Churches That Abuse: A Study

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CHURCHES THAT ABUSE: HELP FOR THOSE HURT BY LEGALISM, AUTHORITARIAN LEADERSHIP, SPIRITUAL INTIMIDATION, by Ronald M. Enroth [Zondervan Publishing House, 1992]

“A central theme of this book is that spiritual abuse can take place in the context of doctrinally sound, Bible preaching, fundamental, conservative Christianity. All that is needed for abuse is a [leader] accountable to no one and therefore beyond confrontation.” (p. 203)

“Abusive religion substitutes human power for true freedom in Christ. Unquestioning obedience and blind loyalty are its hallmarks. Leaders who practice spiritual abuse exceed the bounds of legitimate authority and ‘lord it over the flock,’ often intruding into the personal lives of members.” (p. 235)

“A key element of discernment, then, is the recognition that potentially abusive churches foster an unhealthy form of dependency, spiritually and otherwise, by focusing on themes of submission and obedience to those in authority. They create the impression that people just aren’t going to find their way through life’s maze without a lot of firm directives from those at the top.” (p. 217)

And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them. And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them. Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord; As I live, saith the Lord God, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of
the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock; Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord; Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them. ~ Ezekiel 34:1-10

What is it that most deeply concerns us at The Student Voice, as well as hundreds and perhaps thousands of others who have been touched in some way by the PCC system, both good and bad? What is it that concerns us about PCC? It basically boils down to the fact that the trends, while not necessarily the end product yet, at PCC parallel very closely the practices of other cults and abusive religious groups: aggressive authoritarianism, resistance to all criticism, teaching obvious scriptural error, maintaining a perceived moral superiority, etc. These are not simply “preferences” which we can all casually disagree on and not expect the system to remain a benign institutional phenomenon. CHURCHES THAT ABUSE, by Ronald M. Enroth is a book that should be read by everyone interested in this debate, regardless of which side of the fence you happen to fall on. It is simply that important.

From the perspective of an institutionalized, formal religious practice, this book is a powerful expose on how overly authoritarian groups can destroy the individuality and spiritual discernment that God intended for us as Christians to possess and use. Authority is a requirement in all human endeavors, but when a human organization exceeds the rightful bounds of that authority, the results can be devastating. Power becomes the end result that feeds upon itself, and it becomes a ravenous cancer that eats away at the vulnerable and the undiscerning, those who are encouraged to swallow the institution’s philosophy hook, line and sinker without a peep.

Ronald Enroth has done a superb job in chronicling several abusive churches and religious organizations and pointing out the common themes that are common to these abusive practices. The problem I see is that there are numerous parallels with PCC. I am not stating the conclusion that “PCC is abusive;” but what I am stating is that there are many, too many in fact, parallels between the “system” and the “spirit” of PCC and these ultra-fringe abusive religious groups. I encourage you to question my words. I encourage
you to read the book for yourself, and see if you don’t draw the same parallels.

One of the problems we get into is that we fail to see the forest for the trees. PCC has a lot of rules – so what? PCC may be overly authoritative – so what? Once you graduate, it’s over – get on with it. But these are the insignificant trees that when we step back and see that these trees make up
the proverbial forest, the perspective changes. PCC is not simply a small college down in the panhandle that has a strict environment. PCC is an organization that has many of the same philosophies of other radical religious organizations and cults that we look upon with derision, and PCC teaches this “system” and ideology to the thousands of teachers, pastors, evangelists, and school administrators that it graduates EACH YEAR. These graduates – fortunately not all of them – go out, then, and further promulgate this same philosophy at other churches and Christian schools. These churches and Christian schools then multiply this legalistic, neo-fundamentalist philosophy to thousands of others, and where does it stop?

I know of people who are hurting and confused because of the treatment they received at PCC – you know, the place that has “Christian” tacked onto its name? But that is irrelevant to those who make the policy at PCC. The philosophy is “We have a right to pick and choose who we want, and we have the right to exclude who we want. Period.” Well, this may be true, but let’s not forget that these same people claim to be involved in a “ministry.”

