Phil Johnson Responds for John MacArthur and Grace Community Church


Phil Johnson

I emailed Phil Johnson this morning. He promptly responded with the following statement.


"In a story currently circulating on the Internet, a claim is being made that the elders of Grace Community Church (John MacArthur, Pastor) advised a church in another state to file a defamation lawsuit against a former member.

For the record, we would not approve of such a lawsuit, for multiple reasons.

'First, Scripture expressly teaches that it is better to be defrauded than to take a fellow Christian to court: "Does any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous and not before the saints? . . . It is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded?" (1 Corinthians 6:7). Here is what John MacArthur says about that passage:

Christians who take fellow Christians to court lose spiritually before the case is heard. The fact that they have lawsuits at all is a sign of moral and spiritual defeat (hettema, a word used of defeat in court). A believer who takes a fellow believer to court for any reason always loses the case in God's sight. He has already suffered a spiritual defeat. He is selfish, and he discredits the power, wisdom, and work of God, when he tries to get what he wants through the judgment of unbelievers.

The right attitude of a Christian is to rather be wronged, to rather be defrauded, than to sue a fellow Christian. It is far better to lose financially than to lose spiritually. Even when we are clearly in the legal right, we do not have the moral and spiritual right to insist on our legal right in a public court. . . .
 
. . . If we cannot convince the brother to make things right, and if he will not listen to fellow believers, we are better off to suffer the loss or the injustice than to bring a lawsuit against him. "Do not resist him who is evil," Jesus commanded, "but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone wants to sue you, and take your shirt, let him have your coat also" (Matt. 5:39-40). Contrary to the world's standard, it is better to be sued and lose than to sue and win. Spiritually, it is impossible for a Christian to sue and win. When we are deprived wrongfully we are to cast ourselves on the care of God, who is able to work that for our good and His glory. [The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: 1 Corinthians (Chicago: Moody, 1984), 139-40.]

Second
, Jesus was very clear about what Christians should do even when we are vilified by unbelievers: "Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad" (Matthew 5:11-12). "Do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also" (vv. 39-40).'

That is our official position, and it is not merely theoretical. Having been at times targets of malicious slander in various gossip-forums on the Internet, we do appreciate the frustration of dealing with relentless character assassination.

But the example we were given to follow by Christ Himself deals with exactly such situations: "While being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously" (1 Peter 2:23)."

Phil Johnson – Elder, Grace Community Church


Phil also told us in the email that they hope to speak with Chuck O'Neal this AM. They attempted to contact him yesterday but were unable to leave a message in the voice mailbox which was full. I, too had the same experience yesterday.  

We are gratified that Grace Community Church handled this matter with the expediency and the concern it deserves.

Once again, we are grateful for folks like Julie Anne who stand tall in the face of intimidation. We believe that the Lord will honor her for her courage in confronting the apparent lack of grace and love in her former church.
 

Comments

Phil Johnson Responds for John MacArthur and Grace Community Church — 118 Comments

  1. So basically, Phil wanted to preach to us discernment diva’s a sermon but would not say in definite terms that NO ONE with a title or position at CCC told O’Neal to file a lawsuit against Julie Ann?

    Perhaps it is because he does not know if it is true or not. Interesting. Some “statement”. It really tells us nothing about what went on, if anything, with McArthur’s church and O’Neal.

    But it is glaring that Phil Johnson is not willing to say at this point that no way, no how did any elder/pastor/etc tell O’Neal to file a lawsuit. So it seems to continue to be a possibility that it happened.

    But we do know that Phil has preached there? Is that correct?

    You know, it is such a drag when your followers embarrass you!

  2. I read the post yesterday. Don’t know Chuck O’Neal or his church. I did not read all of the charges and articles. It seems as though a former member doesn’t like the church and left. What little I saw about her criticisms seem to be in area of opinion, and not actionable slander or libel. But I am just generalizing and have not dug into it that carefully. If someone claims another Christian is abusive for doing such and such and is a tool of the devil, it seems to me that is area of opinion and a court is not going to want to make a determination about that. If the person says that the church did such and such, and the church did not, then that would be an area for discussion.

    I have appreciated John MacArthur for many years. I appreciate his quick post, and I appreciate your link to it.

    I do not have the absolutist position that MacArthur appears to have about these verses, but I understand what he is saying. And I do agree that this lawsuit appears to be a loser.

    But I can conceive of a set of facts where justice would truly be served by a lawsuit. If, for example, someone came forward and accused MacArthur of being a pedophile and started posting that all over the internet, I think it would not only be a wise thing to do, but would be the right thing, for MacArthur to employ lawyers to get that sort of thing stopped. I do not think that would be prohibited by the Bible.

  3. Anon1 – I noticed the same thing…not that no one may have told Chuck to sue, but Phil here is merely repeating what those who have heard MacArthur for decades already know about his position and lawsuits between believers.

    So nothing more will be known about who it was at GCC that counseled Chuck to file a lawsuit, until Chuck answers his interrogatories and is set for his deposition with Julie Anne’s lawyer. Then Chuck will have to come clean and tell the truth about who he spoke to at GCC.

  4. “You know, it is such a drag when your followers embarrass you!”

    Eh, Phil’s used to it. He defends Frank Turk all the time. 🙂

  5. “You know, it is such a drag when your followers embarrass you!”

    Eh, Phil’s used to it. He defends Frank Turk all the time. 🙂

    “So basically, Phil wanted to preach to us discernment diva’s a sermon but would not say in definite terms that NO ONE with a title or position at CCC told O’Neal to file a lawsuit against Julie Ann?”

    I’m hoping that Mr Shannon is being questioned. Mr Shannon ought to be issuing an apology in this case, as well.

  6. Pingback: Beaverton Grace Bible Church pastor sues former parishioner for Google reviews | Bene Diction Blogs On UNITED STATES

  7. Tom R

    I have to run out. I have already heard from Phil again. They are being surprisingly open about things. I have an appointment that I must keep and will wait for another email. Julie Anne really appreciates you, by the way!

  8. We were members of this “church”.

    So Chuck O’Neal lied. That isn’t surprising to those of us who know him.

    My question is this: Why did a pastor from Grace Community Church try to get Julie Anne to remove her google comments warning others of the dangers of attending this church?

    This is from Julie Anne’s blog post today and refers to her conversation with Bill Shannan, a pastor she spoke to regarding the lawsuit, at Grace Community Church:

    ” Bill asked me background questions and said they were planning on meeting with Chuck O’Neal later in the week. At the very end of the conversation he asked what it would take for me to remove my posts off the internet. I gave him conditions.”

    Julie Anne should not remove the comments. She was obeying the Scriptures: Ephesian 5:11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.

    This part of Phil’s statement REALLY concerns me:

    “That is our official position, and it is not merely theoretical. Having been at times targets of malicious slander in various gossip-forums on the Internet, we do appreciate the frustration of dealing with relentless character assassination.”

    Chuck has not been the target of “malicious slander in various gossip-forums on the Internet”. He is a wolf in sheeps clothing and the sheeps clothing has recently been torn off for the world to see. He did not disobey the Word of God in 1 Corinthians 6 because he was frustrated by “relentless character assassination” but because he did not want the world to hear the truth of what goes on inside the walls of Beaverton Grace Bible Church.

