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From Brent Detwiler: A Response To The Ambassadors Of Reconciliation

Ambassadors of Reconciliation Refuse All Reconciliation Attempts 

The Ambassador of Reconciliation (AoR) Report to the Board of Directors of Sovereign Grace Ministries (April 10, 2012) raised many troubling concerns for me.  Chief among them the hypocrisy of Ted Kober who serves as the President of AoR.  After its release, I attempted to interact with Ted in private. 

 When those attempts failed, I sought the help of Jim Pappadeas (SGM Refuge), Kris (SGM Survivors), Mole, and Larry Tomczak.  I tried to set up a meeting with Ted to discuss our concerns for his report.  Ted did not respond to these initiatives either. 

Yesterday, I wrote the Board of Directors for AoR.  I brought my concerns to their attention and made them aware I’d be posting a public rebuke on my blog given Ted’s refusal to meet in private or follow his own teaching.  I also presented my case against Bryce Thomas, the trial lawyer hired by SGM, who helped design the Three Panel Review that took place last December.  I asked the AoR Board to take disciplinary action against Ted, Ed Keinath (co-author of the report), and Bryce for failing to follow the Standard of Conduct for Christian Conciliation. 

I now bring this matter to the attention of those effected by the AoR Report and invite you to write Ted Kober (tkober@hisaor.org), Ed Keinath (crosslife@frontier.com), Bryce Thomas (brycethomas@charter.net) and the AoR Board of Directors (mail@hisaor.org) in a redemptive manner in obedience to the process outlined in Matthew 18:15-17. 

I am confident Ambassadors of Reconciliation has done much good helping other groups experience reconciliation.  Unfortunately, some of their efforts have produced greater suffering and division for those inside and outside of Sovereign Grace Ministries. 

What follows is a chronological presentation of my/our unsuccessful attempts at reconciliation. 

##

From: Brent Detwiler

Sent: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 6:33 PM

To: Ted Kober

Subject: Offenses with Me

Importance: High 

Hello Ted,

I just finished reading your report.  I get the feeling there is a substantial list of undiscussed and unresolved issues in your heart toward me.  This concerns me since you have never written or talked to me about any offenses you may have with me.  In contradistinction, I have always talked and written to you about all my concerns.  I’ve been open, honest and transparent about the faults/concerns I have perceived in your perspective, character, or approach.   

Therefore, please highlight each section or sentence of your report where you have me in mind and send that to me.   It is impossible to know who you are referring to in comments like “Another threatened to publicly humiliate and discredit us by posting extensive blogs on the web if we didn’t respond in certain ways by that person’s imposed short deadline.”  I am glad to entertain your criticisms but I need to know which ones apply to me.   

I’d appreciate your prompt response. 

Thank you,

Brent    

## 

From: Brent Detwiler

Sent: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 10:29 AM

To: Ted Kober

Subject: RE: Offenses with Me

Importance: High 

Please call me if you prefer to do this via a conversation.  Today if possible.  I need you to point out each statement in your report where you have me in mind.  You have not come to me in private so I want to afford you that opportunity. 

Sincerely,

Brent 

## 

From: Brent Detwiler 

Sent: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 1:12 PM

To: Ted Kober

Subject: RE: Offenses with Me

Importance: High 

In the report, you claim you “addressed sinful attitudes, words and actions of key individuals” but that is not true with me.  We had two conversations.  During those interactions you never addressed any attitudes, words or actions of mine as sinful.  The subject never came up.  The statement below is entirely untrue as it pertains to me.  You have never come to me in private.       

“The Ambassadors of Reconciliation team addressed sinful attitudes, words and actions of key individuals or leadership groups privately as Scripture requires.  Some expressed fear that the AoR team would not confront key leaders or groups on individual actions that contributed to the conflicts.  Others expressed their desires that the team would expose sins of key leaders or admonish them publicly.  Just as this report does not publicly address the sins of individual members, neither does it publicly address the sins of individual leaders.  However, AoR did address such issues with key leaders privately.” 

After our second conversation on January 25, you wrote me on February 4.  In that letter you ask me to consider several questions but you did not correct me or reprove me for sin except for one passing sentence.  That is, “Moreover, I don’t often see the love and forgiving heart in you that your Lord Jesus has shown you.”  That is the only corrective statement you made and it was not something you ever talked to me about in person.  In fact, you never followed up after February 4 about any of the questions you posited for my consideration even though I wrote you about the contents of your letter.  You cut off all communication and refused to interact with me. 

 Here is the point.  You have never corrected, confronted, reproved, rebuked, or addressed any “sinful attitudes, words and actions.”  You asked some questions in writing but you never told me my attitudes, words and actions were sinful.  If you believe I have sinned against you or others, you have not told me so.  As such you have flagrantly disobeyed your own teaching.  You did not come to me in private.  Even more seriously, you make the false claim in your report that you obeyed Scripture when in fact you disobeyed Scripture as it pertains to me.  That is totally misleading.

Ted, I have aught with you.  Please leave your altar and call me.  The first thing I want to know regards which comments in your report are directed at me.  The second thing I want to know is why you never came to me in private.  You have never talked to me about any sins you feel I have committed.     

##   

From: Brent Detwiler

Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2012 12:00 AM

To: Ted Kober

Subject: Kris and Jim 

You did not come to me in private.  Did you go to Kris (Survivors) or Jim (Refuge) to correct them in private before posting your report? 

## 

From: Brent Detwiler

Sent: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 11:26 PM

To: Kris; Jim @ SGM Refuge

Subject: Ted 

Did Ted ever talk to you in private and correct or confront you for the sins he accuses you of in the report? 

## 

From: Jim @ SGM Refuge 

Sent: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 11:38 PM

To: Brent Detwiler; Kris

Subject: Re: Ted 

We talked privately, but the blogs were a very small part of our conversation.  There was zero correction.  He broke his own ministry guidelines. 

## 

From: Kris

Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2012 12:22 AM

To: Brent Detwiler

Subject: RE: Ted 

No.  Never.  And I did something I never do – I actually initiated a conversation with him via email, offering to be of assistance in any way I could.  He never responded to my email. 

## 

From: Brent Detwiler

Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2012 11:08 AM

To: Ted Kober

Subject: Great Hypocrisy

Importance: High 

Ted, you have acted with great hypocrisy toward Jim, Kris and me.  You need to make this right.  See their responses [above]. 

## 

From: Brent Detwiler 

Sent: Friday, April 20, 2012 8:51 AM

To: Ted Kober

Subject: Are You an Ambassador of Reconciliation?

Importance: High 

Ted, 

In your report you make the following statement: 


“Our observation is that the power of worthless talk (Ephesians 4:29 if) and sinful judging (Matthew 7:1-2; James 3:5-12; 4:11-12) was greatly exacerbated by those writing and reading blogs and widely distributed emails.  Coupled with the falsehoods and exaggerations about AoR, our team members and work were the threats and condemning words sent to us.  Based on false information, people made assumptions, misquoted and twisted our words and statements, and made D**ning statements against us.” (p. 10) 

The facts show you did not come to me, Jim or Kris.  I’d like to know if you went to anyone in private.  Did you attempt to restore these individuals in a spirit of gentleness (Gal 6:1) as you are apt to point out to others?  Or did you leave them in their sins and give them no opportunity for repentance?  You make no reference to any attempts to act as an ambassador of reconciliation.  It appears you are content to make vague accusations on a website but are unwilling to approach such individuals in a biblical manner. 

You are completely at odds with your teaching if you have not gone to these people and acted as a peacemaker.  I also wonder if you are exaggerating the magnitude of the sins against you since you provide no evidence.  What falsehoods?  What exaggerations?  What threats?  What condemning words?  What false information?  What D**ning statements?  Without evidence I am concerned these kinds of statements may constitute “worthless talk” and “sinful judging.”  You spend a lot of time in the report highlighting how people have sinned against you.  I am not sure why you felt the need to do so.  Are you bitter or resentful? 

