Jane’s Account of Rape, Response of Master’s University to Her Claims, and a Breaking Development Confirming Details #DoYouSeeUs

The Master’s University, The Master’s Seminary, Grace Community Church, John MacArthur, Sexual Assault, Sexual Abuse, Jane’s Story, #DoYouSeeUs

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Credit: TMU Facebook page

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Introducing the Account of Master’s University Student “Jane” Being Raped

Earlier this week (September 18), blogger Marci Preheim shared the story of Jane (pseudonym), a Master’s University student who was drugged, then raped. The horrific story of what happened and how she was treated afterward is entitled, Do You See Me?  This incident occurred in 2006, 11 years ago.

Of course, this has created quite an uproar in social media, so much so, that statements from Pastor John MacArthur’s church and schools were posted on the Facebook pages of Grace Community Church (GCC), The Master’s University (TMU), and The Master’s Seminary (TMS). John MacArthur is the pastor of Grace Community Church, and founder and president of both The Master’s University and The Master’s Seminary.

Here is the statement posted on these Facebook pages:

The ministries of Grace Community Church and The Master’s University and Seminary have been informed of the blog article posted on September 18 by a Ms. Marci Preheim on behalf of an undisclosed individual. Although there are both evidentiary and biblical limitations in dealing with anonymous accusations, we take all claims of misconduct very seriously. According to our initial internal inquiry and review of the available records, we believe the blog article is plainly incorrect, a reality that we have verified with the police report on record. In addition to the various inaccuracies in the posted narrative, the male student that was accused in the official report was never a student at either The Master’s University or Seminary. In our view, anyone who would post such accusations without first verifying them has committed an unconscionable act of defamation, and anyone who would spread such misinformation is equally culpable in that irresponsibility. Should the undisclosed individual or any other person who has direct, firsthand knowledge of this matter wish to address this issue with us, we would request that they contact Kent Haney at The Master’s University who is overseeing the internal review of these allegations.  Source

I have issues with the statement, but in the interest of time, I will let others who posted responses on the Facebook pages of TMU, GCC, and TMS have the floor. By the way, the following comments are no longer there. The powers that be decided they did not like these comments and removed them. Why would they remove and squelch the voices of people who are responding with their full identities? At this blog, aptly named, Spiritual Sounding Board, I believe that all Christians should have an equal voice, regardless of their status within their churches or schools.

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No one from TMU, TMS, or GCC responded to any comments.

One concern that I take very seriously is the one of defamation/slander and harming innocent people. Mike Riccardi, the Pastor of Local Outreach Ministries at Grace Community Church in Los Angeles, wrote a blog post, How to Kill Your Neighbor, which discusses slander and the harm it can cause. I agreed with a lot of it …

Scripture couldn’t be clearer. Proverbs 11:9 says, “With his mouth the godless man destroys his neighbor.” Two verses later, we’re told that entire cities are torn down by the mouth of the wicked (Prov 11:11). One verse after that, the man of understanding who keeps silent is contrasted with the one who despises his neighbor, and, lacking sense, ostensibly doesn’t keep silent (Prov 11:12). And then Proverbs 12:6 personifies wicked words by styling them as premeditating murderers: “The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood.” Such quotations could be multiplied.

Earlier in that post, Pastor Riccardi discusses how society elevates celebrity victims:

In our climate of perpetual offendedness where our most celebrated heroes seem to be those who have projected themselves as victims, combined with the lack of accountability and reputability that social media affords one attempting to spread information, any quasi-plausible accusation—no matter how outrageous its content, no matter how reputable its victim—is regarded as true until proven false. And that means that the one accused in the matter is guilty until proven innocent.

… however, this conclusion seems one sided.

It’s interesting that this article came out September 22, at the height of Jane’s story making the rounds in social media. Let’s just pretend that his article was penned as a result of Jane’s story or any other story like hers. I have a couple of thoughts:

  • With his mouth the godless man destroys his neighbor.  The word “godless” is very important. We have to be very careful about accusations and calling accusers “godless.” Maybe God called the accuser to bring light to the cover-up and poor response. Let’s not be so quick to label an accuser as godless, in order to defend the actions of people in an institution just because you respect the institution.
  • If someone is reporting a heinous crime, we should believe them, show compassion, but also investigate. The first response should not be to dismiss the accusation and attack the victim, as we see in the statement.
  • The reputation of leaders should never take precedence over investigating the possibility of evil or sin in the camp.
  • When leaders post about the sin of slander immediately after their reputation is on the line with a specific public accusation, what it really says is “don’t believe it; it’s untrue.” It does not allow for discussion or further investigation.
  • This article diminishes the possibility that there could be sin in their own camp. It places little to no responsibility on leaders’ part for self-reflection.
  • It’s one-sided, and blames the accuser.
  • If the accusations are true, it is not slander (if spoken), libel (if written). Before labeling accusations as slander or libel, a prudent person would check to see if there is any truth in them.

Ok, enough about Pastor Riccardi’s post. Let’s move on and take a look at a few more screen shots taken from the Facebook pages. Note that these are people who left their  names and personal stories that seem to match the story of Jane, as far as the response of TMU when she reported her being raped.

The point is: Jane’s response from TMU is not isolated.

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Folks, there are more than two or three witness who are voicing the same concerns. How many more are needed before they are taken seriously?

And then there was this comment, which in my opinion seemed to be a reasonable suggestion in light of the many personal testimonies of harm done in other cases. Take note, Mr. Swanson spent 25 years there. He put his reputation on the line as one taking the “slanderers'” accounts seriously, after all, the Bible does talk about love and believing people, doesn’t it?

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But look at this surprising response from Jesse Johnson (Dean of The Master’s Seminary in Washington, D.C.) regarding Mr. Swanson’s suggestion to be transparent with records. If TMU is innocent, they should have no problem with this suggestion.

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Frankly, I was taken aback at the tone Pastor Johnson used with Mr. Swanson, someone senior to him. Let’s make no mistake about it, Pastor Johnson is attempting to squelch Mr. Swanson’s voice. We need to ask why. What harm is done with an independent investigation? Does TMU really care about these concerns?

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Questions About Responses to Cases of Assault and Abuse, in Light of TMU’s Mission Statement

I have spoken with Jane a couple of times, and we have also exchanged texts. I found Jane to be believable. One thing she has made very clear to me is this: This is not about her story, even though she detailed her account publicly. She publicized her story to draw attention to how she was treated by leaders at The Master’s University. She is not suing anyone. This story came out 11 years after the incident. That should tell you something. This should not be a fact-finding mission about Jane. This is about challenging TMU, TMS, and GCC to respond to how they handle assault and abuse cases.

Before we move on, I wanted to highlight part of The Master’s University’s ,Mission Statement. Notice moral integrity. TMU wants to empower students with moral integrity.

Mission Statement

The mission of The Master’s University is to empower students for a life of enduring commitment to Christ, biblical fidelity, moral integrity, intellectual growth and lasting contribution to the Kingdom of God worldwide.

A little farther down the page, moral integrity is described in more detail:

Moral Integrity, as evidenced by:

  • The nurturing of holiness through self-examination
  • Stewardship of time, abilities and resources
  • A lifetime of wholesomeness and moderation that regards the body as the temple of the Holy Spirit
  • The practice of honesty, courtesy and civility toward all persons
  • The practice of biblically confronting and restoring sinners
    (Source)

When reading that, I wondered if TMU practiced these “evidences” as they dealt with Jane when she reported the crime committed against her?  Furthermore, was she believed, respected, cared for as a Shepherd cares for a wounded sheep? Or was she battered further, told to repent of her sins, told to meet with her rapist? By the way, who does that? Who in their right mind would force a rape victim to meet with her rapist? 

Interestingly, I saw this quote from John MacArthur:

“Jesus has an unequaled capacity for sympathizing with us in every danger, trial, or situation that comes our way, because he’s been through it all.”

If we are to be Christlike, then shouldn’t we be sympathizing with those who have experienced danger … or rape? That is not what we see from Jane’s account at all.

This is not about defending an institution, trying to make sure all facts are exactly perfect. For crying out loud, this woman was drugged and raped AND it is 11 years later. We should expect some minor discrepancies. This is about how women are treated and how reports of sexual assault and abuse are handled. This is about caring for the flock under your oversight, not trampling over them with accusations of sin, forcing them to be in the same room and look at the person who physically, emotionally, and spiritually traumatized them.

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BREAKING NEWS 09/21/2017:

Confirmation for Details from Jane’s Account About the Aftermath of the Rape

Last night (September 21), I received a message from someone who claimed she was there when Jane got back to the dorm after being drugged and raped. She said she heard Jane crying and comforted her. When I told Jane about this witness, she was unfamiliar with her name. That had me concerned for a second. Then I texted her picture, and it all came back to her (Jane). Jane remembered bawling with this “stranger,” still feeling drugged.

With this person’s permission, I am posting the screenshots of the pertinent parts of our text conversation.

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Note:  This witness got Jane’s first name correct, but last name wrong (which is why I did not blot out the last name). Later, in the conversation, the witness recalled Jane’s last name. She also said later in the conversation that she was unclear if it was spring break or Outreach week, but she remembered that most students were not there.

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In conclusion, this is what we know:

  • TMU acknowledges an incident occurred with Jane.
  • There was a police report filed.
  • At this point, the discussion does not pertain to whether or not a rape occurred.
  • The discussion is about the response by TMU to this rape claim.