A “ministry” is something that is characterized by those who “minister.” A ministry is usually more inclusive than it is exclusive, but PCC has managed to ignore the generally understood aspects of a “ministry” and has chosen to exercise its prerogatives in an extremely un-ministry like way – you know,
enforcing those rights which we supposedly do not have. But this is another topic for another time. . . .

Consider what this book has to say about the following three areas of abusive religious practices:

1.) General characteristics
2.) The leaders
3.) People who criticize

1. General Characteristics.
There are several characteristics that are common to the churches and organizations profiled in this book, and oddly enough, many of them sounded frighteningly familiar. You see, a movement or an institution, as well as an individual, can be analyzed by what characterizes their actions. This is not
a deep concept, but yet many seem to be blind to it when it comes to PCC. Consider these general characteristics:

a. A control-oriented leadership/environment.

From Churches That Abuse:

“Abusive churches, past and present, are first and foremost characterized by strong, control-oriented leadership. These leaders use guilt, fear, and intimidation to manipulate members and keep them in line. . . . Many areas of members’ lives are subject to scrutiny. Rules and legalism abound.” (pp. 32,33)

“The control mechanisms employed by the leadership covered a broad spectrum of behavior including dress, diet, work habits, personal style or mannerisms, prayer, Bible study [devotions], fasting, entertainment, jobs, and whether or not to have children.” (p. 138)

[From a description of the Boston Movement, an abusive church in New England;] ” Everyone’s Christian life was under scrutiny by someone, assigned by some level of authority; each member was confronted with observed faults, issued counsel, and followed up; each was encouraged to know the true state of his soul, its sins and weaknesses, and to confess these openly and honestly to others who have ministry and authority over him.” (p. 221)

“Most abusive churches make use of some kind of reporting system or surveillance pattern to insure conformity with group norms.” (p. 113)

Now This From 96/97 PCC Student Handbook:

“Every student is expected to maintain the standards of the College as well as do all within his power to encourage other students to maintain the standards. Students who know or SUSPECT that another student INTENDS to violate any rule of the school and do not ATTEMPT TO PREVENT the violation may be dealt with by the Discipline Committee.” [emphasis added] (p. 12)

A control-oriented leadership and environment is the most common characteristic of all the movements discussed. PCC has a very strong and control-centered leadership and structure, and without it, PCC would not have the “spirit” that it boasts to have. The cardinal sin on the campus of PCC is to cross paths with the leadership. That simply is not done. Why? Good question.

b. A strict, regimented system.

From Churches That Abuse:

[From a description of Shiloh, an abusive organization that boasted of its Bible school;] “Male-female relationships were strictly controlled to preserve propriety. ‘To avoid the appearance of evil,’ there was no touching of any kind between the sexes. . . the most minor flaws became the source of guilt and self-loathing.” (p. 61)

[Again, from a description of Shiloh;] “It mattered how you acted, how youtalked, even how you thought and looked.” (p. 62)

[From a Sunday bulletin at Community Chapel;] “Remember, we are our brother’s keeper. Please do your friends a favor when you see them making serious mistakes; tell your pastor or an elder so something can be done in time.” (p.114)

Now This From PCC:

[From the 96/97 PCC Student Handbook;] “With these goals in mind, the PCC policies are reinforced through a demerit system, which WE HAVE FOUND to be a reasonable system.” [emphasis added] (p. 34)

[From Dr. Horton’s comments regarding The Student Voice;] “. . . PCC does not have to be like other colleges or organizations. Our distinctive [sic] is that we are different.”

A strict, regimented environment is one of the hallmarks of PCC. Most of you know what it is like to face the common, “Oh, isn’t that the place with the pink and blue sidewalks?” sort of question when telling people that you attended PCC. No, PCC doesn’t have to be like other colleges, and they don’t HAVE to resemble true Christianity either.

c. Inconsistencies in guidelines.

