As we say goodbye to 2012 and hello to 2013, I thought it would be interesting to note a couple of departures.

First, Dave Harvey is departing from the Sovereign Grace Ministries Leadership Team.

Secondly, the buzz is that the Chesapeake (Virginia) SGM church is also departing from Sovereign Grace Ministries.  There isn’t (yet) any official announcement to link to, but I’ve heard this bit of news from several folks and would be surprised if all of them were wrong.  It’s always a possibility, or, like one of the churches in Florida a few months back, it may just be a question of timing.  Have any of you heard the same thing?  Any of you at the Chesapeake church want to ask your leaders if there’s validity to this story?

Finally, as a departure (of sorts) from the previous conversation, I thought it would be interesting to allow you, the readers, to have a go at responding to an email I received a few days ago.  Someone wrote to ask the following:

My questions are this, I have read your blog off and on for the past year or so. and I don’t understand the purpose of it, how this blog is honoring to God? I understand that people have been hurt by sgm and I know several of them (specifically people in the [Church Name]).

Especially for you, since you were never specifically hurt by them. In my opinion it comes across as gossiping and slandering or in other words, beating a dead horse. I don’t agree with Sovereign grace and CJ, but I also don’t see how talking about how horrible they are is good either? Sovereign grace, although that have/had some mixed up principles they have and continue to preach and advance the Gospel, which is our calling as christians.

Also we are all sinners, if you find me a perfect church or a perfect preach and I’ll call you a liar or blind. So in other words, the exact same blog could be written about many other churches.

I guess I just don’t see what the good is in this? it doesn’t further the Gospel, so why?

Like I don’t see anything on here saying like sgm is teaching this wrong, so this is what you should do, or this is what the bible says. it just complains about what they are doing or have done.

Sorry for rambling so much, hope to hear from you.

Well, readers – any of you willing to help me out and answer our concerned correspondent?

Happy New Year!

395 comments to Departures

  • delta dagger

    Hi gang,
    This is a little off target but I think SGM must redo small groups, care groups– I for one think that SGM must pour funding into local churches for small groups. My SGM church spends almost $ 0000000000000 on small groups. When I ask my church leadership about funding our small groups he said sorry only the small group leaders get a free night at the Marriott after they put in a few years of service after they step down. My pastor said small groups are the backbone of our church. Well show me the money!

  • From Pembroke Pines con Amor

    Hello Survivors,
    I have posted here a few times, but never introduced myself. I never attended a SGM church, but a dear family member did and from said member my family was introduced to the Reformed doctrines. My family has been charismatic since the early 70s. Around 11 years ago when I started learning about Reformed theology I was very excited and felt great relief. By that time the Charismatics Renewal had long since disappeared, we never believed in the Word of Faith movement. Soon though I became concerned for my family member as I saw the signs of shepherding. Thankfully, my family member is now safe out of SGM and still serving the Lord. Somehow I came upon this site and confirmed all my concerns. I have read for a few years and continue to read because I have learned so much about spiritual abuse (manipulations that I have seen in all charismatic churches that I have attended). Ugh. I was saddened and shocked at how the RBD’s have responded to the disclosed e-mails and all the revelations. Finally, realized as you all have pointed out, that we have to trust in Jesus, and look unto him. The Big Dogs are not so great they also have their blind spots.

    Just saying, In the early 70’s when I was miraculously saved and filled with the Holy Spirit in my bedroom while listening to the Beatles, the church scene was quite different. I had the great blessing of attending Holy Comforter Episcopal Church in Miami ( a charismatic congregation). At that time (in the area I lived in) all the charismatics came out of denominational churches. Some were kicked out of theses churches and thus started the independent charismatic churches with pastors who had no training. I lived in many places in the US and in Germany and Italy. Had fellowship with all denominations, Baptists, Assembly of God, etc. It was great, but those that were charismatic were the ones that seemed to be more in Love with Jesus and committed. We had to leave the Episcopal church because they along with the other old Protestants belonged to the National Council of Churches and this organization supported Marxists who killed Christians in Africa. So the old denominations were not so into Jesus at all. The Charismatic renewal was awesome in the early days.

  • 5yearsinPDI

    just saying….

