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Run! You’ll Find Bondage At “Freedom Home!”

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.   

Honorary “Doctor” (Know-It-All) Jim Berg

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

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.

Psychological/Counseling Treatment

Have you ever been diagnosed or treated for any of the following (check all that apply):

___ DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) ___ ADHD ___ Schizophrenia ___ Bipolar Disorder

___ Borderline Personality Disorder ___ OCD (Obsessive compulsive disorder) ___Depression

___ Other:_______________________________________________________________________________________

Have you ever attempted to take your life? ___ Yes ___ No If yes, when was the last time, and what was the issue

you were struggling with? _____________________________________________________________________________

Have you ever participated in cutting or self-injury? ___ Yes ___ No If yes, explain the benefits you felt you were

receiving from the action: _____________________________________________________________________________

Have you ever been to counseling or therapy, received psychiatric care, or been admitted to a psychiatric hospital? ___

Yes ___ No___

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?”

Rat Trap

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.

Berg 1 dozen suicides

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.   

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70 thoughts on “Run! You’ll Find Bondage At “Freedom Home!”

  1. If memory serves correctly, near the end of the application or somewhere in their written materials that I saw on their website, there is a statement to the effect that this program is first and foremost an evangelistic/discipleship “ministry.” Being under the umbrella of religion and church “ministry” probably exempts them from using licensed professionals. It sounds like the primary purpose is to take advantage of these desperately hurting women to force their own brand of Christian fundamentalism down their throats under the guise of offering them “freedom that lasts.” The only real need these women have is to “get saved.” Once saved, and if they follow all the prescribed “works” of the IFB teachings, they are promised “freedom that lasts.” There was an astounding emphasis on making a wholehearted commitment to the church and their teachings for at least six months. Hopefully, they get get their tentacles entwined tightly enough around their victims during that time period. My advice is RUN!

    It is also significant that the minimum stay is six months with a $6000 price tag and a lot of emphasis on how the “client” intends to pay and ensure payment. IMHO, it is nothing more than a money making scheme to get people into IFB churches through peddling Berg’s materials and methods, with a tidy sum for him. It is not about freedom. but bondage to the IFB may of life. Profiteering in the name of Jesus by offering “freedom.” Who are they kidding?

    I fear that the end result of this–although a few may actually be helped in some way–is the spiritual damage that will be done to these women and the lives that will be totally destroyed and driven from the Lord Jesus.

  2. I just noted this quote, “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 . . .” In other words, if one is truly saved and following all the rules, you are sinless and perfect?? I don’t see that in the Bible. Paul says, O wretched man that I am? Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? And he wrote that after he had been saved. He must not have attained to Berg’s “freedom” yet.

  3. I was impressed to hear that a registered nurse is living in an apartment attached to the Freedom Home and will be working full time with the women residents. Also, the house is really nice and in an ideal location. Hopefully this Freedom House will point women to Christ and help them find victory over their addictions.

    • Amy,

      I spoke with someone at this home. I specifically asked questions concerning what medical or nursing professionals will be on-site.

      They said there would be none.

      Even if there is a nurse on site, questions still exist. How is she going to deal with DT’s. Those are *medical emergencies* that require Advanced measures such as cardiac monitoring.

      Nurses must work under orders of a physician. Is she practicing medicine without a license?

      I’m a nurse.

      There isn’t enough malpractice insurance in the world to cover this nurse (if she exists) *when* (not if) something goes horribly wrong.

    • What about the psych issues the home is claiming its going to treat?

      Does she have psych experience? How is she going to deal with it when Berg or one of the unlicensed staff tell her patients are not to take their meds for depression or other psych disorder when that medication is ordered by a licensed and properly credentialed medical professional?

      The nurses license is then put on the line….

    • Amy, where did you hear that? And what makes you think that’s enough? Alcoholism and drug addiction are serious medical diagnoses that require more medical care than a nurse alone is able to provide. Since I have experienced firsthand what BJU-style theories about such serious medical diagnoses can result in among those who need treatment — a family member of mine who was addicted to prescription medication prescribed by one of BJU’s doctors and experienced a terrible withdrawal process when convinced by other BJU people to go off of the medication “cold turkey,” I daresay Cathy is correct: this is a very bad idea and someone is going to get seriously hurt. I also have it on good authority from friends who live in the neighborhood that it was news to them that Faith Baptist Church was planning to open an unlicensed home for drug addicts in their neighborhood. Needless to say, it seems many in the neighborhood are displeased at the news.

      There are some serious issues that must be considered:

      1) the lack of appropriate medical care AND mandatory denial of access to appropriate medical care;
      2) the fact that these women are required to live in the home for six months and must not seek any outside help for their addictions, which is tantamount to imprisonment in most states;
      3) 12-step programs, though not without their critics, have a proven track record over many decades;
      4) Jim Berg’s track record includes a number of allegations that include attempted suicides, violations of confidentiality, and advising several rape victims not to report to the police for decades while he was “counseling” students at Bob Jones University as the “Dean of Students”;
      5) the demand for highly confidential medical information without respect to federal confidentiality laws, including the question about whether a patient has “tested positive for AIDS,” which shows a clear lack of understanding of HIV infection and diagnosis protocols and the difference between HIV infection and HIV-related disease (medical professionals ALL know better than that);
      and
      6) the fact that this program has a TRADEMARK while it is clearly derivative of other programs like Reformers Unanimous.

      Clearly, this is a money-making scheme for Jim Berg and Faith Baptist Church, not to mention the Bob Jones University Press. I shudder to think what may ensue if this place is actually allowed to open and conduct business. If it is, I hope that Marshall Pickens has some extra beds to accommodate the people who are going to come out worse off than they go in… and I hope the Greenville County Sherrif’s Department is prepared for the likelihood of a rise in calls for their services in a neighborhood where drug addicts who are not under proper medical supervision are being housed and imprisoned.

    • While the others covered the medical concerns and the distinct lack of a nurse already, let me point out that people in the “ideal location” were not informed that this facility was coming to their neighborhood. BAD idea, but not nearly as bad as the utterly inadequate medical treatment that will be provided.

  4. I am a Licensed Drug and Alcohol counselor and a Licensed Professional Counselor and it seems unlikely to me a nurse who is not a Nurse Practitioner would be able to work alone without the supervision of a MD. If this residential home is listed as ministry and not a Medical treatment center then it would seem only Spiritual language coup be used to describe what is being offered. Because addictions and mental health issues described in the advertisements are medical issues one can not simply redefine these as SINS and treat them as a Spiritual issue to avoid the STANDARD of CARE necessary to be SAFE for the patients, clients or Students…yes STUDENTS is what the groups like the IFB Reformer Unanimous often times call their participants. Now this is sometimes done because the laws for running a SCHOOL are often based on religious freedom and have a broader base for what is allowed. What is being described here is a treatment center and therefore should be under the STANDARD of CARE requirements for medical treatment. I am not sure if this is a church, school, group home or a treatment center but it sure looks like they are advertising a treatment center. The expectation of patients who think they are entering a treatment center will expect medical and psychological treatment first and spirituality may be a part of it but one can not be treating the spiritual parts only and leaving out the medical and psychological issues with out putting vulnerable people at risk physically and psychologically in my opinion.

  5. Amy – I have tons of questions. Who will be the psychiatrist in charge of the medical decisions of this place? Will they employ state licensed mental health professionals? What will they do with the information on that intake form? Is this therapy? Will HIPPA apply? Until they answer those questions, they should not proceed. Nothing good will happen from unlicensed people “counseling” people about addictions they know nothing about.

