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The Report From Ambassadors Of Reconciliation

Well, the AoR report is out.  You can view it here.

485 comments

  1. Julie says:

    Beautiful Lies (re: #124) Yes I consider SGM a cult. This is based on the culture of control they have set up through both teaching and the way they treat people. As I’ve said many many times, we were never mistreated the way many have been, but the doctrine is abusive. When we look back at how we thought and behaved, we definately acted like we were part of a cult. We were brainwashed, and not in a good way. The fruit in our lives from wholeheartedly believing and supporting (worshipping?) our leaders was very very bad. It was purely God’s grace that got us out before our family was completely destroyed. Legalism is no small matter, neither is manipulation/control whether it is subtle or more obvious.

    I know many are not comfortable with labelling SGM a cult and I understand that, I used to feel the same way. I think the word “cult” is rather broad and allows for more extreme versions (which are usually smaller scale) and more ‘acceptable’ versions that are much more deceptive.

  2. Freedom says:

    CLCya – I expect to see SGM as one of the cults on that show someday. I came to the conclusion that SGM is a cult right before I left.

  3. Tom says:

    $10 says there will be a forthcoming name change.

  4. Muckraker says:

    F.O. @199 Brilliant! :D

    “MLuther@cathedraldoor.com” right? Didn’t his initial blog entry (granted, his “Send” button was a hammer and some tacks) start a ruckus?

  5. BeenThere says:

    I agree with the sentiment that we’ve been soooo brainwashed as the Body of Christ when it comes to how we’re suppose to approach leadership. We’ve been led to believe that leadership or anyone calling themselves by a Biblical title is due almost unquestioned loyalty and the extreme benefit of the doubt. We’re taught that anytime there is a conflict with leadership we should assume the conflict is due to our sinful and rebellious hearts. In our history as Americans, the original colonists faced a similar dilemma as they struggled with the mandate from Romans 13 which paraphrased says that we are to be subject to governing authorities, and they who resist the authority resist God. But the colonists read further and saw that the description of this governing authority was one that “rewarded good and was a terror to bad.” They believed the British Government had ceased to function in this manner toward the colonists and therefore their resistance was justified. The motto often heard at that time was “Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God!”

    Yes we are to be subject to spiritual authority, but how does the Bible describe this spiritual authority?

    1 Peter 5:1-4 AMP
    1 I WARN and counsel the elders among you (the pastors and spiritual guides of the church) as a fellow elder and as an eyewitness [called to testify] of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a sharer in the glory (the honor and splendor) that is to be revealed (disclosed, unfolded):
    2 Tend (nurture, guard, guide, and fold) the flock of God that is [your responsibility], not by coercion or constraint, but willingly; not dishonorably motivated by the advantages and profits [belonging to the office], but eagerly and cheerfully;
    3 Not domineering [as arrogant, dictatorial, and overbearing persons] over those in your charge, but being examples (patterns and models of Christian living) to the flock (the congregation).
    4 And [then] when the Chief Shepherd is revealed, you will win the conqueror’s crown of glory.

    When elders cease to act in a Biblical fashion then they cease to be Biblical elders.

    As I was driving to work I heard a familiar cliche’ about how we should be respectful and submissive to spiritual authority. I got to thinking, “What made these guys a spiritual authority in the first place?” No doubt a lot started as small fellowships in homes or community centers. A group of people recognized a particular gifting and calling. The spiritual leadership of that group came about by the consent of the people there. Or if an elder came into an existing church then in most cases they would have to be voted in so again it is the people that recognize and consent to be spiritually governed. In America of all places we should recognize the concept of the “consent of the governed” but yet we seem to think that spiritual authority operates more like a king in the middle ages under the doctrine of the “divine right of kings” which cannot be questioned and must be submitted to for life.

    We’ve gotten it so wrong…

  6. WHO says:

    So, what is the total cost for this reconciliation/non-reconciliation event?

  7. Muckraker says:

    BeenThere @205

    America of all places we should recognize the concept of the “consent of the governed” but yet we seem to think that spiritual authority operates more like a king in the middle ages under the doctrine of the “divine right of kings” which cannot be questioned and must be submitted to for life.

    We’ve gotten it so wrong…

    THIS is so true!

