Love, Respect, and Abuse

Over the course of the last month, I have written three posts exposing the dishonest rhetoric of Emerson Eggerichs “Love and Respect” principle, as introduced in his best-selling book Love and Respect.  I have highlighted the ways in which he uses Scripture to disenfranchise women and keep them in abusive relationships.  I have illustrated how Eggerichs intentionally undermines the importance of consent in marital sex, thus robbing women of sexual agency over their own bodies.  Lastly, I discussed the ways in which Eggerichs claim to present unquestionable scientific data is entirely false, rooted in data manipulation and faulty methodology.

Through these three posts, I have – in my opinion – demonstrated fairly devastatingly that the gender essentialist thesis which Eggerichs purports, women want love/men need respect, is a dangerous teaching designed specifically to build a hierarchy placing men above women.

The reality is, Emerson Eggerichs teachings are little more than patriarchy with a bad face-lift.  They have proven incredibly damaging to many persons and marriages.  However, the dangers do not stop there.  Eggerichs disregard for abuse extends far beyond the marital relationship and plays directly into how he addresses victims of child-sex abuse as well.

In order to demonstrate just how damaging these teachings truly are, it is necessary to tell the story of a woman who attended Trinity Church in East Lansing, Michigan during the time Eggerichs was senior pastor there.  This woman, Gail, has grown to be a friend as she and I have connected through this blog, over social media, and via phone.  I have found Gail to be a strong, resilient, and compassionate sister in Christ.  She and her husband have been married for 29 years, have 2 daughters, and have several grandchildren whom they adore.

I tell her story with her full permission.

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Disclaimer

Before I begin, two things need to be made abundantly clear.

  1. This is the story of a woman who survived several physical, psychological, and sexual abuse as a child.  This story may be triggering to some and reader discretion is advised beyond this point.
  2. As with all survivor stories and sensitive topics, comments on this post will be strictly monitored.  All comments of a derogatory or abusive nature will be deleted.  Anyone wishing to discuss a concern or present a critical comment may email me directly at sparks130@gmail.com however, no critical comments will be permitted in the discussion thread.  Gail is a friend, she was victimized and terrorized.  I believe her story and tell it with her expressed permission.  She will be paid all respect and deference due to a survivor of abuse.
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Gail

Gail was born in 1954 to a pharmacist and his wife.  They were not a religious family, and Gail recalls only going to church a hand-full of times – Christmas and Easter with family and when neighbors invited her. Her father was a well-respected man in their community, but behind closed doors he was belligerent and abusive.  Gail recalls many incidents of physical abuse.  She watched in horror as her dad threw her mom down the stairs of their home.  She recalls her dad, in a fit of rage, chasing her and her siblings through the house with a loaded gun.  She remembers her dad calling her a “god-damn idiot” and saying “You don’t have a brain in that fucking blond head of yours.” at least once a week until she was eighteen.

But physical abuse wasn’t the full extent of her suffering.  When Gail was five, there was an incident in which her father rubbed her back, buttocks and thighs.  Her body responded with pleasure, and her father went into a rage, shaming her for her response and saying he would never rub her back or touch her again. After this, the only timer her father touched her was to beat her bare bottom – pants and underwear removed – with his belt.  Also, when she was nine, a teenage boy next door penetrated her with his fingers while he touched himself.  When he had finished, he kicked her and said “You are a filthy pig.”

By the time she turned 18, Gail had been sexually abused by five different predators, both women & men.  She recalls feeling worthless, unloved and unwanted, believing her body was simply there for other people to use.

Thinking back on those times she tells me, “I really was beautiful and creative” But the beatings, the insults, the rape had destroyed any self-worth she had.  She felt like nothing.

The trauma goes still deeper, however, at the age of 9, she was riding in a car with a neighborhood family to a Memorial Day parade. Her mother was in the front seat and Gail was in the back with the neighboring family’s twin boys. While riding in the back, Gail turned to notice that one of the boys was playing with a gun he had found under the front seat of the car, he thought it was a toy. The gun went off and his twin brother lay dead beside her.