    • Hello,
      As a board licensed healthcare practitioner here are my thoughts:
      1. As long as they are meeting the state’s requirement to open a rehab/counseling facility in their state, they can operate legally.
      2. Jim Berg, as long as he is not putting an MD after his name and not prescribing meds (he cannot anyway) he is not violating the law.
      3. He is functioning as a religious counselor, that it. He can ask those medical/psychological questions, as long as the patient discloses their own info, I honestly do not think he is violating any laws.
      4. He could be walking a fine line, but I think this guy is not stupid, in fact, he is clever and deceptive.
      5. If patient’s insurance provides payments for such licensed rehabs, with Phd and MS in counseling staffs, as a minimum requirement, then I honestly think he will continue his game.
      5. Best we can do is to inform……..

      • 1)
        There is no state license here. It’s not a state recognized treatment facility.
        2) Berg has told people in the past to stop taking their medications ordered by a properly credentialed and licensed physician or Nurse Practitioner. The difference between then and now, is he’s opening a home that is not only claiming to treat addictions and mental health but *charging* to treat these disorders.
        He’s crossing the line between simple advice, to treatment.
        Time will tell if SC will do anything before someone dies or is serious injured as a result of Freedom Home (Berg, et. al).
        Even medical professionals have been charged with manslaughter for doing much less.
        Civil penalties will be an issue too.

        The “release” FH has the residents sign, isn’t worth the paper its printed on. You cannot sign away your rights.

        HIPPA doesn’t exempt anyone! If Berg or Freedom Home violates HIPPA there are huge fines for violating!

        If it is a KNOWING violation of HIPAA regulations. Such persons are subject to the following criminal penalties:

        A fine of up to $50,000, or up to 1 year in prison, or both; (Class 6 Felony)

        If the offense is committed under false pretenses, a fine of up to $100,000, up to 5 years in prison, or both; (Class 5 Felony)

        If the offense is committed with intent to sell, transfer, or use individually identifiable health information for commercial advantage, personal gain, or malicious harm, a fine up to $250,000, or up to 10 years in prison, or both. (Class 4 Felony)

        HIPAA also provide for civil fines to be imposed by the Secretary of DHHS “on any person” who violates a provision of it. The maximum is $100 for each violation, with the total amount not to exceed $25,0000 for all violations of an identical requirement or prohibition during a calendar year. (Class 3 Felony)

        4) He may not be stupid, but he’s a malignant narcissist and is dangerous.

        5) This place will not be accepting (nor qualified to accept) insurance or federal benefits. That’s the reason they clearly say on their website the 1K/month must be paid in full each month.

  6. One should be aware that Christian schools have been, and most still are, operated under the umbrella of a church “ministry.” The church affiliation and ministry umbrella have been effectively used for decades to hire uncertified, unqualified “professional educators” to serve as classroom teachers, sometimes without a college degree as a minimum standard. It is nothing new for such ministries to side-step proper licensing and credentialing claiming the “protection” of religious freedom and religious ministry status. They have been doing it for a long time. This is the start of another new fad to make money by snagging innocent victims into an IFB church under the guise of evangelism by offering them “freedom for their addictions” They used to offer an education; now its freedom though nouthetic counseling. Who do they think they are fooling here? It is just another way to entrap more victims to get their money. Same IFB dance, just a different money tune.

  7. And yes one more thing, I am not sure what the laws are in South Carolina, but if he has a nurse practitioner (someone who finished an MS in Nursing) can prescribe meds, then this facility can really function as a full pledged rehab. If their state’s law allows PA or Physician Assistant to prescribe meds w/o working under the umbrella of an MD, and they have a PA in their staffs, then they can really keep going.
    So many ways he can successfully do this. We just need to make sure the public knows what they are all about……..

    • There is no nurse practitioner here. There’s no Physician’s Assistant either.

      If anything it is a new graduate from BJU’s nursing program that was promised an apartment free from rent to live here.

      • I see what you are saying:
        1. Just to be clear: Did you say South Carolina is not mandating these homes to be licensed? In other words, can these homes legally exist without a license?
        2. Telling patients to stop taking their meds…… Unfortunately the IFB’s have deceived so many that psych meds are not necessary or that psych illness are not real……
        But again, if he ends up being in a hot water about this, he can just deny that he told patients to stop taking meds…….
        3. Oh boy, this situation is really problematic. We need to just keep educating the public…..

    • I don’t know if SC laws allows this home or not…

      What I DO know, is it is NOT licensed by the state and will NOT be seeking such a license.

      What I do know is, Freedom Home does NOT have a nurse prac. or physician to order meds or oversee the program.

      They believe all that is needed is the Bible and his brand of Nouthetic Counseling.

      Berg isn’t licensed and his “staff” are only “trained” with his materials.

      Some have already written the SC Attorney Generals office concerning this program and concerns which include but are in no way limited to, practicing medicine without a license.

      It would be helpful if the SC Attorney Generals office would be inundated with letters concerning this home. Then they *might* do something before Berg kills someoneS. (Capital S on purpose.)

      Address: Office of the Attorney General
      PO Box 11549
      Columbia, SC 29211-1549
      Phone Number: 803-734-9916

  8. This makes me think of Jim Jones. I have read a couple books from the survivors. This guy is bad news and is going to destroy many lives. Sad indeed. Glad you are getting this out.

  9. I was sent to Jim Berg for counseling while I was a student at BJU.
    I was sexually and physically abused by my father. My mother “submitted” to my father. She was unable (or unwilling) to protect my sisters and I from my father.
    Jim Berg has no degree in any form of psychology of any kind. He also asked questions about my body responses to my father sexually abusing me. He told me I needed to repent for any “pleasure” I felt. He talked about verses in Leviticus where incest brings confusion and some other verses from, I think it was Deuteronomy, that says if a virgin didn’t cry out she was just as guilty as her rapist. He asked if I ever told my father to stop. I tried to explain I was afraid of my father and therefore tried to pretend I was asleep, hoping my father would go away. Jim Berg told me by not telling my father to stop, I was partially to blame, but my father bore most of the blame.

    I was given Zoloft by one of the BJU Clinic Doctors to help with depression. Jim Berg told me that a depressed Christian was an oxymoron. Depression was because of pride and rebellion against God. He told me if I were to respond Biblically I could go off the Zoloft. I was also having signs of PTSD. Dr. Berg denied that there is any such thing, EVER as Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Both PTSD and Depression were a result of MY sin. Always.

    Mr. Berg’s “cure” is to read your Bible more, pray more. He told me I didn’t need anyone or anything but God to cure me. I didn’t need a doctor, or friends, certainly not real therapy from a licensed therapist or medication.

    I attempted suicide and was “asked” to not return to BJU. After that attempt, he told me the suicide attempt would have severe consequences on my future. On job prospects. He even told me the “suicide attempt would have devastating effects on your own medical records.”
    Turned out he was lying to me. I’ve never had issues with job prospects. I’ve received the most kindness from my fellow employees and bosses than I ever experienced from Bob Jones, Jim Berg or the church.

    He went on to say no other counselors would ever want to counsel me or deal with me because of it. I tried to go to another Christian Counseling ministry named PRASSO. I went twice. After the second meeting, the lady in charge asked me to stay after it was over. The lady that owns PRASSO and two other PRASSO leaders asked if I’d ever attempted suicide. I hadn’t told anyone at PRASSO, the lady that owns PRASSO then told me she was taking courses to learn how to counsel people from Jim Berg and he’d told her that I had attempted suicide. Then she told me it would be better if I didn’t return to PRASSO before making things “right with Jim Berg.”

    After being told my life was over because I was depressed and had attempted suicide. In desperation I had tried to go to PRASSO and was told not to return, I once again attempted suicide because I thought I had ruined my life.

    This time I shot myself in the chest.

