Are The Claims of Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley Pastors/Elders That They Are Being ‘Persecuted’ Because They Are Being Held Accountable…’Biblical’?

"Stay Positive" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

As the pressure mounts on the Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley pastors/elders, instigated no less by all of their wrong decisions, bad decisions, and ultimately bad theology, they haven’t humbled themselves. They’ve dug in deeper. They’ve claimed in emails to church members that they are now ‘being persecuted’ and need ‘prayers’ for protection for the GBF Body.

Is it Biblical or just one of the manipulative antics of an abusive church? Read The Wartburg Watch article on the “9 Marks of An Abusive Church.”

Nine Marks of an Abusive Church

 

 “Be not deceived, Wormwood, our cause is never more in jeopardy than when a human, no longer desiring but still intending to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe in which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.“   CS Lewis-Screwtape Letters”

How can you spot an abusive church? Do you know the “red flags”? Dr. Ronald Enroth, is a leading scholar on cults and cultism, and his special perspectives have proven beneficial to both the secular and the religious society. Dr. Enroth is a professor of Sociology at Westmont College (Santa Barbara, California) where he has taught since 1965, beginning as a sociology instructor. In 1992 Enroth wrote Churches That Abuse, and it continues to be an important resource nearly two decades later.
Margaret Thaler Singer, a clinical psychologist and emeritus professor of the University of California, Berkeley, provided her hearty recommendation on the book’s jacket. Here is an excerpt:

“When does a church cross the line between conventional church status and fringe status? What is the nature of the process by which any given group devolves into a fringe church or movement? What are some of the signs or indicators that a given group is becoming abusive of its members and is headed for the margins? When should a member consider bailing out?

 

Churches That Abuse answers these and other important questions about abusive churches and groups that operate in this country – organizations and churches that are not necessarily characterized by doctrinal deviation but have particular traits that make them behavioral and sociological outsiders. It also helps readers identify and beware of abusive tendencies in more “normal” Christian churches.”
In his classic book Dr. Enroth identifies distinctive traits of abusive churches which should serve as “red flags”. Pat Zukeran, a research associate with Probe Ministries, has written an excellent review of Churches That Abuse, and we will be sharing excerpts from his article “Abusive Churches”, along with quotes from the book, to explain some of these identifying traits or “MARKS”.
….

‘(4) Perceived persecution

 

To explain this identifying mark, Zukeran writes: “Because abusive churches see themselves as elite, they expect persecution in the world and even feed on it. Criticism and exposure by the media are seen as proof that they are the true church being persecuted by Satan. However, the persecution received by abusive churches is different from the persecution received by Jesus and the Apostles.

Jesus and the Apostles were persecuted for preaching the truth. Abusive churches bring on much of their negative press because of their own actions. Yet, any criticism received, no matter what the source–whether Christian or secular–is always viewed as an attack from Satan, even if the criticisms are based on the Bible.”’

 

How To Tell The Difference Between A Healthy Church And An Unhealthy Church By An Expert In Cults

by Velour/MtnShepherdess

"Love Trap" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

Cartoon used with permission by David Hayward. Canada.           

In Recovering from Churches That Abuse, FREE  http://www.reveal.org/development/Recovering_from_Churches_that_Abuse.pdf

Dr. Ronald Enroth lists eleven questions from LaVonne Neff Evaluating Cults and New Religions” in a Guide to Cults and New Religions, pages 27-32:

  1. “Does a member’s personality generally become stronger, happier, more confident as a result of contact with the group.”

Unhealthy churches use a variety of abusive tactics to control members including intimidation, legalism, guilt and fear.

  1. “Do members of the group seek to strengthen their family commitments?”

Abusive churches try to keep members away from family members.

  1. “Does the group encourage independent thinking and the develop discernment skills?”

           Authoritarian leaders discourage and punish independent thinking and discernment by members. These abusive leaders require conformity from members.

  1. “Does the group allow for individual differences of belief and behavior, particularly on issues of secondary importance?”

            Authoritarian churches are legalistic and require that members stay within“prescribed boundaries”. There is a rigidity in these groups that traps people and puts  them in spiritual bondage.  These groups also emphasize beliefs that “do not receive great attention in mainstream evangelism.”

 5.“Does the group encourage high moral standards both among members and between members and non-members?”

            In legalistic groups there is usual an emphasis on high moral standards and official proclamations of such. It is common, however, that there is a double-standard among the leaders and the people in the pews.  Abusive churches tend to have more sexual misconduct than conventional churches. And “leaders sometimes exhibit an unhealthy interest in sexuality (p.29).”

  1. “Does the group’s leadership invite dialogue, advice, and evaluation from outside its immediate circle?”