    The note on Ephesian 5:11 in the MacArthur Study Bible says:

    “The Christian’s responsibility does not stop with his own rejection of evil. He is also responsible for exposing and opposing darkness wherever it is found, especially when it is found in the church.”

    Julie Anne believes this, and it is not merely theoretical!

  9. Dee –

    From the wording of the statement and Phil’s additional comments to you, I don’t think the issue is resolved as yet. It sound like the pastors at GCC are trying to have a conversation with O’Neal and have not been able to. If they do find that someone on their staff did in fact make this suggestion, I hope they will respond appropriately. The statement they gave you says nothing about the actual claims that were made. It is a teaching for our edification and to let us know that they have been targeted (don’t forget this!);

    “That is our official position, and it is not merely theoretical. Having been at times targets of malicious slander in various gossip-forums on the Internet, we do appreciate the frustration of dealing with relentless character assassination.”

    I wonder what they actually think about the way Julie Anne has been treated? Was she targeted in her town of Beaverton? Does a person experience “character assassination” when they are shunned by their former church?

    Just wondering if they can relate to Julie Anne in any way . . . I know they can relate to CJ Mahaney . . . and any “man” who is an “ordained minister of the Word” thereby receiving special treatment by them. But what about the least of these . . . ?

  10. Having been at times targets of malicious slander in various gossip-forums on the Internet, we do appreciate the frustration of dealing with relentless character assassination.

    I confess that I almost find this amusing coming from Phil. John MacArthur’s books on the Emerging Church and the Charismatic Movement were rather malicious themselves. And is Phil not John’s editor. (And let’s not bother to delve into the Pyro archives to find signs of malicious writing from Phil and his cohort, shall we?)

    See my thoughts here from 2007 on MacArthur, as he sits comfortably on the Judgment Seat of God. Is it any wonder O’Neal has learned how to act as a “Christian Leader” under MacArthur.

  11. Michelle
    Thank you for your clarity of thought. I am thinking about a response and will include your comment.

  12. Michelle,

    Thank you for your comment. Today I have been marveling at this new technology that allows all of us to dialogue about this very serious matter in Christendom.

    I find it incredible that two “discernment divas” in North Carolina are coming to the aid of a sister in Christ on the West Coast who has been SUED for $500,000 by her former pastor.

    Everyone needs to realize that the rules of the game have changed and that pastors no longer have all the power. I am praying that all of this will be dealt with in a godly manner and that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be glorified.

  13. Anonymous
    This is a fascinating situation. The pastor used his pulpit to ostracize this woman and her family. The church was told not to speak to her and conveyed his opinions of her. So, she rebutted. Since the pastor controls the pulpit she could not do it there. So she found another pulpit, so to speak. From a legal standpoint, this should be of interest to you. What constitutes malicious or persist an slander. I am coming to the opinion that slander is a word now used to describe negative opinions and it is rapidly losing its true meaning.

  14. “I wonder what they actually think about the way Julie Anne has been treated? Was she targeted in her town of Beaverton? Does a person experience “character assassination” when they are shunned by their former church?”

    Yes, people who are shunned are character assassinated.

  15. @ Bill Kinnon

    I remember hearing you on Drew Marshall talking about MacArthur (along with Michael Spencer when he was still with us). I’m still going to re-read the piece, though.

    Glad to see you’re back in the saddle blogging again!

    SMG

  16. Julie Anne,

    I am grieved that you were shunned by members of your former church. Dee and I began blogging over three years ago and as people have come here for refuge and told their stories, we have noticed a pattern of shunning in Calvinista (Neo-Reformed) churches. We have heard first-hand accounts of shunning from former members of Sovereign Grace Ministries and Mars Hill Church, among others. It appears that hyper-authoritarian leaders and pastors are dictating this kind of behavior to their flocks, sometimes via the internet.

    It is not just the congregants who are being shunned. Paul Petry and Bent Meyer have both shared their testimonies here at TWW. Not only that, a multitude of former SGM pastors have experienced this kind of ungodly treatment.

    Shunning that occurred centuries ago in Puritan society is currently being implemented in Calvinista circles. 21st century shunning doesn’t occur because some guy defiantly slept with his mother-in-law; it often occurs because someone was just asking questions (think Mark Driscoll and C.J. Mahaney).

    It is beyond me that C.J. Mahaney will once again be speaking at the upcoming Resolved conference, as will his wife Carolyn.

  17. Bill Kinnon,

    I echo what Sergius shared – we’re so glad to have you back and providing your invaluable input!

  18. Julie Anne –

    I agree with you! I don’t think many of the pastors who promote the kind of actions that you have received see it that way. Many have been “taught” at seminaries that they are the “anointed” ones of God to uphold the Truth. They believe they have the authority to use the Bible. Unfortunately, many use it the wrong way and then use their “anointedness” to say that they are exempt from criticism.

    We have a situation in our church at the moment that is heartbreaking. A man has stated that he no longer believes in God. This information came after a lifetime in the church, marriage, and four children. He has not been shunned. His wife and children continue to be part of our church. He chooses not to. He is hugged, loved, and in our prayers, along with his sweet wife and children. No one has suggested divorce, shunning or any such actions. I wonder what would be happening if this family were in a Patriarchal church or under some authoritarian preacher?

    Praying for you!

  19. Deb and SMG (not SGM), you’re making me blush. And SMG, you are hilarious!

    And my opinions didn’t hold a candle to Michael Spencer’s – the one and only iMonk. I miss him greatly.

  20. Dee:

    You are right. It is not slanderous for a former church member to describe her church in unflattering ways because it amounts to an opinion. For example, “My former church is like a cult and the pastor is a jerk, and acts like Hitler. The church is not loving, and the pastor is not Christ-like.” That would be protected as opinion.

    But if a former church member states untruths that are of a factual nature, they would not be protected. For example, “My former pastor says that he admires Hitler. He dresses like Hitler, and he preaches from Mein Kampf, and we sang the Horst Wessel song at the conclusion of services”, that would be actionable.

    The bigger issue in many of these cases seems to be the security, or lack of it, on the part of the church leadership.

    Being insecure can come from many places. It can be an innate personality trait. It can spring from personal inadequacies and fears that have haunted a person for many years. It can come from a lack of success at what one is doing. It can come from a failure to admit faults. It can come maintaining a belief or position that one knows deep down is indefensible – so the person argues with more force and louder to try and defend his position.

    I have found that to be at the root of many problems on the church/staff side of a controversy.

  21. Well, I’ve been officially shunned/banned by SGMsurivors. They didn’t even tell me why. I guess I’m a victim now myself; one of the little people. Hopefully Deb and Dee will let me give my story – dryly.

  22. Yep, Phil didn’t say much but gave us a small sermon.

    “having been at times targets of malicious slander…..we do appreciate the frustration of dealing with relentless character assassination.”

    First, YOU willingly put yourselves out there in tapes(sermons), books,etc,. So what do you expect? For everybody to love you and say that you’re so wonderful. If you are out of line Biblically, then you should be called on it.

    Second, he said nothing about what Julie and her family had to endure. That’s because the majority of pastors out there are God’s right hand man and can do know wrong. This quote leads me to believe that he nor anyone of the like don’t get it and could careless about what others have had to endure in the church. They are “kings” and we are just stupid nobodies who can’t disdern God’s word without them.

  23. “if you are out of line Biblically, then you should be called on it.” Oh wait, Mac Arthurs never wrong…

  24. Stormy –

    One thing you must remember though – a woman cannot do those things, especially publically, even if she has gone to the pastor first. Their’s is a “man’s” world . . .

  25. Well, I’ve been officially shunned/banned by SGMsurivors. They didn’t even tell me why. I guess I’m a victim now myself; one of the little people. Hopefully Deb and Dee will let me give my story – dryly.

    Jimmy: You gave me my first out loud laugh in reading these posts. Not because you were banned, but the rest of your comment.

  26. I would just like to point out another housewife diva who is bravely standing for the truth in an earlier comment, Michelle.

    What you may not have put together is this: I posted my first Google review and it posted as Julie Anne (I had originally that it was going to post as a nondescript UserID – when I went back to look at the post and realized it said my first name, I made the choice to keep it as is because I was not going to live in fear of this man.) That post got the ball rolling. When the review was removed from Google, I started to my blog under the UserID “Help”. I later realized Chuck had broadcast my name publicly on Google reviews, there was no hiding now. I decided to change the UserID to Julie Anne once again, but now with a wider audience. I refused to be afraid of this man.

    Then Meaghan bravely posted comments on my blog – one of the first to use a real name because most of the anonymous posters saw what he did to me, they were afraid to post their real names. I love you, Meaghan – another strong woman. Guess what? Meaghan has been named to the suit. I am not aware if she has actually been served yet, but I got notification on my legal papers that she has been served. (Officially 4 people being sued, but if Meaghan is actually served, the total will be 5.)

    Do you get the picture? If you name your name and post anything against Chuck or his church, there is a strong possibility that your name will be added to the lawsuit.

    Now Michelle, my dear friend, who has stood behind the scenes and encouraged me almost daily has boldly posted the truth of her experience. She lost much – her husband’s job, friends, etc. I am so proud of Michelle and what she stands for.

    You go, girl! {{hugs}}

  27. Julie Anne: I post under my full name. I hate my last name to be misspelled. 🙂

    Seriously though, if Chuck does’nt get the clue that the names on that lawsuit would look like the letters the judge received on his desk in the movie “Miracle on 34th Street”, then he is more clueless than I thought. 🙂

  28. Jimmy –

    Pyro didn’t ban you 🙂 . . . and you were such an eager little beaver this past weekend!

    BTW – You have several different personas depending upon where you write, slippery little guy that you try to be.

  29. It seems Phil said a whole lot of nothing.

    If Chuck thinks he has someone in his corner? It seems he was mistaken. The ‘name he dropped’ is running as fast as he can in the other direction.

  30. Jimmy
    I saw that one coming. So, maybe you will wake up and smell the coffee. We are actually slow to get miffed off over here, aren’t we?

  31. “Being insecure can come from many places. It can be an innate personality trait. It can spring from personal inadequacies and fears that have haunted a person for many years. It can come from a lack of success at what one is doing. It can come from a failure to admit faults. It can come maintaining a belief or position that one knows deep down is indefensible – so the person argues with more force and louder to try and defend his position.”

    It can come from the indoctrination you recieve from your favorite guru or seminary. This idea that one “deserves” or is “entitled” to be listended to, respected and obeyed because of a Christianese title. It can also come from proof texting Hebrews 13:17. Mahaney, Driscoll, Mohler, Dever and many others have the same insecurity which is why they are now teaching they hold the keys to the kingdom to decide who is saved or not. They must have followers so they must resort to shutting up and/or erroneously rebuking those who disagree with their behavior or teaching.

    It is a huge problem that is becoming worse as they lose control over communications.

  32. John Robinson, LOL!

    But I think their followers will believe whatever they tell them to believe.

  33. Deb: “It is beyond me that C.J. Mahaney will once again be speaking at the upcoming Resolved conference, as will his wife Carolyn.”

    Birds of a feather…

  34. “Second, he said nothing about what Julie and her family had to endure. That’s because the majority of pastors out there are God’s right hand man and can do know wrong”

    Good point, Stormie! Not even a nod toward Julie Ann’s direction from Phil. Nada. Nothing. After all, it is not about her to them. It is about the name of their great man was invoked and his image must be of upmost importance. Nevermind the peasants.

  35. Jimmy I think when SGM pastors told victims of sexual perversion not to call the police but to forgive or they are sinning it is serious business. They protect perverts. And this sort of thing was system wide. Perhaps you think such things are silly and want to make fun of victims. Your heart is hard.

  36. “Now Michelle, my dear friend, who has stood behind the scenes and encouraged me almost daily has boldly posted the truth of her experience. She lost much – her husband’s job, friends, etc. I am so proud of Michelle and what she stands for.”

    I hope more and more people realize how viscious these men can be. I have seen so many people ruined by some of the niche celebs who were determined to protect their image at all costs. Even a small whiff you might not be with them can send one packing and ruined. I have even seen one call a dissenters employer and plant bad information about them.

    These are small men with big reputations.

    I keep saying it is the Nicolaitans warned about in Revelation.

  37. Eagle, I know of some Reformed folks who take that verse to mean that America was born in sin because we defied King George, the “governing authority” at the time. You know, it would be interesting to know whose side the remaining Puritans were on. (wink) No wonder they died out.

    Just think, if the Founders had been all Calvinists there would still be slavery (SBC Founders were Calvinists and pro slavery) and punishment for disagreeing with the anointed ones.

  38. Do you get the picture? If you name your name and post anything against Chuck or his church, there is a strong possibility that your name will be added to the lawsuit. — Julie Anne

    I work in Irvine, California, behind the Orange Curtain, where the lawyer-to-people ratio is higher than any place outside of DC. There is only one thing you sue for — EVERYTHING THEY’VE GOT. EVERYTHING.

    Just think, if the Founders had been all Calvinists there would still be slavery (SBC Founders were Calvinists and pro slavery) and punishment for disagreeing with the anointed ones. — Anon1

    If I remember their origin story (NOT the Trail of Blood Landmarkist one), the reason the Southern Baptists are SOUTHERN Baptists was they split from the other Baptists to defend their Peculiar Institution regarding certain Animate Property.

  39. These are small men with big reputations.

    I keep saying it is the Nicolaitans warned about in Revelation. — Anon1

    Funny thing is, the first time I heard the Nicolaitans defined, it was during this one preacher’s rant where starting with the fact that Greek had two words for “Priest” (Presbyter and Ecclesiastica), he PROVED the Nicolaitans were actually the ROMAN Catholics.

    Thirty-five years since I’ve heard that sermon, and I’m still scratching my head and going “What Was He Thinking?”

  40. While I was reading the comments from Phil, I was having the same stirring of questions Michelle posted! Weird, no God. As a victim of BGBC, thankfully not on a daily basis anymore, only in lawsuit form, I will not be silenced about what happened to me while attending, or should I say since leaving that church.

    I had many well meaning family and friends see me go from an outgoing loving woman to a sheltered and judgmental woman. I take full responsibility for my own behavior; yet I look back now and see how I feel like Chuck tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to shut me down and manipulate circumstances while I was attending ‘his’ church.

    I am grateful to Jesus Christ who loves me and leads me to where I can speak what I believe to be the truth and no longer be afraid.

    Thank you Julie Anne and Michelle for putting your name to your story, thank you bloggers who give a place to be heard, and thank you God for holding us in the palm of your hand.

    What keeps coming back to me is idol worship ~ I know my Redeemer lives, and He is more than able to refine my soul, drawing me ever closer to Him for peace and serenity, even amidst the storm.

    I am getting out of the boat AND going to walk straight into His loving arms.

  41. PS…Phil ~ relentless maliciousness and slander? I feel Mr. O’Neal has been doing this from his pulpit towards me these last 3 plus years as well as others while I was at that church for 14 years…family after family that left, others in the Grace Brethren fellowship, churches in and out of our area…the list really does go on and on…

    It is true we reap what we sow, just saying.

  42. Eagle-

    “I’m still trying to figure out who would be Robert E Lee….Mohler perhaps?”

    Robert E Lee is soooo Doug Wilson.

  43. I had an hour-long conversation with Phil today. He listened, he heard me with his heart, he apologized. I’ll say more later. I was very pleased.

    I will probably have more to ask him later as more things come to mind, but I just want to say please be careful not to judge quickly on this specific case. I think GCC had no idea who they were dealing with when they dealt with Chuck O’Neal. Those who know Chuck would also tell you they had no idea what they were dealing with when they dealt with him. Think of the characteristics of a spiritual abuser. Some of you may have seen me talk and read my posts. I’m not brilliant, but I’m not dumb, either, but he pulled the wool over my eyes.

    Get this, I’ve had Toxic Faith and another (name slips me) spiritual abuse book on my shelves for years. I knew the signs and missed them.

  44. Julie Anne,

    I have the Toxic Faith book, too, and it’s a great resource!

    I am grateful that you have spoken with Phil, and I’m praying for wisdom for everyone involved in this situation.

  45. “I mean seriously…. John Piper would do some incredible propaganda for North Korea”

    Joyful loving submission to the respected courageous leader?

  46. “Kevin de Young could be Joseph Johnston
    Jefferson Davis had a temper…so that can be Mark Driscoll
    John Piper as James Longstreet?
    CJ Mahaney could be George Picket”

    Al Mohler as Robert E Lee?

  47. Julie Ann,

    Be careful, these guys are very good at what they do and very careful to do what it takes to protect an image they have worked years to build. Never forget they have invited CJ Mahaney to speak at their conference. They think he is ok. That is a neon sign red flag blinking in our faces. They have also referred to women who blog as “The Monsterous Regiment of Dicernment Divas” who are out of their league.

    What about Shannon? What did they say about his advice to you? Was your google review a sin to their eyes?

    BTW: What is Shannon’s relationship to O Neal?

  48. Julie Ann, Just curious, have you read over at Pyro much? I read it all the time for about 3 years. I would be wary, if I were you.

  49. I’d like to see a “Truth in Leadership” form, similar to the “Truth in Lending” standardized forms, whereby all churches would publicly answer questions regarding their practices. A written statement detailing how each church handles issues such as disagreement from members, child abuse accusations, financial records, transparency of communications, etc. would at least increase the accountability so that believers could be aware of possible areas of spiritual abuse before joining a church.

  50. Kind of off-topic but somewhat relevant: I was going through a period of lack of assurance about my salvation and. I was, with angst,, emailing back and forth with a dear friend about it. She finally just said “Well, you’ll just gave to ask John MacArthur if you’re saved! ”
    🙂 🙂 🙂

  51. I read the Doug Wilson come back to Michael Horton. Horton’s article was not an attack yet the one responding was quite hateful toward Horton. If you disagree with the Doug Wilson’s of the world then you are a liberal. Liberal is code word for denier of the truth claims of the bible which after peeling back the onion what they really want to say is “not saved.” Of course you couldn’t say hey Michael Horton isn’t saved because too many in the saved Calvinist category respect him so you have to throw liberal and other such fun words around. Oh, and you have to warn everyone that he could be turning into a false teacher.
    I decided to type in a persons name and then apostate last night. It is pretty insane what you can find. Mostly KJV only Calvinist who rant about people from Joel Osteen to Billy Graham. Osteen I get but Billy Graham?? Really?? It is sickening to read statements like Billy Graham will be in hell. But hey he isn’t a 2897987687 point Calvinist so how could he be included in the mix? BTW, I do not believe that people like J Mac hold to this virw but my goodness there are some strange calvinist on the internet!

  52. “What about Shannon? What did they say about his advice to you? Was your google review a sin to their eyes?”

    That part was not discussed.

    “BTW: What is Shannon’s relationship to O Neal?”

    I don’t know that they have ever had a relationship prior to their meeting in March.

  53. My feeling is that Chuck O’Neal felt himself losing control and his frustration grew with each Julie Anne blog post. His anger and fear got the best of him. Whether he received council from the MacArthur outfit will probably never come out.

    O’Neal should be looking inward not outward. His message is extremely exclusionary and repetitive. Now I don’t have the background within this church to know if this is commonplace, but as an outsider, his overall tenor seems very fringe.

  54. The Resolved conference’s theme this year is ‘Church’. Here’s the promotional video: http://vimeo.com/42067595

    Some of the deepest hurt I and my family have been through was at the hands of a pastor who trained under MacArthur/GCC and who continues to have strong ties with the Resolved crowd.

    I wouldn’t be able to stomach hearing about church from these men.

  55. Wow. That Wilson response was packed FULL of attempted jokes that fell flat on their face. What the heck does doing a mime have to do with honoring your wife as the weaker vessel?! And it’s pretty funny that Wilson acts like he doesn’t know who Horton is talking about, because Horton doesn’t rattle off a laundry list of “muscular Christianity” proponents at the beginning of the article. Give me a break. Wilson and all the rest of us know EXACTLY who Horton is talking about. Yet Wilson used the “play stupid” diversionary tactic for the first third of the article, even though it was obvious that Horton’s references to Billy Sunday were only for historical background.

    Of course, this is all pretty funny coming from Wilson, who’s right at the epicenter of the controversy over whether his Federal Vision theology is heretical. If that’s the case, Michael Horton might not be the one with the problem.

  56. “So was Robert E Lee?” (“a pride filled Southerner”) Eagle  on Tue, May 15 2012 at 11:36 pm.

    So that is why all the Union officers & soliders were at “full attention” at the conclusion of the proceedings at the Appomattox Courthouse, in Southern Virginia, in 1865, at the conclusion of the Civil War.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/67/Robert_E_Lee_Stain_Glass.JPG

    You forget yourself, Sir!

     “…At a little before 4 o’clock General Lee shook hands with General Grant, bowed to the other officers, and with Colonel Marshall left the room. One after another we followed, and passed out to the porch. Lee signaled to his orderly to bring up his horse, and while the animal was being bridled the general stood on the lowest step and gazed sadly in the direction of the valley beyond where his army lay – now an army of prisoners. He smote his hands together a number of times in an absent sort of way; seemed not to see the group of Union officers in the yard who rose respectfully at his approach, and appeared unconscious of everything about him.” 