    I enjoyed Un’s history, but you make some good points. Even during the wonderful renewal days, and it really was a great time, Ezzo was still in place and babies were getting a zillion spankings and Deb Baker had been kicked out. Sex abuse cover ups had happened, and the renewal just increased our smug attitude that we alone had charismatic holy spirit doctrine and Calvinism too; we were the very best group of churches that there was. We were arrogant.

  • Roadwork

    This flyer is prior to the meetings held at Church of the Apostles.

    I’m feeling old…

  • 5yearsinPDI

    Marie- I read that book because we knew a PCA pastor who said it is the best book on PTSD available. He went to a Reformed Seminary and also got certified by CCEF and -gasp- promoted this secular book.

    I found some of her coping and helping methods at the end deficient because of the secularism, ie, there is no trust in a sovereign God to work it all for good, no hope of heaven, no need to be saved from our own sin, etc. But in all other respects it was excellent.

    Time Magazine (or was it Newsweek…I was at the dentist) recently featured some new research on PTSD about how one of the biggest underlying factors is not what happened to the person or what they had to watch (such as battlefield atrocities), but it is guilt. Victims carry so much guilt.

    I wonder how much guilt people who leave bad churches have. They are made to feel rebellious, unsubmissive, critical, complaining, ungrateful, and so forth. I even wonder how much people who post here, under their pain and indignation and discernment, still have some of that SGM guilt underneath. If we do, it contributes to the ongoing struggles. We must break through to Jesus who has taken all our true guilt and sin upon himself, and who can open our eyes to false guilt.

  • Roadwork

    Hi Marie.

    Back in 1981, we find this gem from the back of The Praise Band album entitled The Lord Reigns:

    Saturday is date night, a time for partying. So, a miracle must happen before a person even comes to Saturday Night Alive – and yet thousands have come, in search of a better way. That tentative commitment opens to us God’s grace in a special way that has often proven to be life changing. As The Praise Band leads us into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise, we find that worship changes us. Who can remain indifferent when we come face to face with the living God? This project has been a result of the ministry of Saturday Night Alive and the relationships among the brothers and sisters in leadership. It is our prayer that this album will ignite your heart to a closer walk with Jesus, and that His Spirit will draw you into worship with us.

    Renny Scott and Benny Phillips

    SNA was good stuff.

  • old timer

    just saying.#384….agree with you.

    that is what getting older does to you…..makes you realize that there is nothing new under the sun.

    It’s only new when it happens to you personally.

  • Marie

    One last thing on that trauma book. I love this quote, in the excerpt available at the amazon webpage, on page 7 of the book, which is actually the first page of the narrative:

    “To study psychological trauma is to come face to face both with human vulnerability in the natural world and with the capacity for evil in human nature. To study psychological trauma means bearing witness to horrible events. When the events are natural disasters or “acts of God”, those who bear witness sympathize readily with the victim. But when the traumatic events are of human design, those who bear witness are caught in the conflict between victim and perpetrator. It is morally impossible to remain neutral in the conflict. The bystander is forced to take sides.”

    In the acknowledgement section the author talks about her experiences in Boston with meeting trauma victims face to face, and going to seminars with fellow clinicians. This is a book I would NEVER had picked up while I was in PDI/SGM. Too real, first of all, but something developed by an outsider to the church? “Come on, those ungodly people have nothing to say” is what I was taught.

    I feel a great deal of that when I read this blog, that the trauma from the spiritual (and perhaps other forms of) abuse has resulted in people feeling a need to take sides.

    Also, sometimes language is tricky in terms of expressing personal experiences. It was my experiences, growing up in the 70’s, that the denominational churches just did not teach much of Biblical practical value. I can believe that someone DID experience that, I just did not see it in all of the many churches, including mine, of my peers. So I would be inclined to initially claim that “All denominational churches in the 70’s did not provide Biblical teachings as high quality as what C.J. and Larry offered.” But I can see that my personal experience does not encompass all of the churches, so I would be willing to retract the claim, after a few conversations with others who have had different experiences.

    Likewise, maybe once in a while Larry or C.J. made a negative comment towards outside churches, I just don’t remember that. Saying that they did that a great deal does not ring true for me. I think there was value to what they were doing in the 70’s, but I can see that both the leaders and the members of the movement were allowing seeds of arrogance to spring up.