            Authoritarian religious leaders are usually threatened by others’ opinions expressed within the group or from outsiders, exhibit attitudes of spiritual superiority, are independent and do not like accountability structures, and choose ‘yes-men’ who won’t question them.

  1. “Does the group allow for the development in theological beliefs?”

            Authoritarian church leaders are usually intolerant to any beliefs not like their own. They usually denounce other Christian groups and have an ‘us vs. them’ mentality.

  1. “Are group members encouraged to ask hard questions?”

            Unhealthy, abusive churches don’t permit questions. Healthy church leaders permit and encourage questions, including hard questions. In unhealthy groups, disagreeing with church leaders is considered to be disagreeing and disobeying God. People who ask questions in these systems “labeled as rebellious, unteachable, or disharmonious to the body of Christ. Persistent questioners face sanctions of some kind such as being publicly ridiculed, shunned, shamed, humiliated, or disfellowshiped (p. 30).

  1. “Do members appreciate the truth wherever it is found, even if it is outside their group?”

            Abusive churches view themselves as superior to other Christian churches and groups. “The only way to succeed in an abusive organization is to go along with the agenda, support the leadership, ignore or remove troublemakers, and scorn detractors and other outside critics who seek to ‘attack’ the ministry.”

  1. “Is the group honest in dealing with nonmembers, especially as it tries to win them to the group?”

            Abusive churches are known for having ‘split-level religion’ (p. 31) where a public image is presented to outsiders and another to the ‘inner circle of membership’.  A healthy church reveals who they are and their intentions.

  1. “Does the group foster relationships and connections with the larger society that are more than self-serving?”

            It can be difficult to discern an abusive church. Contact, over time, however will reveal abusive, unhealthy characteristics in the points above that LaVonne Neff made. Abusive church leaders demand “obedience” and “submission”, keep members busy with church activities, and foster dependency.

GRACE BIBLE FELLOWSHIP OF SILICON VALLEY PASTORS/ELDERS HAVE NEGATIVE REVIEWS REMOVED FROM GOOGLE & YELP

"Silence of the Lambs" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

by Velour/©MtnShepherdess

I was warned by friends who had dealt with spiritually abusive pastors/elders in other churches that my former church – Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley – would try to get negative reviews warning of the excommunications, shunnings, and outright lying by the pastors/elders removed  from Google Review and YELP. They advised me to save the links on the Way Back Machine website, for future use, which I did. (Thank you smart friends who know how abusive spiritual leaders work.)

The first to be removed was the YELP review. Next it was the Google Review. I have tweeted to the CEO’s of Google and YELP and said that GBFSV does this to former members who try to warn people about the incredible abuses going on there. If GBFSV pastors/elders have nothing to hide…then they shouldn’t mind the truth being written about them, by ANY of us former members that they abused. They’re proud of their conduct, well fine. They should have “bragging rights” and they shouldn’t mind if people like me “brag” about them.

I let the CEO’s of Google and YELP know that GBFSV pastors/elders hold these bizarre beliefs:

*women as second class citizens told to “obey” and “submit” — YIKES what Dark Ages treatment that not even sane denominations subscribe to

*excommunications and shunnings of anyone who has critical thinking skills (including a Los Altos, CA doctor in his 70’s, faithful and loving husband to his wife of nearly 50 years, loving father to grown children). Hundreds of church members were told to NEVER speak to the good doctor again by senior pastor Cliff McManis. McManis said that the elders had worked with the doctor. In other words do what they’ve done to all of us. Use Thought Reform techniques in high-pressured meetings to get us to obey to their bizarre, authoritarian demands!  Before the doctor, it was a middle-aged woman who worked in finance and wanted to leave GBF for a saner church. She was harassed on the orders of Cliff McManis, pastor, because according to Cliff she’s not entitled to make her own decisions.  Then it was my turn on some trumped up charge.

*McManis and the GBFSV pastors/elders believe in a Young Earth. Specifically they believe the earth is 6,000 years old. According to McManis it’s a “miracle”. It’s a miracle he didn’t go to a real college and do real work, hard work.

McManis has continued with his third-rate bible college education with “advanced degrees” purchased from an unaccredited diploma mill in Independence, Missouri.  The diploma mill – Faith Bible College – is NOT accredited according to the U.S. Department of Education.  The one “accrediting agency” for Faith Bible College was brought up on fraud charges by the Missouri Attorney General and banned from operating in Missouri.  Instead the fraudulent accrediting agency moved next door to Arkansas, changed names, and is back in Missouri operating and “accrediting”. I notified the Missouri Attorney General recently about my discovery.

Cliff McManis’ “Ph.D.” is a fake. It’s not a bona fide Ph.D. that comes from eight plus years of hard work at an accredited university.

*McManis openly lies about ex-members, including me. His most recent lie about me was that three law enforcement agencies said I was “unstable” and that I had been harassing church members. I will be covering that in another post.

