You can recognize survivors of abuse by their courage. When silence is so very inviting, they step forward and share their truth so others know they aren't alone.” ― Jeanne McElvaney, Healing Insights: Effects of Abuse for Adults Abused as Children link
A plea to our wonderful readers:
Shauna and Billy have serious financial needs. Due to the alleged actions of Lakeside Baptist Church: pastors, Elders (with a capital E), and members appear to have participated in punitive actions towards Shauna by cancelling her cleaning services. Shauna must be home when her son returns from school because he is developmentally delayed. She had a brisk business of cleaning houses and caring for horses for many member of the church. That business began to dry up upon her leaving the church for reasons which TWW will continue to describe. This has resulted in her being behind on her rent, phone, etc. There are days she worries about providing food for the two of them. But she tells me she is blessed since she has always made it through.
Well done, Ken Ramey! You and your people have successfully kicked a dear woman and her raped son to the curb. Why don't you turn the other cheek like a certain Carpenter (who deserves the capital C) suggested and help Shauna and care for her son?
Would our readers consider Facebooking Shauna's plight with links to the Go Fund Me Account? Any small amount would be helpful Thank you so much. Bill and Shauna's GoFundMe
9Marks style church discipline is a bust
It should come as no surprise to our regular readers that Ken Ramey and his Elders (capital E) are sold out to the authority-driven, discipline-pursuing 9Marks' view on church. It is becoming patently obvious that authority-driven leadership leads to abusive church discipline.
For all of 9Marks palavering over the "biblical" way to do church, they have yet been unable to deal with the fact the abuse crawls right on in along with every membership contact that is signed. What makes it even worse is that even the 9Marks boys can't do discipline as we have documented in Todd Wilhelm's situation and The Village Church/Karen Hinckley fiasco. Just in case you are willing to blow this off as "you don't know the whole story", let me reiterate. Todd Wilhelm is willing to sign a form allowing UCCD and 9 Marks to openly discuss what happened. They, of course, refuse to do so.
The utter inability for 9Marks to define who, what and when to apply discipline in churches is what is leading to this developing mess that some call 9Marxism. If John Folmar at UCCD – (9Marks and BFF of Mark Dever) cannot properly apply church discipline, why in the world do they think anyone can do this sort of thing without causing an outright disaster? Mark Dever continues to support CJ Mahaney who is the best example of failed church discipline that exists.
That is the problem. You see, church discipline is only for the little people. Not for the BFFs of Calvinista leaders who agree doctrinally, love to be *in charge* and who can donate money.
Lakeside Bible Church membership covenant/contract
It will come as no great surprise to you that this church has an obvious love of church discipline. Read through the bylaws of this church and you will see that the discipline section is the longest part of that document. Jesus Christ gets 3 lines. Church discipline gets around 40. When one joins this church, they must sign they agree with the bylaws.
Section 6. Discipline of Members
LBC is committed to practicing church discipline as outlined by Christ in Mt. 18:15-17. The threefold purpose of church discipline is (1) to glorify God by maintaining purity in the local church (1 Corinthians 5:6), (2) to edify believers by deterring sin (1 Timothy 5:20), and (3) to restore a sinning believer by calling him or her to return to a biblical standard of doctrine and conduct (Galatians 6:1).
(a) The four-step process of church discipline is to be carried out with a gentle, loving, God-like attitude (Heb. 12:5-13).
(b) Members of the church and all other professing Christians who regularly attend or fellowship with the church, who engage in promoting false doctrine or conduct that violates Scripture and bring reproach on LBC, shall be subject to the following steps of church discipline: (1) It shall be the duty of any member of the church who has knowledge of the erring individual’s heresy or misconduct to warn and correct them in private, seeking his or her repentance and restoration. If the erring individual does not heed this warning, then (2) The warning member shall again go to the erring individual, seeking his or her repentance, but accompanied by one or two individuals who shall confirm that the sin has occurred or is continuing to occur, and/or that the erring individual has been appropriately confronted and has refused to repent. If the erring individual still refuses to heed this warning, then
appropriately confronted and has refused to repent. If the erring individual still refuses to heed this warning, then
(c) It shall be brought to the attention of the Elders. If the Elders find after thorough investigation that the erring individual is continuing to sin, that he or she has been appropriately confronted, and that he or she has refused to repent, then the Elders shall inform the church (i.e. the congregation) thereof at a regularly scheduled worship service in order that the entire church may call the erring individual to repentance. If the erring individual demonstrates repentance, then notice to that effect may be given at a regularly scheduled worship service. If, however, the erring individual does not repent in response to the church in its collective call to repentance, then (4) The individual shall be publicly dismissed from membership and/or fellowship in the church at a regularly scheduled worship service. If the erring individual, after such dismissal, heeds the warning, demonstrates repentance, and requests reinstatement before the Elders, then he or she shall be publicly restored to all the rights, duties, privileges, and responsibilities of membership and/or fellowship (2 Cor. 2:6-8).
(d) The elders, at their discretion, may proceed directly to the third stage of church discipline (i.e. the informing of the church and the congregation at a regularly scheduled worship service in order that the church may call the erring individual to repentance) and then to the fourth stage of church discipline, (i.e. the dismissal from membership and/or fellowship in the church) when one or more of the following have occurred;
(i) Where the transgression and the refusal to repent have become a public offense to the whole church (1 Cor. 5:1-5).
(ii) Where the first and second stages of church discipline have effectively occurred simultaneously.
(iii) Where the disciplined party has taught or otherwise disseminated doctrine deemed false or erroneous by the Elders, then chosen to disregard the direction and reproof of the Elders (Romans 16:17).
(iv) Where the disciplined party has been warned twice by the Elders to cease from factious and divisive conduct and has chosen to disregard that warning (Titus 3:10-11).
(e) The members of the church, and all other professing Christians who regularly attend or fellowship with the church, agree that there shall be no appeal to any court because of the dismissal or because of public statements to the congregation at the third or fourth stages of church discipline. Members under discipline who chose to resign their membership may still be lovingly pursued to restore them to fellowship.
Shauna and Billy were long time members of Lakeside Bible Church prior to the rape.
One point that Shauna made to me is that Ken Ramey and the Elders knew Billy for many years prior to the rape. They wrote a letter to a Christian camp that Billy wished to attend in which they spelled out that Billy was developmentally delayed and had trouble with socialization. So, in the aftermath of the rape, they knew about Billy's situation yet they treated Shauna and Billy poorly. (Even they admit that as you will see in the letter at the end.)
The weekend of the rape
Billy was raped on 5/18/13. On Sunday. Ken Ramey gave a sermon on church discipline.
Shauna is allegedly given stern warnings and even *discipline* from Ramey
Billy and Shauna returned to church the weekend after the rape. Shauna assured Billy that Joe could not be on the premises at the same time Billy was present. However, he saw Joe coming out of the Youth Ministry area. During church, Joe gave Billy a threatening look which caused Billy to want to leave the church. Even though Joe was not supposed to at church when Billy was there, it appears that the church and his parents overlooked this issue.
Shauna was asked to speak with Ramey privately. He told her that she was to stay quiet about what had happened to Billy. He said that if she said anything, it would be considered slander. Shauna questioned this since she was an eyewitness to what had happened to Billy. She said that slander implies a lie. Ken told her that slander didn't mean a lie. I do not know what they teach at The Masters Seminary, but I wrote a post called Slander or an Inconvenient Truth looking at the Biblical definition of the word, and it most definitely means a lie told in order to cause harm to another.
He then went on to tell her that Billy was also to remain quiet about what had happened to him. Please keep in mind that Billy had been treated at the Emergency Room and would continue to need medical treatment and counseling. It seems like Ken was not interested in Billy's feelings. He forcefully stated that this sort of incident could divide the church. Note that he is placing this burden for a hypothetical church division on the backs of the rape victim and his mother.
Ramey then told her that the police investigators would not look at this situation *biblically* like the church would. Ramey believed that BOTH families should be seeking forgiveness and restoration with one another. Shauna did not understand why she and Billy had to seek forgiveness because they had done nothing wrong. Also, one week after a violent rape is not the time to bring up reconciliation. What do they teach at the seminary??
Ramey told Shauna that she needed to ask Billy if he was lying about what happened and to find out if Billy felt guilty for causing any part of the incident. Shauna felt like Ramey was trying to make this into a consensual act in spite of the fact that Shauna had walked in when it was occurring. Also, Joe had threatened Billy with harm if he said anything about what happened prior to his mom arriving. Shauna became agitated by Ramey's suggestions, denying that her son had done anything wrong.
Then, Ramey issued the following orders. Since he wanted both boys and families to attend the church, he decided to have Shauna attend the first service and the other family would come to the second service. He did not give her a choice. He then said that Billy had to stay at Shauna's side at all times while at church, which meant he would not be able to attend the Youth Ministry program that he had always enjoyed. Shauna asked why her son had to stay by her side and in her sight, and Ramey said that is what he had decided and would not bend on this.
Shauna called the DA to report that Joe had come to church when her son was there and appeared to look at him threateningly. Joe's family was brought into see the judge who said that they were in violation of the Bond agreement. The church was also notified that Joe was not to be present when Billy was there. The following Sunday, Shauna was once again called into Ken's office and told to stay out of the investigation and to stop talking about this incident to others.
Shortly thereafter, Shauna was assigned a church counselor who was to support her during this time. Ramey claimed that this was Shauna's "shepherd". I plan to do a separate post on the Nouthetic counseling that Shauna received. Shauna kept a number of the notes from these sessions, and I found them quite disturbing.
A reconciliation meeting goes wrong
Billy went to California for much of the summer to attend camp with Shauna's extended family. During this time, Shauna asked Ken to set up a meeting with Joe's family to see if they could try to get along since they attended the same church. During the meeting Joe's parents berated Shauna, calling her son a liar, and saying that Billy had ruined Joe's life. Apparently, Joe wanted to be an FBI agent and now would not be able to join with this in his record.
Shauna was shocked. She responded that Billy's life had been ruined as well since he had to take medications that made him sick after the rape and that he now had frequent nightmares and needed counseling. Ken interrupted and told her to be quiet. He claimed that listening to her was not what they were here for. The meeting rapidly broke up after Ken left the room.
Shauna is ordered by the church to put Billy back into public school
What happened at this next meeting was confirmed to me by an eyewitness who for good reason must be kept anonymous. He said he was appalled at the way Shauna was treated by those present. She was in the room by herself, surrounded by the Elders. leaders and Ramey. They told her they disagreed with her decision to homeschool Billy, and they felt he should go back to public school. Shauna tried to explain that Billy was still having difficulty with excessive fear after his rape. One of the
Elders leaders (ed) told her that if he were her, he would tremble if he disobeyed the leaders. She was told that they had special insight from God.
He then threatened her by claiming that "We won't support you unless you do what we say." Shauna, fearing the loss of support from the church (many attendees had her clean their houses), decided to put Billy back in public school.
Another problem for Billy and Shauna in school
Billy was in middle school and Joe was in high school. Shauna discovered that Billy's class was brought on a field trip to the local high school that Joe attended. Billy had been fearful that he might encounter Joe since he knew this was his school. Shauna then alerted both the middle school and high school that Joe could not be on the same premises as Billy, and that was never to happen again. Shauna also notified the DA about the incident.
During this time, unbeknownst to Shauna, the school district was in the middle of an investigation as to whether it was safe to have Joe attend the high school since he could be a danger to other kids. Joe's family emailed the district that their son had been falsely accused. This was after Joe had pled guilty in court. This email was in violation of the plea deal in which Joe had to agree that he was guilty of raping Billy. The school district decided that Joe should not attend the school and, instead, a home tutor would be provided for him.
Joe's family then accused Shauna of getting their son expelled, and this false accusation made its way around the church.
More warnings and retaliation
During this time, the church hired a new youth minister. Billy was distraught that he was not allowed to attend the Youth Ministry. Shauna asked the minister if he could figure out a way to reach out to Billy since Billy was so lonely at church. Apparently, someone overheard her speaking to this minister and reported it to Ramey. Ramey confronted her and told her, point blank, to stop talking about it.
At this point, Shauna had few people to talk to at church. Her counselor, as you will see next time, was useless, spewing platitudes like "trust God".
Shauna was then removed, without notice, from her volunteer work with the Children's ministry. Her name suddenly disappeared from the assignment list. At a final meeting called by Ramey, she was accused of continuing to talk about the incident and was told that she was disobeying the leadership. In the midst of her grief, only a few months after the incident that changed their lives, Shauna resigned from the church. She was shunned by many of her former friends and slowly began to lose her clients.
An email from Ken Ramey
Do you want to understand what kind of a man Ramey is? Here is an email that Ramey sent Shauna. Thankfully, she saved much of their correspondence. I believe this email says all that I need to know about Ken Ramey. Based on this email, I would warn other to be very, very careful of associating with a church and a pastor that thinks, acts and speaks like this. If your pastor ever writes you an email to like this one, get the heck out of there. Better yet, Do. Not. Ever. Sign. A. Membership. Contract.
Ken Ramey <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
I'm sorry I wasn't able to answer your calls or texts yesterday. I had counseling sessions all afternoon/evening. I trust you realize that you are not the only person in our church dealing with a major life crisis right now.
Based on your multiple calls and texts and this lengthy email, it appears that your thoughts and emotions are completely consumed with this crisis rather than with Christ (cf. Phil. 4:6-8; Col. 3:1-4).
You need to stop striving to fix this thing in your own strength and give it to God and let Him work it out in His way and in His time. You need to ask God for grace to rest in Him and move on (cf. Mt. 11:28-30).
I highly recommend you get a copy of the book our ladies are going through in Bible Study called Trusting God by Jerry Bridges. If you don't have a copy, I would love to provide you with one.
As for being under our authority, until you join another church, we will continue to pursue you and seek to shepherd your soul whether you want us to or not.
We love you and … [her son’s name] and while we have not handled your situation perfectly, we are doing our best to try to walk with you through this horrific trial.
Unfortunately, at this point, it seems that whatever we say and do is not enough for you.
After I spend multiple hours in person and over the phone trying to offer you help and hope, you immediately feel the need to reengage in conversation with a flurry of texts or phone calls and rehash, question, defend, correct and/or rebut everything we've just discussed. You also continue to make demands and put conditions on whether or not you will meet with me.
It's not me or our church or even the Coopers that you have an issue with. It's God and I'm praying that He will help you see that!
I would still like the opportunity to stop by and see … [her son] next week if possible.
Could you please resend me the phone number of … [her son’s] counselor? I can't find it in any of our prior texts or emails. I'd like to talk with her before I meet with … [her son].
Grace & Truth,
Lakeside Bible Church
What sorrow awaits the leaders of my people—the shepherds of my sheep—for they have destroyed and scattered the very ones they were expected to care for,” says the Lord.”
Another gem of a pastor. So sad.
Under the part
“Shauna and Billy were long time members of Lakeside Bible Church prior to the rape.”
The name seems to switch from Billy to another name.
Is this the same person, or was Billy’s real name accidentally used? (I’m assuming that “Shauna” and “Billy” are pseudonyms?)
Dee, Billy’s real name came up on the post a few times. Just a heads up.
From the OP:
What a dirt bag (Ramey, that is). Victim blaming from the very out-set.
Oh please. No.
Knowing what I know now about most churches, and this one in particular, she and her son would get more competent care, and some justice from the cops, than from that church.
Do these pastors not have Romans 13:1 in their Bibles?
The mother and son did nothing wrong.
Forgiveness does not have to include restoration (by which I assume he meant reconciliation)?
You can forgive someone but not have them in your life any further. You can forgive your mugger, that does not mean you have to invite him over for tea and cookies every afternoon.
Didn’t part 1 of this story inform us that the police had to threaten to arrest this Ramey guy after one cop told him 2 – 3 times to stop approaching Shauna at the scene?
If I have that right, “hello pot, meet kettle” is all I can say to Ramey on that.
Probably very victim blaming, (asking the victim to examine what supposed sins played a part in his own attack, etc.), I can just imagine.
That is the Nouthetic standard M.O. or S.O.P. when dealing with folks in pain or who have been wronged.
It never occurs to Nouthetic (“biblical”) counselors that sometimes bad stuff happens to people through no fault or sin of their own, which is something even Jesus mentioned (Luke 13:4-5).
Joe ruined Joe’s life. Joe made some extremely poor decisions and carried out horrid behavior. That’s on nobody but Joe.
I am not surprised. Out of the many faceted reasons I’ve had a hard time holding on to the Christian faith, this is one of them:
the propensity for 98% of Christians to give you cliches (or blame, scolding, lectures) rather than just sit with you and hold your hand as you sob and weep.
Other than perhaps a death in someone’s family, I cannot for the life of me think of any “life crisis” that could even remotely come close to ministering to a mother whose son was raped?
So, he’s from Skynet, either a T-800 Terminator, or maybe a T-1000 model?
After having read that, the rest of the post and part 1, I think these people are pond scum. I don’t think most of them are actual Christians, more like the people Jesus mentions in Matthew 7: 22,23. I really do mean that.
OP (Ramey’s e-mail to Shauna):
Given that Ramey continually misrepresents the situation, victim-blames, shows preferential treatment to the perpetrator, I don’t blame her for wanting to set the record straight with him.
This is parallel to what happens in work abuse cases as well. I’ve read books on that subject, and victims of work place bullying will talk the problem over and over for a good long time with anyone who will listen, which is an understandable reaction.
Victims of work place bullying will often ‘bend the ear’ of sympathetic co-workers and family for weeks or months on end, until the listeners say they are tired of hearing about it.
But the victims are doing all that talking and rehashing to cope with the pain and make sense of what happened.
Victims need to be heard, is what books on the topic explain. Being listened to (and not judged) is very cathartic for the victim, is what the books seem to say.
I would imagine it’s the same phenomenon in sexual abuse cases.
And I agree, Daisy! This is a bunch of self-righteous pharisees.
i am so angry. does shauna have any legal recourse against this dickles & co.?
“As for being under our authority, until you join another church, we will continue to pursue you and seek to shepherd your soul whether you want us to or not.”
So how legal is this membership covenant? Can Shauna tell whats-his-face to go jump and threaten to file charges against him for harassment?
“It’s not me or our church or even the Coopers that you have an issue with. It’s God and I’m praying that He will help you see that!”
In other words, since you are going against us, you’re going against God. Unbelievable.
He wants to speak to Billy’s counselor? Since this guy has no sense of boundaries, he has no sense of counselor/client confidentiality.
This guy has no sense of reality. Seriously, there’s something wrong with him. Does anyone know what kind of disorder this could be, other than power hunger plus evangelical male entitlement mentality syndrome?
Sadly no, very few at this church seem to be true Christians. What’s that verse, something about saying Lord, Lord, and God says that he doesn’t know them….
These “pastors” all seem to sing from the same hymnal. I just finished reading “Runaway Radical: A Young Man’s Reckless Journey to Save the World” and there was so much in that book that resonated with me, and I am sure would resonate with victims of sexual abuse, even though the book is not about that. Here is a relevant quote:
“The secrecy needed for shame to work isn’t tied to a lack of witnesses only. You have to ensure the person being shamed never tells what was said or done in secret. The best way to do that is to make it personal. Start by calling into question his manhood, frame his return as an act of weakness. Then tell him his parents appear crazy, that their intervention in his rescue only escalated things. Tell him that “sin varies from culture to culture,” so that the kind of abuse that’s considered sinful in America may not be sinful in Africa. Tell him that unless there are bruises or evidence of adultery, you should stay where you are and keep your oath. If you don’t feel you’re making progress, you can come up out of your chair and physically intimidate the person you hope to shame, especially if your amplitude overshadows his frail frame. Then once the person’s shoulders sag in compliance (that’s the cue), you use your leverage to control what happens next. Because controlling what happens next is key. The shame you’ve cultivated can’t change anything; it can’t reverse a decision. No one’s getting back on a plane to Africa. But you can channel it into working on your behalf, and you can tell the young man that there is a prescribed list of people who can be told the truth— excluding the truth of this meeting, of course— about what happened to you. And that list includes your father and your mother and your sister. No one else may know. You are to tell non-list people that you had “philosophical differences” with your mission agency. And then when the young man does, in fact, tell someone what you said, when he surprises you and tells his parents you think he’s not a man and they are crazy, you invite his parents in for a meeting and, of course, you don’t repeat anything you said to their son. But you go straight to the catch: no one may know what really happened. And if they and their son don’t agree to silence, then neither do you— and you are free to say whatever you want about him from the pulpit. But that’s not a threat. No, it’s not a threat. And perhaps the young missionary’s parents, because he has already been so traumatized, encourage him to agree to the silence because they want it to be over and they don’t want him hurt any more. And so you’ve won— and you didn’t even need to come out of the chair this time— because of the fear and the pain and the shame. You sit back and you mark the young man off your to-do list, confident that he will never tell.”
Hollingsworth, Amy; Hollingsworth, Jonathan Edward (2015-03-03). Runaway Radical: A Young Man’s Reckless Journey to Save the World (pp. 134-136). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
This is one of the most disturbing things I have read in a really long time. I don’t have any words.
“Could you please resend me the phone number of [Billy’s] counselor? I can’t find it in any of our prior texts or emails. I’d like to talk with her before I meet with [Billy.]”
“Move on?” Is this guy’s head completely in the sand when it comes to the after-effects of rape and sexual abuse?
No, that doesn’t sound creepy, controlling, and stalker-like at all. That “whether you want us to or not” is very telling.
I can’t come up with the words to describe how utterly sickening this so-called “church’s” attitude is toward a family who were clearly VICTIMS and did NOTHING wrong.
Yes, secrecy is their weapon, and the only way you can fight that is exposing them: exposing their actions and their spoken and written words.
Thankfully there is email. Once revealed to the world outside their cozy circle of back scratching and conniving "Elders", these words show the true depravity of these guys.
The best thing Shauna could have done is bringing it out in the open.
I no longer wonder why these neo-cal hipsters are so much into "total depravity" – it's a good cover.
Question (which probably can’t be answered here) – who are “Joe”‘s parents and what is their relationship with the church leadership? It seems to me that the pastor and elders are going to a ( no pun intended) hell of a lot of trouble to keep this kid around and make things easier on him and his family, even at the cost of making Shauna and Billy’s life miserable. There might be a whole other layer to this…
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What scares me the most about a charlatan like Ramey is how many people these days would read this email and agree with him. They have plenty of followers. I don’t want to believe it. I want to believe they are just ignorant of the victims story. But these followers have spent so much time in the bubble allowing guys like Ramey to define for them they cannot think for themselves. And other celebs circle wagons so that affirms it for many. I wish they understood they are responsible for what they go along with and pay for.
This email proves Ramey, like all of them, have redefined Jesus Christ. They hawk another Jesus who tells young rape victims to suck it up and protect the evil rapist. They hawk a cruel Jesus claiming He has given them power.
I keep thinking of the warning in Matthew: I never knew you.
@ Todd Wilhelm:
You know, if we think about it, evil is predictable. the ingredients are deception, control and power. That is why the playbook looks the same from group to group, story to story. It is why I spend so much time on the issue of authority because people have to buy into that in order to go along and pay the abuser to operate.
“Expository Listening: A Practical Handbook for Hearing and Doing God’s Word Paperback – February 23, 2010
by Ken Ramey (Author)
“’Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.’––James 1:22 In many people’s mind, if they don’t get anything out of the sermon, it’s the preacher’s fault. But that’s only half true. The Bible teaches that listeners must partner with the preacher so that the Word of God accomplishes its intended purpose of transforming their life. Expository Listening is your handbook on biblical listening.”
Apparently, this church leader values “listening to God’s Word” vis-a-vis the pastor preaching. There is no mention of the Holy Spirit. However, even the Bible is explicit about this situation of the assault of a child, with or without the Sunday morning sermon.
Anyway, Ramey’s book in on Amazon with 5-star reviews.
You don’t need the Holy Spirit in that world. You have the pastor.
Ken Ramey’s “god” is a jerk.
e) The members of the church, and all other professing Christians who regularly attend or fellowship with the church, agree that there shall be no appeal to any court because of the dismissal or because of public statements to the congregation at the third or fourth stages of church discipline
This statement is interesting. Even non-members are not exempt. This is a bizarre organization. And they are going to pursue Shauna whether she wants them to or not? You can see how the neo-cal mind works and I can see why it’s such a big deal to other Evangelical Christians. They aren’t interested in being “Evangelical”, only in building walls that keep the world out & the congregation in. I appreciate Shauna & Billy sharing their story. Along with TVC & Todd Wilhelm the alarm bells are ringing.
Shauna should sue Ramey for slander! He told lies about her that directly caused financial difficulties. He and the elders, as well as the perpetrator’s parents, should be sued for emotional distress as well.
I think the only way to get this type of church abuse by evil, unrepentant pastors and elder boards to stop is to have someone win a big criminal or civil case with millions of dollars in damages against them. They clearly don’t care about right and wrong, but make this type of behavior unprofitable not mention public and they’ll have to start changing.
Most of you will remember the bumper sticker that said “QUESTION AUTHORITY.” As an old hippie I agreed wholeheartedly with that, even after I “returned” to the Lord. My Christian friends were a bit scandalized and disapproving, but I had learned the hard way to be wary of leaders of any kind. I still feel the same way–probably more so now, since I have been reading about so much abuse inside the church, thanks to Dee and Deb here, and Julie Anne at Spiritual Sounding Board.
@ Sarah K:
Thanks for the heads up. We have edited the post.
I caught that too. Thanks for your keen eye.
thank you for providing help for Shauna and Billy.
In this case, I am looking at a 9 Marks Church Discipline as cult that protects its pedophile members while attempting to cause harassment to the innocent victims who spoke out . . .
NOTHING ‘Christian’ about this cult. Period.
Thus is what I teach my kids. There is a way to politely question and disagree. I was taught the same by non hippie parents. :o) Something that for me in major trouble later on as not many dare.
I cannot picture my parents in one of these type churches. They did not think adults needed other adults to be in charge of them. They would have thought that concept absurd. The pastor was another priest in the priesthood paid for certain tasks. It was not his place to micromanage anyone or lay down laws. The congregation developed the budget and voted. Yes there were contentious business meetings but look at the lording it over alternative. Give me the sausage making process anyday!
The bigger problem is our society as a whole is into following the cult of personality. Easily influenced and quick to want to belong to a tribe.
Please know that I am praying for you and your son. I am sickened and extremely angry at how the two of you were treated.
Shame, shame, shame…
I am grateful for this forum so that the truth can be shared with the entire world. Hang in there!
Hopefully a local TV station will pick up this story. …
I’m guessing they are friends, relatives, or simply “better” donors.
Ken Ramey and his hangers-on make me sick.
“Apparently, Joe wanted to be an FBI agent and now would not be able to join with this in his record.”
Perhaps Joe should have thought of that BEFORE he raped Billy?
::ahem:: This is rather insulting to pond scum.
Hahahahaha! Oh, bite me! These (E)lders are so full of themselves.
“If you question anything I do
YOU REBEL AGAINST THE FATHER TOO!”