    I’ve had to undergo several surgeries over an extended period of time. I have health problems to this day, but I did receive real help from a Psychiatrist and wonderful licensed therapist. I have never attempted suicide since. I found out there was hope for me.
    The one thing I have never able to get back was my faith in God. God is as hateful as Mr. Berg and that woman from PRASSO. I have no time for a heavenly father like that.

    This what is being taught TO THIS DAY at Bob Jones University. Jim Berg continues to teach counseling to pastors attending BJU’s seminary.

    As for him being the Executive Director of Freedom Home, his close ties to BJU (comon’ folks, BJU publishes all the materials) will ensure no one enrolled at Freedom Home will receive the kind of help they need. They will not receive real counseling and will instead get only “Biblical Counseling” which is from Berg and his staff who will have zero mental health training. Instead of working through honest issues they will simply be told “you have a sin problem” and need to repent. These ladies will leave worse off than they entered. I only hope some don’t leave in body bags. Berg will teach these ladies the same thing he told me.

    He is the reason I attempted suicide twice. That is the truth. Be offended all you like. Sometimes the truth is offensive.

    • I forgot to mention, as far as my medical records, he lied about that too. No doctor or nurse has ever berated or belittled me because of my suicide attempts—not to mention my medical records are private. My medical records as a result of my suicide attempts have had no bearing on any of job prospects. I’ve been quite successful despite Berg telling me otherwise.

    • Charlene,

      As I read you comment, tears began flowing. I’m so sorry for what you suffered as a child.
      Then for Jim Berg to add more pain under the guise of help, I could not help but be overcome with anger.

      I hope you have come to believe you were in NO WAY to blame for what your father did. Jim Berg is evil. He was pure evil to put that guilt on you.

      Unfortunately, your experience with Berg’s “counseling” is far from rare. As is your account of him telling you about your everything from your medical records to your employment prospects being adversely affected.

      He told me those things, and more too.

      I’m so sorry he kicked you while you were down. I’m sorry you didn’t get help from PRASSO, but instead more condemnation. It sounds as if Berg broke your confidentiality. I don’t know if he cares what that word–confidentiality—-means.

      It is horrifying you were pushed to the point of believing you had no hope to the brink you shot yourself. God will hold Berg responsible for the pain he caused while claiming he was helping in God’s name.

      I’m thankful you received help from a kind, competent, licensed therapist. It also sounds as if you’ve made friends who are a support network for you.

      May Jim Berg and Laura Baker of PRASSO, grab the nearest millstone, hold on to it tightly and jump into the nearest deep body of water.

    • Charlene, I cannot imagine the hurts that you are going through and the ghastly ordeal that you suffered is beyond my comprehension. No one should be offended at what you suffered; instead, it serves us as an eye opener to serious problems that need to be addressed. There are many who have seen wrongs such as this committed, and wish to voice support and empathize. Your so called counselors touted themselves as having all of the answers. Even if they would claim not to have done so, it is clear from your story that you received counsel from someone who felt they knew every single answer that there was to be known. Man is finite and fallible. The tragedy of what occurred is compounded in that it never needed to have occurred.

      In reading the passages from the Bible that your “counselor” read, it is clear you received counsel that was slanted. Instead, let me point out there are many other passages filled with hope and love. God loves you Charlene, and He has promised that unlike men, He will never fail you. I do not understand the magnitude of what you had to endure, and I cannot begin to feel the depth of your agony. I do not have all the answers, but the one thing I do know is that God loves you. It might seem hard to believe in light of your suffering, but He will never leave you, nor forsake you.

    • Charlene,

      I feel greatly for you. These people who were supposed to represent God failed miserably on so many fronts. I realize you have no reason to believe me, but I will say what you experienced was not the God I know and call “Daddy”.

      There are plenty of us who follow Christ and know God’s love yet still understand that problems like yours are real … very real. While the Bible does provide some answers, it was never meant to be an “owner’s manual”. Those who interpret it that way (like Berg) are in deep error … and your story is evidence of the damage they do.

      I hope you can find your faith again. Know that God isn’t offended by you, your past, or anything you say to him. He’s far bigger than the puny, vengeful god BJU preaches.

  10. I grew up at Bob Jones Academy and Faith Baptist Church I heard from the pastors and from Jim Berg thought and taught ALL mental illness didn’t exist as a true medical condtion but was something psychiatrists made up to explain away sin.
    I remember Jim Berg calling the DSM, the Denying Sin Manuel. The pastor looked down on “secular” (licensed) counselors or therapists and as a result, my sisters and I received no therapy after being molested as children by a man in the church. We were told only to forgive, or God wouldn’t forgive us.
    After thirty years my sisters are still suffering with psychological issues relating to the molestation. By the grace of God, when I became depressed, I praise God for my husband who showed me the light of open-mindedness and not accepting at face value what others teach about this insisted I start counseling with a licensed therapist.

    I’ve been interviewed with GRACE for its investigation into BJU.

    I’m also in the process of pressing charges against the church member who victimized myself and my sisters.

    • CarolAnn,

      I also remember Berg referencing the DSM=Denying Sin Manuel. Isn’t it interesing he is so quick to label the DSM and psychiatrists as those who are explaining away sin, but Berg (and pastors from Faith and many other churches) are at the front of the line of those who didn’t report children, such as yourself, who were molested IN the church.

      Then the victims are told to forgive or God won’t forgive the victim’s sins. It’s just sick and twisted.

      Thank you for your courage for interviewing with GRACE and for pressing charges against the man who victimized you and your sisters. God Bless you.

      May you receive justice and healing. Praying your sisters may obtain healing as well.

  11. Thank you Charlene, CarolAnn for posting your experiences.
    Jim Berg needs to be exposed for the damage he’s done.

    Yesterday, I told my therapist, this isn’t about my dislike for Berg neither is it about what Berg did to me. I am horrified Berg will seriously hurt, or lead to the death of some dear soul coming to Freedom Home desperate for help.

  12. It’s amazing how Fundies believe in law and order until it comes to their pet people. Report the crimes to the police. Press charges. Anyone who tells you an abuser should only be forgiven has no concept of justice.

  13. This abuse of victims if abuse by the IFB counseling process has left a huge trail of survivors of secondary IFB abuse in its path. These some things happened to me at Maranatha Baptist Bible College where I was told to forgive less God would not forgive me, medications are covering my sins and I was asked to change my medical records after a suicide attempt so my FUTURE JOB would not be jeopardized. The professors like Berg are teaching the student pastors who are indeed repeating this abuse in their churches. The treatment centers that the IFB are running will go against the professional licensed therapist because the license usurps the authority of the IFB leader who does not have a license. The IFB leaders like Berg will not use the supervisory system used in the medical field based on degrees and supervision because they see themselves have having the ultimate authority because they supposedly represent God. This is why the IFB have become a cult and the followers are unable often to take a stand for years because they are TRAPPED by the IFB BELIEF that these men of the IFB God know what is TRUTH. The use of religious freedom to rename these IFB homes MINISERIES instead of IFB TREATMENT centers operating with unlicensed personnel needs to be stopped. Telling our stories of abuse is how we will shed light on this topic and making those in authority aware of the fact that TREATMENT for addictions and mental health issues is being advertised by unlicensed professionals in the IFB so-called church. In the United States a Dr cannot hang out a shingle advertising TREATMENT if they do not have a license…at-least that is what I was taught.

    Keep telling your stories of secondary IFB TREATMENT abuse and eventually we will get the attention of the media and the law.

