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Sovereign Grace Ministries Seeks Dismissal of Lawsuit

From NBC News:

A small evangelical church group has invoked the First Amendment  in asking a Maryland judge to dismiss a lawsuit accusing church  leaders of covering up allegations of sexual abuse.

Sovereign Grace Ministries says in a motion to dismiss the  lawsuit that Maryland courts can’t get involved in the internal  affairs of church business.

The church group’s lawyers also say the case should be thrown out  because its allegations are so vague. For instance, they say the  lawsuit leaves unclear how old the plaintiffs were at the time  they say suffered abuse.

The suit was filed in Montgomery County. The church recently  moved its headquarters from Maryland to Louisville, Ky.

 

184 comments to Sovereign Grace Ministries Seeks Dismissal of Lawsuit

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  1. Mark
    February 28th, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    Brent sounds like a cross between C.J. and Steve Shank. Creepy.

  2. Kris
    February 28th, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    Here’s something interesting: http://boarsheadtavern.com/2013/02/28/36079/#more-36079

  3. 5yearsinPDI
    February 28th, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    Kris….Ha! good catch.

    Ozy 147…great link.

    Why do the guys hanging onto SGM coat tails even bother to talk about waiting for the civil courts to rule? Even if the civil courts find SGM guilty, I bet a lot of them will say the court was wrong. You know….too humanistic or antiChristian or antiConstitution or too politically correct. Whatever. I can’t believe they will EVER admit to being wrong.

    It is amazing to think how much has happened since this blog started. Back in 2009 or so when I was posting, I could never in a million years have guessed the events that have transpired.

  4. Contentious Jones
    February 28th, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    So this is where CeeJay got all his “happiest place on earth” and “the pastors ‘serve’ the sheep” ideas:

    “We serve the Church and all of humanity. This is our joy. No one can take that away from us.” Former Pope Benedict XVI to the College of Cardinals in the Apostolic Palace, the Vatican, 27 Feb 2013.

    I’ll bet CeeJay and his minions look fetching in red.

  5. annie
    February 28th, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    I didn’t listen super carefully, as I was multitasking, but I thought Brent sounded broken, and, well, kind of sweet. Not the Brent Detwiler of a decade ago that I remember.

  6. A Kindred Spirit
    February 28th, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    So true, 5 years. It’s crazy what’s transpired!

  7. Todd Wilhelm
    March 1st, 2013 at 12:36 am

    Tim Challies would have you believe he is a neutral, non-partisan, outside observer of C.J. Mahaney.

    Tim Challies in 2005:

    “[Joshua] Harris had his mentor in Mahaney, and I couldn’t think of too many guys who would do a better job of it. There isn’t much I wouldn’t give to have that type of relationship with a man like Mahaney.”

    Tim Challies today:

    “Before I begin, it may be useful for me to explain the nature of my relationship with C.J. Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries, though there is actually very little to explain. I recall meeting Mahaney only one time and for no more than two or three minutes. To my knowledge we have never corresponded by email or any other media. He and I have never shared a speaking platform and I have never spoken at a SGM event (though I did liveblog a couple of them several years ago). All this to say that I write as an outside observer rather than as a personal friend and write this article primarily for the benefit of other outside observers.”

  8. Oswald
    March 1st, 2013 at 2:28 am

    Like Challies disclaimer, didn’t Trueman claim nearly the same when he, as a part of the 3-man panel in 2011, gave his ‘impartial’ opinion proclaiming Mahaney fit for ministry.

  9. Marge Sweigart
    March 1st, 2013 at 6:31 am

    Wade Burleson (a pastor) in an interview with Janet Mefford said this about how their church handles sex offenders. I think this is the right way to do it.

    “We work with sex offenders in Celebrate Recovery, a program in our church, and we have those who worship, but when someone who’s been convicted of a sexual crime is being ministered to in our church, we write a letter saying they are welcome to come, then we post their picture, we post their crime, and we distribute it to every person who is an employee or a servant in the church who’s working with other people and say this is the person that’s coming, this is what he did, you need to know his face, you need to know his name, you need to identify him, you need to love him, but he is never to be alone in any room with any person. And you know people have been upset with that. Why would you do that? And we tell the sex offender, that’s the consequence of the choice you made when you abused a child. And so that’s what we do.”

