Preparing the Way for Reconciliation

Mark and I have recently established relations with several Christian conciliators certified through Peacemaker Ministries. We’re very encouraged by the wise counsel that they’ve given us.

Because of their strong convictions about reconciliation, they’ve told us that there are certain things that they request to be done about our blogs. The first issue that needs to be dealt with is to edit and or delete any comments which might be viewed as personal attacks on Doug Phillips and Boerne Christian Assembly.

We’ve solicited some outside help to assist us with the editing process, somebody who can probably be a bit more objective than we can. The fact is, though, that we’ve rejected a number of comments already that were quite inflammatory and uncharitable against Doug. However, we’ve been told that there is still editing that needs to be done.

So, as a first step in submitting to these conciliators and working toward reconciliation, we ask that everyone please understand why this needs to be done. Although you may fully believe what you have written here, we ask that you would be willing to join with us in prayer for reconciliation with Doug Phillips and Boerne Christian Assembly and trust us, as we trust these conciliators, to be as charitable as possible in editing all comments already approved on this site. We hope to ensure all comments comply with the requirements of Eph 4:29 – “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.”

We sincerely thank you for your many prayers and concerns and for all the encouraging comments, and we pray that this situation would be used ultimately for the glory of God.

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14 Responses to “Preparing the Way for Reconciliation”

  1. Lynn Says:

    You can delete all my comments if that would help. I am very glad to read of this positive development.

  2. Morgan Farmer Says:

    Jen If you need to delete my comments …go fo it.

    While I have heard some nice things about Peacemakers, I am however very worried that you and Mark are setting yourselves up for more abuse, this time at the hands of two groups. It seems to me that christian counselors so often ‘miss it’ when intervening in these types of situations…counseling the injured party to submit to the perverted doctrines and authority of the ones that had hurt them. I wonder what Dr. Laura would say? Forgive me here, but I would be more inclined to take her advice of not being around evil people. What will you do when DP wants you back at BCA…that’s what I see as necessary for a total reconciliation. I hope your goals as well as Peacemakers are different…how can you be reconciled to him and NOT be a part of BCA?

    I will still continue to pray for your safety, both spiritually and physically. I am ALWAYS here for you and Mark. And I cetainly understand if you delete THIS post from the blog.

    Blessings, Morgan Farmer

  3. Jen Says:

    Morgan, I must confess that I’ve been dealing with certain feelings about the very concerns that you’ve raised. After everything that we’ve been through it’s not an easy thing for us to trust. But at the same time we don’t want to spend the rest of our lives being cynical of every Christian who shows a true desire to help us. That’s not right either. God has given us authorities in our lives to be a blessing to us. The fact that there are some in authority who abuse their authority doesn’t make authority a bad thing. It just means we need to be careful about who we submit to. Part of the way we determine that is to examine if those we submit to are accountable themselves. In the case of these Christian conciliators we’ve examined how they function and we’re satisfied that they’re men who are serious about holding themselves accountable.

    Trust is something that has to be earned, and the men that we’re working with are doing a good job of earning our trust. Just as important, they’re men who have good reputations. We’re not naive and we’re going into this with our eyes wide open. We will not do anything that will put us under abusive authority again, I can assure you. We are willing to do our part, even if it’s hard, and I know it will be hard.

    We’re also being realistic in our expectations. In our own frail humanity we’re not capable of believing that it would ever be possible for us to be reconciled with Doug and BCA, but we also don’t know what God has in mind here. That’s as honest as I can be right now. But we’re more than just frail humans. We’re redeemed and paid for by the blood of Christ Jesus our Lord, and we know that our Lord cares for us and that He wants the best for us. We also believe the Lord wants the best for Doug. The best thing for all of us would be reconciliation.

    Does reconciliation necessitate or even imply that we should try to become members of BCA again? Not necessarily. We’ve made it clear to our conciliators that we’re not interested in ever being under abusive authority again. They are willing to work with us on those terms. We greatly appreciate your concerns.

  4. Cynthia Says:

    Jen, you can delete my comments too, if you want to, but do beware of “submitting” to anyone but Jesus. Listen to the counselors, and take their advice, if it’s Biblical and prudent, but remember that they are fallible human beings and may well be wrong. You and your husband should only fully “submit” to Jesus, and to each other. On another page, I wrote,
    “Your site exists to expose **** “Ecclesiastical Tyranny”.
    How is this glorifying to Christ?
    Where in scripture do you find support for pouring your time and energy into this cause?”

    Thanks be to God that she IS doing this, and warning other people away from such things !! St. Paul wrote about false prophets:
    “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2Ti 3:2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 2Ti 3:3 Without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 2Ti 3:4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
    **** 2Ti 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 2Ti 3:6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 2Ti 3:7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.****

    Peter talks about the same thing:
    2Pe 2:19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. 2Pe 2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.

    This is what false teachers and [these types of churches] do: they lure in new Christians, and seduce them away from worshiping the Lord, to worshiping the leader and his view of how the world should be! These [types of churches] are usually focused on teaching people how to live their material lives in this world, rather than on Jesus’ teachings about living in the next, and they almost NEVER teach folks about loving and witnessing to sinners, helping the poor, and the other things that Jesus taught (Did you ever notice that JESUS never told His followers how to vote, how many children to have, or spoke a great deal about most other earthly things, as leaders of the manmade churches are wont to do? He taught a lot, though, about loving God and one another, about humility, and about helping the poor– see Matthew 25: 31-46)

    Rather than concentrating on Jesus, (who stressed the importance of storing up treasure in the NEXT world rather than living in this one, and who had two main rules, Love God and Love your fellowman) man-made churches usually have myriad rules telling folks how to live in this world, rules and teachings that are not in the Bible; moreover, they stress the importance of following the leader’s man-made rules more than that of following the Bible’s GOD-made rules. Paul speaks against this:
    Col 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. Col 2:9 For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
    Col 2:10 And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power.

    AND
    Col 2:18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshiping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,
    Col 2:19 And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.
    Col 2:20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,
    Col 2:21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Col 2:22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?
    Col 2:23 Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.

    We should remember that most [of these types of] leaders are not deliberately evil men: they sincerely believe they are doing the work of God. Usually they are trying their very best to serve God, but have gotten sidetracked somewhere, often by their own egos and by a faulty understanding of Scriptures. We should pray for [these types of] teachers, love them, forgive them if they have hurt us or our loved ones, and help them to see the error of their ways and return to God. But until they do repent, we have a grave responsibility to warn our brothers and sisters away from them.

  5. ReformedCalvinist Says:

    While all this blogging has been going on, I’ve been in the process of leaving a very patriarchal and male-dominated church. I wasn’t abused or anything but my departure was much more abrupt than I would have planned it due to certain actions & attitudes of the leadership. It has been a great relief to be out, but I know that there will always be strained feelings (more with some people than with others) over us leaving, unless active steps to reconciliation are taken. But at no point do I see that it would be necessary to return to the church. We are already settled in a new body and wouldn’t dream of leaving it. Our new leadership has expressed a willingness to discuss our leaving with the old leadership whenever they’re ready to talk about it.

    We had hoped to be able to leave on better terms (we were under disciple for my anger & my wifes insubmission 🙂 but in the end we couldn’t endure staying indefinitely in hopes that the reconciliation process would work out any time soon.

    I know this process (Mark & Jen’s ) could also take several more years to bear fruit, but I’m confident you’re headed in the right direction. God bless.

  6. Joanna Says:

    Very simply. Forgiveness and reconciliation do not necessarily mean going back to the same situation. You can be reconciled in love and forgiveness but not in situation.
    Does that make sense?
    That’s how I see it anyway.
    I have heard good things about Peacemakers. I would certainly give them a try.
    This is my first comment here and I do want to say one thing-
    I know the family personally who “exposed” R.C. Sproul Jr. last year which lead to his *temporary* excommunication. He attempted to comply with the guidelines put before him but if you read the documents, he clearly was doing it for show and was not in the least repentant towards my dear friends, who were truly wronged and hurt by him.
    “May you prove me wrong, Lord Jesus, and bring true reconciliation between all the parties involved in this sad situation. May you be glorified in it and through it. For the sake of your dear Son and for all these precious people.
    In Jesus’ name, amen. ”
    Bless you as you proceed. My prayers are with you. 🙂

  7. Wondering Says:

    I am afraid I do not understand some of this. You are to delete any inflammatory comments or comments that are considered personal attacks? What is considered a personal attack…the truth? What if truth is considered a personal attack? Isn’t personal attack subjective? There ARE ugly truths. Who gets to decide what is a personal attack? Would it be a personal attack to say, DP lied about me? See what I mean?

    It sounds to me as if Peacemakers may be part of this ‘sweep’ the ugly stuff away crowd. It is easy to reconcile when you can sweep away ugly truths. How does that help DP and his eternal salvation?

  8. Jen Says:

    Wondering, you have a very good point. This is very subjective, which is why I’ve asked someone else to edit the comments. Basically, we just decided to watch for any highly inflammatory words that weren’t necessary to the story. Sometimes, we can be told the truth in an inflammatory manner, which just serves to back us into a corner, fighting. At other times, we can tell that same truth with a little less force and still get our point across.

    The truth has not changed; the story has not changed. In fact, unless certain commenters remember exactly what they said, you will find little changed here, except for the overall tone.

  9. been there, done that Says:

    Jen,

    It is my understanding that, as part of a Peacemaker’s reconciliation process, both you and Doug Phillips will be asked to agree to certain things ahead of time, including agreeing that the Peacemaker facilitators’ ruling will be the final word. Is this correct? Also, from a situation I know of in a sister church near us, Peacemakers will allow witnesses who can speak with them privately and confidentially to confirm patterns of behavior. That ought to be of great help to you. We have found that those who have experienced and witnessed abuse are too reluctant to speak out for fear that they will also be further abused but confidentiality will help assure them that speaking out is ok.
    Finally, I also know that Peacemakers does recognize the concept of “spiritual abuse” and trains their counselors in these matters. I think this is a good thing you are doing.
    The Lord bless you in your endeavors.

  10. Lynn Says:

    Jenn, if you are going to take down comments off your blog, is Matt Chancey going to continue to be allowed to post whatever he thinks is OK? And it is OK if he does this, because he is outside of the situation and is so independent (heheh)?

    I read the latest from his site last night and made some comments in by blog about it.

  11. Jen Says:

    For those who are concerned, the comments have already been edited. I hope everyone is pleased with the tone.

  12. barbaracurtis Says:

    Be careful, Jen and Mark. I will be praying for you.

    Barbara

  13. Wondering Says:

    Some vitriolic anonymous posters supporting DP have been posting on other sites that DP may use this process to try and find out personal information about Frank Vance.

    AS a matter of fact, this poster who sounds like Chancey says that DP will insist that you and Mark are behind MW and insist that all information about MW be made public. This is a very disconcerting suggestion.

  14. Lisa Says:

    I am concerned that at some point you need to walk away and stop fighting this battle that takes our eyes off of the great commission and puts them on man. Satan uses this situations so often to divide the body and keep us from the work that God desires for us.
    This has to require alot of energy on your part to keep this up and to what end? Will the whole truth ever truly be known to anyone but Christ? Does it truly matter in the scheme of things. Our defense in Christ. Why do you continue to defend yourself? Let the others talk and you be quiet. There is where the truth will be found.


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