Doubling Down on the Doubling Down

And victim is just another word for whiner

Sharper Iron isn’t exactly known as a bastion of clear thinking when it comes to topics of abuse and fundamentalism. However, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a clearer representation of their priorities than in this response to the GRACE report at BJU written by BJU grad C. D. Cauthorne Jr.

Allow me to do some on-the-spot translation of his ending analysis.

Certainly, the Report contains helpful information. Sexual abuse victims to whom we minster need to understand that God does not judge involuntary sexual activity. Also, we should always follow mandatory reporting laws where we live when we first hear of probable sexual abuse.

Theoretically, we should be concerned about sexual abuse. We just have to have the allegations rise to the level of “probable” before we do anything about it and that’s just never going to happen. You think you were raped? I find that improbable.

Fundy Rule 34. When a pastor gets caught doing wrong his job is to deny, deny, deny. Your job is to back him up to the bitter end.

However, the Report mainly provides a wonderful opportunity for BJU to defend its Bible-based, Christ-centered counseling techniques. Far from going on the defensive, BJU ought to boldly reply to the criticisms leveled against it. The GRACE Report is the opinion of fallible people based upon the input of mostly dissatisfied acquaintances of BJU. The Report is in no way above criticism.

The people who are complaining are a bunch of liberal malcontents and therefore we should not have to listen to them.

Fundy Rule 73. The only people allowed to criticize us are us. And we think we’re just fine.

BJU presents a greater hope for victims than that offered by GRACE. It disagrees with the Report’s assertion that “sexual abuse is a devastating crime that impacts the personal and spiritual lives forevermore” (219, emphasis added).

If you would all just get with the program and stop whining then your troubles would disappear. The fact that you’ve already tried this and failed is evidence that you are just a bad person.

Fundy Rule 70: When you pick on our guy for something stupid he did, it’s judgement. When we pick on your guy for something stupid he did, it’s discernment.

BJU should not change its current dress code, disciplinary system, spiritual accountability system, or emphasis on excellence. Without these key elements, BJU will lose its niche within evangelicalism and will follow the devastating examples of other fundamentalist institutions that have declined precipitously after lowering their standards.

Keep on keeping on, amen. Because if we change it means we’ll have to compete with the larger realm of evangelicalism and Lord knows that we can’t afford that. If we quit being fundamentalists then our school will have no reason to keep on existing — and that terrifies us.

Fundy Rule 3. The less certain something is, the more certain you must appear to be about it.

Do we really believe that “[God’s] divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3)? Do we really believe “that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:28- 29)?

I’ll put some proof texts here so that this whole screed looks “bibical.”

Fundy Rule 2: Unity Means Agreeing With Me That My Pastor Is Right.

Eternal truths are at stake in this debate, and I pray that BJU will not retreat on the biblical counseling principles that many of its alumni continue to embrace. Those principles radically transformed my life, and I pray they will continue to impact others as well.

I’m a pastor. My entire existence consists of believing that what I was taught at BJU is right. If that goes away then my whole world stops making sense.

Fundy Rule 1: I am right and you are wrong. Always.

180 thoughts on “Doubling Down on the Doubling Down”

    1. OK, here’s what gets me: I bet these same people had a field day with the Catholic Sex Abuse Scandal. I bet they never made any of these lame excuses WRT those bishops who kept shuffling perps from parish to parish while trying to silence the victims. Quite correctly, they saw this for the heinous crime it was. In fact, I venture to suggest that they probably went a lot farther. They probably wildly exaggerated the number and percentage of perp priests and colluding bishops. They probably delighted in gleefully characterizing the entire Catholic Church as just one big hotbed of pedophiles — even after the Church had cracked down, embraced zero tolerance, and cleaned up its act to a large extent.

      These same people — these Catholic-Bashers who went all Maria Monk on us during our horrible scandal — are now attempting to excuse, minimize, and cover up their own scandal.

      I guess abuse is only abuse if the perp is a Catholic priest.

      The irony is almost too savage.

        1. I went to school with the owner of SI. He is a complete BJU sycophant. He never hesitated to pull others aside (myself included, when I wasn’t directing the hymn-sing correctly) so that he could disciple them and get them headed in the right direction.

          I’m amazed at how pro-Bo-Jo’s can say they love people, yet hold a belief so destructive to victims in their time of need. But that’s their game: look perfect, say the right stuff, if something bad happens, get over it asap so you can properly glorify the Lord with your perfectness.

          I move between anger and pity for them. I am one of the lucky ones who decided that I didn’t want to play games with my life like that.

        2. They also love to say, “We’re ALL sinners! All of our righteousness are as filthy rags! We’re all unworthy!”

          But I truly believe they think they are doing God this big favor by saying that, because who lives a cleaner life than a BoJo?! So all of us liberals marvel that they are so humble as to say “I am a sinner.”

          Don’t believe me? Next time you hear a fundy say, “I am a sinner!” Ask them what is their favorite sin? They will spit and sputter, hem and haw and say they hate sin and no one should have a favorite sin, and God wouldn’t get the glory if we keep talking like this.