  • Marie

    And JustSaying #384, I do agree with you that C.J. should not have been instantly promoted as high as he was. I was not there at the absolute beginning, so I don’t have personal experience with what he was like immediately after getting saved, and whatever discipleship work he did at the start. It does sound like he could use a refresher course, or maybe a real course, if his initial discipleship experience was not thorough enough in cleaning up his traumatic childhoold.

    People mention here and there that C.J. had a physically abusive Dad, I don’t remember who had pointed that out. Research is sporadically done on trauma, and the results certainly have not filtered into the church enough.

    This book is an amazing resource about trauma, especially how it repulses people, so they ignore it, and have trouble looking at its effects:

    Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence–from Domestic Abuse to Political Terror [Paperback]
    Judith Herman (Author)—Political/dp/0465087302/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1357928759&sr=8-1&keywords=judith+herman

    My heart goes out to anyone who is in a current SGM church, getting needed stability of some kind, but aware of a bigger picture that could be harmful in the future. I am so glad to be out now, but it was a painful departure, because I had depended on them so much emotionally.

  • Marie

    JustSaying #384, I appreciate where you are coming from, but I had a totally different experience with Saturday Night Alive (SNA), the northern VA version of TAG that came a bit later, that was connected to C.J. and Larry. I was in high school at the time, going to one of the denominational churches you mentioned.

    I won’t name the denomination, because I don’t want this to be about specific denominations, but I saw a big contrast between the practical every day teaching from SNA, and what my local church was teaching. My family fell apart at the time with my parents’ divorce, and SNA provided me with welcome stability. I don’t remember a great deal of judgement against other churches.

    Does anyone else remember it differently?

  • Diego

    Hey SG Churchees
    Check out some old time lyrics. Just sayin is right…Powerful movements of the Spirit and life in the Body of Christ prior to CJ. Lots going on elsewhere today!!!

    You’re missing a bunch by staying where you’re at.

    Conquerors through the Blood
    Verse 1
    Conquerors and overcomers now are we,
    Thro’ the precious blood of Christ we’ve victory
    If the Lord be for us we can never fail,
    Nothing ‘gainst His mighty power can e’er prevail.

    Conquerors are we, thr’o the blood of Jesus
    God will give us victory, thro’ the blood of Jesus
    Through the Lamb for sinners slain,
    Yet who lives and reigns again,
    More than conquerors are we,
    More than conquerors are we.

    Verse 2
    In the name of Israel’s God we’ll onward press,
    Overcoming sin and all unrighteousness;
    Not to us but unto Him the praise shall be,
    For salvation and for blood bought victory.

    Conquerors are we, thr’o the blood of Jesus
    God will give us victory, thro’ the blood of Jesus
    Through the Lamb for sinners slain,
    Yet who lives and reigns again,
    More than conquerors are we,
    More than conquerors are we.

    Verse 3
    Unto Him that overcometh shall be given,
    Here to eat of hidden manna sent from Heaven,
    Over yonder He the victors palm shall bear,
    And a robe of white, and golden crown shall wear.

    Conquerors are we, thr’o the blood of Jesus
    God will give us victory, thro’ the blood of Jesus
    Through the Lamb for sinners slain,
    Yet who lives and reigns again,
    More than conquerors are we,
    More than conquerors are we.

  • just saying...

    Unassimilated – That was an amazing recounting of history. However, I have noticed that people feel that SGM went bad at the point in history in which they personally had their disillusioning crisis with SGM. To you, it was Toronto and the gifts.

    I challenge you to look further back. I don’t know how to say this gently, but there is Kool Aid dripping from your chin. Perhaps I’m not reading this right.

    Your quote:
    “The Holy Spirit was present and did baptisms, healings and deliverances. There was excitement and tons of youthful energy. The centerpiece was the teaching, however, which was full of humor but focused on turning scriptural truth into real-life, everyday practice.CLC was started because Mahaney and Tomczak were being given truths by the Lord that are now taken for granted in much of US Christendom: emphases on belonging to and ministering through a local church of committed believers; small groups as the core unit of the church; family-oriented focus including practical teaching of the Christian roles of husband, wife and child; personal holiness and integrity among leaders and laity; discipleship and development of spiritual giftings, as pastors train the members to do the work of ministry, rather than doing everything themselves. The existing churches had no such vision, so a teaching fellowship turned into a church.”

    The existing churches had no such vision? Who told you that? C.J. and Larry?

    The error in this movement is rooted in the arrogant ignorance C.J. and Larry had of the vitality of the local church. Having rebelliously rejected the establishment as much of the hippie movement had, they were tragically unaware of God’s move throughout local churches. I think when C.J. became a Christian, in his narcissistic way, he felt he originated Christianity. He thought he was the new Paul.

    All they really had was a band and some drums.

    Much of the teaching at TAG centered around harshly rebuking established churches. Of course, this tantalized a generation of rebellious youth who all arrogantly and self-righteously rejected their local churches. It was divisive. Nothing else.

    You could either be the rebuked church member or you could join the stone throwing at TAG. We all wanted to be spiritually superior. We fed the narcissist because he made us feel spiritually better than everyone else. Better than our parents whom we largely rejected and neglected.

    It’s obvious from the responses My Husband’s Lady has received from her friends, that spiritual pride still reigns today. After decades of harsh rebukes against other churches, it’s very hard to find the faith to go to one.

    In actuality, the local church was not dying when C.J. and Larry came on the scene. Just because they didn’t know God before did not mean that nobody else knew Him either. It just means their hearts were dead – not the church at large.

    You don’t have to teach a bunch of Presbyterians how to have a happy marriage. They know how. They come from generations of happy families.

    You don’t have to teach them about parenting. They naturally cared for and nurtured their children the way their parents nurtured them.

    You don’t have to teach a bunch of Baptists to deploy their spiritual gifts for the benefit of the local church. You don’t have to teach them to meet in small groups to study the Bible. They do it every Sunday.

    You don’t have to tell a bunch of Assembly of God members that the gifts are for today.

    The church was alive and well when C.J.came on the scene. He was just too arrogant to see that.

    How many decades did it take us to discover the theological depth of the old hymns?

    The spiritual arrogance of the 70’s was where TAG got off track. When C.J. became a Christian, he should have settled into a healthy God-loving church and learned at their feet. Instead, he led an entire generation away from their local churches, indulging in every latest fad and “book du jour” because of his inability to study and interpret the Bible for himself.

    I challenge you my friend, Unassimilated, to wipe off your Kook Aid and look beyond the charismatic issue.

  • Muckraker, I have had people quote to me that CLC is changing as well. And the only response I’ve given when told that is that maybe the pastors are changing, and they are working toward a really good place, but the people aren’t. I was only at CLC for 4 years, and my husband was there for all of his life until we left back in August. People are still very stuck in the “I have the right to tell you about your sin. and if you tell me about mine, you’re just being prideful, and aren’t humble enough.” Not everyone, but a good majority still are stuck in that mindset.

  • Mr Stretch

    Character and accountability Hmmmmmmmmmmm what a novel idea.

  • Muckraker

    Stunned and My Husband’s Lady: That is one section of this blog post that spoke much to me also. I’m so glad you quoted that here. Why? A couple of reasons for starters:

    Every CLC current member that I run into parrots to me “CLC is changing” like it is a slogan or as if they have been “programmed” to believe that, and yet, this young woman has been dealing during the past 10 months, with what appears to me as the same ole shunning and judging from current CLC members that many of us have dealt with historically.

    Secondly, I want to remind all of us (me included!) that we need to be gentle and caring towards those in crisis, those questioning what they believe about doctrines and “church”, those who are dealing with the pain of spiritual abuses and other abuses from the past (and from the not so distant past)!

    Is CLC changing? I do hope so! But please see this young woman’s testimony, one who mostly grew up in CLC and has recently left, to be a clarion call that those in CLC need to change how they treat others in crisis or those who merely choose to change churches or those who are questioning and working through their beliefs!