  8. randall slack says:

    “A few former leaders described being pressured to read public confessions that they said they did not fully agree with. And yet they read them in order to be restored.”

    Why would anyone in their right mind stand in front of a congregation and confess to something they did not do? Because they had been conditioned to do so.

    “There is no doubt in our minds at AoR that a number of people have experienced deep hurts and disappointments in SGM churches. The passage of time does not invalidate these hurts. We encourage the leaders of SGM to acknowledge these hurts and past offenses, express sorrow for them, and explain how leadership has and is responding to overcome past weaknesses.
    At the same time, we are also aware that many thousands of people have been and continue to be richly blessed by their involvement in a SGM church, and there is much evidence to indicate that there are many leaders and churches that provide loving, caring, and encouraging support and teaching.”

    So, your saying that the ends justify the means? Never.

  9. Persona says:

    Henry 188:

    “I must admit I am seriously embarrassed by Sovereign Grace Ministries board’s post regarding their move to Louisville. Do they really expect members of churches to believe that THEY decided it at a RECENT retreat. Surely that is yet another outright lie?”

    I find John and CJ’s web of lies very embarrassing, too; not new, but embarrassing none the less.

    Even twenty-something SGM-raised children know that Mr. Loftness is straight-out lying or mixing truth with lies in this missive. One of them told me just that today after reading a copy of it online. Apparently it is making the rounds among their friends.

    If SGM thinks they are fooling anyone but themselves, they are wrong. And, they are certainly not endearing themselves to the next generation posting outright fabrications or rewriting history.

    SGM will not escape the steady gaze of a growing number of bloggers, by fleeing to Louisville, KY. This is a new age. Truth-speaking blog posts will be a thorn in CJ’s side until he repents or retires, whichever comes first.

  10. Steve240 says:

    I really wonder how much SGM will save by moving to KY as they claim is why they decided to move there.

    Didn’t SGM buy houses that they use for Pastors’ College students to use while in Gaithersburg? If that is the case, wouldn’t their costs now be fairly low?

    As others have pointed out, it sounds like a fabrication to claim the move was to save on cost.

  11. Lee says:

    Interesting discussion going on over at Team Pyro about whether or not multi site churches are biblical.

    Anyways, one guy says this and it’s a perfect description of CJ Mahaney. Of course if you were to say so they’d give you the boot.

    Remember, you have to account for the fact that some pastors may see themselves as more of a “mouthpiece” (see MacDonald quote earlier) than a shepherd. I’ve yet to find the Biblical reference for the establishment of the church office of “mouthpiece”. If you’ve reduced yourself to the role of “mouthpiece” (and presumably CEO), then you can safely say “It doesn’t matter where I am”. Just like attending a business meeting via skype.

  12. Defender says:

    I’ll save ‘em some money.
    Tell ‘em to go enroll at SBTS!
    Al would just love C.J. even more!

    (Perhaps that’s already in the works?)

    Who knows? :wink:

  13. Stunned says:

    Oh, if I were a betting woman (and I can’t even handle a nickle slot), I would put down some MAJOR coin that not only is rusty in the works, Defender, but has been for QUITE some time.

  14. Stunned says:

    Hate spell check some days.

    Forget rusty and put in.. Not only is it already in the works…

  15. Defender says:

    Oh yah.
    You can bet on that sister!
    (I’ll loan you a nickle.)

  16. Epaphras says:

    @BeenThere … yes, so true. Interestingly, Catholicism then viewed the ‘classic’ Reformed doctrines on the priesthood of believers as having led to the disaster of the American democratic republic.

    Let’s shift gears slightly: there is an authoritarian lawlessness that cloaks itself under law, order and authority, while using propaganda and intimidation to suppress the ‘sheep’. Scripture gives this very much inspired ink, both in the O.T and N.T., focusing on the spiritual warfare against God’s people, but also among the nations.

    Intriguingly, this kind of lawlessness will apparently be a special characteristic of the final days of the age. Can any believer claim ignorance that such lawlessness is overspreading the earth in nearly every sphere of life? It will not corrupt those who belong to Him, but it will apparently be a very close call ;-).

    (N.B. I make no claim whatsoever of dating or timing; am only noting biblical patterns working themselves out in our days. May God in His mercy lengthen the days of His patience for salvation by years, decades or centuries, if it pleases Him, intervening by unexpected revivals spurred by authentic repentance – within the churches first, as always.)

