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Pastor starts website to attack church’s attackers

Unsettling.  Ugly.

According to the pastor:

The PURPOSE of this website and the videos on it is to protect Beaverton Grace Bible Church and our families from ongoing slander and criminal accusations of the worst kind. Meaghan Varela has lied to her family, friends, pastors, the police, the Department of Human Services (Child Protection), the court, and the world. Julie Anne Smith has joined her in her lies and heralded them forth to the world on her blog (BGBC Survivors) dedicated to the destruction of our church and families. Exodus 20:16 says, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Meaghan Varela and Julie Anne Smith have given “false witness” against our church and families for four years. The statements and videos on this website tell our story of suffering and surviving their assault. We are the TRUE BGBC SURVIVORS.

via True BGBC Survivors | Surviving Four Years of Hate, Reviling Accusations, and Criminal Slander.

How horrible.

But… what would you do?

What would you do if you were accused (wrongfully) of child abuse… if your church was accused of horrible things?

I have no idea whether or not any of these abuses actually happened.

What I do know is that, regardless, this is a horrible public glimpse into a church conflict.

Thoughts?

Todd



41 Responses to “ “Pastor starts website to attack church’s attackers”

  1. John Schaaf says:

    I’m not certain what I would do in this particular situation, however I can relate on the level of Facebook slander. We had a woman in the church who was placing all kinds of things against our church and at one point me (minister). We attempted to talk with her, the leadership prayed for her, and ultimately I and an elder got together with her and talked. We sought reconciliation, something we felt we had accomplished at the end of the meeting. There even appeared to be fruit when she returned to the church. However, then it exploded again. This time we prayed and kept silent. Eventually the fire blew itself out. Months later she sent a message apologizing. While I except her apology I decided not to return any message as I feared this would turn into something more. The most difficult part of the situation was that this was someone who had been a part of my small group, that I had counseled, someone that we really attempted to pour into. Someone that we had been their for when things were tough, even going so far as to provide gifts at Christmas. Months previous to the situation I even had the honor of baptizing three of her granddaughters. Since all of this has taken place a great deal has happened. Of the 10 people in her family that gathered with us, one remains. My advice is pray, and protect the rest of the Body. Do not post anything, but seek a meeting. Most people in the church who are aware of the situation will know the truth, the real difficulty is what they say to other people, and taking it personally. The truth is, it hurts, more than most of us will admit, or at least more than most people in the church will ever know. Blessings to you.

  2. The REV says:

    Having experienced conflict and baseless accusations, I can understand the emotions of this pastor. However, he is bringing fuel to the fire by using this blog. If the accusations and allegations are indeed false, he needs to secure an attorney. The statements are libelous and slanderous.

    • God Willing says:

      The REV, That sounds in line with one of the chapters in Dr. Cloud’s book, Necessary Endings. Specifically the chapter that talks about dealing with Evil People. He brings up the idea of a lawyer as well…

    • Julie Anne says:

      The Rev: My name is Julie Anne Smith, the blogger and one of the defendants in the defamation lawsuit which we won July 2012. I do not believe Meaghan (another defendant) has ever said what Chuck O’Neal has attributed to her. And if she did, it would not be admissible in court as libel or slanderous because it is protected as she was a voluntary reporter. That said, no one that I know believes Chuck O’Neal or his son, Charlie, to be a sexual abuser. This seems to be the whole purpose of his new blog and yet it was never brought up in the court hearing or any court documentation.

      For the record, Chuck O’Neal has failed to respond to any e-mails, phone calls or attempts at mediation. We have tried. When you are sued, you have only one option but defend yourself or pay the damages of $500K. He brought it to court without any attempts at working things out.

  3. Chuck says:

    I’ve learned:

    1) To respond with kindness while being firm about what the truth is in a matter, as I understand it;
    2) To seek reconciliation as quickly as possible, and utilize elders when my first attempt is unsuccessful;
    3) If reconciliation is impossible, then at individual’s departure (or expulsion), depending on their level of involvement with the church we decide whether or not to make a general public statement;
    4) When people have left poorly, and the rumor mill is shipping gossip back to our leaders by the board foot, we do not respond to it nor make public statements concerning it, as God is our defender.

    I figure it this way: the more crud heaped on a rose bush, the more beautiful the roses.

    In the same way, the more backbiting and gossip that the dearly departed and nearly-departed want to throw around, the better we’ve tended to be (and look) by conducting ourselves graciously while doubling down on pursuing vision and mission.

  4. Pastor Tom Smith says:

    Chuck; Good post, and I agree.

    I’m in the middle of a roasting by a member from before I became pastor here. She was visibly supportive at first, but behind my back, a gossip, and a troublemaker. Eventually she left, but continues to bicker with our congregation. No amount of counseling or reconciliation attempts have worked. After all that, I have reverted to prayer, and meditation, on the Grace of God. This may not work, but it makes me feel better.

    Grace and God’s peace to you all.

