Evangelical Free Church of America Intervenes in Punishment of Abuse Victim; Steve Estes Thumbs His Nose and Westminster Theological Seminary Remains Silent

“If we are to fight discrimination and injustice against women we must start from the home for if a woman cannot be safe in her own house then she cannot be expected to feel safe anywhere.” ― Aysha Taryam link

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=66150&picture=woman
link

Last year, our good friend Eagle, kept asking me why I had not investigated the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA) since he believed that the EFCA was becoming more and more involved with the typical suspects in the Calvinista crowd. "Surely," he said, "There are examples of abusive church discipline in that denomination." Eagle used to attend an EFCA church.

I suggested that God may have put that group of churches on his mind because he was supposed to look into those churches himself and blog about them. Eagle went on to document the number of churches in the EFCA that appear to be drifting towards hard core Calvinism. He looked at every website of each EFCA church in the United States(!) and wrote about what he discovered.

Along the way, he became acquainted with various concerning situations. One incident was a disturbing story involving Pastor Steve Estes and Community Evangelical Free Church. Estes is also a faculty member of Westminster Theological Seminary. I have contacted the seminary for a statement but I doubt I will hear from them. The abuse of women in the church does not seem to be a priority for this seminary.

Yesterday, Eagle posted Community Evangelical Free Church Wants to Separate from the Evangelical Free Church of America. In this post, we see an excellent response from the EFCA and a typical, ridiculous response by Steve Estes  and CEFC.

Here is a review of the incident that was brought to the attention of the EFCA hierarchy.

On March 16, 2016, TWW posted The Allegedly Abusive Church Discipline Practices of Steve Estes: Senior Pastor of CEFC and Lecturer at Westminster Theological SeminaryAfter hearing about the story from David Bonner, I have spoken to four friends of the abused victim and I believe their accounts.

The situation: 

Hurit was married for a few years to Brock Estes, son of the Senior Pastor of CEFC. Brock is allegedly an excessive drinker (some would say alcoholic), addicted to internet pornography(which is NOT a victimless crime) and abusive verbally and physically. He allegedly drew a gun on his wife and, on another occasion, put her in a choke hold so strong that she almost passed out. Brock alleges that he has a *sleep disorder.* However, except for getting a prescription of Xanax,  he reportedly did not seek help for this alleged problem. (Note: any normal, non-abusive man who almost shoots his wife would get intensive medical help immediately. Instead, he got an anti-anxiety drug.) Since Brock is a prison guard, I would think the prison authorities were surely made aware of this problem…

Steve Estes and His Boys (aka *Elders*) excommunicated the wife for not  following their *authority* but Steve's little boy is walking in repentance.

Steve allegedly said that his son was "the most repentant man he had ever seen in 30 years of pastoring." (See previous post.) "Voila!" Brock was walking in repentance! This is after years of boozing, cruising (porn sites) and abusing his wife. Just like that, Brock has been healed!

Brock's wife, however, was disobeying the authority of the elders and Papa Steve when she filed for divorce. They said she must remain married to the abuser because, although he allegedly almost shot her, he is now a good boy. Daddy said so. Hallelujah and pass the pretzels-the meeting is adjourned.

Let's go over what Steve Estes and his men did to his allegedly (for the lawyers) abused (I believe her) daughter in law.

1. When she wouldn't return to the marriage, fearing for her life, they excommunicated her. Not only that but they declared her:

  • not a Christian
  • turned over to Satan

2. What did they say about Brock, the allegedly abusive (I believe he was) son?

 Daddy Steve declared him the most repentant man he had ever seen in 30 years! No bias there…

Note: In this statement, Daddy Steve did not deny what his boy did…

What is the problem with Daddy Steve's responses.

  1. It is readily admitted, even amongst many in the Neo Calvinist circles, that a woman can leave a marriage when her life in in danger. Good night! This poor woman even endured the exacting and ridiculous John Piper code of enduring abuse for one night. This abusive behavior happened over many, many nights.
  2. Domestic abuse is a crime and should be reported to the police.
  3. Daddy gets to judge his son.
  4. Estes' theology is whacked. A woman who flees an abuser does not become *a non-Christian.* (perseverance of the saints and all the jazz for the Calvinists amongst us.) This is precisely the problem with the 9 Marx discipline theology that has invaded the church. According to their thinking, Daddy Steve can theologically discipline his daughter by now declaring she is not a Christian because he has the authority. But his son is awesome!
  5. Repentance does not imply safety. From our post Anatomy of Evangelical Scandals: Steve Estes, Ken Ramey, Tullian Tchvidjian and the Misunderstanding of Repentance  

Analysis: A man, with a violence problem with a long time addiction to alcohol and porn, may be sad he is caught but he is still a dangerous man. Even if he is the most repentant man on earth, he will need years of counseling and observation to be sure that he is no longer violent and abusing porn

I contacted WTS for a statement re: Steve Estes remaining on faculty.

You can read about the lack of response in our post Westminster Seminary (PA) Remains Mum on Whether Battered Wives Should be Excommunicated When Leaving Abusive Spouses. Of course they didn't answer.


The EFCA intervenes.

The EFCA denomination held an investigation.

Here is an excerpt from Eagle's post Community Evangelical Free Church Wants to Separate from the Evangelical Free Church of America. (All following excerpts are from this post.)

According to multiple sources in Elverson its my understanding that the EFCA put together a fact finding committee that consisted of 5 people to look into the situation with Steve Estes church. This committee met with former members of Community Evangelical Free Church. Then they met with Brock Estes and finally Steve Estes and the Elverson church Elders. This fact finding committee met with the leadership of Community Evangelical Free multiple times in trying to understand what happened.

The EFCA also apologized to Hurit and her family while working diligently to corrects this sad situation.

In the process it is also my understanding that Eddie Cole humbly approached the family of Hurit and apologized for what happened. What would happen over the year is that Eddie Cole, Greg Strand and the EFCA poured a lot of time, money and effort in trying to fix this situation. I will go into more detail below but the communities of Elverson and Morgantown should know that the EFCA worked hard in trying to fix the situation. 

The EFCA allegedly determined that Steve Estes and CEFC were in the wrong and offered recommendations on how to rectify this situation.

It is my belief that the EFCA after investigating the situation determined that Steve Estes church is in the wrong. And that the practice of church discipline on an alleged rape victim was inconsistent with the values of the EFCA.  A list of about 14 recommendations were presented to the leadership of Steve Estes church. One of them was for the church to hold a repentance service in the community of Elverson. The EFCA wanted Steve Estes church to hold a repentance service that would be open to former CEFC members, Hurit’s family, and the community. Both Eddie Cole and Greg Strand realized how controversial this church discipline became and how the fabric of the community was being torn. They allegedly wanted a repentance service to take place so that the community of Elverson and Morgantown can heal, and that the community can find peace.

The church held a business meeting and decided to rescind Hurit's excommunication but not apologize for what they did.

During the meeting, Estes allegedly claimed the church had to take a hardball stance on divorce. (Such a big manly man, dudebro response.)

Then the following occurred.

On Monday December 6, 2016 Doug Mountiz showed up at Hurit’s house at 7:30 in the morning and dropped off a letter addressed to Hurit. This one page letter was incredibly cold from my understanding. In that letter Community Evangelical Free said that over two years had passed since Hurit was placed under church discipline. It said that the case of church discipline  was complicated due to family connections in the church. The goal of rescinding the excommunication of Hurit was to help preserve the church which was being torn apart in two.

