This is Gary Greenfield and I'm going to reminisce a bit here. It's been a long time since we've interacted with each other and it's been a long time since we first met in 1976 when you were playing guitar in the Christian fellowship we both attended as young men still in college. You advanced quickly from guitarist to teacher after the older teacher/pastor ran off with a young lady in a our very small group and you ended up taking over as our teacher.
From the first time I heard you teach, I knew you were going to become a dynamic and renown Christian leader. Why? You were endowed from the very beginning of your ministry with a knack for teaching in a very powerful and compelling manner that was unique, fresh and forceful. Just as Jesus says, the student will be become greater than the teacher, I think the charisma of your father, who was a great teacher and evangelist was passed on to you and you ended up building your ministry on the shoulders of your father.
I still look fondly back on the days when you would faithfully drive down to Lewiston from Moscow every Sunday to teach the small band of converts that met in the living room of our tiny home. That gathering evolved into Port Cities Evangelical Fellowship and our friendship grew as we both led that group as elders for something like ten years. I still remember computers being something of a novelty back then and you talked about how much one of those contraptions could help you to become a more prolific writer and I ended up purchasing your first computer printer for you. It brought me great joy to know I was helping you to practice your gift of writing and teaching for the benefit of helping more students and young families to become better grounded in the truths of God's word.
During those early years of living out our faith as zealous and committed followers of Jesus Christ, we were filled with innocence, exuberance, sincerity and a great hope in the power of the gospel to change lives in significant ways first in Moscow and Pullman, then Lewiston and Clarkson and eventually the entire country. Early on, we were just a bunch of folks, young and old who loved Jesus with a desire to live out our lives without hypocrisy or fakery and we were ready to take the world captive for Jesus Christ. I also remember the day I opened up my computer to a message from you asking me to review the formation document for what was then to be called, The Confederation of Reformed Evangelical Christians. I opened it, read it, and closed it and I never responded to your request for input.
Something in my heart told me that this was a bandwagon that I was not going to jump onto. I had been adverse to organised religion since I was a little seven year old crying boy who was forced to go to confession to talk to a man I didn't know who was hidden behind a screen in a dark little closet. Maybe my fears of being alone in a dark closet with a man I didn't know stemmed from being sexually abused by my uncle when I was two years old. Maybe a lot of problems I encountered in my early years or even perhaps even later years were a result of sexual abuse that was kept a secret for most of my life and when I finally did get up the courage to talk to someone, I was an older man and I told my Mom. Her response was a total emotional shut down, she couldn't cope and refused to believe it or talk about it and that was the end of it. For all of my life, I've lived with traumatising memories that I have found too repulsive and too embarrassing to talk about to anyone, not even my wife of 32 years.
Anyways, I attended mass with my Mom most every Sunday until I was old enough to rebel at which time I refused to spend time in a place I felt was a waste of time. Why did I feel it was a waste of time? Because my heart hungered for truth and I intuitively knew the Church was supposed to be the place where we learned God's word but it wasn't being taught there, so I angrily left at the age of thirteen and never went back. When I became a follower of Jesus Christ at the age of twenty-one, I ended up attending a few services of various mainline denominations but even then, something in my heart drove me away from those places.
For all of my life up until the age of fifty, I've had an aversion to organised religion institutions and when Doug Wilson sent me a document that would make the church I attended an official religious organisation like all the others I had known, everything in my being told me to flee and to have nothing to do with it, but yet, this was my family, these were my brothers and sisters in Christ, these were the people with which so many rich memories had been created over the years, not bad memories like from my past.
After the formation of the Confederation of Reformed Evangelicals, I began to quietly distance myself from the leadership of the CRE while at the same time seeking to raise my family in the church, develop friendships and to be involved in selective ministry that was not an official part of the church. As time went on, my fears that the CRE would become like all the other religious organisations came to fruition. It's not that I expected perfection or a problem free environment but because it was what I thought was the Church of Jesus Christ and I expected that problems and challenges that would inevitably arise would be dealt with in loving, honest and sincere ways that reflected the heart of Christ and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.
As Christ Church grew to be huge and the CRE grew across the country and around the world, of course problems and challenges became bigger and the wherewithal to deal with those challenges and problems required a great degree of knowledge, wisdom and experience and what I observed time and time again with increasing regularity was a departure from exercising the love of Jesus Christ and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit and more of doing what was expedient and necessary to eliminate troublesome situations which oftentimes meant dealing with individuals in hypocritical and even downright evil ways.
During the fifteen or so years of attending Christ Church as a dysfunctional member and not as a full fledged passenger on the bandwagon, I began to come under ever increasing scrutiny to either get on board, conform or suffer the consequences of choosing to remain aloof while keeping arms length between my family and Christ Church elders with whom I found myself increasingly at odds.
During this time, my wife and I remained heavily involved in Christian ministry within the Moscow community, not only as owners of Bucers Coffeehouse Pub but also within our home where the front door was never locked and students were free to come and go as they pleased, to study in our living room or eat at our table. Our house was always full and we always had boarders. All of these activities and more, we were involved in because of our love for Jesus Christ and for our brothers and sisters in Christ and especially for college students who were away from home and family. I can say with all conviction, that my wife and I were 100% committed to being faithful servants for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, whom we both loved with all our hearts, minds, soul and strength.
I can also say with all conviction of heart that my wife and I did the very best we knew how to raise up our children in the ways of the Lord. Were we perfect in doing so, of course not, but I can say with all confidence that we gave our hearts, minds and souls to taking care of our children, to giving them childhoods with rich and fun memories while making every effort to protect them from the pitfalls and dangers of this broken world. We even homeschooled our kids because we wanted to protect them from the evils of the world, yet ironically, the evils of the world found their way into the bedroom of my teenage daughter.
Even now as I contemplate what took place only feet from our bedroom, the tears flow from my eyes and my breaths become gasps of grief and I mourn and lament, knowing that my daughter will have to live with such filthy memories from her youth. I know what she's going through because I've been there and I've lived through it. It was different though for her, because when she finally told us what had been occurring within our home, we believed her, we embraced her, we loved her, we supported and we grieved with her.
That was something I never experienced as a little boy who was sexually abused. Nobody comforted me, nobody helped me work through the trauma, nobody believed me and now as I share what I've never shared with anyone, the tears flow and my heart is sad, yet, I know with all confidence that ever since I was a little innocent boy, even though my own parents couldn’t care for the wounds inflicted by my perverted uncle, I know God did and has and will continue to heal my wounds and take care of me until the day I pass from this life to next and even into all eternity and He will make all things new again.
I’m sure many of you may be thinking, what really happened to cause the breakup of our marriage of thirty-two years? It’s been ten years now since Pat and I separated and eventually divorced. I’ve never talked about what happened between us in a public forum and I’m not quite sure how far to go with this but I do think its important to talk about for the sake of the greater good of perhaps helping others gain clarity and even perhaps comfort from knowing that perhaps their concerns and intuitions are indeed valid.
Troubles began to escalate to an intermittently intolerable level between Doug, myself and the church elders shortly after moving to Moscow from Lewiston in the year 2000 to be closer to the Moscow Christ Church community of believers and to our business, Bucers Coffeehouse Pub. Sometime around early 2004, we made a decision to quietly begin extracting ourselves from the Moscow community to begin a new life in the Couer d Alene, Idaho area.
I was a serial entrepreneur and figured we would start a new life and new business there. My primary goal in moving was to get out from the under constant pressure from Doug to get with the program and join the club, lock, stock and barrel but that was something I wasn't about to do. Given the circumstances, it would have been like giving up my masculinity and the authority of my home to a person who had gone from being someone I respected and was proud to call my friend to being a mega maniac and control freak.
So, by the grace of God, we were able to secretly sell our mansion in the historic section of Moscow for significantly more money than we paid for it and it was accomplished without listing it or anyone even knowing that we sold it. The family that purchased it even agreed to allow us to live in the home for year while we worked out the rest of the details of our move. The next step was to quietly sell Bucers without listing it and without any public fanfare. It was at this stage of the plan that Pat began to act rather oddly in that whenever we would find a buyer which wasn't all that difficult, she would find excuses not to sell.
Eventually, she confessed to me that she didn't want to sell Bucers and she wanted to figure out a way to move to CDA while also keeping an apartment in Moscow so that we could run Bucers, while also starting a new business up North. So, because both our names were on the business papers as partners, I couldn't sell without her consent, so, I put money down for the purchase of an office/apartment building downtown to live in, so that we could commute between CDA and Moscow. For me, this was a compromise because I really wanted to get out of Moscow but Pat was now coming out of the closet with her adamancy to remain in Moscow and I was between a rock and hard place.
In the meantime, having been a part of the Christ Church/Wilson community in one capacity or another since 1976, I was always searching and studying the scriptures as a check and balance regarding the Wilson teachings.
As concerns and conflicts began to become increasingly apparent over the years and so much more so as the CRE grew, I began to come to the conclusion that perhaps this Christian movement had evolved into a cult like religious organisation that claimed the name of Christ but was gradually drifting away from tenants of faith as they had been preserved and passed down through the centuries. It all became clear to me as I was sitting in church one Sunday and I asked myself if the Holy Spirit was really here with us. I am a man who follows my heart and my intuition and I've been that way since I was a little boy, so I couldn't ignore what my heart was telling me.
In the meantime, we were somewhere in the midst of dealing with the fallout of our daughter’s sexual abuse. ‘I’m not going to discuss the details of how that stress contributed to our breakup. Why? Because to do so would in no way be loving, kind, gentle or considerate of the wife of my youth from whom I am now estranged.
Shortly after I came to the realisation that Christ Church was what I would consider to be a cult and not the true Church that Jesus Christ founded on the earth two thousand years ago, I met a professor of ancient Christianity from Oxford who was hanging out in the Bucers cigar room enjoying a dessert. I was enjoying a cigar and a beer and I struck up a conversation with the man and after he told me he was a professor of ancient Christianity at Oxford, I asked the question, “What is ancient Christianity?”
It was after my decision to leave Christ Church and attend the Eastern Orthodox Church that the #$%@ hit the fan big time. Again, I'm not going to go into the details other than to say things literally got crazy, insane and intolerable. Meeting with Doug and Peter which I did solely to pacify my wife to try to mend what was quickly falling apart was a last ditch effort out of desperation to try to win my wife back and fix the brokenness. Ultimately meeting with Doug and Peter did just the opposite in that they securely hammered the final nails into the coffin suffocating what life was left in our marriage.
In the end, that which I feared most occurred and my authority as the head of my household was snatched away. My wife's allegiance was transferred to the church and to the pastor and that is where it remains to this day and enough has been said. Lord have mercy on us all.
Here is a link to a letter I wrote to Doug back in Feb. 2007.
May our Lord Jesus Christ comfort you, especially when the pain of the past comes drifting back to overwhelm you. God is a very present help in our time of need. May your Orthodox faith continue to be a source of healing for your soul! God bless you! - From another convert to the Orthodox faith
Thank you, Gary, for sharing your story with us. As an incest survivor whose road to recovery was in no way aided by an authoritarian church structure, I greatly appreciate you taking a public stand to tear aside the shrouds that hide and protect those who abuse.
I would love to share your story with the readers of The Wartburg Watch if you would allow me to do so.
Thanks so much for sharing your story. I'm very sorry for what you've had to go through, the loss of your wife, the loss of your daughter's innocence. So tragic. God is just and men like Wilson will one day suffer the ultimate penalty of His justice. Unless he repents first, which is extremely unlikely.
We have some things in common. I'm not a convert to Orthodoxy but I could have easily become one. Like you I was a member of a cult, R.C. Sproul Jr's St. Peter Presbyterian Church. R.C. Sproul Jr and Doug Wilson are two peas in a pod. Total control freaks, even to the point of needing their permission to move away or leave their churches. I knew a lot of families who had to sneak out of Sproul's church, including having to lie and making up stories. If that's not a cult I don't know what is. Sproul would "discipline" mebers and send them threatening letters and emails over the most silly things. You just don't dare to disagree with the almighty Precious.
Because of Sproul's abuses of power he wound up scaring so many people that, within a few months after he was defrocked, half the church took advantage of the situation and left to become Russian Orthodox. And of course he then excommunicated them -- like a defrocked preacher even has that authority anyway. Needless to say no one cared what he had to say by that point. They found something in that Orthodox church that Sproul in his black heart could never offer -- selflessness, compassion and mercy. I hope you've found that too.
May God in His great mercy minister to and heal you and your family of all the trauma that was inflicted on you by the evil Doug Wilson.
Gary, since you go back so far, I wonder if you can fill in some details that are like pulling hens' teeth to get: namely, was Douglas Wilson ever ordained, and if so, by what ordaining body, at what place, and on what date? Even a subset of these would be very helpful.
You know, if you spell "Nick" backwards, and take out the "c" -you get "kin".
I was with you until I read "my authority as the head of my household was snatched away."
Really? was your wife not an equal partner as head of household?
Glad you supported your daughter; but your wife was an equal partner and had the right to make her own decisions, whether it was keeping her half of the coffee shop or not converting to eastern orthodox.
I'm fairly certain the "Head of household" bit was more a shot at the patriarchy Wilson preaches than it was a comment on whether or not his wife was an equal partner. Wilson preaches that men should be the head of the household, so for him to remove the head of the household because of a disagreement in theology and then take over as Gary's wife's "head" is almost tantamount to adultery and a move only a cult leader would make. I believe that is the picture Gary is trying to paint with that comment.
Thanks Gary. You know, if Moscow had a competent journalist, Doug Wilson's "Ministry" would be as dead as Mark Driscoll's. And you're dead on about the CREC, it was only ever about expanding Doug's reach. He carefully omitted giving anyone authority over him. I was there at all the mens' forums in Roy's basement when it was being discussed and edited.
Gary, my heart grieves at what you've had to endure. Doug Wilson is such a dangerous man. He's caused untold harm and injury. You were wise to not get sucked up in his CREC plans for expansion. Through it his tyrannies and abuse have spread far and wide. He's brought into the CREC many tyrannical "pastors" similar to himself, including a number that were defrocked from other denoms for spiritual abuse, such as RC Sproul Jr. I find it ironic to see Nick's comment above (Hello Nick! Small world).
I know you won't be terribly surprised to hear that RC Jr was recently outed for his own pedophile coverup scandal. Also not surprising that it involves one of the same pedophiles who later moved to Christ Church and preyed upon the lambs there, Steven Sitler.
Wilson and Sproul will one day have to stand before God and give an accounting for their wicked deeds. I'm 100% confident they'll hear, "Depart from me you worker of iniquity. I never knew you." https://rc-sproul-jr.blogspot.com/2020/02/rc-sproul-jr-steven-sitler-pedophile-coverup.html
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