Most importantly, however, have you contacted each of these people regarding the accusations above to work out your offenses?  Have they been given the opportunity to respond? 

I am still waiting to hear from you.  Please tell me all the places in the report where you have me in mind.     

Regards,

Brent 

## 

From: Brent Detwiler

Sent: Friday, April 20, 2012 9:47 AM

To: Ted Kober

Subject: Use of Email 

Given your position on the use of email and your counsel to SGM, why didn’t you call me regarding the “sensitive issues” contained in your February 4 email?  From my perspective, you did not follow your own admonition.  Do you agree?   

“It seemed apparent to us as outsiders that leaders within SGM have made extensive use of email for rather sensitive or confidential communications. While this may be an expedient way to communicate when key leaders work from scattered locations, the extensive use of this medium in sensitive communications seems unwise to us…. Matters of confronting others about sin, discussing issues with legal implications, discussing employment or supervisory information, confessing sins or forgiving others, and other similar communications should be done in person or documented in more formal written communications.  Email tends to be less formal and inadequate for addressing sensitive issues.” (p. 15) 

##     

From: Brent Detwiler

Sent: Friday, April 20, 2012 10:14 AM

To: Ted Kober

Subject: Mole 

In your report, you appear to have Mole in mind as one of those individuals who has sinned against you and SGM?  Is that correct?  If so, have you gone to him in private to confront his perceived sin and be reconciled? 

## 

From: Brent Detwiler

Sent: Friday, April 20, 2012 2:57 PM

To: Ted Kober

Subject: Great Travesty 

Dear Ted, 

Here is your authoritative exhortation to the Sovereign Grace Board of Directors about going to be reconciled.  It is found in the Consultation Report from last August:   

“Before engaging the help of other Christians (such as through Ambassadors of Reconciliation), we remind the SGM Board members of their biblical responsibilities to initiate action for reconciliation. 

“Note that the direct teachings of Jesus and the Apostle Paul urge us to go and be reconciled to those with whom we have disputes.  It does not matter whether we believe we have been sinned against (Matthew 18:15), the other person is entrapped in sin (Galatians 6:1), or if the other person has something against us (Matthew 5:23-24). We are to make every effort to make peace (Romans 12:18; see also Hebrews 12:14). 

“As we consider these and other verses in the full context of the Bible, we see that “going” to be reconciled requires more than email, more than blogs, more than letters, more than phone calls – it requires going to meet face-to-face.  Note that God so loved the world that he sent his only Son (John 3:16). Jesus the Christ humbled himself to become flesh (Philippians 2:1-11) and come to earth in person to dwell among us (John 1:1, 14). 

“Note also that our responsibility to “go to be reconciled” is not excused simply because another indicates that he does not want to meet.  God reconciled us to himself “while we were yet sinners” (Romans 5:6-11).  God did not wait until we desired for him to come. 

“It is obvious to us as we read the documents written by Brent Detwiler and met with you that there are broken relationships between Brent Detwiler and C.J. Mahaney, between Brent Detwiler and individual members (current and former) of the Board of Directors, and between Brent Detwiler and the entire Board of Directors.  According to Scripture, it does not matter who caused the offense.  When relationship is broken, it is incumbent upon every believer in Christ to “go and be reconciled.” 

“Scripture does not excuse us because we are fearful that our words might be twisted.  Scripture does not excuse us if we think the other person might not listen.  Scripture does not excuse us if the other party indicates in emails that he will not meet with us.  Scripture does not excuse us if the person does not live in our town.  Scripture does not excuse us if the other party has widely shared his complaints against us.  Scripture does not excuse us if the whole world reads about the complaints against us in some public media.  People find all kinds of excuses not to obey the teachings of Scripture, but our social practices and customs are not what guide God’s people in such matters.” (Ted Kober, Consultation Report, August 24, 2011, pp. 13-14) 

My question is simple.  Why haven’t you followed any of your own demands?    In relation to me, Kris from SGM Survivors, and Jim Pappadeas, you have made no effort to walk in the light and be reconciled.  I suspect the same is true of Mole but you have not answered my questions regarding him.  In all seriousness, have you made any effort to meet with anyone you speak against in the report?   Have you taken any action to contact those with whom you have offenses?   

The majority of your offenses go back to August-November of last year.  You’ve had months to pursue reconciliation.  Once again, why haven’t you followed your directives in relation to me, Kris, Jim, Bob and others?  Per your admonitions, you should have been on a plane to meet with each of us months ago.  Furthermore, why haven’t you written me as requested?  Why haven’t you called me as requested?  Why haven’t you offered to meet with me?  I am ready to do all of the above.   

Ted, you have done nothing you have taught thousands of others in relation to us.  This is a great travesty and needs to be corrected. 

##

From: Brent Detwiler

Date: Fri, April 20, 2012 7:03 am

To: Mole

Subject: Ted Kober 

Has Ted ever come to you in private to confront or correct sins he believes you have committed against SGM or himself? 

## 

From: Mole

Sent: Friday, April 20, 2012 9:15 AM

To: Brent Detwiler

Subject: RE: Ted Kober 

No, why do you ask? 

Mole, BSCJ, QMHP

Family Counselor

 ## 

From: Brent Detwiler

Sent: Friday, April 20, 2012 10:41 AM

To: Mole

Subject: RE: Ted Kober 

Have you ever talked to Ted or Ed [Keinath]?  Did you meet with either of them last November at CLC?  If so, did they ever register any concerns for you? 

## 

From: Mole

Sent: Friday, April 20, 2012 10:45 AM

To: Brent Detwiler

Subject: RE: Ted Kober 

Marsha and I were told by another couple who interviewed with A of R that their counselor had indicated with dismay and shock, that in fact, 104 pastors had come forward in an effort to expose SGM for their abuse. 

Our interviewer [Ed Keinath] was moved to tears as we shared [our] story.  He gave every indication that he completely sympathized and understood the tragedy of our situation.  When we were finished with the interview I looked out the small window of the office door and saw Gene and Liz sitting there.  I asked the interviewer to please escort Gene and Liz down the hall so we could leave without interacting with them.  He did so and said, “I absolutely understand.”  

## 

From: Mole

Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 11:58 PM

To: Brent Detwiler

Subject: A of R 

Brent…. Marsha reminded me that at the end of our session with Ed, he asked me if I would be willing participate in a meeting in order to address concerns about SGM.  This was yet another indication from A of R that they were taking our complaints seriously.  Our hopes were very high when we left. Unfortunately, I never heard from anyone from A of R again.  Looks like it will stay that way. 

## 

From: Brent Detwiler

Sent: Friday, April 20, 2012 4:19 PM

To: Ted Kober

Subject: Follow Up on Mole 

Bob met with your associate, Ed Keinath in November at the Pastors Conference.  Ed only empathized with Bob.  He did not confront him on anything.  No one from AoR has ever brought any concerns to Bob’s attention.  Just the opposite.  I hope you did not have him in mind in your report.  I await your clarification.  Did you? 

## 

From: Brent Detwiler

Sent: Saturday, April 21, 2012 6:43 PM

To: Ted Kober

Subject: Take Along One or Two Others – Matthew 18:16  

Ted, 

I wanted to talk or meet with you in private in order to show you your fault and win you over (Matt 18:15).  I’ve waited five days for a response of any kind but you could not take 5 minutes to call me or two minutes to text me.  You should have expressed eagerness, if not a willingness, to meet with me.

I’ve written you numerous times over the past week.  I asked to talk with you.  I asked to know what parts of your report are in reference to me.  I pointed out your dishonesty in saying you addressed sinful attitudes, words and actions with me in private when you did not.  I pointed out your hypocrisy in not coming to me when offended at me.  I pointed out your hypocrisy in relation to Kris and Jim for the same thing.  I asked for an explanation on your use of email in raising “sensitive issues” contrary to the counsel you have given others.  I asked whether you have gone to anyone with whom you have offenses.  I’ve told you your sins in print.  I’ve asked to do this in person.  In spite of all this, you have made no effort to “leave your gift at the altar” and “settle matters quickly” with a “brother [who] has something against you.” (Matt 5:23-26.) 