  5. Dear Brothers,
    Julie Anne sounds real reasonable here as she says that she wanted mediation and that she doesn’t believe her partner in slander (Meaghan Varela) made those accusations. Go look at her website or thewartburgwatch. She and her followers are enemies of Christ’s Church, not just BGBC. They slander John MacArthur, Chuck Smith, John Piper, Al Mohler, and C. J. Mahaney based on hearsay. Julie Anne Smith wrote a blog on her website that likens John MacArthur to a Muslim cleric teaching wife beating.
    Julie Anne’s partner in slander, Meaghan Varela used the police and the DHS (Child Protection) as weapons of her revenge. Here is why. In Nov. of 2008, BGBC fired a man on staff for divisive behavior (asking two deacons and a layman to stand with him against the elders of the church) and schismatic accusations, “You don’t preach Christ, the Gospel, the full counsel of God, etc…” The former staff member left the church and his friends went with him. Julie Anne and Steve Smith, and Meaghan and Tim Varela were part of this group of embittered friends. In sharp contrast to Julie Anne’s ongoing lies, the leadership of BGBC met with her and her husband for 11hours of their accusations before they left the church. With each consecutive meeting they added yet more accusations, many of which were coming directly from their fired friend. None of this had anything to do with abuse. However, Julie Anne repeatedly asserted that my children had no sparkle in their eyes. That seems to be the seed that later became a horrific criminal report. The actual false criminal report of child abuse didn’t come until weeks later when Tim and Meaghan Varela were rebuked for gossip and divisive behavior in an email that was ccd to their new pastor (see videos http://www.bgbcsurvivors.org/a-christmas-card-from-the-dhs-child-protection-courtesy-of-meaghan-varela/ and http://www.bgbcsurvivors.org/using-the-dhs-child-protection-as-a-weapon-of-mass-destruction/ ). This is all documented at bgbcsurvivors.org, see the Historical Timeline Docs and the Attorney Letter in the right sidebar.
    The group of embittered friends grew more and more dangerous and divisive. Tim and Meaghan Varela were actively attempting to destroy BGBC through emails, phone calls, and gift, gossip, and invite to leave the church visits through Thanksgiving and Christmas of 2008. I wrote them an email on Dec. 26th exhorting them to stop their destructive behavior. 53 minutes after receiving my cease and desist email, they vindictively called the DHS with a false report designed to send me to prison, to send my adult son to prison, and to take our children away from our home and their mother. When their vindictive attempt to destroy the church and send me to prison failed they continued to fill our community and the internet with their lies designed to vilify and criminalize me and our church.
    After suffering this for three and a half years we pursued legal means to protect our families and our church from constant criminal accusations of the worst kind. They boldly lied to their lawyer to get probono legal representation. They ruthlessly lied to the court in their sworn legal testimony to evade being held accountable for their gross defamation and multiple false criminal reports. They lied to the press (see http://www.bgbcsurvivors.org/julie-anne-smith-lied-to-the-press/) further vilifying and criminalizing me and the church. Accusations of this nature cannot go unanswered. As you can imagine, the affect on my family, Matt and Dawn’s family (see video http://www.bgbcsurvivors.org/a-family-crushed-by-the-varelas-hate/ ) and our church has been a long drawn out nightmare. The kind of mud they are slinging sticks, stinks, and it keeps on stinking. They have a website dedicated to stating and restating their criminal accusations. After four years of this, we created a website dedicated to declaring the truth and exposing their evil deeds for the protection of our families, our church, and the many families and churches that they have roped into their lies.
    Julie Anne Smith is under church discipline for her historic and ongoing vicious assault of Christ’s church, precious families, and her former pastor. She and those with her will remain under church discipline until such a time that they repent, retract, cease, and desist their monstrous assault. We mediated for 11 hours with Julie Anne Smith and her husband. What did we get for it? Four years of vilification and criminalization person to person, church to church, through false criminal reports to the police, through disgusting false reports to the DHS (Child Protection), through an active press campaign of lies, and through an internet campaign of endless slander. One further point that Julie Anne conveniently forgot is that after her partners in slander reported me and my family for abuse, the leadership of BGBC went to their homes to call them to repent of this insanity. Tim and Meaghan Varela’s response was to call the police with another false report… disturbance of the peace. Julie Anne and her husband said, “the DHS is after you and now you’re sweatin it!” They then trespassed the leadership of BGBC and threatened to sue, to call the press, and to call the police. Now she claims that she really wanted to work this out, but we weren’t willing. This woman is a dangerous liar.
    Thank you for your good counsel. Please pray for our families and church.
    God Bless,
    Chuck O’Neal, Pastor BGBC

    • JP says:

      Chuck, after reading through your comments, I am quick to question your credibility. It appears that you have exposed the truth and the truth may be in fact just what you are being accused of. As a pastor, I would suggest that you search deep into your heart and ask God who it is you serve. I understand that the life of a pastor can be very lonely at times but it is not about you. You are a servant no different from any others except that God has granted you the position of being a good shepherd to His flock that He has died and shed His blood for.
      You should never place yourself in a position of elitism upon where you feel that you should never have to withstand personal correction. We are all sinners and will remain so until the day we die so we should be considerate of the concerns of others. You have allowed yourself to spiral into a very unprofessional state in that you seem to be more than willing to attack and accuse a former member of your flock. It does not have to be this way, nor should it. I recommend that you repent and seek reconciliation, reconcile with your former congregation but especially with the Lord your God.

      Meditate over these passages:
      Titus 1:7-8
      For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.

      • Chuck O'Neal says:

        Hello JP,

        Actually… we are exposing their attack of our families and the ministry of BGBC. Take a good look and think again. Keep reading down the page in Titus and you will find this; “holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict. 10 For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11 whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain. 12 One of them, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth. 15 To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.” That is the portion of Scripture that applies to our situation.

        God Bless,

        Chuck

  6. My husband did not start this blog to “attack” our attackers. Rather to protect, expose, warn, and yes, to clear our names of the incredibly destructive lies Meaghan Varela and Julie Anne Smith tell the world about my husband and our church day and night. Meaghan Varela tried to have my husband put in prison, my adult son put in prison, and my beautiful children taken from our home. If a man broke into our home to steal, kill and destroy, he would be dealt with by my husband. My husband would defend his wife, his children and his home and rightly so. Meaghan Varela and Julie Anne Smith have not only dedicated themselves to the destruction of our family and church, but they have shown themselves to be enemies of the Church of Jesus Christ universal. These women are part of a whole new internet movement to destroy biblical churches and pastors. The Church needs to be warned about these specific women and all women like them. Their deeds must be exposed for their own good and the protection of God’s people.

  7. Thank you for your post on this topic. I would like to draw attention to the difference between the issue of ‘spiritual abuse’ by church leaders and the issue of ‘troublesome congregants’ in churches.

    So often, pastors see issues through the lens of ‘troublesome people’ in their churches. There is no doubt that there are many pastors who have been wounded by hurtful and troublesome congregants. Nevertheless, there has been an increasing awareness about the harm that is caused by authoritarian and legalistic church leaders in stifling church families. They do not understand or walk in the full grace of God and seek to control, rather than minister Christ’s love, to their flock.

