Does Christian Counseling & Education Foundation Take Domestic Abuse Seriously? Why is Steve Estes Still on the Board of Directors?

Steve Estes is still on the board of directors of Christian Counseling & Education Foundation (CCEF.) I remain baffled after everything that took place in Elverson, Pennsylvania that he would still be on the board. This blog would like to ask if CCEF takes domestic abuse seriously? If they did then they would remove Steve Estes from the organization and see that he is unfit to serve. 

“Has he ever trapped you in a room and not let you out?
Has he ever raised a fist as if he were going to hit you?
Has he ever thrown an object that hit you or nearly did?
Has he ever held you down or grabbed you to restrain you?
Has he ever shoved, poked, or grabbed you?
Has he ever threatened to hurt you?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then we can stop wondering whether he’ll ever be violent; he already has been.”

Lundy Bancroft 

“The more that we choose not to talk about domestic violence, the more we shy away from the issue, the more we lose.”

Russell Wilson 

The wicked run away when no one is chasing them,
    but the godly are as bold as lions.

Proverbs 28:1 NLT 

 

Steve Estes preaching 

The other day I was researching for an article that Dave Harvey would be written into, and I looked at the Christian Counseling & Education Foundation (CCEF) website. You can read that article about Dave Harvey in, “An Overview of the Sojourn Network out of Louisville, Kentucky.” In looking at the CCEF board of directors I noticed that Steve Estes is still on the board after everything that happened at Community Evangelical  Free Church of Elverson, and decided to step back and explore this topic for the day. 

 

What is CCEF? 

CCEF was founded in 1968 by both Jay Adams and John Bettler. Jay Adams is known for nouthetic counseling. He published “Competent to Counsel” which is used by fundamentalists. CCEF states that its goal is to continue pastoral counseling as it has been done since the first century of the Christian church. CCEF has a high view of the Reformation, the Puritans and Jonathan Edwards. CCEF has pushed for pastors and people to embrace scripture over psychology and it is very popular within the Neo-Calvinist movement. David Powlison is a household name inside both Sovereign Grace and Acts 29.  CCEF puts out the Journal of Biblical Counseling. CCEF was very close to Sovereign Grace and I believe had a business relationship with them.  At CCEF you also have Edward Welch  who has published a number of books. Recently I wrote about Edward Welch in the context of Eric Simmons and Jordan Kauflin’s Redeemer Arlington. You can read about that in “Does Evangelical Culture Contribute to Pornography? Plus the Torment Accountability has Left in My Life.” One of the people David Powlison has a close relationship with is Steve Estes, who also sits on the board of CCEF. Let’s quickly review a dark event that took place in Elverson, Pennsylvania.

 

Recalling a Perverse Act of Injustice at Community Evangelical Free Church of Elverson

Brock Estes is one of Steve Estes sons. In his marriage to a person who this blog calls Hurit he dealt with a lot of issues. From alleged problems with pornography to alcoholism to domestic abuse. He was alleged to have raped his wife while intoxicated and loaded a gun and pointed it at her on another occasion. Hurit knew she could be dead and in October 2013 she filed for divorce from Brock.   Senior Pastor Steve Estes then guided the church, Community Evangelical Free Church through an act of church discipline and excommunication over the time-span of 2014. The church went after a domestic abuse victim to protect Brock who worked at the Berks County Jail. In July of 2014 CCEF turned away Hurit from a counseling appointment claiming that it would be a conflict of interest to see her, especially since Steve Estes was on the board. This is a brief synopsis of what happened, and if you would like to read a longer detailed view you can read the original posts in, “Steve Estes and Community Evangelical Free Church in Elverson, Pennsylvania: A Painful Story of Domestic Abuse, Inappropriate Church Discipline, and Failed EFCA Polity” and “Hurit’s Public Excommunication While Alleged Criminal Activity by Brock Estes is Withheld from the Congregation: Appeals for Help Fall on Deaf Ears to Steve Musser of the Eastern District and National Evangelical Free Church of America.” It should also be noted that Community Evangelical Free of Elverson is no longer with the EFCA and that it has changed its name to Brick Lane Community Church. 

 

Why is Steve Estes Still on the Board of CCEF? Does CCEF Take Domestic Abuse Seriously? 

There have long been issues with CCEF especially after the 2014 incident of the excommunication. In 2016 Community Evangelical Free held a seminar on domestic abuse which was led by Cecilia Bernhardt, this after the church excommunicated a victim of domestic abuse. You can read about this in, “What do David Powlison, Cecilia Bernhardt and Christian Counseling and Education Foundation Believe on Domestic Abuse? Why is Julie Lowe and CCEF Holding an Abuse Event at a Church that Excommunicated an Alleged Rape and Domestic Abuse Victim?” Then later on David Powlison did a fundraising campaign which bothered a number of people in Pennsylvania. You can read about that in, “Community Evangelical Free Church Update: Should Christians Respond to David Powlison’s Fundraising Campaign in Light of how CCEF Treated an Alleged Domestic Abuse Victim? Plus a Congregation Meeting and Brock Estes Proudly Displays his Gun Collection on Facebook.”

So here it is October of 2018. I have written heavily about the situation in Elverson over the 2016 and 2017 time-frame. When I still saw that Steve Estes was on the board of directors I felt sick. Through the entire situation CCEF has largely been indifferent and apathetic. I guess this is a case where tribalism trumps truth. A situation where David Powlison is indifferent to the plight of a domestic abuse victim who was almost killed, just because he’s known Steve Estes for years. I do not understand why many Christians still patronize CCEF and buy their books, products and more. Everything you need to know about CCEF occurred with an unjust situation in Elverson, Pennsylvania. The proper thing for CCEF to do, that is if the organization had any integrity, would be to remove Steve Estes from the board of directors. This situation helps reveal why domestic abuse is a major problem inside evangelical Christianity. Many Christians are indifferent to the topic and they also struggle with discernment and critical thinking skills. Then they give their time and money to an organization that “speaks” a lot about domestic abuse but doesn’t practice or work at resolving the problem.  You can see examples of CCEF’s articles, books and blog posts on the topic here,  here, here, here, and here.  In this situation CCEF is sending mixed messages which is horrific. This is not difficult. It begs the question as to why the world often has higher ethical standards then Christians do? If CCEF wanted to show that they mean business about domestic abuse they would remove Steve Estes – the man who protected his son who could have killed his wife at the time – from the board. Its that simple. But as evangelicalism deals with deep corruption I predict nothing will happen at all. That is it for the day guys, please know you are loved.