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Grace Community Church Pastor Removed from Approved Counselors List amid Abuse Scandal

Milton Quintanilla | CrosswalkHeadlines Contributor | Updated: Nov 03, 2023
Grace Community Church Pastor Removed from Approved Counselors List amid Abuse Scandal

Grace Community Church Pastor Removed from Approved Counselors List amid Abuse Scandal

The Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, a prominent Christian counseling organization, has removed a pastor from Grace Community Church from its list of approved counselors.

According to The Christian Post, a former elder at Grace Community Church, led by author John McArthur, expressed concern back in February about the church siding with abusers against their victims. 

In September, former elder Hohn Cho wrote a letter stating that the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors recently removed Pastor Bill Shannon, who leads Grace’s biblical counseling ministry, from their approved counselors and as an ACBC fellow.

Additionally, Shannon was taken off the ACBC's list of scheduled breakout speakers for their annual conference, which took place in early October.

Based on the letter, Cho filed a “concern or complaint” form with ACBC when it came to GCC” 's counseling practices under Shannon, and so forth, at the promotion of his "friends who appreciate ACBC."

Although ACBC continues to investigate complaints against GCC and its counseling practices, the megachurch based in Sun Valley, California, continues to be recognized by the counseling organization as an approved training center for counseling.

Under the investigation, ACBC heard testimony from multiple women who accused GCC of protecting abusers who were harming their victims. 

In one testimony shared with CP, one woman who received counseling from GCC due to abuse from her husband throughout their 22-year marriage shared that the church reprimanded her for allegedly removing his parental authority instead of reporting the abuse based on California law. 

In addition to her husband’s abuse, he was accused of suspicious behavior, including missing family gatherings and wanting her to co-sign a second $50,000 loan without specifying the reason behind the loan. The husband also reportedly punished two of their children by stuffing tissues in their mouths to the point where they were unable to breathe. 

As noted in the testimony, GCC did not provide any help when the husband also abruptly moved out to a place he was renting in secret and left his wife and children. 

After filing for separation from her husband, GCC sent her a letter giving her a date informing her of her expulsion from the congregation. However, Shannon ceased the discipline process after the woman issued a tearful appeal.

Last year, The Roys Report published an article alleging MacArthur who shamed and excommunicated a mother in 2002 for filing for separation from her husband, David Gray, a former music and Bible teacher at GCC, who was later convicted of child molestation. 

According to the report, GCC never reported Gray's abusive behavior to authorities and even pressed the mother to change her mind about the separation. 

After Cho published the letter in February, GCC published a statement: “Grace Church’s elders do not publicly discuss details arising from counseling and discipline cases — especially on social media.”

“Nor do we litigate disputes about such matters in online forums. Grace Church deals with accusations personally and privately in accordance with biblical principles. We do not respond to attacks, lies, misrepresentations, and anonymous accusations,” the statement reads from February.

“Our church’s history and congregation are the testimony. Myriads of Grace Church members who have sought counsel at our church will testify that the counsel they receive is biblical, charitable, supportive, and liberating.”

Photo Courtesy: Grace Community Church Facebook

Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for CrosswalkHeadlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.

Grace Community Church Pastor Removed from Approved Counselors List amid Abuse Scandal