I have had NO CONTACT WITH CHURCH MEMBERS AND CLIFF MCMANIS IS LYING!

The law enforcement agencies said that they never said what McManis claims they said.

 

***********

Cartoon by David Hayward/©NakedPastor.com in Canada http://www.nakedpastor.com/

California’s Anti-SLAPP Law (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation)

Image result for first amendment speech

by Velour/MtnShepherdess

Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley tries to silence any opposition. They are like many authoritarian groups. Thankfully California has an Anti-SLAPP [Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation] law. Here is more from Harvard University’s Digital Media Law Project:

source: http://www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/anti-slapp-law-california

Anti-SLAPP Law in California

Note: This page covers information specific to California. For general information concerning Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs), see the overview section of this guide.

You can use California’s anti-SLAPP statute to counter a SLAPP suit filed against you. The statute allows you to file a special motion to strike a complaint filed against you based on an “act in furtherance of [your] right of petition or free speech under the United States or California Constitution in connection with a public issue.” Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 425.16. If a court rules in your favor, it will dismiss the plaintiff’s case early in the litigation and award you attorneys’ fees and court costs.  In addition, if a party to a SLAPP suit seeks your personal identifying information, California law allows you to make a motion to quash the discovery order, request, or subpoena.

Activities Covered By The California Anti-SLAPP Statute

Not every unwelcome lawsuit is a SLAPP. In California, the term applies to lawsuits brought primarily to discourage speech about issues of public significance or public participation in government proceedings. To challenge a lawsuit as a SLAPP, you need to show that the plaintiff is suing you for an “act in furtherance of [your] right of petition or free speech under the United States or California Constitution in connection with a public issue.” Although people often use terms like “free speech” and “petition the government” loosely in popular speech, the anti-SLAPP law gives this phrase a particular legal meaning, which includes four categories of activities:

  1. any written or oral statement or writing made before a legislative, executive, or judicial proceeding, or any other official proceeding authorized by law;
  2. any written or oral statement or writing made in connection with an issue under consideration or review by a legislative, executive, or judicial body, or any other official proceeding authorized by law;
  3. any written or oral statement or writing made in a place open to the public or a public forum in connection with an issue of public interest; or
  4. any other conduct in furtherance of the exercise of the constitutional right of petition or the constitutional right of free speech in connection with a public issue or an issue of public interest.

Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 425.16(e)(1-4). As an online publisher, you are most likely to rely on the third category above, which applies to a written statement in a public forum on an issue of public interest.

Under California law, a publicly accessible website is considered a public forum. See Barrett v. Rosenthal, 146 P.3d 510, 514 n.4 (Cal. 2006). The website does not have to allow comments or other public participation, so long as it is publicly available over the Internet. See Wilbanks v. Wolk, 121 Cal. App. 4th 883, 897 (Cal. Ct. App. 2001).

Many different kinds of statements may relate to an issue of public interest. California courts look at factors such as whether the subject of the disputed statement was a person or entity in the public eye, whether the statement involved conduct that could affect large numbers of people beyond the direct participants, and whether the statement contributed to debate on a topic of widespread public interest. Certainly, statements educating the public about or taking a position on a controversial issue in local, state, national, or international politics would qualify. Some other examples include:

  • Statements about the character of a public official, see Vogel v. Felice, 127 Cal. App. 4th 1006 (2005);
  • Statements about the financial solvency of a large institution, such as a hospital, see Integrated Healthcare Holdings, Inc. v. Fitzgibbons, 140 Cal. App. 4th 515, 523 (2006);
  • Statements about a celebrity, or a person voluntarily associating with a celebrity, see Ronson v. Lavandeira, BC 374174 (Cal. Super. Ct. Nov. 1, 2007);
  • Statements about an ideological opponent in the context of debates about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, see Neuwirth v. Silverstein, SC 094441 (Cal. Super. Ct. Nov. 27, 2007); and
  • Statements about the governance of a homeowners association, see Damon v. Ocean Hills Journalism Club, 85 Cal. App. 4th 468 (2000).

In contrast, California courts have found other statements to be unrelated to an issue of public interest, including:

  • statements about the character of a person who is not in the public eye, see Dyer v. Childress, 147 Cal. App. 4th 1273, 1281 (2007); and
  • statements about the performance of contractual obligations or other private interests, see Ericsson GE Mobile Communs. v. C.S.I. Telcoms. Eng’rs. 49 Cal. App. 4th 1591 (1996).

Although the anti-SLAPP statute is meant to prevent lawsuits from chilling speech and discouraging public participation, you do not need to show that the SLAPP actually discouraged you from participating or speaking out. Nor do you need to show that the plaintiff bringing the SLAPP intended to restrict your free speech.

