Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Message from TBIO Admin

The Bridge is Out administrators have removed all the comments for short while. This reprieve has given them time to regroup and look at how this blog is used by its readers.

TBIO understands the need for discussion and recognizes that some commentators require anonymity. The concern that admin has is that some commentators use anonymity to make statements that they might not make if they used their real name. We encourage our readers to keep the comments respectful, whether under alias or actual name. This does not mean that only one side of the issue is represented; this means that parties on both sides of the issue behave themselves properly, in a Christian manner. We can disagree and still be polite.

Colossians 4:6

Le your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Rom 14:12

So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

Above all, TBIO resents the abuse of God's Word. Scripture has been used to hurl insults at fellow believers. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. Use of it to benefit ourselves and hurt another person is essentially breaking this commandment, and the administrators of TBIO will not be part of this.

TBIO will continue to work to make this blog a safe place for people who have escaped the bondage of legalism to share their stories, connect with others who have similar experiences, and warn others that the bridge is out: there may be danger ahead.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Change In Comment Policy

The spirit in which the majority of the comments have been written are very unchristian, that is why we have decided to take off the comments.

If you wish to contact the bridge is out or post a story, please email bridgeisout@gmail.com.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Pete Reimer's Audio Story

A public meeting was held in Winkler, April 18, 2011 where Pete Reimer and others shared personal life experiences as ex-members of a Church. Posted with permission.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Irvin's Story

Hi there,

I have recently left the Pembina Valley Baptist Church. A number of things resulted in my finally deciding to leave. Firstly I have a desire to find a mate someday. At PVBC if I want to go out with someone I have to ask Pastor Sullivant first for permission to ask someone. They usually point to the Abraham story in the old testament where he sends his servant to find a wife for his son Jacob. Then they tell me that we have to go through the proper channels like them (Church Leader) and then the parents of the other party. Abraham's servant was not a priest or pastor so this reasoning is ridiculous. At PVBC only the Pastor gets to decide who goes out with who. People that he favors get the people that they would like to pursue. Others who don't fit the preacher boy image because of race or some other reason get shafted and in my case I was told by my friends that I would never be able to find a wife there. Some of my older friends did not believe that I should even attempt it.

Secondly my contact with other leaving members to find out why they were leaving led me to these other blogs of people who have escaped the crushing legalism in the IFB fold. There are many stories of heartache caused by the leaders in the PVBC. I myself have gone through spiritual abuse which I will not document here to protect the identities of people Pastor Sullivant has used to perpetrate it. My mother was also spiritually abused at the Hands of this Preacher. She was good friends with Mrs. Doris Kelly but according to the cult edicts no one is allowed to have close friends and sometimes people need to be separated.

I have very few friends in the PVBC. Four couples sometimes would spend time with me.
Most of my time was spent in crushing loneliness at home or even in church. They say to have friends you must show yourself friendly. Then why don't they?

I found that if I would ask the pastor questions about topics he did not approve of me studying he would criticize me and tell me to study in another way. Information is strictly controlled in the upper echelon of the cult. Any information sharing is denounced as gossip and people who are bubbly and like to talk a lot are sharply criticized either in person or generally from the pulpit. If you asked the wrong questions at a business meeting you would get church disciplined and some other lame excuse would be given for it.

The only place you are allowed to ask unedited questions are at business meetings. All other public questions are scrutinized before being asked at other types of meetings. People that left the church were targeted with false reasons for leaving such as handing out pamphlets for seventh day adventist church and why it was wrong to show that it had some thing to do with 7th Day Adventism. Then rumors spread about the possible reason. The rumor was that some of my mothers long time friends at church left and became 7th Day Adventists. Of course this is baloney. They just attended a prophecy meeting at one of those churches. It may not even have been affiliated with Adventism. The reason they left was they asked one of the pastors about the number of Apostles in the New Testament. When what they said conflicted with what the pastor believed he became enraged. The leadership At PVBC shows no real desire to learn or seek truth just pass on baptist doctrine which may not always even be right.

Information control is a big reason that someone should leave this cult....don't wait to find out the hard way after being spiritually abused...get out now... Read a lot and learn the reasons that others have left....

The sooner you leave the better off you will be...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Anonymous Story

As posted in the comment section

My family has learned a lot about shunning from this blog. I had previously thought that only the Amish had this ridiculous practice. Now I find out that Pastor Sullivant and PVBC appear to be spearheading this unscriptural tradition in “Dependant” Fundamental Baptist Churches. He sure is leading by example. What he did to Laura was awful, regardless if there is “another side to this story”. From what I read, her life appears to have turned out well. He and his wife should be pleased. How could any dad, especially a Christian, ignore three beautiful little girls!!!

We also have a story with similarities to Laura’s, but with an different outcome. Our then seventeen year old daughter left home to go to university. One thing led to another and she rebelled against the Lord and against what we had taught her. While she was living in sin in the world, we still did not cut her off; even going as far as British Columbia from Ontario to maintain contact with her. The door was still open and the porch light was still on, so to speak. She was the constant object of our prayers, and we definitely did not pray for God to take her life. After a time she returned to the Lord in a dramatic fashion. We opened our arms to her and welcomed her back home, as any loving father and mother should. No questions asked. Had we not done so, she would have gotten lost, maybe even forever, in Europe. Her life could have turned out to be an absolute disaster. Instead, the Lord got a hold of her. For this we will praise God forever. She now has an awesome husband and three beautiful children. I cannot fathom life without them. How can a father cut off his daughter for twelve years, and call himself a man of God? Incidently, our pastor has never even asked her for her testimony about how she got saved. He appears to be too busy on the hot line to Winkler.

We have also experienced shunning - from Pastor Sullivant’s deputies - from our pastor - and from his family. This whole action was obviously indirectly inspired by PMS. Our Pastor holds him in high esteem - away too high, I believe. He is a big influence in our small congregation. Our IFBC is in a small community in South Western Ontario. Due to a matter over which we disagreed with our Pastor, we (three families) were asked to leave our church and to start one of our own. We refuse to leave, and most of the church agrees with us. The matter at the center did not even relate to doctrine. We had the audacity to question a matter relating to a particular practice in the church, and the Scriptural basis for it. After having been given “soul liberty”, we were then shown the door. Anyhow, since that time our names have been passed around to numerous IFBC in our region and beyond. Our reputation is mud. We are learning what happens when anyone has the nerve to question a DFBC pastor. D means Dependent, not Independent. One must jump when he tells you to, and ask how high on the way up. Incidently, we have only had one deacon for the past three years.

From one disillusioned dad and mom and their families


I am the one who wrote Anonymous. My name is David. In answer to the first comment, our constitution has no provision in it about removing a pastor. He calls and chairs all meetings. It is pretty simple. It is high time that DFBC members and pastors took their "winklers" off, so to speak. We have now left our former church; having been given the left foot of dissfellowship. Check out my web site at: www.willyouranchorhold.com
You will find it interesting.

Friday, March 25, 2011


In whom is your righteousness?

KJV: Romans 3:10. As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

KJV: Galatians 2:21. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

Heb 4:12 (although I wish this person would have the courage to use his/her real name) mentioned in his/her last comment the influence of The Bridge is Out. We are giving honour to whom honour is due – glory to God only and recognizing the fallibility of mankind.

Did you know that your pastor is FALLIBLE? So are you and I. To place unquestioning faith in a man, as many commentators on this blog appear to do, is dishonouring God. The Almighty God is the only One Whose Word should never be questioned. You are indeed correct to question my word, Travis' word and the word of anyone else, but question every man equally because we are all equal in the eyes of God – equally dispicable, equally human, equally under the Blood of Christ and equally forgiven of Christ. If you never question your pastor's word, you are giving him the honour that is due only to the LORD. This is tantamount to having another god before you. You serve a jealous God; be careful that He alone receives the honour of being counted righteous and blameless.

KJV: Exodus Chapter 20

[1] And God spake all these words, saying,
[2] I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
[3] Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
[4] Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
[5] Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
[6] And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

KJV: Psalms Chapter 36

[1] The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes.
[2] For he flattereth himself in his own eyes, until his iniquity be found to be hateful.
[3] The words of his mouth are iniquity and deceit: he hath left off to be wise, and to do good.
[4] He deviseth mischief upon his bed; he setteth himself in a way that is not good; he abhorreth not evil.

There is a root cause of every problem. The root of the problems discussed on TBIO is the paradigm encouraged by the leadership of a church, honouring one man far above what any man deserves. If we give God all the honour that is due Him and see mankind as sinful as it really is, we show that we believe the scriptures that tell us there is none righteous, our righteousness is as filthy rags, Christ is our righteousness, and that God is no respecter of persons. We have no reason to – no, rather we are commanded not to honour one man above another. God is Sovereign, and the moment we recognize that, we will see that no man is above reproach.

We place our trust in God. God alone is above reproach and unquestionable.

God alone.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Vic and Melanie's Experience

In October, 2010, Frank Harder, who has been a good friend and employee for about eight years, came to me about something that had been troubling him for some time. He told me that Mike Sullivant had a meeting with him (the other person present was Gary Driedger) during which my and Vic's names were mentioned.

Sullivant had warned Frank in this meeting to be careful of his contact with us, warning him that he would become what he hung out with. He also told Frank how much we were tithing. Sullivant told Frank that I had other problems with the church as well and had been emailing them.

When Frank told me this, I was very upset. How many times had we been told from the pulpit that Sullivant never sees how much we tithe? This news went directly against what we had heard preached. I also wondered how Sullivant could warn someone to not spend time with me and my husband without speaking to us directly about any concerns he had about us. We never had a call or email about whatever we were doing that would have caused church leadership such concern. I would add that during the previous two and a half years when I was suffering at home alone with new allergies and chemical sensitivities and could not attend church, there was no offer of help or call made to me. I was so ill and troubled that I had lost nearly 50 pounds and became nearly unrecognizable to some people, but still I was alone. A few friends cared enough to encourage me and pray for me. I say all this to illustrate how I had struggled for nearly three years and did not know that I was looked upon in such a negative way as to be the object of the “like fellowships with like” warning.

But we were marked. And the trust was broken regarding the tithe. What a person gives to God is between him and God. Sullivant might not count the money, but the counters keep track so we can get tax receipts and, it appears, report to leadership.

When Frank told me the part of his meeting with Sullivant and Driedger that involved us, I told him right away that we couldn't hear news like this and not follow up on it, that we had to talk to Sullivant and couldn't do it without naming him. We know that Sullivant does not regard anonymous reports, but we would not name Frank without his explicit permission.

In about two weeks, we met with Sullivant in our home. He came alone. We had sent the children to play at the neighbour's house for the afternoon. When Sullivant arrived, we didn't beat around the bush, but came straight to the point. Vic said to him, “Did you tell Frank how much we tithe and that he should not be around us, to be careful who he hangs out with?”

Sullivant appeared surprised when his eyes got big and he leaned back in his chair. He responded, “No, I did not. Did Frank tell you this?”

Vic: “Yes.”

Sullivant: “Call him in.” Frank was working in the shop, so Vic went into the next room to call him from the cell phone.

Meanwhile, I said to Sullivant as he sat across the table from me, “Frank has worked for us for many years. He is like family to us, like a brother. He has been loyal through some very difficult times here when others might have walked out. He is human, yes, but has never given us reason to doubt him.”

Sullivant's words were, “And I have?” There was no opportunity for me to reply because Vic and Frank walked in at this point. When they were seated, he turned to Vic and said, “Ask him.”

So Vic did. Frank's reply was, 'Yes, he did say those things about you.”

Sullivant turned to Frank, pointed at him and said, “You are lying!”

Frank held his ground calmly and said he heard what he heard, that he was telling the truth. A brief argument followed between the two, during which Sullivant called Frank a liar a number of times. Frank remained calm during this. Neither man conceded. Since Gary Driedger was present at the meeting with Frank, Sullivant called him on speaker phone and that conversation went something like this, after preliminary chit chat:

Sullivant: “Gary, I've got you on speaker phone. I am at Vic and Melanie's; Frank Harder is here too. I have been blind sided here with the accusation that I told Frank about their tithe and that he should not hang around with them. Is this true?”

Gary: “Absolutely not. We never said anything like that. Their names never even came up at that meeting.”

As the phone conversation went on, Gary repeatedly said that he couldn't remember what exactly was said, but knew which things had not been said, the end result being that both pastors concluded that Frank was lying. The phone conversation ended, and some other matters were discussed in front of us regarding Frank that should have been done in private and were completely unrelated to the matter at hand, the reason we had called this meeting. I believe that this was done to throw in a red herring, to distract us and to cause Frank to lose credibility in our eyes. It was a complete change of subject, with Frank being the object of attack. When it appeared that Frank and Mike were at a stalemate, I asked Frank if he wanted to add anything and he said no. He was dismissed.

I said to Mike, “We are in a very difficult position here. We have to choose between a loyal friend and a pastor.” He said he could see that. I reiterated that Frank had never given us reason to doubt his word. The words Michael Sullivant said next were, “Look at my track record.” At another point during the meeting, he confidently said, “I am innocent in this.” We made no indication at that meeting where our loyalties lay. Now I wish we had made that clear with both men present. We already knew what our decision would be before Frank left the room.

I asked Mike, “Do you mark people by name, telling them not to fellowship with someone?” He said no, he never does that unless it's a church discipline situation. I also asked, “Do you keep track of the giving?”

Sullivant replied, “I never see a record of the giving.”

Both statements were directly contrary to what Frank told us.

The phrase “Look at my track record” was one that echoed in our minds for weeks as we did exactly that. We looked at Sullivant's track record objectively. This was our thought process after our minds quit reeling: Why would Frank lie about what was said about us? Did he stand anything to gain or lose by telling us? Did Mike stand to lose by admitting he had told someone how much we tithed? What could Mike stand to gain by calling Frank a liar, by trying to make him lose credibility in our eyes? We compared the two men who both said the other was lying to the account in the Bible in which Solomon was faced with two prostitutes, a dead baby and a living baby. Solomon said to cut the living baby in half so each woman would have a share in the living baby, and the mother wept while the lying whore agreed to halve the infant.

The following Sunday we were in church and sat with Frank and his wife to show our support for him publicly. I went to one more Wednesday service after that where, incidentally, I witnessed another character assassination, but that is someone else's story to tell.

Proverbs 26:28
A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.

A statement that we can not forget from one of the last sermons we heard from Sullivant was, “If you have a problem with this church, you have a problem with Christ!” Our problem is not with the church as a whole, but with the leadership of it. As we looked at his track record, we observed and considered seriously other incidents we knew of involving him and saw a pattern of behaviour that was disturbing. The common threads in the situations over the last years were pride, lack of accountability, and deceit. We read the constitution of the church and knew that there was no accountability for Sullivant if he did wrong. We had heard an unbalanced number of sermons about pastoral leadership and obedience to the pastor. Understanding that we were not significant enough to bring about change, we communicated clearly with the pastor our reasons for leaving, followed the constitution and hand delivered our letters of membership withdrawal to the church at the end of November.

John 8:32
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.