Gail’s mom turned to her and said, “Gail, why didn’t you tell me he had your dad’s gun” Her mother was in shock, Gail was too young to know her dad carried a handgun. Gail unconsciously felt this boy’s death was her fault – the survivor’s guilt followed her into her late 40’s, when she was diagnosed with PTSD and received proper treatment.

Gail carried these burdens well into adulthood. At the age of 28, Gail founder herself on her living room floor with a massive hangover.  She and her husband were divorcing after only two years of marriage. She had gotten pregnant two years prior and decided to marry him because she couldn’t/wouldn’t abort her baby.  However, neither was ready for the commitment and the relationship quickly dissolved.

That day, as Gail laid in the grip of extreme shame and a massive hangover and the overwhelming loneliness consumed her, she cried out to God.  She wondered if he even existed, begging him – if he was real – to do something, anything.  This is the moment Gail describes as meeting Jesus.  She didn’t have some ecstatic experience or vision, but in that moment, as she cried on her floor, she felt a comforting presence.  She knew God was there, she knew he cared, and she knew this was the God she had heard about while visiting a friends church many years ago.  She describes the experience as being “enveloped in the love of God.”

Gail immediately began looking for a church and soon began attending a local Assemblies of God congregation.  While there, she was encouraged to reconcile with her ex-husband and multiple women “prophesied” to her that her marriage would be restored.  After attending for five years, Gail found that the version of Christianity they were teaching her felt spiritually bankrupt. Gail wasn’t healed, Jesus didn’t enrich her bank account and emotionally she was struggling.  Further, her ex -husband had told her he wanted nothing to do with her whacked out church and she should move on.

It was during her time at this church, in 1987, that she met and married her current husband. After leaving the Assemblies of God, and several unsuccessful church hops, they began attending Trinity Church in East Lansing, Michigan – where Emerson Eggerichs eventually became the senior pastor.

During this time, Gail struggled with deep depression and anxiety because of the severe physical, emotional, and sexual trauma she had suffered as a child.  In addition to seeing an independent biblical counselor, she would also sit down with Eggerichs himself on occasion to seek his spiritual advice.  During these sessions, Gail would confess her feelings of anxiety, guilt and the haunting feeling that she was worthless.  A few years into her story she admitted to Emerson that she might be angry at God for the trauma she had suffered.  She struggled greatly with the loving God she had encountered at age 28 and the God she heard Eggerichs often preach about, a God who ordained suffering for his own glory. She recalls Eggerichs tell her that this anger was a sin.  He even went so far as to say, “Woe to those who strive with their maker.” She tried to reason with him, insisting that God knew what was going on inside of her and the feelings of anger within her couldn’t be hidden from the Lord.  Emerson refused to listen and told her that her anger was rooted in a lack of faith; she needed to pray more.

Further, Gail recalls that, during a sermon by Eggerichs on God’s purposes for suffering, she suffered a debilitating panic attack.  She was taken to the emergency room and prescribed medication to help with her depression and anxiety. The following Sunday, she returned to Trinity, only to hear Eggerichs state in his sermon that those who take medications to treat depression and other mental health issues are being unfaithful to the “sufficiency of Christ and the Scriptures.”  Gail returned to her doctor in tears. Thankfully, her doctor, also a Christian, reassured her by explaining that, just as there is no sin in a diabetic using insulin, there should be no shame in taking her taking Zoloft for depression and anxiety.

Eventually, in 1996, Gail was invited to join Trinity Church’s lay counseling team by her current therapist. Later that year, Gail applied for training with another sexual abuse ministry and needed a recommendation from Emerson. In his recommendation letter, Eggerichs specifically stated that Gail had repented over her sinful reaction (anger at God) to her abuse.

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While serving on the Trinity Church counseling team, led by Eggerichs and several Christian counselors and therapists, Gail recalls that the lay counselors in training were told to discourage their counselees from seeing “secular” psychiatrists* and psychologists and to encourage them to rely on the efficacy of Scripture and prayer in helping them overcome their trauma.  Despite these instructions Gail often broke these rules, referring many people who came to see her to professional psychologists and therapists for treatment.