Ted, you have grievously sinned against me, specific others, the abused, the churches of SGM, and the larger Body of Christ.  Therefore, I have asked Kris (SGM Survivors), Jim (SGM Refuge) and Mole to appeal for your repentance.  I also asked them to join me in meeting with you per the teaching of Matthew 18:16.  As is obvious in your report, you believe many people have sinned against you (and SGM) and yet you have not gone to them.  We also believe you have sinned against us.  For example, you confronted us in your public report but never came to us in private.    I assume you justified doing so by leaving out our names but it is readily apparent who you had in mind.  That amounts to duplicity.  

Ted, you have set a terrible example for one who teaches others on peacemaking and the pursuit of reconciliation.  You have not been a conciliator.  You have brought more division.  To be honest, I am concerned you hold sinful anger in your heart toward us and others.  This much I know for certain; you have repeatedly violated Matthew 5:21-26, Matthew 7:1-5, Matthew 18:15, Romans 12:18, Galatians 6:1 and Hebrews 12:14.  I hope you will repent to us in private and then make public restitution.  Please let me know by Monday if you are willing to meet with us or talk to us using Skype.  Then we can set a date and make arrangements.  If Kris, Jim or Bob are unable to participate, I will provide other witnesses as required by Scripture. 

Please show me the simple dignity of a response.  Sinners do that much.

Brent 

## 

From: Brent Detwiler

Sent: Sunday, April 22, 2012 3:37 PM

To: Ted Kober

Subject: Please Contact Me Today 

Please don’t let the day pass without calling or writing to set up a time to meet with us for reconciliation.  As I said before, I am glad for you to point out in the report where you had me in mind and then tell me my faults. 

Sincerely,

Brent     

## 

From: Brent Detwiler

Sent: Monday, April 23, 2012 4:41 PM

To: Jim Pappadeas; Kris; Mole

Subject: An Appeal to Ted Kober

Importance: High 

Dear Jim, Kris and Bob, 

I’ve repeatedly attempted to contact Ted Kober.  He has been unresponsive.  Though he shows no interest, would you be willing to meet or talk with Ted in accordance with the second step of redemptive discipline outlined in Matt 18:15-17?  I believe he has sinned against us and others.  Kris, we can make special arrangement for you if you are unable to join us in person or prefer not to use Skype.   

I’ve limited the scope of my correction in addressing Ted for now.  There are some good parts in his report.  There are some bad parts.  Mostly, there are missing parts.  I believe Ted has sinned in other ways but I will address those additional matters in private and give him the opportunity to respond.   

For now, I’d appreciate your assistance in helping Ted to see his hypocrisy, unwillingness to attempt private reconciliation, and public slander having not come to us first.  You are also welcome to share your general perspective on his report.    

Bob has already provided me a statement to send Ted.  Jim and Kris, would you do the same?  It can be short.  I will also ask Larry Tomczak for his perspective on the report.  I’d like to send them to Ted tomorrow if possible.   

I know we are not in habit of communicating with each other but I felt it important that we collectively reach out to Ted, appeal for his repentance, and share with him our perspectives. 

I’ve included my private correspondence with Ted below.  I plan to post our correspondence this week if he is unresponsive and ask others to reach out to him and Ed Keinath and appeal for their repentance.  I will also contact the Board of Directors for Ambassadors of Reconciliation.   

Thanks for your help.

Brent 

## 

From: Jim @ SGM Refuge [mailto:jim@sgmrefuge.com]

Sent: Monday, April 23, 2012 9:29 PM

To: Brent Detwiler; Kris; Mole

Subject: Re: An Appeal to Ted Kober

Importance: High 

I would love to interact with Ted regarding his condemnation and misrepresentation of my blog.  As AoR’s primary blog cheerleader, I’m surprised my efforts were ignored by Ted.  I’m not hurt or offended, just surprised.

I am greatly disappointed that Ted was apparently offended by the perceived sin of those abused by SGM leaders, and felt the need to add to their pain with his very public condemnation.  I’m really having a hard time wrapping my head around such a blatantly hurtful act coming from the president of an organization that calls itself Ambassadors of Reconciliation.

If Ted honestly cares at all about reconciliation, he should publicly repent to the abused, as he has now joined the ranks of the abusers.  His actions bear no resemblance to peace making.

Grace,

Jim

##

From: Kris [mailto:kris@sgmsurvivors.com]

Sent: Monday, April 23, 2012 8:23 PM

To: Brent Detwiler

Cc: Guy

Subject: RE: An Appeal to Ted Kober 

Hi Brent – 

Our policy has always been that we want to remain anonymous.  Although we were very disappointed with the way that AoR chose to go after “the blogs” as relentlessly as they did, without attempting even a simple response to the emails I sent, in which I offered my help, I don’t really feel like we need to participate in any sort of reconciliation process with anyone – at least not the sort of process that the AoR people would expect.  We would not wish to speak on the phone or Skype with anyone.  We’re happy, however, to have you pass on the following statement to the AoR folks: 

To whom this may concern: 

As random bystanders who were ourselves thrust unwittingly into the midst of SGM’s problems back in late 2007, we definitely sympathize with the magnitude of the job with which the AoR organization was tasked when hired to explore SGM’s weaknesses and failures and attempt to bring healing to SGM’s victims. 

Much has already been said on the Survivors site in response to the report which AoR released recently.  If I were to summarize our readers’ reactions, I’d say that many were very disappointed with the way so much of the report’s focus seemed to be upon “the blogs” and the (perceived) sinfulness of those who had spoken out about the way they’d been harmed by SGM.  It came across quite clearly in their report that the AoR folks had taken personal offense with “the blogs” early on and never bothered to dig more deeply to try to find out WHY AoR was met with suspicion.  Consequently, AoR is – ironically – guilty of committing the very same sins toward blogs and bloggers that they themselves had found so off-putting.  The AoR representatives felt free in their report to vent their disdain toward “the blogs” without ever having communicated with anyone from SGM Survivors.  (And this, of course, was despite the fact that I’d made at least a couple of efforts to engage with Mr. Kober via email back in December and offered to help AoR in any way I could.)   

Also, since it is my understanding that AoR was hired to examine and evaluate Sovereign Grace Ministries, NOT “the blogs” or SGM’s victims, it was especially bizarre to see so many peevish references to all the ways in which bloggers and SGM’s victims did not meet AoR’s expectations.   

That being said, I can truly say that AoR’s report was, unfortunately, essentially what I had expected it to be.  I’m sorry that that turned out to be the case, but I can understand why a “reconciliation” business with only the most rudimentary outsider’s understanding of SGM’s history and culture would lack the perspective and the knowledge to look beyond SGM leaders’ pretty words and shining surface behavior and see how twisted the organization actually has been. 

We don’t want anything from AoR.  But if they would like to grow from this experience, I would suggest that they consider the ways they failed SGM, SGM’s victims, and themselves by being so quick to accuse bloggers of sins without taking the time to explore more deeply where the bloggers are coming from – and why they themselves felt it was OK to castigate “the blogs” in their report without first following their own rules for conflict resolution. 

Blessings,

Kris  

## 

From: Mole

Sent: Friday, April 20, 2012 10:45 AM

To: Brent Detwiler

Subject: RE: Ted Kober 

As most people understand, it is extremely difficult for anyone who has been abused to report the offense, even to the proper authorities for a myriad of reasons (fear of retaliation, fear of more abuse, ostracism, fear of revisiting the feelings and emotions relevant to the abuse, embarrassment, shame, etc.).  Everyone who shared their stories of abuse with A of R were hoping that by entrusting their story to the perceived “proper authority,” in this case A of R, justice and resolution would occur.  The very last thing abused individuals expected was for the proper authority to essentially turn on them.  This is a great travesty.  These people are now doubly harmed and have had emotional and psychological problems aggravated by their experience with A of R.  