The letter did not apologize to Hurit or her family for what Steve Estes church did. Instead they were releasing Hurit from church discipline in order to preserve the church. The church refused to admit that is was wrong. Its also my understanding that the Community Evangelical Free church still believes that Hurit did not have Biblical grounds for divorce. Also the letter from what I heard declared that that there would be no formal service of restoration.

This action allegedly blindsided the national leadership.

This letter combined with the business meeting revealed that Steve Estes church had jumped the gun. This was done without the knowledge of the EFCA leadership in Minneapolis, or the Eastern District. Allegedly when the EFCA leadership in Minneapolis saw the letter that Doug Mountiz dropped off they were horrified. This letter I believe led to increased tension between Community Evangelical Free Church in Elverson and the national EFCA denomination. The EFCA was uninvited by Community(CEFC-ed) leadership and were blindsided and its my understanding that they were surprised that Elverson behaved this way. With that it was realized that this is an Elder Ruled church and not an Elder Led, which is how the EFCA operates.

It appears probable that Steve Estes and CEFC will leave the EFCA and become a rogue congregation.

There is another problem as well as since Community Evangelical Free Elverson and the EFCA are eventually parting ways. This church was incorporated in the 1970’s as a part of the EFCA denomination through the Eastern District. This church in all likelihood is going to have to reincorporate their property, name, business materials, etc… That is not going to be cheap. But since they want to break away from the denomination they are going to be required to do it.

What I predict is going to happen is that at the next business meeting Steve Estes is going to go before those who remain and say that Elverson no longer wants to be a part of the EFCA. Its my belief that Steve and the leadership will manufacture some reason to try and say, “we need to break away."

Steve Estes may no longer a certified pastor in the EFCA.

Eagle is checking into this and we will update this post as information becomes available.

Speaking of Steve Estes, it's my understanding that the EFCA would not certify him as a pastor.

Westminster Theological Seminary has a problem. Steve Estes teaches Practical Theology (Can you imagine?)

This seminary adheres to strict Reformed teaching. Within that theology, churches are to be subject to a denominational hierarchy if they belong to an approved denomination. Is this an example that the seminary wants to role model for their students? If Estes is permitted to teach at the seminary, then it appears that WTS silently condones:

  • Church discipline for abused women
  • Excommunication for abused women whose lives have been threatened
  • Church pastors who thumb their noses at their denominational leadership.
  • Guys who may no longer be pastors in their denomination.

If Estes continues to teach, you can be sure that we will see more church discipline for abused women while the abuser "repents" and goes on his merry way. be sure to ask any graduate pastor from WTS how they would handle this sort of a situation. If they agree with *the Estes approach,* women should get out of that church. 

Some closing thoughts by Dee

  • I have had the opportunity to meet a few folks from this church who were deeply disturbed by these events. I want to commend them for their care for Hurit during this time of rejection by the CEFC leadership. 
  • Steve Estes appears to be a typical *in charge* pastor who loves church discipline until it involves his son or himself. Then he runs from it. He reminds me a bit of CJ Mahaney.
  • Steve Estes' excommunication of his former daughter in law proves that many pastors need to get out of the business of removing someone's credentials as a Christian. They need to cut out the nonsense of *turning them over to Satan* as well. I think there were some in cahoots with evil in this situation but it wasn't Hurit. 
  • Steve Estes, CEFC leadership, and Brock Estes need to get on their knees and repent of these abusive actions.
  • This is just one more fail for 9 Marks' type of discipline. How many more people will need to be abused before someone in that group wakes up and smells the coffee? 
  • Westminster Theological Seminary needs to dump Estes and beef up their role models in the seminary. Good night! 

Huzzahs go out to the hard working denominational leadership who showed compassion for an abused women, unlike CEFC.

one thing that needs to be highlighted is that the communities of Elverson and Morgantown need to understand the time and effort Eddie Cole poured into this problem set. When Community Evangelical Free rebuffed the District leadership Eddie rolled up his sleeves and went back to work and tried, and worked with, and got support from Minneapolis in dealing with this church.

People flew out from Minneapolis in trying to work with this church and resolve this issue. In the end the problem will be not the EFCA leadership either in Minneapolis or the District. The problem remains with Steve Estes. So its my sincere hope that the community will communicate to Eddie their thanks and appreciation for his efforts.

It is rare that this blog gets to compliment denominations for their intervention in abuse situations. We commend EFCA for giving our readers some hope that there are groups who care about abused women.

Once again, great job Eagle! You have made a difference. 


Comments

Evangelical Free Church of America Intervenes in Punishment of Abuse Victim; Steve Estes Thumbs His Nose and Westminster Theological Seminary Remains Silent — 129 Comments

  1. The guy thinks he has the authority to unilaterally declare someone else in his church a non-Christian. He’s basically the Christian version of a takfiri.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Takfiri

    He also seems to think the act of sinning is tantamount to unbelief. So he has a bit of Kharijite in him, too.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khawarij

    Both these terms are often used to describe ISIS, which is how I learned what they meant. It’s interesting how Muslims ended up having a lot of the same theological debates Christians, especially Protestants, did. (There were also debates on predestination and the inspiration of scripture).

  2. MidwesternEasterner wrote:

    The guy thinks he has the authority to unilaterally declare someone else in his church a non-Christian. He’s basically the Christian version of a takfiri.

    My ex-church, 9Marxists/NeoCalvinist/John MacArthur-ite Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley, also declared any of us with an iota of boundaries and critcial thinking skills as “unbelievers”. I was ordered to be excommunicated and shunned on some trumped up charge, akin to the Salem Witch Trials II. Before me, it was a doctor in his 70’s. Before the good doctor, a middle-aged woman in finance. All upstanding, sweet Christians. All who disagreed with the abuses at Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley and the claims of the pastors/elders that they get to dictate grown ups lives!

  3. From original post” “When she wouldn’t return to the marriage, fearing for her life, they excommunicated her. Not only that but they declared her:

    not a Christian
    turned over to Satan”

    I watched “Borgia” (Not to be confused with “The Borgias”) and the Pope in that show thought he had the authority to condemn people to hell for not obeying him.

    Human Hierarchy in Christianity does not produce good fruit.

  4. Major trigger warning for violence

    A bit off topic but just a reflection. First violence can be very tiring. When I worked on the units at the developmental center violence was at times somewhat extreme. IE I have personally broken up a few attempted sexual assaults and almost daily intervened in “regular” assaults, spitting flinging feces being bit etc. The individuals I was working with had triggers or antecedence to a violent outburst and such violence either biological (organic in nature) or behavioral just does not go away. You have to have an intervention of some type. Medicine behavior mod, therapy etc. It was a daily event some of the self-injurious behavior was so sad. I would describe some of the behavior issues but decorum precludes it. Needless to say, it caused real trauma to others and to staff involved but especially to the victims. There is that terror of never knowing when the next shoe was going to drop. Home was sort of like that for me in some ways with violence and well more violence.

    I don’t think these pastors understand this about psychological issues. It is a very complicated issue and no Jesus does not take the propensity to repeat such behaviors in my experience. I know that upsets their shallow theological apple cart but hay, grow up. I could never get people in my faith community to understand when I would ask for prayer or what should I do about it. They would just think well that is just “Brian”. Well, maybe it was. It took us decades to get people to stop some of this behavior, I still work off and on with some of these folks who are still alive, many are not, another aspect of my work I do not handle really well. I mean a true Christians like this superhero pastors get over all that before it even happens.