  17. Oswald says:

    They could maybe save a lot of money by doing PC online as many schools do these days. The students could stay home and still have a real job, attend their home churches. What they would miss is the mentoring/quidance, kept busy, being ‘trained’ to be loyal leaders of a flock. This reeks of cultish activity. Just a thought.

  18. Defender says:

    Spell check is that “friend” that occasionally stabs you in the back.

    (I wasn’t sure who rusty was, but I got the gist of your comment anyhow.)

    :wink:

  19. Stunned says:

    Oswald, that is a very good idea. Out would allow the students to continue in their relationships and save a great deal of money in not needing to move, etc.

  20. Yellow is a Happy Color says:

    In light of how AoR says that SGM needs to be careful about excessive use of email, isn’t it ironic that CJ is has a twitter account?

    Persona——-I agree with you wholeheartedly when you say that CLC doesn’t really seem too bothered by SGM. There was a recent post on the CLC blog (I think it was about a financial committee that just–within the past month—decided to withhold funding to SGM) and every time a member would say anything less than shining about SGM, a CLC pastor would then comment and warn against “besmirching” the character of SGM, because they are our dear “brothers” in the Lord, blah-dee-blah BLAH! All they were doing was defending SGM. I kept thinking, “Hey, whose side is CLC on anyway?”

    But, as much as CLC pastors can Blow Snow, I have to hand it to them for using a word like “besmirch”. I can’t besmirch them for that.

  21. justawife says:

    Yellow#220: Don’t you think that the effort of the pastors to warn members against besmirching our “brothers” has less to do with defending SGM and more to do with protecting themselves from getting into significant trouble with CJ and company? Because we know when you don’t agree with CJ he has a way of making your life pretty miserable (e.g. Larry Tomczak, Brent Detwiler).

    While CLC is intentionally trying to not take sides, by not accepting everything that SGM does “graciously” they are inadvertently siding against SGM in a passive-aggressive manner. Many of the big SGM affiliated families and friends of CJ have already left or are planning on leaving CLC, especially in light of the decision to withhold funding. Kauflin and the Cooks have now left in addition to other CJ supporters and/or relatives (with the exception of Grant Layman). As I note more pro-SGM folks leave CLC, I think the pastors are growing bolder in being open regarding criticism of SGM. Of course they always seem to whitewash all criticism as “mere disagreement” when in reality most of us know this isn’t the case. Josh, judging from last Sunday’s sermon, is visibly troubled and hurt by the actions of CJ and others affiliated with him. They have essentially abandoned him by not making an effort to work things out and simply fleeing with nary a word. I don’t know about you but I think Josh is starting to get the picture of who CJ really is behind all his “humble” talk of being “the worst sinner he knows”.

    While CLC may not seem bothered by SGM the congregants sure were bothered and the continuation of fund giving to SGM. That is why CLC had to cease this. I’d be surprised after this report if SGM ever gets anymore money from CLC and expect a split from SGM to be in the works in the near future.

  22. Contentious Jones says:

    This is Josh Harris and his fellow CLC leaders’ moment of truth.

    Will they make a clean PUBLIC break with CeeJay, his deluded SGM minions, and their shared 30+ years of bad behavior, or will they wimp out?

    Will Josh and company PUBLICLY ask for forgiveness for their involvement in this mess, or will they continue to make vague and wishy-washy statements?

    What are they gonna use to build their ministry, jewels or hay?

    “According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.” 1 Cor 3:10-15

  23. Oswald says:

    Yellow #220 — Advising people to do the right thing and NOT sin is hardly defending SGM. One need not act sinfully in order to show which ‘side’ they’re on. Doing the right thing is always the best choice to make.
    Your post indicates a misunderstanding and is the sort of thing AoR has against bloggers.
    Doing the right thing is always the best choice to make. God help us to do so.

  24. Fried Fish says:

    General items of note:
    The report was addressed to the Board of Directors of Sovereign Grace Ministries, and signed “Respectfully submitted by your servants in Christ, leaders of your Ambassadors Team”. The AoR team was there to serve the Board, and they appear to have remained, first, true to their areas of expertise and second, within the scope of issues the board wanted them to address.

    As I believe has already been mentioned in various ways, their tone comes across as more analytical than critical, with one glaring exception – the blogs. Whoever wrote the comments about the blogs comes across as quite angry.

    They do make some very good points about godly behavior, which I’m not an expert on, but it seems to me that they would at least wonder why people who sat under the teaching of SGM for years or decades displayed so much animosity toward SGM and in a manner AoR considered very un-Christlike. Could it be that they were simply behaving in a manner consistent with what was modeled for them? That’s not to make excuse, but one would think it would cause AoR to be a little suspicious of a possible SGM snow-job. I’ve seen the stories about the love-bombing, and since AoR obviously read the blogs I’m sure they have too.

    Whether a half of a percent truly represents a statistically significant sample, I’m not sure. It would be very difficult to determine unless the participants were randomized and the input was standardized. But if that many were willing to take the time (and the perceived risk in some cases) to talk to AoR, how many others are there who weren’t?

    The report comes across as willing to hint strongly that SGM has some past deficiencies in doctrine and polity, but content to accept that SGM is working on those areas. While they make some good comments regarding SGM and the “Doctrine of Sin”, they stop short of actually saying SGM was or is WRONG in the way they applied it. (thought – Peacemakers are not often prophets).

    AoR totally bowed out with regard to “sexual misconduct” issues – probably a good idea. They admittedly aren’t qualified to deal with them.

    I give AoR a lot of credit for their skill in tightrope-walking.

    If SGM truly works to fix the deficiencies in their polity and pastoral practice, will it make them less likely to damage people in the future? Probably at the pastoral level. AoR has probably done the SGM leadership a great service in that respect.

    But unless SGM, across the entire denomination and from top to bottom, truly renounces the heirarchical, authoritarian Shepherding culture and twisted doctrine that encourages abusers and holds the sheep for ransom, he or she who the Son sets free will be, if in SGM, still a prisoner.

  25. Much Afraid No More says:

    New Brent post up!

  26. Yellow is a Happy Color says:

    Oswald, I’m not sure what you think I’m misunderstanding. Care to clarify?

    I agree, it is never too late to do the right thing. This is exactly what I said in the last thread when discussing how CLC needs to come clean on its handling of sexual abuse cases.

  27. need clarity says:

    Searching for clarity. Trusting He leads. Asking the questions. Any sgm members feel conflicted with a desire to stay in their church, but not in sgm? How to do both.

  28. SamMcGee says:

    I thought the article in the courier-jourrnsl was pretty fair. Note, if you click on the author’s name in the byline you can send him an email.

    Here is a journalist who is interested in this story. I was going to express my appreciation for his article and then offer some clarifications. For example, much of the positive feedback that AoR received that he mentions was from plants sent in to balance things out. He should be made aware of that.

  29. Ellie says:

    I thought the article was much more balanced than the AOR report.

  30. Persona says:

    227

    Thanks for pointing out this refreshing article from Louisville. It may be one of the first, but it will not be the last to focus on the controversies endemic to SGM. I’m glad to see that the reporter dug deeper than the surface and tried to sift the truth from untruth, from all side.

    This article portends a future where CJ will be unable to shake the past. Controversy will follow him for the rest of his life unless he repents.

  31. Uriah says:

    #228 need clarity….. yes, here’s how you do both:
    Find out if the members of your church would like to secede from SGM and stay together as a church. If they agree, then it should happen (but it won’t). This will be an interesting exercise because you will ultimately find out who controls your church…. the people or a handful of pastors. I think you already know the answer….now what are you going to do?

  32. Uriah says:

    Sam McGee #29
    I wonder if he would be open to doing an in depth news article/series. Kris and Jim would be great resources. Sounds like he might be an investigative reporter. We could put all of our stories to better use than what A of R used them for.

  33. MAK says:

    Moving to Louisville also is a bold statement towards a closer relationship with the SBC. I wonder if all of the current loyal SGM churches are up for the closeness with the SBC. Or conversely is the SBC ready for the SGM fold to move into town? This is really tightening the lid of the coffin with reformed theology.

  34. Persona says:

    MAK 234

    CJ is on borrowed (or bought) time in Louisville. All it will take is Al Mohler to loose his job or retire, for CJ to start saying he found an even less expensive place to relocate the PC.

