"...When He [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Matt 9:36

"Do not rob the poor, because he is poor... for the Lord will take up their case and plunder those who plunder them." Proverbs 22:22-23

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother and Daughter Being Sued by Their Former Pastor - Pastor Claims He Was Told to Sue by John MacArthur's Church

The man at left is Chuck O'Neal, pastor of Beaverton Grace Bible Church.

Why is Chuck's picture here on the Watchdog blog? Well, as reported by Portland TV station KATU, Chuck is suing one of his former church members.

What did this former church member, Julie Anne Smith, do in order to receive the wrath of Chuck and his lawyer? Well, Julie Anne started a blog about her church and her pastor to document the spiritual abuse that she says she endured at the hands of the good pastor and his church.

Chuck wants $500,000 in damages from Julie Anne, Julie Anne's daughter, and a few other blog commenters that have criticized Chuck for what Julie claims is spiritual abuse she has endured after being kicked out of Chuck's church.

No good pastor would sue a church member without invoking some sort of biblical justification, right? Chuck compares his situation to that of the Apostle Paul, who appealed to Caesar when he was accused of crimes. Read what Chuck posted on Julie Anne's review site explaining why he filed his defamation lawsuit:
"After seeking counsel from a pastor on staff with Grace Community Church (under Pastor John MacArthur) and reading him several excerpts from JulieAnne's endless defamation, he recommended that we FILE A LAWSUIT in an appeal to Caesar as the Apostle Paul did when falsely accused of crimes against God and the state."
Of course!  Chuck justifies his lawsuit against Julie and her daughter by claiming he is only doing what the Apostle Paul did in Acts 25! Forget that Paul was being pursued by powerful religious leaders who wanted to kill him, and that Julie Anne is, well, a stay-at-home, home-schooling mom who is writing about her former church and pastor that she believes has spiritually abused her family and other families.

Chuck has it completely backwards. In this saga, he and his church represent the Jewish leaders seeking Paul's (Julie Anne's) head because they don't like what Julie Anne is saying, while Julie Anne is more like the Apostle Paul who is merely doing what her faith calls her to do: to call out and expose what she perceives to be a false teacher and a spiritual abuser. Chuck, you're the religious zealot who is trying to silence a Christian, Julie Anne is the Apostle Paul doing what Christ has commanded her to do.

Julie Anne says that when she and her family left the church, her friends were told to end all contact with her. Yep, good old-fashioned "church discipline" once again, perpetrated against the evil-doer who dares to criticize the pastor. Julie says in the KATU news report below:
"If I went to Costco or any place in town, if I ran into somebody, they would turn their heads and walk the other way....All we did was asked questions. We just raised concerns. There's no sin in that."
As Julie is finding out, just as I found out 3 1/2 years ago, in today's modern evangelical church one of THE biggest sins is asking questions and raising concerns in your church, especially if you do it in a way that is not approved by the holy men of God. And God help you if you publicly criticize your pastor; that will get you shown the exit faster than if you are an embezzler or child molester.

Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of this case is Chuck "the Apostle Paul" O'Neal claiming that filing a defamation lawsuit was a course of action recommended to him by John MacArthur's church, Grace Community Church. I hope as the press continues to cover this story that they follow-up with John MacArthur. I don't believe for a second that John MacArthur or any of his staff members would stand by Chuck O'Neal's decision to sue a mother and her daughter. I hope Julie's lawyer raises this as an issue in Chuck's deposition and interrogatories, and finds out just who at Grace Community Church was advising Chuck, and I hope they depose that minister to find out if perhaps Chuck "the Apostle Paul" O'Neal defamed Julie in the process.

I think Chuck O'Neal is showing himself to be a coward here. Why on earth would O'Neal consult with John MacArthur's church in this matter? How could John MacArthur's church staff possibly know all of the facts of Julie's experience and her claims of spiritual abuse at the hands of Chuck and his church that she chronicles on her blog and at her Google review site? Does Chuck need the approval and blessing of John MacArthur to sue one of his members?