    I know violence effects you I still am a bit leery of guns for instance having had a loaded one pointed at me a few times. I know I should man up and move on, which was basically what I was told. It is funny how they seem to pick and choose / shall I say are capricious sort of like their view of their “god”. They go to CONferences, read the newest tribal book and pronounce from on high. I find that very troubling. When woman or man but in most cases, we talk about women is abused threatened etc she is often the one the leadership seems to blame, point the finger at or just plain ignore. Now if the alleged abusive husband said he affirmed SSM, evolution, egalitarian relationships, fill in the blank they would bust a gut to take him out and discipline him allegedly in my opinion.

    I know I tried so hard to help those folks still do. I am just so tired and the physical pain really just never goes away from all the years of being smacked around, lifting, catching people pulled pushed etc. I mean it was worth it to me in so many ways it just is well tiring. Thank You God for just being God.

  5. Well done, EFCA, Eddie Cole, and District leadership. I do not see how CEFC will survive and thrive. Very sad. And senseless.

  6. Great article in that it shows that there are some Denoms willing to stand up for abused women.

    On another note, do we know other men who teach at WTS?

  7. Mara wrote:

    Human Hierarchy in Christianity does not produce good fruit.

    Exactly. Like putting Jesus on the Cross. A human hierarchy of history.

  8. Bridget wrote:

    GOn another note, do we know other men who teach at WTS?

    I do. I did my PhD at Westminster (’88) and was a classmate of Pete Lillback. We carpooled to class in the pre-9Marks era.

  9. I have mixed feelings about the EFCA and Greg Strand, et al in particular.

    In this story, I do give them credit for doing the right thing at real cost to themselves. That is admirable, and I applaud them for acting so.

    That said, the EFCA was the denomination that required me to go through a trial to retain my minister’s license following my ex-wife cheating on me and divorcing me. It was an abusive experience, IMO, for which the national office–i.e. Greg’s–has never apologized. (They have subsequently changed the process, PTL. And some–at least, one–godly EFCA pastors I know have personally apologized for me on behalf of the EFCA even though they weren’t involve in the abusive process themselves.)

    I have family still attending EFCA churches and involve in leadership within the EFCA. My point is not to denigrate the denomination. However, it is to highlight the denomination still has some skeletons in the closet as it comes to spiritual abuse, IMO.
    Strand was part of the group that ruled my divorce from my ex-wife was based upon biblical grounds–i.e. her adultery. However, he was also part of the group that insisted on a subsequent year of “pastoral care” that turned into a thinly veiled version of discipline that I chose to reject as unjust and unhelpful for my well-being. Furthermore, he is part of the group that has kept sealed–to this day–my ex-wife’s written testimony against my retaining my minister’s license.

  10. MidwesternEasterner wrote:

    It’s interesting how Muslims ended up having a lot of the same theological debates Christians, especially Protestants, did. (There were also debates on predestination and the inspiration of scripture).

    Both Calvin and Mohammed were into Predestination and God’s Sovereignty above all else. Why shouldn’t both their theologies show the side effects of this?

  11. What I predict is going to happen is that at the next business meeting Steve Estes is going to go before those who remain and say that Elverson no longer wants to be a part of the EFCA. Its my belief that Steve and the leadership will manufacture some reason to try and say, “we need to break away.”

    Just like Jimmy Swaggart and Ted Haggard after their denoms exercised their oversight after the MoGs got caught with prosties:

    Break away and/or plant a new church with NO oversight and yourself as Founding Lead Pastor/Apostle, God’s Shadow Upon Earth. With the added feature that now none of that Tithe $$$$$ goes outside of Pastor/Apostle’s pocket lining.

  12. The church held a business meeting and decided to rescind Hurit’s excommunication but not apologize for what they did.

    Why should you apologize when You Can Do No Wrong?

  13. Westminster Seminary (PA) Remains Mum on Whether Battered Wives Should be Excommunicated When Leaving Abusive Spouses

    They need to keep Making Examples or their own widdle wifeys would ditch them.

  14. Steve Estes and His Boys (aka *Elders*) excommunicated the wife for not  following their *authority* but Steve’s little boy is walking in repentance.

    By “Stevie’s Little Boy”, do you mean the Highborn Heir of House Estes, Bannermen to the Great House of Stoltzfus?

  15. This is simply not Christianity. These people are lost souls. The ‘evangelical’ world is a free for all, full of all kinds of cults and evil weirdness. Some of it seems bordering on demonic, and I don’t say that lightly.

    And all of it hiding behind the label of ‘Christianity’. Anyone or anything can call itself ‘Christian’ and get some veneer of respectability or something, but the whole thing has been so abused that it is no wonder to me that people are none and done.

    It seems to me that ‘evangelical’ (what does that even mean?) Christianity is a just a big scam, from top to bottom. Money, money, power, power. Listen to any ‘gospel radio’ – it’s pretty blatant.

    I am none, and I’m darn near done…

  16. @ Divorce Minister:

    There is a lot to write on the EFCA. Both good and bad. I tell the bad to help make the EFCA stronger. The EFCA played a major role in my life as it was the first evangelical church I attended. I think the EFCA has a lot of potential but since I write about the EFCA if you are ever interested I would love to tell you story one day.

  17. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Why should you apologize when You Can Do No Wrong?

    Yes, that. In their pride (or narcissism) they genuinely believe that they are justified in treating another human being (fellow believer) like dirt. It has nothing to do with being “biblical” and everything to do with keeping their authority intact. Compassion for the oppressed is a foreign concept. The only thing that occupies their minds is that she dared to defy them.

  18. Divorce Minister wrote:

    In this story, I do give them credit for doing the right thing at real cost to themselves.

    I do give them credit in this case. Although this story was so clearly, clearly a case where the pastor should have not been involved in making decisions because of the nepotism factor! Maybe it was an easy decision.

  19. “It said that the case of church discipline was complicated due to family connections in the church. The goal of rescinding the excommunication of Hurit was to help preserve the church which was being torn apart in two.”

    When you hear the word “complicated” it means that they are in the wrong.

    Repentance is a work that men who walk in the flesh cannot do.

    For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. Romans 8:7-8

  20. Slight off-topic announcement.

    Jeannette Altes’ rent is covered for March thanks to a kind donor. She does need $50 more for the fees.

    http://www.gofundme.com/ljahelp

    Thank you.

    P.S. Please keep her situation in prayer — health, job, finances, a new sofa to sleep on.

  21. Seconod slight off-topic announcement.

    A couple of folks donated to Shauna and her son Billy’s GoFundMe account so they can have assistance with rent, phone, utilities, food, and gas for their car.

    Shauna has a part-time job at a grocery store and she is trying to get full-time hours.

    Any other contributions would help them with expenses. Thank you.

    Please continue to pray for their situation as well, for work for Mom, healing for son Billy from being abused at church by a member, friends for both Mom and son, and maybe one day a healthy church community.