  35. MAK says:

    Persona…yes and fall out of graces with the SBC and you make a lot more enemies than you did with SGM.

  36. Local Church Fan says:

    Justawife #77 –

    I think we all would have to agree that Scripture is the one who determines if a comment is “sinful/slanderous/corrupt”? As a result, I think the instruction in Scripture should guide us and therefore the definition of slander, for example, should not subjective. I understand that there may be some subjectivity to determining if something is slander, because there is a motive component to slander. But beyond motive there is an affect component as well. Therefore, we should all value Scriptures instruction and should be speaking words that are not intended to or have the affect of harming others. In addition, we should not speak about others to people that have no reason to be involved in the charge/accusation/opinion. Anonymous blog communities allow for this type of speech to exist without correction. Doesn’t seem to be God-glorifying.

    I don’t think it is fair to think or state that SGM is not addressing the concerns that have been brought to their attention. We don’t know how they are handling things internally, on an organizational level or on a local church level. It seems to cast an unhealthy suspicion that others view as fact.

    I agree that people should take their concerns to SGM. I just disagree with the ethics of posting about people online, in a manner that can harm their reputation.

    El Pastor #78 –

    My suggestion is that the moderators apply biblical principles of speech to their blog, so that it honors the Lord. They have the right and the responsibility to do that.

    Unassimilated #82 –

    Not really.

    KAZ #85 –

    No reason to be offended. If you aren’t posting anonymously, our you aren’t slandering or gossiping, then the comments in the AoR report, or my comments weren’t directed at you.

    Bridget #86 –

    I think the AoR report was clear that some of the actions of SGM hurt people. As a member of an SGM church, that stinks to hear. I pray that everyone who was hurt by the practices of SGM, pursues the specific individual that they were hurt by and seeks reconciliation. I hope every one that was hurt and everyone that did the hurting will want reconciliation, even if it isnt convenient, as Jesus talked about in Matt. 5.

    But as said before, just because we are hurt or harmed by someone, I dont believe we have the right to speak in a way that is not outlined in Scripture. I think that is what the AoR report hit on. I believe they agreed with the fact that people were hurt, but felt the way things were talked about on the blogs and in emails were done in a sinful way.

    musicman #87 –

    I thought anyone had the opportunity to interact with AoR either through a face-to-face meeting or a phone conversation. Is that correct? Or were you wanting them to interact with anonymous people and their comments on a blog?

    freedom #95 –

    Is anyone objective? Not sure the hiring of an outside firm to evaluate an organization constitutes objectivity. In fact, a corporation hires outside firms to do independent audits (and pays them to do it). These audits are viewed as objective by all parties. Do you think that is not objective as well?

    Epaphras #175 –

    You seem to be arguing for the ability to speak in anyway one wishes, about anyone one chooses, and it is the responsibility of the reader to discern. To me, the responsibility in Eph. 4 is on the one speaking. What biblical principle do you use to determine your ethic for online (or verbal for that matter) communication?

    Also, how do you quantify this statement?

    “A gray area exists with respect to certain types of communication in public which might better be reserved for those who share the same world view (e.g., the household of faith). Even here, though, non believers have forever been more impacted by open, transparent speech between God’s people than by phony, controlled, rhetorically-slick public speaking …. cf professional moderators for blogs. Messy, but transparent ‘real’ blogs have far greater influence for good in gospel work with a world that can smell ‘marketing’ a mile away than the packaged entertainment called ‘preaching’ at so many churches and conferences.”

    I don’t think our society agrees with your assessment of anonymous vs. known bloggers/accusers, etc. Credibility in the courtroom (which should be an accepted illustration since many on the blog are charging or accusing specific people or the organization as a whole) is determined by the testimony of the person. Is anonymous testimony ever allowed in the courtroom? Would the court accept an accusation or even listen to an accusation by an anonymous person or post? Of course not. I am surprised that anyone on this blog would be surprised that leaders of SGM dont look to anonymous comments to figure out what is going on or what they should do.

  37. Unassimilated says:

    You know, as Americans we praised the bloggers and social media for the ‘Arab Spring’ and all the corruption that it brought to light.
    We could try throwing scripture at them I suppose…nah.

