Steve Austin and Sarah Parker
My good friend, Bart McCurdy, lives in Redding, CA. No one I know has better intel on a dangerous religious group in his community–Bethel Redding. Bart and I made a video earlier this year, from the Bethel Redding parking lot, that gives an overview of some of Bethel’s unbiblical teachings.
Well, today Bart sent me the link to a blog article, titled “A Present for Planned Parenthood.” As I read the article, I found myself mad enough to shoot rubber bands at bunnies.
Austin describes himself on his website this way:
“I am Steve Austin, a thirtysomething husband and dad. I scored “above average” on my psychologist’s ADHD test, different foods on my plate cannot touch, and I binge watch Netflix like it’s my j-o-b. I am a family man, a writer, and a professional photographer. I’ve also been a youth pastor and worship leader off and on for the better part of a decade, but sign language interpreting is what pays the bills (even if coffee swallows up most of the profits).
“I write about the messiness of grace, finding Christ in the midst of mental illness, the struggles with childhood trauma and the ordinary, powerful ways God heals us. You may also hear about my foibles in fathering, see me gush over my kids, or brag on my wonderful wife. I’ll also probably complain about how it sucks to be a Christian right now, but how I’m doing it anyway.
“I am not a theologian or a professional Christian. They have written plenty of blogs, but this is not one of them. For me, this faith journey is not about being on the left or right or judging the actions of others. It’s about taking my story and using it to positively impact others with similar struggles. It’s about giving all those rotten things in life meaning, and eventually a purpose.”
Parker describes herself on her Instagram page this way:
“Lover of Norwegian chocolate, vocabulary, soft rock, Love Himself, waxing, debates, long drives, flying; taking one spontaneous day at a time.”
Both are either present or former “students” of the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM). I’ve written extensively about Bethel Redding and why I believe this mega church in Redding (CA) is a cult and a world-wide disseminator of doctrines of demons. The fact that both Austin and Parker have ties to this aberrant and blasphemous school/organization explains a great deal regarding what follows in the article.
Did Screwtape Dispatch Wormwood?
Parker posted the following on her Facebook page:
As reported by a secular news site, here is the text of the letter, which she left in the lobby of her local Planned Parenthood abortuary, along with a bouquet of roses:
“Planned Parenthood Staff…
“These flowers are for you, as well as the employees of PP nationwide. I’m a Christian, a pro-life one, but that isn’t my focus today.
“With these flowers as a symbol of grace, friendship and unconditional love and a repentant heart; I want to apologize on behalf of those who have mistreated you in the name of religion. That was never done with a heart of love, and I’m sorry.
“I also want to express my gratitude for how willingly and with tenacity (you) served the women of Redding, and sought to bring empowerment and hope. At the end of the day, we carry the same goal.
“With Beauty and Light, Sarah Parker”
In an interview with Austin, Parker explains her motivation and goals for her act of “unconditional love” in an interview with Austin. Here is a lengthy excerpt from the article (Austin is represented by “Me” in the article):
Me: Sarah, what was your motivation for this random act of kindness toward your local Planned Parenthood this week?
Sarah: I’ve been in the cosmetology industry for the past seven years. I see women and hear about the hopes, disappointments and tragedies of their lives five days a week. So honestly this wasn’t a “random act of kindness”, it was a seed sown for and in memorandum of a lot of hearts that have been hurt. It was for those who hate Christians because Christ has been so misrepresented and those who have felt the sting of abortion.
Hurting people hurt people, that’s easy and requires no accountability, Christians and non-Christians are capable of that. My thought was “What if I just say I’m really sorry for the pain that has been thrown at you in the name of God?”
Me: Your letter mentioned that Christians and Planned Parenthood staff have the same goals: to bring empowerment and hope. Even if we agree that our goals are the same, there are many who feel strongly opposed to the methods of Planned Parenthood. What would you say to those who feel no apology is owed, especially after the hidden camera footage from the past year?
Sarah: It was really upsetting to see the sale of babies (I can’t just use the word fetus, it feels like I’m making them objects instead of little people). I know the stats, I’ve seen the church yards covered in crosses symbolizing all the abortions that have happened since 1973. But even though the killing, the selling and the disregard for life is heinous, so are Christians who act like we are judge and jury.
I know the founding of Planned Parenthood in the early 1920’s was to support, protect and defend the plight of femininity. Their motto is “We care. No matter what.” That’s stunning! The letter actually was two-fold: an apology and a thank you. Yep, I said thank you to Planned Parenthood. I thanked them because, at their roots, they cared, no matter what. That sounds a lot like Jesus. Have they wandered from that? Yep. Can they get back to where they started and even better? Of course.
Me: I remember the aftermath of the 1998 abortion clinic bombing by Eric Rudolph. I have driven by the countless protests and seen the angry faces of those claiming the banner of Christianity. Aren’t you worried about your message being unclear? That in saying, “I’m sorry for what happened,” you are also approving of abortion?
Sarah: That’s an interesting question. I’m not worried that it’ll be unclear. I wrote that I am a Christian intentionally, I also wrote I’m a pro-life one. If people think I approve, they don’t know my heart or they’re choosing to be blind. Shrug. That’s not my concern, bless their hearts.
I’m not saying, “Here’s a bouquet of roses and a little note, I totally am ok with the 55,772,015 abortions that have been performed since Roe v. Wade was finalized!” I’m saying, “Hey, I choose to love you unconditionally, like Jesus, and I’m sorry for those who don’t. And I congratulate how you love–even if it’s different than mine. Even if the outcome is something I strongly disagree with, your intent was spot on.” Some say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Well I think the road to reconciliation is paved with seeing those intentions, celebrating them and then seeing how we can change for the better.
Facepalm! Where to begin (SMH).
Well, let’s begin with Parker’s Facebook post. Parker wrote:
“Yesterday I had an idea to give a bouquet of flowers and write a note of repentance and gratitude to PP [Planned Parenthood]. I wanted to sincerely apologize as a pro-lifer for how they have been treated in the name of God, as well as to celebrate them.”
Parker’s ideas of repentance and gratitude are misguided and unbiblical.
For what is Parker repenting? She confuses making an apology with repentance. If Parker was truly repentant, she would repent of her sinful thinking. She would repent of having depraved feelings of gratitude toward Planned Parenthood. She would repent of the desire of wanting to celebrate an organization that, for almost 100 years, has been a literal slaughterhouse of human beings.
And for whom is Parker apologizing? Me? You? Anyone who has every stood outside of a Planned Parenthood? Only meanies who have stood outside of Planned Parenthood? And by what standard is she judging the people for whom she feels the need to apologize?
Parker is all-in with her gratitude for Planned Parenthood. She articulated the extent of her gratitude in her love letter to the national house of horrors.
“I also want to express my gratitude for how willingly and with tenacity (you) served the women of Redding, and sought to bring empowerment and hope. At the end of the day, we carry the same goal.”
Out of the abundance of Parker’s heart her mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34; Luke 6:45). Parker believes–she actually believes–Planned Parenthood willingly and tenaciously serves the women of her community and seeks to bring those women empowerment and hope.
Maybe I’m misinterpreting Parker’s letter. Oh, how I wish that was the case! But Parker dashes all hope of that in her Facebook post in which she assures her friends that she’s not engaging self-promotion. Along with a picture of the flowers and letter she delivered, Parker writes the following:
“I also wanted to sincerely apologize as a pro-lifer for how they’ve been treated in the name of God, as well as to celebrate them. We might have very, very different tactics; but our driving motivator that women should be treated with respect and care is the same.”
Really, Ms. Parker? Celebrated?
While not wanting to be disrespectful, how can I describe Parker’s mindset as anything other than delusional? How can I not find Parker to be one who is completely detached from reality?
Wait. Maybe Screwtape dispatched Wormwood. Maybe Parker’s letter to Planned Parenthood is a missing 32nd letter from Screwtape to Wormwood. But I digress.
What could possibly cause Parker to believe Planned Parenthood treats women with “respect and care?” What could cause Parker to categorize abortion as “care”–health care or any other kind of care? And what would drive Parker to want to celebrate people who are perpetrators and co-conspirators in the premeditated murder of more than 55-million human beings? I believe it is the Bethel Redding cultish “culture of honor” to which she has been indoctrinated.
A Dishonorable Culture of Honor
Danny Silk is a member of the senior leadership team of Bethel Redding and Jesus Culture Sacramento. He is the primary architect of Bethel’s “culture of honor.” He authored a book by the same title. The book’s description reads as follows:
“In this powerful, revelation-packed book, Danny Silk describes the significant paradigm shift in church life, government, and relationships that has created and sustained the revival culture at Bethel Church in Redding, California.
“Through many relevant and true-life stories, the church is revealed as a place of freedom, respect, empowerment, and healthy discipline (not punishment). Culture of Honor challenges the status quo of church leadership structure and presents a refreshing view of the five-fold ministry.
“Jesus acknowledged this important principle in Matthew 20:25-26:
“But Jesus called them to Himself and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.
“If those with power learn how to empower those around them, then surely it will come to pass that, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
“You can apply-today-the truths revealed in this practical yet supernaturally charged set of principles to relationships in your family, workplace, community, ministry, church-wherever you deal with others.”
In a 2009 video clip, Silk defines a “culture of honor.” The video, apparently shot during a meeting at Bethel Redding, as evidenced by Kris Vallotton’s presence in the front row, is a clip from a longer message.
In the video, Silk tells the gathering that the Bible says everyone should be honored. He goes as far as to assert that people are going to be respected and honored by him. He doesn’t care “if it’s a child, or an elder in the church, or Saddam Hussein.” Silk is no doubt referencing 1 Peter 2:17, which reads:
“Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.”
Silk explains his reason for honoring others. He says, “I will never let your character defects control me. I will never allow the way you conduct yourself conduct me.”
Silk goes on to describe honor as respect, which is appropriate, but he does so in a way that is rather narcissistic. His idea of honor is not other-minded, it does not have in view love for the other person, but love for self. Christians should honor everyone, in Silk’s view, for the protection and betterment of self.
Sadly, followers of Bethel Redding and its leadership take the idea of honor to unbiblical and disingenuous extremes, as exemplified by Sarah Parker’s trip to the Redding Planned Parenthood.
There is at least one rather hypocritical exception to the Bethel Redding “honor everyone” philosophy. Bethelites honor everyone, unless, of course you dishonor Bethel Redding leadership. Bart McCurdy and I experienced this exception in operation earlier this year.
To be fair: if the shoe had been on the other foot, I would have been wary of letting Bart and I into the church, too. While we were certainly not there to cause any problems, our public warnings about Bethel Redding are known to some (apparently more known than we thought). The point I am making is that there is a glaring inconsistency in Bethel Redding’s application of its so-called “culture of honor.”
What Does it Mean to “Honor Everyone?”
1 Peter 2:17 is the only verse in the Bible that directs believers to “honor everyone,” and it is likely the verse to which Silk was referring. It is not uncommon for teachers in the New Apostolic Reformation, an unbiblical and unholy movement within Charismania for which Bethel Redding serves as a hub, in which teachers specialize in eisegesis.
The Bible is clear that Christians are to honor others. Here are some examples:
- The Lord, of course (Isaiah 8:13; 1 Peter 3:15; Revelation 5:13)
- Parents (Exodus 20:12)
- Our seniors (Leviticus 19:32)
- Actual men of God (1 Samuel 9:6)
- Other believers (Romans 12:10)
- Exceptional servants of Christ (Philippians 2:29)
- Widows who are truly widows (1 Timothy 5:3)
- Elders in the church (1 Timothy 5:17)
- A husband’s relationship with his wife (1 Peter 3:7)
Bible commentator Albert Barnes wrote the following regarding 1 Peter 2:17:
“Honor all men – That is, show them the respect which is due to them according to their personal worth, and to the rank and office which they sustain. See the notes at Romans 13:7.”
Barnes, like many theologians, rightly affirms Peter’s call to honor people, but with this important caveat: “which is due to them according to their personal worth and to the rank and office which they sustain.” Peter calls his Christian readers to honor governing officials. Christians are to honor kings, governors, etc., showing appropriate respect for the office they hold (Romans 13:7). By including “everyone” in his list, Peter is also directing Christians to be respectful toward all people because of their intrinsic value as image bearers of the Creator. This is akin to loving one’s neighbor (Matthew 22:39) and, to the extent one is able, being at peace with everyone (Romans 12:18).
Just as the Bible is clear that Christians should honor other people, the Bible is also clear that there are those who are not worthy of honor–people like:
- Fools (Proverbs 3:35; Proverbs 26:8)
- Haughty people (Proverbs 18:12)
- Scoundrels (Isaiah 32:5)
Respect for someone’s official position or office and respecting other people because they are human beings (image bearers of God) does not translate to “celebrating” people who murder unborn children and expressing any kind of “gratitude” toward those who do the same.
Aiding and Abetting in the Murder of Unborn Children
Parker’s unbiblical idea of honoring others goes beyond the pale. She doesn’t slip off the rails. She makes the train take a dirt road. So misplaced is her honor toward others, in this case, that her letter will ultimately serve to aid and abet in the murder of unborn children.
As quoted above, in her interview with Steve Austin, Parker asserts that she is pro-life. Yet, Parker makes the following mind-numbing, forehead-smacking statement to Austin:
“I’m saying, ‘Hey, I choose to love you unconditionally, like Jesus, and I’m sorry for those who don’t. And I congratulate how you love–even if it’s different than mine. Even if the outcome is something I strongly disagree with, your intent was spot on.'”
(Placing one end of the rubber band over my left index finger. With my right thumb and index finger, now pulling back the rubber band. Bunny on the left. Bunny on the right. All ready on the firing line!)
Is Parker out of her BSSM mind?! Did that really come out of her mouth?! “Even if the outcome is something I strongly disagree with (abortion), your intent was spot on.”
Hey, Sarah! Their intent is to murder unborn children for money!
So, does anyone reading this honestly believe Parker’s flower-accompanied, baseless, truth-less, gospel-less letter to the Redding Planned Parenthood staff is going to encourage anyone working there to quit his or her job, repent of his or her blood-spilling work, and receive Jesus Christ as his or her Lord and Savior? So, what is Parker’s letter likely to accomplish? Parker, who believes those engaged in butchering unborn children are “empowering women” with “spot on” intentions, is going to further motivate and empower the recipients of her letter to continue doing the same–murder unborn children.
I know a few wonderful Christian women who are in the cosmetology field. I know a few young Christian ladies who are pursuing education and work in that field. So, what I’m about to say is not a slap in the face to my cosmetologist friends.
Cosmetology is no replacement for sound theology.
Seven years in the cosmetology field does not a theologian make. And, as she has so clearly shown with her statements, Parker’s professional experience brings nothing of value to the table in the fight against the world-wide, wholesale slaughter (42 million annually) of unborn children. In fact, what Parker calls her act of “unconditional love” (not for unborn children, mind you) will only make it more difficult for Christians who engage in life-saving, soul-saving ministry outside the Planned Parenthood in Redding, CA.
The next time workers at the Planned Parenthood hear a Christian outside pleading with them not to participate in the murder of unborn children, they will think of Parker’s letter.
The next time workers at the Planned Parenthood hear a Christian outside pleading with them to repent and believe the gospel, they will think of Parker’s letter.
The next time workers at the Planned Parenthood experience a momentary pang because of the murderous work in which they are engaged, they will remember Parker’s letter.
They will remember Parker’s letter, and they will just keep….on….killing. They will continue to dismember babies and throw them out with the rest of the surgical waste, remembering there is at least one professing Christian in Redding who has told them what they already sinfully believe–their motives are “spot on.”
Yes, Sarah Parker has aided and abetted some of the most dangerous people in the world, employees of Planned Parenthood, in the murder of unborn children. I cringe to think of how much blood Sarah will have on her hands now.
If Sarah Parker Really Loved the People at Planned Parenthood
If Sarah Parker really loved the people of Planned Parenthood, she would not honor them. She would not celebrate them. She would not give them fist bumps in written form. If Sarah Parker really loved the people of Planned Parenthood, she would plead with them to stop murdering children. She would call them to repent of their sins against God. She would communicate the gospel of Jesus Christ to them.
The people working at the Redding Planned Parenthood don’t need Sarah’s misguided honor. They don’t need her brand of unconditional love, which is likely an out-working of sinful self-love. They don’t need her gifts of flowers and flowery letters. The people working at the Redding Planned Parenthood need Jesus Christ. They need Christ’s forgiveness, not Parker’s self-righteous apologies. (Keep in mind, Parker didn’t apologize for anything she did. She only apologized for what she arbitrarily believes other Christians have done.)
Sarah Parker really impressed herself and Steve Austin with her “love” for the staff at the Redding Planned Parenthood. But she didn’t love them enough to communicate the gospel to them. So narcissistic was Sarah that she thought her expression of love was all the workers of Planned Parenthood needed. If she believed they needed Christ, if she wanted them to receive Christ, she would have introduced them to Christ. Instead, Parker succeeded in only making the workers of the Redding Planned Parenthood more comfortable in their sin. That’s not love.
Sarah, if you’ve read this article, I’m sure you’re upset. I understand. I really do. But Sarah, I’m angry with you. What you did was not only foolish, but it was also un-Christlike. Sarah: in thought, word, and deed you compared what you see as the love the founders of Planned Parenthood and the abortuary workers of today have for women to the love Jesus showed people. You wrote:
“The letter actually was two-fold: an apology and a thank you. Yep, I said thank you to Planned Parenthood. I thanked them because, at their roots, they cared, no matter what. That sounds a lot like Jesus.”
Sarah, are you not aware that Planned Parenthood, founded by Margaret Sanger, came to be as part of Sanger’s efforts to further her demonic goals, through eugenics? Margaret Sanger was as unlike Jesus as Satan is. Sarah, the people who murder unborn children are likewise as different from Jesus as Satan is.
Sarah, your letter to the workers at the Redding Planned Parenthood was not a reflection of Jesus. It was a horrible mischaracterization of Jesus. You so badly misrepresented Jesus that I implore you to examine and test yourself to see if you are even in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). I don’t know your heart, Sarah, but you might not be saved.
Sarah, you must repent of your mischaracterization of Jesus. You must repent of indirectly encouraging abortuary workers to continue in their murderous work. You must repent of your self-righteous assumptions regarding the hearts of Christians who go to abortuaries to save lives and souls.
While I am left wondering if you are saved, I also want to give you the benefit of the doubt. After all, you are attending a “church” filled with false teachers and a “school” where you are being led astray. I strongly encourage you to leave Bethel Redding and its school of “supernatural ministry.” You are not spiritually safe there. There’s at least one very good church in Redding. I’m sure there are others. If you need help leaving Bethel and finding a safe, Christian church home, I want to help you.
Sarah, I said I am angry with you. I don’t believe my anger is sinful. I believe it is righteous indignation. I can be angry with you and still love you as a fellow human being. While I do not know you and it is likelihood we will never meet, you are my neighbor. As such, I am commanded by the Lord to love you as I love myself. There is nothing more loving I can do for you than to call you to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.
Some may ask, “Tony, why do you have Bethel Redding in the title? It’s not like the leadership in the church told her to write the letter to the Redding Planned Parenthood.”
I don’t know one way or the other if the leadership of Bethel Redding provided Parker with any counsel before she wrote and delivered the letter. I have no confidence that anyone at Bethel could or would provide biblical counsel in this matter or any other.
Granted, Bethel Redding isn’t responsible for everything the members of the group does. As cult-like as the group is, I’m sure Parker is free to do as she pleases and likely came up with the idea of the roses and letter on her own.
However, Bethel Redding’s influence on Parker is obvious. Bethel Redding is dangerous. Bethel Redding, along with the rest of the New Apostolic Reformation movement, is dangerous to the souls of everyone attached to or influenced by it. Bethel Redding’s influence in Parker’s life, I’m sure, had a hand in the misplaced honor she showed toward the staff of her local abortuary and, in doing so, showed depraved indifference to the unborn children those workers likely murdered today.