— Steve Taylor, “I Manipulate”
Todd Wilhelm wrote:
Let me see if I understand this correctly: This pastor wants to talk with Billy’s counselor . . . and the counselor is bound by the tenets of *confidentiality*. Which means the counselor can’t share what Billy has told her in sessions UNLESS he/she has permission from Billy and Shauna to share with the pastor.
Do you think it’s likely that, after the way Raney has acted, Billy, Shauna, OR the counselor would give permission for the counselor to speak to Raney?
Not just no, but HECK no!
“WHO IS LIKE UNTO THE BEAST? WHO CAN STAND AGAINST HIM?”
These are my thoughts as well. Why is a victim and his family put through hell? What was said and/or implied about Shauna and Billy that the entire church has abandoned them? Shauna has lost her livelihood. Is a lawsuit possible against this pastor and his elders?
Not even when threatened with Eternal Hellfire?
Does Ken Ramey have a degree in counseling or in psychology? Probably not. To think that he would have the nerve to ask to speak to Billy’s counselor is mind boggling. No counselor would ever agree to that.
As to why the church would side with Joe’s family, maybe it is because they gave a lot of money to the church. We all know that money speaks. Where there is money, there is power.
I also wonder if Joe ever accosted any other young boys in the church and threatened them. The church should have made this a priority in talking to the young boys and teens. Surely this wasn’t Joe’s first offense.
I would like to hear Wade Burleson’s take on this. I’m sure if this happened in his church we would have seen a much different outcome, as it should be.
I apologize for the typos in the post. It is Lakeside Bible Church not Baptist and I also used Shauna’s son name in a number of places. It has all been corrected. I was writing this post late last night because we had a number of medical issues yesterday. I was proofreading at midnight and it is obvious that I am not at my best. Please bear with me as I navigate how to manage 3 sick parents, this blog and other responsibilities.
Shauna and Billy –
I said this on the other thread but I’ll say it again, I am so sorry and sad that you have been treated like this by your former pastor and church. Your treatment is so unChrist-like that it really does leave me speechless. I will continue to pray for you both.
“Grace & Truth,
A Mockery of Justice & Lies,
Please tell me she did not provide that information! The counseling sessions are legally protected and KR has no business interfering.
However, if that counselor is good, she will see through anything he tries to say to her.
I checked out that link from BTDT, and what little is said about confidentiality seems rather vaguely worded and open to interpretation. I hope that counselor had the same intestinal fortitude as the officer threatening to arrest Ramey if he didn’t back off.
“Ramey then told her that the police investigators would not look at this situation *biblically* like the church would.”
If the church WAS looking at this biblically, they would have been a help and comfort to Shauna and Billy, instead of what actually happened.
Joes parents are not leadership or in any form of leadership. I do not understand why they were protected so much. I have my theories though. For starters I learned that the church was helping them with financial support. When I began to lose work (this happened when I fell under church discipline ) and was still there believing ken was helping and keep in mind I didn't realize at that time that we were being disciplined. I told ken about the job losses and that people seemed to be shunning us. I expressed that I couldn't afford utilities, food, and basic needs that I didn’t want to ask the church for money and ken said "we appreciate you not doing that"! At this point I was embarrassed for telling him because that was my way of saying we were in need but I was to embarrassed to ask directly. It was my fault for not being direct but had I been his response made it clear that they didn't or wouldn't help anyway.
All I can tell you is that others outside the church came to my aide with some work. I will further explain in a little bit what God was doing in spite of ken or the church leaving us behind like that. I still believed him when he said he cared because prior to this we never had any issues. I later found out that this teen who raped billy had a pornography problem big time they had to remove the computers, phones, and tablet from the home. Funny how he had use of his phone still and tried to tell my son how to get passed security blocks to get all kinds of porn on his phone. Billy at this time did not own a cell phone nor had we had cable or internet for 6 years at this point ( my budget never allowed for it and I guarded my sons,exposure to things that were not appropriate with his emotional level) My son didn't understand because all he wanted to do was swim and play. He had a very young boy emotional level. This boy bragged to my son while in the pool and I later found out he told my son that while on a field trip with his h.s. band to Disney world/land he took a girl into a utility closet at the theme park and stripped her down naked and did the things to her that he later did to my son. My son said he didn't understand why he was talking like that and just kept swimming. He then told my son that when he and his parents moved from Alaska they lived at the KOA campground in Montgomery for a time (joe would have been 12) that he took a little girl into a utility closet where the inside swimming pool was he stripped her naked and performed sexual acts on her) my son didn't understand the content of what he was talking about and kept swimming. Joe was trying to get billy interested in talking about his sexual desires and escapades and Billy was oblivious to it. He just wanted to swim and play. I did inform the D.A. of this and ken.
I also informed ken of the disturbing facebook posts of Joe's which a mutual friend brought to my attention after the assault on billy. She showed me Joes fb it was private but not to her 12 year old son because joe was trying to friend him. His posts were of talking about how he hated children. There was one that was so disturbing that I alerted the district attorney immediately ( he had a picture posted of a young boy on his knees in a bedroom performing oral on an adult male) the photo was in the form of a negative like we use to have with older cameras. You couldn't see the faces but clearly you could see that it was a boy about 11 to 13 and a grown man. I was sickened! this was discovered on a weekend and by the time the D.A. got to it the Facebook had been deleted!!! Funny how it was deleted while he was in police custody and right after I informed ken ramey who didn't seem shocked. There were posts of him with a knife up to justin Bieber's picture photo shopped no doubt but disturbing none the less. His posts were very dark and disturbing. I did not have the phone I have now to of screen shot those things.
What I can tell you is that 7 months later his, Facebook was reactivated and that same picture is up there still (boy/man) except it's grayed out further to where you can't tell what it is unless you saw it prior. It seems like it's an in your face stunt like haha I got away with it! The justin Bieber is replaced with Obamas face and no knife. I did screen shot it all. Also he graduated early GED I'm assuming and every adult member from the church are in his graduation party. This of course is after he is probation and there are no teenagers present anywhere just all adult leaders Elders and such. Tyler Jacobs and Amy are there hmmmm funny how the ones I was close to in their home weekly for 4 +years in his grow group , in his mother's life (my main financial support taking care of her 24 horses) and cleaning her office these horses are worth thousands who let me go as soon as I left lakeside bible church with no explanation. He and his wife were there celebrating him and his graduation. Knowing what he did and that they were calling my son a homosexual. Tyler was who told me to get off the phone and call the police. His wife drove us home from the hospital and told me that they bumped the charges up to aggregated sexual assault (how did the wife of an Elder know this )?I'm the victims mother and she had that info the very next day?shortly After this they never called never came by never asked how my son was. They acted as if we never knew them once I left the church and prior never said anything to me about my sons assault. Amy did tell me prior that Tyler was getting in trouble in an elders meeting where he came home angry because the church felt that Tyler and Amy were interfering with my spiritual walk by their mother giving me work on the weekends and because I failed to attend the spiritual life conference that weekend (which I went to two of the sessions not related to marriage because I'm a single mother divorced and wasn't married ) TIM KEMRITE (Elder ) brought this up in an elders meeting attacking Tyler well AMY JACOBS said Tyler was angry with me because they told me that they didn’t want them giving me work to interfere with church. She also didn't want me telling Tyler that she was asking me about this because he's an Elder and she wasn't supposed to know about that meeting they are to remain just between the Elders! So I couldn't even go to Tyler and tell him TIM KEMRITE lied to him about what I said. Tim asked how I was and if I went to the spiritual life conference? I said yes but I didn't attend the marriage ones and that I was working for the jacobs and sandy but that I did go on Sunday (I had all my notes by the way from my attendance ) TIM KEMRITE told the elders I didn't attend because Tyler having me take care of the horses prevented that.
As a result before they permanently let me go I could no longer take care of the horses on Sundays and this began to kill my work because Sundays were crucial. When the jacobs returned from horse shows it would be Sundays or Mondays they would return. This means they would have to hire two people. Tyler told me one day himself " Shauna, my mom trusts you she trusts no one with these horses more than you outside this family " that took 4 years to establish this trust and I was flattered and felt like part of this family. I loved these people and I mourned this loss more than every other relationship severed (thank you ken for that). As a result my work was cut back. If this gives you an idea his mother paid me 1500 for taking care of the horses for 19 days plus the other animals when they left for Hawaii. His mom took great care of me financially, and I did everything to show her I appreciated her in doing everything to make her life easier with the horses. I loved their children my son was friends with them. I do not understand their undivided loyalty to people who were for one smokers that smoked outside in front of the church, they drink , they did not have the connections we had. Keep in mind if you smoke or drink I don't look down on it it's just looking at the perspective from how legalistic this church is that wouldn't exactly scream on their part let's support you! I don't get it! Also they had to separate the stepfather and son at a grow group because they were going to fist it out! I said whaaaat???? When I found out. So my belief is his mother , the stepfather, ken, and the Elders knew something I didn't about this teen and his family. Why go so hard in protecting them? He wasn't in any leadership and it didn't happen at the church what we're they afraid of? Eeyore wrote:
Here’s a link to an article by a Biblical counselor. Note the “informed consent” he obtains from counselees.
We’ve all seen how “situations that might warrant church discipline” are interpreted by 9Marks style churches. In fact, Shauna and Billy were already under some form of discipline.
“They told her they disagreed with her decision to homeschool Billy, and they felt he should go back to public school.”
Ok, I’m scratching my head on this one. To whose advantage would it have been to have Billy enrolled in public school in particular? Given the tendency to marginalize and isolate rape victims, you’d think they might actually prefer anything that would keep him largely out of sight and not interacting with other people. Were they already against homeschooling for some reason, or was there something else going on?
I’m left shaking my head this time. Once again, it seems the world has higher standards than the Church. Without legally enforceable standards and certification, the counselee is playing a form of Russian roulette.
All of this makes my blood boil.
Let’s see how it should have been handled.
1. Upon the eyewitness report of Shauna, Joe should be barred from the church premises until a police investigation is conducted, and if Joe is prosecuted, until the prosecution is concluded. It should be made clear to Joe’s parents and Joe that they are not being put out of the church, but that this step is being taken for the safety of others at the church.
2. Upon the conviction of Joe, and the issuance of the stay away order by the court, Joe’s family should be told that they need to find a new fellowship. There is no practical way for them to attend the same church, the same youth group, and not have Joe and Billy see one another.
3. Shauna and Billy should get the necessary counseling and medical treatment from experienced professionals in the area of child abuse.
4. Shauna should be under no order to remain silent about what she saw. No pastor or group of elders have the right to demand that.
5. If this matter is referenced in church, privately or in small groups, it should be made clear that Billy was raped. That should always be a part of the conversation.
6. The church should treat Billy as it would all rape victims, with kindness, tenderness and understanding.
I know that this will be hard for Joe’s parents. As far as I can tell, leading up to the incident, they did nothing wrong. Joe committed the crime. However, something tells me that the parents may know more than they have disclosed.
At any rate, as unfair as it may seem to Joe’s parents, given the danger to other children and the court’s stay away order, Joe and his family are the ones that have to move on for the good of all concerned and for the church.
AND – there needs to be serious thought given to what needs to be said to the new church where Joe attends. Joe’s parents should inform the pastor and the youth leaders of what Joe did, and they should be vigilant, too. If Joe is not a minor, of course, the matter is a public record, and everyone should know. But since Joe is a minor, it is legally impossible to tell everyone, I suppose. This is a really tough issue – what a future church is entitled to know, given that Joe is a minor.
Joe also needs real counseling from experienced people, and the new church should insist that Joe gets that.
The pastor’s email is ridiculous!
I did because I wanted him to know how billy was suffering with night terrors, fear of leaving the house, he was tearing his skin excessively (similar to cutting) , he would get angry and sad, he blamed himself all these things I always was made to feel like billy did something wrong. It was never said but subtlety implied and masked by scripture by ken. I desperately wanted him to know that the trauma from the rape was real it was being lived out by billy. He was suffering and I felt if he got confirmation from the D.A. his counselor who specializes in the field of child rape he would see and do more than he was to care for billy. I was told by ken that he couldn’t call what billy went through Rape!!! I said what would you call it? He said sexual assault I said that’s RAPE!!! I even text him the Wikipedia definition of sexual assault and it clearly defines it that it’s RAPE! Ken said he still wouldn’t call it rape and I have those text messages. Ken never contacted bethany I had to go in 2xs to sign the release forms for her to speak with him about billy! He called left a message but then never returned her call after that when she called him back! So in spite of my being a fool I’m thinking he cared at all for billy I believe God protected Bilkmlys information from ken anyways. Burwell Stark wrote:
There is one final thing that jumps out at me from all this. I’ve been following Rod Dreher’s posts on what he calls the Benedict Option, and he has said that for his upcoming book he may look at outfits like the Kirk in Moscow for ideas on what NOT to do. I’ve also read interesting details about life within SGM, and how church members often lived in the same neighborhoods, patronized each others’ businesses, etc. Shauna’s story is not the first instance I’ve run across of the dangers (as well as the blessings) of Christians in the same church financially helping one another out. When it works, it works. However, in the event of a fallout, that backfires in situations where most or all of a household’s income is stemming from the people of one private organization (501c3 church). Secular employers at least have certain laws they are required to follow in the process of termination or resignation. I hope Shauna is able to either get a regular day job or widen her client base, and build financial independence that will protect her and her son.
Thank you for laying out how this should have been handled so succinctly.
Look at the people who endorsed his book. John macarthur and by the way they use it at The Masters Seminary in their classes. Hmmmm students have no choice but to buy and read it!JYJames wrote:
They do support the perps – and they will always support the perps. There really doesn’t have to be any underlying, hidden motivations for ‘leaders’ to support the perps.
Because the perps and the ‘leadership’ have the same goals.
Both want to keep it secret.
Both want to move past it immediately (or in 2 weeks, whichever comes first).
Both want things to go back exactly like they were before.
Both want the victims to shut the hell up.
The victims and the ‘leaders’ do NOT have the same goals.
The victims need to talk about it.
The victims need time to process it.
The victims want to make sure that changes are made so that this cannot happen again.
The victims want the leadership to publicly acknowledge what has happened.
So, you can see why this type of ‘leaders’ will ALWAYS support the perp.
BECAUSE the ‘leaders’ and the perps share the same goals, the perps appear to be submitting and obeying the ‘leaders’ authority.
Because the ‘leaders’ and the victims do NOT share the same goals, the victims appear to be rebellious and disobedient to the ‘leaders’ authority.
And as we all know from the doctrines and teachings of these type of ‘leaders’ – there is NO sin greater than not submitting and obeying their ‘authority’.
This is a predominantly homeschooling church! !! They push it in fact another mother there I know for a FACT they financially support her and her two teenage children. She has more but one is working and the other left her home. They were telling her to cut off a relationship (Ken Ramey and Jennifer Gill) because she was friends with a Woman that KEN RAMEY AND JENNIFER GILL have been harrassing. This woman had to send ken a cease and desist letter the other day! Anyway this kind lady does homeschool and I don’t see them encouraging her to put her children in public school! No, just my son where he suffered bullying as a,result of his,emotional delays. He is better now and catching up fast by the way but at the time you can understand trauma on top of those delays can cripple a child for a time. So they are pushing for my child to be put into the lions den? My thoughts now did ken and the elders have other ideas for my child maybe by him going back there would be more emotional harm done because he had been traumatized and children don’t see they just act when kids are different? Did they plan on getting him into a position where they could cause rumors about their homosexual accusations on a child and give it teeth? I don’t know because I’m still scratching my head on this and I’m sickened because I don’t believe their intentions were good towards my son. NJ wrote:
TWW readers: the best way to “bear” with Dee, is to help carry her burden in prayer. We should all pause right now to do just that. Dee, Deb, and other watchbloggers are cyber-watchmen on the wall … I’m sure they grow weary in well doing.
I have a problem with the very first line written in this otherwise fine report:
“It should come as no surprise to our regular readers that Ken Ramey and his Elders (capital E) are sold out to the authority-driven, discipline-pursuing 9Marks’ view on church.”
Ken Ramey is a graduate of John Macarthur’s Masters College, Masters Seminary, and was a pastor for years at Macarthur’s Grace Community Church. He is “sold out” 100% to John Macarthur’s Lordship Salvation cultic paradigm. Ken Ramey is a 100% Macarthurite yet we are to believe he’s sold out to 9Marks view. I find it of interest that this website sees the need to protect and not to expose John Macarthur…
I did give permission this was during the time where ken ramey was presenting himself as if he believed my son. He would say let the investigation follow through he would use encouraging words but then underline everything with how he really felt. I was just to devistated and foolish in believing he cared about the truth. My sons counselorwould never of given private information on counseling sessions. She was just going to explain to ken what she does, her experience with child sex abuse, how trauma of sexual abuse affects children and that my sons trauma was consistent with that of a rape victim. It should also be noted that he would never have been treated at safe harbor had he not been a victim of rape. They are so particular that the forensic interviewer has to recommend the victim, they have to evaluate the taped interview of my son , and the DistrictAttorney recommended billy. Its a big deal and you can’t get in there if your not a victim of rape. These things she was going to explain to ken and he could have cared less. I gave him Justin Holcombs book on sexual abuse from a pastors perspective he to was a victim. His wife lindsey and him are amazing people and justin personallytook time out of his busy schedule to Skype with my child billy, what a blessing that was. His book is RID OF MY DISGRACE it was given to me by a former member at LBC who by the way ken convinced her to welcome her abusive husband back into her life, that turned out to be a disaster. Anyways I gave ken the book and the CDS which justin did an amazing interview with Denise Raney and Bob Lapine on sex abuse and his book. Ken had it for 3 months never read it. When I told him I needed it back he said he listened to the cd and loved the second one on forgiveness. I don’t believe he even listened to it because justin abuser was oblivious to the harm he caused! This book and CD were the biggest light in my life during the most darkest moment in my grief. I needed to understand what happened I needed to know how and why I needed to understand biblically what to do where no one around us cared to show me what God says about sexual abuse but justin and lindsey did and they nailed it. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
Some may think I will make an unfair statement, so I will qualify that it is only based on my recent experience. If this story was known in the other churches in the same community, 90+ percent of the people would have grave questions of the “pastor” while most of the “pastors” would be questioning the mother.
BECAUSE the ‘leaders’ and the perps share the same goals, the perps appear to be submitting and obeying the ‘leaders’ authority.
Yeah, I get that, but I am still struck at *how quickly* Ramey jumped into this situation, even to the point of confronting the police at an active crime scene. From my experience, head pastors just don’t get that involved, that quickly, and take such risky actions, without SOME internal extenuating circumstance…
Just in case you’re reading here at The Wartburg Watch.
Here’s a song sung special for you by The Man in Black…
Protecting the brand (of course they think they’re protecting God).
If the rapist had been some random teen from the neighborhood and had NOT been attending the same church, the ‘pastor’ would not have jumped in at all. Certainly not in the manner that he did.
BUT, since the perp attended the leader’s very own church, he was attempting to control/manipulate the situation with the people who were outside his realm of ‘authority’.
Dee: This is such a well-written, concise explanation of the wrongs done to Shauna and Billy. I feel so angry at the way these hypocrites have treated this single mother and her son in the midst of the worst crisis of their lives. (Hey, any NeoCals reading, it’s a RIGHTEOUS anger! And it’s the only appropriate way to respond to this.)
Just one of the many tools and weapons available and utilized for Keeping up Appearances. They have quite an arsenal.
We know that they are not interested in the truth.
They have a convoluted understanding of what it means to abstain from all appearance of evil. (I Thes 5:22)
I think the main reason that sincere people, who are not power-hungry or afraid of something hidden in their own lives coming to light, are so intent on protecting and helping perpetrators is that, in Evangelical and other churches that are big on testimonies regarding God’s deliverance, a perpetrator’s spectacular turnaround because of “God’s grace” validates their theology and their particular interpretation of scripture. People without understanding about what makes abusers abuse are expecting God to provide that deliverance without the abuser doing anything (lest there be “works” involved). Therefore, God gets all the glory – except for the cut of the glory that goes to the church group through which it happened. “Come here and your life will be changed!!!”
The power-hungry will advertise such turnarounds in order to get more arses in the seats, more money and fame for the “leadership”… This is one of the negative things that are downstream of revivalist theology.
Yes, God has forgiven our sins. That is stupendous – and it simply clears the ground so that we can look inside and see *why* we sin the way we do. God’s forgiveness is our safety so that we can be honest, and live a life of virtue based in that forgiveness. We actually do have to “do works” – not to earn anything from God, but **because** we know and love him, and have received his love.
“I do not understand their undivided loyalty to people who were for one smokers that smoked outside in front of the church, they drink , they did not have the connections we had. Keep in mind if you smoke or drink I don’t look down on it it’s just looking at the perspective from how legalistic this church is that wouldn’t exactly scream on their part let’s support you! I don’t get it! ….. Why go so hard in protecting them?”
understood that you (as well as I) don’t look down on people who smoke/drink. I’m guessing a large part of the equation is the spiritual / religious glamour of reaching out to those on the religious margins and being the hero of the success story.
*their ‘contrary’ lifestyle is very visible & draws attention
*pastor swoops in & capitalizes on the attention; he knows people are watching
*he thinks his support of them makes him look like Jesus having meals with the likes of Zaccheus and friends, Mary Magdelene, etc.
*when he gets them to adopt the church’s legalistic lifestyle changes, that will be even more visible
*pastor is the hero, to his congregation & his professional Christian peers
*a notch in his gun
I agree…that’s why I keep writing about what I endured. In my case daisy an Air Force Captain taught me why rape and sexual assault are a serious issue in the US military. Do you know what it is like to go through sexual assault training from time to time having endured such a serious false accusation?
So let me get this straight…Joe is placing child porn on his Facebook account and nothing is happening? No violation of his parole? etc…
Joe wanted to be an FBI agent? You have got to be kidding me! I’ve lived here in D.C. for 10 years and bumped into a lot of people over the course of time. I knew a guy who went through the hiring process at the FBI. Psychology tests, and full blown polygraphs where…yes they question you about your sexual habits and what you have done. So yes this would become an issue when he was going through the FBI hiring process.
Mark S wrote:
Seriously???Us not want to expose John MacArthur? Send us a tale of abuse that has some legs and we are happy to write about it.
Marquis…you former pastor is dirt. He is garbage…for him to be a pastor is like having Ted Bundy running an internet dating site. Dee Parsons on this story you should get a statement from Phil Johnson, GTY, John MacArthur and Jonathan Leeman. I would like to know what Leeman thinks about this case of “church discipline…”
From what I understand, Joe has left the area.
@ Mark S:
McArthur is as thick as thieves with the 9 Marx and T$G crew. He is speaking at T$G. There is really not much difference in how they operate but only some doctrinal differences in areas like cessation.
Max I know the next story that Dee is going to write about. Its a doozy. I am telling my first story starting next Monday at my blog. Its about an Evangelical Free Church in the NE. It is horrific. I arranged a conference call between myself, Dee and one of the people involved. When you hear the details you are not going to be able to stop thinking about it. I cannot….for 4 months I read and heard something deeply disturbing that weighs on me. This situation went all the way to the top of the Evangelical Free denomination in Minneapolis and they were fine with what happened and what this church did. Some people are going to feel sick when they hear the details. I have a couple of stories about the Evangelical Free Church of America in the pipeline and am trying to get more. I would like to write to show how flawed the EFCA polity is. But Dee is writing about it on Wednesday and we’re having a phone call on Sunday to cover the basics of the story.
9Marks has a serious problem. They believe in church discipline. They claim it should be done in rare circumstances and that it should be done lovingly. I truly think that Jonathan Leeman believe that is what is happening.
But, even the insiders are not getting it right. I have proposed that they do a sort of Grand Rounds in which they discuss discipline cases and figure out where they went wrong. They, of course, have no interest because such discussion will bring up serious issues with the entire process.
Never forget, it was John Folmar formerly of CHBC running UCCD which is essential CHBC in Dubai. They abused Todd Wilhelm and that is what sincerely believe. We have listed incident after incident of screwed up church discipline from their BFFs like Matt Chandler.
If the boys of 9Marks can’t get it and their BFFs cant get it, what the heck do they think is going to happen at other churches who attempt this nonsense. The system is broke and it is time to start from scratch.
The Deebs, in good conscience, cannot recommend any church that claims to do church discipline 9Marks style. Whatever anyone does do not sign membership contracts. Just say NO and run if they give you a hard time.
(a) The four-step process of church discipline is to be carried out with a gentle, loving, God-like attitude (Heb. 12:5-13).
“God-like attitude”? They certainly do seem to act like they are God. Guess they skip past the gentle and loving part.
After all that, now you know he had no intention of wanting to understand. It was all a ruse to manage you and damage control. It is unbelievable how fake and deceptive they really are. That was the hardest part for me to wrap my head around years ago. They are total frauds.
And I say that boldly now. It makes it easier to say once you really dig in to what the Human Jesus was like.
His mother lives here and he will still be on membership at LBC. His mother has been his primary caregiver all the way up until December 2015 when he left texas (yes he’s been here and attending LBC and on the church membership ) so he has all member privleges, didn’t have to register as a,sex offender, and was off probation. After 1 year right around January 2015. He can come back and stay with his mother and stepfather anytime. By the way why did he leave when his life has been here since 2011? Why did ken even mention him leaving for “Family related issues ” in his email and lead people to believe “subsequently ” as if he left shortly after the rape which was May 18,2013? All along he’s been supportive of billy’s perpetrator(telling people this was two boys engaging in homosexual acts together ) and in his letter he seems to be backing off claiming he assisted in the investigation. If ken believed his,own lie then why back off? Why mention why he left and mentioned that he left Texas period? If its as ken has claimed then he wouldn’t be a threat and whether he stayed or left is,irrelevant! Unless ken is,already laying ground work because joe has done something and now he has to distance joe from the church? (Yeah ok ken)!!!! dee wrote:
Yes but it’s been doctored I know what it is because I saw,it before he doctored it more. It’s an in your face thing. Eagle wrote:
I’m @ Anonymous:
Pastors and churches are not getting it. The perp should not be there. It is also unfair in other ways because he is a minor and other parents cannot be warned about a RAPIST in their midst! This idea that the perp can be escorted around is insane. First of all, the victim does not deserve to be traumatized over and over and secondly, we all know how the escorting strategy works out. It doesn’t.
What I want to say right here, I won’t because it would consist of a lot of cuss words. Aimed at Ken Ramey.
If you still have a need for food, there might be food banks in your area that give away free food (and clothing).
I volunteered at one (that also gave away free new or gently used clothing).
The one I volunteered at was sponsored by a Baptist area church. Even in my current jaded against Christianity and most churches state, I have seen that SOME Christians are trying to do the right thing, like with the food bank.
Maybe there is one in your area like that. They might ask to see a driver’s license, and there are some rules, like you can only take “X” number of clothing items per visit (they had to put such rules in place because dishonest people have tried to game the charity before).