Eventually, Gail hit her breaking point.  During a training session for the lay ministry team, Eggerichs instructed the lay counselors that their goal was to bring the traumatized person to the point where they would thank God for being abused. He was careful to state that this could not and should not be rushed, but none-the-less stated explicitly that this was the goal of counseling.

Gail walked away from this meeting and began to search the Bible for anything resembling Eggerichs’ teaching.  When she could find nothing, she decided to meet with him in order to discuss this teaching.  However, when she confronted him in the meeting, Eggerichs became defensive and insisted dogmatically that God ordains abuse and that those who are abused need to thank him because this abuse took place so that he could be glorified.  Abuse, according to Eggerichs, was a gift from God to be used to further his kingdom.

When Gail continued to push back, Eggerichs became further agitated, pointed his finger at her, and demanded “learn to submit to those God has placed in authority over you.”

Despite this clear spiritual abuse, Gail chose to attend services at Trinity the following Sunday.  During this service, Eggerichs again demanded that those who had been abused thank God for the gift he had given them.

Gail recalls that during this sermon Eggerichs explicitly stated, “Some of you will refuse to thank God, this is possibly why you’re not healed from your abuse.” He then spit on the pulpit before continuing, “When you do this, you are essentially spitting on the authority of Scripture.”

That was the last service Gail ever attended at Trinity Church.  Following that service, she tendered her resignation from the counseling team. Even in this letter (picture below) Gail says that she thanked God for the worthlessness and trauma she suffered, seeing it as God’s way of using the abuse to help her to understand and serve others, but could not thank him for being raped – statements she now realizes were part and parcel of the spiritually abusive conditioning of Eggerichs’ teachings on abuse.

After leaving Trinity, Gail entered what she called the “Dark night of my soul.”  Her husband had been diagnosed with a congenital illness before they were married, and began to show symptoms in their 7th year of marriage.  As his illness progressed, his health began to decline and she was often his primary caregiver as he suffered the effects of his illness.  In the midst of her husband’s illness and the spiritual abuse she suffered at the hands of Emerson Eggerichs, Gail walked away from her faith.

As she puts it, “I met Jesus at 28, lying on my carpet with a massive hangover.  There are not words to describe Him, it was like being wrapped in a blanket of cashmere love. I never once found the Jesus I experienced that night within the walls of the Church.”

In 2008, her husband had a surgery to halt the progression of his disease and she cared for him as he recovered.  She began to use the internet as an outlet, often finding herself engaging in discussions on blog forums.  It was in 2010 that she discovered the blogs Wartburg Watch and Spiritual Sounding Board and began to discover that she was not alone.  The Church is filled with “dones,” people who strive to maintain their Christian faith, but due to trauma experienced at the hands of the institutional Church cannot set foot within a formal house of worship.  In dialogue with so many abused persons, Gail realized that there was a place for her in the body of Christ and began to restore her faith.

As with so many abuse survivors, Gail found only further abuse within the Church, and has found freedom only beyond its formally established borders.  She has found the body of Christ not in Sunday meetings or weekly Bible Studies, but in solidarity and love of her online community.

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Love, Respect, and the Church

The reality is, the church has a serious problem with how it addresses abuse that has occurred both within, and without, its walls.  Like Gail, so many find only hurt and re-victimization within the church.  Because of rhetoric like that described above, and in my previous posts, the church has come to place the good of the “institution” as hierarchically superior to the good of the individual.

Victims and Survivors are considered acceptable collateral damage, offerings on the altar of God’s apparently insatiable ego.

This is nothing short of abuse.  As I outlined in my previous posts, Eggerichs belief system is built on a system of privilege and power.  It disenfranchises the weak and exalts the already powerful.  It gives abusive husbands carte blanche, telling wives they need to be dignified and silent, always showing respect “as unto Jesus” regardless of any actions of their husbands.  He robs wives of agency, depriving them of the crucial “No” necessary for any sexual encounter to be consensual.  Lastly, he sells them all of this via a series of careful manipulations, abusing his position of trust by blatantly misquoting scientific research to make it appear to support his thesis, when in fact it does not.

All of these things are rooted in Eggerichs’ words to Gail: “submit to those whom God has placed in authority over you.