Protections for Personal Identifying Information Sought in a SLAPP suit

In addition to providing a motion to strike, California law also allows a person whose identifying information is sought in connection with a claim arising from act in exercise of anonymous free speech rights to file a motion to quash — that is, to void or modify the subpoena seeking your personal identifying information so you do not have to provide that information. Cal. Civ. Pro. Code § 1987.1.

How To Use The California Anti-SLAPP Statute

The California anti-SLAPP statute gives you the ability to file a motion to strike (i.e., to dismiss) a complaint brought against you for engaging in protected speech or petition activity (discussed above). If you are served with a complaint that you believe to be a SLAPP, you should seek legal assistanceimmediately. Successfully filing and arguing a motion to strike can be complicated, and you and your lawyer need to move quickly to avoid missing important deadlines. You should file your motion to strike under the anti-SLAPP statute within sixty days of being served with the complaint. A court may allow you to file the motion after sixty days, but there is no guarantee that it will do so. Keep in mind that, although hiring legal help is expensive, you can recover your attorneys’ fees if you win your motion.

One of the benefits of the anti-SLAPP statute is that it enables you to get the SLAPP suit dismissed quickly. When you file a motion to strike, the clerk of the court will schedule a hearing on your motion within thirty days after filing. Additionally, once you file your motion, the plaintiff generally cannot engage in “discovery” — that is, the plaintiff generally may not ask you to produce documents, sit for a deposition, or answer formal written questions, at least not without first getting permission from the court.

In ruling on a motion to strike, a court will first consider whether you have established that the lawsuit arises out of a protected speech or petition activity (discussed above). Assuming you can show this, the court will then require the plaintiff to introduce evidence supporting the essential elements of its legal claim. Because a true SLAPP is not meant to succeed in court, but only to intimidate and harass, a plaintiff bringing such a lawsuit will not be able to make this showing, and the court will dismiss the case. On the other hand, if the plaintiff’s case is strong, then the court will not grant your motion to strike, and the lawsuit will move ahead like any ordinary case.

If the court denies your motion to strike, you are entitled to appeal the decision immediately.

In addition to creating the motion to strike, the statute also allows a person whose personal identifying information is sought in connection with a claim arising from act in exercise of anonymous free speech rights to file a motion to quash — that is, to void or terminate the subpoena, request, or discovery order seeking your personal identifying information so you do not have to provide that information.

When you make your motion to quash, the court “may” grant your request if it is “reasonably made.” In reviewing your motion, the court will probably require the plaintiff to make a prima facie showing, meaning he or she must present evidence to support all of the elements of the underlying claim (or, at least, all of the elements within the plaintiff’s control).  See Krinsky v. Doe 6, 159 Cal. App. 4th 1154, 1171 fn. 12 (Cal. App. 6 Dist. 2008). If the plaintiff cannot make that showing, the court will probably quash the subpoena and keep your identity secret.

If you are served with a SLAPP in California, you can report it to the California Anti-SLAPP Project and request assistance. The California Anti-SLAPP Project also has two excellent guides on dealing with a SLAPP suit in California, Survival Guide for SLAPP Victims and Defending Against A SLAPP. In addition, the First Amendment Project has an excellent step-by-step guide to the legal process of defending against a SLAPP in California.

What Happens If You Win A Motion To Strike

If you prevail on a motion to strike under California’s anti-SLAPP statute, the court will dismiss the lawsuit against you, and you will be entitled to recover your attorneys’ fees and court costs. See Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 425.16(c).

Additionally, if you win your motion to strike and believe that you can show that the plaintiff filed the lawsuit in order to harass or silence you rather than to resolve a legitimate legal claim, then consider filing a “SLAPPback” suit against your opponent. A “SLAPPback” is a lawsuit you can bring against the person who filed the SLAPP suit to recover compensatory and punitive damages for abuse of the legal process. See Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 425.18 (setting out certain procedural rules for “SLAPPback” suits). Section 425.18 contemplates bringing a SLAPPback in a subsequent lawsuit after the original SLAPP has been dismissed, but you might be able to bring a SLAPPback as a counterclaim in the original lawsuit. You should not underestimate the considerable expense required to bring a SLAPPback, like any lawsuit, to a successful conclusion.

If your successful motion to quash arises out of a lawsuit filed in a California court, the judge has discretion to award expenses incurred in making the motion. The court will award fees if the plaintiff opposed your motion “in bad faith or without substantial justification,” or if at least one part of the subpoena was “oppressive.” Cal. Civ. Pro. Code § 1987.2(a). But note that if you lose your motion to quash, and the court decides that your motion was made in bad faith, you may have to pay the plaintiff’s costs of opposing the motion.

