Afshin Javid, Vancouver Christian Fellowship and sexualizing

In the post below about Afshin Javid, one of the questions commenters are asking is why women who experienced inappropriate sexual contact by this former Vancouver Christian Fellowship staff member have not gone to police.

Again, this is a situation where Canadian Christians are doing the right things, helping victims, notifying the ministerial association ( Christian Ministers Association) contacting a BC church Javid supposedly represented himself as a staff member of, warning media and parachurch conferences where Javid is scheduled to participate, pleading with Javid’s current church (Church of Zion) to keep him out of ministry, and going to law enforcement.

Rev. Nick Osborne is a youth minister of  an SBC affiliated church in Kettering BC (First Baptist) Who went to police. (correction – not this Rev. Osborne! my bad – BD) He is a former minister and former co-pastor with Javid.  From The Truth about Afshin Javid:

In fact, the police were notified immediately when the women came forward by Rev Nick Osborne. As I recall, his wife had a relative who was an RCMP member. According to Nick the police acknowledged that this was a breach of trust but because the women were not minors, they had to file the complaint themselves. In the summer of 2011, another former VCF member phoned the police also and messaged the bulk of the VCF adherents on Facebook to say that he had done so.

In Canada the statistics  of sexual assault reporting is sobering.

  • Of every 100 incidents of sexual assault, only 6 are reported to the police
  • 1 – 2% of “date rape” sexual assaults are reported to the police
  • 1 in 4 North American women will be sexually assaulted during their lifetime
  • Only 2 – 4% of all sexual assaults reported are false reports

Sexual assault is about power and control, shame and fear are emotional and soul wounds which take time, support and professional help to overcome. Trauma cripples. Christians can do a great deal to stop the blame and shame game. In Canada the criminal code definition of assault also applies to sexual assault.

265. (1) A person commits an assault when

  • (a) without the consent of another person, he applies force intentionally to that other person, directly or indirectly;
  • (b) he attempts or threatens, by an act or a gesture, to apply force to another person, if he has, or causes that other person to believe on reasonable grounds that he has, present ability to effect his purpose; or
  • (c) while openly wearing or carrying a weapon or an imitation thereof, he accosts or impedes another person or begs.

(2) This section applies to all forms of assault, including sexual assault, sexual assault with a weapon, threats to a third party or causing bodily harm and aggravated sexual assault.

(3) For the purposes of this section, no consent is obtained where the complainant submits or does not resist by reason of

  • (a) the application of force to the complainant or to a person other than the complainant;
  • (b) threats or fear of the application of force to the complainant or to a person other than the complainant;
  • (c) fraud; or
  • (d) the exercise of authority.

There is no time limit in British Columbia on when a sexual assault can be reported to police.  So why aren’t alleged sexual assault victims of Afshin Javid going to police?

Dr. Daniel Holmes left a comment here at BDBO  which will help people understand why it is such a difficult journey for these young adults to reclaim and regain their emotional, social and spiritual power.