Eggerichs has decided he is God’s chosen prophet, and “Love and Respect” is the secret biblical marriage code entrusted to him.  He defends his elite status and power by claiming to possess the absolute truth of Scripture – using grooming tactics to ensure those under him are entirely too scared to question his teachings or authority.

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As such, it is important to be clear.  Emerson Eggerichs is a spiritual abuser.  Both his treatment of Gail above and the rhetoric described in my previous posts are antithetical to the Gospel freedom Paul describes in passages like Romans 8 or Galatians 3.  There is none of the humility required of a follower of Christ, as described in Ephesians 4 or Philippians 2.  Instead, Eggerichs behaves as the Gentile overlords of Matthew 20:25, terrorizing those under him in order to establish his own power.  It is notable, then, that the followers of Jesus are admonished:

[W]hoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many. (Matt 20:26-28)

Christ tells us in Matthew 25, his place is among the “least.”  He has come to establish solidarity with the captive, the marginalized, and the abused.  And as he tells us in Luke 4, his ministry is to declare them all free in the Lord.

It is for this reason that I insist that the ministry and teaching of Emerson Eggerichs are not rooted in the cross of Christ, and thus present a counter-claim to the Gospel.  One cannot claim the cross of Christ while working to keep others in positions of vulnerability, abuse, and disenfranchisement.  Abuse and the Gospel cannot be mingled, for anywhere the cross is made manifest the abused must be uplifted and freed from their abuser.

**Cover Image from http://christianmediamagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/5-Warning-Signs-of-Spiritual-Abuse-750×400.jpg**

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62 thoughts on “Love, Respect, and Abuse

  1. NateSparks130 – thanks for the effort and courage to write this blog post. It needed to be done. Having left religion and landed in a church that preaches the true gospel and truth of Christ and Him crucified, these stories are painful to read. So much can be said. I would offer to you to look at two pastors and the messages they have been preaching on family relationships, our identity and the the identity of God. They are Greg Henry at Gospel Revolution Church and Bertie Brits of Dynamic Love Ministries. In particular, Greg’s messages on offense, rejection and marriage are superb! Blessings

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  2. While reading Gail’ story of obvious spiritual abuse, I’m reminded that institutional, structural, and individual racism/abuse in America is exactly the same evil perpetrated for centuries by the same privileged folks who will do anything and everything to maintain their power and control. Christ’ true sheep are fighting the same spiritual warfare and we need to come together as one (His one true church) to walk/talk his message of truth, love, mercy, grace and justice for all regardless of gender, language, color, ethnicity, age, etc.

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  3. I can’t see God directing a child’s molestation at the hands of an evil person either, esp. after what Jesus said would happen if anyone caused any of these little ones who believe in Him to stumble, like being drowned in the sea with an upper millstone around their neck or it being better for them to have never been born. If He did that, ordained intentional abuse or rape, it would be awfully hard to have a reason to trust Him. Yet He says that His plans are for our good, not to harm us but to give us a future and a hope. I don’t see a stop along the way there for orchestrated sexual abuse of a child. Or a rape. The crazines of that is mind boggling. So God commands us to keep our vessel in all purity and honor, but He Himself arranges for us to be involved in/violated by gross evil and sin of that sort?!

    Emerson Eggerichs, bend over, here comes the kick! Thou speakest as a tool and a fool. You have maligned the character of the Holy One of Israel and brought Him down to your level. I wonder what you would make of the OT story of Abigail’s very non submissive and assertive intervention where she got between an outraged King David and his army of men ready to slice and dice everyone on the estate and her abusive and insolent fool of a husband? God apparently didn’t have a problem with it and approved, rewarding her with a new husband and royal position and putting an end to Nabal’s reign of terror. You however, if in charge, would have rewarded Abigail with being dispatched to the scullery to serve under two wicked stepsisters and an evil stepmother and would have sent away the King’s advsior after snatching the glass slipper and dashing it to pieces before anyone saw the evidence that abuse and degradation was not God’s destiny for her. I think you owe Abigail an apology for sacrificing her on the altar of your theology. Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice.