But you should be able to get food and stuff at places like that – peanut butter, cooking oil, shampoo, soap, all kinds of stuff.
Sounds to me as though Joe has numerous victims. Dollars to doughnuts that these other kids were groomed for this or out-right assaulted. Joe sounds like a predator.
Rape is a type of, or a category of, sexual assault – at least in layman’s terms. So I don’t get the deal with Ken’s word games on that.
This comment & your next one are right on the money Eagle.
Let’s look at what we know about Joe:
He rapes a young man with developmental delays & pleads guilty to this offence.
Prior to this offence he has such a problem with porn that electronic devices are removed from him. Nevertheless he attempts to get Billy to view porn with him.
He also tells Billy he has twice, twice, in 2 different locations had sexual contact with a girl, & a little girl. Now, he may be lying about this, but he certainly wants Billy to believe he has done these things with other children.
This & the trying to get Billy to look at porn are all part of a grooming process. Joe actively groomed Billy, but eventually had to rape him to get him to ‘do’ anything sexual.
Joe also has child porn on his facebook. Well unfortunately it appears that Joe has some very serious problems, he shows a predatory sexual interest in other children & is prepared to rape them. Unless he gets proper real help this will not be his last offence. He may well have done what he told Billy about, he may well be a prolific offender. He’s a danger to other children. He may well have been abused himself, or grown up in an environment where coercive sex, consent, the consent of children, porn etc were all presented in a completely wrong way.
And Billy ruined his life & his ‘future with the FBI’? What an absolute load of nonsense…Joe has no future in the FBI, from the moment he began grooming, bragging, raping I’m afraid he self-excluded.
And what dd the church’s response teach Joe? That even if you plead guilty you are entitled to be treated as a victim, intimidate your real victim & suffer no real consequences. Well, how incredibly rewarding to be able to re-victimise your victim & receive sympathy for it. I wonder where he’ll look for his next victim to groom? His parents are imbeciles for acting this way (I hope they have no other children), they just taught a young rapist how to remain at large in a big hunting ground.
It helps to always keep in mind that your submission and obedience to their authority is the primary foundation of, and reason for, their every interaction with you. (I do not mean to exclude the secondary reason, which is that you might be plundered. But, the plundering can only come AFTER the submission and obedience has been firmly established).
Nicely exemplified by using the elder’s own words to Shauna: “We won’t support you unless you do what we say.”
This specific demand (regarding Billy’s return to public school) was not made because it might have been of some advantage or benefit to ANY of the parties involved.
Well – No advantage or benefit beyond establishing who has authority and who better start submitting and obeying.
The demand could have been any number of things – but usually targeted in such a fashion as to cause maximum distress – such as:
No more working for church members.
Go get a 8-5 full-time job somewhere else.
Move from your current location to this other location.
Make Billy eat cabbage 3 times a day.
Sell your vehicle and depend on ‘God’ to get you where you need to go.
The goal is for you, at all times and in every situation, to recognize and acknowledge their authority – submit and obey.
I completely agree with everything in your post.
One thing you said in your post reminded me of an interview I read with a marriage counselor who said he had difficulty with Christian couples vs. atheist ones. He would give married couples assignments to work on to help their marriage.
He said without fail, the atheist couples would DO what he told them to do and WORK at the marriage, whereas most of his Christian clientele would admit to him they didn’t try his steps but were just praying together and having faith.
The Christians were expecting God to just magically fix their marriage without them doing anything.
It is so like how some Christians think “fixing” a pedophile or healing a depressed person should work.
Insallah….Ramey would make a fantastic Muslim!!
I used a food bank a couple of times. Thank goodness the Lord brought some work and others came to my aide. God is using a gay couple who pay me very good when they come out to their lakehouse they gave my son really nice clothes. They have been incredibly kind and I do my best to do good work and go above and beyond. They came along right at the time ken dumped us,and I was losing clients fast. I don’t believe they are in my son and my life by accident. After my sons assault he believed all pediphiles were homosexuals these two guys turned that thinking around for billy by being kind and being themselves. They do live a different life style contrary to my beliefs but that’s truly between them and the Lord. I am called to be kind and show Christ in how I live and treat my neighbors. Anyways we didn’t get this far for no reason God sustained us and ken missed out on blessing along with others. He took care of us in spite of them taking my work. Daisy wrote:
I can relate. I’m one of those types of people who cope with anger or pain by talking about whatever incident bothered me ’til I’m blue in the face. My mom was good about listening to me – she later passed away, so I no longer had that confidant to talk to.
The rest of my family shames me for wanting to talk feelings out. Feelings are shameful things to have, you’re supposed to repress them all and paste a happy fake smile on your face (is their view).
A lot of other Christians are like that, too, on a whole host of subjects. Some of us find some kind of peace or whatever you want to call it from talking over whatever happened, (and not being judged or criticized).
Something else I wonder:
Marquis said that one of Joe’s raunchy photos (that he put on his Facebook page) was of a kid, apparently around 11 or 12, performing a sex act on an adult male. The photo was removed but later uploaded again, albeit a grainier, darker version.
But that photo he put on his Facebook page:
That is child abuse (child porn photography), which is illegal all over the place.
I’ve seen news stories of kids who get busted for sending nude sex stuff of themselves to another kid. But Joe the predator is happily posting child porn on his page, and nothing is happening?
Why is Facebook not on this, or the cops???
Yeah, everything you said. I had wondered about the things you mentioned there too, when I read that comment in the OP.
Also. I do NOT want to live in a world where deviants and predators such as Joe are working in any facet of law enforcement.
There was a case out of Oklahoma City of a cop there who was raping women he pulled over.
I wouldn’t trust a “Joe” to work in the FBI or any other area of L.E.
I had posted here a time or two before of how JMac’s ignorance on mental illness has caused a lot of harm, including the suicide of one young man with depression who went to JMac’s church, and you guys allowed my posts to stand.
Here’s one of the links again (this is about John MacArthur’s church):
Church Sued Over a Suicide Says It Will Change Training
I’ve also, on this blog in the past, quoted portions from a book I have about mental illness by a Christian psychiatrist (or psychologist?) who takes JMac to task in his book for how JMac mishandles depressed people in his church.
I’m willing to bet that Joe himself has been abused for quite some time and by someone close to him.
Good heavens! What in the heck is wrong with people? By the way, I saw you on Scott McKnight’s blog. I replied to a comment below you when someone asked if the SBC was now Calvinist.
Quoting from the letter:
“After I spend multiple hours in person and over the phone trying to offer you help and hope, you immediately feel the need to reengage in conversation with a flurry of texts or phone calls and rehash, question, defend, correct and/or rebut everything we’ve just discussed. You also continue to make demands and put conditions on whether or not you will meet with me.”
The above reminds me of a quote from an ancient Bugs Bunny – Daffy Duck cartoon…
“I work and I slave – and what thanks do I get? BooHooHoo!”
Translation: “I have given you my great pearls of wisdom! I have told you what you should feel, think, and do! BUT YOU WON’T SHUT UP, LISTEN, AND OBEY – AND THAT IS WHY YOU ARE STILL MESSED UP!”
Think of it – Shauna has been told NOT to talk to anyone BUT the church leadership about this crime. And then the church leadership bitches and moans when she talks to them about this crime.
And I wonder just how many of his verbal “offers” of “help and hope” can be found on the List of Top Ten Things Not To Say To A Grieving Person?
I’m guessing that he probably was batting a thousand.
I am glad you were able to get help and food. 🙂
Didn’t Hyles (the Founding Pastor Polishing-the-Shaft Schaapf inherited his mega from) hand a bottle labeled “Poison” to his Associate Pastors/Elders and order them to drink it as a Loyalty Test?
Is this another “Pastor’s Pet Pedo” situation?
Wanna bet he surfaces in a Children’s Ministry somewhere else?
“For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.” -Romans 13:4, NIV
For someone coming out of TMS with its high view of Scriptural inerrancy, Pastor Ken seems to have an odd view about the state in these matters. If he was truly Biblical, he would take comfort in knowing the sword is there to be wielded against the actual wrongdoer. Or perhaps he takes issue that the state has any power at all (i.e. it is not under his control)?
I can’t believe the pastor’s statement basically saying that the Mom should stop talking about it and he cuts people off and believes they don’t trust God if they keep bringing things up. Well, if he would have addressed things properly, she wouldn’t keep bringing it up.
When I was at CLC, I had a housemate who literally had no empathy with peoples’ feelings. She would do things like move all my stuff in the kitchen and then not understand why I was upset. She said to me one time, “It’s too bad that I’ve lived with you for three years and you haven’t grown at all because you keep bringing the same things up.” Mind you, the things I brought up were offensive to the other roommate in the house, and things she refused to change. I retorted, “No, it’s too bad that I’ve grown a lot and you’ve missed it all.”
He only teaches ESV and members are expected to follow along in only ESV version according to one of their trained nouthetic counselors Jeanie Nelson at lakeside bible church montgomery texas Divorce Minister wrote:
I just recently ran across a couple of articles regarding “authoritarian dynamics” and “authoritarian personality” theory.
What I have read so far has been a real eye-opener and has provided understanding for the questions I have had for decades regarding the authoritarianism of church leadership, why it looks and acts as it does, AND the characteristics/tendencies of the people who voluntarily place themselves in submission to such authoritarian leaders.
Googling those terms (“authoritarian dynamics” and “authoritarian personality”) will bring up articles and additional information to locate the research and studies about it. While much of the focus (certainly during this time frame) is within a political context – just substitute “church” for political bent and see how it explains what we have been seeing in the organized church over the past 40 or so years.
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This reminds me of Noel’s story from SGM Survivors. The boy who sexually abused Noel’s child wanted to go into the military. SGM Fairfax wanted her to rescind the court punishment so that he could be eligible for the military. What planet are these people living on?
This comment from the article is the only thing I disagree with, because Ken Ramey does not need to turn the other cheek, he hasn’t been slapped, Shauna and son are the ones turning the other cheek.
I just would like to see Ken Ramey stop slapping a couple victims.
Reminds me of a story that blew up in the late 1990s in Salt Lake City. A young man was convicted and sent to prison for sexual assault of a lttle girl based on the testimony of that child. The girl and her family were basically harassed out of the aea by the family of the young man because this child (about five, six or seven) had *destroyed* the young man’s life. (No thought for how the life of the little girl had been messed up by the sexual assault.)
Well, the young man went to prison and the parents of the child were notified some time later that their daughter’s abuser was scheduled for early release. Not to parole, but to serve a Mormon mission in Chile. Oh so, so much fail here. The father tried to work it through back channels to get the mission call rescinded but no dice. He finally went to the Salt Lake Tribune. After a front page story ran exposing the whole sordid idea of sending a convicted child abuser on a mission to Chile, the call was withdrawn. And there were people who thought the father was wrong for airing dirty laundry. The children did not matter.
Best comment of the day!
Former CLCer wrote:
I’m just curious. Did this housemate have double standards, where if you did something she found annoying, she would expect you to be deeply apologetic and be mindful of her feelings?
I grew up in a family like this. Many of my family members treat me like garbage (verbal abuse, consistent put downs, judgementalism, etc) but expect me to treat their feelings with the utmost tenderness and with kid gloves (which I’ve done over my life).
But when I started calling them out on this behavior a couple years ago and told them to stop it, they get their noses bent out of shape (my sister especially).
It just seems to me that people who are like this – so insensitive to your feelings – will never the less expect you to coddle them and treat them like little, baby lambs.
Having read the message Ramey sent her, all I can say is, Ken Ramey is, in my opinion, just a flat out evil human being, a monster.
I see this thinking to in sexual assault cases among married women married or no.
Many times women are told (by friends, co-workers, church people, whomever) not to report a young guy for rape, because it may ‘harm his future.’
Women are told not to report the male rapist if he’s older and/or married with a kid, because it might ‘ruin his marriage or career or his name in the community.’
Always, the importance is placed on protecting the man’s career, reputation, etc, over the woman’s. (That sort of rationale even pops up in the conversations about the evangelical Billy Graham Rule.)
Many people don’t really give an equal hoot about the woman’s reputation or her future or situation.
I meant regardless of marital status. Some victims are single, some are married. Sometimes the guilty is the husband or a male stranger to the woman.
Totally agreed: anyone who would do this to a victim, anyone who would support it, I don’t believe any garbage about their claims to Christ. They’re liars in my opinion, it’s hard to imagine anyone could do or support this and know Jesus, easy to imagine that they truly hate Him.
Just know, if any Ramey supporters are reading this: there will come a reckoning someday when you face that God Who’s name you speak in vain. Better repent.
Good grief! The mom’s response to Shauna is disgusting, accusing her of ruining her son’s future with the FBI. Lady, your son is a rapist. You’re lucky he’s not in jail.
Sometimes these molesters make it through, like this teen kid, who ended up assaulting several children overseas:
The authoritarian doctrine is the problem. The teachings these pastors receive at TMC and TMS is the problem. This stuff may also be taught and practiced elsewhere, but MacArthur’s institutions are notoriously authoritarian and abusive. I can tell you of at least three good friends – godly, kind, loving men – who after they finished TMS were transformed into cold hearted authoritarians. I wouldn’t believe it possible if I hadn’t seen it happen.
What’s being done to Shauna and Billy is unbelievable unless you’ve been through something similar with a similar church. It’s just how these men think. They protect their church and their power structure at all costs, because like the leader told Shauna they honestly do believe they have “special insight from God”. I had a church elder sit at my kitchen table and tell my husband and me that because he and the other elders had a special anointing from God they were under no obligation to consider anything we said – we on the other hand were obligated by God to do whatever they said.
You cannot reason with them or appeal to them as brothers in Christ. They think you are forever fundamentally inferior to them.
I am not a lawyer, but I thought that interfering with someone else's business this was something that was illegal, and a suit could be brought. Perhaps a lawyer could speak up about this? Something about "tortious interference with contractual relations"?
Shauna and Billy both—I am so very sorry about what you went through. The cruelty is mind-boggling. May you find a place of true healing.
Daisy, what books have you found informative with regard to workplace abuse?
If this situation happened to Ken Rameys family, or to those he held dearly in his life, it would be a totally different story. He would be the first to go to the police and want the person thrown in jail. But it didn’t.
Then to say rape is sexual assault, where did this guy learn the English language at? A spade is a spade. Call it what it is. Don’t pussy foot around it. Our modern day society is so bent up on hurting another persons feeling, that they feel like they have to be politically correct. They probably called him the alleged perpetrator too. He confessed he did it. He raped the young man. The teenager who did this needed to be in juvenile detention for a very long time. Maybe he should have been tried as an adult. Then he would have been put in the general population in jail and then we would see what happened to him. I have no sympathy for Joe or his family.
I will stand in the gap for you.
Thank you very much, Jenny. Ken Ramey is a John Macarthur creation and minion. John Macarthur’s church and institutions are extremely cold and abusive. Dee said she wants to read evidence of it. Go to these testimonies here and especially spend time to read the first testimony from BJW. While attending Macarthur’s TMC, BJW was assaulted, blackmailed, and had a PI follow him. Macarthur’s Grace Church is a police state church.
One comment that was definitely victim blaming. After outlining all sorts of reasons that the victim could have consented to the act in spite of the plea of guilty on the part of the rapist Also, the rapist was called a *victim* as well. This is not allowed.
Jenny is right I read BJW post and before you judge I would encourage you to read BJW testimony. He may not have been able to get a platform like this to share the abuse he suffered and I’m asking you to read it before you judge this site. I found this site and they were open to hear some of what happened at ken rameys church. They took a lot of heat in exposing those dead animal games in which as,a parent I was livid that they made my child a part of it. No wonder why he didn’t like doing the youth activities among other things. Set aside some of your reservations and read about BJW clearly he was abused at TMS and by MACARTHURITES…… Mark S wrote:
“Always, the importance is placed on protecting the man’s career, reputation, etc, over the woman’s. (That sort of rationale even pops up in the conversations about the evangelical Billy Graham Rule.)”
as in, no thought is given to ‘a strategy to protect the woman’s marriage and to avoid even the appearance of an inappropriate relationship’?
kind of like one of those optical illusions, where some people are only capable of seeing one of the images when really there are 2 images equally present, equally existing?
A wise person once said that when subjected to pressure, a person’s true character is revealed. But that is not all that is revealed. Those ideals and maxims that formed a person’s character are also revealed. The actions of Ramey and his “church” look nothing like Jesus. His true nature is revealed. So, also, are his ideals and maxims. It is as plain as a skull-and-crossbones label on a bottle of drain cleaner. A label that lets you know there is poison inside.
Anyone who would believe what they they believe and do what they do, I sincerely doubt they are "brothers in Christ"–no wonder you can't appeal to them in that manner.
Another comment not approved. The police were called and the boy was brought to an ER.
Ramey: “…consumed with this crisis rather than with Christ”?
Why does a major life crisis and love for Christ have to be mutually exclusive?? Shauna can love Christ and simultaneously fight for justice on her son’s behalf!
I was calling him out on supporting my son's perpetrator. Ken Ramey didn’t like that. When he says flurry of texts what he failed to say is that I told him because he refused to call it rape and because he was protecting the perpetrator, I told him the next victim that Joe assaults that it will be KEN'S FAULT!!!! Obviously he didn’t like my response. Remember this kid was disturbed. It’s a good possibility someone abused joe. The state of Texas offered the juvenile sex offender program (one of the best in the country) he was given 1 year probation. Rather than help joe see his crime for what it was ken, the Elders, his parents, and those supporting him basically said ya do this you will get a slap on the wrist and some counseling, but really you didn’t commit the crime. Don’t worry, we will look out for you. They just made joe a better predator because next time his victim won’t talk!!! Great job ken you screwed any chances of this kid recognizing that he did anything wrong. Talk about ruining his life by doing that. Shoot ken he just learned from you it’s ok to rape and cover it up! It’s just sin you know! Ask forgiveness and the slate is wiped clean! !! Tess wrote:
Law Prof wrote:
Reading the post and the comments I couldn’t put my thoughts together, you just did.
I am so frustrated with these self centered authoritarian “pastors”. I had the misfortune to see one in action. There were repeated appeals to do the right thing. These were met with responses that did not even rise to the level of half measures. His response to those appeals? “There is no pleasing you”. That response turned it around, manipulated, so everyone would think we were the unreasonable ones.
It was only after leaving and finding places such as TWW that I discovered such authoritarian monsters are not rare. How can they be monsters when they do it with a smile on their face and in the name of God?
Forget asking their repentance, seek their resignation or removal. I believe they are beyond redemption in their present positions. Let them be brought low and only then maybe they can find the conscience they are so obviously missing, and that is a distant maybe.
Shauna, you sound like reasonable person having to deal with totally unreasonable people, I’m glad you found your voice. I sincerely hope your son can overcome this rape. Down inside I hope he is as tough as you are. Thanks Dee for setting up the gofundme, at least that is something concrete I can do.
Mark S wrote:
Oy, not another Bob J clone. How about enough with watchmanwakes links. Please quit making everything in the last few weeks about Bob J’s agenda.
You know what is beautiful that hit me tonight. Those of us who told our stories here helped build up this blog which helped give Shauna a platform to tell hers. For example…when I told my story about my faith crisis and being recruited to Redeemer Arlington and facing a false accusation I helped contribute to this blog. When others from SGM told their story here they helped build that up. When Rebekah Lynn told her story of Acts 29 and Countryside that helped build up this blog. When Karen Hinkley told her story that further built up this blog. In many ways we helped create a community and a stage for people like Shauna to tell the world what happened at LBC. It sickens me that so much crap has happened and that I endured what I did. But consider…all of us coming forward made it possible to have others come forward.
I certainly hope not but he sure is a bully who is used to pushing his weight around, isn’t he?
I thought it was strange they did not say “Christ like.” No, they are not Christ like, not in the least.
This is a modern day story of the good Samaritan.
You know – – if Marquis were only married, then Ken Ramey and the elders could have convinced her husband to get Marquis under control.
But sadly, this is not so – – – and now proves to be a very difficult situation for these poor pastors – – – when women speak without “covering.” Unrestrained women cause so much division in churches these days. (sarcasm turned on).
Abi Miah wrote:
It’s been about ten years since I read a huge stack of books about workplace abuse (but then had to sell them, since I had to move). I only kept one or two. I don’t remember all the titles, unfortunately.
One that I thought was pretty good was-
The Bully at Work: (What You Can Do to Stop the Hurt and Reclaim Your Dignity on the Job) by Gary Namie
I remember one book dealt with the subject from a slightly different angle. Rather than discuss bullying that occurs one- on- one (which seems to be the usual case), it talked about group bullying, which I think it called “mobbing.”
Most all these books discuss how the work place culture enables or perpetuates abuse and harassment. It’s not just that there is a bully picking on a worker, it’s that the entire organization overlooks it and/or fosters dog eat dog office politics.
Human Resources Depts are totally useless at dealing with workplace abuse, they refuse to protect the victim.
Most all books I read on the subject say your only hope if you are being bullied on the job is to quit and get a job someplace new.
The dynamics of workplace abuse and the victim blaming that goes on seem similar to what I am reading about abusive churches and preachers.
I just recently read an older article about Chuck Phelps on this blog https://jesurgislac.wordpress.com/2011/05/29/pastor-chuck-phelps-is-passionate-and-practical/
When a girl in his congregation was raped and impregnated by an elder, Phelps took the same course of action as Ramey is. These guys are all alike, power hungry little popes clutching their fiefdoms with greedy hands. The author of this post describes what she sees as Phelps’ reasoning:
“I can see the temptation to Phelps: if he got the pregnant girl out of the way, got the girl and Willis to apologise to the congregation thus making it partly the girl’s fault and therefore allowing Mrs Willis to tell herself it wasn’t altogether her husband’s fault, and got the baby adopted out of state and to parents not known to anyone in the congregation, then – he could tell himself – everything would be over and done with in weeks. The girl would be out of the way in Colorado having her baby, when she came back she wouldn’t talk about it, and there wouldn’t be any messy lingering upset. Perfect solution, so long as the girl kept her mouth shut and Phelps wasn’t concerned about justice, or kindness to a raped girl, or protecting other vulnerable teenagers from Ernest Willis – or even with being honest with Mrs Willis, that her husband was a rapist of teenage girls and there could be no excuse for him.”
Of course we know how it turned out, Willis’ wife divorced him, a jury found him guilty of rape and he went to prison. Phelps looked like an ass when his actions were exposed to the world. I guess Ramey missed that episode of 20/20… When will these guys learn?
(On the subject of Chuck Phelps, does anyone know if he is any relation to the Charles Phelps whose daughter, Linda Fossen, wrote about having sexually molested her from the time she was a toddler?)
I figure there’s a “DO YOU KNOW WHO *I* AM?” in play.
I’ve pretty much solved the problem by leaving church and much of the Christian faith.
A lot of other single women have also voted with their feet and stop attending church or hanging out with Christians. Some have dumped the Christian faith to join Wicca or other Non-Christian religions.
I figure there’s a “DO YOU KNOW WHO *I* AM?” in play.Bill M wrote:
“For Satan himself can transform himself to appear as an Angel of Light.”
— some Rabbi from Nazareth, on how sociopaths are masters of camouflage
Exquisite Sensitivity about any slight (real or imagined) that could possibly be done to them, hand-in-hand with utter indifference to any harm they might do others.
A Gold Star in Self-Esteem.
ESV as in The Word of Calvin?
Or justice or truth.
Long time reader, first time commenter. I’ve seen the same authoritarian nonsense in my home church with TMS grads at the helm. They kicked out a faithful 60+ yr church member for not submitting to them. I can’t understand the actions of my childhood church friends, who are now the elders, being complicit in this. One of the “elders” is the nephew of the gentleman they removed.
Billy & Shauna, you are in my prayers.
“If we don’t see it, it didn’t happen”
Billy is tough and I spent months giving this man opportunity after opportunity to do the right thing. I came in peace and the family incited war. I, by God’s love, extended grace and was never given it return. What ken ramey is facing right now are brothers and sisters (the church ) who are holding him to account for abusing God’s children and using Christ’s name to do it. If I am wrong then please tell me.
For months I was left grieving the loss mourning the death of my son's innocence. I was left to cry alone – no comfort, no mercy – from my pastor. Nothing but accusations against my baby and this incessant need for him to call me bitter and angry not even 2 weeks after the rape when I was just heartbroken and in shock. I believe God pulled us out of Egypt kicking and screaming before I realized that He was getting us out from under this authoritarian, neo calvinist church! What seemed like a loss turned out to be for our good. I was too close to see the indoctrination being done to us. I would plead with God if I was given the choice to go back and stop the rape before it ever started. There’s nothing I wish more than this but because I can’t I accept that Christ was being merciful, loving, and did not cause this evil act to fall upon billy. Bill M wrote:
Oh, thank you for this! Just started reading and I feel like I’ve struck gold!
Yes and LBC sells only one study bible John MacArthur's. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
You must have been a fly on the wall at Ken Ramey's church because this is exactly what they think and do. In fact ken tried to go to a woman's husband recently to get him to control his wife. Why you ask? Because she asked questions about what has been going on and ken tried to turn it around and make it about her marriage! Julie Anne Smith wrote:
Mark S wrote:
There's not much out there because, like Shauna, people who challenge these institutions get disciplined, shunned and blacklisted into silence. There are plenty of stories, but most people are too scared to tell them. TWW helps people see that they're not alone in their experience so they don't have to be afraid.
I believe it’s important to know that LBC’s bylaws are nearly identical to John Mcarthur’s Grace Church bylaws. The section Dee posted here is Article V–Section 8 in the GCC bylaws. It even begins with the same “threefold purpose of church discipline…” And Section 8-D even has the exact same agreement that even professing Christians at GCC agree there shall be no appeal to a court due to dismissal at the 3rd or 4th stages of church discipline. Download here:
This is important because it shows Macarthur has the same laws and constitution and procedures that allow or lead to abuse.
Probably because being Christ-like implies being a servant and asking ‘How can I help you?’ while being God-like lets you issue ‘Thou shalt nots’ and expect instant obedience.
@ Bill M:
Are you a member of GCC? Sorry if you’ve already answered this and I missed it.
I don’t know about Mark S., but I speak from really personal experience. I live at ground zero for GCC/TMC/TMS. I lived the life of a MacArthur follower for 18 years. I’m now among the shunned. A certain website may go a bit overboard on some matters, but that doesn’t mean authoritarianism isn’t a problem at GCC/TMC/TMS.
The application of their doctrines are hurting people and destroying churches. It may be as LP suspects and these aren’t true Spirit filled Christ followers. I don’t know their hearts. I do know their actions do not line up with Christ’s.
It’s worth noting that GCC does do good in our community, too. I think we can object to abusive doctrines and practices and still acknowledge there is some love there.
@ Mark S:
If you compare the documents and structures of churches run by TMS grads you’ll see they’re pretty uniform. Even the names of the ministries and Sunday School classes are usually the same.
I think you’ve hit the nail on its head. They probably see the pewsitters as “sinners in the hand of an angry god”. Not the “Elders” though, because they are “god-like”, in their attitude at least.
