Spiritual Abuse: It’s Not Gossip to Talk about Abuse!

Spiritual Abuse, Gossip,
Jonathan Hollingsworth

 

This is the third blog post referring to an article by Jonathan Hollingsworth, What Not to Say to Someone Who’s Been Hurt by the Church. The article resonated with a lot of people, so I thought it might be a good idea to discuss these unhelpful statements one by one here, and give people the opportunity to share their experiences.

I will be working through all six of Hollingsworth’s statements/questions of what not to say to someone who has been hurt by spiritual abuse. The first post, we covered when people say, “No Church is Perfect.” The second post, we discussed was Spiritual Abuse: When People Ask You, “Are You Working Toward Reconciliation?

Here is the third question on what not to say to someone harmed by spiritual abuse, followed by Jonathan Hollingsworth explaining why it is not helpful:

It’s Not Gossip to Talk about Abuse!

If a pastor or staff member is mistreating someone in the congregation, it’s not gossip for that person to talk about it. In fact, it’s not even gossip for you to talk about it.

Imagine if you found out your brother-in-law was beating your sister. Would your first response be, “That’s none of my business”? The same way domestic abuse involves a whole family, spiritual abuse involves a whole church family. The abuse may have taken place in private, but that doesn’t make it a private matter.

As Christians, if we’re going to start taking spiritual abuse seriously, we need to stop comparing it to gossip. ~Jonathan Hollingsworth

This is one of the most common experiences spiritual abuse survivors will face. Controlling or abusive church leaders do not want you to tell the “story,” they want to be the one disseminating information. They might say that you may get it wrong, or that you may put the church or them in a negative light. They may ask what people outside the church will think if they hear the news. Leaders often say that outsiders having the information could compromise their Christian witness (heaven forbid any non-Christian figure out that Christians are not perfect). 

The Bible talks about the Body of Christ – how we each are a part of the Body: one person might be a foot; another is like a hand. We all work together to form the Body. In our body, we know when one part of it is injured. If I sprain my ankle, it doesn’t isolate from the rest of my body. No! The rest of my body knows about that injury and compensates.

The Body of Christ works the same way. When one part of the Body is injured, the rest of the Body will help in what is lacking. So when a pastor or church leaders shut down conversation and call it gossip, instead of dealing transparently with congregants, the rest of the Body does not know how to compensate in a healthy way. 

The no-talk or no-gossip rule presents an us-versus-them situation between the leaders and the underlings. The truth is hidden from the lowly congregants, and because the congregants know something is gone, they can only guess and speculate what is going on. This is not gossip! This is curiosity and probably genuine concern for what their church Body is experiencing. Had the church leaders addressed the situation openly, the Body could have come alongside the leaders and supported them and each other while going through the difficult situation. 

Have you had church leaders tell you to not gossip or talk about a specific situation? What did you think when you were told to stop talking? Did you stop talking? How did you handle it?

Creative Exegesis on Social Media

 

There’s a bit of fun “exegesis” happening on Twitter.  What is exegesis?

 

Capture

It started when my East Coast gal pal blogger, Dee, posted a link to an article on John Piper:

 

And then what Tim and David added really cracked me up!

 

I copied those 2 tweets together in an image so people could be sure to read them in order, and tweeted it. And then more came in:

 

 

Capture

 

 

Spiritual Abuse: When People Ask You, “Are You Working Toward Reconciliation?”

Spiritual Abuse, What Not to Say, Jonathan Hollingsworth, Reconciliation

 

This is the second blog post referring to an article by Jonathan Hollingsworth, What Not to Say to Someone Who’s Been Hurt by the Church. The article resonated with a lot of people, so I thought it might be a good idea to discuss these unhelpful statements one by one here, and give people the opportunity to share their experiences.

I will be working through all six of Hollingsworth’s statements/questions of what not to say to someone who has been hurt by spiritual abuse. Last post, we covered when people say, “No Church is Perfect.”

Here is the second question of what not to say to someone harmed by spiritual abuse, followed by Jonathan Hollingsworth explaining why it is not helpful:

“Are You Working Toward Reconciliation?”