  10. Kris
    March 1st, 2013 at 7:28 am

    Earlier, “Benjk” said he thought we were being unfair for seeming to accuse Challies of being deceptive. As I tried to get at with my comment #149, I don’t see why it’s necessarily shocking or scandalous to look at Challies’ abundance of pro-SGM posts, his expressed wistfulness for a mentor like CJ, and the book endorsements from CJ’s come-hell-or-high-water supporters and see someone who is indeed (contrary to what he claims) very personally invested in the idea that CJ Mahaney and SGM are worthy of all the good things he has always believed about them.

    It’s like anyone who has thought and promoted a particular point of view for a long time. How many of you reading this right now had a really difficult time acknowledging the problems in your SGM church because you’d committed so much of your time, money, and devotion to the idea that you’d found the “best church out there”?

    Who wants to acknowledge that they were snookered?

    I know book blurbs aren’t the be-all end-all, but surely that’s got to be at least a passing thought in Tim Challies’ mind. Unless he’s not normal, not human like the rest of us, he’s got to feel a level of pressure to remain in agreement with the guys who endorsed his books. They’ve all (to their ultimate embarrassment, I believe) come down hard on CJ’s critics and declared CJ fit for ministry. They continue to stand behind their friend. Al Mohler accepted over $100,000 in donations from CJ to the SBTS. He has an increasingly cozy little relationship with CJ now that SGM moved its headquarters to Louisville. Ligon Duncan has written some pretty acrid words against those who would dare to question CJ. And Mark Dever (another endorser of Challies’ books) welcomed CJ to Capitol Hill Baptist when CJ was trying to avoid his critics at CLC.

    How hard would it be to break ranks with the big-name guys who helped you out by providing promotional statements for the back cover of your first book? What sort of crazy irony is there in publishing a book about “spiritual discernment” when you yourself are forced to admit a few years later that you resolutely refused to discern dysfunction and evil and pressed on in your admiration of a particular man?

    If we’re human, we’re going to be invested in our long-held opinions, especially if we’ve shared them with other people. In addition to the pastor gig he got primarily because of the influence he’d wielded on his blog, Challies makes his living from sharing his beliefs through his writing. People have been looking to him for years because they respect his opinions and think he’s got discernment. He actually literally wrote the book on discernment (just like CJ wrote the book on humility).

    So, no matter what he might say about his supposed non-relationship with CJ, he’s got a lot riding on having been right about CJ and SGM. I can’t imagine why that would be difficult to see.

    And I can’t imagine why that would be hard to understand.

  11. Jenn Grover
    March 1st, 2013 at 7:52 am

    I have not mentioned this for a while but I thought this was good time to bring up the SGM timeline since a lot more people have become interested in the SGM issues since the lawsuit expanded. I have attempted to update the timeline with major events but not every single event in order to preserve readability. My original goal was to provide an overview of Brent’s documents for those who could not wade through all 600+ pages. I wanted to create something that was easy to read and could be conqueered in about 30 minutes with links to source material when possible. Both Brent and my brother reviewed the original content for accuracy. The events in the timeline can be viewed as a timeline, a flipbook, or as a list. I only ask that the timeline not be tunred into a discussion forum re: SGM, Brent, the lawsuit or other topics as I do not want to invest the time necessary t moderate comments and there are sufficient opportunities for those discussions among the various blogs.

    The timeline can be accessed at:

    http://www.dipity.com/JennGrover/SGM-Crisis/#timeline

    Unfortunately, the timeline hosting providor can be a little tempromental so if you have difficulty accessing it, try again alter.

    Kris, feel free to delete if you do not feel this is an appropriate post. Not trying to hijack, just aid informed discussion.

  12. Eagle
    March 1st, 2013 at 8:00 am

    Make sure you guys read today’s Internet Monk. Its all about Sovereign Grace. Here is the link:

    http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/39341

  13. Sam McGee
    March 1st, 2013 at 8:56 am

    Oswald #158


    Like Challies disclaimer, didn’t Trueman claim nearly the same when he, as a part of the 3-man panel in 2011, gave his ‘impartial’ opinion proclaiming Mahaney fit for ministry.

    Yes he did. And then three weeks later he jetted off with Bob Kauflin to tour Australia. It’s rediculous. Such a conflict of interest would be laughed out of any other context.

  14. Lee
    March 1st, 2013 at 9:34 am

    I think many of you are being too harsh on Tim Challies. I don’t think you are listening to the heart of the post.

    He has obviously been criticized often for not saying anything and accused of being buddies with CJ. He’s being honest that he does not personally know CJ Mahaney. He’s never denied he gave SGM positive reviews of books or enjoyed their music. In fact, he’s done that for many authors and groups. Perhaps it is because he has endorsed their products he feels he needs to say something now. Perhaps even he is saying to himself “whoa, we gave SGM all this great publicity and look what’s been going on behind the scenes”.

    Put your self in Tim’s shoes. He’s darned if he does and darned if he doesn’t. I think it took guts to say what he did say about SGM. He brought out their issues in a big way. He stated most of the allegations that many others have refused to mention. What he was attempting to do in his post was plead for unity and use discerment. (Doesn’t the logo of this blog say “Discern”? “Seek God’s Truth”?)

    He says there are two sides to the story, and he doesn’t know which side is right. He’s not coming out for SGM’s side. If anything, I get the sense that he knows there are major problems and that people on the other side have very real and valid reasons for separating from SGM.

    He’s trying to say that people closest to the situation have a vested interest in learning the facts and following the happenings. They need to…it’s their church. But those not close to the situation are mostly there for entertainment purposes.

    To me the gist of Tim’s post isn’t to be pro SGM, but to be pro-church. And shouldn’t we be? Should we be delighting in the demise of SGM just because some of us were hurt? Or should we care that the truth be known, relationships heal, etc?

  15. Jenn Grover
    March 1st, 2013 at 9:43 am

    Benjk: Challies was not functioning as a pastor when he posted his SGM post, he was posting as a blogger, some might say as an entrepreneur. The charges are not being levelled against Challies as a pastor, but as a blogger. Unless Challies considered himself the pastor of all who read his blog, which I highly doubt, your claim is illegitimate.

    Here is what Challies failed to mention: CLC did make an effort to reach out to vicitms, albeit late, when Greg Sommerville posted on Survivors. SGM, in esscence, coerced him to retract his post. SGM has not only remained silent, they have interfered with efforts made towards making things right. I don’t know how things would have turned out ahd Greg been able to take his initiative forward, but it was an effort, nonetheless. There can be criticism that it came late, it was not enough, and other, but I appreciated that Greg came to the victims on their own territory, so to speak, in a fashion that humbled CLC before Survivors. I doubt all of us would agree on the “right way” (I, or one, beleive that there could be many “right” paths to pursuing reconcilliation) but at least there was an effort. It has disappointed me since CLC caved to SGM on this issue. Had SGM supported CLC we might not even be discussing a lawsuit today.

    I think it is fair for members to ask if their pastors ever engaged in any behaviour like that described in the lawsuit and how old their children were when they completley ceased corporal punishment. Sadly, pastors should be forthcoming and members should not have to avail themselves to asking.

  16. Kris
    March 1st, 2013 at 10:19 am

    Lee said,

    I think many of you are being too harsh on Tim Challies. I don’t think you are listening to the heart of the post.

    and,

    He says there are two sides to the story, and he doesn’t know which side is right. He’s not coming out for SGM’s side. If anything, I get the sense that he knows there are major problems and that people on the other side have very real and valid reasons for separating from SGM.

    Tim Challies is a blogger who, aside from his pastor gig (which he apparently got after his blogging fame put him out there as a good teacher), makes his living because of his communications skills. If he wanted to communicate in that post that “there are major problems” and that “people on the other side have very real and valid reasons for separating from SGM,” he would have said so, in so many words. He’s a professional communicater who obviously knows how to say what he wants to convey. In his post, he never says what you infer. Instead, he dances around the issue and pleads with people to withhold judgment on CJ until all the facts are in. Which would be fine, except SGM just filed motions to drop the lawsuit so they don’t have to pony up all the facts.

    And I still hold that he is being VERY disingenuous about how much he really does want, on a personal level, to think that SGM and CJ are wonderful and legitimate. If he is forced to acknowledge problems, he’d have to go back and rethink a lot of what he did to promote them. I don’t know of any other organization that has gotten as much good press from Challies as SGM. Seriously. I posted a link to a Boar’s Head post by Brian Auten in which he showed just a few of 26 pages of links to pro-SGM posts, book, and product reviews that have appeared on Challies’ blog. Plug any other organization or name into his blog and I’m betting you won’t find 26 pages of links (that’s not 26 posts, that’s 26 pages of links to multiple posts.

    Challies has a lot riding on being right about SGM and CJ. What would it say about his discernment skills if he’s not right?

  17. Steve240
    March 1st, 2013 at 10:25 am

    I find this interesting how Challies uses the term “Consider What I Need to Know.”

    That sounds like what CLC/SGM Leaders used to use when they taught their definition of what was “gossip” and “slander.” I remember one CLC pastor when I came to him about a few things I had heard was him scolding me that I should have told the person I should have stopped the people sharing this and told them not to share it with me. One case the pastor even refused to get involved saying this other person should go to the individual “in private.”

    Teaching this worked quite “well” in the history of CLC/SGM. It kept a lot of members in the dark about hypocrisy and abuse of various leaders including questionable actions. Teach the people they are to have the attitude that “they don’t need to know” and it keeps uninformed sheep. It is easier to hid abuse that way.

    It sounds like Challes wants to live in ignorance rather than becoming informed since he just might not like (or it be inconvenient) what he might find out.

  18. Jenn Grover
    March 1st, 2013 at 10:26 am

    5Years #153:

    Why do the guys hanging onto SGM coat tails even bother to talk about waiting for the civil courts to rule? Even if the civil courts find SGM guilty, I bet a lot of them will say the court was wrong. You know….too humanistic or antiChristian or antiConstitution or too politically correct. Whatever. I can’t believe they will EVER admit to being wrong.

    I had the same exact thought. Regardless of the evidence dropped in their lap, they cannot find fault.

  19. yentl
    March 1st, 2013 at 10:29 am

    It’s difficult to ask hard questions here, because there are victims involved. And, you don’t want to add pain to the abuse they have already endured by questioning. But, there a some issues I don’t understand.

    Some statements that are frequently made.

    1. The toddler was brought into a room and forced to “forgive” the perp. Was the emphasis on the child “forgiving” the perp or was the emphasis on the perp apologizing to the child. To some degree, a child might benefit from perp apologizing to them in a room full of witnesses. Otherwise, the child may think the parents thought it was wrong, but perp still thinks it was right. Maybe it would help the child avoid shame by hearing the perp own the blame. I’m not endorsing the practice. Is it misleading when the news report the child was “forced to forgive”? I would think the purpose was to help the child understand who was wrong.

    2. Did ANY churches report incest as a crime in the 1980’s? Other denominations chime in. Most of society handled matters of sexual abuse quietly in order to protect the identity of the victim until very recently. It was considered cruel to make a child testify regarding sexual abuse. Activists were just beginning to counsel and empower children to stand up and testify and press charges. It was unheard of to press charges against other family members at that time. Even worse pre-1970. Issues like incest were unspeakable. People wouldn’t ask children to publicly speak about it. Were they considered family counseling matters? Not saying it was right, but can we look back from 2013 and expect a response contrary to society’s norms?

    3. I’ve heard it said here that exCLC’s mom was kicked out of the church for pressing charges against her husband. I thought she said she was asked to withdraw her membership because she conceived four more children while her husband was in prison and her nine children were in foster care. I don’t really know or understand the timing on all of this, but SHOULD a church financially support single moms who continue to have children outside of marriage, especially after she’s relinquished 9 children to CPS? It seems the focus should have been on getting her family reunited. The situation sounds very much out of control. Should they spend people’s tithe money to enable this situation? They did for a long time. But, when do you say “no”? Do they have an obligation to provide free tuition to these families when other families in agreement with church beliefs are unable to afford it?

    I’m torn on this because I completely understand how exCLCer’s mom reacted to these horrific circumstances. I sympathize with her. She IS a victim. But, she also admits she couldn’t do it anymore.

    4. It sounds like a bad situation or a bad situation. I don’t know why they did it, but did they support stepfather’s attempts to regain custody of the children because there were nine children in the foster care system who needed to come home? Was mother homeless at that time and incapable of caring for the children? Was either parent fit? If stepfather was repentant and deeply grieved to have his nine children (7 biologically his)separated from one another in stranger’s homes, was that enough to think he would never re-offend? By all reports, he never has.

    If pastors had to choose between a bad situation and a bad situation, it seems the only choice had to be a bad situation.

    5. ExCLCer often talks about JL not coming back for her when she was in foster care. I’m not sure I understand that part. If her mother had left the church, how could the pastor have any authority to come back for her? How come her mom didn’t come back for her when she regained custody of the other children? Again, I don’t understand the timeline on that. I don’t see how he would have any legal ability to continue his involvement.

  20. intheNickoftime
    March 1st, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Sam –

    intheNickoftime said, “So he has plenty of eyes on him without people grabbing their kids when he walks by.

    There is an assumption in that statement that has been used by pastors to keep the existence and identities of sex offenders hidden. It is that the congregation cannot handle the knowledge of a sex offender at the church without reacting in a way that the pastors deem unacceptable. I completely reject that assumption.

    I believe it is wrong to withhold that information…

    I understand your concern. Certainly SGM has used this technique to silence people.

    But I am not sure I want people walking around my church with A’s carved into their chest. I am also not sure I would know where to draw the line. Anyone who harmed a child could be announced from the pulpit. What about child pornography? That is a sexual crime and those guys are treated in the same jails and release programs as real molesters. They are also more likely to move on to actually harming kids, so should we publicly put an A on their shirts as well?

    What about men that have been accused or convicted of rape? Do they need to be publicly recognized? What about men convicted of soliciting? What is they just went to topless bars? What about if they were arrested for hitting their wife or kids?

    What would you think if you visited a new church and they publicly fingered a member as a child molester? Would you think, “Wow, this is a safe church, I want my kids here!”

    I dont see the benefit of making public announcements on people’s sins in the name of protection. Your stance assumes if you make the people publicly “so the parents can make decisions” is a false safety net. It assumes if you have identified and marked the people who HAVE BEEN CAUGHT that everyone is safe. But in reality the kids are in more jeopardy from the people who have not been caught, or who have not perpetuated a crime yet…

    Despite SGM’s poor performance in the past, I still dont think the public marking of known offenders is the best way to handle things in a large church. And while I agree with you that ALL the parents wont over react or misbehave, you know there will be those two or three or half dozen folks who always seem to over react to everything, and that is uncomfortable for everyone involved.

    I think having escorts, contracts about actions, and staff, security, and counseling people keeping an eye on these guys is the best way to go. Best for the protection of kids, best for the public appearance of the church, and best for the molesters, as well. I say that respectfully, knowing full well that SGM has not held up their side of the deal, but that doesnt mean the deal was not a good one in the first place. And I appreciate the ongoing discussion. It’t the many voices on the subject that helps us figure out what our best options are.

  21. JoyfulandFree
    March 1st, 2013 at 11:01 am

    Yentyl,
    I am sorry but I cannot think of any context where having a young child come face to face with the person who molested them is a good idea. Parents and counselors can make it very clear to the child that they are not to blame. The situation even if the perp was truly repentant seems to be much more beneficial to perp’s guilty conscience and not nearly as compassionate toward the victim. These children were violated and the depth of injury that comes from that is unfathomable. It is unlikely that the child was ready to forgive her abuser, much less had full healing from the pain and hurt involved.

  22. Sopwith
    March 1st, 2013 at 11:21 am

    SGM’s * Apparent Methodical Modus Operandi (A.M.M.O):

    1. Make zero provision (or toleration) for any and all opposition.

    2. Demand absolute ‘biblical’ obedience.

    3. Demand the confession of private sin.

    4. Brand all who voice opposition with 
    “bitterness” and “disobedience”.

    5. Brand all loose-lipped opponents as “gossips”.

    6. Put the fear of ‘pursuit’ & ‘prosecution’ into all. Encourage Shunning of  all who demonstrate, or are seen to cultivate dissent.

    7. Make all dissenters believe there is no legal/constitutional appeal process. 

    8. Make ‘an appeal to public opinion’, an assault on private church business.

    9. Control the means for all pastoral education & training. 

    10. Plant a general mistrust in external political, civil, medical, and educational authorities.

    11. Plant a like-minded church in every prosperous metropolitan center.

    12. Make alliances with other  like-minded church ministries. 

    13. Repeat steps 1-12 until all opposition is effectively neutralized. 
    ___
    *  Apparent Methodical Modus Operandi [A.M.M.O.] is a Semi-Latin phrase, approximately translated as “apparent methodical method of operation”. [1] This term is used to describe SGM’s observable & “Apparent Standard Method Of Operation”, or In English, it is often shortened to A. S.M.O.  [2] SGM’s apparent ‘subculture’ habits or manner of working, particularly in the context of conducting its day to day church non-profit business operations. 

    ;~)

  23. Argus
    March 1st, 2013 at 11:22 am

    Oh, Yentl, really? #169

    I guess that is a preview of how SGM will blame the victims and excuse themselves in court.

    I’ll let others with more knowledge of sexual abuse in general and these cases in particular weigh in, but that just sounds so wrong-headed and self-righteous and legalistic to me.

    Bottom line to me, SGM in their moral superiority and preference for well-to-do men over women and children made an already bad situation much, much worse than it had to be.

    They really don’t have the knowledge or skill or interest (or ‘ministry’ model) to deal with truly broken people. Not unless those broken people know how to smile and move on and and kiss up to them. But when real people have been battered and bruised and have normal reactions to difficult problems, they get all too holy and cross over to the other side of the road where it is tidier.

    Sometimes I think SGM dislikes human beings for being human.

    No wonder the teens and young adults of SGM so often live with shame and rejection. They are taught that they are so shot through with sin that everything they are or do will always be unworthy. Approval in SGM is conditioned on behavior, not God’s nature of love, grace, and mercy.

    Certainly little mercy extended in that post except toward the pastors for having to deal with a messy problem that wouldn’t be neatly disposed of because of the understandably uncooperative and sinful reactions of a grievously violated woman.

    Well, gosh, you think? Too bad she didn’t follow their script for the right response to unthinkable horrors. Darn her. How dare she be fallen and human?

    Do they even believe their own doctrine?

  24. Argus
    March 1st, 2013 at 11:27 am

    And

    She IS a victim. But, she also admits she couldn’t do it anymore.

    Of course she couldn’t do it anymore. Of course. That is what the real church is for. That is when the body of Christ rallies around, loves, comforts, takes in, cries, holds, nurtures, supports, bears with, bear burdens, upholds, cries to heaven for, listens with patience and sympathy and heartache to her angry railings and hopeless moments. That is when they should have carried her. Violated people shouldn’t have to turn elsewhere for respect and love and care — that is what the church should be for if it is worth anything.

  25. Marshall
    March 1st, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    Clarifying That Challies is Getting Paid Commissions to Sell SGM Stuff

    Quick note:

    I’m in the internet marketing business and want people to know that Challies is directly paid commissions to promote SGM products on the front-end irrespective of any quid-pro-quo he gets on the back-end via book reviews, links from the parachurch sites he promotes, etc. For example, you can tell by the URL that comes up that he gets a commission from Amazon every time someone buys Together For the Gospel Live 2 from the link on this page:

    http://www.challies.com/resources/new-notable-music

    Even though he doesn’t declare an affiliate relationship with SGM’s store, he almost certainly gets paid to plug its products, too.

    He’s actually in violation of Amazon’s policies by not clearly disclosing that he gets commissions on the Amazon products he promotes, and U.S. law (I know he’s Canadian)mandates that internet affiliates disclose ALL business relationships affecting their reviews.

    He’s a business-person who should expect his business practices to be subject to scrutiny irrespective of any other yackety-yack he’s writing about C.J. Mahaney or anything else.

  26. Bridget
    March 1st, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    Bearing one another’s (not just the important people’s) burdens hasn’t exacatly been a mantra of the SGM church building mindset, Argus. Did you ever hear teaching on the one another’s at your (previous?) locale? Did you hear much teaching about “they will know you by your love for one another?” SGM churches focused on something else.

  27. Phoenix
    March 1st, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    Yentl,
    Are you still a member of CLC? You are shilling for the pastors, defending their unconscionable actions, repeating gossip about the victims, accusing the victims of lying, adding to the pain of the victims, and contributing to the churchwide problem of covered-up child abuse. Seems a bit too late for all that.

    IntheNickofTime,
    You are demonstrating a stunning naivete about the level of supervision and oversight that sex offended NEED. That translates into being cavalier with the safety of children. See http://thewartburgwatch.com/2013/02/28/janet-meffird-interviews-wade-burleson-on-sex-abuse/#comment-85215

  28. Phoenix
    March 1st, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    Sorry, first sentence of second paragraph should read …”that sex offenders need”…

  29. turtle
    March 1st, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    There’s alot to this storry (exclcer) that hasn’t been taken to account for. Had you seen the state of the house they lived in you would understand better. Some people are just very difficult to deal with. If you know what I mean. I don’t know any facts after a certain time about this. Covenant Life church changed around that time from caring about people to having an agenda. They always had an agenda before that but I think they still cared about individuals. It stopped being a family, to being an institution, in my opinion. We were all manipulated for group think, plus we were all as old as maybe 30. There was hardly anyone older than that at the time. Cj is responsible for alot, and alot of it is hard to put your finger on.

  30. Persona
    March 1st, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    When I read Challies’ blog post, I kept thinking, ‘Boy, he sounds like an SGM clone.’ At times he even seemed to quote SGM teachings and sermons verbatim.

    I also see that a member of the L’ville church reposted Challies blog on their FB page because they approve of it and want others to read it. So, I guess it went over well down in KY, which doesn’t surprise me. He sounds biased to me.

    From all the support Challies has given SGM cohorts over the years, it is obvious that he is a big fan of CJ and SGM. I think he would also be crestfallen if SGM disappeared from the landscape. So, I find it disingenuous of him to try and make it seem as though he an outside observer with no stake in their success or failure. Good try, though.

  31. Bridget
    March 1st, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    IntheNickofTime –

    If a person is on a national sex abuse registry (which all convicted abusers are) then why is it not appropriate to inform the entire church via letter with a picture? The information is public already. If the person is repentant and no longer wants to hurt others, I would think he would be a willing participant to the arrangement, although his willingness is not necessary for the church to act how it sees fit to protect the congregation. If the person is unwilling for his past to be known, then you have an entirely different situation. I wouldn’t want the person to be in the congregation if they wanted to keep their past sexual abuse convictions secret.

  32. Greg
    March 1st, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    I found Brent’s comments in the interview to be measured, but a bit odd.

    1) It seems like he still regards himself as part of SGM
    2) I question his view that he was #2. For at least part of his tenure he was a member of the A Team which was led by C.J. and Larry who were the founders.
    3) He states that he left on his own will based on matters of conscience when in fact he was forced out against his will, and he has never recanted the SGM beliefs and practices which he was keen on enforcing.
    4) How can Brent know how much C.J. knew about the sexual abuse cases and not be indirectly responsible himself? It appears that Brent did involve the police in cases directly under his pastoral care, but as “#2” he cannot indict C.J, without getting himself soiled.
    5) Brent’s sole target is C.J., and he has now publicly recommended the Board ditch C.J. in order to protect the organization.

    Could it be that this has been for Brent a power struggle with C.J., and if he can remove C.J., does he imagine that he can work his way back in to SGM leadership? If not, then Brent is pursuing a scorched earth policy. In either case, there will be nothing left for Brent when the current cycle of events is completed. That’s not much of a life and quite sad.

  33. Kraftig
    March 1st, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    yentl, #169, point 1. *whiff*
    Not only is there zero logical, spiritual, or biblical reason to bring a toddler back into the presence of an evil monster (and then coerce the kid into ‘forgiving’ it), but it goes %100 against the SGM-brand gospel grain.

    So, while SGM proudly suggests that a [non-pk] teen can’t possibly grasp the gospel firmly enough to be allowed to be baptized, a toddler is versed enough in the gospel to forgive a disgusting tormenter? Wha? Just another glaring inconsistency we’re supposed to humbly ignore.

    And really, to help the toddler understand who was wrong? Get real, the kid knew exactly what was wrong during the very first terrifying moment.

  34. Kraftig
    March 1st, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    . . . I should clarify that “Get real, . . . ” above is not aimed at ‘yentl’ personally but to the general approach, if that was what the pastors were thinking.

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