Jane told me she would like the focus to be on how churches/Christian leaders respond to claims of sexual assault and abuse, not focus on her. There are many (I posted only a few) who have reported that they have received similar treatment from leaders at TMU.

When reasonable requests are made for TMU to take a look at how they respond to sexual assault and abuse claims, we see leaders shut down the conversation, blame the victim, remove posts. Something is wrong with this picture. It’s time to look more closely at how leaders deal with sexual assault and abuse claims and be transparent. Victims should not be scared into silence, nor should they be told to repent and meet with whoever assaulted/abused them.

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RELATED ARTICLES

Additional posts may be listed here without a notice of updating.

The Stones Will Cry Out: A Commentary on Sexual Abuse in the Evangelical Church (by Sarah Taras and Marci Preheim; March 6, 2016).

Do You See Me? (by Marci Preheim; September 18, 2017).

Believing Jane: Reflections on a Rape and it’s Cover-Up at The Master’s College & Seminary (by Hannah; September 20, 2017).

How Evangelical Ideas About Forgiveness Failed This Rape Survivor (by Libby Anne; September 20, 2017).

Jane and the Masters [sic] University Rape Scandal (September 21, 2017).

Regarding Jane (by Marci Preheim; September 25, 2017).

Jane’s Story and How The Leaders Failed Her (by Becky Castle Miller; September 25, 2017).

 

117 comments on “Jane’s Account of Rape, Response of Master’s University to Her Claims, and a Breaking Development Confirming Details #DoYouSeeUs

  1. Incidents such as this, regardless of when they occurred, absolutely must be independently investigated and appropriate counseling and after care made available to the victims at the expense of the ministry or institution involved without a time limit or cap. Along with that, procedures and controls must be put in place to ensure future occurrences of incidents are mitigated and those that still occur are immediately reported to law enforcement officials for investigation and prosecution when found to be credible. The blaming and shaming of victims simply must stop.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. You expose the name of someone in your screen shots. Not sure if that is intentional or not. But I thought I’d let you know.

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  3. … however, this conclusion seems one sided.

    RE the slander article. Absolutely one sided! I don’t think anyone disagrees that lying about someone, accusing them of a crime they didn’t commit, is a bad thing. However, not knowing whether something is true is not the same thing as its being a lie!! Jane is telling her own story. There are apparently police reports to corroborate part of it, as well as the text conversation above.

    It is maddening that people act like saying something happened that you have no proof of is the same as lying! Sort of like the Amber Tamblyn thing. She said ‘oh hey, remember this creeping thing you did 15 years ago? I do, and you sound like a hypocrite’. Everybody jumps on her as if its’ wrong because she didn’t report it at the time, report what? Some dude hit on a 16 year old? Do men know this happens this happens not infrequently and girls blow it off, because it isn’t actionable? No one reports that stuff unless maybe it’s a teacher, or they are needed to corroborate someone else’s story. Or make a point later. Everyone has stories on some level, most not as bad as JAnes. Most not reported.

    Jane? She reported to the police. That’s confirmed. That puts her 50 miles ahead of everyone else in credibility according to these guys standards and they still don’t want to give her the time of day. Then 50 people say ‘hey, this counseling is exactly like what I heard/what my friend heard/what I can see happening’. We have heard enough stories to make this plausible. This is why it has to be said out loud. Because everyone has been silenced individually, but there is truth in numbers. How many women have to come forward to be believed over one man? I have never been some crusading feminist, but I know that women are worth every bit as much as a man and it is so incredibly sad to me to see that we seem to be backsliding as a society on this point.

    One more thing about who to believe. If we assume a 5% rate of untruth in the reporting of sexual crimes (which I cannot verify but has been thrown about) does’t that mean just rolling the dice on odds, 95% of those accused are lying?? Doesn’t that mean the DEFAULT should go to the victim, while we gather facts? I do not want anyone thrown in jail without evidence, and rape is hard to prosecute. But belief? If you are talking belief, maybe you should play the odds unless you have good evidence otherwise.

    Sorry for the ranting.

    Also I just have to say that picture above of TMU…is that the dorms? It looks like a motel 6. Strange.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The person should talk with a lawyer. At this point, aggravated rape has no statute of limitations in California, and this case may fit. Even if there is no chance of prosecution or civil action, communicating through a lawyer is often very helpful, as they’re trained to persuade, and trained to know what they can,and cannot, achieve.

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  5. Julie Anne, I would like to encourage you, and Barbara Roberts/Jeff Crippen, Marci, Wartburg Watch, other blogs, etc. to connect and consider crowd sourcing $ through a “go fund me” page for “jane”… on behalf of all the “janes” out there… and use that $ to hire GRACE (Godly response to abuse in the Christian environment” to be an independent investigator into Masters.. there is NO WAY a masters’ faculty committee of inquiry can be objective… it CAN NOT be done in house! it HAS TO BE an outside group… if Masters, etc have nothing to hide, as you have already mentioned, they should welcome GRACE with open arms to clear their name… if they resist? that tells you something right? bless your heart… hope that makes sense… I am more than willing to help and give if this is pursued…

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  6. The police report didn’t say rape? was ‘rapist’ put in jail? court case? He was not a student. What caused “jane’ to get expelled? Only one person believed her. There should be a court record of this. What do Jane’s parents have to say?

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  7. @Lea — the best article I’ve found that summarizes academic-level research on false reports/accusations of violence and assault is on Dr. Christy Sim’s blog. She explains key issues for interpreting the research, summarizes the research findings, and provides links to key research reports so you can go to the original sources. Taking a set of what she calls “the best studies,” the research documents that false reports range from 2% to 8%.

    https://drchristysim.wordpress.com/2016/04/17/false-reports-of-violence-assault-are-not-as-common-as-society-believes/

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  8. I’m guessing that pic is the dorms, Lea. It was one of FB’s cover photos. I didn’t like the other pics, and I was thinking of Jane going back to this place thinking she would be comforted, believed, and instead was emotionally and spiritually harmed, not believed. I wanted a picture that showed what this place looks like. It makes me sad.

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  9. “In our view, anyone who would post such accusations without first verifying them has committed an unconscionable act of defamation, and anyone who would spread such misinformation is equally culpable in that irresponsibility.”

    I assume that it is easily verifiable that the college changed her transcript grades to F’s, which would be an “unconscionable act of defamation”. If that is true, I think the accreditation board of the college would be VERY INTERESTED to know that the college tampered with official transcripts in any sort of disciplinary proceedings. If they did it to that student, it is quite likely that they did it to other students. I think that is easily the definition of “bearing false witness”.

    Just remember that the grades come from the professors and the administration does not have the right to override the grades, even though they may have the passwords to the records systems.

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  10. A comment and a few observations, First I believe Jane all the way and I wish I could take the pain away. I wish she did not have this happen. I hope she becomes a pastor, we need more women pastors that would knock a lot of this stuff off right away, in my opinion.
    As for John Macarthur, to my shame and I mean this and believe it or not I am trying to repent of it. I can’t stand the guy, I can’t stand his theology, his smug expertise on everything under the sun his cottage industry of “exposing” other groups he disagrees with, etc. That is on me because I am slanted and very jaded so I say that to make sure people take what I say through that admittedly skewed lense. That is why I would recuse myself if I was ever called to jury duty for anything concerning Masters college Seminary etc. I don’t believe I could be impartial. I want an impartial trained agency to deal with a situation such as described above. This is what Masters college should do, report, support and get out of the way.

    Now three things, first changing transcripts in an educational institution is a very very very big no-no. Jane reports that was done to her grades, again I believe her. I would think the MC/MS would be very concerned about this. As for her “going public”, by her own account, she did try the internal process and was treated horribly. Why would she wish to try that avenue again? What process goto the accused??? Go back to the same organization, elders, etc.? I think not, she did what many have done because this avenue has been effective. Just look at the response from them so far.

    Ok now on to the favorite meme from many concerning these situations. Do you have witnesses and why are you staying anonymous? Why are there some “discrepancies” in the story? Really? From hard line inerrancy sufficiency types. Well, shall we look at the “discrepancies” in the Gospel narratives, and well who actually wrote the gospels? We can just chuck the book of Hebrews, that’s an anonymous epistle. Take a look at the Birth narratives in Luke and Matthew or the crucifixion/resurrection accounts in all four gospels. Why do they believe those accounts? There are no eyewitnesses alive, I always found that rather strange.

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  11. Mark, jane was there. So she knows the truth. Marci claims to have looked at documentation that she convinced her. So no one is throwing out ‘unverified’ anything.

    Also, I have to say ‘plainly incorrect’ is weasel wordy and that makes me doubt the statement by itself. I have no patience for that kind of language.

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  12. One more thing regarding ‘slander’…if it’s true that they tanked her reputation by telling others (openly or sneakily) that she was thrown out for drinking and sexing? That falls under the definition no?

    When I read stuff, they act like talking (true imo) stuff about men is ‘slander’ but tanking a woman’s reputation and calling her out for all kinds of things is not. It doesn’t that way guys.

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  13. Glad my comment was of assistance. Thank you for writing this. The administration of TMU is in desperate need of both accountability structures and a leadership change. This sort of stuff is only the tip of the iceberg. I know it may be hard to fathom, but so much worse has occurred there and it needs to stop.

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  14. Christian, That’s why it’s so important for people who know first-hand what has gone on to speak up. It is testimonies like yours, Jane’s and those who left public comments, which will force them to do something.