The last thing a victim of spiritual abuse needs to do is go right back into the environment that hurt them in the first place.

If someone has been attacked by a dog, would you tell them to go back and risk getting bitten again? Christians who insist on reconciliation in the face of spiritual abuse are forgetting one important thing: Abusive people can’t always be reasoned with.

Not only is it dangerous to ask a victim to make amends with their abusers, it also puts an undue burden of responsibility on the victim to come up with a solution. It’s like saying, “They’re the ones who hurt you, but now it’s your job to make it right.”

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Oh boy! I, too, had this said to me. In general, it was said by people who had never experienced spiritual abuse and who were uncomfortable with the topic or what I was feeling. They were uncomfortable knowing that I was not free from the heavy weight of spiritual abuse. They may have meant well by wanting me to be free, but in reality, there may never be reconciliation. Would God want me to restore my relationship with an abuser? I think not – unless the abuser did a 180-degree change and fully repented.

I don’t know what the deal is, but some Christians believe that you aren’t acting like a Christian if you respond with emotions that people label as negative. (For the record, I don’t think of emotions as negative or positive – they just are.) It’s like you are expected to maintain a smile on your face at all times, so expressing strong emotions like anger, sadness, grieving, etc, is not a welcomed sight. I think they believe that if you reconcile, then you can get the smile back on your face again – and everything will be hunky dory (do people still say that?) Anyway, it really isn’t that simple.

They don’t understand that spiritual abuse is a process. There are periods of sadness and anger. There is a grieving process, and it takes time, sometimes years. Some people will deal with it for the rest of their lives in one way or another, but it won’t be as paralyzing as it was in the beginning of the process.

Asking a spiritual abuse survivor if they are working toward reconciliation is not helpful. It puts the onus on the survivor. It tells the survivor to hurry along and get fixed so others can feel comfortable.

 

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Does the WASC Commission Letter Address Reports of Sexual Assault at The Master’s University?

The Master’s University, Sexual Assault, Accreditation Probation

Capture13

Credit: TMU Facebook Page

-by Kathi

Sandy asked a very good question on the last post regarding John MacArthur’s resignation as President of The Master’s University (TMU):

It doesn’t address their sexual assault cover ups, right?

As a reminder, Julie Anne covered Jane’s account of sexual assault at The Master’s University last year: Jane’s Account of Rape, Response of Master’s University to Her Claims, and a Breaking Development Confirming Details #

While the 2017 WASC Commission letter does not directly speak to specific sexual assault incidents, it does address two important areas that reference sexual assault:

Additionally, as a result of inquiry by the visiting team and panel prompted by Third Party Complaints to the Commission, the Commission is concerned about the institution’s attention to the requirements of the Clery Act and the Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA). The Commission is concerned about the capacity of the institution’s leadership to operate with integrity, high performance, appropriate responsibility, and accountability. (CFRs 3.6, 3.7)

For those who are unaware of the Clery Act and the Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA), here is a brief summary with links for further follow-up:

The Clery Act “is a federal statute requiring colleges and universities participating in federal financial aid programs to maintain and disclose campus crime statistics and security information. The U.S. Department of Education conducts reviews to evaluate an institution’s compliance with the Clery Act requirements.”

VAWA: “The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) amendments to the Clery Act expand the rights afforded to campus survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.”

Crime Awareness Requirements Not Met

This is not the first time the Clery Act and VAWA has been an issue for TMU. In 2015 The Department of Education cited TMU for violating compliance regulations around several areas, including the Clery Act and VAWA for calendar year 2012. TMU was fined $29,000 in 2017 for its non-compliance.

Screenshot 2018-10-30 at 9.51.18 PM

 

The 2017 WASC Commission letter addressed this problem of non-compliance.

The Commission is extremely concerned that the institution may be in violation of
required reporting responsibilities under the Clery Act, VAWA, and FERPA and that the COO, who has been assigned to handle these responsibilities, is unaware of the
requirements and processes mandated by these statutes. The institution should take
immediate steps to assure that it understands and is in compliance with the federal
requirements. (CFR 3.6, 3.8)

It is difficult to know if the Commission is raising concern due to the 2017 Department of Education letter or if there are on-going issues with the TMU staff understanding and maintaining compliance. Are the “Third Party Complaints” from the Department of Education? A review of the 2018 Student Handbook shows up-to-date information regarding the Clery Act reporting and VAWA information. Reporting policies are also included in the handbook.

A November 2, 2018 WASC visit update on TMU’s website notes that their accreditation remains in good standing. There is no mention of addressing the Commission’s concerns regarding the Clery Act and VAWA regulation compliance. WASC has yet to publish findings from the fall visit.

Rep. Matt Shea: When Politics is Fueled by Religion that Harms

Rep. Matt Shea, Biblical Basis for War, Politics, Religion, Dominionism


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I intentionally do not delve into politics much on this blog because politics is divisive and conversation can deteriorate quickly. However, today I want to mention one candidate whose religion is interfering with his politics in a way that could harm. I found about this because it is in my neck of the woods and in the news.

Some long-time readers probably remember I wrote posts about the father of the Christian homeschool movement, Rousas John Rushdoony. Rushdoony was a Christian Reconstructionist who put his religious beliefs into action in an attempt to take over all spheres of our civilization, including the government. He wanted the Old Testament laws and Ten Commandments to be the foundation of society:

Christian Reconstructionism began with Rousas John (R.J.) Rushdoony. In 1973 he published Institutes of Biblical Law which is 800 pages of analysis and commentary on the Ten Commandments and the Biblical “case law.” Rushdoony and the Reconstructionists, are believers that everything is based on God’s Laws as put forth in the Bible, have no love for democratic, secular, civil law (Source)

 

“The only true order is founded on Biblical Law. All law is religious in nature, and every non-Biblical law-order represents an anti-Christian religion.”

”Every law-order is a state of war against the enemies of that order, and all law is a form of warfare.”

 – R.J. Rushdoony

 

Rushdoony had quite a following of conservative Christians who adopted his ideas on homeschooling children and having large families, creating a cycle that could have continued for years and years. It worked for at least one generation, but then some serious sex abuse cases came to light (Doug Phillips and Bill Gothard), and many families abandoned the camp, thank God.

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Rep. Matt Shea "Biblical Basis for War"

Facebook photo, Rep. Matt Shea

I was reminded of Rushdoony when I read about Rep. Matt Shea of Washington state. Rep. Matt Shea is up for re-election for his sixth term in the House, but has recently been under the spotlight because of his religious ideologies using “biblical law” as justification.

So, here’s what happened. Rep. Shea sent out a four-page document entitled, Biblical Basis for War. People, this guy is running for state rep, not the governor or president, yet he is focusing on war?  His area is in NE Washington state – around Spokane, the eastern side of the state, close to Idaho. Chad Sokol of the local Spokesman-Review had this to say:

Shea – who espouses far-right conspiracy theories, mingles with militia groups, considers the United States “a Christian nation” and champions a push for a 51st state called Liberty – has said the document was merely a summary of sermon notes based on the Old Testament. But critics of Shea, including his opponent, Ted Cummings, and Republican Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, viewed the document as a literal road map for Christian domination.

“The document specifically contemplates overthrowing ‘tyranny,’ but it quickly defines a ‘tyrant’ as ‘someone who rules without God.’ Thus, it appears to call for violence against any political leader who does not share Shea’s personal religious views,” the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin-based nonprofit that advocates for separation of church and state, said in a statement Thursday. “By Shea’s definition, the United States, a secular democracy founded on a godless constitution, is tyrannical and meant to be overthrown.”

Take a look at the first page and one-half of the document so you can get an idea of what he has been spreading:

Rep. Matt Shea "Biblical Basis for War"

Rep. Matt Shea "Biblical Basis for War"

Rep. Matt Shea “Biblical Basis for War”

 

Here is a local news report.

 

I get a little concerned about people like fixating on war using their slanted religious ideologies. This seriously creeps me out, and it’s a little too close to home. I’m sending the boys outside to work on an underground shelter after they get home from their public school (yea, I ditched homeschooling and the Rushdoony way of doing things a while ago and have been sending them to the local heathens – the evil government schools).

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Stephen Kilpatrick: While Teaching at Liberty University and Bible to Small Children, He Also Solicited Sex with a Minor

Stephen Kilpatrick, Liberty University, Bible Study Teacher, Alleged Child Sex Criminal

close up portrait of human eye

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

 

A former Liberty University professor has been charged with soliciting sex from a minor.

Steve Kilpatrick Source

Steve Kilpatrick Source

Stephen James Kilpatrick, 63, “was arrested and charged with three counts each of taking indecent liberties with a child younger than 15 years old and soliciting sex from a child younger than 15 years old.”

Richmond-Times Dispatch has reported that Southern Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) posted a Craigslist ad as a 13-yr old girl and conversed via text and e-mail for seven months.

Gardner said the conversations were often sexually explicit and Kilpatrick was told the person he was communicating with was a 13-year-old girl in the eighth grade named “Jenny.” Kilpatrick promised sexual acts to “Jenny,” drove to where he thought she lived and told her he’d thought about her sexually while in his office, according to Gardner.

Kilpatrick was a professor of physics at LU during the time of the incident but has since been fired, his family said from the witness stand Tuesday.

Kilpatrick was actively trying to set up a meeting with the girl, Gardner said, and law enforcement officers staged such a meeting in June. When they intercepted Kilpatrick, she said he had cookies and lubrication in his car.

“He had cookies and lubrication in his car.”

 

Ok, that is so messed up, I can hardly stand it: cookies and lubrication????

The article stated that Sandra, Kilpatrick’s wife, said that her husband has “no criminal history or allegations of sexual misconduct and is a well-written man who used to work as a research scientist for the U.S. government.”

It is very common for criminals to lead double lives; they are able to manipulate and convince people they are fine, upstanding citizens, but in reality, they are deviants. Someone doesn’t turn into a pedophile overnight. But Sandra and other family members throw common sense out the window and hold on to the image they want to have of Stephen, regardless of the evidence to prove otherwise.

Here is the part that raised additional red flags for me:

The couple has been active in different churches they’ve attended and Sandra Kilpatrick said her husband would host small group meetings of church members at their home and help teach small children Bible study.

They’ve been active in different churches?  How many churches? They help teach small children Bible studies? Do these churches and parents of these children know about his recent arrest?

And then there’s this:

Kilpatrick’s friends and fellow churchgoers said Tuesday they’d be his support system if he was granted bond. When asked by Pack if his charges surprised them, they all said they were shocked.

Support him how – by trying to get him a lighter sentence? By trying to convince the judge/jury that they’ve known him for years and he’s never exhibited this behavior before?

Ugh!!!

 

 

 

Spiritual Abuse: When People Tell You, “No Church is Perfect”

Spiritual Abuse, What Not to Say, Jonathan Hollingsworth

spiritual abuse, ken garrett, cults

 

Being hurt at church is tough, and sometimes it’s a lonely journey. You may have experienced something that other congregants have not experienced. Some people may have good intentions, but say things that are not helpful, and in fact, may be hurtful. This can lead to more isolation as you don’t know who is safe to talk to. This can lead hurt people to stay away from church entirely.

One of the most confusing things about spiritual abuse is that not everyone is able to identify spiritual abuse. I remember dropping hints to people seeing if they would acknowledge my experiences or even add to them. Thankfully, many did, and I didn’t feel alone.

I posted an old article by Jonathan Hollingsworth, What Not to Say to Someone Who’s Been Hurt by the Church, on Twitter and the SSB Facebook page which seems to have resonated with a lot of people. I thought it might be a good idea to discuss these unhelpful statements one by one here, and give people the opportunity to share their experiences.

Remember, one of the best ways for others to learn about spiritual abuse is for them to read the personal stories of others. When people can identify with your story, and you are naming it as spiritual abuse, it opens their eyes to the reality that what they experienced could have been abusive. Some people can sit with that uncertainty for years, but it will be one person’s story that will wake them up to their spiritually abusive reality.