If you successfully quash a California identity-seeking subpoena that relates to a lawsuit filed in another state, the court “shall” award all reasonably expenses incurred in making your motion – including attorneys’ fees – if the following conditions are met:

  • the subpoena was served on an Internet service provider or other Section 230 computer service provider;
  • the underlying lawsuit arose from your exercise of free speech on the Internet; and
  • the plaintiff failed to make his prima facie showing.

Cal. Civ. Pro. Code § 1987.2(b).

Jurisdiction:

Subject Area:

My Story of Being Excommunicated and Shunned From Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley

 

Article by Velour/MtnShepherdess ©

Cartoon courtesy of David Hayward/©NakedPastor.com in Canada

 http://www.nakedpastor.com/

 

I posted this on another website, before I had my own. Here is my story.

John Macarthur Trained Pastors Ex-Communicate Church Member for Questioning the Presence of a Registered Sex Offender (Convicted Child Pornographer) in Church Leadership 

“Child porn isn’t a big deal,” exclaimed Senior Pastor Cliff McManis, graduate of The Masters College (B.A.), The Masters Seminary (M.Div.), and former Grace Community Church children’s minister.


Note: Below I have copied forum posts written by “Callie.” I can’t verify if the statements made in this post are true or not. I have emailed Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley without receiving a reply–Bob J


The following was posted on March 1, 2016 by Callie on the John Macarthur Cult Watch Forum:
 
About 8 1/2 years ago I started attending a smaller, new, church plant in my Northern California community, Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley. (They normally rent from the Seventh Day Adventists and are currently renting from the SDA’s in Sunnyvale, CA.) I wanted to know and be known by other Christians, not in a mega church where it was anonymous, and grow as a Christian.
 
A. Naïve, Didn’t Do My Research, Joined Authoritarian, Abusive Church
 
My wishes in a church were simple and in retrospect naïve. I did not know at that time that I should thoroughly research a church: all links on their website, what they believe, their power structure, Membership Covenants (I will never sign one again as it is a crowbar by church leaders to exert authoritarian control over members’ lives and Jesus required 0 pages to be signed to follow Him!), their teachings, and accountability to a higher structure. Instead I got a spiritually abusive, authoritarian church (like the ones described in Dr. Ron Enroth’s books Churches That Abuse and Recovering From Churches That Abuse, now available for FREE online, an other books and resources about Spiritual Abuse).
 
B. Membership Covenants. Signed One At This Church And I Will NEVER Sign One Again. Authoritarian Control
 
I signed the Membership Covenant and became a member of Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley. I was told this was to get us back to Biblical basics that had been lost. The extensive Membership Covenant was filled with Scripture verses.
 
My warning to others: Don’t sign a Membership Covenant. Jesus didn’t have people sign any papers to follow Him. MC’s are simply used to control people and for leadership to insinuate themselves into your life.
 
C. Why Were Good Christians Quietly Leaving Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley? 
 
I started to notice in my first several years of membership that something was wrong, but I couldn’t pinpoint it. Good and godly Christians (families, couples, singles) simply disappeared from GBF never to be seen again. It was very odd. I would ask about them, but was shut down. Several of the families were key families in founding GBFSV. I knew them to be lovely people, Christians, in the Word.
 
I found out later when I talked to them, when I was no longer a member of GBFSV, that they had left because of the growing authoritarianism and rigid control the pastors/elders expected to exert over members’ lives, complete with being ordered into meetings, phone calls to your home, emails, mandatory lunch/coffee meetings in which they went over your life, and ordering everything about a person’s life (from décor in your home to what you feed your kids to whom you should be friends with).
 
D. Authoritarianism. Lording It Over The Flock.
 
The GBFSV pastors/elders claim that they will give an account for members’ souls to God and we must “obey and submit to [our] elders.” Any thought, any question, is challenged back by the elders with, “You are bringing an accusation against an elder without cause.” They are arrogant and puffed up. For all that they criticize the Roman Catholic Church, they are set up exactly like it: With the senior pastor as Pope and the associate pastors/elders as cardinals, complete with “the keys”, excommunication and shunning of any member for any reason.
 
There is no congregational vote (I will never join a church again or give money where there isn’t a congregational vote with the priesthood of all believers giving their input).
 
E. Godly Woman Subjected To Church Discipline And Harassment For Leaving GBFSV
 
The first person to be the subject of a closed door, after Sunday service, “church discipline meeting” was a godly, middle-aged, professional married woman. Senior Pastor Cliff McManis said that they had “worked with her for a very long time and that they were now at Step 3 of the church discipline process.” The church members were told to pursue her because she would not “obey and submit” to her husband. She, harassed by church members, disconnected her cell phone and her email, and moved out of the family home.
 
