Abuse in Church: Do church leaders really care? Show me the action!

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A while back I noticed hits on my blog from a site called SharperIron.  Fred Butler (Fred and I have some history here – he has issues with Spiritual Abuse Survivor blogs) was posting on the SharperIron site about my case, sharing misinformation about my lawsuit,  so I joined the forum and challenged him.    Since then, I have read articles there from time to time to see what they consider pressing topics.  I really haven’t investigated to find out who is connected with this site, but when I click on the profiles of people who have commented on threads I am interested in, the respondents seem to be primarily pastors, religious teachers, people in ministerial positions in their churches, etc.  Let’s just say I haven’t seen any mom/bloggers.  I don’t think they quite know what to do with me there 🙂  Oh well.

There have been a few threads posted there on Sovereign Grace Ministries fiasco and the silence has been deafening.  You know me, I can’t remain silent about silence.  Here is a quote from one of my comments:

I’ve been watching the responses on other SGM articles posted here on SharperIron and the silence is pretty deafening.    Why is that?    What does it take before one says to another brother:  “hey, buddy, I think in the light of these strong allegations presented by multiple witnesses, you ought to step aside until this thing gets resolved.”  Is anyone doing that?    Even if they are not a part of SGM church?   Or does it become “not my business” because I’m not a part of SGM?   Help me understand the logic of this silence, please.

Here was one response:

Why should I make any comments on a situation which doesn’t come even tangentially close to my life and ministry.

Ok.  I needed to step away from the keyboard for health reasons.  So I’m coming here to you, my faithful blog readers.  How would you respond to this?  I think this comment represents what many church leaders feel. There were other comments that went along these lines, too.    I like to understand where they are coming from, but sometimes, I tell you, my head just spins.

So, since the SharperIron site is a site with church leaders, I thought it might be important to discuss this topic.  If  we are going to be sounding the bullhorn and bark like little dogs in an attempt to get church leaders to stop being silent on this issue, how can we effectively respond to comments like this?

Some leaders say that they get it.  I have another example to share that I don’t think has been shared before (it is mentioned in the archives, however).  It involves Phil Johnson of Grace Community Church.  I’ve heard Phil referred to as John MacArthur’s right-hand man.  He is definitely a conservative church leader with a very large following (he used to blog at Pyromaniacs).

If you recall, my former pastor brought Grace Community Church into my lawsuit by claiming that one of their pastors encouraged him to sue me.  Long story short, they both eventually agreed that did not happen, but Phil Johnson had to do some public damage control thanks to my former pastor.  I spent an hour on the phone with Phil discussing these issues.  The following day after our phone call, Phil posted a link to an article about my lawsuit by Carl Trueman on his (Phil’s) Facebook page.  Posting the link obviously invited discussion from his followers and there were quite a few responses.  Eventually, Phil gave a follow-up response.  Here it is:

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I love Paula Coyle’s response.  However, this part by Phil Johnson is what needs to be addressed:

Abusive and heavy-handed, high-control church leadership is a serious problem among some very conservative churches, and those of us who are conservative should speak out against it. If there were fewer control freaks in church leadership, I think there would also be fewer out-of-control complaint blogs.

Phil says the right thing, but is he doing it?  Is anyone doing it?  This is the same problem we are finding across the board with conservative Christian leaders.  They seem to talk out of both sides of their mouths.  So, I guess my question is – how can we encourage leaders to start speaking up about abuse AND do something?  What can we do to help facilitate that process?  I’m really just waiting for some Christian leaders to man up.  That’s all.  Is that too much to ask?  I’m tired of reading abuse stories.  I really am.

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78 comments on “Abuse in Church: Do church leaders really care? Show me the action!

  1. The only way to deal with these abusive situations is EXPOSURE! Sweeping problems under the rug only prolongs the abuse – from the Vatican to the Protestant Vatican. In the long run it harms the Church, it harms the name of our Lord, and it prolongs harm to the victims. Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

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  2. This is the main response from Calvary Chapel pastors. They consistently say we’re all independent so we can’t say anything to anyone else. Even Chuck Smith went on the record saying that he had no say in the affairs of other Calvary Chapel churches. (… wait … my lie detector meter is pegging out!!!)

    I’d like to see how others respond to your inquiry here.

    I think the problem lies in seeing each “church” as a separate business that should not interfere with another man’s 501c3 biz. I suspect what’s lost is the reality of our being Christians together. Unrepentant, clear, Biblical, verifiable sin must be called out and dealt with by whoever knows about it, instead of continually passing the buck.

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  3. I don’t have an answer; I just have this note to myself:

    Quote: When you can tell the story and it no longer hurts, you will know you are healed.