I heard the “we do a lot of good in the community” mantra from many a mega pew sitter as if that is to out weigh the glittery money sucking cult of personality.
Miles Stanford tried to lovingly correct MacArthur’s doctrinal errors and warn him what they would lead to but he was spurned. You can read his 1993 open letter to MacArthur on the wayback machine https://web.archive.org/web/20101226002541/http://withchrist.org/MJS/faithworks.htm
Amen! We would love to hear from some former members of Grace Community Church or similarly established congregations.
You nailed it. It's important to know that Ken Ramey did not take Walden Community Church on his,own. This came directly from his mentor John MacArthur. In his sermon he says how he did it and got instruction from J.M. so I would say of course the bylaws are the same. LBC is a mini GCC which Ken is try to turn it into a GCC/TMS/TMI training ground. Everything he teaches is john macarthur. He mentions the man so much and his book you think he was,married to him. Also ken ramey is sending every teen he can groom and indoctrinate from the youth group at Lakeside bible church to go to The Masters Seminary. They Send the kids and members to his camps and to shepherds conferences. It’s everything john macarthur and I have never seen anything like it Mark S wrote:
TMS grads may be the extreme of it. But the fleshly hierarchy that is promoted in the Church as “God’s Divine Order” is destroying the church and marriages on all levels.
Julie Anne Smith wrote:
Proud to be unrestrained (but I did take my brother with me when buying a car a few weeks ago).
Also, I have to agree with Law Prof on Ken Ramey. He’s a monster.
That’s exactly what I thought when I stumbled across it!
Just a quick sidetrack – I don’t mean to derail this thread or enter into a political discussion (it’s the aspects of authoritarianism that I am interested in) but wanted to offer the following for your search:
This http://www.vox.com/2016/3/1/11127424/trump-authoritarianism is the first article I ran across – and I launched searches on authoritarian dynamics out from there in order to get beyond the political aspect of it.
I had run across a couple of news reports regarding the shock expressed by several evangelical leaders regarding the overwhelming support for Trump coming from the evangelical community.
Those very leaders are the ones who have prepared evangelicals to love a personality like Trump.
Trump is just a secular/political version of the Driscolls and Nobles that populate pulpits today.
He can’t have a degree in psychology … Master’s College does not give it degrees in psychology…plus, when I visited LABC, Master,s College name before JMac became president, does not believe in “secular ” psychology..
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
I agree… There is not much of difference between Trump and Driscoll in pragmatic operation/execution..
You do not need to explain this. If someone in a church had raped my adolescent son and the pastor did exactly what Ken Ramey did to you in response, the least that pastor would have to worry about from me is a “flurry of texts”. The fact that he took such a passive aggressive swipe at you over it shows the type of human being he is–he’s doing his level best to prove up Calvinist doctrine by behaving in a manner that demonstrates total depravity.
Law Prof wrote:
This is so true.
What raises my red flags in all of this is that Joe’s family completely ignores the aggregious actions of their own son. I would contend that regenerate parents would be broken hearted over their sons sin and not only seek forgiveness on behalf of their family, but also be extremely active in dealing with(counseling, repentance) their own sons problems. But instead they seem to be “looking the other way” and ignoring the absolute depravity of their sons actions.
It causes me to think that this is a pastor who values people for what they provide for him/his church and not for who they are or the actual spiritual condition of their own lives. Meaning, Joe’s family probably has money. I have seen similar situations(not to this degree obviously) where clearly unregenerate people are given great deference at a church because of the perceived value they bring to that church…..”Sure, he is an verbally abusive and crass man who treats everyone like dirt….BUT he is the VP at the local big company and we can always count on him for a big check during the capital campaign!!”
With all the abuses of the “discipline” programs I have yet to hear of a big time CEO type indivual/family finding themselves in the crosshairs of these actions. Discipline only seems brought against those without the financial or social capital to stand up for themselves. And from my experiences, the CEO types in a church as likely(if not more so) to be in need of some real spiritual disciplining. Sure, they don’t show up all the time, have “bad” kids who cause problems, and behave innapropriately, but isn’t it great that such an important person comes to our church??!?!
In theory I believe in the concept of church discipline, but I see it like politics. When you set in “stone” the rules for it you have created a system that is unsustainable because you might trust the first person to develop the program, but you can’t trust the next person who gets to use the newly established “powers”.
I’m telling you straight up, the author of that faith, Jesus, directed His most pointed and forceful attacks at people just like these authoritarian abusers, cheats and cons, just flat crushed them in a public way, chased them out of the church with whips, called them “sons of hell”, etc. I also believe that He will set matters straight and currently is working to bring justice. I just hope you don’t toss Him out, I think He’s the answer to these problems.
Law Prof wrote:
Amen! While much of organized religion is doing church without God (as documented by TWW), we don’t need to abandon the reality that Jesus is Lord and we can find Him and walk with Him through the chaos around us. It’s really never been about religion, but relationship. In every gathering of religious folks, there has always been the Church within the church. To those ready to chuck it all, pray that God will show you where He is working and join Him there. Scripture says that Jesus is coming back for a church without spot or wrinkle … considering the condition of the American church, He’s got a lot of washing and ironing to do first!
I can Joes family was at that time being financially supported by the church allegedly. Joes mother works but his stepfather has work off and on. The wife seems to be the primary financial support which is odd! Not because she shouldn’t make money nut because KEN RAMEY preaches sermons on those who are lazy and men who don’t work should be tossed out! They are lazy. These are not his,words verbatim but most of them are his words. So why go so hard and protect joe and his family?
If any of you have any clue will you please share with me? My theories are who sexually abused JOE? was it a friend, family member, churchmember? Did JOE abuse another child and they didn’t want that to come out! Come on they scream his innocence reduce this to a sexual sin then they let their son plead guilty to AGGREGATED SEXUAL ASSAULT ON A CHILD? Probation or not you don’t let your child plead guilty to a CRIME!!!!
Why did it take Joe 6 months to finally admit he did it. Keep in mind Joe called BILLY a lier and said he never touched him. Then 6 months later I get a call from the district attorney telling me joe confessed and is taking the plea deal.
Ken professed his innocence this whole time while slandering BILLY so why flip a switch? Well for one this was going to go to trial. So, my question is what did THEY ALL NOT WANT COMING OUT? I’m BILLYS MOM please read this your input is valued. Thank you all for your amazing support. My son is being lifted by every one of you. Adam Borsay wrote:
I believe some of them are confused Christians following along with something that’s giving them major cognitive dissonance and they’ll one day come out of it and feel very ashamed for what they’ve done.
Others are not Christians at all, and are emotionally disturbed, perhaps conscienceless, but not knowing their true spiritual state, and are thinking in some warped way they’re doing good.
Others know full good and well what they are, sadists who hate Jesus and just want a means of getting access to His followers to more efficiently destroy them.
This is so sad and tragic. By the way, the lakeside Bible Church website has photos of the staff, and one of the sanctuary. It is helpful to have some sort of visual reference. And it’s ironic, how something that seems so happy and idyllic on the surface can be so dysfunctional in reality.
We had a church locally, which was very similar to this church in size, and probably in culture. It had been around 30 + years, until the elders got rid of the pastor, and brought in someone from JMac’s school. Within a couple of years the church disbanded, and it seems to have been a result of his leadership style.
Thank you so much for sharing your story. And I appreciate you in giving more context to the details of the situation. The deeper one goes the stranger this all seems. I agree that for a young boy/man to assault a younger boy is signs of a deep issue in regards to the assaulter. Sexual abuse is rarely an “out of the blue” issue, but often a “learned” behavior.
In a simple black and white way it made sense to say, Joe’s family is “important” so that is why they are “protected” by Ken. But if they don’t fit cleanly into that concept, it really makes me additionally concerned about what is going on behind the scenes. And for a Pastor to ignore so many of the red flags related to all of this is shocking. Even beyond the misguided and abusive “discipline”, how can someone be so oblivious to all the multiple issues that are clearly swirling around here??
What always makes me believe that there is something more going on is the odd argument that they are trying to “protect” the church. I can’t imagine a scenario where a church says, “We are so saddened to share that something tragic has occured and we the police are involved, please be praying for the victim” and everyone quits. Especially when the assault takes place outside of a church event. This horrific event wasn’t even directly related to the church.
If anything I think the vast majority of people at a church would feel encouraged by seeing their leadership dealing with these things openly, honestly, head on! And more so, what a testimony to the local community to hear about how a local church isn’t going to ignore such depravity.
I think it could also be that they forgot what Jesus stands for many years ago, and have essentially shouldered Him out of their church. The leadership made themselves gods for far too long. So when they say God-like attitude, they actually mean god-like power. Grrrrr.
I absolutely agree.
I would say, however, that the doctrine is a result of their underlying belief system that directs their doctrine. It’s a kind of ‘which came first – chicken or egg’ situation.
Stanley Feldman put together a short questionnaire to help determine if there was such a thing as an authoritarian psychological profile. He used the following 4 questions:
1. Please tell me which one you think is more important for a child to have: independence or respect for elders?
2. Please tell me which one you think is more important for a child to have: obedience or self-reliance?
3. Please tell me which one you think is more important for a child to have: to be considerate or to be well-behaved?
4. Please tell me which one you think is more important for a child to have: curiosity or good manners?
Now, substitute “parent” with “church leader” and “child” with “church member” and you have a glimpse of what is going on in today’s churchianity.
Then take those gentle young people who Jenny described in an earlier post:
“I can tell you of at least three good friends – godly, kind, loving men – who after they finished TMS were transformed into cold hearted authoritarians. I wouldn’t believe it possible if I hadn’t seen it happen.”
Who attend school/training to further their ability to serve the One they love, only to have their teachers indoctrinate them into losing their first love and replacing it with rigid views of ‘authority’.
Jesus said it well in speaking to the religious teachers of his day –
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.”
Freudian slip, perhaps?
Adam Borsay wrote:
Adam Borsay, Yes! And yet, this is the argument, over and over again from church leaders of all kinds when child sexual abuse happens. It is my hope that as more and more victims speak up, the twisted-ness of this argument (and anything else hidden) will come to light. The best thing to happen is for courageous moms and victims like Shauna to keep standing up and outing all of this type of abusive pastoring.
The way Ramey signed that e-mail reminds me of another “ecclesiastical leader” (though not Christian) named David Miscavige. According to his former execs, he’ll often send his underlings painfully abusive text messages while they’re doing his dirty work. These messages are typically laced with obscenities and homophobic slurs, along with constant reminders of how worthless and hopelessly incompetent his minions are.
And how does Micavige sign off his missives? With the letters, “ML”, which stand for… (wait for it)…
I’m convinced he has no idea what “love” is. And Ramey wouldn’t know grace or truth even if they bit him on the backside.
That was an excellent article you linked upthread. Thanks for that.
I’ll rewrite the authoritarian profile questions to reflect how they relate to a church setting:
Translation: “The cops aren’t under my thumb, and won’t obey me. In fact, they’ll think I should listen to them! Stupid, stinking poopy-heads… who do they think they are, anyway? *I* am a Man Of God™!!”
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
Their critical natures, judgmentalism, and name calling towards me probably wouldn’t bother me as much, if it weren’t for the double standards.
On top of the put downs and criticisms, two family members have told me off and on since my childhood that they don’t care about my feelings or my opinions, and that my feelings do not matter.
However, if I so much as politely disagree with them about anything, they claim I am not being sensitive enough to their feelings (or they act wounded or offended with me).
I had a co-worker at one office job who was like that.
He would pick on myself (and other co-workers), and tell off-color jokes, but he would hit the ceiling and act deeply offended if you so much as gently and politely ribbed him about anything. He would threaten to report you to the H.R. dept. over it.
It’s the hypocrisy of these types of people that kills me. I see shades of this in some of the stories people are sharing here of their former churches.
Adam Borsay wrote:
I always thought the same but these days there is so much focus on doctrine as opposed to behavior that it becomes a different problem and reflection on what is allowed to be taught.
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
Maybe they’re ESV Onlyists.
There is such a thing as KJV Onlyists.
KJVOs even get into wacky conspiracy theories, like all modern Bible versions have supposedly been intentionally corrupted by everyone from New Agers, homosexuals, to Roman Catholics.
I don’t know if ESVOs have similar wacko conspiracy theories to support their love of the ESV.
That is awful. There was a similar story a few months ago (in that older members are being treated horribly. This is over tithing, not submission):
‘They threw my mother away’: Texas church won’t bury 93-year-old member because she didn’t tithe while in coma, family says
How the heck is a woman supposed to tithe while in a coma?? Also, she’s 93 years old – she might be on a fixed income. Churches should seriously consider giving older members a break.
I found another very enlightening topic to research:
authority vs authoritarianism
One place to start:
Which has the following excerpts:
“Authoritarianism is entirely different from authority: Authoritarianism is about power. Authoritarianism serves the few who want to dominate the many. In contrast to the growth-enhancing dynamic of authority, authoritarianism is aimed at reducing freedom by imposing conformity and restricting individual development. Authoritarianism is a repressive force whose tactics include coercion, force, manipulation, exclusion, and humiliation. The energy that flows from authoritarianism is designed to amass and maintain power and domination, to control people’s lives. ”
“Power and influence are heady stuff. In a series of recent role-playing experiments, researchers simulated experiences of power, and found that “powerful” participants condemned the cheating of others while cheating more themselves. Moral hypocrisy comes easily to the powerful. ”
“We see that social science studies concur with what the Torah and history both demonstrate: that is, when power becomes centralized and authoritarian, it inevitably leads to a disconnect between the leaders and their followers, between the leaders’ public judgment of what is just and right and their own private behavior, between the public interest and the leader’s personal and political benefit. ”
Which all sounds very familiar.
Not surprising. The sad thing is that once you’ve seen the pattern of how they treat women, you know the script. My suing pastor is a John MacArthur fanboy. I’ve experienced it.
This is not a question of being a supporter of John Macarthur or a supporter of watchmanwakes. I think it possible to have serious questions about Macarthur without visiting the Twilight Zone.
I don’t attend GCC or any of it’s variants. I’ve found a reasonable local church out here in Oregon and right now I’m rather down on membership and may stay that way.
Amen to that.
Julie Anne (to whom you were replying there) has been through this very thing. She operates the SSB blog (which is linked to from this one), and she’s had Christian men ask her before (online) if she has her husband’s permission to blog or be on social media.
I remember reading something about Mark Driscoll getting angry at a woman (online, I believe, on a forum) and typing a message to her husband to “get your wife under control or else I will.”
These guys are heavy into gender complementarianism and treat adult women as though they are children.
It’s funny to me that their gender theology cannot square away adult, unmarried women.
I disagree with their interpretation of married male headship, but the Bible says nothing about single women having to answer to men. So complementarians cannot technically or biblically boss an unmarried woman around. (Since 2014, single adults have out-paced married couples in the U.S.A. They seem oblivious to this information.)
Not being able to control unmarried women is kind of the price and unintended consequence they pay for neglecting adult singles and deifying marriage. 🙂
I don’t have to answer to a husband- because I don’t have one. (Not that I agree with their view on male headship anyhow.)
So Ramey is more enamored of MacArthur than with Jesus.
Is it possible that this same dynamic – an overemphasis on authority and submission in the US – also feeds the ongoing issues with police brutality? That some young men are attracted to LE careers because it gives them a chance to be in authority (as opposed to serving their communities?)
This video just came up on my FB, which is why I thought about this. The comments, in fact, the entire FB page, are chilling:
I too was part of a church that disbanded within five years after a person from MacArthur’s seminary took over as pastor. I assume that that seminary, and John MacArthur, are promoting doctrines that are unbiblical distortions and the equivalent of poison to a fellowship. There can be no genuine and open Christian fellowship in a body where a group of people think they’re the special ones and others must submit to them, rather than the mutual submission of one to another.
Adam Borsay wrote:
“…you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, ‘You sit here in a good place,” and you say to the poor man, “You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,’ have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives?”
These people sound like they have major personality disorders.
@ Law Prof:
I agree with everything you said there. His actions and attitude show an appalling lack of concern, compassion, and care for Shauna and her son.
Guys like him get it backwards: he’s supposed to side with the victims, not the perpetrators.
Law Prof wrote:
Since coming up to speed on these stories of what is going on in the “church” and realizing my own experiences have not been an anomaly, I am coming to see the reality of this more and more powerfully.
He said “the meek shall inherit the earth.” Compare that to much of the organized church and you see the pursuit of power for what it is. I am coming to see this issue of power as central. Those who grasp for power do not really believe the words of Christ. They are looking for a kingdom today, here on earth, where they can rule and reign. They crave power, they seek power, they abuse power. I believe they gravitate to the old testament because it is easier to twist it to support their views of hierarchy, authority and power of the elite over the common people.
“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.”
Res ipsa loquitur
No, the law enforcement career path pays so little compared to the danger and hassle expected some are having to dumb down requirements in some places just to keep numbers adequate.
It is going to be a big problem.
I wonder when we will reach the point that there is more church outside the church than in it?
Don’t run from the cops.
Better yet, don’t have any need to run from the cops.
Law Prof wrote:
I know I’ve been there. What a difference 40 years of experience makes…
Adam Borsay wrote:
I agree with everything in your post. The parents of Joe being so indifferent or so defensive about their son’s rape of another person (that they know of – another post said he admitted to attacking two other people) is very troubling.
Don’t they care that their kid is on the way to probably attacking yet more people in the future?
If Joe goes to college later, he’s probably going to be the type of dirt bag who is into date-rape. He might be the type to date rape adult ladies (after he leaves college) and/or slip drugs into women’s drinks he meets at bars or restaurants. His parents can try to put a halt to this now, before there are any more victims.
They also should fork over money to help Shauna pay for counseling.
I also agree with you that maybe one other reason the church is so keen to protect Joe (other than warped theology, and other factors) is that Joe’s parents are big $$$ donors to that church.
That goes counter to James 2:
Don’t Favor Rich People over Poor People
Law Prof wrote:
One of the small threads that has helped me hold on to the faith at all is the person of Jesus – and the tiny minority of Christians I see on blogs like this one and Julie Anne’s who do actually do what the Bible says, and help people.
I have a hard time reconciling how it is so many people who say they are Christ followers sit around excusing the self-professing believers who act like jerks, or like this church who blame victims and protect the guilty. Stuff like that.
It makes me wonder what the value is in a faith that most don’t seem willing to live out.
Someone else might have already noted this, but are Joe’s parents major financial contributors to the church? A friend of mine gave quite a bit to my former church (you’d never know he was wealthy), and the ministers almost groveled at his feet. My friend was actually embarassed. Anyway, I still think there’s much more going on that the church is scared will be uncovered, but they also might be trying to please a financial contributor. Just a thought.
I hope Ramey know we’re discussing him!
Adam Borsay wrote:
This is so very true!
I think it comes more from pride and loathing the snickers and pointing fingers of the world around them.
I went to a church where about 10 years ago the youth leader turned out to be molesting at least one of the girls. He was quietly sent away, authorities were not called, and the girl was treated like the cause of the problem- she was silenced and gossiped about. They did not want any scandal in the community connected to their church! This church has a sign outside that says “the friendly church.”
It’s all about damage control, they care more about how the non-believing community sees them than how people are being cared for in their own community. No concern for the victims of this man down the road, that’s someone else’s problem.
No they aren’t. According to an earlier post by Shauna:
“Joes parents are not leadership or in any form of leadership. I do not understand why they were protected so much. I have my theories though. For starters I learned that the church was helping them with financial support.”
I have a hard time also. The way I deal with it is frankly by assuming they’re exactly the ones Jesus and others way back when warned me about, frauds and phonies with the outside sheen of goodness, but when you scratch it just a little bit, you see what they really are.
Fair point, there aren’t many who live it out, some are just full-blooded hypocrites going way back, I think the primary reason many of these types gravitate to the churches is for the same reason that foxes seek out chicken coops. But again, there’s Jesus, not at all a hypocrite, the one who I flat out know will set it straight. I sometimes get tired of waiting, but things are happening, and I bet He’s behind a lot of it, the self-proclaimed mighty do seem to be falling, don’t they?
A faith that has not been to Calvary is not faith at all. New Calvinists do not preach the message of the Cross of Christ as they ought; without the redemptive nature of Jesus in one’s life, it is impossible to live as a Christian. We need more “transformed” theology preached in America, not “reformed.”
i would be willing to bet you the equity in my house that he knows full good and well he’s being discussed, and seethes with rage that he cannot control it.
Law Prof wrote:
I hope to see an outbreak of this soon in the Southern Baptist Convention!
Hi patriciamac I was told that I’m getting under kens skin. Law Prof wrote:
One of the largest growing segments of “church” in America is the home church movement. A lot of former church-going “dones” are checking this out. However, one must pray for a new measure of discernment before just joining any home church … the great deceiver can find his way there, too.
Okay, so you were saying that Joe’s family does not have a lot of money, so that is not a reason why Ramey and ‘Ramey Church Inc.’ are vehemently supporting Joe and Joe’s family.
All I can do is speculate as to why they are defending Joe as strongly as they are.
Maybe the church does know of other abuse by Joe, and they don’t want that to come out. That could be.
Or, it could be a similar dynamic as to why other churches have done the same thing with other cases of abuse.
Deb and Dee have done posts here about how TVC mishandled the case of a woman who was married to a pedophile (her name was Karen).
Once Karen found out her husband was a pedophile, she moved to have their marriage annulled. The TVC church had a fit. They kept trying to pressure her to stay with her husband.
Pastor Doug Wilson did the same thing in regards to men who went to his church or church sponsored school who sexually assaulted young women or children. (Wilson blamed the victims but defended the pedophiles / rapists.)
This blog has done other stories like those.
In my opinion (and I could be totally wrong about this), I think some of the reasons these preachers and churches rally around the guilty and treat the victims like trash is that-
I think these guys are obsessed with power, control, and have wrong views about theology. They have warped views about church, authority, God, justice, mercy, grace, and forgiveness.
They seem to think it’s more ‘godly’ to side with the guilty.
They get into this sin leveling attitude that because the Bible says we are all sinners, and God showed us mercy, that the best way they can illustrate this concept to the world and their other members is to stand by even the most deviant and vilest of sinners (such as child rapists).
I also agree with the person way up in this thread who said churches like this LOVE good “redemption” stories they can sell to the public. It’s about marketing the church.
So, if they can pass people off (like Joe) as being healed or fixed, they can advertise to their community that their church and its programs are so good, it can redeem and heal pedophiles or rapists, it can help you too with whatever problem you have.
So there’s some ego there in selling such redemption stories, and they probably want more people in the pews, because more people may mean more tithes (money). So maybe greed is at play?
Some Christians just don’t like to admit they make mistakes, and that they were wrong about something, or that their organization can and does attract abusers and other flawed people.
(It’s similar to why secular workplaces cover up workplace abuse and bullying and treat workplace victims like trash rather than protect the victims.
It’s easier to live in denial and to blame victims than to confront the reality that your own organization has a toxic culture and to take concrete steps to put a stop to abuse.)
If you check out a home church in your area, beware if the leader is carrying an ESV Bible and is conducting a study based on a book by Piper, Keller, Platt, or other misc. New Calvinist. Or you will walk right out of a bad church experience and into another one.
Or perhaps a church leader abused Joe and concerned that he or his family might reveal that?
Law Prof wrote:
I think there have been studies in the last several years that show that narcissists (or was it sociopaths / psychopath?) are drawn to certain professions more than others, and IIRC, preacher was in the top ten. I’m serious. I’m not even joking.
10 Careers With the Most Psychopaths
That sounds like almost every callous, authoritarian preacher Deb and Dee have ever covered. Especially Mark Driscoll.
Psychology Today also has this article:
“Why Predators Are Attracted to Careers in the Clergy” by Joe Navarro
Shhhh.. Don’t let Andy Stanley know.
Are you familiar with the milgram experiment?
FW Rez wrote:
For the record, I now see that he has apologized for his comments about small churches.
Would you really? Check out this account where this woman, Callie, was kicked out of a Macarthurite church run by a TMC and TMS grad for questioning the presence of a man in ministry with access to children who was also a registered sex offender on Megan’s List for CHILD PORNOGRAPHY. This Macarthurite senior pastor said in response to her concerns:
“Child porn isn’t a big deal!!”
Well… maybe that explains Davey Blackburn…
FW Rez wrote:
Mr. Stanley’s apology doesn’t sound much like a godly sorrow that worketh repentance to me, after having offended countless small church pastors in America! He is essentially saying “Heck guys, I messed up!” after thinking this thing through regarding potential impact on book sales. Sure, we all say things that we shouldn’t on occasion, but those were foolish words from a mega-church pastor out of an arrogant heart. I wonder if he ever preached a “Pride cometh before a fall” sermon?
Maybe you feel like you have answered this enough, but I’m still stunned about the insistence on public school. Do you think the church was trying to put as much distance as possible between your son and church members? Were they trying to keep you away from homeschool groups where people might learn about the story? Were they concerned that your son’s presence in homeschool (group or not) might make people uncomfortable, or make homeschooling look less pure? Were they trying to discredit you and/or your son by forcing you into that “worldly” population of kids in public school?
For what it’s worth, I support public education. However, a traumatized kid should never be forced into any specific environment. I am relieved that he is recovering, and hope that the school no longer feels like a lion’s den.
You refuse to be controlled by one whom I genuinely believe based on his documented behavior to be a conscienceless NPD, the sort of ruthless, merciless brute described in Romans 1, of course you’re getting under his skin. Good position to be in, if you ask me–Jesus is known as much for His enemies as for His friends.
Pastor Andy Stanley Says Those Who Don’t Attend a Large Church are ‘Selfish’
(Christian University) Baylor University fraternity president charged with sexual assault [of a teen-aged woman]
According to those who research this, the difference between a psychopath, sociopath or NPD like Tony Jones is not that great, different flavors of the same conscienceless type, I believe the latest diagnosis lumps them all into the antisocial personality disorder category, but don’t quote me on that, I’m not even an amateur in that field.
Completely true about pastors, there was an academic study in Canada last year in which a group of Presbyterian pastors who took a test to determine narcissism were found to test out at five times the general population average for full-blown NPD.
Pastors in their 20 and 30s were found to be 44% NPD.
Pastors in their 40s were found to be 37% NPD.
Wrap your brain around that: if these studies are in any manner representative of clergy (and I can’t imagine that the Presbyterian church in Canada would be an unusual hotbed for NPD, I think it’d be relatively low key there, I can’t even fathom what it would be in the SBC, the average neocal/9Marks type church, the Pentecostals, etc.), you’re almost as likely as not, when meeting a young pastor, to be meeting one who might say they “Just love Jesus” and only want to “love you well”, but in fact have zero capacity to love anyone but themselves, have zero empathy, and consider you with all the compassion they’d have for a cockroach. They essentially hate people or have utter disregard for them unless they can be used to the NPD’s advantage.
We may have reached a tipping point where you’re safer out of church than in.