    “Shauna on Sun Feb 26, 2017 at 09:33 AM said:
    Update: please pray for rent 654.10 left , phone is shut. off need 142.68 so billy and i can communicate(he stays after school everyday to get help from teachers), utilities 176.96, food and gas are always up in the air i just manage day to day with that basically its whatever funds are left it always seems to work out. Prayer for these things and extra work my manager hired two people and now im back to 20 hours. Its very upsetting but what can i do? Im trying to stick it out and pick up extra hours so far no luck. All but three people have dropped me from cleaning. The other 3 just all of a sudden dropped me without saying anything. These were people who are former members of the church who contacted me when they read our story. I have my sense of the intrest in us and hiring me but i will let you all decide. All i can say is this isn’t coincidental. Im going to keep moving forward and although it stings God is always consistent in providing and sheilding us from harm. Please pray for my heart as it doesn’t feel to good to feel like you were used . i hope im wrong but my prior dealings with anyone connected there have revealed agendas. Kicking myself as i should have known better. Anyways lesson learned i just dropped billy off at work and i go into work soon. We have no way of communicating so please pray i can somehow get work without a phone talk about a challenge. Im using open wifi where my son works right now.
    Please pray as im sick with a very vicious cold. Im taking everything to fight it i just hope i haven’t taken to many didferent cold medicines.”

    http://www.gofundme.com/pxs5dk

  22. Divorce Minister wrote:

    That said, the EFCA was the denomination that required me to go through a trial to retain my minister’s license following my ex-wife cheating on me and divorcing me. It was an abusive experience, IMO, for which the national office–i.e. Greg’s–has never apologized. (They have subsequently changed the process, PTL…

    What you describe is one half of a good process. The trouble is that one half of a good process is usually a destructive or abusive process – rather like one half of a good aircraft is a death-trap.

    When the bible talks about trials, it is referring to events that are usually hard and exacting but from which we emerge stronger, and what’s more, we emerge having proven ourselves. A trial is only meaningful if it can result in a vindication.

  23. Mary27 wrote:

    The only thing that occupies their minds is that she dared to defy them.

    that seems to be their priority, yes

    all these ‘male headship’ cases of women being mistreated and then continually abused by ‘elders’ point to a very sick pride plus a fear of losing control

    I think the husband should have been arrested for what he did. It wasn’t just a sin, it was a crime.

  24. “Its also my understanding that the Community Evangelical Free church still believes that Hurit did not have Biblical grounds for divorce.”

    I think this is the root of this particular situation. A faulty theology of the grounds for divorce. Unless the evangelical world comes to a consensus on the permissibility of divorce for abuse, we will continue to see all sorts of discipline cases stemming from this. Valerie Hobbs is still covering this.

    https://lydiacenter.org/2017/02/11/loving-our-vulnerable-neighbour-when-church-courts-fail-and-how-we-can-do-better/

  25. Will someone please explain to me what “turn a person over to Satan” means? What does the person / group who does such a thing hope to accomplish?
    And while we are at this what does “under the umbrella of protection of a church” mean?
    I often heard these phrases at CLC back in the day, in a sort of back ground whisper and at times from the pulpit. ( but was afraid to ask anything)

  26. NJ wrote:

    Valerie Hobbs

    “Often these are leaders who mean well and may even be trying to help but are misguided ideologically or practically. Often they appear to be men who ultimately can’t see past themselves and their own interests.” – from Valerie Hobbs’ excellent blog.

    (“Misguided by their own interests” – the treachery of us all left to the natural bent our sinful selves.)

    Jesus corrected this: (Mark 9:42-7) “Have salt within yourselves and be at peace with one another.” Salt means different from the world. At peace means men and women treat each other with respect. In Jesus’ time, rabbis were increasingly avoiding women, excluding them from public life, & labeling women who engaged in adultery without mention of the men involved. Jesus placed responsibility squarely [equally] on men. Men needed to step up, take responsibility for their actions, and change the practices that lead to looking with lustful desire to possess [i.e., control]. “One can meet the requirements of this demand only by means of a new relationship between men and women,” Sermon on the Mount commentaries by B. Guelich, AJ Levine, and GH Stassen

  27. NJ wrote:

    A faulty theology of the grounds for divorce. Unless the evangelical world comes to a consensus on the permissibility of divorce for abuse

    It’s not just abuse. Some people don’t think divorce is permitted for adultery! Some people seem to think even if your husband leaves you, you are still bound. There is a lot of strange thinking out there.

  28. I have followed David’s blog. Steve Estes is a self- centered monster. So CEFC wants to separate from EFCA. Problem ……. CEFC borrowed a substantial amount of money (4-5 mil.) from the EFCA, Minneapolis to expand the church. Since the blow-up over Brock and Hurit many people have left the church, and, IIRC, the curch has not been able to make payments. Question: I CEFC cannot make the payments, does EFCA have the legal right to take possession of the property – similar to a bank foreclosure? It would serve certain people right if they did lose possession of the church property!

  29. Nancy2 wrote:

    I CEFC cannot make the payments, does EFCA have the legal right to take possession of the property – similar to a bank foreclosure? It would serve certain people right if they did lose possession of the church property!

    What a pit some folks dig for themselves when they make an idol of a drunk, abusive family member.

  30. @ Kayphil:
    Great question. If you wish to see how Desiring God views this, and this would most likely be the view of Estes, here is a post. This does not mean I agree with them-just that it represents their point of view.n Basically, the Christian community in the early church took care of one another.By abolishing a serious sinner from the ranks, the church counted on the isolation, lack of support,etc wold drive the person back to the church in repentance.

    If one looks carefully at the Desiring God post, one would see that they are discussing a man sleeping with his mother in law, claiming freedom in Christ, and the. church going along with it. Most people would agree that this is a bad problem and would need to be dealt with.

    However, many of the Calvinistas use this sort of punishment to go after anyone who questions them or to punish, as in this case, an abused women who was abuse by the lead pastors *baby boy.* who was a drunk and used porn.

    As for the umbrella of protection from the church, you’ve got me there. This sort of nonsense arises out of Bill Gothard’s teaching- the same Bill Gothard that liked to ogled and touch pretty young women. The church should be supportive of their own. But an umbrella-Jesus, and Jesus alone is our covering.

    And when the church screws up and the lead pastor hurts his daughter in law, each believe still has the love and peace given to them by Jesus.

  31. Beloved Son wrote:

    When you hear the word “complicated” it means that they are in the wrong.
    Repentance is a work that men who walk in the flesh cannot do.

    Well said.

  32. @ Divorce Minister:
    I am so sorry that I forgot about your story as I wrote this yesterday. The way you were treated was wrong.
    I think this divorce thing is getting out of hand and I think we have all of those mush brains who read John Piper and do not think through the implications of his black and white thinking, to thank for this.

    There are actually people out there who think spouses should remain in marriages in which there is a abuse or adultery, misquoting Hosea as an example of proscriptive behavior. Such Biblical misinterpretation is quietly condoned by those who know there is absolutely no Biblical justification for remaining in a voluntary situation where one is getting abused

    They literally read Hosea when it is clearly meant to be an example of God’s consistent pursuit of His people.

    I am sorry that I did not mention your situation and I will look for another time to do so when dealing with the EFCA situation.

  33. There are two Westminster Seminaries, and while both are reformed and have the same name, they have pretty significant differences, and they are not affiliated with each other. It would be helpful in the article to note that this is Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia, not Westminster Seminary in Escondido, CA.

    For what it’s worth, the Philadelphia school was the home of Jay Adams, one of the leading lights in the nouthetic counseling movement.

  34. Whew! It’s increasingly clear that there are two very dangerous places in America for a Christian woman to be: (1) walking alone on an any inner-city street at night, and (2) in an authoritarian New Calvinist church.

  35. roebuck wrote:

    ‘evangelical’ (what does that even mean?)

    well, let’s see …. it contains the word ‘angel’ which means ‘messenger’, so I instinctively thought that it mean ‘the People who bring the Good News’

    So maybe these people aren’t perfect? Maybe they are human and mostly’works in progress’? Or broken vessels? And some are complete messes?

    The way I see it is that only the people who have been humbled by their own weaknesses and failures can speak of ‘the Good News’ authentically in a way that other broken people can understand. WHY? Because their humbled state has brought them into an encounter with grace. They KNOW they are sinners on whom God has looked.

    They are like the leper who was healed who returned when all the others who were healed did not.

    They have a story to tell. They carry the mark of their healing within.

  36. @ Max:
    “When I was in college, a teacher once said that all women live by a ‘r*pe schedule’. Because of their constant fear of r*pe, women do things throughout the day to protect themselves.” (J. Valenti)

    Apparently, women to wise up while living in the current wave of an authoritarian religious culture and likewise, throughout the church, do things to protect themselves.

  37. George wrote:

    It would be helpful in the article to note that this is Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia, not Westminster Seminary in Escondido, CA.

    It does list it as Westminster (PA) at one point. And this church is also in Pennsylvania iirc, but maybe that’s not jumping out at you if you haven’t read previous stories.

  38. Lea wrote:

    NJ wrote:

    A faulty theology of the grounds for divorce. Unless the evangelical world comes to a consensus on the permissibility of divorce for abuse

    It’s not just abuse. Some people don’t think divorce is permitted for adultery! Some people seem to think even if your husband leaves you, you are still bound. There is a lot of strange thinking out there.

    Yeah, I don’t know if this church’s leadership hold to the permanence view or not. The only thing I think should be permanent is pushing it outside the pale of orthodoxy.

  39. JYJames wrote:

    “When I was in college, a teacher once said that all women live by a ‘r*pe schedule’. Because of their constant fear of r*pe, women do things throughout the day to protect themselves.” (J. Valenti)

    I don’t know that fear is ‘constant’ exactly. Although in reference to Max’s comment, ‘inner city’ is sort of broad. I walked in DC at night all the time, and really it’s mostly about situational awareness. Bad things can happen anywhere, I just believe in paying attention to your instincts as much as possible.

  40. @ dee:
    @ Divorce Minister:
    DM, thanks so much for sharing your story in the comments and your courage in getting through a very tough situation with your faith in God intact. How things are fleshed out in people’s lives is so important to what is truth in the Bible. Some of the theology out there seems beyond reality.

    Jesus walked among real people in their daily situations every day. He neither diminished nor ignored their realities. I like to think that TWW is on this path.

  41. Situations like this show there really is no oversight over the leadership of individual churches in an organization like this.

    If Estes’ church breaks away, it will head into cult territory (not that it isn’t there already).

    My own hunch is that parents cover up for their children when they believe the childrens’ misbehavior is due to their own failures. There comes a time to recuse yourself from the situation.

  42. @ dee:

    OT, but Dee I hope you do write about that weird ‘don’t have good friends’ article by DG. So many things wrong!!

  43. Kayphil wrote:

    Will someone please explain to me what “turn a person over to Satan” means?

    These churches quote the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 5:5: “hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh,[a][b] so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord”.

    The man in question was having sex with his step-mother (his father’s wife), something so outrageous that even unbelievers in the community knew it was wrong. The church knew about it and did nothing. Paul had the man kicked out. Later when the man repented, Paul had him welcomed back to the church.

    The Bible verse is now used in authoritarian churches to control upstanding Christians who have done no moral wrong.

    I know it was used against me at my ex-church, Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley,
    a 9 Marxist/John MacArthur-ite/NeoCalvinist church, when I questioned the presence of a Megan’s List sex offender/child pornographer at church. The pastors/elders had me in a meeting and threatened me — for discussing child safety! They used that verse.
    The chairman of the elder board demanded that I apologize to them for them threatening me.
    I refused. He banned me from church property, all church activities, and from contact with church members, including those who were my friends for 8 years. I was ordered to be excommunicated and shunned.

    It was done to a godly doctor before me in his 70’s. It was done to a godly middle-aged woman in finance before the good doctor.

    Critical thinking skills = kicked out

  44. @ Velour:

    I don’t know how you got though all that. Thank goodness you got out. There is some bad stuff out there, and any idea that the church doors keep it out is purely foolish. Anyhow, I am glad you are here and doing a good work on behalf of folks who need it.

  45. Lea wrote:

    OT, but Dee I hope you do write about that weird ‘don’t have good friends’ article by DG. So many things wrong!!

    Aha! Did you notice that all of the characters in his little fictional examples are female??? My take away: Girls, don’t get too close to anyone. And keep that plastic smiley face on: never let anyone see who you really are. How’s that for good, “Christian” advice?

  46. Nancy2 wrote:

    Lea wrote:
    OT, but Dee I hope you do write about that weird ‘don’t have good friends’ article by DG. So many things wrong!!

    Aha! Did you notice that all of the characters in his little fictional examples are female??? My take away: Girls, don’t get too close to anyone. And keep that plastic smiley face on: never let anyone see who you really are. How’s that for good, “Christian” advice?

    The one-two punch of High School and dating experience has left me with a deep distrust of females to begin with. Reading “Christian advice to women” like that could all too easily push me over the top into Uber-Comp, Manosphere, and/or MGTOW for self-protection.

  47. okrapod wrote:

    @ Velour:
    I don’t know how you got though all that. Thank goodness you got out. There is some bad stuff out there, and any idea that the church doors keep it out is purely foolish. Anyhow, I am glad you are here and doing a good work on behalf of folks who need it.

    Thanks Okrapod for your kind and encouraging comment!

    I am glad I am out of that “church” too, filled with spiritual rot,false teachings,
    and every kind of abuse. A place where right is wrong, and wrong is right. I can’t and won’t live that way.

    Someone posted a comment (perhaps it was Nick from Scotland?) that when he was excommunicated from a church with his wife that God’s love and blessings poured down upon their lives and they were just fine!

  48. Nancy2 wrote:

    Did you notice that all of the characters in his little fictional examples are female??? My take away: Girls, don’t get too close to anyone.

    Oh, of course! My favorite was the single girl who was so close to her single friend that she turned down a date! Because that’s how friendship works. OH! Also, apparently buying lunch for friends is bad. Who knew?

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    The one-two punch of High School and dating experience has left me with a deep distrust of females to begin with.

    Fun Fact, Men lie too! Especially when they want something. Ask me how I know?

  49. Lea wrote:

    Fun Fact, Men lie too! Especially when they want something. Ask me how I know?

    Hysterically funny, Lea.

  50. siteseer wrote:

    My own hunch is that parents cover up for their children when they believe the childrens’ misbehavior is due to their own failures. There comes a time to recuse yourself from the situation.

    Your hunch resonates with the OT account of Eli the prophet and his sons: 1 Samuel 2 (NASB) Now the sons of Eli were worthless men; they did not know the Lord and the custom of the priests with the people. When any man was offering a sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come while the meat was boiling, with a three-pronged fork in his hand. Then he would thrust it into the pan or kettle; all that the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. Thus they did in Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there. Also, before they burned the fat, the priest’s servant would come and say to the man who was sacrificing, “Give the priest meat for roasting, as he will not take boiled meat from you, only raw.” If the man said to him, “They must surely burn the fat first, and then take as much as you desire,” then he would say, “No, but you shall give it to me now; and if not, I will take it by force.” Thus the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord, for the men despised the offering of the Lord.

  51. Lea wrote:

    Oh, of course! My favorite was the single girl who was so close to her single friend that she turned down a date! Because that’s how friendship works. OH! Also, apparently buying lunch for friends is bad. Who knew?

    Well, if dogs can distract you from giving God the glory, just imagine how horrible it must be to have human friends!

  52. @ dee:
    No worries. My relationship with the EFCA is complicated. I respect some good actors still in the denomination including some of my own family. That said, I also recognize some serious issues left unaddressed.

    I remember when my situation went side-wise following my alleged vindication–i.e. they granted me my license based on my ex having committed adultery–I still had people–i.e. EFCA pastors–defending the denomination over calling the injustice I experienced for what it was. One official even had the gall to essentially tell me that I ought to be grateful they allowed me to keep my license…even after knowing the full circumstances of my situation! And that particular dude claims expertise in pastoral care!!

    Also, I agree that the book of Hosea is oft abused when it comes to dispensing advice to faithful spouses dealing with adulterous partners. We don’t follow it as premarital courting advice–i.e. “go find yourself a prostitute to marry”–but that seems to somehow be missed with these folks!

  53. While I appreciate your concern with whether our church can fulfill its fiduciary responsibility to the EFCA, let me assure you that 2016 was the best giving year we have had and so reports of our finance ruin are greatly exaggerated.
    In fact, think about it: isn’t this story a bit crazy? Beyond the pale?
    What is puzzling to me as a church member is why folks who know nothing about our church are so quick to rush to judgment based on false information fed to a blogger eager to feel like he is making a difference for his cause. Stop drinking the kool aid. You are being played. In addition, the characterization of Steve Estes would be laughable if it weren’t so hurtful. Fortunately, Steve spends his time in Bible study and prayer and not reading blogs. He doesn’t even have a cell phone. What a monster

  54. XJN wrote:

    the characterization of Steve Estes would be laughable if it weren’t so hurtful.

    And how precisely do you characterize the hateful treatment you all unleashed on an innocent woman/daughter-in-law? Speaking of drinking cool-aid (I don’t like using the brand name because they’ve done nothing wrong).

  55. XJN wrote:

    You are being played. In addition, the characterization of Steve Estes would be laughable if it weren’t so hurtful. Fortunately, Steve spends his time in Bible study and prayer and not reading blogs.

    Frankly, it is you who is playing us. The fact that you did not mention the victim in all of this shows your utter inability to understand the abuse of abused women. In fact, your comment made me realize that women are not safe in your church.

    Also, Steve sends all of his time in Bible study and prayer? Good night! A modern day monk! To that I say “Baloney.”

  56. Lea wrote:

    OT, but Dee I hope you do write about that weird ‘don’t have good friends’ article by DG. So many things wrong!!

    I have already put it into a draft!

  57. @ XJN:
    Ever notice these guys who’ve never commented before suddenly come out of the woodwork on vocal Jihad for Gawd’s Anointed Lead Pastor/Apostle?

  58. dee wrote:

    Also, Steve spends all of his time in Bible study and prayer? Good night! A modern day monk!

    Straight out of Medieval Clericalism, when laity didn’t count and the only ones pleasing to God were Priests, Monks, and Nuns (i.e. “full-time Ministry”). 24/7/365 Prayer and Devotions, paid for by the Tithes of the “Pay, Pray, and OBEY” laity.

    Only addition is the 24/7/365 Bible Study, but that should be familiar to anyone with experience in the Bibliolatry of Fundagelicalism.

  59. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Ever notice these guys who’ve never commented before suddenly come out of the woodwork on vocal Jihad for Gawd’s Anointed Lead Pastor/Apostle?

    And they always say the same ole things thinking 1) we would instantly believe them, and 2) wouldn’t notice they avoided actually addressing the problem that put them on this blog.

  60. XJN wrote:

    In fact, think about it: isn’t this story a bit crazy? Beyond the pale?

    Yes. Sadly, truth is stranger than fiction sometimes. All kinds of crazy things happen irl.

    dee wrote:

    I have already put it into a draft!

    Awesome!

  61. XJN wrote:

    Fortunately, Steve spends his time in Bible study and prayer and not reading blogs.

    Because these are the only two options!

  62. ishy wrote:

    wouldn’t notice they avoided actually addressing the problem that put them on this blog.

    Yep. Vague and avoiding or lacking details. Always.

  63. JYJames wrote:

    Your hunch resonates with the OT account of Eli the prophet and his sons: 1 Samuel 2 (NASB)

    i.e. Living High off their priestly position.

    Also, before they burned the fat, the priest’s servant would come and say to the man who was sacrificing, “Give the priest meat for roasting, as he will not take boiled meat from you, only raw.” If the man said to him, “They must surely burn the fat first, and then take as much as you desire,” then he would say, “No, but you shall give it to me now; and if not, I will take it by force.”

    “YA FORGOT THE GRAVY!”
    — “Chow Hound”, Warner Bros Looney Tunes, 1951

  64. XJN wrote:

    the characterization of Steve Estes would be laughable if it weren’t so hurtful. Fortunately, Steve spends his time in Bible study and prayer and not reading blogs. He doesn’t even have a cell phone.

    Well, while you are laughing today and pastor Steve is in his study, there are hurting folks in your congregation. How would Pastor Steve know they are hurting if he doesn’t have a phone? Is he one of the new breed of pastors who refuse to take phone calls from church members in need? Oh, I suppose he has delegated his responsibility to others (perhaps to folks like you), but shouldn’t he be their pastor?

  65. XJN wrote:

    Steve spends his time in Bible study and prayer

    Perhaps he should have spent a little time teaching his son the difference between right and wrong.

  66. Lea wrote:

    XJN wrote:
    In fact, think about it: isn’t this story a bit crazy? Beyond the pale?
    Yes. Sadly, truth is stranger than fiction sometimes. All kinds of crazy things happen irl.

    “The difference between fiction and reality is fiction has to make some sense.”
    — attr to Mark Twain

  67. Nancy2 wrote:

    XJN wrote:
    Steve spends his time in Bible study and prayer
    Perhaps he should have spent a little time teaching his son the difference between right and wrong.

    But that’s SECULAR.
    But that takes away time from Bible Study and Prayer.

  68. Lea wrote:

    XJN wrote:
    Fortunately, Steve spends his time in Bible study and prayer and not reading blogs.
    Because these are the only two options!

    And they show us Lukewarm Apostates how SPIRITUAL and GODLY he is.

  69. The Dear Leader dad with the bad boy son who gets a pass brings to mind Hollywood style. Name-brand stars get a pass on all kinds of bad stuff, why? – revenue – protect the brand, the $how must go on.

    Yesterday, in an article http://huff.to/2mLfIzP a name-brand herself opened up about what goes on; bad stuff is not even recognized for what it is.

    In the Bible, God protects neither institution nor individual – from Saul to Paul, it’s all out there for the reader to see.

  70. JYJames wrote:

    The Dear Leader dad with the bad boy son who gets a pass

    Titus says “his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination.” Amusingly, DG has a nice long article parsing through the word choices on all this to make it ok for pastors to still stay in their positions even if their kids are horrors. Compare and contrast to how they treat the requirements in reference to women. Seems a wee bit self serving.

  71. Nancy2 wrote:

    XJN wrote:

    Steve spends his time in Bible study and prayer

    Perhaps he should have spent a little time teaching his son the difference between right and wrong.

    How can someone praise the character of a man who has persecuted his already abused daughter-in-law??

  72. @ dee:

    BTW, I was picking up on some undertones there, and the lady who wrote the article has written a whole series (and maybe a book) that goes into a lot of detail. Strange stuff.

  73. JYJames wrote:

    The Dear Leader dad with the bad boy son who gets a pass

    Not “bad boy son”.
    Future Beloved Leader/Dear Successor.

  74. Lea wrote:

    XJN wrote:
    Fortunately, Steve spends his time in Bible study and prayer and not reading blogs.

    Because these are the only two options!

    Does this remind anyone else of Piper’s attitude?
    “When I read his quotes, I feel like he just wants us to sit there and gaze at God, whatever that looks like. Like, everything will take away from the glory of God, so we must just stare at Him and contemplate Him 24/7.”
    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2017/02/24/john-piper-dogs-can-distract-you-from-giving-god-glory/#comment-312275

  75. I have been an ordained EFCA pastor for 20 years. What CEFC did was very evil. I have seen many pastors in the EFCA blow up their ministries and their churches for various reasons. But I have also seen the District and National offices respond extremely well to these situations. We are not a top down hierarchy (i.e. the District and National offices do not run the churches) so these kinds of sad situations will happen occasionally. But when they do occur, the District, and if necessary, the National office (usually just the District, in my experience) are quick to help in any way that they can.

    Whether or not the CEFC leaves the EFCA (and that would be the cowards way out, for sure), Steve should have his ordination revoked. I’ve seen it happen for lesser offenses.

    The EFCA is not perfect at any level-National, District, pastors, local church–but overall it is very healthy and does learn from its mistakes. The doctrine is solid and the ethos (read the EFCA’s six “Distinctives”) is very healthy.

  76. Anon in the EFCA wrote:

    Whether or not the CEFC leaves the EFCA (and that would be the cowards way out, for sure), Steve should have his ordination revoked. I’ve seen it happen for lesser offenses.

    Thank you for your insights and calling what that church did to that abused wife “evil”.

  77. @ brian:
    I’m not surprised you are tired…I think quite a lot of these Christian Pastors & teachers who pontificate about this stuff haven’t spent 5 minutes in genuine engagement outside the Christian bubble, which is why they are able to be so simplistic.

  78. XJN wrote:

    What is puzzling to me as a church member is why folks who know nothing about our church are so quick to rush to judgment

    Step back and look at it through fresh eyes, yourself. An abused woman is excommunicated? The pastor doing the excommunicating is the father of the abusive husband? Come on, what do you expect the world to do? Avert it’s eyes?

    The thing is, we may know more about your church than you realize because most of us have been somewhere similar. The dynamics are the same, over and over. Yes, it took a lot of us a long time to open our eyes, too. The view from outside is much more clear.

  79. siteseer wrote:

    XJN wrote:
    What is puzzling to me as a church member is why folks who know nothing about our church are so quick to rush to judgment

    Step back and look at it through fresh eyes, yourself. An abused woman is excommunicated? The pastor doing the excommunicating is the father of the abusive husband? Come on, what do you expect the world to do? Avert it’s eyes?

    “NIKES!”

  80. @XJN
    You have no idea how you come across, do you? Or just how deluded you appear to an outside observer? There’s a reason why in many disciplines an independent/impartial witness or judge is preferred to one who is involved in the situation or can be perceived as having a conflict of interest.

    You appear to have drunk deeply of the kool aid. Your pastor is above criticism since he spends all his time in bible study and prayer – ergo, far superior to us common folk who can’t spend 24/7 in bible study because we work for a living and raise our families. You don’t realise that he has convinced you that praying and bible study are the most “spiritual” things to do when living as a believer in Christ, humbly walking with him in this world, is what God wants of you and me. 24/7 bible study and prayer – who is he praying to and what bible is he studying since his character and witness appear as far removed from Christ as possible?

    May God open your eyes and deliver you from this blindness that you are trapped in. I would not wish your pitiable state on my worst enemy.

  81. Nancy2 wrote:

    XJN wrote:
    Steve spends his time in Bible study and prayer
    Perhaps he should have spent a little time teaching his son the difference between right and wrong.

    Preach it, Nancy2!

  82. Kayphil wrote:

    That’s terrible and I know it happened to people who ‘sinfully wuestioned’ a teaching or authority etc, @ Velour:

    The “sin” part for the authoritarian church leaders is daring to ask them a cogent question. They expect us not just to be doormats but wall-to-wall carpeting for them to walk all over.

    Jesus said millstones should be used, wrapped around people who harmed children, and that
    said offenders be thrown in the deepest seas. Jesus took child safety seriously; so do I.

  83. Can someone inform me of the difference between ‘elder-led’ and ‘elder-led’ churches?

    As for the problems of leadership gone wild at Estes abusive church: Where was the hierarchy when Brock was getting a pass & the poor wife was being disciplined? They should have gotten their butts down to Estes’s church and defended the wife. The pastor should have been relieved of his duties & Brock the boy-man reported to authorities for criminal behavior. Where, I ask, was the Evangelical Free Church hierarchy when the wife was in the thick of this mess? Why weren’t they there to stand along side of her in support?

  84. Whoops..My question again.

    Can someone inform me of the difference between elder-led & elder-ruled churches?

  85. Gram3 I do not see how CEFC will survive and thrive. Very sad. And senseless.

    I hope this abusive local church closes shop. They have disgraced the Christian faith. Delivering this abused wife to Satan while the congregation stood by and watched. This is the mindset of the Salem Witch Trials.

  86. Velour wrote:

    Lea wrote:

    Fun Fact, Men lie too! Especially when they want something. Ask me how I know?

    Hysterically funny, Lea.

    And I think I know what that “something” is.

  87. Lea wrote:

    XJN wrote:

    Fortunately, Steve spends his time in Bible study and prayer and not reading blogs.

    Because these are the only two options!

    Because reading blogs is of the flesh. .

  88. Nancy2 wrote:

    XJN wrote:

    Steve spends his time in Bible study and prayer

    Perhaps he should have spent a little time teaching his son the difference between right and wrong.

    Perhaps he should have taken the time to report his son to the authorities for criminal behavior.

  89. @ Darlene:
    Generally, elder-ruled churches have elders who both chose the elders and whose elders make the decisions for the church. Elder-led churches have elders who make some decisions for the church but have congregational votes on other decisions including, in some cases, on who shall serve as elders. Which decisions are made by the congregation and which by the elders vary. Also the composition of the elder boards may vary among different denominations and churches (lay vs. ordained, paid vs. unpaid.)

  90. Darlene wrote:

    Gram3 I do not see how CEFC will survive and thrive. Very sad. And senseless.
    I hope this abusive local church closes shop. They have disgraced the Christian faith. Delivering this abused wife to Satan while the congregation stood by and watched. This is the mindset of the Salem Witch Trials.