    Question:
    Will the day ever come when it doesn’t hurt because pastors told me
    ~~~ “I love you, I want to care for you and make sure no one takes advantage of you,” ….
    and then they did exactly the opposite and took advantage of me while I was trusting them to do what they said they would all the time I was in a vulnerable position and taking care of my Mother before her death…. ????? They came to me telling me they wanted to take care of me; I didn’t go to them asking for help.

    Answer:
    I hope not. I want to always remember how much it hurt so that I will always be available to help others and remember the betrayal I felt and how it crushed my soul to know that a pastor and a person who portrayed themselves to be my friend could be so deceptive and lie to me and be so far from the word of God that he/they would deliberately use me/others for their own material gain.

    God Help Us!

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  4. yeah, i remember this ignorant phil johnson “online nests of disgruntled, emotion-laden but biblically hollow chronic backbiting complaint” comment.

    dude howls like a wolf too.

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  5. Why is Phil deamonizing the disgruntled and emotional people. Hmmm, people like me, perhaps?

    He doesn’t like heavy-handed abusive leadership.

    He doesn’t like people bitching about it.

    He treats the two like they are equal sins that cancel one another out.

    They are not and I believe Phil knows this but it gives him the opportunity to ignore justice and for that reason, I would suggest that Phil is most likely a coward that chooses to ignore the cries of people that have suffered in other words, people that can give him nothing in favor of currying favor with powerful but abusive leaders like mahaney who can offer Phil, who is either an Alpha Male or has the potential to become an Alpha Male, leverage and prestige.

    The parents of toddlers that were forced to forgive their abusers are likely not impressed with your choice, Phil, nor are they particularly worried about your opinion of them for being emotional about the abuse of their young children.

    Although I have no respect for you, I would not wish you a walk in their shoes but it might do you good to *imagine* what it is like to discover one of your children has suffered abuse and the pastors that you believed were given to you by God supported your child’s abuser instead of taking care of your innocent child.

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  6. yes (Nancy) EXPOSURE toward ACCOUNTABILITY. .

    for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

    “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead,
    and Christ will shine on you.”

    (Ephesians 5:8-14)

    God Help Us!

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  7. Touch not mine anointed money, and do my profit margin no harm.

    I think Grateful has a great point about the 501c3 biz.

    Isn’t this considered a written oath from Phil? What did Jesus say about oaths, Phil?

    If you say that you are going to do something, you had dog gone better do it, or your word means nothing but evil (paraphrasing Matthew 5:33-37).

    Matthew 5:33 – 37 (Paying close attention to verse 37)
    33 Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: 34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: 35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. 36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. 37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

    I guess that Phil really didn’t mean what he said. Maybe he was only pacifying?

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  8. I remember asking a group of pastors online WHY it is they are so silent on domestic violence in the church.

    The told me they should not have to deal with such ‘social ills’.

    I wanted to snatch them bald headed.

    Authoritarianism type leaders are really good at telling others what they should and shouldn’t do. Problem is they are too cowardly to do this themselves sadly. They like to control the christian bubble they live with, and do this well. Problem is that approach doesn’t work with ‘life’ in general, and it makes them feel victimized. They throw out the not questioning of God’s anointed deal, and its almost as if their anxiety levels go down.

    I could handle dealing with a pastor – even if I didn’t agree with his/her doctrine – if they were willing to stand up and rebuke the monsters they know are out there. I know I can’t be the only one. I could respect even if I disagreed. Its sad that there are not to many willing to step up, and do what God would have them do.

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  9. Wow – talk about having your cake and eating it too! Paula’s response was right on and extremely well written!

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  10. Monax said: yeah, i remember this ignorant phil johnson “online nests of disgruntled, emotion-laden but biblically hollow chronic backbiting complaint” comment.

    I sent Phil an email specifically asking if he was referring to my blog, but he replied he hadn’t read it. Hmmm.

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  11. “He treats the two like they are equal sins that cancel one another out.” So true, Opinemine.

    There’s two problems with people like Phil Johnson, in my opinion. One he can’t take a stand. If he did, he’d praise and want to protect the “complaint blogs” because he would care about people. Notice how he has to qualify them as “disgruntled, emotion-laden, biblically-hollow, and out-of-control.” That takes him off the hook. If they’re not “speaking out against [abuse]” in a way he deems acceptable, they are sinning too and he ignores it. If someone is being abused–spiritually, emotionally, physically, or sexually–why in the hell do they have to have their emotions in complete control and be “biblically” pure, before the church can have sympathy for them and help? Paula’s spot on. Don’t force them to be perfect first before you help.