    The most common result of mishandling abuse is people 1) leave the church, but remain Christian, or 2) abandon their faith entirely.

    God will hold those who mishandle abuse cases accountable. He doesn’t care about status or reputation. It takes humility to say, “it looks like there might be a problem here, let’s get an independent investigator to do a thorough investigation because the lives (physical, emotional, and spiritual) of our students are worth it.”

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  15. What a terrible experience to endure. Particularly the lack of support and honesty from the school the days and weeks afterward. I can’t imagine how one gets past that.

    Their outrageous and uncaring response is indicative of evangelical theology, that has to always blame all sides because “all are sinners.” It’s also reflective of the interpretation of Matthew 18 taken literally for all situations, that hey, Jesus never told anyone to go to the police… only to witnesses and the church! (They told her, “you shouldn’t have gone to the police but let us handle it.) And then the insistence that she not tell anyone about this, usually justified by the “sin” of gossip. I suspect that’s why Johnson tried to squelch Swanson in his post, because the Bible says, “Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses.” So, if one woman writes a testimony about how a leader treated her they don’t take it seriously and blame anyone who spreads it for gossip (Johnson said, “you should delete your comment” — related to control too, but that is another issue). All this is their paranoia of always insisting on handling everything “biblically.”

    Likewise the insistence that she sit with her rapist at the meeting and in church, because of their warping the statement, “if they listen, you have won the person over” as if rapist and victim can immediately be restored because the Bible says so. Their worst sin was ignoring her testimony of being drugged and dragged around and assuming she must have done something sinful to attract the rapist in the first place. And then believing the testimony of the rapist over hers and blaming her for not repenting like the rapist supposedly did.

    This is all derived from literal, asinine views of the Bible and trying to shoehorn out-of-context admonitions into modern situations in the name of biblical fidelity. And when people are harmed they don’t give a rip because they see themselves the guardians of godly truth… and they see the protection of their institutions more important than protecting people.

    It’s a dangerous and irresponsible use and view of the Bible that leads to imposing it on others in ways that lead to gross spiritual abuse and ruined lives. The good news is another powerful testimony of this dangerous theology has come to light that can help people to recognize it and hold the perpetrators accountable.

    Another fiber of the ugly, evangelical rug has been pulled out. It’s already unraveling and one day it will be so ruined we can discard it and weave a new and truly beautiful alternative.

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  16. Deeply saddened for the abuse that Jane had to go through. Shocked and angered that the administration victim shamed her and blamed her for the terrible things that were done for her. What happened to the physical evidence collected via rape kit? Is there any effort made for an outside investigation?

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  17. This is such a good response – I am so thankful for people like Jane speaking up and being honest. I graduated from TMU a couple years after Jane (It was still The Masters College back then), and I 100% believe this story. I left the church for an extended period of time after graduation, angry and heartbroken over the twisted counseling I received from the school’s leadership. I was told – by the unlicensed “counselor” the school assigned me – that I wasn’t saved and there was no way I could love Jesus when my heart was so ugly and unwilling to change. After being sexually assaulted in my dorm room at the end of my Junior year, the person who did it told me, “If you tell anyone, they won’t believe you. And if you do? You’ll be expelled.”

    I didn’t tell anyone for years. Mainly because my aggressor was right – I could be expelled for what happened. Who was going to believe me? The issue with a school that stands on a stringent foundation of biblical law as opposed to abundant grace is that it creates an undercurrent of liars – as students, we isolated ourselves because none of us could live up to the high bar we were being held to. And instead of being open and seeking forgiveness and reconciliation amongst our peers and leaders, we were forced into shameful silence. I am so, so thankful that Jane is telling her story – I wish I was strong enough to share mine. I hope she knows that alumni from all over the world are coming together and recognizing that we aren’t alone in our heartache – there needs to be a serious culture change at TMU before more students are forced to experience this kind of heartbreak at shame.

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  18. I read Jane’s heartbreaking story and honestly, I believe her. She was naive, innocent, and trusted those people whom she deemed to be her friends. After reading her story, I think she was set up – that at some point those people hatched a plan to take advantage of and abuse a lovely Christian girl.

    Make no bones about it. The way Jane was treated at TMU, from the counselor, her professors, her peers and John MacArthur is a result of their adherence to Biblical Counseling and strict gender roles. Their teachings in these areas set women up to be blamed for men’s sexual indiscretions, virtually leaving the men off the hook. Like Adam, they point the finger and say, “The woman made me do it.” And their counseling model is one of sin leveling, which in the case of rape, the woman must have sinned in some way to cause that to happen.

    I hope, for the sake of Jane and other victims of rape and sexual abuse, that more people who have attended TMU and know about cover-ups and mistreatment of victims of abuse, come forward. Perhaps a class action law suit that hits where it hurts will change the way they operate.

    While I want to be positive, I honestly think that TMU, with its hard-line, Fundamentalist, Evangelical views are not interested in dealing fairly and compassionately with sex abuse issues. It goes to the heart of their, what I believe to be, toxic theological beliefs. I wouldn’t be surprised if they consider criticisms that have come about because of Jane’s letter as persecution. Having once been a part of the Fundamentalist environment, I can say that they love to consider themselves martyrs.

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  19. Lisey, I grew up in a college town. The local police department had a buddy buddy relationship with the college. The college hired the local police officers, when they were off-duty, to be security guards.

    What we heard from the outside was that the police would ‘overlook’ crimes and let the college discipline students instead. On the other hand, when the college wanted to scare someone, they would bring in the police detective who would talk about the student spending a night in a jail cell with a sexually violent criminal.

    It shouldn’t be surprising, then to see that the major rape coverup scandals include a complicit police department. For example, at BYU, victims who went to the police were reported back to the school and got expelled for ‘code of conduct’ violations. Sound eerily similar.

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  20. Darlene, I think this is so much worse. This wasn’t a ‘crime of passion’. Based on what she said it was definitely premeditated. This guy, and probably her friends, had this planned out. He didn’t just happen to see this girl and just happen to have date-rape drugs handy. Her so-called friends let him take her home, and then, seemingly, they were in on keeping her a prisoner.

    As I said, the college I grew up around covered up serious crimes. My understanding is that they’ve talked the FBI out of pressing federal charges against students. I’m not aware of any rape coverups – I truly hope they would recognize the serious nature, but knowing what things they have kept hidden, I honestly wouldn’t be too surprised if victims came forward.

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  21. Pingback: Jane’s Traumatic Rape and Subsequent Mistreatment by Officials at The Master’s College (now University) | The Wartburg Watch 2017

  22. This truly is heart breaking. Jane showed great bravery by reporting her abuse, standing up for herself in front of the administration, and telling her story. Her story is important and needs to be told over and over.

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  23. It has been such a hard few days reading this and other abuse stories. I hope Jane and others find justice and healing. Thank you, JA for writing about this. I hope everyone has a very nice weekend. Please remember those who are struggling with restoration from storms of all kinds.

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  24. I live within a few miles of GCC and TMU. This is happening in my community. Thank you for bringing this to light. May even more light be brought to it, and I pray the leaders of these organizations will see the light and walk in the light and change the way they perceive and respond to the women in these situations. Your account is well presented. How can I support your cause?

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  25. Ishy, mark, i did understand that was the statement and was commenting on that, just riffing on what mark said too.

    Dan, those are classrooms? That’s even odder! Maybe it’s a California thing?

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  26. The best way to support this cause is to keep speaking out about it. It’s going to take a public outcry to illicit change.

    What really needs to happen is a heart change, starting from the top with John Mac Arthur. The root problem is how they view and treat women. Think about it. There is no way on earth they would have questioned Jane the way they did if they truly respected and cared for her. It’s absolutely disgusting. Women are not treated as image bearers of Christ, unless they toe the line. In this case, it was assumed she bore responsibility for the rape by the way she dressed. In their eyes, she did not toe their line, so she was treated as if it were her fault.

    The leadership needs to repent for the way in which they devalue women. Pray for that!

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  27. The first time I was assaulted, there were people who saw it who said they didn’t believe me or who refused to speak up about it because the rest of the group there said it was a lie.

    The same thing happened the second time, even though there were no other witnesses to that incident. However, that person had been making passes at nearly every woman he saw for months, even strangers, and I know they saw that. People said things like, “You just imagined it” and, “He didn’t really mean it”. The second time, I confronted that person in front of others and he openly admitted that he felt entitled to own me and touch me any way he wanted, because “you really wanted it”. This was a married man who was 30 years older than me.

    I have come to strongly believe that the least reliable people in these situations are the people who do not believe victims.

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  28. This makes me physically sick. This poor girl. How dare you presume this girl did something. Is this the good old boys show? You are going to answer to God and you need to repent for even taking this form of thought and not doing anything to protect her. Who’s son is? Is his father a Pastor there? Does his family give large sums of money? Are they so important that you will do this without regard for scripture? How dare you take God’s word so lightly? And you call yourselves Christians. You are to protect the flock not feed them to the wolves.

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  29. Julie Ann, the bible is extremely misogynistic. How can you think these men will ever care? In my experience with these men, they are Christians because they are scared of women and hate women.

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  30. Julie Anne, I agree about your assessment of their bias against women. However, the problem is much larger. This behavior is a pattern we see in all “bible believing”, conservative churches — the whole evangelical/fundamentalist movement (with a few exceptions). This is their MO. We see it in the SGM, Calvary Chapel, Mars Hill, etc, fall outs and it affects both women and men, although admittedly, the more conservative their theology, the more women bear the brunt of it.

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  31. @mwcamp

    I do not believe most of these men are Christians at all. I don’t think they care if the bible is true or not, they hate the Jesus character. They are just insecure selfish men on a power trip, men who can not handle the big bad harsh world. Men who know if they did not have the bible women would tell them to hit the road and make sure they don’t come back. They act so much like the spoiled sexually sadistic brat fourteen-year-old boys I knew as a young teenager.

    Just because Kim Jong-un has power does not mean he is respectable or deserves it. He is a ridiculous bratty child on a self-serving power trip.

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  32. Christianity hurts,
    Technically, I would say they are not true Jesus followers. Yes, the biggest leaders are on a power trip. However, I was in the evangelical movement for over 25 years and know from experience that many, many people have real, profound, spiritual experiences with God/Jesus/Spirit, then walk into an evangelical church (or walk in and then have the experience), and the process of being indoctrinated into evangelical theology slowly, gradually, corrupts them. The ones who achieve leadership are especially prone to corruption because of power trips and taking a career path dependent on evangelical theology to keep their jobs, livelihood, and self-esteem. So, agree generally, but believe it’s not as cut and dried. Some genuine followers just get hoodwinked into supporting an abusive system. They are naive Sheep that can slowly become Enablers and finally Abusers.

    I’m an advocate for a complete redefinition of what “Christian” means because it has been so mangled over the years, decades, and centuries.

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  33. Julie Anne… i’m a bit confused on the comments between Christian and you… was there one by Christian that was not published? and that’s fine, just wasn’t sure what Christian was referring to when he said “glad my comment was of assistance.” and totally agree we need those who have first hand knowledge to speak out and share, whether publicly or privately as they feel led… blessings… and you don’t need to publish this and can just reply directly if that’s convenient…

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  34. Unfortunately, these kinds of stories are everywhere, both in Christian churches and institutions. I’ve stopped being surprised when they surface, but I’m so sad when the issues have not been dealt with. It would be so refreshing to read: “Yes, 25 years ago a student was raped on our campus. We contacted the authorities, provided appropriate counsel for the victim, and supported/guided her through the legal process.” Instead, we get the coverup stories. Christians will sin and God left us tools to confront it and deal with it. Why do we always choose to hide it? I hope that Jane gets the help she needs, and that MacArthur and company will begin to clean up their own house before they try to clean others’.

    A slightly different theme, but still in the same context. The senior pastor of my church has been doing a series on marriage. Of course, being permanently single (at this point), I wondered what he would say. I was really surprised, as he was reviewing Scriptural guidelines for ending a marriage, that domestic violence is a definite deal-breaker, and that the church leadership would walk the spouse through it. He said reconciliation is always an option, but that in most cases of domestic violence, this doesn’t happen. It was the first time I have EVER heard a pastor a) preach on the topic, b) take a definite stand against it, and c) offer to support a spouse in crisis.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. this is the pattern… protecting those in power/leadership and the institution at the expense of those harmed… and there is a saying in the abuse survivors world… the incident was bad enough, but then I tried to report it…

    implying the response of leadership is far too often, far more damaging and traumatic than the original incident which was bad enough on its own…

    and then the leaders blame the person harmed for having a “victim mentality”… when the leaders are blocking their healing and adding to the harm…

    it’s the same pattern of abuse of power that is in the Catholic church…

    double standards, lack of impartiality, conflct of interest, good old boys club, clergy immunity, etc. etc. etc.

    it’s called clericalism… phariseeism… lording it over… Ezekiel 34… Ezekiel 8…

    all the exact opposite of what leaders are called to in scripture…

    Liked by 1 person

  36. The Elephants in God’s Living Room: Clergy Sexual Abuse and Institutional Clericalism, Volume One, Theoretical Issues (link below)

    some of you might be interested in reading this if you haven’t already, I found it very helpful and insightful, especially ch 12 on clericalism… but it’s well done and fairly thorough document on what I think we are dealing with…it also expands on some of Michael Camp’s points…

    https://ruthkrall.com/downloadable-books/elephants-in-gods-living-room-volume-one/

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  37. Bev, I was confused about that part, too. All of Christian’s comments were published, so I’m not sure what he was referring to. My response to him was regarding the rest of his comment.

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  38. New link to article on The Wartburg Watch, with additional documentation and details about Jane’s account of rape. [NOTE: The earlier pingback on this comment thread doesn’t work because TWW un-published the original version of their article from yesterday to make a few changes, and then reposted today. The following link goes directly to the reposted article.]

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2017/09/23/janes-traumatic-rape-and-subsequent-mistreatment-by-officials-at-the-masters-college-now-university/

    Liked by 2 people

  39. Is this a repeat of prior article or am I confusing it with the Bob jones case, the Pensacola Christian college case, the Liberty University case, the Doug Phillips matter, the Bill Gothard case, the Sovereign Grace CASES , the fool with the handmaidens case, the ………

    Just wondering, the words slander & defamation seem to reappear every time a pervert or sexual predator and or their enablers get exposed.

    That brings up another question: Are those that seek to cover up sex crimes enablers, accessories after the fact or willing co- defendents ? I mean some of these cases seem to get to the point of conspiring to obstruct justice and acesssory after the fact. When you threaten people to keep them from reporting a sex crime that is accessory for sure.

    Liked by 3 people

  40. I just want to express my support for Jane and her account.

    Jjudging by other comments here, I’m not the only one who sees the corporate ‘christian’ response to this as de rigueur. I mean right down to the knee jerk defamation smoke screen. The house of cards is imploding. But it was really only a ‘christian’ veneer to begin with.

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  41. I left the following comment on the university’s post, but took a screen shot because I’m sure it will disappear soon:

    “I’m concerned with whether or not Kent Haney understands the dynamics of sexual assault and trauma. I am a therapist working at a worldwide organization that serves individuals impacted by domestic violence and sexual abuse. One of the first things I learned is that the affects of trauma on the brain result in a victim often being unable to remember facts in a linear fashion. Memories are disjointed, often come back as nightmares and flashbacks when triggered. Therefore it may seem as if the person is lying. Whoever Jane is, she has been suffering for 11 years and was most likely further traumatized by the response from your university. People are posting their anger and frustration because we have seen this kind of thing happen over and over and over again. We put no faith in your internal review.
    Also, it would appear as if all of the responses to this post have been deleted. Whether you intend it or not, it further demonstrates the fact that you are hiding the truth or hiding from the truth.”

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Julie Anne, I just want to say that Fred Butler person is a piece of work.

    Also, a WHOLE lot of men who claim to be christians apparently need to learn the difference between a consensual and non-consenual relationship. They will attack one and hand wave the other off and they’ve got it completely flipped.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. A commenter named Bob left a comment at The Wartburg Watch blog regarding the discrepancy on the dates the Witness gave and Jane gave (Spring break/Outreach Week). I wanted to leave the comment here, too, in case others had the same concern:

    Bob wrote:

    Jane says it was spring break. (A witness says it was outreach week which according to research takes place in the fall semester at that school.

    Bob, I hope I can clarify since this came from my post and discussions with both the witness and Jane. Witness private messaged me on Facebook Messenger. I had no idea if this person was legitimate or not. I barraged her with questions – detailed questions that I was not able to post publicly. I needed to settle in my mind if this person was telling the truth or not. Keep in mind, if I post a story this big on my blog and haven’t done my homework, I will be discredited. Of course I don’t want to risk that.

    In the course of my conversation with Witness, I began texting with Jane at the same time, letting her know that I had a possible witness come forward. When Witness gave me info, I then asked Jane a question about that situation, but left out details to see if Jane could provide information to fill in the gaps. I did this kind of interrogation with each of them, back and forth.

    The discrepancy regarding the Outreach vs Spring Break week seemed to be a minor one to me. It made sense that Jane would have the time fixed in her mind because she was the victim. It also made sense that Witness could mistaken the exact time because of the length of time since the incident. The setting was the same: students were not at school, it was quiet. Witness would have no need to remember the date detail; however Jane has lived with that detail and interrogations from the time she first reported. Keep in mind, I was shooting off a lot of questions to Witness, and she was responding quickly.

    When I heard the discrepancy, I asked Jane to confirm Outreach week time frame, and she said it was definitely Outreach week. I then asked more about the time to Witness. The main point Witness said was that school was not in session. It is not in session in both Spring break and Outreach week. So, I asked if there was a possibility that it could happened during Outreach week. Witness thought about it and said yes, because school was not in session. Remember, this was 11ish years ago.

    Even with the original discrepancy on dates, I am convinced that Witness was honest with me, and provided enough details to prove to be believable.

    I hope this helps.

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  44. People who are so quick to say there isn’t enough evidence to establish the rape case against the perp. Nobody was there to witness it, they say. Sexual assault cases rarely have witnesses. Rapists rarely rape in public. Also, absence of evidence does not mean evidence of absence. I know that does not fly in the court of law, but we are not talking about the court of law here.

    But let’s go with the assumption that there isn’t enough “evidence” and we will never know for sure what happened. The fact is, there was a police report and it has been established that sexual activity did occur.

    Why does the “where is the evidence” crowd so quick to condemn Jane for consenting to sex when there is absolutely no evidence of consent. Because her attire was inappropriate? Because she was flirtatious? Are we in Saudi Arabia? None these amounts to evidence of consent to sex. But that does not deter the “where is the evidence” crowd. Their assertions are full of assumptions, suppositions and conclusions.

    This is how churches handle sexual abuse cases. The victim is always guilty of something, be it consent or seduction. Why do churches always err on the side of blaming the victim? This is a perverted application of the “we are all sinners” theology. We are supposed to apply it to humble ourselves BEFORE GOD, not to pound victims into silence before the church.

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  45. I posted something similar at WW concerning the issues of “anonymous” stories concerning abuse and other issues. It seems that biblical literalists are really into folks giving all their info so that it can be sifted through. At times I think it is to go after the person reporting, that seems to be born out these last few days. Just an observation, there are many books in the bible that are “anonymous” and if one looks at say some of the narratives of the birth of Christ or of the crucifixion/resurrection wone would find “discrepancies”.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. Excellent point, Brian. Yes there are many discrepancies in the Bible which fundamentalists can only explain away first by excoriating you for even asking questions, and then with mental and spiritual contortions and gymnastics.

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  47. This case is horrible. Things are swept under the rug. Well the rug is is getting lumpy from all the garbage. This needs exposure in the secular media and heads need to roll (unfortunately the loose mouth in the White House keeps sucking all the attention up). Even if it is all the way to the top — none of this low person on the food chain falling on his sword stuff. I’m tired of this John McArthur doesn’t know what is happening stuff and he doesn’t know how to use the internet. TMU/TMS/GCC is his baby am I right? Then the buck stop at his desk. I don’t agree with a lot of things on SSB but when it comes to this stuff…..

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  48. @DonnaD:

    This case is horrible. Things are swept under the rug. Well the rug is is getting lumpy from all the garbage.

    The smell isn’t getting any better, either.

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  49. @DonnaD:

    I’m tired of this John McArthur doesn’t know what is happening stuff and he doesn’t know how to use the internet.

    Plausible Deniability.
    Kinda like JoePa at Penn State.
    “I KNOW NOTHINK! NOTHINK!”

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  50. I wonder if the ‘perp’ wasn’t a student at the university:
    1) why the university felt it appropriate to have joint counseling sessions in the first place – ‘Biblical’ counseling typically requires an authority relationship between the counselor (pastor) and the counselee (member) such that the ‘Biblical admonitions’ hold the scriptural weight of obedience to godly authority.
    2) how the university found the perp in the first place and convinced him to ‘repent’

    Honestly, I wonder if they didn’t erase him from the system, since they seem to be loosey-goosey with the records.

    Re JoePa. Interesting how the claim about knowing someone rings true with Jerry Sandusky – somehow once some leader checks the box, why are we expected to give them the benefit of the doubt no matter how inappropriate something seems?

    I was involved in a disciplinary case because I took matters into my own hands, and at one point, the leader said, “why don’t you trust us?” It’s like… isn’t that why I’m here in the first place? I trusted you to meet your obligations and you failed. Now you think that I should trust you despite your failure to act in a trustworthy manner?

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  51. Also leaves out the fact that his wife was an RA in one of the dorms at the time. Interesting.

    Oooh, really?

    If nothing else, this whole thing makes everyone in that community look very gossipy.

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  52. Jane, I believe you, see you and stand with you.

    It breaks my heart what has happened. All of these despicably hypocritical religious men…the “stranger”, the “friends”, and the TMC leadership are like a group of ravening wolves circling about a vulnerable lamb…each taking their turn at savaging it and leaving it to die. All I can say is may the Lord Jesus come quickly and put an end to the harlot “church”.

    Liked by 1 person

  53. Kudos from this dude go out to Marci and Jane doe. Just as the press, film and TV journalists, brought out the ugly truth of Vietnam back in the day, I consider Marci to be the Neil Sheehan of this affair in exposing TMU for the bright shining lie that it is…

    Liked by 1 person

  54. I have read a few articles and some testimonies on this and have come to this conclusion. Grace Community Church (GCC), The Master’s University (TMU), and The Master’s Seminary (TMS) are not going to be able to satisfactorily investigate this alleged rape matter internally and remain objective. There will need to be a third-party independent objective investigation and the findings made public to provide any assurance there was a judicious and fair investigation and that any trust can be placed in the findings.

    Liked by 2 people

  55. What TMU did was wrong in expelling “Jane.”

    The rapist admitted he’d done it and confessed before witnesses.

    If TMU changed Jane’s official college transcript and reduced her grades, they need to apologize and face the consequences. I wonder if they can be held legally responsible for professional malpractice.

    If there’s a GoFundMe or a legal defense fund set up for Jane, let us know.

    Liked by 1 person

  56. I remember the first time I heard John MacArthur on the radio. It was more than 30 years ago. His message was opposite the name of the program “Grace to You.” There was no grace in it.

    I was so upset, I went to my pastor. My dear pastor smiled and said, “You’re right, this man seems to know nothing about grace. Isn’t it ironic?”

    Liked by 1 person

  57. Traits of Abusive Churches (from the book Churches that Abuse by Westmont College professor Dr. Ron Enroth, with permission):

    Here are a few of the traits. See link below for full list.

    • There is strong, control-oriented leadership.

    • The use of guilt, fear, and intimidation by the leadership to manipulate members and keep them in line.

    • Many areas of members’ lives are subject to scrutiny.

    • Rules and legalism abound.

    • Members not following rules established by the leadership (or threatening exposure of the manipulation and abuse) are often labeled “reprobates” or “dupes of Satan,” and are dealt with harshly. Ostracism of former members and excommunication of dissenters are common.

    See the rest of the list and questions to ask here: http://www.caic.org.au/biblebase/abuse/characteristics.htm

    Liked by 2 people

  58. I wonder why Jane’s account is automatically or unconditionally believed, entailing a guilty verdict on the church authorities which is unproven. This goes against innocent until proven guilty, a concept that is in danger of being lost in cases like these.

    In some cases it is blatantly obvious someone is guilty of abuse without a court case, but in the case here of alleged pastoral neglect (the sexual abuse is not in dispute) this is not knowable.

    The Cripplegate pieces also claim eye-witness testimony that some allegations are ‘demonstrably not true’. Why shouldn’t I unconditionally believe this? If I shouldn’t, why the double-standard? I’m sure MacArthur followers will pick up on this.

    It seems to me the only thing disinterested third parties can do is reserve judgement. I do not and cannot know what went on regarding the pastoral response. I don’t know whether Cripplegate is damage limitation of a badly needed corrective.

    This all assumes there is any need for me to make a judgement. Keeping the spotlight on this to ensure no cover-up of abuse is right and necessary, but otherwise is this any else’s business apart from all the parties directly involved?

    I certainly don’t think this will ever be satisfactorily solved until and unless disinterested third parties investigate fully, assuming the police can’t or won’t. The seriousness of what went on merits this.

    Liked by 1 person

  59. This all assumes there is any need for me to make a judgement. Keeping the spotlight on this to ensure no cover-up of abuse is right and necessary, but otherwise is this any else’s business apart from all the parties directly involved?

    KAS, if all of us “mind our own business” and “reserve judgement”, how will the spotlight be kept on TMU? Who, precisely, will do that “right and necessary” work?

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  60. KAS, if all of us “mind our own business” and “reserve judgement”, how will the spotlight be kept on TMU?

    That’s the whole idea.
    Feature, not Bug.

    TMU’s Truth Squads of “concerned Christians” have also surfaced at Wartburg Watch.

    (“Truth Squad” – from dirty politics; a free-ranging propaganda machine attacking the opposition “hot spots”.)

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  61. @Anonymous2:

    I remember the first time I heard John MacArthur on the radio. It was more than 30 years ago. His message was opposite the name of the program “Grace to You.” There was no grace in it.

    I was so upset, I went to my pastor. My dear pastor smiled and said, “You’re right, this man seems to know nothing about grace. Isn’t it ironic?”

    “Grace” in the official name of a ministry should be approached like “Democratic” in the official name of a Third World country.

    (“People’s Republic of Tyranny” over at TV Tropes — the more adjectives about Democracy in a country’s official name, the nastier a dictatorship it is.)

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  62. @JulieAnne:

    He wasn’t a student at the university, Mark.

    If you’re talking about the “Pill Cosby” who raped Jane, I’m pretty sure he’s connected in some way to TMU or someone in its Highborn Inner Ring, judging from how they took his side against hers.

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  63. KAS, “I wonder why Jane’s account is automatically or unconditionally believed, entailing a guilty verdict on the church authorities which is unproven. This goes against innocent until proven guilty, a concept that is in danger of being lost in cases like these.”

    This is not a court of law. We are, in a sense, evaluating historical evidence. The question is, what probably happened, not, did this happen beyond a shadow of a doubt. Part of evaluating historical evidence is asking yourself whether this person personally benefits from their account. So, for example, the third-party verification that Julie Anne found is hugely significant. It comes from a person who has nothing to gain from coming forward. Now, the two main players, Jane and TMU may have something to gain from this, but Jane much less so than TMU.

    I think a big misunderstanding when people deny that this happened involves the role of the police. Everyone assumes that if the police believed Jane, they would have pressed charges. That is not true. The police only arrest based on the public prosecutor, and the public prosecutor is only going to take the case if he/she believes that it is worth pursuing. Rape trials are going to depend a lot on the testimony of the victim, and if TMU turned it’s back on her and embraced the rapist, it’s quite likely that they would testify against her.

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  64. JA, “He wasn’t a student at the university, Mark.”

    This makes the supposed counseling a complete joke. So, we have two people at the counseling table. Jane is told that if she doesn’t follow the rigid counseling protocol, she will be expelled from campus and her grades will be turned to F’s so she can’t even transfer her credits elsewhere. “Pill” is told… . So, there is already a huge imbalance of power. Pill is going to hang around while he continues to sink his teeth into the lamb, as long as TMU is holding her down. If Jane wins the day, despite the odds, he walks away with no harm done.

    I think there are two really good approaches for the victims in all this:
    1) If TMU has been altering student records (I still have some of my student transcripts from my courses), a formal complaint should be filed against the university with the accreditation board. The accreditation board is a secular, neutral third party, and their reputation is on the line when they say a university is in good standing.
    2) There may be significant evidence of collusion between the police department and TMU, and especially when crimes are not being prosecuted in deference to TMU’s wishes. I think with the eerily similar BYU case, BYU came under investigation by the Department of Education for Title IX violations. Specifically, women were being threatened with expulsion for reporting sexual misconduct on and off campus to the police or the campus Title IX office. The threat of Title IX violations is that TMU could lose their ability to process any federal loans or grants.

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  65. Serving Kids: “KAS, if all of us “mind our own business” and “reserve judgement”, how will the spotlight be kept on TMU?”

    My comment had as its background a case in the UK concerning Bishop Bell, where a ‘survivor’ claimed abuse had gone on over 50 years after the Bishop died. The Anglican church paid her £15,000 compensation on the assumption he was guilty and began erasing the Bishop’s name from church buildings etc.

    The case was taken up by Peter Hitchens, brother of the famous deceased atheist Christopher Hitchens. An informal group of very select relevant professionals who looked into the case concluded the evidence given, if this had ever gone to court, was insufficient to prove guilt. They did not say the victim was lying and the Bishop was innocent. I read their report. But the Anglican church was wrong to in effect assume the Bishop’s guilt out of fear adverse publicity etc.

    There is a very real danger, which this incident illustrates, of the assumption of innocence being whittled away in cases of abuse and rape. All the more so if clergy are involved.

    I had no intention of implying the victim here wasn’t telling the truth, especially about the actual rape, but the allegations of the failures of the TMU pastoral team have not been proven, and should not be assumed.

    If TMU trawl the net to find hundreds of commenters assuming this, and/or having an agenda not related to the incident – problems with MacArthur and his brand of christianity, and people with no direct connection with those involved being judge and jury, they are unlikely to listen to those who have attempted to be more objective.

    You may not agree with my take on this, but I hope you will at least grant I intend to be fair, and this also applies to the MacArthur side unconditionally accepting the official TMU version (like Fred Butler).

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  66. Thanks for your response, KAS. Unfortunately, you didn’t answer my question. If Marci and Julie Anne and all the other bloggers had followed your suggestion, and “minded their own business” regarding Jane’s case, how would there be any attention on TMU? How would we even know about it?

    If, on the other hand, you approve of them publicizing Jane’s accusation, then what are you complaining about?

    If TMU trawl the net to find hundreds of commenters assuming this, and/or having an agenda not related to the incident – problems with MacArthur and his brand of christianity, and people with no direct connection with those involved being judge and jury, they are unlikely to listen to those who have attempted to be more objective.

    Why should our comments have any bearing on what the head honchos at TMU do, or refuse to do? Are you suggesting that they’ll be more willing to submit to an investigation in response to everyone’s kind objectivity? If so, I think that notion rests on the assumption that a) they are reasonable, and b) they’re interested finding out what’s wrong. If men like Fred Butler and Phil Johnson are representative of MacArthur’s group, then they’re not reasonable. And until I hear of TMU calling on a third party to look into Jane’s story, I can’t take seriously that they want to know about any failing on their part.

    More importantly, KAS, Jane’s accusations are out there. MacArthur and company cannot simply ignore them. They have a moral imperative to find out whether she was wronged in these ways. Comments by third parties should have no bearing on that decision one way or the other.

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  67. If men like Fred Butler and Phil Johnson are representative of MacArthur’s group, then they’re not reasonable.

    Well, they are certainly not objective!

    People who have no ties to MacArthur are likely to be less emotionally invested and more objective, don’t you think?

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  68. The following was posted yesterday on a FB page called Master’s Memes. I might not have thought much about it before, but after reading Jane’s story, knowing she was in the Dixon dorm, this is a bit creepy.

    Post: Master’s Memes

    “They say you date Sweazy, flirt with Hotchkiss, and admire C-Dub from afar.

    But you will end up marrying Dixon.

    Never change, Dixon. The men of TMU are counting on you.

    #NamastayInDixon”

    Link to the photo from the post titled “Dixon starter pack”

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  69. Serving Kids: To answer your question.

    Fred is not a fan of survivor blogs. He criticised them for bitterness, strife, narcissism, vindictiveness, petty name-calling, anger, antinomianism, and anti-authoritarianism. Now the problem is it is easily possible to justify every one of these criticisms from diverse survivor blogs over a long period. Some more than others, and often these are manifested in the comments sections. I’ve seen this for myself, and others who do not come from Fred’s MacArthurite background as well, including those who are in favour of the wrong-doing and crass incompetence etc of the evangelical establishment being exposed, and would support watchblogs in doing so, yet see the critics becoming the mirror image of what they are criticising.

    The most vile comment I have ever read came from an individual in the commenting community Fred is criticising. It was in contravention of the blog rules, but was allowed to stand. This particular individual is a darling amongst watchbloggers, yet almost without exception never says anything positive.

    The point is that the MacArthurites or gospel coalition won’t listen to legitimate criticism if this simply continues. They may be impervious to this anyway, but thousands of fans and followers might be persuaded to reconsider their support – and funding – if intemperate articles and more so commenting were reined in.

    As for whose business it is exposing such errors, I would refer to Doug Wilson and the Natalie Greenfield case (don’t go there). I don’t know what actually went on, and it’s not my business to try to find out what happened thousands of miles away 15 years ago. The issue is between the parties concerned. Wilson only affects me if I read his blog. I’m glad to know the gist of what went on (please note that: it is right to call public evangelical figures to account if they appear to have done something wrong), but I can’t adjudicate it – nor anybody else who was not directly involved. (I do have an opinion on Wilson based on his writing.)

    You are of course free to disagree with me on this. It’s an opinion that took a long time to get to, and that reluctantly, but I have no desire to get into an argument over it.

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  70. @KAS

    “critics becoming the mirror image of what they are criticising.”

    What survivor blog rapes kids then tells the kids to forgive their rapist, do not call the police, and never mention it again?

    What survivor blog tells women they have to stay married to the man who beats them?

    Should ISIS not be called scumbags? They hate women. They think women should not have a right to say “no” to men. They hate unmarried women. They think women going to the police because they have been raped is stupid. They hate unsubmissive little girls. They think women should listen to everything they say and kiss their bottoms.

    I left Christianity even though I was raised in conservative homeschool because it is saturated with men that remind me of Arial Castro. It has been healing seeing there are a few Christians that hate rape, hate child rape, hate wife beating, doesn’t think wives have to live like Arial Castro’s victims did.

    For decades the men in my family could call the shots, decide who gets judged, criticized, and condemned. It was always women, wives, and raped little girls. Now, thanks to the internet, we can start blogs, go on the internet and say, our fathers are sick monsters. They made us wish we had never beeen born. They were always on the side of the little girl rapist, they are nothing but evil men who get a thrill out of trapping and enslaving women and little girls. Much like ISIS and Arial Castro.

    I know that my father loved dishing it out to abused women and raped little girls, but he could not take his own medicine. He would have never liked it if the shoe was on the other foot. And it was him and my grandfather that made my mother and me both declare to one another that we wished we had been aborted. Yes! Having men like this for fathers and husbands made a young teenage girl and a young woman pro-abortion, of themselves.

    If there are a few people on the internet that are sick and furious at what these fathers, husbands, and self-proclaimed Christian leaders do to raped little girls like I was, and abused mothers like mine; I am very grateful. It gives me a drip of respect for a few Christians.

    Liked by 1 person

  71. “The point is that the MacArthurites or gospel coalition won’t listen to legitimate criticism if this simply continues.”

    Or, they use these extreme comments to justify ignoring the criticism. Someone seems bitter, vindictive, or angry, so they must be lying or exaggerating, or just aren’t holy enough to take seriously. I see what your’e saying KAS, but the point is open forums will always have the good, bad, and ugly. It’s the responsibility of institutions to discern what is worthy to take seriously. This is the marketplace of customer reviews, experiences, and critiques, not a court of law. Not taking Jane’s story seriously is simply irresponsible (especially given it’s not isolated and since one can see clear historical patterns in conservative Christian organizations covering up sexual abuse or being spiritually abusive–e.g. SGM, Mars Hill, Calvary Chapel, Bill Gothard, etc).

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  72. Read the rebuttal to Jane’s story. Here’s a brief summary: “I’m not saying Jane was’t raped. She lied a lot, but I can’t say when or how she lied or what was true about her story. Just saying Jane’s not the only victim and let’s move on and forget it ever happened.”

    Got so sick of coming home from being sexually harassed in high school. I would come home and sob uncontrollably. Grandma would visit and chide me for not forgiving and forgetting like a good Christian should so I would feel warm fuzzies inside. For some years I disliked my Grandma. Looking back I think I know why.

    Liked by 1 person

  73. Christianity hurts – I’m sorry you have been so let down by Christians, so-called. What you have left is an absolute caricature of Christianity. Men who beat and rape are not Christians, regardless of whether they once ‘made a decision for Jesus’ or attend church, putting on an act for others. The NT is absolutely clear on that.

    fwiw, this caricature in various forms unfortunately has been spread (or should I say marketed) from the US around the world, where it can also bear bad fruit. Without going into details, US pseudo-evangelical abberant doctrine has facilitated something that has affected my own family, which if I thought this were genuine christianity, would cause me to loath it.

    I can only repeat what a previous vicar of mine had to say of this kind of thing: God is not like that.

    Seeing as I would want any and all false doctrine and practice to be exposed for what it is, I would never criticise anyone who is seeking to do so. My criticism of certain watch or survivor blogs is that they are making such exposure less credible. (I’m glad you saw what I was getting at, MWCamp.) It’s even made me somewhat cynical about claims, even though I have had first-hand experience of abusive situations. You have to overcome evil with good rather than being overcome by evil yourself.

    To put the boot on the other foot, I am in complete agreement with MacArthur & Co on the evils of charismania. But when his camp describes charismatics as belonging ‘to a stream that is pure sewage’ (or words to that effect), do they really think charismatics who simply want the 1 Cor 12 gifts and might be tempted by some of the charlatans are ever going to listen? I used to be in an evangelical charismatic fellowship, and I have a friend who resigned from Grace to You and has just joined one, and the fellow believers there were/are not pieces of sewage. And in these fellowships I’ve (albeit very rarely) known people instantly healed by God of disease or deformity, something I have never heard anybody connected to MacArthur testify to.

    They are ‘sound’, but sound asleep as to what is going on under their very noses.

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  74. KAS, on your statement, “My criticism of certain watch or survivor blogs is that they are making such exposure less credible… You have to overcome evil with good rather than being overcome by evil yourself.” Certainly agree there. My major observation though on these survivor websites and abuse victims in general (including myself) is that we need to be careful not to judge abuse survivors as irrelevant just because they don’t seem to be behaving nice. They have been abused and are at various steps in the process of coming to terms with the abuse, working through anger, and forgiving (but not forgetting) their abusers. Grace calls for us who aren’t in their shoes to have patience and not write them off just because they aren’t as diplomatic in their critique as we’d expect.

    After all, they have a right to be angry when someone has misused their authority or hijacked authority they never had to harm other people. Jesus got angry at abusers and called people names. Overcoming evil with good does not mean one can’t call a spade a spade, get angry at injustice, and call out other’s bullshit. Jesus and Paul did that quite nicely. Overcoming evil with good means not being violent and not challenging people to destroy them, but to restore them.

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  75. It’s even made me somewhat cynical about claims,

    If this was because claims were frequently made that were untrue, that might be reasonable.

    Yet, I’ve seen the opposite. Quick denials by the people implicated followed by the truth, which has been on the side of the watchbloggers thus far.

    So, side with truth or side with pretty lies.

    Liked by 1 person

  76. mwcamp said to KAS

    My major observation though on these survivor websites and abuse victims in general (including myself) is that we need to be careful not to judge abuse survivors as irrelevant just because they don’t seem to be behaving nice.

    They have been abused and are at various steps in the process of coming to terms with the abuse, working through anger, and forgiving (but not forgetting) their abusers. Grace calls for us who aren’t in their shoes to have patience and not write them off just because they aren’t as diplomatic in their critique as we’d expect.

    After all, they have a right to be angry when someone has misused their authority or hijacked authority they never had to harm other people. Jesus got angry at abusers and called people names.

    Is KAS still posting here? I generally try to ignore his posts, if I can.

    Based on mwcamp’s reply, I take it that KAS is still on his favorite hobby, Tone Policing, telling people on spiritual abuse blogs they’re Big Meanies and will have no impact on changing hearts and minds of abusive churches because they don’t word their critiques nice enough. LOL.

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  77. Daisy, KAS’s responses are classic diversionary techniques that abusive churches use. It’s like, “Wait, you’re not displaying the fruit of the spirit (or proper biblical protocol) so we can ignore you and turn it around to blame you and make you the bad guy, not us.” I’ve seen it time and time again.

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  78. mwcamp – there is a reason for my reluctance to get into the topic of commenting, and not just because I have pratted on about it before.

    You cannot possibly infer from what I have said that I am trying to divert attention away from abuse like abusive churches would, having stated precisely the opposite and why. Yet this response is all too predictable, as is I am hung-up on the language people use, especially if they are obviously angry about what has happened to them.

    Did you miss the sentence complaining about the most vile comment I have ever read It was in contravention of the blog rules? Quite specifically. This isn’t me ‘tone policing’, it is wishing in many cases blogs would enforce their own rules rather than turning a blind eye to favourite commenters.

    Let me ask you something: does the NT exempt any of us from how we should speak to one another? ‘Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour and slander be put away from you, with all malice, …’

    Are ‘survivors’ exempt? Or MacArthurites such as Pyromaniacs and Fred Butler? Six of one and half a dozen of the other all too often.

    I’m not going to trespass on Julie Anne’s patience any long regarding this subject! All credit to her on another thread in heading off people getting angry with each other.

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  79. KAS,

    Please give us some specific examples of when the other side actually listened to victims. When has that actually happened? The reality is that no matter how polite we are, the other side just isn’t going to listen.

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  80. Avid Reader – I think the problem is more the Big Names of evangelicalism are sceptical of claims to be a victim in the first place. It’s not lack of politeness that is causing this, it is an unending narrative of perpetual victimhood by people showing little more than bitterness, anger and prejudice that obscures the genuine victims who really have seriously suffered at the hands of authoritarian leadership. Fred Butler’s attitude to survivor blogs is evidence of this. I can’t altogether blame him.

    Around the celebrities are many followers who perhaps might not be so impervious to being persuaded to rethink their commitment to the MacArthurs of this world. They are less likely to be reached if the critics are mirror images of how MacArthur in turn treats say charismatics, meaning with derision.

    There is yet another group who don’t know what is going on and who ought to. If only for the sake of the fellowships they are in – an awareness of where evangelicalism can get it wrong. That outwardly ‘godly’ men can be ravenous wolves on the inside leaving a trail of devastation in their wake. The internet could be a wake up call for them.

    It took me a long time to see through Team Pyro. Whilst I wouldn’t say they were ravenous wolves (with one possible exception if the court so decides) such men are arrogant and sometimes infantile. (Not so much Johnson but his sidekicks.) I tried – for fun – to engage them briefly on the charismatic stance they take, but it is like talking to the mantelpiece! So I am aware of the difficulty in trying to get through to this sector of the Christian scene. I saw through them for myself, but it was a relief to find someone else dissect and dismantle their little empire on a sensible blog, yet without rancour or anger, which if I had seen it before coming to my own conclusions, would like have made me think the problem is with the critic.

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  81. KAS, I think you are holding us to a standard that is well beyond scripture. It’s the same standard that is being held against Jane. I was spiritually and emotionally abused by my family and church. When I finally started to wake up to it, I was ANGRY. And KAS’ites in the church used that anger to justify further spiritual and emotional abuse.

    They told me I should keep my mouth shut against God’s elect. They told me that I was slandering and gossiping. They told me I was not loving because I was ‘keeping a record of wrongs’.

    You may think that you are promoting justice, but I think, like those I know, you are promoting silence, false peace and a false smile on our faces. That is not the voice of Jesus. Jesus didn’t walk away from the show of emotion. He wept, too. He got angry. He didn’t keep his mouth shut against God’s elect.

    For better or worse, these blogs fill a void that is nonexistent in the false peace churches – a place for us to tell our stories and heal from abuse and wrong. The church SHOULD be that place, but the church has turned its back on being a place of healing. Remember, it was the Pharisees that were keeping Jesus from healing on the Sabbath.

    Liked by 1 person

  82. Mark – I don’t think you have seen for one minute what I am getting at. You won’t find anywhere where I have said anyone should keep quiet over abuse. Quite the opposite.

    I have maintained the NT imposes standards of speech and behaviour that we are all under obligation to meet.

    I this particular thread, it is Fred Butler who has proved himself crassly insensitive in what he has said.

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  83. I read this story after hearing about it and don’t doubt it could be true because I know someone who was similarly abused at Masters College and when she tried to do something about it was treated very similarly to how “Jane” says she was treated. Even if Jane is fictional, I am certain there has been similar foul play at Masters, and high ranking Masters officials not only know it, they have conspired to “make it go away”, even when doing so required blaming the victim and failing to properly report the crimes.

    I know what happened to another girl, I’ll call her “Sandy”, and was greatly angered over the outrageous way Masters Officials treated her after she was systematically abused and raped by someone they continue to employ even today.

    Sandy first met her married abuser when she was working as a Jr High in Santa Clarita, he was her “mentor”, and used his position of authority, force, pain and threats to take advantage of her. He was a history teacher at the same school. During that time I was not completely aware of what she was going through, but was very aware of the bruises he left on her in the process, and even knew she had to get medical treatment. Only later on did I find out he’d been manhandling her after class and using so much force that she has scar tissue on her chest as a result. She was young, new to the school and afraid he really could get her fired if she tried to report him. Later I also learned he did the same thing to at least 1 other young teacher who was in a similar position. Eventually he moved on to a Christian high school in the Antelope Valley, but not before raping Sandy more than once. I’m guessing he had to give a testimonial before he was hired at the Christian school, I’d sure like to see that pack of lies. These days he works for Masters College, where I’m sure he also had to give a testimonial and I expect he lied there too.

    Sandy was so devastated that several years later she still couldn’t put it behind her so she confided with a pastor and he contacted officials at Masters College and convinced her to share her abuse with them. She met with the Director of Human Resources, and the Chief Financial Officer. Initially they spoke as thought they were incensed and for a while led her to believe they were going to fire him, but then the process got a bit more complicated and they asked her to write a statement, which she did. They took the statement that Sandy wrote and rewrote it, then asked her to sign it and she refused. Then things got ugly because they had redacted everything damning, like references to the violence. By the time they were through with her, they were practically accusing her of either making the whole thing up or causing him to want to violate her.

    Then they spoke to her abuser, who they say admitted he’d had “an inappropriate relationship”, but without addressing any of the details, including the rapes and physical abuse that resulted in doctor’s visits, also said he’d repented and told his wife. I don’t know what Church you go to, but where I attend repentance would have included restitution to the victim which they know never happened, and of course they should have also revisited his pre-employment testimonial.

    After that, Masters Staff turned the tables on Sandy, even outright telling her that it was her own fault that she’d been abused and raped by him, and of course he continues to work for Masters to this day.

    Grace Community and even John McArthur were involved with this case, so it’s not like Sandy’s rapist got off because she wasn’t willing to take it to the top. Sandy does suspect some of the administrators who also knew what happened may have left Masters College because of how they treated her.

    This was a few years ago and Sandy has been in therapy ever since those so called “Christians” sold out their Christian faith, (if they really ever had it to begin with), and put protecting their business ahead of doing what’s right and protecting other potential victims from this predator.

    I can’t tell if Jane’s story is true, but I’m absolutely sure Masters College knows they have predators and are doing exactly what the Catholic Church tried to do when people reported abuse to them… They blame the victim and protect the predator. I know there are many good Christians at Masters, but it’s obviously a for profit organization that completely lacks the good Christian morals they pretend they espouse and embrace. I would never give them a recommendation.

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  84. Even if Jane is fictional

    I don’t think Jane is fictional, however there was a show a while back called ‘Veronica Mars’ where the title character investigated things in her school/town. One episode was about a girl in her high school who accused the teacher of having an illicit affair with her. VM investigates, finds this can’t be true. Turns out, the girl in question was not the one abused, it was her friend but she was the one who decided to confront the issue. Interesting case. So what she said was untrue for her, but true for her friend.

    I know what happened to another girl, I’ll call her “Sandy”, and was greatly angered over the outrageous way Masters Officials treated her after she was systematically abused and raped by someone they continue to employ even today.

    Contrary to KAS’s opinion here, EVERYONE should be angry at stuff like this! It is outrageous. I think Jesus would be knocking over tables, and Paul would be consigning people to hell. That’s our NT standard of behavior for people like this, imo.

    Liked by 1 person

  85. Julie Anne… are you aware of any follow up going on, that is pursuing investigating Masters College? Are people that have been affected and are aware of these situations connecting? I’m thinking of the Harvey Weinstein and how he got away with exploiting women for 30 years, and had to ask why did it take so long to expose? because they were isolated incidents spread around the world, it didn’t happen to every woman that crossed his path, but far too many.. some women were strong enough to say no, but some weren’t, they were young, confused, whatever… but the reason it took 30 years was because they had not connected… I hope and pray that the Jane revelation is enough to prompt those harmed and those aware of those harmed along with those who were strong enough to stand up to whatever exploitation to come together and pursue an investigation… possibly via GRACE or a similar type independent group… as Gwyneth Paltrow said…

    “This way of treating women ends now,”

    we need men and women to be strong and courageous and speak up as part of the priesthood of all believers, to expose this demeaning, dehumanizing, objectifying of women, that are made in the image of God… and say enough! no more! This honors God and His Bride… the exploitation and abuse of power dishonors God and His Bride… and we honor Him when we expose the abuse going on in His Church.

    hope that makes sense!

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  86. Contrary to KAS’s opinion here, EVERYONE should be angry at stuff like this! It is outrageous.

    Hear, hear, Lea! I’ve been meaning to respond to KAS earlier on this subject (and others), but my time and energy have been a bit lacking of late.

    Further upthread, KAS told us: “Around the celebrities are many followers who perhaps might not be so impervious to being persuaded to rethink their commitment to the MacArthurs of this world. They are less likely to be reached if the critics are mirror images of how MacArthur in turn treats say charismatics, meaning with derision.”

    And pray tell, KAS, how else should we treat men who have covered up crimes, and who’ve abused women who came to them for help and godly counsel? Do you honestly think that Jesus, who called His own opponents “vipers” and “sons of hell”, would be sweeter and kinder than we’ve been here?

    I’ve said this before: if MacArthur’s and Butler’s followers refuse to see the suffering of their own brothers and sisters simply because they don’t like our language, then they’re just blind followers of the blind.

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  87. Christy wrote, “she confided with a pastor and he contacted officials at Masters College…”
    Wrong officials. Until pastors start referring sexual assault victims to law enforcement, perps will continue to prey and institutions will continue to coddle them.

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  88. KAS, I agree with Mark. Too far. Your responses can come across as without empathy.

    Let me ask you something: does the NT exempt any of us from how we should speak to one another? ‘Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour and slander be put away from you, with all malice, …’<<<

    The NT is not a rulebook down to the letter, word, and sentence. Jesus was angry when confronting the Temple market and Pharisees (which contradicts your quoted verse). He called them names (nest of snakes). Paul wished the legalists would castrate themselves. You can not expect abused people (physical or emotional or spiritual) to immediately act like saints. Given the examples I just gave, it begs the question, how do saints act when defending abused people? Jesus’ and Paul’ responses to spiritual abusers would not fit our modern definition of “polite.”

    Abused people get angry and defend themselves and might call people names. Sometimes they are able to do it with a measure of control (angry without sin?), sometimes not. Your insistence that the NT does not exempt people from how we speak to one another is technically true, but not black and white. There is no moral equivalence between a habitual abuser and someone who angrily responds to the abuser. One is unjust and the other is standing up to injustice, however imperfectly (or maybe it’s okay to throw in a little anger and cynicism and mockery like Jesus, Paul, and the prophets?).

    I hope you are sincere that you don’t want to excuse abusers but when one comes across that there is equal, moral wrong on both sides, it appears like they are not taking the abuse seriously. I’ve seen abusers use that technique, time and time again, to weasel out of taking responsibility, and then turn the tables so the one accusing them of abuse is the real sinner. I don’t know if that is what you are doing. I will give you the benefit of the doubt.

    I have no idea who the person is you mentioned who had a objectionable comment on a blog. It’s good to police those comments when appropriate, but don’t use a negative example to excuse or downplay habitual abusers. Call a spade a spade.

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  89. Bev – Yes, it does make sense. I am connected with a group of TMU grads. They’ve been sharing their stories (not all involve sexual assault).

    The TMU board will be meeting soon and I’ve heard that they will be releasing a statement.

    This case is far from over. Unfortunately, I have been slammed at school and haven’t been able to put together something. I sure will, though, eventually. I believe there has been various kinds of abuse going on for years at TMU. It needs to be uncovered.

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  90. SK: If MacArthur’s and Butler’s followers refuse to see the suffering of their own brothers and sisters simply because they don’t like our language, then they’re just blind followers of the blind.

    Neither you nor mwcamp have seen what I am getting at – which is one reason for my reluctance to get bogged down in it. To be fair, it took me a while to see it as I didn’t want to believe it myself.

    Try “Wartburg Whiners”. Yes, I know it is Seneca, and I know he probably has an axe to grind. But look at his collection of comments on Dever and Piper: 2014 for the former and 2015 “Wartburgwatch simply hates John Piper” for the later.

    Now I’ve seen worse than this in my time from various survivor blogs, really vile, but I’ve left it behind and have no desire to go digging again. Reading the same testimony of abusive leadership (which I don’t disbelieve) about 30 times, and in one case over 300 times!! (Not that I’ve counted.) Sometimes people are still angry over what happened three decades ago, the sun would appear never to be going down on this. And for whom is this an ‘opportunity’?

    Piper has said some really bizarre things recently, and he invites and should get criticism for them. But personal invective and jibes won’t convince anyone, especially those who think he is the best thing since sliced bread, and say more about the critic than him.

    Fred Butler – and I’ve looked at some of JA’s links to him – has a very low opinion of survivor blogs for the very reason of their bitterness etc. Fred ought not to dismiss Jane’s testimony so easily, but I think I can in part understand why he does so.

    The goal of the survivor blog sector to help the wounded and try to get those who consider themselves to have ‘pastoral authority’ to do something about it or admit where they have got it wrong is noble and worthy. In doing this, it is a strategic error when commenting becomes little other than nasty personal comments. It’s not all like that, I’m not saying that, but far too common. Too much like what Team Pyro descended into.

    It gives the evangelical industrial complex the perfect excuse to say ‘nothing to see here, move on’.

    That’s it as far as I’m concerned, lest I start repeating everything 30 times!

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  91. Pastor John I agree, she should have gone straight to the police but I understand why she didn’t. She was in love with her religion and and afraid that if she spoke up she’d lose everything and be shunned. She felt powerless and even more today is aware how powerful the school officials are and how little her coming forth accomplished other than making her a pariah. 😦

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