A Question From A Seeker

May 7, 2009 in Sovereign Grace Ministries

A new reader with the handle of “renlov” posted the following:

Hi all, I am doing a little research and trying really hard to be objective. You see I recently started attending a SGM church. I did so after watching the change it made in the life of a friend, I watched her quickly mature and grow in faith with a strong emphasis on the gospel. I was encouraged by her and decided to visit her church after having a not so great experience at the church I was attending.

(Long story short: A pastor invited us to be in leadership but then changed the leadership meetings to where only me or my wife could attend. Then after we missed a few consecutive Sunday meetings due to a death in the family preceded by a vacation, we were asked to step down. Additionally, we were ostracized because my wife’s schedule prevented us from joining a small group. So we didn’t feel very connected or attached to the church)

Now we are not yet members at our SGM church. We are attending a Care Group and we are really enjoying it. I have been reading a few of these posts and I’m forming the opinion that I should be wary of and looking for abuses in the leadership. However, I’ve also read a lot of C.J. Mahaney’s books now and I believe him to be a sincere man who is focused on God. So I’m encouraged by both our local pastor and C.J.

I’ve gleaned from these posts that pastors/leaders in SGM seem to expect instantaneous forgiveness and repentance of sin. I’m also noticing that offended parties on this site do seem to be more focused on the sin of others than their own (in several cases understandably so), which is un-Christ like. Now as for the way the pastors described in these stories have handled these situations, there definitely seems to be room for improvement, and in some cases a better understanding of the disastrous effects certain sins can have on the lives of the victims.

My question is, as someone who is only a month into SGM, what do you think I should be wary of?

Extreme legalism? The Baptist churches I grew up in seem much worse than my SGM church in that area…

Leadership claiming ungodly/absolute authority? This really does seem dangerous…

Or (and I’m being rough with you guys because I am trying to stay objective, please understand that I speak with all gentleness and love) is it that you all have been appropriately and biblically disciplined and are looking for someone to agree that your sin (although minor in comparison to offenses committed against you) is okay?

I’m really not sure about this. I think being aware of the problems and tendencies of SGM will prepare me to deal with any future problems appropriately. Please share your thoughts…