The women are in a very complex situation. Let me explain:
1. Exclusivity
You have to understand the cult mentality that existed in VCF. Once brought into VCF, friendships were redirected so that they were nearly exclusively within the group. This was fostered by a strange kind of superiority and narcissism that this was the “real church” and this as the “real faith” described in Acts 2.:44 whereas people in other churches were second rate. So there was a sense of privilege for being “one of the chosen ones” – there was a lot of flattery too. The whole thing played into the narcissistic tendencies that exist in all of us – and I include myself in this. There was a tremendous pressure to be at Afshin’s all of the time. Afshin’s house was always open. This was presented as an act of generosity but in fact, it was employed as a Trojan Horse. This would allow people to be there late into the night when they were emotionally vulnerable. You get the picture.
2. Isolation
As the attention of the young people who attended was gradually focussed inward into the group, their outside relationships tended to diminish. This was particularly true for kids who decided to go live at the house. This offer was always on the table it seemed. Once people were living at the house, there was an opportunity to develop what my friend Faith (pseudonym) called “the new normal”, that is, “the adjusted moral calibrator”. Afshin would gradually adjust the tone of discussions group and private to encompass sexual matters. It started with joking and then it would proceed (recall: out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks).
3. Prophetic Leader
The third and most potent part of the deception was that Afshin unequivocally assumed the role of prophet. This was predicated on the theophany (ie vision of Christ) he claims in his book. He would sometimes say, “Well, I am the one who looked into Jesus’ eyes” – that is “I know what Jesus is like [and you don't]“. After the vision of Christ, he claimed to be given this prophetic gift. He did not say explicitly that he was a prophet but he claimed to be able to look into anyone’s life and see in an instant the state of their soul. He would convey this “state” with a drawing, that is, a picture metaphor. Some people were very moved by what he had to say to them. He would always start by saying, “I have a gift, a spiritual gift, Jesus gave to me”. He would sometimes say, “Let’s have some fun with this. What do you want to know?” Then there would be a drawing and a little bit of back and forth where he would ask the recipient if the picture made sense. If the picture resonated with the person, that was it. They were hooked. Afshin’s picture drawings were generically referred to as “Afshin’s gift” – everyone knew this meant the picture drawings.
On the matter of prophecy, Afshin’s dreams played an important role in control of the group. He would have dreams that were obviously self-serving (like Mohammad – see Surah 33 for example). One fine example was the attempt to poach my friend’s motorcycle. “Don (pseudonym), I had a dream that you gave me your motorcycle”. That is, “Don, you are going to give me your motorcycle in the future”. I know, it’s laughable, but people would believe it. After all, people believed Mohammad when he said that he was allowed to take Zaynab (the wife of his adopted son) as his own wife, because Allah had given special dispensation.
4.Obedience
Over the course of a short period, say weeks, the devotion obtained with the picture drawing would lead to more sessions and gradual control. He would frame obedience to himself personally as a prerequisite for staying in the group. Any challenge to his authority was really framed as disobedience to God. He repeatedly talked about his “army mentality” – “As I submit to my elders, so you also should submit to me” – except whenever he was asked to submit to his elders, he refused. In fact, his refusal to submit to any authority is why he kept migrating accountability.
5. Shunning and Shaming:
People who left the group were characterized as disobedient to God and were shamed and shunned – and I mean shunned. At MissionsFest this w/e I was told by an ex-VCF female that when I broke contact with Afshin, she was not allowed to call me and ask why. She was only told “it was his issue not ours”. She was forced to join in the shunning. Shaming and shunning were a big part of the control. And here is the kicker, if you crossed the leader, you would be shunned and then you would lose your entire support structure all in one shot. Fortunately for me, I was not a VCF member per se… I just came to the house from time to time. I still got shunned – thank the LORD. There was a pervasive fear of rebuke from Afshin because it was understood that he was the one who had the prophetic gift. When he spoke, for some of them, it was as if God was speaking.
6. Compromise
Wearing down of previously established moral barriers was a big part of the VCF technique. This was accomplished by framing personal codes of ethics as “spirits of religiosity”. So, for example, exhorting Afshin not to make off colour jokes or swear might be framed as “a religious spirit”. By the systematic application of this technique over the course of months, you could take a clean living kid and get them to think it’s OK that the pastor is massaging topless women in his living room. I know that seems patently ridiculous but it worked. Kids who came from upright homes were suddenly participating in things that would have struck them as entirely repugnant 6 months earlier.
7. And most confusingly
Through all of this, great worship sessions were maintained as were really powerful sessions of prayer among the adherents. It seemed that God still came and met with those gathered in his name.
So, I think that the reader understands when you love bomb, isolate, create devotion and obedience to a prophet, you can basically get anyone to do anything.  I used to think only a half-wit could fall into a cult. Now I know that any passionate person with a deep desire for growth, if they end up in the wrong place, can be a spiritual victim.
Back to the original point: the women feel ashamed for having fell for something so stupid and they are genuinely afraid of Afshin – I mean very afraid. I have talked to them. But as John said, “We do not have a spirit of fear.”
Lord Jesus, would you glorify your Father in this? Please help your servants clean up this mess by your grace and power. Restore your glory LORD.