        3. Envy (oh, excuse me, covetousness) was big with me when I was in IFB – it vanished immediately after I left – now I don’t give a sh*t what other people have or how perfect they are – I’m just glad I’m not them. Maybe that’s my new sin.

        4. Gary, Breaking away,
          I usually cite lust as mine. But now that I’m in my late forties I feel sloth coming on strong.

          Speaking of lust usually makes IFB people the most uncomfortable. Hmm, I wonder why that is…?

      1. Dear Darrell:

        That is the best that has as yet come from this. The discussion to which you point was waiting to happen. May it grow into a great chorus that cannot be shouted down, and will not go away.

        Christian Socialist

      2. Actually Darrell, a lot of the comments were very critical of Cauthorne’s review. From my reading, very few of the comments were positive of Cauthorne’s review.

  1. “Eternal truths are at stake in this debate….”

    I think what he meant to say was “My livelihood is at stake……If people believe this I will have to get a real job.”

      1. Yup. If BJU makes the kind of changes the GRACE Report suggests, he will no longer have their standard to appeal to.

        And you know change is a bad word.

    1. I don’t think he means fashions by “eternal truths”, but I wouldn’t bet against it. Seems like he means “Biblical Counseling”, which you’d be hard pressed to find that as an explicitly eternal truth anywhere in Scripture.

        1. I’m sure there are whole books written about it, but if you just quote a couple of random Bible verses while telling the counselee all her problems are due to not having the right attitude and not praying hard enough, you pretty much have it.

        2. Well now, that’s the question, isn’t it? It can mean different things to different people.

          To fundamentalists, it means stressing the belief that all sin which enslaves you is your fault, your sin. They conveniently forget or deny the sins of others can enslave you as well.

          “Biblical counseling” starts with you as a sinner, tells you your best is still sin, that you reap the results of your sin (so if you are raped, you must have asked for it or deserved it) and the only thing you can do to is to bear up through the trials by accepting Christ’s forgiveness and forgiving the ones who sin against you.

          If you don’t forgive those who sin against you, God won’t forgive you. If you think you didn’t deserve what happened, you deserve death and hell anyway because you are a sinner. What is a little temporary suffering like rape to eternity?

          So stop complaining, stop trying to change things. God is Providentally in Control. He will not give you any more than you can bear. So if you crumble under the easy and light load Jesus asks you to bear, it must be because of an untrusting or rebellious heart. You’d better get right with God!

          Once you are right with God you will be able to give thanks in and for all circumstances. You will know that God is using your trial for your good, because He makes all things work together for good to them that love God. You were raped? Hallelujah! God showed you the pain of your sinful ways and he will use that to make you a better person in Christ. Bearing your suffering patiently is good and acceptable to God. Don’t rebel against God now by being upset about it. Forgive your attacker. Love your abuser. Submit to the gracious and kind will of the Father. He knew this would happen. It was in His Providential Will for you, His perfect Will. Trust that He will bring Joy out of Sorrow, Hope out of Despair.

          And I could go on and on. They do. It all makes sense to them if you see people as worthless and disposable “sinners.”

  2. I’m not at all surprised by the response of Sharper Iron. It’s always easier to close the door to the light than come out of the more comfortable darkness.

    It may take a major lawsuit from some brave soul for them to get their theology of compassion straight-i.e. more compassion for the victims rather than the perpetrators.

  3. I’m a pastor. My entire existence consists of believing that what I was taught at BJU is right. If that goes away then my whole world stops making sense.
    Exactly!!! If we ever make any indication that we might have some things wrong the bottom will fall out and our world will collapse.

  4. This idiot actually believes God wants people to abuse others for His glory and that it won’t have lasting effects?

    After a couple of deletes and edits, I have decided it might be best for me to walk away before I say something I would regret. I may be back later.

    1. One of his underlying themes seems to be that nothing ever happens unless God wants it to (Calvinist much?).
      But if you take that to its logical conclusion, there’s no reason to ever do anything about anything.

        1. Or, even if you think it is wrong to feel that way (or at least wrong to dwell on such feelings), they seem to believe that a True Christian will never feel such emotions in the first place!

        2. Dear Pastor’s wife:

          Except that God in Christ felt all those things. To deny this is to deny the full humanity of Jesus Christ with the result that the doctrine of the incarnation of God’s Son is abandoned.

          Christian Socialist

        3. After reading some of the comments of Berg, Mazak, and Wood, I can’t help but wonder what their response to Christ would have been When He asked the Father, “Why have you forsaken me?”
          Over and over they say not to worry what happens to the body, since it is temporary it is unimportant. Don’t be self-focused. Don’t think of “me”. They basically say it is wrong for us to ask” why”, even though they say Christ is our example and He asked “why?”. I wonder if it were their children abused how their comments and actions would change. Would they call the authorities, or “forgive and move on, knowing God did/allowed this so it’s okay”.

          Mazak I don’t know, Wood I always thought of as a businessman who preached topical ramblings, mostly because it was expected in his position. Berg I used to have respect for, but after reading through the report, I’m losing it.

        4. Uncle,

          The logical conclusion of all extreme fundamentalism is that Jesus must have sinned because no one, including Jesus, is capable of living up to their arbitrary and capricious standards. For example, it is often noted that Bill Gothard’s teaching on absolute obedience to authority implies that Jesus sinned when he stayed behind in the temple.