    The second problem is he hasn’t identified the problem. Notice he says, “very conservative” churches do that. We’re not that, we’re only “conservative.” He thinks the problem is “control freaks” in the church. No, it’s deeper than that. It’s not those “very conservative” people out there and those “control freaks,” it’s the conservative theology of people like him that’s the problem. The kind of theology that attracts and nurtures “heavy-handed” church leadership because it’s based on authoratative systems of church, obeying leaders, watching doctrine, micro-managing behavior, submitting to Scripture [the way church leaders interpret it], and protecting the the church in the name of the glory of God. This kind of theology ultimately leads to spiritual abuse and covering up anything that would harm the church. It becomes Pharisaical legalism, as leaders care more about order and church reputation and respectability that loving people. They end up straining out a gnat (too hollow biblically, too emotional, too disgruntled) and swallowing a camel (harming the spiritually and sexually abused by refusing to love and care for them).

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  12. Julie Anne, sometimes I don’t know how you and TWW do what you do. I am amazed by how you keep pushing through the muck, and demanding conversation.

    Here’s what gets to me: leaders refuse to engage in conversation, but they are more than happy to share the Gospel.

    Keep sounding your bullhorn. You do a great job. And I believe they hear you, whether or not they acknowledge you.

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  13. natalietrust

    as i see it—it’s not so much the leaders that need to be drawn into the conversation (i think they’re gonna be the last of the dumb sheep to get it),,, it’s their slaves who need to be drawn into the conversation of what it truly means to do and be church; what it truly means to follow Christ; what true spiritual authority looks like; and so forth…. and yes, these leaders will be given a place at the table—but it just won’t be their table. It will be the LORD’s table.

    amen

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  14. Julie Anne, if you want to learn the true heart of Sharper Iron, look through the threads concerning Tina Anderson and/or Chuck Phelps. They’ll raise your red-haired ire.

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  15. Monax, well said. The leaders have too much invested in their “church” professions to rock the boat. The sheep need to be reached. I created a flier, Is Your Church Guilty of Spiritual Abuse? Check the Top Ten Signs, to try to wake up the sheep. I’m starting handing it out to Mars Hill sheep here in Seattle. Anyone who wants to have a copy to print out, let me know. You can see the gist of it on my blog: http://deepthoughtpub.blogspot.com/2013/02/is-your-church-guilty-of-spiritual.html

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  16. Michael Camp, Sir. I was looking at your profile and read that you brew beer.

    First question, just to see what kind of beer you’re serving: Do you use any Belgian yeast strains in your brewing; and what do you think about the double and quad style of Belgian beer?

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  17. Ang – – -I read your question/answer and could feel the pain in your words. Thank you for speaking out. That is why this blog exists.

    Someone from the WhoWouldJesusSue crew (BTW, thank you, so much – you know who you are) sent this to me today. It touched me deeply and I think it applies to you as well:

    Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too (2 Cor. 1: 3-5).

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  18. i’m drinking me a leffe brown right now… but me favorite quads are the trappist rochfort and the saint bernardus abt… a few americans in recent years (thank jesus) have learned how to brew it the belgian way!

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  19. opinemine – Sorry, I’m catching up on your earlier comment (1:32) now that I’m on my laptop.

    You said: He doesn’t like heavy-handed abusive leadership.
    He doesn’t like people bitching about it.
    He treats the two like they are equal sins that cancel one another out.

    Ok, your last sentence is exactly right.

    It’s interesting. During my hour-long conversation with him, he relayed a spiritually abusive experience he personally had. It was bad enough that it kept him up at night. I believed him and still do. But there is something within the Grace Community culture that lends itself to defend pastors at all costs. I made a phone call to the volunteer pastor-of-the-day before I was sued (but had read that it might be forthcoming). Both that pastor and Pastor Bill Shannon, when I relayed my story to them, defended my former pastor and gave all kinds of excuses for his behavior. They defended him before even talking to him. It was the oddest thing. Fred Butler (employee/member of Grace to You/Grace Community) and blogger has a thing against survivor blogs and anyone who calls pastors out. Evidently there are former disgruntled GCC members who speak out against GCC and have left a sour taste in their mouths. So because of that, people like me are viewed as suspect.

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  20. I think I’m going to have to post a beer article at this rate 😉 I had a Portland organic lager the other day. Not terribly impressed, though, but was trying to support the community 🙂

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  21. Michael – I think I could make a whole post about your comment. It was excellent. Your comment is in bold.

