SECTIONS ON THIS INDEX PAGE
- Abuse Case Studies: Individuals and Institutions, Destructive and (Re)Constructive
- Extended Outline and Case Study Listings: SBC Abuse Solutions: Case Studies on Identifying and Dealing with Systemic Abuse
- 1. Stage 1: Repair – Sustaining Hope and Help
- 2. Stage 2: Renovate – Hope is on the Line
- 3. Stage 3. Reclaim – Hope in Definite Jeopardy
- 4. Stage 4. Raze – When Hope Fades or Fails
- 5. Introduction to Contrasting Case Studies in Doing Organizational Repairs Wisely or Poorly
- 6. Contrasting Cases: Independent versus Internal Investigation
- 7. Contrasting Cases: Genuine Apologies Versus Deflections
- 8. Contrasting Cases: Transparency Versus Secrecy
- 9. Contrasting Cases: System-Wide Repairs Versus No Substantive Repairs
- Extended Outline and Case Study Listings: NARCISSISM NOTES #2 – Do-It-Yourself Research Base on Abuse “Across All Theological Spectrums”
- The Base of Abuse Cases Available
- Tea Tasters, “Espresso Cases,” and System Spotlighters
- Select Case Studies in Four Dimensions of Theological Spectrums [Overall Theological Stream, Polity/Authority System, Organizational System Type, Approaches to Gender Issues.]
- Categories of Case Studies and Extended Descriptions
- Defamation Lawsuits Involving Alleged Spiritual Abuse. [Beaverton Grace Bible Church Defamation Lawsuit Archive.]
- Situations Involving Issues with Child Sexual Abuse. [Prestonwood Baptist Church Silent No More. Sovereign Grace Ministries.]
- Kingdom Leadership After Lakeland – The New Apostolic Reformation and the “Lakeland Outpouring”
- Mars Hill Church / Mark Driscoll
- Emergent Village / Emergent Movement
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07 Abuse Case Studies:
Individuals and Institutions,
Destructive and (Re)Constructive
The following links may go to a specific article or resource bibliography I have written (whether on this blog or Spiritual Sounding Board where I am on the team), case study or category of posts on this blog, or a separate case study website. Descriptions are typically taken from a summary on a post or page, or the “about” section or “welcome” on a website.
BGBC Defamation Lawsuit Archive (pages on Spiritual Sounding Board). The purpose of the BGBC Defamation Lawsuit Archive is to present a time capsule of factual information about the dates, documents, and decisions in Beaverton Grace Bible Church v. Smith, as well as curate reasoned analysis, invited commentary, and moderated public comments on this defamation lawsuit case. (2012-2013)
Diagnosing the Emergent Movement (website). A holistic systems case study by “futuristguy,” analyzing issues in the Emergent Movement: historical, personal, theological, organizational, institutional, sociological, and toxicological. See the Categories of Case Studies and Extended Descriptions section below for an overview and details.
Douglas Wilson, CCM, and CREC (post). Issues regarding abuse of spiritual authority regularly arise regarding Douglas Wilson of Moscow, Idaho. I lived in Pullman, Washington, and Moscow, Idaho, for a total of 15 years from 1973-1987. (These two university towns are just across the border from one another, less than 10 miles apart. They are part of what is called the Palouse Region.) During that time, I observed firsthand the early growth of CCM (Community Christian Ministries), the influence of Jim Wilson and his son Doug on the campuses and in the communities, and their destructive impact on the faith of my own friends. There has been an ongoing discussion about specific situations where there are allegations of abuse of authority, and about Doug’s leadership of Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho, and of the Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches (CREC). Since I lived in Pullman, Washington, and Moscow, Idaho, during the beginnings of what turned into CREC, I have been watching this current situation unfold and reflecting on its roots. (2015)
John Howard Yoder, Mennonite Denomination (page). What do you do when it turns out that a well-known person is exposed as having not just “a dark side,” but an insidious, abusive side? And not just as a private issue as an individual, but with a plurality of victims and active and/or passive enablement by related institutions he/she was an integral part of? This certainly sets up a conundrum among colleagues, friends, and followers, as well expressed by these lines from articles about how insiders and outsiders processed their experience of Mennonite public theologian John Howard Yoder. (2020)
Lakeland Outpouring and Todd Bentley (category). Series seeking to: (1) Make sense of the public lapses in leadership and discernment in the 2008 “Lakeland Outpouring.” (2) Interpret the implications of Lakeland for constructive movement forward, which includes taking responsibility for past failures and working toward prevention of failure in the future. (3) Profile what healthy/sustainable leadership should look like in emerging cultures. See the Categories of Case Studies and Extended Descriptions section below for an overview and details. (2008)
Lourdes Torres vs. Doug Phillips/Vision Forum (post on Spiritual Sounding Board). This is an ongoing reference post following the Lourdes Torres-Manteufel vs. Douglas Phillips lawsuit. It includes key information on the case, court documents, background story, key individuals, links to news articles, etc. (2014)