  • Stunned

    Dear My Husband’s Lady,

    Good article! Thank you for posting it. I hope you don’t mind but I think the following is worth copying and posting here, as I think it is a good description of why I like coming to this blog:

    For 10 months, I have been heavily deconstructing, finding my voice, and learning what I stand for. A lot has been taken away from me, and like I have said before, I have lost a good number of people I thought were friends. …I have redefined many of my old “convictions” and have found a lot of relief in tossing off the legalism I was under. I have been given those looks of pity as people tell me they are praying for me, most likely telling themselves I am backsliding in my faith….I have been told that I need to dig into my bible MORE, and stay at the cross, and pray more. I have been told that it’s not wisdom to stop reading my bible, and I have been told that I shouldn’t say anything negative because that’s slander. … As much as I know that these people have come to me without malicious intent as far as I can tell, I have not found a lot of understanding, grace, or care for me. I have not found a lot of people who are willing to hear the difficult things I have to say without jumping on me for being bitter or angry. The number of people who have been understanding, listening without judging, caring for me without telling me I need to fix this or that, and who have let me be angry at what I should be angry at have been precious beyond gold to me.

  • lily

    My Husband’s Lady, I went to the link Muckraker supplied, thank you so much for that post! You have shown what faith in grace is and WHY Jesus died on the Cross for our sins: to redeem us to Himself, to give us His own righteousness, and the life, freedom, joy, peace and assurance which accompanies it! THIS is what glorifies Him and proclaims the real gospel. This is how He wants us to walk and grow until we are transformed into His image. This is when we love Him because we KNOW He loves us, this is when we sincerely love others.

  • Persona

    I doubt CJ et al will resurrect the name apostle due to all the flak they have gotten about it and because Big Dogs are not impressed with the term. But, that doesn’t mean CJ doesn’t still see a use for apostles with a big or a small “a”.

  • Brian

    I do not know if they still have apostles.

  • Thanks for the mention Muckraker #370!

    I think in regards to the original post above (I haven’t read through all of the comments) but I really appreciate this site. It’s a safe place, relatively so, for people who have been burned by SGM to share their pain and get understanding.

  • 5yearsinPDI

    Brain- I agree.

    I know some up close horror stories coming out of the New Apostolic Reformation, and the degree of infallibility ascribed to their apostle/prophets is horrifying.

    By the way, does SGM still have apostles? I thought for now they were regional leaders. Still walk like ducks and quack like ducks, but now we call them herons?

  • Brian

    Hello Jenn Grover,
    Thanks for the link to the interactive timeline. It was interesting to see how well known prophetic movement/third wave people were calling CJ Mahaney to turn from his ways. I was never a member of a Sovereign Grace church although I did check one out a couple times near where I live. Even then there was a red flag when I went. But in regards to Sovereign Grace becoming less charismatic/third wave that may be true but I still think they are charismatic. As to prophetic songs, I think they still do that. I remember seeing one of their more recent conferences where Bob K. sang a song for all the people at the conference and even in front of Reformed non charismatic speakers they invited. From what it sounds like it to me although they may not be overtly as charismatic as in the past Sovereign Grace is still charismatic. I even remember the time I checked out the Sovereign Grace church near me that people gave prophecies or words during sunday service time. Another reason I think Sovereign Grace is still charismatic is from what I have read from peoples experiences and the theology of Sovereign Grace. It comes down to the belief in apostles, however they may want to define it. Believing in apostles will do something to the culture of a church. People will treat them as if they are untouchable, unquestionable and whos spiritual ‘covering’ or approval or favor they need to have. This is how the people are describing the Sovereign Grace leadership from the comments and blogs I have read. Sure they may not call themselves the “apostolic team” anymore but in their minds, do the people who come out to church and do the pastors of churches believe that the leadership team are apostles? If you don’t gut that I don’t think things will change, combinded with whatever impartations are being passed around. From what I have read this kind of lording it over stuff is common in Pentecostal and charismatic circles. I have seen it myself in charismatic contexts. Is it only charismatics or third wavers who lord it over or are controlling, no. But there does seem to be something unique when you believe in present day apostles and combine that with impartations and whatever else is being passed around.

  • Never Again

    I also have a quibble with this statement back in #360: “The pastor is JUST the part of the body that brings the message.”

    I think part of the problem with SGM (and maybe much of the church) is that they think preaching is synonymous with pastoring. I am not convinced that is enough.I think that is how we end up with celebrity pastors because they can teach well (or entertain well or tug on people’s emotions, in some cases).

    True elders who have lived the life and walked the walk through trials and victories over time and who have the heart and character to minister not only the Word but also Christlike care to the members of the body — those are the real deal to me. The rest are wannabees.

    And wet-behind-the-ears novices fresh from a term at Pastors College are a set-up for disaster. Maybe they can preach (and how hard can it be when SGM only has one message?)but they are not elders in any meaningful sense.

