A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Submission to authority figures — the Milgram Experiment and Stanford Prison Experiment

Many people behave unethically when they are instructed to do so by what they perceive as a legitimate authority figure.

If you have suffered abuse, whether it be emotional, spiritual, psychological, physical or sexual abuse, you might be asking “How can someone be so cruel?” 

The Milgram Experiment and the Stanford Prison Experiment have shown how quickly people can become abusive.

Both of those experiments were unethical. Some participants in these experiments have spoken up about the deleterious effects the experiments had on them.

Many unethical experiments have been done by scientists and psychologists.

Trigger warning: Some individuals might find certain parts of the video triggering.

This video summarises what happened in the Stanford Prison Experiment and the Milgram Experiment. The presenter is Philip Zimbardo, the psychologist who conducted the Stanford Prison Experiment.

 

The Milgram Shock Experiment: “Obedience to Authority”

Milgram set up a simple experiment at Yale University to test how much pain an ordinary citizen would inflict on another person simply because he was ordered to by an experimental scientist.

The results showed the willingness of adults to go to almost any lengths of cruelty, on the command of an authority figure.

To explain the findings of the experiment, Milgram theorised that people have two states of behavior when they are in a social situation:

  • The autonomous state —
    • People direct their own actions and take responsibility for the results of those actions.
  • The agentic state —
    • People allow others to direct their actions and then pass off the responsibility for the consequences to the person giving the orders. People act as agents for another person’s will.

This helps us think about Sheep, Shepherds and Wolves in the church.

Sheep are told to follow the leader:  the under-shepherd, pastor, priest, ordained minister, ordained elder in the institutional church.

  • Some of the ordained leaders are good under-shepherds of Christ.
  • Some  of them are wolves.
  • Some of them are blind and naive to the depths of undercover evil in institutional churches.

When sheep follow wolves or blind-naive leaders, the sheep will be tangled in thickets and the sheep may be chewed by wolves.

Sheep-like following of human leaders is risky. Obedience to human leaders is risky. Individual personal responsibility is never entirely erased.

But… Jesus has died for our sins so that all who come to faith in Jesus receive mercy and forgiveness.

The penalty for wrong doing has been laid on Jesus, so that all who come to faith in Him do not have to personally bear the penalty for their wrongdoing. Christ has borne it for them.

Evildoers catch/ seize/ snatch/ ravish. God is more powerful than Satan.

Evildoers lurk to snatch the poor, seizing and ravishing the people they target. Wolves hunt to catch sheep. Let me show you some words and passages from the Bible which say this.

I first published this post at The Mystery Of Iniquity (my blog which deals with extreme abuse) but the post is equally relevant to the more ‘common and garden’ types of abuse which I deal with here at a A Cry For Justice.

Psalm 10, 1662 Book of Common Prayer (minimally updated to modern English) 9 For he lies waiting secretly, as it were lion in his den; / he lurks that he may ravish the poor. 10 He ravishes the poor, / when he gets him into his net. 11 He stoops down and crouches, / that the poor may fall into the hands of his captains. 12 He has said in his heart, “Tush, God hath forgotten; / he hides away his face, and he will never see it.”

Psalm 10, Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) he lurks in secret like a lion in a thicket. He lurks in order to seize the afflicted; he seizes the afflicted and drags him in his net. 10 So he is oppressed and beaten down; the helpless fall because of his strength. 11 He says to himself, “God has forgotten; He hides His face and will never see.”

The words ravish / seize which I emphasised above are translations of the Hebrew word chataph חָטַף. That word occurs only three times in the Old Testament; twice in Psalm 10 and once in the book of Judges. To talk about its use in Judges I’ll need to explain the backstory.

Judges 21 recounts a historical event in the early history of the Israelites. The offspring of the 12 sons of Jacob became known as twelve tribes of Israel. Chapters 19 & 20 of the book of Judges recount how and why an inter-tribal war was fought between the tribes of Jacob, one tribe against the other eleven tribes, and how the eleven tribes eventually defeated the one tribe. Chapter 21 of Judges recounts what happened after that war—men prioritised the feelings of other men over the feelings of women and the choices women might wish to exercise in saying who they will marry.

The men from the eleven victorious tribes invited and allowed the surviving men from the defeated tribe to seize/ snatch/ catch their daughters and take them as wives.

In other words, these men — from all 12 tribes of Jacob – collectively deemed that the feelings, preferences, dignity, and choices of young women were less important than the need for men from the defeated tribe to get wives and thereby produce offspring to enable the defeated tribe to keep on going down the generations.

Please don’t think this story is recorded in the Bible to encourage such callous behaviour by men. Quite the opposite. This story (like all historical narratives in the Bible) has been recorded and preserved for our instruction. We need to read it with wisdom, bearing in mind that the refrain throughout the Book of Judges is “In those days, men did what was right in their own eyes.”

In my view, this account in Judges 21 shows us how easily male human beings can collectively decide to prioritise the feelings and preferences of men over the feelings and preferences of women. It illustrates how easily men can join together to entice/ persuade/ push a certain course of action on women so that men can catch and seize those women. You can watch more about it here: My video on The Levite’s Concubine — Judges 19-21.

Now we can look at where Judges 21 uses the Hebrew word chatap חָטַף.

ESV  20 And they commanded the people of Benjamin, saying, “Go and lie in ambush in the vineyards 21 and watch. If the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in the dances, then come out of the vineyards and snatch each man his wife from the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin.

NIV  20 So they instructed the Benjamites, saying, “Go and hide in the vineyards 21 and watch. When the young women of Shiloh come out to join in the dancing, rush from the vineyards and each of you seize one of them to be your wife. Then return to the land of Benjamin.

KJV  20 Therefore they commanded the children of Benjamin, saying, Go and lie in wait in the vineyards; 21 And see, and, behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in dances, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin.

New Testament

There is a word in the New Testament which is roughly equivalent to the Hebrew word chataph חָטַף. This word is harpazō ἁρπάζω. It means to seize, carry off by force / to seize on, claim for one’s self eagerly / to snatch out or away. (link)

All the passages below are from the New Matthew Bible Version (NMB). Each rendering of the Greek work harpazō is emphasised in bold. First I will give the passages in the New Testament that speak about how Satan and his agents do their utmost to snatch away Truth and carry off people by force. Then I will show you the good news — that God’s power to ‘catch up’ is greater than Satan’s.

Satan and his agents snatch the Truth away and carry off people by force

John 10:11-13 [Jesus said:] 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep. 12 But a hired servant, who is not the shepherd, neither are the sheep his own, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep, and flees; and the wolf catches them, and scatters the sheep. 13 The hired servant flees because he is a hired servant, and does not care for the sheep.

Matthew 11:12  From the time of John the Baptist to now, the kingdom of heaven is sorely pressed, and those who go to it with effort seize it for themselves.

Matthew 13:19  Whosoever hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, there comes the evil one, and catches away that which was sown in his heart; and this is he who received the seed by the wayside.

John 6:15  When Jesus perceived that they wanted to come and take him up to make him king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.

Acts 23:10  And when great controversy arose, the captain, fearing lest Paul should be pulled apart by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him from among them, and to bring him into the castle.

God has the power to transport his people supernaturally: from one place to another on this physical earth, or from this physical earth to heaven.

Acts 8:39  And as soon as they had come out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, and the chamberlain saw him no more. And he went on his way rejoicing.

2 Cor 12:2-4  I know a man in Christ about fourteen years ago (whether he was in the body I cannot tell, or whether he was out of the body I cannot tell, God knows) who was taken up into the third heaven. And I know the same man (whether in the body or out of the body I cannot tell, God knows), how he was taken up into Paradise and heard words not to be spoken, which no man can utter.

Rev 12:5  And she brought forth a man child who was to rule all the nations with a rod of iron. And her Son [Jesus Christ] was taken up to God and to his seat.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18  I would not, brethren, have you be ignorant concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow like others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, so then also those who sleep in Jesus, God will bring again with him. And this we say to you in the word of the Lord: we who live and are remaining at the coming of the Lord will not precede those who sleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, and the voice of the archangel, and the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will arise first. Then shall we who live and remain be caught up with them also in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. And so shall we ever be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.

When a person trusts in God’s promises, nothing can snatch that person out of God’s hand.

John 10:27-28 [Jesus said:] My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me, and I give to them eternal life. And they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

Story Faith Blindness – part 7 of series on blindness and deception

Someone can hear the story of the gospel, fashion in their own strength their imagination of the story, remember the story, and think: “I believe — I have faith”.

That person has believed in a story faith but their heart and nature has not changed. Their spirit is not reborn. That person will always be striving to masquerade or perform Christianity in their own strength.

William Tyndale

I learned the phrase “story faith” from William Tyndale. He writes about it in several places. Here is an excerpt from his prologue to Romans (link) —

Faith is not man’s opinion and dream, as some imagine, and form their own ideas when they hear the story of the gospel. The cause is that when they hear the gospel or glad tidings, they fashion by their own strength certain imaginations and thoughts in their hearts, saying, I have heard the gospel; I remember the story; lo I believe!  And this they count true faith – which nevertheless, since it is but man’s imagination and assumption, does not profit. Neither do good works or lasting amendment of life follow.

But true faith is a thing wrought by the Holy Spirit in us, which changes us, transforms our nature, begets us anew in God, and makes us the children of God [John 1:12]. A faith that is genuine kills the old Adam, and makes us altogether new in the heart, mind, will, desire, and in all our affections and powers of the soul, and brings the Holy Spirit with her.

Faith is a living and steadfast trust in the favour of God, whereby we commit ourselves altogether unto God. And that trust is so surely grounded and sticks so fast in our hearts that a man would not once doubt of it, though he should die a thousand times for it. And such trust wrought by the Holy Spirit through faith makes a person glad, joyful, cheerful, and true-hearted, toward God and toward all creatures.

Therefore take heed to yourself. Beware of your own suppositions and imaginations, which to judge of faith and good works will seem wise, but are blind, and of all things most unwise. Pray God that he will assent to work faith in your heart, or you will remain evermore faithless, however much you surmise, imagine, strengthen your resolve, wrestle with yourself or do what you will or can.

Having a story faith ≈ blindness

Story faith assents to and remembers the historical story of record of Christ’s life, death and resurrection. It mentally assents to the proposition that he died for all sin on our behalf.  But believing a story faith does not change the heart; it does not transform the natural man’s birth poison — original sin. Nor does it lead to assurance of forgiveness.

The heart that wants to ‘do life’ without regard for God’s loving and good design — the heart that is spiritually dead despite the fact that it is physically pumping blood around lung-breathing flesh — that heart will never be transformed from spiritual death to spiritual life by believing in a story faith.

Story faith is cold. True faith is a feeling faith.

Emotions, feelings, affections, heartfelt responses of compassion for the oppressed — and heartfelt dislike of falsehood and wrongdoing — are intrinsic to true faith.

Tyndale contrasts story faith with true faith:

For the reasons and similitudes of man’s wisdom make no faith, but wavering and uncertainty opinions only. One draws in this way his argument, another draws that. And of whatever principle you prove black, another proves white, and so am I ever uncertain, as if you tell me of a thing done in a far land and another tell me the contrary, I know not what to believe.

But faith is wrought by the power of God, that is, when God’s word is preached, the Spirit enters thine heart and maketh thy soul feel it and maketh thee so sure of it, that neither adversity, nor persecution, nor death, neither yet all the pains of hell could yet once prevail against thee or move thee from the sure rock of God’s word, that thou shoulds’t not believe that which God hath sworn.

– William Tyndale “The Obedience of the Christian Man” p 165 (Penguin Classics 2000.) [Punctuation in quotes from Tyndale has been altered to make it easier for modern readers]

Tyndale denounced the Roman church’s insistence on auricular confession: the doctrine that a person must confess their sins into the ear of a priest. Here is Tyndale speaking of the role of feeling (emotion) in confession:

When a man feels that his heart consents unto the law of God, and feels himself meek, patient, courteous and merciful to his neighbour, altered and fashioned like unto Christ, why should he doubt that God forgive him, though he never cram his sin into the priest’s ear?
(ibid p 118)

Tyndale talks about how the natural man can be taught to behave ‘morally’ but that only intensifies the vice of self-glory. The natural man can be motivated by fear, praise or profit. But when people in their own strength try to conform to or impersonate morality, they become more prideful.

That you may perceive and feel the thing in thine heart and not be a vain sophister disputing about words without perceiving, mark this:

The root of all evil the greatest damnation and most terrible wrath and vengeance of God that we are in is natural blindness.

We are all out of the right way, every man his ways: one judges this best, another that to be best. Now is worldly wit [cleverness] nothing else but craft and subtlety to obtain that which we judge falsely to be best. As I err in my wit, so err I in my will. When I judge that to be evil which in deed is good, then I hate that which is good.

Now; when we say every man has free will, to what him lusteth [what he desires], I say verily that men do what they lust. Notwithstanding, to follow lusts is not freedom, but captivity and bondage. If God opens any man’s wits to make him feel in his heart that lusts and appetites are damnable, and gives him power to hate and resist them, then is he free even with the freedom wherewith Christ makes free, and has power to do the will of God.

You may hereby perceive that all that is done in the world (before the spirit of God come and gives us light) is damnable sin, and the more glorious the more damnable: so that that which the world counts most glorious is more damnable, in the sight of God, than that which the whore, the thief and the murderer do.

With blind reasons of worldly wisdom may you change the minds of youth and make them give themselves to what you will either for fear, for praise or for profit: and yet you do but change them from one vice to another, as the persuasions of her friends made Lucrece chaste. (In Roman legend, Lucrece gloried in her chastity. Having suffered rape by Tarquin she took her own life.)

Lucrece believed if she were a good housewife and chaste, that she should be most glorious, and that all the world would give her honour and praise her. She sought her own glory in her chastity and not God’s. When she had lost her chastity, then she counted herself abominable in the sight of all men, and for very pain and thought which she had, not that she had displeased God, but that she had lost her honour, slew herself.

Look how great her pain and sorrow was for the loss of her chastity, so great was her glory and rejoicing therein and so much despised she them that were otherwise and pitied them not. Which pride God more abhors than the whoredom of any whore.

Of like pride are all the moral virtues of Aristotle, Plato and Socrates, and all the doctrines of the philosophers the very gods of our school men.
[school men = legalists/ false teachers/ false christians/ scholars who debated about topics like how many angels could fit on the head of a pin]
(ibid, p 44-5, minimally updated)

The apostle Peter talks about the blindness of those who think they are following Christ but are not fleeing the corruption of worldly lust. It is a blindness they bring on themselves, by their own hypocrisy.

2 Peter 1:2-10

Grace be with you, and peace be multiplied in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who has called us by virtue and glory, by the means whereof are given to us excellent and most great promises, so that by the help of them you may be partakers of the divine nature, in that you flee the corruption of worldly lust.

And give all diligence to this. To your faith add virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience, to patience godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, to brotherly kindness love. For if these things be among you and abound, they will make you so that you will neither be idle nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(v9) But he who lacks these things is blind, and gropes for the way with his hands, and has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

Therefore, brethren, give the more diligence to make your calling and election sure. For if you do such things, you shall never err.

~

He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant, my feet!
(from the hymn “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord”)

***

Bible versions used in this series

New Testament: NMB (New Matthew Bible); notes from the NMB are in grey italicised text.
Psalms: Myles Coverdale’s translation as per the 1662 Book of Common Prayer
Old Testament other than Psalms: NKJ (New King James).

Other parts in this series

Part 1: Are abusers blind? Are abusers deceived? What does the Bible say?

Part 2: Blindness from original sin

Part 3: Blindness exacerbated by individual choice

Part 4: Blindness exacerbated by group choice and group-leader choice

Part 5: Blindness as a result of being deceived by others

Part 6: Blindness as a judgment from God

Part 7: is this post

Further reading

The hypocrisy of lip service

Mysteries of Iniquity, Marriage/ABUSE/Divorce and the Bible

Interview of Barbara Roberts, by Out Of The Gate.

If you want to only watch the part where I talk about my work on domestic abuse — i.e. my book Not Under Bondage and the A Cry For Justice blog — go to 24:37 in the video.

Tye and Spencer

Spencer and Tye do not get paid for what they do at Out Of The Gate. They do it to help people understand the deceptions that are making this world so dark and dangerous. They do it for the Lord Jesus Christ. They do it for the body of Christ –  all who believe or will come to believe in Jesus as their Saviour.

You can follow Out Of The Gate at —

YouTube:   OOTG 77
Facebook: Out Of The Gate
Twitter:      @OutoftheG8TE

Quick links to my work for newbies at A Cry For Justice

FAQs at A Cry For Justice

New Users Info at A Cry For Justice – If you intend to comment at this blog, I suggest you read the New Users Info before submitting a comment, especially if you’re a victim of abuse who is still in danger from your abuser and his allies.

Resources at A Cry For Justice

Follow me on Twitter:  @NotUnderBondage

My book Not Under Bondage  

Theologians’ reviews of Not Under Bondage

How and why I changed my mind on one thing I wrote in my book

Mystery of Iniquity – my other blog

Final note

Tye initiated this interview. I’m saying this so that people who derided, mocked and badmouthed me in the past will not jump to the conclusion that I requested OutOfTheGate to produce this video.

I am very grateful to Tye for how she used music, other video clips and written-word overlays in the video.

Peak Living Network – Lundy Bancroft – warning!

Lundy Bancroft’s Peak Living Network has many principles that run counter to God’s Word.

By now it’s no secret that there are warnings on the Internet – including on our blog dating back to 2017 (here) – about attending Lundy Bancroft’s healing retreats. If any reader has any firsthand knowledge of behavior by him that is unethical, abusive or criminal, please email us a brief description of your allegation and your contact information. This will be held in the strictest confidence and will not be disseminated publicly. This information is being requested for the sole purpose of protecting vulnerable women and making sure that they aren’t exploited and abused any more than they already have been. Our email addresses are at the bottom of this post.

To participate in Lundy’s Peak Living Network, you have to agree to 22 Principles.

You might like to use this as an exercise in discernment. Click this link to read the 22 Principles and assess whether each principle lines up with or differs from God’s Word. I invite you to do that for yourself before you read the rest of this post.

~~~

I will now show you the eleven principles I am concerned about.

Lundy Bancroft’s principles which contradict God’s Word

I will quote each principle of the Peak Living Network (PLN) which I am concerned about and  explain why I think it is false and dangerous by showing how God’s Word contradicts that principle. All NT quotes are from the New Matthew Bible version; OT quotes are from the NKJ.

PLN principle 1
People have a profound and apparently limitless capacity for emotional healing and well-being. Therefore, we take an orientation toward ourselves and each other that assumes that we can all find ways to make our lives work better and that we will succeed in doing so. We are all healing and growing.

The Bible says that some people grow worse, not better.

2 Tim 3:13
But the evil men and deceivers will grow worse and worse, while they deceive and are deceived themselves.

PLN principle 4
Crying and laughter are the single most potent healing processes that we have access to. We strive to stop interfering with other people’s attempts to cry or laugh, and with our own.

The Bible says that the most important healing comes through repentance and faith in God’s promises, knowing and following the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal saviour, and listening to God’s guidance though the Holy Spirit and the Word of God (the Bible).

PLN principle 5
Anything that anyone shares at a Peak Living gathering is to be kept confidential by everyone.

What if someone has shared their personal experience of having been abused – their pain, hopes, struggles and aspirations – at a Peak Living gathering … and someone else at that Peak Living gathering (or an organiser of a Peak Living gathering) is more focused on their own flesh than the well-being of other people in the Peak Living gathering. The selfishly-centred person can easily take advantage of the more vulnerable person.

A person with a sensitive conscience who has signed up for principle 5 will be be afraid of voicing any grievance about what another person in the PLN network has said or done to them. This makes the PLN network a lovely place for covert sexual predators to select targets, get their kicks, slake their lusts, discard, and find new targets as and when they wish.

PLN principle 6
All human beings are of equal value. Therefore, we choose to treat each other with respect at all times, even (or perhaps especially) when we are angry or when we have disagreements or conflicts.

This gives leeway to a covert abuser within the PLN network to falsely accuse and slander his or her victims of treating him / her (the abuser) with disrespect.

In my view, there ought to be an explicit statement in PLN that if someone is discovered to be using the PLN network to take advantage of or mistreat others, that person will be expelled and the rest of the network will be informed. That would be in accord with the biblical principle for dealing with abusers who are passing themselves off as Christians in the church – put them out of fellowship: expel them from all church meetings and treat them like unbelievers.

1 Cor 5:11-13
But now I write to you not to keep company together with anyone called a brother who is a fornicator, or covetous, or a worshipper of images, or a railer, or a drunkard, or a swindler. With such a one, see that you do not eat. For what have I to do with judging those who are outside? Do you not judge those who are within? Those who are without, God will judge. Put away from among you that evil person.

PLN principles 8 & 9
People are naturally loving and caring. Our healing processes carry us back toward the people we truly are.
Destructive behavior patterns are signs of things that have gone wrong in a person’s life, and signs of a lack of opportunities to heal. As far as we know, no one is inherently bad, lazy, unintelligent, or selfish.

Here is what the Bible says about principles 8 & 9 

We are all born spiritually dead because we all inherit the sin nature of Adam. All of us, excepting the man Christ Jesus, inherit the sin nature from Adam. (read more about this here)

We all come into this world with a bias to be selfish and to not love our neighbour as ourselves. With our sin nature we disregard God. We go our own way without recognising or respecting or honouring God our maker, whose loving kindness towards us is so vast that it cannot be expressed in human words or grasped with our human minds.

The sin nature comes to its fore when challenged. When rightly and justly reproved for selfishness or wrongdoing, the knee-jerk response of the wrongdoer (you, me, whoever) is rebellion, blame-shifting, fighting against truth. The sin nature rears its head and hisses and spits. That is the nature of sin. That is the sin-nature we all are born with.

Gen 8:21b
the imagination [intent or thought] of man’s heart is evil from his youth

Romans 3:23
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

Isaiah 53:6
All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way

What happens to the sin nature when someone becomes a Christian?

When a person is born again / regenerated / trusts in God’s promises / knows and follows Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, does that person still have a sin nature? Putting this another way, is it right to call a Christian a sinner?

God has given each of us a conscience. The conscience is inbuilt in our human nature: it tells us right from wrong. Those who have never heard of God’s law nevertheless know the law in their hearts: in their conscience.

The culture we grow up in and the teachings and examples we are exposed to can deform and invert our conscience. Here is an example: many churches teach that God doesn’t allow divorce for domestic abuse; as a result many victims of abuse remain married to their abusers. The victims and their kids, in trying to obey this false teaching, suffer untold harm …and nobody benefits from this except the abusers. Another example: Islamic suicide bombers have been taught that it is good to murder crowds of people and they will be rewarded by Allah for doing so.  Another example: Luciferian families train their children from a very early age to believe that good is evil, and evil is good. (You can read more about how false teaching distorts the conscience here.)

To whatever extent my conscience is recognising right and wrong the way God defines those things, I will be correctly pricked by my conscience when I do wrong or when I cultivate wrong thoughts, wrong desires. In Romans chapter 7, the Apostle Paul wrote about his own experience of this.

Romans 7:22-25
I delight in the law of God as far as the inner man is concerned, but I see another law in my members, rebelling against the law of my mind, and subduing me to the law of sin that is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from this body of death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then, I myself in my mind serve the law of God, and in my flesh the law of sin.

The Apostle John confirmed the precept that Paul articulated:

1 John 1:5-10
And this is the tidings that we have heard from him and declare to you: that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

If we say that we have fellowship with him, and yet walk in darkness, we lie, and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in light, even as he is in light, then we have fellowship with him, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin.

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

What if my conscience has been somewhat mis-taught?  What if I have been trained to think that right is wrong and good is evil? Is my responsibility for doing wrong erased?  Not entirely, and especially not when I have reached the age of accountability. I don’t want to define when the age of accountability begins, but by adulthood it ought to apply. Other factors come in here too: how deep, how brainwashing, was the training that inverted my conscience? Was I tortured so that I dissociated and my mind was split into different parts?¹ How much was I intimidated and coerced and terrified into obeying evil or complying with evil? How much was I entrapped by the leaders of the corrupt system that mis-taught me?

God is merciful. He calls all people to come to him in repentance, and he offers complete forgiveness to those who repent and follow him.

John 10:1-10
Truly truly I say to you, He who does not enter into the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. He who goes in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep; to him the porter opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he has sent forth his own sheep, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but will flee from him. For they know not the voice of strangers.

This similitude Jesus spoke to them, but they did not understand the things that he was saying to them.

Then Jesus spoke to them again: Truly truly I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All, even as many as came before me, are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters in by me, he will be safe, and will go in and out, and find pasture. The thief comes not but to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come so that they may have life, and have it more abundantly.

PLN principle 10
Most of what we are all struggling with emotionally, and in how we treat ourselves, has its roots in trauma.

The Bible does not say that all of us are ‘struggling emotionally”. See the bible texts I have quoted above.

Nor does it say that all emotional struggle has its roots in trauma. The Bible says that some emotional struggle has most – if not all – of its roots in the choices of the individual. (You can read more about this here.)

People who do evil who don’t repent and don’t make genuine and long-lasting efforts to repair the harm they have done to others may indeed end up ’struggling emotionally’. But they brought that upon themselves by their own sinful / wrong / unrighteous / self-serving choices and their stubbornness in resisting and suppressing the pangs of their conscience.

Romans 1:18-25
For the wrath of God appears from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, seeing that what may be known of God is manifest among them. For God did show it unto them. For his invisible things – that is to say, his eternal power and Godhead – are understood and seen from the works of the creation of the world. So they are without excuse, inasmuch as when they knew God, they did not glorify him as God, neither were thankful, but increased full of vain imaginations, and their foolish hearts were blinded. When they counted themselves wise, they became fools, and turned the glory of the immortal God into the similitude of the image of mortal man, and of birds, and four-footed animals, and serpents. When they counted themselves wise, they became fools, and turned the glory of the immortal God into the similitude of the image of mortal man, and of birds, and four-footed animals, and serpents.

For this God likewise gave them up to their heart’s lusts, unto uncleanness, to defile their own bodies between themselves –  those who turned his truth to a lie, and venerated and served created things more than the Maker, who is blessed forever. Amen.

Notes from Barb on Romans 1:18-25
suppress the truth in unrighteousness.  This speaks about the choice and intent to suppress the truth.
increased full of vain imaginations…they counted themselves wise, they became fools.  This points to human choice: self-deception.

PLN principle 12
We assume that people are telling the truth about what has happened to them. Our world is rife with mistreatment, so there is no reason to jump to the conclusion that people are exaggerating the wrongs that have they have endured.

What foolishness! Sociopaths / psychopaths / covert-malignant-narcissists do NOT tell the truth about what has happened to them. If and when they do utter truths about what has happened to them, they select certain facts, airbrush those facts, and omit other facts in order to manipulate their listeners. They are very cunning and crafty.

Here is one of the many verses in the Bible where Jesus is confronting and confuting the Jewish religious leaders who were lying, evil-minded hypocrites:

John 8:44
You are of your father, the devil, and your will is to follow the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and did not abide in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own nature. For he is a liar, and the father of lies. 

There are many other scriptures describing abuse and abusers (see here and here).

PLN principle 13
People are their own ultimate authorities on what will best help them to heal and move forward at any given time in life. There are many paths to healing, and what works well for one person may not work for another.

Yes, victims of trauma and abuse are to be accorded liberty to make their own choices on what they want to do to heal and move forward with their lives. But to say a person is their own ultimate authority is opposed to what it says in the Bible. God is the ultimate authority. He is the Wonderful Counselor; he knows best what will assist healing in people who are genuinely seeking healing and life.

There are not many paths to life and truth. To mortal human beings, many ways or paths may seem (for a while) to give life, but those who follow any way other than Jesus are going to have a great shock when they die.

John 14:6
Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life. And no one comes to the Father except by me.

John 3:16-21
For God so loves the world, that he has given his only Son, so that none who believe in him should perish, but should have everlasting life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but so that the world through him could be saved. Whoever believes on him shall not be condemned. But whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he does not believe in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the condemnation: that light has come into the world, and men loved darkness more than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But whoever does truth comes to the light, so that his deeds may be known, that they are wrought in God.

PLN principle 20
We gather for the purpose of supporting each other’s healing. It is not acceptable to attend PLN activities toward a goal of finding a dating or sexual partner, networking for your business, or any purpose other than the stated one.

The problem with this is that when someone in the PLN network contravenes principle twenty, anyone who blows the whistle on the contravener is likely to be falsely accused of disobeying principle five.

Furthermore, the people who are most attracted to the Peak Living Network are women who have read Lundy’s books because they have suffered abuse from male intimate partners. They are likely to be now single, they may be longing to find a boyfriend / partner / husband who will treat them well. They are likely to be struggling financially. They are likely to be vulnerable to covert predators. What if an organiser of the PLN network is a covert predator? Who will dare to blow the whistle on the organiser?

Tip: If you have been falsely accused of something, I encourage you to read this post which gives excellent teaching on self defence.

PLN principle 22
Each of us has the capacity to live at a higher level of satisfaction, energy, and connection than we are currently experiencing. To reach for peak living makes sense.

That principle is not always true! Try telling it to the elderly and the disabled whose energy, enjoyment in life and connection to other people is diminishing — and it will never improve because of their health situation. See how they feel about that principle. They may rightly feel hurt and lied to.

It is far better to tell people the wisdom given in the last chapter of Ecclesiastes.

Ecclesiates 12:1-7
Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth,
Before the difficult days come,
And the years draw near when you say,
“I have no pleasure in them”:
While the sun and the light,
The moon and the stars,
Are not darkened,
And the clouds do not return after the rain;
In the day when the keepers of the house tremble,
And the strong men bow down;
When the grinders cease because they are few,
And those that look through the windows grow dim;
When the doors are shut in the streets,
And the sound of grinding is low;
When one rises up at the sound of a bird,
And all the daughters of music are brought low.
Also they are afraid of height,
And of terrors in the way;
When the almond tree blossoms,
The grasshopper is a burden,
And desire fails.
For man goes to his eternal home,
And the mourners go about the streets.
Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed,
Or the golden bowl is broken,
Or the pitcher shattered at the fountain,
Or the wheel broken at the well.
Then the dust will return to the earth as it was,
And the spirit will return to God who gave it.

If you tell this^ to people whose poor health will continue to irremediably decline, they may feel comforted by being able to identify with the evocative description of the experience of aging and disability.

***

Endnote

¹ Some people have been so traumatised in childhood and/or subjected to systematic Torture Based Mind Control that they have parts (parts of their mind) that are adult, other parts that are children, and other parts that could be described as ‘mind-controlled slaves’. By the way, that’s very much an oversimplification of what can happen to people who are subjected to Torture Based Mind Control.

Email addresses of the ACFJ team

<barbara@notunderbondage.com>  <reachingout.acfj@gmail.com>

Eighth Anniversary of A Cry For Justice

Tomorrow, 7 Jan 2020, will be the eighth anniversary of this blog. It is two years and four months since Jeff Crippen resigned leaving me as the sole leader of this site.

I couldn’t do it without the help of my assistant, Reaching Out. She works behind the scenes: moderating comments, giving me suggestions, clearing the spam, paying attention to so many small details that make the site easier for readers to use.

You may be wondering why I haven’t posted a new post for a while. For the last couple of months I have been putting lots of attention into my family — my siblings, their partners/spouses, in-laws, neices and nephews, Christmas. Plus my daughter is back in Australia for several weeks which makes me very happy. I value my family network.

I am fortunate to have a family that I want to keep in touch with. Some of the readers at this blog have no family that they want to keep in touch with because all their family is so toxic that it’s not safe to maintain even the smallest connection.

I have two members of my extended family who (in my view) are toxic. I  have chosen to continue having contact with them because if I went “No Contact” with them it would hurt the rest of the family. I have put a lot of thought into how I will deal with the ones I find toxic. One of the things that helped me do that was James’s post Jesus on Violence which talked about Self Defence against dangerous people. I applied that concept of self defence to my personal situation.

I’ve been sending out books to survivors of domestic abuse who request them because they can’t afford them. (See our Gift Books Offer)  Every penny that ACFJ gets from being in the Amazon Associates program is spent on gift books for survivors. It gives me great joy to send out books to impoverished victims, especially those who have just escaped their abusers. I make the Amazon Associates funds go as far as I can. I have spent many hours figuring out how to most economically purchase and ship books to readers in countries around the world. (Techno gripe: Amazon does NOT make it easy for Aussies!)

I have been busy at Twitter. Click here to follow me on Twitter.

I have moved my email accounts to a fully encrypted email platform (Runbox.com). You may or may not see ___@runbox.com when I send out an email, but you can be assured that my main address <barbara@notunderbondage.com> is now at the encrypted platform. I did this for my safety as well as the safety of people who communicate with me by email.

In the last year I also started the Mystery Of Iniquity blog which deals with extreme abuse such as satanic ritual abuse, child trafficking, and trauma based mind control.

My next post on A Cry For Justice will analyse the principles of Lundy Bancroft’s Peak Living Network from a biblical point of view.