    There’s two problems with people like Phil Johnson, in my opinion. One he can’t take a stand. If he did, he’d praise and want to protect the “complaint blogs” because he would care about people. Notice how he has to qualify them as “disgruntled, emotion-laden, biblically-hollow, and out-of-control.” That takes him off the hook.

    Yes, it’s backwards. When does a shepherd look to protect himself? They are taking the wrong focus. The GCC pastors took the shepherd the shepherd approach first, not shepherd the sheep

    If they’re not “speaking out against [abuse]” in a way he deems acceptable, they are sinning too and he ignores it. If someone is being abused–spiritually, emotionally, physically, or sexually–why in the hell do they have to have their emotions in complete control and be “biblically” pure, before the church can have sympathy for them and help?

    You’re exactly right. Everything that I told them had to pass their test. Their way of interpreting the Bible, abuse, the way my pastor handled things was all about them. And then let’s not forget that I am a woman who’s supposed to be taking care of my husband/family. Immediately they turned it around to that issue rather than try to understand my complaint. I had to keep getting the subject off of me and redirecting it to the abuse issues. At one point I even said, “I have a feeling that if I handed the phone to my husband, you’d listen to him a lot better than you are listening to me.”

    I’ve heard a lot about women treated poorly, but have never been treated poorly by respected pastors until this incident. And since then, I’ve been paying attention and have seen it time and again. Fred Butler is part of that environment and the comments are still there for all to see on his blog and on my blog. He does not treat women the same way he treats men. People here called him on it, too.

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  22. monax – what are you talking about? Do you mean “like” as in Facebook “like”? I haven’t done anything to any settings. I’m not seeing any “Like” option.

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  23. yes, ja, there were a changing in the settings (at least at my end) for a minute..

    enough to come back and even “like” meself..

    but all clear-up it appears now so no worry..

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  24. Passover is coming up soon, so it will be unleavened beer.

    It really is hard to believe that communicating a complaint by any means (in this case, a blog post) would be considered a sin in the eyes of people like Phil, the right hand of God…er, um, MacArthur.

    How can he, or anyone, sight a complaint as a sin, proclaiming that complaints will be judged by God?

    Luke 18:2-6
    “…There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:

    3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.

    4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;

    5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.

    6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.”

    In customer service, if I have a complaint, I ask to speak to the manager. Well, Phil? You need to manage your employees, not the customer, because the customer is always right.

    And, if people are “disgruntled”, then you need to fix it so that they are not disgruntled. If there is dissension in the ranks, it is for good reason.

    In America, we choose our leaders, and we instruct them that they serve us, we don’t serve them. That is how our founding fathers wanted it. They wanted a Biblical standard of leadership, which is one of checks and balances.

    And for the Calvary Chapel, our founding fathers would not have bought off on the Moses Model of leadership. Refer to the last paragraph again.

    By the way, in the Moses-Model, the Children of Israel never approached God themselves, but we, as individuals can approach God thru Jesus, without the aide of Moses.

    JA, The dog comment I made was off the cuff, but it sure applies, huh? Dogs protect their owners, so the barking is to the leaders who want to mark complaints from parishioners as a sin that is judged, rather than a complaint that needs adjudication, or as Luke puts it, avenged.

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  25. Monax, hmm… I’m more of a consumer than a brewer. Lol. I like all Belgiums, dubbel, triple, quad. Favorite this year is Monk’s Indiscretion, a Belgian style from one of our several great microbreweries in my town of Poulsbo, near Seattle. Pub theology is alive and well here.

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  26. Julie Anne wrote: “But there is something within the Grace Community culture that lends itself to defend pastors at all costs.”

    Well, yes AND no. They defend pastors who conform to their own doctrinal beliefs at all costs, but those who deviate aren’t defended. Heck (I think this is the Baptist word for “hell”), they skewered John Piper for inviting deviants like Rick Warren and Mark Driscoll to his conferences. We need to understand something here. The GC mindset is one of doctrinal purity. Doctrine is the most important thing by far. That’s why MacArthur can write a book titled “The Truth Wars.” As long as it is “biblical” – as THEY see it – they can’t comprehend the law of unintended consequences applying to their ideas. If damage is caused by the logical conclusion of their beliefs, it is always the fault of the one that experiences the damage. It has to be. On one side is the bible, on the other side is a bunch of whiners. People who are obedient to the bible wouldn’t experience such trouble. See how that works?

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  27. Steve – that is a true and I believe accurate distinction once I digested your comment. You are absolutely right. They won’t defend Driscoll. But why haven’t they come out against CJ? I just don’t get it.

    BTW, I just came across the most well-written article on the culture of SGM: http://goo.gl/Vjy47 It is so good.