  • Never Again

    I concur that Facebook can be a great means of ministry and long-distance fellowship. It is not an evil entity in itself.

    Back on topic though, I would like to refer back to comment #358 by Fruit Flavored. For a while, I had occasion to be around the offices of an SGM church quite a bit during the weekdays. It was rare that I saw all the pastors there, and then it was usually for a staff meeting of some kind. Over a long period of daily or near-daily experience, I don’t recall any the staff pastors there for a full working day. When they were there, they often rolled in late and headed out early.

    I would like to say that it was because they were visiting the sick and the troubled, but they left most of that, except for maybe the most severe or most highly favored, to the care groups. However, they could often be seen at Starbucks around town, having coffee with one of the select few or maybe over a new member intake interview. (How can you best serve the Church?) If you needed to reach them, they were usually at home.

    This was because every church service or prayer meeting or church function of any kind counted for them as working hours, so they considered that as filling most of their work quota. (Not that anyone was keeping track of hours on anybody, not even one another.)

    In a way, I do understand that they consider attending and managing or leading church meetings to be a big part of their job. However, it has always been a pet peeve of mine that those same meetings are attended by people who mostly work a good 40 – 60 hours a week plus commute time (and/or who raise and home school large families and manage their households which is also demanding). So, preparing and teaching Children’s Ministry or practicing and playing music or coming early and staying late for hospitality or sound ministry, etc., is a volunteer free time ministry for a high-powered businessperson or stay-at-home mother of eight, but guarding the ‘prophecy mic’ is working hours to one of the pastors.

  • Concerned for the kids

    Doug #365,

    Were you referring to mars hill of Mark Driscoll (who is about as narcissistic as CJ and about as mentally healthy and biblically odd, with a dose of hyper sexual obsession tossed in) or the mars hill of Rob Bell (who is strongly emergent and lost any semblance of biblical doctrine many exits back)?

    If either of those, i’d suggest they aren’t really the model for anyone to follow. Be careful and discerning – it’s getting pretty deep out there. SGM is only one example.

  • Muckraker

    A very insightful blogpost by a young woman formerly from CLC:

  • Stunned

    Ellie, amen. Somewhereintime, may I suggest that if that is all you saw on fb, maybe all your fb friends were…. not the greatest people? Fb is a communication tool, like a book or a TV or a written letter. What you get out of it is what it put into it. I’d say the behavior you described was that of rather immature people. There are lots of people who use fb to keep in touch with friends who live in other parts of the world and who don’t feel the need to trumpet their latest accomplishment. There are others who post hilarious, though a little self demeaning things. No bragging, just friends keeping in touch across the miles and through the years.

    I, for one, am grateful to be able to see the children of old, long lost roommates or to see wedding photos of weddings I could never make it to.

    Like any other tool, it all depends in how it’s used.

  • Ellie

    As in everything, FB is all in how you use it. I stay in touch with family, I find old friends that I haven’t seen for years, do genealogy work, learn about scientific things, hear about current events, etc etc. If your going to get into an adulterous relationship, not spend time with God, worship yourself, & struggle with pride, envy, lust, and wrath, you aren’t going to need FB as an excuse to do it. @@

  • Jenn Grover

    Above should be lack of transparency (not lack of control) Long day :)

  • Jenn Grover

    Brian, others have thought the same thing but I disagree. It is the textbook reformed response. The ultimate problems boil down to character and accountability. SGM has essentially put off the charismatic and third wave views and adopted reformed views and the tyranny and lack of control have only become more intense. I bet you would have a hard time getting CJ to discuss his personal views and practices concerning speaking in tongues or he and Bob’s prophetic tag team word/song combo that was so big in the 90’s. It’s all about being reformed and Baptist these days. I think most of the current problems are tied to wanting to impress the pals in the reformed movement. At least when SGM was charismatic there was fruit. The more reformed it became, the less fruit was evident.

  • Doug

    Hey on Mars (Hill) they have “The City”…, here it’s catching on in SG churches as well. Christian Church facebook. New type of christian community. Don’t even have to do small groups ;).

  • Somewhereintime


    You may be correct, but I’ve been around long enough to begin to understand how human’s are wired from a biblical perspective and we (humans) all tend to go back to our evil roots without the intervention of the Holy Spirit and our choosing to follow those leadings.

