Mike Lawyer, Counseling, Abuse in Marriage, Abuse of Authority
I have been in contact with a woman named Gen, who has agreed to let me post this letter she received from Mike Lawyer, “on behalf of Christ Church Session.” Christ Church is Doug Wilson’s church in Moscow, Idaho. If you would like to learn more about Doug Wilson and his extra-biblical and spiritually abusive ways, see his name in “Categories” in the side bar.
Gen told me she was in an abusive marriage. She was not physically abused, but was emotionally, verbally, spiritually, and financially abused. She and her husband sought counseling, and were in counseling both together and separately.
Gen also told me that she didn’t respond appropriately to the abuse – that she reacted by yelling and crying. I don’t think that’s an inappropriate response to abuse, do you? That seems very normal. I’m not sure where she learned that she was responsible for her response, but that concerns me because it takes the focus off the perpetrator and places it on the survivor – as if they are both equal sinners.
This following letter was sent to Gen on January 18, 2018. Mike Lawyer has decided he knows her spiritual condition and has determined that she is not living up to being a proper wife, etc. Because of her “unwillingness” to deal with her sins, she is being put in church discipline.
It’s important to understand that Doug Wilson believes that husbands are the heads of the home. He believes in Patriarchy. If husbands are the priests of the home, who do you think they would believe first, the husband or the wife?
According to Mr. Lawyer’s Facebook page, he works at Christ Church as well as Center for Biblical Counseling (aka Nouthetic counseling). He is also an instructor at New Saint Andrews school in Moscow. Basically, his life seems to be very connected with Christ Church and Doug Wilson.
Here is an image of the letter Gen received:
Gen sent me this note via Facebook Messenger:
Initially, this letter was shared without consent from a secret Facebook group with out permission. This was not a local group. I’ve since given permission , selectively, to be shared while protecting my identity. Here are some important clarifications: I love my husband and he is not violent. I am safe as are my children. I want to seek outside counseling to work on marital issues.
I appreciate the concern from the Christ Church community, but I revoked my membership in October.
I do not have an attorney. I do not have a go fund me account. I do not have a Twitter account. I am not in control of what is shared or said on the internet.
I do feel this is an over reach of the church but I’m thankful for the time I’ve spent there and hope to keep friendships despite differences.
This is a breaking story and we will add more details when they become available.
***New update January 26, 2018: XianJaneway left a comment about church membership in the comments below. Here is the part of the comment that I want to address:
XianJaneway said: I spoke w/ a former Christ Church member who said that ONLY a man can revoke the membership, not the woman. It’s highly unlikely that Gen wrote this note. 😦 I’m really worried about her.
Today, I asked Gen specifically about Xian Janeway’s comment. This was her response:
They denied it [revoking her membership]. They didn’t say because I’m a woman. They said I’m a doubting Christian.
So, I asked Gen specifically if she believes in the essential doctrines of the Christian faith (Jesus paid for our sins by dying on the cross, He rose again, etc.). This was her response:
Yes, I do believe that.
She did admit the following:
I am questioning the interpretations, theology, ideologies, and applications of my faith, in my life.
Ok, that is not the same as doubting your faith or rejecting the essentials of the Christian faith. That is simply asking questions about secondary doctrinal issues. And in light of the fact that Gen has been at Christ Church which has Patriarchal teachings, and who knows what else, doesn’t it seem normal that she would be questioning these issues?
Yet in the letter, Mike Lawyer claims she has “denied the biblical Christ.” That is a LIE. This is inappropriate. And it is spiritual abuse. I am disgusted by the way they have treated Gen.
Gen, stay strong. We believe you. We support you!
Gen also wanted me to relay that she works full-time and has 5 children in the home, including one high-functioning child with autism.
219 thoughts on “BREAKING: Leaders at Doug Wilson’s Christ Church Put Woman in Abusive Marriage Under Church Discipline”
Many men do this, say crazy emotional things that they pretend are ‘logic’ and ‘reason’. You’re not fooling anyone there, buddy.
Doug thinks a husband is ‘reasonable’ in the sense that he has not properly controlled his wife. Obviously this leads no where good.
Dave AA, mentioned the hypocrisy of that earlier. I think it’s the same sort of Piper-esque teaching, where the church leaders can victimize whomever they want just by picking whichever one of the equivocal positions they take on the matter suits their interests that day.
Although it is “typically” the wife that gets thrown under the bus. I will say that like other elements of society, for example, policing, it is those who can be controlled the easiest that get victimized the most.
“Doug thinks a husband is ‘reasonable’ in the sense that he has not properly controlled his wife.”
That’s a concept I am actually torn over. The words are right, the heart is not. I know many good men who have taken the truth behind, “But the husband is responsible for all the problems,” to a wonderful place, to a place of taking personal responsibility, stepping up to the plate, and not blaming your wife.
The problem is who receives those words and what is the condition of his heart? An abuser can read that and take it as permission to use fear and control, to exploit power, since everyone exists to serve his needs anyway.
So Pastor Wilson,when the things you are teaching are being misused to hurt people, you are not being a good husband taking responsibility for your house. Also, it’s actually the Lord’s house. As a pastor, you are the husband. As you said, “the husband is responsible for all the problems.” To cast out and shun those under your care, those who once trusted you, is the precise opposite of being a good husband.
And lest we forget, as others have stated,
Shutting the barn door after the horse has bolted.
This one’s a major component of unbiblical “church discipline” in general. Denying “the supper” to someone who’s already gone is meaningless. What they really want to do is bad-mouth the miscreant to other churches.
To put this lunacy in futuristic terms, imagine George Jetson resigns from Spacely Sprockets in October. Then, in January, Spacely bellows
“Jetsuhhhhhhn, YOU’RE FIRED!!!”
Ah, see I do not think the words are right either. Certainly good men who take personal responsibility will act right in a marriage, but men are not the cause of all problems or the solution to all problems and neither are women. You have two people in a marriage. either or both may be wrong, which is why they need to deal with each other as equals.
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“Although it is “typically” the wife that gets thrown under the bus. I will say that like other elements of society, for example, policing, it is those who can be controlled the easiest that get victimized the most.”
In my former 9-Marxist church it was a gay man who’d left 2 months before who got Matthew 18’d and then excommunicated.
In the Greenfield case, Wilson threw the father under the bus, calling him abusive for letting the Wilson-trained-and-coddled perp live in their home and approving some sort of pre-courtship friendship. The victim’s mom was AOK in getting divorced because she remained loyal to the Kirk and didn’t want to commit the unpardonable sin of moving the family to Coeur D’Alene, like abusive Dad. Anyone who’s ever been to Coeur D’Alene knows how abusive it would be to move your family there– something akin to the Gobi desert, no doubt.
“You have two people in a marriage. either or both may be wrong, which is why they need to deal with each other as equals.”
Well,one problem with Pastor Wilson is that he does tend to perceive people as equals…..when it comes to sin. So your abuser and your victim are suddenly equals, which they clearly are not. Add in a bit of anti-woman bias and suddenly the woman is always going to be to blame for everything. In my experience, women tend to be very good at picking up all the blame,men not so much. So calling men’s attention to the fact that, “the husband is responsible for all the problems,” is actually a way of balancing the equation.
It’s interesting to me that Christ Church wrote this letter to Gen. I mean in theory, “the husband is responsible for all the problems,” right? It’s so ironic and illogical how they never actually follow through on that idea. So, Mr Gen, your abuse, your poor leadership, your revenge based wimpiness and need to whine to the elders about your wife’s house keeping skills, have now separated her from her church and made her own relationship with the Lord so much a harder. Mr Gen needs to repent to his wife, begin to heal some of the damage he’s done.
One problem with Pastor Wilson,is he”s quite selective about his application of, “the husband is responsible for all the problems.” When it comes to sin suddenly Pastor Wilson is this great egalitarian, which always seems to work out to, “obviously the woman is totally the whole problem.”
That’s how all the patriarchal people go, in the end. No matter what they claim.
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Thank you for giving us another perspective and food for thought.
I wonder though if silencing lois here isn’t like when gary thomas silenced those who complained about his book. I guess he could say his blog was to promote his ideas.
Irene, go back and do a word count on the posts lois left. Talks of silencing are massively overblown.
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“approving some sort of pre-courtship friendship”
From what Natalie said, it seems like her parents were pretty reasonable and purposefully limited contact, including not sitting next to each other at dinner. She seemed interested and he was “Wilson-approved(tm)”, so the parents felt that those boundaries were reasonable. I think Wilson is trying to head off any culpability at the pass because it looks really bad that he allowed a sexual predator to manipulate the housing system so that he had access to his victim. Not only that, but it shows that the predator’s “restoration” was a sham, that Wilson and his leadership were at best completely deceived and at worst abetters and enablers. He went on to commit documented domestic violence against his current(?) wife.
I just checked to make sure Irene and Lois B. did not have the same email address.
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“I wonder though if silencing lois here isn’t like when gary thomas silenced those who complained about his book.”
Let me just address this. Near as I can tell, this is a board to offer support and encouragement to people who have experienced spiritual abuse. Therefore you have to provide some safety for people and screen out those who can’t or won’t be kind.
To silence someone is more like what a few rather rabid patriarchalists have done to me. That is where they refuse to engage and flat out block me. Apparently the more manly you fancy yourself, the more insecure you will be too.
Lord have mercy. What is this, the Spanish Inquisition?
I’m a Catholic. No priest would ever write such a letter to a parishioner. Never, ever, ever.
Who do these guys think they are? Mama Mia.
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@Daisy — [waves]
You are so spot-on about bullying and abuse in the secular workplace. And I do think the dynamics are similar to church abuse. Command-and-control management. Kiss Up, Kick Down. Control freakery on steroids. Pusillanimous HR people whose job is to protect upper management, period. Lots of parallels there!
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