    “All appreciated the sadness that overwhelmed him, and he had the personal sympathy of every one who beheld him at this supreme moment of trial. ”

    “The approach of his horse seemed to recall him from his reverie, and he at once mounted… ”

    “General Grant now stepped down from the porch, and, moving toward him, saluted him by raising his hat.”

    “He was followed in this act of courtesy by all our officers present…”

    “Lee raised his hat respectfully, and rode off to break the sad news to the brave fellows whom he had so long commanded.”

    A review of American history may be in order, Sir?  May I suggest for your perusal, Douglas Southhall Freeman’s R.E.Lee -a excellent four volume definitive tome to be found, in you neck-of-the-wood:

    http://www.abebooks.com/R.E.Lee-Biography-Four-Volume-Set-SIGNED/1350205588/bd

    SCRIPTURE: “Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.” – Psalm 40:4, KJV

    “How blessed is the man who has made the Lord his trust,
    And has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood.” – Psalm 40:4;  NASB.

    “Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man who makes the Lord his refuge and trust, and turns not to the proud or to followers of false gods.” – Psalm 40:4; Amplified Bible (AMP)

       “Blessed are you who give yourselves over to God, 
          turn your backs on the world’s “sure thing,” 
          ignore what the world worships; 
       The world’s a huge stockpile 
          of God-wonders and God-thoughts.”
                                             – Psalm 40:4; The Message (MSG)

      “Thus the  war between the states was a disaster for America, for all the obvious reasons, but also, not least, because it created a very dangerous precedent. Had I lived at the time, I would have fervently wished that Lee’s honor might have found any other way out of it’s dilemma. Lee’s tragedy, and ours as Americans, was that he held firm and correctly to Duty, Honor, Country -when “Country”, through the  failure of the framers of our Constitution, had not been defined.” 
    – Douglas Southhall Freeman; R.E.Lee.

    With kind regards,

    IronClad

    ___
    References: 
       Buel, Clarence, and Robert U. Johnson, Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, Vol. IV (1888, reprint ed. 1982); Grant, Ulysses S., Memoirs and Selected Letters, Vol. I (1885, reprint ed. 1990); McPherson, James M., Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (1988). “Surrender at Appomattox, 1865,” EyeWitness to History, http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com (1997); http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_E._Lee

  57. Uh, put all of this together with the fact that once again, Mac will appear with CJ Mahaney under the bright lights of the Resolved conference for the seventh year in a row when CJ has never repented of such things like blackmailing Larry Tomzack. That’s not gossip, the telephone conversation was witnessed and taped. As a former rabid MacArthur fan, I am now beginning to see that he is just one more Reformed spiritual tyrant that the church could do without.

  58. The Civil War is a very touchy issue for many in our reading audience. I would respectfully request that we move away from this topic and discuss the important matters that are the focal point of this blog – hyper-authoritarianism and spiritual abuse.

    Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

  59. paul dohse,

    It was just a matter of days after the Resolved 2011 conference that C.J. Mahaney took his infamous “leave of absence”. He and Al Mohler spoke at last year’s event, as they will do again this year. I would imagine that much was discussed between them last year regarding Brent Detwiler, CJ’s stepping down, etc.

    This year they will be glorying in their victory in marginalizing those who have spoken out about SGM abuses.

    I do have a theory about all of this. I believe that Mahaney introduced the concept of these flashy conferences to the reformed crowd, and they owe him their allegiance. That’s why he is on the platform year after year.

    Now that the truth has come out about the abuses in Sovereign Grace Ministries, anyone who elevates Mahaney is complicit as far as I’m concerned.

  60. 21 years reformed plus seven years and counting disentangling from them has taught me that the core deficit in reformed life and doctrine is love.

  61. “The Civil War is a very touchy issue for many in our reading audience. I would respectfully request that we move away from this topic and discuss the important matters that are the focal point of this blog – hyper-authoritarianism and spiritual abuse.

    Thank you in advance for your cooperation.”

    Deb  on Wed, May 16 2012 at 08:21 am

    Wartburg, 

                   Hello!

       “My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. “For  He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; for behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.” 

     “For the Mighty One has done great things for me; and holy is His name.  “And His mercy is upon generation after generation toward those who fear Him.”

    “He has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart.”

     “He has brought down rulers from their thrones, and has exalted those who were humble.”

    “He has filled the hungry with good things; and sent away the rich empty-handed.” 

    “He has given help to Israel His servant, in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his 1descendants forever.”  -Luke 1:46-55  (NASB95)

    This commentator was addressing not the aggressive war between the states, but a blatant falsehood!

    With all due respect, ma’am, who is the victim now?

    ….The “subject at hand” being in very capable hands, wouldn’t you say?

    [SCRIPTURE] “Yet those who wait for the Lord will again new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.”   
                                                                             -Isaiah 40:31 ( NASB95) 

    What has become of “truth”; is not this the question gnawing at the minds of the Wartburg readers?

    I graciously receive your meaning.

    With kind regards, and thoughtful cooperation.

    IronClad

  62. IronClad,

    First of all, I love your name. In my previous comment, I was referring to all those discussing the Civil War, not just you.

    I appreciate your remark: “What has become of “truth”; is not this the question gnawing at the minds of the Wartburg readers?”

    Yes, we are in pursuit of truth here at TWW, and we appreciate all of our readers who are pursuing it along with us.

    Blessings

  63. Eagle,

    Well-stated. I am absolutely dumbfounded at those in places of “authority” who look the other way at the unethical things Mahaney has done and for which he appears to show no remorse. I believe it speaks volumes about their character.

  64. Maybe its not too late for Neo-Calvinists to reconstruct the Confederacy. I mean consider….

    Kevin de Young could be Joseph Johnston
    Jefferson Davis had a temper…so that can be Mark Driscoll 😛
    John Piper as James Longstreet?
    CJ Mahaney could be George Pickett

    I’m still trying to figure out who would be Robert E Lee….Mohler perhaps? — Eagle

    You didn’t even mention Nathan Bedford Forrest.

  65. After all that has taken place I can’t believe that the “Extorter in Chief” of SGM commands respect. And that people actually listen to him.
    Stop and think about this….

    1. Could a civil servant at the Food and Drug Administration blackmail another employee over approval of a new drug and not face legal ramifications, investigation by the FBI, trial and possibly prison?
    2. Could a Master Chief of the US Navy, Tech Sergeant of the US Air Force, or Captain of the US Army blackmail and extort another member of the armed services or others and not face judicial punishment? Especially with the UCMJ?
    3. Could a Minneapolis Police Officer black mail and extort and another officer and not face criminal charges and an Internal Affairs Investigation?
    4. Could a teacher from Fairfax County Public School District trying to get an advanced degree from George Washington University blackmail a professor and not face investigation, loss of teaching license, etc..?

    So why IS a “Pastor” who blackmails and extorts another person qualified to teach? Lead? Guide? Advise? Are people that gullible? — Eagle

    “TOUCH NOT MINE ANOINTED! DO MY PROPHET NO HARM!”
    — God according to Benny Hinn (just before he cuts loose with the Holy Ghost machine gun)

  66. Did anyone notice that this is the last “Resolved” conference? It is also the last “Next” conference this year. It will be interesting to watch the happenings with the conference circuit. There are are still plenty to attend for those inclined. I will be interested to see how the speakers group together.

    The Julie Anne/O’Neal/GCC topic went world-wide at an interesting time as far as “Resolved” is concerned. Does anyone know if the wider media has picked up on the possible GCC/Mac connection?

  67. Good rant, Eagle.

    “1. Could a civil servant at the Food and Drug Administration blackmail another employee over approval of a new drug and not face legal ramifications, investigation by the FBI, trial and possibly prison?”

    Without getting into the very touchy area of autism and its (mis)handling by federal authorities in the US and elsewhere, I would say yes, sadly. As bad as that is, seeing the exact same behaviour in the church is much worse.

  68. Deb and Dee:

    Here, here for the remonstrations about Civil War references.

    I guess the South is being picked on for being abusive. Well, that went on up North, too, as we all know.

    To digress a bit, my daughter bought “Killing Lincoln” in advance of an internship she was going to do on the Bill O’Reilly show. I have seen it laying around the house for a few months, so I picked it up and read it. It is a great and fun book to read, even though the topic is really sad.

    Then, this weekend, on Netflix I watched a movie about the trial of the Lincoln Assassination Co-conspirators. It focuses on Mary Surratt.

    I would not have been able to follow the movie so well without having just read the book.

    The movie showed just how abusive the legal proceedings were against the co-consipirators. Secretary of War Stanton orchestrated all of the proceedings, which was before a miliary tribunal.

    Mary Surratt was convicted, but her lawyer obtained a writ of habeas corpus after the conviction to try her before a civilian court. However, President Johnson suspended the writ, and she was hanged.

    Her son, John Surratt, was eventually found and tried a year later, but he was tried before a civilian court (the Supreme Court having just ruled that U.S. citizens were entitled to jury trial.) The jury deadlocked, and he was never punished.

  69. Retha, thank you for that link!

    “Do not touch My anointed ones, and do My prophets no harm.”

    I think that people who call out abuse in churches are acting prophetically.

  70. IronClad, “First of all, I love your name. In my previous comment, …”I appreciate your remark: ‘What has become of “truth”; is not this the question gnawing at the minds of the Wartburg readers?’ ”
    Yes, we are in pursuit of truth here at TWW, and we appreciate all of our readers who are pursuing it along with us. Blessings.
    -Deb  on Wed, May 16 2012 at 09:57 am

    Deb,

          Hello!

                 I love the “Wartburg Watch” name.

    The famed John Owen seems to infer that the Reformation’s cornerstone in 1517 was Romans 4:5. “Justification by Faith”

    “But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, ” -Romans 4:5 (NASB 95)

    (So much so that if my memory serves me correctly,  that in 1577, he dedicated  a writing to it.)

     “Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works”:

    “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, 
    And whose sins have been covered.”

    “Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account.” 

                                                                        -Romans 4:6-8. (NASB95)

    One has to wonder could he (Owen) have built the totality of all of his writings upon this one single verse?

    I also appreciate your remark: “Wow!  C. J. Mahaney, the humble self-professed “head apostle” is “discipling” and “mentoring” Mark Driscoll?  We’re sooooo relieved!!! “….It is apparent that our criticism of the “silent pastors” who refuse to condemn prosperity charlatans carries over to the “New Calvinism” pastors like Mark Driscoll.  The silence is deafening!” – Deb on Tue, Apr 21 2009.

    What is at the heart of hyper-authoritarianism and spiritual abuse, you speak of,  in this country today?

    I kindly submit to you, is it not a blatant disregard for the truth?

    and the truth shall set you free….

    What truth?

     So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed?
     
    Now, you shall know the truth, and it shall make you mad?

    Good questions, all.

    Blessings to you, by the way!

    [SCRIPTURE] “I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.” -Ecclesiastes 9:11(NIV)

    With kind regards, and in a thoughtful ‘cooperative spirit’,

    IronClad

  71. Just posted this comment on my own blog, but wanted to float it here, as well.

    msnbc.com reporting, has comments from Pastor O’Neal’s lawyer. You can read the article here

    http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/05/16/11698334-oregon-mom-sued-by-church-over-online-criticism#comments

    In his defense, he (O’Neal) was accused and cleared of the most heinous charge of sexual abuse of children. When I say, cleared…DHS determined the charges were unfounded and chose not to investigate.

    If he was accused online of sexual abusing a child, but it’s untrue or hearsay, than his case might have merit.

    Not trying to take sides, but even if his church is bullying and shunning ex-members (which is extremely wrong and hurtful)….it still might be defamation.

    It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out……

  72. Hey guys, The point of Eagle’s and my joking around is that the founders of the SBC were Calvinists who were very pro slavery…literally as in:
    These people are inferior to us.

    Calvinism is very very hierarcharical and within that doctrine there really is no cognative dissonance you might find rubbing against truth in other faith communities.

    Read Broaddus’s bio of Boyce. The bio is a glowing affirmation of Boyce but quite shocking to read if see the heinous crime that slavery was for us as a nation.

    Yes, there are guilty people on both sides. But the Calvinism of the SBC founders is a big deal and much is made of it from the NC’s today…as in this is who we really are and we must go back to our foundation. (Not to slavery) but it concerns me because it is the same doctrine that elevates a few over the many.

  73. Bridget said: The Julie Anne/O’Neal/GCC topic went world-wide at an interesting time as far as “Resolved” is concerned. Does anyone know if the wider media has picked up on the possible GCC/Mac connection?

    Interesting you ask – I had an interview with Bob Miller, radio personality from KPAM 1190, in Portland must have read my blog post from yesterday because he asked who John MacArthur was and why he was involved in this case.

    http://stationcaster.com/player_skinned.php?s=99&c=848&f=534501

    My interview starts at the beginning of the interview. The question shows up at the end of the interview.

  74. Bridget2,

    Thanks for alerting us that this is the last Resolved conference. I just saw the Tweet that went out 20 hours ago making that announcement.

    I find the timing of that declaration interesting…

  75. christian agnostic

    This incident should never have been discussed by O’Neal. I was involved in child abuse f/u as a public health nurse. 30+years ago, people would not report child abuse, etc. because they were afraid of being sued. So, Child Protective Services and local governments passed laws to exempt the person who makes the report from prosecution and also put into place strict confidentiality laws so that CPS could not release the names of those investigated.

    It is imperative to get professionals into such situations to make assessments that lay people cannot make. They are trained to look for signs of abuse and determine whether or not abuse occurred. No one would have known of O’Neal’s investigation if he had not told people of this. It is also important to note that, according to those involved, there were some issues which resulted in the incarceration of either one or more people.

    If anyone at CPS released the name of the reporter, there would be hell to pay. My guess is that they did not. Instead, the pastor is making a guess as to who made such a report. According to one source, he made the rounds among his congregants, demanding to know who had reported him. I believe his accusation may be based on hearsay and not fact.

    The vast majority of reports to CPS are warranted, and the confidentiality rule is essential in dealing with abuse. Please do not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

  76. ironclad —

    Trying to figure you out.