Our family experienced this, right out of an abusive neocal/YRR church led by a pastor from TMS into a home church that was torn apart and disbanded by a deeply disturbed person whom I can only consider a wolf.
Law Prof wrote:
So very true. So very sad.
The more time I spend here on TWW, the more I like my imperfect old-timey church, with the unreliable HVAC and the pastor who cringes slightly when asked to try out a new microphone. When I burned out as a volunteer and vanished, they didn’t hunt me down with tar and feathers. When I gave them another try, a few people showed some love, and I reclaimed a tiny corner.
I protect myself by limiting my commitment, making “no” my default answer, and sweetly complaining every single time I detect a scintilla of unfairness. I probably seem quirky to clergy and staff, but they cope with me, and I do some useful things in addition to worshiping at a cherished service.
@ Paul T:
Do you have any sort of contact with the person involved? It is an account on a blog without any sort of references. We would love to write about this story if the person involved or someone who knows her could contact us by email or phone.
Huh. Okay. Still, very strange….
Good! He’s needs some accountability (and a swift kick).
Yes, I am.
Have you read about the Louise Ogborn / McDonald’s situation which was a variation of the Milgram experiment? Happened just a few years ago and is almost unbelievable.
Here’s one link to the details > http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=2684890
IMO, authoritarians (especially in churchianity) can only come into being, exist and flourish because there are so many of us who are so very willing to voluntarily submit to them.
Having been in the shepherding/discipleship movement in the 70s, I am including myself as being one of those so very willing to voluntarily submit. In my particular situation, the authoritarianism came about similarly to the process described as boiling a frog. IOW, it didn’t *start* that way.
I think it may be a disservice to label authoritarian leaders with mental illness and/or personality disturbances (not that some of them may not have such). Because, from what I have read, studied, experienced and pondered over the years regarding this issue – it appears that a large majority of people will reveal the same traits if placed in similar situations/positions. (As evidenced in the Milgram experiment you referenced.)
In other words, it is a common human trait. It is not limited to religion, family, politics, tribe, country or state – or even to a specific time frame.
IF we stopped thinking of it as unusual or as a personality disorder, and recognized it for the commonality that it is – we might be little quicker on the uptake when the authority-water around us frogs starts to boil AND it might help us safeguard from becoming the same ourselves.
In examining my own submission to authoritarianism in the 70s, I found that I enjoyed thinking I was a part of something special – in a – we’re the cutting edge of what God is doing now – sort of thing.
The ‘us verses them’ aspect in which ‘them’ was everyone else who didn’t believe, live and act as we did.
The idea that ‘we were doing it right” and therefore God would bless us and bad things wouldn’t happen and we would help bring God’s kingdom right here on earth…
So, it appealed to my pride even though I was a nobody. Because although *I* may have been a nobody, *I* was still in a special group…
Additionally, it can be appealing in having someone else telling you how you’re doing – have someone else hold the responsibility. So, you don’t build your own spiritual muscles – and the churchy-authoritarian leaders actually encourage this by teaching that all YOU have to do is obey them!
Even if they’re wrong!
Because as long as you are obedient and submissive even when they are wrong – then God will deal with them – as long as you continue being obedient and submissive!
Then when something does go terribly wrong in *our* life and the authoritarians respond in the ways that the authoritarians are going to – then the blinders start getting ripped away from our eyes.
The rest of the group, if they hear anything at all about your terrible situation and the piss-poor way the authoritarians have responded, aren’t going to see the reality and the truth of what is actually going on.
Because they *know* that if *you* had only been doing it right in the first place, the terrible thing wouldn’t have happened to you. And if you don’t shut up and get back in your place in the herd quickly – then they *know* that you are *still* doing it wrong.
Besides, your whole terrible situation that you won’t just let go, makes them very uncomfortable and disturbs their peace.
And they will often continue in their blindness – until it happens to them.
Law Prof wrote:
I have heard the difference described this way:
“A Psychopath literally cannot tell the difference between right and wrong.
A Sociopath knows the difference but doesn’t care.”
(And an NPD? Well, right and wrong are outside the event horizon of SELF.)
i.e. “Ignorance is Bliss and I LIKE EUPHORIA!”
And since a home church is about as independent and atomistic as you can get, there is NO such thing as an outside Reality Check if things start going south.
I can’t remember her name, but I believe this person used to comment on this blog.
I was also a member of a pastor John MacArthur-ite church, with a Masters College/Seminary graduate who is my EX-pastor. The church is fairly new and is about 9 years old. (It is also as abusive and toxic as Shauna’s TX church.) These are high-control groups that are spreading across the nation and around the world. And they are dangerous and destructive.
My ex-church is located in Silicon Valley and rents from the Seventh Day Adventists. They (intentionally) draw upon a high-earning crowd of tech engineers and also try to draw students (undergraduate and graduate) from the nearby elite Stanford University by holding Bible Studies there. There is no such outreach to the poorer and larger public university, San Jose State.
1. Membership Covenants
All new members are told to sign them and that the church is getting back to “Biblical basics” that were lost. The MC serves as a crowbar for the pastors/elders to insinuate and control every aspect of members’ lives. It is for authoritarian control only. Visitors to the church were told from the pulpit that if they didn’t sign a MC they couldn’t come to church. The pastors/elders said from the pulpit “how do we know you are ours”. I found them smarmy, rude, ungracious and embarrassing. I would sit in a pew and say, “They showed up. That’s how you know!” How did Jesus know His followers without paperwork?
It is taken and members are called if they have not come to church and reminded to “not forsake the gathering” of believers. Members are expected to attend all kinds of church activities throughout their weeks, including Bible studies. The group leaders report to the pastors/elders what you said at Bible study. I was screamed at by the senior pastor for not attending a week night Bible study. He wanted to know my reason. Me: “I work and I commute. I’m not back in time.”
An inner circle of ‘yes-men’ were chosen by the senior pastor, his own personal friends, some who were even moved in from out-of-state. We were told that elder-rule is a “Biblical basic” that the church had lost. It was another form of authoritarian control. (I will never go to a church again, or give money to one, that doesn’t have a congregational vote.) The pastors/elders constantly said to anyone that asked a question of them, any legitimate question, that you were “brining an accusation against an elder without cause” and that you had to have two witnesses. We weren’t permitted to be adults and have questions about our church, the place where we were members and gave money.
This insufferable doctrine was shoved down our throats like it was The Gospel. It’s not and is a Semi-Arian heresy that has been advanced since the 1990s. The big proponents of it – Bill Gothard and Doug Phillips, to name two – have been accused of sex crimes and are the defendants in civil lawsuits. (There is also a high rate of divorce, sex abuse, and incest with Patriarchy teachings. Domestic violence too. – Barna study and others.) Women were told to “obey and submit” to their husbands or other men. Men however could be treated with contempt and disdain by the pastors/elders, who expected to lord it over.
5. Biblical Counseling/Nouethetic Counseling = Malpractice
My ex-pastors/elders believe that the Bible is sufficient counsel for all things. This is also a John MacArthur belief. This is totally irresponsible and incompetent and does much damage. It should be called what it is, malpractice, and the Unauthorized Practice of Medicine (which can be prosecuted as a felony or a misdemeanor in my state, CA).
The pastors/elders blew it on getting an older woman alcoholic to a physician to guide her treatment. Instead we members we called in to months of meetings about her drama, the pastors/elders even drew pictures about gossip and other things on a chalkboard, and just wasted our time. People she had harmed were expected to go to apologize to her. The real issue – alcoholism – was NEVER dealt with. She was harmed, her adult children were harmed, and church members were harmed.
Another woman with dyslexia (a genetically inherited brain disorder with short-term memory problems and working memory problems) accused church members of “lying” about events and saying that they had never taken place. She has memory problems and needs medical care. She won’t get it and says that Jesus could heal her if he wanted to. OK, that hasn’t happened. Jesus gave you medical care – get some! The pastors/elders demanded more meetings to deal with more drama instead of getting her to medical care. They were incensed and inflamed. Demanding “answers” from members and “to explain” yourself.
6. Personal Privacy/Personal Business – Not Allowed
Everything about a member is reported and discussed with the pastors/elders. Members call you and demand your personal business. If you decline to give it, stating it’s personal and private and you don’t discuss it, you are subjected to increased pressure, temper tantrums, and tirades. You are then reported to the pastors/elders and called in to more meetings to “explain” yourself.
You are not permitted witnesses.
7. Meetings With The Elders
You are forced in to lunch and coffee meetings with the elders, either 1 on 1 or with more of them. If you don’t want to, you are ordered to show up. It’s never an offer, “We’d like you to know we’re here if you need any help with x, y, or z and would like to get together.” It’s forced meetings and everything about you is reported back to the other pastors/elders.
8. Christian Conscience
Christian conscience is not respected. Members are threatened for having differences of thought and opinion. They are accused of being “unsubmissive.” They are name-called. All of the former men and women members I interviewed said this is how they were treated.
9. Church Discipline
Members are called in for any reason by pastors/elders, without witnesses by the member, and accused of not obeying, of being in sin. It is bizarre. A man church member demanded that I get him $1 Million Dollars to buy a house from one of my employers’ clients. I never discussed clients, I could be fired for even trying to get them to buy someone a cup of coffee, and my employers could lose their licenses. The pastors/elders blamed me for that and for another elder also hammering me for money from them.
Other members who wanted to leave this nutty, controlling church were also disciplined, including before all.
Everything from the décor in your home to your friends to what you fed your children could be the subject of church discipline meetings. (I was required to get rid of an Italian cross, a birthday gift that I’d had for years that costs hundreds of dollars, per the senior pastor and his woman friend who were “offended” I had it in my home. I wish I had walked out then. Having to get rid of your own possessions in your own home, let alone your own birthday gifts. These people are just low-class and insufferable tyrants. No manners!
10. Gifts Such as Speaking In Tongues Ridiculed, per John MacArthur
My ex-senior pastor and elders ridiculed gifts, such as speaking in tongues, because Pastor John MacArthur said that those gifts have ceased. I and many other Christians know devout Christians who have this gift. I don’t. I know others that do and I have observed it in friends’ homes during prayer time. I have witnessed this gift and neither they nor I are histrionics or show-offs.
11. Sex Offender Moved Into Positions Of Trust And Leadership. Godly Women With Ph.D.’s Not Permitted To Do Same.
My ex-pastors brought their friend a Megan’s List sex offender to church, gave him church membership, told no one and put him in a position of leadership and trust. They also invited him to volunteer at a 5-day basketball camp for children and did not tell all parents or the church whose gym we rented. I found the sex offender on Megan’s List of sex offenders while doing a research project for an attorney about other sex offenders in the area.
I reported him to the pastors/elders. Four of them had me in a meeting where they screamed and yelled at me, told me he was their friend, that they would entrust their children to him, that they had visited him in prison, and that he had only been in prison for child porn and that “child porn wasn’t a big deal”. The pastors/elders demanded to know if I had prayed for the sex offender. I said we were discussing child safety, not prayer.
The senior pastor said the sex offender was “coming off Megan’s List”. His supervising law enforcement agency – The Sheriff’s – called that story “all lies” and “total lies”. The Sheriff’s was so alarmed that they contacted the California Attorney General’s Office which confirmed the story was “all lies” and “total lies” and the AG’s office wasn’t taking him off Megan’s List.
It’s outrageous that convicted felon can have a supervising law enforcement agency and clergy won’t get him.
12. Wives/Mothers Required To Obey And Submit To Their Husbands If Husbands Permit Sex Offender to Touch Children
I saw the sex offender run his hand through my friends’ 4 year old son’s hair at a church lunch. My friends didn’t know he was a sex offender.
The senior pastor told me in the elders meeting that fathers had “final say” over their families, that if a father permitted the sex offender to touch his children that his word “was final” and his wife had no say!
Me: “Mothers are required by law to protect their children. If harm comes to her children because she did NOTHING she can be arrested and prosecuted for felony child abuse, Child Protective Services can take away her children, and she can end up in state prison! She’s not off the legal hook because she let her husband decide. Women go to prison for felony child abuse like this ALL OF THE TIME!”
The chairman of the elder board closed the meeting by reading me a Scripture in somber tones that I was destined for Hell and “not one of us”. They meant to convey a threat and they did. They meant to follow up on it and they did.
a) The first woman I saw be subjected to church discipline was a godly, professional, middle-aged wife who wanted to leave our church and she did. She was troubled by it and refused to return. After church service, several hundred of us were ordered to stay. We were told to “pursue her” and that she “hadn’t been submissive to her husband”. The senior pastor said they had “worked with her for a long time”. When I interviewed her later she said they had screamed at her for a long time. They didn’t respect her decision to leave their church.
She disconnected her cell phone and email and moved out of the family home when subjected to the church’s harassment (I would call it stalking).
b) Ironically, the next person to be excommunicated and ordered to be shunned was a godly doctor who is a personal friend of Pastor John MacArthur’s. The doctor has been a loving, faithful husband for 50 years. A father to grown children. He gave of his time and money to the church, bought resources and started the church lending library (books, DVDs). He invited and paid for the senior pastor to join him and John MacArthur on a trip to North Carolina to meet the Rev. Billy Graham at his log cabin home. The doctor was accused of not being one of us, of teaching heresy (he’d never even taught there and didn’t teach heresy) and kicked out. Members of high tech companies, Stanford University students/members, were told to never speak to him again.
c) My Excommunication And Shunning
I was banned from church property by the Chairman of the Elder Board for refusing to apologize to him for having a problem with him threatening me for “being destined to Hell” for discussing child safety regarding the convicted sex offender. I was banned from church services and church property. I was told that I was never permitted to contact law enforcement about the sex offender, I was never permitted to reveal the name of the church, or the names of the pastors/elders, and that I was to “obey” and “to submit” to my elders. In other words, obstruction of justice (a felony crime). I turned them all in any way.
I lost all of my friends of 8+ years. Not one Christmas card.
Stay away from John MacArthur’s graduates/Masters’ Seminary church spin-offs, Mark Dever (9Marks), Acts 29, and the whole host of other authoritarian, high-control groups. They are extremely dangerous and destructive to adults and children alike in my opinion and the opinions of others.
Law Prof wrote:
I think this may be another variation of the ‘which came first – the chicken or the egg’ situation.
These studies assume that these personality disorders are drawn to be pastors.
And I wouldn’t argue that there is some percentage of truth to that.
However, I firmly believe that these elevated ‘pastor positions’ will actually result in the development of these personality disorders.
People who started out relatively normal, upon finding themselves in a position of unquestioned power added with a crunchy layer of “this authority came from God”, with adoring multitudes surrounding them, and whose every word is valued AND underlined with Scripture – they’re going to go wonky.
A quote from Abraham Lincoln:
“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
I had developed a variation of that – a man’s character is revealed by how he treats those that are deemed as his inferior.
Watch to see how they treat the waitress, the tech guy, the supermarket checkout girl, their employee, etc.
Whoa, this article is very eye opening!
A few of the points that really stand out to me:
5. Many religious organizations preach forgiveness, even for felonies. For predators this is truly a godsend. This means that if they get caught, they can ask for forgiveness and chances are it will be given, in a pious but naïve effort to help the lawbreaker “learn from his mistakes.” Unfortunately, the predator sees this as an opportunity to sharpen his skills and to do his crime again, perhaps this time more carefully.
6. Because religious organizations preach brotherly love, even when someone has done horrific crimes, there will be those gullible enough to defend the predator or willing to look the other way.
7. Another advantage for the predator in a religious organization is that if caught, he or she can very conveniently say it was “Satan’s” fault.
8. If the predator is in a position of authority within a religious organization, he or she can claim persecution by the “enemies” of the church or the organization. Any outside scrutiny subjecting the predator to the sanitizing rays of light is thus characterized as, “them,” the unbelievers “against us.”
9. If the predator becomes a leader within the organization, or if lucky, becomes the head of a church or religious group, then he or she is immediately cloaked with power and authority (moral power)
10. Predators soon realize that the ability to invoke a deity in their defense is a powerful card to hold that trumps all other arguments. They can always say, “I was moved by the lord,” to do this or that
11. There is, it should be noted, no religion or sect that screens for psychopathy as defined by Robert Hare (link is external) that I am awware of. All you need is to be ordained, or you declare yourself a religious leader and the way is clear for the predator. And so while some organizations, such as in law enforcement, screen for pathologies by using psychometric tools, very few religious organization do so. Which is why the predator would benefit from joining or leading such an organization.
Getting back to this point:
11. There is, it should be noted, no religion or sect that screens for psychopathy as defined by Robert Hare (link is external) that I am awware of. All you need is to be ordained, or you declare yourself a religious leader and the way is clear for the predator. And so while some organizations, such as in law enforcement, screen for pathologies by using psychometric tools, very few religious organization do so. Which is why the predator would benefit from joining or leading such an organization.
There are professions, such as law enforcement and the counseling professions, where applicants are specifically screened by psychological testing for these predatory traits.
Doesn’t it stand to reason that predators would be against psychology and try to keep people away from it? It is the thing that can reveal their secret.
One more point I wanted to add on about
5. Biblical Counseling/Nouethetic Counseling = Malpractice
Pastor John MacArthur and others proclaim that the Bible is sufficient counsel for everything. My ex-pastors/elders held to this view and did much damage by sheer incompetence. They disavow medical care, medicine, psychiatric care, and other necessary medical treatments.
If what they claim is true, why do they all wear prescription glasses? Why not just throw a few Scripture verses at vision problems?
Thanks, a good point in addition to the fact that the “church” can be attractive to those with personality disorder, your point is well taken: Power corrupts! You could even say that blind followers are actually guilty, in a sense, of corrupting their leaders.
Something I have meant to look into would be what impact has Bill Gothard’s “Character First” programs may have/had on police training.
Search for “City of Character” or “Cities of Character” and see how many cities in the US have signed up for character training right out of Gothardism.
I know that some cities who signed up for this have included mandatory training of police departments. I actually saw a Gothard “City of Character” poster hanging in the DMV when I renewed my driver’s license last year.
However, I am not disparaging policepeople in general, I think the majority of them are hard-working, well-meaning, people who put their life at rish regularly.
I do wonder though if Gothard’s “umbrella of authority” and “instant obedience” teachings that dozens of cities have signed up for may be feeding into some of the more egregious authoritarian attitudes that crop up on occasion.
I think that when I hear people say that they don’t use birth control because God will give them as many children as he wants them to have. So, what do they do if they get cancer?
I hear you on this one. My former christian cult bragged about their mission in Haiti to give itself some kind of legitimacy. Meanwhile the leader continued his abusive treatment toward members. The good works were just a cover, a front. Remember, Jim Jones cult did good works in the community too, which I itially lent them credibility.
And one of the traits they teach is: “Obedience: Quickly and cheerfully carrying out the direction of those who are responsible for me,”
No wonder people aren’t learning how to think any more.
12. Young Earth
Oh at my ex-John MacArthur-ite church (Masters’College/Seminary grad lead pastor) located in Silicon Valley, California, they constantly hammered about Young Earth. The earth being 6,000 years old, etc.
There were many science types, including Stanford University undergraduate and graduate students, there. And many of us disagreed with Young Earth.
I didn’t see why they got hung-up on these things – Young Earth, Patriarchy – and missed the larger part of The Gospel: love one another. Love outsiders.
“Biblical” also means: Put your brains on hold, don’t think, and it’s whatever we pastors/elders say that rules.
“After church service, several hundred of us were ordered to stay. We were told to “pursue her”…”
how many people go to this church?? ‘several hundreds’ of people all in one community are supportive of this kind of horsesh/t??
Whenever I hear the phrase “Cheerful Quick Obedience” or “Cheerful First Time Obedience”, I think of a scene from the WW2 movie Is Paris Burning:
Night outside Paris, lit by the headlights of military vehicles — Opel trucks and Kubels. Closeup after closeup of young Germans with cheerful expressions, the lights reflecting off the double Sieg-runes on the right collar badges of their uniforms and the Hakenkreuz badge on their Stalhelme. Then the trucks pull up, the Vermin are unloaded and driven to the freshly-dug mass graves, the Order is given, and the young SS-Truppen Immedately and Cheerfully carry out the directions of their superiors.
You nailed it.
In my high school youth group, the seminarians (all devotees of Calvin) frequently told us, “You’re the only Christians in this church.” Of course this meant we had to save all of our parents. You know, the same parents who brought us into the world, fed and clothed us, sent us to school, taught us table graces and “Now I lay me down to sleep,” took us to church… We teens had to act quickly, or all our parents were going to hell and it was our fault.
Some of us had just enough curiosity to ask, “Why do our parents go to church if they’re not Christians?” We were told, “They go for social reasons.”
At that age I didn’t know about indoctrination, and “travesty” was an SAT word.
I remember one occasion when I confronted her about starting an argument with me in front of one of my friends. She started raising her voice, and I calmly told her when she could discuss this in a rational manner, I would come back, and she repeated what I had said in mocking voice. Does that answer your question?
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
And as you’ve pointed out in other threads, they’re not responsible because they’re just following orders.
I’ll keep repeating over and over that I’ve yet to see a church “leader” take responsibility for his “orders” when something goes south. “Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan.” If I’m going to take responsibility for a failure let it be my own failure and not the lock-step marching to pastor’s orders.
Hooray for you! Thank you!
It’s difficult to get past Ramey’s words because they are frankly evil. As in wicked. He exhibits a “seared” conscience, and many markers of a sociopath (he wouldn’t be the first pastor to exhibit these signs). However, there is a VERY important lesson in here that needs to be amplified. Ramey’s “church” used “church discipline” to financially punish this woman and her son. This is actually the point of “discipline” – it has to have teeth to be worth a dime. And this is precisely why those rabid wolves in shepherd’s clothing demand one sign a membership contract (let’s not mince words – that’s what it is). They need this protection because in many jurisdictions this kind of financial arm-twisting is considered much the same as black-mail and the “church” would end up getting their greedy, depraved backside sued off. Caveat emptor.
I have to wonder how many people are suffering from treatable mental illness in these churches. Seriously, folks, evil psych drugz (as the Scientologists think of them) gave me my life back. They are a *huge* help in making it so I am a taxpaying and occasionally contributing member of society. I can’t even imagine where I’d be without them.
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
I reckon you’d like the film “Brazil”, has echoes for me.
There’s not nearly enough screening, but many established traditions do psychological testing before and during seminary. In the Episcopal Church, spouses are also interviewed to make sure they’re prepared for life as a clergy wife or husband. Additionally, bishops can order troubled clergy into treatment.
I also know a psychologist who interviews prospective seminarians for the local archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church. This is one response to the clergy sex abuse scandal.
Things obviously are a long way from perfect–but churches can and do successfully include psychology in the preparation and support of clergy. I would call that faithful.
Yes, several hundred people go to this church, which rents from the Seventh Day Adventists in Sunnyvale, CA on Fremont Ave. (My ex-church has rented from various SDA churches, who have their services on Saturday.)
My ex-church has many members who work in Silicon Valley tech (Google, Yahoo, & other companies). Many graduates from UCLA who moved up here for tech jobs and know each other (mostly Asian). And of course a Bible study at the elite Stanford University to get Stanford undergrad and grad students to come to church, which they do (and they invite their friends). A lot of them are sincere people who have been duped, just like I was.
Exactly, Mirele. Would they throw “Scripture verses” about broken arms? Diabetes? Vision problems? No! But other problems that need medical care or outside therapy (trauma, etc.) they disavow. I saw many people perpetually stuck in their problems who could have made vast improvements had they gotten outside, professional help a long time ago from licensed professionals.
I am aware that the police department in my local community actively detect and remove officers that want the job so they can be in authority. The pastor job is a much better alternative, you get to be the boss, you get much better hours and a whole bunch of groupies to boot.
Law Prof wrote:
I was thinking the same thing. There are only so many NPDs to go around and if the clergy sucks in so many of them your last point may not be hyperbole.
My ex-NeoCal church in Silicon Valley, headed by a John MacArthur Master’s College/Seminary graduate, has Bible studies at the elite Stanford University but not the poorer and larger public university, San Jose State University.
I think that has been intentional on their part. Plant a church in a high net-worth neighborhood with high-income earners. Try to attract students from a top-flight university that have high-earning potential and get them to invite their friends (don’t go to the cheaper public university, with probably more liberal students).
I recently asked this question. If you realized that if you left your church you would be shunned and lose all your friends, would you leave?
The correct answer would be yes, and the sooner the better. How much more of your life do you want to waste with “friends” that are fake? It may be over-used but it sounds like living in the matrix.
good for you, for being courageous & acting on your conscience. I actually knew your ex-pastor, many moons ago. he was a really great guy. I had a crush on him.
his transformation is very surprising, & disappointing. I guess the pursuit of
‘being transformed by the renewing of your mind’ can go very wrong at times.
Law Prof wrote:
That is so creepy.
I do feel safer out of church than in.
Even barring the psychopaths or preachers with NPD, I kept running into garden variety Christians who said insensitive things when I went to them for support in the months after my mom’s passing, and for some other stuff I was dealing with.
Marquis said in a post earlier that the church was financially supporting Joe’s family for some time. The mother had a job, but the dad did not, IIRC.
“A lot of them are sincere people who have been duped”
what’s the selling point?
is it wanting high personal standards, and therefore wanting to be in a community of like-minded people who corporately strive for “high standards”? (which in actuality are totally unhealthy, toxic, ridiculous standards)
is it part of being a high achiever in life in general?
Law Prof wrote:
Wow … at that rate, we need to refer to NPD as “Narcissistic Pastor Disorder!”
Law Prof wrote:
Perhaps it has more to do with the effect of their theology, than their geographical location. Young Presbyterian pastors in Canada are no doubt New Calvinists … it’s the ‘in’ thing for their theological leaning. The YRR narcissists blogged about on TWW are always right; the rest of us are always wrong in our Christian belief and practice. At the root of it all is a spiritual sickness, not a personality disorder.
If this church is vested in the odious Billy Graham Rule (most are), I could see how a woman could use this to her advantage, to get around the “no witnesses permitted” rule:
Insist, per the Billy Graham Rule, that you be permitted a witness with you when you meet with the preacher or elders, because you don’t want anyone to think you are tempting the idiot pastor of the church. Hee.
Velour, thank you for posting in detail the miserable experience you had. TWW and other watchblogs are reporting other pastors/churches exhibiting these traits in belief and practice. Such ministers and ministries are becoming too common. I’ll use the word dodged in discussions of this sort, because we are too nice and don’t want to judge others … “Cult”.
I thought his point 8 (from the upper half of the page) was applicable to churches:
8. Organizations often try to “handle” negative things in-house to avoid bad publicity, so they are reluctant to report even gross criminal misconduct on the part of the predators in their midst; preferring to transfer them, fire them, or have them leave quietly.
I linked to a news story about how JMac’s church and incompetent biblical counseling caused one young man from his church to commit suicide.
To answer your question (which I realize was likely rhetorical, but here goes anyhow): they’re hypocrites.
Medical care is A-OK for them, but not for average pew potatoes.
