August 17, 2010 in Sovereign Grace Ministries
For those of you who, like me, were basically in the dark about what has been going on at KingsWay, here is one reader’s submission:
About ten years ago, KingsWay’s leadership was considering a church plant to Roanoke. Through seeming confirmations from lots of sources, it became clear to everyone involved that SW, one of the KingsWay pastors, seemed to be the man called to lead this church plant. While SW had a heart for that church (as they say), he himself did not feel a calling to be its pastor. However, because of the “distrust your heart” culture that is fundamental to KingsWay (and all of SGM, although they didn’t say that), he believed for quite a while that he was mistaken about his own feelings, and that he really was called but struggled with unbelief. The other pastors first suggested to him that he was dealing with unbelief on a pastors retreat. To make a long story short SW went to Roanoke without having peace about it in his heart, because everyone around him including his fellow pastors were convinced that he was called to go. Not too long afterwards, however, it became clear to him that he simply could not continue pastoring that church. The aggressive deep-digging in his own heart for a sin that wasn’t there took a very damaging toll on him, and he still didn’t feel like he should be there at all, so he stepped down from the leadership in Roanoke and returned to Richmond with his family. Before they resumed attending KingsWay, however, Gene called a “family meeting” to give the congregation the Official Story on what had happened. He said that SW had been removed from leadership in Roanoke because of major unresolved and unrepentant pride, selfishness and unbelief. Additionally, he had been defrocked as a KingsWay pastor over these same “unrepentant sins”. The congregation was largely turned against SW in a very damaging way. Furthermore, the true story of what had happened was kept a secret. Nobody knew SW’s side of the story except for himself, his wife, some (but not all) of his children, Gene, and one friend that SW had told against Gene’s wishes. Not even the rest of the KingsWay pastors knew SW’s side of the story.
For nine years, SW and his family were treated very poorly by many of the members of KingsWay, due to what Gene had said about him at that family meeting. SW described the treatment he, his wife and daughter received from KW members as “cruelty.” SW and the one friend he’d taken into confidence repeatedly requested truth, openness and a fair hearing from Gene, but Gene did not do anything or seek out SW in any way. He did continue to forbid SW from telling anyone what had happened.
At the meeting at KingsWay the other night, Gene acknowledged that all of the above had taken place and confessed his own sin in the matter. He said that in the past year he’d become reconciled with SW and realized the levels to which he’d hurt SW and his family, and been wrong about God’s call on his life. There was no mention of how the reconciliation had taken place or why this meeting was being called.
Gene and the other pastors were conspicuously silent about what had happened to end this nine-year gag order on SW.