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.
the imagination [intent or thought] of man’s heart is evil from his youth
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life. And no one comes to the Father except by me.
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.
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.
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