    How about leaving out the “Sir” bit? Maybe it’s a cultural expression — it just twangs with arrogance.

  77. dee-

    I am with you 100%….really I am. The msnbc.com report is the first time the mention of sexual misconduct was mentioned in relation to the suit.

    I am not trying to throw the baby out with the bath water….I am just wondering if the actual lawsuit is based on this allegation? If the lawsuit does not address this charge, then it would seem that O’Neal’s lawyer is setting a smokescreen. Maybe Julie Anne could tell us if the sexual misconduct allegations are part of the suit…I tried finding some reference to it, but have been unsuccessful. I just listened to the link to the radio interview and those charges were not mentioned.

    If so, it would seem a pastor (no matter how awful) would still have his or her right to defend themselves against such a heinous charge…especially if it were untrue.

  78. Ok…sorry, I’m still slow at times. I just clicked on the copy of the lawsuit that Julie Anne posted. It does list an online accusation that sex offenders have free reign in the children’s ministry without parental disclosure.

    It seems to me, that posting is the only one that might have merit (if it is untrue) for defamation. All the other posting seem like opinions that Julie Anne is more than free to express. Of course, if her charge is true, and she can prove it…then he is really in the deep end.

    And yes, I agree that O’Neal should never have mentioned his accuser by name. That was totally unnecessary and wrong, even though he was cleared.

  79. Greetings,

    I am delighted that my new article for my website has been posted by my website techie.

    It looks at spiritual abuse from the experience of the blind man who was healed by Jesus in John 9 and how he was eventually ‘kicked out’ of their spiritual community.

    This article is entitled: Can the Blind Lead the Spiritually Abused?
    I think that the insights from this passage are quite pertinent to what people are experiencing in some churches today. Enjoy.

    http://www.ChurchExiters.com

  80. christian agnostic
    He would not have been given his accuser’s name by any authority and so he speculated on who that might be. Also, given the issue of those who were actually incarcerated over such behavior, and, if, as was told to me, they had some ties to the church, it is entirely possible that Chuck could have been investigated based on information that came out of those situations. If those guys were found to be involved with the church, then a statement of poor controls in the children’s ministry might be warranted.

    Years ago, when my daughter was turning one, she crawled over to the stairs going up. (She was a late walker). She pulled herself up and reached for a small, empty trash can that I had placed on the stairs to bring up. She grabbed the can and fell backwards, holding onto the the can. She was not on the stairs so she basically feel backwards from a standing position. I noticed she was favoring her left arm and brought her to the Duke pediatric Clinic and was told she was fine. However, she continued to favor that arm and I returned 10 days later. I insisted that they do an Xray. Well, lo and behold, she had a small fracture of that arm from where it twisted because she was hold the trash can.

    Well, before you could say “boo” I was suddenly surrounded by social workers (and social worker trainees) and was asked questions about the fall. Over the course of about an hour, I repeated my story to about 8 people and paged my husband who was a fellow at Duke at the time. I became miffed off, because they did not apologize for missing the fracture and I was the mother who kept at them to do their job. Eventually they ended up believing my story and the case was closed.(They never did apologize for missing the fracture). I am telling you thing story because it was a story that would have been held in absolute confidence by Duke and the only reason you know of it is because I told you (and a few others.:))

    I didn’t like being questioned. I was irritated and frustrated.However, at no time did I blame the social workers who were doing what they needed to do. Chuck should have kept his mouth shut about the investigation.

    As for comments about churches needing to do a better job caring for children, that is being lived out all of the US. There have been numerous incidents of pedophilia in churches and churches are finally doing what it takes to protect the kids.

  81. Dee-

    “Also, given the issue of those who were actually incarcerated over such behavior, and, if, as was told to me, they had some ties to the church, it is entirely possible that Chuck could have been investigated based on information that came out of those situations.”

    There were arrests at this church for sexual abuse of childrren? Am I reading you correctly? (Sorry to be so dense….)

  82. Anonymous
    Have you ever been out to the Dry Tortugas? It is a short boat ride off of Key West and was both a prison and a fort. It is a National Park and it provides an incredible snorkeling adventure. you can tour the prison. Dr Mudd was imprisoned here and was formerly recognized for his sacrificial service in treating the inmates and guards when they suffered a yellow fever outbreak. I think you would enjoy visiting if you get the chance.

  83. christian agnostic
    I am being sufficiently vague for a reason. Chuck was investigated for abuse and was exonerated-that is good. Those who do these investigations have the best interests of the kids at heart and do what they do with little praise. They did not inform the world over this event. Chuck did. I am trying to say that, reportedly, there could be some surrounding events which may have led to the events that occurred. Due to the volatile nature of this mess, I think I have said enough.

  84. Julie Anne, Michele & Meagan,

    First let me applaud you for having the courage to tell your stories. I admire you for that and am glad that you have found your voice.

    It very easily could have been me, Deb & Dee or any one of us survivor bloggers. I am sorry you are going through this and am praying for you. I fear Mars Hill is watching closely to see if he wins!

  85. IronClad – Trying to figure you out. How about leaving out the “Sir” bit? Maybe it’s a cultural expression — it just twangs with arrogance.” -elastigirl, on Wed, May 16 2012 at 12:59 pm.

    Elastigirl, 

                 Hello!

    Expressive?As I understand it, the term ‘Sir’ is an honorific address used as a courtesy title to address a Gent without using his given or family name in many English speaking cultures. In this case ‘Sir Eagle’. (no pun intended) It is often used in formal correspondence (Dear Sir, Right Reverend Sir), so on, and so forth, you get the idea). The term is often reserved for use only towards one of superior rank or status, such as a senior TWW educator, or in this case, an elder TWW commenter. An equivalent term of address would be “ma’am” or “madam” in most cases. 

    The equivalent term however, for a Wartburg Watch knighted woman, such as Deb, or Dee, is Dame, or “Lady”. 

    With kind regards,

    IronClad

  86. RE: Bridget2 on Tue, May 15 2012 at 02:00 pm:

    If more churches operated as you’ve described in your comment, evangelicalism would not be in the crisis mode it is in today.

    Kudos to your church!

  87. Notice how the high and mighty John MacArthur has a “spokesman.” Are you kidding me? I’m the only one who sees the arrogance of this?

  88. @ Paul Dohse

    Per your comment about Mac having a spokesman, what I don’t care for is his habit of dropping controversial edicts via his blog, but then not sticking around to take the heat, as was the case with the brouhaha with that “brewing pastor” from St. Louis a few years back (sorry–can’t remember his name). Instead of responsibly interacting with his critics, he has a “Director for Internet Ministries” or some such lieutenant whose job it is to respond to all the questions.

  89. An online accusation that sex offenders have free reign in the children’s ministry without parental disclosure?

    If someone said that about our church, we would first call and ask for an immediate retraction and an apology that was cast at least as wide as the accusation.

    If the apology did not come, we would want to know what facts were the basis for that accusation.

    We would try to get to the bottom of it.

    If the writer had no facts to back that up and refused to publicly apologize in a situation like that, that would be the basis for a lawsuit.

    I have no idea if that happened here. But that scenario is a good example of libel and a set of facts where a court would need to get involved.

