This blog isn’t a victims advocacy blog. I don’t intend to make this blog into anything but a place to tell my story. I recently learned Honorary “Dr.” Jim Berg is the Executive Director of Freedom Home for Women. Since Honorary “Dr. Jim Berg had such a dire effect on my recovery, he has become part of my story.
Freedom Home for Women is not only participating in the Freedom That Lasts ™ program at Faith Baptist Church as it advertises on its website. The Freedom Home for Women is in fact located on Faith Baptist Church property. Freedom Home is the parsonage that was custom-built for Pastor Emeritus, Dr. John Vaughn and his family. I was a member of this church when Faith Baptist and the parsonage were being planned and built. I and my family members volunteered many hours of sweat in the building, landscaping and other aspects of construction.
Furthermore, I lived around the corner from Faith Baptist Church for twenty-years, my former neighbors told me they were unaware that this facility was going into their neighborhood, until this little bird called and informed them.
Faith Baptist and Freedom Home claim approval has been granted by Greenville County zoning at the end of May or beginning of April. It has yet to shown up changed on Greenville County zoning website. Please click HERE to learn Greenville County, SC zoning classifications.
Jim Berg is a long-term member of Faith Baptist Church. He is quoted from the pulpit as often or, perhaps, more often than the Word of God.
I can think of few people less-qualified to be and Executive Director such a place than Jim Berg.
Freedom Home is going to “treat” ladies with serious mental health and addictions.
While researching this calls were made asking about what medical care and medical professionals would be available to Freedom Home residents suffering from Anorexia, Bulimia, Depression, Suicidal thoughts, etc. As we spoke the point was made that going “cold-turkey” off alcohol, and addictive substances (Drugs) is not a joke. It’s frightening both to the person coming off addictive substances and to those witnessing it. Going off substances “cold-turkey” can cause medical and psychiatric emergencies and in some cases lead to death.
Until I became a nurse I never realized how serious alcohol withdrawal can become.
Thought you just got the shakes for a little while and that was it. Wow was I wrong.
I worked for many years as a ER nurse. Alcohol withdrawal is serious! I’ve seen my share of Alcohol DT’s. We regularly had to send those detoxing from alcohol to CCU. If they weren’t that bad they still were admitted a cardiac-monitored step down unit. After they are medically cleared, then they were transferred to psych.
As I tried to impress upon him the serious nature here….then Methadone was mentioned!
Methadone is more difficult to get off than heroin. It takes months to successfully wean someone off and should be done under medical supervision. Methadone withdrawal can cause seizures, fatal heart conditions (Sudden Cardiac Death is pretty serious.) and cause organ failure. Many heroin addicts when they’re trying to get off methadone end up back on heroin because of the withdrawals from Methadone.
Any concern that is raised about their methods or barring professional help is met with their standard saw – the Bible holds *all* the answers and the clients would have no access to any outside resource – no professionals. From Berg’s point of view, they don’t need anything more than he can offer with his use (and abuse) of the Bible.
Giving them the benefit of the doubt, I thought I wasn’t being clear. I mentioned specific types psychiatric and emotional problems they claim from their website they’re going to deal with at Freedom Home. To make myself clear to them, I even listed out specific needs that would be present in the various things they listed – such as PTSD, eating disorders, suicidal thoughts (by the way the correct term is Suicidal Ideation which can lead to Suicidal Acts.) etc. They said the residents would be forbidden *any* outside contact with medical or psychiatric professionals at least until after the first 6 months. They insisted that they believe that a Bible discipleship class is the ONLY thing necessary and that they have made the decision that outside resources will NOT be permitted. Clients will have to agree to that before coming and “will be denied access to outside professionals.”
The application asks intrusive questions not only about the resident, but the residents family.
The application asks for information on medical and psychiatric history, but they refuse to recognize these disorders as anything but sin.
The form goes on to ask dates of admission, etc.
Then the real kicker they want those confidential records sent to unlicensed, untrained, “Honorary” Executive Director of Freedom “ Doctor” Berg and his staff trained with only his materials:
“Please obtain release forms with the above facilities / programs / counselors and, sign them, and have your records forwarded to Freedom Home for Women.”
As I studied the Freedom Home for Women application my concern gave way to outrage. I knew I could no longer sit quietly by. I need to warn people–hence this blog post.
Wonder if Berg has stocked up on Rat Traps as it is his idea of a “trust exercise?”
Now, not only is their refusal to follow the most basic medical principles puzzling, their reliance on their own brand of Christianity also raises cause for concern. In attributing everything to sin and only sin, they espouse a set of doctrines that essentially say we can “correct ourselves” to some sort of sinless perfection. Through enough adherence to their rules and discipleship programs, the women at Freedom Home can overcome all their ills, even if they are legitimate physical and psychological issues. The base heresy in this teaching is that we can once again become “Garden of Eden” people. The Bible I read says that doesn’t happen until we meet God face to face and our redemption is complete. No, their theology is pretty messed up and it puts everything on the works of the patients. In addition to that being dangerous, it effectively denies the fact that Satan is active in causing harm and leveraging all these issues (such as PTSD) to break us down. Instead, Freedom House and Berg would pit you AGAINST God – you know, the God who promised to be a Father. Frankly, that’s all just twisted and sick.
UPDATE: Jim Berg’s “effectiveness” for this person was one dozen suicide attempts.
Here’s the transcript of “Virtue Video 1” Now you can read his heresy if you don’t wish to watch the video.
Welcome to Freedom that Lasts where you will learn how to be winning life’s battles through Jesus Christ. These brief videos each week will keep you on track in your journey from freedom from life dominating sins and those stubborn habits.
Everyone has battles. I do, your pastor does, your program director does, and your group leader does. We all fight lust and greed and envy, worry discouragement and fear and some of us have fought bigger battles with drugs, sex, gambling, over-eating, stealing, cutting and pornography.
It was not always this way on planet earth. God created man free. Before Adam and Eve sinned in the garden of Eden there was no bondage. No one was addicted to a substance or a life dominating sin. But when Adam and Eve joined Satan’s rebellion against God everything changed. Adam’s sin brought bondage. It brought death. It brought alienation from God–the very source of peace and joy in life.
Fortunately for us God did not leave man-kind without a solution. God promised Adam and Eve that He would send a deliverer that would remedy the situation. That deliverer is Jesus Christ. God sent Him to planet earth to live as a man so that He could die to pay the penalty of the sins of men. He lived a perfect life and He offered Himself as the payment for our sin by His death on the cross. There He paid for the sins of the entire world and broke the power that Satan had over the hearts and minds of all men. Now God offers freedom from the penalty of our sin—that is freedom from the hell we deserve and freedom for the power of our sin and from its bondage in our lives. All of this comes through Jesus Christ. This is why central to Freedom that Lasts is the truth stated in our motto Jesus Christ is only the source of freedom that lasts. Freedom isn’t found in a program, or in a set up steps, it isn’t found in in a facility, or in a friendship. It is found only in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. God wants you to experience freedom for the bondage of your life-domineering sins, your stubborn habits, and your addictions. That freedom comes through a very specific path designed to give you an extreme make-over. This is why we say, ‘You do what you do because you are what you are. To change what you do, you must cooperate with God to change who you are.’
Freedom that Lasts program will introduce you to the Bible truths that will teach you how to cooperate with God to change what you are. If you have the character of Jesus you won’t remain in bondage. But you might ask, what does the character of Jesus look like? What characteristics must I have if I’m to be free from bondage? The picture of the character of Jesus Christ, the character that brings freedom is found in its most full description in II Peter 1. The entire Freedom that Lasts student manual is is built around this passage of Scripture that defines the character of Jesus.
Here is what Peter says:
Add to your faith (that is your saving faith) virtue; (virtue is that commitment to be like Jesus Christ) and [then] add to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge he says to add self-control and to self-control add endurance and to endurance add Godliness and to godliness add brotherly kindness and to brotherly kindness add love. And then he says, For if these things be in you and abound (if these are the qualities of your character) ye shall never fall.
Let’s talk briefly at each of these qualities of Jesus’ character. We will study them in greater depth in the weeks ahead and we’ll illustrate them as components on a column of character. Peter tells us that once we know Jesus Christ as our Savior through saving faith we are to cultivate a commitment to become a different kind of person. To become like Jesus. Peter calls this adding virtue. You probably already realize you can’t expect any significant change in your life unless you make some commitments to handle life differently than you’ve been handling it. In your Freedom that Lasts program you’ll learn what commitment becoming like Jesus looks like and you’ll be regularly encouraged by the staff on your journey to freedom. Peter then says to add knowledge. And in the days ahead you’ll discover who Jesus is and how Jesus thinks about the issues that touch your life. He tells us those things in the Bible. The Bible tells us how to reconcile relationships, how to have financial freedom, how to become a valuable employee, and how to make your life a living advertisement for the love of God. The Bible is full of wonderful instruction for us about how to live like Jesus. As we begin to know more about Jesus life and His ways we soon discover we are not like Him in so many ways. That is why Peter says to add self-control. This has always been a tough one hasn’t it? We’ll help you find Freedom that Lasts by showing you how to say no to your desires and your cravings and say yes to God. Sometimes its relatively easy to exercise self-control in the short-term. But Jesus wants us to continue doing right for the long-haul. So Peter says next we are to add endurance. Adding endurance means continuing to do right no matter what. Here you will learn to say no to others who want to pull you down. Your old friends, your family, your former dealers, and your co-workers. We will help you learn how to stay on tract no matter what. This is a crucial part of the character of Jesus. He always did the right thing no matter what the outside pressures. He wants to develop that character in you if you are His child. These qualities of virtue, knowledge, self-control and endurance add up to a characteristic of Jesus the Bible calls godliness. As you develop the previous qualities, you’ll be able to see God regularly using you to impact the lives of other people for God. You’ll find you have the boldness to speak up for Him and to stand up for Him against the evil around you. This is what godliness if all about. And lastly Peter says to add brotherly kindness and love. We will help you respond to others in the way Jesus would respond. And how to reach out to others who need help like you needed help when you first began the program.
This is the kind of character God wants to form in you. The character of His Son. People with this character are free from life-dominating sins. They’re not slaves to stubborn habits and cravings and like Jesus they’re reaching out to others around them who have great needs. This is God’s plan for you and we want to help you see that plan worked out in your life. As you interact with your group leaders, your pastor and your program director keep in mind that a person doesn’t have to have been addicted or enslaved by the same life-dominating sins as you before that person can help you. You know a doctor doesn’t have to have had every disease or illness of his patients before he can help them. He just needs to know what to do about the disease or illness. Your group leaders, your pastor, and the director can point you to the One who forgives every sin and who will help you overcome every bondage. God will use them as teachers and mentors in your life as you walk the path of Freedom that Lasts by developing the character of Jesus. Your churches weekly Freedom that Lasts meetings will help you on that journey by providing the fellowship, accountability and teaching you need to make lasting change. The Student Manuel and the Spiritual Life Journal will guide you in your study of the Bible truths you need to know and practice to become like Jesus. You will work through the Student Manuel at your own pace and your Freedom that Lasts staff will help you in your journey through the program. The weekly meetings are another crucial part of your journey. Each meeting will begin with a short video like this one explaining to you some aspect of the program or the character of Jesus. You will then meet with others in small groups to check your progress in your student manual and your Spiritual Life Journal. And your small group leader will answer any questions you have and will become a mentor and a friend to you. Small groups will then combine in a large group teaching session where you will be taught from the Bible how to have Freedom that Lasts. Those sessions will often include times of prayer, and singing before the lesson and they’ll culminate with a fellowship time around some tasty refreshments. Everything about Freedom that Lasts is is designed to acquaint you with who Jesus is, what His plans are for you, and how to live in His world so that you can have impact for Him. And so you can experience freedom that comes from knowing Him and taking on His character. Let me encourage you to make a commitment to attend every class, to work on your student manual, your Spiritual Life Journal daily and to attend every service of your local church. We want to help you in your journey to become like Jesus Christ because He is the only source of Freedom that Lasts. We’re glad that you are a part of Freedom that Lasts.