If JMac or his buddies had clinical depression or whatever other problem, I can guarantee you they would make exceptions for themselves and run out to visit a secular psychologist or psychiatrists and/or take medications for it.
Bill M wrote:
That is the correct answer, but it still hurts. It hurts to love people deeply and to be shunned. People that I spent time with, celebrated with, cried with about deaths and sorrows.
As my sister said that look at the price those members would pay if they had contact with me or other members? People have to be ready to leave.
It really is mind-control. Members aren’t permitted to hear the “other side of the story” from the pastors/elders who are masterful liars and manipulators.
Everyone the pastors/elders accused of being “ungodly” or “we worked that person for years to no avail” says they were subjected to years of abusive meetings, being threatened, screamed at.
When the senior pastor announced to us the excommunication/shunning of the (godly) doctor in his 70s the senior pastor manipulatively told us to “pray for his wife”. His wife told me an entirely different story when I interviewed them. She said that she had always disliked the senior pastor, the elders, the church, thought something was terribly wrong, thought that members weren’t healthy and were emotionally needy (couldn’t stand on their own), and she repeatedly warned her husband that they shouldn’t go to this church!
Imagine that…my ex-senior pastor NEVER told us that.
Sometimes the indoctrination starts very young.
Do you remember the coloring book for kids at Furtick’s church, that tells them he is their visionary, and it’s their duty to support him?
Here’s a link:
Yes, Max. It is a cult. It’s a high-control group that exerts more and more control over every aspect of peoples’ lives. My sister said that when I was ready to challenge the Chairman of the Elder Board back when I said I didn’t owe them an apology (telling me I was “destined for Hell” and “not one of us” for opposing them bringing their friend a Megan’s List sex offender/child pornographer to church and latitude to everything). My sister said I had grown strong enough to leave. She said she’s glad they kicked me out or I might not have left on my own. She hated what they had done to me, as did friends, and she said the things I was finally able to criticize about the group I was not able to see before (although everyone around me saw it). Thank you.
@Max and LawProf,
If most pastors stay in ministry for about 7 years and then leave, could that explain the decrease in the number of NPDs?
Former CLCer wrote:
From her view, it’s okay to be disrespectful to you, but you must at all times treat her oh so gently.
That sounds like certain family members of mine (and a certain co-worker of mine years ago). I’m sorry you had to deal with that.
In addition to being a fear based religion, that is if you don’t knuckle under and hoe the row the way they say you gotta’ hoe it, you’re probably ‘not saved’ in the first place. I think another big clincher is the need for group approval which in and of itself is common to all humans who gather in groups.
When I had really deep clinical depression I read books and listened to sermons by various preachers about depression. Most of them shamed the reader/listener for relying on any sort of help other than prayer or Bible reading.
For years, I felt guilty about taking the meds. Then I went off and on and off when I got into my 20s. I was off for a good long time, because of Christian-induced guilt about using psychiatrists and meds.
At some point towards my late 20s, I had enough. The psychological pain was so great, I wanted relief.
There comes a point where no matter how strongly you’ve been shamed or guilt tripped by religious teaching, the pain outweighs any concerns about letting God down, being unspiritual, being unbiblical, or whatever.
So I have some hope that others with mental health problems get to that point and seek outside assistance no matter how much shaming their churches are throwing at them.
IIRC, some guy from JMac’s church (JMac is anti- meds or psychology for treatment of stuff like depression) went ahead and saw a (qualified, not quack) Christian psychiatrist.
The doctor wrote about this in his book. The doctor said, if I remember right, that this patient kept the visits a secret because he knew that JMac and/or the rest of the church would not approve if they found out.
On the surface my ex-NeoCal/John MacArthurite-church in Silicon Valley had several selling points.
*It’s smaller than some mega churches in the area and you can know other people and be known.
*It has potluck meals nearly every Sunday after church service with a rotating menu of themed food (Mexican, Italian, Asian, Soup & Sandwiches, Salad Bar, Taco Bar, Soups & Stews, Chef’s Choice). That brings in the crowds. University students from Stanford. Other people in the community. High-tech engineers used to eating on the run and not having home cooked food.
*On Sunday mornings there are donuts and coffee for those attending Adult Sunday School.
*Bible Studies. Seems, on the surface, like more closeness and getting to know people in a large, metro area that can be anonymous.
*Nice members. They, overall, are a nice bunch of members who are duped.
*There’s classes on Greek and Hebrew so you can *truly understand the Bible*.
*There’s an emphasis that they are “Biblically-sound”, etc. (It just means don’t use your brains.)
I think that for people who are used to rigid rulings, obeying (including from a cultural perspective and “honoring your elders”) it seems “like home”.
For others who have experienced chaos or emotional trauma growing up, or are in a crisis, it seems like “family”, at first.
We weren’t told it was the Heavy Shepherding Movement from the 1970s. We weren’t told it was a cult. They just strip you of yourself…over time. Like erosion.
Bill M wrote:
And some of them get the big paying conferences, book paying gigs…
Bill M wrote:
Another sad thing that plays into this are the sheeple who defend these NPD / greedy / abusive doofi (plural: doofus) “preachers,” rather than hold them accountable.
Bill M wrote:
I don’t know if this is true of out and out abusive churches, but I’ve read so many testimonies by Christians on other sites who said when they stopped going to their church of X years for a few weeks or months, due to health problems (or whatever), that not one single person from their church called to see if they were okay, and none of them stayed in touch.
Many church friends(from what I’ve seen other people say) only want to socialize or be your friend so long as you go to their church. I don’t know why that is.
If we’re both talking about my ex-pastor (C.M.), I’m glad that you NEVER ended up with him. He was from an abusive family (father) and in my opinion has turned out just like his father. I believe that my ex-pastor should have been in professional therapy years ago to deal with what an abusive person he has become. Scores of ex-members (men and women, all ages, all professions, many wealthy) describe these meetings with him in which he screams and yells and threatens them. Me too.
I saw him order his college-aged daughter to get him something at their home, I was there on church business and some documents, and she just did it with absolute submission, I could tell that she was used to be trained to “obey”, and it wasn’t a relaxed interchange (dad and daughter, but master and servant). It’s like something you’d see on an episode of the Duggars & how their daughters behave. Just Stepford-ish.
Thanks for all of your posts. I appreciate them all!
That last sentence that says:”you could even say that blind followers are actually guilty, in a sense, of corrupting their leaders.” No,and again no!! Those corrupt leaders will have to answer to God for their own corruption. Idolatry and spiritual pride may be sins that the blind followers have to answer for–but their leaders sowed the seeds and harvested that crop of corruption all on their own. Incidentally, siteseer, I really enjoy your comments, just don’t agree with that one.
About the shunning. If I went to this type of church and was told to shun Mary Smith, I could always call or e-mail Mary Smith on the sly.
Nobody from the rest of the church would ever have to know. So I wonder why more members don’t just ignore the shunning rule nonsense?
If Mary Smith doesn’t announce all over the world that you’re staying in touch with her, and goodness knows you are not going to spill the beans yourself, how is Church Inc. or Pastor Doofus ever going to know? I think I would go ahead and stay in touch with Mary Smith.
Two comments on different topics. CLC used to do nouethic counseling. It was very harmful to people who were already depressed, feeling badly about themselves, and/or mentally ill. I have no idea what type of counseling they promote now.
I was nervous when I left CLC in 2000 that people would shun me. But I had enough true friends that I kept in contact with for awhile. I have now lost touch with many of them, but I was impressed.
The practice of shunning is done under the authority of folks who control, manipulate and intimidate others (it’s their spiritual gifting – not Holy Spirit). Members who don’t follow the rules to shun those who have been targeted should expect to be put on the list next. Their names might even be projected on a big screen for all to see right after the praise and worship songs (just kidding of course, I think). Why would anyone in their right mind want to be a member of such church … of course, they are not in their right spiritual mind to do so.
First, the pastors/elders are master manipulators and liars. They whip the entire congregation into a frenzy of dislike and hatred about a person, questioning that person. The pastors/elders INTENTIONALLY omit The Truth. They never told the congregation about the sex offender, the pastors/elders threats to me, that the sex offender could have access to kids, that moms had no say, that the pastors/elders had ordered me (and anyone else) into silence and to have no contact with law enforcement about the sex offender. The pastors/elders omitted that they are engaged in obstruction of justice, a felony crime in our state CA, that they can be arrested, prosecuted, and if found guilty can end up in state prison.
Members are blind-sided. They really don’t know what to believe. I mean why shouldn’t they trust these pastors/elders whom they have trusted before? Why would they think these “nice guys” would threaten and bully and scream behind closed doors, by phone to your home? All of the ex-members of this church who fled said it was done to them too. We all know and have compared notes.
It’s a very manipulative, mind-controlling, cultic process.
Muff Potter wrote:
My ex-pastors/elders also constantly talked about being “The Elect” and the whole rabid NeoCalvinism doctrine. Ex-pastor would say from the pulpit that when Christ returns that we’d be given horses to ride with him. Ex-pastor described himself on a horse with his name, riding with Christ to do battle.
I sat in my pew thinking, “You, Pastor, treat people like garbage. You bully and lie and threaten and abuse, including spiritually. You have done so much damage to peoples’ lives. And after all that, you’re not broken by it, but you think Christ will reward you with a horse? Christ wouldn’t trust you with the manure in the horses’ stable!”
You’re welcome. 🙂
Yep,strange it is when ken preaches on what the bible says about men who don’t work! I can’t remember the verse he uses. Daisy wrote:
Which was a valid defense under German bureaucratic tradition. As long as the one following orders could produce a paper trail, he was off the hook. (This was why Nazi atrocities were so well documented — order-follower CYA.)
I’ve been there too, marquis put it better than I could.
This is very common, Daisy. Church members at my ex-church who were sick and had problems, who weren’t able to make it, were ALWAYS surprised that I kept in touch with them, sent them cards, dropped off food, emailed, called, asked what I could do for them. They told me that I was the ONLY person that reached out to them. Isn’t this the “one anothers”? I mean…we’re supposed to be known for our love and kindness, our gentles, our care. I honestly don’t get it when people think they have no responsibility for their brother/sister.
Bill M wrote:
Bill, thanks for sharing Marquis’ insights. As another saying goes, sometimes God does for us what we can’t do for ourselves. In this case, get out! Free, free, free at last!
As my sister pointed out about my ex-church that the whole place was totally unloving. They didn’t live out in their actions what they preached and talked about.
Thank you, NancyJane.
Maybe you are right. Most people are naive and trusting. Having been through being shunned twice, at 2 different churches, I guess I have gotten impatient with people.
As someone who has had some serious health problems over the years, I can attest to this. I came to see that church is for the strong and healthy, the able-bodied who can work. Once you cannot do work for the church, you are set aside.
I experienced the heavy Shepherding Movement from the 70’s in my former abusive Christian cult. You nailed it in your description. Slowly over time you lose your person. One day you wake up and it dawns on you that you can’t think on your own.
This is exactly what I experienced in the PCA church we attended when I was in high school. We were Methodist, but all my friends went to this church, so we started attending. I got a good Bible education and had fun with my friends, but my parents didn’t find a place to fit in and noted how unfriendly people were. The members just didn’t give a you-know-what about others. That’s when I decided that Christian was not just a noun but also a verb. The “heathen” Methodists up the street turned out to be much better at being Christians.
I’m so glad I saw this. This statement is an answer to a pray for wisdom about something that happened in the past, a work situation, any hoo… back to the topic at hand.
Thank you for your words of encouragement, Friend! Once before I got totally ticked off by injustice in CA toward high-risk crime victims and I spent 4-years changing CA law. I testified before a CA State Senate committee, my bill passed the CA State Senate and then the Assembly, and a former governor signed it into law.
One of my most gratifying days – after spending my own time and my own money doing it (including contacting every district attorney for every county in CA for their support for the bill) was when I worked in a family law office. A client who consulted with us said she was in this program for high-risk crime victims and that I probably hadn’t heard about it. I said, “I actually have heard about it. I’m the California woman who got it passed into law. Four years of hard work, calling and writing all of the district attorneys in every county, testifying in the state capitol, landing a page 1 Sunday story in a large newspaper after begging the editors that this was ‘the story of our time’.” The woman client burst into tears in front of her fiancé, and she wrapped her arms around me and cried and cried and cried. She thanked me. She said she was so grateful.
And it was in that moment that I realized that it was all worth it. That I finally met someone who was helped by it and the years of hard work were absolutely worth it to protect people like her!
The sex abuse of minors is the No. 1 reason that churches are sued every single year according to attorney Richard Hammar at Church Law & Tax. He researches thousands of lawsuits against churches each year. Below is his chart from last year. He usually releases a new chart and related article in the late Spring. I will post this year’s here when it’s out.
In many states churches and the pastors/elders, as individuals, can be sued for their torts (from the Old French word for wrong/injustice/crime).
Yes, you are right! Funny thing is my ex husband attempted to control me, never worked. Ken underestimates women. Julie Anne Smith wrote:
That’s exactly what the study’s author thinks: “…it is speculated that the decline is due to the narcissistic temperament not being amenable to the demands of long-term ministry, leading to disappointment and dissatisfaction with a resulting decision to seek non-ministerial employment.”
They’re not real friendships, they’re props, they give the church a form of godliness–but of course without the power. Friendship among people whom one is trying to control is an existential threat to the controller.
There’s a culture of fear in such places; if they live in some sort of idolatry of the leader and the leader tells them Mary’s in great sin or rightful discipline or damned because she left the group, they fear the same consequences for themselves. There’s also a culture of informing on one another, never know who might tattle, who might be on the outs one month with you calling to comfort them because of the shunning, then back in the fold the next, and ratting you out for having disobeyed the leader–then it’s your turn to be shunned. This stuff really is of the devil.
You cannot give what you do not have. However angry I am on your behalf with Ken Ramey, I am also so sad that he is missing out on who God truly is and what God truly has to offer in grace.
“We are a society of skeptics and non-believers towards the victims who have been stripped of everything and need us most to believe them, to support them, and to take a stand for them. Maybe it just starts with a statement to break down the walls of guilt, confusion, and fear that are still keeping victims silent and shamed.” TDB http://thebea.st/1LEq3Yr
Thanks, TWW, for making the statement(s) needed to break down walls.
Calvary Chapel teaches pretty much the same thing, and for the most part, they repudiate reformed thought. They’re not as big on this stuff (end times fervor) as they used to be when Papa Chuck was still around, but some of their big-whigs still sponsor and attend ‘prophecy’ conferences all over the place.
They’re continuing where they are at so far, I doubt they are new converts, rather they already have this background and are perpetuating it. I did until I was about 29. I wouldn’t have thought studying IT as challenging or enlightening any belief sets (not like the subversive sociology ha ! ref: previous comment about a uni that excludes this and other subjects).
Law Prof wrote:
oh yes, this is what I thought when Daisy suggesting getting in contact/emailing. This behaviour is more than school playground progression, it’s a veritable Stasi-land.
Good for you, and thank you for all your work on this!
Bill M wrote:
Bill, I have read the evidence at Watchmanwakes. Do you think it’s only in The Twilight Zone where Jews and Masons masquerade as Christians? Also, John Macarthur’s biographer has written that he was present at the MLK assassination crime scene and saw MLK’s blood first hand. How did Macarthur gain access to this scene? Please let me know..
I had that same response: Thjs reminds me of workplace-bullying cases. And that worthless counselor reminds me of a slimy, weasely HR guy I once went to for help. While he was lying through his teeth at me, I kept wanting to blurt out, “Do you really think I’m so stupid that I can’t see through your blatant lies?”
This like what I was thinking, too.
Funny how it is the people who are claiming to be “christian” who caused so much pain for Shauna & Billy, but the gay couple go out of their way to be kind……..Hmmmmm……I have a feeling that some folks who think a lot of themselves (like KR & Co.) are going to be hearing “I never knew you”.
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
Ah, yes. Odd how the KRs of the world manage to leave that story out of their Bibles…..
I just saw your post, Eagle. Spot on, brother. And kudos to our lovely hostesses The Deebs (Dee and Deb). They have created this as a ministry to people who have been so wounded in churches, they have written in-depth articles, contacted opponents in stories, done some amazing journalism. They have worked incredibly hard for so many to permit us to help each other. They have cried into their pillows at the heartbreaking stories that they get. And they do all of this hard work while attending to their own families, aging, ill parents.
Gram3 deprogrammed me of that Patriarchy mess I’d been taught at my ex-NeoCal church that I knew was so wrong. She gave me the history of the whole mess. Bless her.
There are other reasons why they might be catered to…..like, say…..Joe’s family knows where the bodies are buried? Dirty little (& not so little) secrets can make the strangest folks flock together.
These authoritarian “pastors” are new to me but I can draw from historical despots I have more read much more about. Despots do cultivate those with the resources they crave, but they unfailingly reward yes men above all others. Loyalty is the coin of their realm.
If you have dirt on a despot expect to live a short life. In the case of “pastors” who are restrained from using such “tools”, figure they likely have the dirt on their potential informants.
I had thought that too. There’s a lot more going on that’s unrelated to this situation but could be exposed.
Mark S wrote:
Thank you for posting. I am so sorry that you are among the shunned. Me too in Northern California, along with other members of my ex-NeoCal/John MacArthur-ite church. My ex-church is headed by a Master’s College/Seminary graduate and they rent from the Seventh Day Adventists on Fremont Ave. in Sunnyvale, Ca.
My ex-pastors and his ‘yes-men’ elders are the most abusive, controlling, spiritually abusive, coercive people. Church members were “disciplined before all” for anything. Trying to leave the church got people disciplined. They even kicked out one of Pastor John MacArthur’s personal friends, a godly doctor married for some 50 years, on some trumped up charge that he had “taught heresy”. He NEVER even taught at the church and NEVER taught heresy. JMac’s teaching came back to bite him. I was excommunicated/shunned for opposing pastors bringing Megan’s List sex offender/child pornographer to church, leadership position, and access to kids and telling no one.
Many people fled my ex-church: married couples, singles, entire families, church staff members. Some attenders got up and walked out during the church service never to return. I wish I had been one of them.
These men have a lot to answer for. They have no love of Jesus Christ in them. They’re all about themselves. Their power, their self-importance, their love of their own ideas, their legalism, their doctrine. Where is the Gospel? Where is Christ’s love? For one another? For outsiders.
The world is a big place and there are many loving people outside the doors of our abusive churches. Take care.
@ Headless Unicorn Guy:
Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:
After I got treated the way we did by ken I began to research macarthur because ken idolizes this man. I had to figure out why we were treated like this where did it come from.
First let me tell you just a,little of what I found. John Macarthur is a FREEMASON his father and grandfather are masons in fact they have their own Klan of freemasons (hes Scottish ) Freemasonry is not just a men’s club! It’s SATANIC and I can point you to YouTube video of masons who clearly state it! There’s so much information showing that it is I don’t understand the attacks on the watchmen. This information I found came before I ever saw the watchmen wakes website. Anyways he has did some incredible research and I wouldn’t discount it so quickly. The man there is without a doubt a Christian he clearly loves the Lord because through what he found out about what happened to BILLY I have had nothing but 100% support from him. I am asking all of you please do some background checking on what he is saying. Go research the topics the people and you will see he’s not crazy. This man is trying to sound the warning about John MacArthur. This man has been pushed around by John macarthur goons he has handed out flyers outside GCC and has had the police called on him when he was on public property and had every right to hand those flyers out. Ken Ramey tried to discredit him because he exposed the dead animal games taking place at ken rameys church and the youth camps! Ken put a member under discipline IMMEDIATELY when she and her husband asked why he exposed their children to that and when she began to question john macarthurs statement ” you can still receive the mark of the beast and be redeemed be saved during the tribulation ” yes people john said it and it’s on YouTube and other sites where he’s doing a question and answer. So this immediately bring this woman under church discipline because women can’t question kens leader the big dawg macarthur! !!! Anyway she’s not the first out if LBC to question macarthurs teaching and get disciplined for it! I’m not a conspiracy theorist but I will tell you that I’m a mother of a raped child who was tossed out with her baby by men who model after macarthur. He’s a head honcho in the evangelical world. There is,something amiss in WHOVILLE when this happens to the body. Obviously watchmen wakes is trying to point a lot of the why’s no matter how,weird it comes across because to be honest NONE OF IT is right about what these pastors who follow john macarthur are doing I said my peace. You guys,your support is amazing and me and billy love you so much for loving us. We are the body and I’m so grateful dee has connected us. Mark S wrote:
I love these guys they are incredibly kind. They have been good to my son and are aware of what happened to him and the response from Ken Ramey!!!!! Can someone say ” shame on you Ken for hurting Christs reputation with unbelievers ” notice the sarcasm because ken loves to say he and the elders need to gaurd the flock, they are to protect the souls of those at LBC He has placed them as Christ. Wow Jesus pays the ultimate penalty in our place He sheds his blood, He creates the universe and everything in it yet Christ needs Ken Ramey and the elders to gaurd the souls of Christs children those He has called children? Whoa Ken is a bit puffed up there I don’t believe God needs us to do anything for Him in protecting His children. Yah ken I think Christ does a better job and can handle my soul just fine without you!@ Todd Wilhelm:
@ Mark S:
Phil Johnson wrote a post on pyro years back about McArthur’s arrest as a civil rights activist in the marches.
You don’t have to convince me that McArthur is an authoritarian tyrant. I am well aware. I just don’t think the freemason angle helps to make the case.
It does if you’re into Grand Unified Masonic Conspiracy Theories, an old but hardly-noble tradition.
Taking this line is damaging your credibility.
You are starting to come across as a Conspiracy nutjob when it comes to the Freemasons.
Who’s the enemy here — “Pastor” Ramey and his Pet Pedo who did Billy or some Vast Conspiracy of Faceless Freemasons?
Maintain focus, not Hyperfocus.
Maintain Situational Awareness, not tunnel vision that can switch you off on a tangent.
See how IMPORTANT Ken Ramey is? SEE? SEE? SEE?
Oh my word! That open letter is brilliant. It is spot on with my experience in the seeker mega worlds. I wish I could have articulated it as well as thus guy.
I guess Andy Stanley is STILL a mega rock star.
Selfish if you don’t buy into his view of what ‘church’ should be?
As Nick Bulbeck would say:
“What a steaming sheep of height”
I was simply saying that I see some of what he was saying. Because I see that does not negate what was done to my son. It is hurtful to call me a nut job especially when I did not attack anyone. I just said in his defense to look for yourself and decide. What john macarthur does or is it isn’t going to change what happened and why this story is here to begin with. I am sickened by the fact that you used PET PEDOPHILES DID BILLY!!!!That is my kid he raped!He didn’t do him @ Todd Wilhelm:
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
It’s true Phil Johnson wrote a post on Macarthur’s arrest. But he lied in that post by stating that Macarthur was arrested for “preaching the gospel” in MS. Also, Phil Johnson has never explained exactly how it was that Macarthur had access to a barricaded MLK crime scene. Nor has Phil Johnson explained how Macarthur knew to go to the rooming house across from the Lorraine Motel before this information was made public.
There is abundant evidence John Macarthur is a Mason. This means he can’t be a Christian. And there is also abundant evidence he is a Druid.
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
Marquis, See how the game is played? Your credibility is now damaged because you believe the evidence that Macarthur is a Mason. So now maybe your son wasn’t raped at all. You are also now a conspiracy nutjob. Headless Unicorn has no love for truth, he’s now going to peer pressure you to give up the “crazy” notion that Masons have conspired to destroy Christianity. You keep speaking truth, Marquis, and don’t bow to Unicorn’s peer pressure tactics.
Unicorn can’t understand that there was an environment created at LBC which allowed and enabled that response to your son’s rape. And it’s most important to understand that the blueprint for this environment came from John Macarthur. And now that we are seeing so many abuses within the Macarthurite churches, it begs the question: Who exactly is John Macarthur. I know he’s no Christian.
Marquis, You don’t need to defend youself to Unicorn. You continue to attend to facts and truths whatever they may be and whereever they may lead. In Unicorn’s mind, you may not be telling the truth about your son afterall, if you also believe Macarthur is a Mason. Marquis, just count it all joy when they call you names for speaking truth..don’t back down. Unicorn doesn’t understand scripture when it says that Satan’s ministers will masquerade as ministers of righteousness.
Mark s wrote:
Now that’s enough of that. We here at TWW stand behind Shauna and Billy, and believe them 100%. You’re trying to hijack this for your own pet issue, and we’re not going to let you. Yes, there are definitely cultural issues with the church in question, but we’re not going to let you use that to keep referring us to your own website (and your own financial gain?)
All I know is that my child was raped and the churches treatment of us is unconscionable. I want to try to stick to the post at hand because it did take a lot to come forward. I’m not here to attack anyone or change opinions. I just want the truth to come out. This is not something a mother gains joy out of by exposing what happened. I hope all of you understand where I am coming from. @ Todd Wilhelm:
I do care for and love each and every one of you. Your support has meant so much to us. I do realize My son is one of many hurt by pastors who treat them this way. My prayer is that by being transparent and up front that these puts those on notice to think again before they attack victims who have been abused within the church body.
I am deeply sorry for your son’s sexual abuse by a church member and that TX. church, run by a John MacArthur Master’s Seminary graduate, turning his back on you and your son. My heart grieves.
I appreciate that there is another website devoted to the problems caused by the real problems of John MacArthur’s authoritarian, high-control, spiritually abusive Grace Community Church and its spinoff churches from Masters’ College and Masters’ Seminary graduates. This is indeed a real problem and the damaged lives of sincere Christians, churches, and reputations are mounting by the day because of this abusive atmosphere/high-control groups that John MacArthur teaches and promotes. There were vicious excommunications and shunnings at my John MacArthur-ite church headed by a Master’s Seminary graduate for dissent, wanting to leave the church, critical thinking skills, opposing how the church was being run, and in my case for opposing the pastors/elders bringing in a Megan’s List sex offender/child pornographer and telling no one.
I do agree with several posters here that the other conspiracy theories advanced such as Freemasons cause credibility to be lost. I also found the derogatory remarks about Jews on the other website to be over the top and simply not true, that every spiritual abuse problem is caused by someone who must somehow be Jewish. (Jesus was born into a Jewish line. The disciples were Jewish. Christianity is rooted in the Jewish faith. I know many Jewish people and they are lovely human beings. I won’t ratify this about them.)
As to the other website’s insinuations that John MacArthur, whom I vehemently disagree with for his authoritarianism and spiritually-abusive practices and that he teaches Masters’ Seminary pastors to emulate, is somehow connected to the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., because JMac was visiting in The South at the time and later visited the murder site, that is
a really inappropriate accusation.
It was common during that era that men would congregate around crime scenes and visit them. They weren’t roped off like they are today. It was much more informal. The men of my family had newspaper articles of them with the other men at various crime scenes looking at what had happened. It was like earning a badge in scouting for having visited one and regaling others with what it was like. (It was their version of blogs, Facebook & Twitter.) Those were the times.
