. Butler is not the first person who has given me this response.  And sadly, I notice a trend of similar responses coming from people of Fred’s ilk.   I may address that at some point because I believe we clearly have a systemic issue that has gone rampant in our churches – the failure to appropriately deal with false teachers and pastors who abuse their flocks.  Did Jude 1:3 – the part where we are to earnestly contend for the faith –  get removed from their Bibles?  Do pastors get to pick and choose their battles and ignore false teachers?  Really?  Is that how it works now?

While you read this, I ask you to do one thing.  Please imagine this is a situation in which there are abused sheep, a whole church full of abused sheep who are being misled.  Ask yourself what will happen with the abused sheep if we follow Fred’s response?

 

Fred ButlerJune 20, 2012 8:25 PM

You have stated on more than one occasion that the blog on which we are now interacting should not exist. I’m curious: Under what circumstances would Julie Anne’s blogging be appropriate, in your view?

Appropriate blogging against this current pastor and church specifically? Never.   If she felt inclined to leave a comment with google and it got removed, that honestly should have been the end of it. But she persisted. Julie Anne seems to suggest that she was under some obligation to warn everyone about this church, but why? She hadn’t attended there in three years before leaving that google review comment, at least that is how I understand it. All of the sudden she felt she had to leave a negative comment and stir up strife with this pastor and church? I can be a gadfly at times on blogs, but if the blogger or web moderator is deleting my comments, I know when to take a hint.

What would have to transpire in order for you to concede that Julia Anne’s blogging is no longer something she need repent of?

In my opinion, she needs to discontinue this blog and leave Chuck and that church alone. Her and her family live in an entirely different state now, as I understand it. This should no longer concern her. Further, make some sort of faith effort that she will cease and desist from bothering them again. That’s I see it.

 

Interestingly, this is part of a similar discussion I had with Fred on his blog a while back.   I  posted the following comment and received no response from Fred.

Blogger Julie Anne said…

Fred: Let’s back up a bit. I did not originally start a “Survivor Blog”. I posted a one paragraph Google Review. Evidently, it was removed by the pastor. I added it again, and it was removed (repeat this story a few more times). This was the only place I intended to say anything. He removed my voice, so I went to a different venue.

I did what I felt was right. Yes, it is messy.  The whole thing is uncomfortable. What feels right about false teachers?   Nothing! However, after beginning the blog, I have been in contact with countless people who discovered the story thanks to the pastor’s foolish lawsuit and subsequent media response.   These people have told me story after story of abuse that I was unaware of because they experienced it many years before me and I had never heard of them.   They have been living in silence for years, sometimes more than a decade, some families have been torn apart, some no longer go to church or are afraid to go to church – – – all because of this one man.  I felt by not doing what I did, I would be sinning:

http://apprising.org/2010/11/22/john-macarthur-jesus-and-false-teachers/

Criticize and rant all you want about my method, but until you walk in my shoes . . . .

9:17 AM  (Click here to read entire blog post and comments)

I would also like to remind Fred more words from his pastor,  Dr. John MacArthur.  In MacArthur’s Truth War book, he mentions, “even some pastors and popular writers in the Christian market might be the enemy disguised as comrades.  The apostle Paul warned of that very danger in

2 Cor. 11:13-15.”

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works. 

2 Corinthians 11:13-15

 

Once again – if all other appropriate Biblical methods were employed, if the pastor refused to communicate, refused to meet with a local pastor who offered mediation, if he refused to listen to MacArthur’s people, including Phil Johnson, what next, Fred?   There were a number of pastors in the local area who knew of this situation and all chose to not get involved.

Are pastors and church leaders the ONLY people whom God uses to point out abuse and false teachings?  Luther’s nailing of the ninety-five theses to the Wittenburg church door was one method of calling out wrongs.  Do you think if he had the internet available, he would have snubbed modern technology?

Fred,  now what?  Walk away from abuse?  Don’t you have a child, Fred?  Would you walk away from your son if you saw him being abused?  Would you take the blog down and walk away?  Which reminds me of this brilliant post from Craig Vick, who asked you some questions that you perhaps missed earlier.  I thought I’d bring the  comment here so you’d be sure to see it:

Craig VickJune 19, 2012 6:30 PM

Fred,

You are clearly very bright, and I think you are interested in real discussion. Consider, then, what I take to be a central problem in all of this. There are churches that do not overtly transgress orthodoxy and yet are very cult like in their behavior. Do you agree that such churches exist? If so, how do we spot them? I would find it more constructive, and a better use of your gifts, if you would wrestle with that question rather than simply tearing apart the tests that someone else has proposed. I don’t think it’s easy to do. Some wolves are very adept at looking like sheep. If we say, for example, that such wolves differ from sheep (or true pastors) in that they are manipultive and controlling it’s easy to respond by saying that’s a bit vague (it is). That doesn’t mean, however, that this test isn’t getting at something very real. So how do we distinguish between cult like control and normal, responsible teaching and care? What would you suggest? You yourself say “There are pastors who are controlling and lord it over the flock they are to shepherd.” How do you distinguish these from those using Scriptural authority appropriately?

 

My readers have asked some great questions.  I hope you will be so kind as to respond.

Thanks!
~ja

 

188 thoughts on “How Far Will We Go to Contend for the Faith?”

  1. David and Old Mom – Would either of you please break it down for me and apply it to my situation on how Fred asked about my husband's involvement? I am simply not getting it. Speak very s.l.o.w.l.y please – I haven't had my Sunday nap 🙂

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  2. Wallflower – you do have answers. "sometimes extremely beautiful results come out of heartache." That's what Romans 8:28 says."I am choosing to forgive, not because they deserve it but because I do not deserve the forgiveness of Christ." Ephesians 4:32 "Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you."I've watched dear friends suffer abusive treatment at our former church. (not just women, but men also.) At first I was shocked to see this happening, then I struggled with fear, anger and pain, but at the same time I was driven into God's Word to seek answers. The lawsuit story in the news led me to this blog. Here I've met people who are by no means perfect, but Julie Anne and others KNOW they are sinners in need of a Savior. And isn’t that why we turned to God’s Son in repentance in the first place? None of us can say we are without sin – not even church leaders.What the two pastors, Ken Garrett and Craig Vick, have written has ministered to my husband and I – and to our friends. It’s a special blessing to have these men “walking alongside” here and setting a godly example. I've also read posts online condemning "wicked sheep" and "women whining about spiritual abuse on the Internet" – people asking women "where is your husband?" Reading those comments evoked the same type of fear I had when seeing the abusive treatment. One day I realized Jesus was also beaten, treated harshly. Religious people thought they were doing God’s work. But they didn’t know Him.THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD. He sees what is happening – he knows the hurt. He understands the pain. He's been on the receiving end of verbal taunts, spitting, physical pain and death on the Cross. He understands suffering like no one else could.Ephesians 5 is one of my favorite chapters – Ephesians 5: 1,2 "Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 and >walk in love<, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma." If people are following Jesus’ example and that means LEADERS and SHEEP of all kinds (women’s groups can have “ugly battles” and be unloving), it’s not just “Pastors”) We should have churches that LOVE like Jesus, and minister LOVE and GRACE, and we won’t see perfect fulfillment of LOVE until heaven. But that doesn’t mean we need to give up hope.Ephesians 5:21 "and >be subject to one another< in the >fear of Christ<. We will all stand before Him and give an account, sheep & shepherds.(Teachers will "incur a stricter judgment"(James 3:1)Ran Out of Tears, Sometimes apologies never come. We need to look to the Lord for healing. Psalm 34:18 "The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit." Go to an online Bible – search "love one another" or anything the Lord leads you to. Let God's Word minister to you. Being in His Word has brought grace, peace and healing. I'm walking in more freedom and joy – I can't fake this, it's all His doing.And yes, I did go to church today. We sang this song:www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6_oUbGhYtQ Check it out and sing along.I pray all will find healing from the Lord through His Word. Look to Him, He has the answers. He will not disappoint you. Thanks, Julie Anne, for providing this blog to help people heal.Love you! 🙂