  90. Dee:

    I have not been there. My father in law was raised on Key West (and Miami). I have wanted to run a relay that goes from Miami to Key West. Hope to get down there some day. I will have to look this up.

    Dr. Mudd surely knew who Booth was when he set his leg.

    It is unbelievable how “lucky” Booth got to be able to pull off the assassination and escape Washington. But he was also very “unlucky” thereafter, and was appropriately executed.

    I just realized that the Surratt house still stands in Chinatown in D.C. I will go by there next time I am in D.C. My daughter will start college there this fall.

  91. Anonymous
    There is another side to this story. I do not think it is like your church in any shape or form. I once said that I would probably like your church because of the things you have said here. Plus, you seem like one of the good guys.

  92. Interesting quote from MacArthur that someone posted on Julie’s site:

    AnonymousMarch 22, 2012 10:45 AM
    Here is an answer John MacArthur gives in regards to a pastor’s authority:

    JOHN:” I believe that as far as authority, Brian, the only authority any pastor or elder has is the Word of God. When you step beyond the Word of God you’ve overstepped the bounds of your authority. I have no authority if you’re in my congregation to say to you…Go here and get this training, go there, I command you…I have no authority to do that. That is overstepping my bounds. I am nothing more and nothing less than an instrument by which God makes known to you His revelation. That’s my role.
    Now, I may say to you, given the circumstances I would recommend this because it appears from what I know about that and what I know about you that this would be a good choice, but that is not
    authority that is counsel. My authority stops when I close the page of this book. And then all I’m doing is giving you counsel and you can consider that counsel as to its inherent value and make your own decision, but I have no authority to command you beyond the pages of the Word of God. That very point is where pastors and elders, leadership becomes out of bounds and abusive and overbearing. God never intended that. The best we can do is give wise counsel. That’s why the Old Testament says in much counsel there is wisdom. The point is that if God wanted us to just listen to one guy He would say…If you want to know what to do go ask the elder…but He says get much counsel and you get wisdom. So I believe our authority stops where Scripture ends and then the best we can do is try to give wise counsel based upon our best understanding of the facts. Okay?”

    The point being, once a pastor preaches a message, or gives his advice we are to check everything they say against the scriptures for ourselves.

  93. SMG said of Mac, “what I don’t care for is his habit of dropping controversial edicts via his blog, but then not sticking around to take the heat.” i’ve never been to MacArthur’s blog, but you remind me of the 9 Marks blog. Remember a few months back when they dropped the controversial edict for pastors to pursue those who leave their flocks, sometimes for the purpose of excommunicating them? (Perhaps Pastor Chuck misread “pursue” as purse sue.) I tried to engage the author with a question, but he’d “vanished into thin air”. Last week I tried to engage a different author by jumping right in with the first comment, but he’d already not stuck around. At least Mac has a spokesman to “represent”. 9 Marks has a Fan, who as far as I can tell, they don’t officially acknowledge. But he continually chastens any questioners for questioning.

  94. @Eagle

    ‘…I’d rather have a catheter the size of a garden hose inserted than read or listen to another John Piper sermon.’

    I enjoyed your anecdote 😉 I occasionally entertain my mom with increasingly outrageous claims about what I’d rather do than be involved with our old church or related ministries. (Though I’m too chicken to share them on a public forum, as I imagine fellow TWW readers are more dignified than I am…) But I think you’d find a lot of willing participants for a ‘would you rather’ game on the theme of Calvinista church attendance/sermon-listening/book-reading 😉

  95. Yeah, I am bothered by the fact that MacArthur had a spokesman instead of addressing this himself.

    Trina, I’ve heard him say this before. The problem is when someone says that their authority is the Word of God, they can interpret it any way they want.

  96. I am new to this topic, but have spent the entire day reading the news about a pastor who is pressing a half-million-dollar law suit against a sincere and kindly woman who dared opine a criticism of how Pastor Chuck brow-beat parishioners who left his congregation or publicly voiced criticism about him or his church.

    I decided to write Pastor Chuck directly with a criticism to see 1) if he would just ignore me as a crank or 2) respond with a counter-claim / justification. Wow! Was I ever surprised! Pastor Chuck responded within nine (9) minutes of the time I sent the email with a diatribe of rationalizations, excuses, and justifications for why he wants to pummel dissonant and critical parishioners into poverty. It certainly was not a very “Christian” response, but one more suited to a Wall Street lawyer who knew how to quote scripture.

    I cannot imagine our Lord and Savior EVER reacting quite like Chuck did. For all of you embroiled in this ever-so-unChristian kerfluffle, allow a suggestion. Read John Mcmurray’s 1974 speech entitled “The Philosophy of Jesus,” (http://www.philosophy-religion.org/thought/philosophy.pdf) and follow it up with the greatest speech ever given at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WibmcsEGLKo&feature=fvwp&NR=1

    Jesus sought harmony and preached three primary concepts: trust, love, and forgiveness. What I have read all day about Pastor Chuck and his judgmental church takes the caress of a fair rose on a person’s lips and replaces it with a blister.

  97. – Stormy

    “The problem is when someone says that their authority is the Word of God, they can interpret it any way they want.”

    Yes, exactly! They then expect us to accept their INTERPRETATION of the scriptures as the Word of God 🙁

  98. Nunez

    Thank you for your fascinating comment. I am not surprised that he responded so quickly. He is on what he perceives to be a mission from God and it is very worrisome. True Believers are very difficult and rarely can be convinced to think differently until they get slapped.

    I met a really nice guy once. After he realized that I enjoyed listening to people’s stories without judging them (hey- why should I? if you knew the stupid stuff I used to believe…) he got involved in a movement of Christians back in the 1970s an 1980s, who, for some reason, believed that all government mandates were against Biblical dictates. So, they advocated getting rid of any government encumbrances. They would not get driver’s licenses or pay taxes and claimed that the Bible said so.They also believed they could defend it in court.

    Well, after not paying taxes for about 6 years, Uncle Sam found him. He went to court and vehemently defended his “constitutional”rights. He was thrown in jail and his assets seized. He lost his family over it. Sitting in jail, he slowly came to realize that he had been sucked into a delusion and could not believe he had gone the route he did.

    So, he got out of jail and started his life a all over again. He is still a Christian, quite a bit wiser and very normal.

  99. A lot of doctrinally correct statements about what ought to be. Very little about what the folks at MacArthur’s church actually did. Count me unimpressed.

  100. Nunez –

    Your quick response and justification from Chuck sounds exactly like what a handful of my blog readers have informed me privately, too.

    The word you chose, diatribe, is an accurate word to describe what we listened to week after week. Sometimes it was maybe 75% repetition, only presented in a different order.

    The court case is less than 3 hours away. Here goes!

  101. Julie Anne,

    Please know that I’m keeping your court case in my prayers! Thanks for reminding all of us here at TWW.

  102. The hearing for the defamation lawsuit against Julie Anne Smith and four others begins right now, at 9 AM Pacific Daylight Time. How this goes could have a significant impact on those of us who write/blog about our experiences of spiritually abusive leaders and malignant ministries. Praying the hearing goes clearly and justly, and our right to call spiritual bullies to responsibility is upheld …

    http://bgbcsurvivors.blogspot.com/2012/05/court-day.html