And lastly, let me just say this, and perhaps this will get me added to Chuck's defamation complaint filed with the court:  Chuck O'Neal is a hypocrite. If you click here, you can read some of Chuck's complaint filed against Julie. Julie was merely expressing her views of Chuck and Beaverton Grace Bible Church; she is doing what she as a Christian is supposed to do. She is calling out what she believes to be a false teacher. In fact, Julie is just doing what Chuck himself does in his sermons. He calls out people by name who he thinks are false teachers and who are harming Christians.

If you go back and listen to one of Chuck's sermons entitled "Emergent Church Apostasy - Wolves in Our Midst" - Chuck goes after emergent church leaders Doug Pagitt, Brian Mclaron, and Rob Bell for their false teachings. Chuck says that Brian Mclaron "serves the devil", he claims all three men are "wolves in sheep's clothing", he calls them "false prophets", and says Rob Bell is a "dangerous man". It is a very scathing sermon and he attacks these men's motives and their character and their ministries. And no doubt Chuck will say that he is doing it because he is called by God to call out and expose what he perceives to be false teachers.

For Chuck to file a lawsuit against Julie Anne for criticizing religious leaders, while Chuck himself uses his pulpit to criticize harshly religious leaders, makes Chuck a hypocrite. And we know what Jesus thinks about religious hypocrites. Chuck, whether you like it or not, Julie Anne Smith is just as called of God as you are to expose what she believes to be false and harmful teachers. 

Finally, Julie Anne, Happy Mother's Day to you, and thank you for not caving in to the pressure and cult tactics employed by your church, and for standing strong and daring to write about your experience at the hands of your church and pastor. The best thing you can do is to not be silent, to speak of what has been done to you and your family and to speak the truth even if your former pastor and church hate you for it.

You are doing God's work

55 comments:

SBC serfdom said...

Let me see, if I take my Bible, and remind you, I am just a simple dumb pew sitter, and I flip it open...Oh look, 1st Corinthians chapter 6.

What does it say?

"Does any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor dare to go to law before the unrighteous and not before the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the matters of this life? So if you have law courts dealing with matters of this life, do you appoint them as judges who are of no account in the church? I say this to your SHAME. Is it so, that there is not among you one wise man who will be able to decide between his brethren, but brother goes to law with brother and that before unbelievers?

Actually, then, it is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. WHY NOT RATHER BE WRONGED? WHY NOT RATHER BE DEFRAUDED? On the contrary, YOU YOURSELVES WRONG AND DEFRAUD. You do this even to your brethren" (NASB, 1995)

There, that wasn't so hard to find, and I am not even a seminary degreed untouchable super anointed SBC dragon slaying pastor.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Insanity has indeed come to our churches. I am shaking my head wondering what in the world this pastor is thinking and if he received this advice from John MacArthur's church, then John MacArthur has finally gone over the edge too. I am in the Protestant Twilight Zone.

Julie, count me as supporting you on this. I am praying like crazy and so sorry the church is doing this to you. How many victims does this make that the church has slaughtered? Well over 6 figures now.

Attorney 1 said...

The standard for libel is very high. First you must prove that the allegation made is false. Second that the person making it knew it was false or had reckless disregard as to whether it was false. Third you must prove the damages. To win, one must prove all of the above. For the defendant to win, all they have to prove is one of the three is not met. And, it the defendant proves that the allegation is in fact true, they may be able to collect counter damages over having been sued, and get their legal fees and other damages.

A lot of cases fall on failure to prove the falsity of the statement or on the knowledge/reckless disregard provision. And if it is a matter of opinion, and stated as such, then there are first amendment protections to overcome as well.

Bob Greaves said...

Chuck is way over the cultic edge here.

Anonymous said...

Is it any wonder that I attempt to post in a way that the Dog will not allow (anonymously anonymous)?

Anonymous said...

Is this church in the Grace Fellowship, under John MacArthur's direction?

Anonymous said...

Wow, unbelieveable...And just the fact that he told people to shun this woman is cultic.

Please keep us posted, Dog if Mac Arthurs church makes a statement regarding this lawsuit.

Anonymous said...

Like many corporate leaders, John Macarthur is well compensated financially. I don’t know what salary John Macarthur receives from GCC or how much he receives for writing his books and giving talks, etc., but it is in the public record that for the 2006 calendar year he received $123,785 for being President of The Masters College and Seminary 134. and he received $160,363 for being President of Grace To You.That’s $284,148.00, not counting his church salary, book royalties and speaking fees.

He tells Pastors to sue so they can make more money.

Ministry Watch shows that his ministry took in almost 14 million in 2010.

Yet he begs on the radio constantly.

shame on you john

Anonymous said...

It is amazing how Mac Arthur can justify to himself taking in 2 salaries plus royalties.

Anonymous said...

According to Ministry Watch, Charles Stanley is taking in over 60 million with total assets of over 77 million.

John only has net assets of 9 million.

What are they doing with all of that money?

I know they have a radio show?

Does a radio show cost you 77 million dollars to produce?

Are you kidding me?

Mac Arthur preaches the same message on the radio he preaches at his church so there is really no additional work involved...same thing with Stanley.

So...it takes tens of millions of dollars to put sermons on the radio?

PT Barnum is right...SUCKERS!!

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon 6:32 - you better believe I'll stay on this story.

If I get copies of depositions I will let people know what the good pastor said to the lawyers. But I don't think this case will even make it that far, unless Julie's countersuit has legs and it very well could.

It is one thing to listen to a Man of God standing behind his bully pulpit as he bellows his pronouncements with no interruptions to a gullible audience. It is another thing altogether to hear a Man of God have to answer very difficult, pointed questions from a skilled lawyer who seeks justice.

Bart Breen said...

Looked closer at the church and story behind the scenes. Doctrinally they are Calvinist (looks like hyper-calvinist to me .... they'd probably get along well with Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church.

This is what they say with regard to scriptural accountibility.

V. We Believe In Spiritual Authority.
God Himself has established order in every area of our lives, and the church is no exception. God in Scripture has clearly given us the structure of authority for the church. Christ is the head of the church and He mediates His rule through the shepherding of godly elders (pastors) (5). These elders (pastors), having a high view of God and Scripture, being devoted to the preaching, teaching and practicing of sound doctrine, and being examples of personal holiness before the congregation, are responsible to lead the church. The Bible teaches that the congregation is accountable to the elders (pastors) and that the elders (pastors) are accountable to God. Therefore, all decision-making authority is vested in the elders (pastors), who shepherd the church (6).

So there you have it. Their church is a theocracy only good ol' Pastor O'Neal and elders have changed their names to "Theo".

Sisterlisa said...

Sharing an opinion about a pastor being spiritually abusive will most likely not even be heard in a state's court of law. They don't meddle in religious issues unless a real state or federal law has been violated. Spiritual abuse is not even a part of the nation's laws so they can't prosecute for this.

And it's total hypocrisy to say she can't state it's a cult, when he states other churches are cults.

Julie Anne said...

Thank you so much!! You really put a lot of effort in this post and it is soooo good!

I'm going to post it to my blog.

One Salient Oversight said...

I won't comment on the issue at hand but I do want to say something about Pastor's salaries.

There are two schools of thought at issue here. One is that the market system is the best system and therefore pastors of big or rich churches should be paid more. Another school of thought is that the market system isn't a very good system and it would be better if pastors expressed their humility by having very low salaries and living simply.

My view is that pastors should be neither rich nor poor. They should have security of income but be neither too far one side of the income divide or too far on the other.

In the rich situation, the money that goes to high paid pastors could be used better in training and employing church planters and future Bible teachers.

In the poor situation, the money that the pastor does not get is replaced by financial worries and the stress of try to eke out an existence while trying to preach the Gospel (as well as raising kids, paying insurance, etc)

In short, it would be best to have some upper and lower wage limits for pastors. Pastors in poorer counties or states should probably get less than those in richer counties or states (otherwise churches in poor areas would not be able to afford pastors).

An upper level would probably be about $60K, while a lower level would probably be around $30K.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

O.S.O. - no upper and lower needed. Just complete transparency with those who are contributing the money used to pay his salary.

Sort of like, well, corporate America. Yes, the officers make outrageous sums of money. At least they are required to disclose the compensation packages to the shareholders.

Complete transparency by religious 501(c)3 organizations would solve the problem of pastor salaries lickity split.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Julie Anne's story is gaining national and international attention

Can you hear the "OOPS" from Beaverton as the pastor realizes people are looking at how ridiculous he is for suing an ex-church member for $500k for calling his church "creepy" and a "cult"? Especially when, as I pointed out in this blog post, that Chuck himself uses his bully pulpit to harshly criticize other pastors he doesn't like.

Here is another example of a national news story:

Oregon church sues ex-members for defamation over blog criticizing church’s practices

You will hear the double "OOPS" if this case does NOT get thrown out and he receives his first set of interrogatories and realizes he has to appear for a deposition and answer the questions of Julie Anne's lawyers. The best thing for Chuck is for the judge to throw this out in the first hearing.

PREDICTION: Chuck will withdraw his complaint within the next 48 hours. And he should expect a call from John MacArthur's senior staff at 8:00 am Pacific time. Chuck, stand by the hot line for a call from headquarters.  :)

Dan said...

Other side of the coin. This article uses the word "perceived", to describe the wrongs this woman feels has happened to her. A little self protection from the author of the blog. Anyway, I suppose, if this had happened back in Paul's day, the woman would have to go house to house to get her message out about her perceived wrongs. But today, anyone can start a blog and post whatever they want to many, many folks. Question; I wonder if anyone has left that church because of what the woman posted? Do you think if you took this to Jesus in prayer, his advice would be any different from what he taught us? He did tell us we would suffer tribulation, would be hated, some imprisoned, some even killed. This is so petty, the blog was done as a form of revenge, two wrongs don't make a right, I don't care what people may say. How does this further the cause of Christ??? Time is much better spent praying for those still involved with this church, who are obviously mind controlled, if they shun the woman in public.

Keith Farmer said...

I would be really...REALLY...surprised if John MacArthur has anything to do with such blatantly anti-biblical occurrences. However, I will take a wait and see approach.

Interesting that GTY has a new blog from John regarding modern leadership within evangelicalism found here:

http://www.gty.org/blog/B120514

I posted a question with specific regards to this issue for my own answers since I value highly JM's ministry...I hope they address the issue.

Anonymous said...

It is a sin to sue a Brother or Sister in Christ...Period.

I don't understand though why throwing poison on Pastors on Blogs is okay?

Any kind of accusation can be hurled at men of God and absolutely no accountability.

It is sick, it is demonic, it is painful.

Truth hurts, doesn't it Dog?

nan14 said...

He is so wrong. Unless that woman and her daughter were living in sin and unrepentant and left the church because they didnt want to stop he was not supposed to tell the congregants to turn their backs on her and he definitely is not supposed to be suing her.. He should be examining himself. He has a HUGE BEAM in his eye. SMH!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I truly believe more and more need to come out and speak against spiritual abuse. Thousands are getting the "boot" the ostracizing, the "evil eye" and worse.

This has been happening, probably since the day of Jesus but in our time, one can be so intimidated by "the big leadership staff that condemns" and literally goes up to the podem and states to all the services that there are those that are "slandering" and if it doesn't stop more "action" will have to be taken.

Then one is called into one of the wolf hounds other pastors office (because the senior past is way to busy "praying for his flock" to take care of this and meet you in person so you can explain your side of things, so he sends out the "hit man'/ target pastor that does that kind of thing.

During the so called grievance session the hit man/ pastor , reduces the person to tears but also reduces them in threats or suductive innuendos that leave you not only angry but also you feel like a no body, because they do everything they can to make you stop asking questions, searching for answers and even when you know you are correct, they make you feel like you are not.

These churches like CONTROL and they want everyone to perform like they have decided. I call them the Stepford Syndrome.

The original movie had a lady that knew she something was wrong but everyone looked "so perfect" they all acted the same way and there never was a problem. The kids the families the way they dressed, etc.etc.etc. but the heart of the issue was that everyone acted the same and no one questioned the reasons.

When this woman did, her life was in jeopardy and she ran for her life, in the end, she became just like them.

I would tell anyone that it is or thinks they are being spiritually abused to RUN FOR YOUR LIFE. Do Forgive, Do let go , even if you have to leave others that were your seemingly friends, and just LEAVE. Even if you are in leadership, because they then will truly demand you to act like them or put you on probation, or like me, read your e-mails, that were privately sent to another in the church office or they will place a plant / that is called a "friend" mentor for you to talk to and that person goes back and reports to the pastor/pastors/leadership what all you are saying.