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  28. I remember asking a group of pastors online WHY it is they are so silent on domestic violence in the church.

    The told me they should not have to deal with such ‘social ills’.

    Like Gnostics everywhere, they are too Spiritual(TM) for such physical reality.

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  29. Interestingly, Fred Butler just referred to Survivor Blogs on his post yesterday:

    Regrettably, a number of those individuals who have the fortitude to free themselves from such sanctified tyranny, grow into bitterness. They abandon Christianity all together, or develop a proctologist view of fundamentalism by either joining the ranks of disgruntled survivor blogger types or adopting heterodox views of the Faith that is found among the so-called Emergent “fellowships.” Of course, those groups are just as damaging to their souls as the Independent Fundamentalism they fled, but years of scarring by their legalistic shackles have desensitized them to that reality.

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  30. Fred BUTTler used the B-word making it difficult for me not to be as dismissive of him as he is to survivors.

    OK, lets examine things from the patriarchalists false paradigm…….you are the survivor of their abuse now what are we supposed to do? What has Fred dismissed….in the rulebook according to Fred, we cannot

    Abandon Christianity
    be proctological or
    be the Assman (from Seinfeild)
    be disgruntled
    be self-identified as a survivor
    be something called heterodox
    be found in an emergent fellowship.

    What does that leave?

    Oh, yes, continue to allow ourselves to be abused by alpha males.
    or, in other words, shut up, bend over, spread….no need to continue…..and, in Mark Driscoll’s world, we better darn tootin’ like it!

    But at the very least, shut up and take it.

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  31. Yes, that B word (Bitterness) – – you tore that comment apart well, opinemine, there really is no place in that kind of environment to seek help for spiritual abuse. The problem then becomes you: why aren’t you taking care of your husband/family, why is their bitterness in your heart. These folks are masterful at spin. They can do no wrong.

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  32. Julie Anne,

    Speaking of Fred Butler, which are the articles on SharperIron where you and he butted heads in the comments? I’ve been looking for them with SharperIron’s search function, but no luck. Not that I really have the time right now to be reading so much online… but I’m curious. 😉

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  33. Happy to oblige, Serving:
    http://sharperiron.org/filings/6-29-12/23273

    In this comment dialogue we see the first time Fred brings information to the table that was never brought out in the media and I called him on it. I eventually called him on it five times (if memory serves) to disclose where he got that information and eventually he fessed up that Chuck had contacted him privately.

    Once again, this underscores what I said earlier about GCC’s posture of: defend the pastor first.

    There was one article at SharperIron – another one at another blog. I’ll see if I can dig that up.

    PS Wayne Wilson and Ken Garrett (both pastors) did a wonderful job of standing up for spiritually abused. I really appreciated reading their comments.

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  34. Ok, my blood pressure is rising once again at SharperIron. Here is the thread that prompted this article. Look at their responses: http://sharperiron.org/filings/3-2-13/26396 I don’t know if I have the emotional energy to engage with them. I don’t right now, that is for sure. This is one of those: need to walk away from the computer moments. UGH – this non-response really gets me upset.

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  35. Opinemine really nailed it. Fred Butler sounds just as abusive as the church environments many of us suffered under. I pity anyone who accepts his “help.”

    As for Phil Johnson, can he, or anyone else, point us to any leaders who are speaking up? The only ones I’m aware of actually read and comment at TWW and Spiritual Sounding Board. You know, these “online nests of disgruntled, emotion-laden but biblically hollow chronic backbiting complaint” blogs.

    Loved Chapmaned24’s comment:
    “Touch not mine anointed money, and do my profit margin no harm.”
    What ever happened to pastors who felt called to lay down their lives and feed the Lord’s sheep? Most today view it as another way to make a living. So why would they see any need to get involved with an abusive situation? That’s not their “job.” I think the institutionalized evangelical church is full of corruption, just as we’re seeing the corruption in the Vatican. Take away their tax-exempt status and the tithes of the members. Let pastors hold down a real job, and feed the sheep as they should feel called to do. The rest of the razzle dazzle will fade away soon enough.

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  36. BeenThereDoneThat

    Yes – You write…
    “I think the institutionalized evangelical church is full of corruption, just as we’re seeing the corruption in the Vatican.”

    Hasn’t The Whole Religious System, for 1700 years, been/is *Totally Corrupt?*

    With…
    1 – Pastor/Elder/Overseers who do NOT meet the qualifications found in the Bible?
    …..(1. Must be Blameless. 2. Holy? 3. Just? 4. Rule well their own house? etc.)
    2 – Multiple thousands of denominations – NOT found in the Bible?
    …..(Baptist, Presbyterian., Catholic, Lutheran, Assembly of God. etc.)
    3 – Multiple Movements – NOT found in the Bible?
    …..(Reformed, Evangelical, Pentecostal, Emergent, etc.)
    4 – Abusive Heirarchy – Abusive Authoritarians – NOT found in the Bible?
    …..(Who Exercise Authority like the gentiles and lord it over God’s heritage.)
    5 – Traditions of men – NOT found in the Bible?
    …..(Money as a Tithe, Go to church, Join a church, church membership. etc).
    6 – Titles/Positions NOT in the Bible? Where is Pastor/Leader/Reverend in the Bible? Clergy? Doctor? Reverend? Most Holy Reverend? Cardinal? Pope? Senior Pastor? Lead Pastor? Executive Pastor? And the list goes on, and on, and…

    Titles – Titles – Everywhere – Except in the Bible. 😦
    Titles that come with – Power – Profit – Prestige – Honor – Glory – Recognition…

    Corrupt – Dictionary

    1 – showing a willingness to act dishonestly in return for money or personal gain.

    2 – debased or made unreliable by errors or alterations.

    3 – in a state of decay; rotten or putrid.

    Isn’t “Today’s Corrupt Religious System” filled with those having
    “a willingness to act dishonestly?” – And are after – Power – Profit – Prestige…
    1 – “money and personal gain” (Celebrity Pastors, Authors, Conference speakers.)

    2 – and make “Today’s Religious System” “unreliable by errors or alterations,” to the Bible. Alterations to – How the Bible describes “His Church?” Alterations to – How the Bible describes Qualifications for Overseer? Alterations to – How the Bible describes His Disciples? And the list goes on, and on, and…

    And because of these “errors and alterations” to the qualifications of Elder/Overseer
    3 – “The Corrupt Religious System” is “in a state of decay; rotten and putrid.”

    And folks are leaving by the millions. And turning to Jesus.

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  37. @A. Amos Love,

    “And folks are leaving by the millions. And turning to Jesus.”

    I have actually read in numerous blogs of “ex-_________” who have actually done that.

    I once looked up the word “Bishop”. The “religious” definition is overseer (Which the Catholics love that word), but it has another definition of “superintendent”. Below is an example of an overseer/superintendent (Bishop) – feeding the widows (taking care of people).

    Acts 6:1-5 (KJV)

    1 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.

    2 Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.

    3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.

    4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.

    5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:

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  38. A reader sent me this regarding Fred’s comment, They abandon Christianity all together, or develop a proctologist view of fundamentalism:

    proc·tol·o·gy (prk-tl-j)
    n.
    The branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of disorders affecting the colon, rectum, and anus

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  39. “Abuse in Church: Do church leaders really care? Show me the action!”

    “You have a saying: ‘Knowledge is a three-edged sword.’
    We too have a saying: ‘PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS!'”
    — Babylon-5

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  40. Been There Done That & Headless Unicorn Guy:
    Go to Personal Stories and report church abuse to that list and more.
    Headless Guy: Read 10 Lies Church Tells Women and his 2nd book of something to do with Men believing the Lies by J. Lee Grady. As one pastor told, CC wants women to be punching bags for their husbands, I agree heard it for over 30 years that why started taking it public (make sure you read chapter 10 of first book listed). “If your husband beats you to death and you die you win either way, it’s to the glory of God”, which God (many pastors give that advice alone with “you’re going to hell and something worse is doing to happen to your children if you don’t take back the husband who is molesting the kids”=TRUTH. Took it public and or “you’re backslidden for not wanting to stay in an alcholic/drug related marriage, CC’s/AG’S and many other’s give that advice. They don’t want their time, money going to help people, it’s a business but they want your money to be kept in their lifestyle=evil false hirelings wolves. .

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  41. Just Curious asks: What exactly is a ‘proctologist view of fundamentalism’??

    Just Curious – I’m afraid to know what a proctologist views fundamentally. Just sayin’ . . .

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  42. Do church leader’s really care?

    Genuinely, until it affects their tithe revenue. Then genuine concern becomes lip service. The tithe must flow.

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  43. I think a word that we may be leaving out is “charismatic.” I believe that if SGM wasn’t known to be “charismatic,” its “complaining” ex-members would not be as criticized as they are. I would go so far as to posit that words like “emotion-laden” and “out-of-control,” are particularly meant to refer to charismatics. I can’t prove it, and might be wrong, but Phil Johnson has been outspoken in his dislike of charismaticism, especially when it elevates emotion and downgrades thought. Frank Turk has been especially nasty about it; in an email to me, his attitude was pretty much, “Who cares about the whining charismatics at SGM?” Not surprisingly, his criticism doesn’t extend to Mahaney. (And MacArthur, of course, is well-known for his antipathy to it.)

    I attended an SGM church for only 5 or 6 months in 2011. From what I’ve heard, the emphasis on the “sign gifts” has been eroding since SGM became “Reformed” virtually overnight. I saw no evidence of them at CLC the short time I was there. But this label is still attached to SGM.

    Just for the record: I’m no charismatic. But it’s dreadfully unfair to minimize suffering because those experiencing it hold different doctrinal views – if, in fact, this is the pov of others besides Mr. Turk.

    Tom Chantry is a sort of third wheel at Pyro now. He recently wrote an article stating that no charismatic can be Reformed, which I doubt will bring too many tears to the eyes of too many. I think the article may be emblematic of the way that the Reformed view charismaticism. http://reformedbaptistfellowship.org/2013/02/20/this-is-why-charismatics-are-simply-not-reformed/

    I thought that Chantry was pretty gutsy to illustrate the article with photos of Mahaney, Piper, Driscoll, Grudem, and two others. But in the comments he says that Piper is not a charismatic (just someone who enables them), and that he has no control over the graphics.

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  44. Just FYI Janet Mefferd featured Detwiler on her show here
    http://www.janetmefferdpremium.com/2013/02/28/janet-mefferd-radio-show-20130228-hr-3/

    But I haven’t listened yet. On the whole I’ve enjoyed Janet so I’m sure she did a great job.

    I notice a few more people are catching on. That’s the best I personally can hope for, I don’t expect any who stuck their necks out and rebuked the complacent will get any apology from those who accused us of being discernment divas, let alone thanks for fighting to wake up the slumbering undershepherds. I guess that was never my motivation though.

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  45. terriergal – Long time no see 🙂 I haven’t listened to that particular interview, but I did hear the Mefferd interview with Attorney Susan Burke who represents the victims in the SGM lawsuit. She did a nice job on that interview.

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  46. Jeff said: Frank Turk has been especially nasty about it; in an email to me, his attitude was pretty much, “Who cares about the whining charismatics at SGM?” Not surprisingly, his criticism doesn’t extend to Mahaney. (And MacArthur, of course, is well-known for his antipathy to it.)

    and
    Just for the record: I’m no charismatic. But it’s dreadfully unfair to minimize suffering because those experiencing it hold different doctrinal views – if, in fact, this is the pov of others besides Mr. Turk.

    That is a fascinating observation. When I was reading Fred Butler’s blog (I hate to admit it) he was discussing the association thing and how John Mac does speak with people he may not agree with on all issues. The charismatic issue is definitely one in which he does not agree and you could be right that perhaps they are dismissing this whole group due to doctrinal differences. I’ll be watching for this among the Pyro/GCC folks. Very interesting, indeed! Thanks for mentioning it, Jeff.

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  47. I am late to the party on this one. I mention this because when I clicked to read the comments, I was unwittingly presented with the second page of comments before having seen the earlier ones. So the first thing I saw was someone’s question: “What is a proctologists’s view of the world?” My first thought upon seeing this was: I see Fred Butler’s been commenting again.

    No, I didn’t need to read the earlier comments to figure that one out. Mr. Butler (no pun intended) loves that expression. He sort of “borrowed” it from radio talk show host Dennis Prager, who is fond of saying that leftists take a “proctologist’s view of America,” implying that they view the U.S. from the worst possible — and least flattering — angle.

    So FWIW, I’m pretty sure that’s what he means by the expression, and I would bet a considerable sum that he got it from Prager.

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  48. I don’t know, Steve, I’m just stunned that those who call themselves pastors/church leaders don’t want to invest some time to educate themselves about abuse. Shepherds tend sheep, right? So, what’s the problem here?

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  49. Julie Anne: Off Topic: Remember I said I had problems with WordPress? Skim the comments and find that my comments here are either named “Steve Scott” with my blogger link, or “stevescottpew” with my dummy WP link. I don’t do anything differently. Weird. FWIW

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  50. Steve – I’m glad I’m not the only confused one with WP and commenting. Every time I try to comment on another WP account, it wants to put SpiritualSB as my name. I want it to say Julie Anne and I don’t know how to fix that. I don’t want to sign in to Blogger, because that connects with my old blog that is now closed for business. So, instead, I sign on using the URL/Name thing so I can use my name and it will link back here.

    How are you commenting? Thru WP? FTR, I didn’t notice the different names. I can consolidate them on my side if you like.

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  51. No, please don’t do anything. I just click on “leave a comment” and I think it’s a combination of the host site recognizing the IP address (or not) and whether the WP site recognizes me as having an account. Then it chooses.

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  52. Michael Card,

    I was perusing your websites and came across the question—What Would Jesus Brew?

    This echoes a question some of my beer-loving buddies and I entertain—What Would Jesus Drink?

    Here’s the thought experiment. What do we know of Jesus? He was all God and all human. And every human I know has a unique set of tastes—a unique complex of preferences, of appreciations, of pleasures. I know of no Spirit-filled two of us alike.

    I have many friends who love hoppy beer. Personally, I don’t like hops in anything other than a good imperial stout (fwiw, and imho, these heavy Russian and Baltic stouts make for best drinking during the deep winter months—they serve as meals in themselves for me sometimes.) However, my almost singular beer preference is for just a handful of Belgian Quads. My appreciation is very narrow here. Considering the vast spectrum of beers out there, my own pleasure represents but a thin sliver of the whole.

    What about Jesus? We know the man knows how to make good wine. I suppose in the Millennium and throughout eternity he’ll make or at least drink good beer, Right? So what sort of beer should we have on stock for Jesus when he comes around—what do you think our Master’s favorite style of beer might be? Maybe the Belgian Xmas beers? My speculation has Jesus employing his own special craftsmen to brew his own Jesus-specific beer pleasures according to his own royal recipes. At least that’s how I’d work it if I were King of Heaven and Earth. I’d want to save my time for playing tennis and golfing.

    In terms of beer, do you think Jesus would like everything? You know, whatever pours from the house taps is good with him? Do you think there might be a beer that Jesus would not care to drink? Just the smell of some hoppy beer makes me nearly vomit—but that’s unglorified me. What about Jesus?

    This is a deeply theological question—What Would Jesus Drink? For me it’s a question of personality, of personal taste, of finding more pleasure in one beer over another, even to the exclusion of others.

    Jesus had a favorite friend—John. He had his favorite women. And for being human I suspect he had quite a few favorite all-sorts-of-things. Do you think Jesus will be a better golfer than tennis player? Will Jesus be able to swim faster than me? These might appear to be silly questions, but what they lead me to believe is that God has given His Son a Bride so that the Spirit of the Most High God Himself might flesh the utter fullness of His pleasure out through a most perfect body of bodies—through a glorified kingdom-family of differentially-gifted children, every one imaging God through their unique personalities and pleasures.

    Confessions of a Bible Thumper:
    http://ww1.prweb.com/prfiles/2012/05/01/9461972/Confessions_MediaKit.pdf

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  53. Looks like Chuck O’Neal is spending his free evening after the Shepherds’ Conference reading my blog. How sweet. The e-mail on the above comment is his.

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  54. Editing my comment to reflect new information. I now believe that comment from “Chuck O’Neal” above is really Mrs. Tonya O’Neal. Waving “hi” to Tonya!!!!

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  55. Just saw “chuckles” the suing pastor and one of his minions here at Shepherds Conference. Surprised they allowed him to come.

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  56. Baptist4life said: Just saw “chuckles” the suing pastor and one of his minions here at Shepherds Conference. Surprised they allowed him to come.

    You are not the only one surprised:
    – “chuckles” smeered John MacArthur and Grace Community’s name fabricating a story that they encouraged him to sue me.
    – they had to do damage control, issuing a press release saying that was not true and explaining their stance on lawsuits
    – This is showing indiscretion on the part of Grace Community and their lot: they are overlooking the past history with “chuckles”, they are overlooking the fact that his ministerial license was revoked by the group of pastors who licensed him, they are overlooking his online behavior in having an attack blog against me and and a former member, they openly mock the court system which God has ordained by saying they didn’t have their day in court (we won the court case late July – Judge dismissed the lawsuit saying our words were not defamatory).

    Take a look at Phil Johnson’s words. He is John MacArthur’s right-hand man. He’s all bark, but no bite. If he was a man of his words, I do not believe “chuckles” would have been allowed to attend or John MacArthur would share a podium with CJ Mahaney:

    To sue a fellow Christian and to post backbiting complaints in public venues both violate the principle of 1 Cor. 6:1-8, it seems to me. However, church leaders who violate that principle will incur stricter judgment (James 3:1).

    Abusive and heavy-handed, high-control church leadership is a serious problem among some very conservative churches, and those of us who are conservative should speak out against it. If there were fewer control freaks in church leadership, I think there would also be fewer out-of-control complaint blogs.

    I say it again: where are the REAL men who will stand up against this craziness?

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