From Churches That Abuse:

[From a description of Community Chapel;] “We were told one thing and then what is done is totally opposite, and so you’re trying to redefine terms to apply to something that is not real.” (p. 43)

[From a description of COBU;] “Implied guilt and Scripture twisting were often used to manipulate members.” (p. 81)

[Testimony of someone who came out of the No-Name Fellowship;] ” ‘I lived in fear of correction, while Scripture tells us to embrace and love it.’ Also, many of the rules and regulations were never actually spoken or articulated as a command. One simply knew from experience that something was a rule, and, if not adhered to, discipline resulted.” (pp. 138, 139)

From PCC:

[From a letter written by Dr. Goddard to a student who was asked not to return because he “did not conform to the ministry,” no other reason was given, although specifics were requested time and time again;] “. . . I trust that you will be honest with yourself and your parents about this matter. I am sure that you know, in your heart, that our decision in this matter is right; you were not in harmony with PCC. I pray you will acknowledge this, accept the responsibility for your actions, and allow God to use this experience in your life to His glory.”

Contrast the U.S. system with that of PCC. In the U.S. legal system, the Constitution is the ultimate law, the ultimate STANDARD by which all legal matters are judged. It is specific, one knows what is required of him or her, and inconsistencies are corrected in public tribunals. The PCC “standard,” although this is a terribly inaccurate description, for a standard is something specific by which actions can be judged, is that a student “conform to the ministry of PCC.” This phrase has never been adequately defined, and if you ask 100 students what it means, you will undoubtedly get 100 different answers (unless 75 of them are “I don’t know”).

d. No checks or balances.

From Churches That Abuse:

[From a description of Community Chapel;] “I feel that this is one of the critical factors in the sad things that happened later [physical and emotional abuse]: no checks or balances with the rest of God’s people, and no accountability to other men of God outside [their] own little circle.” (p.51)

The epitome of an institution with no checks or balances is PCC.

e. No criticism permitted.

“Don pointed out that no negative criticism of the Community [Community of Jesus] was tolerated, a distinguishing feature of most totalitarian groups.”(p. 167)

“Members of all abusive churches soon learn that the pastor or leader is beyond confrontation. As one former member of an abusive congregation put it, ‘Since no one in the church was allowed to murmur and complain, or to disagree with the pastor, there were many, like myself, who suffered in silence lest we incur God’s anger’.” (p. 168)

“Unwavering obedience to religious leadership and unquestioning loyalty to the group would be less easily achieved if analysis and feedback were available to members from the outside. It is not without reason that leaders of abusive groups react so strongly and so defensively to any [outside] criticism of their organizations.” (p. 175)

From PCC:

[From Dr. Horton’s comments regarding The Student Voice;] “But Mr. X and his followers want all of you to join them in protesting against PCC. I am instructing the dean’s and their staff to be highly sensitive, especially regarding participating or involvement in the underground ‘StudentV,’ which
is a means of protest against PCC. Those actively participating and involved in the underground StudentV’ will be dealt with according to the Student Handbook, page 36, and I quote, ‘participating in unauthorized petition, demonstration, protest or riot – 150 demerits.’ I suggest very strongly that you stay away from any involvement with ‘StudentV.’ If you know of anyone actively involved in this protest, you are responsible to report it to a residence manager – Dean Ohman or Ms. Crook so it can be dealt with.”

Criticism is a taboo at PCC, and anyone who has followed The Voice can attest to that. There are some cases that The Voice will be addressing in the near future that prove this to be true. Just so it can be understood, PCC allows no criticism. No criticism means unquestioning obedience to the authority, and no one but Jesus Christ deserves unquestioned obedience. You draw the parallel.

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2. The Leaders.
While a control-oriented leadership has been addressed, it must also be noted that the leaders themselves have certain qualities that lend themselves to an overly authoritative and sometimes abusive nature. I know of numerous instances where Dr. Goddard or Dean Ohman will simply say that their hands are tied, they have to dole out the punishment. Now, they are either lying, or there is such a top-heavy control that if these men simply did what they know in their hearts is right, which is let the student off, then there is a very authoritarian leader at the very top.

From Churches That Abuse:

“If there is just one word to describe Don Barnett and his church, it would be ‘control’ – autocratic control over the lives of the individual members.”(p. 38)

“Stewart [leader of COBU], however, was above scrutiny. According to Betty, ‘Stewart will only accept ‘corrective criticism’ coming from a ‘right spirit.’ Of course, he is the judge of ‘right spirits’ and whether any criticism is truly constructive’.” (p. 82)

“Even though he says he allows differences of thought on issues, it’s very difficult for him, really, to allow his leaders to view things differently than he does.” (p. 84)

“The source of legitimate Christian leadership therefore lies in ENTRUSTED AUTHORITY. The spiritual autocrat, the religious dictator, attempts to COMPEL subordination; the true Christian leader can legitimately only ELICIT followership.” (p. 211)

“. . . authoritarian leaders are ecclesiastical loners. That is, they do not function well or willingly in the context of systematic checks and balances. They are fiercely independent and refuse to be part of a structure of accountability. . . . Yes, sometimes they will point to a board of elders or its equivalent, but more likely than not, this turns out to be a faithful inner circle of clones that implicitly accepts all that the leader sets forth.” (p. 219)

“Power that elevates a leader beyond contradiction. . . will lead both the leader and the followers down a road marked by broken relationships, exploitation, and control.” (p. 237)

Like it has been stated before, what goes on at the bottom of a hierarchical structure is evidence of the substance of that hierarchy’s leadership. Dr. Horton is a man who I believe has been called by God to do a great work, but there needs to be an understanding that there are people to consider, the bounds of authority which even he is under, and a pattern of leadership that Christ has set up. As has been stated before by Lord Acton, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

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3. People Who Criticize.

The Student Voice is perceived to be Enemy #1 by PCC based on the simple fact that we are not afraid to criticize what needs to be criticized. An opinion is an opinion, and an idea is an idea. Instead of engaging in a healthy debate over ideas and policies, PCC has chosen to try to eliminate The Voice by instilling fear into the heart of any student who reads it [please refer to “Fearocracy II” in Issue 4, No. 2]. But if one can truly understand the big picture and the PCC ideological trend, this should come as no surprise, and it should be rather disturbing.

a. An attack from Satan.

From Churches That Abuse:

[From the leader of Shiloh’s response to negative and critical exposure of his abusive practices;] “[Satan] has used godless editors and reporters to write up the most sensational and glaringly false statements concerning this work. . . .” (pp. 67, 68)

[From the same leader of Shiloh;] “Sandford interpreted every criticism as a demonic attempt to destroy the kingdom of God.” (p. 70)

“When authoritarian churches are subjected to what they perceive to be negative press, they invariably interpret the results as the ‘work of Satan.’ This is true even if the report appears in a Christian periodical, or when Christian observers are quoted.” (p. 177)

“Criticism, whether its source is Christian or secular, sincere or superficial, is always viewed by fringe churches as an ‘attack’ – and dismissed as more evidence of Satan trying to discredit a ‘good Christian work’.” (p. 178)

From PCC:

[From Dr. Horton’s comments regarding The Student Voice;] “He [satan] comes as an angel of light and mixes truth with just enough error with truth to mislead us.”

[From Dr. Horton again;] “. . . remember, the devil also sugarcoats his lies, deceptions and twisted reasoning; and as young people you need to be aware that the devil hates every work of God that stands for truth and righteousness, and he tries in every possible way to undermine and destroy God’s Word. The devil always works through people just as God works through people.”

[From Dr. Horton again;] “Now I need to share with you a recent attack that satan is making on this institution. We’re accustomed to satan’s attacks. We’ve had them over the years.”

[From Dr. Horton again;] “. . . the devil likes to do his work under cover. . . .”

b. Rebellion.

From Churches That Abuse:

“When the Boston Movement is confronted with their wrong teachings, its practice is to attack the character and life of the questioner by claiming that he has ‘sin in his life.’ Such terms as ‘prideful,’ ‘independent spirit,’ and ‘rebellious’ are used in answer to the inquirer. The Boston Movement believes that being ‘independent’ or ‘critical’ is sin.” (p. 124)

“Pam [a member of C-U Ministries] knew that even when she desired to stand and say, ‘This is crazy!’ or, ‘I don’t agree!’ we would have been disciplined for disrupting and coming against authority.” (p. 140)

From PCC:

[From Dr. Horton’s comments regarding The Student Voice;] “In doing so, he [editors of The Voice] piously promotes rebellion against the policies of the college. . .”

[From Dr. Horton again;] “But PCC will not retain students who promote a spirit of division, discord or rebellion.”

[From Dr. Horton again;] “I Samuel 15:23 states that “rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft. . . .” In other words. . . in other words, God considers rebellion as bad as witchcraft.”

[From Dr. Horton again;] “Mr. X teaches rebellion against PCC and against the principle that our Lord Jesus taught in Matthew 6:6.”

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Well, there’s more, but the point should be clear. Criticism is always chalked up to rebellion or satan, with little, if any, introspection and never any actual consideration of whether or not the substance of the criticism has any merit. That would be unthinkable.

In closing let me state that I think PCC in some ways exercises abusive practices by maintaining spiritual and psychological control far beyond what Scripture would permit or what is realistically needed. However, this must be done to maintain the “Mr. Clean” image of PCC, one which continues to net PCC millions of dollars each year through A Beka Books. The two are intricately tied together, and if the image fails, so does the business venture, according to the official thinking.

CHURCHES THAT ABUSE is must reading. You can either read it, or you can continue to hide your head in the sand and pretend this doesn’t exist. It’s as if grown adults are putting their hands over their eyes in an attempt to make it all go away. “It doesn’t really exist, Student V; please stop showing us what we don’t want to see!” cry those in blissful ignorance. Well, it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee, folks.

A Letter To Rush Limbaugh (From a PCC-philosophy Supporter and Voice-hater)

Dear Mr. Limbaugh,

It is with great remorse that I write you this letter, for I feel that the activities you are involved in are extremely unbiblical, hateful and destructive of an institution that God has set up. I have heard about your activities from others, and although I have listened to very little of your radio show, I want to comment on it in detail.

It is obvious that you are bitter towards the government of the United States. I don’t know what they ever did to you, but don’t you realize that bitterness is of the devil, and this bitterness that you spread every day will only harm you? You are so negative, and I think that to be so negative only shows your lack of concern and unhappiness at the system you are under.
You gripe and complain constantly, and it’s wrong.

You obviously also have a problem with authority. Don’t you realize that God has set up the government to be the authority over you? And don’t you realize that when you speak against the government, and when you criticize what you think is wrong about this institution (the government), you are speaking against God’s anointed? An authority is there for you to be subject to, and when you disagree with what that authority does, you are likewise showing a rebellious attitude. And of course, rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft. You need to OBEY that authority you are under, for this is Biblical. Of course, I don’t know you, but it’s obvious that you are very rebellious.

If you have a problem with the authority you are under, then you need to go to the administration and tell them your problems. This is biblical. If you are disgusted at the things that the government does, then you need to go to your representative and tell them your problem. This is the proper way to voice your opinion. The Bible does not give us the right to speak against
that authority, and it certainly never authorizes us to use radio to spread hate.

I have been greatly blessed by the government, and although it makes a lot of needless rules and has some ungodly policies, it is still what God has set up for us to follow, and we should never speak against it. We need rules, and for you to say that we shouldn’t have rules means that you support anarchy. Rules are for our protection. Rules are here in order to help us live according to the Word of God. If you don’t like the rules, Mr. Limbaugh, then LEAVE!! And don’t let the door hit you on the way out. No one is forcing you to stay in this country, and no one made you accept the policies of your state.

It is obvious that you think you could run the country better than it’s being run. In fact, why don’t you go start your own country! For you to point out inconsistencies is only destructive of the fabric that holds our society together. Who do you think you are anyway, Mr. Limbaugh? Who gave you the right to speak against the government? It’s wrong. It’s unbiblical, and you are required by Scripture to stop spreading this hate.

You are doing a great disservice to this country, for if God wants change to come about, He can do it Himself, and He doesn’t need your help. Your attitude is rotten, your motives are terrible, and frankly, Mr. Limbaugh, I think you ought to stop your radio broadcast.

Sincerely,
A PCC Supporter

Have You Heard the One About…The Investigation?

Many years ago when PCC was in its infancy my wife to be and I got the ultimate – “Socialed”! (Is that how you spell it or is it even a word?) Somehow the administration had heard rumors that we had gotten together in the home of a faculty member and had gotten “too close”! We were guilty but they had no
evidence. So what did they do? First they went to her room and searched it and found a picture of us sitting on a couch together “too close”. They called her in and asked her questions like: Did he touch you? Did he kiss you? How many times did he kiss you? I was also called in and asked similar questions. There were only three weeks left in the semester and we finished that semester only communicated by notes and through friends, etc. Doesn’t an administration have anything better to do?!

As I think about this incident and many others while I was there and that I have read in Student V, it almost sounds like a project for Sam Donaldson. 20-20 interviews PCC! I wonder how the other 99% of Christianity would react to the environment at PCC if they were to come to understand it. It is something that I cannot share with rational people. The just won’t believe it or understand it. This is not to say that I did not get some worthwhile education while at PCC, although some of it was suspect. The living
environment is just something that even very conservative Christians have real problems with. There is no rational or Biblical justification for such.

Fearocracy II

A continuation of the Guest essay presented in Issue 2, No.5

As I sit back and observe the “debate” between The Student Voice and the administration of PCC, although it can hardly be said that I am a disinterested observer, I am struck by the amount of fear The Voice has thus far instilled in the minds of the administration. Yes, FEAR. Of course, PCC would never admit to this, and for practical political reasons, we can all understand why. But consider the reactions thus far, and then consider the ramifications of these reactions, for reactions are not neutral; rather, they represent the effect of a stimulating cause, and this effect is extremely philosophically sensitive and highly introspective.

When a person, institution, or whatever it may be is confronted with critical analysis of itself (or perhaps “accusations” to put it more succinctly), there are basically four reactions that one can make; and generally, the reaction depends upon the truth of the assertion made. These possible reactions are:

(1) an immediate and forceful denial of the accusatory substance;
(2) an act of ignoring the accusations because they are powerless and generally irrelevant;
(3) an act of directing the force of the reaction towards subsidiary, and often irrelevant targets (often the accuser himself); or
(4) an admission to the truth of the accusation.

Now, without getting into the psychological aspects of interpersonal reactions (see Munn, Norman L., PSYCHOLOGY, 3rd ed.), note that generally when a party reacts in such a way that they focus on everything but the substance of the critique, this is often a tell-tale sign that there is some, even if it be minimal, truth to the critical analysis. If someone accuses you of stealing a particular item, and you are completely innocent, your reaction will be either to deny the accusation or to ignore it altogether, not a denouncement of nominally relevant collateral issues.

When God accusatorially questioned Adam about his eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, what was Adam’s reaction? He dwelt on a collateral issue: Eve’s participation. Why? Because he was guilty, and he knew it.

When God accusatorially questioned Cain about his brother’s existence, what was Cain’s reaction? He dwelt on a collateral issue: his relationship (or lack thereof) as Abel’s keeper. Why? Because he was guilty, and he knew it.

And on and on. . . .

Now, think about this. PCC has chosen to react. They have threatened students and faculty with sanctions for any and all “involvement” with The Voice, which includes even reading it. They have even gone so far as to question students regarding their thoughts about The Voice (another abuse of authority, for no human has authority over thought). Had I simply sent a portion of THUS SPOKE ZARATHUSTRA or MEIN KAMPF, I doubt very seriously that anything would have been said or done. Are the writings and thoughts of The Voice more dangerous than these aforementioned texts? Well, that is one of the $10,000 questions. THUS SPOKE ZARATHUSTRA and MEIN KAMPF are both tirades against the general concepts of Christianity: NO THREAT to PCC. The Student Voice, on the other hand, is a commentary that strives for Scriptural purity and principle: THREAT to PCC. You figure it out.

If the writings of The Student Voice were refutable and as clearly wrong as PCC wants to make you believe, do you not think that a college full of Ph.D.’s, theologians and professors would be able to crush the ideas of The Voice like a gnat? Couldn’t they easily point out the errors of substance instead of resorting to name-calling, fabrication and mischaracterization of what The Voice says? If The Voice is so off, then the easiest thing for PCC to do would be to have someone (it could even be a “secret” committee such as the one that kicks students out) prepare a detailed response to what The Voice has said and then allow everyone to read both documents so that everyone could see how foolish and Scripturally inaccurate The Voice is. But no, PCC would rather make another rule prohibiting thought-provoking reading material by someone who is a product of their own system, because it threatens the very essence of what makes PCC what it is.

What have they done? They have used threats of reprisal, intimidation and fear to crush the free thought of people at PCC. Christians everywhere ought to be ashamed at this black eye imposed upon orthodoxy, and we should all be disgusted at this Tiennamen Square-like intellectual repression. The Bible is a book of freedom, not fear. Based on the type of reaction that PCC has thus far demonstrated, it should be clear to everyone that PCC feels threatened by The Voice. This multi-million dollar organization versus a couple of guys with their ideas, and look at where the fear is at.

“Fear” is defined by our friend, Webster, as “an unpleasant, often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger.” This “unpleasant emotion” is the acknowledgment that they can no longer control the spread of ideas and “truth” within their gates, and the ability to limit one’s perception of PCC is being shattered. More and more people are learning of The Voice and the ideas that it presents, and Christian schools – those who provide PCC with its customers – are slowly learning what “really” goes on inside those hallowed halls and iron gates that make up PCC. Thus, the “danger.”

A system that is based on fear is a system that is destined to mediocrity at best, and fear is of satan, not of God. I sit back and continue to be astonished at PCC’s juvenile behavior – essentially throwing a temper tantrum at the slightest provocation. So, stay tuned. . . the gadfly is just beginning to awaken the lazy, sleeping horse. Let’s just hope the lazy horse stops worrying about the gadfly and starts doing what the students, the community and most importantly, God expects it to do.

A Proposed Model Student’s Bill of Rights

Each student has the following rights, or expectations which they may demand from the administration of PCC:

1.) A right to know what is expected of them in clear, concise terms.

Vague rules only harm the discipline that PCC is striving to maintain by failing to provide for the stability that is a pre-requisite to effective discipline, and so in an effort to clearly define what is expected, all rules shall be explicitly laid out in writing BEFORE they are ever enforced.

2.) A right to have PCC fulfill its end of the student-college implied contractual agreement.

Each student should be given a copy of the contract which spells out the duties of both the school and the student; until this is done, PCC must maintain its obligation that if it leads students to invest years and money at PCC on the assumption that if the student abides by the “rules” and the “spirit” (which must be clearly defined) they will be permitted to graduate. Letting students go without a reason and in violation of this implied agreement would be prohibited.

3.) A right to think as one sees fit between him/her and God only.

PCC will make no attempt to delve into the thought process of any student for the sole purpose of determining a student’s philosophical, ideological, or theological opinion.

4.) A right to know, in writing, the biblical support for any position over which PCC claims to exercise moral authority.

5.) A right to honesty.

6.) A right to administrative consistency.

7.) A right to ask.

[This is only a start to what will eventually be the Model Student’s Bill of Rights.]