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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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

Husbands Who Don’t Spiritually Lead are a Problem

Dale Partridge, Complementarianism, Male Headship

-by Kathi

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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

Lori Alexander: Children Should Visit Their Incarcerated Molesting Fathers

Lori Alexander, Child Sex Abuse, Spiritual Abuse

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-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"

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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?

 

Feminism: Is it a rebellion against God?

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I’m just going to plop this video link into this post and see what happens. It’s only 2 minutes, 36 seconds. That’s it. Below is my attempt at transcribing someone speaking off the cuff (a little challenging on the punctuation, just sayin’).  ~ja Continue reading

Tedd Tripp and Tom Chantry: Shepherding a Child’s Heart … or Not

Tedd Tripp, Tom Chantry, Failure to Report, Mandatory Reporter, Spanking, Shepherding a Child’s Heart


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tedd tripp, failure to report, mandatory reporter, spanking, Tom Chantry

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In the late 1990s, I attended a parenting seminar by Tedd Tripp. It may or may not be significant to note that the seminar was held at a Sovereign Grace Ministries church in Chesapeake, Virginia. Continue reading

Bill Hybels, the Willow Creek “System,” and Why the Women Needed to Speak Publicly

Bill Hybels, Clergy Sexual Misconduct, Willow Creek Church


Bill Hybels, Willow Creek, Clergy Sexual Misconduct

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Continue reading

Classical Conversations #3: Leaders Delete Comments and Block Commenters Who Don’t Toe the Line

Classical Conversations, High-Controlling Groups, Deleted Comments, Blocked Commenters, Noble Gibbens


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wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock.com

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

Please take a seat and join the conversation, even if you aren’t a homeschool parent. I think you might find it interesting. Continue reading

Classical Conversations #1: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Classical Conversations, Homeschool, Classical Education, #ClassicalConvMadeKnown

Continue reading

BREAKING NEWS: Dr. Paige Patterson Terminated, Effective Immediately: No Title, No Housing, No Ongoing Compensation

Paige Patterson, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, SBC, #Churchtoo, #ChurchToo, #MeToo

 

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A new statement was just released at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary: Continue reading

What Does Responding Biblically Really Mean?

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This will be short and sweet. I’m in the final crunch of school with only 2-1/2 weeks until graduation (woohoo!!).

Responding Biblically seems to be thrown around a lot. I just tweeted this because I was thinking about a recent debate on Twitter (which I will write about when I get more time).

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I think this phrase can be used in bad ways. I’d like to open this up for discussion.  Who gets to decide what is Biblical or not? Can you see how this phrase can be used to exert power over another?  Do you have any examples of this you would like to share? Does a pastor saying something is more biblical carry more weight? 

K.B. Davies Says Domestic Violence is No Excuse for Divorce Even in Case of Death

mind-the-gap

-by Kathi

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K.B. Davies frequently comments on Lori Alexander’s Facebook page, The Transformed Wife. Lori allows his comments to stay and doesn’t challenge them. Why Lori leaves comments from men like K.B. and Trey unchallenged is mind boggling. Personally, I would distance myself as far away as possible from someone who uses the Bible to support domestic abuse. The fact that he comments on a women’s-only teaching page is for another day.

Digging a little deeper, he blogs and markets himself with the following: “Transformational Change Agent. Thought Leader. Spiritual Coach. Author & Speaker. Self Development. Personal Growth.”

K.B. Davies recently posted this on his Facebook page: Continue reading

Paige Patterson Relays Story about a Teenager, Describing in His Sermon How “Built” She Was

Paige Patterson, SBC, #churchtoo, Sexist

Have you seen this yet?  This is Paige Patterson, president of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, preaching. Yes, I said preaching. Would you tell me what he is preaching here? This clip is less than 2 minutes long. You cannot make this stuff up.

This is from the same man who gave the convocation at Southwestern’s J. Dalton Havard School for Theological Studies in Houston on January 22, 2018. (Source: Havard students exhorted to live by the Word, resist worldly temptations).

Pastors have a unique role in the lives of their congregation, Patterson said. Pastors serve others during some of life’s most significant moments: birth, salvation, marriage and death. With such an important task, pastors must guard against worldly temptations.

Then reading from Romans 13:14, Patterson concluded with a warning to “make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.” Patterson said the problem is not always the devil’s lies or temptations, but one’s own persistence in “making provisions for the lusts of the flesh.”

“Wherever there is heat in your heart to have something that God has not chosen to give, then it becomes lust,” Patterson said. “And God says that ought not to be true.”

::::::heavy sigh:::::

Update 5/5/18: I was notified that I wrongly interpreted Patterson in the video. As a result, the title has been changed. The previous title incorrectly stated that Patterson was objectifying the teen. I apologize for the error. -Julie Anne

Fred Butler, #MeToo and the Worldly Culture

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Who is Fred Butler?

I saw this tweet the other day. Long-time blog readers will recognize the name, Fred Butler, an employee of Grace to You, the radio ministry of Pastor John MacArthur. Butler’s tweet references another tweet from the @9Marks Twitter account which quotes from an article recently posted on their site. The article is about the church’s response to the #MeToo movement.

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The Problems

I have a number of problems with Fred’s tweet. Continue reading