Yep , this does go on. This happened to me, over 6 yrs. ago and it is just getting worse. And if you don't tithe like they want, you can also be called out.

If anyone thinks they are being spiritually abused, there is an article named SUPER APOSTLES, or the falseness of super apostles. It is excellent and it can help those that think they are being abused. It is not right for pastors to think they can "lord anything and everything over someone " especially when that someone is truly trying to discern and sees that things are not correct nor biblical. I wish all the best to this family and two the mother and daughter that this has happened to. May the truth of the Lord, reign and HIS WORDS be spoken.

I rad Debbie's comment, and like she said, there are churches I know of that has had people that left after much abuse yet these churches condemn those that leave.

Jesus does not tell us that we have to stay in a church that is abusing us. Listen to HIM and go unto HIM , but leave praying for them and allow your own heart to heal as you forgive them. (and it is hard, but through HIM we can do it)

There will even be a time that you will feel no one understands and is your friend, Know that the Lord, Jesus Christ will be there and HIS HOLY SPIRIT will comfort you. -- HE IS YOUR FRIEND and LORD,( and Jesus does understand, even when we don't) not a so called pastor that is doing this to people.

Anonymous said...

Can a church sue anyone for defamation of theology?

Attorney 1 said...

Either one of two things are true:
1. There is no such thing as a "man of God". All men (or women) in ministry are paid employees of the entity and many are CEOs, not servants. Jesus said that none of his followers should be "leaders" and 'lord' it over others.
2. All Christians are men and women of God, because all the redeemed belong to Him, bought and adopted by the blood of our brother and Savior.

In any case, the pastor, if he acted as reported (prior to the comment by the ex-member), did not deserve respect as a minister, for he was violating his calling. Since he lost the ability to get retribution for the truth being told about him, he has lashed out through the legal system. It is highly probable that the lady will win her attorney fees, and perhaps other damages.

Anonymous said...

OSO,
60 grand would be more than enough where I live but in places like California and New York that is not.

Refering to a post not by OSO:

The odds are is that Charles Stanely is not paid that amount from the church. He has books and and other media stuff that is out there and he is getting royalties from them. On the surmon stuff if he purchases them from the church to have the right to sell them then I do not have an issue. Anyway you can download on itunes a lot of his stuff at no cost. Becareful jumping on person case because of the amount of income he is taking in when you do not know how he might be sending it back out to ministry stuff. I am not going to lie the merchandising of stuff the help you live a better Christian life bothers me. I will more big time pastor would put their stuff out there at cost if it is really to better your brother or sister in Christ.

Pastor Chris

Anonymous said...

I am so grateful for the internet blogs that expose the spiritual abuse and false doctrine prevalent in the churches. My family had a similar experience to that of Mrs. Smith when we were at a Sovereign Grace Ministries church headed up by C.J. Mahaney who is the ringleader of a very abusive group. There, you are not allowed to question anything that comes down from leadership - period. If you do, you are shunned, "de-gifted", and even made to feel like you are a spiritual loser because there must be some terrible sin in your life that is causing you to question their authority. (I don't think it's a coincidence that they also are of the "reformed" way of thinking.) Hundreds of former members have shared their experiences on the SGM Survivors Blog - http://www.sgmsurvivors.com which I believe is being used by God to warn others. The fallout from being a part of a spiritually abusive church is so devastating and takes years of “un-brainwashing” to get free. If what Mrs. Smith reported is really happening at Beaverton Grace Bible church, God is certainly not there any more than He was with the hypocritical Pharisees we read about in the gospels and I hope many are set free as a result of her blog.

Anonymous said...

I guess this pastor missed what Jesus said about giving the other cheek or praying for those that persecute you. I guess pray and sue is pretty much the same thing. If John MaCarthur has anything to do with this, he better rectify immediately before this pastor takes him down with him.

Anonymous said...

I guess this pastor missed what Jesus said about giving the other cheek or praying for those that persecute you. I guess pray and sue is pretty much the same thing. If John MaCarthur has anything to do with this, he better rectify immediately before this pastor takes him down with him.

Thy Peace said...

At The Wartburg Watch:

Phil Johnson on Mon, May 14 2012 at 09:53 pm
Dee:

I just learned about this story for the first time at noon today. I couldn’t locate your e-mail address, bit if you’ll e-mail me, I’ll send you an official statement from Grace Church and John MacArthur that you can publish. If you want to talk further by phone, I’ll tell you what I learned about this situation this afternoon. I’ll give you my cell # by e-mail.

Anonymous said...

Ah, I see Thy Peace beat me to it.:^)

Well done.

I'm looking forward to this statement from John MacArthur.

Bene D

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Just to repeat myself....my prediction is that Chuck will withdraw his complaint by the close of business Tuesday, offer an apology, and will agree to pay Julie Anne's legal costs, in exchange for Julie Anne dropping her Anti-SLAPP countersuit.

I am guessing that MacArthur's bunch has already taken Chuck to task for three things:

- violating scripture in filing a lawsuit against Julie Anne for criticism and attempting to justify a lawsuit by somehow comparing his situation to that of the Apostle Paul who was being pursued by Jewish leaders and appealing to the government for protection (when the roles are actually reversed - Chuck is playing the role of the Jews, while Julie Anne now must seek legal protection from Chuck's legal aggression).

- for using GCC's name and John MacArthur's name in a public post to justify the lawsuit and thereby needlessly dragging GCC into this mess

- and just plain being stupid in filing a lawsuit for words that are clearly by any reasonable standard NOT defamatory as a means to silence a critic, thereby subjecting himself and his church to an anti-SLAPP countersuit.

So that is my prediction. I may be wrong, and I am making this prediction despite my view by my own experience that pastors and church leaders, once they make a wrong move toward a critic, they compound it with serious missteps, sometimes over several years, and never apologizing except as a last ditch effort.

But I think MacArthur is wise enough to clean this up now, and Chuck will do whatever MacArthur says.

Julie Anne said...

I don't know if Grace Community can get hold of Chuck O'Neal if they wanted to. My readers tell me that his voice mail is full and his e-mail is full. Snail mail, anyone?

Well, maybe through his attorney.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

There is a red phone inside the pastor's desk, the "Mac Phone" that has a direct line to John Mac.

Keith Farmer said...

I received correspondence back from a member of the GTY team regarding this issue. It is sad that the Church is publicly embarrassed by such acts. I do not wish to divulge what the GTY staffer wrote to me but I am disappointed in the response.

Praying for all involved...

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Keith - please let us know what you received from GTY...

terriergal said...

" I hope as the press continues to cover this story that they follow-up with John MacArthur. I don't believe for a second that John MacArthur or any of his staff members would stand by Chuck O'Neal's decision to sue a mother and her daughter. "

Hear hear, how can we get them to make that happen?

terriergal said...

WHAT"??? Keith Farmer?? You are disappointed in GTY's response? What did they say??

liz by design said...

This whole situation saddens me, but doesn't surprise me. I've seen MANY people kicked out of churches for a myriad of benign issues. The leaders want to tell people how to live.

We were asked to leave a church because I worked for the theatre and was therefore a "danger to our reputation." Further, how 14-yr old son was severely ADHD and struggled in so many ways. The Junior High pastor said he was "too hard" and I was not to bring him back. We were devastated.

I've been flipped off in parking lots by church members, and yelled at once at the grocery store. My children left the church and eventually walked away from God all together because of these horrible people. Shame.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Readers, I have read some of the legal filings in this lawsuit, and let me say my admiration and respect for Julie Anne is a mile high. She is an incredibly brave woman, which will be shown as more and more of the details of this case and the shenanigans at Chuck's church become known.

Thank you, Chuck, for taking actions to help expose your church and provide yet one more example to pastors all over the world of how NOT to be treat your critics.

Anonymous said...

This episode showed up on FOX News this morning. Word got around fast.

Keith Farmer said...

I am waiting for the official response/position to be issued from John MacArthur before saying anything else. John preached on the issue of Forbidden Lawsuits here:

http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/1825/forbidden-lawsuits

I see nothing in his sermon that would indicate John and I are on different ends of this issue. I trust that the official statement with regards to this issue will reflect the character presented in the sermon and will not contradict the sound teaching found therein.

May God be glorified in the truth.

Thy Peace said...

The Wartburg Watch > Phil Johnson Responds for John MacArthur and Grace Community Church

Anonymous said...

If you think you are in a church that is functioning in spiritual abuse, here is a questionaire. It was too long to print out so please go to the website.

The Spiritual Abuse questionaire can be found on Chris Larson's website


Spiritual Research Network, Inc.
Spiritual Abuse Questionnaire

By ChrisLawson

This is a good questionaire that will help you understand what could be going on in the church you attend or someone you knows attends that they just seem to be suffering in.






Spiritual Abuse Questionnaire

Spiritual Abuse and Group Dynamics
Questions to Consider

Questions To Help Identify Specific Areas of Spiritual Abuse, Deception, and Fraud

By Chris Lawson (Updated March 2012)

The following two scriptures are reflective of what happens when authority is abused within a spiritual/church setting, i.e. self-exaltation, heavy handed leadership, etc.

“The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?” (Old Testament, Jeremiah 5:31 KJV)

“I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.” (New Testament, 3 John 9-10 KJV)

The following list of questions is to help you, the reader, think through a number of things that perhaps you have never seriously considered on your own before.

As you read the questions, circle either YES or NO. When you reach the end, go back through the list and prayerfully consider the questions that you have answered YES to. Answering YES to any of the following questions may be an indication of an unhealthy problem in your group or with your leaders.

Answering YES to more than just a few questions is a definite cause for alarm. If this is the case, it is recommended that you take a much closer look into your group’s or organization’s history, purpose, and goals. Observe closely the methods, activities, and lives of the leaders. Are they using abusive and manipulative tactics on people?

If you believe that you are being abused in any way, it is highly recommended that you seek immediate help from balanced individuals and relatives who are outside of the influence of your group and its leaders.

Remember, you have the freedom to make your own choices and to be free from controlling and manipulative people. Controlling, abusive, and manipulating people will only mock, chastise and attempt to control you even more when their ploys, methods and artful ways of controlling others have been exposed.

Lastly, if you are suffering physical harm in any way or are involved against your conscience in any activity, you have the freedom to call emergency personnel by dialing 911.

Anonymous said...

"Thank you, Chuck, for taking actions to help expose your church and provide yet one more example to pastors all over the world of how NOT to be treat your critics."

You sued your critic.

Anonymous said...

Does Watchdog agree with Christians shouldn't sue Christians, or not?

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon - it is overly simplistic to say as Phil Johnson does in his response posted at the Wartburg Watch, that scripture forbids any Christian from ever bringing any lawsuit against any other believer, at any time. Nonsense.

I think of Sheri Klouda, for example, who availed herself of the legal system that she is entitled to as a U.S. citizen to seek justice in her unfair firing at the hands of Paige Patterson. She sought justice in several ways prior to filing her lawsuit, and as a last effort she filed a lawsuit. Scripture is clear that governments and secular legal systems are ordained by God to protect the weak against the powerful, and to bring justice in society.

Thy Peace said...

Wade Burleson > A Call For Consistency [March 11, 2007]

Anonymous said...

I have been a defendant in a defamation lawsuit which was initiated by a 'ministry.'

I defended myself and it ended badly for the plaintiff. The worst part for him was that he not only lost a number of his 'customers' during the three year long ordeal, but he lost a huge amount of money paid in legal fees, which he never recovered.

The idea that an entity that claims to operate in the Holy Spirit of God, would when threatened, submit their grievance to the state instead of God, is ludicrous. To whom we submit ourselves, his servant we are.

I read the church’s press release, which asserted among other things, that they were suing so that ‘the Gospel’ will no longer be ‘hindered.’ It must be embarrassing for God to be powerless to stop the hindrance. I’m sure God will be relieved that the church filed this lawsuit. The mindset that permits an individual or institution to sue on God’s behalf, is separated by that which justifies killing to avenge the enemies of Allah, only by degree.

The church's use of Matthew Henry's Commentary, which their press release tells us was ‘Charles Spurgeon's favorite commentator,’ was a naked attempt to circumvent what the scriptures tells us in 1st Corinthians 6:7-8. It is classic cult-think.

If Chuck O'Neal is truly a man of God and faith, he would submit the matter to God. If he is not truly a man of God and faith, he should step down. If he has already submitted the matter to God, he needs to either be patient, or accept what God has allowed the situation to become. He should not under any circumstances, submit the matter to the state after having submitted it to God. That would amount to appealing to the state to overturn God's decision.

This cannot end well for the pastor, nor can it be healthy for his church.

Allan said...

I am new to this topic, but have spent the entire day reading the news about a pastor who is pressing a half-million-dollar law suit against a sincere and kindly woman who dared opine a criticism of how Pastor Chuck brow-beat parishioners who left his congregation or publicly voiced criticism about him or his church. I decided to write Pastor Chuck directly with a criticism to see 1) if he would just ignore me as a crank or 2) respond with a counter-claim / justification. Wow! Was I ever surprised! Pastor Chuck responded within nine (9) minutes of the time I sent the email with a diatribe of rationalizations, excuses, and justifications for why he wants to pummel dissonant and critical parishioners into poverty. It certainly was not a very “Christian” response, but one more suited to a Wall Street lawyer who knew how to quote scripture. I cannot imagine our Lord and Savior EVER reacting quite like Chuck did. For all of you embroiled in this ever-so-unChristian kerfluffle, allow a suggestion. Read John Mcmurray’s 1974 speech entitled “The Philosophy of Jesus,” (http://www.philosophy-religion.org/thought/philosophy.pdf) and follow it up with the greatest speech ever given at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WibmcsEGLKo&feature=fvwp&NR=1
Jesus sought harmony and preached three primary concepts: trust, love, and forgiveness. What I have read all day about Pastor Chuck and his judgmental church takes the caress of a fair rose on a person’s lips and replaces it with a blister.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately for Julie he has the right to sue her. He can show financial damages caused by her blog. Her problem is that she now has to prove what she wrote or pay up.

Anonymous said...

Dog did the suit get dropped by Tuesday as you stated it would?

Arce said...

As an attorney, I must say that Julie Anne does not have to prove anything at all. The burden is on the plaintiff to prove defamation and damages. First, it must be proved that the statements are statements of fact and not opinion. Second, it must be proved that the statements are false. Third it must be proved that Julie Anne knew they were false or acted with actual malice in disregarding whether they were true or false. Fourth, the plaintiffs must prove that they were damaged and that means proving that money was lost as a result; it cannot be speculative (e.g., not "more people would have joined the church and tithed" in the future"). This is a very high burden.

I have read all of the filings on Julie Anne's behalf, and they are extremely well researched, documented and powerful.

Oregon has an anti-SLAPP law when a suit attempts to punish speech or publication. A motion has been filed which can result in the church and pastor being ordered to pay all of Julie Anne's reasonable attorney fees for defending her. I think she will win. The final hearing has been postponed because the plaintiffs (church and pastor) filed an amended pleading after Julie Anne's attorney filed the anti-SLAPP motion, so that both sides can prepare a brief regarding the effect of that.

Two additional issues are raised by Julie Anne's attorney in the anti-SLAPP motion. There are the First Amendment freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Since this dispute involves matters of religion, the plaintiffs have to show that this is not a dispute about faith, Bible, interpretation, what a pastor's role is, etc. That is, things that are in controversy in religious circles. When one attempts to stiffle speech, there is a high burden to overcome.

Anonymous said...

its not Julie Anne's blog that has cost him church goers, his own behavior has cost him newcomers. At least 5 families have left in the last year due to his actions, these folks were not speaking to Julie Anne, remember they were shunning her.

Julie Anne said...

The last anonymous poster is absolutely correct. And one of those families was an elder who served for well over a decade, possibly before pastor Chuck was there.

I have received a number of apologies from these people who left.

It is true that I haven't spoken to them in years. One family in particular we have known a few years before we attended that church. Our families had previously gone camping and hiking together. Our children played together. All communication was cut off immediately once the shunning order was in place.

A death would have been easier to take emotionally.

Randall Slack said...

So much for grace...