The Photo Promotion of C.J. Mahaney at Together for the Gospel

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C.J. Mahaney is pictured in front-row seats at the Together for the Gospel conference after publicly saying he would not participate due to the distraction of the Sovereign Grace Ministries lawsuit.

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Note: Brent Detwiler graciously allowed me to cross-post the following article which was originally found at his site. SSB has covered the Sovereign Grace Ministries lawsuit for quite some time. This article shows you the heart of the men who stood behind Mahaney and who continue to support him.  This bold move by C.J. Mahaney to show up at the Together for the Gospel conference is such a slap in the face to all of the victims and their families. This behavior shows unbelievable insensitivity not only to the participants, but to the victims and families of victims.  ~ja

Late Edit:  I asked Pam Palmer, mother of a plaintiff in the SGM lawsuit,  if she had any comments to share regarding this situation and she sent me this reply:

Sometimes I am at a loss for words on what to say at the insensitivity and callousness of C. J. Mahaney and the men who support him. What other conclusion can observant people come to when they see a disgraced (yet undisciplined) leader sitting in the front row at such a prominent event other than the men sitting with him approve of his 30+ year record of covering up child sex abuse.  ~Pam Palmer, mother of plaintiff in Sovereign Grace Ministry abuse lawsuit.

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The Photo Promotion of C.J. Mahaney at Together for the Gospel
Brent Detwiler
Wednesday, April 9, 2014 at 303 PM

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The Together for the Gospel (T4G) conference is currently going on in Louisville, KY. This photo shows Al Mohler, John MacArthur, Thabiti Anyabwile, John Piper, C.J. Mahaney, and Kevin DeYoung sitting together in the front row (left to right). The other men are all speakers. C.J. is not.

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CJ Mahaney, John Piper, John MacArthur, Kevin DeYoung, T4G2014, Together for the Gospel, lawsuit
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Nine months ago, C.J. issued a statement about withdrawing from the conference. Here are his remarks.

“After much prayer, reflection and counsel I have decided to withdraw from participation in the 2014 Together for the Gospel conference. My reason for doing so is simple: I love these men and this conference and I desire to do all I possibly can to serve the ongoing fruitfulness of T4G.

“Unfortunately, the civil lawsuit filed against Sovereign Grace Ministries, two former SGM churches and pastors (including myself), continues to generate the type of attention that could subject my friends to unfair and unwarranted criticism. Though dismissed in May (and now on appeal), the lawsuit could prove a distraction from the purpose of this important conference. My withdrawal is not intended to communicate anything about the merits of the suit. My decision simply reflects the reality that my participation could create a hindrance to this conference and its distinct purpose of serving so many pastors. My strong desire is to make sure this doesn’t happen. I believe the most effective way I can serve my friends who have supported me, and continue to support me, is by not participating in the 2014 conference.” (C.J. Mahaney, July 1, 2013)

 

C.J. was forced to withdraw from speaking even though one of the four original founders (Al Mohler, Ligon Duncan, Mark Dever being the others). He may not be an official participant but he is a participant. That aside, this photo is a clear endorsement of C.J. It was taken by Melton Duncan and put on the internet. Melton is Ligon Duncan’s brother.

C.J. claims he didn’t want to subject his friends to “unfair and unwarranted criticism” or be “a hindrance to this conference.” Really? Then why in the world did he agree to sit in the front row in front of thousands of people? He should be sitting in the back row. This is a loud statement by C.J. that he’s back! Honesty, this photo promotion is an affront to every conferee who was opposed to C.J.’s participation.

I have benefited from the writings of Mohler, MacArthur, Anyabwile, Piper and DeYoung but I am greatly concerned for them! They are promoting a man who betrayed Covenant Life Church, stumbled thousands of people by his hypocrisy, divided Sovereign Grace Ministries, and manage a conspiracy to cover up sex abuse for over 30 years. Those are the facts. None of these men have studied the evidence. In saying so, I am believing the best of these men in the parlance of SGM. If they knew the facts, and studied the evidence, they would remove C.J. from ministry; not have him sitting in the front row next to them.

An appeal. Al Mohler, Ligon Duncan, Mark Dever, John MacArthur, John Piper, Thabiti Anyabwile, Don Carson, Kevin DeYoung, and Justin Taylor – please attend the May 12-16 criminal trial of Nathaniel Morales for the sexual abuse of boys in C.J.’s former church under C.J.’s leadership. C.J. knew full well about these abuses but did nothing. He did not report to law enforcement, alert others in harm’s way, or stop the predator. As a result, Morales went on to abuse other youth in other states including stepsons. This is all due to C.J.’s cover up of his crimes. Honesty, C.J. should be put in jail, not in the box seats at T4G. Your support of him is a betrayal of all the victims in Sovereign Grace Ministries. Like C.J., you need to repent!

A request. I want to meet or video conference with the nine of you in private in order to present the overwhelming evidence of a widespread conspiracy to commit and cover up sex abuse in Covenant Life Church and Sovereign Grace Ministries. Your support of C.J. is unconscionable. This should meet with no objection if you are interested in the truth. C.J. is welcome to participate. I am also glad to talk individually. Please contact me at abrentdetwiler@gmail.com.

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Recommended Reading

C.J. Mahaney Withdraws from Together for the Gospel & Founders Remove Statement of Support
Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 3:14 PM

Don Carson, Kevin DeYoung and Justin Taylor Defend C.J. Mahaney Against Charges in SGM Sex Abuse Scandal
Saturday, May 25, 2013 at 11:51 AM

Flagship Church of Sovereign Grace Ministries Announces Plans to Leave
November 5, 2012 at 1:22 PM

Grant Layman & the Conspiracy Surrounding Nathaniel Morales
Friday, July 26, 2013 at 5:10 PM

 

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296 comments on “The Photo Promotion of C.J. Mahaney at Together for the Gospel

  1. John (10.8:31pm): “…Upon arrival here, one is expected to have already heard of these mistrusted leaders, to mistrust them oneself, and to know why others mistrust them, and to enjoy the sport of publishing (as good as anonymously in most cases) about how dreadful they are, and anybody who doesn’t join in with the character assassination. (Apparently, there is a history of litigation too.)”

    You cannot open a book in the middle and expect the author to obligingly condense the first half of the book just because you don’t want to start from chapter one.

    Blogs are a curious new medium. Subjects are dealt with as they unfold; material builds over time. A comment section arises, composed of semi-regular inhabitants who read/contribute and develop online relationships. This also happens over time. In order to understand enough to enter the conversation, one will need to take the time to read the material.

    It would be foolish to enter an university course when it’s half-finished and announce to the professor “I have found very little ‘good information’”. Yet this is what you are doing here, and it will inevitably cause some disbelieving chuckles in the lecture hall.

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  2. @ Been There Done a That…
    Good Grief! Did I say the leaders are right? NO! It was an emphatic statement that they are wrong! But them being wrong, doesn’t make you right! Goodness! Learn to read, infer or both before you let your venom out.

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  3. “Goodness! Learn to read, infer or both before you let your venom out.”

    Back at ya. 😉
    I questioned your judgement of “Mr. Prophet” being “sane.”

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  4. Peter (10:10:05pm), maybe you could tell us what you think the best way to tell the truth about people who present the real God to the world in a badly twisted form, who usurp power and cause deep harm in community after community.

    Is it calling them “narcissistic” that you don’t like? Do you think denouncing the apparent complicity of leaders as seen in photos is illegitimate? Do you think Christians mustn’t be angry? I haven’t read anything here, of which you complain.

    Loving one’s enemies means genuinely desiring that they become the persons God had in mind when S/He made them. This takes some time to happen, but when it does, I’m not sure it looks like what you think it does.

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  5. Dear Mr/Ms Agree! So you think it’s just fine to storm into someone’s online living room and shout that the people gathered there are a “nest of vipers” and more wrong than those complicit with child-abusers. And when someone speaks up about it, to yell that they are venomous (points for consistent metaphor) and can’t read.

    Ok.

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  6. @Patrice
    No, Darling… No one is “more wrong” than the abusers” with the exception of those who see they are “right in their own eyes” …

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  7. I have no problem calling them narcissistic, or anything else when you’ve made sure first to back it up. Jesus didn’t call the scribes and Pharisees much of anything until it got so nobody dared to ask him a question (Matthew 22). Then in Matthew 23, Jesus said a few things to them. No problem.

    Most name-calling is when people don’t have a good answer to something someone has said, and they know, rightly or wrongly, that there is something bad about it. You’ve probably had folks do that to you – like when the people we’re discussing say how you’re rebellious, or a gossip, or whatever, instead of engaging whatever you’ve said to bust them. As Ezekiel said, we need to observe their behavior, and obxserving it, learn to do otherwise.

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  8. Never mind. Sorry. I am gone once forever. Save yourselves your time and effort to respond to my posts. Take care. This is the best post I can possibly write. Forgive me for getting in your living rooms without asking. I never looked at it that way.

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  9. Shadow @ Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 03:46 AM

    She speaks for the “least of these” not for the man sitting in the front row with his well-known buddies. That man appears to have plenty of support. No?

    The lawsuit has been addressed.

    The offended children . . . . where are they? How are they doing? What has been their plight while their spiritual leaders ignored and even supressed their cries? Did the abusers go on to abuse further? Would spiritual leaders even know or care? If spiritual leaders were ignorant to the devastation their own actions could cause, should they just continue to ignore the pain (now revealed) and move on as if nothing happened?

    Your comments regarding Julie Anne and her daughter are cruel and immature. You seem to want to purposefully cause pain. Do you know her daughter’s thoughts? Julie Anne (unlike some people we know) has explained her relationship with her daughter. You might know that if you had taken the time to read the blog or ask questions instead of throwing flaming darts.

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  10. “No, Darling…” But that is what you did. Do you withdraw your statements?

    Righteousness is what it is. Being “right in your own eyes” is just that. Everyone who takes a stand will be so.

    That oft-misused phrase is intended for those who insist that they are right when they are also causing destruction to those around them.

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  11. John didn’t compare himself or Mahaney to Jesus Christ in comparing Mahaney showing up after saying he wouldn’t with Jesus in John 7. He only said the actions were comparable. It’s the same way that it was OK for the disciples to eat grain as they walked through the field on the sabbath, since it was OK for David to have eaten the consecrated bread, and that didn’t mean Jesus was seeing that they were equivalent to David.

    He didn’t claim to be a prophet, but he did say that attacking him for telling the truth is the same as stoning the prophets. Whether you agree or disagree with that, it’s dishonest to infer that he was claiming to be a prophet. Not everyone who is hungry, thirsty, naked, or in prison is equivalent to Jesus – but how you do them is what you’re doing to Jesus. You could profit by meditating on how that works. It would be more productive than twisting someone’s words because you don’t like what he says.

    People here have been hurt. I understand that. But healing doesn’t come by being unjust or dishonest. The reason not to do it is it doesn’t get anybody what they need.

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  12. Peter: I agree with your generalities. But I still don’t know how you think it’s not been done here, among these people I’ve been reading for quite a while now.

    People will get angry and say one aspect of the truth. When they settle down, they usually round it out. Likewise people will make generalizations that in another place they’ve spelled out more succinctly.

    I don’t think it’s useful to require that every time communication happens, complete contexts/proofs be offered. It would make unwieldy and dull-as-dishwater conversations that couldn’t move forward. In comment sections, which demand succinctness, it is an impossibility. This also true, to a lesser extent, for blog posts.

    I think it’s helpful to see a blog post as a chapter in a book. And also to recognize that comment threads are essentially conversations, like that which occur at a coffee shop, but more formal due to their permanency.

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  13. Peter,

    Yes, Mahaney has a “reason” for attending T4G. Just as Jesus had a “reaso”n for going to the Feast on the last Day telling them before: “the time is not right”.

    That is where the analogy ends.

    The important thing is WHY did CJ attend after everything that has transpired and he said concerning attending?

    I have given the historical reason that Jesus said ‘the time was not right” went on the last day. It was not deception, it was a plan and he had a reason.

    What is Mahaney’s reason? And is it none of our business?

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  14. Peter, so for eg, John made an inference about prophets when talking about him self.

    Infer: “to reason from circumstance; surmise…to hint, imply.”

    Just because someone doesn’t declare it openly, doesn’t mean it wasn’t said. That’s the definition of passive-aggression.

    When communication is interpreted only strictly on the surface, the passive-aggressive mode will permit as cruel and/or false messages as direct aggression. These are communications that can be denied, but will be denied only by those pre-occupied by precision of law but have no interest in the spirit of the law. It is by this kind of deviousness, for eg, that the NSA reinterprets law to allow it to scoop up all our private material.

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  15. “He didn’t claim to be a prophet, but he did say that attacking him for telling the truth is the same as stoning the prophets.”

    Oh? Assuming that he has come to bestow upon us all this great “truth.” He merely has an opinion, like all the rest of us. You don’t often see the rest of us comparing ourselves to “stoned prophets” just because someone disagrees with us. The implication he’s making is rather laughable.

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  16. Peter, I need to add that this kind of communication is, in itself, a good and fine thing. It is the function of metaphors/similes, for eg. Drawing material from various places and putting them together into a new context for our inference, provides our conversation with breadth/depth that could not otherwise occur. It is a lovely thing when done to promote love and truth, and ugly when used for self-aggrandizement, cruelty or untruths. It is only passive-aggressive when it used for less than virtuous reasons.

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  17. There are many places on the internet where ad hominem remarks, and straw man arguments, and flame wars, are frowned upon. This place seems to exist primarily in order to publish exactly that sort of ill-tempered content.

    This blog is publicly visible. I didn’t seek it out. It found me. God knows how many people who never post here, visit here (perhaps only once), and read the content, and quickly form the same impression that I formed quickly.

    That is the message about which I said, “Don’t shoot the messenger”, adding “or stone the prophet”, since the latter phrase is a more biblical version of the same basic idea as is conveyed in the more modern phrase, “shooting the messenger”. Ask yourselves not whether the use of this idiom allows you to accuse me of considering myself to be a prophet. Ask instead whether is it true what John Allman says, that anybody who knew nothing at all about any of the church leaders this blog exists to attack, who accidentally ended up reading this blog, would be likely to form a exactly the same negative impression of this blog as I did, and as Tony Miano did, and broadcast about at length.

    Is what Tony Miano said about this blog true, in a radio broadcast lasting 118 minutes that I listened to in its entirety, at Julie Anne’s specific request? That this blog is like a war zone, a blog whose content is almost all criticism, criticism, criticism, of celebrity preachers who (the reader is told) have done wrong, or just aren’t nice people? And criticism too of anybody who is new here, who posts anything that isn’t simply more of the same.

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  18. The Internet is a different form of communication. If you write a book, everything has to be there. Documents, first person testimony, long accounts of events, etc. that inform your position go into footnotes or appendices when they are too unwieldy or interrupt the flow of the narrative. On the Internet, however, you link to primary sources when you are making an argument, you don’t reproduce them. This is actually better because people can see for themselves the news stories, the court documents, the person’s own words on his own site. If you have previously recounted events, you link to you earlier content. That way regular readers can refresh their memories and new readers can get caught up without constant repetition that will not be needed forest regular readers.

    I would never visit a blog and complain that I wasn’t being told enough to evaluate an issue without doing my homework, let alone criticize the blogger. I read this entire site and I visited the links before I started participating. I also looked at what others had to say about the issues and abusers.

    I have not been spiritually abused. I came here for other reasons. I took a break from church attendance while I was caring for chronically or terminally ill family members. While researching which denomination is right for me so I can find a new church, I also began to read and watch more and more stories about sexual and physical abuse (and a couple cases of pastors murdering their wives) with troubling Christian connections.

    I am not naive about sin, but past church experiences where serious sin became an issue involved individual failings and were quickly resolved, ie a married deacon leaves his wife for another woman, resigns his position, and every one is very sad. The news stories I was reading were different and suggested that the problems went beyond the individuals involved to dysfunction in the church with the leadership committing or covering up serious sin and crime like pedophilia and to abusive teachings, legalism, and theology not supported by the Bible. I wanted to know how churches got so dysfunctional. The case that got me really reading on the internet was the death of Hana Williams. I was so sad and so horrified and I wanted to know why a couple whose pastor described them as the most devout couple he knew could beat and deprive a child of food over many months until she died. I found out about the teachings of the Pearls and similar Christian writers and other abuse cases by their followers.

    I am better educated now about how to avoid or leave troubled churches or even to help prevent problems in the congregation I will join. However, I also want to help support victims and be a counter voice to all those who think that abuse should be covered up to protect the church and who blame victims. I feel that Julie Anne is doing great work here that helps victims make sense of what happened to them and helps in healing.

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  19. John, in answer to your question, I was a new reader who was researching a story, landed here through Google, knew nothing of Julie Anne, and formed the opposite impression of the site from yours.

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  20. “Ask instead whether is it true what John Allman says . . .”

    Ask yourself if illeism is a good thing.

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  21. The little table at the coffee shop–or the living room–or whatever cozy environment this blog might have been–just may be expanding (perhaps in part because people, like Miano, for example may inadvertently be sending visitors here by telling them to avoid this place at all costs). Perhaps if many visitors show up, just pulling a few more tables together may not be sufficient.
    Maybe John’s providential stumbling upon the little table in the coffee shop can be a time to reflect the scope and dynamics of this blog.

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  22. John wrote: “Ask instead whether is it true what John Allman says, that anybody who knew nothing at all about any of the church leaders this blog exists to attack, who accidentally ended up reading this blog, would be likely to form a exactly the same negative impression of this blog as I did, and as Tony Miano did, and broadcast about at length.”

    The answer: No, they would not *unless* they also came to their conclusions without first gathering the necessary information. They might, having done the requisite research, have arrived at different conclusions, and then we’d have a debate *as peers*, respecting each others’ hard work and hashing it out together with love and grace.

    When I have perused the corners of the internet for subjects of interest to me, and found people speaking against authoritarianism and leveling accusations of complicity for reasons of power and self-aggrandizement, I have read carefully and thoroughly before presuming to make a statement in the comment threads. It is a central sin in the human heart—when it appears in complaint, I take it very seriously. That is what I did before I first commented here.

    Mr Allman, you first exposed yourself as sloppy for not reading, then aggressive for presuming to know more than those here, then arrogant for daring to criticize while also wearing the mantle of persecution. I am not talking, here, about opinions re the subject of this post. I am talking about whether you have presented yourself as a person eligible to converse on it.

    I am taking the time to be open and clear with you because I am concerned for a person who calls himself our brother, but who has decided what is correct before spending time on knowing “what is”, and additionally has decided to judge his spiritual siblings. When you nurture such a spirit, you do not learn many things that you need to know.

    I wish you to learn the peace and clarity of humility and patience, learned by open observation of how God works in this wide world that S/he so beautifully made.

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  23. bonnie k, that is my metaphor only, and may not be at all how Julie Anne sees it, only my experience.

    She runs this place and will do whatever she thinks best.

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  24. Maybe John’s providential stumbling upon the little table in the coffee shop can be a time to reflect the scope and dynamics of this blog.

    From the very beginning of my first blog (BGBCsurvivors.blogspot.com) there have been people coming from time to time to challenge me, the purpose of the blog, etc. I do not mind robust debate on this topic because it is important.

    There has always been some who believe this does no good for the cause of Christ and another side that says the opposite. Obviously, after being sued for defamation, I really appreciate protected speech and I like to keep that here on the blog, except when victims/survivors are not defended. That’s where I will step in and say “enough is enough” when it crosses a certain line (and I suppose that line may vary depending on my mood).

    That said, I am always open to suggestion and criticism. If you think I’m off in my moderating or someone is out of line, please shoot me an e-mail.

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  25. I am taking the time to be open and clear with you because I am concerned for a person who calls himself our brother, but who has decided what is correct before spending time on knowing “what is”, and additionally has decided to judge his spiritual siblings. When you nurture such a spirit, you do not learn many things that you need to know.

    Patrice: I love this comment:

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  26. John, in answer to your question, I was a new reader who was researching a story, landed here through Google, knew nothing of Julie Anne, and formed the opposite impression of the site from yours.

    I’m so glad you landed here and stayed. I’ve really enjoyed your contributions, Marsha.

    Like

  27. Clearly established in my personal exchange with John Allman on the Miano thread is an undeniable, shameless display of implementing a double-standard accompanied by a personal sense of authority to pass “proper judgment”. The man lacks integrity, and that’s major.

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  28. Ok, I’ve been trying really hard to be respectful, because I’m a baby blogger, new to this community, and don’t want to say/do anything that would be considered rude, but John, you have not said one word that implies compassion for any victim. If you HAVE, & my pregnant brain has missed it, feel free to re-post. You come to a blog about spiritual abuse, then, instead of offering any type of support to victims, tear apart the methods of their reporting it and discussing it? How dare you? Who do you think you are? Who appointed you arbiter & judge over us? Before you say another word about Mahaney, go look up what happened at SGM—how children were made to confront and forgive adult pedophiles, how abusers were kept on staff, how leaders used their “authority” to tell parents NOT to go to the police, etc. Give them a tenth if the scrutiny you give to us, or go find something else to do with your time. Seriously—don’t you have anything better to do than pick OUR words apart? Our words didn’t abuse kids, or protect perps at the expense of the victims. Go feed some sheep, or stop taking up our energy.

    (Gosh, JA, feel free to delete this if I’m out of line, ok? I’m so sorry, but I’m sleep deprived and caring for a sick toddler, & may have been too harsh here.)

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  29. I just want to alert you guys to a Twitter exchange. Janet Mefferd got raked over the coals for retweeting this tweet of mine:

    Matt – a pastor sent this tweet:

    https://twitter.com/mhrma/status/454270134790537216

    https://twitter.com/mhrma/status/454275304714801152

    Somewhere down the line Tony Miano and Fred Butler both jump in:

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  30. taylorjoyyoung:

    Your words were fine and raise a very important point which is probably why so many jumped on John. This place is supposed to be a safe place for survivors of abuse. When someone new comes here and supports one (CJ or Miano) who lacks empathy for survivors, the dander goes up.

    Jesus interrupted his life to go help someone grieving. He cared about those who were hurting. So should we.

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  31. Ach JA, they have the mentality of playground bully-boys, making small mean remarks loudly for the benefit of the rest of the kids.

    And they are doing it to women, too, which is such a joke, considering how they see themselves as strong manly-men who need to protect the weak women, not because the women are of less worth, of course, but because women are created to be under protection of men.

    They disprove their ideology by the very actions/words they use to prove it. Pfffft

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  32. John Allman

    I really appreciate your taking the time to put the people on this site into the light of all things pertaining to how life here should be conducted for the benefit of people who stop by for the moment and leave not posting anything. And slander sure is an ugly word depending on how people view it in reference to all things being “Biblical.” Because being “Biblical” is of utmost importance to how the world, and “church leaders” are about referring to the “Gospel” and how Jesus would do it though His Kids in just the nick of time. And thank you because you “dare not risk slandering, be it ever so slightly, the worst of the worst” “this hornet’s nest of a blog on purpose, a blog which has the potential to bring the gospel into disrepute.” These that slander and call people names are a hornets nest to deal with.

    Glory to God in the highest.

    And defenitly, being attacked for no other reason then attacking others is understandable when someone is as highly qualified as some who do that attacking. And I’m sure that in the scriptures it is clear that most who participate in such a thing should be duly noted and called to account. Just knowing this brings and unprecedented joy to my heart.

    Glory to God in the highest.

    And just knowing that what John Allman says is true because John Allman says it’s true becomes clearer and clearer in the scriptures as one wonders why these guys, “church leaders,” will determine in their own minds how to perform that which is good. Even though there is none good but one, God. And you are a very brave man coming to “a blog whose content is almost all criticism, criticism, criticism,” and yourself refraining from criticizing the crystalizers of Spiritual Abuse who are criticizing the abusers the way criticizing goes on here and using your own brand criticizing the crystalizers to show them the path they are on and the path they could be on could not be clearer to anyone who had an once of love in their heart.

    Glory to God in the highest.

    Thanks for all you do to help my understanding of these important matters.

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  33. @ square1

    Your most recent comment, ending with, “The man lacks integrity, and that’s major.”, was a good example of what I meant by an “ad hominem” comment. I just don’t see how passing disparaging remarks like that (about any casual visitor or regular customer here) is fair or helpful.

    I wish now I had simply allowed my first comment on this post to stand alone. I made an immediate connection between the large paragraph before Brent Detwiler’s piece started, the paragraph that contained the words, “after publicly saying he would not participate”, and John chapter 7. Explaining that connection really was all I wanted to do here.

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  34. Gotta love that teachable quote by Miano. What he’s really saying is: if Janet does not go with what Tony says, then Janet is unteachable.

    He immediately defaults to accusing her of sin. This is bully behavior. It elevates him as all-knowing and she is aligning with the apostate. Please note this behavior.

    What if perhaps Janet is actually using the brains that God gave her, seeking truth from scripture, the Holy Spirit? Us wimmin’ folk can’t be using our brains, ya see?