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    1. Nate, I actually meant to say that Emerson E. owes GAIL an apology not Abigail, though who knows, perhaps Abigail is Gail’s birth name ? 🙂 Hugs to Gail 🙂

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  4. Gail, you are an amazing person to know. Its been a joy to watch you come around slowly. I was horrified by what I read and want to give you a hug. One day I hope I can do that for you. Your an asset and your beautiful. There are no words to describe your heart and soul, except maybe these. Precious. Golden, Stunning. Gracious. Irreplaceable.

    I want you to know how much I love you. I want you to know how much Nate, Julie Anne, Dee and so many others love you. Watching this happen is beautiful.

    Your awesome Gail!

    David (Eagle)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. David,

      I read your comment earlier today & I got all tongue tied. I mean gee whiz grandson, that is some tribute. As I said earlier, it is a struggle for me to take a compliment graciously. Thank-You. Thank-You. For the record I have warts, flaws, insecurities and struggle on many levels, my darling hubby could tell ya a thing or two. ( ; You were the person who got me dialed into survivor blogs, I have loved watching your spiritual journey the past five years. You have been a blessing in my life.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Nate, thank you for posting. Gail, I applaud you for your courage. These types of things need to be uncovered, thereby giving hope to countless others who suffer silently. I borrowed the book from a friend but by that time couldn’t even read it. I think I returned it but I wish I threw it away. If I use the word “disgusting” is that disrespectful? Because I certainly don’t mean to be.

    When I was first married in the 1980’s I likely read every Christian marriage/relationship book out there. It’s disheartening all of these years later to find the same types of things repeated. So glad for the internet and blogs. I’m new to the online abuse community but not new to these issues. Congratulations Gail for speaking out. I too add my respect, gratitude and support for your voice.

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    1. Cindy, disgusting is a perfectly acceptable word 🙂

      You’ll find I don’t care much for preserving the pretty and neat facade of these types of men. While there is obviously a line to be drawn, we must call a spade a spade and expose these things for what they are. Trust me, I used much stronger language while reading the book 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Cindy,

      Thank-You for your lovely support. I giggled out loud when you said “If I use the word “disgusting” is that disrespectful.” I am thinking that being respectfully disgusted is our duty in regards to L & R.

      I dragged my husband to so many couples bible studies, marriage seminars, bought him a crap load of books. He wasn’t into me submitting to him, I thought he needed to step up and be my spiritual leader 🙄. I was indoctrinated up to my eyeballs, how thankful I am , that I married a gentle giant. When I stopped trying to change him and started working on my many issues our marriage improved. Funny how that works, didn’t have to spend a dime on jesusjunk.

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  6. Wow. I bought his book and workbook for my husband and I to help our marriage. We, however, never got past chapter 2. We fought and argued over petty things. I wasnt answering my questions the way my husband thought I should. Years later, holy spirit revealed some things to me about my husband. Narcissistic personality disorder. Adultery. Emotional, verbal, spiritual, mental abuse. Manipulation. Control. Threats of violence. Not everyone in the church is supportive of my decision to leave my husband and that’s ok by me. They aren’t God and I got a word from Him. So many marriages are suffering along the same lines as mine it’s quite scary. Marriages in my home church are crumbling, but I see it as a prophetic for our relationship with Jesus in these last days. Adultery, idols, falling away from Christianity. I don’t know why I am going thru this mess, but I do know that every single stage of my life has been spoken of and used to encourage others going thru same things. I hurt. I feel the disconnect from many of my brothers and sisters in the church, but God has also brought me some strong, amazingly wise women who know what I’m dealing with and join me in prayer. I have since thrown this book away and now am thankful the Holy Spirit prompted it. It saves one more person from reading falsities. Thank you for posting this info. I believe we need to be careful in who we follow and whose books we read for help. Like a wise counselor told me “you’ll hear many voices, some saying stay, others asking why didn’t you leave sooner, but the only voice you are accountable to obey is God’s.” It helps me to not be offended or let the root of bitterness grow when people want to pray for restoration of my marriage. I know what God told me and even tho He does not like divorce, He cares for the people involved in the marriage more than the actual relation. ❤ bless you all and prayers for peace and strength.