Our interviewer [Ed Keinath] was moved to tears as we shared [our] story.  He gave every indication that he completely sympathized and understood the tragedy of our situation.  When we were finished with the interview I looked out the small window of the office door and saw Gene and Liz sitting there.  I asked the interviewer to please escort Gene and Liz down the hall so we could leave without interacting with them.  He did so and said, “I absolutely understand.”  

Personally, Marsha and I feel betrayed.  We were told by another couple who interviewed with A of R that their counselor had indicated with dismay and shock, that in fact, 104 pastors had come forward in an effort to expose SGM for their abuse.  He gave every indication that he completely sympathized and understood the tragedy of our situation. When we were finished with the interview I looked out the small window of the office door and saw Gene and Liz sitting there. I asked the interviewer to please escort Gene and Liz down the hall so we could leave without interacting with them. He did so and said, “I absolutely understand.”  

Prior to the interviews starting I wrote A of R asking them to reconsider the venue for the interviews because they were asking the abused to come back to the place that represented where the abuse occurred.  I also mentioned the Pastors Conference was simultaneously being held where those reporting abuse would likely see their abusers face to face (which of course they already knew).  In light of the emotional trauma this would likely engender in those reporting abuse, I asked them to reconsider where they had chosen to do the interviews.  They ignored this request (which further demonstrates and lack of appreciation and knowledge in dealing with abused people).  

Looking back, now that the report has come out, I am convinced A of R simply did not and does not comprehend what has happened to those who have experienced abuse at the hands of SGM.  I’m afraid rather than resolve any problems or being ambassadors of reconciliation, they have stirred up a hornet’s nest and are complaining as to why they are being stung. 

Thanks,

Bob 

## 

From: Larry Tomczak [mailto:1larrytomczak@gmail.com]

Sent: Monday, April 23, 2012 5:41 PM

To: Brent Detwiler

Subject: Re: An Appeal to Ted Kober 

To whom it may concern:

I have been asked my thoughts on the AoR report.  First, I appreciate all the hard work that went into this project dealing with very sensitive matters in scores of people’s lives.  I trust AoR was well compensated.  

Second, after waiting and praying for almost a year regarding this endeavor (regularly not daily), I was EXTREMELY disappointed with the results.  I could scarcely believe what I was reading.  I believe multitudes share this perspective.  

Third, my wife and I believe the report was a serious disservice to scores of people who invested incredible amounts of time and effort to serve the AoR team.  Doris and I gave over 250 hours to prepare for our contribution in addition to travel time and the days given to the interview.  Addressing the illegal, immoral and documented blackmail plus the reprehensible conduct that shattered our reputation, relationships and family ties (plus our livelihood) was afforded a dismissive SIX sentences in the report!  Unbelievable.  

Finally, we are of the opinion that if the SGM leaders had simply done the report on their own, they would have been more forthright and harder on themselves than this most favorable AoR document.  

When we shared our experience with Ted and his assistant, one wiped away tears and the other dropped his head in shocking dismay at our traumatic experience, manipulation, falsehoods and numerous examples of unChristlike behavior we experienced that could have destroyed our Christian lives as a family of six.  We, like hundreds of others who experienced spiritual abuse from SGM leaders, now wonder if some of the apologies and asking of forgiveness will have to suffice.  

We love you Ted and the team but inquire if your labors represent the accurate picture of the systemic problems that multitudes hoped would be addressed and corrected so SGM could begin a new season in humility and integrity.  

Trusting God’s sovereign grace, I am, yours in His service,  

Larry Tomczak 

## 

From: Brent Detwiler

Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 9:14 AM

To: Ted Kober

Cc: Jim Pappadeas; Kris; Mole; Larry Tomczak

Subject: Private Appeals Continue

Importance: High 

Dear Ted, 

It has been over a week since I first asked you to call me.  I don’t understand how you can reject all my attempts to engage you.  I believe you have sinned against me and I am happy to hear how you believe I’ve sinned against you.  I’ve sincerely sought to engage you in a redemptive and biblical manner but you appear obstinate in your rejection of all attempts at reconciliation. 

Jim Pappadeas, Mole, Larry Tomczak and I would like to meet with you.  We all have concerns for your Report to the Board of Directors of Sovereign Grace Ministries from April 10, 2012.  We would like to discuss our concerns with you personally.   

In obedience to Scripture and for your godly good, I’ve also asked these men to join me in helping you see how you have sinned against us and others.  I’ve included their appeals and perspectives [above] but this is inadequate.  We also need to meet in person.  As it stands Ted, you are rebelling against the commands of Scripture and living contrary to everything you have taught and demanded of others. 

I have many things to say about the report regarding inaccuracies (e.g. AoR’s confidentially requirement), bias, unfactual assertions, and dereliction of duty.  That is, how you largely failed to address what you were tasked to do.  There are some good and bad parts in the report but the most important parts (e.g., C.J. and the Board’s deceit) are left out.  I will write you in private about these matters and give you the opportunity to correct my perspectives before I share them at large.  The report is public.  It requires a public response. 

Of greatest importance for now is your failure to meet, hear our offenses, or pursue reconciliation.  Your indifference undermines all your credibility and the entire ministry of which you are the President.  If you have not done so already, send my previous appeals to your Board of Directors along with this correspondence.  I hope they will reprove you and hold you accountable to the most basic tenets of the organization. 

Ted, I have faithfully sought to obey Scripture in my pursuit of you.  Please text, email, or call me today.  I’d like to keep this matter confined to Jim, Kris, Bob, Larry and me.  Whether I appeal to a wider audience is up to you.  Contact me by the end of the day so we can set up a time to meet in the near future. 

God’s grace rest upon you. 

Brent   

###  EDITED TO ADD THE FOLLOWING POSTSCRIPT: 

I would add that my own interview with Ed Keinath also was in complete contradiction to what AoR published. Ed told me that since last summer he and Ted had been concerned about the the board’s blind devotion to CJ. He also expressed whole-hearted agreement when I indicated that at the heart of SGM’s problems was a culture of selfish-ambition. Ed also indicated that he and Ted estimated that about 20-30 churches within SGM were already prepared to leave SGM.   

I don’t pretend to know why the report does not match what was communicated to many of us but the disharmony between what we heard with our own ears and what was published casts a significant cloud of suspicion over the report and the SGM leadership. 

I plead with you that if any of you fear God and know why this disharmony exists that you would come forth.  

Jenn Grover 

Pittsburgh, PA

423 comments to From Brent Detwiler: A Response To The Ambassadors Of Reconciliation

  • QE2

    I am sure this is not the appropriate response, but I am laughing my barrell off.

    Ted should have called Brent immediately, if for no other reason than to avoid a stuffed inbox and eventual sharing of the emails and lack of response on the evil blogs. Come on, Ted, this is Brent, AKA “The Persistant Widow”, we are talking about.

    I really love God for revealing another chapter in the Sovereign Grace Mini-series.

  • Oswald

    QE2 #1 — Looks like the fat lady has not sung yet.

  • Roadwork

    AoR is too similar to be objective. Their beliefs are the same as SGM. Sin is always the fault of the offended party. As long as the offended party dares to speak of the offense, it’s used against the offended as evidence of incomplete forgiveness.

    The offender goes free and held blameless.

    What a screwed up system.

  • Mary

    Wow. That is some intense reading. “Marsha and I were told by another couple who interviewed with A of R that their counselor had indicated with dismay and shock, that in fact, 104 pastors had come forward in an effort to expose SGM for their abuse.” Really??? Is that for real?… 104 pastors…and they end up thinking the problem is the blogs? That is shocking.

  • Mary

    Roadwork – it is a screwed up system.

    Jesus will never pat anyone on the back and say, “Well done, at being the one that was right.” They can defend their brand of “rightness” until the cows come home…but I doubt Jesus is impressed. He is more than likely saying, show them my love, feed “My” sheep.

  • Mary

    I think those 104 pastors should write a statement and nail it to the church door(today’s version – post it online).

  • Local Church Fan said in the last thread:

    If anyone is interested in a good book on how to relate and speak about/concerning other believers, I recommend If You Bite & Devour One Another by Alexander Strauch. Here is the link in Amazon:
    http://www.amazon.com/You-Bite-Devour-One-Another/dp/093608331X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1335326568&sr=8-1

    I memory serves me correct this is the book that a few SGM Churches have posted a chapter from online when they had a message on “gossip.” One was Jared from CFC and the other from SGM Crossway in Charlotte NC (same church that branded Brent Detwiler as “divisive.” )

    The chapter they posted talked about the passage in James and showed how one Greek word there for criticize was translated “slander.” I haven’t read the book but did read that one chapter.

    As a number of people have pointed out, SGM sadly has used over the years teaching on “gossip” and “slander” to silence criticism. I haven’t read the whole book to see what balance that author has, but the balance I have seen at both CLC and SGM in the past has been to use this teaching to an extreme.

    Why do you think that SGM is in such trouble and has sin that existed for so long including with C.J. Mahaney? I am sure a significant cause is SGM’s teaching on what gossip is. When you teach that criticisizing a leader or have a culture where questioning leadership isn’t acceptable you are in all likelihood going to have problems like we now see being exposed.

    With this type of teaching leaders are able to do questionable actions and get away with them since few people know of the leader’s questionable actions.

    It isn’t surprising that you are introducing a book like this presumably with the intention of trying to guilt people into not talking or indicate it is wrong to criticize.

    Yes people should not bite and devour one another on the other hand people should be allowed to speak up and when leaders sin, especially sin and don’t repent of it, people should know.

  • Defender

    QE2, Re #1
    My thoughts exactly as I read the emails above.

    Roadwork. YES!
    I have wondered how AoR was chosen to “do reconciliation” on behalf of SGM. It is like SGM had their answer, and then needed to find the path to that answer.

    Either that, or what we saw as the AoR report, was so totally re-written by the SGM board before it was made public that perhaps Ted is busy consulting with his own lawyers for his response to SGM.
    NAH. It couldn’t be that simple.

  • Persona

    I have a strong and growing suspicion that the AoR report was at least partly tampered-with by John Loftiness and/or Phil Sassier (both, acc. to spell-check).

    They had the time (two weeks+) and of course, the motivation to edit the report. They could easily have deleted what they didn’t want published and padded it with comments about the blogs and complements about themselves and, then sent it back to AoR headquarters to be published ‘officially’ and released to the hapless flock, where no one would be the wiser.

    I wonder if there is any way Brent could procure the original document? The current one obviously wreaks of mutilation or spoliation.

  • Ellie

    Defender (#8) & Persona (#9),

    I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the report published wasn’t as it was originally received by SGM.
    It doesn’t explain, though, why Ted hasn’t had any recent contact with Jim, since Jim was, as he said, a “cheerleader” for A of R.

  • What else can be said? 104 SGM pastors coming forward and AOR chooses to focus on the blogs without following their own guidelines.

    I would not want to be in Ted’s shoes right now…he has Brent on his trail like a hound that won’t quit.

  • Lost in (cyber) Space

    Does anyone else feel like they have entered the Twilight Zone? It’s simply unreal! AOR– the “experts” in reconcilliation have offended the abused and hurt ones heaping only more pain and disappointment on them. The perpetrators are praised by this self-proclaimed group of ambassadors of Christ’s peace. And those lied to, misled and subjected to hypocritical, authoritarian leaders are chastised for not giving the abuser more grace and merciful expressions of forgiveness!
    (explains why the abuse cases went the way they did!)

    AHHHHHHH! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxf_Dvy0VLs

  • Brent sent a postscript after I put up this post. It’s a message from Jenn Grover, who said (and this is quoted with her permission),

    I would add that my own interview with Ed Keinath also was in complete contradiction to what AoR published. Ed told me that since last summer he and Ted had been concerned about the the board’s blind devotion to CJ. He also expressed whole-hearted agreement when I indicated that at the heart of SGM’s problems was a culture of selfish-ambition. Ed also indicated that he and Ted estimated that about 20-30 churches within SGM were already prepared to leave SGM.

    I don’t pretend to know why the report does not match what was communicated to many of us but the disharmony between what we heard with our own ears and what was published casts a significant cloud of suspicion over the report and the SGM leadership.

    I plead with you that if any of you fear God and know why this disharmony exists that you would come forth.

    After reading her statement, as well as those from Mr. Dixon, I’m beginning to wonder just what process the AoR folks used to determine the content of their report. It’s difficult to imagine them signing off on a heavily (and unfairly) edited report that would be a dishonest representation of what actually happened during their investigations. But then, it was also difficult to believe how Larry T and various others were coerced into making statements from the pulpit that did not reflect the whole truth either.

    So I’m wondering.

  • ATC

    Hello all,

    This is OFF-TOPIC. I hope you don’t mind, Kris and readers. At the moment I haven’t got the time or energy to read Brent’s latest (but I will do….unlike many people who won’t read it but who will still claim the higher discernment ground…)

    I wanted to reply to ‘theleftovers’ from a previous thread and say how blessed I was to see a wise post showing a soul close to the Lord Jesus and a soul on His road of grace.

    I’m assuming you’re reading this, ‘leftovers’ and you as well, Dan. The three Bristolians! (but, forgive me, I’m actually a scouser.. :) )

    I also wanted to share something that happened to me last week. I had a telephone call from the elder of the local congregation I attend who is a lovely, humble, godly man. His example has played a big part in the healing road my wife and I have taken since the summer of 2008 when we became suddenly aware of a phenomenon known as ‘heavy shepherding / spiritual abuse’. :(

    The elder at my congregation told me that one of the leaders at the Sovereign Grace Ministries church, Grace Church, Bristol congregation had contacted another leader of my congregation (not yet an ‘elder’ according to the denominations official ‘ordination’ policies…but he soon will be). This not-an-elder-yet had passed them on to the lovely, humble, godly elder.

    The leaders at SGM, Bristol had seen my comments on this blog and, leader-to-leader, requested a meeting with myself, my ‘church leaders’ and themselves to talk about my comments. They know I’ve never been a member of an SGM church (as I’ve pointed out several times in comments my knowledge of their actions comes from three sources who have been members of the SGM, Bristol church, plus Dan and ‘theleftovers’ on the Nasty Blogs) and that as ‘I didn’t know them’ we should talk about this.

    My first thought was: ‘Do they think I’m under 16 years of age?!’ [alas, I approach my 40th] How high and elevated a view of leadership do you have to have to want to call a full ‘presbytery council’ without first contacting the person involved? It reminded me of a principal of a school seeing a naughty child in another school and contacting the other principal. That’s how it works with children. But the Body of Christ of which we are all members?

    My second thought was how it must have took at least a FEW minutes to work out who I was. Before they didn’t contact me, I mean. And then a FEW MORE minutes to work out which church I go to.

    Over a month ago, on my Twitter account, up popped ONE OF THE LEADERS of the SGM, Bristol church as one of my ‘followers’…. ‘ ‘Interesting’ I thought. I think I’m right in saying that the only way THE LEADER of the SGM, Bristol church (I’m purposely not naming their names for reasons I’ll share in a moment..) could have linked to my Twitter account was by looking through Dan’s twitter friends as I followed Dan a while ago. And then they would have had to google my name and up would come some podcasted sermons I’ve preached at my church in Bristol. SGMNation also ‘worked out’ who I was through Twitter (and contacted me to say ‘hello’). Maybe there’s another way of finding out which church I go to. Who knows? And if you do get in touch with me LEADER of SGM, Bristol church it’ll be one of the questions I’d like to ask you.

    So, I chatted to my congregation’s elder. The SGM LEADER(S) main problem was that I had written stuff which personally identified them. I looked through as many of my comments on this blog that I could and then wrote the following mail to the elder of my church:

    Hello ******

    Hope you’re well! ***** said the family meeting went really well last night.

    I re-read my contributions on the sgmsurvivors blog last night.
    There’s quite a few as I’ve been reading there since 2008! There were
    two particular sentences that troubled me. Not for their veracity, but
    because I felt in hindsight that I was particularly angry when I wrote
    them at what I was hearing and seeing about some people’s experiences
    of Sovereign Grace Ministries. I asked Kris, who runs the sgmsurvivors
    blog, to remove those two particular comments and, as far as I’m
    aware,she’s done so.

    I remain nonplussed at why the person who was concerned at my comments
    didn’t speak or email me directly. If they’ve taken the trouble to
    work out who I am, I would have thought it right for them to come to
    me first.

    I’d appreciate it if you could forward this mail to the person who has
    been affected by my actions. Please feel free to also include my
    email.

    See you Sunday, :)

    PS – I also comment on the sgmrefuge.com blog and the
    sgmnation.wordpress.com blogs. I haven’t re-reach or checked any
    contributions I’ve made on those two.

    (Thanks Kris, once again, for helping me out with the deletions). As my email says, there WERE two comments that I feel were a bit below the belt, so to speak, and which caused a conviction I think was from the Holy Spirit. I’m human. And the worst sinner I know. There is still a comment that mentions one of the LEADERS by name, but as I don’t believe that what I’ve said is ‘below the belt’ it can stand. And I know it’s true.

    So, there’s my first little brush with SGM, Bristol. (Apart from one visit I made in the summer of 2008). And apart from people I know who used to go there. And the testimonies of people on the Nasty Blogs.

    If you’re reading from the Grace Church, Bristol, you can know for sure that the LEADERS are reading these blogs and trying to work out who is writing.

    I repeat: how high and elevated a view of leadership do you have to have to go straight to another leader when you feel one of the sheep is bleating a bit wrongly or loudly?

    ATC, Bristol, UK.

    PS: Think I’ll play a game…. My REAL NAME IS….. lalna lrcea

    Go for it, anagram fans!

  • Mary

    Kris – I find this all very stunning. And Lost is right…It feels alot alot like the twilight zone. Sigh.

  • Mary

    ATC, CLC did that to me. They went to my new church and shared with all my sin..but they were a day late. I already told them everything because I knew that CLC would come knocking. And you are not the worst sinner I know. I am. But, I am ok with that because those that are forgiven much, love much (luke 7) and I am an all out lover of Jesus Christ! It is funny that they will go to other leaders to discredit people but won’t go to the hurting to repent.

    It is interesting that the bible does not say ANYWHERE to follow people to future churches and share someone’s sin (but they call love)…it DOES however, say to leave your gift at the altar and reconcile with those that have something against you (but to them this is not something they could do to love people) ugh.

  • Ellie

    Brent’s post on his blog has 2 more postscripts: one from Eric Grover and one from Todd Twinning. http://www.brentdetwiler.com/

  • Mary

    I would be concerned if 104 church members came forward, I would be greatly concerned if 104 pastors come forward in an effort to expose SGM for their abuse…and AoR is concerned about the blogs, and hiding future evidence by not using email. And all paid for with tithe money.

  • ATC –

    Wow, what a story.

    I can remember in this site’s early days when I very first started getting emails from folks who were hyper-concerned about confidentiality. It was all kind of hard to understand – WHY was it such a big deal to these people to be certain their church leaders did not know they were reading/posting here (or just writing to me)?

    Later I pieced together the reality, which is that because of SGM’s hyper-sensitivity to criticism, which for the longest time was ALWAYS a sin in the leaders’ minds, many of these leaders felt free to go after anyone they thought might be adding to the criticism.

    They see it as their duty. They think that if they defend SGM however they can, they are thus defending “the gospel.” They lose all perspective in their hot lather to silence SGM’s critics. They don’t realize how extreme their efforts can appear. Or how those efforts often violate some of the tenets the organization claims to stand for. (Anyone remember “Roy” and his story, where he and a few of his cohorts stooped to lying and deception and asking for prayer as they concocted and posted a fake story of SGM abuse over the course of several months? They thought they were proving some big dramatic point that somehow scored points for SGM…which (in their thinking, I guess) nullified the fact that they chose to LIE and FABRICATE and DECEIVE in order to do so? Crazy!)

  • Oswald

    On the previous thread Ozymandias #471 has a link to a panel discussion of the Band of Bloggers at T4G. I found it very informative and kindly done. They explained themselves and how they feel about controversial issues and blogging. They discuss SGM and The Elephant Room issues in (probably) the 2nd half. It’s about an hour long, but interesting and worth the listen.

  • 5yearsinPDI

    I am convinced there are principalities and powers at work here. I could be wrong-this could all be human sin and the flesh- but for so long I’ve believed that CJ “has help”. All by himself he just does not have the talent and brilliance to dazzle the Reformed community. (he certainly never dazzled me and I’m no popular celebrity speaker.)

    The way they say one thing, turn around and do another, and people just keep on cheering, well, it seems like deceiveing spirits. The way AoR appears to have done a complete about face betweeen the interviews and the report, well, it is like they came under a spell. You have to wonder if there are all kinds of demonic footholds operating. Creepy.

    To God be the glory- He makes even the works of the enemy serve His grand plan. Keep praying folks.

  • Defender

    ATC, (Or would you prefer Alan? I do enjoy a good anagram from time to time. Not gonna try the last name……)

    Truly an amazing testimony you have.
    I believe that the intention for the SGM practice of chasing people to their place of refuge is to strike fear into the sheep.
    Unfortunately it works sometimes.
    (I was privately hoping the pastor who chased us out would come by. Our new pastor knew EVERYTHING.)

    Striking fear into the sheep………
    Kinda makes you want to say Hhmmmmmmm.

    I learned some time ago that the opposite of Faith is not so much Unbelief, but Fear. Fear is the opposite if Faith.

    A shepherd’s job is to help the sheep grow in their FEAR?

    No! Wait.
    I just might have mixed that one up…….

    The Shepherd’s job is to help the sheep grow in their FAITH.
    Ah yes. That’s it.

    These FALSE shepherds are going to have a lot of explaining to do when they face the “Good Shepherd”.

    Eternity is a long Long LOOOOOONG time.
    Gosh! I hope they repent.

  • Defender

    OOps! I was too quick typing out Alan. (Allan?)

  • Friendly Observer

    Defender, #23 — You must mean “Allan” (did you notice the second “l”?

    In general: “Follow the money.” I said it before, and I will repeat. Whether the report was tampered with or not, remember the “Revised Standard” Golden Rule — the ones who have the gold make the rules. Who paid for the report? That’s the key. It didn’t have to be tampered with. The contract may have specified what the resultant slant had to be. When Philip Morris paid for study after study on the results of smoking cigarettes with regard to incidence of lung cancer, does anyone think any of the reports implicated smoking as a causative agent? Of course, they did not. That’s why for decades the tobacco companies did not win in court when sued by the families of cancer victims.

  • Friendly Observer

    Oooops!!! That’s why the tobacco companies did not LOSE in court . . . Sorry!

  • Wallace

    As I posted earlier, we went through the application proces with AoR in an effort to get help in reconciling with our brother-in-law, Pastor L. Gallo of the Fairfax SGM church. During my phone conversation with Ed Keinath he told me that Mark Mullery turned down our request for reconciliation help. He also mentioned they were getting the same response from SGM leadership “accross the board”.

  • RE the original post here –

    I should probably clarify that I do not necessarily agree with all aspects of Brent’s pitbull, take-no-prisoners style. But I certainly found AoR’s lack of response to Brent’s many overtures remarkable…and I think Brent does a good job of laying out a case to support the assertion that for all their grousing about the sinfulness of bloggers, the AoR folks neglected (and continue to neglect) to follow their own standards for conflict resolution…which, unfortunately, greatly weakens the impact of their report.

    I also see an interesting question arising out of Mr. Dixon’s and Ms. Grover’s statements about the discrepencies between their own AoR experiences and what the report ends up sharing. WHY did so many people talk about the AoR representatives’ tears and sympathetic responses to victims…and how the AoR representatives indicated a total awareness of SGM’s issues…when the end result – the AoR report – seemed to go out of its way to praise SGM and castigate those with complaints?

    What happened? Was pressure brought to bear upon AoR to write something that SGM liked better than the truth? Or were the AoR representatives disingenuous or downright dishonest in how they presented their opinions to those who talked with them about negative SGM experiences?

  • EMSoliDeoGloria

    For whatever it is worth, I didn’t get the least sense that the Lutheran clergyman I met with was being disingenuous in how he spoke with me or responded to my story. He was kind, encouraging and expressed opinions (and read Scripture backing them) which disagreed with certain things that had been communicated to me by men in authority in SGM.

    Even after reading the AoR report, I still retain a positive impression of my interaction with Jaim Gann. I am not sure what happened that the care for those hurt in SGM was lost in translation between the interviews and the report, but I think there was genuine compassion in Rev. Gann and a desire to understand what had gone wrong in SGM’s culture.

  • B.R. Clifton

    Kris #28:
    Whatever the circumstances were or are, AOR was indeed disingenuous and dishonest with their report. That is, unless SGM committed the sin of tampering with the report and then publishing it as the genuine AOR article.
    As far as all the tears that everyone saw comin from the interviewers, Hasn’t anyone heard of “alligator tears” before. One of the experiences my wife and I had involving a “pastor” at one of the SGM satellite churches ended with him crying the alligator tears when confronted with his offense. No change in actions or an apology, just alligator tears. Whether real or not they are usually effective in fostering a sense of empathy.
    Look beyond the tears and look for the fruit of their actions. Was the outcome biblical and reflective of the pattern laid down by Jesus? Were their final actions edifying or destructive? Was there any effort toward brotherly reconciliation? Jesus said “by their fruit shall you know them”.

  • B.R. Clifton

    Just one more short remark and I’ll wuit for now.
    AOR and SGM are both after the blog folk for their “unjust comments, etc., etc,” ad nausium. Haven’t they ever read the parts of the Bible where God commends complainers against the unjust and abusive system? Perhaps they might consider looking over the 9th chapter of Exekiel. That’s a goody. Then there’s Jesus’ trip to the temple and his actions of turning over the tables of the money changers. How about John the Baptist and the Essenes who were so digusted with the corrupt temple system that they removed themselves completely and set up shop in the desert to get away from it. Then there’s all of Paul’s open criticisms of other upstart pastor/teachers with whom he had a bone to pick about their teachings which were in opposition to his own. There’s no indication that he went to them for reconcilliation or correction, but openly castigated them to several church congregations.

    All this desire and insistence on confidentiality by the professionals when they don’t always, if ever, adhere to that themselves smacks of hypocracy. Their dogged refusal to participate in any reconcilliation proceedings also smells to high heaven. They most certainly do not seem to be practitioners of the very own preaching. No surprise there.

  • ExClcer'sMom

    Kris, my thoughts about the discrepancies between the initial counselors and the final report:
    For many years I was a server in a restaurant. Now, because I genuinely love people, therefore enjoyed my job, my managers would often ask me to pick up a table that was already dissatisfied with the service they had gotten up to that point. I would be given some authority to offer a free dessert, comp their check, etc, but mostly, my job was to smooze them, and make them forget their initial ‘bad experience’-to turn their night around. I would listen, I would care, I would empathize, and I would do my best to give them what they were initially lacking. My shift manager loved that I was there, because I definitely made his job easier. Probably the store manager was relieved as well, but as you go up the corporate ladder, the very top main offices would report that their restaurants all have a high level of customer satisfaction. If those ‘higher ups’ were asked to investigate the actions of one store, and interviewed the servers, the customers, the managers, they would still minimize the ‘effect’ to the dissatisfied customers. One would think a church would be handled differently, but SGM IS handled like a corporation, and I suppose A of R may be also. Unlike Jesus, large corporations on worry about the 99, not the 1 lost.

  • Happymom

    FROM THE AOR REPORT:

    “Some raising their concerns alleged that SGM consistently handles such cases in irresponsible
    ways. While we did not complete detailed reviews of cases involving sexual misconduct, we
    were able to review documentation in some situations that demonstrated the SGM leadership
    understood the gravity of the situations. SGM leaders offered care and concern, they sought
    professional legal and counseling help for SGM and key leaders involved, and in some cases
    they helped connect parties to Christian mediators.”

    How does that statement line up with what has been shared repeatedly on these blogs? Did AoR’s assessment come from SGM leaders or victims??

  • A Kindred Spirit

    5years, I agree.

    I also think God has a “list” and that AoR is on that list. I don’t think it was a coincidence that SGM chose them for the job. I also think Al Mohler is on the “list”, along with others.

    I think we’re live witnesses to a “big moment” in church history. It gives me chills, actually.

  • Rorschach

    All this mess? It shows the fruit of THEIR labor. Does that call into question the legitimacy in their leadership? This mess? THEY made it. The heavy handed leading, the lack of polity (for 30 years for pete’s sake. WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT). And meanwhile the inner circle gives one another glowing reviews on performance and fitness. That’s strange, isn’t it?

    And if the sinful mongrel-gation is in an uproar, aren’t we the very ones trained by them? That’s a clue, too.

  • Defended

    HappyMom #33 – is that a typo? Does it really say:
    “SGM leaders offered care and concern, they sought
    professional legal and counseling help for SGM and key leaders involved,…

    Does it really say that in the case of sexual misconduct, they sought counseling help for SGM leaders?

    :Daze:

  • Happymom

    Defended,

    I copied and pasted the AoR statement directly from their report. AoR should have read Noel’s Story, ExCLCer’s Story, Wallace’s Story, SGMnot’s story and Taylor’s Story to see precisely what kind of “care and concern” we all received.

  • RE the paragraph from the AoR report quoted by Happymom –

    If anyone is wondering why that report is not sitting well with many of us, it might be instructive to look closely at what AoR said about how SGM has handled sex abuse cases. Again, here is the AoR statement:

    Some raising their concerns alleged that SGM consistently handles such cases in irresponsible ways. While we did not complete detailed reviews of cases involving sexual misconduct, we were able to review documentation in some situations that demonstrated the SGM leadership understood the gravity of the situations. SGM leaders offered care and concern, they sought professional legal and counseling help for SGM and key leaders involved, and in some cases they helped connect parties to Christian mediators.

    First, AoR issues a disclaimer:

    While we did not complete detailed reviews of cases involving sexual misconduct…

    They basically say up front that they didn’t look at many or most of the situations that have come up over the years. Then they add,

    …we were able to review documentation in some situations that demonstrated the SGM leadership understood the gravity of the situations.

    AoR essentially affirms how SGM has handled abuse situations based upon “documentation in SOME situations.”

    Some.

    Does it really mean anything at all, if SGM coughed up a few files that showed they got it right sometimes?

    And why would AoR be impressed by that?

    How little discernment (or common sense) do the authors of this report have, anyway, that they would find “documentation in SOME situations” meaningful?

    What sort of standard is that?

    If I’m a teacher and I have a student who can document that he SOMETIMES does his homework, what sort of grade does he get? Do I write statements to his parents that affirm what a good student he must be, based upon the fact that I saw SOME of his work?

    I have a relative who has, by all accounts, including his own, been financially irresponsible over the years. Yet he’s somehow managed to hang on to his house. Why? Because he admits that he always pays his mortgage, even if he lets other bills slide. So of course he could produce documentation that he is in good standing with the lending institution that holds the mortgage on his house. But would that have much meaning in terms of the overall picture of his credit?

    WHY would the AoR folks be impressed with documentation from “SOME situations”? When they admittedly did not look at much else? Why wouldn’t they simply state that they are not qualified to issue an opinion as to SGM’s general handling of such abuse cases over the years?

    It’s segments like this that make me wonder why anyone takes ANYTHING from the AoR report seriously at all. These guys sound like they swallowed whole whatever SGM gave them…like they believed whatever SGM told them…that the suspicion and the ill opinions they almost automatically had for SGM’s critics were completely suspended when it came to SGM.

  • Brent certainly raises some good points. If AOR, especially Ted Kober, can’t themselves practice what they teach then one would wonder how credible their actions are including their review of SGM. It just makes you wonder.

  • oldtimer

    What I want to know is why anyone thought that the AOR report would change anything …or reveal the truth?

    Call me cynical and jaded but also realistic —and as 5 yrsinPDI wrote in #22 there are other forces(the dark side) at work here. Unless these men have a Damascus Rd experience then forget it. They are holding each other’s cloaks while stones are being cast. (remember Saul and Stephen?) Saul thought he was doing the Lord’s work by killing the believers….well, those who hear and follow the Holy Spirit’s Voice–let’s differentiate. And it is not only sgm, it’s in many churches.

    Exclcer’smom is right on about the corporate mindset of AOR dealing with customers. Same idea as good cop-bad cop when dealing with those arrested.

  • Happymom

    And since AoR had our story and assured us that they read it, are WE one of those cases where “care and concern” was shown?

    Would that be before or after we had to have pastors subpoenaed into court?
    Would that be before or after pastors sided with our (and other) perps?
    Would that be before or after a pastor told us he never informed his wife not to discuss the details of the case with me, only to later discover that he did exactly that as per counsel from Gammon & Grange?
    Would that be before or after the infamous Fairfax Family meeting (July 2011) where they slandered us and twisted the facts?

    And if they are referring to the Christian mediator that Fairfax hired, after two meetings with him, totaling 9 hours, that mediator concluded that we were sinfully craving answers according to James 4.

  • Happymom

    For the record, (and for those who continue to categorize us as bitter and unforgiving) we have forgiven those who hurt and offended us. You can have forgiveness and continue to keep the facts straight.

    It takes one person to forgive.
    It takes two to be reconciled.

  • Whirlwind

    @Steve240 #7: Steve, I don’t think you’re doing this, but I wouldn’t lump Alexander Strauch in with SGM thinking. Though there are some common beliefs (e.g. male leadership in the church), I don’t think there’s any direct connection theologically. The church where Strauch serves/attends (according to http://alexanderstrauch.com) is even intentional in not giving any of their pastors the title “senior pastor”.

    You might be able to take a chapter from his book and use it in a certain context to make a point against the blogs, but I wouldn’t blame the author for that.

    Think about Strauch’s thoughts on elders, I recall the old SGM polity booklet mentioned that some SGM churches used to take a similar approach where there wasn’t a “senior” pastor, but Harvey mentions they changed that because it wasn’t working out and they thought things ran more smoothly if someone was identified as the elder who took charge and moved everything in one direction. (I’m paraphrasing from my memory of what’s in the polity book.)

    Anyone have any history on this? I wonder who decided things really worked better with a “senior” pastor. Hmm…

  • Stunned

    Whirlwind, I’d imagine it was a “senior” pastor. ;-)

  • Remnant

    RE Happymom #33: I interpret the quote from the AoR report:

    “Some raising their concerns alleged that SGM consistently handles such cases in irresponsibleways. While we did not complete detailed reviews of cases involving sexual misconduct, we were able to review documentation in some situations that demonstrated the SGM leadership understood the gravity of the situations. SGM leaders offered care and concern, they sought professional legal and counseling help for SGM and key leaders involved, and in some cases
    they helped connect parties to Christian mediators.”

    to mean that the SGM leaders offered care and concern to other SGM leaders and not to the victims or the family of victims. The leaders were offered counsel by SGM as to how to handle the people coming to them. SGM never reached out to the victims, just the leadership and offered the SGM leaders care and concern, offered the leaders professional legal and counseling help and they offered the leaders Christian mediation.

  • Happymom

    Remnant,

    I understand your point, but after two years of dealing with SGM leaders, I do not see the disconnect between the SGM leaders and how they handled the families/victims. All of the abuse stories carry a similar thread of how each family was treated. (with counsel from G & G and SGM leaders)

    What would be the point of connecting SGM leaders to Christian mediators if not to mediate with offended parties?

  • JeffB

    “All by himself he just does not have the talent and brilliance to dazzle the Reformed community. (he certainly never dazzled me and I’m no popular celebrity speaker.)”

    5years in PDI – I agree. Mahaney seems to me to be something of a court jester. This is anecdotal, but I heard that, when Mahaney was a guest speaker at another ministry’s conference, he was so embarrassing that they never asked him back.

    This is unfair, I know, but, while watching Ian McKellen’s portrayal of Richard III in the 1995 movie last night, I couldn’t help thinking of Mahaney. Not his court jester side, but his way of getting away with everything he does while the people in his circle, some of whom have been victimized by him, just stand and watch. Until the end, of course.

  • Wizer

    Newbie alert! Hubby and I are leaving our SGM church after more than 9 years and that’s why we’re WIZER (hope I haven’t stolen someone else’s moniker by mistake).

    Now I know why Brent was silent so much of April. He was a very busy guy indeed. Did AoRidiculousness actually think a pitbull like DB would not challenge their report publicly? Are they so arrogant as to think the bloggers (who, btw, are REAL people, not witches and warlocks) would not continue to hold them to account? Do they not see that if they do not address these hurting people and undo what they have done in a careless, bureacratic fashion, they likely may face a decrease in clients calling on them to be their very own Ambassadors of Ridicule? Oops! I forgot, they’re counting on SGM to rehire them in the near future.

    And on a different topic, for the ladies, look what I found under the Women’s Ministry portion of our church’s website (btw, we don’t really have a women’s ministry; we have 2-3 meetings a year where pastor’s wives speak but are moderated by one or more of the pastors; a man is ALWAYS in attendance). Here’s what it says:

    “Welcome to the portion of our website designed for women! Our desire is to be godly women who are pursuing Christ and following his direction for our lives. His gospel has saved us and his love has won us, and yet our foolish sinful natures fight against spiritual growth.”

    There’s that magic word “gospel” again which is used in every context possible and ladies, don’t forget your that very large sack on your back called your “foolish sinful nature.” I conjure up a picture of the Hunchback of Notredame and cringe.

    Hubby and I are actually looking foward to to putting all the nonsense behind us. When your pastor asks you where your loyalty lies with regard to CJ/DH, you know it lies with no man save Jesus Christ. Now, back to basics called Christianity 101. :Angel:

  • Wizer

    Newbie alert! About to be former SGMer of 9+ years. So done. Just curious:

    Did AoR actually think Brent Detweiler would just disappear if there was little to no mention of him in their report? He is the consummate paper pitbull and his grip is a bit on the tenacious side. But, even if you don’t like him, now we can all see that bloggers (yes, these are REAL people, not witches/warlocks stirring up the hate brew) are put in the same category.

    I have read some real heartaches on here from real folks and rarely have I seen the hatred we’re accused of. In fact, I don’t ever remember seeing something that venomous.

    A few months ago our pastor from the pulpit (or was it the bully pit), warned against going to the blogs where divisive speech (G/S) abounded. Never once in all our years had we heard anything about the internet unless it was about porn (every pastor worth his salt MUST have one sermon in his arsenal on that). As we drove home that day, we agreed, “he’s seriously got to be kidding if he thinks we are not going to be critical thinkers and ask questions.” Ever since that sermon and this whole mess the layers have slowly been peeled back before our eyes and yes, I’ve shed tears over dear people we are leaving behind who actually are afraid to think for themselves and are content to “trust their pastors to do the right thing.”

    I spoke with a dear friend last night who has been there for 20+ years who rarely if ever goes to the internet because she lacks access and when I told her the truth about CJ leaving CLC and taking the PC with him, she had no idea, she was in shock. Guess I’m for sure a certifiable G/S now. I’m so shaking my head right now.

  • Wizer

    Newbie alert #2! Sorry for the overlap in my posts! I thought my first post didn’t go through because I got a weird message so I reconstructed and wrote a 2nd one. Thanks, everyone, for your patience! Wizer but not technically so :(