    Don’t look now, but the church in the United States is a complete mess. Our churched youth (as a whole) RARELY read, let alone read the Bible on a daily basis. Scripture memorization is a thing of the past.

    73% of Americans call themselves “christians”. At best, we can consider 20% of all Americans are “saved”. Now .. I’ll take a HUGE leap and say that 10% of that 1/5th read their bible on a daily basis and are engaged with the Holy Spirit on a daily basis. Not many true?

    So now put Facebook in front of that population of believers and let’s truly think about how it is going to effect them. My outlandish guess is that Facebook IS going to be a detriment to the general christian population and that the vast majority of them will greatly struggle with pride, envy, lust and wrath.

    I saw it for the five years that I was on Facebook and was friends with well over 100 of the kids and young youth in our church. It’s a struggle.

    Also … I was once told that Facebook is also known as “Divorcebook” with many adulturous relationships coming out of being “friends”.

  • Brian

    As I’ve read through some of the problems with Sovereign Grace Ministries it seems to me that the problems are bigger than Sovereign Grace Ministries. I think it’s a charismatic/third wave problem. Because I have seen the lording it over, the treating the leaders as they are some specially annointed person who can’t be questioned kind of stuff in other charismatic/third wave churches as well. I think another problem may be the theology of present day apostles also may be a problem.

  • Persona

    Somewhereintime 361

    I agree with you that FB and other social networks tend to be used as bragging boards resulting in the subtle encouragement toward envy. It seems to be used a lot as self-promotion as well. I block the worst offenders. But we need to remember FB was created as a novel way to flirt or find a mate.

    My point is, there are ways to curb the problem w/o removing yourself altogether from FB. And, it may be a maturity issue. In the future, people may use FB in more useful ways.

  • Somewhereintime

    Another Joe #353

    You nailed it! Facebook IS a form of self-worship. I have always called it “Brag Book”.

    If you notice how it is used, it’s all “LOOK AT ME!!!!” . Look at this WONDERFUL photo of me (don’t I look great?), look at this incredible meal that I made my family (aren’t I wonderful?). My children just got accepted to fancydancy college (I must have been an incredible parent!). Bobby just got a great job at Fortune 500 company (my family is great! Your’s sucks!).

    Unfortunate, but true. Wean yourself off of the nipple of self workshop and get off of facebook. Your soul will kick and scream because it will miss being glorified. Besides, it’s all a big waste of time.

    Enjoy life, get off of Facebook and live it for real! Jesus has a great plan for you once you get over yourself!

  • Somewhereintime

    Many Christians become confused in understanding the role of a pastor. In 1 Cor. & Romans the Bible clearly teaches that the body has many parts and each of those are responsible for A function in the body. The pastor is JUST the part of the body that brings the message. The rest of the body IS AS IMPORTANT as the pastor. However, in support of our idols of wanting someone to tell us what we should do, and to have some tangible item or person to hand on to, we have given the pastor an EXTRA-BIBLICAL role of being in charge and almost an idea of being an “all knowing” leader.

    WE ARE AT FAULT! A should never be “worshipped” as HEAD of the body. He IS NOT the head of the body. Jesus is the head of the body! He is just an important part of the body JUST AS the pinky toe is an important part of the body!

    SGM is full of “pastor worship”. It is sickening! I saw it all of the time. Pastors are put in the place of Christ to the point in which “crowds would part” when the pastor walked by.

    Let me encourage you … STOP WORSHIPPING YOUR PASTOR! Worship Jesus instead. Only HE is able to meet that need that is born in your soul. Pastors, drugs, sex, porn, alcohol, children, marriage, work … they will NEVER fill that hole and will ALWAYS leave you wanting for more.

    Only Jesus satifies. Once you realize that the “hurt” of SGM becomes clear. It’s not their fault. It’s YOUR FAULT for believing the lie.

  • MAK

    Rick / Fruit…I do agree with you and time will tell how the CLC leadership changes. The lines of communication are opening and the Pastors welcome questions but why should one have to wonder, right? Things should change once the new board of elders have been put in place and the new constitution ratified. But in normal CLC fashion, this is VERY slow going. It’s amazing with 18 pastors that things can’t move faster (hence part of the problem…to much discussion to get concensus with 18 men). Until a new board of elders is in place, in essence, nothing has changed with CLC’s structure.