    I have also wondered if lets say, I know information about a local church fans child, yet the perp is a leader, do I gossip?
    If I do speak out and the other leaders cover things up, I am wrong from doing what I can to protect the children and families
    of other local church fans?

    So in the more important field of spiritual leadership, we are all supposed to bury our heads and toss out the Constitutional rights to free speech?

    The notion that an all knowing God, who created us in his image, would ask us to mentally check out and clam up when his word, and his people are being wronged
    just does not sound right, nor was it Christ’s example.

  38. musicman says:

    LCF-

    Ok I am laughing out loud at the irony of your question. Re-read your question to me and see if you can see how ridiculous it is….hint (you are on a blog, I don’t think LCF is your real name)

    Anyway, yes…there is nothing preventing Ted Kober or CJ Mahaney from interacting with us on the blogs, just as you are doing right now.

    In my opinion, you are choosing not see SGM’s problems for what they are, but that’s your choice.

  39. Bridget says:

    LCF –

    I hope you are interacting with your local church leaders the same way you are interacting on this blog. Many of your comments to bloggers need to be directed to the leaders of SGM and pastors of local churches as well. Since they are leaders, they need the instruction you are offering up as much, and maybe more, than the bloggers. I’m sure the people on this blog are not the only people who may have used “sinful” speech and communication. But the people on the blogs, along with people who interviewed with AoR, were the ONLY parties assessed in this way. (Hmmm.) I don’t believe any pastors or SGM leaders even bothered to interact with the offended people.

    FYI – many of the bloggers have tried to reconcile with pastors and leaders of SGM for years, but to no avail. That is why these blogs exist to begin with. Maybe you could ask AoR how many pastors and leaders of SGM DID come forward to reconcile with people. That would be an interesting statistic.

    I am a member of an SGM church and I did come here for the purpose of finding out what was going on behind the curtain of “the leaders are taking care of it.” Needless to say, I was appalled at the cries of the wounded that I found.

    I actually have an easier time communicating here with anonymous bloggers than I do with SGM leaders. You see, SGM leaders are very poor and unclear communicators. They don’t keep people informed and they change and twist things to suit themselves. Go read their blog and the reasons they give for moving everything to Kentucky. That is not the WHOLE truth. As I have said before, knowing someone’s name does not automatically make that person believable or more upright than a blogger. I know CJ’s name, Dave Harvey’s name, Steve Shanks name, etc. They have done sinful and harmful things as leaders and have not gone to the churches and repented. In contrast, I have seen people on this blog repent and ask others for forgiveness. These are people who don’t know each other personally. It is quite an interesting paradox.

    What is your purpose for ANONYMOUSLY communicating on this blog?

    I have learned very much since reading and interacting on this blog. I imagine that many pastors have as well. At least I hope so. Many do read here, contrary to what you might think.

    I believe it is right and appropriate for people on these blogs to be angry. It is not “good” for people to be silent when leaders have misused their positions and brought harm to people. God does not call us to passivity when sin goes unaddressed.

    Your response to Freedom at 95 is absurd. Those outside groups that are paid by the company are trained, licensed, and are accountable to the government. The audit is objective only because those firms DO answer to another party besides the one paying them. Is AoR licensed and governed by an outside force that does not pay them? (I am not accusing them of any wrongdoing.)

    I do believe that because of disclaimers that AoR put in the report themselves, that they are not qualified to understand the issues that have transpired in SGM. Besides that, who did they actually reconcile? I believe that was the purpose of the report. Do you know if anyone was been reconciled after going and sharing their issues, yet again, with SGM?

  40. Moniker says:

    I think it would be great if a bunch of us left some comments on that Louisville newspaper article to validate what the reporter said.

  41. B.R. Clifton says:

    LCF:
    The more of your posts I read the more you smell like a top dog professional SGMer. Perhaps that’s why you continue to hide behind an alias rather than use your real name.
    I’m curious about your definition of gossip and slander (a word not found in the bible). What I read here is the crys of people who have been hurt, abused, and themselves slandered by the very men you seem determined to defend. The people on this blog are merely crying out against the myriad of abuses (sins) committed against them. Do you really believe that the lowly clergy have no recourse but to sit and take it from the “I can do no wrong” clergy. I refuse to use the term “leaders” because these clowns (The SGM top dogs) are in no way leaders in a biblical sense. There’s no example there that I am willing to follow. And they most certainly do not stand up to the admontion of Paul to “Follow me as I follow Christ”. Paul was never a liar, cheat, deceiver, backstabber, betrayer, abuser, twister of scripture, A user of the people for his own personal gain, etc. He fully gave of himself for the benefit of the people and the true gospel, unlike the SGM professionals who are now running from the very mess they have created.
    I wonder what your real name is LCF.
    :beat

  42. ExClcer'sMom says:

    LCF said:

    Is anyone objective? Not sure the hiring of an outside firm to evaluate an organization constitutes objectivity. In fact, a corporation hires outside firms to do independent audits (and pays them to do it). These audits are viewed as objective by all parties. Do you think that is not objective as well?

    I pondered this for a bit..at first thought, you are right. I agree with you. But, then, I think of the ‘associations’ than were discovered between “friends” of AoR and SGM, second tiers relations behind the scenes. In corporations, when they hire an objective party to audit, they stay clear away from possibilities of ‘conflict of interest’. It seems to me there were some questions about that holding true with SGM and AoR.

    It doesn’t matter to me, because I KNOW that I KNOW what God has said to me, and I strongly believe SGM is a cult. :koolaid

  43. Kris says:

    I think it’s interesting that LCF suggests holding what’s shared here to the standards applied to testimony in a courtroom. I’ve never thought of this site like that.

    SGM would have been wise to see “the blogs” as their own personal FBI anonymous tip line…because that is the sort of information discussed here. The legal system would never convict a criminal of wrongdoing based solely upon what an anonymous tipster might say. But anonymous tips are nonetheless valuable – oftentimes they help investigators solve cases and know where to look to find the criminals.

    I’ve likened our conversations to this scenario: you’re in a stall in the men’s room. Two people come in, and of all things you happen to overhear them talking about you. They think you have body odor.

    Now, what do you do? Do you dash out of the stall to ascertain who it is that was saying that stuff about you, so that you can figure out whether or not they have “credible” noses and have made an accurate assessment of your B.O.? Do you fly off the handle and rage about how two people were gossiping about you?

    Or do you instead look at yourself and ask yourself if maybe you do stink…and perhaps consider whether or not you wash your clothes often enough…whether you need to switch deodorants…whether you might need a second shower after “Bike to Work” day?

    Which response would make more sense? Which response would be more helpful to your own well-being?

    I mean, what if you do reek?

    I’ve never understood the SGM defenders’ obsession with anonymity. Information is either true, or it’s not. You don’t need to know the identity of a source in order to check to see whether what the source shares is accurate.

    All you need to do is (figuratively) sniff your pits. :D

  44. ExClcer'sMom says:

    It is like their chance to ‘be a fly on the wall’ so to speak. Only when they dont like what they are hearing, instead of changing, they attempt to silence the sounds. You know, the night before my daughter revealed to me the abuse that had been happening, I was saying to my husband at that time:

    “It seems to me that most people want to know what is ‘amiss’ with them-self, so they can change it, to improve..but you, when someone brings something to your attention, instead of putting your energy into change, you put all your energy into hiding it further. I don’t even know what dark secrets you hold in your heart.”

    Those words have stuck with me all these years, because the very next day, my daughter told me the ugly secrets he held in his heart.

    This is the same thing I see SGM leaders doing-putting all their energy into discrediting sources, covering up, moving away…sometimes I wonder if he didn’t learn that pattern from them from the very start. Kind of like the chicken and the egg..I do not need to know anymore of the dark secrets those men hold in their hearts..I have chosen to follow God, and not man!

  45. Kris says:

    My “sniff your pits” analogy could even be stretched a little further…

    A lot of times, people go out the door with bad body odor because they (and their family members) have become so immune to their own smells that they lack the ability to smell themselves.

    It would make sense for someone who had lived through the bathroom stall scenario to ask a truly objective third party for an opinion.

    I say “truly objective” because…work with me for a moment and allow me to play with my analogy…sometimes a person can have body odor because he’s been eating a whole lot of a certain kind of food…or because he lives in a house where foods with really strong odors are cooked. Some cultures favor foods made with lots of garlic, for instance.

    So our hypothetical guy-in-the-stall with body odor – if he’s from an ethnic group that uses a lot of garlic in his food, and that’s what is making him smell, it would not actually be helpful for him to ask someone from a similar ethnic group, with a similar proclivity for using lots of garlic, to be the one to figure out if he smells.

    A lot has been said about AoR, and about how they’re Lutherans and so forth. Their Lutheran-ness has been cited as evidence of their objectivity.

    But it’s pretty obvious, from all the attention their report paid to pointing out the faults and flaws and sins of those who have bad opinions of SGM, that despite their non-SGM background, they share SGM’s tendency to be very quick to hone in on others’ perceived sins – particularly their critics’ perceived sins. And they clearly share SGM’s crazy belief that if information is communicated in a way they deem “sinful,” it’s simply not worthy of their attention.

    It seems to me AoR has been marinating in the same garlic that’s contributed to SGM’s B.O. So looking to the AoR guys for some sort of objective assessment is about like asking garlic-lovin’ Granny if you smell like garlic.

  46. CLCya says:

    Kris #244 – Great post! You make some insightful points. If I were in that situation, I would sniff my pits!
    :goodpost

  47. A Kindred Spirit says:

    Kris,

    Love, love, love the “body odor” example.

    You’ve learned well from the Master teacher…communicating in such a way that even a child can understand. :)

    Loved the “garlic,” too. I shared earlier how surprised I was at just how much AoR sounded like SGM. Who/where do you think this stuff originated from?

  48. Steve240 says:

    As most know here, C.J. Mahaney gave a message last week at Together for the Gospel about a pastor “losing heart.”

    C.J. gave various examples of what might cause a pastor to loose heart. C.J. even seem to be giving examples of what “happened” to him that might cause him to loose heart. As had been discussed before, it appeared that C.J. didn’t seem to understand that most of what has happened to him is the result of his own sin and choices.

    Maybe C.J. should have given the example of a pastor being blackmailed by a fellow pastor who he worked with for years and this pastor had helped mentor the other pastor who was blackmailing him. How about even when the blackmailed pastor confronts the other pastor about his sin and this pastor refuses to admit it and reconcile for 10 leaders with other leaders supporting the blackmailer? To add to that the blackmailer gets up and slanders the one pastor. That certainly would be a reason for a pastor to loose heart.

    I doubt C.J. Mahaney thought of that example though that is what C.J. apparently did to Larry Tomczak.

  49. Stunned says:

    Kris,

    I just want to send you a big hug right now. Thank you for what you’ve been doing lo these many years.

    Kindred Spirit said, “Kris, that comment about being a “professional moderator” stuck in my craw.” Mine, too! I thought, “So Kris, who moderates a blog that some months has over 80,000 unique visitors, is being told by a guy who I am SURE does not have the readership of anywhere NEAR that number, that Kris is not professional enough?”

    So how does one define a professional blog moderator?

    Does one need to be paid to be a professional?

    If so, then AoR is right, Kris isn’t a “professional” blog moderator. In fact, I believe that the only people who have made any money in this situation are…hmmm, who would that be? Oh yes, AoR made the money here.

    Or does one need a specific degree in blog moderating in order to be considered a professional blog moderator, like an architect or lawyer? Hmmm… as that degree doesn’t exist, this couldn’t be the definition of a professional blogger.

    Or is a professional blog moderator someone who has dedicated both time, money and energy for a matter of… oh, let’s say a couple of years, to moderating a blog visited by… what was that number again, Kris?… who has received emails numbering in the…? … who has sacrificed and wept and prayed and encouraged and prayed for how many? Certainly a dozen TIMES the number of people AoR personally interviewed for this report. But hey, who’s counting? I guess unless you bend over an… I mean, unless you are paid by a wealthy church or unless you don’t have a professional degree, you’re not a professional moderator? (Silly rabbits, some people are.)

    PS. In case someone hasn’t read their bible lately, Jesus, Paul, etc used snark AND acted angrily, in addition to speculating. (Well, I am guessing that Jesus was all knowing, so He probably didn’t need to speculate. Maybe someone needs to point out to AoR that either these things are NOT sin, or they need to write a report calling Jesus out for sinning.)

    PPS. And if AoR won’t say it, I will on their behalf. “If it weren’t for you, Kris, we wouldn’t have gotten this gig and the paychecks that came along with it. Thank you.”