  14. They preach salvation by faith alone . . .the “right kind” of faith though. It must be “saving faith.” I wonder if the expression “saving faith” is in the Bible or defined there? I can understand that demons have faith, but are not saved–they believe and tremble. But they are certainly not saved. They exist in a spiritual reality; we however do not. Was not the Philippians jailor told to believe in Christ and he would be saved and his family? Demons don’t believe–no, they can’t believe that Jesus came to die for them because He did not–Jesus died for us. Demons have no hope of salvation so their faith is irrelevant. Our faith in Jesus is not irrelevant. We can believe and it makes all the difference to us. To me the preaching that our faith must and can only be a certain kind of faith (ie “saving faith) is heresy.

    They also preach that sanctification after salvation comes through works (ie–holy living). Works are evidence of being saved–of possessing true “saving faith.” Yet we all fail, every day, all the time, for the rest of our earthly lives. So does that mean when we do fail, we lose our salvation because we did a wrong work that is evidence of a lack of saving faith? This perhaps explains why they are so quick to judge others spiritual condition based upon works. If our works are sufficient for sanctification, then why not salvation? How can we through our own works conjure up the holiness needed to satisfy a holy God in terms of sanctifying ourselves? This too–the idea that engaging in a program of works after salvation–it too is heresy.

    What are these works? More Bible study. more prayer, more fervent prayer, more giving, more serving, attending more services, doing everything the pastor says without question, more Bible study, more witnessing, more soul winning, more serving, more giving, more prayer, more guilt, more prayer, more coming forward, more dedication, more giving, more serving, more works . . . . we get the idea. Not one whit of it makes any difference. Not one whit impresses God because HE regards all of my best works as filthy rags. Our own righteous, holy living is an offense to a holy God so far as we think we are impressing Him. The only righteousness that is good enough is that which Christ provides to sinners like us who fail every day.

    The IFB/BJU brand of salvation may be based on faith, but the rest is based on works. The rest is heresy. As their followers keep striving for this “Freedom that Lasts” they will keep falling short and failing again and again and again . . . until they turn their backs on God for good, or attempt–and perhaps succeed–at suicide. Such a way of life . . . . is so sad . . . . What a false masquerade they live through this mingling of faith plus works.

  15. Cathy,
    I perceive you to be very bitter and you likely have not forgiven these people who you claimed “abused” you for their wrongs.

    As far as Jim Berg saying he couldn’t help you. He was correct. You can’t be helped as long as bitterness lurks in your soul. The best thing for you to do will be to forgive and move on. You won’t ever forget–God doesn’t command that; but you must forgive.

    We don’t know each other, but I also suspect that you’re a very deeply troubled, hurting, and lonely person. Your anger level precludes the possibility of your having too many friends, because bitter, angry people are like wounded dogs who snarl and lash out at those who attempt to get close enough to help them.

    Until you see yourself as a sinner in need of God’s live and grace, you will never be healed. Once you’ve found salvation in Christ, God’s grace will enable you to forgive everyone–even your those who “abused” you. The choice is yours–allow bitterness to define your life, or find and extend forgiveness through Christ.

    I am praying for you.

    Pastor Al

    • Dear Al,

      Your moniker says “pastor” but you sound like an angry ass yourself. I can tell by the “tone” of your “loving” response that you don’t believe a “word” of Cathy’s “story”.

      To think that a “pastor” or “under-shepherd” (as the “Bible” calls it) would have so little compassion as to lash out at a person he doesn’t know … must be you are a “defender” of the “faith”. Where did you get your seminary training? From an “ad” for a “Bible school” on the back of a “Chick tract”?

      You really don’t have a clue, do you buddy? I happen to know plenty of friends of Cathy and we – wait, you’ll be “shocked” at this – ACTUALLY BELIEVE HER!!!

      You see, her story (and the crap with that fakir Berg is a part of it) is far more than abuse. It will take more than you little “magic wand verses” to reach forgiveness on this one. Even getting through each day is a major ordeal for her. But I can assure you, she’s far from lonely. She has resources beyond what your tiny little Fundy warped mind can even imagine.

      People like you make me sick. You are like a recurring case of poison ivy – just constantly irritating with zero positive to add. I’m sure we are all grateful you will “pray” for her Al. I’m sure your “prayers” as some “exalted, chosen man-o-gawd” mean so much. I’m sure your pompous attitude “impresses” my Father every time you speak out like that Pharisee Jesus told us about. Yeah – keep up those “prayers” dear “pastor” … or should I call you “sheep fleecer”.

      Cathy has learned more of who Christ is than you ever will. Her theology, even while she’s struggling, out strips your narrow view of a vengeful, punitive God by so much that you and your ilk can never comprehend it. You spit on Grace while claiming its worth! Frankly, you make me sick.

      And as for pointing out the extreme danger Berg is offering to line is retirement fund … go do some actual research, Al. You really think God will be pleased the first time some tormented soul kills herself based on the idiocy and arrogance Berg (and by extension YOU) offer?

      Go troll somewhere you are “respected”. I know, all that just makes you feel like I “abused” you, doesn’t it. See how much fun quotation marks can be?

    • Pastor Al: You presume to have inside knowledge regarding Cathy’s heart and the condition of her soul that only God could have by implying:

      – in the first paragraph that she has likely not forgiven
      – in the 2nd paragraph that she has bitterness in her heart
      – in the 3rd paragraph that she is deeply troubled, hurting, and lonely.
      – in the 4th paragraph you imply that she is not saved

      How can you begin to know how many friends she has based on a blog? And then the most shocking to me is that you presume to judge the state of her soul by implying that she is not a Believer.

      Brother, did God come down and anoint you with some amazing gift of knowledge that He hasn’t given the rest of us. Because if that is so, sign me up for some of that. Actually, no, don’t sign me up for that, because that would prevent me from getting to know someone in a deeper and more compassionate way and sharing the love of God in a real an ongoing way as Christ instructs us to do.

      Pastor Al – based on your words here to someone who has been abused, I would like to challenge you to examine your heart to see if you were truly called to be what God expects from shepherds – someone who defends the hurting sheep. I fear for those hurting sheep who might venture into your church and be further victimized by your insensitivity, rudeness, and spiritual abuse.

    • null

      Pastor Al,

      Why thank you. I’ve been called bitter and angry for being what you call unforgiving.

      Thank you for being the Holy Spirit in my life.

      I’ve also experienced a few pastors put quotes around the word abused.

      What I never had done once before was be witnessed to and called wounded, snarling, lashing out dog at the same time.

      That would be a female dog too. Since I am a woman.

      And, according to you, good pastor, I am a “very deeply troubled, hurting, and lonely person” without “too many friends.”

      You may want to reconsider your career choice and become a psychic. (Although, perhaps not, you’re not too good.)

      All that and you don’t know me?

      Why thank you, Pastor Al, for being edifying.

      Makes me what to run straightaway into the arms of your god.

      • I’ve never met a so-called “professing Christian” with such a mean-spirited heart.
        Are you saved? If so, I can hardly wait until you stand before the Lord to receive your reward. Doubt you’ll be hearing “well good thy good and faithful servant.” I can’t find anything biblical in your “crusade” of your “tell-all” story against Jim Berg and others who are serving their Lord. I wonder how many you’ve led to the Lord? How many you’ve discipled?
        Instead you’re putting stumbling blocks out because of your bitterness. Woe under those who are a stumbling block that keep others from the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ!

      • Let’s get real: Good works, such as how much someone has done to “serve the Lord,” does not serve as a moral pass for anything. To imply, or even formulate an indirect, roundabout rationale, that decades of “winning souls” somehow mitigates the gravity of the cover-ups child of sexual abuse, and/or harmful counseling and such is not only a distortion of the Gospel, but its appalling lack of basic human decency that it defies description. It’s precisely that mentality that has enabled so much abuse to occur within the Church, including the abuses such as Cathy endured is no less than hell on earth precisely because too many Christians, for far too long, drank Kool-Aid that Christian leaders somehow get a pass or could do no wrong.