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  3. Julie Anne,I cannot speak for Fred. For myself, finding out if your husband was on board with what you are doing was sort of a Shibboleth. It told me that you were interested in obeying Ephesians 5:22-24. It is much easier to be sympathetic and supportive when the excrement hits the fan, as it has in this case, when you know that someone has gone out of their way to do things in a godly manner.I don’t see it as sexist to ask if your spouse was on board because frankly I would have wondered the exact same thing if it were your husband who was the face of this blog/situation. I would have wondered if he had consulted his wife and considered her feelings and opinions before posting that first Google review.I said I wasn't commenting any more on this issue! Here I go talking too much again! 🙂

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  4. Hi Ran out of tears:Thanks for being patient so I could have some time to gather my thoughts. Yours was the first post I woke up to this morning. As I read your name: "Ran out of tears", it struck me how you could have chosen any name "Wilma Flinstone", "Daisy Duck", anything, but you chose something so very deep and painful. I found it interesting that tears were streaming down my face when you didn't have any more. We've never met, but we can connect at such an emotional level because of the pain of spiritual abuse: both having experienced it personally and our children. I know your pain so well and I'm sorry that you and your family are hurting. You are right – the abuse does change us. Can you please tell me – are you currently in the same church? Did you go to the elders/pastors anyone in your church to report this? One of the interesting things about abuse that often happens is that we carry the pain years later as if it just happened. We may never get apologies from those who have abused us. That is a very sad reality. But how do we respond to that? Do we allow "them" to take away our joy forever? How do we wrestle with this stuff? It's very difficult. We want things to be made right, but sometimes there is no perfect resolution.You asked "how do we heal"? First step is coming to grips of what happened and the results of the abuse. Healing doesn't happen overnight. It is a process. Pastor Ken Garrett mentioned he is still recovering so many years after the spiritual abuse his family experienced. But look how God is using him so beautifully even though he's not "finished". His words have ministered to me and so many others. I'd like to solicit the help of others to give you ideas on how to get out of that place of being "stuck", though, and I'll also wait for your response to my questions above. There are so many here who can share what has worked for them in the healing process. Thank you trusting "us" with your painful story.

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  5. Old Mom,That is a terrible interpretation of the Ephesians 5 passage, which has NOTHING to do with HEADSHIP. The biblical word translated head in the NT means source not the location of the brain, and does not mean boss in any way shape or form. Further the modern concept of submission and what they word in the original language of the NT mean are rather different.Even at that, submission is to be mutual, and a wife is to be submitted to her own husband as he is to be willing to be crucified for her — a rather stark difference from the then current standing of a wife as chattel property that (not who!) could be disposed of at will with a simple piece of paper handed to her signed by her by then ex-husband. BTW, he could also have sold her if he had chosen to do that, and could do that with her children by him as well.The whole headship and covering thing is total nonsense based on a misunderstanding of the bible, fed by a terrible translation by the KJV translators who were busy working for a king who wanted to strengthen his position against women in the monarchy, for the divine rights of kings, and other authoritarian understandings. What better then than to push that view into the English NT of the day, by skewing the translation and interpretation processes.

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  6. Hmm…You have just said, in effect, that if we do not agree with your doctrinal interpretation of certain passages in the Bible, then we are not godly. Are you saying that victims of abuse who speak out against the abuse have no right to compassion and support unless they toe your doctrinal line? Do you not see how this can be used to perpetuate the abuse? Seriously, ouch.

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  7. Old Mom: And as I said before, I'm fine with the debate. It causes us to stretch and grow. (Ok, to appease OM and other people who are like OM and Fred and anyone else: I will mention once again that my husband was completely on board with the Google review and the blog.) However, what does my husband have to do with it – regardless if I had the support or not? So I'm not considered credible without this information? Why not?When someone is reaching out to a pastor for help to report abuse, why should a bad marriage or good marriage even enter into the conversation? The conversation with the pastor us supposed to be ABUSE not my marriage. What am I missing here?

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  8. Jeannette,What I was trying to say, and perhaps did not do it well, is this. Some how the problem at Julie Anne’s church, i.e. the sinful abuse of power by the leaders has devolved into a discussion here of men hurting women. And every time someone mentions the term “spiritual abuse” here it is fraught with overtones of sexism.I’ll venture to say that nearly as many men have been/are being hurt by the situation as women.I don’t see where I said that correct doctrine was necessary to receive compassion. I would be lost for eternity if God had not loved me while I was still stuck in my sin and rebellion against Him. So, how then could I deny compassion and understanding to anyone?Perhaps it would help to state that I am not reading this blog because I am a victim of spiritual abuse, and therefore probably don’t belong here. My daughter saw the story on the news, told me about it, I went online to read about it and found this blog. I felt great compassion for Julie Anne and have been attempting (perhaps clumsily and ineffectively) to encourage and support her. As she is a professing believer, it seemed completely in keeping with the way I would speak to any Christian friend to ask them when they told me about a problem they were having if they had followed Scripture in trying to deal with it.I have no other tools! ☺

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  9. Let's try it again (oops – noticed a typo I missed above):When a wife is reaching out to a pastor to ask for help and to report another pastor for spiritual abuse (or any abuse for that matter), why should a bad marriage or good marriage even enter into the conversation? The conversation with the pastor is supposed to be about ABUSE, not my marriage.

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  10. Julie Anne,Obviously I fall into the complementarian camp and not the egalitarian. Not here to debate the correctness of my position on that, so please don’t anyone engage me because much, much smarter people than myself have written eloquently about it and it’s there for anyone to see if they search for it. So, my answer to your question is going to come from that position. God>Christ>Husband>Wife (I Cor 11:3) That’s the pecking order. I didn’t make this up!So, if I went to a pastor and started to express concerns about a fellow pastor, it would be perfectly logical for him to say, “What does your husband think about this, have you discussed it with him?” He’s following I Cor 11:3; he’s showing respect for the fact that you are a married woman. NOW, I’m not saying that it would be a good thing for him to dismiss you if you had not spoken to your husband. He should give your concerns JUST AS MUCH WEIGHT as if your husband was there with you. But he probably would want to speak to your husband before taking it any further. Not because you were incapable of communicating the issue but because he would want to follow I Cor 11:3.

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  11. I don't have to expose him/them, Julie Anne has done it already. And if you haven't heard it JA, thanks from those of us who weren't in a position to take the heat. 🙂

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  12. No Old Mom you didn't make it up, but it isn't true. Christ is not submissive in eternity to God, nor after the resurrection, he was only submissive during his time on earth. But that is a terrible misunderstanding of the passage you cited, and especially of the original language.Patriarchy, which is what you are suggesting, is totally out of place in Christianity. And your endorsement of continuing the wife as a second class church member and therefore second class Christian is contradicted by Paul who said, IN CHRIST, THERE IS NEITHER MALE NOR FEMALE. So when outside of Christ, do what you want and be as submissive to whomever you want. But once you are in Christ, you are equal in standing to every other Christian and responsible for you own interaction in the Kingdom, with God, and with other Christians.