As to the other website’s photos and claims that various public figures are making Freemason signs using their fingers, I disagree with that too. We have five fingers on each hand and can use our fingers in various configurations that have NOTHING to do with some kind of Freemasonry secret signs. That Freemason argument is like saying that because Freemasons use toothpaste that everyone who uses toothpaste is a Freemason.
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
Marquis, Do you understand what you are really being told here? “Lady, if you want our support, then you better toe our line, and identifying famous Christian leaders as Masons isn’t toeing our line. Get it?”
It’s not allowed at Wartburg Watch to state the fact that Billy Graham is a Mason. Instead, TWW promotes his grandson, who we are to believe is a Christian crusader.
“…among the shunned. Me too in Northern California, along with other members of my ex-NeoCal/John MacArthur-ite church.
…Many people fled my ex-church: married couples, singles, entire families, church staff members. Some attenders got up and walked out during the church service never to return. I wish I had been one of them.”
seems to me a billboard near the church location saying something akin to “Is Grace BF of SV a bad friend to have?” and then a phone # or web address could be a good thing.
Or a survivors blog.
Or, what if periodically you and your fellow excommuniqués gathered across the street on Sunday mornings, with a sign communicating something minimal, but that would get the point across that if they feel something is not quite right / wrong, they have a resource.
I did a little research on your church and nothing but happy, glowing things came up.
Sounds like there’s quite a community of those done very wrong by this preposterous-pastor-impostor & his praetorians (who I used to have a crush on in another time and place — he had lots of hair then and was very slim)
Mark S wrote:
If that is true, how do you explain the go fund me? This is not about enlisting someone to a side. I am only suggesting that a focus on McArthur being a Freemason is an unnecessary distraction to a boys rape. There are plenty of authoritarian tyrants who teach bizarre doctrine out there that cannot be tied to freemasonry.
To disparage Boz because he is Billy Graham’s grandson, who you claim is a mason, is bizarre to me. Can’t Boz be judged on his own merits?
I understand where you are coming from. I think others need to keep the Mason and JMac issues out of it.
@ Headless Unicorn Guy:
I’m sure you have good intentions — i think you can afford some restraint & be more circumspect in your word choice. given the sensitive subject matter.
Mark S wrote:
Besides being untrue, this is just nasty. Marquis, I support you regardless of your personal views. You could believe Macarthur was bozo the clown and it wouldn’t change the reality that you have been badly treated by a church and a pastor that should have been there for your support.
I believe that HUG was just cautioning you not to join unanimously with any critic of Macarthur. Simply investigate and discern for yourself. We may not agree but then if we agreed about everything one of us wold be redundant.
Yes, my ex-NeoCal church arranged to have scrubbed the negative reviews from ex-members that were on YELP as well as ex-pastor’s books on amazon. Ex-church arranged to have Amazon block me from every reviewing any product on amazon again for my negative comments about CM’s abusive practices. I appealed to the CEO of Amazon who restored my reviewing privileges.
Yes, we are starting a survivor’s blog. Yes, we do plan to have protests every now and again with other groups across from the Seventh Day Adventist Chruch on Fremont Ave in Sunnyvale, CA, whom my ex-church rents from.
I am just glad that you did’t get into the web of deceit and abuse of my ex-pastor. (I sent Christian friends in Europe his books and some JMac’s. They didn’t like them and didn’t have the heart to tell me that there was something wrong. They later told me that they had tossed them in recycling. Good thing! They were on to my ex-pastor C.M. and to JMac. One of the Christians in Europe is a sweet man, an elder in his church for about 40 years.)
Mark S wrote:
Anti-Semitism noted amid the conspiracy theories.
Mark S wrote:
Nope, that’s not what she’s being told. Her son’s rape & its appalling aftermath is the primary issue here & they is supported wholeheartedly & will continue to be. This blog champions the vulnerable & the voiceless & its primary directive is to believe the victims.
There is a broad church here & many things, including the masonic status of various christian celebs are at least secondary, if not tertiary issues. Conspiracy theories are not usually indulged here – due to their lack of evidence, not any other (conspiratorial) reason. 🙂
Plus, writing Boz off, considering the fruits of his work at GRACE in the area of abuse, seems slightly hasty. If only all Christians grew such fruit.
* they ARE supported wholeheartedly….sigh.
Shauna and I had a great talk this afternoon. Part of this was my fault. I know that Bob J was into conspiracies, going so far as to say that MacArthur is a Druid. Good night! I had been planning to talk with her in the coming week about the Mason thing.
All of you who have read this blog know that I think that the whole Free Mason things is overblown and do not look at them as involved in some sort of conspiracy, etc,. That stand has lost me a few readers but, it is what it is.
From Shauna’s perspective, BobJ was the only one who allowed her to post her story and believed her. before coming to us. So, she felt she needed to defend him. However, after we talked, she asked if I would please remove her comments regarding the Mason thing or anything else that might detract from her story.
One of the most important things that blogs can do is to support victims of terrible situations like this one with Billy and Shauna. It is really frustrating to me that some blogs out there do go off on tangents regarding things like Masons, King James Version Only, etc. It is also troubling when wonderful person like Shauna is only supported by such a blog. I am glad he supported her and posted her comments but I do not agree with his stands on these issues.
I look at this blog as one way to educate people about some of these conspiracy things while at the same time discussing things like CJ Mahaney and the seeming intransigence of the Calvinistas who support him since it does seem like a conspiracy thing on this blog. That is why we try so hard to give links, etc and urge people to read for themselves.
Shauna gets it. I told her about my dad who was a 32nd degree Mason. He went to one or two meetings a year and enjoyed grabbing a beer with the other guys who treated this as more of a club as opposed to a secret mission to destroy Christianity. He used to laugh when I brought that up to him after my conversion. He showed me his ring and even shared the secret handshake, etc. with me-laughing about those *silly* rituals. I can assure our readers that my dad worked 12 hours a day 6 days a week and 6 hours on Sunday. His favorite activity was sleeping in his big easy chair, sipping a vodka and watching football. My dad had a deathbed conversion which I have discussed on numerous occasions.
I sometimes feel sorry for folks who get going on conspiracy theories because they detract from the real business of bringing truth and light to the church. Folks, the real problems in the church involves very real cover up and conspiracies to hide child sex abuse, domestic violence and hyper authoritarianism. The little guy down the street who goes to a yearly Masonic meeting is not the problem.
Due to the difficulties at home these days in caring for my relatives, I am missing some of these opportunities to jump in and help out. I apologize. and will do my best to keep abreast of things.
For now, let me tell you what Shauna must face this evening. Ken Ramey has called an all church meeting in which he will discuss what is going on. I think it is possible that we will get a report from the meeting. In the meantime, I have heard from Amy Smith, SNAP, in Dallas who believes we will need to go to the press with this. I think it is a great idea.
Hi I spoke to Dee and I agree that at the very least the topic should remain on Billy. He has done a good thing here by telling all of you what happened well allowing dee to tell it. I can speak for my son that he and I both know we are supported by everyone. Headless Unicorn Guy I misunderstood what your intent was on saying what you said. Again I want to stick to this story because my son is reading the comments and it’s upsetting to him when he saw the comment that he may not be believed. I assured him he has an incredible support system here. I believe everyone here supports Billy @ Todd Wilhelm:
Thank you for devoting so much time and skill to supporting Shauna and her son, and for everything you do for TWW and its teeming millions. You and Deb have wrought a minor miracle by cultivating a group with so many different views, which are nearly always discussed responsibly even when people challenge one another.
He is absolutely believed. And supported, trusted, prayed for, and even loved by people who will never have the privilege of meeting the two of you.
I was unaware of that connection. Thanks to Bob J even though I don’t agree with him.
Sometimes we have to struggle against ourselves to not co-opt people into our own agendas. I think Dee and Deb do a wonderful job of just supporting people.
Thank you soooo much for your support I will make sure he sees this@ Todd Wilhelm:
You basically described my dad, 32nd degree, Shriner, wore the ring to the end of his life, used Freemasonry as a way of growing his business (he was an entrepreneur), and worked harder than anyone I’ve ever known. Simply had no time for conspiracies and overthrowing governments or churches. He did love football and beer and playing golf, not necessarily in that order. He did believe that all religions were pretty much pointing in the same direction and told me that was a major tenet of Freemasonry, but in all candor, I doubt he believed in any of it, he never really believed in God. He unfortunately had no deathbed conversion, at least none I ever knew of–and trust me, I tried to make the point about Jesus to the end with him. There may be some people who are Freemason infiltrators somewhere, surely that exists, but I truly think that the average conspiracy theorist is more harmful to a church than the average Freemason.
Law Prof wrote:
You win the Internet today!
@ Law Prof:
The inly thing that would be pretty cool is to learn of a real conspiracy like “There really were aliens at Area 51.” Alas, it does not look hopeful!
Boz T is an attorney, a former sex crimes prosecutor (who headed a unit dealing with child sexual abuse cases), is a law school professor, and a tireless advocate for sex abuse victims & their families. He also works on child sex abuse prevention trainings at churches and other Christian groups, such as schools. He “gets it”.
When I was ordered to be excommunicated and shunned from my ex-NeoCal church (a John MacArthur-ite church plant headed by a Masters’ Seminary graduate) for opposing the pastors/elders bringing in their friend a Megan’s List sex offender/child pornographer and telling no one, the pastors/elders threatening me in meetings and by phone to my home, Boz T was one of the first to defend me. He said that my excommunication from that Sunnyvale, CA church on Fremont Ave that rents from the Seventh Day Adventists was “a badge of honor”.
The recent re-boot of the x-files (6 episodes) tried to do just that and the first installment was pretty good. But after that the usual-no-talent-writers and assorted hacks took over and tried to feed us the goofy feces the original series degenerated into towards its end.
NJ: re these “let’s get away from the big bad world” communities: It’s a recipe for disaster every single time. IMHO at least. Google the Oneida Community and similar 19th-century experiments. No matter what their religious provenance, these parachurch intentional communities always seem to go wonky and cultish.
I am the godmother of a 23-year survivor of a predominantly Catholic (ecumenical) “charismatic covenant community.” She and her family are still reeling from the wounds they suffered under this community’s toxic, abusive “Shepherding and Discipling” leadership. For a fascinating series on a similar community, google the Washington Post series on the Mother of God Community in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Toxic Cult to the nth degree.
And oh yeah, the Benedict Option is a fraud, and so is Dreher. In all seriousness 🙂 how can you stand his sloppy, maudlin prose? It makes my skin crawl.
You at TWW stand behind Shauna and Billy? Then why was her credibility just brought into question? And why was she just called a nutjob? My “pet” issue is speaking truth. God forbid I should refer to a website that tells more truths than you can handle. I’ve been to the watchmanwakes website. You tell me how it makes money. You are just making things up now.
Mark S wrote:
Yes, TWW stands behind this courageous mother and son. Only one person here has tried to convince them that we don’t believe them. That person would be you. If you have any genuine regard for these two brave and suffering people, you will stop repeating things that have already upset them.
So you know that famous men who are Masons never acknowledge their Masonic membership to others using handshakes or hand signals. And this fact “you disagree with too.” This shows quite frankly that you have no idea what you are talking about because all Masonic degrees employ signals whether hand signals, verbal signals, or handshakes so that one member of the craft may be made known to another. This is very well known.
sarahtaras.com , she was amazing to post as well. Dee you are amazing and others are following your lead. @ Todd Wilhelm:
Yes, Jews could never conspire. And Freemasonry isn’t 100% Jewish as many Jews claim.
Please let’s just for the sake of peace keep this about Billy and not fight. I am going to focus on him with these posts as my son is reading them. I don’t want to insight any fighting or disagreements. He knows he is being supported and he absolutely loves Dee. She has spoke with billy on the phone and my son already thinks the world of Dee and what she is doing for him. As it stands now Ken Ramey and the elders i.e. Tyler Jacobs is holding a grow group tonight. He is going to answer questions about the situation. Keep in mind they got a lot of people in the church siding with Ken in his claims that I am now crazy, I’m a lier, gossip, divisive, ohhh and this is a good one I want money because I was attempting to take the perpetrators mother to small claims court and sue for about 7,000 in medical bills and 3,000 for further counseling for billy! I don’t know how I can get rich when the collection agencies and attorney offices send me letters pay or we take you to court! I handed over Joes plea deal (which is sealed in his juvenile record ) however not when a lawsuit is filed. I’m handed over the medical bills, and my filing to show exactly what I did and why including the amount. $10,000 for small claims in Texas max. Well all of its gone straight for billys medical care and counseling. Well we got nothing because I dropped the civil suit. Because LBC was paying to help Joes family financially they hired an attorney (John Choate ) to represent them denying any responsibilty for bilkys medical bills (hmmmmm didn’t joe plead guilty ) ? Yes! So I will be turning these documents over to shown that we have the truth and I’m standing on it! By the way wasn’t Jesus called a lunatic? He told the truth!
If the church is impartial and fair as ken is leading everyone to believe then why did they get the family an attorney? Remember if they have financially supported this family then they are paying for the attorney. This guy was not nice and he tried to intimidate me by requesting that I come in and do a deposition (for small claims court) and said I needed to get an attorney to explain what that was and what his paperwork meant. This might be true and to a single mom never dealing with attorneys like this it was intimidating to say the least. I’m asking for medical bill reimbursement which as a mother of a victim I believe just on Christian principles this is something the family should have gladly paid out of remorse for what their son did. I have yet to hear I’m sorry my son hurt your child. By the way if this,ever occurs I do expect that there wold be full acknowledgement meaning full disclosure
A little side reading revealed the following helpful 10 characteristics of conspiracy theorists:
One and two are:
1. Arrogance. They are always fact-seekers, questioners, people who are trying to discover the truth: skeptics are always “sheep”, patsies …
The rest of the linked post is worthy of review.
Yeah, Free Masonry is a just a harmless club, sharing a beer on a night out with the guys. You must be nuts to think they play an important role in a well organized plan to establish a one world government. And those silly rituals…did you dad ever tell you that those silly rituals are occult initiations or that all 32nd degree Masons have taken oaths to Lucifer?
Mark please stop I’m asking you to just keep this about billy right now. I’m not mad I’m not attacking you or even telling you not to express your feelings about this subject. Billy has shown great courage here to let his story be told. Please can you support him by keeping this discussion to the topic? I see your passion on the subject and I respect you enough to ask you please let’s support billy and maybe discuss your views on an alternate platform? @ Todd Wilhelm:
Mark S wrote:
Please anyone else continuing this,subject with Mark can you guys,support billy and keep to the topic at hand and maybe take this,disagreement to another platform? I’m not attacking anyone just asking for my sons sake. marquis wrote:
A rape, or even a sexual assault as they call it, is not the time for impartiality. If “pastor” Ken is saying the church should be impartial in the face of injustice then I want no part of him or his church.
Mark S wrote:
I totally agree that Freemasonry, should one really believe in its tenets, is incompatible with Christianity. But Freemasonry is not what is doing violence to the conversation here, we are not being assaulted by Freemasons–we are being assaulted by a completely off topic conspiracy rant from you, Mark. You’re the problem on this particular thread right now, not the Freemasons.
Bill M wrote:
Sounds like the average neocalvinist or sociopathic mega church leader.
Law Prof wrote:
Maybe that’s the whole idea?
Gaslight and misdirection?
Mark S wrote:
Is this my sociopath brother under an alias? Because this is exactly the kind of gaslighting and character assassination he’d do when he put on his Sweet Little Angel of Light mask and turned on the butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-his-mouth wide-eyed Sincerity.
Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:
And they were far from the Weirdest.
I’ll take you one Oneida Community and raise you one Battle-Axes:
Mark S wrote:
It must be Opposite Day at Mark S’s place, where you say The Exact Opposite of what is actually True.
Mark S. do you have any input on what happened to billy? Would you mind giving your thoughts on Ken Ramey and his attempts to dismiss, slander, and attack a child who has been raped? @ Todd Wilhelm:
I’m just waiting for the Protocols of the Elders of Zion chapter-and-verse Proof Texts to begin.
At the request of marquis I think it best to take all further masonic discussion over to the open discussion thread.
Mark s wrote:
Now THAT is a Sociopath buttering up somebody with the “I’m Your Only Real Friend” shtick. I figured out who Mark S has to be: Grima Wormtongue.
Mark s wrote:
The Gaulish/Celtic Druids we only know from Roman accounts, the Druids of Victorian-era “speculative reconstruction”, the Druids who took that “speculative reconstruction” for Fact and SCRIPTURE and ran with it, or the D&D character class?
Mark S. Do you support Billy? If so can you please tell me what you think of what Ken Ramey is doing to him? You are keeping this post off topic and this is not the forum to do that. At least not on the topic at hand. It’s like you want to deviate from what happened to billy on purpose and I don’t understand why. I’m not saying you don’t have a,right to express what you believe but your seriously taking away from Billy. I’m asking you please consider this unless you are doing it on purpose then I don’t even have words. I’m trying to be diplomatic and not accuse or attack you. I’m just asking you on behalf of my child please stop. @ Todd Wilhelm:
@ Mark s:
This conversation stops now. No further discussion on the Masons will be tolerated.
Two comments not approved.
Thank you Dee for keeping this thread from running amok.@ Dee:
By the way, a key church staff member (woman) disappeared from the church and did not attend services any more even though her husband did. I asked ex-senior pastor (C.M.) if she was ok, so unlike her, I’d sent notes/emails but no response, was there some kind of family trouble, did she need help?
He said to me in shock that he hadn’t seen her either and he didn’t know what was wrong. I told him to just be careful about the situation.
After my own excommunication/shunning from the church, I learned that the former church staff member had left for another church, she too had been called into a meeting by the pastors/elders, but knowing how they operate she brought (without telling them) her new senior pastor as a witness – which stopped them dead in their tracks! Smart woman!
Mark s wrote:
And Muff Potter is a seekrit Muzzlim.
I can prove it with scripsher !!!
Mark s wrote:
It just hit me:
THIS IS GROOMING.
Mark S (or whatever his real name is) is trying to GROOM Marquis like Pastor’s Pet Pedo groomed Billy. To make Mark S the only One that Marquis really trusts, her Only Real Friend. This is Grima Wormtongue grooming King Theoden, a predator grooming his prey. In this case, to neutralize Marquis as a threat.
Now you wanna talk Conspiracy? Let’s talk Conspiracy:
Which begs the question: Everything Mark S (or the other handles he appears to have used on this thread in the past) pushes things in the direction of discrediting or gaslighting Marquis & Billy or sidetracking the thread into something tangential (met upon the Level and parted on the Square). Either way, Pastor(TM) Ramey benefits. Is this a disinformation campaign from Lakeside Bible Church? In the past, every time TWW has exposed a corrupt preacher the comment threads fill with Concerned Christians(TM) coming out of nowhere pulling Disinformation tactics to the benefit and glory of the corrupt preacher-man.
“my ex-NeoCal church arranged to have scrubbed the negative reviews from ex-members that were on YELP as well as ex-pastor’s books on amazon.”
I figured as much.
“Ex-church arranged to have Amazon block me from every reviewing any product on amazon again for my negative comments about CM’s abusive practices.”
this is just villainous.
may Holy Spirit join with your protest efforts with dunamis power to deconstruct what is evil. You take a step, Holy Spirit joins with you in exponentialness. You lend your voice, Holy Spirit reverberates through it.
Thank you dee@ Todd Wilhelm:
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
All excellent points. I had not thought about it being grooming, but it could be. Plus, the geek in me can’t resist LOTR, Star Trek, Firefly, etc. examples.
I hope there’s spy in the room that can tell us about tonight’s meeting. I’m sure it won’t be pretty, which is a sign of desperation.
This whole post is going way off the charts for me. It is losing it’s credibility because of people having a different agenda. Let’s get this blog back on track. I have editorial skills and discernment. Let me know if you need my help .
Thanks for the convo and your encouragement!
I heard about a number of such “meetings” over the years. I do wish one of these could be recorded. It could be a highly instructive example, disclosing some of the tools used to keep people in their place, manipulation, disinformation, intimidation, etc. I’ve read about a number of techniques used, but a real example of a failing leader attempting to preserve his flagging support would be both fascinating and disturbing.
Bill M wrote:
At my ex-church quick thinking members taped these meetings on the cell phones with the record feature. Brilliant. Ditto too for meetings w/pastors-elders, aka bullying sessions with pastors/elders.
I am so sorry for the whole mess surrounding the Masons, etc. This is my fault-totally. I am trying hard to keep up with things but due to my now full time assignment as a nurse to my sick parents/in law my time has diminished. This is temporary and will resolve itself in the next few months.
We taped a metting in which a pastor confessed to something that was being roundly denied by the elders. Guess what? The elders heard it and took to berating us fro recording it because it wasn’t right (albeit legal in our state.) So, they went on denying the confession because we shouldn’t have recorded it. Total kookiness.
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
I was thinking the same thing. Makes you wonder, the thing was so off topic. Of course, a conspiracy buff could just happen upon the thread and independently take it off course, but just as easily and perhaps likely, a benighted follower of a corrupt leader could, “for the greater good”, try to discredit and misdirect a thread.
FW Rez wrote:
Just going to mention this here, since I was at one of Stanley’s churches this Sunday and he gave a longer apology for what he said. He said people were right to be offended and it was good he was called out for it. He will be giving a larger, public explanation (not defense) of why he said it later this week.
I’m not defending him (yet) until I hear the larger statement at least, but I am encouraged for someone to be called out and agree with it. He did not use passive language or blame people for misinterpreting him. At least that is a step up from many pastors who are called out for being bullies.
Unicorn Guy it wouldn’t suprise me if LBC is coming on here to get off topic and on top of it I’m name dropping in these comments. It would seem feesable to me that if my church leaders were being called out why not bring others here to keep harrassing someone who has different opinions on an off topic just to keep the masses distracted? It’s certainly possibility. This,is why I keep reminding them to please fir billy stay on topic and wait until Dee posts about some concerns that have been addressed. This is not the post to deviate unless your trying to take away from Billy and his courage by coming forward. You guys have been a huge encouragementioned and this believe it or not is part of the healing process for both of us, to know he’s supported, he’s believed, and to let others know nne ER allow any church or pastor shame you into silence!!!!! If I’m wrong in what I’m saying I actually welcome your input. @ Todd Wilhelm:
Law Prof wrote:
Not your fault Dee. Some people need to be more responsible about what they post. Praying for strength for you as you care for ill loved ones. I know from experience it is not easy.b>@ dee:
Thank you for this gracious message. Please have faith that TWW is with you.
Yes, there have been some upsetting distractions. Most responses to the distractions, though, come from a desire for justice and fairness. If someone makes a reckless or cruel or uninformed statement, TWW folks will call it out–just as they might if somebody said mean things in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner.
TWW folks want what’s right for your son and for other individuals and groups who get mentioned here. It’s been hard for you and especially your son to see disputes that seem unrelated–but please continue to believe in the good, committed readers of TWW.
Like “Spontaneous People’s Demonstrations(TM)” in the old USSR.
And the joke about “Party Commissar of Spontaneous People’s Demonstrations”.
Just Misdirection and Gaslighting on a grand scale.
Heads they win, tails you lose
Thank you friend… Dee has been supportive since the day I met her. I have seen an incredible amount of support from those here even before our story was ever posted and I have no doubt now as I did months ago that all of you would support billy and others who have their own horror stories of being silenced. Billy now speaks about his abuse loudly and with no shame or embarrassment. It’s because of those here and the support he has received outside of the church that has made this possible for Billy. How amazing is it that when asked why we left Lakeside Bible Church Billy says because Joe Raped me and Ken RAMEY Blamed ME for it! Talk about throwing that shame right where it belongs and until these people can admit that they have lied, deceived, abused, and SWEPT BILLY’S abuse under the rug there will never be any reconciliation process. I waited for this for 2 years and NOTHING from ken , joe, or Joes family! Not even an I’m sorry our son hurt your boy. Guess what? We got a slap you in the face kick you in the gut response letter from ken ramey addressed to the church! So my hope is not only the truth shines through but that others will visit here and see. My hope is that if LBC MEMBERS ever find themselves in a similar situation with Ken ramey and this so called leadership (Vipers) they will put two and two together and start calling these men out on the crap they are shoveling to it’s members. Hopefully by these posts it stops Ken Ramey, Rusty Koch, Tyler Jacobs, Mike Goins, and the rest of these men from bringing people in to get all in your family business, to your marriages, your children, your finances and you will see ahead of time what you are in for once you allow them to coax you into meeting with them. Ken Ramey always started off with messages like ” HI Shauna, can you meet me in my office sometime? I would like to discuss a matter with you”. Then you get nothing else to alert you that your about to be disciplined! They catch you off gaurd and are prepared ahead of time with what you will be confronted with and several scripture verses used out of context a lot of Thomas times to make you feel like you aRe in sin and you are completely shocked and unprepared to respond. You sit there feeling like you did something wrong and no time or way to defend yourself. It’s even worse when he brings in another elder or more. Then you walk away feeling useless and upset then later on as you think back over it you search scripture and find out what he just said was out if context and wrong. By this time ken had already wrapped it all up in that meeting and good luck if you attempt to go back and discuss it further, you might as well give Ken the hammer to knock you over the head with! So you are left defeated and this is why a lot of the time when members leave you look up and see so and so left and wonder where they went and why! You will most likely never find out because they were guilted, shamed, and silenced also fearing that relationships will be lost. So they leave in silence while the rest remain and most don’t ever realize they will be next because Ken ramey says it in his church discipline sermons ” Church Discipline ” should be going on all the time on the first 2 to 3 steps in his church! Those are his words. So he tells you you just don’t ever think it will be you!!! @ Daisy:
Billy, if you are reading here please know I believe you. Not only that but I am amazed at your courage for someone your age. Proclaiming truth and seeking justice is always noble.
Men like Ken Ramey are small minded cowards who use others for fame and profit in their small ponds. But you are blessed to have a mom who saw through it and fights for you.
There are a lot of people out there who will try to convince you otherwise. They have a problem understanding basic right and wrong because they allow others to think for them. They cannot even call evil, evil! And they are adults!
But you know better.
@ Jeff S:
Knowing Andy Stanley for many years my guess is he meant it until it was viewed as negative and he recieved some unexpected push back.
The thing about mega church pastors is they live in an insulated bubble surrounded by sycophants even though they claim otherwise. They don’t really have a discernment meter because they tend to assume their stage persona of humility covers everything.
But he will fix it with the right words delivered with self deprecating humor. And people will believe he just misspoke. If he did not believe the original words, he wouldn’t be a mega church pastor. That is what many miss in the breath holding drama that is celebrity xtianityt.
Thank you Lydia you all are amazing @ Todd Wilhelm:
Bill M wrote:
Yep and then I started a blog. The 3,000 megachurch dream never materialized and the former pastor retired.
Yes, and I’ve had a few people I mentioned that story to already seemingly dismiss it because he later issued an apology.
Okay, so he apologized (but after getting blow back), but you have to wonder what prompted him to say it in the first place and feel it’s acceptable. He probably sincerely feels that way about small vs large churches and only issued the apology after folks on social media yelled at him.