About Bene Diction

Have courage for the great sorrows, And patience for the small ones. And when you have laboriously accomplished your tasks, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.
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23 Responses to Afshin Javid, Vancouver Christian Fellowship and sexualizing

  1. highrpm says:

    “powerful sessions of prayer”: please define what this means?

  2. Dan Holmes - the ghost author - www.2peter2.blogspot.com says:

    By “powerful sessions of prayer” I mean that the members of the group prayed meaningfully, coherently, and passionately for people. That is, I did not sense any insincerity in the prayers of adherents. I must qualify this by saying I only saw them pray a handful of times.

  3. John Payzant says:

    What comes into question is accountability and scruples.

    These traits can sometimes be magnified by position, money and success.

    Position, money and success does not put a person above the law.

    This is a rather bad and ugly examples of politics

  4. highrpm says:

    @dan holmes,
    thanks for replying. (and thanks bene d for reporting this sh**.)

    to repeatedly entreat/petition/beg–labelling this “powerful prayer”–and leave traumatized (w/ long term bad memories) is criminal. rather, powerful prayer stands outside a storefront asking for a handout–and one only has to do this for a few minutes, not ihop’s 24/7, before a good samaritan responds. repugnant “leadership” spouts their antiseptic prayer and healing rooms and burn 24/7′s while the street folks put them to shame. labelling such activity under the misnomer of “prayer”–afshin’s house groups and bickle’s ihops–come to mind. the vcfs, ihops, schools of the supernatural, and even seminaries should take a closer look at the nt parables of the kingdom–of course, a moat in the eye makes that impossible–before calling themselves teachers. they’ve taken antichrists’ bait hook, line and sinker.

  5. Abacar says:

    Bene.
    I’m curious. How many hits has this article had?

  6. Abacar says:

    Or this web page over the last few days

  7. Bene Diction says:

    This particular post?

    Just over 100 today and 344 on the home page.
    About the same yesterday.

    The uniques shot up about a thousand the day it was posted, but that was mostly eyeballs on the Eddie Long coronation.

    If a reader clicks on a specific link which takes them directly to a post, they usually stay on that post.

    If a reader hits the main ( home) page, I don’t know for sure what they are reading. There are usually about 6 posts up on the main (home) people can browse and catch up on.

  8. Abacar says:

    Thanks for that. I’m really just being hopeful this is getting wide circulation.
    This has gone on so long. Someone else will get hurt again guaranteed. This
    behavior just doesn’t disappear. These false prophets rarely repent. The more untouchable they feel the greater the manipulations become. It’s very disconcerting.
    Any interest from other blogs? Christian news media?

  9. Bene Diction says:

    No trackbacks from blogs here at BDBO but that might be a good question to ask Dr. Holmes.
    His blog, The Truth about Afshin Javid is on Blogger which I think shows him trackbacks also. Since his blog is the key source of information, he might be getting linked.

    Nothing from media, but I wasn’t asking them to contact me, I’ve asked them to read Dr. Holmes blog and contact him.:^)

  10. Catherine says:

    Ben, Do you have the link to Dr. Holmes blog?

  11. fjc says:

    People who have been abused should NEVER trust any organization to resolve the situation.

    Resolve what?? There is nothing to resolve. What there is to do is go directly to the police authorities and bring the full weight of the law on the abusers and on their enablers-both criminal justice and civil remedy should be pursued vigorously. Only then can the victims protect future victims and come to terms with their own abuse.
    Shine a light on these monsters and the on organizations that knowingly and systematically protect them.

  12. Dan Holmes - the ghost author - www.2peter2.blogspot.com says:

    FJC

    That’s what I have endeavoured to do. Zion Church continues to vigorously defend their decision to put Afshin back into public ministry. They are a non-denominational charismatic church, as I understand, and this would make them accountable to no one in particular.

    I will tell you what is most bizarre. While they seem to acknowledge that Afshin used false prophecy to gain sexual favours, this does not seem to compute in their minds as equivalent to the statement to “he is a false prophet”. Acknowledgement of this latter statement would force them to respond as Matt 7, 2 Peter 2 and Jude would have them respond.

    A friend of mine put it well today:

    “Their willingness to send Afshin back on the road is in part due to the fact that they value their own opinions and insights over Scripture. Afshin is CLEARLY not biblically qualified for ministry. He is not above reproach and he is not a one-woman man (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6). Yet these men prefer their opinions about his professed repentance to the Word of God. It’s no wonder they’re off the rails.

    It’s not a question about grace and forgiveness. It’s about what the Bible establishes as character requirements for teaching and leadership. In reality, all they are doing is giving him cover to do the same things again. It’s predictable. Afshin preys on women in precisely the manner described in 2 Timothy 3:1-7. If it’s any consolation to you, the apostle Paul did say these days would be “difficult” (3:1).”

  13. fjc says:

    Never mind all the nice language and the bible verses.

    This appears very straightforward. The man appears to be a leach who preys are people who are weak-women in particular.

    The people who want to put him back want to do so because not doing so would reflect badly on them and their judgement. No concern whatsoever for possible future victims or what is right and just.

  14. Dan Holmes - the ghost author - see: www.2peter2.blogspot.com says:

    FJC,
    I could not agree more.

    The only thing that we can do to protect people is make them aware. If they walk into trap that is heavily signed by honest people as being a hazard, what can you do?

    I would like to point out that you inadvertently made a Biblical allusion:

    “They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women…” 2 Timothy 3:6

    :P
    DH

  15. Thom says:

    I have dealt with Afshin in business and it was a bad scene, he cheated and lied. The girls are afraid of Afshin. Afshin is a cash cow for the church he is supported by, hes slicker then spit on a gold tooth… love of money is…. Someone needs to get the Peter site blog on his Facebook page.

  16. Abacar says:

    He accepts anyone as a friend on Facebook. :)

  17. Thom says:

    Not me…Funny side bar, Afshins nick name is the” Profit of profit”.

  18. Dan Holmes - the ghost author - www.2peter2.blogspot.com says:

    Yes – it is also said of Afshin that “he puts the ‘con’ in ‘convert’”.

  19. Thom says:

    Afshin is ministering all over the planet….again.
    I know it’s complex and not easy but one or all of the women have to come forward and do the right thing. If they are concerned about safety then they need to get a restraining order, if there have been retaliatory threats then it should be reported… thats a given. It is their responsibility as Christians to protect others. The way things stand, and will continue to stand, if they are afraid of Afshin then he is still controlling their lives, through fear. The feeling brought on by intimidation will not go away intill the women address it correctly.
    If these events reoccur down the road with nothing being previously reported then the girls are partially responsible for enabeling Afshin. I’m not tring to make the women feel bad but these are the hard cold facts, and not taking a serious stance is wrong.

  20. Pingback: I Am Thirsty Ministries co-founder, former administrator for Afshin Javid speaks out | Bene Diction Blogs On

  21. Tony says:

    I had a video and link to this guy’s ministry on my blog, until this morning. I am just finding out these terrible things. There is part of my flesh that says someone should just shoot this guy. I’m sorry. That helps nothing.

    I pray that the people who were hurt will find healing in good haste. I am always baffled when hear of such things.

    Thank you for reporting this in the tactful way you have, and, thanks to Dan Holmes as well. May the Lord resolve all of this soon.

  22. Peter says:

    It’s odd to me that people here are judging Afsin when no police report has even been filed (nevermind any charge or conviction!).

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