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  13. “Done with work for the moment, I respond to that two-part rant. It was awe-inspiring.”Admittedly not one of my better posts, but it serves its purpose.“Two paragraphs? That I wrote up last night and scheduled to post? Not the same.”Just a truthful statement of fact, but its understandable why you would have trouble with truthful statements of facts, since they are a foreign concept to you.“There is a major difference between talking on a subject and stirring strife with a church. King James Onlyism is an apologetic system, not a church with a pastor.” Yes, I am quite aware that one involves a corrupt, tyrannical pastor, while the other is a kooky, nonsensical teaching. Thank you for that kernel of analytical brilliance. But BOTH involve situations where the people involve could not just “walk away” from it. Julie Anne’s with BGBC and yours with KJO. The fact remains that you are a hypocrite for condemning her for doing what you are doing, though the specific issues are difference; ESPECIALLY since few issues “stir strife with churches” as much as KJO.“Arrogant? It's a legitimate question.”It is only a “legitimate question” to someone with a sick, warped, twisted, perverted, mind like yours.“I can't sincerely ask that without being threatened with violence? And I'm suppose to be a bully infidel?”As a retired U.S. Navy captain I knew said, if you mess with a man’s food, money, or family, you deserve what you get.“Can you explain how I did so? I'm curious.” If you cannot understand a clearly written English statement, that is YOUR problem, not mine.“I think you mean GTY, but thanks.” You’re welcome. I’ll take a bath in a pig-sty before getting involved with any organization that you are associated with. “So. Because I press questions about this situation, don't take the words of an "abuse" survivor by prodding a little,…blah….blah….blah.”Any legitimate questions that you may have had have been answered…..and answered again… and again……But this involves so much more than ”pressing questions.” From the outset you have done NOTHING but attack O’Neal’victims, as evidenced from your May 22 blog entry, where you had already tried and convicted Julie Anne before you had the slightest bit of interaction with anybody involved with BGBC:“I'm sure Julie is as sweet as a plate of cookies, but she comes across, at least to me, as petty and vindictive…..Her comment wasn’t particularly slanderous. It's the kind of whiny comments that are typically found on any Google review page. You have to take them with a grain of salt.”“I've circled around the ministry block enough times to learn that the folks who start an active "survivor" blog outlining in scrutinizing detail their alleged spiritual abuse at the hands of a pastor or church are generally coming from the fever swamps of tin-foil hat theology. Not saying this is Julie; I’m just saying its been my experience – and I have a lot of it.”“But the biggest supporters are coming from these hives of spiritual malcontents (nearly all of them women, btw) who maintain various spiritual abuse survivor blogs.”“Moreover, with all the various “survivor” blogs I surveyed, pretty much everyone of them are overran by anonymous commenters who have a streak of anti-authoritarianism running through everything they write. In my opinion, these are some rather problematic allies. A person doesn’t want spiritually unhealthy individuals informing his or her decisions in matters like what Julie is dealing with.”“However, is taking to the internet with a blog called "shepherd watch" or "battered lambs" or "such-and-such survivors" the best course of action? No. Honestly, those blogs make a person appear loopy, demanding a double-portion of his pound of flesh at all costs. Their white whale must be destroyed or there will be no rest.”So, Freddie, you can take your wounded martyr routine, and STICK IT!

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  14. This is what I read and said 'Amen!' to.Old Mom wrote: "Is it so hard to believe that God in His wisdom appointed an arbiter in the marriage relationship so that if both parties are submitting to Christ and yet disagree that there is a way to solve the issue at hand? Is it so hard to believe that God in His wisdom and creative genius also shaped this arbiter to be equipped for the job? And…that He gave that arbiter VERY strict instructions? “Husbands love your wives, as Christ loved the church, and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25—-the verse that bullies and jerks seem to ignore when they hone in on vs 22-24)."and now I double my 'Amen!' on this. I have thoughts on all the rest, but I'm on my Sabbath. love the discussion, very healthy and heart-warming

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  15. Julie Anne:I've reflected on many of the comments offered here. My suspicion is that Mr. O'Neal and his henchmen are reviewing all of these comments, and looking for opportunities to file lawsuits against others who post comments critical of him.That brings me to my two cents' worth. Mr. O'Neal not only should drop his lawsuit, but he should resign from the ministry. O'Neal needs to find a vocation more suited to his true and correct life skills – and to do so sooner rather than later.This certainly would be my prayer request. I acknowledge that God answers prayers, although He is not Santa Claus and his answers may well be "mysterious, but very real". -RB

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  16. Gee, I wonder who made that false report to Symantec? (rolls eyes) I mean, who would have the motive?Still, is there a way for your attorney to identify the party? Certain people may not like everything that is said, but it does not give them the right to control it. What is the harm in having a real discussion?

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  17. I'm sure there are ways to identify, but that is out of my league. My attorney is aware of what is going on. Certain people may not like everything that is said, but it does not give them the right to control it. What is the harm in having a real discussion?Maybe the "harm" is exposure to the truth?

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  18. For the record, Julie Anne, my Norton Anti-Virus software is no longer (at least at this time) giving me a warning page when I click on your blog link. There *is* a bit of an anomaly with your blog that I noticed though. Norton has a 'safe site' system, but you have to register your blog to get that status. Yet your blog *has* that status, though it only shows the general 'blogspot.com' url. My blog has safe site status (I had to go through the motions to get it) and when I click on the Norton page to see it it shows my full URL. That probably sounds confusing (especially if you don't have Norton anti-virus), but it is strange.

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  19. c.t. – Thank you so much for letting me know. It is confusing for me and so to preserve precious brain space, I'm going to copy it and send it to an expert – whew!

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  20. Craig states,I'm not sure which elephant you wanted exposed, but one thing that made me very uncomfortable with Fred's comment was the crassly sexist remark. How exactly is it crassly sexist to ask about Julie Anne's husband? Are they not one flesh as the Bible states? Is she not to honor and respect her husband as the Bible teaches? Is her husband not to be leading his family, which would include his wife? Do you not think he should have some concern as to how Julie Anne presents not only herself, but by extension, her marriage to her husband and his reputation as well? Rather than being crassly sexist, I am merely working out of a biblical model of men/women, husbands/wives. Instead, I get the inference that I advocate something akin to wife beating from antinomians.

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  21. Fred – that's why I asked my husband first before posting the Google review and the blog. He gave me the okay. So now that that issue is settled . . . . . are you willing to discuss the main issue I've been trying to discuss? spiritual abuse?

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  22. Who dare challenge a church for doing wrong? Who has the courage to stand for what is right not what is considered acceptable abuse. The most common trait among abusers is " Don't tell anyone or you will be sorry." There is much abuse in churches that go untold because of fear. fear of being shunned fear of being sued.

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  23. Craig. I'm hoping to do "wrestle" with your questions today, DV. We are in the middle of preparing for a massive inventory this Friday at work. I have been preparing to teach twice at church once yesterday at the http://www.gracelifepulpit.com, and another this coming Sunday. Plus my mother is in town and honestly, I would much rather spend time with her, my wife (who is a happily barefoot and pregnant and keeps a mean kitchen), and kids. You're gonna have to be patient. Please. The fate of Western society doesn't rest on me given an immediate turn around to questions about what constitutes "bad" preachers. BTW, that accusation of sexism is over-the-top. See my other comment below.

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  24. Hey Tom, you're not the person with the blue hippopotamus email address that cussed me out with the F word last week, are you? Wondering. Your comments sound similar.

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  25. Fred: My husband is on his way to work, but I just read your response to Craig out loud to him. He would like me to remind you that this discussion is not about bad preachers, but about pastors who manipulate the flock and do not care for them. He would like to encourage you to read Ezekial 34 regarding shepherds – with special note to verse 4:The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them.

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  26. Fred,It is a characteristic of abusive sexists that they call their version of patriarchy 'biblical', but that is a misinterpretation of the scripture, including one dating to the KJV translators. The so-called household codes of the NT are transitional from women as chattel to women as priests of the church of Jesus. Paul said, In Christ, there is neither male nor female . . .. So the Christ-following thing to do is to move away from gender distinctions in the priesthood of all believers. That does not mean that we do not recognize differences among individuals in ability and proclivities, but we do not enforce some gender-based roles on people who follow Jesus. The Greek in Ephesians does not support a woman having to consult her husband on everything she does as a member of a church. The meaning is more of being cooperative with, rather than subservient to. SO it is irrelevant and sexist to ask whether Julie Anne, an adult Christian, had consulted her husband; that is between them and none your business, even to ask.

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  27. Wow, 128, mine will probably be buried. But, when a church excommunicates someone Reformed elders vow to inform any church that person attempts to join in regard to that person being under discipline. BUT, when a parishioner leaves a local church, what went on at that church and is still going on shouldn't be any of their concern. Hmmmmmm. So, in regard to Reformed elder hacks, the interpretation is that of the universal church, but in regard to parishioners, it's a local expression. HOW CONVENIENT! And also really really bad hermeneutics.

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  28. Julie Anne,You said that you were reluctant to start a new post so that the discussions in this post would not be dropped. However, you might consider using your elephant-in-the-room comment as the basis for a new post. I still can't get out of my mind what you said about the battered sheep crying out for help.Perhaps having a post dedicated to that issue would help some of us focus on that instead of bad preaching, sexism, and other issues that are distractions from the real question.Bring on the elephant, please!

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  29. That's a point well taken, Paul. So, it puts (ex-)parishioners into a double bind. You can't publicize a malignant minister or a toxic church organization to warn other people to stay away or you'll face abuse, because that's a naughty thing to do. But they can tattle on you to the next church you go to, because that's warning that flock and its leaders. And no one can blog about abusive pastors, teachers, and Christian celebrities regardless of their purported gifts. But the apostles can put on the permanent record the names of Hymaneus, Alexander, Diotrephes, and others who create havoc among the disciples.The blocking by abusive leaders is insidious. Truly insidious …

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  30. Hi Fred,Thanks for responding. Take all the time you need. I'd rather have a thoughtful response than a prompt one. Julie Anne's husband's comment is, I think, very helpful and might focus your thoughts. The issue isn't bad preachers but abusive leaders who, at least on the surface, look orthodox. You give me a compliment by taking this seriously, and I appreciate it.I hope you'll forgive me for a little chuckle at being accused by you of being over the top in my remarks on sexism. Rightly or wrongly, that's exactly how I responded to your original question – over the top. Maybe we can both work at finding ways to be more gentle in our comments.

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  31. SQ – I know, I'm chomping at the bit, too. It's coming. I really want to get some closure on this topic with Fred It's very important to me. I know it's not the usual way I do things around here, but I think it will be worth the wait. Side note: I'm realizing that I do not care for the way Blogger has the comments. I'm trying to figure out if there is a way to change that because it's a hassle to scroll through all of these posts (but don't stop posting – lol). I can't seem to find a way to fix that in the setup tools.

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  32. Fred,For what it's worth I took no pleasure in posting my comment on sexism. I was afraid it would be a distraction from the main point (and it has been). In my initial response to you I ignored the issue. My conscience, however, wouldn't let me go. I couldn't pretend that your question was an appropriate part of what was, in many ways, a very good conversation. I feared my silence was condoning something our Lord would not want me to condone.With respect to your questions above, I, of course, agree that husband and wife are one flesh, and that Paul underlines respect in his remarks to women (as he underlines love in his remarks to men). I agree that being a husband entails a leadership role, though we may not always agree on what that leadership looks like. Paul seems to me to emphasize a leadership of service and sacrifice. I agree that husband and wife should be concerned about the reputation of their marriage and family. How can we agree on so much and yet I find your question offensive whereas you find it innocent and even helpful? It's all about context. In the context of your discussion/debate with Julie Anne, how does your question function? Julie Anne, as far as I can see from her blog, has given you no reason to suspect her blogging isn't in accord with her husband. Whether you intended it or not, your question appears to simply call out the fact that Julie Anne is a woman. Here is a woman crying in pain over damage done to her and to her family. At great risk to herself she's taken a stand. She's called out the abuse. I believe that taking such a stand does honor to her husband and family. Your question, since it seems to come out of the blue, has the effect of saying, "Your cries of pain and warnings of abuse don't count because you're a woman." I'm more than willing to believe you if you say that was not at all your intent. I've been careful not to call you a sexist. I don't know you. What I want you to see is how your question functions in the context of the discussion, whether intended or not.As far as wife beating and antinomians, you've lost me. I have no idea what you're getting at. I will say this, however. Had I asked you out of the blue if you were a wife beater I would hope that someone would confront me with the fact that that's an inappropriate and sexist question.

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  33. Even though Freddie has shown what a low person he can be, he still manages to take himself down a rung or two. It is not at all surprising that he has to resort to lies and slanders, since he has repeatedly proven to be intelectually incapable of defending his position. He truly has nothing else to offer.

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  34. David – Leaving varying interpretations of a few key verses aside….your last sentence troubles me.This discussion may be healthy, but heart-warming? For me, it is heart-rending. It makes me want to weep that people seem to believe doctrine is more important than coming alongside and not breaking a bruised reed. This doctrine of gender roles is one that is used heavily to justify abusive behavior and silence those who would speak against it. Heart warming? When Old Mom wrote – "It is much easier to be sympathetic and supportive when the excrement hits the fan, as it has in this case, when you know that someone has gone out of their way to do things in a godly manner." – it was like a knife cutting. Why? Do you not see the inherent attitude in this statement that says, "if you are not doing things according to the doctrine I subscribe to, you are not godly and it will require a lot more effort to to hear your story." Do you all not see how this makes it about doctrinal behavior standards and not about helping those who have been terribly hurt by the very people who were supposed to teach them about the love of Christ? When doctrinal correctness is insisted upon before help is offered, it sounds very mush, to the one who has been abused, as if you are saying the same thing the abusers said – i.e., doctrine and theological correctness is more important than people. "…who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." ~ 2 Corinthians 3:6

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  35. Finally, I am able to post! Anyone using Firefox that can't post, switch to explorer. I have tried to post many times with no success until switching 🙂

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  36. Oh, I'm so sorry, I was going to post about this. Another reader had the same problem and found the solution for Firefox. Evidently you need to enable third-party cookies in order for it to work otherwise when clicking "publish" all your text you just entered will disappear.

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  37. Craig – I can't let you take credit for the sexism "distraction" as you worded it. The comment about my husband is just as much of a distraction as the other issues brought up: why it took me 3 years to begin the blog, why it matters when we live in another state, what my pastor thinks about this situation, etc. Those are complete distractions that have nothing to do with the ELEPHANT. It's strange how that elephant hides himself so easily for some people, yet is glaring in the face at others.

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  38. Ok, here is my response to Fred's comment addressed to me further up the page. I apologize for the length, but felt it would be easier to quote within the comment than scroll back and forth to get the context. My new responses are in bold typeface.I said earlier: “if all other appropriate Biblical methods were employed, if the pastor refused to communicate, refused to meet with a local pastor who offered mediation, if he refused to listen to MacArthur's people, including Phil Johnson, what next, Fred? There were a number of pastors in the local area who knew of this situation and all chose to not get involved.”Fred’s response: Then you walk away from it Julie, it's that simple. Flee as the Bible states. I find it strange that you guys complain about this pastor leveling a lawsuit against you; how he is all in the wrong and is a bully and such, yet you keep insisting on stirring up strife against him. Why? Honestly, the words of Paul against Christians suing one another applies equally to you as it does to him, Fred, you are confusing bad pastors with spiritual abuse – big, big difference. Fred said earlier: You claim none of the other pastors wanted to get involved? Why? Did they just not care or did they have the sense enough to realize it wasn't worth it? Did any of them explain their reasoning as to why they didn't want to be involved? I’m just as puzzled as you. However, the bottom line is God will be the one to deal with their complacency. I cannot force people to investigate further. Also, where's your husband in all of this? Your family. Is he supportive of your efforts? Are they? Speaking for myself, I would be discouraged to think my wife spends a great deal of time on the internet complaining about an old church and pastor who did us wrong and has a lawsuit against us. I hope we’re already settled this, but my husband has been supportive of my efforts. It’s not about a pastor who did us wrong, but about the big elephant: spiritual abuse. another commenter writes,Fred, do you understand that this pastor has caused great harm to not only her family but many, many other families who have been under his control? That type of environment causes deep wounds that don't easily heal.All Julie Anne did was to try to prevent others from entering what she perceives as a dangerous situation, and from everything that happened after she began this blog, it appears that she is dead right.Fred responds: But according to Julie Anne's testimony, there was a three year gap between her exiting that church and her starting this blog. THREE YEARS! IF the abuse is as severe as you claim it is, she waited three years? And went to the internet instead of proper authorities who could deal with this situation? Please. Additionally, as I understand what she has said in other comments, she lives in an entirely different state now. Am I right about that? And yet she can't cut loose from this church? Which raises the question as to what her current pastor thinks of all this? Does he care? Or does he think it odd?It doesn’t matter how many years it has been, where I have posted this information, where I live, what my current pastor thinks. All of those issues are irrelevant to the topic of the spiritual abuse. Fred said: Again, I have stuff to do this weekend, so unless someone is accusing me of beating my wife, I'll probably won't posting any further comments. BTW, just so we are clear. I am not a pastor at GCC. I'm merely a member. Furthermore, I don't speak for GCC or GTY in any official capacity, so they are irrelevant to my interactions with you all. I am speaking for myself, too. Can you not afford me the same courtesy of leaving my husband and family out of the discussion?

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  39. We almost lost our daughter when she quit testing her blood and taking her insulin. It was not until the third day in the intensive care unit that she told her doctor her problem. " if I can't go to the youth group at church then being a diabetic is too hard and I don't want to live.". Oh you bet, the doctors and hospital wanted to call the newspaper. Yet, the church we were going to was the church I had grown up in and was married in. My parents worshiped there too. We had an interm pastor at the time. He said he held no authority and there was another man in charge. I was so torn. I wanted to expose, but I also wanted to protect. Mostly I wanted to restore my daughter. My husband, parents and I did go and meet with an attorney who went to the church. He went and set the man making the crazy rules straight. No one helped to restore our daughter. To this day she feels that she is not welcome at church. The pain runs deeper than deep. Time has not eased the sting. Prayer makes it manageable. We are aching for the day that our daughter is made whole and feels that the body of Christ is for her too! Thank for your wisdom. I am listening.

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  40. Maybe because we're afraid of the elephant or worse, see it but have no idea what to do about it. So instead, we scorn the trampled grass.

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  41. Jeannette,If someone is driving on the wrong side of the road into oncoming traffic, would it be loving to say to them, “keep going, I’m right here with you, your biggest fan, you can do this, don’t pay attention to anything or anyone that suggests you might be going the wrong way”?Did you happen to read my post where I said that Ephesians 5:25 was ignored by bullies and jerks as an excuse to run roughshod over their wives, and by misguided extension..other women? Or where I mentioned that sinful male domination of women was being confused here with male headship in the home? Just so we are clear, I am in COMPLETE agreement that the actions of the pastor/elders at Julie Anne’s former church are sinful. Sin hurts people, it offends God, causes chaos (sometimes for generations), besmirches the name of Christ, and ultimately leads to exactly what is happening here. I’ve often wished that my own sin only hurt ME, but sadly that is not the case. And when you have the egregious sin of an overseer…my goodness look what has happened! People are turning their backs on God, and on the true and faithful teaching of His Word. The very place they need to go for healing(into the arms of our Lord) has become anathema to them because of the sinful abuse of power, and the ignoring of the clear scriptural mandates for behavior of an elder/pastor.

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  42. Ran out of tears (ROOT):Ok, it's interesting, once again, as I began to address you, it occurred to me to abbreviate your name and I noticed "Ran out of tears" became the word "root". Is it a coincidence that immediately my mind went to Psalm 1 which talks about the tree planted by the water? Please read it, it also discusses that the Lord knows the way of the righteous and the wicked will parish. As someone who has been abused, this is important to acknowledge. All we know now is the perpetrator may have gotten away with destroying lives. But God knows. It helps me to know that we have a righteous God looking out for us.And then also, please take a look at Colossions 2:7. I like the simplicity of the NLT translation here: Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.Sometimes these big trials can threaten our faith. The idea here is that if we are rooted in Christ, then if people/pastors fail us (and we know they will), we will be able to stand strong in spite of that. Christ will give us the strength to ride those very difficult waves when people harm us. I'm still a little unclear. Are you at a new church now or the same church where the abuse occurred? Regardless, I'm wondering if you know of a trusted pastor (think: true shepherd qualities) who might be able to talk to you and/or your daughter? I'm just thinking that there are some decent pastors out there who would be aghast to hear your story and would want to reach out to your daughter and say something on the lines of, "I'm so sorry this happened to you. What happened was wrong. Is there anything I can do to help?" – to bridge the gap. My heart goes out to you, Root!

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  43. Dear ROOT,How heartbreaking, indeed. When you say that your daughter was not allowed to attend youth group, does that mean that she was forbidden to go to any meetings at all? I’m just trying to understand this. The only reason I could possibly see that made any sense at all was the sponsors/chaperones feeling uncomfortable taking responsibility for the welfare of a type one diabetic on a long trip or an overnight journey WITHOUT THE PARENTS OF THE CHILD. Even if that was the case, it certainly was not handled in a very sensitive manner. I’m so sorry your daughter is still reaping the consequences of this.

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  44. Old Mom, But from your e-mail to me and what you've posted here, it seems like you still think I am wrong about having this blog. Am I correct?Jeannette – If you don't line up with me doctrinally, there is nothing to discuss (and no relationship) is what I'm hearing. I love your comment to David and great scripture reference.

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  45. It's me Root. The youth pastor was nervous and I get that. My husband and I offered to become parent sponsors, to go to the events bit sit in a parking lot and come when needed. Every idea and suggestion we had. We were told no to by the man who was in charge. We were told our daughter could attend church but not the youth group (a few treat earlier the church supported me when I worked with Youth for Christ. My husband and my patents talked to a lawyer who attended the church. That was after two meetings with the man and an elder. The elder concluded the man was not being truthful. My parents and husband and I scheduled another meeting with the man. My husband suddendle had to fly to Washington and could not make the meeting. The man then refused to meet with my parents and me. We then left the church in hopes to restore our daughter. A few years later the church got a few pastor. We went back as that is where my parents and kids friends went. I did ask the man who is still at the church and in leadership to tell my daughter it was okay for her to attend church. He said that she could attend but what we had experienced–didn't happen. He is a very sick man. We go to church now to take my aged parents. But we go and do not feel wanted, loved .

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  46. Root: I can understand the desire to honor your parents to the church of their choosing, but what about your daughter? Your parents witnessed this situation. Have you considered trying another church (where your daughter feels safe) and finding other transportation arrangements for your parents? It seems they would want to see their hurt grandchild in a place where she feels safe and loved. Have you discussed this with them? They might agree to go along with you so you can remain together as a family.

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  47. Julie Anne,Let me address the second point first: “If you don't line up with me doctrinally, there is nothing to discuss (and no relationship)”I guess I need to go back to English Composition 101 because I do not seem to be able to make this point! ☺ Never said “nothing to discuss”, never said “no relationship”. At least I certainly did not mean to say those things. What I did say was that your position on Ephesians 5:22-24 was sort of a Shibboleth for me. If I’m discussing something with someone who does not believe in a literal interpretation of Scripture, it’s going to be a very different conversation than that with someone who does not hold that view. Does that makes sense? I could not expect to hold someone accountable to the teachings of scripture who did not think that it was the final authority on all matters of Life and Godliness.Which leads then to point number two, “Old Mom, But from your e-mail to me and what you've posted here, it seems like you still think I am wrong about having this blog. Am I correct?”I do, yes. If I really were your “Old Mom” I’d be begging you to take it down, to take the Google stuff down (except the notification of the harboring of a sex offender), and leave in its place a blog called something like ,“Come grow with Julie Anne past the experience of toxic shepherding” (not poetic, but you get the idea). My one rule on that new blog would be to NEVER mention, to borrow a phrase from J.K. Rowling “he who must not be named”. He’s done enough damage; don’t give him any more ink, or any more fuel for his fire.

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  48. OM – Regarding my statement:“If you don't line up with me doctrinally, there is nothing to discuss (and no relationship)”You didn't say that and neither did Fred nor anyone else, but that is what it seems like you're saying by the way I'm treated. Your 2nd point: I've already mentioned I am not comfortable with the title of this blog. It was appropriate for a time, it's purpose has been served. I'm waiting for resolution of legal case to decide what to do next because as I discussed on earlier post the focus of the blog has shifted. I respectfully submit to you that we will have to agree to disagree on your last paragraph. It appears that you are coming from the angle of what you feel comfortable with, not a clearly established Biblical precedent for outing false teachers (even by name):Jude 112 Peter 2:15-163 John 9-112 Tim 4:14-152 Tim 2:15-181 Tim 1:18-20Gal 2:11-14That being said. I, too, am uncomfortable with naming names. I've never enjoyed it. But it came to a point that it wasn't about me anymore. I was ready to deal with the wrath that people might give me because to me, spiritual lives are more precious than whatever pain I might feel by their rebukes. And yes, it is painful to read your posts and comments of others telling me I'm in error. Every time I read it, I have to do more soul searching or scripture searching, or talking with people I respect to see if I am wrong or not. I don't take these things lightly and I know that I am human and sin.I don't know if you've noticed, but I rarely use his full name anymore (others do in comments, tho). I rarely name the church's full name. Very few people would have stumbled across the blog before the media. He chose to make it public by filing a PUBLIC civil lawsuit. I did not disclose the story to the media. He also chose to drag MacArthur's name through the mud publicly by claiming a pastor from GCC gave their endorsement to sue us. GCC was forced to publicly correct the record. Who made this public? He did.Let's also not forget that by filing a civil lawsuit and subsequent media, he has made me public and my daughter. I have never posted my full name publicly online. After this media barrage, I decided who cares anymore.

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  49. Julie Anne,I’m so sorry if it comes across that I am “treating” you badly. I certainly never wanted to do that. Let me point out something that was written today in the comments section that illustrates just how complex and tricky this issue is. In response to ROOT you wrote, “I can understand the desire to honor your parents to the church of their choosing, but what about your daughter? Your parents witnessed this situation. Have you considered trying another church (where your daughter feels safe)”You just said to her precisely the same thing that I have been asking you, “Why didn’t you just leave the church?”. See how difficult it is to even talk about this? If I were ROOT, I might misinterpret what you are saying as “treating me badly”.I KNOW your former pastor had done something terrible by dragging your name into the public. Civil courts have no business adjudicating a problem in the church. He is wrong, wrong, wrong. As far as the Scriptures you listed…I want to look them all up and consult some commentaries, but I cannot do that now as I procrastinated doing the reading I need to do for our ladies bible study tonight and I have to do it pronto! I’ll just say briefly that I see the Scriptural mandate from Matthew 18 as this: tell them once, tell them twice, take it to the elders and then if there is no repentance, you walk away. As my pastor said to me when I was struggling once on whether to continue confronting someone on something “You are certainly free to do so, but I don’t see that there will be any fruit from doing it any longer”.

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  50. Old Mom.A lot of people say that they believe in a literal reading of the Bible, but that is never really true when they confronted with passages that have little or no literal meaning but are loaded with spiritual meaning, and they are numerous. Further, I could live with a literal reading of the Greek NT, because what we have are translations and not "The Word of God", which in the case of the NT is Greek, even though Jesus spoke Aramaic and not Greek. Do you begin to get the nature of the fact that you do not even read what could be read literally. The problem of Ephesions 5:22-24 is that the have been terribly mistranslated with English words that mean something different than the concept of the Greek words. And the context tells us more than the mistranslated words. "Submit" in the first verse of the bunch is really the idea of mutual cooperation. Mutual submission is a strange concept indeed–two who are both under and over each other!! And in fact that is the better meaning in the other verses. Paul tells women to cooperate with their own husbands and not anyone else's husband to that degree ("her own") and is not telling a woman to turn herself into a rug for her husband. He on the other hand is to be self-sacrificial to his wife and willing to die ignominiously for her, as Christ did for the church.Jesus spoke about not dominating over others and said anyone who would lead must be a servant or slave to all of the others. Paul is saying the same sort of thing, in a different way. Christian leaders are to put others as more important than themselves and seek to cooperate with all, and that includes the husband in the family.

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  51. I will just address this part, OM, because all of the above, we will go around and around and that is just not a good use of my time. You and I hold firmly to our positions, we are very strong women. Let's not waste any more of our time. This is the part I will address:I’ll just say briefly that I see the Scriptural mandate from Matthew 18 as this: tell them once, tell them twice, take it to the elders and then if there is no repentance, you walk away. As my pastor said to me when I was struggling once on whether to continue confronting someone on something “You are certainly free to do so, but I don’t see that there will be any fruit from doing it any longer”.You may not have seen the fruit in your experience; however, I do see the fruit in mine. Although I did not know it at the time, the fruit is this blog and what God is doing in the lives of others – not only from my former church but from all over. Through this blog people from my former church who were silenced over 13 years ago discovered that they were not the only ones silenced. They learned that they were not the only ones who were treated poorly and had lasting effects. For them to identify that it wasn't just in their heads, for many it began the healing process – a chance for hope, a chance for restored relationships with former members, family, and their God.On top of that, this has caused the story of spiritual abuse to become one of the nation's top news stories for several days. Because of that many people read the story and recognized similarities with their personal stories. Some have never told their story before they either posted it here or sent to me privately. Most days I get more than one e-mail from people thanking me for having this blog because they find it helpful to them.Old Mom, I do not and will not ever regret what I did, even though it was not fun to do (and even if you and others do not approve). I see the fruit. It is evident. Helping people get back on the right track to restore their relationship with others and God – – – if that is not fruit, then I don't know what is.

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  52. OM – Okay…first, to equate doctrinal differences with "on the wrong side of the road into oncoming traffic" seems like further evidence that your position on these verses is paramount to all else.You went on to write "People are turning their backs on God, and on the true and faithful teaching of His Word."Do you think that because I disagree with the interpretation of Ephesians 5:22-24, I have turned my back on God and the true and faithful teaching of His word? Ouch. I have not turned my back on God. He is the only refuge I have. I invite you to read my blog sometime if you care to see what my journey through the pain of healing from spiritual (and other) abuse has looked like. Without Christ, I would never have survived it. Please hear me. You say that finding out what Julie Anne's position on these verses was your Shibboleth. What I hear when you say that is: a person's position on these verses is your test to see if they have turned their back on God or not. Again – it is putting doctrine ahead of people – ahead of understanding.There are a ton of translations and paraphrases of the NT out there and many of them disagree on the translation of these (and many other verses). If the meaning were so plain, there wouldn't be so many translations. I suspect we will never agree on this. But can we agree to disagree and move on?

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  53. quick fly bysnagged all four volumes ty he’s new to melooks like quite a summer reading project you maybe want to highlight something of aB over on your site?prime this pump you want me to drink from

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  54. Jeanette,My wrong side of the road analogy was not about doctrinal differences, but was referring to my opinion that Julie Anne was wrong in posting that first Google review. My opinion….not doctrine. My wisdom (or lack of it, depending on your stand on the matter). I feel it was an unwise and dangerous thing to do, hence the road analogy. Not a doctrinal matter. When I said people are turning their backs on God and on the true and faithful preaching of His word, it had nothing to do with anyone’s interpretation of Ephesians. It was in the context of the consequences of the sin of her former pastor. It has been written on this blog that people have left the church, left the faith, and even left God because of what was going on in that church. Here is what I wrote:“And when you have the egregious sin of an overseer…my goodness look what has happened! People are turning their backs on God, and on the true and faithful teaching of His Word.” Please point out where I said anything remotely akin to:“Do you think that because I disagree with the interpretation of Ephesians 5:22-24, I have turned my back on God and the true and faithful teaching of His word?”Frankly Jeanette, you are twisting my words.

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  55. OM-It was not my intent to twist your words. In rereading your comments, I can see that that portion was not directed at me. I apologize for misunderstanding and the misrepresentation that came from that.You are right that people are turning away from God because of the abuses that are far more commonplace that most realize. It's ironic, as I think of it. You write that the 'driving off the cliff' analogy was regarding Julie Anne's posting of her comments on Google and starting this blog. I do understand your opinion on this. But for me, the analogy works as a reason in favor of the comments and this blog. These abusive religious leaders are dangerous to people's souls. How dare we not speak up and post warnings? If one person – one family – is spared the torment that comes from this kind of spiritual abuse, every word typed is worth it.Again, I apologize for misreading your comment to me. I am still sensitive in some areas (no kidding, right?). My intent was not to cause a fight but to defend against what felt like an attack. Forgive me?

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  56. Jeanette,Sending hugs, forgiveness, and prayers. I know there was no malicious intent…it’s just a topic you have very strong emotions concerning. SO hard online to read someone’s “tone” and thus it’s easy to misconstrue meaning. Nighty-night and sweet dreams.

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  57. Julie Anne,Wish I could take credit…LOL…however:“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, fthat those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” (2 Cor 5:14-15).That and decades married to the most reasonable person that ever walked the earth (he’d have to be to put up with me!) who encourages me by his example every day to work very hard to always try to see the other person’s point of view.

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  58. Bottom line: I get info about efforts on the part of New Calvinists trying to get in bed with the government. I don't have time to verify all the information concerning their efforts, but Calvin believed the government should enforce church polity, and that's exactly what happened in Geneva. Right now, they can only use slander, bogus church discipline, a proclaimed ability to declare people damned, etc. As John Immel noted in his third session regarding Susan's testimony that she was told by a pastor that she was not allowed to leave a church, "What's next if Susan says 'no'?" In Geneva, you didn't say "no" unless you wanted to be a street light that evening.

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  59. Some of you guys need to stop with the canards about Calvin and Geneva. Calvin's relationship to the government in Geneva was complicated and in no way was it "Calvin believed the government should enforce church polity." As for: "In Geneva, you didn't say "no" unless you wanted to be a street light that evening." This is as historically ignorant. Alister McGrath wrote a very well researched biography of Calvin, breaking new ground in some areas, but regarding this he stated only one person was ever put to death in Geneva during Calvin's time for heresy. That was Servetus. Geneva was full of Libertines. Were they routinely put to death? No. The myth of Calvin's Geneva being some sort of totalitarian police state is not based on reality, but is mostly derived from history and biography written by Roman Catholics over the centuries and repeated by people who hate Christianity in general. Don't use bad experiences with humans as an excuse to abandon or attack hard truth apostolic biblical doctrine.I can work up a lot of disgust for church leaders as well, but I don't allow it to cloud my reading of history or effect my discernment for and valuation of biblical doctrine.

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  60. Readers: This is where Julie Anne sits back and merely "publishes", taking a spectator seat. :)Normally, I don't want to encourage doctrinal debates here that don't have anything to do with spiritual abuse; however, Paul is saying this does tie in, so as long as you are able to make the connection with the subject, please carry on.

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  61. Fred's comments brings to mind that scene in the Wizard of Oz where the 'wizard' doesn't want anyone paying attention to the man behind the curtain. I guess if you're not from Oz that gentleman doesn't concern you.

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  62. It concerns me to see things along the lines of 'they are adults, they can decide where they attend church'. It appears to me the church in question did everything it could to create an atmosphere of fear and misinformation to eliminate in their minds the option of choosing to attend a different church.It's not far removed, in my mind, from comments about the Sandusky case as to why his victims continued to go to his home, or why Matt Sandusky 'allowed' himself to be adopted. Abusers work very hard to cultivate a sense of hopelessness and to eliminate any option for their victims to avoid these situations. We need to recognize this as a society in ALL areas of abuse – physical, sexual, emotional, spiritual – if we are going to be able to protect victims.

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  63. In our area of the country, “discernment disagreements, doctrinal debates” are causing a lot of division (and pain). People are either on one side or the other – there is a lack of unity and love among brothers and sisters. This afternoon an older woman who graduated from Christian college in the 1940’s and has much wisdom called to tell me she’s been reading Galatians 5 & 6 and encouraged me to look it up: Galatians 5:13-15 “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through >love< serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “ YOU SHALL >LOVE< YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.”Galatians 5:22-26 “But the fruit of the Spirit is >love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control<; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.”I value church history and the contributions of the Reformers, and sound doctrine and apologetics and discernment, but I don’t want to get "stuck in the ditches" having a “Hatfield vs. McCoy family feud”. Too many people get hurt. And it is not a good reflection of Christian character. Are we obeying our Lord's greatest commandment to love the Lord and love our neighbor, which appears in His Word in more than one book? Have we neglected to focus on what the Bible says about love in our zeal to defend the faith? Where are the online discussions about love as the Bible defines it? I'm not sure if love is a doctrine or what part of systematic theology addresses that aspect of the Bible, but I can't help but think we're majoring on the minors and missing the mark on love. Not preachin', just saying'…

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  64. In addition to asking how far will we go to contend for the faith, we need to ask how far will some of these incompetent and extraordinarily evil church leaders go. Whether it is just protecting their little income producing fiefdoms or ego driven need to control others, it has reached a point that must be addressed by the Christian community much more broadly. What we have seen happen within Sovergn Grace Ministries, Jacksonville Baptist and with the foolish Little tyrannical twit at Beaverton seems to be a trend. Men that don't have much to offer the world in marketable skills suddenly get called to be a pastor so they can live off the plate. Common traits seems to be incompetence, anger management issues (probably from having had many past failures)and a bizarre need for total control over other people. Unfortunately these same "little men" don't have the discipline to complete seminary (most flush out within months), a heart for people and often they even lack a relationship with Christ.Apperently there is enough brainless drones floating around within our churches to keep these "churches" open even after they are totally exposed. I mean what kind of idiot shows up at someone else's home and tells the police (investigating the trespass) that the pastor gave them permission to be there. These are not exactly deep thinkers. Anyone that is will eventually see through the likes of incompetent, mean spirited, control freak "pastors" like UPchuck ONeal (as in enough to make you vomit). What kind of people still go to "his church" after all of this exposure ? Unbelievable. I hope they find the peace and freedom within a well balance church that will never exist at a sick place like Beaverton "Grace" Bible.

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  65. 1) lacking a heart for the people – this is so true and is something that can easily be missed. You have to see the heart in action in not-so-loving situations. It's easy to love on the outside and put on a facade.2) The question, "what kind of people still go to his church after all of this exposure"? I have a hunch they are people who are scared. They know how we are treated on the outside and don't want to be treated like that. Sometimes it's just easier to quietly remain.

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  66. Julie Anne,Please let me share with this blog a short story. About two hours ago I typed in the google search bar the words "beaverton, church, and apologetics." The first many links were about Beaverton Grace Church…I beleive is the name, and almost every one of the links had some sort of brief description of the Pastor's lawsuit or defence against accusations of… I decided to read the Churches defence,praying that in the spirit of their defence I might be inspired to either attend or avoid a service there. I might ask from you a favor Julie Anne? Would you tell me your story? Please hear my statement, that you might see the need I'd have in hearing your story fully, or at least stories of others that may be anonymous but that you could stand completely by their testimony pure of heart.I have already long ago prejudged the church of our age to be crumbling rapidly, if not entirely. Please forgive these words, and understand my plee. I believe that in my youth this judgement was false, because the fruits of that judgement covered my eyes from our Heavenly Father. today I am a wounded lover, walking just next to perfect darkness where the only real constancy is conflict. I read and I pray, and I find great comfort in scripture, in lectures, apologetics, and many wonderful books. I find God's greatness as he shows me truth through the folly of the fool…But not before I bow my head in shame that the fool is me. And so I reach for a public body to pray with, and share not only my prayers and my labor with, but my mind. And I must state, I am almost incurably sceptical of church bodies, but my hope is that this fear is a seed planted by the enemy. I long for real fellowship. Where is Godly fellowship though? There is so much hate on this blogsite, and if the representatives of much of this hatred are the perfect opposition of the Pastor of your old church, then what am I to believe he is? I'd say he must be a saint. And to those whose words are cruel, blunt, and untamed… I do not mean to call you evil – for the same hand points back to me. But let us be Christlike in everything we do. I have somewhat of a feeling that you "Julie Anne," do not agree with such hatred. Because of this, I would like to hear what you have to say. In my life I have learned that to be Christian is to suffer emence abuse. The great accuser will twist our own prayers into nightmares if we are not clinging to our Lord. We need to remember the enemy, and reprove him always. But we must remember that even if the wolf that devoured our brother cannot be saved from himself, Jesus is able to save our brother still from the wolf. What would I avoid by avoiding this church? Please, respond as you will. Thank you.Peter 🙂

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  67. Hi Peter: Thank your for stopping by and also for your words to me, even though some were difficult to read. I do understand where you are coming from, though, and appreciate your heart. There are a number of questions in your comment. I haven't typed up the whole story. It is interspersed in this blog. Sometimes things come to my mind spontaneously which becomes a new post. I understand the confusing aspect of publicizing the situation. I believe I am following scripture to expose someone I believe to be a wolf. There are many verses to support this. I have never done anything like this before in my life, so this is certainly unusual for me. Please hang around a while so you can get the feel of the blog. My intention for it is not to wallow in the sorrow and pain, but to learn from the experience, get back on our feet and be healed. Right now so many people are stuck in their pain. That's not a good place to be. I'm hoping the blog will give them a sense of hope to continue to contend and seek Him. ~Julie Anne

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  68. Julie Anne,“My intention for it is not to wallow in the sorrow and pain, but to learn from the experience, get back on our feet and be healed. Right now so many people are stuck in their pain. That's not a good place to be. I'm hoping the blog will give them a sense of hope to continue to contend and seek Him.”—–You just made my heart SING with these words! I’m trying really hard this week not to cry because it’s messing up my sinuses, (so darn you…LOL.).but I just want to weep with thanksgiving to see you point out what in my mind has been missing from this conversation. I’m just blown away.Either our God is Sovereign and can uphold us through any trial or He is not. Either the admonition to “forsake not the assembling of yourselves together” is true regardless of how a former pastor/elder/church has hurt us or it is not. Either our God is Jehovah Rapha (the Lord your healer) or He is not.Fantastic point, eloquently made. I’m going to go up to my roof and sing Psalm 95 right now!“Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;
 let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
 let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!3 For the Lord is a great God,
 and a great King above all gods.4 In his hand are the depths of the earth;
 the heights of the mountains are his also.5 The sea is his, for he made it,
 and his hands formed the dry land.6 Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
 let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!7 For he is our God,
 and we are the people of his pasture,
 and the sheep of his hand.8
Today, if you hear his voice,do not harden your hearts,"

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  69. Old Mom, it's interesting that you felt that piece was missing from the conversation. I have followed this blog for several weeks and am familiar with the writings of some of the posters (know none of them personally) and I have seen that strong faith running through many of the entries, including Julie Anne's. Many of the people posting obviously have a strong faith, which would indicate a belief that God can heal all. That faith that God will uphold us through anything does not excuse us though from exposing abuse when we encounter it.

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  70. futuristguy, Dohse, fwiw, let me share another example of a common double bind in certain churches today: [[ I had a former pastor who often leveraged this saying, “Obedience is better than sacrifice.” He employed this phrase in the context of manipulating congregants toward the pursuit of his own ends. I’m certain he meant well, however, what he was unwittingly doing in this misappropriation of Scripture was coercing us with a double bind.What was the pastor saying in this? I suspect most people assumed he was quoting a Scripture that spoke to the moment, that we’re called to obey the Pastor as he directs. Personally, knowing the context of the quote, I felt what he was doing was quite slippery.I remember one sparsely attended service where people had found seats from the front pews on toward the back pews of the sanctuary. At some point the pastor graciously asked everyone who was sitting behind a certain so-and-so who was sitting in a middle pew to take seats at or forward of him or her, and then he’d throw in, “Obedience is better than sacrifice.”The double bind and implication (as found in the context of Scripture) is this: if someone fails to come forward, then he or she is in rebellion against God. Even if he or she felt most comfortable in the last pew, or needed to be back there to be close to the ladies’ room or whatever, to fail to respond to the pastors request left them in assumed judgement. ]] full context here:http://spiritualauthority.wordpress.com/2012/06/24/obedience-is-better-than-sacrifice/

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  71. Jeanette and Julie Anne, I believe I agree with everything I read from you above.Last Sunday when I Brilliant-ed Old Mom’s post above me—I was on my Sabbath and hadn’t followed closely the blog. It was touch and go for me, and I touched down on Old Mom’s last comment because I had spoke so pointedly to her before and wanted to soften what I felt was a heaviness to my earlier words. I even, like JA, felt crushing by calling her “Old Mom.” I’m only now getting back to read the fuller context of what was written. My apologies for interjecting without reading the full story.Jeanette, your story was powerful and heart-rending! You underscore for me the need for us to both tell and hear ours and other stories—good and bad, so that we might be ever so wise and vigilant in discerning the righteous from the wicked.“Then those who feared the LORD spoke with one another. The LORD paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the LORD and esteemed his name. “They shall be mine, says the LORD of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him” (Malachi 3:16-18). The back and forth between you ladies was bittersweet, both heart-rending and heart-warming! Much of what OM wrote, yes, cut like a knife! As I agree with Jeanette and JA, there was much I disagree with OM. What was heart-warming for me to see last Sunday (even though, at the time, I didn’t read the actually words, I merely saw a whole bunch of paragraphs going back and forth), Yes, what was heart-warming to see was the lively discussion. I believe the life blood of every healthy relationship (with a spouse, a church, even this blog) is open, honest, loving communication.I remember once my geometry teacher was teaching me something, and I told him, ‘No, I don’t see it.’ It had yet to be a truth for me. And my articulation of my confussion gave him the opportunity to make his mathmatical truth clear to me. There was a little back and forth, but I soon understood what he was teaching. alsoI thoroughly appreciated Sergius Martin-George’s well reasoned and helpful replythank you everyone for broadening my understanding of understandings

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  72. Arce, your comment: “there is no such thing as 'biblical gender roles'” and your reading of Galations 3:28 seems to be in line with Dr. Gordon Fee’s ‘new creation’ egalitarianism [“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” 2 Cor 5:17]. His interpretation of Galatians 3:28 [“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female”] weighs heavily toward his position that for the new order of humanity it is God’s intent that there be no gender restrictions for positions of authority within the church, and that “[t]here simply is no biblical structure for the household,” according to Gordon Fee. Now, it is true that all of us who are in Christ are a new creation, yet this does not imply that all the aspects of the original creation are to be negated. Male headship in both the church and the home according to 1 Tim. 2:13 and 1 Cor. 11:3-10 is based upon the created order. Adam’s headship over Eve was established before the fall and was the divinely created foundation that God considered “very good” (Gen 1:31). When we read—what in itself may be a rather ambiguous statement—that “there is neither male nor female” we should never understand it in a way that contradicts Scripture. The primary focus of the letter to the Galatians concerns the way of salvation. We are all saved and justified not by the works of the law but by our faith in Jesus Christ. Every single believer has an equal share in the benefits of our union with Christ regardless of our ethnicity, socio-economic standing, or gender. Now, while it is true that all Christians possess an equal status before God and each other, this equality-of-essence can by no means nullify the distinct roles or functions that God has designed for His church.Arce, two weeks ago I launched spiritualauthority.wordpress.com in both an attempt to come alongside Julie Anne in her fight against spiritual abuse, but also it was with hopes to pull some of the more theologically minded into discussions over what true, God-ordained, spiritual authority looks like—wherever that conversation may take us. My prayer is that the spiritual authority blog would be fair ground for a complementarian / egalitarian discussion on ‘biblical gender roles’ sometime this Summer. I hope you’ll join the discussions there. In Christ,David Johnson

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  73. As I mentioned in a few previous comments (before the current debate blew up), I am an atheist and a friend of Julie's. (Yes, it's possible to be both, thanks to Julie's warm and loving heart.)I just have to say that I think it's really sad to see the in-fighting going on here. We all know that most wars are fought over religion and, albeit on a smaller scale, you can see the very beginnings of how that true happens, right here on this blog.Abuse is abuse — sexual, emotional, physical, spiritual. All are heinous and none are excusable. Distractions? The discussion regarding Julie's husband and the role of the man in a family have nothing to do with what took place at Chuck's church. It sounds like laws were broken. If Chuck allowed that known sex offender to be alone with kids, he should be convicted. End of story. If he spied on or did anything else suspect, he should be convicted. Religion can and should be left out of this case. See what happens when it isn't? Christians hatefully battle each other.I'm sure this isn't the intended message y'all want to give, but I have to say that, after reading all this, atheism is far preferable (for me) than any religion with such anger, intolerance, animosity, and judgement as what I've witnessed here — especially against JA. :-(Carol

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