    Darlene, you are on fire today with the comments! Love ’em!!

  91. Gram3 wrote:

    Generally, elder-ruled churches have elders who both chose the elders and whose elders make the decisions for the church. Elder-led churches have elders who make some decisions for the church but have congregational votes on other decisions including, in some cases, on who shall serve as elders.

    Ah, I had been wondering about that. Elder Led is somewhat like a democracy in a republic, I think. We elect elders to be our representative, and a few things come to the congregation for a vote. Sort of a happy medium?

  92. Velour wrote:

    Darlene wrote:
    Gram3 I do not see how CEFC will survive and thrive. Very sad. And senseless.
    I hope this abusive local church closes shop. They have disgraced the Christian faith. Delivering this abused wife to Satan while the congregation stood by and watched. This is the mindset of the Salem Witch Trials.
    Darlene, you are on fire today with the comments! Love ’em!!

    Thanks, Velour. I have come to a place where I will no longer mince words when I see this kind of abuse in so-called “churches.”

  93. Darlene wrote:

    Thanks, Velour. I have come to a place where I will no longer mince words when I see this kind of abuse in so-called “churches.”

    Welcome!

    Me too. I no longer mince words.

  94. Gram3 wrote:

    Generally, elder-ruled churches have elders who both chose the elders and whose elders make the decisions for the church. Elder-led churches have elders who make some decisions for the church but have congregational votes on other decisions

    If the congregational votes are always 99% in favor of elder recommendations then the church is elder “ruled” and not elder “led”.

  95. Darlene wrote:

    Can someone inform me of the difference between elder-led & elder-ruled churches?

    While it might be a simplistic way to look at this, I think the answer lies with an individual leader’s attitude, rather than church governance style, when it comes to “led” vs. “rule”. If a man’s heart is to rule a church, rather than to lead it, authoritarian abuse can easily set up shop. If a “pastor” and his hand-picked elder team control, manipulate and intimidate their congregations into following them, then they are overlords who rule not lead in Jesus’ name. They rule by the flesh, not lead by the Spirit.

  96. Max wrote:

    I think the answer lies with an individual leader’s attitude, rather than church governance style

    I think it does make a difference and bad structure corrupts good people. My history is from within a church with an authoritarian governance style. The problem was it worked for 100 years but 50 years ago they stopped moving the pastors every three years without otherwise changing the structure. I watched but didn’t perceive until too late the shift as a man who came in humble was slowly transformed into someone proud and controlling. I think that much power without accountability ruins the best of any of us.
    Forty five years ago I joined a church that was run like a family, but left it when it was run by a CEO and his staff.

  97. Bill M wrote:

    If the congregational votes are always 99% in favor of elder recommendations then the church is elder “ruled” and not elder “led”.

    Provided the elders are really chosen by the congregation and rotated out, and not puppets of some individual, I do not agree with this. Congregational votes probably tend to go in favor of whatever is being proposed, particularly when it isn’t a big deal or routine business.

  98. Bill M wrote:

    I think that much power without accountability ruins the best of any of us.

    I should also say in many elder led churches there is a different between ‘teaching’ and ‘ruling’ elders for precisely this reason, not to give too much power to the person with alot of FaceTime.

  99. Bill M wrote:

    bad structure corrupts good people

    Amen! And that can occur in a church, a business, a family … anywhere a bad structure is allowed to develop and flourish. If you allow someone’s weakness to overcome your strength, they own you. At the core of an authoritarian leader is a weakness of character that must control others to find satisfaction. Such church leaders are running in the flesh as lost souls, thinking all the time that they have a corner on the truth. You can find one or more of them in every community across America – the enemy of the true church plants them there.

  100. Bill M wrote:

    If the congregational votes are always 99% in favor of elder recommendations then the church is elder “ruled” and not elder “led”.

    ONLY 99%?
    WHO IS THE TRAITOR?????

  101. Lea wrote:

    XJN wrote:

    Fortunately, Steve spends his time in Bible study and prayer and not reading blogs.

    Because these are the only two options!

    And if you spend enough time in Bible study and prayer, you’ll become so Spiritual you can even shed the filthy flesh (like Elron Hubbard and Heaven’s Gate) and Ascend to higher and higher Levels of Bible study and prayer!

  102. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    JYJames wrote:

    Your hunch resonates with the OT account of Eli the prophet and his sons: 1 Samuel 2 (NASB)

    i.e. Living High off their priestly position.

    Also, before they burned the fat, the priest’s servant would come and say to the man who was sacrificing, “Give the priest meat for roasting, as he will not take boiled meat from you, only raw.” If the man said to him, “They must surely burn the fat first, and then take as much as you desire,” then he would say, “No, but you shall give it to me now; and if not, I will take it by force.”

    “YA FORGOT THE GRAVY!”
    — “Chow Hound”, Warner Bros Looney Tunes, 1951

    Couldn’t find an intact copy of “Chow Hound” online, but here’s Wikipedia’s description of the cartoon:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chow_Hound
    Descriptive enough for this context.

  103. siteseer wrote:

    An abused woman is excommunicated? The pastor doing the excommunicating is the father of the abusive husband? Come on, what do you expect the world to do?

    “When the police pick up a nun in a floating craps parlor, somehow the word gets around.”
    — throwaway line from a The Flying Nun episode

  104. Darlene wrote:

    The pastor should have been relieved of his duties & Brock the boy-man reported to authorities for criminal behavior. Where, I ask, was the Evangelical Free Church hierarchy when the wife was in the thick of this mess?

    Bible Study and Prayer?

  105. Lea wrote:

    Ah, I had been wondering about that. Elder Led is somewhat like a democracy in a republic, I think.

    And Elder Ruled is more like a People’s Democratic Republic.

  106. Elder-led vs. elder-ruled…

    Here is how our by-laws delineate the elders’ limitations in a congregational (EFCA) church.

    The following actions shall require a vote of the members present:
    1. The election or removal of a pastor or an elder.
    2. The approval or amendment of the annual budget, the borrowing of money by the church or the expenditure of funds in excess of 10% of the budget.
    3. An amendment of the Constitution and/or By-laws.

    Furthermore, we have a detailed process for selecting elders that has congregational involvement and approval at every step. A few years ago we realized that we had become sloppy in one of these steps so we quickly acknowledged/apologized to the congregation and corrected our mistake.

    If the process for selecting/electing elders is rigorous and transparent, then the elders can lead with more freedom. If this process is weak and non-transparent, the congregation should be more wary.

    There is no perfect church governance but I believe this system of checks and balances has worked very well for us.

  107. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    “When the police pick up a nun in a floating craps parlor, somehow the word gets around.”
    — throwaway line from a The Flying Nun episode

    🙂 nuns aren’t as fastidious as the rest of us when it comes to going out into the world and serving; they just don’t see ‘respectable’ barriers in the same way at all …. magnificent women
    LOL

  108. brian wrote:

    There is that terror of never knowing when the next shoe was going to drop. Home was sort of like that for me in some ways with violence and well more violence.

    I don’t think these pastors understand this about psychological issues.

    This is my fear in my situation right now. Not physical violence but verbal/emotional abuse. You never know what’s going to set it off. And so many church leaders don’t understand the dynamic of abuse. They think that both spouses are equally to blame and you just have to pray and try to live normally in order to get over it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *