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 comments on “How Far Will We Go to Contend for the Faith?

  1. 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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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. 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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  6. 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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  7. 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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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10. 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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  11. 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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  12. 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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  13. 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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  14. 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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  15. 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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  16. 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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  17. 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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  18. 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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  19. 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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  20. 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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  21. 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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  22. 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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  23. 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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  24. 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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  25. 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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  26. 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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  27. 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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  28. 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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  29. 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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  30. 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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  31. 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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  32. 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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