  • Fruit Flavored

    MAK #355,

    You are right that it is conjecture to guess why Josh has invited a number of guest speakers. I do agree with Rick in #356 that the questions arise because of a history of a lack of transparency.

    Many years ago before I was a member of an SGM church I served as a church secretary for a mainstream denominational church in my hometown. The previous secretary had left the position but remained a member of the church. After leaving the position, she often questioned other members and church leaders about the expected duties and hours of the pastor. I knew she had questions, but gained a new prospective working in the office. The pastor was rarely in the office. He didn’t think it was necessary to call to explain what he was doing or where he was. Much of the time most folks thought he was ministering, he was actually engaged in family activities. He had absolutely no accountability. The lay leaders of the church never questioned him about his weekly schedule or ministry activities. I was in a bind because I knew the man we loved and supported was not being faithful to the position he was entrusted.

    There is a lot more to the story; however, my point is that if CLC is changing, I hope that pastors have an accountability structure outside of each other. I hope that these men are not given so much freedom and trust that they are tempted to abuse their position. I don’t feel that every time there is a guest speaker that it is necessary for an announcement to be made as to why the speaker has been asked or why Josh is not teaching. However; I do think that if a member has a question about why the speaker was called that he/she should be able to privately ask his/her pastor without fear of a back lash about trusting leadership. To me, this would demonstrate positive change.

  • Moniker

    Rick (356) – I agree. If there’s anything the SGM debacle has taught me, it’s to be extremely cautious – no, make that skeptical – in regard to anything anyone in any position of “leadership” in the institutional “church” world says or does. The wolves are everywhere.

  • Rick

    MAK, unfortunately, CLC Leadership’s lack of transparency and candor through the years has earned them a (healthy, I think) dose of skeptical conjecture for just about anything they do.

  • MAK

    Muckraker #343

    Regarding the current list of upcoming speakers at CLC, all of the bantering is really conjecture. Because of the past 18 months we automatically think there is an ulterior motive. I’m not sure there is one. Jesse Jarvis mentioned that either his parents or in-laws just moved to northern va and was visiting them. Eric Simmons was a former pastor at CLC and lives just across the river, CLC is investing funds into the new San Diego church plant. There are many reasons why guest speakers come to CLC. The reasons may not always be bad. When folks like Jerry Bridges and Wayne Grudem would come to speak at the pastors college, they would generally speak at CLC on a Sunday morning just because they were there. Does this lack the Holy Spirit’s guidance? I’m sure when Josh saw that he was going to take a break from speaking for a couple of weeks, the pastoral team prayed about who to invite. I don’t think I need to continually have to ask “why is this guest speaker here”. All of the messages by these guest speakers so far have been outstanding and provoking.

  • Lover of CLC

    One correction to Unassimilated #350. At the end of the SGM history, Larry Tomczak is no longer in Atlanta. His son Jason leads what is now called The Church at Acworth. Larry and his wife moved to Nashville a few years ago. If I remember right I think he went there to train church planters. I did enjoy reading the history. It makes me sad to remember how arrogant I was anytime some one left CLC for a non-PDI, non-SGM church. In fact I had to contact someone recently explaining that to them as they left the Athens church to go somewhere else in Georgia. But we learn as we go through life and hopefully won’t be fooled again.

  • Another Joe

    @Rick Malament

    Thank you for your post on 333. The author is so right on about the way people are celebrities in their own minds.

    I honestly never thought about until i was reading the article.

    I’m not that bad when it comes to using social media but i do recognize that i do the same thing.

    It left me wondering am i using a form of self worship everytime i tweet something?

    Do i consider myself so special that when i post a great photo on facebook and nobody likes it that i get upset.

    If i am a grown man and feel that way what do these kids feel like when they get deleted off 20 peoples friends list at once.

  • Todd Wilhelm

    #347 -Does anyone know how much the SGM Polity Proposal aligns with that of the Dever/Mohler Bapatist Polity?

    I attend a Dever knock-off church in Dubai and it is independent and congregational in its polity. Nothing like the SGM proposal.

  • Jenn Grover

    Brian #349: Here is an interactive timeline that outlines everything: