Amended Complaint Filed Today In Lawsuit Against SGM Churches

I don’t have a copy of the filing yet, but once I do, I’ll post it.  From what sources say, what has been added to the complaint is “shocking.”

60 comments

  1. Unassimilated says:

    Previous thread closed, I will just put this here…

    just saying…

    That was not my history, but a history that I saved from a founding/early member who posted on a pre-SGM survivors blog. I had prepared a subsequent post pointing this out, but as the first went into moderation, then the site was going wonky, I elected to go to bed.

    Kinda wish I had been a bit more patient with the second clarifying post now.

    That history, and a very similar one are part of what started this blog, http://www.sgmsurvivors.com/2007/11/22/heres-the-comment/

    That tale was found back in the day where anything SGM related, that was not sanctioned by SGM, would mysteriously disappear from the internet. It was like Nixon’s ‘plumbers’ had found a new home in the media department of SGM.

    I had originally saved it as I thought it was a good perspective from said founding/early member. It’s not the only perspective, and the views and countenance contained therein do not necessarily reflect my personal opinions.

    I believe that to fully understand any point of history, one must take into consideration, multiple perspectives, accounts, and experiences. If there is biased opinion, perspective and emotion in someones account, typically that is the result of the emotional impact of said event or group coming through, a glimpse of an altering of someones humanity and spirit if you will.

    Personally, I do not believe that the key PDI and now SGM leaders ever were or currently are promoting anything but their own delusions and greed. Furthermore, I believe that ANY good that came from the ministry was a testimony to God’s faithfulness, (in spite of their man centered practice, in spite of their hero worship, in spite of their self serving gospel, in spite of their lies, and deceptions, in spite of their intentional double standards.); that all things work together for good to those who love God.

    For the record, even in the Charismatic 70’s when everyone would dance with tambourines and bongos, when one could dance without fear of judgement as we had dancers on the stage, I would sit like a lump. I never felt led to dance, rarely lifted my arms, and honestly though it was just plain silly. The ‘Do it first, and the heart will follow’ attitude of the day did not work with me either. In other words, I never felt led to act contrary to my heart for the sake of the approval of those around me. The fact that most participated more because it was the thing to do, rather than for the reasons one should have to do such things made it all seem a bit counterfeit. I am not saying there was not some authentic ‘Giving it up to God’ reckless abandon. Just not as much, nor as genuine as it would appear.

    It’s Just one man’s story, but not this old man’s story. Sorry to say that I am truly not the droid you are looking for. :)

    BTW, it was fla-vor-aide, not kool-aid that was used by the Reverend Jim Jones. I care for neither.

  2. just saying... says:

    Unassimilated, my friend, and I’m sure you are one of mine, that explains a lot. The article seemed inconsistent with with your previous perspectives.

  3. Jenn Grover says:

    You can say what you will about the charismatics, but I have yet to see anyone make a truly biblical argument for cessation. TO Brian’s point, about SGM still being charismatic. They were apostles until a few years ago when it was no longer politically correct to be apostles in a reformed world. They quietly changed the name to leadership team. Now they want to hold on that idea with a board of yes men. Brian, I would agree that these men seem to still view themselves as apostles, the problem is that even if they were once qualified for such a role, the no longer are so.

    The downfall of apostolic leadership was not in the structure as much as it was in the character and selfish ambition that kept them from admitting faults, confessing and repenting of sin. I do not believe that selfish ambition nor character issues know any denominational boundaries. There was an accountability structure in place. CJ blew off the accountability and the men responsible for holding him accountable wore out and let him have his own way, except for Brent.

    On another note: how sad to see that there is more evidence coming to light. Yet, I cannot say I am surprised.

  4. just saying... says:

    Regarding the latest post. I wish at some point we reached the end of it all. I wish I didn’t have to check here every night before I went to bed to see if it has gotten worse.

    Please God. Let there be no more victims. May we be all there are.

  5. Unassimilated says:

    just saying… – No worries, apologies for the confusion.

    Jenn – “The downfall of apostolic leadership was not in the structure as much as it was in the character and selfish ambition that kept them from admitting faults.”

    I think the structure was paramount in the later abuses. There was no meaningful voice or vote from day one of CJ’s reign. In Dave Harvey’s perspectives on polity, Harvey pointed out that certain protections were sidelined for a more rapid growth model. The caveat was Harvey referred to them as, “Perceived protections.” If we go further back, the fact that no one, absolutely no one was able to stop CJ when it came to Larry’s blackmail speaks volumes. There were many witnesses, yet there was no mechanism to remove him. There was an appearance of an accountability system in place, yet that was simply a culture of confession, and up top its true purpose was a means of control through the amassing of personal information. Information that may be used against you at a future date. Do you recall the membership agreements that stated that a SGM pastor could reveal something you confessed, to anyone, if he felt that it would protect the church, others, or be helpful to you? We had them at CLC.* These men were not worn out, they were scared, they were fenced in, some were drunk with perceived holiness and authority, and I am sure that they felt worn out. But didn’t we all to a certain degree?

    Every single human has character flaws and weaknesses, otherwise we would not need a savior. SGM ‘accountability’ and structure was what provided the opportunity and means for these flaws to go unchecked for way too long.

    * I have to say the fact that thousands agreed, in writing, to let the SGM Pastors divulge personal information/sin confessions as they saw fit makes what happened to those in the current lawsuit so much more disgusting. It had been the practice of SGM/PDI for years to say what they wanted about someone, the sanctity of an SGM confession was always at the discretion of the Pastor. The contracts/agreements came only after another ministry was sued over their similar policy of ‘loving pursuit.’ That is why the SGM agreements also had the I wont sue the church clause.

  6. Unassimilated says:

    Jenn, in regard to cessation, who am I to define God? Or to understand him beyond what he has revealed to me? I am thankful that he gave us all enough intelligence to recognize his existence and our need for him. I am thankful to be able to ponder his power and majesty, and thankful to appreciate his love as well as the sacrifice and completed life and work of Jesus. A sovereign God will do as he pleases, according to his word, plan, and purpose. Whether I am for or against the notion of cessation makes no difference to my heavenly father. (However faithlessness can affect how my life unfolds). Personally I shy away from saying things like, God can’t, God won’t, and God doesn’t ____ anymore.

  7. Deuteronomy 32:35 says:

    to Unassimilated 5: “Furthermore, I believe that ANY good that came from the ministry was a testimony to God’s faithfulness, (in spite of their man centered practice, in spite of their hero worship, in spite of their self serving gospel, in spite of their lies, and deceptions, in spite of their intentional double standards.); that all things work together for good to those who love God.”

    Interesting thought…I had the exact same exchange via text with another former SGM’er this past week. That being that the leaders in SGM (and many other current churches or movements of today and in the past) have made this same fatal error. Instead of viewing God’s work towards and in His people as a display of HIS mercy, kindness, and faithfulness they taake it as an endorsement of all THEY do…they simply forgot who it was all about…

    During the early 80’s, in another non-SGM church, we were treated to a sermon from a man who had been deeply involved with the Charismatic Renewal in the 60’s and 70’s. He related a story about how men being used by God in signs and wonders in evening meetings had had adulterous liasons in the very same auditorium that afternoon before the evening service. Since the miraculous healings continued, these men took that as an endorsement of their lifestyle. We all know where that ends…the same way it has here…a cult of personality is created…the congregations love/loyalty is very subtley moved from God primarily and men secondarily to Men primarily and God secondarily…loyalty to them becomes the pre-eminent value…not love to God…and they are granted absolute power…it has been repeated in all institutions over and over and over again…anything goes when this is where men go…I have been expecting another very large shoe to drop at SGM as a result…but God is greater than all our failures…and Christ is still building HIS church…and the gates of hell will not prevail agaainst it…

    Amen Jenn Grover…here here!!!…no evidence in the Bible WHATSOEVER for cessationism…a big part of the underlying problems in the contemporary church world…we are arrogant enough to think we can tell God what He will or won’t do and how…heard an old Presbyterian minister say so this week…Steve Brown…

  8. Marie says:

    Roadwork #390, from the Departures thread, thank you for posting that encouraging info about Saturday Night Alive. That was a very powerful experience for me, and I was sorry to see it end.

    And 5yearsinPDI, #391, thank you for the mention
    of the endorsement of that book on trauma by a PCA pastor. I agree that the book does not offer much in solutions, because of its secular outlook. It really, really disappointed me, when I wanted more info on this topic, that I had to resort to a secular book.

    SGM would go a long way to follow in the footsteps of Penn State, to start having a conference on child sexual abuse prevention, here is one link about it:

    http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/2847115-74/abuse-state-child-penn-sexual-address-coach-conference-keynote-leonard#axzz2HmQMF2YX

    “500 conferees gather in State College on Monday for a two-day seminar featuring abuse survivors Elizabeth Smart and Sugar Ray Leonard as keynote speakers.”

    Just wanted to insert these ideas before the amended info gets posted. SGM should just forget these tired old youth conferences, and do something substantial about child sexual abuse prevention…..The fact that so many good resources on this issue are of a secular nature, to me, points a finger of judgement against top national Christian leaders. Are there conferences of a national nature, led by Big Dogs, at a seminary, for example? I remember that Biblical Seminary in Hatfield, PA, led a seminar last July at a church in Harleysville, PA. Maybe someone here attended it.

    If there are more allegations of a shocking nature, then SGM folks would do well to get on their knees, and partner with, or learn from, those who are on the forefront of research and teaching on sexual abuse prevention.

  9. 5yearsinPDI says:

    I was saddened and shocked at how the RBD’s have responded to the disclosed e-mails and all the revelations.

    welcome conamor from the end of the last thread.

    Yes, I think many of us here share your feelings. I believe what is happening with SGM goes far beyond SGM. Not knowing the hearts of men, we do not know who has been nievely trusting and conned by a slick presentation, and who is joined at the proverbial hip. I think I am still believeing the best of Piper and Alcorn and others. I still admire DA Carson. I know I have moved to outright cynicism and disgust about Dever, Mohler, and others. I could be right on both counts, or wrong. I only know that this debacle has tainted the entire Gospel Coalition for me, and preachers who I once esteemed like Ligon Duncan, Sinclair Ferguson, and to some extent Trueman. Knowing that Sande tried his best and CJ was hardened (I know this from private sources) I still think the best of him, but am sad to see Peacemakers and CCEF often get so criticized due to SGM. Maybe that is valid and I am nieve and gullible myself. I just don’t know anymore. Why no word of sympathy from Grudem for the victims? Why?

    All that to say, whatever God is doing is so much bigger than SGM. This is a pivital moment for the Reformed and Reformed Charismatic community, nationally and internationally. Last I looked CJ was still on the GC conference list, Josh Harris was removed. What does that say?

    Will they speak up about children and sex abuse? Will this trial matter? Or, is the AoR report the final word and SGM gets a pass? Will the three man panel admit they were too hasty in exonerating CJ? Will they admit that when you consult lawyers and discuss feedback about blackmail for weeks, it is more than a hasty outburst in a momentary feeling of human hurt?

    Piper has been soooooooo influential in introducing a whole generation to the great doctrines of grace. What a teacher. What a preacher. When he talks of the greatness of a sovereign God, well, it is a worship experience to listen to him. Will he end like Solomon to some degree, from wisdom to idols? What is going on??? What what what??? I don’t understand but the Lord is doing something, and I think the days of men on pedestals has to end.

  10. Two Feet Out says:

    @My Husband’s Lady, previous thread, comment #383. I would really like to talk w/ you. We left CLC in Nov. ’11, and are doing much better. I read some of your blog, and if you are willing, I would love to talk to you further. I’m a complete tech-dinosaur, so I couldn’t figure out how to contact you from your blog. Could you send me a note? wahlpaper at gmail dot com. We live on MoCo.

  11. Jenn Grover says:

    Unassimilated, I guess my point was that the abuses that happened could have happened with a Presbyterian form of government of congregational model, it was not unique to apostolic leadership. Look at how people fawn over the denominational reformed big dogs. When a man becomes central, people will be motivated by selfish ambition to please that man.

  12. 5yearsinPDI says:

    I would guess this is going to turn out to be one gigantic class action lawsuit. Not just kids but wives as well. They could have apologized and made restitution when the blog stories broke the past few years and possibly avoided all this, but they refused.

    Brent Detwiler reports he, too, has had people contact him since he first reported the story:

    I can vouch for this myself. Since last Wednesday when the story broke, I’ve been contacted by women whose children were sexually abused or they were physically abused by their husbands. They don’t know who to turn to for help. In their cases, the pastors did nothing to prosecute the abusers. These women experienced the same kind treatment by their pastors as alleged in the lawsuit.

    I fear there are many cases of spousal abuse in Sovereign Grace Churches that have been terribly mishandled by SGM pastors. This too must be investigated. I want to encourage any woman who has been battered to get help. If your pastor did more to protect your abuser than you, or counseled you against contacting the police, or confronted you for being unforgiving, or told you not to separate, then please speak up. Such abusive pastoring must stop. I am glad to help you, confront your pastors for you, and put you in touch with people who can uphold you. ……

    ( separate entry):

    …..10/17/2012 6:35 PM PDT
    I would love to know who to contact regarding abuse in SGM ministries. I was a member there for over 20 years and just recently left. The counsel from the pastors I received after going to them for help was criminal. I was involved in Spousal abuse and they questioned me on whether I had forgiven my spouse or not. They questioned me and never called authorities. They told me I could not call the police. No counseling was offered to us and no one questioned him. I went to them numerous times.

    http://thereformedtraveler.com/tag/gothard-submission-teachings/feed/

  13. NotEvenAGlimmerOfHope says:

    Looks like the churches in San Diego and in Miami have been removed from the SGM official list of churches.

  14. Nickname says:

    I read the link posted by Unassimilated: http://www.sgmsurvivors.com/2007/11/22/heres-the-comment/, which I had never seen. Very well written, and as far as I know, the facts are well-covered. I remember many of the events/processes described, though I was not in CLC, but a hundred miles or so removed.

    When I tried to click on comments, nothing happened — so, Kris, it is not possible to see comments that far back anymore? How far back does comment access go? I wanted to check for the first time I commented, under a different name that someone else has recently used — no problem, but I would like to find the date I first found the blogs. Not really a big deal if it’s not possible to see the comments — but there were many gems! I stumbled onto the scene not long before the 2nd anniversary of Survivors, sometime in summer/fall 2009.

    After nearly 4 years of visiting / learning / healing with fellow survivors, it’s almost like another college education. (Can we purchase an online diploma??) So many subjects covered – so many different perspectives — yet One Father, Son, & Holy Spirit. I am thankful that the Way, the Truth, and the Life is still in the business of setting captives free. Refuge, Survivors, TWW, Brent, others & now the lawsuit — waystations providing nourishment and a place to start healing for such a time as this.

    Thank you.

  15. Foot says:

    Did God get the glory over pharoah? Was it a set-up? And, was there not a false apostle (ji) who was hung out to dry for all to see? (Luke 22:48, Acts 1:18-20) Will God take care of this cj/sgm situation? Yep! His way, His time…stay tuned.

  16. Oswald says:

    5years #9 — Amen and amen. Thanks for articulating so well the things I can say ‘amen’ to.

  17. Unassimilated says:

    @ Dueteronomy 32:35 – “Instead of viewing God’s work towards and in His people as a display of HIS mercy, kindness, and faithfulness they take it as an endorsement of all THEY do.”

    I could not agree with this more.

    @ Jenn, I missed that point, apologies. I would agree that no church model seems immune from abuse. Yet in SGM, I think we have a different animal. From the beginning CJ and Larry had to build their own church as they were not willing to submit themselves to anyone, nor did they feel the need to go to Seminary. Their discipleship with Pastor Kline ended with his recommendation for them to attend seminary. It’s sad that we used to see that as a positive distinctive rather than a red flag, and it also sad how nowadays CJ likes to cling to the coattails of those that have been to or run a Seminary.

    Seems CJ always wants the credit & prestige for things he has not really done.

    It has always been odd for me that this RBD culture talks of transparency and yet seems to thrive on celebrity.

  18. Claude says:

    SGM Fairfax will vote soon to seperate from SGM, is that vote tomorrow?

  19. MAK says:

    Claude, Fairfax has a church family meeting scheduled for tomorrow afternoon.

  20. 28 years gone... says:

    It is always interesting to go back and see how SGM says one thing and reality lays 180 degrees in the other direction. Today’s case in point,
    Q: Why did SGM move to Louisville?
    A: To provide a less expensive place for candidates to be brainwashed, er, indoctrinated, mmmm, no, be taught the SGM way of building churches.

    So, introducing the class of 2013. Will this move, disrupting churches, causing tens of thousands of paying customers to leave SGM be worth it? The new class has 9 guys. 9. NINE. The move that cost the relationship of church after church has netted SGM’s pastor’s collage 9 attendees. Now, there are 8 guest instructors plus the usual SGM folks, CJ, Bob K, Jeff P and a few of the other guys might help as well. Seems like a lot of work for nine guys so how does that stack up to last year’s class. That must have been a tough year with the disclosures and all. http://www.sovereigngraceministries.org/blogs/sgm/post/Meet-the-Pastors-College-Class-of-2013.aspx

    The class of 2012? 23. That’s a whopping 61% DECRESE from last year. http://www.sovereigngraceministries.org/blogs/sgm/post/Pastors-College-Class-of-2012-graduation-slideshow-and-returning-destinations.aspx

    To be fair, they have had to focus on other urgent events, the exodus of 13+ churches, the sexual abuse law suit, CLC’s exodus, moving houses, displacing families, buying wonderful gear for the new church, Setting up the Louisville church with events and printed materials and then moving the new church to a smaller venue, outside speaking engagements, planning a conference that they didn’t have the time or energy to put on, and especially the recommended polity changes…

    What will C.J. and SGM’s legacy be? They have been working on one version for years. The truth is also 180 degrees in the other direction.

    A final note: On the Pastor’s college web page on http://www.sovgracemin.org site the number of attendees range between 15-25:
    The Pastors College is led by Jeff Purswell, a member of our leadership team. Students (usually 15-25 per year) take a series of non-accredited, week-long classes on the Old and New Testaments, hermeneutics, systematic and biblical theology, pastoral ministry, homiletics, church history, counseling, and much more. They also take the equivalent of two semesters of biblical Greek.

    I wonder who will be teaching the class on what to do with sexual and spouse abuse?

  21. delta dagger says:

    Hey 28 years,

    Your right about the size of PC but PC is running two classes this year. One started in December and will run till August and the next class starts in September.

  22. Whirlwind says:

    @NotEven #13 – I expected the San Diego church might withdraw. They had a polity document for their church dating back several years that encouraged lay elders to assist in leading the church. I didn’t see how many of the views expressed in it could possibly be compatible with SGM’s new polity. It seemed very similar to the direction CLC appears to be taking.

    Interestingly, the California graphic on the SGM site still shows 5 dots for SGM churches, but only two churches are listed. Similarly, Florida shows 12 dots, but only 9 churches are listed. Here’s what I see as the full summary:

    CA 5 -> 2 (-3) San Diego, San Francisco, ??
    FL 12-> 9 (-3) Miami, Daytona, ??
    MD 6 -> 5 (-1) CLC
    VA 8 -> 6 (-2) Charlottesville, Redeemer(?)
    WA 2 -> 1 (-1) ??

    Texas does have only 5 dots, but lists 6 churches.

    That would appear to be 10 churches gone from the SGM directory (and presumably SGM entirely – though there’s some question about the actual status of Redeemer).

    Over/under guesses, anyone? How many days will it now take SGM to update the map graphics for their directory pages?

  23. Whirlwind says:

    Rewriting history? From the polity document:

    Fifth, ecclesiastical unity is part of our own shared history. For over 30 years, SG churches have flourished as a result of their ecclesiastical unity. We moved in unity through the various winds and waves that were so prevalent in the 70s and 80s, particularly in charismatic churches. We have embraced as an ecclesiastical body the shared values that are, in part, what define us and give us doctrinal distinctives as SG churches.

    I read that earlier today and thought, “They moved in unity through the various winds and waves in charismatic churches (must be alluding to Eph. 4) and embraced their current doctrinal distinctives?” Uh, but what happened to unity with Larry? or Che? or any of the other pastors who leaned more Charismatic than Reformed? Okay, I get it – “we” means “those of us who were able to maneuver themselves into positions of control over PDI/SGM and not communicate our doctrinal shifts”. They have a long history of unity. Well, with the exception of Brent.

    What this should say is something more like this:

    Fifth, ecclesiastical unity is part of our own shared revisionist history. For over 30 years, SG churches that have been willing to agree with CJ have flourished as a result of their ecclesiastical unity submission. We moved in feigned unity through the various winds and waves that were so prevalent in the 70s and 80s, particularly in charismatic churches. We have periodically revised our doctrine, but always slowly (and often secretly) to maintain this appearance of unity. When our unity has been threatened, we’ve managed to part ways with our own leaders and convince everyone we were still united as a family of churches. (I know – even we are amazed that we pulled this off for so long.) We have embraced are now going to attempt to enforce as an ecclesiastical body the shared values of the Leadership Team that are, in part, what define us and give us doctrinal distinctives as SG churches.

  24. Argus says:

    Whirlwind #22 – Two churches in San Diego. There is a new and now newly-departed church in the East County which was intended to be SGM, announced back on the SGM blog in 2011 shortly after all this starting breaking. Planted out of the other San Diego church but pastored by Tab Trainor, formerly of Oswego, Illinois, SGM church.

    Also, in FL another one that left is from St. Petersburg area, Gulf Coast Community pastored by Jerry Cisar.

  25. Steve Brown says:

    As expected Fairfax votes to leave. Don’t know the numbers.

  26. Jenn Grover says:

    Whirlwind – here is the total I have of confirmed departures. Many have posted that Arlington has just asked to be removed from the website and I have been told that it is in fact gone from SGM. San Francisco is also definitely gone. The Washington church that has been cited closed its doors, unrelated to the crisis.

    VA: Charlottesville (Berault), Arlington (Simmons), Fairfax (Mullery) (3)
    FL: Daytona Beach (Jarvis), St. Pete (Cisar), Sarasota (Nguyen), Miami (Prado) (4)
    CA: Pleasonton (Shin), San Francisco (Kurth), San Diego (Lauterbach) (3)
    Canada: Surrey, BC(Pat Sczebel) (1)
    MD: CLC (Harris)(1)

    That totals 12 who have left. As far as we know there is still 1 pending: Virginia Beach.

    Are there any other churches currently discussing leaving SGM? In Maryland we know Solid Rock and Joppa are not going anywhere but what about Frederick, the Spanish speaking church in Gaithersburg, or other churches? In PA, DE, NY, and MA, I doubt any churches will leave but there will be members who leave their churches. IN OH, I don’t rule out Cleveland leaving, but I will believe it when I see it. Akron and Dayton are not going anywhere. I do not see the churches in TN, NC, or SC anywhere, either. By the way, what ever happened to Jim Britt? Wasn’t he going to plant a church in Florida – did that happen? We have heard nothing from Kansas, Texas, Colorado, Minnesota, or Arizona. I think Illinois could possible leave. I also think Lakeview in New Orleans is a possibility as well as other churches in FL. – I have nothing specific on any of these, just general take on possibilities.

    We will see. Perhaps an expanded lawsuit is another hammer in the deconstruction of SGM. It is striking considering none of this had to happen. The problems are of the SGM leadership’s choosing.

  27. Argus says:

    Texas has Craig Cabaniss overseeing, and he is well-respected and trusted, so if he stays (which he has)so will most if not all of the others in his region.

    We may have seen most of the fall-out already unless this lawsuit brings forth new revelations or Mahaney and other leaders engage in new alarming behavior.

    Well, strike that second thought. I don’t know how much worse the SGM behavior would have to get before the hardcores leave. The faithful will find a way to ignore or explain it all.

    I’m interested in hearing more about the Fairfax vote, though, if anyone has updates.

  28. Persona says:

    Jenn Grover 26

    The pastor of the Hispanic church that meets at CLC, is featured in a promotional video posted on the SGM blog so, it seems to me that they are happy to relate to SGM, at present.

    I believe Josh also stated that they are sticking with SGM and welcome to continue using the facility.

    But, I had a random thought that the Hispanic church might eventually take part in a possible SGM church plant in Clarksburg. Not sure but, it must be just a little awkward sharing CLC, given the current climate.

  29. Claude says:

    Any word or updates coming from SGM Fairfax Meeting?

  30. Julie Anne says:

    Jenn: #26 – for clarification – You referred to Virginia Beach in your comment above. Are there 2 SGM churches in Tidewater area? Chesapeake AND Virginia Beach or are you implying Chesapeake when you stated VB?

    Thanks much!

  31. Whirlwind says:

    @Julie Anne #30 – There’s only one church in the Tidewater area. I think it may have met in Chesapeake and VA Beach depending on what point in its history you’re referencing.

    As to the Kansas church, their pastor was on the polity committee – can’t expect they’d be going anywhere. For Minnesota, I’d expect Gamache’s church isn’t going anywhere either.

  32. delta dagger says:

    Hey Jenn,
    Just an update Minnesota and Colorado are solid SGM. Also my pastor Rick Gamache the local leader of SGM in the midwest is opening a new SGM church in north Minneapolis.

  33. Diego says:

    Have any of the SG Churches that are presently staying offered a vote to its members to see what they think about staying, or is their only option to vote with their feet/wallets?

  34. @Two Feet Out, I sent you an email, I hope you got it. :-)

  35. intheNICKoftime says:

    We were in town for the Gospel at Work conference at CLC. Wonderful conference. They explained how pastors were not the most important jobs. People in contact with the unsaved world ARE. And it was extra special to sit in the CLC auditorium and realize that this was the house that CJ built and not he is no longer present. Amazing what pride will do.

    We decided to stay over and head across the river to visit the Fairfax group since they were voting. They had over 70% of their members voting in person today! Impressive! The pastors did the ground work well. 98% voted to support the leadership and run away from anything SGM. And in doing so the guys in charge explained their polity issues with SGM but also their lack of trust in the way leadership deals with churches and people. There was a backhanded attempt at apologizing for dealing with the membership in the same way SGM deals with the churches. Not an outright apology but at least a nod to the fact they didnt do everything well. Too much time was spent on justifying who they are going to partner with in the future. They cant imagine life with no one lording over them. Too sad.

    Then the head guy explained why the pastor’s college is not a viable option for the Fairfax church any longer and why it shouldnt be for any church. It was nice to see the congregation exercising some say in things, but unfortunately most of the say was looking to go back under a different master, and it wasnt THE MASTER.

    All in all, a very satisfying weekend…made even better by an Atlanta win!

  36. intheNICKoftime says:

    Looking at the list of new PC members, do you see more than one relative? How many of the students are sons, brothers, in-laws of people already drinking the kool-aid?

  37. Stunned says:

    interesting question, Nick.

    And if there are relatives among the 9, surely they could have found more sufficient housing while the church was in the DC area, rather than a new place. Just makes the whole, “moving to make things less expensive for the PC students” seem sillier by the minute.

  38. Steve240 says:

    IntheNIck and Stunnder

    With there only being 9 students in the pastors college and it being a relatively small number that also seems to negate any savings from moving to Loisville. In other words if you have 30 students relocation might eventually save you money but not with 9 students.

    As Brent pointed out, a number of CLC members had already set up their homes to house students not to mention the townhouses that SGM owned.

  39. Julie Anne says:

    Whirlwind #31 – thank you. Strangely enough, we used to live in VA Beach around the time the Chesapeake church switched from PDI to SGM and we visited it a couple of times, but decided not to stay because of the the distance. I was pretty sure there was only one SGM in Tidewater, but wanted to be sure.

  40. SMP says:

    Hopefully, the ammendments to the lawsuit will not have partiality to any of the churches just because they decide to leave SGM. I pray that God is exposing these men AND entire churches if necessary. Long have these pastors hid from the light of their congregation knowing the decisions they have made. Pastors tell us how to live and the more people that obey their teaching, the stronger and more powerful they become.
    They are like a snowflake that seemingly falls silently and oh, so gently. Before you know it, they gather strength because people trust and follow their council. Speed increases as the mass of snow pulls together and begins to destroy everything and everyone in it’s path. The people that have clung to what they think is truth are inside the dangerous snowball, and even if they begin to feel a few bumps, they remain falsely secure in their masses. But Christ is in the sun that begins to melt this massive snowball and instead of just breaking apart, the water forms an icy dangerous exterior. Hard. Callous. Intensely formed and held together in spite of how much smaller it is getting.
    Spring is coming my friends, the warmth of the TRUTH is heading this way. I love the change of seasons, don’t you?

  41. Jenn Grover says:

    Chesapeake/Virginia Beach has made it official tonight – gone.

  42. Bill Chaney says:

    Some churches are waiting until the polity is officially approved. This will be next month. The thinking is SGM will make some changes and these churches are holding tight until it is official. Of course, SGM will not make the changes which need to be made and there will be more fallout once it’s official.

  43. Stunned says:

    SMP- excellent post!

  44. kmack says:

    Re In The Nick of Time #35 – It was so nice of you to drop in on our church Sunday (FFX) but I’m not sure what you meant by saying the head guy spent a lot of time justifying our new partnerships and that we are looking for a new MASTER. If anything, Mark Mullery said more than once that our only true master is Jesus Christ and the partnerships he mentioned were only informal. Our new church government will be a congregational with the elders led and no outside oversight. Please get your facts straight next time.

  45. JM says:

    @inthenickoftime #35: In addition to those corrections kmack gave, FFX spent a few months last year doing a series on church government/polity and had a few Sunday’s and family meetings where the pastors confessed areas they got it wrong (parenting, the treatment of women, ways they treated members and former leaders, etc) and apologizing and asking for the congregation’s forgiveness for those mistakes, and they had been reaching out to leaders who were unfairly booted. So what may have seemed like a backhanded apology to someone just coming in at “the end”, it was simply a sum up of the last 18 months and how we got where we are today. He didn’t need to go over the apologies in depth again.

  46. kmack says:

    JM – Thanks for adding that part. Our pastors have had a ginormous learning curve during this process and our congregation applauds them for their humility and love for the true master, Jesus.

  47. QRS says:

    The Melbourne, FL church no longer appears on the SGM website either.

  48. Somewhereintime says:

    Great new Brent post up! It’s a long read but worth it. For those of us who have lived the pain and deceit, it is an encouragement to see what the Lord is currently doing with SGM. Here is one paragraph from Brent …

    “Revelation 3:14-22 tells the story of Sovereign Grace Ministries. The response of its leaders to the discipline of the Lord has been one of self-righteousness. They claim to be rich when poor, clothed when naked, and seeing when blind. According to them, only their polity is in need of reform. Yet the polity they now propose is worse in critical respects than the polity they already have. There is no happy future for the leaders, pastors and churches of SGM until they deal with the root issue of pride. In 18 short months, Sovereign Grace has been cast down and brought low by the Sovereign Lord. Only a fool would imagine his discipline not continuing over the next 18 months without widespread remorse by its leaders and pastors. “

  49. Somewhereinttime says:

    As I reflect on God’s goodness, I’m brought back to my own experiences within SG. Pastors that lord their title and influence over the entire flock with little regard for the lost sheep of the flock. Serious pride and a lack of humility. Attitudes one would expect to find in the unsaved florishing within the leadership ranks of the churches.

    But God is not mocked. He has seen our pain and has heard our cries. Jesus Himself is dismantling this tower of Babel that CJ and his team have built. Stone by stone it is coming down. I personally have warned my old pastor and friends within the church to flee SG so that they don’t get caught in God’s loving punishment of this “ministry”.

    Think about what has happened just in the last year! … 13+ churches have fled SGM. Dave Harvey (#2 in SGM) will be gone by August. CJ and company fled to Louisville. They are experiencing significant issues within their own church and are having serious financial difficulties. And let us not forget that the Lord is EXPOSING sinful behavior of pastors and leaders in the sexual lawsuit that it about to explode across the globe once again.

    Yes, Jesus is in charge. He is not mocked. We should however be contrite in spirit and not gloat over what He is doing less it come upon each one of us as well. Pray for CJ and the other leaders to fully repent. Pray that Jesus would once again be recognized in SG as the HEAD of SG, not a figure head. Pray that the Holy Spirit would invade SG churches like never before and that there would be repentance and a revival in the heart’s of those that remaind.

    The Lord’s will be done!

  50. MAK says:

    The Melbourne church is a mystery to me. I noticed this some time back. It has never been on the SGM list for some time. I had a friend contact the pastor in Greenville that sent out Jim Britt and he said that yes, Jim is pastoring that church plant and he said it must be an “oversight” that this church is not on the list. The church still never appeared. Maybe they are like Arlington who have taken their name off the list but still haven’t officially left. In this case they just never put their name on the list. Who knows…but SGM hardly has an “oversight” like this and in true SGM fashion there is always more to the story.