Mars Hill Church and Mark Driscoll (page and subpages, compiled from posts). I have compiled this information of select resources to provide what I think will be a helpful guide to those who want to research and decide for themselves about the serious set of issues involving Mark Driscoll, Mars Hill Church, and other present and former leaders there. I have been tracking many aspects of this situation since at least 2008, some even earlier. This represents my best attempts to synthesize what I have learned and present it in an organized way that can help introduce the concerns to others. Much of this information previously appeared in my series of posts in the Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church Research Guide, and the related Capstone articles on my findings. The materials represent my research work and analysis from the last half of 2014. Much happened with Mars Hill Church and Mark Driscoll that is not covered in this material, or that may make details here out of date or possibly incorrect now, even if they were accurate at the time written in 2014. I have not substantially changed the content between those posts and these pages, other than reorganizing the material, cutting out duplication, and making a few edits and updates. Because of other writing projects that had to take precedence starting in 2015, I had no plans to regularly update this case study at that time. See the Categories of Case Studies and Extended Descriptions section below for an overview and details. (2014)
New Apostolic Reformation (category). Description to be added.
Paige Patterson, SWBTS, SBC (resource bibliographies on Spiritual Sounding Board). The main link goes to Part 1 of 4. The series covers events, analysis, and commentary from April 28 through June, 2018. Contention over abuse and violence in Christian communities has heightened in the era of #MeToo and #ChurchToo. However, controversies over theology, advocacy, and actions have been with us for a very long time. Recently, comments on abuse made by Paige Patterson, President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS), resurfaced and ignited a social media firestorm. This all eventually contributed to his being fired from his position at SWBTS. There were four resource bibliographies and chronologies in this series. (2018)
Resource Links, Part 1 – April 28 through May 22. Historical background resources, audiofile transcript, news articles and social media responses from April 28-May 22.
Resource Links, Part 2 – May 23-28. News articles and social media responses.
Resource Links, Part 3 – May 29 through June 3. News articles and social media responses.
Resource Links, Part 4 – June. Focus on statements and news articles related to topical and institutional issues in advance of the SBC annual meeting of June 11-12.
Prestonwood Baptist Church Silent No More (website). #PBCSilentNoMore – to challenge Prestonwood Baptist Church leaders to answer questions and be accountable. This research/resource website focuses on multiple alleged failures by leaders of Prestonwood Baptist Church (PBC) of Plano, Texas, related to the discovery in 1989 of child sexual abuse perpetrated by staff member John Langworthy, and later lack of forthrightness in responding to questions about it and resolving any outstanding issues with victims and their families. See the Categories of Case Studies and Extended Descriptions section below for an overview and details. (2013)
Ravi Zacharias/RZIM Resource Archive+FAQs (resource bibliography on spiritual Sounding Board). The team at Spiritual Sounding Board has written on numerous situations of reported spiritual, emotional, and sexual abuse/misconduct by church and ministry leaders. These are typically complex situations that involve investigating theological beliefs, ministry practices, organizational systems, cultural context, and other elements for relevant details and patterns. We present this Resource Archive to help readers who want to do their own studies into the emerging situation of Ravi Zacharias and Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM), to develop their own informed conclusions. We seek to provide a range of select links that offer observations, analysis, and interpretations of events and evidences. Along the way, we present our opinions and understandings of relevant issues through the questions we ask and the ways we organize the material in response to questions that readers/commenters here and elsewhere on social media are asking. (2017)
Saeed and Naghmeh Abedini Situation (resource bibliography on Spiritual Sounding Board). Saeed Abedini was imprisoned in Iran for his religious activities. He and his wife Naghmeh (who was in America when Saeed was arrested) was represented by the American Center for Law and Justice. ACLJ served as legal representation for the Abedinis until after Saeed was released in January 2016. This resource bibliography contains links primarily from bloggers, abuse survivor bloggers, and select mainstream secular and Christian media. It is not intended to be comprehensive, but to focus on key primary sources and analysis – especially by those with series of posts on the situation. It also includes a few procedures for those wanting to do some of their own online research.(2016-2018)
SBC Abuse Solutions – Southern Baptists (website). SBC Abuse Solutions is a resource blog to equip people to identify, research, and resolve systemic abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention. The page titled Navigating This Site serves as an index to the content on pages in the SBC Abuse Solutions site. Titles appear in the same order as in the website’s menu, and there is a content overview for each page, along with the link. (2019-2020)
Seven Mountains, Dominion Theology, Theocracy (category). Description to be added.