She told me when I interviewed her that she thought that there was something terribly wrong with Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley, with their teachings, their lack of accountability to any outside church, and she refused to go to that church again and went to another solid denomination with accountability and long track record. She told me that the GBF pastors/elders had screamed at her, including coming to her home and screaming at her.
 
The GBFSV pastors/elders control the narrative before all church members, telling stories about Christians that aren’t true and maligning peoples’ reputations before all.
 
The wife refused to come back and the GBFSV pastors/elders had to let her go.
 
F.  Godly Doctor In His 70s (A Personal Friend Of Pastor John MacArthur’s) Ordered To Be Excommunicated And Shunned  
 
I knew that GBFSV had really gone “off the rails” when we had another closed door meeting, on the orders of the senior pastor Cliff McManis, and a godly doctor in his 70s was ordered to be excommunicated and shunned. There was no specific charge brought against him. Only that the GBFSV pastors/elders had ‘worked with him for years’ and said to have nothing more to do with him. To shun him. To call him to repent.
 
Senior Pastor Cliff McManis told us to “pray for [the doctor’s] wife.”
 
I sat there and thought, “What is the charge against this dear brother in the Lord?” There was nothing. I thought the charges against him were lies.
 
The doctor is a faithful Christian, loving husband, loving father to grown children. He gave of his time and money to GBFSV. He bought high-quality resources to start the GBFSV lending library (DVDs, books).
 
The doctor had invited and paid for our senior pastor Cliff McManis to join him, John MacArthur, and a few other men on a trip to North Carolina to meet the Rev. Billy Graham in person at his North Carolina log cabin home. And for all that the doctor did, this was the thanks he got from the GBFSV pastors/elders: to have his name dragged through the mud.
 
Several other church members secretly taped the excommunication/shunning. Those families also left GBF after that.
 
The GBFSV pastors/elders will NOT permit grown adults to leave GBF without an exit interview by 2 pastors/elders.
 
G. My Own Excommunication And Shunning: Threatened By Pastors/Elders For Discovering A Megan’s List Sex Offender At Church
 
I was doing a legal research project for a former sex crimes prosecutor and I was on Megan’s List, California’s registry of sex offenders. I inadvertently discovered that a new GBFSV church member (Cupertino, CA) was a registered sex offender on Megan’s List while doing my research. He’s a convicted child pornographer.
 
I reported it to the GBFSV pastors/elders. They had me in a meeting where the four of them screamed and yelled at me. They told me that he was their friend, they had visited him in prison, and that they trusted their children with him. The GBF pastors/elders said that mothers had no say over their children and that if a father wanted the sex offender to touch his children that this word was “final” and that his wife was “to obey” and “to submit” to him and “his authority.”
 
I hit the GBF pastors/elders back with: “Mothers are required by God and by California law to protect their children. If a mother fails to protect her child, and harm comes to her child, she can be arrested and prosecuted and land in state prison. Child Protective Services can take away her child(ren). She is NOT off the hook of legal responsibility by blaming her husband and that she said that the decisions were his. Mothers land in state prison all of the time for this.”
 
The GBF pastors/elders said the sex offender was “coming off Megan’s List.” They put him in a position of leadership and trust, something that experts around the world who specialize in sex crimes have criticized the GBFSV pastors/elders for and said that should never be done.
 
The sex offender’s supervising law enforcement agency, Sheriff’s sex offenders’ task force, called the pastors/stories “all lies” and “total lies”. The Sheriff was so alarmed they contacted the California Attorney General which confirmed the story was “all lies” and “total lies.”
 
The GBFSV pastors/elders called me at home and told me to never contact law enforcement again, that I was to obey and to submit to my elders, and that I was to never reveal their names to law enforcement, the name of the church, or contact law enforcement about the sex offender. That is a felony called obstruction of justice. Also intimidating a witness.
 
The GBFSV pastors/elders read me a Scripture at the end of our meeting about child safety that I was destined for Hell and I “was not one of us.”
 
They gave me a threat that they intended to make good on and they did.
 
[Editor’s Note: In a subsequent forum post, Callie stated that it was during this elders’ meeting that Senior Pastor Cliff McManis told her that “child porn wasn’t a big deal.” (Link)
 
H. Insufferable Control Of My Life
 
The GBF pastors/elders have ordered members to be friends with other highly troubled church members  who are verbally abusive and bizarre. Those people are their own friends.
 
We were all cordial with them but kept them at a distance because of how bizarre they were and how incredibly verbally abusive they were to men and women alike, with no adult, healthy boundaries.
 
I was ordered into meetings about that. People that want your personal business, which is none of theirs, and want you to rid of your own belongings in your home (I had a cross from Italy that was a birthday gift from years ago, hundreds of dollars) that I was told I had to get rid of.
 
These people are bizarre. They are classless and tacky. They really shouldn’t leave their homes until they grow up. Imagine being told to get rid of your own possessions in your own home? I wish I had left then!
 
I. Biblical Counseling/Nouthetic Counseling Should Be Called What It Is: Malpractice
 
The GBFSV pastors/elders, like John MacArthur, tout “Biblical Counseling”. What this means is that they have no training, education, or insight about serious problems and how to handle them. “Counseling meetings” consist of listening to their insufferable advice about things that they have no training to render, getting it wrong, and listening to their opinions (that something isn’t important, ridiculing, etc.). They get it wrong and do much damage.
 
I also came to learn what John MacArthur and his graduates mean by the term “Biblical”. It means, “We’re right. Don’t think. Don’t question. Do exactly what we say.”
 
“Biblical” is used to shut down thinking, conversations, and questioning.
 
1. Not Getting An Alcoholic Care By A Physician
 
The GBFSV pastors/elders spent months in meetings with me and other members about one problem member, a woman, who caused all kinds of chaos and problems. The GBFSV pastors/elders went over “gossip” and other issues. They made some members go and apologize to the woman, for things the woman had done to them. It was insane.
 
The GBFSV pastors/elders ARE NOT COMPETENT to render advice. The real problem – she’s an alcoholic – they missed entirely. They are not qualified nor competent to diagnosis and treat.
 
The woman church member should have been under a physician’s care who should have guided her care into treatment for alcoholism.
 
Instead the GBFSV pastors/elders damaged her, her children, and church members by claiming a skill set “Counseling” that they are untrained and incompetent to render.
 
 
2. Not Getting A Dyslexic Medical Care
 
Next up the GBFSV pastors/elders demanded meetings of me about the accusations by a woman dyslexic about me. She accused me of lying about events, stating that they had never taken place.
 
The GBFSV pastors/elders demanded meetings of me. The woman church member said that ‘the truth about [me] would come out.’
 
Dyslexia isn’t just a reading problem, it’s a memory problem in which people have short-term memory problems and working-memory problems. She has both problems, actually gets a government disability check, and she refuses to go get medical care and be involved in support groups for her disability.
 
According to her, Jesus could heal her if He wanted to. OK, lady, that hasn’t happened. Jesus gave you medical care and support groups for your disability, kick it in gear and get some!
 
J. Excommunicated And Shunned – Mine
 
Chairman of the Elder Board, Sam Kim, ordered that I be banned from church property.  He told the Seventh Day Adventists that I, like the doctor, was forbidden from being on church property.
Mr. Kim wanted me to apologize to him and the elders for their telling me that I was “destined for Hell” at the end of the meeting about the sex offender. I refused.
 
How would you respond if someone told you that you were “destined for Hell” and “not one of us” for raising a legitimate and serious issue?
 
I don’t owe them an apology, they owe me one.
 
They ordered that I have nothing to do with any church members, excommunicated me, lied about me before all, and cost me my friendships of 8+ years. I didn’t get a single Christmas card.
 
K.  I wish…
 
I wish I had been like those new attenders who saw something wrong with GBF and got up and left mid-service and fled.
 
I wish I had immediate family who were Christians and had warned me.
 
I wish I had gotten up and walked out when the lovely Christian woman who wanted to leave GBFSV for another church was berated before all of us and maligned.
 
I wish I had gotten up and walked out the day the doctor was ordered to be excommunicated and shunned. It was wrong. I knew the GBFSV pastors/elders were lying.
 
I wish I had gotten up when I was threatened.
 
I wish I had gotten up and walked out when they told me to get rid of a cross in my home, a birthday gift that I’d had from Italy for years.
 
I wish I didn’t love so many people there so deeply. I wish it was easier for me to leave. But it wasn’t.
 
And like Bonhoeffer said in World War II, that the Nazis went after other people and then they went after me. So true.
 
It was the Salem Witch Trials II at GBFSV. Authoritarian. Legalistic. Controlling. Destructive.
 
I didn’t get one Christmas card. My mail box used to be full of them. People were ordered to shun me and never speak to me again.
 
I wonder, in the years to come, what vile secrets and abuses will come out of this church and others like it?
 
Thankful.
 
I am thankful for blogs dealing with spiritual abuse – like Spiritual Sounding Board, The Wartburg Watch.
 
I am thankful for all of the older Christians who told me that the Patriarchy teachings that were shoved down our throats never used to be taught and are new since the 90s. I am thankful that all of the ‘big names’ in it have all been outted for being sexual predators. Sued for their sex crimes against many victims.
——————————-
 
Posted March 1 by Callie:
 
Oh one more thing. Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley’ (Sunnyvale, CA, rents from the Seventh Day Adventists) senior pastor Cliff McManis told me during the elders’ meeting they had with me that “child porn wasn’t a big deal“, about their friend who they gave church membership to.
 
I then went on a candid discussion about pornography. “OK, let’s discuss the differences between adult pornography and child pornography.” I then discussed ALL OF THE CRIMES that were committed against children to make child porn: rape, sodomy, etc. Kidnapping in some cases (even if moved from a room to another room). Held against their will. Some times being drugged. Just horrible things done to them.
 
McManis blushed bright red as I went on about pornography and discussed adult pornography. I said, “This man had a choice between adult pornography, which is legal, and child pornography which is illegal and a felony, violating state and federal laws. That he would choose child porn and trade in it, etc. tells me that he has a sexual interest in children, not adult women. And that is deeply troubling.” The GBFSV pastors/elders didn’t see it that way.
————————————-
 
Posted March 2 by Callie:
 
The sex offender (Cupertino, CA) contrary to the false claims of the Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley (Sunnyvale, CA) pastors/elders Cliff McManis, Sam Kim, Bob Douglas and Tim Wong has NOT come off Megan’s List of sex offenders in California and the California Attorney General’s Office refuses to take him off.
 
Because of the threats the GBFSV pastors/elders leveled at me about the whole matter (they are legally mandated child abuse reporters in CA and it is a crime for them not to report), a whole host of legal agencies are now involved. (I was excommunicated from GBFSV for this drama, and some kind of trumped up charge (they will tell any lie to destroy a person’s reputation) I don’t know what the sex offender is doing at GBF and I have no contact with members, who have been ordered to shun me.
 
The Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley pastors/elders PERMITTED their friend a Megan’s List sex offender to become a church member and they put him in a position of leadership and trust. Godly women with Ph.D.’s aren’t permitted to serve at GBFSV but a Megan’s List sex offender/felon was fast-tracked to a trusted position. It is simply unconscionable. Insurance companies like Church Mutual, the largest insurer of churches, say that sex offenders should always be ministered to apart from the regular congregation for safety.
 
Senior Pastor Cliff McManis, a Master’s College/Seminary graduate, screamed and yelled at me in an elders’ meeting with him, Sam Kim (Chairman of the Elder Board), Tim Wong (elder) and Bob Douglas (associate pastor/elder). McManis said that the Megan’s List sex offender was “coming off Megan’s List” and that “he said so”.  OK, somebody is a convicted felon, convicted of sex crimes, sentenced to prison, serves prison time, is paroled and has a supervising law enforcement agency and you take ‘his word’ and don’t do due diligence and check with his SUPERVISING LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY? You have got to be kidding?
 
McManis demanded to know why I was calling him “a sex offender”. Me: “It’s NOT my term it’s a legal term. Someone convicted of sex crimes in criminal court is called a ‘sex offender’ under federal and state laws. It’s in the Penal Code of laws. It’s not my term.” The whole meeting was bizarre. 4 pastors/elders against me.
 
Elder/Associate Pastor Bob Douglas said that his family had known the sex offender for 40 years and he’s fine. He said he would entrust his children to him, no problem. McManis said the same. Douglas wanted to know if I’d prayed for the sex offender. We are discussing the safety of children at our church, not prayer time.
 
Anyway they turned everything around on me.
 
The Megan’s List sex offender was permitted to come to all church events, including the Bible Study I attended where parents brought their children. No one knew he was a Megan’s List sex offender, save me who discovered him online doing an entirely different project.
 
The sex offender whipped my entire Bible Study into a frenzy one evening about all of the “bad people in prisons”. Everybody was angry and upset and he was a masterful manipulator. They were agreeing with him and how “terrible” those bad people were.  He conveniently omitted he was one, was a felon, served prison time, and was on Megan’s List. I just stared him down. He was smiling that some 17 people had bought his pack of lies and his manipulation. When I got home I documented the whole thing for the California Attorney General’s Office under his picture on Megan’s List. That was also sent from the AG’s office to the Sheriff’s sex offenders’ task force. I told them DON’T EVER TAKE HIM OFF MEGAN’S LIST.
 
The pastors/elders were incensed and told me that I was to confront him, per Matthew 18:15-17. I told them:
 
“No, it was your job to protect all of us from him and anyone like him. You FAILED to do your job. Don’t blame me for your FAILURES. You intentionally didn’t do due diligence. I’m not confronting a felon/sex offender who is more than 6’0 tall when I’m a woman. No way. You failed, not me.”
 
Given the level of hostility that the GBF pastors/elders leveled at me outsiders have wondered if there is also a sex offender among any of them The response is very odd. To protect a sex offender, not protect kids, not care. It’s just all very odd. It’s not normal.
 
Will we hear of sexual abuse cases in the future from this church? I believe that the answer will be yes. Sex abuse of children is the No. 1 reason that churches are sued every year. Atty Richard Hammar, Church Law & Tax’s, chart: