In February I blogged about Afshin Javid, a Canadian speaker/author who lost his ministerial credentials when Christians in BC publicly stepped forward to express concerns about his conduct.
Javid’s book As Easy As Drinking Water was published in 2010 by a Washington self-publishing company named WinePress Books. WinePress Books is affiliated with a Washington state church called Sound Doctrine. Javid publicly said on more than one occasion that ‘the Lord told him’ to use this publishing company.
WinePress Publishing is staffed by people from Sound Doctrine Church, a non-denominational authoritarian group which has been in the news. The assistant minister, Malcolm John Fraser, is the Executive Officer of WinePress. WinePress has also been written about. In 2000, the founder of Sound Doctrine Church, Timothy Williams published with WinePress, and his book, Hating for Jesus garnered controversy.
Sound Doctrine Church has been labelled a cult. WinePress Publishing sued an author in 2009 and lost.
This information is a click away. Yet, Javid decided God told him to use this company?
There is a great deal more being made public about this church and company.
The assistant minister of Sound Doctrine Church and Executive Officer of WinePress Publishing, Malcolm John Fraser was charged yesterday with first degree rape of a child.
Fraser is a Scottish citizen, police consider him a flight risk. Bail is set at one hundred fifty thousand dollars.
The alleged victim may have felt enabled to come forward and find the courage to speak because of this blog from the woman who started WinePress Publishing and helped start Sound Doctrine Church – Athena Dean. Last month she started blogging about her 12 years with the church and what happened with WinePress Publishing at Not Afraid to Tell My Story. She tells a frightening and convoluted story about control and spiritual abuse.
So many times people have asked me, “How is it someone as bright and strong and capable as you could be sucked into a cult like Sound Doctrine?” I have been pondering this question and looking for all the ways I was vulnerable.
However, I thought it may be helpful for any of you who are interested to see how the progression occurred over the 12 years I was involved.
The following is a bullet point chronicling of the events that resulted in my company being stolen from me. Over these years I was brainwashed into thinking anything done to benefit the Williams family and Sound Doctrine would be honoring to God and therefore justified many things that I would never have allowed under normal circumstances.
She has not been out of this environment for very long, and is in therapy. Prior to her conversion she was a Scientologist, her healing and recovery is going to be a long journey.
Needless to say Sound Doctrine Church came out swinging, on the church website and on a site set up to refute prior news about the church and particularly to refute Deans.
Sound Doctrine Church/WinePress Publishing threatened this man a few weeks ago – Chip MacGregor of Literary MacGregor, coming at him for a comment on a Facebook page. He tells what happened on his blog in a post titled Conspirators R Us.
The current situation is an interesting study in business ethics and church governance and arcane theology, but you’d have to go somewhere else to find the details, since I’ve never blogged about it before. I haven’t said anything about it on my corporate website, either. Nor have I written about it for any other magazine, e-zine, or journal. I could have — I mean, I’m a trained journalist, talking about the publishing industry, and the allegation that a big company that’s very involved in Christian publishing has acted unfairly toward employees or tried to intimidate people is news. But I didn’t. Not because I was afraid to (and yes, I’ve heard a couple people warn that Wine Press has used lawyers and intimidation tactics on others in the past), but because I wanted to wait and see what the facts brought out. I don’t have a dog in this hunt — but I’m very interested in the hunt itself and the story surrounding it.
My sole reference to this particular cat-fight is a comment I left on a Facebook page. That’s right — I once read an article and left a comment on the piece I saw, since I found it shocking. Here’s what I wrote upon reading about the allegations: “Holy cow. I mean… WOW! This will blow the socks off of anyone who’s been involved in CBA publishing in recent years. Wow…”
That’s the sum total of my verbiage so far on the topic.
Sound Doctrine Church and WinePress Publishing can’t bully everyone. As news of Fraser’s arrest spreads in Washington state and on blogs more of the inner conduct of this group will come out.
I wonder if other Canadians have a connection to this group – if other Canadians believed the Lord told them…
2009 Judge takes heat for home school ruling ABC news
Court ruling – WinePress Publishing d/b/a Pleasant Word v. Mark Levine
Tekton analysis of Sound Doctrine Church theology
Christian message board and forums Sound Doctrine Church
Moriel Ministries – Timothy Williams of Sound Doctrine and His Article ‘God’s True Grace’
The Fine Print of Self-Publishing – WinePress Publishing (author Mark Levine was sued and won)
Update: Fraser entered a plea of not guilty to both counts. He has been prohibited from all contact with minors. Next court date is April 19th. The trial is set for November 8th.
Update: The trial has been pushed back to January 16th, after Fraser’s lawyer asked for a forensic audit of police department computers for emails ‘potentially relevant to the case.’
Update: Fraser found guilty on all counts