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  7. Eggerichs has hereby proven himself to be a foolish, little, abusive man. In no way fit to be a pastor or leader of anything.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story, Gail. You have shown the kind of courage and compassion that Eggerichs can’t even imagine or dream of.

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  8. I appreciate this post. I suffered from spiritual abuse as well, growing up in a home also with physical and verbal abuse. The church hasn’t been a safe place for me. I often am confused by suffering and especially abuse. What is the view I should hold? I have heard God uses it and ordains it but that just causes me to be angry at God. Can someone direct me to verses that show how God really feels about abuse? I’ve read all the books on suffering and I still find this such a conundrum!

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    1. Elle, I’m sorry you’ve been through that. Sadly, the church seems to produce many victims. I’m not much on telling people what to believe, but I’m happy to try to point you in the right direction and help you figure it out.

      I’d start by looking at the passages I referenced at the bottom of this post.

      In brief, I would say that the message of Scripture is that God stands with the oppressed against their oppressor. He does not will our circumstances, but he is active in them as a comforter, guide, even working to transform them and us through the work of the Spirit.

      I would also point out that Christ died as a human, in solidarity with humans, in the midst of our suffering as one considered “least among us” in order guide us out of sin and suffering and into a New Creation – the image depicted in the final chapters of revelation.

      None of this makes anything easy. It doesn’t make suffering make sense in the here and now.

      But I believe the church has a role to play in this deliverance and that it has largely failed it.

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      1. Thank you. Sorry if my question seemed kind of dumb. I have been reading my bible more since I left the church 6 months ago, but I still struggle. I was really big into John Piper at one point until I recently saw him on a YouTube video telling a wife to stay with an abuser. That made me sick! I guess it’s like starting over because I really feel like all I know about God has to be questioned. Abusive churches can and do preach from the bible, but they subtlety change the message and damage people in the process. So now I feel like an idiot. I have to go back and relearn and ask the Spirit to guide me. I will take a look at those verses. Thank you!

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        1. There is no reason to feel like an idiot. It certainly wasn’t a dumb questions. People have been wrestling with the question of God and suffering for as long as there have been people.

          I came out of fundamentalism, as have many others commenting here. It is a long journey and it is okay to question everything 🙂

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          1. Youre welcome. Thanks for commenting.

            BTW, if you want to read some work dissecting Piper and his ilk, I have a couple dozen posts under the tag “Complementarianism” you may be interested in.

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        2. Hi Elle,

          Your question was spot on, methinks that bullies in the pulpit convince us that we are unable to think for ourselves and shame us when we ask questions. Not sure how many times you were shut down by a man of gawd, even if it was only once, it can leave a sting of shame & keeps us second guessing ourselves.
          When I first started commenting at SpiritualSoundBoard after I made a comment, I would cringe, how I wished for an edit button. Because I thought I sounded like an idiot, a direct outcome from my dad’s verbal abuse and spiritual abuse. I don’t know how the Spirit does it, but I have hope He/She will guide you into truth. I am short on time today, so I am trying to be brief, but want to say if God ordains abuse that makes him a cruel monster imo. When I think about how tender Jesus was with children & sinners I just cannot wrap my brain around Him orchestrating CSA or abuse of any type. He is gentle and I believe wounded people have a special place in His heart.

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          1. I agree gm. I was in a church with all male leaders. Personally I never had a huge problem with that but in 3 years, I noticed that whenever I approached with a problem, I became the problem. I wasn’t loving enough. I needed to be more hospitable. I shouldn’t ever make parenting decisions without my husband (even if I felt like he wasn’t addressing the issues), and anything I did to serve was credited to my husband. The male heavy stuff really bugged me, but what threw me into a depressed, panic state was that nothing I did was good enough. Since leaving, I decided that I was good enough. I wrote things down that I knew were true about God. I decided to give myself the love I needed. I know that sounds cheesy, but I needed to really focus on healing. I gave up on finding a church and I read a lot of blogs. I wrote a little bit on my own blog. I cut out toxic people, from the church but also family too. I found things that made me happy. In the process of this, my kids and I have grown so close. My husband and I are better friends than we ever were. I met another family that left there and they basically agreed with me…it happened to them as well. So I don’t know where I go from here, but i’ve seen God heal my family. We aren’t “over it” but we are on the upswing.

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        3. Elle, your question isn’t dumb and although you may feel like an idiot, you’re far from it. Many prefer a simplistic, paint-by-number relationship with God and never confront the difficult, painful questions you’re grappling with. A deeply satisfying, comforting relationship with the God of the universe is WORTH grappling over though. Keep wrestling…keep asking the hard questions!
          You’re in good company to feel angry over abuse and abusers. Jesus Himself reserved His anger for those religious leaders who disfigured the picture of Who God is. Is He a “man of sorrows, acquainted with grief”? Is He one Who would seek and save that which was lost? Isn’t He the God Who leaves the 99 and searches for the one? Doesn’t the scripture assure us that He is near to the brokenhearted? While you’re reading your bible, search out and record for yourself the passages that describe Jesus’ relationship with those who are hurting, oppressed and abused. Search those passages out and hear them speak to you. Love you, friend!

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        4. “I guess it’s like starting over because I really feel like all I know about God has to be questioned.”

          Elle, you are not alone! There are so many of us who have come to that place of having to question everything we thought we knew. If one part of what we were taught had proved bankrupt, what else was?

          If I could be so bold as to give one piece of advice, it would be to be gentle on yourself. Be kind and be patient with yourself – you are worth it!

          It is a long journey you have embarked upon – that’s ok. And many of us have found ourselves in places we would never have imagined a few short years ago – and that’s ok too. The journey is more important than the destination.

          I wish you blessings as you travel! 🙂

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      2. While I agree the church has failed to address the needs of many within its influence, I’d like to suggest the church doesn’t “produce many Victims”. The abusers do/did. But the church should be a haven of rest for all those who are weary and heavy-laden. Sadly, we don’t have all the answers many seek. But we do have love and compassion.

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        1. I would say any church using Eggerichs materials is producing victims. I think there are systems of abuse, a huge problem within the evangelical church of creating environments where abuse thrives. If we fail to address this on a systemic level, then we bear culpability.

          Think of the Catholic Church and spotlight. The Church itself was culpable in the abuse. The Protestant church reports more abuse cases than the Catholic on any given year. It is a top-down problem and few churches are addressing it.

          Maybe consider reading this.

          https://natesparks130.com/2016/01/31/injustice-an-open-letter-to-the-gospel-coalition/

          Liked by 2 people

        2. That doesn’t require us to remove moral culpability from the abuser. Abusers need to be held accountable. The failure to hold them accountable and the further abuse of victims with crap theology is a systemic problem – shown by the fact that Love and Respect is a NYT best-seller.

          Liked by 3 people

          1. I have gone to two churches where love and respect were taught as a Sunday School class.

            I first attended a conference for women back in like 2000, I think. I bought his faulty theology.
            But, years later attending the class with my abusive husband just amped up his already unloving actions.

            The second time, I refused to attend…the fog was lifting and I really felt the only ones I could trust for biblical truth were Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit. The only book I wanted to get spiritual guidance from was my bible. There are still few exceptions to that rule.

            I continue to stay away from bible studies, literature not the bible, etc.

            Thank you, Nate, for being a safe person and giving Gail space to tell her story. Thank you, Gail for the courage to stand up and be heard. You are both heroes in my book.

            Liked by 1 person

  9. Nate, I used to buy into this rubbish because that was what I was taught was good and godly. I am grateful for all those voices on the internet that expose this type of teaching for the abuse it is.

    Gail, thank you for being brave enough to share your story. I, too, found comfort and encouragement online after experiencing spiritual abuse in the ‘church’. And I have discovered how much we can minister to our brothers and sisters by simply sharing our stories and assuring them that they are not alone.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Livingliminal,
      Thank-You for your comment. I am with you 100% on finding encouragement on line. I have been impacted deeply by reading other people’s stories on blogs. I have e-mailed & called & spoke to a few individuals. It is comforting to know that we are not alone. I was so naive. My story is just one in a haystack of millions. Such a sad commentary on the state of the so called church.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Gail
    That is another Dee. But I am so grateful that you shared your story. You are one incredible, brave and strong woman. I also know some things behind the scenes. You are a wonderful and kind person as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dee,

      Thank-You that means a lot. FWIW I can also be crabby & selfish. Oh my gosh, I am getting a workout today on accepting compliments. To think that 5 years ago I didn’t know blogs existed. Our mutual friend Eagle tagged TWW in a post at IM and then I found SSB. I am grateful for bloggers.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Gail, I firmly believe that you sharing your personal story about your dealings with Emerson Eggerichs will help someone else – maybe many. You can be sure that you were not singled out, but this is a pattern that we can see from how he treats women and sets up a men-over-women hierarchy.

    I have many who come to my blog (www.spiritualsoundingboard.com) and comment, but you are a special one to me (and now a friend). You used to be so afraid to comment, even under a pseudonym, in case you would be discovered. Now you are posting actual pictures of correspondence, your first name, etc. You are no longer “Scared” but you are “Brave,” “Champion,” “Survivor,” “Advocate.” It has been wonderful to see this process over the years and to also connect with you on other efforts where you come along side those who have been hurting. You are amazing.

    Thanks, Nate, for writing Gail’s story. It needed to be told.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you Julie. I have been friends with Gail for considerably less time than you, and it is so hard to imagine the timid woman you have described. Thank you for your work in helping her find her voice and become the powerful and courageous woman she is today.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh, Nate, Gail will tell you. It’s common knowledge at my blog. It’s been so amazing to see someone who truly does love God finally come to a place where she can now reject the horrific teachings and cling to what is right and true about our Maker. Spiritual abuse leaves a devastating effect on people and their spirituality. It’s amazing that Gail didn’t abandon her faith altogether. I run into that so much. This is why those of us who can should speak out against spiritual abuse. I’m grateful that you are doing just that, Nate.

        Liked by 3 people

    2. Julie Anne,

      Oh my gosh you just made me weep, no worries, they are the warm healing kind of tears that cleanse. You opened your heart to me when I found your blog and it took awhile but I have rediscovered my sass. Hope someday we can meet, for now I enjoy having church with other like minded, beat up people at your blog. Thank-You for all you do to serve the wounded.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. So Eggerichs couldn’t muster up even a little compassion for someone so traumatized as Gail. No wonder he doesn’t want people seeing professional and educated therapists. They would show him up for the charlatan he is.

    Thank you for sharing your story, Gail. You are a survivor. I’m glad you experienced the tender heart of Jesus to know that He isn’t what some con artists make Him out to be.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. BTDT,

      Thank-You. I need to clarify that he wasn’t against Christian therapists, we had several on our team. The warning was against secular or unsaved psychiatrists & psychologists. Which I did start to see one of those ungodly Drs. later in life and she did more for me than all my Christian therapists.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. Thank you Gail for sharing. You pulled the curtain aside and showed us this authors true colors. And it is NOT pretty. I will say it again. All copies of this book should be burned. And how dare my PCA former pastor recommend this book to me during my abusive marriage. The good ol boys sure like to stick together.

    I’m very sorry for all you went through Gail.

    Thank you Nate for nailing the coffin on this harmful book.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Gail here with a big thank-You BHDHM.
      I hope you got out of your abusive marriage. It is staggering the amount of spiritual abuse that goes on in the name of Jesus. I am so thankful to Nate for writing this for me.

      Like

      1. Yes, Gail, I escaped my abuser with the help of the Holy Spirit. My church was no help and I experienced them supporting my abuser when I finally got the courage to go to my elder with what was going on. I won’t mention the name of the celebrity pastor’s church I attended but his initials are RC

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Again, thank you for a powerful and revealing story. My heart goes out to Gail and all the women who have been abused by Eggerichs. After reading his book, I felt abused by the simple reading of it. How is it that so many people buy into his DISrespectful version of scripture???

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Is this Dee from TWW? If so, we have connected a few times in secret agent activities. If I have the wrong Dee my apologies for coming across as a looney tune. If right, just wanted you to know Nate wrote this for me.

      Like

Thanks for taking the time to read and engage. I look forward to your feedback, I welcome any criticism. However, as my goal here is mutualy respectful, beneficial conversation, I only ask that we keep civility in mind with our words. Grace and Peace.

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