Paul's Passing Thoughts

An Open letter to Dr. Heath Lambert, Executive Director, Association of Certified Biblical Counselors

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on July 9, 2015

To Dr. Heath Lambert

Executive Director: Association of Certified Biblical Counselors

2825 Lexington Road, Louisville, KY 40280

From Paul Dohse, TANC Ministries

58 West Harbine Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385 937.478.1201

The purpose of this letter is to bring attention to certain facts concerning a pattern that has developed in the counseling network that you oversee. As testified by my own case in circa 2009, and many who have contacted this ministry and shared the same description of events, this pattern of behavior within your organization has become epidemic.

Again, what happens, and the procedure followed by the many churches under the auspices of your counseling organization is almost exact. What is the testimony that this ministry continues to hear at an alarming rate? It follows:

A spouse, usually the husband, seeks counsel from a church certified by your organization. In many cases, it’s not a bad marriage per se, but one of the spouses or both are seeking improvement. On average, eight months later, the couple find themselves in divorce court.

The clear pattern that is emerging begins with one of the spouses showing themselves “unteachable.” As these events go unchecked, church leaders are less and less ambiguous and are plainly stating, by letter, that one spouse is “insubordinate” to the authority of the church leaders. The unteachable and insubordinate spouse then becomes the focus of fault resulting in the other spouse being counseled separately.

In that separate counseling, the church leaders become the authority in the household. The “teachable” spouse then becomes a mole for church leaders in building a case for “church discipline” against the “unteachable” spouse. The subordinate spouse is then routinely communicated with apart from the other spouse and without knowledge of the meetings.

Again, let me preface all of this with the fact that this pattern has become epidemic within the network of churches associated with your organization, and these facts are well documented.

As this procedure unfolds, the unteachable, and at this point alarmed spouse, will usually submit a letter of membership resignation to the church leaders while there is no discussion of “church discipline.” In most cases, this results in the spouse being placed under church discipline after the fact.

The unteachable spouse is then given an ultimatum; either they remain a member and enter an in-house church counseling program, or they will be excommunicated publically in a future church meeting. In almost all cases, the “sins” of the spouse are not announced at the meeting under the auspices of avoiding legal action and gossip, but the result (whether intentionally or unwittingly) leaves the congregation to their own imaginations, even though the actual “sin” is frivolous in context. In my own case dating back to circa 2009, members at Clearcreek Chapel in Springboro, Ohio still assume that I committed adultery, or worse.

Other procedures to discredit the unteachable spouses and disenfranchise them from the congregation are practiced in like fashion among your network of churches. There are many documented examples that are egregious, and this one will be shared from recent events: at a meeting between an insubordinate spouse and church leaders, security guards were employed by the church to be present at the meeting regardless of the fact that there was absolutely no reason whatsoever to believe that this spouse was a danger to anyone.

In other instances, unneeded monetary collections are solicited to send the message to congregants that a family is not being supplied for financially. This is usually condoned through the perspective of the high income zip codes that ACBC functions in exclusively. Also, in cases where a spouse works out of town, the situation is framed as abandonment. These false narratives are conveyed subtly in many different ways, and usually during the midweek home fellowships as precontrived by the board of elders who oversee them separately.

If targeted spouses concur with the leadership about the default accusation used in most cases, e.g., “not loving your wife like Christ loved the church,” and promise to act upon it, said spouses are still required to enter a program where they are examined by church elders over several months. Only then will they be eventually “released” from church membership. If they refuse to enter in-house counseling or fruits of repentance inspection they face public humiliation via excommunication.

Obviously, in most states, this is a criminal act under Coercion penal codes. You cannot prevent any person from conducting legal activity by threatening to harm their reputation. In short, this protocol is an attempt to return to traditions that were formed in a church state culture, but let me remind you that this is the United Sates in 2015. This procedure is not only immoral in general, but offends civil and criminal law on almost every level.

Once an unteachable spouse is publically declared an “unbeliever,” the marriage is then deemed mixed in regard to saved/unsaved spouses. And according to a narrative already set in place, the insubordinate spouse is dubbed “an unbelieving spouse that is not pleased to live with the believing spouse.” The “green light” is then given to the subordinate spouse to divorce the “unbelieving” spouse who has committed “abandonment in their heart.”

In addition, financial support is offered as well, usually at the hands of unwitting congregants who trust the church leaders. At the public church discipline meeting, congregants are allowed to assume that the spouse attempted to vacate membership in the midst of a serious issue, and that the spouse committed sin of the baser sort.

Your attempts to deny this emerging pattern will prove futile. It is well documented, and in essence, ACBC has become a divorce mill.

Dr. Lambert, this ministry has begged you and your organization on many occasions to desist from referring hurting people to these counseling programs that have unresolved conflict with many, many families. Yet, you are indifferent and arrogant. If this continues to stand, it will not be because of any lack of effort on our part.

You, your associates, and the organization you represent are acting as cultic unbelievers and you will be treated as such. We will research legal options for those who continue to contact this ministry for help.

May God grant us grace in standing against the injustice of your egregious behavior against fellow believers.

Paul M. Dohse

TANC Ministries

TANC Press Release 7.9.2015

9 Responses

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  1. Ryan said, on July 9, 2015 at 2:43 PM

    Paul, this all sounds like a means of purifying the membership of the institutional church. The institutional church doesn’t want people who think and reason, rather they want mind-dead zombies and sheep. For those who are single and don’t sign a membership contract, there is nothing they can legally do, but for those who are either married or do sign a membership contract, they can make a Christian’s life a living hell. Christians should never sign a membership contract and they should be very careful about whom they marry in the institutional church. Thank God for the founding fathers of the U.S.A. who got one thing right – the institutional separation of church and state. At least we still have that protection.


    • Paul M. Dohse Sr. said, on July 9, 2015 at 2:50 PM


      Well, they claim Martin Luther and that would have been his dream church per his own words. So, you are correct, and it’s almost too simple to explain. The more I look at this and ask, “why?” it does look more and more like a purifying process.


    • Paul M. Dohse Sr. said, on July 9, 2015 at 2:55 PM

      Ya know Ryan, if one wanted to have some fun, he could simply go to a Reformed church and refuse to become a member and sign a covenant. It could be a blog in and of itself. As far as being single and unmarried, and let’s say from out of town as well, not so much; I suspect that is a good way to end up missing.


  2. Ryan said, on July 9, 2015 at 4:14 PM

    “I hope people will truly get this, move past the shock value of these supposedly isolated events and get to the root of the theology which compels these authoritarian despots.”

    You are absolutely right Pearl!


  3. Ryan said, on July 9, 2015 at 4:18 PM

    “Ya know Ryan, if one wanted to have some fun, he could simply go to a Reformed church and refuse to become a member and sign a covenant. It could be a blog in and of itself.”

    Paul, I’ve already been doing this for years and years and years. I’m 6 foot 1 and listen to heavy metal, wear black t-shirts, and am built like a football player. They would be too afraid to even ask me to sign a covenant. LOL!


    • Paul M. Dohse Sr. said, on July 9, 2015 at 4:40 PM

      Hey, whatever it takes to not become fertilizer for a church garden.


    • Paul M. Dohse Sr. said, on July 9, 2015 at 5:04 PM

      But in all seriousness, is this not the crux of the issue? They are trying to utilize a church discipline that was tailored for a church state.


  4. Ryan said, on July 9, 2015 at 9:14 PM

    “But in all seriousness, is this not the crux of the issue? They are trying to utilize a church discipline that was tailored for a church state.”

    Yes, exactly. It seems as though when the U.S.A. was founded, the political ideas of John Locke and others were thought about and implemented, though we’ve found that over time, greedy politicians have found and exploited loopholes in the American constitution. But it is almost as if since the time of the American revolution, theories around Christian philosophy and theology have remained stagnant. In other words, there was not a proper vetting of the philosophies and theologies that created religous and political tyranny in the first place. The church at the time was allowed to remain stagnant with the same Platonic and Augustinian systems of thought while the political system advanced and progressed beyond into a proper libertarianism. Alienation from and abuse within the institutional church was to be expected because that institution has failed to honestly examine where its thinking comes from. Dare I say that we need to integrate some aspects of libertarianism into Christian theology?

    By the way, I’m saying all of this as a Canadian. :o)


  5. Paul M. Dohse Sr. said, on July 13, 2015 at 6:29 PM

    Right, and I am still asking, which one of these counsels did Christ attend? Who made them philosopher kings? It’s ridiculous.


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