I met Emily Elizabeth Anderson in January of this year, when she told me she had appreciated my Untwisting Scriptures books and asked to interview me on her blog, Thriving Forward. (You can find that interview here.)
I knew she had come out of the Bill Gothard cult (Advanced Training Institute, ATI), I knew she was now free from it, and I knew she loved Jesus. (A rare combination, it seems, for young people who grew up Gothard.)
But it was when I heard her being interviewed in a Called to Peace Ministries Facebook Live that I heard that story. I asked her to share more with me about it, and she sent me her testimony.
The thing is, my friends. The thing is, I was sure that the people who leave cults and also leave Jesus don’t really know who He is. I figured they couldn’t have really found out who He is, clear through, as He’s presented in the gospels.
And Emily confirmed these suspicions. Continue reading “How to Come Out of a Cult and Find Jesus “
Many Christians of my fundamentalist and evangelical background are wary of the concept of “religious experience,” at least partly because it has been abused in some circles. After all, “experience” without knowledge can open one to error and evil.
But if we as Jesus followers have only an intellectual knowledge of the Lord with no sense of His presence, then we face the danger of having a hollow faith. Our day-to-day Christianity can be devoid of the life He has promised (as in, for example, Ephesians 3:19-20). Continue reading “Does He Look Like He Loves You? (Guest Post by “Mara”)”
I’m delighted to post this week from my friend Rochelle Sadie’s blog My Dear Sister. In spite of her blog’s name, please know that this post is not only for women but for men as well, anyone who has been harmed by a spiritually abusive system and made to feel “small.”
I could feel the cold hard wood floors on my feet as I stumbled in the dark, looking for my glasses. “Okay, feed the dogs, getting my coffee…” Continue reading “Small to Great (Guest Post by Rochelle Sadie)”
Erika Smith grew up in an abusive home in which the parents claimed Christianity. She is still a follower of Jesus in spite of the way she and her siblings were treated by her parents and the casual “forgive and forget” dismissal she has received from churches where she has tried to get help. Continue reading “Did I Do All I Could for My Siblings? (Guest Post by Erika Smith)”
I love it when friends of mine find their voices and speak. I love providing them with a safe space to speak about what God has done in their lives. This one is from my friend Ruth.
I’ve not ever been in what is considered formal therapy. Sadly the “biblical counsel” my church leaders and Bible college leaders gave me as a teen almost killed me.
“Never question authority”
I was raised in an environment where authority was absolute. Obedience without question was expected to be given to any “authority” in my life. I learned that they were chosen and ordained by God to communicate God’s plan and design for my life. If any authority figure pointed out anything other than unquestioned obedience on my part, I would be punished.
“Adults do not just sit around making up lies just to create trouble for children.” I heard that time after time. Continue reading “The Best Counsel I Ever Received—It’s Not What You’d Expect (Guest Post by Ruth Harris)”
A while back when I (Rebecca) was talking with some former ATI members (Bill Gothard’s Advanced Training Institute), I thought about the devastation, confusion, and even anti-Christianity that has resulted from this homeschooling program. I said aloud to myself, “Bill Gothard certainly has left a tremendous amount of destruction in his wake.”
Then I added under my breath, “Many were defiled.”
I saw that he was the very root of bitterness in Hebrews 12:15 that he himself loved to talk about.
Continue reading “A Gothard Girl Testifies About the “Root of Bitterness” (Guest Post by Lauren Rose)”
A thesaurus tells my story…
I read a sentence today that jumped off the page at me. Continue reading “She is “Undiminished” (Guest Post By an Abuse Survivor)”
Yesterday I published a synopsis of and response to “Helping Women with Child Sexual Abuse in Their Past,” by Zondra Scott, a teacher of nouthetic counselors (going by the name “Biblical counselors”) whose husband Stuart taught “Biblical counseling” at John MacArthur’s The Master’s Seminary and who currently teaches it at Southern Seminary (SBC) in Louisville, KY. I wrote this in light of the way “Jane” from The Master’s University says she was counseled after having been raped.
I emphasized that their style of counseling is one that they called “Biblical” but I’m calling “nouthetic” since that was its original name and there are other styles of counseling that are equally Biblical and arguably more so.
Though the details of “Jane’s” so-called counseling experience were of course unique, the overall picture looked eerily familiar to me. Continue reading “Here’s an Abuse Survivor’s Plea about Nouthetic “Biblical” Counseling”