Sovereign Grace Ministries (category). Description to be added.
Spiritual Mapping, Strategic Level Prayer, Spiritual Warfare (category). Description to be added.
Three Examples of Remediation (Damage Repair) (page). This article gives three examples of dealing with systemic damage. Each is notable for seeking to engage in a constructive way parties who were directly involved, and in some cases those who were indirectly affected.
- Eerdmans Publishing: a Christian publisher responding to plagiarized products.
- The Mennonites and John Howard Yoder: a denominational organization addressing the tainted legacy of a celebrity theologian.
- Apartheid South Africa and its Truth and Reconciliation Commission: a socio-political system on the global scene.
Tullian Tchividjian (resource bibliography on Spiritual Sounding Board). Here is a Spiritual Sounding Board Resource Bibliography about Mr. Tchividjian.; it gives a list of key individuals and institutions involved in his story, and a chronology of events and news from 2009 through 2017. Especially take time to look at the infographic, which collates his reported clergy sexual misconduct with his ministry roles and publications. See also the five-part UN-accountable: Case Study in Systems Analysis and Ministerial Accountability. Links for all five parts are at the top of Part 1, Systems, Systemic Abuse, and Repentance as a Systems Transformation Process. Parts 4 and 5 are the most relevant to the Presbyterian form of polity, stating how it would handle clergy misconduct and potential restoration — and how Mr. Tchividjian failed to follow through with any of multiple plans set up for him. (2016-2019)
An Infographic on Tullian Tchividjian’s Pursuit of Women and a Public/Publication Platform
Tullian Tchividjian – Partial Timeline of Alleged Clergy Sexual Abuse and Spiritual Abuse
Resource Bibliography on System Issues Related to the Tullian Tchividjian Situation
Part 1 ~ Systems, Systemic Abuse, and Repentance as a Systems Transformation Process
Part 2 ~ Three Real-World Examples of Systems Remediation / Repentance
Part 3 ~ Elements in the “Industrial Complex” System Surrounding Tullian Tchividjian
Part 4 ~ Types of Accountability and Patterns for How They Were Avoided
Part 5 ~ Where Accountability Systems for Tullian Tchividjian Broke Down or Broke Through
Willow Creek Church, Bill Hybels, Willow Creek Association/Global Leadership Summit (website). A case study by brad/futuristguy, tracking events starting March 2018 for Willow Creek Community Church and Willow Creek Association/Global Leadership Summit. This incorporates details from news reports, official statements by individuals and institutions involved, analysis, and reflection/discussion questions. (2018)
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Extended Outline and Case Study Listings
SBC Abuse Solutions:
Case Studies on Identifying and Dealing with Systemic Abuse
The following summary, source notes, and case study subpage links are taken from the Case Studies on Identifying and Dealing with Systemic Abuse page on my SBC Abuse Solutions site.
SUMMARY: This page (and its subpages) present a series of brief case studies for exploring the contours of four levels of increasing severity of relational damage and organizational corrosion. It starts with relatively simple situations and moves to more complex cases — with suggestions for implementing solutions appropriate to the level of repair required. It also offers resources that highlight constructive and destructive approaches to four key forms of systemic remediation (repair) work:
- Independent investigations into alleged situations of abuse and systemic problems.
- Apologies directed to abuse survivors and people in their support network.
- Transparency in informing a congregation or non-profit staff about issues of abuse and steps to be taken.
- System-wide repair work in larger organizations where infrastructures and everyday processes have been compromised by long-term abuse and enablement.
The fifth subpage introduces contrasting case studies of constructive versus destructive actions that I’ve gathered from many sources. I’ve selected the cases for how they illustrate what I’ve come to believe are key concerns abuse survivor communities are looking for, when it comes to errant organizations establishing credibility with them and earning their entrustment.
SOURCE NOTES: The introductory material and the first four subpages with Stages of Problem Severity for Organizational Repair come from a section on my Field Guides blog: 4 SYSTEM SOLUTION FRAMEWORKS Examples of Damage and/or Remediation (Repair).
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1. Stage 1: Repair – Sustaining Hope and Help
- The Whole and the Holes: An Intergenerational, Intercultural Church Genre That Counteracts “Spiritual Osteoporosis”
2. Stage 2: Renovate – Hope is on the Line
- System Solutions Case #1: A Timely Merger with Drastic Changes in Constituencies
- System Solutions Case #2: Chaos and Consequences
- System Solutions Case #3: Men’s “Non-Movement” — Failure to Share Leadership/Shift Power Base
3. Stage 3. Reclaim – Hope in Definite Jeopardy
- System Solutions Case #4: Generational Dynamics: A Spin-Off Reeled In
- System Solutions Case #5: Healing After Clergy Sexual Misconduct: An Explosion in Reverse
- System Solutions Case #6: Changes in the Aftermath of Child Sexual Abuse: A Study in “Concrete Transparency”
4. Stage 4. Raze – When Hope Fades or Fails
- System Solutions Case #7: A “Hostile Takeover” and Resulting Trauma
5. Introduction to Contrasting Case Studies in Doing Organizational Repairs Wisely or Poorly
6. Contrasting Cases: Independent versus Internal Investigation
- Overview of Key Issues Regarding Investigations into Abuse Accusations
- Independent Versus Internal Investigations
- Contrasting Cases:
- Independent Versus Internal Investigations
- NEGATIVE CASE STUDY: Willow Creek Community Church and Global Leadership Summit
- POSITIVE CASE STUDIES: Immanuel Baptist Church, Rehobath Baptist Church, Tates Community Presbyterian Church
7. Contrasting Cases: Genuine Apologies Versus Deflections
- POSITIVE CASE STUDIES: Felicity Huffman / Dan George and Mike Dunwoody, Former Elders at Harvest Bible Church
- CONSIDER FOR YOURSELF: Harvest Bible Church Apology for Lawsuit
- POSITIVE CASE STUDY: Seth Lloyd. / NEGATIVE CASE STUDY: Tom Randall
- POSITIVE CASE STUDY: First Baptist Church; Athens, Texas. / NEGATIVE CASE STUDY: Willow Creek Community Church and Global Leadership Summit
8. Contrasting Cases: Transparency Versus Secrecy
- POSITIVE CASE STUDY: Transparency in Informing a Congregation or Non-Profit Staff About Issues of Abuse and Steps to be Taken
- NEGATIVE CASE STUDY: Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) and Other Tools that Negate Transparency
- CONSIDER FOR YOURSELF: Three Views from Within the SBC on Truth-Telling and Transparency: Ronnie Floyd, The Baptist Blogger, Russell Meek
9. Contrasting Cases: System-Wide Repairs Versus No Substantive Repairs
- POSITIVE EXAMPLE: Mennonites / John Howard Yoder
- NEGATIVE EXAMPLE: Willow Creek Community Church and Global Leadership Summit / Bill Hybels
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Extended Outline and Case Study Listings
NARCISSISM NOTES #2 – Do-It-Yourself Research Base
on Abuse “Across All Theological Spectrums”
In NARCISSISM NOTES #2–Do-It-Yourself Research Base on Abuse “Across All Theological Spectrums,” I compiled a list of case studies in abuse, categorized by certain theological dimensions, as part of my blog post series engaging with Chuck DeGroat’s book, When Narcissism Comes To Church: Healing Your Community from Emotional and Spiritual Abuse (InterVarsity Press; 2020). This is a list of the sections in that post, and the case studies I linked to in various sections.
The Base of Abuse Cases Available
My working hypothesis is that every theological stream has susceptibilities toward abusers and enablement, and that forms of abuse show up across the theological range in four major dimensions:
1-Every THEOLOGICAL STREAM: Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican, Protestant (Reformed, Lutheran, Anabaptist); charismatic, evangelical, fundamental, liberal, Pentecostal, and progressive.
2-Every form of POLITY/AUTHORITY SYSTEM, whether denominational or associational: congregational, Presbyterian, Episcopal, and franchise.
3-Every ORGANIZATIONAL SYSTEM TYPE: centralized / hierarchical (including multi-campus), decentralized / distributed (including flat-structure or informal network).
4-Both complementarian and egalitarian APPROACHES TO GENDER ISSUES in congregation, family, and community.
Tea Tasters, “Espresso Cases,” and System Spotlighters
- Tea-Tasting and Fractals
- “Espresso Cases” — Red Flags and Black Flags
- Spotlighting Research and Systems
- Discerning Relevant Patterns and Arranging Sets of Cases
Select Case Studies in Four Dimensions of Theological Spectrums
Overall Theological Stream
- Orthodox. To be added.
- Roman Catholic. Spotlight (Roman Catholic Diocese of Boston).
- Anglican. Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Religious Institutions.
- Protestant/Reformed. Matt Chandler and The Village Church/Acts 29, and cases involving Jordan Root/Karen Hinkley, Matt Tonne, and the firing of Acts 29 CEO Steve Timmis.
- Protestant/Lutheran. To be added.
- Protestant/Anabaptist. The Mennonites and John Howard Yoder.
- Charismatic/Pentecostal. Todd Bentley and Lakeland Outpouring and the New Apostolic Reformation.
- Evangelical/Missional. James MacDonald, the multi-campus Harvest Bible Chapel system, and the lawsuit against The Elephant’s Debt website (writers Ryan Michael Mahoney and Scott William Bryant; their wives, Melinda Mahoney and Sarah Bryant) and Julie Roys.
- Fundamentalist. Beaverton [Oregon] Grace Bible Church, its pastor, Charles O’Neal; and the a $500,000 defamation lawsuit against former member and survivor blogger Julie Anne Smith (founder of Spiritual Sounding Board) and four others.
- Liberal/Progressive. To be added. The case study on Diagnosing the Emergent/Progressive Movement can fill in some of the gaps on development of the progressive theological stream in the U.S. until I am able to provide an alternative case. (This is the same case I use below for decentralized/distributed organizational system type.)
- Congregational. Southern Baptist Convention, Stop Baptist Predators, Houston Chronicle/San Antonio Express “Abuse of Faith” in the SBC series.
- Presbyterian. Tullian Tchividjian, hypergrace theology.
- Episcopal. Gospel for Asia.
- Franchise system. Calvary Chapel.
Organizational System Type
- Centralized / hierarchical (including multi-campus network). Mark Driscoll, Mars Hill Church.
- Decentralized / distributed (including flat-structure or informal network). Tony jones, Doug Pagitt, Brian McLaren, Emergent Village / Emergent-Progressive Movement.
Approaches to Gender Issues
- Complementarian / Patriarchal. Institute in Basic Life Principles, Bill Gothard, Recovering Grace (IBLP/Gothard abuse survivors website).
- Egalitarian. Willow Creek, Bill Hybels, Gilbert Bilezikian.
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Categories of Case Studies and Extended Descriptions
Other Case Studies of Spiritual Abuse (Original set posted between 2008-2014; more produced after that). If you are interested in some examples of my writing about complex issues involving aspects of spiritual abuse, check out the following archive sites and blogs. These show how I used various principles in creating as comprehensive of a “case” as I could about allegations of abuse of spiritual authority.
I often built the entire historical narrative by starting with just a basic timeline of major events, a list of “key players,” and a few main source documents. Factual details and the overall context got filled in by bits and pieces from items in the bibliography. Logical issues, gaps in evidence, overgeneralizations and other problems became more evident as the factual narrative got longer and stronger, and as some well-reasoned comments on blog articles and news reports pointed out inconsistencies. In some cases, parts of the archive/site were done by teams, but I did the majority of the writing/editing.
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Defamation Lawsuits Involving Alleged Spiritual Abuse
Beaverton Grace Bible Church Defamation Lawsuit Archive. The purpose of the BGBC Defamation Lawsuit Archive is to present a time capsule of factual information about the dates, documents, and decisions in Beaverton Grace Bible Church v. Smith, as well as curate reasoned analysis, invited commentary, and moderated public comments on this defamation lawsuit case. In this 2012 case, a pastor and church sued five former members and attenders for defamation, based on “negative” Google Reviews, other online comments, and blog posts and comments that alleged Beaverton Grace Bible Church demonstrated characteristics of “spiritual abuse.” The defendants’ attorneys filed an anti-SLAPP lawsuit on the basis of freedom of speech in topics of public interest. A judge ruled in favor of the defendants and the lawsuit was dismissed.
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Situations Involving Issues with Child Sexual Abuse
Prestonwood Baptist Church Silent No More. This research/resource website focuses on multiple alleged failures by leaders of Prestonwood Baptist Church (PBC) of Plano, Texas, related to the discovery in 1989 of child sexual abuse perpetrated by staff member John Langworthy, and later lack of forthrightness in responding to questions about it and resolving any outstanding issues with victims and their families. This includes such specific allegations/contentions as:
- The leader(s) who found out about John Langworthy’s sexual molestation of minors did not comply with Texas state law on mandatory reporting by clergy members of known/suspected abuse within 48 hours of discovery. Thus, they failed to protect children elsewhere from being victimized, as Mr. Langworthy moved to Mississippi where he worked as a youth music minister and a high school choir director.
- Church leaders did not inform victims’ parents of the abuse, but instead, interviewed the victims and – in at least one case – allegedly arranged a counseling appointment for the victim themselves, without the parents’ knowledge or consent.
- Church leaders did not inform their own congregation about Mr. Langworthy, which would have opened the way for any additional reports of victimization and subsequent pastoral care for victims and their families.
As one of the largest “flagship churches” in the Southern Baptist Convention, how the influential Prestonwood Baptist Church responds could have constructive influence on the entire convention. It is our hope that Prestonwood Baptist Church leaders will:
- Answer questions that have lingered for nearly 25 years.
- Take appropriate responsibility for past actions and inactions.
- Commit to transparency about sexual abuse issues in the future.
To that end, this website captures as much resource data as possible, so people who need to form opinions on PBC and appropriate clergy responses to sexual abuse can research this situation as a case study. It includes posts and pages that document, analyze, interpret, and comment on relevant events and related issues. It may also publicize them in the #PBCSilentNoMore awareness campaign. We have made efforts to be as accurate as possible in presenting the materials here, and to note when we have provided specific pieces of analysis and/or opinion.
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Sovereign Grace Ministries. These descriptions come from a post section on “Synthesizing Reflections on Spiritual Abuse (2013-2014)”, under a heading of “Abuse of Power, Plus Restitution and Redemption ~ And Case Study of Sovereign Grace Ministries.”
Thoughts on Abuse, Position, Power – and Restitution. If you’ve followed my blogging at futuristguy on WordPress, you’ll know I’ve been doing research writing on systems and dynamics of spiritual abuse and recovery for 7 years, tracking various aspects of the Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM) situation for a minimum of 3 years, and first blogged something about the SGM system in 2012. Spiritual abuse survivors and others who follow what happened at the SGM association of churches and civil lawsuits from it knew that a related criminal trial was scheduled for this May. The results of the first trial came in Thursday, finding Nathaniel Morales guilty on all counts. A second trial for Mr. Morales begins next week.
I find in the civil suit against SGM and related criminal cases a complex situation with many kinds of victims, perpetrators, and enablers – each category of which could use some specific messages at this time. I felt compelled to do what I could to address key issues as constructively as possible. This post is a compilation of writings posted so far. My hope is that they provide some insight into how the human systems of real people intersect the organizational systems of SGM and Covenant Life Church (CLC) in ways that caused damage – and, potentially, could bring recovery for individuals who’ve survived abuse, restitution by those who were “agents of damage,” rehabilitation of the extended SGM system (if that is even warranted, and where it is even possible) to bring health, transparency, and accountability, and restoration of a besmirched testimony of the Church before a watching world. (This post is part of the #IStandWithSGMVictims campaign on Twitter, and #IStandWithSGMVictims campaign on Facebook.)
Thoughts on Redemption in the Wake of Abuse: Agents of Damage versus Agents of Healing. I suspect that acquiring a deep understanding of how relational dynamics works in the real world is something that takes us all a lifetime – as does our applications of those healing skills to bring Kingdom transformation on earth as it is in heaven. My journey with Jesus on that pathway to peace has unfolded in unexpected ways. But the longer I go with Him, the more spiritual sense it all makes. Here are some snapshots from my journey in learning about victimization and recovery and how it involves Agents of Damage and paradoxical parallel Agents of Healing. (This post is part of the #IStandWithSGMVictims campaign on Twitter, and the #IStandWithSGMVictims campaign on Facebook.)
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Kingdom Leadership After Lakeland – The New Apostolic Reformation and the “Lakeland Outpouring”
Systems Dynamics in Toxic Organizations: Learning from What Happened at Lakeland. There is far more discussion lately on “systems dynamics” in toxic churches and ministries, and the “collateral damage” they inflict over the years. The need to help new waves of survivors and “nones” (no religious preference) will never go away, but it feels like a radically new dimension of diagnosis and treatment has opened up, for dealing with organizational dynamics that need either radical transformation to survive, or closure to shut down. But these are not topics we’re generally aware of. At least, not yet. Where do we go to learn more? Here are links to posts in this case study.
If you’re interested in some do-it-yourself study and reflection on toxic systems, consider going through the extensive case study I posted on the “Lakeland Outpouring.” This series of seven posts from five years ago offers a detailed “culturology case study” look at Kingdom Leadership After Lakeland. Many systems dynamics that fed into what happened with the “Lakeland Outpouring” and disqualified leader Todd Bentley in 2008 have eerie parallels to what we’ve been seeing emerge in the analysis of the organizational systems that have shaped Sovereign Grace Ministries and the people therein. The authoritarian leadership systems and forms of legalism in the New Apostolic Reformation have much in common with documentation that has emerged about Sovereign Grace Ministries – despite the doctrinal differences between these two networks. Perhaps there is much to learn from the past, to apply now for a more healthy, constructive future.
Part 1: Discernment and the Costly Descent into Darkness. This is the first in a series of seven posts related to: (1) Making sense of the recent lapses in leadership concerning the Lakeland “outpouring.” (2) Interpreting the implications of these failings for constructive movement forward. (3) Profiling what healthy/sustainable leadership should look like in emerging cultures.
Part 2: Considering Various Sources …. Further exploration of the concepts of individual and communal discernment, and how they play out in looking at the organizational systems behind what happened in Lakeland. This post also lays out a historical case study on events, responses, and lack of “apostolic” authority figures owning the problems they helped create.
Part 3: Seven Critical Lapses in Leadership and an Appeal to Own Our Responsibilities. Here I offer my analysis of what I see as lapses in leadership and discernment in the “apostolic abuses” at Lakeland. I explore in brief a key issue of making the Kingdom more sustainable, namely, how to move from intervention when situations or people are already out of hand, to interception when they are at risk, to prevention so they do not become at risk. Also, I issue a “challenge and an appeal” to several categories of leaders whom I believe need to take responsibility for their actions regarding Lakeland.
Part 3 – Addendum #1: Notes, Quotes, and Questions on Reconstructing Authority. In this post, I share some other resources as tools for those who choose the route of do-it-yourself reflection: especially quotes and questions for their value as a jolt of provocation. My purpose is not to label specific people, but to highlight behaviors that we are ALL susceptible to. ALL of us can fall prey to shadows, but the searchlights of real biblical discernment can lead us beyond destructive and deconstructive cycles, and into positive reconstruction. This leads into one of the larger big-picture cluster of issues we need to consider with tainted systems: How can we prepare ourselves for a future with less toxicity, more sustainability, and reliable authority instead of authoritarianism?
Part 3 – Addendum #2: Reconstructing Ministry Systems-Six Trends Toward Systems Solutions. This post and the next one pick up the theme of moving beyond the rubble of deconstruction. They deal with reconstructing ministry systems. After these, I’ll plan to continue with the planned posts on reconstructing “spiritual parenting,” and then on to reconstructing leadership. This may not seem like a very logical way to present this material, but all I can say to that is I post them when it seems like time to post them. I trust there’s a Spirit-directed flow to them for reasons I cannot fathom, and I’ve learned to be okay with that. And there you have it, so here we go!
Part 3 – Addendum #3: Reconstructing Ministry Systems-When Churches are Like Leaky Ships, How Do We Fix the Boat? This post looks at faulty church systems as being like leaky ships. It explores the following questions: (1) In the changeover from old-world to new-world paradigms, how do we in the church discern what combination we need in deconstructing our pasts, and reconstructing our futures? (2) But what is stabilization about? If solidifying our systems is such a critical crossroad on the path to adaptation in this chaotic age, why haven’t we heard about it more? (3) When it comes to systems stabilization, are we there yet? (4) Meanwhile, what happens when we don’t have stabilized ministry systems in place?
Part 3 – Addendum #4: Reconstructing Ministry Systems-How Do We Fix a Leaky Boat, and Who Can Best Lead in Doing So? This post suggests questions to ask and tools to use for “fixing the boat” of a leaky organizational system. It also previews who might be providentially best equipped to lead the way in fixing the boat and launching it into new paradigm waters.
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Mars Hill Church / Mark Driscoll
Here is the category link for all posts on Mars Hill Church. It includes the entire series on Responsibility for Spiritual Abuse, as this was written at the same time as the Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church Research Guide series. The former provided theoretical and practical frameworks, and the latter the real-world case study in the process of unfolding.
This post provides a Table of Contents to the Research Guide. The titles and outlines there will serve as an overview description for the series:
Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church Research Guide – Part 2E – Research Guide Table of Contents
Posts and links:
- Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church Research Guide – Part 1 – Research Guide to Mark Driscoll’s Personal Issues
- Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church Research Guide – Part 2A – Five Types of Organizational Forms at “Mars Hill” (UPDATED)
- Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church Research Guide – Part 2B – General Background on Top Legal Problems for Non-Profits
- Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church Research Guide – Part 2C – Five Potential Legal/Ethical Problems for Mars Hill Church, Mark Driscoll, and Its Other Leaders
- Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church Research Guide – Part 2D – Putting It All Together
- Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church Research Guide – Part 2E – Research Guide Table of Contents
- Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church Research Guide – Part 3 – Recommendations for Public Remediation by Mark Driscoll, Other Mars Hill Leaders, and Mars Hill Church
- Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church Research Guide – Part 4 – Research Guide and Recommendations for Issues Related to “Commenders” of Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church
Capstone Series Links:
- Synthesizing the “Mars Hill Research Guide” and “Responsibility for Spiritual Abuse” Series – Introducing the Capstone Articles and Case Study
- Capstone Article 1 – A Critique of the Three Official Options for Dissolution of Mars Hill Church
- Capstone Article 2 – Some Words for Discernment by Those from Mars Hill
- Capstone 2-1: Consequences
- Capstone 2-2: Restitution
- Capstone 2-3: “Decisive Moments” and Trajectories of Transformation
- Capstone 2-4: Trends, Turning Points, and Tipping Points in Spiritual Abuse Survivor Communities (2014) – Part 1: Setting the Stage
- Capstone 2-5: Trends, Turning Points, and Tipping Points in Spiritual Abuse Survivor Communities (2014) – Part 2: New Observations, Analysis, Interpretations
- Capstone 2-6: A Lawsuit Against Mars Hill Church Could be a Just Cause Because …
- Lawsuit Against Mars Hill Church Leaders – Resource Bibliography
- Captstone 2-7: Seven “-Ologies” in Mars Hill’s “Parasitic Paradigm.”
- Capstone Article 3 – Answering the Original FAQ List About Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill
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Emergent Village / Emergent Movement
Here is the category link for all posts on Emergent Village. There are some key posts that set up my perspective on the larger context of the “emerging ministry movement” that started in the mid-1990s, one stream of which turned into Emergent Village and later a post-Emergent movement. This post addresses the fragmentation of contemporary evangelicalism into six streams, while this post gives more of a historical timeline, plus terminologies and descriptions, for these six streams.
Like Mars Hill Church (which likely spun out of the “emerging ministry movement” to become the theologically conservative New Calvinism/Resurgence movement), the theologically progressive Emergent movement has been going through a sort of deconstructive meltdown from critiques of both early-on insiders plus outside observers. For a truly historic post and comment thread that has been highly insightful and relatively constructive about key figures and issues in Emergent, see this post on David Hayward’s nakedpastor blog – Tony Jones on Mark Driscoll: What came first, the thug or the theology?
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All materials (c) Brad Sargent except where otherwise noted.