Biblical Counseling, Mental Health and the Church, Suicide

Biblical Counseling: Is it Always Safe? – And Pastoral Response to Abuse Survivor

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“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
 Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.

Matt. 5:3-4

Today I stumbled across a disturbing article at One Lost Child blog.  Blogger Cathy raises concerns regarding the care  women will receive at Freedom Home for Women under Dr. Jim Berg, Executive Director. The article can be found here:   Run! You’ll Find Bondage At “Freedom Home!”

The Freedom Home for Women is a facility using “Biblical counseling” in treating their clients.

 

Below is a brief 1-minute video about the counseling program at Freedom Home.   While watching the video, think about abuse victims:  it was not their sin that caused them to be abused.  Abuser sinned against innocent victims.   The premise of Biblical counseling is sin and addressing the personal sin in one’s life.

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Let’s take a closer look at the core of Biblical counseling:

A proper view of the psychology of Man acknowledges that humanity’s greatest ill is sin. The active sinful desires that emanate from the human heart serve always to move individuals away from God. The hostile, deceptive agenda of such desires promote destruction and corruption within the heart and life of Man. Biblical counsel points counselees to the Active Redeemer that they through Him might effectively confront and crucify the flesh. Romans 7:14-23, Galatians 5:19-21, Galatians 6:7-8, Ephesians 4:22-23 (Source)

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Here is another explanation of how Biblical counseling is used in dealing with behavioral problems:

Biblical counseling recognizes that man is responsible for his own behaviors and that guilt is “real” as a result of sin. It also recognizes that man’s problems result from him being a fallen sinner by choice and being drawn away by his own lusts. When man focuses on his own lusts (feelings) sin is conceived (James 1:13-14). The effects of sin causes problems in the man’s life. These problems then lead to bad feelings. The goal of Biblical counseling is to redirect the focus off of the “lust” (feelings) and onto “thinking” that reflects the mind of Christ.
Read more: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/what-is-biblical-counseling/#ixzz2e4I0ck8t

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As we think of Biblical counseling with abuse victims, we need to consider first they had to survive the initial abuse – the sin done to them – many times keeping it secret for years.  If they tried to speak out, many victims were shamed, not believed, minimized, etc.  Then, as a result of this non-response,  many turned to behaviors that numb the unbearable pain.  They may have developed addictions to drugs/alcohol, eating disorders, mental health problems, depression, etc.    The foundational issue that resulted in these bad behaviors was not their sin, but the sin inflicted on them by the abuser.  This is so important.

In Cathy’s article, Run! You’ll Find Bondage At “Freedom Home!, she appropriately raises the alarm that care providers at A Freedom Home may not have the proper education, training, and/or credentials to treat such challenging cases such as PTSD, substance abuse, etc.  She contacted them asking specific questions about the care women would receive:

While researching this calls were made asking about what medical care and medical professionals would be available to Freedom Home residents suffering from Anorexia, Bulimia, Depression, Suicidal thoughts, etc.  As we spoke the point was made that going “cold-turkey” off alcohol, and addictive substances (Drugs) is not a joke.  It’s frightening both to the person coming off addictive substances and to those witnessing it.  Going off substances “cold-turkey” can cause medical and psychiatric emergencies and in some cases lead to death.

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Cathy, who has a nursing background, inquired with detailed questions to address some of the more challenging issues:

Giving them the benefit of the doubt, I thought I wasn’t being clear.  I mentioned specific types psychiatric and emotional problems they claim from their website they’re going to deal with at Freedom Home.   To make myself clear to them, I even listed out specific needs that would be present in the various things they listed – such as PTSD, eating disorders, suicidal thoughts (by the way the correct term is Suicidal Ideation which can lead to Suicidal Acts.) etc. They said the residents would be forbidden *any* outside contact with medical or psychiatric professionals at least until after the first 6 months.  They insisted that they believe that a Bible discipleship class is the ONLY thing necessary and that they have made the decision that outside resources will NOT be permitted. Clients will have to agree to that before coming and “will be denied access to outside professionals.” 

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Obviously this facility is aware of the possibility of serious mental health challenges because take  a look at just this small screenshot taken from their application form:

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Screen shot 2013-09-05 at 6.06.57 PM
Source

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I was diagnosed with PTSD after experiencing a 7.9 earthquake in the Philippines.  I have yet to write that story, but briefly, I attempted Biblical counseling for several months to help with the flashbacks.  All the praying, confessing, forgiving, having faith, reading Bible, reciting Bible verses, trusting God did not do a thing to get rid of the tormenting aftershocks which were eating away at my life.  It wasn’t until I received professional help from a licensed Christian psychologist that I finally found relief.  So reading this story alarmed me.  I know that I could have died had I not received proper care.

Some people reading this will call me a heretic.  I don’t care.  All I know is that God provided the help I needed through a Christian psychologist and I’m alive today because of that help.

On the same blog article, I discovered a very disturbing comment from Pastor Al.  I don’t know who Pastor Al is, but he has the same kind of mentality that I have seen with so many who claim the Biblical counseling has all the answers to all of life’s problems.   Cathy gave me permission to copy his comment here.  Be sure to note that he is addressing an abuse survivor, a victim of someone else’s sin.  What do you observe in his response?

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Cathy,
I perceive you to be very bitter and you likely have not forgiven these people who you claimed “abused” you for their wrongs.

As far as Jim Berg saying he couldn’t help you. He was correct. You can’t be helped as long as bitterness lurks in your soul. The best thing for you to do will be to forgive and move on. You won’t ever forget–God doesn’t command that; but you must forgive.

We don’t know each other, but I also suspect that you’re a very deeply troubled, hurting, and lonely person. Your anger level precludes the possibility of your having too many friends, because bitter, angry people are like wounded dogs who snarl and lash out at those who attempt to get close enough to help them.

Until you see yourself as a sinner in need of God’s live and grace, you will never be healed. Once you’ve found salvation in Christ, God’s grace will enable you to forgive everyone–even your those who “abused” you. The choice is yours–allow bitterness to define your life, or find and extend forgiveness through Christ.

I am praying for you.

Pastor Al

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196 thoughts on “Biblical Counseling: Is it Always Safe? – And Pastoral Response to Abuse Survivor”

  1. “The very idea that God sent abuse to a person, especially a child, to bring about change, is an abusive statement in and of itself. And, I think, heretical.”

    That would be Martin Luther. Read the Heidelberg Disputation, it is saturated with the above^ circa 6 months after the 95 Theses Disputation. The HD was the magnum opus of Reformed thought.

    ANY person serious about helping the abused must prove it by disavowing Reformed theology in totality. That is where I stand, PERIOD.

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  2. Lost C,N,F
    I think you are swell, but I stand by my accusation of Boz. My problem with him is primarily his conspicuous silence about many things; for example, his serial abusing brother. You are an example of why Susan and I will not associate with ANY IFB pastor, and frankly, I don’t give a damn how nice any of them are. Birds of the feather flock together. Let Boz come out from among them and be separate, and I will gladly eat my words. Especially if he can do more than hold somebodies hand. Bottom line: the word of God and the police are free

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  3. paulspassingthoughts – we must disavow arithmetic because people used it to kill hundreds of thousands of other people with nuclear weapons. Unless you are meaning a very specific doctrine, but you said “totality.”

    “ANY person serious about helping the abused must prove it by disavowing Reformed theology in totality. That is where I stand, PERIOD.”

    just thinking here. there may be some things indeed wrong, with any brand of theology that encompasses much of man’s opinions regarding application. when scripture is silent, we should be too. in matters of what God intended, when man fills the gap with rhetoric, man is very capable of being wrong whether he believes what is called reformed doctrine or progressive (potentially two extremes) and everything in between.

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  4. Ric,

    Let me say this and then start behaving myself by staying focused on tonight’s message for our home fellowship. Ideology drives behavior. Reformed theology was not exegeted from the Bible–they went to the Bible to find proof for an ideology; ie., a specific presupposition regarding mankind. That core ideology fuels 95% of the abuse going on in the church today. Get rid of Reformed theolgy; that will end the abuse. Keep people away from Reformed theology; that will protect them from abuse.

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  5. I don’t give a rats a$$ who thinks I’m swell or if I’m thought of as the biggest B***** there is!

    I am just one of about 60 witnesses so far during the GRACE/BJU who’ve been treated with kindness, empathy without judgement. GRACE is working to uncover decades of filth that goes as far back as the 50’s and 60’s in some cases. In those cases, any SOL has long since ran out.
    WE Bob Jones Survivors, of all people know what its like to be accused with nothing but guilt by association. For this reason, I need more than guilt by association (Boz’s faith, his brother, his grand-father, etc etc) to convince myself and my fellow BJU/IFB survivors Most of us for the first time in our lives have finally been heard and *believed*! I know of some who have been helped in reporting the crimes against them to Law Enforcement by GRACE. It was more than GRACE “holding the victims hand.” Much more…

    So, once again, paulspassingthoughts please back up your claims of fraud, abuse and the other accusations by Boz and/or GRACE and I will be GRACE’s worst enemy.
    Logical fallacy’s won’t do it.

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  6. Lost child,

    Please hear me. My prayer for you is justice and peace. My concern for all the abused is that they are NOT used over and over again in that pursuit. That is why I ask the bigger questions. I have seen first hand the nefarious behavior of Ken Sande and Peacemakers and Ambassadors of Reconciliation that literally revictimizes people all over again…all in the Name of Jesus. I know they are not the same types of groups as GRACE but I have concerns. Especially when the abusive organization is paying them to investigate.

    I am not making any declarative statements about them. I don’t know enough. I am asking larger questions. I am only concerned for victims who again trust another organization. I am just cautioning folks.

    Be wise as serpents and gentle as doves.

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  7. I too was hurt by a “Calvanista” pastor and church. I won’t go into all the details here, (Julie Anne knows the details) but here is the Cliff Notes version.
    I thought I had escaped and left the abusive church environment behind when I discovered my husband and I found what is now becoming known as “Calvanista” church.
    The IFB churches I grew up and attended, BJU, I knew they were abusive. It was obvious.

    As so often occurs with those who attempt to rebuild their lives after leaving an abusive environment (leaving an home with abusive parents, marriage, a high-demand environment such as BJU or dare I say the word, cult here? etc.)
    With the “Calvanista” church, I didn’t see it coming…. Until it was too late.
    Under all that “freedom”–it was the same old abuse. When I took notice and started questioning the pastoral staff, My hubby and I found ourselves under Church Discipline.

    However…they were even sneaky about that. I was called in under false pretenses and given the “star chamber” treatment. I didn’t know it had a name–“star chamber” treatment until recently, all I knew it was very confusing and painful.
    I’d been hurt over and over at BJU and the IFB churches, but because of this “gang-up” or “star-chamber” experience, it destroyed my ability to trust pastors, and really makes it hard to trust anyone because I wanted so much to believe in the good character of my pastor.

    Every one of the pastoral staff was a graduate of Bob Jones University. They don’t even list that on the bio’s on the webpage or tell you unless you ask them specifically where they obtained their degrees. Seems to be all in vogue in recent years for pastors to hide the little fact they’re BJU grads.
    For my job, I must undergo Federal Background and security clearances. I can’t hide that fact I attended BJU (even though the training I have was not what I majored in at BJU) and remained employed. Most employers will fire employees who are found to lie on applications or during the hiring process…. why is it Okay for some of these “Calvanista” pastors who claim they’re not IFB —that they’d found freedom— but they need to mislead their sheep?

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  8. “So, once again, paulspassingthoughts please back up your claims of fraud, abuse and the other accusations by Boz and/or GRACE and I will be GRACE’s worst enemy.
    Logical fallacy’s won’t do it.”

    Again, I know nothing about Boz but this above is a serious problem for abuse victims. “Proof” is demanded. Many times abuse cannot be proved. Especially spiritual abuse for many reasons but mainly because the person on stage or with a title is usually believed. But we can look at patterns of behavior and connect dots.

    How truly objective can an organization be that is being paid to investigate another organization by the organization they are investigating? That is a red flag for me and only because I am concerned for the victims who are so trusting. And from what I have seen with Peacemakers and Ambassadors of Reconciliation. It causes me to ask hard questions. Demanding proof is also a way not believing someone who might have serious concern for those abused. I doubt there will ever be proof as many in those situations have a way of making there is never any real documented proof. For me, proof could be in a contract I signed that I might not have that said you agree to mediation and never sue. There are red flags to be considered.

    so, I hope you know I am on your side. I want to see justice for those heinously treated. Not for them to be used again to save an institution that needs to go out of business.

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  9. LCNF,

    Proof? The ABWE fiasco. What’s he doing to make that right? Leaving the “case” open? Classic. .

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  10. Reformed theology was not exegeted from the Bible–they went to the Bible to find proof for an ideology; ie., a specific presupposition regarding mankind. That core ideology fuels 95% of the abuse going on in the church today. Get rid of Reformed theolgy; that will end the abuse.”

    I will add that “Reformed theology” in variations is in most Protestant/Evangelical churches in America today. So don’t be fooled. Where does “obey your pastor” come from? Where does “original sin” come from? Where does “sinners sin” (as in you continue to live in sin even after salvation which even the seekers believe) come from?

    These things do NOT come from scripture. They are read back into it with all the proof texting and the Augustine/Calvin filter. The really shocking thing is that what most evangelicals have been taught about original sin comes from Augustine, the father of the Catholic church. You see this stuff at seeker churches like Saddleback, the IFB, SBC, etc, etc.

    It is moral chaos and one of the things that makes molesting children not really a big deal. After all, sinners sin even after salvation. At some point, we have to say, believers do NOT molest or abuse children. And mean it—- no matter what they bring against us.

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  11. LCNF

    Would you like a list of things Boz could do to totally scorch ABWE? Where is the beef? Why is Sandusky in jail? The boys at ABWE made that look like a picnic. For crying out loud, they kidnapped one of the victims and put her in the care of handlers. LCNF, as a fellow victim of abuse, let me say this to as lovingly as I can: “Grow up.”

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  12. LCNF:

    As you have seen demonstrated here, Paul does not mince words. He lost a marriage due to spiritual abuse of the worst kind based on Calvinist doctrine. His experience compelled him to dig deeper and study and so the words you read from him and the strong voice is coming directly from a heart that has been severely pained. He does not want that to happen to anyone again. I know that sometimes it’s hard to read that message when reading his words because he can be abrasive. Paul and I have spoken a number of times and I believe his heart is very sincere. I don’t always like the tone, but whatever – we all communicate differently. I consider where he has come from when reading him. (And frankly, I’m quite a bit ranty here and I think you all give me grace to rant knowing my background.)

    Paul does not want you to be hurt and so his strong words are words of warning to you. I also have corresponded with Boz. I think I know his heart, too. His heart is to protect and defend the abused. Do I think Boz would hurt you? No.

    There is a very good chance that the BJU investigation will work out in your favor. Paul and Lydia are just trying to warn you that because of the foundational ideology, there’s a chance that you may be left feeling abandoned again if it doesn’t work out in your favor.

    Any time there is criminal activity involved, I believe the first call should be to the police. Rom 13:1-5. Our laws are here for a reason – and they are to provide justice and protect innocent victims:

    Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

    See, it doesn’t make sense to turn over abusers to church leaders when God has established this system in place for your benefit – for the benefit of those who are abused: They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.

    Why do Christians intervene in this process when God wants to use the civil authorities – agents of wrath – to bring punishment on the wrongdoer?

    This has been really eye-opening to me.

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  13. JA, I know I know I should shut up but I can’t!!! I really think many Christians think there is a “Christian” way to handle these heinous crimes internally. Many times the “Christian” way is worse and enables more evil to occur.

    I got a wake up call myself on this very thing years back from an old college friend who is now a judge and agnostic. . He asked me why Christians pack out the courtroom when there is a hearing on zoning laws for porn shops demanding the strictest laws possible but then they pack out a courtroom for a “pedophile” Christian not only giving “character witness” but begging for leniency! To him, it made no sense at all.

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  14. Thanks Julie, I hope LCNF will take those words as from me as well. I could not have said it better, and my passion for this issue needed your wise intervention.

    God’s speed to her, and an abundance of God’s peace and joy.

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  15. lydiasellerofpurple:

    I am very familiar with Ambassadors for Reconciliation.
    I ran from them.

    GRACE isn’t about reconciliation, it’s about justice.

    Are you’re referring to Peacemakers Christian Family Counseling?

    Again, not impressed. I’ve not found counseling who hangs out it on its shingle the fact they’re a Christian Counselor helpful for me.
    I am a nurse who happens to be a Christian. I don’t walk in and announce, “I’m a Christian Nurse, I’ll be taking care of you today…
    I find those who hang out on their shingle they’re a Christian counselor/therapist have an agenda. It’s not helpful for me.

    I do go to a therapist who is a Christian, but he is a doesn’t advertise himself as a “Christian Therapist.”

    Again, GRACE doesn’t do that. Boz explained it this way. While he was a prosecutor he found many churches and Christians mishandled victims and these cases. That’s why he set up GRACE. It’s to help victims, but to also educate pastors what to do and what NOT to do when,not if, they face this issue in their church or para-church organization.

    I would suggest attending one of his Seminars. Its was very enlightening as to his approach is much different than *any* other Christian organization I’d heard from.

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  16. “That’s why he set up GRACE. It’s to help victims, but to also educate pastors what to do and what NOT to do when,not if, they face this issue in their church or para-church organization.”

    Thanks for the explanation and I totally agree with you about people hanging out their plastic fish shingle. Just BE a Christian, right?

    As to the above, what does he do when the leaders are the ones who either abused, molested or are those who hid it for years? To be REAL honest with you, and I don’t mean any disrespect at all, but exactly what is there to educate a pastor on? If a law was broken or there is an accusation a law MIGHT have been broken, one calls the authorities. So why is that so hard for “pastors” or para church organization.

    I ask you as food for thought even though I know the answer. (Image management)

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  17. JA, I know I know I should shut up but I can’t!!! I really think many Christians think there is a “Christian” way to handle these heinous crimes internally. Many times the “Christian” way is worse and enables more evil to occur.

    Funny, this is what I just posted in the comments on the next article:

    What should have happened:
    1. Notify police
    2. immediately care for victim’s family with plan in place for meals, yardwork, OUTSIDE counseling, etc.

    The time to take care of the perpetrator is after the abuse victims are cared for. Let the civil court system do its process first and then deal with the spiritual ramifications, if necessary, while the perpetrator is behind bars.

    Good grief, we have it so backwards at churches.

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  18. GRACE isn’t about image management. I do understand your concerns. I had to check them out really carefully.

    Unfortunatly, pastors from ALL groups have NOT reported these crimes. Boz was a prosecutor for nearly 20 years. He knows what Christians do when these crimes are perpetrated in His name.

    Go check out GRACE/Boz. I’ve found them all very approachable. Ask them whatever questions you have. GRACE isn’t about damage control.

    Go to a GRACE seminar if you ever have an opportunity. I did, told no one who I was, just paid at the door when I arrived.

    I’m very non-trusting. It takes a lot to *earn* my trust—even more-so, if one claims to be a Christian. I looked extremely hard to find cases where Boz was a defense attorney, or Boz or GRACE otherwise defended a perp, I couldn’t find any such cases. When I was contacted by GRACE concerning BJU, I didn’t talk to them about my case before I asked them if I could speak with a few people who had been involved in one of their prior investigations. I gave them my number and those people called and we talked….THEN once I was satified to spoke with an investigator and asked HER a lot of questions. One of the first things I asked involved confidentiality. I made it *very* clear I was trusting them and IF they dared breach that trust “God help you.”

    I gave them every opportunity to run away, but they didn’t. I was very impressed when my face-to-face interview rolled around at the care they took to make me comfortable as well as the professionalism of the Team.

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  19. Lost,child,

    does it concern you that Bob Jones is paying GRACE to investigate Bob Jones?

    Why would Bob Jones U do that? Could it be to fend off a lawsuit?

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  20. Lydia, others: since the question has been at least eluded to several times, maybe BJU could be paying GRACE since someone needs to pay them. Also, though not knowing the history of leadership at BJU, could it be that the current leadership is not the same as leadership responsible for the issues, or, worried about image. I don’t consider being naive a positive trait, gift of the Spirit, or love, but to unduly hold suspicion of an organization merely because they are being paid to provide a service can’t be a right attitude.

    Just some thoughts. Maybe I’m in left field on this, but at least there is an investigation (?). I don’t believe BJU could ask civil authorities to do the same (internal investigation on a religious organization), although, I would expect civil authorities to get and be involved with, or initiate all criminal investigations warranted and those requiring warrant based on facts that may become known, even from the investigation by a civil organization.

    bottom line. at this point, no reason to speculate negatively, or positively, except for historical precedent by GRACE, on the integrity of GRACE’s investigation.

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  21. “I don’t consider being naive a positive trait, gift of the Spirit, or love, but to unduly hold suspicion of an organization merely because they are being paid to provide a service can’t be a right attitude.”

    Ric, If you think asking questions (uncomfortable questions) upfront is a wrong attitude we probably don’t have much to discuss because we come from very different positions. I have heard every single spiritually abusive leader pretty much say the same thing. Some even call it sinning by questioning. How do you know I “unduly hold” suspicion? What makes it unduly?

    What you think is a wrong attitude, I think is wisdom.

    I simply ask if one can be truly objective when they are paid by same organization to “investigate” them. I also asked “why” they would be hired to investigate them.

    I could very well be there is different leadership and they are prepared to take the HUGE financial hit that would come from this being very public with all the gory details of what was done. If so, I applaud them.

    Does anyone know? Has anyone seen the contract that GRACE signed with Bob Jones?

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  22. Hi Lydia: i’m not attacking you, I’m questioning the subject matter. on the same token, you sound as if I don’t have my own “story” (reasons to be concerned or history of abusive leadership) well, I have plenty. if I’m being overly sensitive, i apologize.

    unduly? to answer your question regarding the term, when we automatically assume sinful activity by an organization just because they were hired to do something, with without any negative, documented historic record, with their credentials on display, and stance against abuse, i would esteem that as unduly. (unduly: excessively; immoderately). this would be beyond merely being wise. Such as Proverbs expresses, seeing danger and hiding oneself from it.

    being concerned about a potential issue with conflict of interest would certainly be reasonable (this relates my naive statement), but what I’ve observed in this thread, concern has exceeded that.

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  23. Ric, Still I think my questions are appropriate. I would want to see the contract signed between Bob Jones U and Grace before I cooperated. Why would that be a bad thing. Christian organizations should be transparent, right?

    Paul asks good questions about what happened with ABWE. I would almost have fewer questions if they had hired a secular organization to “investigate” them and let the chips fall where they might.

    You cannot Christianize evil.

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  24. lydia – yea, I can understand that. and seeing the contract? most likely a good thing when one is involved. transparency is good, unless it reveals victims private information to the public. that wouldn’t be good and would prevent other victims and witnesses from coming forward.

    are there secular organizations that investigate these things upon request? pro-bono?

    I read the letter from GRACE regarding ABWE; sounded rather harsh toward ABWE to me.

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  25. “lydia – yea, I can understand that. and seeing the contract? most likely a good thing when one is involved. transparency is good, unless it reveals victims private information to the public. that wouldn’t be good and would prevent other victims and witnesses from coming forward”

    The report would be more likely to be embarrassing to the organization where systematized evil took place for decades. There is no need to use names of victims. did you read the SGM lawsuit? Only names of those victims who chose to use their real names were on it.

    Not sure why a contract would mention victims names. It should outline the parameters of the investigation and the final product desired. What is that product? A report for Bob Jones? Then what?

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  26. lydia: yes to the SGM lawsuit. still pending. guess I jumped ahead to the findings, too. AOR published reports on SGM, but I was unhappy with their process and report. however, I expected such as my expectation was in line with the denomination AOR is from. that may sound bad, but it was just what I had thought.

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  27. Ric, what is ironic is that AoR probably upped their credibility with other churches that might hire them.

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  28. LCNF

    Would you like a list of things Boz could do to totally scorch ABWE? Where is the beef? Why is Sandusky in jail? The boys at ABWE made that look like a picnic. For crying out loud, they kidnapped one of the victims and put her in the care of handlers. LCNF, as a fellow victim of abuse, let me say this to as lovingly as I can: “Grow up.”

    Paul, I’ve stewed about your comment to LCNF for the last few hours. The same nasty feeling hasn’t left me and so I think I need to address it. I’m feeling uncomfortable with the last part of your comment “grow up.” I really don’t understand how that comment is helpful at all. If you knew LCNF’s story, you would not even mention the abuse you have incurred. I don’t know that I’ve heard of a more horrific story.

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  29. Lost,child,

    does it concern you that Bob Jones is paying GRACE to investigate Bob Jones?

    Why would Bob Jones U do that? Could it be to fend off a lawsuit?

    My first impression/reaction? “MONEY TALKS.”

    And Money is saying to put the whitewash on with a firehose.

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  30. JA,
    So we are going to compare abuses? Her abuse was worse than my abuse? Really? First, that assumes I have told the whole story. Second, I had my only son taken from me and had to work 3 years to get him back into my life. Third, I was abused as a child. Only Susan knows about that by the way–until now.

    I find the pass Boz is getting for the ABWE fiasco utterly repulsive. “Grow up” may have been the wrong choice of words, perhaps, “wise up” would be better.

    Nevertheless, why all the fuss? I hope I have to eat my words for her sake. I would love it. So, time will tell what the Boz has. Let’s see it Boz—show us what you have. Show us that you can get something done.

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  31. I find the pass Boz is getting for the ABWE fiasco utterly repulsive. “Grow up” may have been the wrong choice of words, perhaps, “wise up” would be better.

    The point is not about comparing abuse stories, telling an abuse survivor to “grow up” or “wise us” are both rude comments directed to a person (AKA personal attacks). They are telling them they are not where they need to be. It’s not appropriate here. It seems what you are trying to say is “be careful.” That is appropriate. That shows concern and doesn’t shame a person.

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  32. I wanted to add to Lydiasellerofpurple’s comments from Sept 6. You are right Pastor Al was way off in his response. I have though, at times seen survivors of abuse that have become bitter and it makes me sad for them, because their abuser still has the ability to control and hurt them.

    I think he like so many others misunderstands what forgiveness really is. In addition to what you said, forgiveness of those who hurt us is a gift not to them but to ourselves. It’s finding a way to remove the damaging anger from our hearts so that it doesn’t poison us. It’s taking back our control so that the thought of the abuser doesn’t hurt us the same way anymore. It doesn’t releive the abuser of guilt, responsibilty or need for punishment for their actions and it doesn’t mean their punishment should be lessened. It has nothing to do with the abuser at all. It allows us to move from damaging abuser controlled hurt and anger to righteous anger that moves us to protect ourselves and others. Forgiveness doesn’t mean having relationship, forgetting or condoning. It means you don’t have the ability to hurt me anymore with the actions you previously committed. And it takes time, by time I mean it takes years.

    I was abused by a stepparent. At 12 I was blessed to see and recognize how the anger and bitterness of some I knew in abusive situations was destroying their life. Their abuser still had the power. It’s like your comment about vengence. They seemed to think that by acting out they were hurting their parents. I took the tack of my indifference to you and my success in spite of you will hurt you more. In reality, it didn’t hurt him at all, but it allowed me to forgive, to reclaim my life and to have a life I wanted. He doesn’t hurt me now. His memory doesn’t hurt me. But I find myself up in arms for other victims of any type of abuse and that’s where I get angry now.

    The other big part is that the abuser is the only one responsible. Not me, not Cathy, not any victim of any type of abuse. The “punishments” I received were out of proprotion to the “offenses” I committed. In sexual abuse, I don’t care how old the child was, how he/she was dressed, or what they said, they are the victim and have no responsibility for what happened to them. The fact that some pretend they do only serves to make it harder for them to heal and to give themselves the gift of forgiveness.

    I forgave my ex-stepdad. I haven’t told him because it has nothing to do with him. It’s a gift I gave myself. The gift of reclaiming my life, of letting go of hurt and anger, of not letting his actions continue to define me. It took over a decade of conciously trying to do those things. I would think I had done it and it would come up again. You are right not all anger is bitterness.

    What I hope for all abuse survivors is that they find peace, that they can move from that hurtful anger, that the abusor or their memory no longer has the ability to control or hurt them.

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  33. paulspassingthoughts:

    You don’t know me. You have no right to tell me to “grow up.” Nor do you have the right to feign that you’re worried about little old me because GRACE may hurt me.

    There is only one man who that get’s that right, and he’s the man who shares my life. The man who knows me and has stuck with me through PTSD episodes that made even my psychiatrist cry when my psychiatrist realized what it was I was re-living….

    My feelings have been hurt before. Plenty of time. Mostly by Christians. The

    I can take up for myself if GRACE goes there. Besides GRACE has some major credentials (like law licenses to lose) if they do breach my trust…and they know I know it!

    I’ve been beaten, starved, brutally raped, child-sex trafficked, purposely burned and left with 2nd and 3rd degree burns over 61% of my body, nearly murdered and left for dead…and more….
    There’s nothing GRACE can even *dream* of doing to me that hasn’t already been done—short of murder. (And I don’t believe they want to do ANYTHING that would hurt me.)

    I’ve had extensive conversations with the GRACE lead investigator before I ever sat down to interview.
    Then the face-to-face interview with the Team…
    Then another phone conference a few weeks ago….

    Trust is something difficult to get from me….So far, they have earned it. But, for me earning trust is an ongoing process.

    Calvanists don’t have anything on the Arminians in area of abuse and how it’s, to put mildly, mis-handled. And the Arminians can be just as cruel as the Calvanists, I assure you.

    I asked for hard proof and all you did was attack me. Perhaps you need to back up dude. You remind me of someone I know who thinks *ALL* IFB pastors are child-rapists. According to her the IFB church movements all a great big huge child-sex trafficking ring. While a high demand group such as the IFB may make it easier for child abusers to find a safe—basic statistics don’t even begin to bear out her statements.

    It’s *Christians* who have a huge problem in this area.
    Whether it be *Christians* from mainline denominations (example: Catholics), Whether they be *Christians* from Evangelical circles such as Sovereign Grace, etc, *Christians* from Southern Baptists, *Christians* from Independent Fundamental Baptists (who believe Southern Baptists are headed for hell because they’re “compromises) Whether it be *Christians* who are Mennonite or *Christians* from sects such as Mormons and Seventh-Day Adventists and Old Order Amish….

    If anyone out there doesn’t realize that the *Universal Church* has had a bit of a problem on their hands, then they must have had one heck of a hangover to sleep this long. There have been crimes committed against youth by clergy, crimes that were covered up for many years. When a story breaks concerning a clergy member who has abused young people in the past. The response online in Catholic forums are no different from the Conservative evangelical forums which are eerily similar to fundamentalists I grew up and was abused in- “We don’t know what really happened”… “We shouldn’t speak ill of God’s man”… blah blah blah.

    Anyone up for an ostrich egg omelette?

    Here’s a thought: Perhaps a little humility would go a long way.
    Instead of defending the clergy member who is accused, or attacking accusers over the veracity of their claims, maybe, just maybe, someone could have apologized. Maybe, just maybe, some sorrow could have been shown. Often lost in the discussion of these types of cover-ups and pastoral sins, is the flinging of “get over it” or “get saved” and “forgive” tracts at such situations, is the fact that a child was defiled. A crime was committed against someone’s son or daughter. These occurrences are not a chance to make some college money in a court of law, nor are they a chance to stomp an apologetic mud-hole in the church nor someone attacking the Church and milking it dry.

    Lawsuits most often occur in these cases, because the victims weren’t heard for DECADES and have no other recourse. Most survivors I’ve met don’t want the churches money in the long run. Most survivors want an apology! That apology also needs to followed up not only with a promise to do better in the future, but action taken to never cover up for abuse and attack the veracity of victims claims.

    While I’m on this subject, I don’t think that the pressing of charges against pastors who may be senile for crimes they committed 35 years ago is out of the question. The men who perpetuated these crimes and/or covered up for these crimes did so with full knowledge of what they were doing. The fact they’re old now, means nothing. They made a choice to stand on their arrogance rather than to apologize and repent. Instead they made that choice to answer every accusation by circling the wagons and accuse any reporter as being a pawn in the liberal game. They, and only they–not the victims– made their choice to sow the wind and I think they should be allowed to reap the whirlwind.

    Yet, here is a group of Christians, GRACE attempting to do something to *change* that that can be focused on is the man who is the head is a Presbyterian? http://www.stufffundieslike.com/2013/09/guilty-by-association/

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  34. Where’s the concern for the ladies who will be seriously harmed, perhaps a few will leave in body bags from Jim Berg’s Freedom Home?

    That man has *at least* ONE DOZEN suicide attempts in his past from his counseling days at BJU. Those are just the attempts of which I’m personally aware.

    I understand there are at least a few who have completed suicide who no longer have a voice because their bodies are buried in the ground….. The true and *emergent* horror is that topic from OP has been lost in this whole thread.

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  35. For some reason, I’m having problems with formatting this morning. Everything looks okay until I hit “enter” and there are spaces and paragraph breaks where none were before…Maybe its because I’m doing this from my phone? Anyway sorry for the mistakes and typo’s.

    Mod note: I think I got it fixed for you, LCNF.

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  36. “What I hope for all abuse survivors is that they find peace, that they can move from that hurtful anger, that the abusor or their memory no longer has the ability to control or hurt them.”

    dm, That can come in all sorts of ways, though. No matter what a victim does they are called bitter. Trying to seek justice is not bitterness. It protects future victims. Some need therapy to deal with intense problems that stem from abuse. In fact, moving to anger can be a sign of healing. And we all know that Christians are the first ones to declare ANY anger as bitterness and a sin. I say we be careful. I worry about people who do not love basic justice. And I will tell you after many years on blogs and in the seeker movement few Christians I have come across, and I am talking thousands, really care about basic justice when it is one of their own. They tend to by default side with their institution or favorite guru. They think this is grace and even brag about how forgiveness will wipe the criminal/evil activity away.

    I think most of Christendom is desensitized to real sin, to be honest. They spend a lot of time rationalizing it away. It is a sin to disagree with the pastor but child molester is same sinner as the victim. There is more of that thinking out there than I think most imagine. They honestly believe that one can molest a child with the indwelling Holy Spirit. After all, sinners just keep on sinning after salvation.

    We get our doctrine wrong a lot on all sides.

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  37. lostchild, I am hoping there are convictions and prison time. I don’t care if they are 90 years old now.

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  38. “You remind me of someone I know who thinks *ALL* IFB pastors are child-rapists. According to her the IFB church movements all a great big huge child-sex trafficking ring. While a high demand group such as the IFB may make it easier for child abusers to find a safe—basic statistics don’t even begin to bear out her statements. ”

    That could be because of the Hyles/Schaap situation which has gotten tons of media attention over the last 10 years and it kept coming. Did you ever see his daughter’s talk on TED? She literally had to run away. From what I gather from some contacts, the IFB Hyles branch literally owns most of Hammond, Indiana.

    There are huge problems in Christendom all over the denominational map. There is serious corruption in institutions who claim to be for God. And we can trace it back to the idea that we are to follow a human leader as the Body. One reason the Reformation gets tagged is because it replaced the sacraments center stage with the preacher and we evolved from them having state church power to celebrity/God’s appointed agents to us– type of thinking. That is protestant thinking. (The Catholic priest scandal is a whole other situation)

    And many narcissists and sociopaths are attracted to center stage. Where else can you find a career where a group of people pay you to tell them how to think and live? So instead of being accountable to those who pay you, you are accountable to no one except some hand picked yes men. It really is ridiculous how the whole thing is set up. It should be no surprise what we are seeing come out today. And we need to clean it up and warn others.

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  39. Julie,
    Well Julie, there is a lot I could say here if I wanted to keep it personal, but let me just state it simply: Peacemakers and GRACE et al have been in business how long now? Now look at the Christian landscape; horrific, ABWE, SGM, IFB, BJU, and on and on. Now, where is the beef? There isn’t any. Now, look at the cases where folks went straight to the authorities. They are batting 1000. Penn what? Did something happen over there? Jack who? Christian mediation organizations are clearly ENABLING ABUSE and controlling the victims in the same way the abusers did. And by the way, at least one pastor begged Peacemakers to intervene and stop CCC from ripping my life apart. They refused. Do you know why? The church that was persecuting me declared me an unbeliever and they don’t get involved with “unbelievers.” LOL! But the same pastor was told that they would get involved if I sued CCC! Need I say more? And curiously, I have told some certain bloggers who inquired about it that I would go on the record according. But apparently, exposing these organizations would, “rob the victims of hope.”

    Good grief.

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  40. Oh, he was also told that they would consider getting involved if I went back and submitted to my abusers—almost forgot about that one.

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  41. Paul, there were even a few convictions out of PDI/SGM for the victims who DEFIED their pastors and went to the authorities. But what did AoR do? Revictimized them again.

    I am afraid there is a mindset out there that thinks there is a “Christian” way to deal with evil perpetuated by other professing Christians and the evil that is institutionalized with a Christian name. There isn’t a “Christian” way to deal with evil. That can be the worst way because it often enables or protects it.

    I sincerely hope that is not the case. I went and read Boz’ response to ABWE’s accusations toward Grace. So what now? That is the big question. it came to nothing.

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  42. Lydia, your observation is striking; this is a practical issue as much as a spiritual one–that can’t be dichotomized. Yet, note the emphasis on handling these situation is a “gospel centered” way. Add creepiness.

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  43. Paul, I don’t care what you say about other organizations. I don’t care what you say about doctrine. Have at it. You have the floor. (I think you know we are in agreement on many of these issues.) I do care that survivors are treated respectfully here. This is supposed to be a safe place. “Grow up” is not respectful. That’s all.

    Keep spouting off about what you know is wrong. You have opened many eyes. I’m thankful for the things you have taught me (even if I don’t understand all the big words. Lol).

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  44. “Lydia, your observation is striking; this is a practical issue as much as a spiritual one–that can’t be dichotomized. Yet, note the emphasis on handling these situation is a “gospel centered” way. Add creepiness.”

    These issues should be dealt with law-centeredness – the law that God ordained thru civil authorities for the purpose of dealing with horrific injustices. Perhaps God knew a thing or two about appropriate justice that the church can’t handle. Go figure.

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  45. Lydia, I agree. Anger is a step in the healing process. And I was very clear I thought that seeking justice is different. There’s different types of anger and I was trying to clearly differentiate the anger that is hurtful and basically allowing the abuser to live rent free in our heads and the next type of anger that is seeking justice and taking control of ourselves. I see a difference between anger and bitterness. I don’t think all victims are bitter. And I agree that everyone’s path to that place is different, we all greive differently and heal differently and there is NOTHING wrong with that. I fully support victims finding the help they need to get there, whether they take the path with a few supporting friends or they go to a professional counselor (and I do not include what I know of “biblical counseling” in that category). I was speaking as someone who survived a different abuse than is typically discussed on this blog, but abuse nonetheless. I know the anger first hand. I know the healing that took decades. I don’t credit God or any church actually with my healing. It took time and a hell of a lot of effort to get where I am today 30+ years later. My hope for survivors has nothing to do with whether or not they seek justice. I think for many seeking justice is an iimportant step that they need to take. I don’t think wanting your abusor to face the consequences of their actions is bitter. Sometimes when the victim is blamed for the actions of their abuser, or when they are not allowed to seek justice, when they recieve bad counsel and not the help and understanding they deserve, that hurt can turn to bitterness. When it does, I greive for that person because they didn’t deserve that. There are many of us however, that aren’t bitter. I thought I stated that clearly but apparently not.

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  46. Julie Anne,
    I admit the statement was harsh, and I did retract it, and I would ask her forgiveness as well, but I have a feeling that forgiveness granted comes with Boz kudos attached. That’s not going to happen. Look, I understand where she is coming from. I have heard all about how I am robbing victims of hope by calling out these organizations. But in regard to a “Godly response,” how’s that working for us? I have a question: Isn’t the very involvement of an organization like GRACE insinuate, “nothing essentially criminal here folks.” Doesn’t it put forth the motif that everyone is a sinner saved by GRACE and should meet at the River of Love?

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  47. Here’s the problem with GRACE: since it’s a para-church organization, it will always have the shadow of favoritism following it. Why does it have to be a solely Christian organization investigating these Christian institutions? No matter how good a person Boz is and the rest are, there can never be a real image of objectivity from them. Besides, how many people who have left the church for whatever reason don’t know how the word “Godly” is used as code language? If BJU and whoever has hired GRACE were truly interested in an objective review of their actions and ethics, then it wouldn’t matter whether the organization is Christian in nature. A secular, governmental, or true interfaith (that means Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, HIndus, et al. in addition to Christian) organization would have much more credibility to the average outside observer. Oh, right, we know all those people from other faiths can’t be “Godly.”

    Real people in the real world aren’t interested one bit if a church institution’s actions are judged to be “Godly” or “Biblical”, they’re interested in the truth about the right and wrong of a groups ethics. Of course, any church institution that hires a Christian organization to investigate them have already proven that they’re too cowardly to have the rest of the world take a look at them. The tired old canard of “them gays/atheists/gub’mint is out to persecute us” is nothing but a pile of horse muffins, and everyone knows it.

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  48. Don’t know, but I wonder: in all of GRACE’s literature electronic info, is the concept of “justice” or the word itself anywhere to be found? And if not, why?

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  49. Paul, it’s okay to treat survivors respectfully AND speak out against organizations/doctrines loudly.

    How much time do you devote to this stuff? This is your ministry. You have come to the place where you are with much studying and involvement. It takes time to gain understanding and compound that with trying to recover from abuses, that makes it more challenging.

    Just don’t get upset when everyone is not where you are in understanding. There is so much confusion and really deprogramming which must take place in some instances. Keep on, brother.

    I just took a look at the netGrace.org site and you are right, there needs to be a much stronger message of reporting to civil authorities. Take a look at this article. It seems pretty clear here, though:

    http://netgrace.org/a-public-statement-concerning-sexual-abuse-in-the-church-of-jesus-christ/

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  50. Real people in the real world aren’t interested one bit if a church institution’s actions are judged to be “Godly” or “Biblical”, they’re interested in the truth about the right and wrong of a groups ethics.

    You could be right, Eric, and I think they would view a Christian investigating group as suspect. I think. though, that they the “church” are not concerned about what the world thinks. They want to know what moral “godly” people think. And herein lies the problem. These atrocities happened in the church environment where pastors/leaders were supposed to be godly and moral. Ugh!

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  51. “These issues should be dealt with law-centeredness ”

    Bingo! This is what my judge friend did not understand (I told you all about my convo earlier).

    Why do Christians think there should be special consideration because the pervert(s) or even institutions claims to be a Christian.

    The fact that even pastors need “educating” on how to deal with accusations of molestation, etc, tells us volumes about the real problem.

    And I say this knowing that many pastors and organizations (Latest TGC) have conveniently written about this very thing recently (SGM anyone?) and if you read close you will find in almost every single “policy” or statement, a “leader” gets to make the decision for the church/group whether or not an accusation warrants calling the authorities. Wow, such power. Staying concentrated EXACTLY where is should NOT be. They must have special discernment others cannot have, perhaps?

    Yet many people are cheered this is being addressed at all. It isn’t, really. It is more smoke and mirrors.

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  52. Lydia and Oasis

    Youse boat use dat werd – Christendom.

    ———-

    “If it were not for social media we would not know the depths of corruption in what calls itself **Christendom.**”

    “Is **Christendom** a safe place? I think not based upon what I have seen.”

    “There are huge problems in **Christendom** all over the denominational map. There is serious corruption in institutions who claim to be for God.”

    “Having spent most of my life outside of **Christendom** (even as a Christian), I had a much different idea of what made up the Christian world I was missing out on. **Christendom, this is Christendom?** Christianity, where are you?”

    ————–

    Dotcha tink? – Propr speeelink wood bee – Christian-dumb…

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  53. “Why do Christians think there should be special consideration because the pervert(s) or even institutions claims to be a Christian.”

    Whether a perpetrator is Christian or not should not even factor in when the dude BROKE THE LAW. “Minister” to him behind bars, for crying out loud.

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  54. “There’s different types of anger and I was trying to clearly differentiate the anger that is hurtful and basically allowing the abuser to live rent free in our heads and the next type of anger that is seeking justice and taking control of ourselves. I see a difference between anger and bitterness”

    But who is to judge that? From my perspective, only love and mass quantities of it will help overcome bitterness that might develop. (And what brings on the bitterness if you think about it)

    Good Lord! How many have told me just listening to their story and saying, “that was evil what they did to you” had helped them in healing just a tiny bit more. Do victims really have to pay people to listen to them? But that, in addition to therapy can be a huge factor in dealing with such things.

    This should come from Christ’s people . Can you imagine a church full of people doing that? Often they are the ones saying “bitter”, get over it. It is best for you. Or the ones avoiding them.

    Only someone who has a serious spiritual love relationship with the victim has been with them all along can say, it is time to move on a bit more and I will be with you. One. step. at. a. time.

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  55. “Why do Christians think there should be special consideration because the pervert(s) or even institutions claims to be a Christian.”

    Because the word Christian then invokes Tribal Identity. At which point, the tribe closes ranks against the Other.

    There’s a reason most primitive tribes’ names for themselves are “The People” and those for all other tribes are “The Other”.

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  56. “That could be because of the Hyles/Schaap situation which has gotten tons of media attention over the last 10 years and it kept coming.”

    No, the particular person I’m referring to was ranting long and hard about the *ALL* IFB pastors being sex abusers and *ALL* being one big child sex-trafficking ring.

    She actually threw many IFB survivors under her bus, including 100’s of IFB group home survivors nearly a year before Schaap was arrested and lost further credibility when how she tried to handle that case.

    Yes, I’m very familiar with Cindy Hyles-Murphrey. She is one brave woman.

    Her father Jack Hyles and her brother David Hyles are a part of my abusive history.

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  57. lostchild, Pervert pastors give them all a bad name ESPECIALLY when the denomination does not speak up and do all they can to get rid of them. The denomination and make it impossible for them to have credibility. But they look the other way.

    You see this silliness in the SBC. Well, they are autonomous or they have trustees. So what? Speak up or I will think you are like them. As if one cannot speak up because of autonomy. Please

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  58. If any of you can please give me documentation concerning GRACE about how GRACE has responded like Peacemakers, Ambassadors for Reconciliation, or The Christian Law Association, I would really love to review such documentation.

    Peacemakers, Ambassadors for Reconciliation, or The Christian Law Association are NOT independent investigations. Neither is this group ABWE hired after it fired GRACE.

    GRACE is an *independent* investigation. Independent investigations are separate and apart from the group being investigated and done *all* the time. Government agencies (example: US State Department and the FBI are just 2 examples) hire independent investigators. University’s such as Penn State paid for an outside group to do an independent investigation. Sometimes even local and state law-enforcement agencies hire an independent investigator to investigate how a particular agency handled and specific case or cases.

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  59. Julie Ann,
    My comment, “Don’t know, but I wonder: in all of GRACE’s literature/electronic info, is the concept of “justice” or the word itself anywhere to be found? And if not, why?” was an off the cuff remark, but now I would like to pose a challenge here. Why is the concept of justice completely vacant from any of their literature when the concept of justice linked to abuse is absolutely massive in the Bible? God loves justice, and calls the church to make sure the downtrodden see it for their sake. Last night, I taught on the problem of dichotomizing practicality and spirituality in sanctification. If that is the problem with churches dealing with this problem, it’s a big one. And really, I am just asking, what the heck is this statement all about:

    “Surely it is for such a time as this that the Church has been empowered to boldly and bravely embody the Good News to accusers and accused alike, and to forsake our own comfort and position to love the hurting with an illogical extravagance.”

    Huh?

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  60. LCNF,

    My primary concern with GRACE is their worldview/ideology/theology is the same as PM and therefore the results will be the same and in fact have been the same. Specifically, a Chrsitocentric approach to reality that doesn’t really see horizontal justice as valid. That’s my concern. Didn’t plan on it, but I just might write an article on this based on the stack of research I have in storage.

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  61. BTW, thanks to my lovely wife Susan, I have been able to devote myself to these issues full time for almost 3 years now. Would be amiss not to give her the credit.

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  62. Thank you Barb and Julie Anne. 🙂

    Oasis said,

    If we are not to blame for the abuse itself, then surely we invited any and all aftereffects (I was told I “choose to suffer”), which in reality we never asked for but are forced to deal with as they surface

    Me too! That happened to me.

    After I began confiding in a new Christian acquaintance I made a few years ago, after my Mom passed, I didn’t find out until later that this new friend was a Word of Faith-er.

    Had I known that about her, I probably would not have shared with her personal details about myself as much as I did.

    When I told her I had clinical depression for many years, several of the things she told me – and she was trying to be helpful, she didn’t realize how painful this was to me – was to tell me that I must “want to have” the depression. She was saying when you’ve had depression for as many years as I did that part of me secretly or in some way must enjoy having it, or are so used to it that I don’t want to part with it.

    She told me that in a phone call. I sat there dumbfounded.

    I spent my whole life trying to figure out how to get rid of the depression, in addition to praying to God to heal me of it, reading the Bible, and having faith for a healing, I also taking anti depressant medications, reading books about it by doctors, seeing psychiatrists, took psychology courses in college, etc., and here she was telling me I wanted to have it?????

    I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to get rid of it. It was news to me that I was supposedly secretly trying to hold on to it. 🙄

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  63. Unfortunately, many church folk pick up things along the way that they have heard, but it is untested. When you come along with an unusual set of symptoms or life experiences that are beyond their comprehension, then you get the ‘peculiar stuff’ coming out that they have somewhere bought into and have perceived as being helpful, or even biblical, but you are later left with slivers in your fingers from scratching your head! 😦

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  64. “If any of you can please give me documentation concerning GRACE about how GRACE has responded like Peacemakers, Ambassadors for Reconciliation, or The Christian Law Association, I would really love to review such documentation”

    Lost child,

    Please know that I support you in your efforts. I want nothing more than peace and justice for you. I cannot answer your question because I am not so sure it fits. I was actually looking for evidence that GRACE has been able to produce any real justice for victims from their investigations. Restitution? Referrals for convictions? I did read through their site. Perhaps I am missing something?.

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  65. horizontal justice. Great term! I am sad to say many churches do not believe in this. They think in terms of cheap grace. Or, sinners just sin– so get over it.

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  66. “Surely it is for such a time as this that the Church has been empowered to boldly and bravely embody the Good News to accusers and accused alike, and to forsake our own comfort and position to love the hurting with an illogical extravagance.”

    If they are investigating professing Christians committing crimes against other professing Christians, I am assuming they both have heard the Good News. would that be stupid of me? And who are the hurting since they mention both accused and accusers in the proceeding sentence. Very confusing indeed.

    Sounds like something vague but flowery Piper would write :o)

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  67. Reading about how churches and para- church groups usually fail victims (or pile on more damage) got me to thinking that in American society (and possibly British, Australian and others) that there is a tendency to blame the victim, even by Non Christians.

    I was harassed for a couple of years at one office job I had when I was an adult, and as a kid, I was bullied a lot at different schools I went to.

    As a kid, I’d go to teachers for help, but they’d brush off my pleas for help, some wrongly blamed me (they claimed I deserved the bullying or “deserved it”).

    For the record, I was always a shy, quiet, insecure type of person. I never started fights with other kids or was disrespectful to them, so I did not provoke or deserve the bullying.

    After being bullied by a boss at an office job (which I did nothing to start or deserve), I did a lot of reading on the issue of workplace abuse to try to understand why it was happening to me, and how to put a stop to it. (Some of that literature and blogs also discuss school bullying, too.)

    I also learned that Aussie and British culture, like American, have a tendency to blame the victim and let the bully/ abuser off the hook, whether it’s workplace abuse among adults or child on child abuse on the playground, and all this happens among Non-Christians too, not only Christians or in church settings.

    I can’t remember specifically any one book I read explaining why.

    I vaguely recall one or two of the books about job abuse mentioning one reason co-workers don’t jump to the defense of the scapegoat (the employee singled out for abuse by a boss), is that they fear if they do so, they will be next – so they either do not protect the victim or they join the abuser in the abuse.

    I think there may be a larger, underlying trend going on in regards to abuse and harassment and how either is handled, whether it’s a church setting, school, or job than just religious beliefs alone, though religious teachings and beliefs are sometimes used to excuse or ignore the abuse.

    People just have a sad, frustrating tendency to stand by and not help when they see someone being hurt, or to blame that person after the fact.

    This is also seen in news stories about crimes, where you read about some poor lady who is being raped, mugged, or beaten up and screaming for help in public, but not a single person will so much as phone the police for her.

    People do not usually like getting involved when they are confronted with evil.

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  68. I am just joining this conversation and have read down through most of the replies. A couple of quick thoughts….pastor Al is a moron. Anyone who would say what he did to someone who has gone through abuse, in my opinion qualifies him for that title.

    Paul, you make some very good points, but I think your dead wrong about Boz. Boz is a former prosecutor and has a great passion to see justice for victims of abuse. I can tell you that he would be the FIRST one to say that if churches and organizations did what they were supposed to do, in reporting abuse, that GRACE would not be needed at all and he would be all too happy to focus his attention to other areas of helping victims. Paul, you are very right about the outrageous teaching that God somehow excuses, condones or even decrees abuse. On the contrary, Jesus warned and even threatened offenders, in Luke 17:2 and Matt. 18:1-14, NOT to harm children or they would suffer severe consequences.

    All of you have made great points and you need to stick together for strength and encouragement. Stay focused on the abusers and those who are defending them.

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  69. STL,

    While I hear what you say about Boz above^ the fact remains that on the GRACE’s board of directors is none other than Duncan Rankin, Assistant to the President of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals and Adjunct Professor of Systematic Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary. Both are bastions of New Calvinism, and ACE members are among the staunchest supporters of CJ Mahaney. Rankin’s association with ACE is particularly troublesome.

    The fact is that New Calvinism isn’t driven by too much coffee drinking, it’s driven by an ideology–the tie that binds, and Rankin is a supporter of that ideology.

    Still waiting for the Boz to show me something other than talk.

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  70. If LD isn’t the current President of ACE, Reformation 21 needs to update their website. But if he is, maybe that’s why GRACE only states that Rankin is the assistant to the “President” as naming Duncan might be a little awkward in light of contemporary news.

    Ok, I could have this wrong, if someone corrects me that would be helpful–certainly I have this wrong.

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  71. http://netgrace.org/about-us/partnerships/

    Paul, back when the petition came out, I checked into their board and partnerships. To say I was concerned about the partnership with “Resurgence” is an understatement. I could not figure it out.

    I first came across Driscoll back in the early 2000’s and knew he was the cussing pastor in Blue Like Jazz. I have followed him since and believe he has consistently exhibited the traits of an abuser. We know he thinks very little of women, period. There is a TON of information to back up my concern. And we know that Mahaney “mentored” Driscoll and the information we gleaned from Joyful Exiles and the incidences of “church discipline” meant he put much of that mentoring into practice.

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  72. Lydia,
    At this point I am being tentative because this is very difficult for me to believe. We are not talking lunch at Applebees, we are talking about a professional association with CJ Mahaney’s staunchest advocate.

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  73. Really? Driscoll? A “partnership” with one of the biggest abusers out there? On the one hand you fustigate Mahaney, but on the other hand you have a board member who is a ministry assistant (probably a paid position since ACE brought in 2.5 mil last year) to Ligon Duncan? He put out a public statement supporting CJ Mahaney. Folks, unless I am wrong about this, I can longer take this discussion seriously.

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  74. Thanks, Randy. I saw that it worked this morning (followed a hit back to your site). Thanks for reblogging and helping to shine the light on this disturbing topic.

    I’ll be sure to take a look at your article!

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  75. I was reading this and saw the snarling dog illustration.
    “Oh crap! The dog!” Is what flew out of my mouth. I’ve had that directed at me. I can’t remember who or where but I remembered when I read it.

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  76. “I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to get rid of it. It was news to me that I was supposedly secretly trying to hold on to it.”

    Daisy, it sounds like you went through hell with your depression. I am so sad for you, having to carry that heavy burden around for so many years, wanting to be free!

    The acquaintance who unjustly blamed you for your own suffering sounds like someone I know, who ran out of patience with me after I was unexpectedly upset by something I saw on TV. I have only just begun to heal from childhood abuse, but she thinks a quick pep talk should be enough to stop me from being triggered. According to her, I want to suffer. Both she and her preacher father, who have no psychological understanding in this area, have decided that I am the problem. Thankfully, I know not to listen to any of their balderdash.

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  77. PLEASE PRAY FOR ME…
    DEAR FRIEND,
    I AM A 56 YEAR OLD WHO GREW UP IN A FATHERLESS HOME (BY DEATH).
    MY “DEVOUT CHRISTIAN” “MOTHER” (JUST LIKE HER MOTHER!) DID NOT TALK WITH OR SPEND TIME WITH ME. YET SHE DID BUY ME THINGS! SO IT APPEARED THAT SHE CARED THROUGHOUT THE YEARS.
    SHE ATTENDED MY BROTHERS AND BROTHER’S FRIENDS BAND CONCERTS, FOOTBALL GAMES……………ETC. THE OTHER BROTHER WAS TREATED LIKE A PIECE OF TRASH!
    SHE NEVER HAD THE TIME TO SEE ANY OF THE GAMES I CHEERED AT FOR 3 YEARS, ETC………..
    ZERO-HERO!
    SHE ADORES 3 OF MY BROTHERS AND THEIR FAMILIES! THEY CAN DO NO WRONG! SINLESS! SPOTLESS!
    SHE IS THE SWEEEEEEEEEETEST PERSON TO THEIR KIDS, AND AVAILABLE TO TALK WITH THEM.
    I CAN DO NOTHING RIGHT! BROTHERS WOULD PICK ON ME AND I WAS TOLD “DON’T BE SO SENSITIVE” “OH…….DON’T TAKE THINGS SO……..”
    MY HUSBAND AND I MET WITH HER TO CONFRONT HER ON THE HATEFUL BEHAVIOR. SHE GOT ANGRY AND SAID THAT “SHE EXPECTS HER BROTHERS TO APPRECIATE HER!” WE SAT THERE IN SHOCK AT THE HEARTLESSNESS.
    I LIVE ~ A MILE AWAY FROM “MOM” AND TWO OTHER “CHRISTIAN” BROTHERS.
    ONE #1 LOCAL BROTHER AND HIS WIFE HAVE BLAMED MY HUSBAND AND I FOR THINGS WE HAVE NOT DONE, JUST SO THEY CAN DIVERT ATTENTION AWAY FROM THEIR OWN ABUSIVE, DECEPTIVE POWER STRUGGLES. BY THE WAY, MY BROTHER IS THE “NICE” HEAD USHER AT THE LOCAL CHURCH!!
    ANOTHER #2 “CHRISTIAN” BROTHER MOVED TO OUR TOWN A FEW YEARS AGO. HE WAS SEXUALLY ABUSIVE WHEN I WAS YOUNGER. HE HAS NOT EVEN CONTACTED MY HUBBY & I TO LET US KNOW THAT HE HAS MOVED HERE! HE ACTS LIKE WE HAVE ALREADY DIED!
    WE ARE OFTEN EXCLUDED FROM “FAMILY” GATHERINGS. WE HAVE FOUND OUT “AFTER THE FACT” THAT RELATIVES HAVE VISITED AND WE DIDN’T EVEN KNOW THEY WOULD BE IN TOWN.
    MY OTHER “CHRISTIAN” BROTHER #3 –WHO LIVES OUT OF STATE-IS THE GOD OF ALL!! MOM WORSHIPPED HIM FROM DAY #1. WE GREW UP HEARING ALL ABOUT WHAT HE DID RIGHT. MY HUBBY AND I TRIED TO TALK WITH HIM WHEN HE CAME TO TOWN ABOUT WHY WE DON’T FEEL COMFORTABLE GOING TO “FAMILY” GATHERINGS ANYMORE. HE TOLD US THAT MOM IS A “DEVOUT CHRISTIAN WOMAN.” I TOLD HIM THAT I HAVE TRIED TO HAVE RELATIONAHIP WITH HER, I TRIED TO REACH OUT. HE SAID, “ALL I’M HEARING IS THAT I’VE TRIED.” I AM NOT DOING ENOUGH!!!!
    THE OTHER BROTHER SHOWS UP YEARLY FOR RELATIONAL CRUMBS. WE NEVER HEAR FROM HIM EITHER! WE SPEAK UP, AND WE ARE DISCOUNTED, BLAMED AND WRITTEN OFF.
    I CANNOT LIVE THIS WAY ANYMORE! I DECIDED TO GET SOME HELP, AND WENT TO A “BIBLICAL COUNSELOR.” I WAS GIVEN HOMEWORK TO DO ON BITTERNESS AND TO READ THE BOOK ON FORGIVENESS BY NANCY LEIGH DEMOSS. I AM TO FORGIVE, WHICH I UNDERSTAND, AND ALSO TO “LET GO” OF ANYTHING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED! I TOLD HER THAT IF THIS IS CHRISTIANITY, PLAYING CHURCH WHILE LIVING A LIFE OF DR. JECKYL AND MR. HYDE, THEN I DO NOT WANT IT!
    HUBBY AND I HAVE BEEN INVITED TO ATTEND THANKSGIVING DINNER AT “MOM’S” HOUSE. (FOR WHAT?????) MOM SAID THAT IT’S GOOD FOR THE “FAMILY” TO BE TOGETHERI HAVE STOMACH ACHES ABOUT GOING AND CANNOT SLEEP.
    MY COUNSELOR THINKS IT IS MY PROBLEM! SHE SAID THAT I AM TO HONOR MY PARENTS!
    I RECEIVED THIS E-MAIL FROM MY COUNSELOR. THIS IS THE FONT THAT SHE USED.
    I CANNOT CARRY THE WEIGHT OF THIS BY MYSELF!
    —————————————————————————————————————————————
    “Trust you are letting go of the years of bitterness toward certain people in your life…When you harbor it, you’ve accepted it as your own and it will control your emotions from that point on! Not worth it!

    There is freedom in forgiveness! Review once again the pages I gave you before on bitterness/forgiveness, and finish Nancy’s book on forgiveness. This is what you can control….not what they did, but your response to it! :)”

    I AM WILLING TO FORGIVE THEM, BUT THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT I WANT TO RETURN TO THE TRASH CAN.
    IS THERE ANYONE OUT THERE WHO HAS EXPERIENCED THIS CRAZINESS????

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  78. Pastor Al seems a self righteous pharisee without an ounce of love but as long as you append ” we’re praying for you “that makes the grosses unchristian treatment seem okay doesn’t it. Uggh. Basically what he said is “its all your fault, no one likes you, you’re a loser and you have no friends”. Oh and don’t forget the use of prejudicial language as in those people you claim abused you; so she is also a liar to boot. Hey Pastor Al, don’t stand too close to the hind end of Balaam’s ass, we might not be able to tell you apart. Okay that wasn’t very loving of me. But I do think you are lacking in any personal knwledge of Jesus and what He is like and it shows in your ugly words to Cathy.

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  79. I am a conservative Evangelical Charismatic and I truly believe that Biblical Counseling is one of the greatest hazards in the church today. Will follow up later.

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  80. In BC, the person in counseling is always seeing the consequences of their own sin. It’s the job of the counselor to discover what that sin is. Whenever I’ve talked to pastors at my old denomination about my abuse growing up, they’ve always pointed it back as being the consequence of something I did, or that it just wasn’t abuse.

    As I’ve said before, if Jesus went to a Biblical Counselor… I’m sure they would have found something.

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