        5. D’s. S.–According to the pledge I had to sign to attend dear ol’ Fundy High, he sinned when he associated with anyone who wasn’t of impeccable moral character. I wish I could acquire a copy of the paper we signed. It would be an excellent topic of discussion and ridicule.

          Gothard’s teachings were a part of my upbringing, just not to the extent of yours. We spent plenty of evenings playing his Character Clues (I think it was called) game. My dad went to the Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts seminars yearly for a few years in the mid 70s. The more you reference some of the things you learned, the more influences I see from the past.

        6. Yup, CS, I think these folks have problems with the Incarnation or at least with the ramifications thereof. They are closet Docetists.

    2. Dear UncleWilver:

      Re: ‘don’t worry about the body.’

      That is precisely the Gnostic heresy. Fundamentalism gives lip service to the incarnation as a point of formal, ‘confessional’ orthodoxy. But when push comes to shove, they don’t believe it. Why would they when ‘the body doesn’t count.’

      The sooner fundamentalism is exposed/seen as a sub-christian aberration, the better.

      Christian Socialist

      PS: Remember — Gnosticism is the most blasphemous belief system devised ever in the history of the world.

      1. According to most Fundies, Catholicism is the most worstest belief system.
        Boy was it a shock to me when I met a Catholic with a good, solid testimony of salvation. Rocked my world, it did.

    1. I’m in awe of his investigative expertise (yawn). He’s an idiot throwing a bunch of intellectual sh$t against the wall in hopes of baffling the other buffoon squad.

    2. My take from the Blumer (rhymes with “bummer”) article.

      Blumer: Just because we have LED bulbs doesn’t mean that the now obsolete incandescent was a bad idea in its time.

      Me: So fundamentalism is an incandescent bulb and the grace report is the LED? How does this help your argument?

    3. My summary:
      “The GRACE report has too much sciency science in it and not enough homage to my friends’ pet unsubstantiated theories about what makes counseling Biblical.”

      As an evaluation of the report, it ain’t much. But let’s hope that My summary:
      The GRACE report has too much sciency science in it and not enough homage to my friend’s pet unsubstantiated theories about what makes counseling Biblical.”

      As an evaluation of the report, it ain’t much. But let’s hope that Aaron Blumer Mon feels more comfortable now, having gotten all that flatulence out of his system.

    4. I’m captivated by the rehtorical strategy of Aaron Blumer’s first paragraph: In order to seem learned, make up some bogus story about a famous smart person.*

      Let me try it:

      Newton watched a walnut, a plum, and a sloe berry fall before a dropping apple inspired him to create the laws of gravitation.

      Before achieving success with the Theory of Relativity, Einstein worked in vain on the Theory of In-Laws, the Theory of Nodding Acquaintance, and the Theory of Little-League Stadium Snacks.

      After Archimedes figured out how to make vacuum cleaners, he ran through the streets, shouting “Eureka!”

      *Edison and his team did experiment extensively with different designs and materials for the incandescent light bulb before they mass-marketed the device. But there was no “flawed execution.” The experiments yielded the information they were designed to reveal.

      1. Besides, the whole concept is pretty laughable when the entire shtick of your whole organization is “most unusual” “excellence” “we do it better than everyone else” , etc.

        Edison did not declare each new attempt as the only way light bulbs should be made even before he tried it, he built a database of knowledge related to what materials and techniques worked and didn’t work and use that data to narrow down the options until the working model was developed.

        BJU didn’t experiment to find the best way, they simply declared their way best and stuck to it, finding out years later that the filament had failed and the light was out long ago. They also only noticed that after thousands of Alumni pointed it out, and they denied and trashed everyone who told them the bulb was burned out for years. That whole analogy just doesn’t work.

        1. In light of your comment captain, I declare this comment to be the best ever written into the Google. Ever. Amen.

        2. Well said, Cap’n. That’s pretty much the point I was trying to make, but I couldn’t put it nearly as well.

  5. “Eternal truths are at stake in this debate, and I pray that BJU will not retreat on the biblical counseling principles that many of its alumni continue to embrace. Those principles radically transformed my life, and I pray they will continue to impact others as well.”

    Eternal truths are NOT at stake in this debate. The inability for this pastor–and many in the IFB systems–to differentiate between God and themselves is so apparent in the above statement. While the theology and practices of my church/denomination, explain God and God’s dealing with Creation to the best of my/our understanding…and while our theology and practices find their roots in Scripture–there still is a difference between our theology and practices and Scripture.
    We now see things dimly as I Corinthians 13 states. And while the practice of our faith in our faith community has changed my life, that does not mean that the system of my faith community has failings, injustices, and sins which need to be dealt with and changed. The systems which are our churches and denominations are very human which means they are flawed. Just because a bishop or a pastor in my denomination sins or a practice of the church is revealed to be flawed, it doesn’t mean the faith I hold or the practice of my faith in this church/denomination is altogether evil. It just means we are human beings in need of grace and salvation, even though and even while we follow Christ.
    The inability to differentiate between one’s faith practices/church teachings and God sets up one for arrogance and insecurity….evidence of an immature faith.

    1. To which I would add that part of the conclusion of the report is that BJU’s “counseling” practices are NOT “biblical”. Although the point may be moot since I have yet to meet anyone who can successfully defend what is meant by “biblical” or “biblical principle”.

      1. exactly–in a preaching course I am taking–someone stated we need Biblical preaching–what does that mean? It sounds wonderfully Christian. Is it simply making sure your sermon is based on Scripture? Do you need to quote so many Scriptures in the sermon? Or does it mean that it has to line up with a certain theology?
        Biblical counseling is even more confusing…according to scripture a woman who has been raped and found to be pregnant is to marry the rapist–how’s that for biblical counseling? Yikes.

        1. ” we need Biblical preaching–what does that mean? It sounds wonderfully Christian. Is it simply making sure your sermon is based on Scripture?”

          The bible in the book of Genesis indicates that Cain and Abel had, er, bedtime relations with a female. Either with their mother or a sister or two.

          That’s biblical truth. The whole world was populated as a result of those biblical relationships.

          Now, back to Arkansas…

        2. “Biblical preaching” happens in the liturgical churches all the time. We start off with a reading from the Old Testament, then all or part of a psalm, then a reading from the Epistles, and then (drum roll!) everyone stands for the ceremonial reading from the Gospels. Sunday after Sunday. Palm Sunday actually has two gospel readings.

          The sermon is almost invariably based on one or more of these Scripture readings.

          That’s Biblical preaching, for sure!

      2. “… I have yet to meet anyone who can successfully defend what is meant by “biblical” or “biblical principle”.”

        Back in the 1980s, I worked for a church newspaper. A pastor sent in a column explaining that AIDS was caused by “non-Biblical sex acts.”
        We spent the rest of the evening scratching our heads, trying to think of sex acts that are not mentioned in the Bible.

        Yes, there probably are some, but we were, after all, innocent church workers.

        1. I’m not sure the bible Wven mentionssex with children, let alone condemns it. I actually find that disturbing

        1. No, the “II” is in honor of that dude from New Hampshire who passively-aggressively insulted me by saying something about my “innate ignorance”. So the “II” stands for “Innately Ignorant”. I’m pretty sure he meant it as an insult, and I told him my suspicions, but he never apologized. Fortunately for him, I wasn’t offended. I was more amused than anything else. However, I put him in the category of “HWSNBN”.

        2. Aren’t we all innately ignorant?
          If that granite-head was born knowing everything he knows now, then he doesn’t know much.

    2. “Eternal truths are NOT at stake in this debate. The inability for this pastor–and many in the IFB systems–to differentiate between God and themselves is so apparent in the above statement.”

      “The inability to differentiate between one’s faith practices/church teachings and God sets up one for arrogance and insecurity….evidence of an immature faith.”

      A post so nice it needs to be read twice.
      🙂

      This reflects my experience in west coast Fundystan. Many are putting their faith in their pastor, church, and Christian school instead of simply in God.

      1. exactly–but I think the problem for fundies is that they consider everything they believe, practice, etc to be eternal truths….the length of women’s skirts, the version of the Bible, the 1950’s USAmerican culture–all are eternal truths to them. When everything becomes fundamentals to you, but no one else agrees with you–you feel like you are under attack and your very faith is at risk.

  6. “I pray that BJU will not retreat on the biblical counseling principles that many of its alumni continue to embrace. ”

    How can he say that when Jim Berg was quoted many times throughout the report as saying something like “yeah that method was probably not the best” or “we didn’t realize what we said was being taken as casting blame by multiple people” or “we realize we weren’t up to date in our counseling methods” etc etc?

      1. Fundies can always see the fallibility of others, but cannot see their own—probably because of their own insecurities…if one part of their faith or church is found lacking they fear everything is flawed.

      1. Well, making it up as you go along, as long as you are making it up according to certain fundamentalist doctrinal presuppositions, is precisely what makes counseling biblical to these people. The making it up as you go along part is the influence of the holy spirit, you see. Not to say that biblical counseling shouldn’t be guided by the holy spirit, but the simple act of having no rational basis for your counseling activities does not automatically elevate such activities to the status of “spirit-led.”

        1. Hmm. Do they think the same thing about flying an airplane or formulating medications or doing neurosurgery– that a lack of training and knowledge is a recommendation, as long as you seek “Biblical” inspiration?

    1. Exactly. Jim Berg flat out admitted to being unqualified. He did not know what he was doing and had no business whatsoever teaching and writing books about counseling.

      Kind of stupid to circle the wagons around that.

    2. Hush! They admitted nothing of the sort! (Sergeant Shultz’ voice) “I saw nothing! Nothing!”

      BJU, “Doctor” Berg couldn’t have said any of their techniques weren’t a good idea because everything is awesome.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0VGJYAMMGg

      The complainers are just ungodly people who attracted trouble to themselves with their rebellious spirit. Dr. Walter Fremont said so Himself, and He is now in Heaven watching to make sure you remember it!

  7. How about the pastor that commented in defense of bju dress code [rough paraphrase, not going back to c/p] ‘if rape us really about power and not sex, why don’t they just beat up women?’

    I’m rarely without words, but this kind of stupidity defies explanation.

    The fact that CA Cauthorn thinks bju’s dress code, the rules & punishment system & spiritual rating/ranking system is an “eternal value at stake” shows he has internalized bju’s value system well. Jesus must be so proud.

  8. Good God, that 2nd ‘graph encouraging BJU to double down and attack mercilessly both reporter (GRACE) and the victims and call all of their motivations and honesty into question while inferentially declaring BJU to be both correct & infallible takes some real cajones to write & post.

        1. I’m betting my junior high Spanish teachers never thought I’d have to use my knowledge to translate a sentence like that one, BJg.

      1. That. Is. Awesome.

        I used to say that Fudies believe in a holy twinity; God the Father, God the Son. They don’t need no Spirit!

        But I do believe you one-upped me with that!

        1. There is a Trinity in Fundy Theology. You fogot the King James Bible. According to Fundy theology God the Father and God the Son both follow it to the letter.

    1. Good find, BG!

      I love that he at first intended to save America by becoming a lawyer or judge until BJU & Tabernacle Baptist (not God so much, and no mention of his pre-law grades) convinced him that America need to be saved by him becoming a preacher not a lawyer. Turns out it’s been pretty fortunate for America nothing happened to this guy growing up, cause America REALLY needs him in whatever profession BJU had told him was right for him.

  9. Considering that he basically dismisses the GRACE report as a load of hooey, Cauthorne quotes from it pretty extensively.
    Is he getting paid by the word or by the column inch?

  10. Iron only sharpens Iron when both of them are working on the sharpening process. When not used properly iron only iron dulls and ruins the edge.

    This is one ruined edge. This thinking is so far beyond dull it will require time back in the forge and on the anvil.

    What is the difference in this thinking and ex cathedra declarations? But when one is sold out™ and on fire © for the cult they can’t see the error… because people believe what they want to believe and they only want truth that aligns with their personal version of the truth. BJU and the other motherships out there are proficient at cranking out true believers by the hundreds.

      1. I like a good Soft Arkansas Stone. I use it often enough that I’ve started to take mine for granite.

        (I know it’s actually Novaculite, but that ruins the pun.)

  11. It’s this kind of crap that makes me question religious beliefs in general. If people can be as blind as this gentleman, when and where do you finally find truth in this giant entanglement of bias, subconscious defense and unintentionally willful ignorance. The human mind is such a mess in its complexity, and it only becomes more and more rationally complicated as it continues to collect experiences and information. This man is so far out there that he sounds like a sociopath. A “…wonderful opportunity for BJU”. Really? That’s what this is? He is absolutely incapable of seeing the problem in his mindset on his own. That kind of blindness makes me wonder pretty much about all worldviews, including mine. It’s enough to make me just give up and let the universe do its thing and take me for the ride.

    1. But this type of blindness is not limited to the religious sphere. In every realm where one has no self awareness and where their point of view is not to be questioned or else their entire world collapses–you will find this blind adherence. But religion probably has more per capita than any other realm.

  12. One trend I see with those who wish to downplay the role BJU had (or even defend), is that they explain to the reader that the report is some 300 pages and difficult to get through. I read it in a couple evenings and thought it was very well written and the judgements they make are fair and reasonable. I think they just don’t want people to read the report because of how poorly it makes BJU look.

    I would urge everyone here to read it. Skipping the footnotes, I’d be surprised if it was 200 pages.

    In the end, BJU obstructed justice and further hurt victims in their self-taught counseling practices.

    1. The first time I heard about BJU was with their stand on interracial (NEVER) dating back 30 years ago. They couldn’t get government funds while that ban was in force. I believe it has since changed, although I don’t know all the details. I do remember that many came to their defense because they were being “persecuted.” I, a fairly new Christian, was appalled. Something about being raised in a racially diverse neighborhood during the 60s.

      Now, they will be known as the school that denies the reality of sexual abuse and believes in ignoring sexual abuse perpetrators.

      Such wonderful things on which to base one’s godly reputation!

      1. Yes, BJU will always be known for their racism and now for their indifference and hurtful attitudes toward sexual abuse victims – but will it hurt their attendance?

        Sadly, the bottom line is probably the only thing that will motivate BJU to really change. People have to walk with their feet, along with their tuition and alumni dollars.

        The Sharper Iron posts seem desperate to me. Trying to hang on to a sick bygone era of excessive power and control.

        1. I think the enrollment was around 6000 when I attended in the ’80s. Isn’t it down to 3000 these days?

        2. Current undergrad enrollment is around 1,900. Total enrollment – K through 12, undergraduates, grad students and distance learning is 2,900.

          If you get out your yearbooks from the 80’s and count heads you won’t come up to 6,000 – they’ve never been that high – not even near, but they are significantly reduced now.

    2. The report does have a lot of pages, but it’s double-spaced, with wide margins, and a lot of the bulk comprises footnotes and appendices.
      The writing style is clear and straightforward.
      It’s not really hard or heavy reading at all.

  13. The more things don’t change after all, the more I wonder about the REAL reason Stephen Jones isn’t still the president. I know he has had some health troubles, but I still wonder if his replacement was at least partly because he brought GRACE in.

    1. I will have to remain vague here, but I have a source that told me it was really his (Stephen Jones’s) health. I trust them and believe this, based on their word. Take it for what it’s worth, but that’s what I got.

      1. But there are plenty in the BJ crowd who will privately conclude that God took SJ’s health as punishment for abandoning true doctrine (a/k/a making minor institutional adjustments at BJU) or at least to hinder SJ from continuing to pursue the devil’s work.

  14. From my tread on the subject: http://www.sflforums.com/showthread.php?tid=8445

    “I am floored how -after reading the GRACE report- someone can conclude that BJU should change nothing.

    The report clearly shows how any victim of present or past sexual abuse had to go through the system of informants, co-classmates, group leaders, dorm/resident advisers, all of whom had less than three hours of training of any type of counseling, and considerably less regarding counseling sexual abuse victims. Then these victims were reported to Mr. Berg who is also unqualified, but many times spent most of his time with them TELLING the victim what they should feel and do, rather than listening to and weeping with these victims.

    Yes, they will change the system to make sure the police are called every time from now forward.

    So, should they change their system of informants, the atmosphere that penalizes anyone who says something that could be construed by any untrained informant as sinful?”

  15. The infuriating thing about these sorts of responses on SI is that a multitude of sexual abuse victims (survivors) are re-victimized by that sort of defense. I’ve read the very thorough GRACE report. It was a searing indictment of BJU and their counseling, which involved re-abusing and blaming the victims.

  16. The notion that one must first make some sort of internal determination as to whether criminal abuse has occurred before calling the authorities has got to STOP. That is what the authorities are for – to make that determination for us. I present on child abuse reporting laws in Oklahoma public schools all the time (and, FWIW, in Oklahoma EVERY person is a mandatory reporter – there aren’t any special categories that exempt one from this requirement – in spite of a lecture I recently received from a pastor’s wife on this subject). I explain what neglect and abuse is under the law and then I say that if you even think that something MIGHT fall within one of those descriptions, it’s always better to call DHS than do nothing. DHS has an elaborate and effective (some would say too effective) mechanism for “screening out” calls that don’t merit investigation. But, that’s their job, not ours. Our job is to report matters of concern and let the chips fall where they may. It’s like if I see someone breaking into a car, I’m not supposed to say “let’s find out if that person is the owner of the car before we call the cops” – just call the police and let them do the investigating.

    Of course, the unwillingness to subject adherents (especially male adherents) to the “godless” public authorities is anathema to fundamentalist Christians, who believe that we must avoid putting “the world” in charge as much as possible. It’s like Romans 13 means nothing to these people. (I do understand that they believe that the “rulers” in Romans 13 refers to pastors, but come on!! It even specifically says that “rulers” mean those to whom we pay taxes!)

    1. Well said, DS. These preachers have neither the training nor the statutory authority to make any determination. That absolutely infuriates me that hey are that arrogant. It’s a cult.

      1. The idea that one should make one’s own investigation before reporting a probable crime strikes me as coming from a pretty high level of arrogance.
        Maybe they think they’re those amateur detectives on the TV shows.

        1. In their exhaustive investigations, they try to prove that the victim just made it up or that she really needs to just repent of her bitterness and anger and case closed. It’s too messy and unbiblical to call the authorities.

          In case you can’t tell, I’m livid at these shitheel preachers.

    2. In my part of California we have seen two school districts sued and two principals lose their jobs for failure to report abuse. In the case of the principals, they did their “own” investigations and thought that was so sufficient. The law is so clear that there was no excuse for what they did, and their failure to report caused more children to be molested because the perps were not in jail.

  17. Is it possible to have an intelligent discussion with anyone so thoroughly indoctrinated? I have only met 1 person who is in an IFB church. Some of his claims were very extreme, and I had honestly never heard them previously. One was that the IFB actually predates the Protestant Reformation led by Martin Luther. Any factual basis for that claim?

    1. Facts are not necessary. You must believe whatever the head of your local religious organization tells you. It doesn’t matter if what he says is true, just that he says it.

      The story goes that there have always been strains of true believers who could be labeled fundamentalists.

    2. Of course not. Brethren fundamentalists make the same claims. Apparently in every generation there has always been a remnant of ‘true believers’ despite the fact that the dominant church of the time was always wrong. So they skipped the whole Catholicism thing and just stayed christian. Apparently.

      It feeds into their whole minority/persecution complex thing. And their refusal to learn from any other body of believers. They’ve got it all right, they’ve always had it right, they have it straight from the apostles themselves, Haymen?

    3. Facts, no. But plenty of books written on the subject. While it would be easy to say that there is a line of believers that goes back to Christ, they have to make their cause more exclusive.

      They say one of two things:
      1. A line of believers goes back to the apostles and not once does it pass through the Catholic Church.
      2. A line of Baptists goes back to the apostles and not once does it pass through the Catholic Church. (Some even say it goes to John the Baptist-imagine that! The Baptist denomination predates the actual founding of the Church!)

      Both claims are pretty mind-boggling, but they hold fast to it. I think they feel jealous of the Catholic Church. (And I am not Catholic, for the record and I am certainly not a Baptist)

      1. Eric – I agree with you regarding fundies being jealous of the Catholic church. It is the only reasonable explanation I can think of as to why there is so much hatred for anything Rome in the fundy ranks.

    4. More seriously, nearly every Christian group claims to follow the original, preserved Apostolic religion that was somehow corrupted by everybody else, or else to have restored the true religion to its original purity after centuries of it being perverted and corrupted.

      But few of them take it to the extreme of denying 1500 or so years of well-documented church history, the way certain Baptist Fundamentalists do.

      This is true not just of schools and parties within Christianity, but of those in just about every religion that has been around for at least 5 or 10 years– Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Scientologists, Mormans, and so forth. By now, there are probably some originalist Pastafarians out there denouncing someone’s Raviolist heresy.

      1. Why. Did. You. Have. To. Bring. Up. Ravioli ism?!!! They not only deny The Great Spaghetti Monster, they leave out the Pat of Butter and the Holy Linguini Sauce.

        They will die in the Colander, unbuttered.

    5. They will point you to a book called The Trail of Blood, where they attempt to connect a series of ancient groups to themselves. Interestingly, many of these groups (who certainly opposed Rome) also had doctrines that IFBs would never, ever agree with. It seems they are willing to claim any non-Rome group as part of their history no matter how bat-crap crazy they were just to have a continuous historical ancestry.

        1. Exactly.
          Did those groups exist? Mostly, yes.
          Did Baptists descend in a direct line from those groups? Not at all.

        2. Ahhh, but since fundamentalists have existed since the beginning, they are spiritually linked. Thus the trail with spirit blood continues unbroken.

          All shall suffer persecution. If you get it from your group, it is peersecution. If a man gets it from his wife, it is hersecution. (Ducks to avoid object thrown by wife after reading her the puns.)

      1. Yep! The Montanists, the Arians, the Cathari (who rejected marriage and believed in euthanizing old folks, among other truly weird things), you name it…they were all somehow or other the spiritual ancestors of today’s Baptists. And don’t believe what you’ve heard about these groups’ nutty beliefs. It’s all Papist Propaganda!

  18. For starters, this dude sets out his article to summarise the GRACE report. This is another attempt by BJU followers to get people to read their biased and censored summary of the report rather than the report itself. We know that Berg sat there and admitted to be unqualified and wrong, this dudes readers do not. They won’t read the GRACE report because their betters told them not to, and they don’t want to do the wrong thing.

    Secondly, this dude, who is a pastor, just came out and told everybody that despite his job probably requiring him to do counseling, he is not in the slightest bit qualified to do so. He is not interested in getting further education to right the situation; in fact, he refuses to admit that his training was inappropriate. I wouldn’t at all be surprised to find out that he has personally covered up sexual abuse while pastoring; or at the very least creating an environment hostile to victims so that they will be quiet and not ask for the help and support they need.

  19. “Do we really believe that “[God’s] divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3)? “

    Of course! And as fundy pastors we believe we apprehend them perfectly and use them inerrantly.

    Do we believe that God has given the believers who say they have been abused these things? Of course NOT! That’s why we are God’s gift to them as their Authorities. They can’t do it alone, but only as we confer grace to the hearers.

    1. And the IFB has the gall, the audacity… the arrogance to preach against the Catholics.
      The RCs genuflect…. the IFB has the Altar Call™
      The RCs say “Father” … the IFB says “Doctor”

      The only real difference is one has a centralized power structure for the entire domination, with ecclesiastical oversight (no matter how flawed, slow and inefficient it may be)
      The other is an autonomous power structure with no ecclesiastical oversight, no accountability and no process of redress for error and abuse.

      It’s a closed system, and will eventually kill itself off by rebreathing it’s own poisonous air supply. There are already signs of psychosis in the bunker system from the lack of maintenance and proper corrective action in their system.

      The IFB structure is crumbling, it’s foundation is rotten because it was built on the wet sand by men who were more interested in personal empires and growing their ministries than they were about Christ and the Gospel. (to most IFBs the Gospel is the means to an end, it is merely the entry point into Church membership… after that the initiates must be fed the meat of the LAW©.

      And that is the basic formula for Cult formation.

      smh… 🙁

  20. It is questionable if GRACE might examine any Christian institution and find it without some reasons for criticism. . From SI discussion.

    Although this is an attempt to show bias in the people of GRACE, the obvious answer should be that NO institution, Christian or otherwise, is above criticism. Every institution has areas needing improvement.

    Most of the posters and respondents at Sharper Iron seem to be in full damage control mode instead of being committed to do the right thing.

    Again, my oft complaint about fundamentalism is that the conviction of the Holy Spirit for their own sin is completely lacking. There is no sorrow and no repentance. If the Holy Spirit is not at work in their hearts over this injustice, then what does that say about them?

  21. BJU presents a greater hope for victims than that offered by GRACE. It disagrees with the Report’s assertion that “sexual abuse is a devastating crime that impacts the personal and spiritual lives forevermore” (219, emphasis added).

    what? This man disagrees that sexual abuse is an impactful and devastating crime?

    How can anyone even say that?

  22. In that whole article I never once saw written, if men were honourable, women would not need to deal with the emotional mess that rape and sexual abuse causes. I know first hand what it is to be told that instead of calling worldly authorities to deal with a problem of this sort I should have gone quietly to my abuser as per Matt 18. Right on buddy, send the sheep to tell the wolf he has offended them. You can bet it is always a person in power telling someone that, not a person who has been privately shamed and damaged. There is no compassion in these people, no mercy. They abuse with their every word. They are vile beyond belief. To call the pain that is caused by this crime, a sin, makes me so angry. A victim of sexual abuse feels responsible, it is part of the pain. To re-enforce that is to further abuse. The only thing that is helpful to an victim is to say, “You did no wrong. The perpetrator was wholly at fault and the blame and the shame is entirely theirs.” End. Of. Everything else is ass covering, prettying up, bravado, lies, in short whiting the sepulcher.

  23. About this:

    “However, the Report mainly provides a wonderful opportunity for BJU to defend its Bible-based, Christ-centered counseling techniques. Far from going on the defensive, BJU ought to boldly reply to the criticisms leveled against it. The GRACE Report is the opinion of fallible people based upon the input of mostly dissatisfied acquaintances of BJU. The Report is in no way above criticism.”

    Y’all have parsed it well, but identifying sexual abuse victims as “acquaintances” is as about as un-Christlike as anything Cauthorne could have said. If I were an abuse victim, I’d say he should make his own intimate acquaintance with himself in a biblical sense.

  24. I do believe when the GRACE report first appeared, BJU was going to take 90 days to craft its response. First, I hope someone is watching the clock. Second, someone should keep track of the employment status of Jim Berg, because if he stays employed there, and worse yet, if he’s teaching crisis counseling this upcoming semester, then BJU doesn’t give a damn ’bout no stinkin’ report.

        1. I used to use this as a ringtone for my law-officer brother.
          Great movie, but few people ever get my Yellow Hat references.

  25. I have two points to make. (a) This site needs a “Like” button on every comment, so I can agree with so much that’s said, without repeating it! (b) There is so much half-truth in Cawthorne’s post and also in the other long post that was referenced (with the intro about light bulbs). The outright lies and awfulness is manageable, but it’s the half-truth that troubles me the most, personally. I am not a victim of sexual abuse, but I’ve been involved in some situations that give me a view into this type of problem. The part about how “Christ heals and cures” is very true and if that were the long-term goal of “Biblical counselling” , to bring that about, well, GREAT!! But it’s how they get there that’s troubling. Just lecturing the victim, and blaming her for her natural unwillingness to forgive immediately and to trust the perp and so on — just preaching some bible verses and calling it good, is really not gonna ever, ever, ever work!! Their goal isn’t to counsel, walk alongside, love and be Christ-like friends with those who are walking through a very toxic swamp.

    And by repeating over and over and over that their modesty rules are to help prevent boys from having lust-ful feelings, which by the way they do repeat, it completely be-lies their excuses that of course boys/men are responsible for their own sins. Further more, as we know, although they really don’t get, lust isn’t the driving force in rape and sexual assault. They can brush that aside if they want, but it’s just true that power is what pushes that assault/rape button every time.

    Clinging to the party line is how they avoid dealing with the half-trth and shaming people into silence is how they keep from confronting their own issues. Truth is messy, thorny and quite humbling. God will love them through it all, but I don’t think that’s the goal, is it? They need to be large and in charge, more than they need to be in touch with the real and living God.

  26. “Also, we should always follow mandatory reporting laws where we live when we first hear of probable sexual abuse. ”

    This makes it sound like he is trying to get out of reporting abuse. It’s saying, “We will only report abuse if the law requires us to report, but if we can find a legal loophole, we’ll cover it up.”

    Have they ever thought of reporting abuse just because it is the right thing to do? I guess not.

  27. I knew him. The guy who wrote that… we were friends in college. Both of us officers in Mission Prayer Band. I was also one of those who was part of the grace report.

    I was Facebook friends with him at the time he wrote his assessment of the report. His thoughts were difficult for me to absorb. I wondered if he would look at it differently if he knew that he once prayed and shared dinner with one of those people he declared to be unqualified to advise the university due to my spiritual condition. I wondered, had he known that some of those words he so quickly dismissed had been spoken by a friend, would he listen, or would he feel tainted by having any past association with me.

    At that time, I hadn’t told even my closest friends about my participation in the investigation. At some point, I quit caring what he thought. I eventually unfriended him on Facebook. But at the time, his words stung me in a way that made me feel terribly ashamed.

  28. I knew him. The guy who wrote that… we were friends in college. Both of us officers in Mission Prayer Band. I was also one of those who was part of the grace report.

    I was Facebook friends with him at the time he wrote his assessment of the report. His thoughts were difficult for me to absorb. I wondered if he would look at it differently if he knew that he once prayed and shared dinner with one of those people he declared to be unqualified to advise the university due to my spiritual condition. I wondered, had he known that some of those words he so quickly dismissed had been spoken by a friend, would he listen, or would he feel tainted by having any past association with me.

    At that time, I hadn’t told even my closest friends about my participation in the investigation. At some point, I quit caring what he thought. I eventually unfriended him on Facebook. But at the time, his words stung me in a way that made me feel terribly ashamed.

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