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  35. BeenThereDoneThat

    @ APRIL 11, 2014 @ 9:45 AM
    “Ask instead whether is it true what John Allman says . . .”

    Ask yourself if *illeism* is a good thing.

    ————-

    Now that’s funny… 😉

    And thanks for the new word – had to look that one up…

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  36. John, as to ad hominem, I own it. I have criticized your methodology and attitude, and that’s all I’ve done. I did so because you offered no points on the issues brought forward in the blog post but began and continued to criticize the methods/attitudes of the persons of this blog, until I finally had something to say about your own criticism/attitude. This is how it goes.

    But as a matter of fact, I’ve been far kinder to you than you have been to anyone else here. And that’s very interesting, considering what I did was all ad hominem.

    So, since God sent you here (and I agree that God goes with us wherever we go and is also there where we stop), perhaps you can take with you some of the proposals presented here by your family members, for further consideration. That would give good value/purpose to your visit.

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  37. Patrice,

    You nailed it with “passive agressive”.

    This is not new in fact, it is quite typical. It is just on this blog we are allowed to actually interact with the passive agressives without being told to stop. And it just is not pretty when you start analyzing their patterns of communication. I will say that when I grow up, I hope to be as articulate, patient and kind as you and Cindy are in putting forth information and interacting.

    I have seen it over and over when certain types engage those who have been spiritually abused: You do not present your arguments well. You use ad hominem. You have built up a straw man. You have no proof. You do not have 3 witnesses against the elder. You are bitter and angry. On and on ad nauseum.

    I have a name for it: Darwinian Christianity. Survival of the fittist. There is a quiet underlying disdain for those who have been spiritually abused if you know the communication patterns. For some reason they feel comfortable telling people how they should communicate and what is acceptable and what is not.

    What they don’t understand is people who have been spiritually abused are usually the ones who had a target on their back because they are decent folks who want to “understand others, be a team player, give people the benefit of the doubt, are respectful of authority,” etc. They are often very educated.

    Sigh. I have been doing this too long. I see the patterns on many “pastor” blogs all the time this passive agressive behavior. Vascillating with bible talk and put downs as if they are speaking to sub humans. Not me. I am into “direct” communication. I am a meanie with the fakes. I don’t care anymore. The problem is I do understand them and their game. I worked with them for years.

    Like

  38. Hey Julie Anne

    What happened to taylorjoyyoungs comment.

    The one where she was wondering if she was being harsh.

    I thought it was excellent. And now it’s gone???

    ———-

    You write @ APRIL 11, 2014 @ 11:01 AM…
    taylorjoyyoung:

    Your words were fine and raise a very important point which is probably why so many jumped on John.”

    ———–

    Like

  39. Ohhh – thanks, Amos – I don’t know what happened, but Taylor Joy’s comment got stuck in the spam box. It’s posted now. Thanks so much for letting me know.

    Like

  40. “Now that’s funny… 😉

    And thanks for the new word – had to look that one up…”

    Amos,
    I just learned it, too. I googled “referring to self in third person” and found the term. What’s funny to me is there seems to be some connection between illeism and narcissistic tendencies. Go figure. 😉

    Like

  41. Lydia,

    Darwinian Christianity — James Sire calls it “Theistic Existentialism” which differs from “Biblical Theism” in “The Universe Next Door.”

    One begins with and serves man. The other begins with and serves man. (I like to borrow from Protagorus: Man is the measure of all things in the Church and over all things to which the Bible speaks.)

    Like

  42. Cindy K

    Much agreement when you write @ APRIL 10, 2014 @ 3:10 PM…
    “At conferences like this T4G, they use what essentially becomes “hypnosis.” I have a series on my blog about how conferences basically “mesmerize you” and how that all works. Many different things are used to lull people into a state where they suspend their critical thinking and just start agreeing with the speaker.”

    I have seen this taught to public speakers, motivational speakers, who are taught how to put people in a trance (“mesmerize you”) and “suspend their critical thinking.” – Then they will speak to your “Other Than Conscience Mind” – For your own good of course.

    And It’s NOT just conferences – think sunday mornings – where there is a crowd – where you do NOT participate – only listen – some pastors might NOT know what they are doing – But I know of some who have taken these courses – Next time look around at the folks – Their mind wanders but they are still listening – see if you notice many blank stares – Did they “suspend their critical thinking?” Did the speaker “mesmerize you?”

    And I know this stuff works…

    It happened to me – They told us what they did on purpose after they did it…

    Me, the spiritual giant that I am – mesmerized? Put in a trance? Oy Vey!!! 😉

    Seems it’s easier to convince crowds – to go against their values and rules…

    Then individuals…

    Just look at how mobs can run wild as a crowd…

    Like

  43. Lydia yes, thanks very much to JA for understanding the value in letting people battle it out when possible. Passive-aggression is best shown by repetition and pushback from many angles.

    But I am only patient if I push back now/then. I had to deal with it continuously in my marriage. After 18 years, I ran away screaming, and needed 10 years of near-silence to remove the chaos from my head/heart. These days, I find facing it, occasionally, to be helpful—living down those awful years one bit at a time.

    You are right about disdain for the abused. I’ve received so much of it over the years and the vast majority of it from Christians. It hurts most when it comes from family. I have looked very very carefully, and found that in my created self, I am as they are, neither worse nor better. I have also found that in comparison to the disdainers, I can think better, see more clearly, and have more love/joy. It is among those who love most deeply and have gracious hearts, that I can see how much I have yet to learn. This is simply true.

    It is odd how many people don’t notice passive-aggression. Most of my marriage’s couple-friends rejected me when I left my husband because they refused to believe that I was being treated with constant disdain, even though frequently done in front of them. A few friends were relieved that I was finally giving up, but I had no clue, til then, that they were my true friends.

    I am very careful now.

    Like

  44. Cindy K

    Here’s one example of knowingly putting people into a trance using language.
    “used to lull people into a state where they suspend their critical thinking and just start agreeing with the speaker.”

    http://www.nlpskills.com/language-patterns-of-nlp.html

    Language Patterns of NLP
    Advanced Language Patterns and Other Mind Tricks

    Influence beyond the conscious filters
    Take this trance to change profoundly now
    Learn to induce trance in yourself and others
    Understand the structure of hypnotic trance work
    Develop advanced language patterns necessary to make the changes
    Recognize and utilize trance states that people are in and out of all the time

    Like

  45. Lydia yes, thanks very much to JA for understanding the value in letting people battle it out when possible. Passive-aggression is best shown by repetition and pushback from many angles.

    22 years ago, a group of us from church worked with a licensed clinical social worker on how to facilitate process groups. They were essentially support groups. My friend and I facilitated a ladies group and then we also facilitated mixed groups with our husbands. She taught me a lot and now thinking about it, I think I use some of those ideas I was taught here. Part of that included letting members come to their own conclusions, another part was allowing group members to identify behaviors and dynamics of specific members within the group. That, too, is going on here. It’s healthy. It gives people a voice. It allows people to think, be validated, be challenged. It allows us to see how others view us (me, included). We can fight back or we can take a serious look at ourselves and make personal changes. It’s challenging. This stuff is very cool. I love it.

    Like

  46. “And It’s NOT just conferences – think sunday mornings – where there is a crowd – where you do NOT participate – only listen – some pastors might NOT know what they are doing – But I know of some who have taken these courses – Next time look around at the folks – Their mind wanders but they are still listening – see if you notice many blank stares – Did they “suspend their critical thinking?” Did the speaker “mesmerize you?”””

    This is especially relied upon in mega churches. It makes money. In most mega churches only 3-10% tithe regularly whether there or not. Most of the money comes from the pew sitter who is there. The “performance” must be good. The environment created. It is all very carefully crafted. Like clockwork. You can almost sense judgement suspended from the pew sitters. EVen the lighting is carefully dimmed to create just the right environment.

    When you constantly see what goes into that performance week after week, one can only start seeing the “audience” as not unlike those in the Sportsplatz. There is something mesmerizing and euphoric about large numbers of people in a huge place in tune. Looking to the “leader”. Now it is creepy to me.

    I remember one performance when they were trying to raise several million for the start of yet another new building on a huge campus. It was unbelievable the appeal…almost as if you don’t sacrifice Jesus will not bless us.

    .at the end of the service we found tons of jewelry in the offering plates. People were handing over diamonds, gemstone rings, etc. All to build another building. This one an “office building” for staff because they outgrew the other one. And this was no pentecostal church either. It was a very staid seeker mega. No arm waving or anything like that. Mostly a contemporary service.

    Now, tell me that is not a cult. I would have nver thought it a cult back then. I thought it was wierd and I would not have done it. But I was stunned at the amount of money and items people gave to build an office building for Jesus.

    And all because they knew how to mesmerize people. They get caught up in the moment and who is giong to ask for their ring back?

    Like

  47. When people deliberately manipulate others, they do not care about them. Period.

    NLP, propaganda, hype, emotional persuasion, it’s all manipulation: artificial, artifice, without substance, unreal.

    Like

  48. Pingback: The PR Executive, Ray Ortlund, and the T4G Leaders: Who Do They Serve? | The Wartburg Watch 2014

  49. Lydia

    “And all because they knew how to mesmerize people. They get caught up in the moment and who is giong to ask for their ring back?”

    Yup – All you need is one or two people to follow the leader…
    Think, google, Steven Furtick and “Preplanned” *spontaneous* baptisms.
    They get lots to come following a few “Preplanned” stage hands…

    WE, His Disciples – Ain’t called sheep for nuttin –
    WE, His sheeples will follow just about anyone… follow anyone…
    follow anyone…follow anyone…follow anyone…follow anyone…
    Who calls themself – “Leader.” follow anyone…follow anyone…

    I was the number two or three guy letting others know
    What the pastor/leader was doing, teaching, was right on…

    Just a couple of rightly timed “Amen Brother – Preach it”
    And others would join in…

    Forgive me Lord… 😦

    This video only takes three to convince the crowd to do something foolish… 😉

    Like

  50. Julie Anne, interesting that you learned from a social worker on group dynamics. Makes sense.

    Sometimes it’s a pleasure to no longer be young, able to draw on the best long-learned lessons. w00t

    Like

  51. I hate to nitpick, but the paragraph in which I deliberately used illeism (supposedly a tell-tale sign of narcissism?) reads as follows:

    “Ask yourselves not whether the use of this idiom allows you to accuse me of considering myself to be a prophet. Ask instead whether is it true what John Allman says, that anybody who knew nothing at all about any of the church leaders this blog exists to attack, who accidentally ended up reading this blog, would be likely to form a exactly the same negative impression of this blog as I did, and as Tony Miano did, and broadcast about at length.”

    In that context, illeism works very well, because the indirect speech in the question suggested in the second sentence, when illeism is used, mimics the exact words of the direct speech that the person asking himself the suggested question would articulate, if he asked himself that question out loud. It wasn’t a Freudian slip on my part, which gave away my guilty secret, that I am narcissistic, although I may be a bit – who isn’t? Rather it was a deliberate use of illeism, for achieving a particular effect in the mind of the reader. It was a calculated technique of persuasion, nothing more sinister than that.

    The previous thread I participated in required me to listen to a long speech by Tony Miano, as my homework. I obeyed. I am really sorry to have to say this, but anybody who possessed a sense of loyalty towards Tony Miano, who also listened to what he had to say against this blog, and then visited this blog to find out for himself whether Tony’s criticisms of this blog were justified, would (I feel, at least) be more likely to find that the content *confirmed* Tony’s allegations concerning the nature, or spirit, of this blog, rather than that cast doubt upon Tony’s judgment. I really am *not* saying this here to be cruel. I am saying it to be kind, because I think that that is a very real danger of putting people off who need to be won over.

    As for my alleged failure to express sympathy for the victims of spiritual abuse, I don’t remember coming across any comments here, in which the writers narrated harrowing accounts of specific incidents in which they had suffered spiritual abuse, creating the opportunity for anybody to express sympathy for them. Did I miss this? I notice that there is a separate forum advertised at the top of this page, thus:

    New: Spiritual Sounding Board Forum

    If you would like to join the new private gathering place to share and support those affected by church abuse, please send an e-mail request to: SpiritualSBForum@ gmail dot com.

    I imagine that that other venue is where sympathy is sought and found. This page is a polemic, against (by all accounts) a perfectly horrid church leader called C.J. Mahaney, who (it says in the small print) covered up the sexual abuse of children, which of course would be a very wrong thing for any church leader to do. But notwithstanding that the polemic against this man mentions that important and distressing allegation, what this page focuses upon – or appears to – because it begins as it begins, in very large font, is the trivial charge that he attended a certain function in which he had said earlier that he wasn’t planning to participate. And that is the only thing I commented on initially, in the light of what I had learnt (although Lydia disagrees with the lesson I learnt) from John 7, the Feast of Tabernacles narrative. I didn’t need to have done any homework, to notice the flaw in what I took to be the primary focus of this page: he said he wasn’t going, but then he went secretly, and made himself noticeable there (just like Jesus did, in relation to the Feast of Tabernacles).

    I think that, if the purpose is to expose the wrong-doing of CJ Mahaney, credibly, to as wide an audience as ever drops in on this site, it really was a miscalculation, to make that particular pitch against Mahaney, that there was something dishonest in saying that he wasn’t going to participate in the event, but then putting in an appearance. It was like leading with your king of trumps in bridge, when you know that the other side has got the ace of trumps in one of the player’s hands. Result: Julie Anne missed a trick.

    Peter Attwood explained this better than I did. He is not a wicked spiritual abuse denier who knowingly defends abusers. (And nor am I.) But he saw that my criticism of Julie Anne’s main point had the potential, if she heeded it, to help her to improve her public image amongst people who are not her fans at the moment. And God knows she needs to, after the hatchet job Tony Miano did on her the other day, to which I listened obediently, as required to by Julie Anne.

    Like

  52. BTW, Lydia, I continue to consider the “enemies in the church” idea. I don’t like war metaphors; they draw lines to destructive desperate hopeless actions. But if people are at war with me, then is that war, whether I want it or not? It requires, at least, defensive action.

    But ISTM that while defense may be fundamental, pro-action is vital. It is partly from lack of proactivity that we find ourselves in these wretched authoritarian wars-not-of-our-choosing.

    After all, these people who have taken ungodly power and preen together in the front rows of arenas filled with acquiescent men, these people did not just appear full-form from nowhere. They crept in and everyone let them climb up. Those who didn’t like it kept silent for the most part (whether staying or leaving) or were easily denounced as “lone nuts”, and there were many who liked them and pushed them along. This is our shame and it is our condition.

    What is most troubling to me is that this is as true in our nation as it is in our churches. For all its so-called culture wars, the church is only a pale reflection of broader culture.

    The soil of our hearts must be made so fertile for goodness that evil finds no space. This is, actually, why I feel ok about making ad hominem arguments now and then. All ad hominem is not attack—when done with compassion, it can be the only way, when someone comes at you proffering only those tools. It is using their own force to turn them aside from you so they end up on the ground. Maybe that is one way to be defensive in a spiritual war. I am not sure. I really hate wars.

    I have become sure that these kinds of struggles against power/greed, whether in the church or in the nation, cannot be fought alone. They require concerted action.

    Watchathink?

    Like

  53. Lydia

    You write @ APRIL 11, 2014 @ 2:05 PM…
    “There is something mesmerizing and euphoric about large numbers of people in a huge place *in tune.* Looking to the “leader”

    “Now it is creepy to me.”

    Yeah – Me Too

    NOT much interested listening to sermons now.

    Knowing what I know, having been fooled, deceived, and deceiving myself…

    The Best Shepherd – The Best Teacher – The Best Leader – IS…

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    Like

  54. John A,
    You know, I really don’t think that you hate to nitpick. 😉

    It seems like microfocus is your natural mode of operating. Sorry, but I lived with this type of conversation for years before my husband was diagnosed w/ Asperger’s syndrome and ADHD: I’m trying to talk about one issue, and he picks apart either 1) how I *presented* it, or 2) a minor detail inside of the issue that had no bearing on the actual outcome of the conversation. He wasn’t trying to be difficult, it was how his brain worked. It’s not an appropriate way to communicate,because it’s basically “words on a hamster wheel,” and he genuinely has been working to overcome it.

    Like

  55. “As for my alleged failure to express sympathy for the victims of spiritual abuse, I don’t remember coming across any comments here, in which the writers narrated harrowing accounts of specific incidents in which they had suffered spiritual abuse, creating the opportunity for anybody to express sympathy for them. Did I miss this?”

    Yep, you did. Check out the link in this comment. https://spiritualsoundingboard.com/2014/04/09/the-photo-promotion-of-c-j-mahaney-at-together-for-the-gospel/comment-page-1/#comment-105525

    Like

  56. @Lydia:

    When you constantly see what goes into that performance week after week, one can only start seeing the “audience” as not unlike those in the Sportsplatz. There is something mesmerizing and euphoric about large numbers of people in a huge place in tune. Looking to the “leader”. Now it is creepy to me.

    Sportsplatz as in Nuremberg?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triumph_of_the_will
    Foreign eyewitnesses described them as “Revival Meetings”.

    Like

  57. taylorjoyyoung

    Yes

    “it’s basically “words on a hamster wheel,”

    Or

    “Trying to nail Jello to a wall.”

    Or

    “Shoveling S*** Against the Tide”

    Or

    “Spitting Into The Wind”

    Like

  58. “In that context, illeism works very well, because the indirect speech in the question suggested in the second sentence, when illeism is used, mimics the exact words of the direct speech that the person asking himself the suggested question would articulate, if he asked himself that question out loud.”

    LOL You’re working really hard to explain away that one. Too hard. How arrogant of you to assume anyone would include your name in the asking of any question.
    You, sir, are a few turnips short of a bushel.

    Like

  59. John A:
    Since your third comment in this blog topic what have you added to the discussion. Is it your game to change the topic?

    Like

  60. John, you have stumbled upon a blog created by a woman with a heart of gold, who is one of many that suffered years of abuse, spiritually. She has become a vocal advocate for those of us who also suffered abuse, whether spiritual, physical, emotional, psychological and/or sexual. Through the daily dialogues here, over the few years this blog has been in existence, many of us have formed strong bonds of friendships.

    This is our safe place to heal from the abuses we’ve suffered. I am also an abuse survivor, from my earlier childhood (sexual and physical since age four), through adolescence (sexual, emotional, physical, spiritual) and throughout my adulthood (emotional, sexual, psychological).

    Julie Anne is following what I believe is God’s calling, to be a voice for those have lost their voice. She is an advocate for us, and sounds the alarm at those in church leadership positions, who abuse others, or who aids and abets those who do. She also sounds the alarms to expose those who teach anothet “gospel”, but which really is no gospel at all. She calls out against abusers, authoritarian control freaks who proclaim that women exist solely to serve and be subordinate to men, and that adult children are still to be ruled over by fathers.

    She does good work here. If you truly want an accurate understanding of her, you must go back to the beginning posts she started a couple of years so you can see where her heart really is.

    Like

  61. Tom,

    That’s a good observation you made. What happens when someone new comes to the blog? Are they following along and trying to learn what’s going on? Are they disrupting? Do they jump in to tell people they are wrong without having any background info? Are they bringing in their own agenda? These are important to notice.

    If you think about it – an established community at a blog is really no different than other communities. When you go the first time, you scope things out, you learn personalities, objectives, etc.

    Like

  62. Tom’s comment was spot on. Narcissists love to make the entire convo all about them — their thoughts, their feelings, their pov. Nobody else matters. This article is about the SGM victims. It’s not that hard to do a little background reading to find out what’s going on. Sometimes people have questions and needs, and this blog has never failed to reach out to people who genuinely participate. But we have a narcissist among us today who feels it necessary that we all pay attention to him. He’s going to lecture us all about how wrong we are. He could care less about the cries of sexually molested children who are re-victimized by the top brass who continue to support the man who covered up their abuse.

    Like

  63. “I have become sure that these kinds of struggles against power/greed, whether in the church or in the nation, cannot be fought alone. They require concerted action.

    Watchathink?

    I often think of Winston Churchill or William Wilberforce who were “lone nuts” for longer than we might realize. I often think of guys like Michael Sadler, Georg Blaurock, Felix Manz and others who were “lone nuts” whose lives were ended for “disagreeing” with the church leaders. But then I love history, too.

    We often give up because we are alone. But it is interesting how much of history is owed to “lone nuts” who would not shut up. There are some historians who have some interesting models on “popular opinion” leading up to the Revolutionary War. They come out as about 30% Loyalists, 30% Rebels and the others were fence sitters waiting to see.

    The truth is that way too many people avoid conflict of any kind. History is such an important teacher in this if only we would heed the experience of others. And the way the church leaders present conflict as sin, gossip, etc affirms the fence sitting stance. Even makes it seem pious. It is like the dead foot in the garbage someone wrote about earlier. They could not “see” it. That is one reason so many red flags are ignored.

    The question I had for myself was: How come I did not know Jesus well enough to recognize wrong doing in His Name? But I did see it eventually and I realized I had a strategy for dealing with red flags that was unhealthy. I had to own it. And had to own I had been an enemy to others.

    I will get pummeled for this by the “We are sinners saved by Grace” crowd but will say it anyway: Christians do not do consistent harm to others. They can’t.

    The real question is: What is Christianity? What does it mean to be saved and live the Kingdom now? Many pastors and their followers think it is evangelism as defined by witnessing, filling up churches, etc. I say that puts the cart before the horse. I say it is living the kingdom now here on earth which is a HUGE witness in and of itself.

    This does not answer how to deal with “Christian” enemies. I believe it is good and healthy to have serious boundaries. But I still know people who were spiritually abused who remain silent because people ahve told them to “get over it” and “move on”. So they are not to mention the wrong doing or they are seen as weak, dwelling on it, etc. But the truth is they cannot move on until they speak up and say, “that was wrong” and here is why. And they might lose people over it. Even family. Is it worth it? I think so. Enabling evil is a dangerous thing to do for a believer. Better a lone ranger Christian than helping someone do evil to others. Or helping to maintain an evil system in the Name of Jesus.

    They are enemies of Jesus Christ using His Name in a blasphemous way. Of course, no one understands that except a very few. And it sounds so Christianese, I hate to even write it. I am not one who subscribes to ‘we are sinners and have no idea what we are doing’ crowd. I think we can be blind to things but when we are talking a consistent situation of garnering followers, building your “brand” for Jesus, etc, I often think of Hebrews 10 and shudder. It is one thing to know about God and quite another to KNOW Jesus Christ. He was no smiley face happy clappy anything goes guy. He spent most of his time dissing the “religious leaders” of His time. From his own tribe!

    He was basically saying by His very life, “Your concept of God is not God”.

    So what sort of person am I if I do not warn people and encourage those who have been abused? My goal is to see them healthy and independent of those shackles of “approval” from the fence sitters or the ones doing the evil. Their words eventually should not penetrate our hearts at all. Although I am not a poltiical fan of Eleanor Roosevelt there are some things about her I greatly admire. Like going up in a plane with a Tuskegee airman. Loved it. But I love this quote from her the most:

    No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

    My goal is to help the abused get to that place. So yes, it is ok to have enemies, IMO. In Christianity, we do not seek revenge. We seek truth and transparency. And often, they are negative truths.

    Like

  64. @TomParker:

    John A:
    Since your third comment in this blog topic what have you added to the discussion. Is it your game to change the topic?

    If it is, he’s doing it longwinded. On classic Internet Monk, comments that long would provoke the reply “If you’re going to comment that long, start your own blog.”

    Like

  65. @BTDT:

    Tom’s comment was spot on. Narcissists love to make the entire convo all about them — their thoughts, their feelings, their pov. Nobody else matters.

    Like

  66. “Part of that included letting members come to their own conclusions, another part was allowing group members to identify behaviors and dynamics of specific members within the group. That, too, is going on here. It’s healthy. It gives people a voice. It allows people to think, be validated, be challenged. It allows us to see how others view us (me, included). We can fight back or we can take a serious look at ourselves and make personal changes. It’s challenging. This stuff is very cool. I love it.”

    This is great as it rarely happens anywhere anymore. And it is quite healthy. How else do we learn and grow if not challenged? One of my challenges is that seeker megas tend to be totally fake. Everything was about a positive image so there could be no outward conflict of any kind. No one was growing or learning. They were putting on a play. Roles. You had to be happy you were dying of cancer or you were avoided like the plague. I simply cannot stand that sort of situation anymore. I would rather spend time with people I know are jerks and don’t hide it than 5 minutes with a fake putting on a deceptive demeanor to be liked and play a role. I guess I was around it so much I have an aversion to it. An example: If John would drop the attitude he is here to “help us” act that would be fine with me. It is the fakey Dale Carnegie-ish (I am here to help and instruct you) insult sandwiches that annoy me. (Passive agressive).

    Like

  67. It’s a scene from the final episode of a surreal Sixties British TV miniseries called “The Prisoner”. Every time the main character tries to speak, he’s drowned out by a chorus yelling “I! I! I!” I’m not sure what it means, either (except for messing with the viewers’ minds), but the idea of unable to be heard because everyone else has a bad case of “I” trouble was what brought it to mind.

    Like

  68. Lydiasellerofpurple,
    Yup! I just don’t know what to else say, but, Yup!
    I agree with you so much that I just picture if I listened to you all day long I would just keep saying “Eyeee knoooowwww, meeeee tooooo!”

    Like

  69. “Lydiasellerofpurple,
    Yup! I just don’t know what to else say, but, Yup!
    I agree with you so much that I just picture if I listened to you all day long I would just keep saying “Eyeee knoooowwww, meeeee tooooo!””

    Patti, It always feels so great to know when you are NOT alone!

    Like

  70. After reading this post, what came to mind is a song I listened to 16 years ago- a song on a lullaby tape of all things:
    “Many are the learned ones who lead their flocks of sheep, but cannot fall before His face to tremble or to weep. For life in Jesus has a key that only childlike eyes can see. “

    Like

  71. Somebody who knows Carl Trueman: Please invite him as well to the Morales trial. If he and CJ are such good buds…

    Like

  72. AnotherTom

    Really like when you write @ APRIL 10, 2014 @ 5:01 PM…
    “Ok, I am going to participate. Even though I said I wouldn’t. But it’s ok, because Jesus told his brothers he was not yet going to the feast, and he showed up there later. I realise that most people would assume that when Jesus said he was “not yet” going, he meant that he wasn’t going at the same time that they went but but he planned to go later.”

    Thanks for pointing out the “NOT YET” in those verses in John 7.
    I never noticed that before.

    ———

    Seems John Allman did NOT notice that either. 😉

    I do NOT recall if John Allman thanked you or NOT. 🙂

    Maybe that’s why Jesus sent him here?

    Maybe – Because John Allman was calling Jesus’, behavior “ambivalent?”
    And Jesus wanted John to learn something new and be corrected? 😉

    John Allman writes @ APRIL 10, 2014 @ 3:27 AM…
    About “the Lord Jesus’ own ambivalent behaviour”

    “This is somewhat reminiscent of the account in John chapter 7, of the Lord Jesus’ own ambivalent behaviour, in relation to his attending, or not, the Feast of Tabernacles, and whether, when and how to court publicity at the feast, if and when he did attend.”

    “See: “In john chapter 7 Jesus said He wasn’t going to the feast of tabernacles. But He secretly went! Did Jesus lie?”

    ———-

    So John Allman – What do you think? – Did Jesus Lie?

    Like

  73. taylorjoyyoung

    You ask @ APRIL 11, 2014 @ 3:50 PM…
    A. Amos—you speak with the voice of experience!!! :). Have you enountered ADHD or Aspergers in your life/family/circleoffriends?

    ———

    Nope – It is my experience talking with so-called “Pastor/Leaders.” When they are confronted with – Where is that in the Bible? – Go To Church? Join a Church? Church Mebership? Tithe to a Church? The “Title/Position? pastor/leader/reverend?

    Why do you call it “Biblical?” When it is NOT in the Bible?

    Pastor/leaders just keep-ona-talkin – And continue to call it ALL “Biblical,”
    Even when they admit personally – It’s NOT in the Bible…
    And their words have NO value – NO integrity…
    “it’s basically “words on a hamster wheel,”

    And my experience with folks like John Allman who just keep-ona-talkin…
    Who do NOT say very much that makes sense and like to Nit-Pick… 😉
    And when reading their writting eventually they make my brain hurt.

    Because how they speak – “it’s basically “words on a hamster wheel,”

    ——–

    And I’m enjoying your wtiting and your Blog – there are some great posts.

    Really like this one

    “How Quiverfull Speech Can Crash Airplanes”

    http://taylorjoyrecovers.wordpress.com/2014/04/02/quiverfullspeechcrashesairplanes/

    Be blessed

    Like

  74. Here is a quote from an excellent article in yesterdays Washington Post entitled, When nice guys behave like monsters by Christiane Ristiano. “For those who have made their childhood secret public, I can vouch it was most likely one of the most painful and difficult decisions they have ever made. They did not go into it lightly. Unfortunately, often victims are ostracized and blamed for a crime they are desperately trying to survive, only compounding the trauma they have to endure.”

    Sadly, in our broken world, our advocates are ostracized as well.

    Like

  75. @ waitingforthetrumpet2

    ” If you truly want an accurate understanding of her, you must go back to the beginning posts she started a couple of years so you can see where her heart really is.”

    Thanks for the suggestion. I’ve made a start on this.

    Like

  76. John

    Maybe you can choose a New Name for yourself? – A Cyber Name?

    Become an anonymous participant?- And do NOT tell anyone…

    And start over…

    Like

  77. The “yet” of “not yet” is in brackets in many translations, suggesting that the wording varies between different early surviving manuscripts of the text of John 7.

    Like

  78. And some translations don’t have the word “yet” at all. But, my entire first comment is irrelevant to any part of the posting, apart from the first sentence, in the same large-sized font as the title, and which wasn’t actually in Brent Detwiler’s original post. I am happy to move on.

    Like

  79. John Allman

    You are funny… Maybe a New Name will NOT help – You…

    You write on your first post @ APRIL 10, 2014 @ 3:27 AM…

    “See: “In john chapter 7 Jesus said He wasn’t going to the feast of tabernacles. But He secretly went! Did Jesus lie?”

    And at the end of that line you put “at” and give a web-site…

    “at”

    http://clearbibleanswers.org/questionsanswers

    Did you read about John 7 from that site?

    Nope – You did NOT read it. Or you read it and dis-agreed with it… 😉

    Here is what it says on the first page about John 7.
    #32 – In john chapter 7 Jesus said He wasn’t going to the feast of tabernacles. But He secretly went! Did Jesus lie?

    You just cut and pasted that question from the page…
    Notice john spelled with a small ‘j” – On your comment, and on this page. 😉

    But – Here is how that web-site reads. when you click on #32…

    http://clearbibleanswers.org/questionsanswers/214-in-john-chapter-7-jesus-said-he-wasnt-going-to-the-feast-of-tabernacles-but-he-secretly-went-did-jesus-lie.html

    ———–

    “Go ye up unto this feast: I go “not up yet” unto this feast.

    (John 7:8)

    Jesus did NOT say that He was NOT going to attend this feast,
    but He said He was NOT going up “yet” unto this feast.
    The feast of Tabernacle was a seven day feast.
    The first day of the feast was an important day
    so was the last day of the feast. It is written:”

    “Jesus did NOT attend the first important day of the feast.
    He was there during the middle of the feast
    and on the last important day too.
    That is why He said: “I go not up yet unto this feast”.

    It was a very truthful statement!”

    So, this guy says Jesus made a “very truthful statement.”

    But – You ask – Did Jesus Lie?

    john, john, john,
    Maybe you shoud have read that site before you wanted us to look at it? 🙂

    john, john, john,
    You are funny… Maybe a New Name will NOT help – You…

    Like

  80. @ Happymom

    “For those who have made their childhood secret public, I can vouch it was most likely one of the most painful and difficult decisions they have ever made. They did not go into it lightly. Unfortunately, often victims are ostracized and blamed for a crime they are desperately trying to survive, only compounding the trauma they have to endure.” [Christiane Ristiano]

    My decision to make my own childhood secret public wasn’t that difficult, but afterwards I was certainly ostracised and blamed because of the crime that I survived. Because no church leaders were involved in covering up the crimes in my childhood and adolescence, I don’t think I need to mention them here. People here don’t approve of the abuse of children, but it seems to be a silver lining to that dark cloud, when the abused children happen to have been churched children, creating the opportunity gleefully to blame particular church leaders for *something*, even if not for the actual crimes. I haven’t found this to be a peaceable enough place to risk revealing my childhood secret here yet. I wouldn’t feel safe.

    Like

  81. “People here don’t approve of the abuse of children, but it seems to be a silver lining to that dark cloud, when the abused children happen to have been churched children, creating the opportunity gleefully to blame particular church leaders for *something*, even if not for the actual crimes. I haven’t found this to be a peaceable enough place to risk revealing my childhood secret here yet. I wouldn’t feel safe.”

    John, You have crossed the line. For this one I hope you get the dog house. You are implying we only care about abused children from Christian homes or church so we can point fingers. That is vile. Isn’t the one place children should be safe is with parents or in church that purports to follow Christ? So, when abuse is done hiding behind Jesus Christ it is a double whammy for the abused. And it blasphemes our Savior who spoke of millstones for those who cause little ones to stumble. To harm a child using Jesus is the most vile and unspeakable evil I can imagine. We expect the worldly and heathens to do such things. But long time professing believers? In case you do not understand me…let me add that I have volunteered and was on the board of a Spouse and child abuse center for several years. I have been an advocate to ALL whether Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish or athiest. But in fact, the majority who came to teh center checked the protestant denomination box on forms. So, go figure.

    Your pomposity and contorted comments here are old. This last one was below the belt and gives me a clue into your mind games –which I am sick of playing. I know your type well. Have read this sort of mental gymnastics in comment streams of many YRR pastor (strange you sound so much like them)blogs over the last 8 years. It is a dead end.

    Like

  82. This latest outburst of abuse certainly confirms John’s assessment that this is not a safe place, especially since it’s only the latest in a long train of it.

    When I first showed up here, I was subjected to the same series of mischaracterizations of what I said and pointless insults, but eventually it stopped. This kind of bullying seems to be what these injured people think necessary to protect themselves.

    Now it’s true that it looks a lot like the behavior of the bullies in the churches that they left, and to a great extent because it is. A lot of those church bullies are in fact bullied people who have solved the problem by supplanting their bullies. They aren’t listened to in the world, so they can make a little world of their own where everybody listens.

    That only explains; it doesn’t excuse. And the only remedy that I know of is to learn to not take that crap while also making sure not to return it.

    I think John has done a fair job of obeying God in this. It will be good to see people learn to treat him as they wish to be treated, and to stop offering excuses for not doing so, because God is not accepting such excuses, just as he doesn’t accept the excuses that such as CJ Mahaney or John MacArthur might offer.

    Like

  83. Peter, For some reason you and John brought your egos here expecting them to be respected and massaged. I suggest you check them at the door next time and grow up. It is ok if our views of what obeying God looks like are different. God is long suffering with pompous egotists, too.

    Like

  84. John said:

    People here don’t approve of the abuse of children, but it seems to be a silver lining to that dark cloud, when the abused children happen to have been churched children, creating the opportunity gleefully to blame particular church leaders for *something*, even if not for the actual crimes. I haven’t found this to be a peaceable enough place to risk revealing my childhood secret here yet. I wouldn’t feel safe.

    Lydia said:

    John, You have crossed the line. For this one I hope you get the dog house.

    Lydia – – if he said it as fact, I would have more of a problem with the comment, but he stated an opinion and people are entitled to opinions, even ones with which I do not agree.

    But I do notice tensions rising, so I request that we all dial it down a bit. I have a lot on my plate today and may not have the energy to pull out the big ol’ dog house.

    Like

  85. Peter said:

    This kind of bullying seems to be what these injured people think necessary to protect themselves.

    Yes, I have seen this happen, too. We must be careful that our responses do not resemble our abusers.

    Like

  86. John Allman

    Then you go on to write @ APRIL 12, 2014 @ 10:23 AM…
    “And some translations don’t have the word “yet” at all.”

    john,
    Maybe you can just say – hey I blew it – excuse me

    Because – when you read the translation that you put on this Blog.
    It has “NOT YET” at least three times.

    If you knew before, that “yet” is NOT in some translations…
    Before you were challenged about NOT YET going to the feast…
    You could have quoted from one of them…

    Did God lead you to post John 7 from the NKJV?
    So you could see the error you made? By asking? Did Jesus Lie?
    And calling Jesus’, behavior “ambivalent?”

    Maybe Jesus wanted you, John, to learn something new and be corrected? 😉

    You quote the NKJV @ APRIL 10, 2014 @ 3:27 AM…

    John 7
    New King James Version (NKJV) (abridged)
    Jesus’ Brothers Disbelieve

    6 Then Jesus said to them, “My time has “NOT YET” come,
    but your time is always ready. …
    8 You go up to this feast. I am “NOT YET” going up to this feast,
    for My time has “NOT YET” fully come.”
    9 When He had said these things to them, He remained in Galilee.

    john,
    Is it possible you made a mistake when you said…
    “the Lord Jesus’ own ambivalent behaviour”???
    “Did Jesus Lie?”

    Like

  87. Well Peter and John, if you cannot see that John is crossing the line when he says that we are blaming church leaders for *something* in abuse cases as if this might not be warranted then this is a problem. Let me list some of the actions taken by various church leaders which are indeed blameworthy and I would add reprehensible.

    1. Using pastoral ‘authority’ to persuade parents not to report the crime.
    2. Pastors and elders not telling the congregation that a pedophile is attending the church and not supervising him to prevent access to children. In one case, a pedophile attending an associated Bible college was allowed to be part of a program where church members (with children) provided room and board.
    3. Pastors urging judges to give lighter than recommended sentences because the pastor can assure them that the convicted molestor is genuinely repentant.
    4. Arranging marriages between pedophiles and single women in the church, including single mothers with young children of their own.
    5. Forcing terrified children as young as three to face their molesters and forgive them.

    There are more examples plus the assorted theological idiocies that these people make up to justify their behavior.

    Like

  88. “Lydia – – if he said it as fact, I would have more of a problem with the comment, but he stated an opinion and people are entitled to opinions, even ones with which I do not agree.

    But I do notice tensions rising, so I request that we all dial it down a bit. I have a lot on my plate today and may not have the energy to pull out the big ol’ dog house”

    Sorry JA. You are right about opinion and it is not my place to suggest the dog house!

    Like

  89. In fact John did not imply, much less state, that you all only care about children abused in churches. Drawing that inference from his words comes under the category of bearing false witness against your neighbor.

    All that he said or implied was that although you all hate abuse, what you enjoy about it is that it justifies you in dumping on church leaders that you hate. Whether that’s so or not in your particular instance, it is certainly a thing to look out for because people do it all the time. For example, Americans were mad about 9/11/2001, but they were also thrilled at having people to hate and excuses to attack all sorts of people, including Iraq, that had nothing to do with it.

    Knowing this, and seeing your conduct toward him, he is perfectly justified in exercising the sort of caution with you that you have learned in the churches that you have left, and in his case are imitating. Consider:

    When he only warned against making a big deal about a relatively minor point, in which Jesus appears to have acted likewise, he was met with all sorts of rage and abuse, and his word mischaracterized to make him look worse than he is.

    He has been subjected to all kinds of name-calling an being ganged up on, in just the same style dissenters were treated in the churches that you left. He has been “psychoanalyzed” just as you were by elders and pastors to guilt-trip you and shut you up.

    When I have defended him against these tactics, you have come down on me too in the same way that anyone supporting you in those churches would be bullied in order to isolate you.

    Just as you were accused of being whiny or wanting your egos massaged when you insisted on truth in those environments, you have done likewise. You have no evidence of that – much the contrary, since none of you can think I’m so stupid as to think that speaking to you as I have will induce you to massage my ego. Indeed, it will almost certainly bring upon me more abuse.

    What I get out of it is treating John as I want to be treated on such occasions – that God will not forsake me either in such cases. And in treating you as I need to be treated when I act like you – not leaving your crap unreproved, I’m asking God to make sure he isn’t silent when I need it.

    And finally a detail. If you’ll do some research, you’ll find that the evidence in textual criticism is that “yet” is probably a later addition, so that John is quite right not to agree that he blew it on this point – just as you were quite right not to confess all your sins of rebellion and what have you when you rightly objected to their conduct, and they bullied you just like that about how your pride and ego were keeping you from admitting how right they were.

    It’s easy to get out of the abusive church, but not so easy to get the abusive church out of you. It seemed difficult to get the people out of Egypt, but once God had them out of there, getting Egypt out of the people was another job altogether.

    As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10, these things were written to us as a warning. Of course such warnings are seldom heeded, as the Bible also testifies, but we’ll see.

    Like

  90. “Just as you were accused of being whiny or wanting your egos massaged when you insisted on truth in those environments, you have done likewise.”

    1. We are not in an institutional church environment here. Many here who have been spiritually abuse or abused had bought into the pecking order/caste system. No one here has any perceived authority over you or John. It was a lively discussion of much disagreement that you both took offense to because some of us disgreed strenuously which you perceive as bullying, ego massaging, etc. That is ok, it is your opinion. Not sure either of you can see how pompous you sound. As Patrice pointed out you focus on the letter and not the spirit.

    “You have no evidence of that – much the contrary, since none of you can think I’m so stupid as to think that speaking to you as I have will induce you to massage my ego. Indeed, it will almost certainly bring upon me more abuse.”

    That is not what I meant at all. When one comes with a superior pompous attitude to “instruct us” I can only assume that such a demeanor is how they massage their own egos. And a blog where spiritual abuse survivors congregate is a perfect place to do that. Many are already perceived as weak and stupid as both of your comments communicate whether you realize it or not.

    Let me give you an example of this twisting and arrogance:

    “In fact John did not imply, much less state, that you all only care about children abused in churches. Drawing that inference from his words comes under the category of bearing false witness against your neighbor.

    All that he said or implied was that although you all hate abuse, what you enjoy about it is that it justifies you in dumping on church leaders that you hate. Whether that’s so or not in your particular instance, it is certainly a thing to look out for because people do it all the time. For example, Americans were mad about 9/11/2001, but they were also thrilled at having people to hate and excuses to attack all sorts of people, including Iraq, that had nothing to do with it.”

    I am not sure I see a difference. In order to “enjoy” dumping on church leaders there has to be abuse in said churches —which is the focus here. So how is it not the same thing as what I stated he implied? In other words, we would need the abuse to happen in churches in order to dump on church leaders because we enjoy it. We found the “silver lining” to abuse we can use.

    Yet, I am accused of “bearing false witness”. Do you have any idea how many times I have heard this accusation from YRR and fundys with anyone who dares to analyze and try to understand their pompous words. It rolls off the back! What John wrote about people on this blog was evil. He knew exactly what he meant and communicated it well. He was trying very hard to plant poisonous seeds.

    I go back to him thinking Tony Miano is credible. This– to a group who are well versed in Tony’s doctrinal stance and “methods”. Not a good start is it? And as he continues to comment he looks more and more like he is of Tony’s tribe but with clever pomposity. Tony is not clever at all. I saw how cleverly he parsed Tony’s behavior in the abortion video and was amazed. He was trying to lose us in minutia veiled as spiritual methodology.

    John has no street cred with me. But I give you credit as his apologist. But you are just as insulting:

    “It’s easy to get out of the abusive church, but not so easy to get the abusive church out of you. It seemed difficult to get the people out of Egypt, but once God had them out of there, getting Egypt out of the people was another job altogether.”

    Here we go. You see those who have been abused as weak and most possibly stupid. That comment does not signal respect for what people have suffered and their journey out of Egypt.

    This is what I meant earlier about the Darwinian style Christianity (survival of the fittest) I mentioned earlier. You are superior because you see it and you have the answers for them if they would just listen to you. They still have Egypt in them and cannot be reasoned with.

    Patrice tried to explain how this process works itself out. You and John are missing a vital Christian virtue: Compassion for the abused in the Name of Jesus.

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  91. I am not ‘enjoying’ the opportunity to dump on Christian leaders whom I hate. I never heard of a single one of them until I started researching abuse in churches a few months ago. Not even one. Just checked with my husband and he hasn’t heard of them either.

    Like

  92. @ A. Amos Love

    “Do you worship Jesus as God?”

    If you are asking whether I *believe* that Jesus is God, I do. And I believe that I am worshipping Him. Is that a problem here?

    Like

  93. I don’t hate anyone (with the exception of the jerk who wrongfully stole my young son from me and never gave him back).

    But in my research, I have found that there is an epidemic of abuse going on in churches, and an overabundance of self-appointed authoritarian control freaks lording over their “flocks”. Not to mention all the false doctrines being preached.

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  94. Amos brought up a good point: can’t John simply admit he’s wrong? By doing so, will his self-worth and entire credibility implode? He called me out for prematurely passing judgment on him (“shame on you!” were his words) to which I answered and rightly apologized if I had misjudged him (guess what, I’m still standing). Amazingly, John went on from there and defended Miano’s right to question JA’s salvation! Is that not a double standard?! And when called on it, he justified himself by asserting my confusion between “might” and “was”. No recognition that he’s simply wrong. Rather, he moved on to another thread to kick dirt in more faces. I’m frankly amazed by his odd behavior. TaylorJoy’s suspicion of Asperger’s Syndrome may very well explain it.

    And Peter insists John is being bullied.

    Yes, Lydia, Darwinian Christianity is a most apt description for this incredible and infuriating display.

    Like

  95. Marsha, you are failing to read what either John or I said. Nobody said or implied that any of these acts was OK, or that the church “leaders” doing or condoning them are OK, or that there is anything wrong with saying they’re not.

    What John said, and which I tried to explain, was that people here are finding a “silver lining” in this abuse in the opportunity to self-righteously denounce them. That’s a long way from condoning what is being denounced.

    Here’s a simple example. When the Red Army finally reached German territory in 1945 – East Prussia – they raped their way through East Prussia. If you were a female between 10 and 80 years old, you got raped.

    There was some history behind this. The Wehrmacht had invaded the Soviet Union in 1941 and stayed to starve 2 million people to death in the siege of Leningrad, annihilate hundreds of villages in Byelorus and Unkraine, and much else adding up to a good 20 million dead Soviet citizens. The Red Army had a beef.

    To say that they enjoyed the excuse that German atrocities gave them for these mass rapes is not to say that these German atrocities didn’t happen, or that there was anything OK about them. It is a fact that the Germans did all these things in the Soviet Union, and that there was no disputing that they were very bad things to do. Indeed, one might justly say that those East Prussian women had Hitler to thank for what befell them. That doesn’t mean that the Red Army soldiers that raped them were not enjoying the excuse that the German Army had given them to rape these women. Abused people often comfort themselves by taking their own vengeance and by imitating their abusers.

    Lydia, calling what you’ve been doing merely a “lively discussion” is nonsense. It is bullying in the same way that you complain about. It features name-calling, misconstruing what John said as unfavorably and uncharitably as possible, threatening to ban John in order to intimidate him, and you in particular trying to incite JA against him to kick him out. That’s not lively discussion. It’s abuse, as far as it is within your power. That it’s not an institutional church environment, so that your power is much less, is not a point in favor of your conduct. It calls to mind Talleyrand’s observation that the weak are not as wicked as the strong because they lack the power to be.

    A couple of other points:

    “You can only assume.” It’s a lot safer not to assume. First, you’re assuming that we are taking a superior attitude to instruct you – exactly the response of the Pharisees to the blind man in John 9: “You were altogether born in sins, and you’re teaching us?”

    All the blind man was doing is giving them some straight sense as he understood it; and to avoid interacting with it, they went to how pompous he was, thinking to instruct them. Having come from abusive churches, you cannot be unaware that that is how they bully dissenters there, charging you with spiritual pride and such like if you confront them on the specifics of their wrongdoing. If you think there’s a problem with that, and you sure should, then how about meditating on the behavior of those people with a view to making sure you don’t act like them – as you have been doing?

    In this connection, I advise anybody to pick up a copy of “The True Believer” by Eric Hoffer, a little study of mass movements. You’ll see how abusive churches work, how useful hatred is in mobilizing people, and much more. It’s not perfect, of course, but if you apply it as a diagnostic tool to your own heart, you’ll see a lot of bad stuff to avoid, and recognize the vulnerabilities that cause us to be ripped of as most of us here have been.

    All that John said about Miano being credible is that his experience here with you confirms that Miano has a point in what he accuses you of. That doesn’t mean Miano was a good guy. In 1943, the Gestapo revealed to the world that Stalin in 1939 had shot 20,000 Polish officers in the Katyn Forest, and there was all sorts of bellowing about how the Gestapo was evil, and lying, and so forth. Well, the Gestapo was evil, and lying was all about how the Nazis did things, as their Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, stated openly on occasion. But in this matter, the Gestapo told the truth.

    In the same way, for John to find that Miano told the truth in some respect about how you treat people is a long way from endorsing Miano in general. The Nazis were credible when it came to the massacre in Katyn Forest, because it was proven correct, and that’s not to say that they were credible or praiseworthy in any other respect. All that happened here is that you confirmed Miano’s assessment of you in a single detail; that doesn’t keep Miano from being a son of a bitch himself. John never suggested that he isn’t.

    I never said anything about abused people being weak or stupid. Theologically, that’s preposterous, because Jesus came into the world to be a victim of abuse, overcoming it through his resurrection, and he is the Wisdom of God. Abuse is what the powers and principalities of this world do, and the evil spirits don’t do anything except with the design of converting the whole world to Satan’s kingdom. Finding that abuse isesigned to turn the abused into abusers, servants of Satan, themselves should be wholly unsurprising.

    In the light of Jesus’s resurrection, in which he thereby stripped these ruling spirits of darkness of their power, we need not concede that it must work that way – far from it. But the problem needs to be acknowledged and treated with respect; we are dealing with serious power here, and not least, serious power to corrupt the victims. Anyone who vaunts himself over any victim of abuse is vaunting himself over Jesus Christ, not a good idea. But that’s not to say, when you imitate your abusers in your conduct, that nothing should be said about it.

    You can keep on calling me names and all the rest. I don’t resent it, because it’s like how you get grit under your fingernails when you work on cars, or how you get unfavorable rulings on your motions when you litigate special education cases. It’s all good clean fun.

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  96. Insisting that people admit they’re wrong when they’re not is bullying, and if you’ve been in an abusive church situation, you should not need to have the sharp end of it explained to you.

    Here’s how you all are working it. He says something. You construe it as something else that he didn’t say, which indeed is wrong. He insists upon what he said and refuses to own your mischaracterization. So he is nitpicking and refusing to admit he’s wrong.

    I’d bet real money that when people do that to you, you consider it to be bullshit, and so it is. It’s no better when you do it to others.

    Date: Sat, 12 Apr 2014 22:42:27 +0000 To: peter.attwood@hotmail.com

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  97. My, this thread has exploded. Not sure I have much to add, but here goes…

    To John and Peter,

    I can’t speak for anyone here except myself, but I find no joy or “silver lining” in hearing that abuse has taken place in any church, or that the church has been complicit in it. I would much rather hear that spiritual and sexual abuse don’t exist at all. Or (barring that) I would rejoice to know that every congregation that has experienced such abuse has responded properly, in line with the law of the land, and the compassion of Christ.

    However, if members at any church have perpetrated or abetted abuse at all, I hope that I won’t hesitate to call them out. If victims speak out against it and expose it, and I will stand with them, and I won’t apologize for doing so. That’s my duty to the victims, and to my calling as a Christian. From what I know of Julie Anne, she runs this blog in much the same spirit.

    Like JA, I’ve noticed tensions running high on this thread, and the one dealing with Miano. I think a lot of it has come from John and his attitude.

    John,

    You seem to have a knack for ticking people off here. A lot of what you’ve written has gotten under my skin as well. It would take a lot of space to spell out everything you’ve said that bothered me. The main reason: Perhaps you don’t mean it, but you come across to me as pompous and as a know-it-all. It doesn’t endear you to me very much. I was relieved to read up-thread that you’re finding out more about the story of our hostess, to find out where she’s coming from, and what this blog is for. To be honest, though, I wish you’d started doing so much sooner.

    Peter,

    I agree that quite a few people have lashed out at John. I even think that a few have gone over the line. On the Miano thread, I thought the remarks of gracealone1 were far too harsh. But I also think that John has been rude and condescending to people who’ve been here much longer than he has, and when people encounter that attitude it’s probably easy to slip into fight-or-flight mode.

    Perhaps we all could have been more welcoming to John. Personally, though, I was too busy trying to figure him out. That much, I’m afraid, he brought on himself by coming here with the air of a lecturer, instead of remembering that he’s a visitor.

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  98. I can read just fine, Peter. I stand by what I said. It crosses a line for me when John says that child abuse in the church gives us/me a chance to blame church leaders for something with astericks around the word ‘something’ as if it’s questionable whether they did something blameworthy or as if he doesn’t know what that could possibly be. I listed some of the abusive things that church leaders have done – and some of these pastors have even testified to doing them in court when the molester was being prosecuted so there is zero doubt. And about what do you and John express concern? Attitudes!!! The attitudes of advocates for victims. John feels that we are gleeful because we didn’t like these pastors to begin with. He has no evidence of that and in my case, I had never even heard of them to dislike them. And you worry about self righteousness. Why is it self righteous to stand up for victims? When I read about that poor little three year old being dragged out from under a chair and told by her pastor to forgive her molester, I cried. I was thinking of the child, I was worrying about psychological damage. I can assure you without a doubt that I wasn’t patting myself on the back because I am not a child molester and because I would never further abuse a terrified child like that.

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  99. I was molested in church by a deacon. I told my paster what happened, and by whom. He promised he would take care of the matter. So what happened? Not a thing. It went ignored, swept under the rug and forgotten. I was 16 at the time and the molester was over 40. I’m stuck with the memory of it 40 years later.

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  100. wftt2,

    I doubt those memories will ever go away. 😦
    Both the deacon and pastor should have done jail time. It’s past time for churches to start taking precautions to protect “the least of these.” I’m glad you’re speaking up.

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  101. It took me 52 years from my first abuse until I had the courage to finally speak out publicly online.

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  102. Marsha, I’m not talking, and clearly neither was John, about minimizing what was done. Actually, people like this deserve hell, and when you see such passages as Matthew 24:51, it’s clear that we in fact have a duty to call these people what they are and to let them know, and then the wide world, as appropriate, what they ought to expect.

    All that his “silver lining” remark addressed was how abused people do comfort themselves by licensing themselves to dump on people, who indeed may well deserve it. This certainly gives the sort of comfort that Esau gave himself by planning to kill Jacob, but it doesn’t bring healing.

    I got a lesson on this 6 years ago from my mother’s treachery in the spring of 1956, when I was not quite 5 years old. She took me to the hospital in New York to get my crossed eye fixed, and when I asked her where we were going she told me to visit my grandmother. I was worried about it, since the road was unfamiliar, and when it dawned on me that in fact she had lied to me and it was in fact the hospital I had a total screaming meltdown. And then I had a cold, so they kept me there two weeks tormenting me, drugging me to control my terror.

    This came to mind again 50 years later as I was walking outside my apartment having a talk with the Lord, and I asked him why it was still bothering me. And then I saw.

    What was bothering me is that I had been faced with my complete helplessness, that I had no way to defend myself. I had covered my shame and disgust with myself by dwelling on my indignation about my mother’s wickedness, which was real. She was guilty as charged. But I realized that that wasn’t really what had bothered me. In fact, her evil doing had compelled me to see the truth that I could not take care of myself, defend myself against people in the world, including my mother, who could and would screw me over if they found it convenient. And that, as it happens, is the truth which I’ve needed to see in life. I can’t save myself in this world. I need a savior, always Jesus, and often someone he might send.

    Of course I couldn’t say that the only thing that really bothered me was her having confronted me with hard truth, and not her undeniably wicked and treacherous conduct, which made me get straight before age 5 that neither she nor anyone else could be trusted. Once I got that straightened out and stopped lying to myself, things started to get better.

    Of course I’m still working on all this. Psalm 57.4 applies, including, as we have seen, this company.

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  103. Serving Kids,
    That’s a pretty good post.

    However, it would be nice for people to stop justifying their conduct by finding fault with John’s tone or whatever. I saw nothing offensive in it, but that doesn’t matter. Others could find it offensive, and that doesn’t matter either. Those of you that think the Bible counts for something would do well to heed the advice of James 1:19, “Let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.” “Everyone” here doesn’t mean everyone except those abused in church.

    Those of you who persist in excusing your quickness to anger, your quickness to speak, and rather falsely at times, and your slowness to listen, causing you to hear wrongly and therefore answer falsely – did you think that was OK when you were bullied that way in the abusive churches you came from? If not, is it not worth taking more care to avoid such conduct yourselves?

    I think it is, because Jesus rightly said, “The measure you measure will be measured back to you again.” It’s pretty obvious there that giving myself excuses not to listen to people and to be angry with them unjustly amounts to asking God to do us in the same way. I don’t think that’s a smart prayer to pray.

    It’s notable that Matthew 7:12, saying “Therefore,” is referring back to the prior instruction on how to pray. It’s clear. How you treat people is what you’re asking God to do to you. You really want to ask God to do you the way you’ve been doing John Allan? I didn’t think so.

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  104. Peter, you are speaking for John repeatedly, you are identifying with him and you may be wrong. How do you interpret his statement about certain Christian leaders being guilty of *something* complete with astericks? I would like you to pay as close attention to my comments as you do to John’s and I think it is as significant that he put it that way. He didn’t say that they were also guilty of abuse, did he? Just *something*. Where does he condemn this kind of behavior as you have done?

    I am sorry that your mother betrayed you because that is exactly what she did. You clearly understand that healing is a process because her behavior still bothered you fifty years later. You need to let people who have been abused go through their own process without being criticized. Of course the process is going to be different from person to person, but generally people need validation. Yes, we believe you, yes, it was wrong, and no, it was not your fault. It helps to know one is not alone, that others have been through it and healed, and it helps to see others stand up for victims and call out wrong doing and sometimes to participate ones self. When victims are expected to forgive and forget instantly and without validation or be called bitter, when the crimes and sins against them are dismissed because we are sinners including the victim, when people who should be helpful or caring ignore the victim to concentrate on the abuser and his restoration, then the process is derailed. And it is not that Jesus doesn’t heal the wounded because He does but he often works through people.

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  105. “All that his “silver lining” remark addressed was how abused people do comfort themselves by licensing themselves to dump on people, who indeed may well deserve it. This certainly gives the sort of comfort that Esau gave himself by planning to kill Jacob, but it doesn’t bring healing.”

    Seriously? Easu was seeking revenge. Negative truths about “Christian” abusers and their silent fellow travellors is not revenge nor is it dumping on people.

    Frankly, you are starting to sound like you are threatened by people relating their experiences of abuse. What is so threatening about people seeking help on their journey out from others who have traveled that road? Is it because you do not approve the method?

    What you have really done above is imply it is a “sin” with the silver lining metaphor by relating it to Easu’s “comfort” in plotting murder. That is really no different than CJ’s shepherding cult method. You seem to expect instant healing or the no talk rule unless it is your approved method.

    Peter, Either most of us here have poor reading comprehension or you are simply not communicating what you think you are communicating.

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  106. In truth I am speaking less for John than against doing him or anyone else injustice.

    My understanding of John’s saying that these people are guilty of *something* is to emphasize that whatever these people are actually guilty of, he doesn’t know, having only your say so for it, and that here’s some stuff to be said regardless of the truth about that.

    You see that all the time in mathematics. The less you have to postulate, the more general and meaningful whatever you say is. Something that’s true whether only one parallel line can be drawn through a point not on the line applies more generally than a theorem that depends on that.

    In the same way, if I can prove that a school district ripped off a kid regardless of whether they meant to or not, say because they failed to assess for a problem, that’s less trouble than if I have to prove that they were deliberately indifferent of grossly negligent, which is what it takes to show they owe damages under Section 504. Maybe they were deliberately indifferent or grossly negligent. I have better chances if I don’t have to prove it.

    I’m all for not criticizing people for all sorts of ugliness in general, when they’ve been hurt. But when someone is doing injustice to someone else, it needs to be confronted, both for the sake of the target, and also for the sake of the abuser, who is rolling the shit that rolled onto her out into the world, thus perpetuating the abuse and extending the reach of the original abuser. In dulging that does no favors. I have of course done the same. It doesn’t feel that great to have to see that I have done the evil to others that has been done to me. Once you go there, you do have to come face up to that, or worse, you just keep it up, living in darkness, for the rest of your life. I don’t like those choices.

    The whole notion of instant forgiveness is part of a larger heresy, referred to in Colossians as will-worship, the notion that obeying God is an act of will, whether forgiveness or anything else.

    That’s for the Nazis – Leni Riefenstahl’s “Triumph of the Will” about the 1934 Nazi Nuremburg rally. It’s for Satan (Isaiah 14:12). But it’s not for Christians. For us, it’s about faith, which is about being persuaded of the truth and holding to it, and consequently is not at all of the will. When we will to believe something, it’s lying to ourselves, deciding to believe something we are convinced is not so. Thus faith is from God and arises from hearing, which is by the word of God. And that takes a while, working things out.

    As long as we buy the notion that faith is will-worship, we really can’t be free, because lying and satanic oppression are rooted in this. We may get rid of a given little tyrant, but as long as that poison is in us, it will keep poisoning us.

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  107. You certainly have a reading comprehension problem. Nothing I’ve said implies that people shouldn’t talk about what has happened to them. That’s ridiculous. Abuse and it’s consequences are a problem. Problems need to be thought about and talked about in order to solve them. First with God, of course, but certainly among his people. That syllogism should be obvious. Those that resist it, such as the abusers you’ve cited, are at best not interested in solving the problem.

    That’s quite a different question from whether people comfort themselves by dumping on people. To the degree that we haven’t been comforted by God, we will always find some way to comfort ourselves as Esau did. Romans 12 makes this point. And getting past that takes some time, revelation, and repentance to work out. Anybody that gets badly hurt just has to assume that we have this problem in some degree.

    I don’t know how much John has thought that through. But for him to note that evident tendency as he did is unremarkable. It doesn’t stand as a condemnation. It is a heads up. Condemnation, as Jesus said in John 3, has to do with hating the light, not with being in bad shape in this way or that.

    It should not be OK with any of you that you slashed into John and abused him as you have, because it’s not OK with you that you have been on the sharp end of that yourselves. Progress in healing has to entail grappling with that somehow, instead of majoring only in the wrongdoing of others. Isn’t 2+2=4?

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  108. Peter and “Serving Kids in Japan”, your words have pricked my heart. While I believe that John’s communication techniques are definitely caustic, perhaps his motives are not intentionally cruel. Some people rub me the wrong way, and coming into contact with them reveals a side of me I’m not very proud of. For my part, I can see where I derailed.

    John, since I don’t know you, my concluding that you lack integrity was going too far. I’m sorry for participating in slashing into you.

    JulieAnne, forgive me for adding unnecessary drama to your blog, beginning with the Miano thread and concluding here.

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  109. Peter, you see as people comforting themselves by dumping on abusers who deserve it and you assume that this comes from violent impulses like Esau’s. My experience with victims suggests otherwise. Often they question what they did to cause someone to treat them the way they did. They may not even recognize it as abuse especially when people have attempted to confuse them with misreadings of scripture. Once they understand that they did nothing wrong, that no one has the right to abuse them, they may well become angry. Anger is an important part of healing and no one needs to repent of righteous anger.

    One way to move forward is to participate in advocacy and awareness. You may think that this blog and its participants are here to dump on deserving abusers out of anger. My opinion, however, is that it is here to call out spiritual abuse committed by people in positions of power, to point to false teachings that support abuse, and to provide support for victims.

    One or two people may have been a little harsh with John, but I think many of us are frustrated with his failure to really engage with discussions here. You say that he has only my word that the abuses I listed as covered on this blog really exist. That’s a good example of why I am frustrated with him because he won’t do the research I did to prepare to participate but rather just insists over and over that he doesn’t know that any such thing occurred.

    It’s like if I went to a physics blog where people are discussing quarks, something I am uninformed about, pop in to say that I am unconvinced that they exist, complain that no one is convincing me in a blog post or comment and refuse to look at the fifty years of evidence pointing to their existence, and then finish by imputing negative motivations to the discussions.

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  110. “Often they question what they did to cause someone to treat them the way they did. They may not even recognize it as abuse especially when people have attempted to confuse them with misreadings of scripture. Once they understand that they did nothing wrong, that no one has the right to abuse them, they may well become angry. Anger is an important part of healing and no one needs to repent of righteous anger. ”

    Thanks Marsha. This is it. And I think this is one area that frustrates me the most concerning abuse because righteous anger is a big part of the journey. I am concerned about victims who never get to this stage. Often it is because do not see themselves as worthy because they do stand alone.

    And to be honest, I read Peter as sort of “dumping” on victims when he mapped blog comments here to Esau’s comfort in potting murder. I hope no victims here took it to heart. I pray they let it roll off their backs.

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  111. Marsha, you really do have a reading problem, and an assuming problem too.

    Also it’s important not to read into the Bible that Esau is a bad guy, and we’re really not, so his story is not about us. Everything in the Bible is our own story. The Bible warns us that if we say to ourselves, “Thank you God that I’m not like Esau,” or “Thank you God that I’m not like the Pharisee in Luke 18:9-14,” then we’re deceived.

    We’re specifically warned not to be like Esau. That only happens so far as we learn that we’re like him. Esau was ripped off, no question. He failed to find a place of repentance, although he sought it with tears, as it is written. Finding no comfort in God, he sought it in his own vengeance. It’s exactly what Paul warns us about in Romans 12, and when I see an abused person who denies the desire to be avenged at some point along the way, I see someone blinded by religious BS. It’s not a problem to find Esau within us. That can be fixed. It’s a big problem to lie to ourselves about it.

    Be angry and don’t sin, Ephesians 4:26 says, referring us to Psalm 4 to learn how that’s actually done. It’s true that anger resides in the bosom of fools, but if it doesn’t stop by in this world where Jesus looked upon them with anger, there is something seriously wrong with you.

    No, I don’t think this blog is here to dump on abusers. It is essential that crap be recognized as not being refried beans or prune whip, and when people find out what they’ve been tricked into eating, they shouldn’t be too happy about it. All that John said in this line that you’ve objected to, which is true, is that people find in that process a silver lining of being able to enjoy that anger. That’s how it is, for anybody. Anger is a drug which numbs pain and gives a feeling of power when we feel like we don’t have any. It’s nuts for us not to acknowledge its comforting and addictive potential.

    And in fact John was subjected to a program of bullying and abuse that employed all the tricks you’re familiar with from the abusive churches you came from. It’s the least surprising thing in the world. Abuse propagates itself by taking root in the abused and inducing them to pass it on, so that the crap rolls downhill through the generations. If we’re serious about ending it, we have to stop it from rolling down through us, and that entails seeing how we’ve learned to do likewise.

    JA note: minor editing of colorful lingo

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  112. “The whole notion of instant forgiveness is part of a larger heresy, referred to in Colossians as will-worship, the notion that obeying God is an act of will, whether forgiveness or anything else.”

    Peter, I don’t agree with this idea of ‘will worship” and I don’t agree with what some might think is the opposite of it, either. That man has no volition in obeying God. It would be hijacking the thread to delve into it. I do think we have an Adovcate sent to help us “obey God” in sanctification if we so choose. But many of us disagree on what that looks like.

    However, I do not put instant forgiveness in the same category as something offered up by the gurus as a spiritual or biblical response (will worship) when it is a heinous crime. I do not for one minute believe that is where the gururs are coming from at all. It is more about controlling the image and brand management of their little empires which means they need to control people. Sort of like what Hitler was doing.

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  113. “All that John said in this line that you’ve objected to, which is true, is that people find in that process a silver lining of being able to enjoy that anger. That’s how it is, for anybody. Anger is a drug which numbs pain and gives a feeling of power when we feel like we don’t have any. It’s nuts for us not to acknowledge its comforting and addictive potential.”

    Oh for crying out loud. I mentioned earlier about my experience as an advocate and board member of a Spouse and Child abuse center. If there is one thing victims for the most part are scared to death of is “anger”. I can take years to get them to even feel a tiny bit of anger toward their perpetrators. You do not understand victimology at all. Our biggest problem at the spouse abuse center was the co dependency which caused so many to go back to the abuser. And children raped and abused by a parent? They did not feel they had a right to any anger. They were scared but also held out sad hope that the perp would love them. How we act on the anger is a different story. Revenge is for God.

    You sure do tie up heavy burdens on those who have been horribly abused.

    And yes, victims need to feel some power over their own lives or how on earth do they ever move on? How can they get away from the fellow travellors who cover up the evil if they don’t. Anger is a stage that is important. That is the whole point. God WANTS them have have volition. He wants them to see it as evil and a violation of who they are made in His image. He wants them to be a partner with Him in the healing process.

    Peter, no offense, but the more you write the more you sound like you buy into the determinst god paradigm. And it is ok we disagree on how you are interpreting passages. I think you get mired down in minutia and are unable to see the larger context which includes the audience and historical context of a passage.

    God is also a God of pure perfect Justice. He wants us as His kingdom on earth to live justly. Love and Justice are not exclusive. They go together.

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  114. Peter, whether you understand me or not, I have paid close attention to what you have written. I have a different perspective than you about what John has been saying and I have explained why. I also have a much different understanding than you about the healing process for victims and it sounds like we have theological differences as well. I think we are now at an impasse.

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  115. @ waitingforthetrumpet2

    “It took me 52 years from my first abuse until I had the courage to finally speak out publicly online.”

    It took me 49 years. It didn’t take Sheldon as long.

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  116. I’m sorry, John. He must be stronger than I was. No one should ever have to suffer abuse. No one. Especially children. I’m glad you finally spoke up, too.

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  117. Waitingforthetrumpet and John, I am glad you are speaking up now. I am glad that Sheldon spoke up and is removing himself from toxic parents. I pray for all children to be loved and protected and if that doesn’t happen, that they can speak up and be believed and helped.

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  118. Impasses happen all the time, which is doubtless why Romans 14 belongs in the book.

    I never addressed the question of determinism, so I don’t know why it came up. I didn’t even relate any particular blog comments to Esau comforting himself by planning to kill his brother. I just observed that that is a danger, and in view of how many were imitating their own abusers in how they were treating John, John was not unreasonable in stating there was that silver lining. There is. It really does crouch at the door.

    It appears that some have in mind that if we don’t have the power to determine things by the exercise of our own will, then we have no freedom. That certainly is Satan’s position in Isaiah 14:12, but it shouldn’t be ours. Jesus said that apart from his Father he could do nothing, and that doesn’t mean he could do nothing.

    God even gives us volition. Addictions like cigarettes remind us that volition is a gift to receive, not a power we may sovereignly exercise, but of course it may be exercised so long as we don’t believe in it. Lots of things are like that, such as reason, which also works as long as we don’t trust in it.

    On the whole, I’ve seen that whatever we say that invites God to say, “Oh, yeah?” – probably a mistake. I think I can easily back up that rule from scripture, but for now I’ll leave it as an exercise for t
    he reader.

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  119. @ Peter Attwood

    “My understanding of John’s saying that these people are guilty of *something* is to emphasize that whatever these people are actually guilty of, he doesn’t know, having only your say so for it, and that here’s some stuff to be said regardless of the truth about that.”

    Kind though you have been, even you have read too much into what I said, unintended meaning that didn’t relate to the context. If you remind yourself of the context of the turn of phrase I used, it ought to make sense, and ought not to ruffle anybody’s feathers.

    If one was abused half a century ago, in a church environment, one can get away with blaming the church to some extent, by alleging that the church somehow contributed to the causation of one’s former abuse, making abuse the abuse into “spiritual abuse”. If one was abused other than in a church environment, one has nobody to blame but the direct abuser.

    Abused in a church environment? Talk about it on a blog devoted to the topic of “spiritual abuse”, amongst friendly people like those found here. Abused other than in a non-church environment? Then kindly go away and find a blog for survivors of childhood abuse that wasn’t “spiritual abuse” and couldn’t possibly be portrayed as such, because any abuse you suffered wasn’t “spiritual abuse”. You aren’t even trying to blame Christianity for what happened to you. You are playing a different game from everybody else. You’re a trouble-maker, suggesting thoughts that nobody here wants to think. This blog is about creating as much association as possible in the reader’s mind, between abuse, and Christianity. How dare anybody walk in off the street and challenge that agenda.

    I was abused about 50 years ago as a minor, in a certain way, by a certain type of person. It would be to court more vitriol to say how I was abused. Believe me, there are worse evils in the world than substandard Christian leadership, which it is dangerous to denounce nowadays. I don’t blame any church leaders for the abuse that damaged my whole life considerably, from then to now. That isn’t a popular message here. Jesus, and his followers, didn’t abuse me as a minor. Completely different people did that. Jesus and his imperfect followers have helped me to cope with the results of that abuse.

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  120. Oh John, but you’re wrong. Almost all of my abuse happened outside the context of church settings. Yet, I was still allowed to share my stories and I was warmly received, comforted, affirmed and validated. They really DO care for those who survived abuse, no matter the source or location of that abuse.

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  121. Oh no, John, this blog is not about creating as much association between Christianity and abuse! And we do care about all abuse victims. For example, Julie Anne has gathered together a supportive network for wives that have been abused and deceived by pedophile husbands. Lydia works with domestic violence and child abuse victims. I consulted with Family Court in my state on handling child welfare cases, first collecting data to see where changes were needed and again a few years later to assess whether goals were met for improvements. And others have been active in advocacy as well.

    We do not think that Christianity leads to abuse. Most of us are Christians, certainly Julie Anne is, and it bothers us when children and adults are not safe in their own church, when leaders twist scripture to support the abuser, cover up abuse for the sake of reputation, and abandon victims. We are grateful for churches that do the right thing.

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  122. John, with what little amount you have shared about your abuse so long ago, my heart is breaking and my eyes are tearing. As I said, no one deserves to ever suffer abuse. Especially children. Please check your email. I sent you something.

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  123. Pingback: The Gospel Coalition’s Joe Carter, Publicly Attacks Sarah Palin for her Use of the Word, “Baptism” | Spiritual Sounding Board

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