    • If you don’t know Cathy, then keep your opinions to yourself, “Pastor”. You are not the Holy Spirit. You have no right whatsoever to speak into her life. You have no right to judge her or anyone else as to their state before the Almighty.

      • tiquatue.

        Cathy is making allegations on the internet before the world. Cathy’s actions may well cause the world to scoff and damages the cause of Christ. Potentially turn people away from the Savior to the point they’ll never receive Jesus as their Savior.

        I doubt if she has followed. Matthew 18: 15-17

        “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

        I Timothy 5:19 says:
        “Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses.”

        Did Cathy go to Dr. Berg alone? If she did and he refused to hear her, where are her 2 or 3 witnesses? If Dr. Berg refused to hear Cathy and her 2 or 3 witnesses, did she take it to the church?

      • “Pastor” Al, Cathy going to him à la Matt. 18 would accomplish nothing. Cathy knew this and knows this. As for taking it to the “church”, I need not remind you that BJU is not a church. As Jim Berg is/was in the upper echelon of power at the University, his position protected him from any repercussions. After all, who was going to believe her? (Other than her friends here and now.)

        For a man who professes to be an undershepherd of Christ, you have very little compassion. I have to wonder what *your* spiritual status is before the Lord. The evidence you have placed before us with your words and attitude belie your calling or any fruit of the Spirit in your life.

      • Al, what is wrong with you ? Where is the wise and tender
        shepherd ? Who are you really ? I have looked and looked for
        a wise shepherd among the clergy, and NEVER found one. I am 60 y/o now and no longer looking. The Lord is my Shepherd – alone. “Where is your flock ,[Al], your beautiful
        flock ?”

        Most Sincerely,
        Elizabeth Lunn

    • Pharisee Al.

      The irony here is you sir, who has never invested one millisecond in getting to know Cathy, but you stand in her judgement? You call her bitter and angry?

      Add me to your list of bitter and angry. You see, over the last several months, I’ve had to opportunity to get to know Cathy. The precious little girl she was, was victimized over and over by professing Christians. Those professing Christians did what they did in His name. Every last one of them abused this precious soul in His name!
      I’ve sat and wept as I’ve read legal and other documents that prove an unmistakable and corroborated paper trail of a depth of horror, pain and depravity on a level to which no one should ever be subjected. I’m angry at professing Christians, such as you, Al, who to this day want to stand critical over Cathy for her emotional and spiritual scars.

      I think my Savior is pretty angry too.

      You never will allow yourself to hear and see the victory she portrays as she attempts to help others. I know she does indeed help others while at the same time I hear her brokenness in her voice. There is beauty, and depth of character in someone such as Cathy, that you Al, will never know despite her reality of how her abuse has affected every aspect of her life.

      • Dear Another Friend,
        Ever hear the phrase, “While you’re pointing at another person there are three fingers pointing back at you?” Now, with that being said…

        I’m someone who has gone against the grain of your liberal Christianity. I’m someone who doesn’t follow popular neo-evangelical teachings and often find myself in debates with other “professing Christians: who like call me a Pharisee. Is it because I stick with what Scripture teaches and don’t twist and distort the Gospel to suit itching ears. Those guilty of using this word. Pharisee, as an insult, use it as a means to call another “legalistic”. In this modern day, If you were to REALLY study scriptures and start taking a stand against the rampant heresy in modern American Christianity, you are viewed as legalistic.
        But, I suspect,you don’t study your Bible, if you follow what someone simply said is true. Why?Because Cathy calls herself a “Christian” or her story makes you “feel good” to feel sorry for Cathy and then you others “Pharisees?”

        I know of no other way to put this then to say “STOP IT!” You don’t know what you’re talking about.

        You should take time to know the True Gospel. You should know Him. You should know and have a relationship with this God of yours! Not any old kind of relationship or whatever suits you and your lifestyle…the one He requires based in and on Scripture. You have the Scriptures and if, still, you don’t study for yourself and willingly allow some popular “Christian” teacher with their popular messages to lead you by a hook through the nose then you have no excuse.

        I feel sorry for you. I will pray you will be convicted and repent of your admitted bitterness as it is opposite of the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

    • Oh great, another one of these idiots.

      First, you say you don’t know her, but you deny the abuse. Shut the hell up, dude. You just said it…. you don’t know, so why make the assumption right off the bat? Do you think she wasn’t abused? Or do you think it’s awesomesauce to beat up and do even worse to pre-school age children, so it isn’t really abuse?

      Also, you know that “bitter” card you sin-protecting Fundies like to play? Shove it. So, suffering from someone else’s sin is bitterness, but the person actually committing the sin… you know, the abusers… get a pass? Pervert.

      See, So-called “Pastor”… your precious Fundamentalism is noting but a sick perversion of the true faith in Jesus Christ. While Jesus will forgive abusers, Fundies just let them run wild in their churches. While Jesus has harsh words for those who would harm children, Fundies have harsh words for the children after they have been harmed and don’t do anything to help them heal. But please, dude, keep talking. Keep showing the world how perverted Fundamentalism really is. Keep showing us how it is actually horribly Darwinian and sexually perverted at its core, and how any resemblance to true faith is a rare and not always desirable coincidence.

      We’re the ones who should be praying for you… but we know you won’t give up your sin. The power and control that comes with Fundamentalism is too great to resist once you earn or scam that “Pastor” title, and you won’t give it up because condemning others and saying God is fine with it feels so good to you.

    • I feel sorry for you P. Al. I really do.

      You don’t know someone, and yet look at all you ‘perceive’ about that person. I would bet your the type that tends to see evil in almost everything. If individuals doesn’t believe as you believe, think as you think…you have all kinds of ugly opinions of them. When did Jesus condone that approach? Never! Did you miss that part?

      Sadly, if you check your bible that approach is not in there. The message of grace, compassion, humility towards the hurting is repeated continuously…yet you missed it somewhere. I don’t understand HOW that can happen! Being mean and ugly to others that could be hurting is never mentioned in the bible.

      I realize you can use scripture to say things you want it too, but normally with people that project their issues upon others as you have presented so well today? They couldn’t handle even the best of the best showing them their error. They tend to get very defensive, emotional, and throw out the ‘bitter’ card to shut down the conversation. Truth is too uncomfortable. That can be true for everyone, but there are those that tend to live in their own ‘truth’ and reject anything that doesn’t line up with it. That seems to be your world. What a small world you isolate yourself in. God doesn’t call you to that!

      You can’t be helped until you release your conceit and attitude. Its choice. You would rather attack then forgive yourself, and yes of course ‘preach’ about commands and forgiveness as a response. Yes, its true people have the choice to live out the self righteous attitude and behavior. They have the choice to say to heck with those hurting…I don’t need to reach them as Jesus would have me do! I have a better formula.

      Yes, go ahead and snarl and lash out at those attempting to warn others about your ‘vision’. We realize you can’t forgive them, because you see that riddled all though you statements. Its sad to see people live with so much hate and contempt in their hearts. Jesus would ask you to release that, but I don’t know if you are capable…sadly.

      I pray that the Lord releases you from such a critical spirit. He wants so much more for you.

    • This is a helpful comment, Jeremy. Thank you for posting it. I have walked that journey of trying to figure out what “saving faith” was. I worked for it till I thought one more attempt would kill me. I heard repeatedly that I still wasn’t righteous enough. I had to try harder. It’s a bit ironic to me that they pounce on Catholicism, calling it a religion of works, yet IFB is perhaps even more so.
      I was one who couldn’t earn their god’s favor no matter how hard I tried. People who have been abused are automatically cast out of their system. The abusers are welcome, just not their victims.
      I’ve only recently understood just how welcome offenders are in high positions of ministry. Somehow, they are not seen as a problem. Their victims, however, are forever condemned in their religion.
      I would like to someday hear the explanation for that.

    • Yep, bro’, I don’t think he’ll take up your offer. I, for one, would be honored to shake your hand. You are a hero.

  16. Another IFB pastors reveals to us what we have been hearing and seeing for generations. Thanks pastor Al because you just demonstrated the truth of how Cathy has been treated in your mean and meaningless comments. May God Bless You as you continue your ministry or should I say Boot you.

  17. Hey “Pastor Al” What superpower do you possess that allows you to see into another person’s soul and make some kind of judgment about there spiritual condition. Seems you are filled with the pride of your father the Devil to think so highly about yourself. Get off your high horse and repent.

  18. Pingback: Biblical Counseling: Is it Always Safe? – And Pastoral Response to Abuse Survivor | Spiritual Sounding Board

  19. Pastor Al or, as Jesus would address you, White-Washed Sepulcher:

    I perceive you to be a man who likes extra starch on his shirts, not to mention your shorts. To apply your anti-Biblical thinking more broadly, I am certain you would forgive your rapist, your wife’s rapist, and those of your children. In your twisted and heretical exegesis, the sinned-against are owed no restitution.

    Your rhetoric is the definition of cheap grace. You see no beauty in those who hunger and thirst for righteous and whose blood cries out from under the altar, “How long, O Lord?!”, for righteous judgment to be meted out against false teachers like you.

    I’m sure you asked Jesus into your heart at some point but years of chasing after your “recipes” for easy Christian living, your heart has shrunk and Jesus moved on to friendlier environs.

    Cathy’s story of religious fakirs who burden their flock with yokes they are unwilling to carry, her horrific abuse that should rent our hearts before a just God is both terrifying and awe inspiring. God will hold her near His bosom and hold the church accountable for, not its omission, but it’s willful stubborn lethargy, denial, and beating the downtrodden. Al, you may very well be calling up for God to send Cathy down to spare your agony with a cup of water. And, wretched as you are, Al, I just bet that Cathy would do it – not because you carry some ridiculous title, but because Cathy’s scars have made her a better person than most of us feeble posters. She’s simply a good, God-loving, compassionate fellow sinner who happens to know grace on a way you could only dream about.

    If you had half a brain and a heartbeat, you’d be asking Cathy to forgive you and to pray for you. She’s a lot closer to enjoying His joyous welcome than you are.

  20. Dear “Pastor” Al:

    Since you feel so at ease with casting your stones of judgment at Cathy, then I trust you are without sin yourself. You certainly don’t represent the Christ of the Bible because He did not cast any stones at the woman taken in adultery –and He was without sin. You merely assume Cathy is lying and pass all your personal judgments upon her as though you actually believe you are the mouthpiece of god to us all. You haven’t a clue as to the height or depth of your most supreme personal arrogance. Does your heart break for the hurt felt by lost souls? Clearly not with the vindictive, compassion-less, presumptuous words you speak. All you have accomplished is to make yourself and those like you look like the south end of a northbound donkey. Then you wonder why people don’t flock to your churches and altars to get saved? Then you wonder why revival never really comes? The answer is right under your nose. I have received more of the love of Christ demonstrated by her toward me than you and those like you ever showed in 30 years of ministry. I have seen a saying several times: “Never push a loyal person to the point they no longer give a damn.” That is what you guys are doing to countless loyal followers and would be believers.

  21. Cathy, when I first read of the abuse you endured as a child and how Jim Berg treated you it brought tears to my eyes, but also a sense of relief that I was no longer alone. I too endured a very similar treatment from this man. After I was molested on the campus of Bob Jones University at age 13 he never reported the crime but counseled me about how it was normal to feel pleasure from the experience and to feel guilt. I was told to forgive and when I couldn’t because it didn’t seem like it was handled properly (I didn’t know the laws but was scared my abuser would harm other children), he was mad and told me never to call him back. I told him that college age men shouldn’t have access to the junior high girls in a certain situation on campus. He said, “Don’t tell us what to do!” After this I went to my Bob Jones approved church and pastor for help who then went and told Berg all my personal confidences. Berg told me, “No man in Greenville will want to counsel you!!!” I was an adult by this point and felt so bad about my self I tried to kill myself several times in my early 20s. One time in high school I overdosed and was told that Berg said I “ran a red light but could come back to school.” I never received professional help. Berg also advised that I be sent to an Independent Fundamental Baptist Girls Home where I was abused and tortured. When I first read that he was opening a Women’s Home I thought it was a joke. Why does he want access to women? He probably doesn’t get to do his creepy counseling any more because he is no longer dean of students. This man should not have access to women and wants to operate beyond his “scope of practice”. This is not about my personal dislike of Jim Berg. It is about how I know he will harm more women in the future. Are there any testimonies of one woman who was sexually abused and helped by Jim Berg’s counseling?

    • Dear Wounded,

      You are not alone … that much is certain. There are many more like Cathy who have endured this but the silence is being broken. Many of us grieve for your pain and the way you were treated by Berg. His “counseling” is nothing short of dangerous.

      I urge you to reach out to GRACE about your abuse and neglect at BJU. They are responsible for what they did and GRACE will listen and not condemn. Believe me when I say there are many working to bring Light and True Grace to this evil that has gone on far too long.

      And know that any “god” represented by Berg is not the Father I and my friends know.

      Mark

    • Dear Wounded,

      It deeply saddens me to hear you the way you were treated by Jim Berg. I’m so very sorry.
      Not only did I experience things very similar to what you experienced from Jim Berg, I know of many others that experienced similar things too.
      No, you’re not alone. But for me, it shows the depth of whole stinking cesspool that is Berg’s so-called “counseling” that has hurt so many, many, many vulnerable people.

      You were 13! Berg told you it was normal to feel pleasure and guilt. Ugh! Then he never reported the fact a 13 year old girl was molested by an adult man! You had more sense than he did with your concern for other young girls!

      Berg told me to feel pleasure was something of which to needed to “beg God forgiveness.”
      “Don’t tell us what to do!”
      “No man in Greenville will want to counsel you!!!”

      Again, those quotes are so familiar.

      Berg is diabolical.

    • Wounded, you are certainly not alone. I had to deal with Fremont’s poison myself. The only person at BJU who was compassionate to me was Gladin, and I heard he got treated badly at the end of his life. Fremont undid the good that Gladin began. Fremont left years of damage behind for so many people, and Berg is carrying on that toxic, anti-redemptive legacy. But now… You know they are poison. You are free to seek truly competent medical and mental heath care without fear or shame. Berg and company wouldn’t know true help and compassion if they saw it.

  22. Dearest Wounded.
    I was so sad to hear yet another young girl was further abused in counseling after being sexually abused. Let me tell you if you had walked into my office as a 13 year old I would as a therapist I would have been legally bound to stop the interview with you, call the police and wait with you to be sure you were safe until the police got you to a hospital for a sexual abuse Nurse to gather evidence. The police then would have arrested the man who harmed you. The focus would have been on your recovery from that point forward. The counseling that you received was harmful to you and I am so thankful you survived to become the young woman you appear to be today. I also agree that GRACE should be informed of your mistreatment. The only way to stop these IFB homes from opening up is for those who have suffered at the hands of this king of counseling to share their experience as you have here. They are slippery and slide between the cracks using religious freedoms we have here in America to set up these COUNSELING systems that further harm victims and set criminals free to abuse again. Thank you for your courage to reach out to others with your story, We need more who will also shed a light on this abusive counseling practice
    they called CHRISTIAN that has nothing to do with God from what I can see. I am a mother of 2 minors boys who were sexually abused at a sister institution called Marantha Baptist Bible College and we suffered as you have at the hand of this IFB counseling and 2 abusers are free today.. I became a therapist to help others. Thank you for your courage.

  23. The Bible views women and men as equally responsible before God for their sin. However, the church has followed the world into viewing women such as Cathy and others innocent victims with their “mistakes” being due to such things as a bad husband, abuse as a child, “bad counselor,” or chemical imbalance.

    How many women have had only “good men” in their lives? Her article leads me to assume she means that her male associates have been wife beaters and child molesters. Even if that were true however, Scripture does not divide mankind into good and bad. It simply says that no one is good or does good. All have turned away and are unrighteous (Romans 3: 10-12).

    This is basic view of women is rampant within the modern church, even though it is in direct disobedience to Jesus’ directive not to judge (Matthew 7:1). Cathy and all of those commenting here, makes a judgment of another person’s heart by adopting the doctrinal base of the insight-oriented therapy industry. She views the woman as essentially innocent, a clean slate written upon by an evil environment, and controlled by her past, which comes bubbling up in ways the “wounded woman” does not recognize. Only someone like Cathy, trained to read the symbols and can know this woman in ways that Scripture ascribes only to God. Via certain special, Gnostic knowledge, available only to an educated elite with psychology degrees. Hence Cathy has adopted secular thinking and actions defined which produces feminist philosophy.

    What does Scripture say is the problem when a woman refuses to acknowledge the headship of her husband in the home or participates worshiping female secretions? The Bible makes no allowance whatsoever for the “wounded woman”, instead the Bible simply says that refusal to take our place in God’s order is reason for God’s judgment. (Jude 6,7)

    Cathy then turned to the mindset of the psychotherapist, that says that the woman needs healing of her pain before she is able to respond to truth. Remember that the cities into which the apostles moved were not filled with “good men.” These cities were at least as depraved as the places where you and I live. Yet the apostles did not approach either male or female with the diagnosis of wounding nor did they ever suggest that truth could not be accepted until the pain was healed.

    Read Acts 16:13-15, about the women whom Paul found praying together. Note what the Scripture says. No issue is made at all as to whether Lydia was surrounded by “good men.” No mention is made of the people with whom Lydia grew up or with whom she lived at the time. That seems strangely beside the point, does it not? Are we going to read between the lines and imagine that Paul spoke a different gospel to these women, because no men were present? If this were the case, would not Luke have recorded at least a portion of this crucial variation?

    It is unlikely that this woman dealing in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira had grown up without pain. It is equally unlikely that Lydia had achieved what the therapeutic community calls “healing of her pain” before Paul arrived. Yet Scripture tells us that Lydia responded to the truth of Paul’s message. How could such a thing be?

    Luke does not tell us whether these women who gathered outside the city gate by the river had rebelliously left home against the wishes of the “good men” in their life. Had their fathers and husbands beat them? Perhaps their parental figures locked them in the basements of their day? Since Lydia is described as a Godfearer, it is not likely this was a group of lesbians seated in a ritualistic circle seeking to blend with Gaia down by the river. Beyond that, we can come to few conclusions about the home life of these women. Surely we should note that the inspired Word of God does not emphasize the influence of the men present in the lives of these women to whom Paul spoke. Circumstances, such as their environment, their past, or their “father-image,” do not appear to determine their ability to respond to Truth.

    Look carefully at what Lydia did. She opened her heart, responded to Paul’s message with obedience in baptism, and began serving her God through hospitality. There is no hint that Lydia had a self-centered motive in this hospitality, desiring the preachers to stay at her house so she could get time with them to pour out details of past abuse by bad men in her life. There is no hint that Lydia was seeking any apostolic 12-step program to heal her wounded heart.

    Is Lydia’s case unique? Look at Acts 5:1-11. Note that Peter quizzes Sapphira in the same way that he questioned Ananias. Peter does not analyze Sapphira’s upbringing; neither does he seem to consider what kind of men Sapphira had in her life. God’s Word gives us no permission to assume that Sapphira lied about the price of the land in order to gain worth and value as a woman. Peter shows no concern as to whether Sapphira was searching for security and significance, and he does not seem to have been informed of Sapphira’s need for healing of her pain before she could respond to truth.

    Had they lived in our era, Ananias may even have modeled the seven promises of a Promise Keeper and Sapphira may even have helped him model what in our age is called abuse by patriarchy. However, about three hours after Ananias fell down and died for having lied to God, Sapphira did the same. There is no hint that the three hour delay was spent investigating Sapphira for codependency, panic disorder, depression, adult ADHD, PTSD, etc.

    It must be emphasized that Sapphira was not excused due to wounding by a dishonest husband. It is no minor issue for church leaders to present a woman’s sin as healed by “a godly man who loves and blesses her as a woman,” facing “her woundedness,” repenting “of bitterness and unforgiveness,” and releasing “her pain to Jesus.” When a woman has accepted feminist philosophy, she needs far more than “the faithful love of a good man and her willingness to forgive those who had wounded her.” The church today seems content taking theology from romance novels or from the channel playing old movies.
    Scripture says that Jesus is the Truth, the fulfillment and end of the law, the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end. Freedom comes from the Messiah; it is not vice-versa and it cannot be so. My freedom is not the fulfillment, the omega; my freedom is not the goal, the end. Scripture gives me no license to make God’s Truth some ill-defined secondary luxury nice to have around after a “good man” or man’s techniques have healed my wounded heart. This is no minor theological issue!

    Paul said that they “perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thes. 2:10-12).

    Sin is not produced, as Cathy attempt to excuse herself, by an assault on a woman’s person at some points in her past. Beware of terminology that lacks definition. Paul said, “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:1,2). Today’s church would do well to remember this warning about intellectualized, silly terminology. Sort through the fancy talk with its compassionate-sounding words, because it is basically saying that my sin is produced by my environment. We cannot afford to forget that Eve became a feminist in the perfect environment. Her grandfather had not molested her, her father had not ignored her, her brother had not sexually derided her, her husband had not slapped her, and male friends had not ridiculed her. Scripture says you and I fall for the lie for the same reason as Eve did. We would love to gain the wisdom and be like God. We would love to be in the driver’s seat. We hope that via a good husband, good parenting, visualization techniques, hypnosis, positive thinking, forgiveness methods, weigh-down—whatever fad is passing through—we can be set free. And, if we can use some Jesus-words as a means, then all the better!

    Christian leaders, both conservative and liberal, are taking their doctrine from the same father of lies and thus are taking women in the same destructive direction. Cathy’s problem is not the men in her life (and that is not to say that men are all models of righteousness). Her problem is not what Daddy did. Her problem is her own sin and rebellion. If environmental wounding is Cathy’s problem, she has no hope but will limp for the rest of her life. However, if sin is her problem, Jesus has died for that.

    Lidie Edmunds wrote a hymn in the 19th century, and I think we can safely say she would not have fallen for the “wounded woman” deception.

    My faith has found a resting place,

    Not in device or creed;

    I trust the everliving One,

    His wounds for me shall plead.

    I need no other argument,

    I need no other plea.

    It is enough that Jesus died,

    And that He died for me.

    That is really the only question for you and for me. Is it enough that Jesus died; IS IT ENOUGH!

    • Al … slow down and complete a thought. You are mad at Cathy because she is a woman (was a girl) who was abused horribly by multiple men not to mention Cleo? You can’t understand the actual psychological issues at play here, so you start spouting off random verses and stories?

      You need to get a grip … and maybe a stiff drink. You’re rambling and making (if it’s possible) an even bigger ass out of yourself.

      I mean, is this what your “sermons” sound like? I feel sorry for your sheeple, buddy.

    • Al,

      Before I thought you were a hateful moron. Now I fear you are in serious need of some fresh hinges. You swing so wildly and randomly I’m hard-pressed to decide what of the BS and scripture torturing is even worth addressing.

      Al, you are the practicing Gnostic here, divining doctrine from stories and forcing scriptures where they were never intended to go.

      Your take on psychology intrigues me. To use your description, I work in a field that requires special degrees and certifications available only to a select few. That you are lending your inconsiderable thoughts to this blog means that you are a willing participant in the Internet infrastructure I have helped create and maintain (no thanks to Al Gore).

      At the time the scriptures were written there were prohibitions against cadaver dissections. As science has progressed we have amassed great knowledge about how we work. Pharmaceuticals (of which you should avail yourself, preferably under the care of a board certified psychiatrist) have brought about effective treatments and cures to previously mysterious conditions. You may be disappointed that you no longer need to have your shadow pass over a leper since it is an easily treatable condition.

      I’m sure that you refuse all medical options (like the Jehovah’s Witnesses) since doing so would call into question your faith in God’s ability to heal. I mean, none of these are scriptural, right?

      My advice, Al, is to go to Home Depot and pick up a fresh set of hinges and then check yourself in to a sanitarium. You’ve got some delusional issues.

      As for your judgment upon judgment you choose to heap upon Cathy, I can only pray that you never see your wife, daughter, or son endure half of what you evil people have perpetrated against this woman. Given the choice, I know Jesus would spend His time hanging with Cathy and Gary than with Pharisees like you.

    • Pastor Al,
      At this time, I am hoping you are having enough of our direct response to you. To all our friends here, can I be blunt?
      1. Al will never see what we are trying to do, he will never understand your suffering, your abuse.
      2. He is focused on his narrow understanding of God and His words. His severe lack of understanding of the complex struggles of humans and Christianity as a whole is your major marker of the this man’s ignorance.
      3. My best guess is that he is in his early 20s to early 30s, fresh grad, possibly married and started his ministry not too long ago.
      4. We are wasting our time responding to him, because he is blind, stupid and has no compassion for the victims.
      5. We deserve far more than this and dealing with this man, honestly is not even healthy….(for me)…….

    • Al, what the hell are you talking about? You are simply making garbage up at this point.

      But seriously, thank you for your words. You and your ilk keep proving how perverted, twisted, sick, evil, un-compassionate, and un-Christlike Fundamentalism is. I mean.. wow, even those of us who left it can’t even expose its corruption that well.

      FTR, Cathy is in no way a Gnostic. FAR FROM IT. OTOH, Fundamentalism has so many parallels with Gnosticism that for it to accuse anyone else of it is the height of lunacy.

      BTW, Al, I have to wonder… would you be so up in anyone’s grill about forgiving sexual abuse and torture if it had been your own body that was violated and abused? My personal suspicion is no. You’d be screaming from the rooftops for justice for yourself. I suspect you’d instantly become of ultimate hypocrite.

  24. OMG, after reading the comments of so-called Pastor Al (are you sure you aren’t Jim Berg), I feel like i need to duct tape my head to keep my mind from exploding. Pastor Al, you need to shut your mouth because you are a fool. Before you write me off as one of Cathy’s bitter friends, let me assure you that I am not bitter but I am on to you. I know the game you are playing here because you are like my father – you have a verse for everything but ZERO compassion. So unlike Jesus who was moved with compassion when he saw those who were broken and hurting. You are a Bible Thumper that uses the Bible like my father did – to hurt other people and make yourself feel superior. I was sexually abused by my preacher father for 10 years when I was a child and my father used the Bible too. He would take me out of my bed at night while I was asleep to his office where he was studying for his sermons. His Bible was always open and he reminded me what was in it – “Honor your father and children obey your parents”. My father brainwashed me to believe that it was my duty to God to let him abuse me. You are like my father – using your Bible to try to snare someone to believe your brand of religion. I don’t think you need to worry about Cathy standing before God, she will hear those words “Welcome good and faithful servant” but I am afraid you will hear “Depart from me – I never knew you”. You obviously don’t know Jesus because you act nothing like him. Jesus is loving and kind, full of compassion and mercy. I have seen none of those attributes in you. The Bible says that “by their fruits you shall know them”, and I see no fruit in your words that would indicate that you know Jesus. You are just a religious Pharisee who arrogantly walks on other people to try to make yourself feel superior. Jesus called people like you snakes and often chewed you out for your haughty attitude towards others. How dare you treat Cathy the way you have treated her? Who gave you the right to come in here and insult every one of us who have been abused? Your words are nasty and vile.

    Charlene, my heart broke when I read your story and how Jim Berg treated you. I am disgusted that he told you you needed to repent for feeling pleasure being raped. This raises a big red flag for me and makes me wonder why Berg would even say this to you and others. Does he have a perverted obsession with this? Makes me want to vomit to think that a man of his ilk would run a home for girls in crisis. Please be assured that the people who dealt with you were not godly people – they were snakes. They took advantage of your pain and heaped condemnation and shame on you that did not belong to you. I can understand you losing your faith. I hope in time you will experience the love of your true heavenly father who is nothing like the jerks who insulted you.

    Pastor Al, you need to shut your mouth and leave this blog. You are contributing nothing and are only here to preach to us and throw around your obscure verses that seem to support your cause. If you intend to pound any of these survivors into the dirt with your Bible thumping, you have met your match – I will personally challenge you to the point where you will never want to come here again. You are nothing but a fake and a fraud.

    As for Jim Berg, I pray to God that this Freedom Home can be stopped before it opens. This man has no business dealing with girls in crisis. I have had two nervous breakdowns and I can’t imagine having someone throwing Bible verses at me at a time like that. I was grateful that I got the correct medical care I needed. Anyone with Berg’s idiotic ideas about mental health and dealing with addictions simply does not know what they are talking about. He is using people as guinea pigs to promote his stupid teaching. Who does he want to be – Basic Bill (Bill Gothard)? Cathy, I share your concern for how dangerous it would be to have him practice medicine without a license. Berg has already damaged people in his counseling – God help us if he has victims locked up in his facility for 6 months with no outside intervention. This is what cults do.

    To anyone who has been victimized by Berg and others at BJU, I plead with you to contact GRACE and tell them your story. We have to stop these people who prey on the vulnerable and kick people when they are down. We have to stop this nonsense that mental illness is sin.

    Pastor Al, you are a maggot and leach – you have nothing to give – you only want to take. Your comments to Cathy were repulsive. Shame on you for masquerading as a man of God – you are no man of God. You are mean-spirited, nasty, obnoxious, offensive, repugnant, disgusting, nauseating, despicable and intolerable. Go away and read your Bible and pay attention to the words in red letters. They are words that Jesus said. I know you don’t know him but listen to the words he said and ask the Holy Spirit to take out that heart of stone in you and give you a heart of compassion and love. If you ever have a personal experience with Jesus, your heart will burst with love and compassion for Cathy and you will want to see those who have hurt her brought to justice. I know that it is nearly impossible for a guy like you to change – it will take a definite miracle. In the meantime, shut your mouth and leave us alone.

    • Linda, let Al keep talking. I agree with you that he adds nothing to the conversation. I agree that he’s bad news. He’s truly repulsive. But think about it… people like him and that Cindy chick are the absolute best arguments FOR the corruption of Fundamentalism, its moral bankruptcy, and its spiritual emptiness. He’s doing more to expose the worthless evil of Fundamentalism than any of us on the outside ever could.

      Expose it ALL, Al! Your faith is worthless! Your heart is most likely nonexistent! Show the world the truth… your religion is a hateful lie with no hope of redemption.

  25. So, I have to ask: who is Pastor Al? Is it Al Van Osten?

    Pastor Al, unless you identify yourself, you are a coward. Tell us who you really are.

    By the way, I am using my real identity.

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