Here is the first bad response that many of us have heard:

“No Church Is Perfect.”

Jonathan Hollingsworth writes:

Instead of empathizing with those who have been hurt by a church, some Christians go right into defense mode.

They might argue that the victim just had a “bad experience.” Or they’ll say the church is full of imperfect people who are “only human” and make mistakes just like the rest of us.

But can we agree that these excuses only distract from the problem? No one wants to be told to “focus on all the good things the church does” when they’ve been hurt by one. It doesn’t matter how many thousands of people have been positively affected by a church or ministry. The good experiences don’t cancel out the bad ones.

When I heard this said to me, it minimized the abuse and said that I need to toughen up and put up with what I was experiencing. It’s kind of like telling a victim of domestic violence that their violent husband is not perfect, just cut him some slack. It also could imply that other churches could be worse.

Did anyone say this to you? How did you react/respond to this unhelpful response?

 

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Tony Jones Book Update, Christian Industrial Complex, and Domestic Violence

Tony Jones, Emergent, THE NEW CHRISTIANS: DISPATCHES FROM THE EMERGENT FRONTIER, Anniversary, Christian Industrial Complex


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tony jones, emergent church, christian industrial complex,

 

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month in the US, and so this article is timely.

The last time I wrote about popular emergent leader, Tony Jones, was in 2015 in this article, A Spider Web of Emergent Leader Tony Jones and His Business and Christian Celebrity Supporters. I am pulling info from that article and giving a new update.

Today, Tony Jones tweeted this:

 

 

I was struck that he wrote his own foreword, and it actually cracked me up in a way because it is typical me-centered Tony Jones.

In advising authors about book forewords, The Chronicle of Higher Education has this to say:

” . . . start by enlisting a writer for the foreword, in which someone other than you—preferably a professional connection of elevated status—will lend credibility to your work by explaining its importance and legitimacy.”

And there ya go.

Perhaps this is a good time for a refresher for those who may have forgotten the Tony Jones fiasco and the celebrity Christian leaders who have yet to respond to why they supported Tony Jones and turned their backs on his now ex-wife who repeatedly reported about the domestic violence in their marriage. Here is a summary from R.L. Stollar’s excellent piece: Continue reading

Negative Google Reviews are Still Keeping People Away from My Spiritually Abusive Church 6 Years after Lawsuit

Chuck O’Neal, Beaverton Grace Bible Church, Spiritual Abuse, Negative Google Reviews, Defamation Lawsuit


 

The other day, I got a call from my good friend, Michelle, who used to attend the cult/church we attended. Her husband used to be on staff at the church (Beaverton Grace Bible Church) and was fired. That led to a big shakeup where we got to see our ex-pastor’s true colors, and we eventually left.

Fast forward a few years, I was still reeling about the spiritual devastation that many of us experienced after leaving the place. I was especially concerned about the percentage of young adults who turned their backs on Christ and were headed down dangerous paths sexually after sitting under his oppressive and legalistic teachings. It was because of this harm done to many of our families that I decided to leave a negative Google review on the church’s Google page. I did not want any more families to go through what our families had faced.

Somehow, my ex-pastor was able to talk Google into removing my negative Google reviews, so I started a blog, and within a week, I was served a subpoena. He sued me and 4 others for $500,000 in a defamation lawsuit.

After the defamation lawsuit he filed against me went viral, literally hundreds of people left negative Google reviews (some challenging him to sue them!). It was amazing to get so much support considering our church had about 100 members at the most!

Over the years since winning the lawsuit, Google has removed some of those old reviews, but others still remain.

I was thrilled when Michelle texted me this:

 

Beaverton Grace Bible Church, Chuck O'Neal, lawsuit, spiritual abuse, cult


So . . . . leaving negative Google reviews do work!  But you might get sued if you leave one. If you get sued, it will probably get dismissed in court. But I cannot guarantee that.

 

 

“Someone Offends Me Chart” is Too Black and White; Can Be Used to Control

 

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Have you seen this? It’s been spreading around on Facebook. The first time I saw it, someone shared that their pastor had sent it to her. She was livid. He was trying to control her in a personal situation. She felt she was being squelched by this. Do you see how she could feel that way?

The next few times I saw it, it was spread by people from my church.

When a church leader passes this around, you can get the message that there is really only one response: take your offenses to Jesus. It’s obvious that the other response is wrong. I’m surprised that the word gossip wasn’t included. This information being passed around by a church leader can be used to control conversation. That is an abuse of authority. It’s good to be careful when a church leader attempts to squelch conversation.

But what else is missing?

The Bible does talk about overlooking offenses:

A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11

But I believe this chart is too black and white. I can see overlooking small, trivial offenses. But what about chronic offenses? What about when those offenses also harm others? In those cases, I believe it is better to go directly to the offender:

As iron sharpens iron,
    so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17

“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.  Matthew 18:15

When Christians are able to go directly to an offender with their sins, and the offender is receptive, this is better than simply overlooking a sin. The offender now has the opportunity to change their pattern of behavior, which may have been unknown. The relationship can be strengthened when the offender realizes he/she was told this offense in love. It takes humility and transparency to get to this level of relationship. Everyone wins here.

**Update 10/10/18 2:40 pm:  A friend of mine found the original post (2 years old!) on Facebook. Apparently the author, Amy Duncan Hale, also was asked why Matthew 18 was not included as an option in the chart above. Here is her response:

Several readers have pointed out and asked why Matthew 18:15-17 was not included in my chart. The reason is that this chart was only written to remind me that my FIRST response to offense is crucial–talking to God about my hurt before talking to anyone else so HE can direct me in how to BEST respond.

 

 

Franklin Graham’s Nonprofit Charities, Samaritan Purse and Operation Christmas Child, Cancel Advertisement Account with Relevant Magazine after Quoting Graham’s Own Words

Franklin Graham, Samaritan House, Relevant Magazine

Screenshot from Graham’s Twitter Acct

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Franklin Graham’s non-profit organizations, Samaritan’s Purse and Operation Christmas Child, will no longer use Relevant magazine for advertising.

What was Relevant’s crime?  They printed Franklin Graham’s own words!

On September 19, 2018, Relevant magazine reported a quote from Franklin Graham which were originally said during a CBN news interview. Here are Relevant’s two paragraphs. Continue reading

Another Sad Church Story

church-1398784_1920

 

This story is not over yet, but I figure I better check in before people start wondering what’s happening with me. If you follow me on Twitter, you may have read about my pastor and church. It’s a long story, and one I hope to tell one day, but for now, I am grieving another difficult church experience. It has wiped me out physically – probably because of all the emotions. I feel betrayed, deceived, sad, angry, confused, and who knows what else!

In this case, it is my pastor and his family who has been harmed, and in the process, many people from church also have been hurt because of how it was handled. My pastor was forced to resign from his position. He’s been in full-time ministry for 25 years and senior pastor for over 15 years.

Our elders did not communicate well with the congregation about this, and many of us were led to believe he would be back in the pulpit. I spoke with different elders each week asking tough questions. I don’t think that restoration to his pastoral position was ever part of their plan, sadly.

I’m still kind of stunned. The Sunday before last, our pastor gave his resignation. Last Sunday, the elders had an informational meeting where they shared a timeline of events and had a time for questioning. Our pastor never had an opportunity to share his side. In fact, we’ve hardly heard anything from him that didn’t include words that the elders wanted inserted. I have a problem with this. A big-time problem.

And now the question is: what next? Ugh!

 

Husbands Who Don’t Spiritually Lead are a Problem

Dale Partridge, Complementarianism, Male Headship

-by Kathi

Screenshot 2018-09-18 at 9.53.38 PM

The above post by Dale Partridge was shared on the SSB Facebook page a few days ago. Text reads:

Christian husbands, if another man is teaching your wife more about God than you are, you have a problem. It is not your pastor’s job to be your wife’s spiritual leader. It’s your job. Now, there is nothing wrong with your wife listening to a weekly sermon but there is something wrong if she’s turning to other men for guidance and shepherding that you should be providing. The passivity of Christian husbands in the church must stop. Talk to your wife about God. Initiate daily prayer. Lead a family devotion each morning. Read the scriptures together and answer her questions. We’ve become so comfortable outsourcing our biblical role to the Sunday pastor that we’ve forgotten the command God has given to his sons. #UltimateMarriage

Husbands are the spiritual leaders over their wives? If a husband is not the spiritual leader, he is the problem. The only positive thing I can say about this is that finally, for once, the wife is not the problem! Continue reading

Tom Chantry: Update on His Molestation, Child Abuse, and Assault Charges; and Looking Back

Tom Chantry, Molestation, Child Abuse, and Assault Charges, ARBCA


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Back in his heyday, Pastor Tom Chantry was a highly respected commenter at Pyromaniacs blog hosted by various Calvinist dude-bros such as Phil Johnson, Dan Phillips, Frank Turk, et al. We know he has been on trial for child abuse, molestation, and assault charges.

Today, I looked to see if I could find some old comments of Tom Chantry’s on the Pyromaniacs blog. On Google’s first page after searching: Tom Chantry and Pyromaniacs, I came across one of Pyro’s blog posts entitled, Pornographic Divination. Sure enough, Tom responded in the second comment.

Let me tell you a bit about the brief Pyromaniacs post.  Continue reading

Does it matter to you that Ravi Zacharias has been a chronic liar for decades?

Ravi Zacharias, Lies, Deception, RZIM, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries


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I care about the truth. Does it bother me that the video below was produced by an atheist? You bet. I have spoken with Steve Baughman, the producer, at length a number of times. I understand his angst against Ravi. Steve is a life-long student of philosophy. So when he ran across Ravi’s name portrayed an academic scholar, using the title of Dr. in his books, website, etc., he expected Ravi to truly be an academic scholar. Think about it. Steve Baughman is a San Francisco attorney. He has put in the time and toil to achieve the necessary education and passed exams to become an attorney. Of course Steve Baughman would expect that someone whose sole ministry involves speaking and writing on philosophy and apologetics, would be above board. Guys . . . in his own ministry . . . which seeks donation$ . . . Ravi is telling you he knows the truth . . . . yet . . . . he’s been lying to us all for freakin’ decades!

Imagine Steve’s surprise and shock when he discovered Ravi Zacharias was a scam, and not only that, had millions of people influenced by his ministry. Where were the Christians who should have caught this? When confronted with this information, why do Christians blow Steve Baughman off? Just because he’s an atheist? Give me a break.

Truth is truth. It shouldn’t matter the source. We all have a responsibility to seek truth and test it. Don’t blow off something when you’ve been given compelling evidence. Check it out for yourself. Ravi Zacharias may been influential in your Christian faith – but has he been telling you the truth about himself? If he hasn’t, why are you following him?  The sad thing is that if he has lied about himself, could he be lying about other ideas he has taught? That is why he needs to step down. When someone lies . . lies for decades . . . it is too confusing to tell what is now truth. This is not a person who should be in public ministry.

Those of you who have followed Ravi Zacharias, does it matter to you that he has been a chronic liar for decades?

Isn’t lying one of the sins God hates the most? Hmm . . .

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Lori Alexander: Children Should Visit Their Incarcerated Molesting Fathers

Lori Alexander, Child Sex Abuse, Spiritual Abuse

delete

-by Kathi

We’ve seen the type of advice Lori Alexander gives to wives experiencing domestic abuse. Just when you think she couldn’t stoop lower, she addresses children visiting their incarcerated fathers who sexually abused them.

It all starts when she defends Michael and Debi Pearl’s teachings which leads to a teachable moment for the child. Continue reading

Classical Conversations #7: Business or a Non-Profit; Cult or a Christian Homeschool Group?

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NOTE: This is part of a series that began with these earlier posts:

 


Note from Julie Anne:  Here is another personal account that came in as a comment, but I felt it needed to be a post by itself. In this account, there is discussion about Classical Conversations functions in cult-like ways. Classical Conversations is so big that there are probably many groups that do not function as a cult, but it’s important to note the characteristics of controlling behavior which is the bedrock in cults.

Off the top of my head, here are some of the typical behaviors we see in high-controlling or cult-like groups:

  • The group is the best and only acceptable group. All others are inferior.
  • No other group measures up (educationally, Christian, etc).
  • Members lose a sense of identity as they give more and more of their time to the group.
  • No negative talk about the group is allowed. 
  • There are repercussions on anyone who challenges, criticizes, or talks negatively about the group.
  • Those who leave the group are shunned.
  • Those who leave are labeled as sinners, evil, anything negative.
  • Image is very important to the group. Defend the image at all costs.
  • Lack of clear rules and boundaries. 
  • Group leaders change rules frequently, which leads to confusion.

 


 

"Classical Conversations" "spiritual sounding board"

***

by Adele Jane

I have been a CC parent for many years. It initially blessed us because as a parent, I could say “no” to things that weren’t working for us. I was aware of the constant edicts and rule changes from Corporate because the tutors were always having to jump through ridiculous hoops. The company is notoriously anti-technology, as evidenced by their own disorganized and unreliable web site. Also, many moms felt like money was a primary motivator. They charged money for everything: expensive tuition and fees, made all their own texts mandatory and expensive, and then charged a monthly fee to look at resources created and donated by other moms!

But our local community was pleasant and close knit, so we tolerated it, like proverbial frogs in the pot, we were growing dependent on the materials. They constantly said we were the teachers, but went out of their way to make us believe we needed CC to do it, to “trust the system,” to follow the plan the way they said. We had no local say, not even what ages our kids could stop and start various levels! They made the rules.

Everything began to change for us as I stepped up to tutor and later Direct, mainly to offset the cost. The corporate overreach was insane. They literally took over my life and every aspect of my classroom. They dominated my free time with mandatory trainings and other requirements.

All questioning was labelled as sinful or rebellious, and I was made to feel that theirs is the only way. Students who cant keep up are inadequate, all the while spouting this “knowing God and making Him known” motto that does NOT play out on the corporate level. They are all about Jesus when its convenient.

Anyone who asks about these things on their forum or social media is deleted or blocked. Sometimes they use it as grounds for termination. No free speech, even on your own time.

They place multiple layers of “management” between local and corporate, puppets who have lied to us, made us sign contracts that are filled with overreach (thankfully my lawyer was clear about all the items that were so outside labor standards, that they were not only unenforceable, but likely voided the contract), and were cruel to us when we stood our ground.

They have terminated numerous directors in my area for bogus reasons not in the contract. They dictate exactly what you can say, when and how you can say it, but continue to call us independent contractors, and they run their profit-making enterprise from churches who assume they are a non-profit homeschool co-op.

I admit it wasn’t until they pressed me to do “fund raising” for a local training that I even realized they weren’t non-profit. Of course the businesses we approached laughed in our face. “Donate” money to another business just because they present themselves as homeschoolers and Christians? It was laughable I guess.

I feel this organization uses Christian families for gain, and hides behind Christ while they line their pockets. I also feel they run in a cult-like manner, slowly brainwashing families into seeing what isn’t there. My local group is great, but not really worth giving up my freedom that we homeschoolers are so blessed to have.

John Piper – God Purposely Plans Our Pain

Desiring God, John Piper, Discipline, Hurt and Pain

 

Screenshot 2018-08-24 at 6.34.59 PM

-by Kathi

Desiring God recently tweeted an article from 1997.

Broader context of the tweet:

It says that God is disciplining us; he is teaching us and correcting us and transforming us. In other words, God has a purpose and a design in what is happening to us. God is the ultimate doer here. Verse 6 goes so far as to say, “[God] scourges every son whom he receives.” Who is scourging? Who is whipping? (See Hebrews 11:36). God is. God is not a passive observer in our lives while sinners and Satan beat us up. He rules over sinners and Satan, and they unwittingly, and with no less fault or guilt, fulfill his wise and loving purposes of discipline in our lives.

God uses sinners and Satan as part of his purpose to cause us pain?

God plans the hurt in our lives?

Thoughts?