  8. Barb is one of Julie Anne’s faithful followers. She has put on a professional and respectable façade here. Her post over on thewartburgwatch.com reveals who she is (see below). She abuses the Word of God in her perverse juvenile slander of BGBC.

    Barb Orlowski on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 11:56 PM said:

    If you check out the Beaverton Church webpage, you will find a Scripture reference from 1 Cor. 4:12-13 right in the middle of the page. It is under ‘breaking the silence’ and others thoughts.

    See what you think:

    “12 We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; 13 when we are slandered, we answer kindly. …”

    Hmmm. See anything unusual in how this verse might be being practiced by this group??

    • Raymond says:

      This guy don’t know when to quit, now he attacts Dr. Barb. Anyone that speaks out against this guy is going against God and the Bible but him and his devoted followers can attact whoever, whenever for whatever and he can rightly justify it. Dr. Barb draws attention to scripture on this joke of a Pastor’s web site that he himself won’t follow yet again tries to draw attention away from his own sin and accuse someone else of sinning. He don’t have a log in his eye, somehow he has managed to fit the whole forest.

  9. Don says:

    JP, thank you for your insightful thoughts. Right on target. Apprising Ministries have just posted that Mr.Oneal has had his license revoked. Thats interesting!

  10. Ed says:

    One thing that we are forgetting here, is that the judge told ole Chuckles that he has no standing, no merit, and was ordered to pay all court costs and attorney fees. So he now wants revenge. He does not have the support of most Christians, and so now he thinks that by retaliation, he can gain sympathy from people to feel sorry for him. Based on what I have seen, there was cause to call CPS. And lets be reminded that the caller is not the one who investigates, and the caller is never the one on trial.

    If I was accused of something that I did not do, then I would dust my feet, wipe the sweat off my forehead, and move on, and have a nice steak dinner, forgiving my accusers. That is what Jesus did, except he had fish, rather than steak.

    This isn’t about correcting doctrine, as Chuckles wants to point out. It’s about money. He claims that these people that he was suing committed a criminal act, and yet, he did not file a criminal complaint to the police department. Instead he takes them to civil court for money.

    To all that don’t know, Criminal = Jail, while Civil = Money.

    And, we all know that it is easier to convict in a civil court, rather than in criminal court. But even in a civil court, Chuckles was told that he had no standing, no merit to proceed.

    So all the fake and phoney crocodile tears that he and his family are doing is to just gain sympathy, as he has no money to pay up.

    I do not feel sorry for ole Chucles.

    To put it bluntly, Chuck, sit down and shut up.

  11. Ed says:

    One final thought from me (Ed):
    Joseph was falsely accused of the RAPE of Potifers wife. He spent time in prison. As Chuck would say of himself, Joseph was accused of a crime of the worst kind.

    I think that Joseph has more of a standing in a court of law than Chuck. However, Joseph was HUMBLE in all regards to the false allegations against him.

    • Chuck O'Neal says:

      Hello Ed,

      As you play demeaning games with names it adds no “standing, no merit” to your irrational and heartless arguments. The fact that a judge (not a jury) with a small percentage of the evidence (due to legal maneuvering) ruled that your reviling friends have the right to Free Speech, doesn’t mean that their countless lies, slander, and false criminal accusations are true, it simply means the judge upheld their right to Free Speech. The account of Joseph’s life has no bearing on the defense of our families and church from lies, slander, and fabricated criminal accusations meant to destroy our families and the ministry of the Gospel. No, our website is not motivated by “revenge” or “retaliation.” You have missed the obvious truth that our motivation is to protect our families and church from lies, slander, and vicious criminal accusations. Your comments regarding “fake and phony crocodile tears” reveal your complete lack of compassion for real suffering wives and children. You close with classic juvenile internet bully verbiage, “sit down and shut up.” You provide an excellent example of the type of hateful individuals that lend Julie Anne Smith’s defaming cause their undying and unethical support.

      Take care,

      Chuck O’Neal

      • Ed says:

        Chuck,

        You have no credibility at all in this matter. You mention, a judge with no jury. But it is that very venue that YOU CHOSE, believing in your heart of hearts that you would have no problem winning this case hands down, and becoming rich from it. MONEY. You were not seeking justice, you were seeking MONEY. If you really were seeking justice, then you would have filed a criminal complaint with the police department, having a judge with a jury.

        As I said before, everyone knows that civil cases are EASY to win, which is why you chose that venue, rather than a criminal court. But you didn’t win in the easiest court to win in.

        YOU stated long ago that this was not a case about free speech, do you remember that? But it IS about free speech. You stand corrected. You said that it was slander. The judge told you that it is NOT SLANDER, but OPINION.

        And my mention of Joseph, it is indeed appropriate to this matter. I find it disgusting that you would disagree. I find it disgusting that you would forsake forgiving your accusers. I find it disgusting that you and your family act like Michael Jackson in his televised whining when the police had to examine his penis.

        Yes, you have no merit. The judge stated that you did not prove that you deserved a day in court.

        And now, you are whining to anyone who will give you sympathy, blaming it on court maneuvers. How pathetic.

        • Chuck O'Neal says:

          Ed,

          Your words are arrogant, ignorant, and juvenile once again. You cannot call the police on someone for committing the crime of defamation. Never-the-less it is a crime that does amazing damage to individuals, families, and organizations. A civil case or lawsuit was the only legal recourse to try to bring Julie Anne Smith and Meaghan Varela’s endless criminal allegations to an end. The monetary issue is meant by our legal system to be the due penalty for damages caused and to discourage further damage from being done. The $500,000 figure was simply the cap that the lawyer suggested. It is/was up to the jury to decide the actual amount, if any. We had no realistic expectation that these slandering women would ever pay a dime even if they were found guilty. We did have real hope that they would be found guilty and be ordered by the court to cease their destructive behavior. If they then continued it would be blatant defiance of a court order and a criminal matter between them and the state. Yes, due to legal maneuvering I was made to be a public figure with fewer rights as far as defamation is concerned, and through misapplication of anti-slap legislation (our opinion) we were denied an opportunity for a jury of peers to look at all the evidence and come to a decision. The anit-slap counter suit froze the case and disallowed submission of the full body of evidence. No, we had no expectation of the case being a slam dunk. No, we had no goal of getting rich. Our goal was to stop the defamation of false criminal allegations of the very worst kind. Yes, you have resorted to juvenile antics once again. Yes, these antics are a good example of Julie Anne’s faithful followers.

          Happy New Year,

          Chuck O’Neal

          • chapmaned24 says:

            Call me juvenile if you want. You still lost the case. You have no credibility unless you won the case. You have lost in both the court of law, and the court of public opinion.

            My daughter lives in the state of Ohio. She was arrested on November 30 for OBSTRUCTING OFFICIAL BUSINESS.

            She lied to a police officer. She was convicted of lying to a police officer, in CRIMINAL court, not civil court.

            She was sentenced to 30 days in jail, served 8 days, with 22 suspended, and was given a fine.

            So don’t tell me that lying is not a crime that you cannot convict in a criminal court.

            You accuse people of lying to POLICE. I say again, lying to police is a CRIMINAL ACT, punishable in criminal court. I know for a fact that to be true.

            Try again, there Chuck.

            Again, I bring up the FACT that you stated long ago that this was not a case of free speech.

            But you were corrected.

            Again, I bring up the fact that you said it was slander.

            But you were corrected.

            Funny how you seem to miss those two points.

            You lost. Move on.

            You can’t blame it on court maneuvering.

            Again, YOU chose a NO JURY court. So you cannot blame it on that there was NO JURY.

            YOU thought in your heart of hearts that you would win this case hands down.

  12. Alma says:

    Chuck, you called these women all kind of names in your posts, but then you call them hatefull for doing the same thing YOU are doing. You call people arrogant, ignorant, etc. Are you so sick spiritually that you do not see this?

    • Chuck O'Neal says:

      Hello Alma,

      What names did I call them? Did I say slanderer, reviler, and liar? Those are accurate assessments of their evil (there’s another one) behavior, not pejorative name calling. If I said that they were ugly, fat, stupid, and/or gangly that would be name calling. I don’t call Meaghan Varela “hateful” for using harsh words against me, Meaghan Varela and her deeds are hateful in that she deliberately made false reports to the DHS/CPS meant to send me to prison, meant to send my adult son to prison, and meant to take our minor children from our home. She did this because her friend was fired and she was bitter. Go to http://www.bgbcsurvivors.org/meaghan-varela-unleashes-hell-on-my-family/ and read the report that Meaghan made against me, my family, and our church. It is full of her slander, reviling, lies, and hate. If you behave that way for four years then you are indeed a slanderer, reviler, liar, and hateful individual.

      Regarding Ed. While he has openly mocked and maligned in a manner that most would say shows that HE IS arrogant, ignorant, and juvenile; what I wrote was that his “words are arrogant, ignorant, and juvenile once again.” The arrogance is quite obvious. I explained his ignorance of the legal issues. The juvenile statements are also quite obvious.

      Take care,

      Chuck O’Neal

  13. Chuck O'Neal says:

    Hello again Ed,

    You mentioned that you are in Ohio. We are in Oregon, every state has different laws and every city and case has different police with different perspectives on how they are going to enforce the law on a given day. Our jails are currently so full you are hard pressed to get any criminal behind bars, much less a woman who knowingly makes false reports. Furthermore, because of the nature of the report (false allegations of child abuse) the state provides protection for reporters meant to keep legitimate reporters safe from retaliation. These necessary protective measures make it very difficult to stop people who use the DHS/CPS as weapons of their revenge against a spouse they are divorcing and now hate, a neighbor they dislike, or a boss they are embittered against for firing them with due cause. After talking with several lawyers it became very clear that the legal recourse available to stop their (then) three and a half year campaign of criminal defamation was a lawsuit in the civil court system.

    A judge’s opinion of what legally constitutes defamation based upon a small portion of the available evidence does not negate the reality that these women are guilty of horrific slander. They are indeed guilty.

    No, we didn’t choose a no jury court. The legal process is such that a judge receives the complaint and then assigns a jury to deliberate the case with all the evidence at hand. The normal legal process was interrupted by the anti-slap counter suit that froze all the proceedings, froze the evidence, and disallowed a jury.

    You wrote, “you lost, move on.” Julie Anne Smith and Meaghan Varela have not moved on. They have continued their campaign of criminal accusations meant vilify and destroy a pastor, his family, other families, and a church. We are not retaliating. We are responding to their lies with the truth. There is a vast difference. Since you live in Ohio and don’t know these women or me, my family, or the other families harmed by their slander, I would encourage you to “move on” to issues that you have a real knowledge of.

    Take care,

    Chuck O’Neal

    • chapmaned24 says:

      No Chuck, I am in Washington State. My daughter is in Ohio. Lying to police is a crime in all states, Chuck. Try again. Overcrowding of jails is not an excuse. Lying to a police officer is a BIG DEAL, not a minor one. I am seeing you as just giving EXCUSES as to why you did not pursue a CRIMINAL REPORT with the police department. I see a ton of deception coming from you. YOU accuse people of lying to POLICE. Now you are backtracking it, placing blame on overcrowding of jails?

      YOU chose civil court rather than criminal court. YOU rolled the dice, took your chances, and lost. Yes, I say to move on. The reason: Because YOU are the cause of your own problems, not Julie Anne, or anyone else.

      Again, and again, and again, I say that long ago you said that it was NOT a case of free speech.

      You were corrected.

      AND, you said that it was slander.

      You were corrected.

      Those are the facts of the case, and they are not disputed by anyone but you, and your family, and your congregation.

      • Chuck O'Neal says:

        Ed,

        The overcrowding of jails is not my excuse, it is just reality. The police and DHS are well aware that the report was fabricated, that is why it was dismissed as “unfounded.” As to why they didn’t do anything about the false report, once again, “Furthermore, because of the nature of the report (false allegations of child abuse) the state provides protection for reporters meant to keep legitimate reporters safe from retaliation. These necessary protective measures make it very difficult to stop people who use the DHS/CPS as weapons of their revenge against a spouse they are divorcing and now hate, a neighbor they dislike, or a boss they are embittered against for firing them with due cause. After talking with several lawyers it became very clear that the legal recourse available to stop their (then) three and a half year campaign of criminal defamation was a lawsuit in the civil court system.”

        Thanks for avoiding juvenile comments this time around.

        You live in Washington? Why don’t you drop by and have a coffee sometime.

        Have a good New Year,

        Chuck

        • chapmaned24 says:

          Just because a case was unfounded has no bearing on the caller being accused of false accusations. YOU are the one accusing false allegations. You are the one accusing people of lying to the police. The police and DSH, do not see it as false allegations, and as such, is not considered to be lying to the police.

          That is my point. It is YOU who is claiming that they lied to the police, and yet you did not file a police report. The police and DSH does NOT see it as you do.

          The overcrowding of jails is what YOU presented to me. You do not speak for law enforcement.

          I still see you as making excuses.

          I think that I will pass on the coffee offer. I think that would be better served with a mediator between you and Julie Anne. But thank you for the offer.

          Your offer in no way changes what I have stated above in all my posts to you, however.

        • chapmaned24 says:

          Did I confuse you that much, Chuck? Let me say it another way. YOU FALSELY ACCUSE SOMEONE OF LYING. Does that clarify things?

          Just because the you were cleared does not mean that the person that YOU accuse of lying was lying.

          And it certainly is not a crime for that person to accuse, whether you are innocent or not.

          Can you PROVE that the person was lying? No, you cannot.

          Have you ever said something that was later deemed as false? Of course you have. We all have. Were you lying? Of course not.

          Do you get it yet?

          • chapmaned24 says:

            I said:
            “And it certainly is not a crime for that person to accuse, whether you are innocent or not.”

            Let me clarify. It is not a crime to call CPS, or DHS (To me, DHS stands for Dept of Homeland Security), or whatever you call it in Oregon to give them information that you are concerned about. A concerned citizen is NOT ON TRIAL. Never has been, and never will be. Otherwise, the person that accused Michael Jackson would have been on trial. Never was. Never will be. Why? There was CAUSE OF CONCERN.

            Therefore, you cannot legally accuse that the caller is a liar. You cannot PROVE beyond a reasonable doubt that the person was lying. You cannot prove the lie, even if you were exonerated.

            Besides, the person had CAUSE to call. And it is the DUTY of CPS to investigate, whether you like it or not.

            I am sorry that you don’t like the law.

          • Chuck O'Neal says:

            Plenty of proof over at bgbcsurvivor.org

          • chapmaned24 says:

            That is not proof at all. I have seen it. There is no proof that anyone was lying. There is no proof that anyone told a lie, or falsely accused.

            There is only proof of allegations. Just because those allegations were exonerated means nothing.

            I dare you to take that to court to prove the lie. You can’t prove the lie, no matter how much documentation that you have.

  14. Mr. Rhoades, since you asked for thoughts on the matter of accusations and public conflicts among Christians/churches, I decided to join in. I had some general observations about potential solutions, and some thoughts on the situation with the Beaverton Grace Bible Church lawsuit specifically that I’ll post later.

    As a research writer with a particular interest in systems of healthy versus toxic leadership. I’ve been writing on related subjects for five years, and, sadly, suspect that these kinds of public disputes may happen more frequently.

    Anyway, I have been following – almost since its inception – the lawsuit Charles O’Neal and Beaverton Grace Bible Church jointly filed in February 2012. I’ve done what I can to track its progression through the Oregon court system, including the anti-SLAPP motion, the dropping of two defendants from the case, and the lawsuit dismissal by Judge Jim L. Fun in July 2012. And now we have this rather startling start-up this December of what you have labeled as an “attack” website to counteract the “church’s attackers.”

    I’ve been tracking the development of this case because I believe it is setting precedents and demonstrating principles about Christians using courts and blogging as public forums for airing church-based disputes. Frankly, I hope that lawsuits by leaders and congregants don’t become any more commonplace than they have been in the past few years, but there are several more dramatic lawsuits already underway.

    For instance, in 2013 we will likely see the playing out of a lawsuit by Bob Grenier, Pastor for Calvary Chapel Visalia, CA, against his step-son Alex Grenier for “cyberbullying” and defamation. There will likely also be the scheduling of the class action lawsuit against Sovereign Grace Ministries as an organization and against multiple lead ministers, primarily for mishandling of child sexual assault cases, negligence for failure/delay in reporting the known instances, etc. And then, there is the situation underway in Oklahoma where five church staff at Victory Christian Center in Tulsa, OK, have been accused of not reporting sexual abuse – a misdemeanor in that state; their hearings have been rescheduled for January 2013.

    Public spectacles of civil lawsuits and criminal cases involving Christians are mostly horrible for the name of Christ – though some may expose darkness in the Church and lead to a sense of justice and new/renewed integrity. As far as conflicts involving leadership and/or congregants, I think much of the theological response lies in prevention and training, not in “crisis management.” For instance:

    1. Congregations and denominations should not put into leadership people who are UNqualified due to lack of spiritual maturity or are DISqualified due to unrepentant personal sin and/or abuses of their authority over others.

    2. Leaders should be trained on sin issues that also constitute crimes, and on their civil requirements to report known/suspected domestic violence, child abuse/neglect, sexual assault, etc. (Five church staff at Victory Christian Center in Tulsa, OK, have been accused of not reporting sexual abuse; their hearings have been rescheduled for January 2013.)

    3. Leaders should be trained in conflict resolution skills – including listening and critical thinking skills – and when/how to seek mediation with outside parties who can view the conflict with fresh eyes. Denominations and associations should have qualified and certified mediators available who will put all parties on equal terms and not automatically protect the leaders’ and/or denomination’s image.

    4. Discipleship and church discipline should always be conducted to be restorative, not punitive.

    5. Leaders and congregants should be equipped to create and function in an environment that has appropriate respect for those in authority while not negating or dictating individual disciples’ responsibilities.

    Do we know any seminaries or leadership training programs that currently address ALL of these issues in a very substantive and practical way, with some kind of case-study and practicum situations and not just book reading (if even that)? And yet, these five examples are among core concerns I see being raised within the online community of “spiritual abuse survivors” who blog about and analyze their experiences of malignant ministers and toxic church systems.

    More later about what I think we can do if preventive measures and training fail to resolve conflicts.

  15. Here are some thoughts about what we can do if preventive measures and training fail to resolve conflicts. Most are still better as long-term measures, but no better time to start on a more constructive future than if/when we face a deconstructive present!

    By the time volatile church conflict situations have gotten beyond the possibilities for prevention, we’re left with a complex mess. There are problems with paradigm and theology, organizational strategies and structures, and methods of relating, collaborating, and mediating. Emotions are often deeply bruised. Unheard thoughts either go silent or get shrill. Those traumatized on all sides may fail to think clearly or act wisely. Extreme black-or-white thinking and perfectionistic theology will not extricate us from the mess. (In fact, it probably contributed to the mess in the first place … definitely something there to consider.)

    So, what do we do if preventive measures don’t intercept problematic people, or don’t resolve issues? (And that goes in either direction, whether the apparent “troublemakers” seem to be the leaders or the congregants.) How do we respond in ways that live out those five core concerns I mentioned in my last comment – leadership qualifications, requirements to report crimes, conflict resolution skills, restorative church discipline, appropriate authority without negating or dictating individual disciples’ responsibilities?

    In other words, how do we simultaneously …

    • Demonstrate mature, Christlike character?

    • Show respect for the laws of our land?

    • Apply skilled and thoughtful communication?

    • Listen to voices of observers who are less entangled in the everyday details of the situation?

    • Provide outside resource people to mediate disputes?

    • Offer constructive discipleship?

    • Participate in respectful engagement?

    First, we need to be asking questions exactly like those.

    Second, we need to study actual (or realistically simulated) cases that embody the issues and principles. We need to observe how they unfold, critique how people act and interact, and discern some ways to respond constructively in the midst of such deep-seated conflicts.

    Third, if we don’t do either of those in a relatively safe environment, we put ourselves in a risk situation and need to deal with whatever consequences come, as they surely will.

    From about 2010-2013 at least, we happen to be in a period when we’re providentially getting a lot of case studies from both church and culture to examine how to respond. Who could ever have imagined a year or two ago that we’d be seeing the kinds of criminal cases and civil lawsuits and media scandals that have cropped up, mostly dealing with personal and organizational abuse of power? Alleged pedophilia involving Penn State, Boy Scouts USA, The BBC, and specific Catholic Dioceses and Southern Baptist churches. The Rupert Murdoch/News Corporation Phone Hacking Scandal, with about 100 arrests already, last time I checked a month ago. Sexual abuse/assault and alleged failure to report at Victory Christian Center and at churches related to Sovereign Grace Ministries. Defamation lawsuits stemming from leaders at Calvary Chapel Visalia, California, and Beaverton Grace Bible Church (BGBC).

    What have we learned from these cases over the past few years?

    Who has role-modeled Christlikeness in the midst of these conflicts, or, if they are not disciples of Jesus, who has role-modeled moral integrity and values?

    How have failures in some cases to deal forthrightly with the conflict led to even deeper problems?

    Where will it take us if we model our behaviors after the men and women involved in these various organizations?

    Okay, one final comment on BGBC specifically is forthcoming as soon as I can get to editing it. It’ll address what kind of case study I believe the defamation lawsuit filed by Charles O’Neal and BGBC gives us.

  16. This is the last material I planned to post as a comment here, picking up with question of what kind of case study I believe the defamation lawsuit filed by Charles O’Neal and Beaverton Grace Bible Church (BGBC) gives us as an online learning community. This offers some of my more big-picture analysis after following this case since March 2012.

    First, a bit more background. As I mentioned in an earlier comment, almost from the beginning I have been following the defamation lawsuit filed by Mr. O’Neal and BGBC against the main defendants, Julie Anne Smith and Meaghan Varela, and the three other defendants. You may have noticed that I work a lot from questions. In fact, once I gave a guest lecture on emerging cultures and contextualization for a seminary course on church planting, and my professor friend introduced me as “a man who is working on answers to questions that no one else is asking yet.” Questions come quickly; answers, far more slowly.

    And actually, it’s been important to go slower in analyzing this lawsuit, since it was all unfolding in real-time. It is harder to interpret events and discern their significance if you’re actually watching them emerge. But, as a trained futurist, I see this necessary “gestalting” process as part of being “an archaeologist of the present.” We try to figure out what fits where, and why these here-and-now events are important, and to do all that before the dust even settles!

    After 10 months of absorbing and considering and reflecting as much as I could from both sides, I’m going beyond observations and impressions now to firm up some initial conclusions. I’m also identifying issues for additional research. That’s because I keep running into bothersome inconsistencies and unanswered challenges. But because I see this lawsuit as significant to the Church, I may take time later to address remaining issues. And if so, wherever I post that, I’ll plan to provide as complete of documentation as I can to what my questions are and why they remain unresolved. (My first draft of a section just describing the lawsuit process from February through July is already longer than this entire comment.)

    SUMMARY. So – finally and frankly, Mr. Rhoades – on your question of our thoughts about this particular situation, I believe this lawsuit presents us with a real-time case study more about what NOT to do than what TO do. In my opinion, actions by the O’Neals (Charles and his wife, Tonya) and BGBC members related to the lawsuit and so-called “true BGBC Survivors” website serve little constructive purpose in the cause of Christ. Instead, they represent an ill-conceived strategy, carried out through shrill tactics, that harden people to their cause more than inspire compassion for them, and that present a skewed perspective of truth, justice, and “biblical” Christianity.

    LAWSUIT. For many Christians, the biblical mandates to resolve conflicts (not crimes) through relationship rather than secular courts understandably and automatically put this lawsuit on suspect ground. Also, the biblical mandates to submit to civil authorities and systems would apply to crimes. As the interactions on this blog between Ed Chapman and Mr. O’Neal show, if Ms. Smith and Ms. Varela committed crimes (as Mr. O’Neal continues to allege), those should have been handled through reporting their criminal actions to the police, not filing a civil lawsuit.

    From comments found on Christian blogs and online news media reports, my sense is that a large proportion of commenters simply do not see the filing of this kind of civil lawsuit as legitimate. Some hold to that view based on doctrinal beliefs, others because they see it as an intimidation tactic, others because they see Ms. Smith’s blogging of opinions as an issue of freedom of speech.

    PUBLIC ACTIVITIES. These days, public disputes tend to create almost irreversible records on the internet. We cannot guarantee any items there have been “scrubbed away,” even if we delete our blogs or request that Google Reviews be removed. Thus, many actions within BGBC’s larger scope of activities to defend/protect the O’Neal family and the church are now etched online. And those are probably permanent.

    Many of these actions have been interpreted by both Christian insiders and secular outsiders as gross, aggressive, and even shockingly over the top. This conclusion seems fair to me from reading *hundreds* of comments on both Christian blogs and secular news sites that have reported on the lawsuit and its aftermath over the last 10 months. Overall, the lawsuit and its aftermath have not provided a particularly positive witness to Christ, despite explanations from BGBC members about this being about truth, justice, and protection for family and church.

    HUMBLE RELATING. Since this dispute got to the lawsuit stage, that’s already an indicator that relational processes failed. While I understand that both Mr. O’Neal and Ms. Smith talk about “mediation,” it seems that they mean very different things by that term. Mr. O’Neal cites how he and his elders talked with the Smiths for hours, calling this “mediation,” but states that it failed. Ms. Smith talks about finding a neutral outside party who could serve to facilitate a “mediation” process, but states that Mr. O’Neal refused several times to have outsiders involved when she suggested or requested this form of “mediation.”

    And yet, ironically, Mr. and Mrs. O’Neal seem perfectly willing to draw in public audiences from both online and in real life. They invite us all to check out their blog and take up their cause, to watch their videos and witness their pain. They have “business cards” ready to hand out so all can read about the alleged sins-crimes-lies of their nemeses. They van-vertise their case with a magnetic display on their vehicle featuring all-caps slogans: “LEAVE MY CHILDREN ALONE!” and “I AM A TRUE SURVIVOR.”

    But they still do not want to cede any power to anyone to question, challenge, or contradict them. Beyond the obvious point of our praying for those in this conflict and for resolution, posting comments on blogs and news reports seem our only way to respond with direct input. But then, comments on their website are moderated, and reports have surfaced that any unsympathetic comments have not been posted. So what is the point in all these seemingly interactive venues? In other words, there seems to be no humble interaction WITH the public here on the part of the O’Neals and BGBC loyalists, no stance of willingness to listen and perhaps change. Instead, it looks like they merely talk AT the public, as if that somehow validates their cause. It is media, but no real mediation.

    LETTING GO. Along this same line of humble relating, questions on the issues of forgiveness and relinquishment keep surfacing. Granted, there are points in relational conflicts for tenacity, but at some point, shouldn’t there be peace for the parties involved … even if it seems there can be no peace-making? This does not mean giving up, but giving it over to God to continue working on all parties. This is another area where many Christian blog commenters other than self-declared BGBC supporters have long questioned why the O’Neals keep holding on tightly to the offense of 2008. Yet, they state that the [alleged] lies of Ms. Varela and Ms. Smith continue, and so they must continue to protect and defend their families and their church.

    I can understand the trauma inflicted by a DHS/ Child Protective Services investigation – that really IS the stuff of nightmares! I can also understand the O’Neals’ resulting desire to guard and protect their family. However, when are they going to let this go and move on? Now? Soon? After all the children are over 18 and out of the household? Ever? Never?

    The longer this goes on, the more aggressive the actions seem to become, the more the tension escalates … Where will this end? Is this really about truth and justice anymore – or has being the victims actually become an idolatrous identity for Mr. and Mrs. O’Neal, their family, and their church? (And that is a legitimate question for all Christians to consider, whether our identity is as a follower of Jesus Christ and a servant, or in this thing that happened to us, or in that thing we don’t want to give up?)

    I have a difficult time sustaining compassion when they won’t let go AND they keep engaging in highly provocative actions that seem to agitate both their followers and their “foes.” How is such immovability a role model for conducting conflict resolution privately, or for disputes that have moved into the public eye? Actually, does prolonging the public nature of the dispute serve any purposes for the cause of Christ – or does it simply use the public as tools to feed some perverse personal need for “spiritual exhibitionism”?

    Meanwhile, we’re still left with the same general question you originally raised in your post, Mr. Rhoades: What should we do if a “troublesome congregant” says and/or does things that create this level of public conflict? This is an important issue for those in ministry leadership positions. However, in my opinion, the specific context of the BGBC situation seems to hold too many factors that make it a focus on potentially “troublesome leaders.” These 10 months of ongoing revelations give sufficient grounds to explore issues of authoritarian “overlording” and “spiritual abuse of power.” In my mind, these form the source for much of the cause of the conflict, as well as creating significant barriers to its resolution.

    So … I don’t know … but given another chance, you may not have picked this particular situation as the best example to address the question you initially asked.

    Regardless, I do hope we will all learn what we can from this providential opportunity for figuring out how to move forward from mere crisis intervention to deep and ongoing prevention. And in the long run, I believe that training and prevention practices will help make the Church’s public witness more coherent and credible in our communities.

    I especially hope that those with influence over church leadership training programs are taking note of the tide in our host cultures turning against bullying, and of the need for real-world responses to divisive church conflicts – whether in private or in public.

