Why were Julie Anne Smith, Meaghan Varela, and three others taken to court? Over nine years ago a man was fired from his position at Beaverton Grace Bible Church after repeatedly expressing his divisive accusation that the pastor “doesn’t preach Christ, doesn’t preach the Gospel, and doesn’t preach the whole counsel of God,” and then taking the church splitting action of seeking to gather two deacons and a layman to stand with him against the pastor and elders. Julie Anne Smith, Meaghan Varela, and their husbands were close family friends with the man who was fired. The Smith’s came to the church with him, and the Varela’s son was dating his daughter. Since the time of his termination (for the last 9 yrs.) his vindictive friends have been engaged in a house to house, church to church, and World Wide Web assault of criminal slander; showing their willingness to harm children, to harm wives, to harm the church, and to harm the testimony of Christ’s Gospel. Through vicious false criminal reports they have repeatedly used the police and the Department of Human Services (Child Protection) as weapons of their malice to try and destroy a Gospel preaching church, pastor, and families they hate. These people have proven themselves to be enemies of Christ and His Gospel and to be friends of Roman Catholicism’s soul damning system of sacraments, the LGBT movement, and pro-choice abortion activists.
Thankfully, as a result of our legal action and exposing their relentless assault on our families, the dangerous escalation of criminal slander has largely come to an end. Not only that, but the escalation of hatred and harassment of our church and the pastor’s family has ceased. The church hasn’t been broken into again. Meaghan Varela hasn’t been caught parked behind the church at night again. No more equipment has been stolen from the church office. Tim and Meaghan Varela haven’t dumped any more pianos in the street in front of the pastor’s home when they know his family is away at church campout. Tim and Meaghan Varela have ceased to harass young ladies at their place of employment, attempting to get them fired. No more cars have been vandalized. No more cars have been stolen and dumped. No one else’s home has been broken into with the family sleeping inside. Etc, etc, etc…
It was and is our firm conviction that the legal action designed to protect our families and the ongoing ministry of the Gospel was entirely appropriate in our unusual circumstances and in keeping with the Law of God in Deuteronomy 19:16-21 as well as the wisdom and instruction of Proverbs 25:8. The ministry of the local church and the Gospel cannot continue to be hindered by criminal slander. Families cannot continue to be threatened by malicious criminal allegations and hateful acts. Families cannot continue to be divided and tortured by criminal allegations and other slanders. Taking legal action should never be a knee jerk reaction, or something pursued out of bitterness or greed. However, there are unusual and terrible situations where an individual or group of individuals are behaving in such a hateful and harmful manner that it must be addressed legally in order to stop, or attempt to stop, the destructive behavior and protect families.
“If a false witness rises against any man to testify against him of wrongdoing, 17 then both men in the controversy shall stand before the Lord , before the priests and the judges who serve in those days. (YOU HAVE THE GOD GIVEN RIGHT TO FACE YOUR ACCUSER) 18 And the judges shall make careful inquiry, and indeed, if the witness is a false witness, who has testified falsely against his brother, (BECAUSE BEING A FALSE WITNESS IS A CRIME BEFORE GOD) 19 then you shall do to him as he thought to have done to his brother; so you shall put away the evil from among you. (BECAUSE BEING A FALSE WITNESS, PERVERTING JUSTICE, AND USING THE JUSTICE SYSTEM AS YOUR VINDICTIVE WEAPON IS EVIL) 20 And those who remain shall hear and fear, and hereafter they shall not again commit such evil among you. 21 Your eye shall not pity: life shall be for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.” –Deuteronomy 19:16-21
It is a testimony to God’s grace that one of the five individuals taken to court has repented before God and men. He has totally ceased reviling. He has cut off all ties with Julie Anne Smith, Meaghan Varela, and their partners. He has genuinely repented of being part of their destructive behavior. He has publicly called them to cease their slander. He has come before Beaverton Grace Bible Church asking forgiveness. He has received forgiveness. He has now been in fellowship with us for over five years. Beautiful fruits of repentance and reconciliation continue to be seen every year. It is our prayer that others will yet come to repentance in a similar manner. It is our further prayer that their spokeswoman, Julie Anne Smith, will repent of her rejection of Biblical Christianity, her maligning of Biblical men and ministries everywhere, and of her LGBT apostasy.
Proverbs 25:8 says, “Do not go hastily to court.” In no way did BGBC go hastily to court. Quite to the contrary…we suffered long. Nevertheless, There are some who believe 1 Corinthians 6:1-6 forbids the legal defense of our families and church altogether. To be clear, the context is specific to legal action against Christians. After three and a half long years of malicious false criminal accusations and evident apostasy, we had no reason to believe any of those involved were Christians. Therefore, after years of suffering a great many injuries we attempted to use lawful means to protect our families and church from escalating false criminal accusations and escalating hateful criminal acts. We stand by our lawful attempt to protect our families without apology.
We stand in good company with Matthew Henry, Albert Barnes, and John Calvin (see below). If you disagree with these long trusted commentators regarding the unfortunate, rare, but very real necessity of lawsuits to stop evil doers, please disagree humbly until you have experienced your wife, your children, and the families of your congregation suffering year after year under relentless blows of criminal slander in your community and on the World Wide Web. If you disagree, you really should disagree mildly in light of the fact that these are three (Henry, Barnes, Calvin) of the Bible interpreters that virtually every sound Christian, Bible student, Bible teacher, expository preacher, and pastor look to and quote on regular occasion to aid them in understanding and communicating the truth of God’s Word. Please consider the following quotes:
*MATTHEW HENRY (CHARLES SPURGEON’S FAVORITE BIBLE COMMENTATOR) COMMENTS ON 1 COR. 6
“Here is at least an intimation that they went to law for trivial matters, things of little value; for the apostle blames them that they did not suffer wrong rather than go to law (v. 7), which must be understood of matters not very important. In matters of great damage to ourselves or families, we may use lawful means to right ourselves. We are not bound to sit down and suffer the injury tamely, without stirring for our own relief; but, in matters of small consequence, it is better to put up with the wrong. Christians should be of a forgiving temper. And it is more for their ease and honor to suffer small injuries and inconveniences than seem to be contentious.”
*ALBERT BARNES COMMENTS ON 1 COR. 6
“Where a Christian is injured in his person, character, or property, he has a right to seek redress. Courts, are instituted for the protection and defense of the innocent and the peaceable against the fraudulent, the wicked, and the violent. And a Christian owes it to his country, to his family, and to himself, that the man who has injured him should receive the proper punishment. The peace and welfare of the community demand it. If a man murders my wife or child, I owe it to the laws and to my country, to justice and to God, to endeavor to have the law enforced. So if a man robs my property, or injures my character, I may owe it to OTHERS as well as to myself that the law in such a case should be executed, and the rights of others also be secured.”
*JOHN CALVIN COMMENTS ON 1 COR. 6
“As for those who strictly condemn all legal contentions, let them realize that they therewith repudiate God’s holy ordinance, and one of the class of gifts that can be clean to the clean [Titus 1:15], unless, perchance, they wish to accuse Paul of a shameful act, since he both repelled the slanders of his accusers, exposing at the same time their craft and malice [Acts 24:12 ff.], and in court claimed for himself the privilege of Roman citizenship [Acts 16:37; 22:1, 25], and, when there was need, appealed from the unjust judge to the judgment seat of Caesar [Acts 25:10-11]… Such men should therefore understand that lawsuits are permissible if rightly used. There is right use, both for the plaintiff in suing and for the accused in defending himself, if the defendant presents himself on the appointed day and with such exception, as he can, defends himself without bitterness, but only with this intent, to defend what is his by right, and if on the other hand, the plaintiff, undeservedly oppressed either in his person or in his property, puts himself in the care of the magistrate, makes his complaint, and seeks what is fair and good.”