A Good Picture of a Bad Pastor in Action

The following art strip (I was going to call it a comic strip but it’s not meant to be comical.  Maybe a “sarcasm strip”?!)…was drawn by one of our blog family. It is based on the recent series “Stephanie’s Story” and how her ex “pastor” mistreated her.  Many thanks to Alison for drawing this. And by the way, her descriptive term “damned crafty” is indeed fitting. After all, Jesus called the wicked Pharisees children of the devil. This is truly damnable stuff that is regularly unleashed on victims.

[Note: Alison’s definitions of the terms she uses in the drawing are listed below from her comment on Stephanie’s Story]

Continue reading “A Good Picture of a Bad Pastor in Action”

Preaching Perseverance and Patience to Abuse Victims? Time to get a Clue!

Many thanks to No One Down Here for this powerful comment. I decided to make it a stand alone post to be sure everyone was able to see it.  She wrote this in response to the artwork strip done for us published on Nov 4th.  Pastors, church leaders, “biblical” counselors, church members – are you listening?  Most of them of course will not, but then we write here primarily for abuse victims/survivors.

Here then is NODH:

Continue reading “Preaching Perseverance and Patience to Abuse Victims? Time to get a Clue!”

Stephanie’s Story – Part 6 – Excommunicated

There are many other emails that were avalanched onto Stephanie by her ex-pastor which also included some communications from the “biblical counselor.” All of them put the primary burden for “saving the marriage” on Stephanie rather than where it belonged, on her abuser.

Here is a copy of the letter informing Stephanie that she had been ex-communicated, “In Christ’s Love” as you notice it is signed off. The fact is that this is exactly where her ex-pastor and church had been headed in the entire process, though they would deny it. Stephanie refused to “get in line” and had to be taught a lesson as well as the rest of the women in the church.

Dear Stephanie,

It is with deep regret that I write this letter to inform you that ___________ Reformed Baptist Church voted unanimously to excommunicate you from the church according to the process in our church’s constitution and Matthew 18. This action was taken by the church after much prayer and private advisory consultation with other Pastors at sister churches outside of our congregation.

This action was taken because you refused to continue to receive counseling to save your marriage. Also, this includes your deliberate actions to pursue an unbiblical divorce and break your covenant vows that you made before God in the sight of witnesses.

This action has been taken out of deep concern and love for your soul. We will continue to pray for you and your husband that the Lord will grant you repentance and reconciliation with Christ, your husband, and this congregation.

In Christ Love,

Pastor __________

So there you have it. This scenario is being played out in local churches every single day. Many of you have been through it yourselves.

Notice that this “pastor” insists that THE way to “save the marriage” is for people to submit to his “biblical counseling” routine. Notice also that he denies that abuse is grounds for a divorce and that when a person “signs on” to a marriage with vows, the “for better or worse” includes being bound to the abuse with no way of escape.

Finally, notice the lies. He says he and the church have a deep concern and love for her soul. That is a lie. They have NO concern for her. Just like an abusive cult, they are punishing her for refusing to bow to their oppression. “Let this be a lesson to anyone else thinking about going against the Pastor!” That is what is going on here.

Well, Stephanie, their “ex-communication” is not an excommunication from Christ. You are like the man in John 9 who Jesus healed and who was then put out of the Temple for confessing Christ. And then he found Jesus outside that Temple, just as you will.

Many blessings in Christ to you, Stephanie. May the Lord use your story here to His glory and may you keep experiencing more and more freedom from the evil that has been done to you.

Stephanie’s Story – Part 5 – More Letters from the “Pastor”

We continue with Stephanie’s story of abuse not only at the hands of her ex-husband but in some ways even more so by her ex-pastor and church. If you have not read the first 4 parts of her story in earlier posts, be sure to do so.

Part 1   Part 2   Part 3   Part 4

Here is an email sent to her by the Pastor.  I continue to not use his name, but honestly he deserves to have his name and his evil words here posted on the mountaintops:
Please forgive me for taking so long to send this email but I have been extremely busy since last week. I have attached a copy of the minutes from the church meeting last week so you can see exactly what was discussed. Per section 4 of our church Constitution, The church cannot accept your letter of resignation at this time because I have recommended you to the church as a candidate for church discipline. This recommendation was given because at this point you have refused to meet for counseling since November of last year and you are not willing to continue to work on saving your marriage. The church will be meeting again this evening to determine whether to proceed with church discipline or not. If they don’t proceed with church discipline, they will be free to accept your letter of resignation at this time. I would encourage you to please come to the meeting to voice your side of the story before the church votes on this matter. If you can’t make it, you can call in by phone or you can send me an email that I would read on your behalf. Please understand that we still love you as a sister and we are deeply concerned and we are praying for you and your husband.
By His Grace and For His Glory,
Pastor ________
Can you imagine an abuse victim going to a lynch mob meeting like this at the church and “voicing her side of the story”?  Oh yeah. That would end well I’m sure!!
And here is the section from the church meeting minutes he sent her in which the entire church membership dove into the fray (against her of course). Words in brackets [ ]are my insertions:

Issue of the ______ family/recent communications and update (informational)
a. Review of constitution and discipline policies/procedures (handouts given)
b. Reading of Matt 16:13-19 “upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.”
c. Letter of Resignation has been received from Stephanie to families
of church that includes the details regarding the circumstances of her marital union
d. Records of all communication is available for church members who desire to know the context of the circumstances to review due to the public nature of the circumstances
e. “Love covers a multitude of sins…” issues were being worked on privately to counsel both Terrance and attempts to reach out to counsel Stephanie in pursuit of this biblical guidance
f. Details of Pastoral guidance were shared:
i. Meeting in October with [abuser] and Stephanie by Pastor  and
[pastor’s wife]; plan of action was determined
ii. Met again with Terrance and Stephanie in November with Pastor and another biblical counselor (a couple) at her request
iii. Ladies of church have reached out to meet and counsel with Stephanie;
iv. Most recently, Stephanie has not shown a willingness to be counseled by both Pastor and/or the other counselor;
v. Terrance confessed his sin against God and his wife before the
congregation; confessed his sinful anger, emotion at the counseling
meeting and vengeance regarding the naming of another woman
to a cruise manifest. He summarized that he has not been leading his wife the way the Lord has commanded him to. He is requesting that the church continue to pray for him that his wife returns to him.
vi. We have identified that the home is the center of contention and bringing the condition of the property to a mutually “acceptable” state is the primary issue
vii. Stephanie, at this point, has given up on the marriage and is not willing to continue to work on the relationship
viii. Working through the issue biblically and communicating in a Godly manner to resolve conflict is at the heart of the matter; there must be mutual submission to one another and reverence for biblical process to arrive at peaceful resolution
ix. Brother ________ asked if there is any house work that need to be done to help the issue.
x. Church discussed response to letter of resignation;
1. Brother ________ asked if there has been any adultery or physical abuse; it was assumed based upon the communication that has been shared that Bro. Terrance has not been physically abusive or
not in an adulterous relationship.
2. Persistent theme is the refusal to meet with or counsel with Pastor;
it is assumed that, according to her refusal to resolve this
in a biblical manner, there is a disregard of biblical authority and
unwillingness to abide by the constitution process adopted by the
church.
3. There is an acknowledgment in the communications received from
Sis. Stephanie that she has no biblical grounds to seek a divorce;
she has been absent from church attendance/meetings and
moved from the marital residence.
4. Bro. ________ suggested she be given an opportunity to address
the church regarding her resignation and the circumstances of her
estrangement from her husband.
5. According to the situational assessment of Pastor, she is a
“proper candidate” for church discipline and recommendation for
church response will be determined at a follow up meeting.
6. We are to pray for our dear sister and brother that they be
reconciled to one another and that Sis. Stephanie would be
reconciled to this church body.

And there you have it. What a horror story! I have no words.

Stephanie’s Story – Part 4 (Communiques from the Devil)

Here are some of the typical emails and letters that were sent to Stephanie by her (now ex) pastor. This is the very kind of thing that is laid upon victims by their churches. I will just post a few here and more in a subsequent post, including the formal letter of ex-communication. I will be very interested in everyone’s comments in response to what this “pastor” says in these communications to Stephanie:

Good morning, I know you are still emotional hurt and upset but It is vitally important that [Pastor’s wife] and I meet with you without [abuser] asap. I saw your messages and there is no biblical grounds for divorce by either one of you at this point. As your Pastor, I’m duty bound to warn you that to do so at this point would be a grave SIN against God. I do agree that sometime apart for both of you to get counseling would be wise but that is totally different than divorce. I have been counseling with [abuser] and the Lord seems to be doing some amazing work upon his heart. Please let me know the earliest you are able to meet.
From [Pastor]

This next one is rather long, and in fact does not include the second half in which the pastor cites scriptures to forbid Stephanie from divorcing her abuser. But here is enough to handle for now. Wicked. It is like reading a letter from the devil:

Continue reading “Stephanie’s Story – Part 4 (Communiques from the Devil)”

Stephanie’s Story: Part 3

[If you haven’t yet read the earlier posts of Stephanie’s story, here are the links – Part 1, Part 2]

Stephanie’s pastor and his wife continued to make excuses for her abuser’s wickedness. Now Stephanie tells us how they stepped up that pressure. We will include some of the actual emails and letters that the pastor sent her in the next installment (Part 4).  They are like letters from the kingdom of darkness.

Stephanie continues now with her story:

The pastor had ordered us that no marital issues or concerns,  or any questions we (mostly aimed at me) might have were not to be discussed with family members or church friends. Nothing could be discussed concerning our marriage and life outside the house.

I would check the church prayer list every week, and now I was wondering if I would find that the church had removed me from it. I had sent a letter to the church to be released from membership. What I did find listed on the prayer list was this: “That the Lord would grant her [ie, ME] repentence and grace to fight for her marriage.”  There was no added prayer request for my husband!

Continue reading “Stephanie’s Story: Part 3”

Stephanie’s Story: Part 2

Due to pressure from her pastor, his wife, and her abuser husband (Terrance), Stephanie returned to the run down, spider and rodent infested house, and to her abuser. If you missed part one, here is the link Part One.

And now, Stephanie continues with her story: [In your comments, perhaps some of you could give us some insight into what is going on in the minds of this pastor and his wife. What do you think is their motive?]

Continue reading “Stephanie’s Story: Part 2”