  17. Paul says:

    My family and I have experienced shunning from a church. No one (staff or member) can leave there without enduring it. Anyone who spoke out and tried to explain what was going on behind the scenes at the church was slammed and yes there were even lies fabricated by the pastor.
    It’s interesting that the church tried to sue for half a million dollars and the suit was dismissed.

  18. Josh says:

    “The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?” 1 Cor. 6:7

    Just sayin’.

  19. David Sheffield says:

    When the same fighting that goes on in a lost world goes on in a church it is sad. And when the congregants or leaders open the window and invite the public to see it, it is still sad. Matthew 18, Acts 15, and elsewhere in God’s Holy Word gives us insight on how to handle internal conflict. @brad/futuristguy, I believe you are right on with your assessment. However, given that church leaders are first and foremost to be followers of Christ I would suggest that the biggest problem we have in churches today is not a “leader” problem, but a “follower” problem.
    I am not nor ever will be perfect, but I try my hardest to follow the One who is.
    God bless this situation and may He somehow use it to glorify His name.

  20. Chuck O'Neal says:

    The truth is over here…

    bgbcsurvivors.org

    -Meaghan Varela Unleashes Hell On My Family -James 3:6

    -Using the DHS (Child Protection) as a
    Weapon of Mass Destruction -WMD Part 1

    -Meaghan Varela… A Woman of Mass Destruction -WMD Part 2

    • chapmaned24 says:

      Still whining, Chuck? You need psychological help there buddy. You lost. The judge did not buy off on your lies. You say it’s proof? Not according to the judge. Your reaction is seriously childish. You did not convince a judge that you had any standing what so ever. If this is really affecting your life, then go see a therapist to learn to cope. I thank God that I never served in the military with you. I would love to see your Fitrep, or evals.

      • Mark says:

        chapmaned24,

        “Still whining, Chuck”

        I’m not so sure we have to verbalize to Chuck O’Neal, in this manner.

        We know filing that lawsuit was a stupid and toxic thing to do. He is paying for it today. If he needs help we shouldn’t be needling him, we should be praying for him instead.

        Chuck is a “Reformed” style preacher and I’m sure there were a few in his congregation who didn’t know it. He either didn’t think it was important to disclose or he purposely kept it a mystery. (Spiritual Abuse)

        A lot of us who don’t embrace 5 Point Reformed Style Preaching have been caught off guard by this movement that chooses to be coy or covert about how they describe their Doctrine. Instead of saying they are Calvinist some will say their Doctrine is “Truth”. More Spiritual Abuse.

        If you question it and don’t embrace it you will be “Rebuked” even though you don’t know or understand what their doctrine is and in many cases they still won’t disclose it. (“This is Spirual Abuse”)

        You are suppose to simply shut-up and don’t ask questions unless those questions help solidify their footing or favor in the church.
        I’m sure in Reformed Seminary they were endoctrinated to be aggressive.

        Rather than disclosing they choose to force feed their Doctrine in a very aggressive Method and through their own endoctrination are taught to be disappointed if they don’t pick off a couple of causualties along the way or suffer persecution. Sometimes they need to go out of their way to find it.

        A lot of them know, the members are illiterate to what Reformed or Calvinism is when you first arrive to their church or when they accept a position to preach in your church.

        They embrace persecution and like to wear it on their sleeve for all, to see.

        In truth it is up to Church Elder’s and Attendee’s to know their bible. They also need to know there are doctrines that profess the Gospel but have different Interpretations, Methodologies and Tactics on how they want to deliver scriptures that we don’t agree. Other wise we make ourselves vulnerable for enduring Spiritual Abuse.
        Even Preachers can’t agree how to deliver the word.

        Preachers who purposely or don’t go out of there way to show the Congregation they use “TULIP” as a reference are being deceitful to an unknowing Congregation and will unfortuately pay the price.

        Some of these “Reformed” guys think it’s OK to be aggressive even though they consider themselves humble and they’ll let you know it.

        The longer Chuck takes to figure out the things he could’ve done to remedy differences between him and Julie Anne the worse off he will be.
        If Chuck’s Reformed Ideology was anything like my former Pastor then the obvious sin was the lack of recognizable love that Julie Anne wasn’t seeing in Chuck O’Neals’ “Methodology”

        I know there are other Preachers that embrace Doctrines outside the Calvinist School that take a rather reckless view on how scriptures need to be taught, but it has been my experience that most of the strife, is coming from Calvinist who are force feeding their doctrine to Christians who are non-Calvinist.

        If a Calvinist is unable to Reform a Christian Non-Calvinist they will openly doubt their salvation.

        • chapmaned24 says:

          Very well said, Mark. I’ve learned so much about Calvinism since shortly before knowledge of this lawsuit. I knew it was nutty from the very beginning. It’s really sad that people (the general public) has no clue, before deciding (free will) to become a Christian, about Calvinism. Such hard core covert indoctrination. A very huge cult. I cringe NOW when I hear the word “evangelical”, or “my smoking hot wife”, both of which come from the same Calvinism camp. True evangelicals are not Calvinists. All this Calvinism stuff does is to give insecure men a platform to pretend to wear the pants in the family.

          So, if it is prayer that we should be praying in regards to Chuck, then my prayer is that he repents for the spiritual abuse that he has done to others, or that God takes him out. May God judge him harshly.

          Ed

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Chuck O’Neal’s Minister’s License is Revoked and Warning to Readers! | Spiritual Sounding Board - [...] I notice he doesn’t come to TWW anymore, however, he seems to have time to keep up with comments ...
  2. Music and Madness | Spiritual Sounding Board - [...] intended: ToddRhoades.com has done an article on my former pastor’s recent blog endeavors:  Pastor starts website to attack ...
  3. BGBC: Chuck O'Neal's Counter-Blog Proves Julie Anne Smith is Telling the Truth | Nyssa's Hobbit Hole - [...] Article from the Wartburg Watch Pastor Starts Website to Attack Church’s Attackers [...]

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