@ Todd Wilhelm:
Funny how that works.
My dad told me the story once of a guy he worked with who did the same thing. The guy recorded their boss behaving like a tyrant to finally have proof of his abusive behavior toward subordinates.
When the guy later confronted the boss on his rude behavior, and the boss denied being a rude jerk to employees, the guy whipped out the recording of the boss screaming and ranting from a previous fiasco, and the boss got so angry over the recording and being called out that he stomped up and down on the tape or device.
Yeah, I taped a manipulative abuser once or twice. That HOW DARE YOU RECORD ME reaction is hilarious… long after the fact.
“3000 Megachurch Dream” as in “I AM going to be Lead Pastor/Head Apostle of THREE THOUSAND MEGACHURCHES!”?
Hard to get that great a Delusion of Grandeur without some pretty strong drugs.
There’s a TED Talk somewhere on YouTube where the speaker starts out “I’m going to talk for twenty minutes and tell you absolutely nothing”, then goes into a twenty-minute demo of all the motivational speech tricks used to manipulate an audience into believing every word as Absolute Truth.
We’ll see. I look forward to his released statement.
Thus far, he has not said he misspoke. He said “They were my words, and I said them”.
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
HUG and everybody – I hope I didn’t inadvertently contribute to what you’re describing. If I did I sincerely apologize. I’ve read TWW since 2009 but I comment very infrequently. Anything I contributed to this discussion was purely from a desire to (1) validate, affirm and support marquis, and (b) call foul on not only Ramey and LBC but also on the entire ecclesiastical system taught by Master’s Seminary. This system will continue to rack up victims unless and until we starve it of the e$$entail $u$tenace upon which it depends.
This! Yes, yes, yes, Shauna. This is EXACTLY what these graduates of Pastor John MacArthur’s The Master’s Seminary (California) are taught to do! Blind side the saints, threaten them, bully them, threaten them, quote Scripture verses to them (more threats, why even Satan quoted Scripture, out of context of course, to Jesus).
That’s exactly what happened in my ex-John MacArthur-ite church headed by a Master’s Seminary graduate in Northern California to ex-members and to me.
The meetings, the theats, the brow-beating, the secrecy. The “no talk” rules, just like an alcoholic family system. I have never seen such a bunch of unloving, lying lunatics as the pastors/elders at that ex-church who rent from the Seventh Day Adventists on Fremont Ave. in Sunnyvale, CA.
I was ordered to be excommunicated and shunned in Fall 2014 for opposing the pastors/elders bringing their friend a Megan’s List sex offender to church, putting him in a position of leadership and trust, allowing him access to all activities, inviting him to volunteer at a 5-day basketball camp for children, and telling NO ONE. I discovered him on Megan’s List while researching another Megan’s List project for an attorney. (The pastors/elders thought it was their right to bypass all parents, not tell them a Megan’s List sex offender was invited, not put it on the fliers, and not tell the Seventh Day Adventist School in Los Altos, CA whose gym the church rented! The SDA’s could be sued, and they are a self-insured denomination, for any abuse that takes place on their policy. They actually have very comprehensive child sex abuse prevention training as a denomination.)
The pastors/elders screamed and yelled at me, said it was no big deal, that he was only in prison for child porn and “child porn isn’t a big deal”. I actually had to have a brutal conversation with the pastors/elders about the difference between adult porn (legal) and child porn (illegal and a felony). I discussed porn in brutal detail with them and the differences, the crimes committed against children. They were stunned into silence and the IDIOT senior pastor’s face was bright red.
The IDIOT senior pastor told me that mother’s had no say over their children, that if a father permitted the sex offender to touch the father’s children, and the “father’s word was FINAL over his family”!!! (I’d seen the sex offender run his hand through my friends’ 4-year old son’s hair at a church lunch. Friends didn’t know the guy is a sex offender on Megan’s List and didn’t see what he did.)
Me to Senior Pastor: “Mothers are REQUIRED by law to protect their children. She’s not off the legal hook because she let her husband ‘make the final decision’. If harm comes to child(ren) because she did NOTHING, she can be arrested and prosecuted for felony child abuse, Child Protective Services can take away her kids, and she can end up in state prison. Women go to prison for this kind of thing ALL OF THE TIME.”
The pastors/elders said they’d known the sex offender for years (associate said his family had known the sex offender for 40 years), that he’s harmless, and demanded to know if I’d “prayed for the sex offender”. Me: “We’re discussing child safety, not prayer.”
The senior pastor said the sex offender was “coming off Megan’s List because he said so”. His supervising law enforcement agency, the Sheriff’s sex offenders’ task force called the senior pastor’s story “all lies” and “total lies”. The Sheriff’s was so alarmed they contacted the California Attorney General’s Office which confirmed the senior pastor’s story was “all lies” and “total lies” and the A.G.’s office WAS NOT TAKING THE SEX OFFENDER OFF MEGAN’S LIST!
(The Sheriff’s sex offender’s task force demanded to know what kind of church that I went to that threatened me over a convicted sex offender? Me: “I ask myself that question all of the time.” )
The Chairman of the Elder Board called me and told me that I was never to contact law enforcement again about the sex offender, never reveal the names of the pastors/elders (mandated child abuse reporters under CA law) and never reveal the name of the church. He told me that this was the decision of the elders and I was “to obey” and “to submit” to my elders. In other words, obstruction of justice, a felony crime in CA that the pastors/elders can be sentenced to state prison for.
On and on it went.
They concluded the meeting with the senior pastor reading me a Scripture in somber tones that I was “destined for Hell” and “not one of us”.
The pastors/elders at that Master’s Seminary graduate-led church (which is about 9 years old) are manipulative and pathological liars. They whip church members into a frenzy of hatred about ex-members that they order to be excommunicated and shunned. The pastors/elders control the narrative/story and they are vicious liars. They omit the meetings, the threats, the other side of the story. (Many people have complained on blogs about these vicious, abusive, incompetent, heartless, authoritarian Master’s Seminary graduates.)
I am so sorry sweet Shauna what you and dear Billy have been through. But the two of you are right and we stand with you.
Friends were ordered to be excommunicated and shunned from their church when their son was sexually abused by a youth pastor. Child’s father walked in on it.
Broke the family’s heart and soul. Didn’t step foot in a church again more than a decade later. I don’t blame them. (Boz T’s blog says this a common occurrence.)
Sex abuse of children is the No. 1 reason that churches are sued! Atty Richard Hammar’s yearly chart that comes out in the late Spring:
These guys are just arrogant and insufferable. I’m sorry, albeit not surprised.
@ Todd Wilhelm:
@ Headless Unicorn Guy:
I would love to see that Ted talk!. Mega church pastors play to the audience but not in ways people think. I admit upfront I don’t trust the lot them. Have known too many of them. If people stopped and thought about what it takes to grow a mega church, they might not be so enamoured. The DNA is perception/image. There is no “real” involved.
Mega church celebs are professional communicators. Andy will do a “save” whatever that looks like for him. He has to be more concerned for the wider audience this time because they claim the ridiculous “unchurched” method of recruitment. Oh don’t they all say that.
I read the comments. One gal, a member, was using the typical mega arguments for mega big but as usual totally misunderstanding context of scripture she had been taught to use to defend the mega big model that is basically cult of personality.
Sorry I don’t know how I keep posting the same thing
Thank you Jenny everyone here is amazing and has shown soooo much support. I wish I knew to find Dee when this happened. I have no doubt things would have gone differently because of this amazing online support from believers,around the world. >Jenny wrote:
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
Will Stephen, TEDxNewYork?
I’ve seen the same behavior in just conversation. I laugh internally when they nearly whisper and lean in.
I’m just glad she wisely kept her emails. That response from the pastor is similar to one I’ve had myself from someone who should care better but doesn’t. Horrible. @ AnonInNC:
Exactly. What the heck is wrong with these men?!
Bill M wrote:
I FOUND IT!
(BOOKMARK IT, EVERYBODY!)
P.S. Can anyone analyze that TED Talk for resemblance to a Sermon?
Bill M wrote:
THAT’S THE GUY!
NOW STUDENTS, HOW MANY SERMONS RESEMBLE THAT TED TALK? USING THE SAME TRICKS, THE SAME SHTICKS, THE SAME “CONMANSHIP”?
@ Headless Unicorn Guy:
Bwahaha! It is like every seeker mega church pastor sermon I ever heard.
Jeff S wrote:
Biggest problem I have with him, one that an apology is insufficient to undo, is what twisted, self-serving, opportunistic motives could anyone have for saying such a thing in the first place? Aside from it being a warped and utterly wrong-headed point-of-view that is based on no scripture or reasonable historical cultural interpretation thereof, how out-of-control does someone have to be before they can even think of saying such a thing on a public stage before tens of thousands?
I tend to give a pass to a lover’s quarrel, we all say things in the heat of the moment that we later regret and didn’t really mean in the first place–those are the sort of things where an apology alone might stand as sufficient, provided the behavior isn’t a pattern. But this was a sermon before an arena-sized crowd, with words that one can only assume were planned. He said just what he meant, there’s no real way that was a slip of the tongue. He probably said it stronger than he intended to say it, but I darned well assume he meant every word. An apology doesn’t undo that and it most certainly won’t undo the mechanisms in place in a megachurch where a celebrity can get so full of pure bull droppings that they think and act this way.
I think at the end of the day his apology is strategic more than heartfelt.
@ Headless Unicorn Guy:
ted talk — I saw it too. very entertaining. yes, just like so many pastors sermons. I especially the love the (preplanned) far away look in the eyes.
i’m done with sermons, with preachers, with ‘pastors’ — I’ve heard it all, anyway, a zillion times. if there is such a thing as a dispensation, it’s high time for a new one. i’m sure this wholesale regurgitation of ideas has lost all nourishment of insight long ago. close to sawdust now.
Love it! A new dispensation free of sermons! These days I will seek out to read and/or listen to actual scholars. We are blessed to have access in this day and time. These would be older pasty skinned guys who have been busy researching.
@ Law Prof:
You nailed it.
As an aside based on his original words, I was always astonished at how thin skinned mega church pastors really are. Why on earth would someone like Stanley with a huge following and huge buildings be threatened by such criticism concerning size? But they are. It infuriates them. My guess based upon experience is that the topic came up and he felt hw had to address it publicly. Which tells us a lot about him.
There is also this thinking in the stratosphere of mega circles that small churches are dead. They admire big and growing. To them it is proof of God’s affirmation of their leadership.
It is hard for folks to wrap their heads around just how arrogant these guys are because they come off the opposite on stage. But that is the stage persona I came to loathe.
@ Law Prof:
If you want the explanation, here it is: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2016/march-web-only/megachurch-pastor-andy-stanley-explains-controversial-remar.html
I was there live to hear what he said, and it was jolting. My wife can tell you I physically reacted to the statement. And yet, having been there the previous week which was a testimonial discussion of how the children and youth programs do their work, I still didn’t react to it as hard as you probably did. My thought was “he sure escalated this way too far”, because I did understand that the broader context was the topic of “how do we get our children to benefit from church?” I did not at the time understand why he suddenly jumped to painting everyone not at his church as “selfish”.
So, his explanation does make sense to me. I do see why he said it. I don’t think it was OK, but I also do not think he believes that small churches are bad.
I have other problems with Andy Stanley’s teaching, specifically (but not limited to) his teaching on divorce. So please don’t view me as a “fanboy” who will just accept anything he says. I don’t.
But, given the broader context of the message and his acceptance of responsibility, I do accept his explanation and don’t believe he really thinks that people who attend small churches are “selfish”. I can agree that an adult who attends a church that does not meet the needs of their children is, indeed “selfish”. I prefer small churches and I believe many a small church can be a wonderful experience for children.
To be clear, this message was on the heals of a non-broadcast Sunday in which workers in the youth and children’s departments gave insight/testimonials into their work. So that is what prompted the message. In the article, he was clear about what prompted the specific comment:
“I was thinking specifically about the many exchanges I’ve had through the years with the parents of my kids’ friends who would complain to my wife Sandra and me about how difficult it was to get their kids to go to church, and yet they wouldn’t put their kids in our programs because they didn’t want to attend a large church.”
I’m sorry to be an Andy Stanley apologist 🙁 I don’t want to be. I suppose this is the result of my overly empathetic heart that hates to see anything taken unfairly, even if it’s from a pastor who teaches some things I think are quite harmful. And I guess a part of me that was glad to see someone actually take responsibility for something without trying to justify it.
@ Jeff S:
er, to be clear, the response to his comment was more than “fair”. So I shouldn’t way “unfairly”. But I did think he apology and explanation were good. That’s what I meant to say.
Most people in a church environment in this culture are putting on a persona, the stage thing at a mega is just an extreme example. Church is not, in my experience, about genuine relationships. The form of relationships, not real relationships. You think you know someone, you don’t at all.
People do tend to find out what’s real once they start questioning things, though, particularly when they question leadership, then the fangs come out and it often seems like half the people hate you and most of the other half suddenly become utterly indifferent to you, as if you became a ghost. The crumbs that are left over, those are the people with whom you had a real relationship–they may be the remnant of real Christians that were in the church.
@ Jeff S:
First of all, I doubt very seriously there are many parents of his kids friends who don’t attend NP. I just lived up close and personal in the seeker mega church world not to recognize the problems with what they say so cavilerly to folks that has no basis in reality. The problem is the average pew sitter or even children volunteer has no idea of such things.
Let’s face it, most 5 year olds want to attend church with their parents. The problems start later so not sure where he is coming from on that. I realize that NP is more like Disneyland church for kids so that is a big plus for parents wanting their kids to like church. But there are parents who see a problem with the long term effects of such Disney entertainment children’s programs.
I am not sure how to be unfair to Stanley who operates as a celebrity in an insulated bubble. I there is so much hidden with these guys it is really about questioning them in depth. But that is rarely allowed.
Jeff S wrote:
I sincerely doubt that he was just blowing things out of his mouth without considering them, I think he meant what he said, usually (virtually always) people do.
I don’t think you’re a fanboy.
Jeff S wrote:
Sounds like a very poor rationale.
Jeff S wrote:
You clearly don’t need to be sitting under Andy Stanley! Find a small church with a humble pastor who is teaching Bible truth, where God is clearly working, and join Him there. Not everything that glitters in mega-church is gold.
Jeff S wrote:
That probably has a lot to do with his parents very public and shocking divorce for that time for an SBC leader. He and his dad were estranged for a long time until they went public about getting back together.
Jeff S wrote:
I can’t agree with this, because what exactly are “the needs of their children” that are supposed to be met by a religious organization identified as ‘church’?
In fact, it is my experience that children whose every (or majority) activity is via a church are vulnerable, as we have seen with adults who integrate the same way into a church. If the relationship with the church is disrupted for any reason – both the children and the parents are abruptly left completely bereft of any relationships.
Jeff mentioned that their work schedule prevent family attendance in smaller churches that don’t offer multiple services. I understand that problem.
For me, nothing can replace the older saints who taught my children after we left the seeker Disney church where they rarely had time to learn the names of the hundreds of kids so they had to wear name tags each week. My kids have relationships with these former teachers to this day and we don’t even attend there anymore. They actually got to know them personally which I think is more valuable than the skits, costumes and ark replica jungle gyms of the mega world.
FWIW, I wouldn’t consider the children’s program “Disneyland”. Yes, it is pretty exciting looking, but the actual meat of what they do is based in consistent small groups and relationships.
@ Law Prof:
I don’t think Jeff is a fanboy either. He has been through the gristmill enough to question.
I have watched some of the older saints at my former church just give up on the questioning of the direction of the YRR takeover. They might teach children SS then leave. They just don’t want the fight. What they don’t know is pretty soon they won’t be allowed to teach the children in the church they paid off for 30 years.. It will be reorganized just like the youth group was. But most folks don’t believe it is as bad as it is. They don’t have a category for that at church. Yet.
@ Jeff S:
I have been to NP HQ several times on “business” and my cousin attends. NP became a big mega to model after the excitement of Saddleback and Willow Creek waned. It was the exciting new thing to emulate. Andy was a rock star in those mega staff circles.
To be clear, I’m very, very uncomfortable in a mega church environment, and I’m also uncomfortable with Andy Stanley. I don’t to go into my current situation (this is all very wildly off topic as it is), but right now with the challenges for my current family, taking both my own and my wife’s perspectives as equally important (yeah, that’s how we roll!), and seeking many options in our area, where we are right now has provided the best ability for our family to be plugged into a strong community of Christians.
In this case the “needs of the children” were identified earlier in the sermon to be plugged into “the church” (not a specific church) that would help provide a lifestyle that keeps them on a healthy path. As in, avoiding many destructive decisions. Andy’s belief is that it is the church who has kept him from loads of bad mistakes. Some here may disagree 🙂
Whatever else you can say about NP, they don’t push membership. We are part of a small group formed through NP, and we said up front we didn’t think we were going to stick with NP long term as our place of worship, and they told us that was fine- they have people in their small groups from all other churches.
I have been left bereft of church relationships when things went bad before. I’m thankful that having left my former church, everyone is still wonderfully happy to have a relationship with me (I just had lunch with my former worship pastor).
If my wife’s schedule changes, or we are able to find a smaller church that works with her schedule (and a pastor who doesn’t teach permanence), we will very likely move on while still staying engaged in the small group.
Believe me, I wish, wish, wish that I could meet with Andy and just be direct with him about his teaching on divorce and the effect it can have on those who follow him.
And yes, I’m aware of the relationship between he and his father. But the thing I don’t like AT ALL is that you have this man teaching, and I’m sitting in his church, and I have absolutely 0 access to tell MY STORY and let him know how much the things he teaches could harm someone who is where I was.
At my previous church, even when we had our doctrinal differences, I had a pastor who would always be willing to meet for lunch to address them. That kind of access is pretty important to me, and it emphasizes relationships within the body.
@ Jeff S:
Jeff, I hate that I have put you in a position to defend where you attend. Seriously, if there was a Quaker Meeting In My City I would probably visit just to have the quietness with God in a group setting. At the same time I can just imagine what people who know me would have to say about that! And I would not want to be in a position where I felt like I had to defend it.
Thankfully we are in a position where we just do not miss church to that extent. The kids are older and frankly are worn out after the last bout with the piper fanboys and the takeover. I am sincerely grateful that our past long talks about how Jesus operated, have stuck. They do not view God as a cruel monster who is selective as in Calvinism or as a bellhop in the sky as was the typical Seeker Focus. We focused on our responsibility to fellow humans and God’s promises through Jesus Christ.
Please forgive me for going on and on.
Eh, it’s all good. This is a personal and family journey, and I can be honest when I say it’s been my own personal struggle, but that I’m growing for it. I’m learning a degree of flexibility that is good for me, and probably God ordained (ha! still a Calvinist) for where I am at my life right now. It’s just the next step in my (and our) journey.
Jeff, for what it’s worth, we may have a difference of opinion, I think you’ve always been fair and reasonable–more so than than me.
@ Law Prof:
Thank you- you are kind 🙂
I believe you. I believe Billy. I think we all believe you. I cannot imagine what you and Billy have been through. You are both extremely strong and courageous — Billy in particular. He was raped by a peer that he trusted, then blamed and accused by adults that he trusted. Most adults would be too embarrassed and ashamed to come forward and publicly share that sort of abuse. Yet, Billy has the wisdom to know that he is innocent and that he is not the one who deserves to be blamed in any way for what happened, and the courage to come forward about it. I admire him. You have an intelligent, wonderful son, and he has a great mom! You are both setting wonderful examples for the rest of the world.
PS: Make sure Billy reads this. I mean what I said.
GO BILLY! You may have been a victim, but you are a hero now !
Just like Stalin’s “Salami Tactics” in post-WW2 Eastern Europe.
Just one more little concession after one more little concession until one morning you wake up to find the Russian Bear has eaten it all and is starting on you. “URRA STALINO!”
Didn’t Screwtape tell Wormwood that the best route to Hell is one oh-so-small step at a time until all those oh-so-small steps add up?
And then there’s this Chesterton poem, “Nightmare”:
Which is why you always keep a backup.
Several years ago, a friendship of mine was going sour. The guy kept trying to manipulate me by holding out promises of restoration (we were collaborating on several works of fiction) and if I bailed I would have nothing. (i.e. Nothing to look forward to but suicide from the loneliness.)
Unfortunately for him, I had developed other writer connections across the country. Collaboration is harder over the phone and by email, but I had a backup. Then there were my contacts outside of the fandoms and interests where I connected to him — they were few, but they were there and they were enough.
And these “All Church, All the Time” churches with Christianese copies of everything — where you can go from Altar Call to Homegoing(TM) without ever encountering anyone outside of church — eliminate that outside backup. There is NOTHING except Church, so if you were to leave (or get cast out) you’re All Alone in Outer Darkness.
Bug or Feature?
Though his opening statement was a bit inaccurate.
He was NOT talking about Nothing.
His TED talk was all describing and demonstrating all the manipulation tricks he was using.
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
That guy is a total blankety blank.
Jeff S wrote:
I find that weird anyway. The opposite seems true to me:
a lot of American families pick a church based on what the kids want, or if the kid would find it fun, like, does the church have a groovy cool kiddie play room and jungle gym, etc?
There was a big article about it online somewhere. I read it a long while ago. This may be it:
Two preaching giants and the ‘betrayal’ that tore them apart (Nov 2012)
As understood by large, try to be hip, mega seeker friendly churches, probably the following:
The kids need laser tag games in Sunday School, video games, carousels, Disney movies shown on large screens, fog machines, video games.
When I was a kid, all we had were Bible stories, putting paper figures on felt boards, and maybe finger puppets.
Jeff S wrote:
You seem like you would like a face to face discussion with the guy, but barring that, if it’s not possible.
Do you have a web site or a blog? You can make one, write a post stating your concerns and tweet the guy a link and ask him to read it, if both of you have Twitter.
It’s more just the principle of the thing: I would like a relationship with my pastor to be a two way thing. Actually a real relationship.
And when it comes to permanence, I’d really like some of these celebrity pastors to get away from their pulpits and actually TALK to the people that their teaching hurts. And that could be said for a LOT of what is discussed on this blog. It’s like these things live in the conceptual, abstract world, and you want to show teachers what it’s like to actually try to live out this stuff in the real world.
At least Andy and North Point are pretty graceful on the top. His general stance is “if you don’t agree with me, then just be careful and make sure you’ve had time to heal before getting remarried”. Which is different than Piper who basically makes you feel like you aren’t even a real Christian. But, this doesn’t change the fact that a victim in an abusive marriage who needs to get out might hear Andy’s teaching and decide to stick it out to her death. Or, maybe she will realize that she has to protect herself, but now her view of Jesus is that he cares more for the marriage than he does for her (because this is the implication of Andy’s teaching).
There’s a part of me that wants to believe if you could just talk to these guys and show them the real world, then they’d get it. But then you realize there are stories like the one this blog post is actually about, and there are pastors who will look at the weak and vulnerable and not care that they are being destroyed 🙁
A very strategically placed article. There is just so much wrong but it can be summed up: it’s all business and Jesus is the marketing tool. Both sides.
My mom once said the only hero of that drama is Anna Stanley. She admired her for getting out.
BTW: Joel Gregory in his book “Too Great A Temptation” quotes Charles Stanley at the famous airport meeting on deciding whether or not to get rid of Paige Patterson as saying: No one at my church dares goes against me. Those that do, get cancer or lose their jobs.
Anyone who thinks Andy walked away from FBC without any money needs a reality check.it does not work that way in mega circles.
That article was a planted puff piece.
@ Jeff S:
One does not build a mega church by staying in the real world with everyday hurting people. It cannot work that way. As for Andy, He did not even grow up in the real world. This world has been about playing to audience image his entire life.
That is like expecting the President to spend time with real people in a non presidential venue. They say everyday things and have photo ops trying to portray that image but it simply is not viable– for the President or the mega church pastor. In that world familiarity breeds contempt or a lack of respect. Better to craft the ‘real guy’ stage persona and be safe.
I think I am the one who best knows the needs of my children. Andy makes it sound like they have that figured out for you.
There’s a balance. I think we should absolutely consider the needs of our children when we choose a church.
However, making them enjoy the church is not necessarily the same thing as considering their needs.
Andy is clearly of the mind that it’s important to make the church attractive to people; I balk at this a little. I’m more attracted to authenticity. Now having BEEN to his church and around the people there, there’s a lot more authenticity among the programs than smoke machines and televised sermons might suggest. At the ground level, I’ve been impressed with the people at the church and how they do create an environment of Christian fellowship. In fact, that is really the reason we are there.
But the irony is, we attend DESPITE the things that Andy lists as the selling points.
If Charles Stanley said that, then he’s an out of control fool and a fraud.
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“O GREAT CHEMOSH! O GREAT BAAL! SEND DEATH AN DESTRUCTION, CANCER AND UNEMPLOYMENT, DOWN UPON THESE MY ENEMIES!”
— Paraphrase of a line from an old Fifties Bible-epic movie
What happens when something or somebody OUTSIDE their church gives them a BIGGER show? In the words of the prophets Emerson, Lake, & Palmer:
Guy was OK in the beginning, but after a few years had gone by he just started getting worse and worse. After making the break (including changing the locks — he was one of the few I trusted enough to house-sit when I was out of town), I compared notes with some others he knew and it was one of those “telling three people four different stories” situations.
1Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
Isolation intensifies the control.
Regarding bug or feature – I choose Door #3 on this one – WICKEDNESS.
Like Charles Stanley’s assertion that those who opposed him lose their jobs or get cancer.
Like Robert Morris’s preaching that failure to tithe curses you.
Like Mark Driscoll’s desire to punch people’s faces and the bodies under the bus.
Like TBN’s Paul Crouch pronouncing curses on anyone who questioned his doctrine.
Like countless leaders who have said that leaving their church was leaving God.
How many in the pulpit have squealed out “Touch not the Lord’s annointed!”?
I encountered a similar situation while in the shep/disc movement in the 70s.
The rebellion of Korah came up a lot.
Then we had threats based on the children of Israel in the wilderness. The cloud was moving! and if we didn’t follow our leaders our dead bodies would be scattered behind.
Of course, we also had teachings on the rebellion of Miriam. Question our authoritaaay and you’ll get some killer disease!
Ever notice that these guys seem to be under the delusion that they are a modern-day Moses?
Calvary Chapel made it official with their “Mini-Moses” doctrine.
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As a teen I walked in on a youth pastor (adult) and a girl (14). When I questioned if that was okay for them to be alone kissing I was told to stop snooping. I was early for youth meeting. They were IN THE CHURCH building where we normally met. Covenant church. Authority happy church. Needless to say i no longer wanted to attend youth, nor allow my younger sister to go. When parents were told my ‘opinions’ were completely unfounded and were not to be shared…..i seriously wanted to leave the church but parents said it was best one in area. I quit youth and Sunday School and sat in with adults then left to attend other churches with friends. 14 year old turned up pregnant. Youth pastor left church. Hmmm.