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Open Discussion

Last post was going crazy with comments….I’m not putting up a post, but feel free to comment here (closing down the other one)

962 comments to Open Discussion

  • keepinstep

    From the previous discussion:

    RE Sandy #1302: “What happened to her also robbed the church of one of the most compassionate and sincere pastors to ever grace the doors of CLC. Chuck has been robbed of his calling to ministry”. SO TRUE. Chuck was one of the good guys.

    RE #1346: QB’s mention of Dobson means nothing. I was a CLC member for many years, and my family listened to his program every day on the radio. Loved him and his books, which were very helpful in child-rearing.

  • Glad i am out

    Just the beginning – regarding the queen bee – good point!! a real SGM loyalist would never quote dobson. It is unthinkable. And if she did love dobson, as i did, while at SGM, then she would not probably be making the arguments here, as all-things-dobson definitely went against the SGM grain.. Along those lines, all things “non-SGM” went against the grain. I remember being rebuked because i like the end-times series by Tim Lahaye – forget what it was called – fun and interesting reading – but poo poo’ed by SGM pastors.

  • Oswald

    Re: Chuck T. — Strange how men leave and we never really know why. A story is given that may not sound valid, we accept it as true because we have no other choice. At CovFel, Stefan B left about a year ago to go to a church in Ft Laud. Did that church need him or what? He had not sold his house before going. Brian V left CovFel last month with an explanation that did not sound valid, Brian said it was true, we accepted it as true because we had no other choice. This has happened several times throughout SGM. Joe McMullin left CovFel and we were told Joe could just not see himself anywhere except Philly and when another opportunity comes, he’ll be sent somewhere. Soon we hear (through the grapevine) that he’s starting a new church (not SGM) with Don S. CJ told a story about Larry T when he left(not recorded) saying he’d rather die than do what LT did. And now we hear that people at CLC wondered why Chuck T. was gone. And also B Wood. There seems to be a pattern throughout the churches that leaves suspicion to linger un-addressed. If we hadn’t read it here, we wouldn’t know the difference.

  • Wizer

    Whew! Was I the only one to notice that one of our longest running discussions was ironically entitled, ‘Snippets’? I’m sure you didn’t intend it that way, Kris, just that it was kinda funny.

  • Oswald

    Glad @2 — The ideas of Dobson and LaHaye were poo-pooed by SGM because CJ didn’t come up with them first, and they were not SGM branded.

  • Oswald

    The series by LaHaye was titled “Left Behind”.

  • Dr. Pepper

    Oswald,

    It was a real shame when Stefan B was laid off. Very sad. IMO, he had the most heart for the lost and needy. But I will say Jim D also has a heart. The rest of the covfel pastors could learn a lot about how to care for people.

  • OutThere

    Just fyi, consider the possibility that Queen Bee works for (or is related to) one of the lawyers representing the defendants. This would explain the legal knowledge and case references Queen Bee makes, would give Queen Bee access to knowledge about death threats, and would even give Queen Bee a reason to be reading the website in the first place – looking for people to say things that can be used against them or to support the defendants in a court of law, even baiting people to say something damaging. Really…

  • BoughtTheField

    Dr.Pepper,
    I knew Stefan B very well. He is absolutely genuine in his faith and has a heart for the needy of all types. I saw him out of love care for people who could never pay him back in any way. I also saw him courageously confront wrongdoing when others were remaining silent.

  • Persona

    Oswald 5

    Maybe Kris can entitle this one ‘tome’ and see how long it gets?

    Regarding Dobson, it is true that CJ likes the write his own ‘book’ on child-rearing.

    The pride of the pastors also came in play when you tried to share curriculum, a book or CD with them and ask them later if they ever read it or listened to it…not! They always wanted to be the end all and be all. The congregations’ only role was to fund their initiatives and follow hard after them.

  • It's just the beginning

    I just noticed this link from Lemongrass, #1270 on the previous post .. it is written by Heather in March 2010.

    If any parent has a teen or young adult living in overt rebellion, I highly recommend this redemptive story:
    http://spiritualtyranny.com/family-member-tomczak-responds/comment-page-14/#comments

  • BoughtTheField

    As everyone knows, there is a tremendous amount of buzz at CLC regarding all the accusations in the lawsuit. Actually there is so much buzz I would compare it to a forest full of 17 year cicadas! As I sift through all of it, especially from people I know well, I have come to several conclusions:
    1. There is more than one more shoe about to drop.
    2. There are some courageous people (not pastors) behind the scenes really working to see the guilty brought to justice.
    3. There are also courageous people (again, not pastors) who love the church and are praying and working to make sure that God’s people will be cared for and not destroyed by whatever collapse may or may not happen.

  • Persona

    Bought the Field 12

    Good to know the sleeping giant is awakening. Praying. Thank you for the update.

    If collapse happens, I want to assure you there are lots of healthier churches out there for the diaspora.

  • BoughtTheField

    Persona 13,

    Yes, I know some of those churches and I agree. I have been gaining many new Christian friends outside CLC lately and it has done me a lot of good.

    I still care about CLC and have no plans to leave. We have not seen the end of the story yet and I am actually looking forward to some of the good that will be left after the shaking. Although some people should leave, I honestly think it would be better for some to stay and repent.

  • It's just the beginning

    BoughtTheField: yes, Christian friends outside of CLC are so very important. I never understood why people at CLC seemed to insulate themselves with CLC-only / SGM-only friends. It’s not healthy. (there is much ingrained culture that needs to be identified, analyzed and corrected..Josh has started this, but there’s a long way to still in my opinion)

    And what about other local churches? Over the past 25-30 years, how many times has CLC done any sort of local missions or outreach or anything with other churches? Maybe more than I am aware of, but I bet it’s close to zero. I was happy to hear Mark Mitchell I believe it was who shared ideas/plans to link up with other local churches in the future for local missions–what a novel concept!

  • MaryMelissa

    It’s just the beginning 11
    I did read the H testimony, it is very touching to all of us who have children in rebellion to God. That brings the question that maybe some of H allegations are very real in her mind but might or might not have happened. I deal with issues like that with my own daughter and found that drugs makes them believe things that never happened or if they happened they are distorted in their minds. Even the prescription drugs that are used to help them deal with a day to day life have side effects. My daughter put herself in a position where she went to the police on a rape charge but the case could not stand in court, I will never know what really happened. She tells stories about her childhood that never happened not any allegations of sexual abuse, thank God. My prayer is for God to reveal the truth in H story and for my daughter to be heal.

  • Stunned

    MM, you seem to be saying that if someone is in what you term rebellion to God, then they somehow have the tendency to not remember what happened to them accurately. Am I understanding you correctly?

  • 28 years gone...

    It’s just the beginning 15:
    I never understood why people at CLC seemed to insulate themselves with CLC-only / SGM-only friends. It’s not healthy.

    It is not just CLC. Once PDI/SGM dug into your church, you had to question EVERYTHING. The music you listened to, the clothes you wore, when you took your wife out, what you were to talk about, how to deal with every situation, what worship songs were good (SGM of course would be exclusive) and on and on.

    I was at the 2002 worship conference at CLC with Mark Altrogge and Bob kauflin. That year they had Stuart Townend as a guest artist. Stuart was speaking at one point and made a off the cuff joke about how maybe he should be submitting his songs to Mark or Bob before releasing them to be sure they were spiritually accurate. I understand how odd that must have been for him. I am sure they had met by that time.

    Years before in Orlando just as Metro Life was becoming a PDI church, there was a group of churches in Orlando that got together to have a night of worship, open to all the churches who participated. One night, never again. I asked about why we are doing that again and the answer came back fuzzy about how the other churches didn’t share our beliefs, so we didn’t want to mix it up with them.

    That is just 2 of many examples I have personally witnessed. Off limits were Dobson, anything in the Christian counseling movement, Armenian speakers (We used to have Winkey Pratney speak at MLC until I guess he was just too far outside the reformed direction the leadership was going in.) The church taught “The Principal Approach” for a while I guess until even that was too much legalism for them.

  • MaryMelissa

    No, that is not at all what I am saying. I am saying that drugs side effects have a tendency to give us a certainty of things that may have never happened or they are exaggerated in our minds. Taking something like that to court, it won’t stand unless there are reliable witnesses.

  • Dr. Pepper

    I was thinking, even if the plaintiffs are lying and they were not molested, I’m still disgusted with the T4G guys and TGC guys who stood beside CJ just by how they acted in support of him.

  • Persona

    Call out to all witnesses! Please share with Susan Burke, anything you know about the incident that H spoke about that allegedly happened at Celebration East.

  • Oswald said,

    Re: Chuck T. — Strange how men leave and we never really know why. A story is given that may not sound valid, we accept it as true because we have no other choice. At CovFel, Stefan B left about a year ago to go to a church in Ft Laud. Did that church need him or what? He had not sold his house before going. Brian V left CovFel last month with an explanation that did not sound valid, Brian said it was true, we accepted it as true because we had no other choice. This has happened several times throughout SGM. Joe McMullin left CovFel and we were told Joe could just not see himself anywhere except Philly and when another opportunity comes, he’ll be sent somewhere. Soon we hear (through the grapevine) that he’s starting a new church (not SGM) with Don S. CJ told a story about Larry T when he left(not recorded) saying he’d rather die than do what LT did. And now we hear that people at CLC wondered why Chuck T. was gone. And also B Wood. There seems to be a pattern throughout the churches that leaves suspicion to linger un-addressed. If we hadn’t read it here, we wouldn’t know the difference.

    This here – this – is one of SGM’s besetting problems, and one of the reasons why the leaders have lost so much of their credibility. It used to be more speculative, but after Brent’s documents got out there and others spoke out about what happened to them, it is now an acknowledged fact that leaders frequently shaded or twisted the truth in the explanations they gave for why this or that pastor left. Even in cases where the “leavers” themselves took the stage and spoke, what was shared wasn’t the full story – or even necessarily true. Some of these guys were given what amounted to a script ahead of time and told that if they did not stick to the script, they would not have access to severance pay or even their retirement funds.

    The same sort of coercion (and subsequent untruthfulness) CJ pulled with Larry T happened in several other situations throughout the years. No, it didn’t typically involve threatening the departing pastor with revealing a child’s confessed sin, but the underlying motivation appeared to be the same. The guiding rule seemed to be that the stories always had to be spun so that the church’s or other pastors’ problems were never revealed or addressed honestly. If there had been a conflict, everyone was now supposedly in perfect unity over the solution (which was that Pastor X was leaving). Pastor X was always joyful and in total agreement about the decision, too.

    I think at some level, those in leadership in SGM understood that their church members had too much invested to want to risk disrupting things by asking too many questions. That’s how they pulled off these deceptions for so long. They knew that nobody (or next to nobody) would push too hard for the real details. They also knew that the departing pastors would be too shell-shocked and too desperate to speak out.

  • Lemongrass

    Brent, your 48 hours have come and gone, guess I’m going to send my plea to the 77 leaders you sent yours to. Anyone surprised that Brent isn’t transparent with us? Several people have asked a simple question and he’s refused to answer. Brent, this is one of the reasons that you come across as crazy.

    I’ll ask it again just in case he missed it. Brent, did you have permission from any of the alleged victims of the L family to post their story?

    Follow up question of mine. Brent, did you have permission from the correct civil authorities to post that story? Also, did you have permission from all of the alleged victims in the L family, especially the minors that might still be there, to post that story?

    Persona – 21,

    I doubt any witnesses would be reading here that aren’t already aware of Susan Burke. It’s interesting, Mrs. T sounds like she said that no witnesses have confirmed to date what allegedly happened at Celebration East. I’m not trying to over analyze everything she said, but something just doesn’t sit right with me. She said she would have heard her daughter leave the room, and remembered that at times they slept in rooms with friends. How about the obvious question of being able to tell that something this horrific happened to your daughter? How in the world was that missed at the time? Also, I just don’t understand walking into your former church with your daughter to confront someone at a Sunday service. Then to talk about how everyone greeted them so warmly, just doesn’t compute in my mind. Also, HT went back and was involved at CLC once she was an adult. I know that she regularly attended church their and was involved in a care group.

    Kris – 22,

    So many good people left CLC over the years. This type of twisting happened with leaders and regular families. Nobody left because they had problems with CLC, it was always something wrong with the leavers.

    For those of us who grew up at CLS it was particularly difficult to navigate the always twisting lines of what was expected of us.

    Glad I’m finally out, trying to keep some faith. Thankfully, I don’t ever want a church to replace CLC for me, I just want God to help me trust Him.

  • Stunned

    MM, I appreciate you answering my question and clarifying your thoughts.

  • 28 years gone...

    Great article from Boz Tchividjian:
    http://www.christianpost.com/news/billy-grahams-grandson-responds-to-sovereign-grace-ministries-lawsuit-97590/

    Boz brings up a VERY GOOD point here regarding the T4G folks:
    “The reality is this: since when have evangelicals ever looked to the law in determining whether they should speak about evil?”

  • Persona

    Kris 22

    Another rewrite of history happened when a pastor at CLC told members under him, that the church in Richmond was having ‘difficult times due to the recession.’

    Hmmm…I might have bought that lie, had I not already learned on Survivors, of the kerfuffle in Midlothian over the mistreatment of the church planter and the ensuing church split. That is the real reason for their loss of revenue.

    Sadly, by default, this blog remains one of the few repositories of truth about the life and times of SGM.

    Lemongrass 23

    Chuck was not greeted by leadership with joy and gladness that day but, some of their oldest and dearest friends in the congregation were elated to see them and, rightly so.

    They continue to be much-loved by their old friends even though, I doubt any of them knew precisely why they left.

    As far as sleeping arrangements at Celebration East, big kids often slept in other quarters with friends, instead of with family. The dorm rooms were small and came with only two (highly uncomfortable!) single beds. So, it is possible H may have relocated to be with friends, at that time. Still, I don’t know why S has not gotten all the details from H by now.

    But, the fact that there was a hidden ‘fortress’ under the dorm in question, makes this kind of scenario, at least possible. If someone wanted to do something creepy like that they could definitely get away with it in an huge underground bunker.

    In order to understand how and why something like that can remain hidden for so long, you really have to understand the bone-crushing system of control within SGM churches. Over the years, members would do just about anything to stay in the good graces of their leaders. It was an environment that would cause grown men to loose their minds or, young men to prefer death over life or, beautiful young women to slash their arms, in despair…anything but suffer the shunning of their families or the condemnation of the leaders.

  • Dr. Pepper

    If you ever want to learn the truth come to the blogs. It’s really sad that members of sgm have to read blogs to know what really happened

  • whattodo

    Can anyone speak to the financial condition of CovFel. No word has been mentioned about replacing DH and BV. Instead they are added four deacons now. Many of the big tithers have left and many are no longer tithing.

  • Dr. Pepper

    Whattodo,

    I’m curious about that too. I’m a member so I could probably get an answer. However, I don’t even think ill believe the answer. I’m not even sure about the deacons. At other churches that have deacons, don’t you usually run for it and then people vote for you?

  • NotEvenAGlimmerifHope

    Hebrews 13:7 encorages us to consider the outcome of our leaders’ lives.
    I just did that and concluded that I don’t want to end up like them:
    C.J. Mahaney; control freak who demands total fealty; needs men’s praise to feel OK; pathetic hypocrite.
    Brent Detwiler: Pitbull who can’t see his own role in building the dysfunction that defines SGM; unemployed, with the specter of future ministry all but gone.
    Dave Harvey: De-gifted, dis-fellowshipped, and to date un-repentant for his role in propping up Mahaney.
    If you’re reading this and you are still loyal to SGM as a brand, it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee. The fruit — the outcome of their lives — is brokenness and heart ache. Break free now rather than later.

  • Stunned

    Are the deacons paid or unpaid?

  • Dr. Pepper

    Stunned,

    I believe they are not paid. They already have jobs outside the church.

  • Todd Wilhelm

    I humbly make a motion that you de-gift SGMNation from your Link Love. The last post there was on 18 November. It hasn’t been serving your readers well!

  • PB&J

    Last week I have been accused by my former Sr. pastor (SG of Fredericksburg) of Biblically slandering him in my previous posts. He wants a public apology – “sorry”. Today I have received an email from a CFC pastor who barely knew me when I was there asking for forgiveness for the hurt that I must have experienced at CFC/SGM and hopes of finding my place in Christ’s Body. Contrast on where a pastor can look. DH of CFC thank you for looking at the sheep and caring.

  • PB&J

    Clarification: post 34 DH is not Dave H, but Doug H of Covenant Mercies.

  • Help4Abused

    In thinking about Celebration East’s Lawrence and Scranton Halls, I’m hoping that others might comment on my memories of how much noise there was in just opening/closing/locking doors of the dorm rooms there. Since there weren’t rugs and little noise-dampening items in the rooms (like a typical college student’s room), it would be very difficult to open/shut a door (even if unlocked) without making a lot of noise. That’s one of the reasons I stayed at hotels a few times (in addition to car alarms that went “off” and stayed “on” way too long). If the windows in a room were open, the door closing would even make an even louder noise.

    I remember Celebration ’88 as being comfortably warm as I walked around campus with some friends without a jacket. I would imagine that most went to sleep with some windows open and maybe even fans in their rooms but still not loud enough to circumvent the noise of a door opening/closing.

  • Dr. Pepper

    PB&J,

    Can I ask what you said that slandered your former pastor? I don’t have time to go back and look. Also, if it wasn’t slander, then why are you saying sorry?

  • PB&J

    Dr Pepper. Just shared my testimony of my experience and opinion…
    “sorry” is not the SGM way of apologizing ;)

  • Dr. Pepper

    Since when is someone’s opinion and experience called slander? Maybe someone should start a list that says, “you know your from sgm when”

  • Persona

    Help4Abused 36

    As loud as it got in the dorm halls and, we once had a room across from the noisiest part: a women’s rest room w/ showers, where many children tagged along with their moms. But, we still kept the door ajar (for ventilation) and a floor fan to provide white noise.

    As tired as we got at Celebration, I doubt a siren would have waken us and, we are light sleepers.

    What we really need right now is other witnesses to step-up. I wonder if anyone in the Indiana church knows about it? They hosted the conference each year.

  • SMP

    You know your SGM when:
    Everyone you go to church with is from a SGM church but your not actually part of SGM anymore.

  • Guy

    SMP…

    And you read sgmsurvivors.com all the time, even though it’s nothing but slander and bitterness.

  • 5yearsinPDI

    1963 Report of fallout Shelters at Indiana Univ

    http://webapp1.dlib.indiana.edu/findingaids/view?brand=general&docId=InU-Ar-VAA2745&chunk.id=VAA2745-01654&startDoc=1

    There were 52 buildings at Indiana Univ in 1963 set up as fallout shelters. Not sure how many were underground but I assume all or most. (scroll down to Civil Defense, click on link)

    Here is a description of one such shelter at an academic building. I don’t have time to search for more information, but with 52 shelters one would assume all the dorms had a basementor sub basement shelter, in the event of a night time nuclear war beginning.

    University Archives:

    http://www.iu.edu/search/index.shtml?q=fallout%20shelter

    Fallout Shelter
    Categories: Topics

    In the 1960’s a fallout or bomb shelter was created in the sub-basement of Kettler Hall. The sub-basement is located in the wing where the PIT studio theater is; the other wings are on concrete slabs. The shelter only held about 30 people; there was no provision for electricity in case of a nuclear attack, so everyone would have been in the dark; there were no windows, no water no toilets. The room was assigned but never fully made usable, although there were some card board barrels with dried food in them. As one faculty member said, it created the aura of security, although everyone realized it really would have been of little use had there been a nuclear attack.

    Sounds like a perfect sort of place to rape a little girl to me (where is the barf icon, and the angry face one?). Nobody would hear or see a thing. Heather, I believe you.

  • Dr. Pepper

    Sorry should say, “you MAY be from a sgm church if”.. I don’t want to make anyone upset by saying it only happens at sgm.

  • jb

    5 Years 43: that’s Indiana University, not Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

    As an alum of the school, it’s a mistake I have to fight all the time. It’s so easy to make: and IUP doesn’t make it any easier by more or less having the same color scheme.

  • 5yearsinPDI

    oops, very sorry about that!!!

    Wait- I can’t say “sorry. PB & J is correct”. Looking you right in the face I say that I posted false information. I sinned. Even if I did it in ignorance I am still the worst sinner I know.

    But, there were 50 fallout shelters in the County. I would think some must have been at the Univ don’t you think?

    http://webapp1.dlib.indiana.edu/findingaids/view?brand=general&docId=InU-Ar-VAA2745&chunk.id=VAA2745-01654&startDoc=1

    I am sure Burke’s people are already on this……

  • 5yearsinPDI

    oops, wrong link!!! sorry!!!!

    http://old.post-gazette.com/regionstate/19990829ffallout6.asp

    I’ll have to call the Univ and ask…..

  • StateTheObvious

    I am re-reading some of the comments once discussed already concerning Celebration on previous topic threads. Someone named Ellie posted these two links:

    1st link talks about an underground fortress:
    http://www.indianagazette.com/news/indiana-news/photo-slideshow-empty-iup-dorms-soon-face-wrecking-ball,36952/
    Last comment on 2nd link discusses connecting basements between Lawrence & Scranton Halls:
    http://collegedorming.livejournal.com/27932.html

  • Lemongrass

    So what is the point of saying that there were old WW2 fortresses on the campus. Even if that were true, she said that it happened on the floor she was staying on. So we’re to believe that multiple children were raped (I cringe to type that) and then their assaulters just let them walk to bed (without any parents noticing). Why are you folks so hung up on bunkers? Seriously?! If any of you attended Celebrations back then you would know that Scranton and Lawrence had a basement level game room (Pool tables and ping pong tables) with a connecting hall. Who cares if they had underground bunkers when you are ignoring all of the other information. Several children were supposedly assaulted by several adults and their are no corroborating witnesses… and your talking about bunkers!? It’s not about believing or not believing, lives have been destroyed! H’s own mom confirmed that she was a meth and coke addict.

    I’m so surprised that Brent hasn’t responded to our simple questions. Brent, what is your plan? Are you going to get a normal job like all of us, or are you going to continue to reveal victims and their families for a job? Why can’t you let the civil authorities do their job?

    Notevenaglimmerofhope #30, fantastic post! sorry Brent, the people were paying attention.

  • Olivia

    He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
    To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.
    Micah 6:8

  • i am the QUEEN thats why

    fyi Its been awhile since I have commented…………….QueenBee I agree with many of the others that it would seem as though you are favoring SGM. You appear to talk as though you are threatened and throw in a lot of “Big WORDS and Language” ….Im pretty simple so I won’t be using fancy terminology . I do have questions for anyone though.
    So lets use the Adams guy. He served , went to prison for several years and Pastors TRIED to tell the wife and children NOT to tell and just forgive , right? It was so so sad……….BUT then after he is in prison he comes back , gets married again and has MORE children……………I think at this point I would assume he had repented?
    1)what should a church/pastor do in this case?
    2)should there be a place where ALL members can freely go to look up who the child molester and pedifiles are?
    3)should they be kept out of the church he did this in?
    I agree that the pastors were selfish , greedy and honoring CJ instead of GOD. I think it is soooooooooooo terrible that women and children were treated like 3rd class citizens and MADE to accept forgiveness and NEVER express the truth and all of the pain that they went thru and still are going thru.

  • Dr. Pepper

    Lemongrass,

    Brent believes that his job right now is to expose SGM/CJ, I believe. However, I do think Brent should at least get a part time job. I understand lots of people have said that it will be hard for Brent to get a job because of his age. However, I’ve seen many older people working at places like target and supermarkets.

  • Lemongrass

    Dr. Pepper – 52,

    I hear what your saying, but this situation is strange. He hasn’t said anything about finding a job, he’s only asked for donations. He’s told us he has no money and he’s about to lose his house, he’s only asked for donations. How in the world can anyone reconcile his attitude with his reality? I really think he needs professional help. He has more pride than CJ!

    I see a lot of older guys working; even Steve Griney has a job bagging groceries, after he’s had a stroke.

  • acme

    Lemongrass, just FYI the complaint doesn’t say the assault took place on one of the populated dorm floors — or even in the dorm. It says “Griney directed Plaintiff Thompson to meet him at a certain location.” (SAC #74-75).

    I saw in the last thread that you went to CLC and CLS. I’d be interested to hear more about your experiences.

    Anne CLC 1986-2007

  • Oswald

    PB&J @34 — I’m a little confused. Was DH of CovMercies asking forgiveness for hurt you received at CFC? And when were you attending there? DH seems to be one of the good guys. I’ve had ministry-related interactions with him.
    Someone asked about finances at CFC since DaveH and BrianV are no longer employed there. Tim S stepped in for some of BV’s work and the other pastors have taken parts of his job.
    When Stefan B left CFC, cgl said it was because we needed to save money. But then Tim S came along and I guess he had to be paid.

  • 5yearsinPDI

    http://newspaperarchive.com/indiana-evening-gazette/1964-03-19/page-13

    A 1964 archived article referencing a tour of the fallout shelters at Indiana State College. (In 1965 it became a Univ).

    Made by Westinghouse apparently.

    Here is a picture of a fallout shelter entrance in Indiana Pa. Not at a dorm, but obviously the city took civil defense seriously.

    http://www.panoramio.com/photo/25599537

    Really, is it fair to doubt her story? It seems to me she was definitely taken to one of these old basement shelters.

  • So lets use the Adams guy. He served , went to prison for several years and Pastors TRIED to tell the wife and children NOT to tell and just forgive , right? It was so so sad……….BUT then after he is in prison he comes back , gets married again and has MORE children……………I think at this point I would assume he had repented?

    According to Adam’s ex wife he hasn’t really reconciled with his first family and the daughter he molested. Also, one big thing he could do would be help with the costs for counselign the daughter he molested which his ex-wife has said he hasn’t done. Both would show some real repentance.

    I would also be more leery of someone like Adams who was in this same church and supposedly a practicing Christian when he did this vs. someone who did this before they became a believer. Just my thoughts.

  • Lemongrass

    5yearsinPDI #56,

    Why does it seem like she was taken to one of these basement shelters? Do you have any evidence to believe this or is it just your speculation? Seriously, why do you think that she must have been taken there? What do you suppose happened to all those kids that were supposedly able to walk back up to their rooms? Have any theories that are based on evidence?

    Steve240 #57,

    Agree with your thoughts but want to clarify one thing — it was his step daughter not his daughter. It’s just as despicable, just wanted to clarify.

    acme #54

    What would you like to hear more about?

  • i am the QUEEN thats why

    @ steve240 , yes I would agree that he should pay for counseling. Thats a good point. What about the church though? they tried to hide this all , had they have went to the proper authorities right away this would have said alot as well. I do wonder though………………other then NOT cover this sick stuff up , what more can a pastor do with a returning pedifiles? Like Charlie Llewlyn who left and then returned and pastors declined him to be a member BUT he was still in “fellowship” with the congregation . Im just asking to anyone out there what do we do with returning , repenting (some have not though) people who are pedifiles?

  • It's just the beginning

    @i am the QUEEN thats why, #51: according to the second amended lawsuit, (#32) Adams allegedly molested Plaintiff James Roberts in the “1982/1984 timeframe” (this is before he molested his daughter for 3 years [a proven fact]). So if the SAC is 100% correct, Adams should be facing criminal charges soon (if the district attorney feels there is enough evidence to charge him).

    As to your 3 questions, I think Stunned has shared on numerous occasions one way a church can handle a convicted child abuser, and I think it is wise. Stunned explains this better, but I think the key elements are the following:
    1. the convicted child abuser tells every friend and acquaintance he has in the church about his past
    2. the church has his name on a list and any church member can ask to see who is on the list of convicted child abusers
    3. a man like that is barred from serving in children’s ministry

    As far as I understand things, CLC has followed #3 pretty rigorously. They claim to strongly encourage the perpetrator to do #1, but there is no oversight or follow-up on that…how could there be since CLC doesn’t believe in #2, so how would anyone not told know that the perp didn’t live up to his end of the deal and tell all close friends made at the church?

  • As I’ve mentioned in a couple of previous comments, lately I’ve been really busy. I’ve also been feeling really “meh” about the topic of SGM. I can trace my latest bout of apathy to when the T4G guys posted their latest statement in support of CJ (a statement which was posted on Facebook, removed some 12 hours later after a flurry of mostly negative responses from followers, and then re-posted on their website a day or two later, only with some significant revisions). I honestly cannot wrap my thoughts around what it is that is wrong with those guys, guys for whom I used to have such respect.

    But anyway, being really busy and feeling apathetic have caused me to barely do more here than glance at comments from time to time. I have not been following the conversations very closely. I did not see some of Queen Bee’s remarks in the previous post until now. (I saw the one in which he/she was accusing us of making a “significant income” off of our Google ads…HUGE LOL…but I didn’t pay close attention to some of the other things she said.)

    When I went back and caught up on my reading this afternoon, I noticed that QB had complained awhile back about what he/she perceived as my not-fair-and-balanced coverage of SGM’s issues. I think he/she specifically ragged on my not posting links to the court documents.

    I did want to respond to that complaint.

    First of all, although I think I now tend to be more open-minded than some about things like the SGM lawsuit, I have never claimed to be some sort of news outlet. This site has come to be what it is because, as I’ve said before, people wanted to discuss SGM, and I found the topic interesting. When we first started SGM Survivors, it was called “SGuncensored” because there literally was NOTHING online about SGM other than positive, glowing, promotional information. In 2007, even the Wikipedia page for Sovereign Grace Ministries was written in such a way so that CJ Mahaney received maximum glorification and was made to sound like SGM’s sole founder. Our own SGM experience, though not particularly bad in any way, simply did not line up with the way that SGM was portrayed everywhere else online. I thought it’d be a good idea to publish some of my own personal observations about what I had come to think of as SGM’s cultural oddities. And that was how the conversation began.

    This site was begun in order to talk about the “other side” of SGM.

    That’s not exactly a neutral, fair-and-balanced place to begin.

    In all the ensuing discussions, however, I have attempted (with some success, I think) to be at least somewhat open-minded. If anyone has been following my comments lately, I have made some pretty unpopular observations about (what I perceive to be) the air of unreality that looms over SOME of the plaintiffs’ charges. I am not one who believes that being a victim automatically makes one incapable of mis-remembering.

    I even AGREED with some of what QB said initially when he/she (after carefully consulting with his/her lawyer beforehand) wrote the lengthy post about false memories. I actually (to support my agreement with QB) posted links to stuff about the McMartin Preschool trial, the case in which it was determined that at least some of the children had indeed come forward with accusations based upon false memories that were probably cultivated through poorly conducted interviews with social workers.

    But for all that, QB takes my lack of posting links to court documents as some sign that we’re not being fair and honest or something. Well, guess what? Blogs like this one are NOT news agencies. Very often, yes, one can find information here that is more accurate than what one will get when asking his pastor about the same situation. But sometimes, no doubt, when people are speaking of their own personal experiences or speculating about something, their emotional accounts or their conjecture are not going to contain vetted facts. And sometimes, because of my own personal biases, what I say won’t be impartial and totally balanced either.

    I don’t always post links to stuff because – here’s the sad truth – I’m LAZY. Sometimes I just don’t feel like going digging. But I don’t promise anywhere here that I will dig for you. I’m convinced that most of you are able (as QB said he/she was) to go out and hunt down information for yourselves. You can read for yourselves and make up your own minds. I’m not here to tell you what to think, although I will tell you what *I* think. You are, of course, free to accept or reject what I think. You may agree or disagree with me.

    I really don’t care.

    It’s this kind of garbage that fuels my apathy, frankly. I don’t really know – or care – what fueled QB’s criticisms of the site. Maybe QB is someone closely connected to those who have been spoken of unfavorably here. Or maybe not. I don’t know. And I don’t care.

    I do think that QB is holding the SGM Survivors blog to a weird and arbitrary standard. We’re not the Encyclopedia Brittanica. We’re not even the New York Times or Fox News. This is a place for survivors of an SGM experience and other interested parties to discuss SGM. People are free to take or leave what they want to take or leave.

  • ExClcer'sMom

    No, Lemongrass, it was NOT a “stepdaughter”. He legally adopted her when she was about 7 years old. (We got married when she was 5 yrs old)She was his “adopted” daughter, if you want to be technically correct. He was not her biological parent, but he made a legal, not just moral commitment, to be her guardian and protector, yet he became her worst nightmare in an environment where she felt she had no where to turn. She suffered for years because she ‘understood’ what was promoted as “order” was God first, your spouse next, and the children afterwards. She feared being sent away-the very thing that one leader suggested I do! He broke every legal, moral, and even natural law-to molest a little girl of only 11 years old..robbing her of any feeling of safety in her life, and distorting her image of God, and His great Love towards her. He will be accountable for that one day, before God.

  • Dr. Pepper

    Lemongrass,

    I think I remember maybe a year ago Brent was trying to find a job and would apply places and would get nowhere. I do think Brent should take a job as a bagger or something just to have some money.

  • Oswald

    Sorry to go back to this…PB&J @34 — I wonder if DH at CovMercies will take heat from leadership at CFC for asking forgiveness of a former member/attendee who was hurt.

  • StateTheObvious

    Lemongrass:

    You say you attended CLS. What years did you attend & can you confirm spankings? I also noticed you mentioned you too were a survivor. I am so sorry for what you have been through, and I will pray for your further healing.

  • i am the QUEEN thats why

    #62exclcers mom
    IS it true what #60 just the beginning says about Mr. Adams going back to serve tim in prison again because of the timing “molested james roberts” ? Im so so sorry for all that you have been thru………..the pain must just be so terrible, my family and I pray for you.

  • Dr. Pepper

    Kris,

    I understand how you feel. Nothing makes me more mad than the RBD side with CJ. At least Elyse Fitzpatrick has stood up for the victims. But if it were not for you than I would still be thinking I’m the only one who thinks things are weird in sgm/covfel. I’m very glad you created this blog. I too have lost much respect of T4G and TGC guys that I’m going to take all their books and burn them. Once again, thanks for giving us a voice. And BTW, nothing was stopping SGM posting the motion to dismiss document.

  • Dr. Pepper

    PB&J,

    I was wondering if DH barely knew you, how did he know to apologize? Was he apologizing just in general for what happened or something he did?

  • ExClcer'sMom

    I believe it was Stunned who spoke of how one Church handled a pedophile. Most importantly, I believe, is protecting innocent children. Who are we to think we know a man’s heart, to know if he is repentant, or just getting better in his deceit? It seems to me that any person who is a truly repentant pedophile would have a good enough comprehension of the immense damage he has done, that he would fully understand and encourage anyone in their hesitancy to keep their children away from him, rather than act indignant that anyone ‘does not accept his repentance and apology’. Seriously? People are persecuted for confessing Jesus as Lord, and they accept that willingly..how much more so should a pedophile accept the aversion showed toward him because of his own sick and perverse actions! Those vile acts were NOT beyond his control, nor was he ignorant of God’s power and strength to help us. It is not up to me or anyone else to determine his repentance, for God will judge him-It is up to us to protect more innocent children from being so damaged!

  • ExClcer'sMom

    What I know is truth is that DA served time in jail for molesting his adopted daughter, my oldest child. The first I ever heard of these other allegations was in the Amended Lawsuit. This information had been kept from me previous to the most recent publicity. Had I of had this information when it occurred, my child would not have been available for DA to molest. I cannot even express the anger and grief I feel, knowing those men kept such things secret, that allowed that man to continue in his sin.
    Thank you, for your prayers. My family truly needs God’s healing, as do the other victims of these vile acts. It is like living a dark, evil nightmare. I am so thankful that Jesus wins at the end. I look to Him.

  • ExClcer'sMom

    But, I must add, I believe every last one of the allegations. As horrific as they sound, and as shocking as they are to anyone, I believe them. Things they say “click’ with things I remember. I know too well how someone can live a facade, and no one wants to believe the horrible things they are capable of. OL, I remember you. Something about you touched my heart way back in the 80’s, and I have thought of you often. I am so sorry to say I did not pray for you every time I thought of you. I do now. I pray for you everyday. I pray for all of the victims every day, but I pray for you by name, along with my own family as well. I will always regret that I didn’t take bolder steps back then. I had no idea then that there were families other than my own who were experiencing these horrors.

  • Annon2

    #59
    In regards to Ll, should there be a noted difference between a pedophile who rapes, and a child molester whose perversions are consistent with a lack of respect for his children’s bodies allowing him to cross horrible boundaries in “discipline” as well (beatings to the point of bruising and ice tubs)?

  • Never Again

    Olivia, that scripture is a beautiful reminder for us all. I pray that righteous justice is accomplished and God’s mercy brings wholeness.

  • 5yearsinPDI

    Lemongrass…..

    I have no evidence. Nobody has any evidence that I know of. Nobody had a camera taking videos back then, or a recording device. Nobody I know of went to the room and collected semen samples from a couple decades ago on the floor. Or hair. Sherlock Holmes is dead so there will never be evidence.

    I do not believe she is lying. I just don’t. I do think memories could have gotten mixed, and what happened at school or celebration could be fused to some degree. But fundamentally I believe her. That is my choice. If you want to choose to only believe evidence, then you can only believe someone who immediately gets a sperm sample collected and tested, and they are in the minority.

    Why aren’t other witnesses coming forward? When I started posting here, 10 years after leaving SGM and going happily on with my life (good church, great husband, great kids, nice friends), I felt full blown fear posting that “they” would hack in and figure out who I was. The phone would ring and I would feel a vague panic that it might be a former pastor calling to accuse me. I had NO IDEA I was still under that evil spirit of fear. I thought I was free when we left. I was shocked that I could still be so intimidated by the thought of them- and the whole GC crowd- excommunicating me for my posts about sociopathy and false apostles.

    I got over it. I used to read posts here and “feel” God’s care for the abused in prayer, and after a while it was all the mundane people that mattered, and not the leaders. But that took a long time. I had to push off a lot of fear even to post anonymously.

    To have been a kid under this mess? I can’t imagine coming forward. I would feel fear for my life, even if that was unfair to the perps (not murderers, far as we know) . You have to resist a great darkness to speak up. The fear of opposing these men can be paralyzing. I believe there is a lot more going on than just human sin and the flesh. Cults like this have satanic grips.

  • ExClcer'sMom

    After more than 20 years, I have begun taking my youngest child (now a teenager) to a Church. One Sunday, she did not come to meet me right away at the Coffee urns. I went to the Sunday School class where she goes, and I could not find her. I seriously, literally began to cry, thinking my worst nightmares were coming true all over again. More than 20 years later!How do you think it is for a child, who is so young, being in that abusive culture, and their own abuse being all they know. A child does not have even a ‘basis of reason’ or enough experience or knowledge to know there is anything else. There are no ‘options’. Those of you who are fortunate enough to have never experienced such violations simply cannot understand. It changes you, once the unimaginable has happened to you. And it is even worse when people dont believe you, or want you to hide it, and suffer through it, like you do not matter.

  • ExClCer’sMom: #75 – –

    I seriously, literally began to cry, thinking my worst nightmares were coming true all over again. More than 20 years later!

    And there are those who say why don’t you just “get over it.” They just don’t get it. I’m so sorry, ExCLCer’sMom. Keep talking. I’m going to tweet your comment and tag a few key people. Good grief, the complacency of these drives me crazy.

  • LetMyPeopleGo

    Kris #61 –
    “I do think that QB is holding the SGM Survivors blog to a weird and arbitrary standard. We’re not the Encyclopedia Britannica. We’re not even the New York Times or Fox News. This is a place for survivors of an SGM experience and other interested parties to discuss SGM. People are free to take or leave what they want to take or leave.”

    Amen.

  • Stunned

    So if HT’s story was NOT true, then how would a young person born in the 80s know the first thing about a fallout shelter or that those buildings ever had such an underground space? I was born in the 60s and I only knew about them from history films.

    Someone who knows bomb shelters better than me may be able to correct me, but aren’t bomb shelters made to protect the inhabitants from VERY loud things like say, bombs? They can not be made of a material which could transfer sound easily, could they?

    Either way, I found Celebration East to be very noisy due to the car alarms going off all freaking night. but I never heard a peep from anything from the floors below me or beneath me. The place was tight.

    My recollection was that those dorms were

  • Thomas

    I’m now an ex-member of an ex-SGM church. I was there for 5 years and 2 weeks.

  • ExClcer'sMom

    Julie Anne, thank you. I am striving towards a whole new level of walking in Faith, and trusting God. “Key words” bring immediate feelings of revulsion, but God is showing me their true meaning, not the distorted, ugly manipulative meaning that SGM and associates wanted us to believe. Yet I was not raised in that culture, I knew there was something else. The children only knew of the environment they were in: parents who either abused them, or expected them to submit to those who abused them. Mathew 18:6

  • 3rd name

    Lemongrass @ 49 You said, “H’s own mom confirmed that she was a meth and coke addict.”
    Have I missed something? I don’t remember that having read that. Or are now YOU making things up to suit yourself. Also, I don’t recall that anyone said that it was on the same floor? WHere are you getting this stuff? For someone who is “no longer in SGM” you seem very attacking and venomous. Maybe your anger is twisting things in YOUR mind. You seem VERY hateful rather than Christ-like.

  • QueenBee

    Kris, I would be inclined to believe your defense of the content you choose to post were it not for the fact that evidence of your own blog posts contradicts you. You are not lazy. In fact, when it comes to disputing anything Tim Challies writes, you are quite proficient at documenting your points in detail as evidenced by your blog posts of March 1, March 5 and April 3rd in which you provide a plethora of links. Tim Challies must have hit a sensitive nerve to elicit such a well researched series of rebuttals.

    Ditto for any information that appears damaging to SGM such as these blog posts by you: “What SGM is telling SGM members about the lawsut” and “SGM to pick Mark Prater as Executive Director” included full text of documents and links. “Plaintiffs in lawsuit against SGM file opposition” which included links to pertinent documents. But then we come to the February 26th post “SGM Seeks Dismissal of lawsuit”…a little blurb with a link to NBC news. There was no due diligence in providing a link to the court documents. The reader is on their own to hunt that down to read it. And once I did read it, I can appreciate why anyone with a declared hatred of SGM would not want to be a party to disseminating a link that actually sounds rational and convincing. That document was significant because it was the first response by SGM to years of one sided allegations by SGM “survivors” and it was compelling. So compelling that it solidified my opinions.

    You should change your blog logo, Kris. It is not about discerning and deciding and seeking God’s truth if there is not an open dialog or due diligence to present all data and opinions equally. You are choosing what your readers can discern which affects how they make their decisions if they are not inclined to pursue truth by following up to fact check. It’s not God’s truth if it’s your version of biased “truth” that happens to conveniently leave out links or text that undermines your version of truth.

  • QueenBee,

    You can choose what to believe about what I say. I’m cool with that. But I have indeed felt lazy about this whole topic lately, just as I said.

    And really, your aspirations for a site like this one are completely unrealistic. Anytime there is a human being involved, you’re just not going to get an unbiased point of view. This site is not my job or my career – it’s something I do as an incidental hobby, when I have time, when it interests me. I have never promised to provide complete and comprehensive coverage about everything relating to SGM. I post about what I personally find interesting. And of course I have a bias. I’ve been interacting with survivors of bad SGM experiences for years…and engaging in conversations like this one here for just as long. Those things have shaped my opinions (bias). I know what I think about those who have had bad SGM experiences, and I know what I think about those who seem hell-bent on trying to discredit what people say here.

    I’m not going to defend anything here for you after this. If you don’t think you get accurate info here, then move on. Read elsewhere. If you think there’s another blog out there that presents SGM’s issues without a bias, with links to everything that your heart desires to read, then buzz on over there and be happy. I’m done with this.

  • It's just the beginning

    @QueenBee, #83: I believe I’ve asked you for these links before .. and I don’t remember you replying sharing those links.

    So I’ll try again–can you provide a link to the court documents that you found and read?

  • It's just the beginning

    QueenBee: I just looked it up and sure enough in #193 on this post:
    http://www.sgmsurvivors.com/?p=4166&cp=all#comments

    I asked you the following:
    “So you accuse Kris of not posting a link to the document where the civil case was dismissed — I would love a link to that, can you provide the link or must I go hunting for it?”

    There are plenty of us on this blog who are truth-seekers .. if you have additional data and links and perspectives to share, by all means please share. But don’t talk about court documents that sway your opinion and Kris not posting documents AND THEN NOT POST THEM YOURSELF.

  • Bridget

    Queen Bee –

    Kris never said that this was a discernment blog site. That seems to be something attributed to her by the likes of Tim Challies, et al. Your entire argument above is based on a false presupposition, which pretty much negates it.

    All I had to do was read SGM’s own statements on their own site for the past two years to understand how they treat people and see the probelms that engulf them. You think SGM doesn’t control information?! Yet you’re concerned that Kris does. That is almost hillarious, if it wasn’t so sad.

  • Bridget

    3rd name @ 81 –
    Lemongrass –

    There was a link here a while back to Heather’s story at spiritualtyranny.com. Her story does involve some years of drug abuse and difficulties. It doesn’t negate what happened to her as a child. The comments at that site were posted 3 years ago. Long before this lawsuit was filed.

  • 5yearsinPDI

    Those of us who experienced first hand any SGM lies from the top such as why a pastor had to step down, just don’t care to read SGM links, because we don’t believe they are truthful.

    I actually did read the recent ones, and found the first amendment defense to be disgracful in this situation dealing with CRIMINAL behaviors. Yeah, if a depressed guy kills himeself at home with no prior suicide threats, and the parents decide he got bad counseling in the pastor’s office for the past few months, I would say that there is a first amendment case. The guy chose to seek help from the pastor for depression, the pastor did his best as a Christian using the bible, and still the guy killed himself. There is some clergy privilege there.

    But not for criminal sex abuse going unreported.

    Then there was the recent SGM statement where they claimed to have zero control over local churches. Who is smoking the crack here? The Apostles ruled with an iron hand over local pastors. Brent filed his five page affadavit about how things worked, so no need for us to press this, it will come out in court. But they lied. Queen Bee, they lied. They have proven themselves to be liars. So why should we even bother to read their defenses and explanations? And why on earth should Kris link to them?

  • Eric NS

    QueenBee is likely referring to the “Defendents’ Motion to Discuss (B)” found on Brent’s site at http://www.brentdetwiler.com/class-action-lawsuit/. It was issued on February 25.

    That document pokes a few holes in the original complaint filed by the plaintiffs — a few good holes, I might add. But what QueenBee fails to do is read and think about how most of those holes were plugged by the Second Amended Complaint. Are there still holes? Yes, because the plaintiffs have been sloppy about some of the details. But that doesn’t render the substance of the complaint invalid.

    The Motion to Dismiss is interesting, but not compelling enough to dismiss the substance of the case. The plaintiffs attorney should work harder, though, at getting some more of the details right.

  • Marie

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, Kris!! Thank you for all of the hard work, for taking a great deal of unwarranted criticism from people, and for using your time and treasure for this website to continue. I know I have had my disagreements with you (well, maybe just one, but I am so sorry if I came off as critical of you in one of my posts), but I am so grateful for all of your hard work. Because of this site, I have been able to put my gumption together to put my efforts into church again, and they have paid off. I had a wonderful time at the night time service last night, I felt the comfort of the Holy Spirit, and there was great fellowship after. My trust in fellow Christians is getting restored, after a very abusive (non-SGM) church experience that lasted for 2 years.

    I had meant to apologize for posting something that could be construed as critical of you, Kris. I always see you as a sympathetic voice for survivors. I don’t want to bring up the disagreement again. I will be very careful about what I post about from now on. Just wanted to say thanks, and that you are loved and appreciated more than you might know or realize at any given moment. Praying for you. I don’t think I could have the stamina and patience that you clearly have.

  • Luna Moth

    We’ve been going to a little Baptist church these days. Last week was Missions Sunday. We heard from a missionary to Mexico, and there was a potluck afterward.

    I’m starting to like going to church…

  • Not at CLC any longer

    Queen Bee people come to this blog to vent, to listen and to heal. You apparently have not had the same experiences that many of us have had. Congratulations. In that case your coming to this blog is like a antiwar demonstrator coming to a meeting of soldiers with PTSD. You can’t relate. You can’t say that what other people say isn’t true or valid if you have not experienced the same thing. If you have been one of the inner circle you don’t know what the rest of us have dealt with. You have probably lived in a little ‘Girl-Talk’ bubble where real life does not happen Where like communist leaders you think all the citizens are well fed, safe, happy and ignorant. You are upset because someone is saying “No, we are not stupid, we are not happy, we have been left unfed, unprotected and under the care of wolves.” and people are asking, “Where have the shepherds gone?” Do not criticize what you do not understand. If you want to vent about, and criticize what goes on here, how about starting a SGM supporters blog. Get your own following of people who think like you.

  • 3rd name

    Bridget @81 Thank you for the clarification. I had only read 2 posts by HT’s mom and neither of them mentioned drug addiction. So Lemongrass was making a false claim about HT’s mom by saying “H’s own mom confirmed that she was a meth and coke addict” which was not true. Maybe LG was trying to make it seem worse if she claimed that even the mother said so. In my last post, I noted how venomous Lemongrass seems to be. If you go back to LG’s posts, you’ll see what I mean. Lemongrass, any reason you can share for the meaness and outright lies?

  • Persona

    I am so thankful for ‘survivor blogs’ to help rectify and balance all the pitiful pro-sgm blogs and posts in the cloud, like Challies’.

    I know for a fact that Kris used to love to follow Challies and other Reformed pastors who regrettably, now protect CJ. She used to be positively-biased toward them…but, no more.

    I think the reason we have attracted vitriolic trolls again is because Brent’s accusation have hit another raw nerve in SGM. They apparently can’t touch him with their stingers so, they try to silence us.

  • Nickname

    Maybe someone should start a list that says, “you know your from sgm when”

    Someone did that a few years back either here or on Refuge. Priceless. Maybe someone can find it.

  • It's just the beginning

    @3rd name, #93: if you go to this survivors blog post:
    http://www.sgmsurvivors.com/?p=4166&cp=all#comments

    scroll down to #1323–you will see that HT’s mom said this:
    “Lemongrass #1318 Everything Heather posted about in Spiritual Tyranny was truthful- yes.” [for the record it is actually #1319..a moderated commented must have been approved later on]

    When HT’s mom said “everything Heather posted about in Spiritual Tyranny was truthful” .. what she is talking about is this link which Lemongrass posted / asked about in #202 and #223:
    http://spiritualtyranny.com/family-member-tomczak-responds/comment-page-2/#comments
    (look for Heather’s post / her story in #68)

  • jayson

    Perhaps since QueenBee is so unhappy here she can simply start her own blog. I am sure with her incredible knowledge and lofty thoughts of herself, QueenBee’s blog site will be right up there with best in no time.

  • Nickname

    I never attended Celebration in PA, but I did attend several others. The talk about disbelieving someone’s story because it’s hard to believe they could sneak out undetected aggravated me, and then made me laugh.

    When my kids were little at Celebration, I left the door propped open at night so that nobody would be woken up by the sound of a clicking lock if someone else got up to go to the loo. No reason to lock, we were in there with a bunch of perfect Christians.

    And many of us who went to college back when there were rules about who could and could not be in dorm rooms became experts, and I mean world class, at sneaking in and out of them. You can trust me on that, and I bet some of us could still do it. Not that we would…!

  • Misseditbythatmucj

    Luna Moth Says:

    “We’ve been going to a little Baptist church these days. Last week was Missions Sunday. We heard from a missionary to Mexico, and there was a potluck afterward.

    I’m starting to like going to church…”

    I love reading/hearing things like this. So much healing needs to take place.

  • OutThere

    I, for one, find QB’s posts interesting and informative. One of my criticism’s of SGM and many of it’s followers, including some of my friends, was the notion that they wouldn’t (not “couldn’t” – wouldn’t) hear truth if it came in the form of a bad attitude. There was also a very strong “Do you who are steeped in sin presume to tell me”- attitude that I thought contradicted the notion that they loved the truth. Both of these examples focus on the messenger, not the message, and are, in my opinion, attempts to avoid responsibility for handling information that might be messy or unpleasant.

    Has QB been friendly and emotionally supportive? Not that I can tell. But the posts are well written and informative (which is not to say they are 100% accurate), and usually not vitriolic until after several other people have made snide remarks about QB (and since I haven’t read them all, I will concede in advance I could be wrong about this last point).

    Her (or his, as some have suggested) post about having first hand experience with repressed memories over 20 years ago – brought up because the description in the 2nd amended complaint (or whatever it’s called) reminded her of terms and events described in her own experience – I thought was very useful. The attorneys who are representing SGM – Carr Maloney – are highly reputable, and have successful experience defending religious institutions in a variety of matters, including sexual misconduct and liability issues. They even discuss on their website their experience dealing with cases that involve repressed or recovered memories.

    I know that there is no claim by any of the plaintiffs that any of the events described were mined from repressed/recovered memories. But guess what – if this case goes to trial, the plaintiffs will be deposed, which is not like being in a courtroom – anything can be asked, and while objections can be made, the plaintiff still has to answer. And if the defendant’s attorney smells repressed memories, s/he will grill the plaintiffs on how they remember, why they didn’t say anything at the time, etc. So QB, thanks for the heads up.

    Susan Burke’s well known experience is with adult women who were raped, many/all of whom reported it at the time it occurred. The SGM case involves children and events that occurred decades ago. I don’t know if she has experience handling cases similar to this one. But it is worthwhile to note that she will be going up against more than half a dozen other lawyers from different law firms, some of whom have well-populated law firms (and therefore additional support and resources). Defending a case doesn’t simply require knowledge of law and prior cases – it involves imagination. If QB wants to criticize the case, let her do it, mistakes and all. Perhaps in doing so, she will help Susan Burke understand what she is up against and therefore know what to prepare for. It may also help the plaintiffs prepare psychologically for what they may eventually encounter.

    Regarding QB’s comments on slander and libel – maybe she meant them to be threats, but if so, take them seriously. If this case is allowed to go forward and then loses, there are some questionable comments on this website, and people are vulnerable, and you will do yourself a favor if you heed her warnings.

  • Waters

    The bottom line: Criminal sex abuse has gone on in SGM for years. The SGM pastors,’Apostles”, and hierarchy COVERED IT UP

    The CULTURE SGM created and operated by leaven control, for years, for decades, facilitated silence and cover-ups. We who were a part of SGM KNOW this is true. Queen Bee need only to read the posted stories/testimonials on Survivor Stories to see this is true. The SGM ‘Biblical’ hoops they created for parishoners to continuously jump through reveals their intricate control.

    Yes, as 5Years stated: “The Apostles ruled with an iron hand over local pastors. Brent filed his five page affadavit ON HOW THINGS WORKED, so no need for us to press this, it will come out in court.”

    HT has courageously come forward…she has pierced the darkness and shifting shadows. Brothers and sisters, in our best friends SGM story, it sounds so unbelievable, so outrageous,…and yet—-it has been PROVEN to be true. And yes, sexual perversion was involved. And yes, the pastors and apostle knew about it. And yes, they covered it up.

    Whatever the courts may decide—and I have a feeling we are in for a long long process, there is still the truth of the Gospel in a nutshell which Jesus illustrated in the story of the Good Samaritan: To first SEE the broken, to MINISTER to and bind up the wounds of the broken…because this is the Hands, Heart and feet of Jesus. Jesus.

    A couple months ago, our pastor spoke this phrase:
    “Don’t elevate the noise of the Pharisees
    over the cries of the hurting”

    Pharisees and T4G/Reformed friends are screechingly noisy….
    But Jesus, hears the cries of the castaways and wounded, always….and He cares about Justice, because:

    ‘Righteousness and Justice are the FOUNDATION of Thy Throne;
    Lovingkindness and TRUTH go before Thee.’ PS 89:14

    I know this has been said many times on this forum, but it is true–SGM Survivors and SGM Refuge have been and are Gods avenue to make a way for the testimonials of the saints to be HEARD and brought into the LIGHT. God has disarmed the control of silence SGM puppeteerd for the previous decades. And so, we continue the fight for truth…in open LIGHT!

  • Dr. Pepper

    Queenbee,

    What was stopping SGM from posting the court documents of the motion to dismiss? I mean why couldn’t they post it?

  • What I find fascinating about QB’s comments is that he/she expresses dissatisfaction with my lack of balance and objectivity…even as I agreed with what was in his/her initial contribution about repressed memories.

    If QB had posted that stuff on other sites, he/she would have been totally blasted, likely by other commenters AND the moderators. I was open-minded and receptive to what QB had to say. I even linked to an article about the McMartin Preschool trial, in which some allegations of child abuse were discovered to have likely been the product of mishandled social worker interviews. I was essentially agreeing with QB.

    Yet somehow QB returns to critique my lack of balance?

    It’s just weird to me – like QB is going out of his/her way to pick a fight or something.

    If I were charging people some sort of subscription fee in order to read here, with some sort of promise of comprehensive and balanced coverage of everything relating to SGM’s issues, I’d say QB’s complaints would make sense. As it is, he/she is coming to a website and offering up critique that the moderator is posting…and complaining that the site does not offer the links he/she thinks ought to be included. Think of the irony of this for a moment – QB’s criticisms of the site are being published. Nothing has been censored. QB has been graciously permitted to have his/her say, even though it has been negative.

    If he/she tried to comment on other sites like that, particularly SGM sites, that would never happen. But I am the one who is not providing a balanced enough point of view?

  • JeffB

    [Edited at author's request - comment was originally about declining participation in certain programs at CLC]

  • Thomas

    Luna Moth,

    That’s encouraging. Really. I’ll admit I have very little desire left to find a new church.

  • Waters

    #96Its just the beginning,

    In reference to HT’s posted story—Statistically: sexual, physical, and emotional abuse victims veer into differing levels of drug use and/or sexual ‘activity’. Especially for children—who are simply incapable of comprehending or ‘telling’ all that has been perpetrated upon them. This DOES NOT void out the criminal/immoral actions perpetrated against them.
    Have we not seen this in the uncovering of sexual abuse within the Catholic church? The passing of many years does not erase the guilt of a perpetrator of sexual abuse.

    We know that Jesus has heard the yearrrrrrrrrrrrrrs of these many abused children, crying in their pillow, unable to be heard by those they trusted the most…and it made no sense. Now they are adults, and can articulate the dark unspeakable things perpetrated against them. This is a courageous step of redemption for them…I pray Gods continual strength, clarity, courage, and true friends to walk with them THROUGH their journey—

  • Yellow is a Happy Color

    To (drag) Queen Bee———I don’t know who peed in your cornflakes, but you simply do not play well with others. You sound like you are just here to bully.

    To all the MOMS of SGM’s sexually abused children, I applaud you. I’ve read with such warmth about Mrs. Thompson (?) ExCLCer’s Mom, Pam Palmer, Happymom, Stunned and others. (I’m sorry if I am missing names, please forgive me!!!) I applaud you for supporting your victimized child through thick and thin, for standing with them and standing up for them in such a toxic system as CLC/SGM.

    I say this because there are moms out there who have seen their children being sexually abused, yet did nothing. They turned the other way, they blamed the child for ‘tempting’ the molester, etc. No doubt there are women in CLC today who could fit this bill. I know of one like this in CLC who described the pastor’s ‘care’ of her sexually abused child in such glowing terms……. (I’m missing the old throw up icon right now).

    So all you MOMS out there who stand up for your children to get informed, to defend them, to support them in their therapy, I rise and call you blessed.

  • Waters

    Kris #103,
    QueenBee speaks from a lens of leaven. Really— detailed, studious, spliced with veiled accusations against you and this blog …all for what? QueenBee is like the pet hamster running in his wheel—whirrrrring—-or is that buzzzzzzzzzzing…..
    “Something” in the way she (?) writes hits my SGMspeech nerve……

  • CORRECTION: I went back and looked, and lo and behold, I apparently did not post links to the McMartin Preschool trial in my response to QB. I did say, though, that I was not disagreeing with what he/she posted, although as far as I know, recovered/repressed memories were not the basis of the majority (if any) of complaints contained in the amended filing.

    I will go so far as to say that I at least somewhat have to agree with Lemongrass’ assessment of some of the remarks HT has posted on the Spiritual Tyranny site. Maybe it’s just the way HT writes. I don’t know. But my gut reaction is that there’s this air of unreality and unbelievability to the way she recounts some of the things that have happened to her. Specifically, I’m talking about her account of her first day of public school:

    I started my first year of school outside of the “compound” in a public high school; 9th grade. I showed up in stirrup stretch pants and an oversized T-shirt….no makeup. I can vividly remember a fellow male classmate ask me if I thought I was cool. I literally thought he was asking. I had no clue what sarcasm was because sarcasm was sin. I legitimately answered swiftly (because I wanted to “please” with immediate obedience) and I answered “yes.” He laughed so hard at me. I was clueless as to why he was laughing. For the rest of the day I felt so out of place. I was so overwhelmed. I was so scared. The lunchroom was unbearable. Where was my little lunchbox and scripture verse that my mom always gave me? Where was the lunch monitor who prayed before we ate, and assigned us to our seats? Where were the teachers who walked around and smiled with approval & took notes of you for taking the initiative to wipe down the tables, empty the trash, pray for the afternoon part of the day, and offer other’s help in order to win that ‘Golden Mop’ award at the end of the year? Should I tell a teacher that a guy made fun of me? He must be going to hell anyway. He must not be one who is predestined. So I went to the bathroom to hide, only to find the “bad girls” smoking and using words I had never heard. They were laughing and calling each other “B*t*h. One of them looked at me to ask what I thought I was doing hanging out in there?! I said, “waiting for my next class, b*t*h. (I thought I was just following the “cool girl’s” protocol. One girl said, “you better run.” So I did. I was confused. What just happened? These were still the days before Google, otherwise I may have saved myself some earlier heartache and knew what things meant.

    I guess I come at this from the perspective of someone who has worked a lot with teens in both public and private school settings. There is literally ONE kid in my experience whom I can imagine naively calling some tough girls a b*t*h. And that kid is severely developmentally disabled, to the point where she will NEVER be able to write as cogently and with as much complexity as the now-adult HT is now able to write.

    Could abuse and an SGM upbringing render a 14-year-old mentally challenged, with social awareness equivalent to that of someone severely developmentally disabled? And could that person then go on to recover to the point where she’s no longer mentally challenged? It’s possible, I guess. I’m not a psychologist. I’m not an expert. But I do find certain elements of some of the lawsuit allegations to have that same air of unreality.

    [And now I will duck and slink away while everyone gets really mad at me for daring to say this...]

    [And QB, if you're still reading here, is this fair and balanced enough for you? ;-) ]

  • OutThere

    Kris 103

    Good points. Don’t beat yourself up over this. Just curious – do you still feel lazy now? :)

  • justawife

    @JeffB #107: I attended the 9 AM meeting yesterday. It was, as normal, fuller than the 11:30AM meeting but it still seemed a little small by comparison to what I had previously seen before.

    I am aware of several people that are leaving CLC or strongly considering leaving CLC. Many individuals who were not engaged in the whole CJ business (they just didn’t pay attention or didn’t seem to care) are really disturbed by these allegations. I still am shocked to see what is happening to the HS ministry. It seems this really shook things up.

    The silver lining in all this is that hopefully this severely changes things in CLC, such as past handling of sexual abuse. It’s about time.

  • I would add to my #109, though, that the important thing to keep in mind is that a good many of the lawsuit’s allegations are related to situations that have prior documentation. Some of the situations even already went through the criminal court system.

    So even if some of the allegations have (as I said) an “air of unreality” to them, that does not change the factual nature of other allegations.

  • OutThere –

    We are back from one vacation and about to go on another. In the meantime, I have a few days of free time. I also feel my interest in the topic returning. Guy always teases me whenever I say I’m bored and I’m done. Our running joke is that my saying that is a sign that yet another shoe is about to drop.

  • It's just the beginning

    @Waters, #106: I was defending Lemongrass’ statement that HT’s mother confirmed Heather’s story that she posted on spiritualtyranny.com … the details of her past with drugs certainly does not void the abuse she allegedly suffered–please don’t take my clarification to ‘3rd name’ to mean that.

  • Waters

    It’s just the beginning,
    Thankyou for clarifying!

  • Stunned

    Someone (as opposed to somebody ;) ) above asked about what one does with a repentant pedophile. Ex-clcer’s Mom answered quite eloquently that we can never KNOW the heart of someone and we can never truly know if someone is repentant. But speaking as the child of a pedophile (and let me tell you, that’s never a sentence I ever thought I would utter in my lifetime- blech), there are many things you CAN know.

    1) With the written permission of the repentant pedophile, the pastor can check in with the therapist of the pedophile and find out if the pedophile is going into see their therapist, either, weekly or 2 times a week. This is a horribly painful on going problem for almost every pedophile. They should NEVER be around any children again for the rest of their lives. And hells no, they should not be making victims…er… more children of their own. (If anyone needs some help with this I have a rusty knife I’d gladly offer for surgery to help remove the ….errr….ahhh… sacks of anyone who has this problem. And seriously, if you DO have this problem and you never want to fall victim to your horrible urge, you should be wanting to either medically or surgically enich-ize yourself in order to protect both yourself and any potential victims. But this is an aside.) The pedophile needs AT LEAST to be in weekly therapy for many, many, many years or for life. Yes, this is costly. But it doesn’t begin to compare to the cost of what it would take to care for your victims. More on that later. Kinda the practical price of what you’ve done. Dad, who was already retired, lost much of his retirement money because of what he did. Again, more on that later. The pastor needs to be in touch with the therapist on a weekly basis to see that at least the pedophile is still in on going one on one therapy. That to me is a base minimum to assure the pastor knows that this person (man or woman- women are pedophiles, too) is doing one of the steps necessary to help them not commit this crime again. (By no means will it guarantee it won’t happen. Not at all. But it is one small step that could help.) As an aside (I have lots of sides), the pastor, with the written permission of the pedophile, can keep in touch with the pedophile’s probation officer. They can check in to see that the pedophile is obeying all of the court’s requirements (if the court is involved.) Is the pedophile showing up for all appointments? Is the pedophile still wearing an ankle bracelet and staying within their allowed limits? Etc.

    2) The pastor and the ENTIRE church must be aware the identity and crime of this person. I don’t care what someone else said that this would make going to church impossible for the pedophile. That is a bunch of crock. Do you know what it would do? It would keep the pedophile from going to a bad church. A self righteous church where the people don’t realize that they, too, are sinners and that they themselves has sinned against the God of all creation. If there is a problem, it is up to the pastor to teach the word of GOD about forgiveness, love, etc. The pastor ALSO needs to be seriously prepared to care for and love the sex abuse victims in their midst. (Conservative numbers say that 1 in 3 women have been abused and 1 in 5 or 1 in 7 men. Again, these are considered conservative numbers.) Having a pedophile in their midst will trigger issues for many of them. It will, also, usher in an incredible time of healing for some of them. Most likely the pastor will NOT have spent years in full time school, being educated on how to care for sex abuse victims. The pastor should NOT attempt to become the counselor for the victim unless they have multiple degrees and years worth of training outside of the church. I am sorry, but sadly, the body of Christ has not committed decades and decades to research this nor years and years to be properly trained in how to counsel such victims. The pastor can love and care for the person but the counseling should be left up to GOOD, trained professionals. Once the news is out, both from the pulpit and the church bulletin, asking if there are any other victims of this one pedophile who can come forward to help both the police and themselves, the pastor needs to invite any victims to contact the church or someone in the congregation, who can point them to Jesus and a good counselor. One elderly woman who I had known for years approached me the Sunday my brother and I got up and spoke at my father’s church regarding what Dad had done. She approached me and there in the church aisle I experienced a holy moment. For the first time in her 80+ years, she shared with me that she had been molested as a very young child. This bright, articulate, kind woman had never been able to tell a soul. And with this unveiling of Dad’s activities, she had the courage to come and share it with me. To see the look on her face, the lightness she experienced in unburdening herself of a secret she had carried for decades was something I won’t forget. (Until dementia sets in.) When pastors share from the pulpit what has happened with people in their midst, people WILL be set free. (PS. I encouraged her to go to therapy to begin to work this through.) Others will scorn and not love the pedophile. Even if it’s friends you have known for 40 years. Guess what. They are not ready to be your friends. It will be HARD. But since when was life easy? At least the life God has called us to lead. Jesus speaks of visiting those in prison. Pretty good chance that he wasn’t just talking about political prisoners. He was talking about us sinners. US. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory. Don’t matter how far, we are still called to love and forgive. We are not called to act stupidly, though.
    3) So pastors must, also, insist that the pedophile is NEVER, EVER, EVER left alone on church premises, from the time the car is turned off to the time it heads out the parking lot. Which means, if the pedophile doesn’t have a family member who will walk into the church building, sit beside them, stand beside them and go into the bathroom with them, then the church organizes a team of people who will do this job. Cause you know what? Church ain’t for the pretty and the perfect. It ain’t for the good ones. It is for the spiritually sick. And I can think of few people spiritually in sicker than those who lust after children. They have my great pity. There is someone who posts here regularly who is part of a team like that at his church. (Is it Roadwork? I am sorry, my brain is like a sieve some days.) Whose ever duty it is that week gets to church before the pedophile (my fingers want to fall off and run away from having to type that word so many times.) They then meet the pedophile at the pedophile’s car, walks them into church and should be with them every second until the pedophile gets back in their car and disappears out of the church driveway. A pedophile should NEVER be in any public setting of any kind alone unless it is 100% guaranteed to not have a child in it. (Let’s say a wedding where it has already been assured ahead of time that it is an adult’s only wedding and that children will NOT be in attendance as flower girls.) Pedophiles often believe that they simply “love” the children and believe society is the twisted one. (My lunch feels like it wants to migrate back up my throat and disappear back out of my mouth. This is such a horrible topic to think about.) As a result, pedophiles are seldom the creepy, icky people you envision. They are actually very good with kids. There’s no way in heck you or anybody else are going to spot one unless you are someone who can just sense things.

    In other words, the pastor’s number ONE responsibility is to the least of these- to the children who cannot protect themselves. After that, to us sinners.
    Did I mention that the church WILL lose some of its members if a pedophile is welcomed? Some of them may be well paying.

    PS. To all of you who have had your children molested by young men who were babysitting for you- PLEASE KNOW that you did nothing wrong. Women and teenaged girls molest, as well. Despite what the ignorant pastors and James Dobson says, this is NOT a gender specific crime/sin/drive. To tell someone that only having a girl/woman babysit your children will keep your children from becoming sex abuse victims is BEYOND stupid and flies in the face of all evidence. It is, also, insulting to every single person with male parts who have faithfully babysat small children.

  • It's just the beginning

    @OutThere, #100: in your comment you said the following things:
    “if the defendant’s attorney smells repressed memories, s/he will grill the plaintiffs on how they remember, why they didn’t say anything at the time
    “Susan Burke’s well known experience is with adult women who were raped, many/all of whom reported it at the time it occurred”
    “The SGM case involves children and events that occurred decades ago

    ..

    This got me thinkging–I went back and looked at just how much in the second amended lawsuit is just bringing up alleged sexual abuse from decades ago versus the plaintiff/plaintiff’s parents reporting to PASTORS, who then did not contact local authorities (instead covered it up and/or told parents NOT to report it).

    ..

    After re-looking over things (and I hope I haven’t missed anything), 7 of the 11 plaintiffs/plaintiff’s parents talked to a pastor..and the pastor never contacted the police, hid the sexual abuse, etc. [this of course assumes the second amended lawsuit is 100% accurate]

    7 of the 11 plaintiffs!!! This is not just about long-lost, potentially-flawed memories of sexual abuse victims (and I believe their memories are TRUE until proven WRONG). If this goes to trial, pastors will have to give an account if these families came to them about these sexual abuse cases.

    This is NOT just about sexual abuse from decades ago .. first and foremost, this lawsuit is about how pastors did not handle those reports of sexual abuse properly.

    ———

    This is going to be very long, but here are the details from the second amended lawsuit that I pulled out—instances where a plaintiff or plaintiff’s parent(s) talked to a pastor, that then never reported it to the authorities:

    PLAINTIFF LIST
    ==============
    1. Heather Thompson Bryan
    2. Jessica Roberts-Thomas
    3. Dara Sutherland
    4. Renee Palmer Gamby
    5. James Robert
    6. Jane Doe
    7. Karen Koe
    8. Karl Koe
    9. Carla Coe
    10. Grace Goe
    11. Donna Doe

    (PLAINTIFF #5)
    [#33] {during the 1982/1984 timeframe, plaintiff was 8-10 years old} James Robert went to Defendant Loftness about DA abusing him
    [#37] {during the 1990/1994 timeframe, plaintiff was 16-20 years old} James Robert went to Chriss Glass and Defendant Layman about NM abusing him

    (PLAINTIFF #8)
    [#108 - #111] {in 1997, plaintiff was 7 years old} Karl Koe’s parents went to Defendants Ecelbarger, Gallo, Mullery and V. Hinders about the sexual abuse against him. (quote from #111) “In fact, after Defendants were put on notice of the ongoing molestation, [name withheld pending court ruling on defense motion] continued to molest Karl Koe in the bathrooms at the Fairfax Church. Approximately forty percent of [name withheld...]‘s molestations of Karl Koe occured after Defendants had bene put on express notice that [name withheld...] was molesting young children in Fairfax Church.”

    (PLAINTIFF #6)
    [#114] {in summer 1998, plaintiff was 3 years old} Jane Doe’s mother told Defendant Ecelbarger about the abuse by Jane Doe’s father.

    (PLAINTIFF #11)
    [#134-#136] {around November 2000, plaintiff was 11 years old} Donna Doe’s mother confronted her husband for sexually abusing Donna Doe and then called Defendant David Hinders

    (PLAINTIFF #10)
    [#156] {in 1997 when Grace Goe was about 13} Grace Goe Defendants Ricucci and Layment met with Grace Goe and her older sibling and reported the sexual abuse by her father

    [#158] {Grace Goe was 25 or 26} “On or about September 17, 2008, Plaintiff Grace Goe again reached out the Defendants [the CLC pastors], seeking assistance in preventing the ongoing abuse of her siblings.”

    [#159] {Grace Goe was 27} “In May 2010, Plaintiff Grace Goe again sought help from Defendants Layman and Ricucci, as she was concerned that her father was continuing to abuse the children remaining in the house.”

    (PLAINTIFF #7)
    [#162-#165]
    {plaintiff was about 13 years old}
    * In or around 2002, a teenager sexually molested Karen Koe when she was 8
    * Karen Koe did not tell her parents until October 2007 (the parents called the police–the teenager was prosecuted and convicted)
    * [#165] Defendant Gallo and the other Defenadants knew the teenager had been caught and convicted for sexual crimes against other children (not Karen Koe)–the pastors never alerted the parents of Karen Koe or other parents

    (PLAINTIFF #1)
    [#173] {plaintiff was 20 years old} In 2000, Plaintiff Thompson advised Defendant Tomczak that she had been sexually molested by SG.

    [#179] “As but one recent exmaple, the son of a pastor molested a child in 2012. When the parents sough consel, they were advised by Defendants not to report the molestation to the police, and to permit Defendants and their counsel to handle the matter without any secular involvement.

  • Luna Moth

    Dear Misseditbythatmucj (#99),

    I am glad you are glad to hear it!

    Our (our?? Yes, our!) church is small and has a personality of its own. I am taking things slowly. But I am finding I like being there.

  • It's just the beginning

    A note of clarification: the last item [#179] was not associated with PLAINTIFF #1…I should have separated that somehow. #179 is about a recent account (2012) of someone not mentioned—not sure who “son of a pastor” is.

  • seeking the city to come

    I don’t post often but I am beginning to find QueenBee and her/his attitude quickly becoming like a hemorrhoid. Seriously. Though my liberation occurred a decade ago, I was a part of Covenant Fellowship for roughly 8+ years. Anyone with half a functioning crap-detector should be able to discern the problems with integrity, etc. within its walls. This , however, is not limited to Covenant Fellowship (or perhaps I should say, Covenant Fellowship Church). From the get-go, it was apparent that People of Destiny International (as it was)/Sovereign Grace Ministries (as it is for the moment) was a strongly top-down organization. Nothing appeared to happen except by the decree of its apostles (under the leadership of CJ Mahaney). That said, it’s not clear to me what it is about Sovereign Grace Ministries that QB is so hell-bent on defending such that she/he has shifted the focus from the indefensible, possibly criminal, methodology of pastors/apostles drunk on the wine of their own “authority,” to Kris, for not being QB’s dream moderator. What is clear is that, at least for me, it’s becoming tiresome. Kris is far more forbearing than I would be, so hats off to Kris and Guy for providing a forum for the disillusioned and weary (and even those who disagree with them) to discuss the issues that have affected so many of our lives. May God bless you for your work for him, and may he shine the light of his truth into the darkness.

  • Misseditbythatmuch

    JeffB wrote:

    “A friend who goes to CLC wrote this about yesterday’s service:

    “Today when I dropped [my child] off for ‘discovery land’, instead of the typical 100 — 125 kids there were more like 25 — 30. Also, the main service is down to about 35-45% of what it was a year ago. The parking lot is mostly empty (at least for the 11:00 service) I’m pretty sure the 9:00 service is fuller.

    [The High School ministry] is now nearly wiped out. Of the 7 high-school age home groups, 5 of the families have quit, and the leader David Brewer has cancelled the home groups all together, because no more leaders will get up and help. Several have left the church, others just feel like it’s not worth it anymore. Additional leaders were ‘trained up’, but ended up deciding not to commit to the program.

    Today I heard that the Mexico missions trip has been cancelled as has the Uganda trip.”

    So clc church attendance is way down, there’s a lawsuit against them, many have left, many are thinking of leaving and yet they think this is a good time to do a “church plant” in mt. Airy. I just don’t get it.

  • Luna Moth

    Thomas (#105), I do not blame you. We already had a relationship with this little Baptist church because our kids went to VBS there, and then our young adult daughters wanted to attend that church. So I would sometimes go along with them.

    (It took me a long time to figure out I could DO that.)

    In some ways I think just taking a breather from churchiness would be good–for me, or for you or anyone who feels disenchanted with the whole thing. I know God can guide our paths as He wishes. I don’t believe we need to be fearful that by not being in church we are somehow out of His reach.

  • Stunned

    Kris, you clearly didn’t grow up in SGM! ;) I felt that every single word of that story was believable. In fact, I thought of many people who could have had that same experience right up to but not including the b word. I was agreeing with you on that one. UNTIL I remembered…

    I spent many years in SGMland. Many. I was so unbearably naïve that I still cringe at many of my stupid social behaviors after I “came out”. One particular situation happened 3 years after I left SGM. I had made a new friend who had the habit of referring to me and another new female friends as “slapper” which I had taken to mean “girl-friend”. She refereed to our male friends as “wankers” which clearly meant “guy-friends.” She was a native English speaker so I never thought to question it. I even called a few of our new guy friends “wankers”. (If any of you know what this means, surely you are as embarrassed right now as I was many months later when I realized what they really meant.) A bit after meeting this new work friend of mine, I was to meet her in a large city square. She and I were about 40+ yards apart when she shouted, “Where are you, Slapper?” I raised my hand as high as I could and yelled, “Here I am!!!!!” Might I add I did this in a city where everyone else in the culture knew and understood those terms. Everyone except for me.

    Now, please, allow me to define for you these two terms.

    Slapper= prostitute or whore
    Wanker= this is a man who…anyone want to cover this for me?… one who… hmmm… google it, but don’t if you have a porn setting on your computer (yes, I called a few new male friends this. It’s a wonder they ever spoke to me again.)

    This all to say, I was a somewhat well-traveled 37 year old woman when this happened.

    As a result, I have no problem believing that a 14 year old who was raised in SGM had no idea what she was doing would use the b word. I get it that you don’t, but it’s like trying to describe airplanes to people in the year 33AD. They aren’t going to believe it, whether it’s real or not. Too far outside of their realm of knowledge to even imagine.

  • Justawife

    Stunned116: Excellent!

    It seems as if people do not realize that pedophilia is a mental problem, one that is ongoing and is never truly “cured”. Not saying pedophiles cannot be repentant or redeemed at all but in them exists an unnatural sexual attraction to children that is difficult for most adults to understand. It is similar to an alcoholic, while they may no longer suffer from the harmful effects of their addiction they must learn to avoid any alcohol at all cost as it presents significant temptation to them. Pedophiles are advised by psychiatrists to never be in any jobs or settings where they have access to children. I, too like Stunned have a member in my husband’s family who has pedophilia tendencies, although they have never molested any individual. We are thankful to know this and would not allow this individual to stay overnight in our home due to our children being there. I do believe these individuals should be loved and included in church if truly repentant but as shepherds the church pastors/administration should make every effort to ensure these individuals are never allowed access to children. Not only could they potentially harm children but themselves as well. Ignoring someone’s obvious mental problem is not only harming those potential victims but those who struggle with pedophiliac desires as well.

  • OutThere

    It’s just the beginning 117 –

    Oh, I’m with you on that, that the leaders were clearly informed by parents and/or plaintiffs near the time many of the incidences occurred. But if some of the plaintiffs’ stories can be eliminated for lack of evidence – evidence that a court allows – that makes for a weaker case.

    Plus, if the case does get to go forward, some of these women are really going to need advance warning regarding what they are up against. They are going to be questioned, and while they have demonstrated that they are strong, I imagine they are also fragile. We can’t assume they can handle everything that’s thrown their way.

  • Stunned

    justawife, I just wrote you a long post and poof, it disappeared. (Not the site, Kris, but a misplaced hand.)

    Justawife, can you now, please, pretend you have just read a post which would make you happy? Doesn’t matter what it said because I can only remember parts of it. But I’d like to think you smiled when you read it.

  • OutThere

    Stunned 116:

    “Despite what the ignorant pastors and James Dobson says, this is NOT a gender specific crime/sin/drive….It is, also, insulting to every single person with male parts who have faithfully babysat small children”

    Thank. You.

  • Stunned

    OutThere, I appreciate your thoughtfulness in being concerned for the plaintiffs. From what I can surmise, they have all been warned that the questions they will be asked will be hard and ugly and along with questions, they will receive much harsh condemnation and be called all sorts of names outside of the court. They are so unbelievably strong and yes, many of them, also, understandably fragile. I know I would be.

  • Ellie

    I agree with Stunned – I have NO problem with believing ANY part of Heather’s post. She was trying to “fit in” with the bad girls. They were friends calling each other “b***hes”. Just like when some people of color call their friends “nigga”.

    I tried to google something about this and found this post from 2007 that sounds pretty darn similar to Heather’s high school story about the girls in the bathroom:

    amy t.:
    I don’t have a problem with my friends calling me b***h in the playful sense. To me, in that context, it’s no worse than “geek” or “dork,” really. One night, however, I was at the bar playing dominoes with the bartender and another couple I’d known for only a couple of weeks (and strictly through the bar), and when I lost she was all, “It’s your round, b***h!”

    I dropped my grin, gave her a blank stare and responded, “Don’t think for a second we’re good enough friends that you can call me b***h.” That shut her right the hell up.
    _______________

  • Waters

    Stunned #116
    So Excellent — Oh that this could be published for churches to hear and enact~

    Stunned #123,
    Sadly true. Again, the SGM *CULTURE* saturates people, especially for those who have been swimming in it since childhood.
    Naivety (which Proverbs clearly warns us about!)becomes a crippling response in the ‘outside’ world. I know many young people (early 20’s to mid 30’s) who are now OUT of SGM and are acclimating to the world around them. Angry at what has been stolen from them (spiritually; maturing process; emotions; natural instincts; discernment….)and seeking God’s redemption in all facets.

    So anyway, like Stunned, I CAN hear and picture the first day of school scenario as HT writes of……
    Growing up in the leavened SGM culture, suppression of voice and feelings, amplified by sexual abuse—then thrown into a public high school—she probably felt like she was turned inside out.

  • Waters

    #117 It’s just the beginning,
    Thankyou for taking the time to sift through and posting these stats—

  • Nickname

    Here’s a link to a video of Boz Tchividjian talking about “Offenders in the Church and How They Operate”. If you haven’t seen this yet, I recommend it highly. There are also 3 other videos from the same seminar posted under ‘resources’ at gracenet dot org.

    http://vimeo.com/58304996

  • waters

    A friend just sent me news that Boz T of netGrace.org tweeted today a new phrase has been added to the end of the Together For the Gospel statement “Why We have Been Silent About the SGM Lawsuit”. Recall, this statement was signed by D A Carson, Kevin De Young; and Justin Taylor.

    The added phrase reads:
    “This statement reflects the views of the signatories and does not necessarily speak for other Council members, bloggers, and writers of The Gospel Coalition”

  • Sopwith

    *
    *
    *
    God So Loved The World: “Take Two?”

    Hey,

    Do you all get the feeling that with SGM, you are in a horror film, where the nightmare is never ending? Is this what God, the Lord of heaven, planned when He sent His only Son, –that we who believe in Him, should possess Eternal Life? 

    (sadface)

    *

    Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. 

    For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. 

    Trust in the LORD and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. 

    Delight thyself also in the LORD, and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart. 

    Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. 

    And He shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. 

    Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. 

    Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. 

    For evildoers shall be cut off; but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. 

    For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. 

    But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

    Blessings!

    Yahoooo!

    Sopy

  • Stunned

    Nickname, I have been so impressed with your desire for truth and your tenacity in learning so much about how to care for people who have been abused.

  • 3rd name

    Stunned @ 128 “They are going to be questioned, and while they have demonstrated that they are strong, I imagine they are also fragile. We can’t assume they can handle everything that’s thrown their way.” I absolutely agree with you and wish some posters would consider how their words may further hurt them. Stunned @123 – I love your analogy to the airplanes. And who ever said kids in public school were kind to a new student. I could totally see someone giving a new kid the business even if they looked like they were part of the in group. Didn’t any of you go to public school? Even Christian schools can have mean kids. Schools now have huge programs to combat bullying.

  • 3rd name

    Sorry OutThere – It was YOUR post I quoted first – @125 about them being fragile and we should guard our words a bit.

  • Not at CLC any longer

    Missed it #121,

    For me the final straw for leaving CLC was not the lawsuit and everything exposed by it, for me it was the Mt Airy church plant. I do not support it, I do not want my money going to it, I do not understand why CLC is doing it. CLC is broken, in time it may get fixed, I would love to have seen all efforts, resources and energies put into reinforcing CLC and caring for the people there, to getting our own house in order before sending people out. Why is a broken church starting a new church, duplicating that which is not already not working? Are there thousands of unchurched people in Mt. Airy MD? Are there no churches in Mt. Airy? Is a duplicate of a broken church in a new location going to suddenly start working right? I don’t think so.

  • Marie

    Not at CLC #138, so is this church plant rather like a couple that has major marital difficulties, that incorrectly thinks that having a child will solve them? Just curious. Folks have posted their opinions about this church plant on this blog, but the topic has died down a bit. Hope you can find rest, Grace, and healing elsewhere.

  • QueenBee

    TO Eric NS who wrote “That document pokes a few holes in the original complaint filed by the plaintiffs — a few good holes, I might add. But what QueenBee fails to do is read and think about how most of those holes were plugged by the Second Amended Complaint. Are there still holes? Yes, because the plaintiffs have been sloppy about some of the details. But that doesn’t render the substance of the complaint invalid. The Motion to Dismiss is interesting, but not compelling enough to dismiss the substance of the case. The plaintiffs attorney should work harder, though, at getting some more of the details right.”

    The plaintiffs were “sloppy” about a few details? Well, that’s an interesting interpretation. If I recall, when you sign a complaint you are stating it is the truth under penalty of perjury. You cannot afford to be sloppy about details because the defense attorney is going to grill you to a cinder on the witness stand about those “sloppy” details that were admitted under penalty of perjury to be the truth. Thank you for stating for the record that even you, Eric NS, recognize the sloppy inconsistencies in some plaintiff’s stories.

    The plaintiffs attorney should work harder? Like doing due diligence in the first place?

  • 5yearsinPDI

    Dear Stunned,

    Your posts about your experience are amazing. Have you ever considered writing them all up into something that could be published, at least online? A while ago you posted about finding out and then having to tell the whole church. This one today about being careful within a church is so excellent. Compassionate, forgiving, and redemptive, but firmly protective of kids.

    Maybe you could collect your posts about your dad, put them together, and then edit them and break into subsections. You could send it to Boz and others, and we could link it here. It has help for family members as well as church staff.

    I would imagine, given the internet and the addictive patterns that cause porn addicts to move from the normal stuff to more and more perversion, this will become an increasing problem in churches as well as society at large. You have such an amazing perspective as someone who has walked through the whole thing and ended up just wanting to see the Lord glorified and kids be loved well, past the shame and other common negative reactions. I’d love to see you put together all the pieces into one good long essay.

  • Dr. Pepper

    Don’t mean to change the subject, but why doesn’t sgm churches do a vacation bible school program, like other churches do? I know covfel doesn’t, all they do is a choir camp thing. Or do other sgm churches have vacation bible school?

  • Elle

    Dr. Pepper,

    For the same reason they never recognized parachurch organizations, or foreign mission boards, or partnered with neighborhood churches, or supported homeless shelters, or did traditional youth ministry. They wanted to be different and better, and we all bought into the superiority thing. VBS?? That is something old-fashioned, denominational churches did.

  • Marie

    Elle #142: That makes total sense. I don’t remember hearing them make a justification from the “pulpit” – oops only denominations have those? But I am sure there is one to be found from a SGM voice.

    Something else I was wondering about – I had posted before about Larry T teaching Justin T about the birds and the bees – he had gotten a record and hammer out, and had Justin smash the record, and told him that once he loses his virginity, he could never get it back, just like he could never get the record back.

    So here are some questions:

    1. Does anyone remember Larry T telling this story?

    2. Did CJ tell some kind of a “Here is how I convey the birds and bees to my children” story?

    3. Does anyone remember any interesting SGM recommendations about how to explain the birds and the bees to children?

    I remember that Larry did not seem like he was advocating this for everyone to do. Just curious if there was an SGM way to explain the facts of life that people can recall.

  • It's just the beginning

    For a number of years, CLC has done ‘Summer Celebration’ .. it’s a week-long day camp for kids ages 6-10. It’s kind of like VBS I guess–lots of games and singing and stuff like that.

  • jimfromhumility

    Mt.Airy church plant
    I will be going to the church plant in Mt Airy have been waiting and praying for over 4 years for this to happen (I live in Mt airy). MM the who will be planting the church came into CLC from another Denomination and was very vocal against SGM when the S hit the fan from Brents Docs. The Mt. Airy locals interested in the church plant dont all come from CLC. The majority of those coming want a small, local and non-professional church. CLC is not exporting to Mt.Airy

  • QB –

    I just checked with Guy, and it turns out he had deleted a couple of your comments after you wore on his patience.

    I would appreciate your acknowledgement of the fact that I have been more than open-minded as far as some of your points are concerned. In fact, you need to acknowledge that your disagreeable comments continue to be published, even as you disagreeably hammer away at the same old stuff about how we’re not open-minded and balanced here.

    Until then, I may or may not follow Guy’s lead and give your commenting rights a rest.

  • Misseditbythatmuch

    @ jimfromhumility, post 147

    How can you say that CLC is not exporting to Mt. Airy, when one of their pastors (even if he came from another denomination- he CAME to SGM) will be starting the church and people from CLC are talking about going. Isn’t that “exporting”? There are other good churches in the Mt. Airy area. I get so frustrated that SGM/CLC people don’t look at any other church as a good option. I guess they are now though. Plenty have gone to other churches in the area already.

  • Dr. Pepper

    The thing covfel does do is a thing called second Saturday where on the second Saturday of every month, the church does an outreach to the community. It includes car washes, going to a nursery home and singing songs for them and talking and praying with them, and some other things.

  • Persona

    Kris, I agree that you have been more than reasonable with QB and even agreed with QB, where you could. (You might even have been too patient!) By comparison, he/she has been unreasonable and trollish toward you and the rest.

    Another thing I wanted to mention was in regard to the naivete and believability of Heather’s posts.

    I grew up equally sheltered and, I attended small private elementary schools. One day, in the middle school playground I was mocked by a boy when I used the word “queer”. As he laughed, he asked me if I knew what that word meant. Of course I said, ‘yes’ but, it was much later that I discovered why he laughed at me that day.

    All that to say, it doesn’t surprise me that ‘H’ was puzzled by her introduction to slang terminology. If you grow-up with Adventures in Odyssey, TV filters, and strict codes of speech at church and at home and, you are only allowed to share pleasantries, you can grow to near adulthood without hearing any gutter slang. Our children had that experience and they are younger than ‘H’. In their case, it was only after HS that they witnessed any of that from other college students or, in movies.

    So, I didn’t find H’s memories so far-fetched.

  • OutThere

    In fairness to QB’s last post (142), QB had, in fact, been censored, and so she was justified in being indignant about comments that she had NOT been censored when she knew otherwise.

    In fairness to Kris, she discovered QB was right, and then admitted it.

  • OutThere

    …”acknowledged” is a better word, since Kris didn’t know about the deletions when they were made.

  • Marie

    JimfromHumility #147: I hope that your church plant succeeds. I would not wish anything negative on a church plant. I have been involved in positive and negative ones. I don’t know when a church plant “transitions” to a regular church, but CovFel was in the early stages when I started attending in the late 80’s, and I was at ALCC Pasadena after it started taking off, in the mid-80’s.

    Just recently I was in a frustrating situation in a church plant that did not have much of a growth strategy, except for to attract people from neighboring churches – the plant was initially based on the some of the best people from a nearby large church. Kinda messy there.

    Hopefully plenty of new, unchurched people will find the love of Christ as a result of this plant.

  • Marie

    Speaking of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, I looked up a survey article, here is the abstract:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3083990/

    Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2011; 7: 167–181.

    Published online 2011 April 4. doi: 10.2147/NDT.S10389

    PMCID: PMC3083990

    Cognitive behavioral therapy for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder: a review

    Nilamadhab Kar

    Interesting quotes:

    However, nonresponse to CBT by PTSD can be as high as 50%, contributed to by various factors, including comorbidity and the nature of the study population…..CBT has been found to have a preventive role in some studies, but evidence for definitive recommendations is inadequate.

    CBT looks promising more for depression, from what I understand. I can look a survey article up for that, but I have not heard it to be the “wonder-therapy” for PTSD. Most people with PTSD have to have a great deal of patience with whatever therapy is offered. It is a time-consuming process to heal.

  • Skeptical

    Not sure if this has been discussed yet, but has everyone heard about the member’s meeting called at CLC on June 23rd? They were supposed to have their member’s meeting on June 30 to discuss the 2014 budget, but instead they’ve moved it up to June 23rd to discuss the lawsuit. I’ll throw a few questions out there with, probably, obvious answers: 1) Is this in response to Brent’s implication of Josh in the cover-up? 2) If so, what kind of response do you expect from Josh on the 23rd? 3) It was mentioned in earlier posts that attendance is way down at CLC. Is this an attempt to stop the bleeding? 4) Josh encouraged members to read the Detwiler documents concerning CJ – probably because it served CLC’s agenda to separate from SGM. What will Josh say about Brent’s blog this time? Will he refer to it as gossip and slander? I’m curious to see what kind of responses I’ll get to this post. Do you think Josh has it in him to approach the topic with sincerity? Or is he in full cover-up mode a week from Sunday?

  • Not at CLC any longer

    Jimfromhumility,

    Thanks for the post. I am glad to hear from someone who is going on the plant. I rejoice that this is an answer to prayer for you. I just question the timing. Coming right on the heels of CLC’s separation from SGM it seems to me that it was like the pastors at CLC was thumbing their noses at SGM saying “See, we don’t need you, we can plant churches without you.” I would like to have seen the dust settle from the separation, have a solid year with a new constitution, be stable, recover from all the chaos created by “The Docs.” Get the lawsuit completely behind us then, send out church plants. Like Marie said it’s like a couple having a child hoping that would fix things, or perhaps prove to others that things don’t need fixing.

  • Marie

    And for some interesting comparisons with CBT, EMDR is another effective approach for the treatment of PTSD.

    While the link below is from the EMDR Institute, which clearly would have a pro-EMDR bias, they do acknowledge that CBT can be helpful in the treatment of PTSD, when they report the outcome of some studies.

    As far as repressed memory therapy, or whatever QB calls it, there is no mention that I can see in the literature about serious studies of it. Also, when I went to the Psychology Today “find a therapist” website, they offer all kinds of treatment modalities, including “CBT”, “Eclectic”, “Existential”, “Gestalt”, “Solution Focused Brief Therapy”, but no recovered memory therapy. It would not be impossible to find that treatment approach, but it sounds pretty darn hard. I don’t believe many practitioners offer it these days….

    http://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/prof_search.php

    http://www.emdr.com/general-information/ptsd-research.html

    Five randomized clinical trials have compared EMDR to exposure therapies4,9,15 and to cognitive therapies plus exposure1,10. These studies have found substantially no difference between EMDR and the cognitive/behavioral (CBT) control, with a superiority in two studies for EMDR on measures of PTSD intrusive symptoms and in one for CBT (using imaginal and therapist-assisted in vivo exposure) on intrusion and avoidance

    ….

    Several controlled field studies have tested EMDR in community settings such as low cost agencies5, an HMO facility2 and a university based clinic serving the outside community4. Such studies, which reported good results, have excellent external validity. In the only controlled study that has treated disaster-related PTSD13 , school children’s PTSD symptoms were markedly reduced after EMDR treatment, with an improvement in overall health measured by fewer health visits to the school nurse. This was also the first controlled outcome study of any treatment for children with PTSD.

    1Lee, C. & Gavriel, H., Drummond, P., Richards, J. & Greenwald, R. (2002). Treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder: A comparison of stress inoculation training with prolonged exposure and eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 58, 1071-1089.

    4Ironson, G.I., Freund, B., Strauss, J.L., & Williams, J. (2002). A comparison of two treatments for traumatic stress: A community based study of EMDR and prolonged exposure. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 58, 113-128.

    5Scheck, M.M., Schaeffer, J..A. & Gillette, C.S. (1998). Brief psychological intervention with traumatized young women: The efficacy of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 11, 25-44.

    9Vaughan, K., Armstrong, M.F., Gold, R., O’Connor, N., Jenneke, W., & Tarrier, N. (1994). A trial of eye movement desensitization compared to image habituation training and applied muscle relaxation in post-traumatic stress disorder. Journal of Behavior Therapy & Experimental Psychiatry, 25, 283-291.

    10Power, K. G., McGoldrick, T., Brown, K., Buchanan, R., Sharp, D., Swanson, V., & Karatzias, A. (2002). A controlled comparison of eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing versus exposure plus cognitive restructuring, versus waiting list in the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 9, 299-318.

    13Chemtob, C.M., Nakashima,J. Hamada R.S. & Carlson, J.G. (2002). Brief Treatment for Elementary School Children with disaster-related posttraumatic stress disorder: A field study. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 58,99-112.

    15Taylor, S. et al. (2003). Comparative efficacy, speed, and adverse effects of three PTSD treatments: Exposure therapy, EMDR, and relaxation training. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 71, 330-338.

  • Oswald

    Pep @143 — Because CJ didn’t think it up, it wasn’t his idea.

  • JennGroverSuperFan

    May 14. Dave Harvey. Four Oaks Church Tallahassee. Ugh!

  • Persona

    Not at CLC any Longer 157

    We definitely wondered why Matt wanted to plant a church in sleepy little Mt. Airy, immediately on the heels of the CLC church split. Why would anyone want to carve it up any more?
    It seems that Matt may not be happy staying at CLC or he wouldn’t be leaving. Anyway, we think there is more to the story and who knows, it may come out over time.

  • Marie,

    Thanks for the kind words in your comment #90.

  • Eric NS

    QueenBee #140, I’m flattered that you were impressed with my, yes, even my, ability to see holes in the plaintiffs’ documents. :) Frankly, I’m far from the strongest defender of the plaintiffs (and other victims), but I am, nonetheless, a believer in the substance of their “stories”.

    Actually, its not hard for anyone to see the holes in the documents, but as far as I’m concerned, they aren’t in the stories themselves, as you suggest. I say that, because, the complaint is not, and never has been, intended to provide every detail about the abuse and therefore we can’t know whether there are actual and substantive inconsistencies. (It would be nice to have a trial so we could all figure that out.) Rather, the complaint documents simply serve as minimal descriptions for establishing the bare facts of the case so that it can proceed to the next step in the legal process, where the full details would be revealed and clarified. So, the holes are in other details of the documents (not the abuse descriptions), and some of those “holes” I actually believe have been done on purpose by the plaintiffs’ attorney.

    For example, everyone can see that the addresses of about half of the defendants are incorrect. I don’t know why they would get something so basic wrong, other than they didn’t know the new addresses of some of these people so they used their prior legal addresses. I’m sure it helped with the intended purpose of being able to legally serve the case documents against the defendants.

    In other examples, the descriptions of the defendants in the Original Complaint also describe things incorrectly: It describes SGM as the “Church” when it isn’t normally viewed that way; it describes SGM as “operating” other churches, like CLC and SGC Fairfax, which it doesn’t, per se; it describes certain activities of the “Church”, meaning SGM, as doing things like having “engaged in the care of member’s children”, which SGM really does not. Things like this give an impression of sloppiness and can make some doubt the substance of the abuse stories themselves, which is unfortunate.

    However, there is truth in these apparently incorrect statements, and especially when viewed from the angle that the plaintiffs’ attorney is likely coming from. When it describes SGM as a “church” and that it “operates” CLC and SGC Fairfax, they are trying to establish SGM, and more importantly CJ, as an hierarchal authority bearing ultimate responsibility for directing and knowing about specific actions/activities. If the plaintiffs can establish this kind of relationship, which is quite possible even if SGM doesn’t view themselves this way, then they might convince a jury that SGM is actually responsible for everything that happens in individual churches, even if just indirectly. Likewise, even though SGM would not consider themselves to have directly engaged in the care of member’s children (and CLC and Fairfax would not consider themselves to have done this either), the fact that these churches sanctioned the care groups where child care was provided can possibly be shown to be a defacto authorization of child care, therefore making the churches individually, and SGM corporately, responsible for whatever happened there. Because of this likely line of reasoning, I believe that some of the “holes” or apparent “inaccuracies” are intentional and planned to establish the plaintiffs’ case.

    So, I appreciate the pat on the back, but you might need to rescind it now that I’ve clarified my position.

  • Oswald

    Jenn G @163 — Looks to me like 4 Oaks Church where Dave H is preaching pastor, is probably an Acts 29 church. The Village Church in Texas, Matt chandler is Pastor; they have the same icon/The City to indicate their small groups. @the link from Jenn G, see the very top of the page for the icon.

  • Stunned

    EricNS said, ” it describes certain activities of the “Church”, meaning SGM, as doing things like having “engaged in the care of member’s children”, which SGM really does not.”

    EricNS, also said, “Likewise, even though SGM would not consider themselves to have directly engaged in the care of member’s children (and CLC and Fairfax would not consider themselves to have done this either), the fact that these churches sanctioned the care groups where child care was provided can possibly be shown to be a defacto authorization of child care, therefore making the churches individually, and SGM corporately, responsible for whatever happened there.”

    EricNS, I am not sure if this is spelled out more in the documents or not, so if it is, forgive me. But could it be possible that your interpretation of the comment about “engaged in the care of member’s children” as being babysitting for homegroups is an inaccurate one and that this term may be pointing to the time when JL asked exclcer’s mom if he could “care for the children” and then turned around and had them put in foster care?

  • Oswald

    What’s up with QB…I thought Guy dismissed this guy/gal a few days ago. I was so glad…but now…

  • Interested

    I still remember my first day of college sitting in a stall of the women’s bathroom bawling my eyes out because I could not handle all the bad language I had heard that day as well as the words that were written on the back of the bathroom door. Several years later I had a co-worker who was fond of the phrase “talking smack”. I thought it meant that a person did not know what they were talking about. I had no idea it was a drug reference. So I can completely see how a 14 year old would have no clue especially of she grew up as I did.

  • Eric NS

    Stunned #166, I don’t think so, but I wouldn’t rule it out as a possibility. I’m taking that phrase from paragraph #15 from the Original Complaint, where it says “The Church constantly engaged in the care of member’s children.” It goes on to further define it in relation to home groups and other activities.

    I think I understand why the attorney would use that phrase and can accept it as such, but I could also understand why SGM or someone supporting SGM would object to that terminology and its implications. To some degree, its a matter of perspective. I do think, though, that the plaintiffs’ attorney could make a case in support of that statement and convince a jury of it, especially considering how directive the pastors were with people in the 80’s and 90’s.

  • Oswald

    Re: my @165 — Looks like ‘The City’ does not refer to small groups, but rather online communication like fb. And maybe not just for Acts 29 churches. I’m sorry for jumping the gun and making assumptions.

  • Oswald said,

    What’s up with QB…I thought Guy dismissed this guy/gal a few days ago. I was so glad…but now…

    Yeah, Guy and I were just talking about this. I didn’t realize just how much QB had irritated him. I will stand by his decision and not post any more of QB’s comments…unless he/she decides to acknowledge just how fair I have actually been to him/her, giving him/her a venue for his/her contrarian voice.

  • Persona

    Oswald 169

    Yes, “The City” is a program developed by Acts 29 and many churches have bought it from them. I heard CLC is even contemplating using it but, of course, they will likely ensure it is tightly controlled, if they do.

  • It's just the beginning

    I find the whole homegroup/care group babysitting an interesting topic: when I grew up in a Christian home in the 80’s I did not attend CLC .. as a child, I was always dragged to homegroup and I remember enjoying it, playing in the basement with other kids, etc. I’m willing to bet that’s how CLC operated back then too.

    When I was an adult and then had kids and joined CLC, I found it odd at first that most care groups at CLC did NOT bring their kids. The reason was, and still is, that having a bunch of kids in the basement is a big distraction, and that made sense to me. (for the record, I believe there are some CLC caregroups where the kids come but I think it’s only about 10%-20% of care groups)

    ..

    I wonder if after a few bad episodes with kids and babysitters at care groups, did the pastors decide not encourage the ‘keep your kids at home’ approach instead of bringing the kids and having a babysitter in the basement.

    To anyone who was at CLC in the 80’s and 90’s: did you all used to leave your kids at home for care group? or bring them? Does anyone remember if there was a sudden change in posture to one verse the other?

  • Luna Moth

    Here is a Google map of Mt. Airy: http://goo.gl/maps/WJcMm

    The little red dots are churches. (Hover your mouse over them to see their names.)

    Not everyone will like what I am about to say.

    I do not see any need for an SGM or CLC church plant in Mount Airy. For one thing, Mount Airy is full of churches.

    For another, I am personally not in favor of SGM or CLC planting any more churches. It seems to me that CLC, like SGM, is still sick and needs to wait on God.

    I realize that this church plant is some people’s dream. And dreams are important. I wish you God’s best. But His best may not be this church plant at this time. However, that is between you and Him.

  • MaryMelissa

    Kris
    Thank you for your post #109. It is well balanced, not impartial and based in good and logical reasoning. I do like QB postings (sorry), it seems that she or he is at least very analytical and is up to date with facts. It is good to have a wide range of diversity in opinions.

  • Dr. Pepper

    I looked up the website the new church Dave Harvey is preaching at and it has elders and deacons. I hope he is able to handle that. It seems like a pretty big church. So is he now a pastor there? The event says to meet the new preaching pastor. When Jared said Dave may be moving, I thought maybe a few hours away. I guess he decided to move states away. I don’t blame him for wanting to, but it seems like when things got bad for him, he moved away, just like CJ.

  • JoyfulandFree

    My ex church which is still sgm uses the City.

  • Dr. Pepper

    http://fouroakschurch.com/

    This is the link to the church.

  • Persona

    Luna 174 Sorry, the site you have there is not for Mt. Airy, MD. Still, Mr. Airy, MD does have a fair amount of churches for such a tiny burg.

  • Sopwith

    *
    *
    *
    “Blogging Ed-A-Quack: Keep Your Seat And Tray Table In The Upright Condition?”

    hmmm….

         QueenBee, (#142)

    http://www.sgmsurvivors.com/?p=4174&cp=3#comment-78728

    Hey,

    Kindly take your boots off! -snicker-

    ok?

    [SoapBox] Under Terms Of SGM Survivors Use(this plaze) , “if you choose to submit a comment to this site, you are by that action acknowledging that you have read and agreed to the following terms” in the link found below:

    http://www.sgmsurvivors.com/before-you-post/

    Have you’ read it now?

    Ahem !

    SGM Survivors stipulates that “If you as a commenter have some special hobby horse of a topic that you wish to discuss….you are not simply free to take the discussion in any direction you choose. ”

    “If your particular hobby horse happens to conflict with the personal convictions of the site’s owners/moderators, you may be asked to refrain from discussing the topic further.”

    “If you continue to submit comments about your topic, your comments may not be published.”

    *

    Hope this helps clarifies Kris & Guy’s position here at SGM Survivors.

    Note: Kris & Guy are  pretty good people, who have helped a lot….of kind folk. 

    lotz, n’ lotz….

    Everybuddy knowz dat silly….

    Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

    *

    Oh’ Lord, your word(s) ‘R’ a  lamp unto my widdle feet, and a light unto my wobbly path.

    hum, hum, hum….

     “The word of God directs us in our work and way, and a dark place indeed the world would be without it. ”

     -Matthew Henry

        “The commandment is a lamp kept burning with the oil of the Spirit, as a light to direct us in the choice of our way, and the steps we take in that way. The keeping of God’s commands here meant, was that of a sinner under a dispensation of mercy, of a believer having part in the covenant of grace. The psalmist is often afflicted; but with longing desires to become more holy, offers up daily prayers for quickening grace. We cannot offer any thing to God, that he will accept but what he is pleased to teach us to do. To have our soul or life continually in our hands, implies constant danger of life; yet he did not forget God’s promises nor his precepts. ”

    “Numberless are the snares laid by the wicked; and happy is that servant of God, whom they have not caused to err from his Master’s precepts.” 

    “Heavenly treasures are a heritage forever; all the saints accept them as such, therefore they can be content with little of this world. We must look for comfort only in the way of duty, and that duty must be done. A good man, by the grace of God, brings his heart to his work, then it is done well.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary; 119:105-112)

    Yahoooo!

    ATB

    Sopy

  • OutThere

    Eric NS 164 – I think the Plaintiffs’ attorneys were operating on “information and belief” and very possibly didn’t have a clear idea of how things worked within SGM and between SGM and the churches. Initially, Susan Burke had a number if people who no longer attended anything affiliated with the organization telling her how it was set up. It is somewhat problematic that the details about SGM’s structure have gaps, the addresses are not up-to-date, etc., but the plaintiffs’ attorneys can make the argument that there is incomplete information available to the public in general, and that they gave it an earnest effort.

    On the other hand, what you describe sounds like it would amount to perjury – stating something deliberately misleading or inaccurate. And I could be wrong, but (perjury aside) I don’t think it would be wise strategy – the attorneys on the other side of the table are going to be well informed about the actual set up of SGM etc, and to the extent it is to their advantage, will not hesitate to correct the plaintiffs’ attorneys.

  • Persona

    I am greatly saddened that Dave Harvey didn’t change careers…I also feel sorry for the good people in Tallahassee, no matter how many elders and deacons they have.

  • Jenn Grover

    “JenngroverSuperFan” – hahaha!!! Praise the Lord, it’s not Pittsburgh. :)

  • Somewhereintime

    More pharisaical behavior from SGM leaders. Dish out the goods but don’t dare dish em back to me! Dave Harvey agrees to submit himself to CFC leaders and runs away and is now going to pastor a church in Florida. CJ Mahney repents, then takes back his repentance, runs away from CLC leaders over to Dever’s church, then starts a church in Louisville. And don’t forget Larty Tomczak, he submitted to CJ’s blackmail then ran away and started his own church in Georgia.

    The issue is that they all set up this shi TTY system, make everyone submit to it, and then refuse to submit themselves to it. To boot Mahaney is being charged with criminal conspiracy, loftness is being accused of child molestation, Tomczak is being accused of child molestation and Harvey as significant issues within his own family.

    These are evil men, not fit to preach the gospel of Christ,

  • Jenn Grover

    I am surprised there was no post from Mark Prater, congratulating Dave on his new position. After all, Jared went out of his way to let other SGM pastors know that Dave was not leaving CovFel. Another bogus story from a church re: the real reason a leader left.

  • Dr. Pepper

    Jenn,

    When did Jared go out of his way to let SGM pastors know that Dave was not leaving covfel?

  • Jenn Grover

    Dr. Pepper: He sent an email out to SGM pastors after the covfel announcement.

  • Jenn Grover

    Brothers,

    I’m writing to inform you that on March 15 Dave Harvey resigned as an elder from Covenant Fellowship Church. I informed the church this morning with both gratitude and sorrow in my heart.

    It would be impossible for me to explain all that has gone into this decision, which we all agree is best, or the process we have walked through over the past year to arrive at this place. There are a number of personal, family, and team-related reasons for this transition.

    Both the CFC elders and Dave want to make sure this news is not misinterpreted. Dave’s resignation has nothing to do with a lack of enthusiasm for what God is doing in Sovereign Grace Ministries. He is supportive of the proposed polity and believes that our family of churches will be stronger as a result of all we have walked through over the last few years. Also, it is important for you to know that Dave’s pastoral credentials have not been removed. He has not been disqualified, suspended, publicly rebuked, or fired. And, this departure is not driven by a divisive spirit – we love Dave and he loves CFC and the pastors here. He remains a dear friend and we continue to walk in the unity of the Spirit and the bonds of peace.

    Dave doesn’t know what the future holds for him, and we are praying that God provides clarity moving forward. He will remain a member at CFC until he knows where God is leading him.

    If there is anything we have learned through so many of the events of this past year, it is that God works through trials for our good. He is worthy of our trust even when we do not understand his ways. We are grateful beyond words for the ways Dave has invested in Covenant Fellowship Church over the last 27 years, and we believe God has good things in store for the Harveys in the future.

    Feel free to contact Dave, Mark Prater, or Marty Machowski if you have any questions.

    With gratitude for our partnership in the gospel,
    Jared and the pastors of CFC

  • It's just the beginning

    @Somewhereintime, #184: you said, “Mahaney is being charged with criminal conspiracy” .. I have not seen this yet–not that it isn’t coming. Are you aware of some breaking news? or are you just making a prediction?

    criminal conspiracy is very different than the civil case against SGM/CJ/et al.

  • Stunned

    Kris, THANK YOU. My alarm bells have been going off loudly since QB’s first posting, even though everyone else didn’t seem to have a problem. Like I’ve said before, I like talking with people of different opinions. But this felt manipulative from the get go to me. Always distracting the conversation with red herrings. NONE of the plaintiffs to any of our knowledge EVER said a word or indicated in any way that anything was related to repressed memory, yet he/she through more garbage to distract and minimalize.

  • Stunned

    opps, saw this mistake as I was hitting submit:

    threw garbage, not through.

    Though he/she did it through garbage. Did ya’ll know that Paul and Shirley Eberle, some of the “experts” on repressed memory and on the McMartin Preschool Trial who spoke out against people getting riled up about pedophiles were actually running a hard core child porn magazine back in the 70’s? (According to several reports on the net and we know the net never lies.) Beyond sick stuff. And then when their daughter grew up and started telling people that she had been sexually abused (not shocking for a family who pedaled child porn), this couple started writing about repressed memories and how it isn’t real. I am not saying it is real or not, I am saying that these “experts” were….not unbiased. My heavens, I thought QB only wanted unbiased opinions…

  • Keepinstep

    RE “slapper” – I’ve been gone from SGM for over 10 years but had never been exposed to that slang term until I read it right here on SGMS!

    RE Queen Bee: Kris, IMHO you’ve been more than gracious. Please stop letting this person live rent-free in your head.

  • Stunned

    To be accurate, I can’t remember if QB quoted these two or not, but I know I came upon this info after following links in earlier discussions with QB.

    The question is, shall I lawyer up since QB is so fond of talking about suing people for what they say here?

  • glad i am out

    Jenn, 188,

    wow, i must have missed that because i can not remember barfing recently…

    Jared, do you think we were born yesterday??!! Members of CovFel, were you born yesterday??!!

  • Philly Girl

    Holy crap on a cracker! There goes Florida. I guess we won’t be hearing from Dave and his apology for his deceitful lying and sneakiness. Oh well, didn’t expect it anyway. We know the truth and it really doesn’t matter what he did to us and our family, not to mention the shunning from those with whom we served as care group leaders. And to think, the beat goes on. How can a church as large as Four Oaks not vet this man? It’s not like you can’t Google his name and not see his past. Warning to the pastors: Dave’s in town and NOTHING will stop him from rising to the top. Really was hoping he would have gone back to being a mall cop, but then again, wouldn’t want him to ruin King of Prussia Mall. Well, looks like he went to a bigger, and maybe better than he deserves church. Hope he and Kimm find healing. Jesus, shine your light.

  • Philly Girl

    Four Oaks is affiliated with the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA)

  • Paul

    Four Oaks church in Tallahassee has a potluck on June 15 to introduce Diamond Dave to the congregation. The web site for this:

    http://fouroakschurch.onthecity.org/plaza/events/e103a8ddcc5666e00f7b60977baba2688d48167f

    allows one to submit a question to be answered during the meeting part of the event! My question would be whether they are bothered that, if you google “Dave Harvey”, hit 1 is the wartburg watch, hit 2 is this blog and hit 4 is Brent Detwiler. But I know there are people here who can come up with much better questions than that!

    Not sure how Dave Harvey got a job at 4 Oaks since it’s Evangelical Free but I note that the head pastor went to RTS Jackson, the seminary that is more or less run by CJ’s T4G friend Lig Duncan.

  • OutThere

    Just the beginning 173 – Kids were brought to our home group in the mid-90’s – I wouldn’t have gone to home group if they hadn’t been allowed…

    MaryMelissa 175 – I share your sentiments about QB and diverse opinions. But I realize this is Kris and Guy’s site, and if they are finding it difficult to manage QB, that’s their prerogative. I’m glad they informed us that it was, in fact, their decision, and not just a mysterious disappearance.

  • QE2

    Stunned #193-

    Let us know when the legal papers arrive addressed to:
    Stunned, address SGM Survivors
    Complaint: posted something not true on a website.

  • Bob

    Kris #171. I like contrarian voices. Having lived with SGM for so many years when there were no contrarian voices, I would rather hear all sides, even those that irritate me. I for one never want to end up like those we now criticize. In the end, though, it is your site…

  • Phoenix

    Kris, I’m curious. In the history of this blog, how many commenters have ever been temporarily or permanently “banned”? I use that word for clarity; although it isn’t exactly accurate in QB’s case, since you left the door open on very clear conditions. (To my mind a very fair and “Christian” way to do it.)

    I’ve commented before that I think QB’s useful contributions to the conversation began and ended with the his/her “recovered memories” testimony. Even if fabricated, it brought up some points worth considering. Stunned, my alarm bells were going off right along with yours, dear lady! In fact, I was getting so annoyed with him/her and a couple of others that I had to back off for a couple of days.

    Kris (and Guy)I don’t think any of us realize how much running this blog costs you in time, money, and emotional energy! I haven’t always been a well-behaved commenter myself, but I am very, very grateful for what you do. Now that the issues with SGM have become so much more widely known I think people do forget that this is where the conversation really began. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    To those who “liked” QB; don’t worry, folks. More like him/her who wish to shut down this conversation will come along very soon, I’m certain. And I’m certain that Kris and Guy will be patient, fair, and gracious with them as well.

  • Dr. Pepper

    Jenn,

    To be fair, it does say that “Dave will remain a member of covfel until he knows where God is leading him”.

  • Jenn Grover

    Dr. Pepper, you are right but this is clearly a typical, “we want to write this narrative, there is nothing to see here” email when everyone knows there is something to see. Are we really to believe that after how many years there is simply mo spot for Dave at Covfel or SGM and it has nothing to do with discipline or disqualification? If so, he has been treated wrongly.

  • This link is indicating that some plan to protest

    http://www.abpnews.com/ministry/organizations/item/8572-sbc-should-support-sex-abuse-victims-pastor-says#.UbcU9pzah6M

    at an upcoming Southern Baptist Convention meeting.

  • Dr. Pepper

    With Dave I feel maybe it was a good thing to move away, I mean I don’t know if I wouldn’t do the same thing. But I still think he should not be a pastor. However, i really hope he has learned from his mistakes he made.

  • Oswald

    Jenn G.– I wonder how it has happened that this ‘letter to the churches’ has not been leaked to the Survivors before now. As a member of CFC, I find this extremely interesting. This is a ‘save SGM’ cry if ever I heard one. We heard the same concerning Brian V….’we love Dave/Brian, they have no concerns with the polity or with Sovereign Grace, or with CFC, unity prevails, blah, blah, blah’. Jared is on a roll with his damage control. The same spin again and again. You are so right…do they think we were born yesterday? But then this was not sent to the people in the seats, but to other men who might be thinking of leaving SGM along with their churches. When someone continues to protest that there is nothing amiss, something must surely be amiss. May truth prevail. Praying.

  • KMD

    JeffB #104 wrote:
    “A friend who goes to CLC wrote this about yesterday’s service:
    “Today when I dropped [my child] off for ‘discovery land’, instead of the typical 100 — 125 kids there were more like 25 — 30. Also, the main service is down to about 35-45% of what it was a year ago. The parking lot is mostly empty (at least for the 11:00 service) I’m pretty sure the 9:00 service is fuller.
    [The High School ministry] is now nearly wiped out. Of the 7 high-school age home groups, 5 of the families have quit, and the leader David Brewer has cancelled the home groups all together, because no more leaders will get up and help. Several have left the church, others just feel like it’s not worth it anymore. Additional leaders were ‘trained up’, but ended up deciding not to commit to the program.
    Today I heard that the Mexico missions trip has been cancelled as has the Uganda trip.” ”

    Look, I’m not sure what anyone is trying to accomplish with this kind of post. Certainly everyone is aware here of the shortcomings of the the past and present leadership at CLC.
    However Josh is, i think, trying to lead the church on a path of healing, reconciliation, and a much more Spirit-filled direction.

    But to speculate that it’s falling apart seems awfully close to gloating, doesn’t it?

    So, to clear up a couple misconceptions:

    1. I was at the second service. I would say that attendance at second service was pretty much where it has been for years.

    2. The youth ministry model is being re evaluated, which I feel has needed to be done for some time. Not because of abuse issues, I just feel (and I bet there are many who agree) that it has become stagnant and not Spirit-led. This ministry gets remodeled every couple of years anyway.

    3. The Mexico trip was not cancelled due to worry about the lawsuit, or lack of interest. It has not been attempted in the last few years because the village near the orphanage, Guadulupe, is in the epicenter of the drug wars. The trip’s cancellation came about in direct response to the gangland style kidnapping and murders of four individuals right in Guadalupe just a week and a half ago.
    As far as I know the Uganda medical mission is still on.

  • Fruit Flavored

    #147 JimfromHumility –

    I’m sorry to back up so far in the discussion. Jim, although I know many people are invested in the church plant in Mt. Airy. I am skeptical of the reasons for the plant. Yes, there are (or were) a number of folks who drive quite a distance to attend CLC. However, if Matt M and others feel so strongly about Mt. Airy, perhaps he should start a church there without the CLC brand/stigma. I’m glad that Matt’s upbringing and credentials were outside of SGM/CLC. I hope he returns to his roots. However, his bio on CLC’s website also states,

    “Matt’s first encounter with Sovereign Grace Ministries was a seminar that was part of a Joshua Harris “True Love Tour.” “The gospel centered teaching and Spirit-filled, doctrinally rich worship were like nothing I had ever experienced before,” says Matt. Several years of relationship building followed with Covenant Life pastors like Jeff Purswell and Bob Kauflin. Matt states, “Throughout this process my view of my sin, the church, and the Savior was radically altered.””

    My concern is what he means by his last sentence. How was his view radically changed? Certainly anyone who has attended and left an SGM church understands the problems with the SGM doctrine of sin. Does Matt buy into SGM/CLC’s sin sniffing ways? What about his view of the church? Will this be an elder led congregation with no congregational authority or has he learned that the current unchecked authority system has helped lead SGM & CLC into the toilet?

    I’m also wondering if church planting at this point will actually relieve financial stresses for CLC? Are the sending Matt now because their dwindling numbers are struggling to support the large slate of pastors and staff?

  • Phoenix said,

    Kris, I’m curious. In the history of this blog, how many commenters have ever been temporarily or permanently “banned”? I use that word for clarity; although it isn’t exactly accurate in QB’s case, since you left the door open on very clear conditions. (To my mind a very fair and “Christian” way to do it.)

    Since November 2007, I’d say there have been maybe 8 or 10 people whose comments will no longer be published here, almost no matter what they write. What’s funny is that off the top of my head, I can’t remember anyone actually getting “banned” for posting in defense of SGM. Rather, they refused to quit harping on one topic or another, attempting to redirect all conversations to their own particular hobby horse. Some of you really old-timers might remember a commenter who seemed really nice and smart, someone who initially had a lot of good things to contribute, but who eventually revealed himself to be obsessed with promoting Universalism (the idea that all people, no matter what they profess while alive on earth, will be saved in the end). He also was clearly an argumentative person about other matters and would frequently swoop in and post so many comments that eventually the conversation just shut down. We had multiple go-rounds with this person, where he’d apologize and beg for more chances…but always, he just could not control himself.

    And like I said, this person did not “get in trouble” here for defending SGM, or for presenting alternate views or information. In the end, he just was not a good guest. He did not show any real respect for others, as he was hell-bent on doing his own thing and disregarding requests to drop certain topics.

    In terms of QB, though – well, he/she has not been back since I asked him/her to acknowledge the irony of being (essentially) freely allowed to post his/her complaints about my lack of fairness and objectivity. He/she has not attempted to comment further. He/she has chosen to remove himself/herself from the conversation, apparently.

  • Somewhereintime

    It would appear that the coffers of SGM churches are thinning out! I am personally hearing stories of shortfalls to budgets with Cov Fellowship, CLC, Fairfax, Marlton, NJ. I am sure there are others. This isn’t an economy issue either. People are voting with their wallets and feet.

  • Jenn Grover

    Oswald, truthfully it’s been sitting in my inbox this whole time but I am getting tired of the SGM garbage and for the most part, I think the people who would leave CovFel are already gone. You and Dr. Pepper give me some hope there are still some thinking people left there.

  • Stunned

    Maybe some of them can sell their custom made office furniture or custom made bookcases?

  • Dr. Pepper

    Oswald,

    I think you may be right. I really think this is all spin. Jared just wants to everyone to think everything is great. I don’t think I’m ever going to forget about what they did to JV. Jared should ashamed of himself. And the rest of the covfel pastors should as well. They all knew what would happen and let him do it anyway. I know this is old news to some, but any hope I had for covfel changing was gone the day Jared did what he did to JV.

  • Jenn Grover

    KMD, I hear what you are saying. To some degree Josh and the other pastors have demonstrated a desire for change. However, their silence and lack of a call for an outside investigation into the abuse charges further undermines that very notion. Here is their chance to demonstrate their resolve to change and yet there silence is notable. People are voting with their feet and it is completely understandable that JeffB would note that.

    It’s not too late for CLC. Josh’s plea for people not to leave should have been accompanied by a detail of how the church was responding to the allegations.

  • Persona

    We wonder how CLC, with a possible budget shortfall in recent years, can afford to bring Somerville back on the payroll. Can anyone confirm that he is working again for CLC? Perhaps they need to send Matt away and anyone else who will be serving with him, just to get down to an appropriate size for the CLC budget? Hmm, it would be nice if Josh would make it plain.

  • Oswald

    KMD @207 — Thanks for your perspective.

  • Stunned

    QE2 said, “Let us know when the legal papers arrive…”

    ha ha ha ha. You know, last night I had this thought. I was remembering back in the earlier days of this site I did wonder about people getting sued, knowing that CJ and his “friends” (you know, the ones he hangs out with watching the Super Bowl and correcting each other- the ones who are famous and powerful and rich) could easily sue anybody. I mean, anyone can get sued for anything at any time.

    So for years when that fear would pop up I’d think, “I’m so broke, they can’t get anything out of me. Well, I guess they could have my toaster.” Then a moment later I’d stop and realize I didn’t have a toaster! (Much too much of a silly luxury to me. I don’t normally even eat sliced bread.) Then I’d laugh at myself for being such an idiot.

    Well, yesterday after I got done typing that post I thought for the billionth (that would be an exaggeration) time, let them sue me for my toaster. Then, once again, I thought, “I don’t even have a toaster!” I laughed at myself again.

    Then one more beat later I remembered what I had finally just bought yesterday. A TOASTER! I laughed even harder.

    They can still have it if they want. I’m not that attached to the thing.

    Yet.

  • Dr. Pepper

    I was wondering I feel like covfel pastors have said they don’t know who tithes and who doesn’t it how much? Is this what other sgm pastors have said? Then I feel like I have heard that sgm pastors have said things to people i private about them not tithing? I’m NOT saying this happend. I’m saying I feel like I may have read here things to that nature.

  • Stunned

    Speaking of people who discuss lawsuits, this thought has been going through my head a lot:

    I know QB was just so confident that he/she was the only one here who ever spoke to a lawyer about participation here. In his/her great wisdom he/she must have magically known that there are no lawyers who participate (there is at least one) and no law students (at least one) and no one who knows lawyers well enough to speak with them about their participation here on the website. But since QB was so certain in that assertion that they were the only one who spoke with a lawyer before posting here, I’d like to offer the following advice for when he/she chooses to play nicely and be allowed back here- where ever you bought that crystal ball which gives you your ability to “know” such things, please return it to the store, it’s broken.

    Kind of amazes me that people who come in here to bash participants with their, “you don’t know what you are talking about” speech makes their own assumptions about the participants here, which they can have NO way of knowing.

    For anyone who is the mood to write on here about what they “know: about, think twice, please. If you really don’t KNOW the condition of someone’s heart, don’t say you do. (To my knowledge that is only God’s knowledge.) If you don’t KNOW what someone ate for breakfasts, don’t say you know. I am not against a dialogue where people make some suppositions. Just please, couch them in supposition terms unlike QB’s certainty of he/she being the only one who ever consulted an attorney before posting here. Logically speaking, how could he/she ever have the knowledge of what every other single person who ever posted on this blog has done or not done in every single moment of his/her life, including any discussions they had with attorneys?

    In God’s word it says, “They overcame by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony.” Isn’t that the most powerful voice in these things? The words of our own testimonies?

  • Ellie

    Steve,
    thank you for your #204 post. The article at the link was very interesting!

  • Persona

    KMD 207

    I didn’t think hear any gloating about the shrinking of membership at CLC. Frankly, I’m glad to hear any reports that come out of CLC. So little leaks out about the status of that church, it makes me wonder if someone is hindering reports.

  • NotEvenAGlimmerOfHope

    I’m truly glad to hear that Dave Harvey will be breaking free from the SGM machine. Good for him. Maybe as he breathes air free from the SGM weirdness he’ll be able to see — and admit — just how wacky SGM-think was. I see this new chapter as God’s mercy to Dave and family. Get well soon brother . . . and may God be ever closer to you as you join many of us in the long-haul project of SGM detox.

  • Stunned

    At least in the past the Cov Fel pastors have known about some people’s tithing practices because the big givers have been invited to special secret annual dinners. (Paid for by the pockets of the poor losers who don’t get to even know their tithes are going to such things.)

    I found out after someone I knew got a big inheritance and tithed on it. All of a sudden this woman, who was anything but the nicest thing or wisest thing, was invited to a special dinner where the pastors could seek her wisdom, along with the other big givers. The next year, with some more inheritance leaking in, and her tithing, she was invited again. The following year when her money disappeared, so did the invites to the dinners. How did she go from having wisdom that made her so special that the pastors HAD to spend this time alone with her to not having enough wisdom the following year?

    Many other posters have confirmed this same thing at other SGM churches.

    Kind of makes you feel sick, doesn’t it?

  • Jenn Grover

    Athens, GA has left SGM:

    To the SGM Board and Leadership Team

    Brothers in Sovereign Grace Ministries,

    We, the elders and leaders of Crossway, after much prayer, fasting, study, discussion, and wrestling with the issues, have come to the clear conviction and unanimous decision that God is leading us to leave Sovereign Grace Ministries. It was a very difficult and emotional decision, because we have deep affection and gratitude for all God has done for us through SGM. We have loving relationships with men in and outside this region. We do not leave with bitterness or an ax to grind. We write to share our hearts’ desires, not to change SGM, and that it might benefit SGM explaining our convictions and where we see our divergence with SGM’s direction.

    There are three primary areas of significant differences in direction: Philosophy of Leadership, Philosophy of Ministry, and the Ministry of the Holy Spirit. We’ve seen a shift in these three areas in SGM challenging the convictions we embrace as a church.

    The Philosophy of Leadership has shifted to emphasize a preacher-centric, preaching-centric church. We believe Biblical Leadership is not about exalting the leader and building the church around that leader, but the leader serving and equipping the saints for the work of ministry. As the circle of leadership becomes smaller and more confined, the “equipping of the saints” becomes more limited, and the mobilization of the church to be salt and light is significantly hampered. We would see this model embraced as encouraging the church to be more and more spectators and not participants in the work of ministry.

    The Philosophy of Ministry would overlap with the first point and expand the idea to Sunday-centric philosophy (a model built around a Sunday meeting as being of the utmost importance). One of the strong points that drew our hearts into SGM was the huge relational element encouraged and modeled within the local churches as well as on a regional and national level. It was life being deeply shared beyond a Sunday meeting that brought a vitality and winsomeness to the church. What we saw and experienced, we deemed as a reflection of the Gospel, modeled in that first century church in Acts (2:42ff; 4:32ff). We would see SGM moving away from this, with little context created for relationships like this to be built & fostered. Without this being taught and modeled from the top down in SGM (in PC, and nationally) this will have no opportunity to be truly imbibed as a value and lifestyle within SGM.

    The Ministry of the Holy Spirit has been downplayed, moving us away from actively pursuing the Spirit. We have embraced the “Third Wave” theology (which I personally do also), in conjunction with the Charismatic theology, while adopting a much more passive pursuit of the gifts. God’s immediate presence is pushed to the periphery fostering an atmosphere of “open but cautious”, where we are theologically “continuationists”, but experientially “cessationists”. The New Testament reality we once pursued and taught (seen in Acts and the Epistles) has become safe and calm and broadly “acceptable”. The experience of God’s presence among us has slowly withered to provide a safe haven for teachers and classrooms, but little for soldiers on the battlefield.

    We realize we don’t see the whole picture and some of this might be misinformed. We wish in no way to slander or mislead, our desire has been to seek God, His Word, and His leading for us as we move ahead. These are not new issues we bring, we’ve brought them to our regional leaders on the Board, as well as some on the Leadership Team. Our hope is this benefits you, as it has us.

    SGM will always hold a special place in our hearts. We are saddened as we go, but look forward to what God is going to continue to do in and through you and in us in the years to come.

  • Ellie

    Stunned,

    I’ll take that toaster! ;)

  • Dr. Pepper

    Stunned,

    At times I think people can be sued here too. Sometimes I think that kris and guy will somehow be told they are being served to close down the blog.

  • KMD

    If i understood correctly, CLC members will get a proposed church budget handed out this Sunday. We will then have something like a month to review and suggest changes before voting on it.
    For the record, I’m not really in favor of the mt Airy plant either. But there are many who have been pushing for this for years. Matt is a good guy and I trust God with it.
    Greg S apparently was on the CLC payroll while on the N Africa mission and will be through August. After that, apparently not but subject to change.
    Let’s continue to hold CLC leadrship’s feet to the fire, by all means. However, please recognize that if nothing else, there is a much humbler, less authoritarian, and more grace filled vibe going on, which is due to the Holy Spirit at work here.

  • Oswald

    Concerning my participation at CovFel…I stay on the books ONLY to be able to continue going to CG. I would miss this tremendously if I were not allowed to attend. For all intents and purposes, I have been gone; I don’t contribute financially or any other way except prayer, and I guess really, that is a very big contribution. I only go on Sunday if there is a members meeting scheduled. And why do I even care about that? I continue to be appalled at the spin.

  • Caesarsalad

    Fruit Flavored 208 Your comments on Mt. Airy reminded me that an SGM pastor once told me that he and other pastors are thinking that it is better to have many small churches here and there in an area than one big church. I agree as I have only liked going to smallish churches for many reasons. I especially wonder what will happen to the large church buildings if the large churches don’t survive this SGM mess? That must be a huge worry for pastors of those churches.

    KMD 207 Thank you for your clarifications.

    In regards to caregroups and kids, at the SGM churches I attended, it seemed to always be up to the host family or they’d let the group decide.

    We left an SGM church awhile ago. Looking back, I have a different take than some who are struggling with feeling stupid/guilty for going to an SGM church (and we went for a long time–20+ yrs): We, as God’s dearly loved children, have to really believe that God causes all to work for good. He respects free will (thus the problems and sin in churches and the world!), but He is here for us to run to, to heal us, no matter if we were sinned against or it was our own doing. He has promised to “keep us” in this fallen world, to lead us “through” valleys to a better place with him.These are things that have comforted me and helped bring healing. I hope they omfort anyone who is feeling despondent for having gone to an SGM church.

  • Oswald

    Jenn @224 — Thanks for posting this. The reasoning is expressed humbly and without condemnation. If seen by other churches in SGM, this might give them much to think about and give courage to do the same. Can this be sent to all SGM churches?, maybe someone will. I’m sure leadership will do all they can to prevent this from happening. Maybe Jared could write to everyone with his spinning wheel smokin’.

  • old timer

    Does anyone find it strange how the can of whoop-a## has been opened up –for not only pdi/sgm, the southern Baptists, etc. but for the fed gov also?

    Transparent, open, honest, lucid, your yes is yes and your no is no.

    What has been hidden in darkness is being opened up to the LIGHT. Transparency means being able to transmit light so that objects or images can be seen as if there were no intervening material.

    And what is in a lot of folks is just downright nasty….and needs to be purged away.

    Refiner’s fire my heart’s one desire is to be Holy.

    Shouldn’t have sang that song all of these years if you didn’t mean it.

    My dad always says be careful what you wish for—you might get it.

  • Elle

    Oswald,

    I know CG is about the people, but don’t you find the SG spin just as heavy there? Our last few months in CG, it was all about re-hashing the pastors’ Sunday sermons, or extremely long, drawn-out prayer sessions for people in need (and it was the same people in need week after week). It was the same formula week after week. The wife would give the announcements, the husband would facilitate the discussion. It cracked me up that it was “care group leaders and wives”. Why weren’t the wives considered CG leaders as well? They had to clean the house, put out the snacks, take prayer requests. The husband got to breeze in after work and read off prepared questions.

    Also, if DH is going to be a preaching pastor, he ummm..is gonna hafta write some sermons. He can’t use his “audacious gospel” one week after week as he did when he would travel. It also cracked me up that when CJ would come to CovFel, Jared would say he had a special word for our church. But then, coming on here, find out he had preached the same sermon at every SG church he ever visited (I think it was on the book of Jude). Super special.

  • Oswald

    Ah yes, CJ’s famous Jude Tour.
    Thanks for your comments concerning CG. You’re right.

  • Oswald

    My comment @232 should have been addressed to Elle @231. Thanks, Elle.

  • Oswald

    old timer@230 — So true.

  • Sick with Worry

    I understand why it is hard to leave because of your identification with a Care Group. That was tough for me too. Child abuse aside, this is SGM’s biggest “offense”. No judge is needed to prove this. There are scores of broken hearts out there that found out who their real friends were, or were not, once they left SGM-land. In my case, I was always different so my departure is not a shock. But, it was hard for me and it is still hard for my family.

    I have learned over the weeks to be thankful for the experience and see how God is working. I really did benefit from my SGM experience, and 75% of it was just plain, ordinary friendships at Care Group.

    Do not feel bad for being “duped”. God is not mocked.

    Good luck to Diamond Dave…. I really mean it, and I like him. God forgives and will give clarity and sanctification if Dave is really His.

    Tim Shorey….. See you soon.

  • Caesarsalad

    Dr. Pepper 218 Back when we became care group leaders for a season, a pastor absolutely made a point to find out if we tithed. I remember thinking “I guess that’s a prerequisite”. I’m not sure if he went so far as to find out how much.

  • Yellow is a Happy Color

    Regarding Mr. Queen Bee———–

    My hunch is that he came on here seeking to start a fight, seeking to get folks to say things that he could use against us–or the site/Kris and Guy— legally. He lapsed into legal-speak, (accusing Eric NS of saying something ‘on the record’) when normal people just don’t talk like that, imho.

    Regarding other churches/life after CLC/SGM———–

    My new church recently had a budget meeting where everyone could see the pastor’s salary, his housing allowance, and everything else too. Things were openly discussed and transparent, including total giving and potential upcoming purchases. How refreshing! Our VBS program is FREE to all, unlike the $50 (?) per child required for CLC’s equivalent. Refreshing, and others posting about their new churches reminded me of this…….

    Regarding Jenn Grover’s post in #224 about the Athens, GA church leaving SGM——————–

    The pastors said “We believe Biblical Leadership is not about exalting the leader and building the church around that leader…….” Wowzers, those folks are speaking real, normal, English with SGM, and not like all the spiritual fluffer-nutter talk CLC used when leaving SGM….. :) Way to go, Athens, GA!

    Regarding Stunned (forget the post)—————–

    Your ideas about how to handle repentance and are worth sharing with Boz, I agree! Like you, I see this is an area where the Evangelical church will need to grow in the future. Sadly it seems that pedophilia is more and more common in our society, so it would behoove churches to come up with protocols for the pedophiles in their pews.

    Regarding Kris—————

    You have been so gracious to all of the posters here, including me. Thank you for your efforts in running this blog. It has been a big part of my spiritual growth in the past several years and I am thankful for you.

  • Dr. Pepper

    Oswald,

    I never get emails about when member meetings are, I only hear of them at church. Since you don’t go anymore, how do you know of member meetings? Do people tell you if there is one?

  • Dr. Pepper

    Caesarsalad #237,

    The thing is what if you tithe with cash? I know most people write checks, but when I was tithing to covfel I sometimes used cash. Then again, maybe sgm has everyone’s fingerprints on file, lol. That’s a joke for anyone out there who thinks I said sgm has people’s fingerprints.

  • CLCya

    Thomas #105 – I know exactly what you mean. I don’t feel much like going myself.

    JeffB #104 – If attendance is like that, how can they possibly pay all those pastors? How many are there? 17 or so?

    Fruit Flavored #208 – “Matt’s first encounter with Sovereign Grace Ministries was a seminar that was part of a Joshua Harris “True Love Tour.” “The gospel centered teaching and Spirit-filled, doctrinally rich worship were like nothing I had ever experienced before,” says Matt. Several years of relationship building followed with Covenant Life pastors like Jeff Purswell and Bob Kauflin. Matt states, “Throughout this process my view of my sin, the church, and the Savior was radically altered.”” Why would MM continue to align himself with these folks? It’s more of a detriment than something to be highlighted in a bio. Fruit Flavored – you ask some very good questions!

    It just doesn’t make sense to me to release a book and plant a church, like nothing is wrong, when everything is a mess. You’ve got to clean your own house before you can set up a new one. You wouldn’t go to an overweight deconditioned personal trainer to learn how to get in shape, would you? Google Mt. Airy, MD, churches, there are a handful there already. Is this simply a diversion from that problems at hand? Here, “Let’s focus on this new church plant and maybe people will forget about child sex abuse, sin sniffing, cover-ups, etc.”

    NotEvenAGlimmerOfHope #222 – thanks for the reminder that the SGM detox process is a “long-haul project.” I’d rather be done with it now, quite frankly, but that ain’t happening!

    Gotta throw this in for some comic relief, because I always think of CLC when I hear this song by Styx (showin’ my age here):
    “Welcome to the Grand illusion
    Come on in and see what’s happening
    Pay the price, get your tickets for the show…
    just remember that it’s a grand illusion…”

  • formersgmer

    Jenn:

    Thanks for posting the letter from Athens. This is a great letter. The following paragraph from the letter I think is the most important especially the sentence about equipping the saints.

    The Philosophy of Leadership has shifted to emphasize a preacher-centric, preaching-centric church. We believe Biblical Leadership is not about exalting the leader and building the church around that leader, but the leader serving and equipping the saints for the work of ministry. As the circle of leadership becomes smaller and more confined, the “equipping of the saints” becomes more limited, and the mobilization of the church to be salt and light is significantly hampered. We would see this model embraced as encouraging the church to be more and more spectators and not participants in the work of ministry.

    A few weeks ago someone commented about why Dave Harvey never explained to CFC why there was a shift toward reformed theology and I had commented in response that the leadership’s lack of communication on this point reflected their arrogance that they can do anything they wanted and congregants would simply fall in line behind them. However, I have been thinking ahout this more in light of Ephesians 4:11 and 12 I believe that the lack of leadership regarding the theological shift really reflected Harvey’s and othe SGM pastors failure to pay attention to the Ephesians 4:11 mandate. To me as much as arrogance may have been at the root of the lack of leadership, the SGM pastors failure in this regard represents pastoral incompetence. If the SGM pastors really cared about teaching sound doctrine they would have taken the time to walk their churches through this change so they congregants understand why the change was happening but also so the congregants were enabled to go about their communities able to explain what their churches believed. If the SGM pastors really cared about “sound doctrine” they would have explained what Sound Doctrine through the prism of reformed theology. While the Athens letter does not address my point in particular it clearly shows that SGM pastors have are guilty of failing to fulfill their most basic function of equipping the saints.

    Finally, while I think the Athens letter is generally accuate when describes SGM as being pastor centric and preaching centric, while I think the latter should be the focus of any good church on any given sunday morning because we should give a prominent place to the Word of God in our services, the former (being pastor centric) easily devolves into mancentered idolatry and unfortunately that is where most if not all SGM churches are today in their exhaltation of their pastors.

    On this point see the following recent commentary from someone at Desiring God Ministries. When I read below I could not help but think of SGM’s hyper exaltation of the role of a pastor.

    Fighting the Tyranny of Ministry Success
    By Ben Stuart | Jun 09, 2013 12:00 am

    What is the most loving thing God can do for a 22-year-old minister?

    In my case, it was ordaining that my inaugural, epic, game-changing, well-publicized ministry event be attended by one kid.

    One single human being. A junior high boy named Austin.

    Feed His One Sheep
    My honest reaction as I sat there and looked into the face of this young man was one of resentment. I wanted, needed, and even expected God to give me a far more successful ministry. Like the frustrated sniper in Saving Private Ryan, I felt that God’s placement of me in this context was a “complete misallocation of resources.”

    For the first time in my life, I decided to voice that complaint to God. As I prayed, I felt as though he posed the question from John 21:15 to me, “Ben, do you love me?” My response mirrored Peter’s, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you.” Then that rare mixture of comfort and conviction that only the Spirit can bring came over me, “Then feed my sheep. One sheep.” My heart broke.

    The Crowd Versus the King
    I realized in that moment that I did not love young Austin. In fact, I resented him because he wasn’t 20 people, or 2,000. I wasn’t seeing him as a person. I was seeing him as a way to advance myself.

    I also realized that I wasn’t loving God! Rather than seeking him, I was looking for ministerial success to be my comforter and my source of significance. In that moment, I believed my longing for significance would be satisfied by the roar of a crowd, rather than by the approval of my King.

    Religious Bad Men Are the Worst
    I thank God that he used that moment early in my ministry to expose this evil motivation in my heart. And make no mistake, it is evil. God will not bless this mentality.

    We are designed to glorify God and to love people. When we use God and use people to glorify ourselves, we place our lives and our ministries at cross-purposes with the Almighty. That is not the place we want to live. C.S. Lewis said, “Of all bad men, religious bad men are the worst.” So let us rejoice when God wages war on this motive early in our ministries before we can do some real damage.

    Responding to the Cult of Celebrity
    So what do you do if your frustration level is rising because you do not see your service attendance, podcast numbers, or Twitter followers escalating as much as you’d like? How do you respond if you are tyrannized by seeing a cult of celebrity surround a different minister rather than yourself? Three things:

    1. Repent. Confess to God the wickedness in your heart. Declare to him your desire to distance yourself from any kind of self-exalting motives. His forgiveness comes rushing in when we humble ourselves.

    2. Love the sheep. Embrace the people that he’s put in front of you. Don’t envy someone else’s sheep. Care for yours. Know well the condition of your flocks and give attention to your herds (Proverbs 27:23). Be like Jesus whose proclamation of truth was fueled by his deep compassion for his people (Mark 6:34). Consider the pain they experience. Think about the hopes they grip onto. Imagine what it would look like for them to have deep communion with the Lord. Do all you can to foster their passion for living for him. Or, in the words of Peter,

    Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. (1 Peter 5:2–4)

    3. Enjoy the sweet peace that accompanies the knowledge that we are doing work that pleases our Chief Shepherd. I promise, this is where true, lasting peace is found.

  • musicman

    Oswald-

    You have to remember rule #1 when dealing with pastors from Covenant Fellowship.

    “Don’t believe anything until it’s been officially denied”

    So when Jared said Dave wasn’t stepping down for lack of enthusiasm for SGM….you can know with certainty that this is true.

  • Waters

    JennG #224

    Thankyou for posting the departure letter from the Athens Ga church. We’ve been wondering about them—they have close ties to the Chesapeake Va church (Chesapeake left SGM a couple months ago). The list of specifics in the letter are encouraging—As always, it is a process— my hope and prayer being the longer they are OUT of SGM and cutting stronghold ties, they will see more truths and walk in the liberty of Christ.

    Especially appreciate this insight: “THE EXPERIENCE OF GOD’S PRESENCE AMONG US HAS SLOWLY WITHERED TO PROVIDE A SAFE HAVEN FOR TEACHERS AND CLASSROOMS, BUT LITTLE FOR SOLDIERS ON THE BATTLEFIELD.”

    Jenn, Do you know additional specifics on this church departure?? When I looked at the SGM map of churches they still listed the Athens Ga church—but the pastor is Paul Cooke and they are meeting in Watkinsville Ga. The former Athens Ga church was pastored by Aaron Anderson. (Assuming Anderson wrote the above departure letter)

    CLCya,
    The Grand Illusion is, indeed, a strong tactic of the enemy to allude and deceive Gods people—

    OldTimer #231,
    Writing out the definition of transparency brings clear vision for what is occurring—on so many levels, including the church.
    The question is, when God sifts and purges and the truth is revealed—will it be seen or will illusions trump the thoughts and sight of some Believers?–We must be equipped and know the power of the Lord to fight the good fight of the faith….

  • Luna Moth

    Thank you, Persona, for the correction (in post 179) of my error (in post 174). I had not realized that there was more than one Mt. Airy. (We have family connections in North Carolina.)

    I do stand by my opinion that neither CLC nor any other present or former SGM church should be planting churches at the present time. (Not that my opinion is a big deal. But it matters to me to be able to state it.)

  • formersgmer

    for whatever it is worth, the churches in Roseburg Oregon and Peoria Arizona may be the next to live because there is no mention of SGM on their websites.

  • Waters

    formersgmer,

    WOW Great illustration letter from a Mr B Stuart (IPeter 5:2-4)

  • Thomas

    From the Athens letter, “preacher-centric, preaching-centric church”.

    That’s one of the biggest reasons I left my church. Maybe I’ll write more on that later.

    The Church of the Brethren seems kind of appealing at the moment. They have a strong emphasis on the priesthood of the believer and serving local communities. And by “serving” they mean providing physical care and comfort in addition to spiritual care, not planting a new hipster church.

  • TR

    I think what JM meant to say regarding DH’s leaving is… Our coffer$ are getting low, many of our usual tither$ are no longer contributing. Also, a few very key tither$ are making real threat$ to leave covfel if we don’t $omehow get rid of DH, $o we have to cut our tie$ with Dave, but we won’t $ay anything bad $ince we are just a$ awful a$ he i$, but we’ll let the big tither$ think they got their way so they can keep bankrolling our $inking $hip.

  • Jenn Grover

    Waters #244: it was signed by Paul Cooke – I inadvertently cut off that aprt in my copy & paste.

  • Jenn Grover

    Waters #244: it was signed by Paul Cooke – I inadvertently cut off that part in my copy & paste.

  • CLCya

    One additional thought to my earlier post #241 – Matt’s bio certainly doesn’t show a clean break or departure from SGM but actually features it as something good! There is something that bothers me about that. It seems that the allegience is still there.

  • CLCya

    One additional thought to my earlier post #241 – Matt’s bio certainly doesn’t show a clean break or departure from SGM but actually features SGM as good! There is something that bothers me about that. It seems that the allegience is still there.

  • CLCya

    oops…sorry for the double-post. Didn’t realize it already posted.

  • Somewhereintime

    My Issue with the Athens, GA letter…

    1) Nowhere in the letter does it address the REAL issues.
    2) It doesn’t address ungodly character with leaders
    3) It doesn’t address how the new leadership team has NOT addressed pastors, accused of crimes, to remain in the pulpit.
    4) It doesn’t address that SGM has never once REPENTED of ANYTHING!
    5) It doesn’t address the ELEPHANT in the room of the sexual molestation charges and cover-up with the pastors throughout the history of PDI/SGM.

    Congratulations, you are leaving. That is a smart move. I agree with the three reasons that you are leaving, however, YOU WOULD STILL BE IN SGM if it weren’t for the issues addressed above.

    Will someone please stand up and tell the truth … for ONCE?!?!?!

  • Waters

    Thankyou, JennG.

    Perhaps AA had already moved on, or not, not sure……At any rate, then *Cooke* wrote an encouraging letter outlining their departure~

  • Waters

    Somewhereintime,

    True— I cannot recall any churches that have left who have addressed #1-#5 (in your post above)
    It’s as if they CAN verbalize the issues they do…but they are still in the swirling pollution of the SGM leaven they have lived in and the culture which dictates their thoughts, actions, and discernment.

    Leaving SGM is a first step. Breaking off strongholds of allegiance to leadership and SGM…..sorrowful repentance…..
    renouncing error, abuse, control, manipulation….So many areas of battleground to engage….I pray they will engage

  • Paul K

    A LITTLE UPDATE AT CLC

    Our family meeting will be on June 23rd rather than June 30th. The budget approval meeting has been moved to July. The pastors are now able to discuss aspects of the lawsuit they couldn’t before and therefore the meeting has been moved up. The pastors obviously view this as a priority.

    There is much healthy change taking place within the pastoral team. Working this out and bringing clarity takes time because they don’t want to impulsively talk change they can’t deliver – this is wise. When u re-invent how to apply biblical principle effectively when u didn’t even have healthy principles to begin with, u have to go to the Bible like Josiah, learn what it really says because u’ve assumed certain things from someone else. Once u are clear on the pastoral principles, then u need wisdom in deciding which practices of these principles seems wisest. There are variables to consider : (1) how many people will we have (2) how much money (3) how many pastors can we afford (4) much money is set aside for missions so church planting may come from that money.

    Obviously it’s a season of uncertainty regarding particulars. But one thing is certain : the pastors
    at CLC w their growing pains and the learning
    curve they are on, are committed to following Jesus Christ. Though not perfect, they are steadily moving forward in this challenging time w eyes fixed on Jesus : He is the same today,
    yesterday, and forever.

    I for one will walk through all of this with them and so will many and the church will be built on a healthy foundation in time. Pastoring is a skill not easily learned – it will take time but though this is a season of further purging and pruning for all of us, this is not a sinking ship by any means!

    Josh is a humble man and worthy of respect. As God reveals the way forward, as a plurality of pastors, these men will honor the Lord and learn to work together in awe of Him w His people to build His church. Principles of congregational
    input will come in time ( the constitution is on hold because they don’t want to promise what they can’t deliver.)

    I appreciate them walking w caution rather than making knee jerk reactions to every event. Josh even said, “What were we thinking when we made a thirty year old man senior pastor?” Well, one thing we thought was that Mahaney loved
    this church and would sit in the back row for the privilege of being here and guide through difficulties and instead he has proven to be the difficulty and ran away when the wolf came : he is the wolf. But Harris is a true shepherd and w genuine humility and strength of character rooted in vibrant (not phony) trust in God who delights to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are His, Harris w the help of others (which he’s not ashamed to need because it’s not about him but about the glory of our God and Father) will persevere one challenge at a time until the so called former glory will be truly glorious to God and all will be treated w love, grace, and truth. These men have stayed together, made mistakes, made good changes, and will continue to grow through pruning just as each of us must over time.

    Again, much to learn and much to unlearn, but I’ve seen two styles of leadership here and I’m willing to be patient w what I see despite seeing the need for change and growth. As God is patient w us individually, may we be patient w His work among us collectively. I find much more to be grateful for than to criticize. Josh is taking us through Hebrews ch 12 for 5 weeks. He began this whole ordeal on receiving the Father’s discipline – now we’ll go through the whole chapter. He did a series awhile back called NEVER GIVE UP featuring Paul, David, and Elijah as examples. I think this series may connect w that one as the first message was about fixing our eyes in Jesus. In my opinion, the theme of Josh Harris’ preaching is LET’S FIX OUR EYES ON JESUS. He never mentions his book DUG DOWN DEEP because he refuses to exalt himself but his book exalts Jesus and I highly recommend it and am shocked at how few even in our community have read it! If u read it, u will know both Josh and Jesus better – with the emphasis on Jesus.

    I still believe the best is yet to come because it will be real and not an act. When I compare what I saw to what I see, I have reason for long term hope – not instant perfect church, but gradually growing into a genuine household of God’s people where Jesus and the Holy Spirit delight to come and where every member or person matters. May it be so – I believe I will see it before I die. I am grateful for this community.

  • CLCya

    Somewhereintime #255 – I wholeheartedly agree with you. The pastors continue to pat each others’ backs and act like those issues you outlined don’t exist. Just as Boz Tchvidjian says, “Where are the voices?”

  • Oswald

    Concerning a couple of double posts…a while ago I attempted to go on to this site and got a message saying ‘site not available’, so maybe there is a web problem. It seems to be ok now.

  • LetMyPeopleGo

    Jenn #224 – thanks for posting the letter. I think it’s an awesome letter. There’s a lot of good wisdom in that letter. I believe we should be praising God for how He opened the eyes of those who wrote it. It took a lot of detoxing to bring them to a point that they could have such conviction about those issues, follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, and stand up to the bullying system of SGM with such grace. God did a HUGE work there. I am convicted of the fact that we should be giving God the glory for another group of leaders who are set free from the deception of SGM and Satan. That letter could not have been written without the intervention of God.

    Thank you God for being so faithful. May we all praise you and be grateful for what you have done.

  • Somewhereintime

    Regarding “Where are the Voices” … I think many of them are here. Many of them are those of us who have spent hours meeting with our current and former SGM pastors showing them the errors of SGM. Many of those voices won’t be known until we get to heaven.

    Every SGM pastor will have to give an accounting of his time leading the LORD’S CHURCH during these years.

    When men don’t call sin, sin and evil, evil, we have watered down the gospel and God’s Spirit will remove His blessing. Nothing ever good comes from that. I’d rather be the lone soul in the wilderness fighting for what is right then to be in the band of merry men in SG churches. I’ve lost alot of “friendships”. I still feel the pain almost every day.

    I still am concerned about where my heart is sometimes. However, I know that I’m on the right side of the gospel in this. I’m just STILL surprised that the remaining pastors are so far removed from seeing and acting on these issues. It really does amaze me.

    I’m fighting for the gospel. I’d encourage each of you to do so as well. You’ll go with the Lord’s blessing!

  • old timer

    Waters, 244, wrote (((((The question is, when God sifts and purges and the truth is revealed—will it be seen or will illusions trump the thoughts and sight of some Believers?–We must be equipped and know the power of the Lord to fight the good fight of the faith….)))))

    Yes, you are right…… lots of people never recognized Jesus. And we have to fight that fight even if we don’t want to.

    Elevation Worship–Open up Our Eyes

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbZbsQyiQVI

  • Patti

    Kris,
    With all due respect to your feelings of unreality when reading HT, I just want to comment that your comment was a trigger for me. I have absolutely no sense of unreality in ANY of the plaintiffs stories. The PTSD from remembering how my own naïveté from my sheltered upbringing similar to SGMers and CLCers got me into trouble is nauseating right now. People not believing my ‘far fetched’ stories adds insult to injury. Add to that the strange guilty feelings that my naïveté itself was somehow my fault, which I think comes from the laughter of people who I dare to tell. It’s no laughing matter when that ignorance kept us from sensing the evil we were about to experience and run. Does anyone remember what the ‘submarine races’ referred to? I really did think I was going to the lake at 11pm to watch some sort of boats. Lol, wow, just writing that helped the PTSD diddapate. I even laughed a little, thanks for the freedom to write here.

  • Caesarsalad

    I thought for a time in the past “What a waste to have been in SGM. I feel disillusioned. Where were you God?” But then I realized I could look back and see good and how God used and can continue to use my experience. As time went on, we had a growing amount of concerns,but we would think “Well, no place is perfect”. SGM was actually a breath of fresh air at first as the past two churches I had gone to had pastors who committed adultery. It was such a relief to me that there seemed to not be even a hint of sexual immorality among the leadership. Obviously, God is bringing things that were in the darkness to light and I grieve for those who suffered first hand. Our only hope is staying close to Jesus, our Shepherd, even in churches.

  • Patti

    I meant dissipate, wow, I have know clue what that other word is, autocorrect did that one.

  • Caesarsalad

    Caesarsalad
    June 11th, 2013 at 9:20 am

    (Reposting as I’m not sure how moderation works:))

    Fruit Flavored 208 Your comments on Mt. Airy reminded me that an SGM pastor once told me that he and other pastors are thinking that it is better to have many small churches here and there in an area than one big church. I agree as I have only liked going to smallish churches for many reasons. I especially wonder what will happen to the large church buildings if the large churches don’t survive this SGM mess? That must be a huge worry for pastors of those churches.

    KMD 207 Thank you for your clarifications.

    In regards to caregroups and kids, at the SGM churches I attended, it seemed to always be up to the host family or they’d let the group decide.

    We left an SGM church awhile ago. Looking back, I have a different take now with feeling stupid/guilty for going to an SGM church (and we went for a long time–20+ yrs): We, as God’s dearly loved children, have to really believe that God causes all to work for good. He respects free will (thus the problems and sin in churches and the world!), but He is here for us to run to, to heal us, no matter if we were sinned against or it was our own doing. He has promised to “keep us” in this fallen world, to lead us “through” valleys to a better place with him.These are things that have comforted me and helped bring healing. I hope they comfort anyone who is feeling despondent for having gone to an SGM church.

  • Caesarsalad

    Caesarsalad
    June 11th, 2013 at 9:45 am

    (my last repost:))

    Dr. Pepper 218 Back when we became care group leaders for a season, a pastor absolutely made a point to find out if we tithed. I remember thinking “I guess that’s a prerequisite”. I’m not sure if he went so far as to find out how much.

  • Stunned

    Patti, I could never figure out HOW anyone could watch the submarine races unless it was in really clear water.

    Signed the always gullable until I ain’t anymore,
    Stunned

    PS. Seriously, Girl, I always thought that was a real thing, too. I was raised much too naïve, as well. Thank heavens my kids have a bit more savvy than I.

    PPS. Is this THE Patti from the old days or is this a fairly new poster?

  • Caesarsalad

    Dr. Pepper 240 Tithing seemed like a big requirement for leadership, so I imagine someone using cash would have to prove it, unless maybe the pastors really really trusted the person.

  • formersgmer

    CFC folks:

    I have a friend at CFC whose iniials are SV and is marrtied to Kimm Harvey’s sister. Does anyone know how he is doing with all of teh turmoil surrounding Dave Harvey? I hope his faith in Christ has not been damaged by all that has happened.

  • Jenn Grover

    Somewhere in Time – I am inclined to agree with you. However, I am guessing, they wanted the letter to SGM to reflect a unanimous voice and there are likely to be differing opinions on the issues you mentioned. Again. I am inclined to agree with you.

  • CLCya

    Somewhereintime #261 – I in no way meant to diminish the voices on this blog by my comment. Just want to be sure to communicate that to everyone. I am very grateful for the many voices here and the time people invested both here and in meeting with pastors to be those voices. I was referring to voices in leadership (pastors), voices that can communicate to those who may not read (for whatever reason) this blog or to those who may not know the blog exists. Thanks for your comments. I, too, have had friendships that vanished into thin air once I left. As much as I don’t want to admit it, that hurts.

  • Caesarsalad

    formersgmer 242 Thank you for that post! I agree that there has been big time failure in regards to the Eph.4 mandate. The Athens church and you explain it well. The commentary by Ben Stuart is wonderful. Every pastor should see that!

    This reminds me of how I would tell my husband how bored I was with our SGM church…just cg and children’s ministry to do. One reason we left was because we became so hungry when it came to the Holy Spirit/gifts, but the leadership seemed less and less sure how to lead and teach in this area. Having a special needs child and other children, I was not in a season to spear-head anything, but I would have loved to have been “a part” of something going on. I know we all have our “seasons” in life and capacities, but it seemed like women weren’t aloud to do anything and I knew some gifted women!

  • Wizer

    Not at CLC any longer #92
    (yeah, I’m WAY behind on my reading), you said to QB:
    “In that case your coming to this blog is like a antiwar demonstrator coming to a meeting of soldiers with PTSD. You can’t relate. You can’t say that what other people say isn’t true or valid if you have not experienced the same thing.”

    Thank you for the hearty laugh, that one had me rolling.

  • QE2

    Reading Matthew 5:40, Stunned.
    And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.

    If they do take your toaster, be sure to give them a can opener as well. And in a show of solidarity, I’ll throw in a coffee pot.

  • whattodo

    #279. I have been wondering about SV. Have not seen him for a while. Did he leave CovFel?

  • Hurting but Facing It

    This is my first post. I am in grieving over the families affected, and in many ways, our family has been affected as well over the past 25 years. Here is a list of what I think the SGM churches need to do, and what I would be looking for in a new church (if I ever want to join another one.) Perhaps this list is too strict, but I have been burned…

    WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE IN SGM CHURCHES:

    1. Step Down: Any pastor should step down who . . .
    a. Is mentioned in the lawsuit. Even though they are not proved guilty, they should take a leave of absence until the truth is made known.
    b. Knew about it and didn’t report it to the police and social services.
    c. Did not help the victim and their family by directing them to professional counseling services.
    d. Continued to let the perpetrator have access to children.
    e. Did not notify members of the church as to the identity of the perpetrators.

    2. Make the Truth Public: Everything possible should be done to find and make public the truth about these allegations, lawsuit or no lawsuit.

    3. Child Abuse Specialists: Specialists on sexual abuse of children should be brought in to evaluate whether or not church teaching and practice contributed to an environment that attracted and shielded pedophiles.

    4. Pedophiles, Physical and Sexual Abusers, Criminals, Addicts, Pornography (alleged or already convicted): They have life-long mental issues which require professional counseling, demonstrated behavior change, and long-term accountability. You can’t cure an alcoholic, addict, or a pedophile!

    a. Should be on a list accessible to everyone in the church
    b. Should demonstrate that they are receiving weekly accountability by professionals for their behavior.
    c. Should not be allowed in classroom areas or children’s ministry areas
    d. Should not be dealt with as just sinners requiring immediate repentance and quick forgiveness.
    e. For the rest of their lives, they must avoid situations that put them in the way of temptation.
    f. It is the first responsibility of the church or those who know them, to protect the women and children around them – those who are vulnerable.

    5. Role of Women: The church should look at the structure of the church and how it contributed to the subjugation of women.
    a. Why did the pastors regard the head of the home as more important than the women and children in the home?
    b. Why are women being taught to obey their husbands even when their welfare and the welfare of their children are at stake?
    c. Why were women taught that they had to go through their husband or care group leader when an issue arises?

    6. Cheap Repentance and Forgiveness

    a. There is no true repentance (which means “change”) unless they evidence a pattern of behavior to prove it.
    b. No one should be asked to forgive a serious offender unless he/she works hard to change, and heal and restore the relationship first.
    c. With a serious offense, forgiveness is the last step to resuming a normal relationship!
    d. The goal is restoration, not a serious offender being released from responsibility!!!

    7. Pastoral Counseling:
    a. Should be restricted: to matters that do not require trained professionals (psychiatrists, psychologists, etc.) This would include suicidal adults or children, pedophiles, violent people, abusers, those who engage in criminal activity, those who engage in pornography.
    b. No “pastor-penitent privilege”: Members should know that their pastor will not hide behind “pastor-penitent privilege” at the expense of others. If keeping a matter private will allow hurt or abuse to continue, the person being counseled should know that they will be reported to the appropriate secular authorities and church families.
    c. Women and Children: should always be counseled first by professional women counselors who can act as advocates for them.
    d. Sin: Should not focus on the sin of the person offended instead of dealing with the one who committed the offense.
    e. Limited Time Frame: Members being counseled should be given a time frame beyond which they are referred to professional counselors. That way, pastors cannot continue to give false hope to wives or children who are suffering, leaving the situation to linger on without help or respite. At some point, pastors need to refer to professionals so that the woman or child can get help.
    f. Refer to Trained Psychologists: The church should refer to trained professionals to deal with psychological issues such as sexual abuse, pornography addiction, physical abuse, suicidal tendencies, and mental illness.

    8. Women Counselors: When women request counseling, they should be able to talk privately with a professional woman counselor – no exceptions! They should have an advocate who understands them and is on their side.

    a. Their issues are usually female-related and private: sex, change of life, pregnancy and child bearing issues, relational issues, and physical and sexual abuse.
    b. Women should be given the option of meeting with a woman if they wish – not with a male pastor, who may or may not understand and adequately represent their concerns.

  • Dr. Pepper

    Former #270,

    I didn’t even know Kimm had a sister at covfel. I don’t even know who that person is by the i initials .

  • Caesarsalad

    somewhereintime255/Jenn271 I agree with you both. They ignored the issues of character like pride, lack of repentence and cover-ups, ….I guess there is still uncertainty among them or they really don’t see them.

    Thanks for posting the letter Jenn!

  • Stunned

    QE2- ha ha ha ha! Until a bit ago I would have had no idea WHERE a can opener was in my home! But if they come wanting to take that, too, I’ve found it! Gee, I hope they wouldn’t be expecting an electric can opener since it’s an old hand crank one. And I would definitely need your coffee pot, too! (But do I still have my grandmother’s old crab picks? Yes. Who has a crab pick but not a coffee pot?!)

    Stunned
    the water drinker

  • formersgmer

    whattodo:

    I do not go to CFC. I live in Fairfax and I knew before he came to Christ when he was attending the fairfax church with an Indian friend of his. SV came to Christ while at Fairfax.

    Pepper:

    SV married Kimm’s sister sometime during the 1990’s

  • nmgirl

    Patti at 265.

    I googled “diddapate” and it linked to a similar typo. Is auto correct now going to link us to the universe of typos? That’s scary.

  • QE2

    Could it be that the Athens church, and others before them, are not really just giving SGM a free pass, but might, deep down, be feeling fearful?

    Even though they were near the top of the local food chain as pastors, they were still under the SGM corporate guys and probably had it drilled into them that SGM was their covering who had a batphone straight to God, that SGM had special wisdom and annointing that must be obeyed and respected, and you could never say a word against your leaders because you would naturally be wrong and would be duly corrected-in short, all of the things that they drilled into us?

    Could it be that they are using all that flowery language because they are fearful that if they don’t, they will be chastised for the sin in how they communicate, and suddenly they will be the ones under the magnifying glass?

    Is it possible they are holding their breath, because they have recently grown a set and are timidly testing whether they can actually leave without the door painfully slamming them in the a** on the way out?

    Did any of us boldly tell our SGM “leadership team” that they were incompetent. brainwashed, and wrong? Or did we just quietly escape, only to have our eyes opened more and more the longer we were able to breathe fresh, pollution-free air?

  • Eric NS

    In addition to the Athens church, SGM has removed Riverside Christian Fellowship in Ft. Lauderdale and Sovereign Grace Chruch in Cleveland from their web site today. However, they also added two new churches in Wyomissing, PA and Covenington, LA.

  • Jenn Grover

    EricNS – Riverside still lists SGM as a ministry partner. I am guessing they are just slow to update their website, but will pay attention to them.

  • Jenn Grover

    Cleveland lacked the moral courage to call out the SGM issues, but informed SGM they would not be signing the polity statement.

  • Wizer

    Oswald #233, “CJ’s famous Jude Tour…”
    Oh.my.word… I loved that sermon! I remember commenting that when I heard it, it was the ONLY CJ sermon I ever enjoyed. And now I know why! Dang it all, it was because he was on tour and had performed it to a high-fined polish. I am SO gullible! Sorry for all the exclamation marks, just feeling snookered ONCE AGAIN.

  • Wanderer

    While we’re going through names of banned or no-longer-participating people on Survivors, anyone know what happened to Donald Philip Veitch? Came on with a Marine’s justified swagger and some Old Church way of talking, even coined phrases like DetDocs and then either went away or was banned. Anyone know which?

  • Elle

    SV married to DV, Kimm H’s sister.
    Kimm and DV’s dad and mom moved to the area a few years ago to be close to the girls and their families. Along the way, dad got a job as chief of maintenance at CovFel (can’t remember his official title). Have no idea if he is still there working. He is retirement age.
    So if DH and KH move to Florida, who else is going with them? Their grown kids? Sister and family? Mom and Dad? I wonder if Mark P. or Jared got Dave’s super-swank office at CovFel. They did tours when they finished off the second floor several years ago. I know it had a private bathroom, and may have even had a shower.

  • Not at CLC any longer

    DPhillipV is still swaggering on twitter sometimes posting dozens of times a day. Occasionally I see a retweeted tweet from him as we have some followers/followees in common. When he first showed up here I thought “Oh no not him!” as I have run into him several other places online and he is always talking over everyone else. He could probably contribute well to many conversations if he just did not say so much in such a pompous manner.

  • Paul K.

    MT AIRY CHURCH PLANT

    ThE Mt Airy Church Plant is happening baring some unforeseen event. Matt Maka lives there and is totally on board with CLC pastors. I believe that be as many as -00 or more folks going as many members live up there or near. Matt is a gifted preacher with a prophetic heart and sincere love for Christ. Josh let him go cause he’s a very serious weight lifter – u don’t want to argue with him when u are as short as Josh. Seriously, entire Care Groups or close will join him – it should be an exciting church plant. Many long time relationships.

    Who knows, maybe we’ll plant a couple more churches in the Mont County area or nearby and be one meeting again creating a greater sense of belonging. There are other pastors capable of leading a church plant. We’ll certainly find out.

  • Lollee

    Waters@ 244: Long time reader here, first time poster. I’ve been waiting for someone to make the correction, but I guess I’m the only former SGM member in Atlanta who left unhappy enough to take up with y’all.(smiley face) Aaron Anderson came with John Butler directly to the Atlanta church from Virginia Beach, and became Sr pastor when JB stepped down. The “Atlanta” church is actually meeting in the suburbs (I believe it’s Woodstock) just as the “Athens” church is actually meeting in Watkinsville.

    Our exit from the happiest place on earth was a 4 year process that began when JB and AA came to our already established and, up until their arrival, relatively healthy congregation, with 5-6 other Virginia Beach families to “plant a church”. This included disbanding all memberships and small groups and selling the payed for property that had been dedicated to the Lord for our new church building

  • Wanderer said,

    While we’re going through names of banned or no-longer-participating people on Survivors, anyone know what happened to Donald Philip Veitch? Came on with a Marine’s justified swagger and some Old Church way of talking, even coined phrases like DetDocs and then either went away or was banned. Anyone know which?

    DPV was someone who really irritated Guy toward the end of his tenure here. Guy deleted DPV’s last efforts at commenting, and after a couple of deletions, DPV took his toys and left the sandbox. I have to say it was a relief. Again and again he tried to prove (by simply repeating himself, albeit in varying flowery phrases) that all of SGM’s issues could be traced back to SGM leaders’ lack of formal education, particularly the level of education which DPV claims to have attained for himself.

    Over and over, one or the other of us would point out all the ways in which his argument was invalid, and over and over again, DPV would repeat himself. I finally asked him to quit. He didn’t. Guy stepped in and made some joking remarks. DPV let loose, claiming that Guy had threatened him in some fashion. He lectured us on our lack of respect for our elders, if memory serves. Sigh. Good times. Or not.

    At some point in that silliness, Guy started deleting DPV’s comments.

    Sometimes it is indeed a good thing that Guy has much less tolerance for that type of wearisome back-and-forth. I tend to feel an obligation to let everyone have his say. Guy isn’t quite like that.

    Which is why Guy’s so awesome. ;-)

  • Stunned

    Yay Guy! It was such a relief not to have those academically arrogant statements on here. I didn’t even read them after a while but could feel the pain he was inflicting from on high.

    Stunned
    whose academic credentials kicked DVP’s butt yet is still disgusted by people who Lord their education over others

  • Waters

    Lollee,

    THANKYOU—goodness, I had the wrong church for AA! Now I remembers he is pastor at Woodstock church (Atlanta). I remember that churchplant but sure had no idea there was fanangling as you described—disbanding membership and caregroups AND selling the property yall had purchased …Lollee, I am so sad to hear of this. Do you know how the Woodstock church is faring? I know they have lost members and an associate pastor a couple years ago. As you stated, they planted out of Va Beach, which is the Chesapeake church—and Chesapeake is no longer affiliated with SGM. Although friends report of the continued cultural and SGM isms….

    Kris,
    Thanks for the “whatever happened to DPV” post—Yes, he was repetitive—but I have to admit, sometimes I would just sit here and smile as I read his posts!! (sorry, Guy!)-

  • No1uknow

    Paul K. 292 wrote: The Mt Airy Church Plant is happening baring some unforeseen event. Matt Maka lives there and is totally on board with CLC pastors.

    The truth is that until a couple a weeks ago when he sold his house in order to move to Mt. Airy, Matt M. lived in Flowerhill less than a mile from CLC. And in fact, this church plant has been in the works for literally years.

    IMO, the plant is due to CLCers not wanting to make the drive down to Gaithersburg rather than a lack of the gospel north of route 70.

    That’s all I will say for now.

  • 5yearsinPDI

    Hurting 278….very nice post, and welcome. I was a bit surprised by your last point given their association with CCEF which has several female counselors, and of course the biblical mandate for older women to help younger ones. Sad that some women felt they could not counsel with another woman. Hub and I have talked over the years about with men/pastors about marriage, kids, theology, money, church, and all sorts of things, and I have no problem with men counselors as a woman, but, when it comes to pregnancy and other more intimate subjects, same gender please!

    Paul K….. “Josh even said, “What were we thinking when we made a thirty year old man senior pastor?” Wow. God is really opening his eyes. Did you know Timothy was probably at least early 30s and had traveled with Paul for a dozen years? I’m not saying a young guy can’t be a senior pastor in a new small church, but at CLC it did seem questionable.

    Jenn 224…great letter from Athens IMO. Despite the ommissions, what they do say is excellent.

    stunned…..when you are done with the toaster, put it away. Nothing is allowed on the kitchen counter.

  • Dr. Pepper

    At covfel they were having baptisms and I remember that it was either Dave’s mom or Kimms mom that was being baptized, and she got to share a longer version of her testimony while everyone else had to share a shorter one.

  • Misseditbythatmuch

    Paul K.wrote in Post 292

    “Who knows, maybe we’ll plant a couple more churches in the Mont County area or nearby and be one meeting again creating a greater sense of belonging. There are other pastors capable of leading a church plant. We’ll certainly find out.”

    Why?? There is no need for any more church plants form CLC or SGM. We have many good churches!! I think that when you all realize that then I will believe there is real change in your church. You don’t have all the answers or a perfect model to follow. I just don’t understand this way of thinking. I have known CLCers that were shocked when they visited another church and found out that it was a Christ-centered Biblical church. What??? a church other than CLC/SGM that is following Christ? I also know some who won’t even let their kids visit our church but of course ours are welcome to visit CLC. We don’t go to a Mormom, Jehovah’s Witness or anything like that. We’re even evangelical and Protestant. But since we’re not their “perfect” church, we’re 2nd class Christians.

  • Patti

    Hi Stunned,
    It’s me, the Patti Connected to the commenter, Daughter Withe CLC boyfriend. Sorry to have been aloof, it’s been a rocky road. He’s out of SGM now but all of this has certainly done a number on him. And her. I just wish his parents could pull their heads out. Of the sand I mean.

  • Lollee

    Waters… According to family still there, the Atl church is “great”. They have replaced a lot of us old people that left with a bunch of youngsters and they keep going. As I understand it, they are accepting more congregational input now. There was an exodus of about 1/3 of the congregation about 4-5 yrs ago, almost all over 40yrs of age. Now several local churches have the benefit of all that experience and wisdom that a young pastor didn’t seem to know what to do with.

    Pertinant to the current discussion, we were part of a small church before SGM, and the elders had to be strongly urged to show compassion for and protect the children there after a teenage boy molested a 3yr old. In trying to understand their reticence, I learned that the pastor’s adult daughter had been molested in the church bathroom when she was a child. When I asked her mother what they did about it, she looked very puzzled and said “Why, we forgave him of course”.
    This had to have been in the 70’s. So I’m thinking that maybe in the evangelical community before 1995 or so, there was very little understanding of the lasting and significant trauma that the victims experience, and the liklihood of the perpetrater molesting again. IF this is true, it in no way excuses them from violating reporting laws, just is an observation that SGM was not the only church who bungled the situation badly, That said, I have a hard time even sharing this because I don’t want to in any way downplay the horror of what went on.

  • Guy

    Which is why Guy’s so awesome. ;-)

    Don’t mess with Guy…

  • Jenn Grover

    Paul Kellen – you seem like such a dear saint. Can you explain why CLC has not initiated an external investigation into the claims? I want to believe they are changing but have been discouraged by their lack of response t abuse allegations.

  • It's just the beginning

    Jenn, it’s a good question. I’m guessing that Paul doesn’t know many details (maybe he does?) I think we’ll find out exactly what our pastors are and are not doing at the members meeting coming up (June 23).

    I personally hope our pastors are getting some sort of ‘outside review’ .. although I do think there might be some hard privacy issues to deal with–you’d have to ask random people to review documents/actions surrounding the handling of reported sexual abuse .. which would mean disclosing the names of those families.

    I’m not saying it’s insurmountable–it’s just something to figure out how to do properly.

  • Acme

    Hurting but Facing It, great list! It would have helped me so much during my sojourn to have these measures in place.

    Anne CLC 1986-2007

  • Waters

    Lollee,
    The loss of ‘older’ congregants sounds all too familiar, and as you state: “….all that experience and wisdom that a young pastor didn’t seem to know what to do with.” — This SGM characteristic reveals their arrogance in leadership.

    Yes, I agree, sexual abuse was pretty much kept secret and not talked about 40 and more years ago. We now live in an age when everything is brought to light — when sin, the destruction of sexual abuse occurs, and we know about it—we are then responsible to act on behalf of the wounded. More knowledge = more accountability for whatever is happening in my ‘field’.

  • Steve M

    Dr Pepper, Oswald and others that still attend CovFel and other Sovereign Grace churches… Based on the comments you make, it is hard for me to understand why you continue to attend. Wouldn’t it be healthier for you to move on and become part of a church that you can love and leave Sovereign Grace in your rear view?

  • Oswald

    Eric NS @285 — Riverside CF is the church that Stefan B was sent to from CovFel. I wonder if Stefan had some kind of disagreement with the other ‘unified’ pastors at CovFel and fit right in with the ‘thinking men’ at Riverside. No real explanation was given for his departure. There was a send-off with Phillies shirts given and love expressed. Stefan was near tears, but did not speak. Now we see that the church he was sent to has left SGM.
    Best wishes to Stefan and Sara.

  • Stunned

    Patti, great to hear from you! Sorry to hear about the rocky road. Are daughter and now ex-sgm boy together? I will pray for him and his family again. Our mighty God IS powerful! And I think He is afoot with something in your situation.

  • Oswald

    Elle @290 — Kimm H’s dad is still the maintenance guy at CovFel as of a week ago. I was wondering if he will be leaving, too. No clue about SV, never knew him.

  • Oswald

    5years, Paul, and Josh — What were we thinking at CovFel when we made a 28 year old man the Sr Pastor? He’s probably about 32 now.

  • Paul K.

    U know@ 297 : I know Matt lived in Flower Hill – so did I and went to same Fitness First. Sorry if my saying he lives there came across as “he’s been living there for years.” Two key families in that plant are the owners of Hope Builders – very successful construction company – president Dave Dasoulas and his brother in law have wanted a church up there for some time. Let’s face it, rent or buy, homes are much more affordable so that’s why we have so many people on this plant.

    5years @297 – don’t know if u or others realize (1) before Josh ever left Portland at 22 he’d already been selected to replace CJ and (2) when the transition took place, there were some folks opposed to it – don’t know how many (of course!)
    Josh at first was more like a teacher than an anointed preacher (he’s pretty lay back and natural – never tried to imitate CJ in the pulpit (thank God as in it’s refreshing when a man isn’t a wanna be or an actor). I know many missed CJ for quite sometime not knowing who he really is. He always made everything so dramatic – always a happening. Around 2009-10, Josh came into his own – u could see fire in his countenance. Josh has always had a natural way about him – just plain real, natural, and easy to follow. He doesn’t strain. I especially like it when God breaks in on him w a word that wasn’t planned (going through Hebrews 12 now) – there’s an immediacy about it. As far as Josh saying, “What were we thinking having someone only 30 leading such a large established church, Josh assumed CJ would be doing on the job training – otherwise, though it was clearly the right decision (who else? – there was no CJ replacement which bothered Josh’s dad). It’s not like Josh thought, “I’m the man to take this church forward – no – he was serving CJ and growing into the role as he was clearly called.

    Sorry u missed it by so much @ 300:) but I have a different perspective about church plants than u. The attitude in our community isn’t “we have the best brand of church in town so we will plant a bunch of them. Truthfully, we ‘be all been quite humbled with that SGM notion – they haven’t (they are falling fast!). We live in a culture that is full of unbelievers – enough for all churches in an area to each have 10,000 members. We should not target other believers but rather plant churches and be evangelistic – plenty if room for lots of good churches working together. The day of “our church is better” should be over, and if not, God will not bless arrogant churches.

    I believe our community is too large to feel connected – it ‘s too complicated. I think the answer is to plant churches so people feel they matter. As it is now, there’s no use giving a prophetic word because ten other people beat u to it. Two services makes the meeting to short for worship and the prophetic ministry and church becomes too much about sermons. With a longer meeting, extended worship and the powerful immediacy of prophecy will make church meetings much more anointed and folks will come w a spirit of expectation. I had been thinking of churches within our community, but I think the best way to get smaller is to plant churches. Of course, we also are into missions overseen by a pastor and a missions committee – the committee has real say in what we do in missions. One meeting would bring the vibrancy back to church – love the teaching, but in and out meetings are like eating at McDonald ‘s – we need more time and less people for Sundays to be rich in more ways than the teaching which is good (I must sat that;)

    For real, Josh is a wonderful speaker IMO but other charismatic gifts must be released as it ‘s clearly biblical – 11/2 hrs isn’t as long as a movie!!
    We need more time for the Spirit’s activity and agenda for the day – I want to see THE FORGOTTEN GOD return ! People shouldn’t think of church as “the sermon” but sometimes be more struck by worship or a prophetic word or a poem than the sermon.

  • Patti

    Stunned, they are not ‘together’ at the moment but I never know when that status will change again.

  • Yellow is a Happy Color

    Mt. Airy church plant topic————-

    Maybe CLC just wants to surround the mother ship with enough mini-CLC churches so that SGM doesn’t infiltrate into CLC ‘territory’……??? Like when you play Monopoly and you try to buy up as much as you can…..

  • Paul K.

    Well HAPPY YELLOW – YELLOW-GREEN says top of the morning to u! U must of been playing monopoly tonight – did u enjoy the popcorn and the paper money and the victory! My gracious – I’m taking your post straight to the four guys S a recommended strategy so they have as high opinion of SGS as I do! My sister, these brothers of mine will thank u, so I will do it for them : from Don, Ben, Joe, and Kevin : Desr HAPPY YELLOW…u are an answer to fasting and prayer. We are frightened of SGM and u just taught us through monopoly the strategy we’ve been so needing but unable to put a finger on cause we haven’t played monopoly since we were kids- we play chess but there were no practical answers there and then ur brilliance in seeing in a child’s game what we needed has truly stunned after only 5 years if being in PDI. Please bring Musicman on to sing BLESSED BE YOUR NAME. Gosh, we were in the desert place and ur insight and strategy now has us anticipating the land of plenty as we just crowd SGM out – darn – we never thought of that! Thanks HAPPY YELLOW for making us HAPPY GREEN as in a lot of Monopoly money in our bank accounts! We are starting to believe Paul (our resident friend of barnswallows) that Survivors should replace our time in devotions – such wisdom here as Paul keeps on droning on about how u are us not them – for crying out loud HAPPY YELLOW, we are starting to believe him. We’ll bring ur strategy to the executive team as soon as we decide we want to be fired! Thanks for giving us a way of escape should we need it! Keep u in our prayers! God bless – obviously He has already!

  • Misseditbythatmuch

    @Paul K

    You start with this…

    “Sorry u missed it by so much”

    I am not sorry we missed it. I’m so thankful that God kept us out of a life of control and legalism. I am thankful that he opened our eyes to what was wrong with CLC over 10 years ago and led us to a healthy church. We’ve been looked at as the poor step-children by the people we know well at CLC. We have not been respected. Now after so many years all the things that we said before are being shown and more. It’s very frustrating even to our children. When I see the attitudes change I will believe it. So far I haven’t seen it. I still see the arrogance, now with praises about Matt and Josh. I do hope it changes, I’m just pretty tired of it. I probably shouldn’t read this site much more. It keeps me dwelling on it.

  • Concerned for the kids

    If josh is truly changing and in touch with the HOly Spirit, we will see:

    – apology of his apology for Greg S’s apology to the blogs
    – removal of all sgm books from the bookstore
    – closing of the bookstore
    – halt to any revisions of his own lousy love and dating books
    – transparency regarding the compensation and salary structure of the CLC pastoral staff
    – apology and admission that his refusal to act properly by protecting abusers over abused exposed hundreds of additional kids to risk, and some to actual abuse
    -official resignation given all of the above for a LENGTHY repose to really get straight with God. (1-2 years, at LEAST)

    He’s not as bad as cj, but please, can we stop pretending he doesn’t have much of the same stink on him?

  • It's just the beginning

    First thought about Matt Maka and Mt. Airy church plant: every pastor has different giftings (preaching, counseling, evangelism, administration, etc.)–all pastors should embrace all of these attributes to some degree, but let’s face it, some are more in tune, more adept with one versus the other.

    If you’ve been around Matt Maka at all, you know instantly his heart of evangelism and his love for the lost. In my opinion, he is the perfect pastor who should be planting a church.

    Is this the perfect, right time for CLC to be planting a church? probably not, but there have been thoughts/plans for this church plant for YEARS…at least 3 years–I think someone mentioned over 4 years?

    I think God’s discipline and humbling of SGM/CLC prepares Matt and others to plant this church. Imagine if CLC had planted this church 4 years ago, while everyone was still under the spell that SGM created the *best* churches.

    Also, I like the idea of CLC planting churches and growing smaller (is that the perfect oxymoron or what!). I like the idea of CLC going back to one service.

    @Misseditbythatmuch, #317: you raise some very important points about the members and leaders of CLC…CLC (and probably SGM in general) for far too long has thought we had the best church; for far too long we looked at other Christians / other churches as second-class citizens. (just read the aunt of OL’s recent posts)

    Not to get too spiritual, but it reminds me of praying in tongues. I grew up in charismatic churches (not CLC) .. and at points along the way, there was an essence of arrogance regarding speaking in tongues: if you did, you were more spiritual. If you didn’t, you were lacking something and you couldn’t arrive at the same level of a person who did.

    Along similar lines, consider worship–singing from a hymnal versus contemporary worship with guitars/drums/etc.. I remember many people (myself included) used to think that churches who sang from hymnals couldn’t enter into true worship like those churches with contemporary worship. I understand this perspective, but to trivialize/minimize other church’s / other Christians’ way of doing things and to think you (me/CLC) have it all right is just ridiculously arrogant. Yet that’s how CLC/SGM felt about itself for decades…so sad.

    My concern is how many people in CLC still feel this way? Over the years, how many CLC members have shunned people who left the church? My prayer is that there would be much conviction from the Holy Spirit to those currently at CLC for their part in arrogant thinking, shunning others, esteeming ourselves over others, etc. I think our pastors have begun to realize and repent–since the May 2011 members meeting and the meeting with members that led to that meeting. And our pastors have realized and repented for more since those meetings. But each and every member of CLC needs to search their own heart and consider how they have contribute to the problem and repent and make ammends where necessary.

  • CLCya

    Misseditbythatmuch #317 (and earlier post) and It’s just the beginning #319 – I have always said that everyone there needs to be deprogrammed, myself included! The attitude of spiritual superiority is nauseating. I know Christians who were questioned of their salvation because they weren’t saved in an SGM church. If that isn’t arrogant, I don’t know what is. Another lady who taught homeschool classes was told by a parent that her children could only listen to SGM music. When I met a friend back in 2011 to tell her I was leaving CLC, she was clearly frustrated and thought I was making the wrong decision, even though I told her my husband said I should leave. What happened to submission? Ha! Ha! I guess that didn’t apply in this situation. I also said there were many other good churches in the area, but that didn’t help. There needs to be a complete purging of this attitude. It’s just the beginning – your prayer is a great one.

  • CLCya

    I might add…I feel particularly nauseated when I recall my own arrogant attitude. Ugh.

  • Diego

    The culture in SG churches is all about SGM. They no longer seek Jesus they just affirm their culture. They reference Jesus, but don’t obey. They have lost their first love. They confuse the fruit with the seed. A healthy church must plant the seed of the gospel of the Kingdom and the fruit that will grow will be changed lives living out their faith together. They claim to hold others in accountability and battle sin in their strength rather than fully rest on Christ. It’s their kingdom and strength that they glorify.

  • Paul K.

    Misseditbythatmuch,

    I’m wondering if u’ve been reading along consistently or just peek in now and then because if u had seen my other posts, u’d know the last thing I’d want to do is speak to anyone in a way to stir up past hurts. Happy Is A Yellow Color is someone who has had fun teasing me in a very humorous way and vice versa and I’ve enjoyed that. So in messing w ur name that was in fun and I’m very sorry that sometimes I don’t realize a person unaware of my postings here and much abuse we’ve experienced could look at a couple posts and think I’m a CLC defender as in “all is as it should be on the home front.” That’s not me. If u
    read #258 – my first post in a couple weeks, I think that alone let’s u know that my heart posture
    is one of (1) we have made some progress and (2) we have a long way to go.

    So please forgive me for not first “knowing u a little” before messing w ur name in a way that understandably can be hurtful to someone that’s been hurt by so much abuse at CLC. Recently a

    person very hurt by CLC got in my face about some things. I sent this person my e-mail address
    and they responded to me. We exchanged at least fifty e-mails back and forth. I took her pastor to dinner and we talked 41/2 hrs. The result of
    that was that she was able to completely forgive a situation of abuse and is actually praying for the our pastors and Josh.

    Toward the end of Snippets, I made a post criticizing a pastor who told a friend of mine,
    “CJ, is head and shoulders above us, we do what he says” – I compare that to Himmler doing what Hitler says, in fact worse, because abusing men’s souls and spirits is worse than killing their bodies.” Then I post SOME DEPARTING THOUGHTS – 7 of them – if u read them u will see I’m grieved over 30 years of abusive culture and am doing my best to help our younger pastors “get it” – it’s too hard to fathom. But I’ve been here since78 – longer than even Robin Boisvert – and I freely express my thoughts w the pastors. They know what I believe needs to be done and I know them well enough that I don’t hesitate saying things like, “Greg should never have been asked to get off the blogs.” That decision was made by Greg and five pastors instead of the whole team. When there was backlash by the clowns JL and GR who did so much of the covering up, other pastors were against doing this. Josh believes in plurality – he’s not like CJ – “do what I say or get another job.”

    Thus, I believe the day will come when our pastors have a conviction that God wants them in so far as possible to make every effort to reconcile w whoever is willing.

    So please forgive the unintentional hurt – I am very sorry. In the other hand, I’m glad it came out. There are about 8 people on Survivors who were in my Care Group – just had dinner last week w one and am corresponding w others. I’ve also made some friends here I haven’t even met.

    I even posted a poem dedicated to SGS called
    DID GOD REALLY SAY LOUISVILLE? (Ricucci is doubting whether Louisvilke is God’s will – that it may be Tarshish- they can’t run away from God’s discipline – soon as they get to “their safe haven, the law suit hits. Ricucci decides he’s going to ask God (if he can stil hear God after years of simply taking orders from the pope) what His will is. Mahaney says “maybe SGS can help u. But in a good word for us – SGM – and remember who my lawyer is.

    Getting CJ’s books out of the bookstore wouldn’t be a bad idea – shutting down the book store is bitterness IMO – but I understand – I’m currently fighting bitterness w one pastor in particular. Those who know my family history in CLC including current pastors can’t believe U’m still here. I may tell the full story some day.

  • Philly Girl

    Church of the Good Samaritan (Good Sam’s) – tonight – 7:30 – Route 30, Paoli, PA – Healing Service. For those of you who are in the CFC area. We live hours away, but were invited, so we’re on the road.

  • Dr. Pepper

    Steve M #308,

    You said, “Dr Pepper, Oswald and others that still attend CovFel and other Sovereign Grace churches… Based on the comments you make, it is hard for me to understand why you continue to attend. Wouldn’t it be healthier for you to move on and become part of a church that you can love and leave Sovereign Grace in your rear view?”

    Well, I still attend for a friend of mine, She really loves covfel and would like me to stick around and she always gets upset if other people leave. She has been through a lot, and I would hate to cause more stress on her. That’s why I stay. I do not tithe anymore though.

  • Dr. Pepper

    Oswald,

    Stefan did actually speak when he left.

  • Oswald

    Pep @326 — Maybe I’m wrong, or maybe he spoke at one service, but not the other.

  • Nickname

    From the Athens church’s letter: “The Philosophy of Leadership has shifted to emphasize a preacher-centric, preaching-centric church.”

    A while back, I was struck by someone’s mention of a recent sermon at SGLooeyVull and/or a blog post from the First Family saying (and I’m loosely quoting – correct me if I’m wrong) that the sermon was the most important part of church week.

    This is exactly the opposite of what our SGM pastor said over and over and over again — that the Sunday church meeTing was NOT the most important part of the week, that the ‘life of the church’ really happened throughout the week in different homes as we met together, shared meals, and (my own words) called people out in social settings with
    ‘observations and corrections.’

    So, which is it? As the organization has painfully endured the leader’s pick-and-choose, self-invented seminary education, it has had to scramble to keep up with every wind of doctrine that blew through the corners of his mind.

    SGM ‘swings like a pendulum do…’

  • Misseditbythatmuch

    @Paul K,I do read the blog but not all the time. I did miss your earlier posts so the recent ones led me to think that you were a CLC supporter without questioning things. I’m glad that you have seen things changing and I will try to open my mind to CLC changing for the better. I need to give them the chance and room to do so. Every time someone form CLC comes around me I feel my shield go up and that’s not right. I should not be so judgmental (ironic since that’s what I have accused them of). It’s so frustrating to mean so little to some people that they actually introduce themselves to you, even though you’ve met 3 other times.

  • Concerned for the kids

    “shutting down the book store is bitterness IMO”

    There is an extremely high correlation between churches with coffee shops/ bookstores and misplaced emphasis on money.

    Are the financials of the bookstore available to everyone? (profit, salaries, etc)

    If not, it’s logical to speculate why not.

    Google the article on how churches and pastors double dip financially. Books, bookstores, conferences, speaking engagements, church- specific study materials, etc. looks alot like CLC doesn’t it?

  • Paul K.

    ONE HOPE I HAVE FOR OUR CHURCH IN GAITHERSBURG :

    AN EVENING OF IDENTIFYING THE NATURE OF PASTORAL
    AND CONGREGATIONAL ABUSE AND MAN WORSHIP FOLLOWED
    BY REPENTANCE BOTH BY PASTORS AND CONGREGANTS FOLLOWED BY A TIME OF INTERACTING WITH ONE ANOTHER AFTER REPENTING BEFORE GOD EXPRESSING LOVE TO ONE ANOTHER

    One thing I respect about our pastoral team is that I can freely express my opinions in an unguarded way
    without being rejected or distanced. The above has been a request of mine for about a year, but I don’t push or demand or accuse when I bring my thoughts to them. I don’t even demand answers or explanations. I think this would be cleansing and pleasing to God and I believe it will happen some day. It’s inappropriate for me to demand that we do this NOW, just as it would be wrong if I believe this to be “wisdom from above which is first pure, the peaceable (brings peace), gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. A harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (James 3:17-18)
    but don’t tell them what I believe is both Scriptural and wise.

    Jesus put a very high priority on reconciliation with those you know you have offended : “Leave your gift at the altar (even if your weekly tithe is $4,000!) and FIRST be reconciled with your brother.” And Paul said, “In so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”

    Paul didn’t just write this, he did it. At one point he gets into conflict with Barnabas because he doesn’t want to forgive John Mark for abandoning them. But later he writes, “And bring John Mark for he has been useful to me.” Obviously, reconciliation took place.

    So my position is that this community has a scriptural responsibility to reach out to any person they have mistreated even if there was sin on both sides.

    This is an example of where I believe we must grow, but the fact that I can express thus on Survivors without wondering if I’ll lose my contract to mow the church property is progress. I don’t so all things in black and white (though I must admit, I can’t see much good in SGM – though I know and like many people who do).

  • Concerned for the kids #331 – I looked up a few links, this one is pretty long, and mentions the pastors that write books.

    http://www.cultwatch.com/howpastorsgetrich.html

    Also, this link mentions speaking at a conference on church time, and getting paid by both the church and the conference, instead of taking leave:
    http://fbcjaxwatchdog.blogspot.com/2008/10/come-someone-justify-this-greedy-double.html

    I have an extremely devoted homebody pastor where I go now. Previous churches had people who liked to travel. Interesting observations.

    I am sure there is a link out there to commentary about bookstores and churches…Has anyone seen it?

    Thank you for pointing these things out, they help me to appreciate my own church. :-)

  • Dr. Pepper

    Concerned,

    The pastors at covfel have said the church doesn’t really make money off the bookstore. My question is where does the money go then?

  • Thomas

    Nickname – #329

    Yep

    For if the Bible is the Word of God and the most important thing in my life, then the preaching of that Word should be the most important event of my week. And if the preaching event is the most important event in my week, then it should shape the priorities in my week. Right?

    and

    Let’s make the preaching of God’s Word the most important part of our week.

    http://www.girltalkhome.com/blog/how-to-get-the-most-out-of-preaching

    Also

    No, for one hour or so each week we gather to hear God speak to us through his Word. There is nothing we need more, nothing we should anticipate more.

    But my eagerness to hear God’s Word preached on Sunday is a measure of my hunger for God’s Word. If I am passionate about the Bible, I will be passionate about hearing God’s Word preached. If I am a “good pupil” of the Word then I will want to sit under gospel-centered, biblically faithful preaching more than I want to get some rest, clean my house, go shopping.

    In other words, I can’t be passionate about the Word of God and indifferent to the preaching of God’s Word at the same time.

    To love God’s Word is to love to hear God’s Word preached.

    And this is what I need, more than anything.

    http://www.girltalkhome.com/blog/sunday-morning-reality

  • Marge Sweigart

    Thomas (335): The gals have been brainwashed well, don’t ya think? What absolute rubbish!

  • Eric NS

    Concerned for the kids #331, CLC members get copies of summarized audited financial statements every year and detailed audited financial statements are available upon request. The financial statements include line items for the revenue and expenses for the book store. There has always been a very minimal net profit on the book store sales as shown in the financial statements. The book store is run by volunteers. Book prices have very minimal markups (typically just rounding the prices up to even dollar amounts or the nearest .50 cent) and are sold at far less than the price marked on the books by the publisher and often less than what you could buy them for at a Christian or other book store. Whatever you may have read about church book stores is not happening at CLC. Trying to make money is least of CLC’s problems.

  • Oswald

    Pep @334 — Churches have to pay for the books they sell in the book shop, so unless they sell at a profit they don’t make money or very little. It’s a convenience. No need to go to a store. It gets members to buy, very conveniently, the books they want to sell. So when they recommend a book, you can go out to the lobby and buy it, before you forget. The author and the publisher make the money. So, at CovFel they push books by their pastors and other SGM guys. They sell other carefully chosen books also.
    I see Andy Farmer has a new book out soon or recently. It’s being touted at the SGM site.

  • Marie

    I just got this information via email. At the bottom is an organization, a 12-step group, for survivors of incest. These people have helped me a great deal, when churches have not had the right information, resources, or people who could just listen to my story without shaming me.

    I am not advocating that anyone join this organization, support this group, or even check it out in order to get saved. Salvation comes from Jesus Christ. I could not have written this any better, though, in terms of how our society will go out of its way to support those who have had abuse from strangers, with physical “bars”, but stop short of supporting those who have been abused via family members, and the bars have been emotional, and possibly spiritual.

    WHO HONORS SURVIVORS OF INCEST?
    In the news was yet another story about girls being abducted and found years later. People are eager to welcome them back into their lives and congratulate them for “doing what they needed to do to survive.” I so agree. But what if the abuser had been a father, mother or other primary caretaker? How are survivors of incest treated?
    What if these now-free women start acting out their traumatic experiences with problem behaviors? I hope they don’t, but what if they do? Thankfully, the public will have great compassion and empathy. But, if they had been abused bay primary care-taker and gotten into substance abuse as a way to cope for example, would compassion still be shown? Survivors of incest are rarely honored or congratulated for surviving their years of horror.
    Will these women prosecute the perpetrator? Of course! If the perpetrator had been their mother, father, sibling etc. and they attempted to prosecute that person, they would be labeled as unforgiving, ungrateful and vindictive. After all, the family member put a roof over their head and food on the table. These abductees had a roof over their head and food on the table too.
    In many ways, if you abuse your own child in this culture you’re protected. If a man molests a child in the neighborhood, we want to call the police and have him locked up for life. If that same man molests his own daughter, we only want to call a therapist. Both should be called in both situations.
    Some of the abductees talked about how they bonded with the abuser. “They weren’t all bad.” No one is! Hitler liked dogs. In children, negative bonding can be more powerful than positive bonding. The child is always trying “to get it right” as a result of inappropriate guilt and shame. To survive, the child tells him or herself over and over “I made him do it.” “I shouldn’t have been so good-looking”etc. I think it is nothing short of miraculous that any incest survivor matures enough to be able to look back with any clarity.
    After released, abductees aren’t expected to spend the holidays with their captors! Yet, the incest survivor is criticized, rejected, and considered to be disloyal because she or he won’t have the perpetrator over for Thanksgiving dinner!!
    Survivors of incest are shunned, and some people go out of their way to call them liars. They’re stigmatized as bad people, not damaged ones. Acting out is seen as proof that they are not credible. And no one questions these recently-released women’s memories. What’s the payoff in telling others that you’ve been hurt and degraded by the very people who are supposed to protect and love you?
    Does our society pathologize adaptive responses by the childhood sexual abuse survivor when the perpetrator is a blood relative? Does that include?

    promiscuity?
    alcohol/drug abuse?
    homelessness?
    need to control our environment?
    depression?
    self-injury?
    eating disorders?
    prostitution?
    identity confusion?
    incarceration?

    The public will give great sympathy to survivors of stranger abuse. Shouldn’t we also extend compassionate support to the many victims abused by family members? How long will people be patient with the flashbacks and nightmares? How long before the incest survivors is told, “Just over it,” or “How long is it going to take you to move on with this??” Childhood sexual abuse isn’t a splinter; incest survivors have been in a train wreck. Healing takes time and resources.
    Physical prowess can intimidate people to do just about anything in order to survive. Psychological power is powerful too. Survivors of incest were seldom locked in a cage or a basement, but the bars were very real. What did the bars look like?

    *Tons of inappropriate shame
    * Inappropriate guilt which allowed them to survive by giving them the illusion that they were in controlled and the illusion that their parents were good people
    * Their need to believe they had trustworthy parents caused them to take on the blame
    * Humiliation
    * Helplessness
    * Depression
    * Their physical size
    * Their needfulness
    * Their natural dependence as children
    * Lack of viable options
    * Children’s natural narcissistic point of view that they cause everything that happens to them, good or bad
    * Their unquestioning trust because of their age and position
    * The perpetrators position of actual power, physically and psychologically, and moral authority
    * Distrust of their own perception
    * Distrust of others caused by the betrayal of the abuser(s) and enabler(s)
    * Physical, psychological threats to the child, other family members, or pets
    * Threats to abuse the other children if they do not comply
    * Isolation and self-hatred that abuse produces and demands
    * Profound terror of lack of control because they lived in such chaos for years
    * Damage to their personalities in formative years
    * Alterations in brain chemistry, sometimes permanent, that early childhood trauma causes which keeps them in a constant state of hyper-vigilance
    *Their inability to tell anyone because of inappropriate guilt
    * Being forced to acclimate themselves to abuse, surviving by telling themselves that they deserved it

    In spite of these hardships, many survivors of incest and childhood sexual abuse by teachers, neighbors and family friends not only survive but learn how to thrive. Yet sadly, for every survivor that heals, there are countless others who never find their way in from the cold. Any man or woman who escapes to talk about a traumatic experience did the correct thing because they survived. Their courageous act makes it easier for other survivors to seek healing and wholeness. Incest survivors who speak up are heroes. Let’s treat them as such.
    Linda Davis, LCSW-C
    Executive Director
    Survivors of Incest Anonymous:
    for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse
    PO Box 190
    Benson, Maryland 21018
    http://www.siawso.org
    410.893.3322
    Serving Survivors Since 1982

  • Eric NS

    Paul K. #332, Paul, its wonderful that you have this relationship with the pastors and that they engage with you. But what is needed is for the all of the pastors, and Josh in particular, to engage with ALL of the congregation. It doesn’t serve the congregation to have this great information that you get be limited to just one person. That type of information never reaches 99% of the congregation.

    Pastoral/congregation communication was starting to improve just prior to the docs coming out and just after the docs came out, but then the pastors caved in to fear of man (i.e., SGM) and stopped letting people ask questions during member’s meetings. If they really want us to believe that they are transparent and desire two-way communication (not just taking at us or about us), then it has to happen corporately, not just privately. We ALL need to hear the same information at the same time, not the one-on-one conversations.

  • Marie

    And the main point from my previous post:

    In spite of these hardships, many survivors of incest and childhood sexual abuse by teachers, neighbors and family friends not only survive but learn how to thrive. Yet sadly, for every survivor that heals, there are countless others who never find their way in from the cold. Any man or woman who escapes to talk about a traumatic experience did the correct thing because they survived. Their courageous act makes it easier for other survivors to seek healing and wholeness.

    Incest survivors who speak up are heroes. Let’s treat them as such.

  • Marie

    Paul K. #332 and Eric NS #340, I wish I had an Amen button for both of your posts.

    I am so glad for you, Paul, to have such an extraordinarily close relationship with your pastors. What a wonderful feeling to know you can have such great fellowship, and that you are in contact with people from this blog. On the other hand, I have been in too many churches where the pastors would only connect with certain kinds of people, and I never felt like my personality looked trustworthy enough to connect with. It has brought up hurt in the past when I have read here about how connected people are with their pastors. I now have that in my current church – I have a very positive connection with the head pastor. He does not talk with me much, but he waves and thanks me for my service, something that I do in the background, and that feels great.

    Eric NS, I hope for your sake that the pastors take to heart what you are sharing, and extend more fellowship to you. I know that the pastor cannot be friends with everyone, but hopefully a balance can be struck, so that all the saints can feel included in what is going on.

  • Dr. Pepper

    Oswald,

    I understood that the author and publishers got money, but the past few months I’ve been thinking if everything covfel says is true. It is a convenience to members, but sometimes I feel when it helps members, it must be helping pastors too. The past few months all I’ve been thinking is if the pastors were doing something good for the members, were they getting something out of it as well? I’m sorry if it seems like I’m judging, but I now question anything good that comes from covfel. Sometimes I just think covfel is more concerned about filling their pockets than souls. That’s my opinion and experience. I’m not at all saying they only care about money, that’s my observation based on my experience. I’m done now. :)

  • Lee

    http://www.boston.com/news/nation/2013/06/12/southern-baptists-urge-reporting-abuse-claims/teIdWyal6ZgJISVVCj8jfI/story.html

    The SBC Convention approved Peter Lumpkin’s resolution. I haven’t had time to see what may have been amended from the original resolution which obviously referred to SGM.

  • Hoi Polloi

    Paul K @ 332 – As from one who is also in for “reform” I so agree with you!
    …and as for Josh – Yeah, I agree with you as well; he is no Protégé.

    Jenn Grover@304 “Paul Kellen — you seem like such a dear saint”
    ummm yeah! Paul and I had lunch last week and he picked up the tab.
    :)

    Yellow is a Happy Color @315 & Paul K. @316 – Love the banter.

  • It's just the beginning

    My understanding of how CLC’s bookstore operates is the book prices are cost+shipping, where shipping is spread across.

    So if the bookstore manager order 100 copies of something and shipping was $10, $0.10 is added to the cost of each book. It really is meant to be the lowest cost possible (cheaper than your local Christian bookstore or Amazon).

  • Somewhereintime

    Hey CFC! Hey those who tithe to SGM! Take a look at what your tithes bought …

    http://www.homes.com/Real_Estate/PA/City/WEST%20CHESTER/?TemplateToView=Map&lat=39.924114&lon=-75.576724#39.92411,-75.57672/18.00/RoadLabels

    1/2 Million dollar home for the pastor … how nice and “frugal”

  • Stunned

    On bookstores:

    Why does a church run one, at all? There’s this thing called the internet where you can buy books. And since CLC and all SGM churches are already in already well churched areas, there are Christian bookstores. Why does a church need to waste volunteer time to sell books at all? Or waste church space. There is actual ministry that could taking place with all that extra resources.

    The church I grew up in had a library. That’s right, we all shared the things that were good. We shared with one another. It took barely anyone to run it. You see, most of the people of that church were too busy reading God’s word to waste a lot of time and money on someone else’s words about God’s word. (Actually, I really don’t know if the people of the church read their bibles that much. I hope they did.)

    Church bookstores still seem like a big waste of time.

    Stunned
    who actually helped set up an SGM bookstore so I hope I haven’t hurt anyone’s feelings with my opinion, but come on, amazon already

  • Stunned

    PS. to me, selling anything in a church building really doesn’t fit into the “avoid even the appearance of evil” when in America, the church is often associated with greedy basta…ah… people who fleece people with a bit too much religious fervor. I am not saying that is happening, but that IS the vision we Christians have done a bang up job painting for our unbelieving neighbors. Why contribute to it when every single person in CLC or SGMland is quite capable of driving to a bookstore or ordering one on line? Why? If anyone is going to ANY church where the minister/pastor is recommending you read a book, other than the word of God, run for the freaking hills! Nothing wrong with reading a book but if that’s what’s coming from the pulpit, get the heck out of dodge.

  • Stunned

    Marie, #339- wow, thank you for sharing. Poignant.

  • It's just the beginning

    Stunned, another real reason CLC/SGM bookstores exist is for control reasons (shocker I know). The pastors want to have a list of “approved” Christian books for the church.

    I’ve heard that for decades CJ approved each and every book/CD/resource that went into the bookstore.

    A small part of me understands how it might be good for church members to know that their pastor / their church approves a Christian book–there are lots and lots of questionable books (anyone read any of the “Name It, Claim It”-belief based books)–but it has definitely gone overboard at CLC. Believers not willing to read a book “if it’s not in the CLC bookstore.”

    For this reason alone–to shed the old ways of pastors having to ‘approve’ book–I think it would be a good idea to close the CLC bookstore.

    But it is just so darn convenient! … people just need to stop fearing books not in “the best little bookstore on earth”.

  • With regard to CLC having multiple small churches in the community vs. one large church (in hindsight) that would have been a good idea. From what I understand a number of groups are set up to where when the local church gets above a certain size they automatically split so they only get so large. It is shame that CLC didn’t choose this path. Even if they do correct various issues they have, it would be harder to adopt this type of approach after all the money they have spent on on their building.

    With that said, there can be advantages to larger size churches.

    It is interesting to theorize why they didn’t take this aproach

    – Maybe it was due to C.J.’s ego of wanting to have a large church to preach to.
    – Maybe it was C.J. not wanting to give up the control he would loose with mulitiple pastors being in charge vs. him being in control of a large group.
    – Wanting to have a large church at what was their headquarters.
    – Maybe they built to the land they had. (Had a large property so expanded to that when they could).
    – Didn’t foresee the growth past Gaithersburg

    I am sure it is a combination of the above.

  • “It’s just the beginning” said,

    I’ve heard that for decades CJ approved each and every book/CD/resource that went into the bookstore.

    I have heard this too, many times, from many different people.

    Which begs the question, if CJ actually was detail-oriented and controlling enough to feel he needed to approve each and every item sold at the church bookstore, how likely is it that he would at the same time have been so disconnected from other elements of life at his church that he would not have demanded to be informed about serious matters like when criminal child abuse came to light and pastors were telling victims not to go to the police?

  • Hurting but Facing It

    I remember the first time I walked into Family Christian Bookstores. I felt alarm and a strong sense of guilt. I wondered if anyone else from my church saw me there. For 20 years, I had been taught to believe that the only books that were “doctrinal” were the ones in the church bookstore. Anything else was suspect or poor theology. After selecting a few books and reading them with delight, I realized all the help I had missed during the past years. I know that things have changed, and the bookstore is no longer regarded as the only place to get books. And I am grateful for the few quality books I have purchased from there. CLC is changing, and so am I.

  • Glad i am out

    Somewhereintime, post 347

    Look, i usually don’t jump in on comments like these, but yours really is a bit out of line. Yes, it’s a “potentially” 1/2 million dollar home, when it sells it probably really will be one, but they bought it in april 1999 for 295K. Would you rag on them over 295K? Well if so, they bought that one after owning for several years in Springfield (or it may have been Drexel Hill). They have wisely built up equity over the years and traded up one home for the next. I don’t think almost anyone here would see anything wrong with that. I hope to accomplish the same. I hope my home is worth Billions some day. And i would not give a rat’s patutie who cares.

  • Wanderer

    Kris @ 294, Stunned @ 295: Hear hear. Thanks, Guy!!!!

  • Somewhereintime

    Glad,

    You are completely missing the point that I am making. These pastors are paid a kings ransom compared to the average salary of their congregation. In 1999 I could only afford a $140,000 home … And I made good money working for a very good company. So Dave Harvey was able to get a home twice the cost of mine and probably twice the cost of 4/5ths of his congregation. You don’t have a problem with that? It’s the on-going story of pastors being the center of the world in SG. Today I make $200k … It would be a stretch to buy a 1/2 million dollar home. Doable, but a stretch.

    So how much did Dave Harvey make? $150,000 … $200,000? My guess is the upper end of that guess. Oh… And AFTER his base salary did you know that your church PAID Dave Harvey and any other SG pastor who preached at your church about $1,500 per performance??? Betcha didn’t know that did ya!

    It’s all an flipping scam!!! I really really struggle with EVERY pastor in SG. They were all about themselves, they served themselves, they served their kids, their wives and their siblings. And we fed them their pride, their money and their status. What fools we are!

    Surprised to hear that Dave Harvey’s dad is the the maintenance man at CFC??? You mean that nobody else needed a job at CFC? Nobody? Kind of a coincidence that Dave’s dad got the job don’t you think?

  • justawife

    Regarding the CLC bookstore,

    There are some books in there I feel are pretty off-course. I have issues with some of the books while there are others, such as those by Jerry Bridges, that I think are absolutely fantastic.

    I think, like any place, you have to really think about what you are buying and what the truth is behind each book. Is this a book that helps you grow your faith or hurts it? Not every book in the CLC bookstore is bad or good, but there are certainly some that I believe have much more questionable content (in terms of their interpretation of various different biblical passages) than others.

    Just because a book has been screened or pre-approved by the pastors doesn’t make it a good book. I never was under the impression that the CLC bookstore is the only place to buy legitimate books, but I am pretty new to CLC. I never was brought up to think that way. I have heard in this blurb from CJ ranting against Psychology (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0aO8UCjVDE) his recommendation that “if you only shop in the world’s best bookstore you are safe” and that you won’t find those evil psychobabble books in there.

    I think that things have changed in CLC in terms of the “CJ or Carolyn Mahaney knows best” type of thinking, at least some have.

  • Caesarsalad

    Hurting 354 I’m glad to hear CLC is changing. It was a big red flag for me when I noticed the pastors quoting more from men than our Lord’s precious Word. I’d think…”They seem to think if Calvin said it, it’s true.” Well, Calvin was anti-semitic so, he was definitely not “Mr. Has It All Figured Out.” I remember the emphasis that the books in the church bookstore were the only “safe” ones. I didn’t believe that due to past church life in other places. It’s more like, if you want to live according to Reformed Doctrine,then look no further than the bookstore.

  • Lost in (cyber) Space

    Somewhere 357 said:

    “It’s all an flipping scam!!! I really really struggle with EVERY pastor in SG. They were all about themselves, they served themselves, they served their kids, their wives and their siblings. And we fed them their pride, their money and their status. What fools we are!”

    Ouch!!! But, you know, I think you may have nailed it. Hard to “hear” it though.

  • NarrowistheWay

    Glad/Some,
    I moved up from a townhouse in G-burg to house upcounty to a bigger house in Frederick county 20 years ago. I hope to also make a healthy return on my investment don’t care a rats patoutie who knows…. I make also make a healthy gov’t salary mainly because I was laid off from my job in the private sector years ago. I made the mistake not too long ago of researching the salaries of some of todays well-known North American expositors of God’s Word… I was shocked at how lucrative it is…and disappointed, I guess… This is not meant to distract from the reason, purpose and more serious subjects of this blog, but imho, it’s a sad commentary on us as a society when preachers and public servants ARE paid a kings ransom. Not to mention the pathetic state of our elected officials…the ones WE put in office…
    Praying for our nation, our churches… the existence of the need for this blog demonstrates the dire straits we are in.
    Thank you Guy and Kris for comyou willingness to moderate this blog and even put up with the daily aggravation.

  • NarrowistheWay

    I also love autocorrect :-P

  • NarrowistheWay

    One more thing, police officers, fire fighters, and military personnel are excepted from the above comments….they don’t get paid nearly enough.

  • Not at CLC any longer

    Caesarsalad,

    I’ve also had issues with all the quotes on Sundays from writings other than scripture at CLC. I have visited three churches, and in every one one of them when a quote was put up on a screen it was from scripture, not a post-first century author. How refreshing.

  • Shunned

    I have always wondered when pastors take vacation every year, irrespective of economy, and buy houses when the church moved, how could they swing this with such paltry salary. I was always left with the impression that pastors make so little that they sometimes have the freedom to come and take what they need from congregants house. I remember hearing how they cannot afford anything. I am sure we all felt pity and let them take and even give away.
    Now you see how they live. I am not sure all the young ones they are seeking would not be able to afford any house in west Chester area. I wonder what the younger guys think about it when they are asked ton tithe and give generously. Do they know hat they are supporting this kind of life style? Do they know that CJ, Dave, Steve, and Brent go first class when they travel? Do they know that pastors who travel to speak at other churches get paid salary as well as honorarium? Do you know that tqhe pastors do not return the honorarium to the church? Do you know that they keep the miles to themselves and not donate it to the church so that a needy person in the church can use it? It is all for the pastors. It stinks to high heaven.

  • Somewhereintime

    Narrow,

    Ultimately everyone gets paid what people are willing to pay you for your job. The issue with SGM is that the congregation DOES NOT KNOW what the individual pastor is paid. Does anyone here know what your pastor makes? Do you know how much SGM leadership is paid? Nope.

  • Glad i am out

    Somewhereintime,, you may have me mixed up w/ a supporter of SGM. I am as far as the east is from west from a lover of SGM or CFC. I know DH and do have affection for him but stopped trusting him years ago for obvious reasons. I left the “bowel” movement 5 years ago after 20 years in… I do not know what you speak of w/ the “$1500 performance” fee… I have always wondered about the words here on survivors i have read about housing allowances… That bugs me. But DH was the senior pastor and soon big in the upper levels of SGM, i guess they get a pretty good salary. I understand your concerns. Not sure about all of that, but do know that i would seek the highest salary possible from my organization, as we all would. So on that front, if you feel it is out of line, i can not offer a rebuttal. But his house was not that extravagant, and you made it seem so, like the tithers bought it for him yesterday,,, The dude made good investments, and his house appreciated. Again,. hope mine does as well. Oh, and by the way, i was in CFC for 2 decades… I know Bill Patton drove the same old car for all of those years, forget what it waS, but it was a heap (SORRY BILL) – same w/Andy farmer – an old red minivan – for years!!! Joe Stigora drove the oldest Izuzu for years! None of these guys, judging at least by their cars, were paid all of that well. And if they were, they were humble and did not go for flashy things. I think this may have been true for Dave as well, but i do not recall. His purchase of a less than 300 k house after years of owning another and building equity does not seem all that noteworthy – you are just looking at today’s value and using the 1/2 million mark to make a point i think you should not make. Dude made a wise investment – kate him all you want – but i think you are just jealous.

  • ballsohardSGMerswannafineme

    ” But DH was the senior pastor and soon big in the upper levels of SGM, i guess they get a pretty good salary.”

    We are paying him. Why don’t we know how much he makes?

  • Dr. Pepper

    I don’t ever want to judge how someone paid for their house. They could have saved for years and years. Also, isn’t Dave the smart one, and probably knew how and where to invest. My parents never made much money, but they saved always and knew where to put the money. When I was in school my friends always thought my parents had money because of the things we had, but my mom worked two jobs and my dad worked one, but he worked from 6-7 or so everyday. But because of my parents wise spending habits, they could afford the nice things we did have. Please don’t read this as me bragging or anything. I’m just trying to point out that even if you don’t make much, like my parents, you can still afford a nice house and nice things aslong as you know how to use money.

  • glad i am out

    Dr Pepper, 368, exactly!! I remember when i was young, my dad, who made 35 k a year, in the late ’70s (maybe that was a lot then) bought me and my brother those down filled coats that make you look like the Michelin Man (new at that time),, All the kids thought we were rich and mocked us for it.. They were probably 20 bucks…maybe 30… There are many reasons to question decisions made by DH, but benefitting from property appreciation should not be an issue here.

  • Sopwith

    *
    *
    *
    “SGM Amends  Bylaws To Protect The Children Within  Their Care…”
    .
    Huh?
    .
    Proposed Amended SGM Bylaws reads: 
    .
    “SGM pledges to cooperate fully with law enforcement officials in exposing and bringing to justice all perpetrators, sexual or otherwise, who criminally harm children placed in our trust. SGM leadership pledges to encourage SGM pastors and their employees to  utilize the highest sense of discernment in reference to questionable policies or practices, safeguarding the children in their care from criminal abuse.” -SGM Board 
    .
    What?!?
    .
    –> One can always ‘hope’ that within The Sovereign Grace Ministries Family Of Churches, better angels, shall prevail….
    .
    Blessed are the peacemakers?
    .
    hmmm….
    .
    Au pied de la Croix pour l’amour des enfants !
    .
    ATB
    .
    Le Sopy

  • Persona

    CJ wanted CLC pastors to earn comparable incomes to the incomes, in the Washington area. He did not think it honored the role of pastor to offer the minimal salaries that many pastors in the area were making. In fact, some pastors we knew from the local, non-sgm churches did ask their wives to work to make ends meet. Not so at CLC. CJ and Carolyn did not think it biblical for wives or mothers to be employed outside the home. So, pastors at CLC lived comfortably on one income and their wives typically, did not work outside the home, after marriage. However, some did work or volunteer at the church.

    As for the bookstore, CJ used to complain loudly about how sub-par he found the typical commercial bookstore. He longed to have his own bookstore and fill it with classics as well as other volumes he found superior to the ‘fluff’ he found in area bookstores.

    In order to better get them in the hand of the members, he sold them close to cost. He would also advertise them from the pulpit and tell everyone to create a book budget and build their libraries up at home. Some new parents even began stocking future reading libraries at home for their children.

    One person on the CLC staff oversaw the running of the bookstore but, volunteers would help stock and sell the books on Sat-Sun and, at all the conferences. The pastors would read and choose books to fill the various categories in the store. CJ wasn’t the only one to read and recommend them. They also did not stock every book written by members though, on occasion, they would.

  • 28 years gone...

    Persona 372 said:
    In order to better get them in the hand of the members, he sold them close to cost.

    Being in the Christian book publishing industry I can tell you that perhaps there were times that they sold some books near to their cost. But almost always you could get them online for much less. You could justify that by saying you are supporting the bookstore, but really, when it comes to C.J.’s books or any of the SGM books, Cost would have been $1.00 or so, especially for the size and number of pages. For sure, SOMEONE made a killing on the SGM books and CD’s which also cost pennies to produce.

    Also, SGM churches were expected to buy their books from SGM. They might be able to get them wholesale somewhere else cheaper too. While the bookstores were not money makers for the churches, they were a source of revenue for SGM. How that money was spent is anyone’s guess.

  • OutThere

    Maybe this was discussed elsewhere, but I’m curious…how did SGM get it’s money? The churches have collections during the meetings and tithing. Was SGM reliant on benefactors? Did SGM churches tithe to SGM? How did that work? I don’t remember if there were special fund raising efforts marked for SGM – were there?

  • Somewhereintime

    Glad,

    Jealous? That made me chuckle.

    When a church and it’s leaders and their entire institution is wrapped in to promoting their role as pastor/preacher as the most important role in the entire spectrum of christiandom, you get what SGM has given us. No focus on missions. Highly paid individuals (and them not telling us what their salaries are … But keep on giving!), superstar pastors, mini-saviors for the sheeple, etc. They have fallen to the same schemes of Satan that he has been using for centuries. They have fallen for the lies that they are “gods”. Of course they would never admit that, but their actions speak it loud and clear.

    The house is just a piece of the entire crapola puzzle with Harvey, Mahaney and the rest. Remember, WE pay their salary. However, THEY control who gets what. Wow, what a job. Sounds just like our government! It’s all a giant piece of horse sh*t.

  • Lemongrass

    I certainly am not an SGM supporter, I’m a survivor, and even though I haven’t commented a lot I’ve read every story and most comments for the last five years or so. I was very disappointed when QE2 called me a liar and questioned wether or not I really am a survivor. QE2 sorry I’m not responding to all of this by looking in your eyes cheerfully and willingly. I haven’t lied about anything, I’ve only asked questions about information that is available from first hand sources. Even though speculative theories are posted here all the time, I haven’t done that. QE2 called me a liar, was shown to be innacurate, and then just moved on like nothing happened.

    One thing QE2 was a little right about is that I am angry. I’m angry at Brent because he doesn’t seem to really understand his part in all this. I’m also angry at every parent that didn’t report, because they don’t seem to see their part in this. I’m also angry at every parent that was a sheep, because they are responsible for a lot of this. I’m also angry for every single adult that was a sheep, because they are responsible for some of this culture. My point is that everyone that propped up this organization for so long contributed to its craziness. CJ, Brent, and Larry werent the only ones that liked power and authority. Their we’re a lot of people that loved belonging to the best ministry in the world. I guess I’m a little frustrated by the tone of several who sound so judgmental when they were probably the kinds of people that propped up the system for so long.

    One other question I have is the continual pattern of questioning wether someone is truly female. Who cares, this is a blog that doesn’t require that info. In doing so it seems to me that your saying a women wouldn’t say those things, and therefore, men are harsh and insensitive. This might not be the explicit intent but it does subtly communicate the message to me. Does it matter if more women post here or if someone is single or married?

    Kris and Guy, thanks for keeping this forum open for so long. I for one miss DPV. Not for his posts, I’d skip them, it was for his hilarious responses to Kris when she told him not to write about something because he was beating it into the ground. He was like a toddler, just couldn’t keep his mouth shut.

  • Marge Sweigart

    OutThere (#374) – Most SGM churches give a portion of their income to SGM Corporate – generally 10%. The SGM church of which I am a former member budgeted 10%, although I understand that lately they have had to reduce it to 5% because so many people have left and their income has been greatly reduced.

    Also, every year, there is a special “Mission Presentation” at each SGM church where a video made by SGM Corporate is shown and then an appeal is made to give a special one-time and/or monthly offering to SGM. Many SGM church members both tithe to their local pastors and give regularly to SGM Corporate.

  • OutThere

    Lemongrass 376…completely agree that the leaders couldn’t have lead if there weren’t followers, and since we are on the topic of money, clearly people (including me at one time) gave money to support them. However…did you ever try to question the pastors? That’s not rhetorical, I’m wondering if you realize just how difficult it was. The first question was usually welcomed and answered. Follow up questions, comments about flaws in the answer to the 1st questions, etc. were not welcomed. Then, because there were so many followers who equated questioning the leaders to questioning God, those of us who did question them were eventually ostracized. And because the leaders kept track of who tithed and who didn’t, if you stopped paying in protest, you stopped being able to have an audience.

    As for SGM’s source of income – I noticed there were a couple of townhouses in Montgomery Village that were owned by SGM and sold in the past couple of years. One was sold at a nice profit, but the others just barely sold for the purchase prices. Investing money in property is not a crime, so I’m not suggesting buying houses in and of itself is unseemly, but I’m wondering if this was common knowledge, and what were the townhouses used for (rental properties? families in need?)?

  • just saying...

    The townhouses housed the students at the Pastor’s College, which has since moved to Louisville.

  • Stunned

    Lemongrass, you make some excellent points in post 376 and you have every right to feel angry. I was part of the that propped up CJ. I don’t think I ever stood more than once when he came (I thought it was disgusting) and I was the lowest of the low as far as adults go on the totem pole. But I still filled my seat every Sunday for 15 years. I was still a part of a group which brought great pain to many people. I don’t think SGM was 100% evil and I do believe there was some good I got out of it but NOWHERE was it anywhere near the pain caused to my family and others.

    Lemongrass, it’s ok to be angry.

  • Diego

    There is a post on the plant and build SGM propaganda by Ian McConnell. Remember Jesus. If you read this you will see that they have a cognitive understanding of Jesus and can resite what the RBDs have taught them to say, but there is no life. No passion in this article. Instead of remembering Jesus (kinda reminded me of WWJD)why not live Jesus. Stand on Jesus, be carried by Jesus. He is to be worshipped in Spirit and Truth. SGM you do neither. You count your churches and plan to replace lost churches. Churches to you are franchises not groups of people who follow Jesus. Churches are your revenue source. Sell more books (BTW Andy Farmer has one, seems to be a re write of an old book on Christian Contentment)Buy their CDs. Attend their conferences. They seek to market Jesus, but have not turned from their idols to obey Him.

  • CLCya

    Lemongrass, I agree with Stunned, it’s ok to be angry (contrary to what we were taught). You make very good points about the many people (non-leadership/sheeple-types included) that contributed to the perpetuation of the SGM culture. That is exactly why I have said that everyone needs to be deprogrammed.

  • Valley Boy

    28 years gone… (#373) said:

    “…I can tell you that perhaps there were times that they sold some books near to their cost. But almost always you could get them online for much less.”

    I remember getting a book for “care” group for a book study. The “World’s Greatest Bookstore” had sold out, so I got a copy from the local Family Christian Bookstore. It was either the same price or cheaper.

    I never thought they sold anything at cost. It just didn’t fit with their way of doing things.

  • LetMyPeopleGo

    Diego #381 – appreciate your comment. Lots of truth and wisdom there. Helped me today. Thanks.

  • Stunned

    LetMyPeopleGo, thanks for sharing in 384. I just love when people get ministered to here!

  • Never Again

    I think the churches sold at or near their cost from SGM. Our former church said that they sometimes sold slightly below cost on some books and were doing well to break even after factoring in everything. I believe them.

    Perhaps we’d have to look to what SGM charged their member churches to find out where the markup went.

    It really does seem to operate like a franchise model, doesn’t it?

  • Follow Him

    Never posted before…and at the risk of being misunderstood, a little background before I comment on some posts:

    Came to CLC in 1997, spouse and I drank the Kool-Aid. Had big family issues around 2007. Spouse spat out the Kool-Aid, and pointed out we’d been following man, not Christ. I spat out the Kool-Aid, then so did our kids. Now we are a healthy family for it. Love God, serve man, hold forth the Word, digging in to good soil. Began sharing with our pastors what we saw, and when we weren’t heard by one, went to another until we were. And one smart pastor said, if you leave, you can’t help us fix what’s broken. Wise words. For the sake of Christ we are still at CLC. Sometimes people say the gospel is at stake – I don’t believe that. The gospel will go forth and always be true, even when man fails. But for Christians to be used of God, and be good witnesses, we must take our lumps, and be broken over our own sins first – big or small. Mind you – I didn’t say sinless (impossible), must be a people on our knees. So with that said, I comment:

    Bought the Field #12 (3) Pray for us
    Persona #13 I’m glad there are many healthy churches; I want this one to be healthier, because it honors Christ.
    Bought the Field #14 “stay and repent” amen. Me included.
    JimFromHumility # 147 Happy for folks like you. Matt has a heart of pastoring the flock as a humble servant, led by the Spirit. I’m sad I don’t live in Mt. Airy, and will miss seeing my northern brothers and sisters every Sunday. But I’m happy for them.
    KMD #207 “However Josh is, i think, trying to lead the church on a path of healing, reconciliation, and a much more Spirit-filled direction.” Agreed. This is proven out in every interaction with Josh. Not just from the pulpit, but in casual chat, direct emails, passing in the hall, etc. Humility marks this man – true dependence on God, and being willing to be vulnerable. He doesn’t need to write a book about it – he lives it. Not trying to puff him up, it’s just what I’ve observed since he became the sr. pastor – a marked difference…
    Paul K #258 AMEN. Thank you for living out “faithful are the wounds of a friend”
    No1uKnow #297 – it sounds like you assume motive? – have you asked any of the mt airy planters? Matt should be a sr pastor imo – he has the gifting/heart
    Misseditbythatmuch #300 – I’m sorry for folks who don’t branch out and visit other churches. My sister goes to a great and local church (denominational), pastored by a gospel-fixed pastor with a heart to see the youngest following Christ. Can I entreat you to remember though, church is people. If you and your neighbors (whom you did life with) all had to travel to your church of choice, you might say, “hey, let’s just make one here”. Isn’t that what the early church was all about? More churches = more believers (no matter the origin of the church), right?
    Paul K #313 – Amen to “We live in a culture that is full of unbelievers — enough for all churches in an area to each have 10,000 members.” YES! “One meeting would bring the vibrancy back to church — love the teaching, but in and out meetings are like eating at McDonald ‘s”
    Yellow #315 – is this tongue-in-cheek? I hope you aren’t passing judgement from the outside…
    It’s just the beginning #319 – “Over the years, how many CLC members have shunned people who left the church?” True, but… I don’t know if I’ve been as bad as shunning, as much as just simply let slip away. I miss the friends who have gone elsewhere, and perhaps have been lazy about keeping up with them. However, my church’s past culture can communicate something on my behalf, if I don’t take action. “each and every member of CLC needs to search their own heart and consider how they have contribute to the problem and repent and make ammends where necessary.” Well said. I’m on it :)
    CLCya #321 – “I feel particularly nauseated when I recall my own arrogant attitude. Ugh.” This is not an uncommon statement within CLC these days. WE are responsible for allowing our leaders to become high and mighty. A hard lesson, but one God has been using for our good.

  • 5yearsinPDI

    If you stop thinking of it as churches, and think of it as a business corporation with franchises, all the financial stuff becomes perfectly reasonable and acceptable in a free market capitalist economy.

  • Pam Palmer

    I am glad that the Peter Lumpkin’s Resolution passed. (Thanks, Peter!) I am very glad the protection of kids from sex abuse in churches was being talked about and voted on at the Annual Convention of the 2nd largest Christian denomination. Our church congregations – the leaders and members – need to hash out the details, though, on the issues related to sex abuse in our churches. One non-binding resolution, while a promising start, is NOT the END of the problems that we face. The “devil is in the details”!
    I look forward to the day, when it will be standard practice in all churches to adopt the SNAP recommendations on how to handle sex abuse in your church: http://www.snapnetwork.org/what_to_do_when_your_priest_is_accused_of_abuse
    (just substitute “pastor” or “church member” for “priest” — this list is great!)
    SNAP has 25 years of experience dealing with this issue. SBC Pastors, you would give more “meat” to your Resolution, if you sought out their wise counsel on this topic!! I look forward to the day when congregations everywhere would host G.R.A.C.E. conferences to educate their church families and leaders on how to handle sex abuse. Like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-V2QMfy27AE
    I see the passing of this Resolution as a watershed moment. The grassroots movement of survivors of sex abuse, largely ignored by church leaders, is not going away! In fact it is growing. Awareness of sex abuse cover-up in churches is on the rise and I firmly believe, that the heart of God is to protect kids and that He is the One who is bringing this hidden evil to the forefront of the Evangelical church. We would all do well to listen to Him! Let’s bring sex abuse out of the church closet — deal with it, have a real, open, written plan and stop the cycle of hidden abuse. Let’s help the multitude of survivors of sex abuse in our churches heal. I encourage everyone reading here to go back to your church family and make sure an appropriate written policy is implemented.

  • Eric NS

    Valley Boy #383 and others, How do you know what the church’s cost was? Is it possible that Amazon and the Family Christian Bookstore can get better wholesale pricing than a church because of the huge volume that they buy, and therefore their retail price is lower than the “wholesale” price that the church paid? Is it possible that a church actually buys books retail from Amazon or FCB or somewhere else, or through some place other than wholesale, and then resells the books at the church’s cost (which is then the same as retail from whereever they bought them)?

    I regularly shop at Costco because I can often get better prices there. I frequently find people who operate businesses also buying items at Costco that they intend to resell. If those resellers sold those items at their cost (which is the price the reseller paid to Costco), making no profit at all, their at-cost price would be the same as the at-retail price that I would have paid by buying it directly from Costco instead of through the reseller. But, the reseller would still be selling at their cost.

    I don’t know it for a fact, but its possible that the church book stores operate the same way.

  • Lost in (cyber) Space

    Pam 389,

    Awesome!!!! Thanks for the update and your hard work.

  • Jenn Grover

    The salary and lives of luxury of these guys is completely germaine because it is just another evidence of the partiality shown to elders at the expense of the masses. I know people who made real sacrifices so these guys could have a comfy life. The mission presentations were (are) extremely manipulative and made you feel that by contributing you were investing in mission. Some mission, huh?

    The other point I would suggest be considered is whether a pastor’s home is a comfortable place for people in all stations of life to visit or if ti would be intimidating for the poor.

    These guys had the latest tablets, phones, data plans for their devices, flew when they could drive, and enjoyed the many perks (like free remodelling, vacations, etc…) while people in local churches were without legitimately struggling. Shame on them. They might not be showcasing air-conditioned dog houses, but they were certainly living off of the fat of SGM.

  • Somewhereintime

    Regarding the books… we paid RETAIL for the books and sold them at the exact retail price. So, it would cost @$4.00 to make the book in China and then they would sell them to SG churches for $10.00. Guess where the profits went? Directly to the author. So … there were 100+ churches in SGM. ALL of them would at one time or another go through the same book. Lets just say that each church sold 100 copies (average across all churches- guesstimate) of the book … that’s $6 profit. $600 x 100 churches = $60,000. That’s just ONE book.

  • Jayson

    #365 – they love to travel first class. The perks the give themselves is amazing. no wonder they want to keep in a secret.

    We talked with our friends who are still at SRC and learned that there is nothing to the lawsuit. They said the pastor said he did not do anything wrong and that settles the matter for them. Regarding CJ, we were told it is “envy over the success he has”. I asked, “Is is possible there is more to this than you have been told? Is is possible you don’t know thing about the lawsuit” The reply “Our pastors are always open and honest. We are told what we need to know. After all , God has them as our covering”.
    Flashback: We remember being in SRC when the founding pastor was removed. Only to learn many many years later, we were not told the complete story. Yep, told all what they wanted us all to know.

  • One thing that has been discussed before is that US tax laws allow clergy (such as SGM Pastors) to take a pretty significant amount of their income as housing allowance and it be tax free. At the same time they can also deduct any interest paid.

    This has a few affects including encouraging pastors to buy larger houses and probably have a mortgage due to this tax advantage. It can also mean that a pastor’s salary is effectively larger then it appears. For example a pastor making $80K annually would probably be the equivalent of a person w/o this tax advantage making $100K (as a rough estimate).

  • OutThere

    Jenn Grover 392 –

    re the pastors enjoying “the many perks (like free remodelling, vacations, etc…)”

    They had a vast pool of very willing free labor at their disposal that they used liberally in the early days, and which they could always rely on later if (!) they were ever financially struggling.

    In fairness, though – and I do not in any way shape or form support SGM – I did witness the leaders frequently “bless” volunteers who helped with church meetings, etc., with financial gifts, and the leaders seemed to want to make sure people were paid for work that would draw a salary elsewhere.

    Does anyone know if the leaders (and wives) who wrote books had people assist them in writing the books? I don’t necessarily mean ghost writing, but things like organizing, editing, proof-reading, etc.? If so, were those people paid or did they volunteer? And if they were paid, who paid them – the author or SGM?

  • Eric NS

    Paul K. #313 (and others), regarding CLC’s Mt. Airy church plant,
    I have mixed thoughts on this. One the one hand, I think that CLC is too big, and becoming smaller would be healthy for both the church entity and its members. It would help people to be better connected to one another and the church may rely on the members more and the pastors less. The only real way of becoming smaller (short of closing its doors) is spinning off other churches. I have no doubt that Matt will be a fine senior pastor and that CLC members living in Mt. Airy will benefit from a closer, smaller church community. For those reasons, I could support the plant.

    However, despite those benefits, I have what I think are important reservations about the plant:

    • CLC has significant problems to work out now and shouldn’t be concerned with replicating itself. It hasn’t figured where its going itself, or how its going to get there, so why should it make more churches that also can’t know where they are going?

    • The gospel reached Mt. Airy long ago and it is spreading there just fine. There are at least 20 doctrinally-sound churches with Mt. Airy mailing addresses (I’ve looked them up). Several of these would be reasonable alternatives to CLC in terms of general doctrine and practice (and I’m not minimizing that there is some importance to doctrine and practice). Not exact matches (you might sacrifice a little in worship at one, charismata at another, small variations in theology at another), but good churches nonetheless. And, if the list of churches is expanded to ones in Damascus and Clarksburg (which many of the Mt. Airy people could more easily drive to than Gaithersburg), then there are dozens more to consider. I’ve visited one of these a few times (and if I wanted to drive up to Damascus or Mt. Airy, there are others that I would consider) and found it refreshing in many ways.

    • Any suggestion by CLC that this plant is about reaching the lost can only be interpreted one way: That CLC still believes that it has a better model than all other churches, despite what they have said publicly that might suggest that they believe that there are other good churches out there. That’s the only honest explanation. (Actually, since every denomination believes that they are the best – otherwise, why do they exist – each one, and CLC, should just admit that their distinctives are important, that they believe they are better than others, and then live with whatever view people decide to take of such a statement.) They should limit their description of why they are doing this just to serving the congregants of CLC who already live there. But then, why are they even doing that?

    • No personal offense intended, but those who live in Mt. Airy have done so by choice (whether that’s because they like the country more or because its cheaper, both of which I’m personally in favor of). I’m certain that most of these people who live in Mt. Airy do not work in Mt. Airy, but how many of them spend years trying to get their employers to start a new business office in Mt. Airy so that work would be more convenient for them? No employer would do that, and no church should, either. The people that Paul specifically mentions as examples on the church plant team have been members of CLC for many years, but only moved into the Mt. Airy area after joining CLC, and they aren’t living in Mt. Airy because they can’t afford to live in Gaithersburg. I don’t know all of the church plant team, but I’ll guess that most have moved there after joining the church.

    • CLC has grown into a “monster” in the sense that its large size requires a certain amount of “feeding”. What I mean, is the building requires a substantial amount of money to pay the loan and maintain its operations; there are many pastors and support staff that need paid (for those that are worried about how much the pastors are paid, you’d all be surprised to learn that CLC has 37 full-time support staff — this is in addition to the pastors — plus many additional part-time paid staff; and there are many ministries that require money for operation. The more we spin off people, even while losing people who are leaving for reasons of disagreement, the more financial trouble the church will be in, and the more they’ll have to reduce the scope of ministry. So, it might actually be detrimental to CLC to create spin off churches.

    I know of a former CLC family that started attending another church north of Gaithersburg. I also know one of the elders in that church. This elder recently commented to me that he was very excited to have this particular former CLC family in his church, because he said that it was obvious that this man and his family were very well taught and that they loved to serve – two things that I think, generally speaking, are strengths of CLC. Just imagine what would happen to all of the existing churches in Mt. Airy (or anywhere else) if five CLC families started attending each of them and impacting them, instead of starting their own church. (Yes, I know – depending on how SGM they are, it could have a bad affect, but I’m trying to find some positives.)

    Actually, to contradict one of my statements early in this post, I do have a solution for how CLC can become smaller and the people at CLC who live in Mt. Airy can have a good church that is close by to attend. The CLC pastors should recommend that those people check out several of the good local churches in Mt. Airy instead of driving so far to attend CLC. After all, the pastors said that there are other good churches out there (and even if they didn’t say it, it would be true). Let’s see the pastors show that they really mean it. Therefore, I say that if someone lives in Mt. Airy, or Columbia, or Poolesville, or Silver Spring, where it takes 30 minutes to drive to church, recognize that there are dozens of good churches all around those places. Pick one. Jesus is there…and you’ll make a significant difference in those churches, too.

    Sorry for the long rant…

  • The other thing I have heard about SGM is that they are allowed to expense various items including books and meals etc. For books they may be given an annual budget amount that will be reimbursed.

    This is just another way that at least some SGM Pastors get perks and the meals and books are again not taxable.

  • Somewhereintime

    Outthere …

    You said “In fairness, though — and I do not in any way shape or form support SGM — I did witness the leaders frequently “bless” volunteers who helped with church meetings, etc., with financial gifts,”

    Where do you think these “financial gifts” came from? Out of their pocket? Heck no! From YOUR TITHES!!!

  • Somewhereintime

    JennG,

    You said “They might not be showcasing air-conditioned dog houses, but they were certainly LIVING OFF OF THE FAT OF SGM.”

    You are a gifted writer!

  • Peach

    Regarding pastors’ large salaries (Somewhereintime #357, Narrowistheway #361) I agree with 5Years (#388) that it actually makes sense if you think of “Church” as Corporation (not as Living Stones joined together by the Master Builder) and appealing, charismatic preachers as the ones who provide the “product” that draws the crowds. I’m indebted to author Kevin Avram for developing this insight in his book, “Limitations, The Prism Through Which We See and Understand Church.”

    Vince Coakley gave a pretty good summary of a couple of the book’s major points, and those of us pondering how the Christian church seems to veer off the rails may find this helpful:

    [Coakley writes:] This is probably the most effective publication I’ve read that helps us understand the distinction between “ekklesia” — church — and corporation.
    Though I have been walking with the Lord for 33 years, it wasn’t until 3 years ago that I started to realize how I was caught in the bondage of “corporate” religion and, for too long, was unable to distinguish between His Church and a religious enterprise controlled by men. “Limitations” further sharpens that understanding.

    After providing some critical definitions, Kevin Avram goes on to discuss the implications of viewing church through a prism of corporation. He says the consequence is “Commitment, Passion and Purpose Take the Stage.” In fact Avram argues that these are the only ways to have a relationship with a corporation. In contrast to a relationship with God or others, which “is characterized by two-way communication and, depending on the depth of the relationship, humility, and self-disclosure (transparency).

    The case is made that a relationship with a corporation, even a church corporation is actually imaginary rather than real. Avram gives an example of Walmart. There is no such person:

    “Likewise, no man or woman can have a personal relationship with an actual church, for in the same way that there is no real person named Walmart, neither is there a real person called Beacon Hills Community Church, Second Street Church, or Pine City Christian Center.”

    Kevin Avram’s footnote to this section is even more revealing. I’ll bet many of you can relate:

    “In many instances when a person ceases to work for a particular business corporation, any “relationship” he or she may have had with other individuals within the corporation will also cease. This happens because the “glue” that holds the “relationships” together tends to be the functions of the corporation. Once these are removed, the relationships no longer have any basis for continuing. In essence, the perceived relationships one might have had with others were dependent on corporate functions rather than humility, communication and relational transparency. The same thing holds true in churches that maintain a corporation-like culture. When the functions (programs) of the church corporation are removed, the relationships implode, and in most instances, cease to exist. This is the reason a Christian can attend a church for such a long period of time, and then seemingly see so many perceived relationships abruptly end, if that “church” ceases to exist, of if he or she moves to a different “church”.

    And in another insightful section, Avram calls us to “Imagine the Response of the Pharisees If Jesus’ Teaching Had Focused on Commitment:”

    To put the concept of commitment into a clearer context, and thereby understand why it is not a measure of spiritual virtue, imagine what would have happened if Jesus had gone about the Judean countryside telling people they needed to make a “commitment” to God, a “commitment” to attend temple, or a “commitment” to the “principles” of Scripture. If He had, the Pharisees would have been among his most ardent supporters. Instead they saw Jesus as a threat. Why? Because He ignored commitment-based religion and spoke to them about the issues of the heart – something the Pharisees couldn’t even begin to understand. Their constant attention to the self-sufficiency bred by commitment-based religion meant they couldn’t even hear what Jesus was saying. (John 9:40,41)

    This book is well worth the read. You can order “Limitations” at this link: http://www.amazon.com/Limitations-Kevin-Avram/dp/1886296537.”
    [End of Coakley review.]

  • OutThere

    Somewhereintime 399

    re “Where do you think these “financial gifts” came from? Out of their pocket? Heck no! From YOUR TITHES!!!”

    I understand, and I realize they were being liberal with our money. But my point (not well made) was that at least in some areas, they weren’t just “using” volunteers. They could have refrained from giving gifts in order to have more money for more expensive trips, comfortable office chairs, etc.

    Point taken, though…

  • Jenn Grover

    OutThere – I know my brother’s PC class (within the last several years) updated Jeff Purswell’s study for him, to “bless him” and there are countless examples of such extravagance. A few years ago for a regional pastor’s wives retreat, hosted by Kimm Harvey and Jill Prater, the wives were given mall gift certificates and taken shopping. Then there are the perks they used SGM funds for to “bless” their friends. John Piper had it right upon receiving his iPhone from CJ: “Get thee behind me, Satan.”

    Believe me, these perks were not isolated or limited to the early years. Even now, they enjoy the perks of honorariums while still collecting their regular salaries, having their books promoted by SGM bookstores and at conferences, and more discounts and complimentary items than you can shake a stick at.

    However, the money is not the problem, it is symptomatic of the problem where these men are given preferential treatment.

  • Stunned

    Wait, are you joking about CJ giving John Piper an iPhone?

  • OutThere

    Jenn 403 –

    Wow, I had in mind something simpler – You set up chairs for years without complaining? Here’s a small check. I completely retract my earlier statement about trying to be fair, thanks to you and somewhereintime.

  • Jenn Grover

    Stunned #404 – true story.

    Outthere #405 – I wish there weren’t so many stories, but I think if we all pooled our stories together, the extravagance would be nauseating.

  • Oswald

    Follow Him @387 — Many good comments, things we need to hear. Just wondering…is our knowledge of things about SGM and thinking others don’t know or maybe don’t care, arrogance on our part? Is this pride, as if we know something others don’t know or don’t want to believe? They are called kool-aid drinkers. If people are not there to see what goes on and to pray about it, who else will God use to do it? Pray for guidance before pridefully walking out with disdain.

  • Oswald

    I agree that there is extravagance, but I don’t think of the funds given to the church as ‘my money’. I gave it freely to God. After that, it’s God’s problem.

  • Follow Him

    Oswald #407 – not sure I understand your question/comment. Can you clarify?

  • Stunned

    Oswald, if that were God’s money, I’m thinking He might be getting pretty ticked off that it is used to buy iPhones and not feed the poor. I know too many single moms in Cov Fel and other SGM churches who were in NEED and not taken care of for a variety of reasons. I am dumbfounded that these men (I want to choke even calling them that in light of these “gifts for friends”) could allow this to happen at the same time that the pastors and their wives were giving special gifts out of church funds. This is absolutely nauseating. And if true, sinful. This is serious business.

    When you give funds to CJ Mahaney I no longer believe you are giving it to God. I believe whoever gives their money to him is not using it to care for the elderly, the widows and those in need. I am physically feeling a bit off knowing this information.

    OK, maybe I am a bit off? If I am off, I am open to someone on here telling me why I am wrong. This is just too insane.

  • CLCya

    This may be old information to some, so sorry for the redundancy. CLC’s/SGM’s “Nathan” has come and gone. Has anyone heard about this? A former CLCer and missionary said that God called him to speak to the CLC/SGM pastors. He traveled a long distance specifically to meet with the pastors BEFORE the documents appeared on the web. He told the pastors that they were going to be judged if they did not heed his warnings. His message: care more for the sheep or the wolves will devour them. He also told the pastors to stop caring for their big salaries, book sales, promotion of each other’s books, speakers’ circuit, etc. Do you know how they responded? I am told that they not only rejected his rebuke, but they discredited “Nathan.” What has happened since this rebuke? With the lawsuit, the most recent public revelation of another abuser in their midst, and the recent tragedy with the youth, maybe it’s time for the CLC pastors to invite “Nathan” to return. This will certainly show that they have an open mind to hear what he has to say. Have the pastors spent less time with each other and more time with the sheep? I am told that they are telling members not to be co-dependent on them. What does this mean? Could it mean more distancing of the sheep/keeping the sheep at arm’s length? I can’t help but think that the suicides, murder, and sicknesses that have occurred MAY have something to do with this. I don’t want to blame the church for all the evil that is going on, but couldn’t there possibly be a link? In addition, as I’ve mentioned previously, they are doing business as usual, planting a church, releasing a book, and now I hear repackaging a missions program (like how they repackaged Alpha with Introducing God). Why do they still do this? How much money do they spend reinventing the wheel? Why do they have to put their own spin/flavor on things? Do they still believe they have the best perspective? The best doctrine? The best…(fill in the blank)? Let’s take a look at the fruit. Are people now being cared for? Or are the sheep still being devoured? Has there been a sackcloth-and-ashes kind of repentance? A Zacchaeus-like attitude of wanting to repay fourfold? People still at CLC, would you please ask your pastors about this “Nathan” and his warning?

  • It's just the beginning

    @CLCya, #411: what year did this “Nathan” talk to the CLC pastors? 2010? earlier? just curious.

  • CLCya

    It’s just the beginning – I’m told Winter 2009-2010 timeframe.

  • It's just the beginning

    @Follow Him, #387: thank you for your post and thanks for coming onto Survivors. There are too many members at CLC who “fear the blogs” or write off SGMSurvivors.

  • QE2

    Lemongrass, #376-
    I think you’ve got the wrong Queen.

  • No Longer SGM but not angry either

    Stunned, I think you are way off. Whatever you think of SGM, and like I said the one other time I posted I have significant differences as well which precipitated my leaving, pastors’ salaries and benefits is not the issue. If you ask pastors what they make I would be shocked if, today, they would refuse to tell you. The pastors at my church (I asked and they told me!) made a wide range of salaries based on stage of life and previous salary history (not dollar for dollar but relative). ie a man who became a pastor at age 40, after supporting his family on a $75k salary wouldn’t come in starting at $35k, but a younger man who didn’t have much work experience (I know, this has its own problems, but this is common in all denominations) would start around there. I was told that it seemed reasonable that the senior pastor would make approximately what the average per capita income was for the area. My pastor did. And that never struck me as unreasonable. I’ll bet it doesn’t seem unreasonable to the average SGMmember who isn’t angry at his pastors (like nearly everyone here seems to be).

    There are certainly those who think that pastors are called to a life of poverty, but most of those types are not evangelicals (or protestant for that matter), and Paul has strong words against your claim, Stunned, that pastors are paid an average per capita salary are living in sin, and that the money should have been used to feed the poor.

    First Jesus rebuked that pious Judas for Jesus allowing a woman to waste her money perfuming Jesus’ feet instead of feeding the poor (and I daresay that most everyone here who has criticized pastors’ salaries has wasted their money on something other than feeding the poor too).

    But given that no pastor is Jesus, so that is only marginally relevant (the point being that there are other matters of concern for what to do with money given to God besides feeding the poor), Paul takes this on directly in 1 Tim. 5:17-18 — “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. 18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.” Paul specifically says that elders who rule well by laboring in preaching and teaching are deserving of double honor, and directly relates that to their pay.

    So look, even if you disagree, it is quite easy and reasonable to make an argument that pastors should be paid the wages they are worth for the labor they provide. And many pastors, yes even SGM ones, put in many hours more than you might know laboring in prayer and the ministry of the word, caring for others, studying.

    You could argue that’s all well and good, but the congregation should have a say in what the pastors make. If you buy the congregational argument (and many do, many don’t) that’s well and good. But I bet if you put the average SGM pastor’s salary to a vote, most of the church would support what they currently make. And if you instead buy the Presbyterian model, the elders of your church set that salary, and the Bible gives great leeway as to what that should be.

    Finally, you all are speculating on salaries and benefits. You’re making judgments on facts that are not facts but speculations. For example, the housing allowance is a federal benefit to clergy that allows them to not have to pay taxes on their housing allowance; that was added as an option for churches that didn’t provide a parsonage for their pastors. What Steve 240 said was accurate in that regard.

    And further, I seriously doubt that DH made $200k, and to the person who said they’d have trouble paying for a $500k house on $200k, I found a way personally to pay the mortgage on a $400,000 house making well less than $100k living rather comfortably with my family. Add in the fact that DH probably made money from selling his previous house, he probably didn’t have a $500k mortgage. Id be surprised if he made much more than $100k. And in the Philly suburbs, that’s probably right around average, and even more likely the average for the members of his church. Do you really think it dishonors God for a pastor to have a wage that’s similar to the average member of his congregation? If he’s making more than anyone there, that should raise eyebrows. But if he’s living like most of his congregation, which was the case at my church and I bet in most if not all SGm churches, how can you complain about that? And do you know how much he gives back to his church or to the poor or other nonprofits in secret?

    Stop judging. This is the very thing I was trying to talk about in my other post — it’s this kind of nitpicking that leaves many of us who aren’t angry reading this site more concerned for the contributors here than the leaders of SGM you are attacking. There are legitimate concerns and beefs with the words and actions of pastors in SGM. I have my own set of concerns. But because so many here have harbored such bitterness in your hearts, you can only think uncharitably and unkindly about everything, and it leads to so many mountains made out of something that’s not even a molehill to Jesus! Pastors deserve to be paid what their services are worth! If you think your pastor’s preaching was worth $35k a year, you probably should find another church.

    It is so very, very sad to me that this bitterness has led many of you to applaud and champion what is a clearly and unequivicably sinful action, the filing of that lawsuit by (some) Christians against other Christians. It is forbidden by the Word of God! No exceptions! Christians do not go to court for civil complaints! They trust God and say “Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded?”

    Those of you who are harboring unforgiveness, I do not in anyway mean to minimize your pain. Some of you have been genuinely sinned against. But no matter how grievous the sin, the command from Jesus is the same. Forgive. No exceptions or qualifications. You must forgive. No justification to wait years to forgive. 70 times 7. And the best thing you can do for yourself is to forgive, release the bitterness, and move on, trusting God to right the wrongs done to you and your family, remembering how much you have been forgiven of, and that the same blood shed for you was shed for CJ and every other SGM pastor. Forgive, and be at peace, friends.

  • Dr. Pepper

    I’m thinking that maybe sgm churches do use money to help those in their congregation. Maybe there are those who are getting some help financially, but those people wish not to have that public knowledge. I do know that a few years ago a family’s home burned down and they did say part of the offering would be used to be given to the family that lost their home.

  • As a reminder, those of you who are new and wish to comment, please provide a valid email address. It doesn’t have to be your main one or one associated with your name in any way – I’ve suggested to people before that they create a separate email address just for commenting on blogs.

    But this baloney of rebuking people here and then having the nerve to use a fake email address – that bugs me. So don’t do it.

  • Waters

    CLCya #411,

    And so—this “Nathan” traveled a long distance to obey God, speaking to the CLC pastors BEFORE the documents hit the web!!
    The CLC pastors rejected the message AND DISCREDITED him. ?????? What a dangerous dangerous position CLC stands in. I wonder if any of the current CLC pastors have contacted this “Nathan”??

    I wonder—there are probably other verifications of “Nathans” being sent to SGM pastors— not to mention the men and women who held no church or ministry position, who spoke correction to them. Saints, God really really DOES care about His own.

  • Jenn Grover

    Dr. Pepper, I don’t think anyone is saying that they provide zero assistance. My point was that the extravagance and partiality shown to leaders is disgraceful. When I see where these people lived and know that good, long-term SGM employees were laid off, I am really disturbed. When I see how these guys lived and know families that packed PB&J sandwiches when they travelled so that they could afford to give, I am troubled.

  • Oswald

    Follow Him @409 — Sorry to be unclear. My wondering and questions were not for you in particular, but to jog our thinking in general.

  • Follow Him

    Oswald – thanks for clarifying – had me stumped.
    It’s Just The Beginning – thanks for the welcome!

  • Oswald

    Stunned @410 — I think when we give to a church or ministry, we are persuaded that money will be used to further the gospel, feed the hungry, provide for the poor. When we see otherwise, we are bound by our conscience to stop giving there. This is what I have done at CovFel and SGM. I also feel that I was misled concerning the giving I did at CovFel/SGM; no lies, just not the whole truth. There were careful omissions.
    If funds were misspent after I gave…that is God’s problem to solve. And ‘It is an awesome thing to fall into the hands of the living God’.

  • Persona

    As far as book sales go, the amount of money an author receives depends entirely on the contract they make with the publisher and contracts vary. Still, most authors need to sell huge amounts of books in each quarter, to see a payback.

    The way the business works, publishers, agents and book stores always make money but, not so the authors. Often, authors who sell too few copies in any given quarter, aren’t paid anything. Book stores are able to send back unsold merchandise to the publishers and those returned books count against sales.

    My hunch is that SGM and CLC, buy up and give away crates of books (I have seen them do this) and thereby push the in-house sales of their home-boy and home-girl books, in order to help individual authors reach a level of quarterly volume whereby the authors finally begin to see a little payback for their work, from publishers. Even so, in CJ’s case, his ghost writer must also get a percentage, which means CJ sees less than others who write their own books. Churches also increase sales volume by making books part of the church curriculum.

    One indicator of whether a publisher (or an author) is making money is if they authorize a new edition or an edition in another language. But, as the system stands, book sellers, agents, and publishers earn much more than writers themselves. It’s a very unfair system, in my opinion.

    Still, much change happening in the publishing world with the advent of e-books and self-publishing. And folks probably use the internet more than libraries. So, who knows what the future holds for writers or publishing houses for that matter?

  • Stunned

    Oswald, #422, I agree completely!

    And to the board in general, I am sorry if I flew off the handle earlier. I just don’t understand buying an iPhone for a man who already has money to buy his own.

    (Besides, that is just a creepy gift between two men.)

  • 5yearsinPDI

    Peach 401…..sounds like a great book and I want to get it. Thanks so much.

  • Dr. Pepper

    Stunned,

    I think the same thing. Why buy something for somebody who can buy it for himself? And yes, it is creepy for a man to buy another man an iPhone. However, CJ comes off creepy to me IMO.

  • Bookhead

    Follow Him #387 and Paul K., and other CLC folks-
    This whole SGM/CLC mess reminds me of what seemed to be (to me) an unbelievable situation at a YWAM base several years ago. The leader became power-hungry, bad things began happening, but because the staff was so afraid of gossip/slander, and they had a strong belief in submitting to authority, (strong Gothard teachings) they didn’t share their misgivings with each other. By the time they did begin talking with each other, it was too late. The leader had complete control of the base. The base, formerly a very affordable option for potential YWAM missionaries, is no longer with YWAM, and the former staff are scattered. It was a small base, and I was heartbroken for those who had their whole lives disrupted because of this man’s pride. (There was no sexual abuse, as in SGM) The similarity with SGM/CLC is that as I read this blog, I am finding that I am not the only individual who was concerned with certain things at CLC, but because of the concerns of gossip/slander, I either spoke only to a pastor, and/or to close friends. (Of course, my husband heard EVERYTHING) Obviously, there were others with similar concerns, but with a large church, and the same warnings against gossip/slander, it was rare to connect with anyone who shared concerns. And, it’s difficult to make an organized movement to change the church for the better when there are only isolated pockets of concerned members who don’t know about each other. I communicated many of my concerns openly to the pastors, (whoever my pastor d’jour was) and once when there was a serious issue involved, I involved a second pastor. (who was able to resolve the issue) In 1995, my husband and I told RB that we thought the church needed more involvement in missions, and fewer book studies, and more Bible studies. He didn’t actively disagree with us until we suggested inductive Bible studies. (first time I EVER had someone have a problem with inductive Bible studies!) More than ten years later, we’re excited to see CLC move in that direction. But, imagine how much more quickly it would have happened, if I’d known there were other like-minded people at CLC who wanted Bible studies. Individuals can be ignored, but a large group of people? Not easily. Instead, I went off (apparently against the “rules”) to a womens’ Bible study at another church. My husband and I gave to missions elsewhere. Others did their own individual things to get their Bible and missions needs taken care of. I’m grateful for my time to get to know wonderful women from another church, but it was terribly disappointing that it took so many years for our so very large church to begin teaching more from the Bible, than from famous dead people. Why did I stay? Because I believe in God more than I believe in those who lead this church. I knew He was listening, even if the leaders weren’t. Plus, God hasn’t told me to go, yet. And no one told me to go, shut up, or stop, even though I broke some of the “rules.” (Okay, once my husband was told to shut me up, but that’s when I got the second pastor involved. NO ONE tells me to shut up.)

  • Glad i am out

    I forget who above prompted this response. I have said it before, and so have others, but this needs to be said again.

    I was in CFC for years. We were all very excited to build a new building. There were endless “mission funds” taken to pay for it. I always struggled with that description for the numerous offerings and the p-ledges they asked for: The Mission Fund…. We never supported a single “mission” as far as i knew. Then all the money was raised and we settled into our new beautiful building… Then the next “mission fund” was preached about – they even brought in outsiders to convince us. The thinking was this: hey, everyone, lets get this mortgage paid off so we can better serve the community.. Then after that, a new mission fund was set up to complete the long planned upgrades to the building (so we could better serve the community). The church NEVER for YEARS stopped asking for money beyond peoples tithes… FOR THE MISSION! … so we could better fulfill the great commission… SGM and their pastors gave not one sh*t about the fact that people had debts of their own, and that they should pay off first for their own families needs – mortgages for instance. Why did they expect congregants to pay off the church mortgage and not their own?? So that they, the strapped congregants, could better support the “mission.” – and the “mission” never had anything to do w/ reaching the lost!!!!!! And they even, during these years of mission fund collections, had poor college kids stand on stage and testify how they put off school for another year so they could give all of their college savings for the OH-SO-IMPORTANT “mission fund.” – These pastors should be kicked in the freaking ARSE for this kind of BULL !!!! What a bunch of shysters!! How was the lost better served by CFC getting their mortgage and additions paid off in just a few years??? What did it do for the lost? The widows? The needy? NOTHING!!! They even suspended the “manna van” during this phase… The manna Van was one of the ONLY things that CFC did for the poor. They stopped it quick. I suspect, but i have no idea, that at some point they thought ” hey, why are we feeding these poor shabby, smelly, weird people from Chester? What can they do for us?”

  • To the person who would like to deliver some “observations” and whom I asked earlier to provide a valid email address – I have saved your comment. It’s pending. If you write me with a valid email address, it will go through. Simple enough. I did not “block” your comment for a petty reason. I think it’s petty to use a fake email address and try to rebuke a group of people in your very first attempt to join the conversation.

    Thanks for understanding.

    Again – provide me with a valid email, and your comment will be published. It’s here waiting for you. Thanks.

  • Dr. Pepper

    Glad I am out,

    I do agree with most of what you do say, however to be fair to covfel they do have an outreach every second Saturday of the month. Lately, they’ve been really pushing it lately. They do have a bridge course they do where many people have gotten saved through it. They also will give you a grant if you want to do some sort of outreach to your neighborhood at your house, like a barbecue or something. They also do have a prison ministry where they do minister to those in prison. But you’re right where they don’t really give any money to those in need. I would love to see them rent a bus and bring homeless people to the church and feed them and have members bring in new clothes for them to have. A few weeks ago I learned of a church that had a banquet for the homeless people in the area. It was called a No Strings Attached event. They fed them expecting nothing in return.

  • Jenn Grover

    Kris – I don’t miss those “observations” – at all. I am not sure I ever had one delivered to me that wasn’t born out of what the person wanted, instead of motivated by the grace of God.

  • Bookhead

    Maybe I’m obsessing, but I walked off, and then my statement, “NO ONE tells me to shut up.” came back to me. Although appropriate for that particular situation, it seems harsh to say, “NO ONE.” For example, my teen son, who is bubbling over with excess testosterone could say “Shut up,” and get away with a gentle warning. I know it’s the testosterone speaking, because unlike so many teen males, he will actually hug me in public, tell me he loves me, and is generous with his “thank you’s.” I’m sure I could think of other exceptions, but it’s late, and before I say something else I regret, I’ll shut up.

  • Persona

    Kris 429

    I’m with Jenn 431. I never received an ‘observation’ from a Kool-Ade drinker that has born the test of time. If someone wants to present you with a valid email and come here and join the conversation in a reasonable manner, fine. But, if all they want to do is scold or berate us, please save your breath.

  • It's just the beginning

    It’s funny how we’re anticipating these “observations” and already kind of replying to the anonymous person. :)

    Persona stole my thoughts exactly — I actually would like this person to post their comment IF they are willing to stick around for a few back-and-forth’s and dialog. If they are a one-time poster who just wants to share observations, then please don’t waste your time or ours. If you want to engage this blog and share your perspectives and opinions, listen to our responses, and then rinse & repeat .. great.

  • Hurting But Hopeful

    I might have shared this before but we left our SGM church after 20+ years of faithful membership.

    Our two oldest children have graduated and are either working and/or going to college. Our younger two are still involved in our previous church’s enrichment classes.

    The problem we continue to have is that while our kids take classes there we are still connected to the people there (teachers, classmates, etc.)

    Tonight one of our kids said, “You know what? I grew up in that church and we’ve been gone for about a year now. Whenever I’m back inside the church for school stuff it feels weird and strange. Like no one knows or even cares that I’m gone. It’s the same old same old. Maybe one or two people talk to me out of the entire youth group and that’s just to say hi.”

    My heart just broke all over again for my child. I told them that it wasn’t them – that they were fearfully and wonderfully made and that the problem was with our old church and the people there.

    Our old church has left SGM and I think there are some good changes going on there. But like the old saying goes, It’s “too little and too late” for our family.

    I think we’re (finally) getting over the rage we felt when it seemed that so many intelligent and (supposed) godly men and women refused to see what was going on in SGM and in our own local SGM church.

    For months and months the diehard SGM families and inner circle families propped SGM up on facebook and other social media outlets and to our faces. Their kids took photographs with C.J. at the last N.E.X.T. and almost dared the troublemakers (those who sensed something was rotten in Denmark) to call them on it.

    There were even those who used John Piper and Jerry Bridges’ visits to Louisville as ‘proof’ that C.J. was “O.K.” and it was all in our heads.

    I wonder what they think now – the people/members who were earnest in their faith but blind to the hypocrisy, double-standards, sex crimes against children, and the cover-ups?

    Do they even acknowledge that they were earnestly and dreadfully WRONG? I think for most of them our church leaving SGM was just a blip on their radar screens. Without passing harsh judgement we sort of think that if they didn’t see it with all the evidence available to anyone willing to look and read – a legal separation from SGM or a name change doesn’t prove that they ‘get it’ even now.

    We hope so. We have prayed for our old church and the people still there who we know love God and want to serve Him. We pray that God clears the cobwebs and the bad doctrine and theology from their heads and hearts.

    And my take on the extravagance and partiality that SGM fostered and welcomed with pastors and those in the “inner ring” (thanks C.S. Lewis)…?

    The SGM church I went to didn’t have any trouble spending $$$$ on anniversary celebrations, Starbucks coffee, and meals for visitors that (conveniently) included all the Pastors, their wives, their kids, and often the privileged ‘inner ring’ that many at the church will admit to this day existed/exists.

    I’m not saying it was wrong to feed visitors lunch. I am saying it was like a club and everyone knew who could or could not eat for free after church.

    They did, however, have trouble providing for the hungry members in our congregation.

    It took our church over 20 years to approve and install a food pantry for its needy members and the surrounding community.

    In the 20+ years we attended the outreaches into at-risk neighborhoods, free car washes/maintenance days for single moms, etc., were all done away with or the programs visited maybe once or twice a year.

    Getting the congregation to participate in helping the local homeless shelter, the Crisis Pregnancy Center, and even Franklin Graham’s shoebox ministry (Operation Christmas Child) was like pulling teeth.

    Before we left we realized that our church had become a social club. If you knew the secret handshake, made lots of money, played sports, didn’t have a weight problem or too many tattoos or really obvious piercings, didn’t ask a lot of questions, and served whenever you were asked – well, your church experience was happy and fulfilling.

    If you didn’t know or do these things or were not in the inner ring – well, not so much.

    We don’t know what the answer is except Jesus.

    Not just the cross of Jesus Christ but also the EMPTY TOMB and the RESURRECTION!, and the TRANSFIGURATION.

    Personally, I think C.J. preached on the Cross of Christ because he wanted us to stay there. He said so many, many times from the pulpit – that we (the collective we) would never leave there because we had to remember what Christ did for us there.

    Incomplete, C.J.! Incomplete!!!

    If we stay at the cross we overlook or MISS ENTIRELY Jesus’ TRIUMPH over death and sin when He rose from the dead on the third day.

    If we stay at the cross we overlook or MISS ENTIRELY Jesus’ glorious TRANSFIGURATION!

    Thomas Aquinas considered the Transfiguration “the greatest miracle” in that it complemented baptism and showed the perfection of life in Heaven. I don’t know about you guys but I needed to hear about the Resurrection and the Transfiguration as much as I needed to be reminded of what a worm I was and how my sins crucified Jesus on the cross.

    Our family has major trust issues and we think most churches are doing church wrong.

    Someone wrote about visiting a small church that had a potluck afterwards. As soon as I read that post I thought, “Aw. That sounds sweet,” until I started thinking about the possibilities of cover-ups or hypocrisy, pedophiles,etc., and I actually started to shake inside and feel queasy.

    I know my younger kids are missing something. I think they are looking for a church experience but I don’t know how to give it to them.

    I want to hear from the LORD about this but the prospect of actually going to another church or ever trusting another Pastor again is overwhelming and it’s been a year since we left.

    Would you pray for them and pray for us?

  • Follow Him

    Bookhead – time’s up on keeping quiet isn’t it? That’s how spouse and I looked at it. We knew speaking up could cause waves of “trouble” for us, but we knew we had to fear God more than man. I pray those days of staying silent are gone. And I pray for the grace available to speak boldly in love.

    Hurting But Hopeful – Praying. Remember the church isn’t God, and He will go before and behind you. Make Him your stronghold, lean on his promises, and in time your kids will experience exactly what God wants for them – the living God, not bound by temple walls.

  • This whole SGM/CLC mess reminds me of what seemed to be (to me) an unbelievable situation at a YWAM base several years ago. The leader became power-hungry, bad things began happening, but because the staff was so afraid of gossip/slander, and they had a strong belief in submitting to authority, (strong Gothard teachings) they didn’t share their misgivings with each other. By the time they did begin talking with each other, it was too late. The leader had complete control of the base. The base, formerly a very affordable option for potential YWAM missionaries, is no longer with YWAM, and the former staff are scattered. It was a small base, and I was heartbroken for those who had their whole lives disrupted because of this man’s pride.

    The similarity with SGM/CLC is that as I read this blog, I am finding that I am not the only individual who was concerned with certain things at CLC, but because of the concerns of gossip/slander, I either spoke only to a pastor, and/or to close friends. (Of course, my husband heard EVERYTHING) Obviously, there were others with similar concerns, but with a large church, and the same warnings against gossip/slander, it was rare to connect with anyone who shared concerns.

    Certainly some good points that I have made similar comments on. SGM/CLC’s defition of what “gossip” and “slander” is and members being in fear of being accused of doing this has worked to produce the result you describe. People think that they are the only one with issues when there are a number of people with issues.

    One big thing that this blog has done was let people know that they weren’t the only one with issues. No wonder why you hear of some leaders trying to stop members from reading this and similar blogs.

  • Lemongrass

    QE2, my sincerest apologies, I thought I double checked who i was writing to when I posted. It was definitely not in response to anything you have written. It was in response to comments made by “3rd name”. I honestly have no idea how I made the mistake, sorry.

  • Somewhereintime

    Regarding your tithes …

    It is YOUR responsibility to know WHERE and HOW your tithes are going.

    I stopped giving to my SGM church two years before I left because I did not want to see a single penny go to CJ Mahaney and SGMinistries. I even told my pastor that even if he gave $1.00 to them, that dollar could have been mine and my money that I tithe to the Lord is not going to an organization that has no godly character.

    Please do not put your head in the sand. Particularly those that read this blog who are still in a SGM-affiliated church. YOUR tithes (however small of a percent) goes to pay for CJ Mahaney and the rest of these clowns.

  • Thomas

    Hurting,

    I don’t pray very often, but if I remember, I will pray for you.

  • Lee

    Here’s a thought I am not sure I’ve seen anyone bring up before.

    I know the teachings on gossip and slander greatly contributed to why people wouldn’t discuss things among themselves, or to their pastors, etc but I think there may be another contributing factor which is “Christian Fatalism”.

    Here is a definition of Christian Fatalism given on CARM’s website fatalism is the idea that all things are predetermined to occur and that there is no ability of the person to alter the predetermined plan of God in any event. This is not the correct biblical view. The Bible teaches us that we can influence God with our prayers (James 5:16). How this influence is worked out by God who knows all things from eternity is something apparently unexplainable in Christianity.”

    I know that after my three years at Fairfax, I developed Christian Fatalism….I would just resign myself that things were the “Will of God” and there was nothing I could do about it. Don’t get me wrong, I still strongly believe in the Sovereignty of God but wonder if the teaching got unbalanced to the point people wouldn’t complain because of thinking this “is just the way things are and if they are wrong God will change it.”

  • Dr. Pepper

    Lee #441,

    Thanks for bringing that up. I actually never heard of that before. Actually, I have, but didn’t know what it was called.

  • Marie

    Hurting But Hopeful #435, I will definitely pray for you. I will also pray that a Holy Spirit vacuum cleaner shows up for you, to suck up, and clean out, any parental guilt about your children and their exposure to SGM. May that exposure long term not be harmful, but provide fruit in terms of empathy for others. More and more our society heaps guilt on parents. May you escape that, and feel God’s presence that no long-term negative effects will happen to your children. Later today I will look up some applicable Bible verses. My favorite is in II Corinthians 7, about Godly sorrow vs. worldly sorrow. Godly sorrow leads to repentance, while worldly sorrow leads to death or something bad like that. I will look up the exact wording later. Just wanted to throw this out there.

    There are many posts I want to respond to – everyone here is just amazing, you all have renewed my faith in being part of a church community, and every week at church things get better for me. So thank you all.

  • CLCya

    Bookhead #427 – Our CG wanted to do a Bible study and it never happened. Someone told me that the pastors actually directed CG leaders to NOT do Bible studies. I guess it’s not an approved activity. I recently spoke to a current CGL about this very issue and she (wife) said that they are not trained to lead Bible studies and that’s why they don’t do them. I brought up the Community Bible Study program and how leaders are just facilitators and they do a fine job without being trained.

    Hurting But Hopeful #435 – I will pray for you and your family. I am in a very similar place (as are many other people, I’d imagine). I’ve even been thinking of doing church at home for our kids and letting them go to their youth group during the week. It is very hard to trust again. As someone said to me this week, this is now part of our story. We WILL get through this, though. It will take time and when you think that you spent 20+ years in an SGM church, one year out isn’t that long. God is grieved by all that is going on, but He’s bigger than all of this. We can still trust Him and He’s all we need. You are absolutely right in that we can’t just look at the cross as that offers an incomplete view. We certainly must look at Jesus’s triumph and transfiguration. Thanks so very much for your post.

  • Waters

    Hurting but Hopeful,

    I hear the heart of you post. ~ And, I am so encouraged for you as you write of all you SEE! …. you remind me of when Jesus said “I AM the Resurrection and the LIFE” and “In Me you will have life abundant.” —- LIFE !!!
    Life in Christ and through Him—not through a leader, pastor, church, doctrine, works…etc.etc

    Hopeful, I pray your older and younger children will be stirred and washed and renewed with the living Word, which you have deposited in them. That they will be encouraged in their journey as they hear you being real and open and enjoying life with them. That they will come to know, in a real and profound way, of the Unfailing, motivating, affirming love of God.

    HH— It is difficult to cut ties when you have been a part of SGM for the 20t years as you have. We were the same – 19 years.
    We have been out for almost 5 years. One principle which has shown itself true is that of leaven. When Jesus illustrated leaven infecting the whole batch, He admonished us to flee. Flee, as in leave, go, don’t balk, don’t look back…..I have come to realize the many areas and layers the SGM leaven infected me – personally, spiritually, emotionally, mentally—and that of my family. In our era, I see leaven to be like pollution—pollution is breathed in, slowly harming us and eroding the ability to breathe and live strong. We choose to remain in polluted areas – or move away.

    Likewise it is for ties with SGM. Perhaps there would be enrichment classes in your area that are in no way affiliated with SGM – thus relieving your younger children of the pollutant of SGM peoples. (I know that can sound harsh. I still love many people within SGM. And they breathe spiritual pollution.)There are now many teens and young adults who have grown up in SGM. For those who were saturated in the culture, that is all they know. I know of one group of teens who pled with their new pastor not to have an alliance with the local SGM church for youth gatherings. Their tears and heart-felt examples made quite an effect upon him. Spiritual pollution is real.

    Praying the Lord will continue to guide you, direct you, ordering your footsteps…as He pours in His lovingkindness (which is defined as ‘steadfast mercies’) ~Waters

  • Sopwith

    *
    *
    *
    “Good Men Do Smething; The recent SBC resolution, WAS filed more or less in response to the high-profile lawsuit against Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM) ?!?”
    .
    Pertinent? 
    .
    hmmm….
    .
    ….Addressing recent child sexual abuse allegations filed against SGM, is not happening in a vaacume? Are others guilty of supporting some type of SGM coverup? Are they training others to turn a blind eye to this type of abuse, as well?
    .
    huh?
    .
    “Southern Baptist ‘messengers’ have just returned home from Houston, where they gathered for the denomination’s Annual Meeting.  During the two-day event, some interesting business was conducted, which captured the attention of the media – both Christian and secular. ‘Christianity Today’, on its Gleanings website, broke the news as follows” :
    .
    “Within an hour, leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) approved three interesting resolutions today at the denomination’s annual meeting in Houston, Texas.”
    .
    http://blog.christianitytoday.com/ctliveblog/archives/2013/06/interesting-southern-baptist-convention-resolutions.html
    .
    “Just after 10 a.m., convention attendees approved a resolution that calls “on all Southern Baptists to report allegations of child abuse to authorities.” 
    .
    *
    .
    “The resolution, filed more or less in response to the high-profile lawsuit against Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM), was amended to ask that “SBC leaders and employees practice the highest level of discernment in affiliating with groups or individuals that possess ‘questionable’ policies and practices in protecting children against sexual abuse,” according to Baptist Press (BP), which live-blogged the morning’s votes.”
    – Deb, Wartburg Watch.
    .
    “The child abuse resolution was passed albeit there seems to be some some attempt by the SBC to downplay this event. It may not be strong but it is a start.” – Dee, Wartburg Watch.
    .
    Others outside Sovergn Grace Ministries Family Of Churches, are now keenly aware that there exists questionable’ policies and practices in relation to the  protection of children against sexual abuse, within Sovereign Grace Ministries.
    .
    Is the Son, now rising against the dawn?
    .
    hmmm….
    .
    could b.
    .
    (hopeful)
    .
    Au pied de la Croix pour l’amour des enfants !
    .
    Sopy

  • Dr. Pepper

    Hurting,

    I’m so sorry you feel this way. I too feel like it will be a long time before I trust another pastor. I’m still in my sgm church, but even though this is really going to hurt my friend I’m going to have to let her know that by staying in the church it’s making me not want to go. Also, I’ve been going through The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse and the book has actually been making me sad and happy at the same time. Sad because I can relate to much of the abuse they talk about in it, happy because i know that what they were doing was wrong and know that there are healthy churches out there.

    I will pray for your family though. Im not sure if you would want to do this, but if you haven’t consider reading The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse. It may help you and remind you that all churches are not like SGM.

  • 3rd name

    Lemongrass @376 (and @49) – You said,”
    I certainly am not an SGM supporter, I’m a survivor, and even though I haven’t commented a lot I’ve read every story and most comments for the last five years or so. I was very disappointed when QE2 called me a liar and questioned wether or not I really am a survivor. QE2 sorry I’m not responding to all of this by looking in your eyes cheerfully and willingly. I haven’t lied about anything, I’ve only asked questions about information that is available from first hand sources. Even though speculative theories are posted here all the time, I haven’t done that. QE2 called me a liar, was shown to be innacurate, and then just moved on like nothing happened.
    One thing QE2 was a little right about is that I am angry. I’m angry at Brent because he doesn’t seem to really understand his part in all this. I’m also angry at every parent that didn’t report, because they don’t seem to see their part in this. I’m also angry at every parent that was a sheep, because they are responsible for a lot of this. I’m also angry for every single adult that was a sheep, because they are responsible for some of this culture. My point is that everyone that propped up this organization for so long contributed to its craziness.
    My previous post in response to yours at #49
    Lemongrass @ 49 You said, “H’s own mom confirmed that she was a meth and coke addict.”
    Have I missed something? I don’t remember that having read that. Or are now YOU making things up to suit yourself. Also, I don’t recall that anyone said that it was on the same floor? WHere are you getting this stuff? For someone who is “no longer in SGM” you seem very attacking and venomous. Maybe your anger is twisting things in YOUR mind. You seem VERY hateful rather than Christ-like.

    Lemongrass, if you are a survivor, if you mean the “lawsuit” kind of survivor, have you contacted the lawyers and detectives to help support your fellow survivors? They need EVERY survivor to join with them. If you mean you got duped, like the rest of us, it still doesn’t explain why there is so much anger in your posts. In this post, I will take a more gentle approach because you do seem very much in need of a hug (which I am sending right now!)
    Your post to QE2 has a number of errors in it which concern me because in your past posts you so adamantly declare how you doubt this or doubt that, it couldn’t have happened that way, so and so is wrong, etc. Interestingly, 1) you quoted the wrong poster, 2) you claimed “QE2” called you a liar, 3) then, you claimed that “QE2” didn’t apologize. Now, realizing that the post was from me (3rd name), I looked back to see where I “called you a liar”. It didn’t happen!! Reread my post that I copied for your convenience. I know, as does God, that I would never outright call someone a liar, ever! To call someone a “liar”, is to label and categorize them (which is sin by judging a person’s heart), rather than pointing out an error in a comment. Furthermore, I never questioned whether or not you are a “survivor”. That is not in my post either. My only points were that 1) you seemed very angry and attacking towards the victims, and 2) were incorrect in some of your quotes and facts. This last point is confirmed by your post #376, as it is towards the wrong poster and includes accusations that were never written.
    Lemongrass, please consider this. If you are truly angry at Brent, then vent at him. Even better, write to him and get it reconciled. If you are also angry with what happened to you at SGM, then by all means, vent at SGM. All I am suggesting is that you do not spew that venom towards those who are already hurting terribly at the hands of the very same men/organization that hurt you. Unite with them, at least with love, encouragement,and prayer for what they are trying to accomplish. I will continue to pray for you. Please consider my words as from a heart of love, not anger, but please don’t bash the victims of the lawsuit anymore. I, for one, stand with them, and am very proud of their courage. I pray that more have the courage to come forward. I even pray that a perpetrator will “cut a deal” and give up the other perps and any evidence. Ridiculous? NO! With GOD ALL things are possible.

  • formerasgmer

    Regarding pastors salaries, I think to some degree CJ had it right when he wanted the CLC pastors salaties high enough so that their wives did not have to work. However, the point is not whether or not women should work because I think that is a Romans 14 disputable matter and not a primary issue that should divide christians. But to digress for a moment, Proverbs 31:13-16 I think clearly describes a woman who is engaged in commerce but whether she has a job outside the home or a home based business the text of course does not say nut it is the probably the latter since this text was written 3,000 years ago and women did bot work outside the home because that option did not exist but I think a reasonable interpretation of the text that is a godly woman can work outside the home as long as it does not interfere with her home responsibilities.

    Back to the question of pastors salaries, when Steve Shank came to fairfax after BP resigned, he reviewed the pastors salaries and found one of them making only $ 30,000 and of couse the pastor was imnediately given a raise. So when pastors live in high cost of living areas such as the Washington Metropolitan area, CJ’s point about the pastors receiving market salaries is valid so that pastors and the pastors are not struggling to live.

  • Oswald

    Off topic…I recently heard of the need for a ‘covering’ for instance, when you leave a church you need a covering, or someone to pray for you and talk with you about things that concern you. I’m wondering where in scripture this concept is based. Does anyone know where this is found, or maybe implied in scripture?

  • TrustingOnlyInJesus

    Regrading SGM pastor salaries, I know that many pastors in SGM churches receive handsome conpensation packages. I know this because our finance team was asked a few years ago to validate our pastors’ compensation packages. Here’s what was discovered:

    Pastor Compensation Packages
    – Salary
    – Housing Allowance
    – Retirement Plan
    * Social Security (This is dependant on whether an individual ops out – if they op out
    most are given the funds in addition to any retirement plan.)
    – Medical/Dental Insurance
    * Medical Reimbursement for Co-pays, prescriptions and out of pocket expenses
    – Travel Expenses
    – Conference Registrations
    * Hospitality Allowance
    * Book Allowance
    * Allow to Keep all Honorariab from guest speaking and conferences
    * 3-4 weeks paid vacation
    * 8-12 paid holidays per year
    – Cell Phone with Data Plan

    The ones marked aith an * are ones that, in my opinion, are items that most of us either do not receive or are well above what most people receive.

    Not bad work if you can get it and like to be the center of attention.

  • i am the QUEEN thats why

    This was a dream that I had on July 3 2011- I sent it to Josh and other pastors of CLC. Just was going thru my emails and had forgot about this and thought it was interesting as I look back in the last 2 years. As you will see at the end I wrote that I had sent it as well to a friend who then talked with me later and said that she thought is was a word for the church. Anyway I just thought it was something to share since we have brought up “prophetic stuff” .

    had a dream that I woke up to on sunday July 3.
    I was @ a baseball game. I had to leave at a point during the game and walked up to a building on a hill. As I was returning back to the game I stood on the hill and I saw a storm coming in but behind me it was clear sky. The sky was pitch black like a stormy sky behind the baseball field and was approaching quickly. I was not anxious but did have a since of “responsibility to get to the field so we could take cover from the storm.
    Then as I got closer to the field I saw the storm / sky split(like the parting of the red sea) as it split the storm dissipated in to a misty dew like fog. I still had a since that I was with family but did not see any faces . As I stood there I heard this ringing of church bells/gonging like sounds(I have never heard this sound before) as I looked up and as far as I could see……there were these beautiful tapestry pieces fabric that were flowing. They were pure like silk and like a clear….. white. They were in the shape of a triangle and were garlanded together so that the bottom of the triangle hung at the top and the point hung down. At the end of each point was an amazing crystal/glass ball and they were clanging against each other and this was what was making the church bell sounds.
    I had a since of peace and wonder.

    On tuesday july 5th
    I told my dream to a friend that is in the church . She is gifted in prophesy and prays all of the time. She said that this dream was about my church. She said that the darkness was about trial and that things would get even more trialsome but that the dew and the bells ringing was because the church obeyed god and there was celebration and rejoicing.

  • Waters

    Sopwith #446

    Thanks for posting the link to the Christianity Today news—- It appears ‘we’ are being heard!?! However, saints—don’t put those Swords back in the sheath! We battle on….

  • Moved On

    Glad I am out @ 428.

    I remember the Manna Van. Did remember when the singles went into Chester to serve Thanksgiving Dinner. I can’t remember the woman’s name who held the dinner. I remember serving at it in 1993 but I think they quit doing it after that.

  • i am the QUEEN thats why

    Im probably off topic BUT anyway …………………This is about the YOUTH of the CLC congregation. I simply am very hurt and at the same time glad. There was someone I know with a son who was VERY hurt by his classmates at the school , INFACT , as I hear and have continued to hear over the last couple of years It just goes along with the “to good for you attitude” that CLC has had. SO……………this one persons son was made fun of /bullied and the parent went to the parents of the students that were causing him problems and the parents just said “they are just middle schoolers being normal” the problem was that during the locker room changes (for PE) he was being called names to do with his gender-the parents continued talking to the principle and asst principle and they said they would keep their eye out. This just got worse and worse with many other name callings and shunning as well. One of the students who was the instigator was a pastors son………they found out. The reason that I bring this up is because the son no longer wanted to be a part of this church and he was only in 6th grade at the time. He is in therapy now for all of the bully stuff and still does not want anything to do with CLC. Has anyone else out there had or no of others that have had this treatment as a student of the school? Like I said this was not just one person I have heard his from ………………so sad

  • MaryMelissa

    TO: I am the QUEEN that is why
    My daughter graduated from CLC a few years ago. I love the school although I had a couple of disagreements but I cannot blame the school or the pastors for that because we are just people. There was a girl who was very crafty in her manipulative ways and it bothered me how she fooled people around her (including her mother, teachers and pastors) but when no one was watching she bullied my daughter out of envy and jealousy. I took her and her mother to the teacher who was not very wise in his handling the situation and I was upset then but it helped me understand CJ’s twisted ideas on family roles, etc. Disagreements happen in any school, but we as Christians expect more from a Christian teacher. My daughter grew in humility and grace, was vindicated by God in a beautiful way and I forgave the girl/her mother and the teacher eventually. I am sure there was ever any conviction in any of them. The worst part was that I had to hear the principal praised this girl at the graduation ceremony, and the youth pastor praised her big time due to a letter her mother wrote as a reply to my confrontation. That just shows that pastors are people that just like you and me have the ability to choose and at times they choose to be stupid and fools. My daughter never stopped liking the church, she just grew in her understanding of who people really are. Sometimes these type of things are good for kids to learn to differentiate placing their trust on people or on God.

  • servent of the most high

    I am no one special. But i come here for prayer. I left cov life. And its very unforunate of everything going on. But what i find more scary is this, i am trying to find a home church. I have went to a few churches and i can say this,
    Pray for the church of Jesus Christ as a whole body. Im very dissapointed in a sad way, the first couple churches i went to didnt run background checks in tje nursery. The last church i went to was very dissapointing in the way they thought nothing wrong with handling sexual abuse crimes of children inside a church. Although that wasnt said to me in that way teading between the lines, of maybe they thought the spirit led them to do that. Look im stupid but i dont beleive God would tell any of his children to hide crimes agaisnt children. Maybe im looking at this the wrong way. Where is the spirit filled leaders, where is the spirit filled church. We have politic pastors rather than God filled pastors. We surely are in the last days when a person cant find a church. Pray for the church of Jesus christ. Because everything that is happening is hurting the body. And plse pray for me that i find a church. I pray that out of bad will come good. Many blessings over our churches. God guide us.

  • Lemongrass

    3rd Name, so we’re clear, this is in response to your post #448. I’m a fairly happy well-adjusted adult, in-spite of growing up the way I did; not sure why you keep insisting that I’m angry and need hugs from you. To be clear, I’ve never implied that I’m in any way a “Survivor “ like victims of sexual abuse. I’m not sure why you went there, a little low brow if you ask me. This is a blog of “Survivors” in the sense that they collectively “survived” SGM. Many “survived” it differently, but to challenge my “survivor” credentials is silly. I’ll leave it to the readers to determine who sounds “VERY hateful rather than Christ-like”.

    3rd Name, in post 448 you posed a few questions that I would like to quickly answer — 1) you quoted the wrong poster, 2) you claimed “QE2” called you a liar, 3) then, you claimed that “QE2” didn’t apologize.

    1. I didn’t quote anyone; I wrongly addressed QE2 in my 376 post, instead of addressing you – 3rd Name. In 438, I apologized to QE2 for my mistake. The mistake didn’t take away from the points I was trying to make in 376 about you – 3rd Name.

    2. Back in post 93, 3rd Name, you said “So Lemongrass was making a false claim about HT’s mom by saying “H’s own mom confirmed that she was a meth and coke addict” which was not true.” I think you called me a liar, at the very least you implied that I was not telling the truth (which in my book is calling someone a liar). I asked HT’s mom if something very specific written by HT, in a Spiritual Tyranny post written by HT, was true. HT’s mother responded that very emphatically that everything in it was true. In that Spiritual Tyranny post, HT says that she had been a meth and coke addict. I pointed that out on this blog and you incorrectly said that I “made a false claim… which was not true”.

    3. 3rd Name I don’t care if you apologize or not, but when you claim something is false when it isn’t, it’s customary to own up to it. If I posted something here that was incorrect, like addressing QE2 when I meant to address you – 3rd Name, I wouldn’t ignore my mistake and move on like it didn’t happen.

    I really don’t want to continue a back and forth with you. I’m going to continue processing all of this the way that I want to; I don’t need you to tell me how to do it. Just an FYI, it isn’t required that readers here be professing Christians to post. One of the strengths of this blog has been its inclusion of “Survivors” at all points in their journey. The only people that have the right to set the parameters here are Kris and Guy. To date, they’ve allowed me to continue to post and I appreciate it.

  • 5yearsinPDI

    Oswald…..the word covering in hebrew is kaphar, the same root word for kippur (yom kippur). If this link does not work it is the google page you pull up when you enter “hebrew word covering”

    http://www.google.com/#output=search&sclient=psy-ab&q=hebrew+word+covering&rlz=1W1WQIB_enUS518&oq=hebrew+covering&gs_l=hp.1.4.0i22i30l9.1531.9250.1.12859.19.14.2.3.3.0.141.1389.10j4.14.0…0.0…1c.1.17.hp.yWLepMvedcc&psj=1&bav=on.2,or.r_qf.&bvm=bv.47883778,d.dmQ&fp=7303a50a1c361d50&biw=1680&bih=882

    It is used for the lid of the ark of the covenant,and to cover sin, and to atone (yom kippur =day of atonement).It is the blood covering of the Lamb and then Jesus the final lamb who saves us.

    I consider it one of the worst and most blasphemous heresies in Christianity today that people think a man or a pastor is their covering. I have literally heard people say that submitting to a pastor protects you from the devil and he is your umbrella of protection. Forgive me for vulgar language, but I consider it to be like giving the blood of Jesus the middle finger; it is so degrading to the shed blood of Jesus to say a man is your covering. Were the Israelites protected from the angel of death by a man? or by blood on the lintels of the door? Are you saved from sin and Satan by the blood? or by a spiritual authority person? You are protected from attacks of sin and deception and the devil by a person?

    I believed this 30 years ago. I sure learned the hard way.

    Don’t get me wrong. Submit to leaders as they rule the church well in church affairs. Kids obey parents and wives submit to husbands, and obey the laws of the land where they do not conflict with God’s law. Of course it matters to respect those in authority. It matters to get wise counsel for big decisions. But this “covering” heresy is blasphemous. Gothard made it popular but it was around before him, and it was all over the shepherding movement.

    Oswald, I hesitate to tell you want to do, but are you hearing that at CovFel from pastors? If you are, you need to run as fast as you can. really. even if you love the care group. There are doctrines we can disagree over, but the blood atonement is not one of them. Maybe a new Christian is just ignorant and poorly taught, but I suspect it could be coming from the top. This is in the “doctrines of demons” category. There is only one atonement/covering/kippur/kaphar, and Jared and his buddies aint it. You really need to probe further if you still attend there.

  • Bookhead

    #455 i am the Queen thats why-
    The bullying was previously a bad problem at CLS. I had a child who was bullied for about two years in the mid ’90’s, and the CLS admin (but not the teachers) seemed to think that bullying was a normal middle school thing- that they would eventually get over it towards the end of high school. I tried to communicate over and over again that bullying was wrong, that it needed to stop, and that the school needed to provide adult supervision when the boys changed for PE, and during a period called “flextime, so my son (and others) could be protected. I asked for justice and help for my son. When an act was serious and obvious, usually the bully was punished, but in a quiet way. So, generally neither my son, nor the ones who witnessed the bullying got the “message” that bullying was a punishable offense, and wrong. So the problem just got worse, until it was almost a daily occurrence. The bullying included shunning,(they would get up, and leave him eating at a table by himself) mocking, physical violence, name-calling, and false accusations. Nothing really happened until I asked another pastor for help. Only then did things change. (And we eventually were able to work things out with those at CLS) But by then, my son was so unhappy, we removed him from the school at the end of the year, and homeschooled him until he graduated. His later years taking outside classes at another church were his happiest years of school.

    I have communicated several times with the current principal, J.L., and he does not tolerate bullying at all. After another of our children wasn’t doing well at homeschooling, and we knew the overcrowded local public school would be a poor fit for him, we very tentatively looked at CLS. We tried it for a year, and our son loved it. The infusion of outside students has been good for the school, and so far all my concerns of cliques and bullying have been unfounded. We will be enrolling him there next year.

  • i am the QUEEN thats why

    #460 bookhead and 456 mary melissa,
    thank you for your feedback, my friend actually said it was a very subtle thing(like marymelissa said) the parents and teachers etc do not see anything NOR do they seem to care if there IS something going on. My friends son was called so many names and was shunned AND they played tricks on that to this day are still a nightmare for him because he is no longer at CLS and in public school . I guess he came home while at CLS and said to his mother that he could not take it anymore and wanted to be in a public school , he said that he could not see that it would be any different or probably not any worse since the kids were so unkind and mean(evil) . She had other children in the school at CLS as well and just seemed as if you had to be the child of the PARENT that was a “SOMEBODY” to not have any problems from other students. She was told by the parents of the boys that they could not make their child like her son…………..BUT the thing is , is that JL the principle did not allow bullying BUT my concern when I heard this was “where was the GOSPEL when the parents said that they could not make their kid like another to the point of making someone feel so left out who was not doing anything wrong and just wanted to be included. Now I know that God works in the hearts of all of us in what ever season we are in , but its just hard to hear parents letting there kids be so mean to others. GOD says to consider others better then yourself , he says to love one another as he has loved us. WHY would this not be held up as a standard and not even questioned, why is CLS allowing kids to treat others and letting the parents allow it as well? what happened to parenting your child to obey Jesus!

  • Jenn Grover

    Oswald, covering, in the way you described it, has close ties to the shepherding movement.

  • Persona

    Bill Gothard was heavy into the ‘covering’ teaching. I remember a picture in his workbook of an umbrella to represent the covering of a wife by her husband and children by their parents. I think the husband was under the covering of God…there were very strict warnings NOT to come out from under your covering!

  • Oswald

    5years @459 — Thanks for responding to my question. I thought you might. I haven’t heard about ‘covering’ from CovFel but from someone with whom I was sharing my thoughts about CovFel and my leaving there. They said I really need a covering if I’m not in a church, someone I would trust to pray for me. I wondered if it was scriptural and could not find something about it myself.
    I am a widow, so I think the authority I’m under is God Himself. I also have family and friends who I know pray for me. And I am sure that I am covered by the Blood of Jesus. Thanks again for your response.

  • Oswald

    Thanks to Persona and Jenn for also responding to my ‘covering’ question. I knew I could count on all y’all.

  • Skinner

    (Isa 30:1) Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin.

  • Elle

    Trusting Only in Jesus 451 – I would put a star by housing allowance as well. The average person doesn’t get a salary and a housing allowance. I could see this for country pastors who maybe make 10-20k a year. Denominational churches often owned manses they let the pastor and his family live in. But I doubt any SG pastors have salaries that low, unless they are an intern.

  • Oswald

    Book head @460 — The current principal at CLS, JL is a really good guy. He was a teacher at a local Phila area
    christian school for many years before being sent to the PC from CovFel and then being asked to become principal at CLS. He was a long-time member at CovFel and worked with the youth there also. Again…a good guy and all-around well-liked.

  • Dr. Pepper

    I agree with Oswald. JL is a great guy and so is everyone in his family. The sad part is I feel any good pastor has left covfel. I do have hope for Jim though. I love Jim and always will. I really hope Jim wakes up and stands up and leaves covfel. He truly has the heart for the lost. To my knowledge, I never heard anyone complain about him. Then again, he’s not perfect, and I’m sure he has made some people mad.

  • Sick with worry

    While some of the pastors may collect too much in the way of compensation, I do not take a big issue with that. I think a bigger issue is the system that does not ensure that the most qualified men in a given SGM church are elders and pastors. The nepotism and cronyism is a bigger issue in my mind. If all of these pastors were unquestionably the most mature and well-qualified men in the congregation, and they were equipping other men (and women) I do not think this would be on our radar as much.

    Snooty Jared, for example, would not even be a lay elder in some churches…. But his daddy is connected. There may be nothing going on there…. But, it looks suspect that a kid would run such a large church and have all those pastors that are older than him, be “under him”.

    Plus, the salary itself may not be that big for many of the pastors in the smaller churches…. But these men may be working extremely hard.

    A huge issue to me: I think the fact that some of these pastors are also employed by SGM is suspect. The rumors of board members’ fat salaries, if true, is certainly poor stewardship.

    I hope Tim Shorey is paid well, and that he comes home.

  • ItsMe

    Bookhead – your description of the YWAM (#427) issue sounds very much like the YWAM issue we witnessed in Asia in the 80s. sad.

  • just saying...

    The bullying at CLS was directly proportional to the taunting between pastors at the pulpit. The middle schooler mimicked what they saw among the leaders. Although leaders said they actually affirmed each other in private, their public interaction was always taunting, making the war on bullying, particularly by leader’s kids a lost cause.

    Things changed a lot when Josh took over leadership and there was less bullying and threatening and more sincerity among the pastors.

    It’s pathetic I even have to say that.

  • I am the queen that's why

    I agree 468 and 469 that JL is a good man however it appears that the handbook does not mean much because my friends son was as victim of mean bullying and I just wonder if JL could have brought some sort of help to the parents whos kids were being unkind . I often wonder if since other kids used to be kicked out of CLS for these things (kids were blamed for stuff in the past but it was leaders kids who were the instigator and the “everyday Joe” kids were the ones who we accused and blamed for stuff that happened) the other thing that I find strangebismthat the CLS students were getting detention for forgetting a pencil but they would bully and for some reason it was just looked at and then said “they are just middle schoolers” but what’s so sad is that my friends son is now in therapy for it.

  • Dr. Pepper

    Sick with worry,

    Jared is arrogant. When he was in the PC didn’t he try to correct Brent by emailing other students disagreeing with Brent or something?

  • Oswald

    Skinner @466 — Just curious…What Bible version did the verse you shared come from? It isn’t ESV or NIV.

  • Bookhead

    #461 i am the Queen thats why- I can only tell my experience, and that’s -CLS under JL is a totally different experience for my child who is currently enrolled. Also, I’m not a “SOMEBODY,” so my son wouldn’t receive any special attention, even if that was true. I think the outside students in the school help, because they’re not connected to anyone. They have little to no history in the church, and are just there for the education. I think my child’s circle of friends at school were mostly from outside the church.

    I do know that with my first son who was bullied, that most of the teachers cared, but were unaware of the problem. (the bullies were pretty slick about hiding their activities) When there were problems with a student and my son, and I spoke with their parents, almost always the parent was gracious and dealt with their child, and generally the harassment from their child stopped. (but someone else would take up the “slack”) There were a few exceptions, and when I asked the school to help me (attempting to follow Matt 18:16) I was stonewalled. Only one of those parents was a SOMEBODY. So, what I’m saying is, generally the teachers and the parents weren’t a problem. My problem was the CLS admin at the time. (NOT JL) After I called in another pastor, I was able to get it resolved.

    I don’t think CLS is perfect, but it is a very different place than what my older son experienced. I was very nervous about enrolling my next child there, but JL answered all my questions, and was very patient and understanding when I overreacted over a miscommunication early in the year. He knew our history, the damage the bullying did to our son and our family, and how difficult it was to entrust another child to their care.

  • Bookhead

    #471 ItsMe- Sorry about the YWAM Asia base. This was a small U.S. base. I didn’t much care for the base leader when I was there, but since the students didn’t have much contact with him, it wasn’t a big deal. When it all blew up, I was also upset that YWAM headquarters didn’t kick him off the base, but his brother was (is?) a YWAM bigwig. (family connections!) So, this guy was able to start his own ministry, using YWAM land, and all the YWAM staff had to either relocate, or find new jobs.

  • It's just the beginning

    @Oswald, #475: looks like Kings James Version => http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isa%2030:1&version=KJV

  • Eric NS

    While there are good stories, the stories of bullying, shunning, poor decisions, and bad leadership at CLS are numerous. The leaders may be “good guys”, but one has to conclude that they are either incompetent, blind, or if not blind, they just don’t care. And since the CLC pastors are supposed to oversee the school, they apparently have the same problems.

  • Follow Him

    CLS is in a much better place than it was prior to JL coming on, but there are still many practices that he in particular has, that cause my spouse and me to keep our distance. Divisiveness is what I get most – some of his own kids have had a practice of shunning and outright lying (I won’t say who, when, or how many of them) that all the kids in the school knew about, but adults held the kid in high esteem as a paragon of virtue. I’ve also spoken to parents who’ve been in meetings with him where he casts dispersions on anyone whose kid’s education doesn’t come from CLS. I get it that you believe your school to be the best option – but many students in CLS come in and out of CLS from homeschooling, p.s. or other private schools, and do very well because of it. His comments have caused some of these families to pull their kids from CLS. This is just one more area that spouse and I continue to present before pastors and thankfully, we are being heard. Repentence is occurring from everyone involved.

  • Oswald

    Ijtb @478 — Thanks

  • Oswald

    I think that ‘all the kids know’ about the other kids is a common thing and has always been, in any school. Even and especially, in christian schools where our expectations are high. My children (all grown now)went to a good christian school and often came home with stories. My advice to them was to learn to live with most of it. This, after all, is life and prevails in the ‘real’ world that they have to deal with as adults. My experience is that home schooled and christian schooled kids are often too sheltered from every-day life situations.

  • Marie

    Oswald #481 and from before (I know that 481 is addressing 478 which is addressing something else) – you have always struck me as a good person who prays a lot. When you have shared here that you have prayed about something, it has meant a great deal to me, to get back to praying. I agree that this covering business is shepherding gone too far.

    But here is a verse about covering that I remember from my college days in the 80’s – women sometimes wore head veils, or doilies, or something to that effect on their heads. Something about covering their long hair, which was a covering according to this verse. I never did that myself, but many of my friends at church did. They accepted me fine without my doily.

    I looked up covering in the Bible in the KJV. It only appears 1 time in the New Testament, and 44 times in the Old Testament. So any discussion about women and covering needs to include the admonition to grow their hair long. Did you do that yet? :-)

    1 Corinthians 11:15
    But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.
    1 Corinthians 11:14-16 (in Context)

  • Waters

    Servant of the Most High #457,

    Actually, you ARE someone special! As a Believer, Jesus Christ the Son of God LIVES in you! Holy Spirit is your teacher, reminder, guide, empowerer, discerner, and the Father loves you with an everlasting love!! You are SEEING the gunk in churches —although that can be discouraging, it is good that you see—you are in action as Jesus said to be “Ask—Seek—Knock..” and you WILL find Him/ the answers! He always wants us to seek truth, because He is truth—and you are doing that!

    Some have posted here in the past on possible churches to visit in the CLC area—maybe they will repost those suggestions.
    Be encouraged, SOMH, you are seeking Him—that’s where He always wants us to be—so that we may know HIM more!
    Blessings to you and your household

  • Stunned

    Oswald, I agree that kids know about what it’s really like. The frustrating thing to my kids was not having to deal with the regular kid stuff in their schools but that on Sunday mornings pastors would spend an obnoxious amount of timing praising some kid and pointing the other kids to this person when my children had just seen this person breaking all the rules during the week, then smiling like an angel on Sundays. We expect some kids to be big hypocrites. What we don’t expect are adults, especially pastors, to raise up the fake and praise them.

    I wish the pastors had pointed us to Jesus and not the examples of other flawed humans.

  • Waters

    Just saying #472,

    You have hit on something Mr. Waters was always verrrry irritated about, and addressed his irritation to the pastors on several occasions! You wrote:
    “THE BULLYING AT CLC SCHOOL WAS DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL TO THE TAUNTING BETWEEN PASTORS AT THE PULPIT……THEIR PUBLIC INTERRACTION WAS ALWAYS TAUNTING.”

    An occasional jesting is fine—but SGM pastors always (not sure about the past 5 years as haven’t been there) taunt, PUT-DOWN,
    use sarcasm and mocking etc in their public interactions. We always wondered why why why.— MOCKING is NOT a Godly attribute.
    *Mock- to hold up to scorn or contempt; ridicule; to imitate or mimic, making fun of; to lead on and disappoint; deceive

    So….as Mahaney set the course for SGM pastors to publically mock, taunt, and put-down one another in public—what was really going on here???? SCORN. Does God scorn us? No. Does He not say life and death come from our tongue? Why the constant derision among them? Belittling people makes them feel…little….like a worm….like their voice and who they are does not matter….like they are subservient to someone else…so they can be controlled and manipulated…..

    Jesus also took scorn and mocking to the cross. (Matt 27:29 “And after weaving a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand; and they kneeled down before Him and MOCKED Him, saying ‘Hail, King of the Jews’)
    This was nailed to the cross, Jesus triumphed over mocking and derision and stripped it of its power (Col)——–

    So WHY is this such an ongoing action in SGM leadership?
    The fruit of mocking is belittling people and minimizing their observations, voice, discernment etc—

    Thus Jared of Covfel can instruct his parishioners to view ‘seductive images’ instead of reading the blogs on the internet!— Yep, MOCK the testimonies of truth and replace it with viewing ‘seductive images’ on the internet.

    The countless SGM congregants who have been not heard as they brought concerns, testimony of abuse, to their SGM pastors–
    Why? Because a FOUNDATION of MOCKING has been set by Mahaney and followed suit by all SGM pastors for 30 years.

    Mocking ALLOWS ABUSE while operating by control and manipulation.
    Intercessors—pull those strongholds down!
    The truth is, EVERY person is valuable. EVERY person has thinking and discerning capacities. The truth is we are LIVING STONES and our cornerstone is the Resurrected Redeemer Jesus Christ! God is not mocked!

  • 5yearsinPDI

    Matt Redmonds latest- an open letter to the SGM victims of abuse:

    http://mattbredmond.com/2013/06/15/an-open-letter-to-the-victims-of-abuse-in-sgm/#comments

  • Waters

    BEAUTIFUL letter written by M Redmond — Amen and Amen

  • Persona

    Wish we could multiply Matt Redmond’s response by 1000.

  • Oswald

    Marie @483 — Thanks for you input regarding ‘covering’.

  • Oswald

    Stunned @485 –said…”I wish the pastors had pointed us to Jesus and not the examples of other flawed humans”. amen to that.

  • Bill Frank

    Please take a few minutes to go over to Matt Redmond’s latest piece…. and better yet, take a minute & subscribe to his blog and get them emailed to you directly. He is quite the gifted writer and compassionate pastor.

    The link is provided by 5 Years @ # 487.

    You have truly spoken for many of us, Matt Redmond. May they feel our arms of support as we pray on their behalf.

  • It's just the beginning

    Yes, an excellently written letter. Thank you Matt for being a voice in the darkness.
    http://mattbredmond.com/2013/06/15/an-open-letter-to-the-victims-of-abuse-in-sgm/

  • Wizer

    Can someone briefly provide a bio on who Matt Redmond is and where he fits in with SGM? Also, if you haven’t had a chance to view the video Sopwith provided on the SBC amendments, it’s great.

  • Marie

    Wizer #494, have you seen this post?

    Matt implies that he affiliates with the “Reformed” movement, and writes books targeted for that audience.
    Maybe as a show of support, we can advertise his book, buy it, and encourage friends to buy it? I would buy it on general principle, after reading his blog posts, especially the most recent one. Thank you 5 yrs for pointing it out.

    http://mattbredmond.com/2013/05/16/answering-some-objections-ive-gotten-about-the-sgm-lawsuit/

    ….But no one who writes for The Gospel Coalition has reviewed my book or even mentioned it. Now I’m small potatoes compared to most writers they deal with. But I’ve written for them. They know my book exists and they have written and linked to similar ideas. I’m afraid my criticism of SGM, Mars Hill and those who have been silent has hurt sales.

    I admit I have worried about this. I can only say it has not felt very strategic, as an author, to criticize my own camp….

    and from his publisher:
    http://www.kalospress.org/authors/authors/matthewbredmond.html

    About this author:

    Matt Redmond was born in Birmingham, AL. He attended Southeastern Bible College and Covenant Theological Seminary, and has served in pastoral ministry in three different congregations. Matt currently works in the banking industry.

    Matt and his wife Bethany have three children: Emma, Knox, and Dylan. Matt’s writing has been published by the Gospel Coalition and other publications. He also writes a blog: Echoes and Stars.

    Matt began writing The God of the Mundane because he realized that contemporary portrayals of the God of the Bible left little room for a God who was concerned about ordinary things. Building on his conviction that the biblical God was an everyday God, Matt’s reflections on this topic coalesced into a nascent collection of essays.

  • Wizer

    Marie #495, I thank you. Now that I’ve read what you’ve provided, I do remember reading about him some time ago here. I will check out his blog.

  • Marie

    Wizer #496, You’re Welcome. And PS about advertising M. Redmond’s book – I will post a like to my Facebook page, and buy the book, and I encourage anyone else who wants to support Matt to at least like the book on Facebook. Hopefully what I am saying is within the bounds of what Kris and Guy ask – I won’t post anymore about promoting Matt’s book – I know that the Survivor website is not here to push people’s books.

    Thank you again and again, Kris and Guy, for doing all the work to keep this site running, so that folks can connect with each other in this way, and hear very good words.

  • Help4Abused

    @ Waters #476 – I definitely agree with you about the teasing you described which I immediately thought to be unbiblical. (I wish I’d expressed these thoughts to pastors; guess I was a little concerned about the response I’d receive.) We’re supposed to treat others the way that we want to be treated. As a child of God, I want to be reminded about things that are true, lovely, noble, pure, etc. (Phil. 4:8) Although we’re sinners, God sees us as a new creation (I Cor. 5:17) and ambassadors for Christ, etc. I loved Larry Tomczak’s “Biblical Confessions to Build Your Faith”. It was so packed with God’s Word. (I’m not into the “faith movement”, just knowing who we are in Christ. I love hearing the weekly benedictions from Scripture that Josh and others are reading.)

    Let’s remember that we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against the powers and principalities. Although CLC hasn’t been a model church in many respects reflected in peoples’ experiences/interactions, there have been many who have been saved through the ministries of CLC, etc. Not just CLC/SGM is in a spiritual battle . . . but Christians throughout the U.S. and the world. Although I can’t know the day nor the hour, things look very bleak for our country and it’s going to be imperative that there be a church (communities of believers, not buildings) which knows how to encourage one another daily so we don’t fall into the deceitfulness of sin, to help us to know how to live in the world and not to be of it, to be able to be as innocent as doves and as wise as serpents.

    Let’s pray that the truth will be revealed quickly as I don’t think there’s too much time left in our country to prepare for what’s coming against ALL of the believers. We need to love one another (yes, speaking the truth in love) deeply from the heart. We need to work through all of these things that the enemy meant for evil but God means for good (I know this can come off as unsympathetic to victims but that’s not what I mean). We need to learn to forgive as God in Christ forgave us (Col. 3). (Again, not a fake, quick forgiveness which again I realize might come off unsympathetic to victims.)

    When 9-11 hit, I immediately thought of Matthew 24. When the docs hit, I immediately thought of “what can be shaken will be shaken”.

    I know I haven’t been preparing like someone in the military (soldier for Christ) as 2 Tim. 2 says . . . may God help me and all of us to process this all in a way the glorifies God.

    Here’s 2 Tim. 2
    2 You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, 2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men[a] who will be able to teach others also. 3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. 5 An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 6 It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. 7 Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.

    8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 11 The saying is trustworthy, for:

    If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
    12 if we endure, we will also reign with him;
    if we deny him, he also will deny us;
    13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful—
    for he cannot deny himself.

    A Worker Approved by God

    14 Remind them of these things, and charge them before God[b] not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved,[c] a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 16 But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, 17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. 19 But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”

    20 Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. 21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable,[d] he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.

    22 So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 23 Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant[e] must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

    ***We need to help those who are struggling to get back up and fight the good fight!!!*** May God strengthen all who have shared how they are stuggling right now. God LOVES YOU and he wants to help you work out your salvation with fear and trembling. he CARES for YOU!!

  • Discovery

    This is to #457 Servant of the Most High. I am totally with you about what you are feeling about the church. My family and I were members of CLC since 1984. The deceptive thinking was CLC was the best church in the whole world and outside this church you probably weren’t a strong Christian (sounds familiar?) After Brent’s documents and the Lawsuit I am researching every church doctrine, that I’ve been taught. I’m not researching my faith or God, I know Christ is my savior and I have a great relationship with Him. I’m researching the so called doctrines that aren’t so clear and therefore are being used to take advantage of us (SHEEP). I have a lot to say but will keep it short. For starters look at the word CHURCH. It means “the called out ones that meet together”. It doesn’t say how often or where. No wonder the first original Christians were mad when the legalistic church leaders made the church building/temple the real place for preaching and worship. It stole the Christians’ fellowship and all the gifts that God gave to them when they met in their homes. Before, they had shared everything in common. Now you can’t share your God-given gift in a building that sits two thousand people. Here are some of scriptures where they met in homes and when people were added they started more homes. (Philemon 1:2) (Col 4:5) (Rom 16:23) (Acts 2:2) (Acts 20:20)(Acts 16:29)Acts (5:42)
    I know 99.9 Christians are comfortable where they are at, I understand that. Your kids have fun and they meet friends and it’s a nice social environment, but is this the real church Jesus set up? Also, are you comfortable with the Pastoral leadership and their doctrine? Can you have Communion at your house without a Pastor? Can you baptize without a Pastor? Do they use the famous Malachi 3:8 “guilt” scripture telling you, if you don’t give ten percent of your gross income, then, you are under God’s curse. Check this out, 100 Christians giving ten percent, which averages around 120 dollars a week per Christian — 100X120= 12 thousand dollars a week. That’s 48 thousand a month, that’s 576 thousand dollars a year. That is only with 100 hundred people! What if you had 1000 people or 2000? No wonder, there is a church on every corner. Is this the Church Christ set up? It is a devil’s trap to drown good leaders in money business and to rob good Christians of their gifts and money. I believe this is the time God will teach us about being “His called out ones”, which will make a more authentic impact on the world. I hope this helps and I hope to hear from you.

  • Silent Guardian

    ANYBODY GOING TO THE MEET AND GREET WITH DAVE HARVEY?????!?!?!

    http://fouroakschurch.com

    If your going for dinner…..: http://form.jotform.us/form/31565200845147

    Let’s go and ask how he is now a Free Evangelical?

  • LetMyPeopleGo

    Waters #487 – I completely agree about the mocking. Never called it that while I was at SG, but that is definitely what it is. Interestingly, when I think of people that made me feel like I had to get away from them – they were mockers. It’s so sick when you think about it. It is the complete opposite of the character of God. I remember our pastor once saying that God looks down at us and says, “You guys can’t even love me, so I’m gonna come down there and love you.” God makes the point all over Scripture that it is He who loved us first, but He never says it with the mocking voice that I often heard at SG when I was there.

  • Help4Abused

    In my previous post, I meant Waters @ 487 also.

    I agree with a previous post by Paul K. about interactions with Josh. In all of my interactions with him (and I also speak for my spouse’s interactions), I (we) have found him to be humble and caring.

  • Live Free

    Hurting but hopeful #435, I just wanted to pop in to encourage you. I am praying for you and your family. Do not worry, do not be discouraged – God is faithful and He has a wonderful future for you and your family. He has promised us not just life, but life in abundance. He is Good. Very, very good, all the time. He has nothing but hope and a future for you and your family.

    If I could encourage you a bit – don’t worry about “going to church” – remember, You ARE the church. And so are other believers. God can meet you reading your Bible and just chatting with another believer informally – this is fellowshipping. I understand your not being able to trust a church or a pastor – we felt the same way for a while, but the longer we are out and the more we are around other Christians, the more we see that they are not all alike. There are churches and pastors and believers who truly are real and normal and are not putting up any fronts, they just ARE. There is much grace out there, much much grace you did not find in Sovereign Disgrace Ministries. Real grace, not just lip service grace.

    I also understand that you feel your younger kids are missing something. Sometimes I feel the same way when I look at my kids (we do not attend a church right now and are just seeking Jesus without “religion” – very refreshing!). But the only thing our kids who grew up in SGM are missing is the Real Jesus – that is what I want for my kids. The Real Jesus. The ENTIRE Word as it was not taught to us. He is out there and He loves them and can redeem all the mess we are all going through because we left SGM and the wacked out doctrine and lifestyle that was preached and control and abuse that was put on us trusting children of God.

    God is big, He is good, He can restore what the locusts and legalism have eaten, any abuse inflicted, it is not hard for Him to do. I will pray for you. Put your hope in God, trust in Him only. He will do it.

  • Peach

    Discovery #500, said, “you can’t share your God-given gift in a building that sits two thousand people.”

    Some of us at CLC have been thinking about the large-church dynamic, and how to make our mega-church more relational, “smaller” and more responsive. It sounds like perhaps you have been reading some of the house-church literature. Have you seen this video, by any chance? http://vimeo.com/4521963

    A few of us here (or maybe more than a few… don’t know) are intrigued by the house-church movement… there’s much we can learn from these new wineskins. (Some of our best care groups have things in common with the house churches.) I rejoice that many who would never go to a church building are finding a way to connect with Christ in his people via home churches (aka “simple church,” “organic church” etc.)

    However, while a home church can provide some advantages, a large church can be better in other ways. You could watch a video like the one above and think, “wow, where do I sign up?” But there’s no perfect structure this side of heaven, and while a house church can be loving, responsive and flexible, it can also be insular, terribly controlling, racked by infighting and even heretical, though it might not start out that way.

    I’m wondering if we could somehow create a hybrid model that could have some of the best elements of both. A friend at CLC has proposed we start “sphere” groups within the church — something bigger than a care group but a lot smaller than a Sunday meeting size. Like the old “Family Home Gatherings” back in the… late 70s? Early 80s?

    Whether that particular idea would work well or not is open to debate. (One friend at church really disliked the idea, or anything that smacks of “enforced togetherness.”) Regardless of what kind of changes might work best, it does seem as if there are open doors at CLC. I think there is great pastoral openness to member-initiated and member-led initiatives. The old bottlenecks to ministry seem to be evaporating. It would be great to have more discussion and ideas flowing.

    But like the dwarves in the last Narnia tale, we as members have to wake up and realize that the doors are open. Not everyone is there yet. But probably they don’t need to be. Ripping off the famous Margaret Mead quote, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed [members] can change the [church]. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” (Margaret Mead didn’t talk much about the Holy Spirit. ;-))

    Help4Abused, #499 – I appreciate your thoughts, and especially the Scriptures.

  • 28 years gone...

    Silent Guardian 501:

    What? There is now NO Mention of Diamond Dave anywhere on the Four Oaks web site! The link you put up is down. He is not on the meet the pastor’s page. Gone. In typical SGM fashion, no explanation, no information! I guess people started to email the pastors of the church (their emails are on the “Meet the pastors” page.)

    Very strange.

  • Stunned

    2Samuel127, over at Matt Redmond’s blog posted this scripture and I think it needs to be repeated here, too.

    Open your mouth for the mute,
    for the rights of all who are destitute.
    Open your mouth, judge righteously,
    defend the rights of the poor and needy. (Proverbs 31:8-9, ESV)

    Great scripture, 2Sam. Thank you for sharing it.

  • Wizer

    We watched the movie, ‘Doubt’ last night with Meryl Streep, Amy Adams and Philip Seymour Hoffman and there’s no doubting it’s terrific ;) It’s about a suspected priest who’s a suspected pedophile in a Catholic school/church set in the 1960’s. If you haven’t had a chance to view it, there’s a pivotal scene in which the priest verbally attacks Meryl Streep’s character for calling his previous parish and talking to a nun and not the pastor about him and his past. He says she took a vow to the church and by going outside the proper chain of authority she has broken her vows to God, which of course in stopping him, she is willing to do. Also, pay close attention to all the boys’ reactions throughout the film. This story is very moving and Meryl Streep naturally makes the best nun to ever be feared on film. Give it a watch; you won’t be disappointed.

  • Oswald

    28 years @506 — The link posted @501 is now probably unavailable because it was a sign-up for an event to introduce Dave and Kimm, that happened yesterday and is now over. Give the church a few days to get Dave on the web site, he’s just been introduced to the church yesterday. Be patient.

  • Silent Guardian

    28 YEARS GONE….

    YOU ARE RIGHT. Both pages are down. I did a email campaign yesterday. They must have realized the cat was out of the bag.

    DAVE HARVEY will now be a pastor with the Four Oaks church in Tallahassee, FL. Tonight, June 15th was a dinner meet and greet with Dave and Kimm. I have just received an e-mail from some administration folk from Four Oaks, stating they did not appreciate the barrage of e-mails questioning their involvement with Dave and Kimm. I believe a campaign is in order for the poor congregation of Four Oaks, to enlighten them of the wicked Diamond Dave before it is too late.

  • Silent Guardian

    28 YEARS….

    GO TO THE FOUR OAKS FACEBOOK PAGE….IT IS THE FIRST POST

  • LetMyPeopleGo

    Live Free #504…when you said this: “If I could encourage you a bit — don’t worry about “going to church” — remember, You ARE the church.” – It made me think of God saying to you, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

    And so if I could encourage YOU a bit…keep serving…keep spreading freedom…freedom in Christ is what allows us to worship Him fully. It is the reason we live…to worship Him alone Who is worthy of all our praise. Thanks for your comment.

  • discovery

    To Peach, thanks for your input about the house church. Back in the 80’s I was a single caregroup leader for about 2 years, got married and we led for about another 6 years. In my wife’s opinion, I was the best caregroup leader in the whole church, ha ha! But I must say every meeting we had was great, God”s power and love was there. In the late 90’s is when we started to feel a spiritual downfall. It is hard to explain but the Sunday meetings, the caregroups, the celebrations, just didn’t feel right. The Puritan teaching came in and that really slowly spiritually killing a lot of people. For me and my family we believe you don’t need the Sunday corporate meeting, week to week, paying to listen to one man’s opinion about what the bible says. When you compare that to a group of people, who come together not even paying money to each other or their leader, each using their God-given gifts, there is much more of God’s wisdom and power in the room. I don’t know how exactly Jesus set up his church (that’s why my name is Discovery) but I do know He didn’t set it up the way it is now. We have been away from the Sunday meetings for almost 2 years and we have been so blessed by God and spiritually growing day by day. And we are not under a curse because we don’t pay our dues to the leaders, sorry for being rude, but there are millions of good Christians giving to a system that was never meant to be, when they could be giving where it really should go. Hope to hear from you. Thanks.

  • OutThere

    Wizer 508 –

    That was a great movie, I’d forgotten about it! Thanks for the reminder, I intend to watch it again soon.

  • Hurting But Hopeful

    Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads (spiritual and physical) here on Survivors and those who used to post at Refuge.

    My dear, dear, Husband is sitting on our couch, reading the WORD of God and waiting for the breakfast/lunch his children are preparing for him.

    I want to thank Thomas, Marie,CLCya, Waters, Dr. Pepper, and Live Free for their kind, compassionate and anointed words of encouragement.

    I FELT the love of Jesus wash over me as I read your encouraging posts and promises to pray for our family.

    I pray that each one of you (and all of us reading here) experience the sweet and healing love of Jesus today.

    H.H.

  • Dr. Pepper

    Next Sunday, June 23rd, there will be a members meeting at covfel after each service to talk about the lawuit and Daves new job.

  • Oswald

    Pep @516 — Thanks for the info.

  • Oswald

    I’m just wondering what CovFel would have to say about Dave’s new job, as if it is any of our business. Maybe they want to chastise those who have emailed the 4 Oaks folks with words of warning. I dare say, it’s probably more people outside of Covfel who are emailing warnings; people who have encountered him in his SGM capacity. I guess we’ll see next week.

  • Dr. Pepper

    Oswald,

    I guess all they really are going to say is Dave has gotten a new job at Four Oaks. We support him, pray for him, blah, blah, blah. I guess the only thing that they really will be talking about is the lawsuit. Yeah, I don’t really think anyone from covfel is emailing the church, then again who knows. And maybe they were not going to say anything, but then someone out in the blogs about his new church, they feel they have to. However, I was a little upset that I saw it in the blogs first before hearing it from the pastors. I do remember that Jared did say at a members meeting when they announced Dave’s leaving that he was hoping to give us an update on a new job. However, I do not think its ok for anyone to email the new church about him. Obviously, the new church probably knew about Dave and the blogs. I think we should just leave Dave alone.

  • Jenn Grover

    You know, there are churches who have joined or are considering joining SGM on a wait and see basis. They are uncomfortable with the way SGM has handled the abuse but think maybe Mark Prater will be a different kind of sGM leader. Well, if Mark Prater was going to be a different type of leader, he would have made changing the way SGM is responding to the abuse case his #1 priority and begun work on it day 1. Mark has been as as Marvin Milktoast with his own response as all of the other leaders in SGM, Fairfax, and CLC have, as well as all other current SGM pastors. Where is moral courage? The truth is that these men have been emasculated by fear of man and selfish ambition to the point where they have no moral courage. They feel as though merely stating their “discomfort” to small audiences is a bold move and rely on on other men, whether is be Boz T., Redmond, or Brent do the harder work.

    SGM members, if you are allowing your pastors to rest in this level of moral apathy, you are, by an act of omission, supporting SGM’s response and also culpable for the moral failure we see before us. The Tolling Bell has a link to the is article that showed the way SGM should have responded, the way pastors should have responded, and the way members should be responding now. http://www.zhoag.com/2013/06/14/leader-addresses-abuse/

  • Uriah

    Jen Grover #520 …….. Thanks for posting that link. It was refreshing to hear someone exhorting others to take a stand for values, conduct, and actions that are worthy of effort and sacrifice for the well being of an organization.
    If you substitute “church” for the “Australian Army” it becomes quite a powerful and convicting message. I pray the members in SGM churches would consider their responsibility in the matters before them and act with the courage and conviction this man insists on and calls for in his fellow soldiers.

  • Jim

    What Jenn said. !

  • Pam Palmer

    FYI Announcement!! Peter Lumpkins is going to be on the Janet Mefferd Show tomorrow, Monday, June 17th at 4:15 p.m. ET to discuss his SBC resolution on Sex Abuse, which passed this past week at the SBC Annual Meeting. ABP and other news outlets directly relate the passing of this SBC resolution to the SGM scandal and our sex abuse lawsuit.

    http://www.abpnews.com/ministry/organizations/item/8572-sbc-should-support-sex-abuse-victims-pastor-says#.Ub4n2fnVBrM

    http://janetmefferd.com/

  • Oswald

    Good message from CLC today, about endurance in suffering, from Hebrews 12. Worth a listen.

  • 28 years gone...

    Silent Guardian 511

    I am missing something or they have taken that FB message about Dave down too!

  • PB&J

    Peach 505: Good video. One of the speakers in the video was Neil Cole. He has been active in home churches for quite some time. He wrote several books, one on the Organic Church. Here is a link to an article he wrote. http://www.cmaresources.org/organic-church-definition

    There is also a book called “Creature of the Word” The Jesus Centered Church. by Matt Chandler, Josh Patterson, and Erik Geiger. Excellent book pointing to Jesus. Chapter 3 The Creature in Community, goes into Romans 12:9-13 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation. Be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. The book goes on, on page 59. Paul surely doesn’t man merely honoring the pastor or guest speaker… The giving and receiving of honor is something that should happen between all believers, all the time.

    I have seen so much honor heaped on the leaders of SGM by themselves so frequently it took this book to remind me that honor applies to all. How different a Christian walk should be than we learned at SG.

  • Help4Abused

    Hi. I don’t think I need to tell readers that porn is most likely a contributing factor to the incidents that have been widely discussed on this blog. However, how diligent are parents these days in monitoring their kid’s(s’) internet usage? Recent statistics have shown that the DC area ranks at or near the top in consuming porn. (STORY further below.)

    You can learn more how to protect your family by checking out the “Internet Safety: 101″ videos produced by Enough is Enough at their YouTube channel. (I probably also don’t need to tell you to be careful about checking out all links on YouTube.) Here’s the link to the EIE materials (unfortunately, I haven’t seen them yet but I’m sure they’ll be well done): http://inthecapital.streetwise.co/2013/01/09/washington-dc-watches-most-porn-in-the-united-states/

    STORY (Please beware of clicking links in this story; I haven’t clicked any of them — I just know there could be links to you-know-what) as one other story had some lewd pics and links in the “body” (okay to make a pun here?) of the story:
    http://inthecapital.streetwise.co/2013/01/09/washington-dc-watches-most-porn-in-the-united-states/
    As a city full of ambitious, stressed-out, and all around over-worked twenty-somethings, I wasn’t surprised to hear that D.C. was ranked as a part of the U.S. that consumed a healthy amount of adult videos. But what I wasn’t ready for was that D.C. is not only amongst the high ranking states in the United States, but it has the highest number of pornographic videos watched per capita in the country.

    By almost double.

    Not even joking.

    Pornhub.com partnered with Chris Ritter from Buzzfeed to create an interesting infographic that ranked concentrations of porn watchers according to state, and the number of videos watched per person (per capita) throughout the year. The results are pretty astonishing, with the following nine states being ranked at the top:

    Maryland – 6.67 videos per person
    Connecticut – 7.03 videos per person
    New Hampshire – 7.06 videos per person
    New Jersey – 7.21 videos per person
    Rhode Island – 7.28 videos per person
    New York – 7.50 videos per person
    Massachusetts – 7.52 videos per person
    Hawaii – 7.57 videos per person
    D.C. – 14.18 videos per person
    Yeah, that’s right, D.C. came in at nearly DOUBLE the videos watched per person than the state that came in second (Hawaii).

    Pretty nuts, pretty insane, and yet another sterling superlative that our city has earned.

    # # #

    Peach (#505), thanks and will send them back to you. Definitely seeing such an openness at CLC allowing for a real chance to for EMI (“Every Member Involvement” – old LT lingo). I second Oswald’s comments (#524).

  • Lee

    Pam @523,

    It will be interesting to see how Lumpkins comes across in the interview. Many of you may not have heard of him before. He’s divisive and obnoxious, and well known for his dislike and dishonesty towards the Reformed Crowd. Although I am happy for the resolution, I can’t help but wonder if Lumpkins has some ulterior motives in trying to embarrass SGM.

  • Oswald

    Lee @528 — Thanks for sharing your thoughts and observations. If they are correct, this might diminish his credibility as a voice of reason.

  • Marge Sweigart

    Lee (528) “Divisive”? – I’ve heard that term used before somewhere. Oh, yeah, that’s what SGM leaders like to call people who speak out against hypocrisy and abusive authority. I can’t help but wonder if you have some ulterior motive in maligning Peter Lumpkins as you did in your comment.

  • Pam Palmer

    Mr. Lumpkins is a person, who is standing up for reform about how sex abuse is handled in his denomination. He doesn’t have to submit to a theological litmus test, that you or I subject him to, to be deemed a “voice of reason”. No one said he has to be perfect or that I have to agree with him on every topic. I am grateful for anyone, particularly a pastor, who is working for reform about how churches handle sex abuse.

  • exCLCer

    @help4abused #527 – I agree completely that monitoring children’s internet use is so important, but stats like those in the story you posted can be misleading.

    Of all the states and DC, DC is the most densely populated with 10,357 people per square mile, and NJ at number 2 with 1,205 inhabitants per square mile. But really no one can get real statistics on porn viewing just by compiling paid internet porn usage or subscriptions since it doesn’t consider the myriad of video rental stores, already owned porn, traded files, freely accessed porn, magazines, and cable porn channels among other untraceable origins. Internet and broadband usage is also variable and highest in the more densely populated states. I’m pretty sure areas with higher per capita income probably verifiably spend more $ on porn than areas where people have lower discretionary income, but that doesn’t mean they necessarily watch more.

    I think it is also very important to note that viewing pornography does not “cause” someone to be a pedophile. While many pedophiles may obsess over child porn, there is no causation whatsoever between adult porn viewing and pedophilia. Research has shown the most common denominators among pedophiles to actually be lower IQ, impaired interpersonal functioning, elevated passive-aggressiveness, desire for power and control, impaired self-concept, elevated psychopathy and propensity for cognitive distortions– not being exposed to pornography.

    But research aside, surveys found that around 77% of Americans view porn once a month, and 70% percent of American men ages 18–34 view internet porn on a regular basis, and yet the prevalence of pedophilia in the population is estimated to be about 4%. Viewing adult porn vs. viewing child porn are as separate in motive and intent as sexual relations between adults vs. sexual perpetration of a child by an adult. Viewing adult porn no more causes an adult to want to view child porn than having sexual relations with an adult causes an adult to want to sexually victimize a child.
    So while the actual cause of pedophilia is not known, research continues to be done in the field and so far the treatment that has had the most success is cognitive behavioral treatment that includes restructuring pedophiles lives where they are in non-negotiable terms indefinitely restricted from being around children altogether.

    But before someone gets the idea that I might be a porn industry lobbyist or advocate (lol), I am not. I just think assigning pedophilia causation where there is none can give others a false assurance that if someone you might know doesn’t watch porn then they aren’t a pedophile, or if someone does, they might be one. Personally, I would trust someone who I might know looks at porn before I would trust someone with low self esteem, a passive-aggressive personality, and who demonstrates behaviors that indicate an impaired self concept or a need or desire for power and control. A propensity to want to get access, control, and manipulate is the red flag to look for.

    Bottom line, if someone had a history of abusing animals, no one would suggest they go get a pet or have open access to vulnerable animals — alcoholics who don’t want to relapse need to stay away from alcohol — drug addicts who are in recovery need to stay away from people and places where there are drugs present — gambling addicts should not ever be in a casino — and likewise, pedophiles need to be kept away from the presence of children. Period.

  • annie

    Help4Abused#527, along those lines, here’s a great resource:

    http://www.fightthenewdrug.org/

    I have it bookmarked and have asked the members in my family to visit it “just in case.” Porn is a problem that is probably way bigger in the church than people want to admit. I’ve started having friendly and frank discussions with family, male and female alike. Just bringing the subject into the light has been unexpectedly encouraging. Anyway, I highly recommend the site for teens and adults.

  • annie

    ExCLCer #533, good points. I agree.

  • annie

    One qualifier about the Fight the New Drug site is that it isn’t Christian, but the arguments against porn use are logical and backed up by research and science. I filter all the information through my Christian worldview. Everything it presents about relationships and how porn affects them, I see as being applicable to the marriage relationship. If you think your children would be influenced to regard premarital sex as acceptable because of this site then I retract my recommendation. If they’re older teens who are Christians, I bet they can benefit from it greatly.

  • Steve Zahm

    Lee@528 may I respectfully encourage you to read Paul’s letters; all of them. Paul was probably one of the most divisive Christians who ever lived after Jesus. Being divisive is not the problem, being hateful, scornful, mean, and nasty instead of loving, caring, gentle, restorative, and redeeming are the signs of a true Christian. The God we serve, honor, and obey is Holy. That automatically makes him divisive in the sense that he is opposed to unholiness.

    The entire biblical corpus is about both good and bad divisiveness. The good kind is redemptive; it has a loving purpose and seeks to stand against falsehood. It is not exactly the easiest thing today to discern the differences between the types of divisiveness. We should be cautious as Christians. I do not know Peter Lumpkins other than from some of the things he has written. As a Christian with decades of Christian experience under my belt, I did not find his writings negatively divisive. I found his writings (and what they reveal about his mind and heart) to be prophetic, as in revealing the the heart and nature of God.

    When we throw around words such as ‘divisive’ and ‘obnoxious’ about a person we are showing them disrespect and are guilty of the informal logical fallacy of argumentum ad hominem, which is an argument made personally against an opponent instead of against their argument.

  • annie

    Sorry, one more thing- there is definitely a Christian vibe at places on the site, and it offers links to Christian books and resources.

  • Lee said: Although I am happy for the resolution, I can’t help but wonder if Lumpkins has some ulterior motives in trying to embarrass SGM.

    Because it’s not enough for people to simply be enraged about child sex abuse?

    If I had blood pressure issues, I’d be asking for the meds right about now.

  • NameGoesHere

    Anyone in the SBC with a brain knows that Peter Lumpkins has ulterior motives but opposing something like this out of political concerns would be reprehensible.

  • 5yearsinPDI

    http://www.religiondispatches.org/dispatches/guest_bloggers/7138/sovereign_grace_sexual_abuse_lawsuit_just_got_more_complicated

    A well done article on the mess.

    This was posted today on the Aquila report, a highly respected blog by Tom Aquila that covers all sorts of subjects in the Reformed and Presbyterian Community. I was happy to see it there. http://theaquilareport.com/

  • Somewhereintime

    Lee / klockheed

    You should try at least changing the blade on the axe that you are grinding on Lumpkin because he hurt your feelings on those who are reformed.

    (from Lee’s/ klockheed comment from the link in #542)

    “Lumpkins has a personal beef with Calvinists of any sort and will use any means to denigrate them. His opining on the matter brings nothing substantive to the case other than another attempt to castigate Calvinists. As if anyone approves of child abuse, what a sick thing to use such horrifying allegations in your personal conquests.”

  • Grace

    Let me just say I appreciate the information I have received from this site and how it has allowed me to work through my SGM experience but I also gotta say….

    The claws come out so quickly around here sometimes when someone shares a differing opinion. It surprises me and makes me not want to comment for fear of being on the receiving end. I wonder if there are others, like me, who are sometimes afraid to say what they really think.

  • Jenn Grover

    Yeah, whether Lumpkins was 100% motivated by the sadness over abuse or not, the perception from the mutual admiration society will be that he just has an axe to grind because of his previous criticism of the good old boys. The lack of a previous axe to grind is what makes Boz T and Matt Redmond such credible critics.

    I think most, if not all of us were pleased to see his hard work towards the resolution being passed but the question is, what is the goal of he or others in speaking out? I would imagine influence is one of the primary (though not only, or even most significant) goals, along with supporting the plaintiffs. That being said, credibility is important and relevant to influence.

  • Help4Abused

    Hi exCLCer (#533),

    Understand points about population size, etc. My concern is that everyone should be taking a serious look at how porn will be tragically affecting the next generation. Along with the culture war going on against believers in relation to sex, which can be so addictive itself, porn is also addictive. If teens/adults don’t receive help for this, a percentage of this group will most likely be the next sex offenders.

    From the Enough is Enough site (Unfortunately, the stats aren’t that current.):
    http://www.enough.org/inside.php?tag=statistics

    YOUTH ACTING OUT

    The number of cases in which children received court orders or warnings for sex offenses has jumped by 20 percent in the past three years; experts blame the Internet, saying that the youth behavior has been changed by ready access to sexual imagery. (“Web Is Blamed for 20 Percent Leap in Sex Attacks by Children”. This is London. 3 March 2007, http://www.thisislondon.co.uk).

    ADULTS

    40 million U.S. adults regularly visit Internet pornography websites, and 10% of adults admit to Internet sexual addition (Internet Filter Review, 2006).

    20% of men admit accessing pornography at work (Internet Filter Review, 2006).

    70% of women say that they keep their cyber activities secret; 17%of women admit to struggling with pornography addiction (Internet Filter Review, 2006).

    9.4 women access adult websites each month, and 13% of women admit to accessing pornography at work (Internet Filter Review, 2006).
    (Return to Top

    CHRISTIANS AND SEXUAL BROKENNESS

    Of promise keepers, 53% viewed pornography in the last week (Internet Filter Review, 2006)

    47% of Christians say that pornography is a problem in the home (Internet Filter Review, 2006).

    50% of all Christian men and 20% of all Christian women are addicted to pornography.

    60% of the women who answered the survey admitted to having significant struggles with lust; 40% admitted to being involved in sexual sin in the past year; and 20% of the church-going female participants struggle with looking at pornography on an ongoing basis (Market Wire. August 7, 2006. ChristiaNet.com. December 7, 2006 http://www.marketwire.com/mw/r…e_html_b1?release_id=151336).
    One out of every six women, including Christians, struggles with an addiction to pornography. That’s 17 percent of the population, which, according to a survey by research organization Zogby International, is the number of women who truly believe they can find sexual fulfillment on the Internet (Today’s Christian Woman, September/October 2003).

    ” ‘ More than 80 percent of women who have this addiction take it offline,’ ” says Marnie Ferree. ” ‘Women, far more than men, are likely to act out their behaviors in real life, such as having multiple partners, casual sex, or affairs’ ” (Today’s Christian Woman, September/October 2003).

    51% of pastors say cyberporn is a possible temptation. 37% say it is a current struggle (Christianity Today, Leadership Survey, December 2001). 4 in 10 pastors have visited a porn site (Christianity Today, Leadership Survey, December 2001).

  • Somewhereintime

    I’m not trying to start a “reformed” argument here, but what I have seen of those who are of that belief is that they leave little room for the Holy Spirit to move within themselves and their churches.

    I’m not reformed in the least bit and fought it tooth and nail when it came to SGM. However, that being said, I have ALL the respect in the world for my reformed brothers and sisters.

    Regarding Lumpkins, I’d probably fall in to his camp regarding his understanding of Calvinism, but what’s more important is that he is going after the Reformed Big Dogs because of their flagrant love of self and their lack of care for those that the church HAS hurt!

    Regarding the RBD’s teachings. I am sure they are solid. However, when one lessens the work of the Holy Spirit in the work of one’s own life and in the church, it’s quite easy to be very confident in your own opinion if you are not listening to the Holy Spirit.

  • Oswald

    Jenn @544 said — “…what is the goal of he [PL] or others in speaking out? I would imagine influence is one of the primary goals…That being said, credibility is important and relevant to influence”.
    Thanks Jenn, for your sensible observation. That’s where I was going with my comment @529.

  • Silent Guardian

    28 YEARS…..NO, I keep messing with them and they keep taken posts out.

    HERE IS DAVE’S FIRST SERMON

    http://fouroakschurch.com/resources/faith-in-barren-times/

  • LetMyPeopleGo

    Hi Grace #544 and welcome if you are new. I can’t keep up with all the new people that join the conversation here. I heard what you were saying about the fear of saying something that others will disagree with and I thought that I would take a stab at responding to your question about whether other have the same fear.

    I used to fear commenting here when I first started reading for a few reasons. One, I was not comfortable yet with speaking against my abusers. Sad, but true. I had to work through my own loyalty to them (in SG and in other relationships in my life). Secondly, I wasn’t sure that I had anything meaningful to add to the conversation. But as I read for many months, I realized that all I needed to bring to the discussion was whatever I was thinking about or whatever I felt like God was showing me about my SG experience. So, when I first commented, I shared little bits at a time about whatever was on my heart or in my head. But I also kept in mind that everyone here is at a different place in their process of healing, exploring, questioning, etc. So, when I joined the conversation the first time, I had to remember that and know that not everyone will agree with what I might say, maybe their experience has been different or maybe God has not opened their eyes to some truth that I know see. But if I share my opinions or thoughts in a respectful manner (which we should be doing whenever and wherever we share opinions, as best as we can) then it’s up to others to receive them in a respectful way. And if they don’t, well, I can’t control that and if someone lashes at me, I still can’t control that. But I can learn to confront them in a respectful way if I need to or I can walk away and think about what they said, pray and see if there might be any truth in what they said.

    So, it’s interesting….commenting here has been a great way for me to develop my voice more, to learn to state my thoughts in a respectful way, and to learn that sometimes people will respond in a kind or helpful or merciful way….and sometimes people won’t. But the great thing is that you can learn to have a voice here, something that you really weren’t allowed to have at SG. So if you feel a little fearful to express your thoughts here in that someone might disagree sharply, it might be somewhat because of the church environment that you have been in at SG. Does that make sense? And funny thing is, commenting here and taking the risk of someone bringing out their claws, like you said, is part of living in the real world. Now, I’m not saying that I think “bringing out the claws” is Christlike…but many people here have been hurt by SG and other controlling people in their life and sometimes conversations get heated, but I think overall this is a great community with a variety of commenters.

    I have learned a lot in “talking” with other commenters here about how to interact with people in a way that I am not being controlling and I have learned to recognize when someone else is making controlling comments. It happens. It’s okay sometimes. That’s why there’s grace. And sometimes it’s not okay and then we have to say that how someone is commenting is not okay. I have made some controlling comments here and regretted it. And I have learned to overlook some comments that are made with the claws out. But through all of it, I have grown in huge ways of feeling free to be me and to share with confidence what I want to share. That is a great thing to learn if you have lived in any kind of controlling relationship. So, my advice is to join in the conversation and work through it if the Spirit moves you. I have processed so much at this site. I am not the person I was when I first start reading and commenting here 4 years ago. There are many wonderful Jesus followers here! God bless.

  • Pam Palmer

    FYI: Janet interviews Peter Lumpkins @ 7:08 for about 12 mins. I thought he did a great job.

    http://www.janetmefferdpremium.com/2013/06/17/janet-mefferd-radio-show-20130617-hr-3/

  • Lee

    Julie,

    I totally agree with you that child sex abuse IS enough to get angry about…but in Peter Lumpkin’s case I just don’t know. Do a search on TWW to see what the guy is like…he’s known for protecting his own “side” all the time including the likes of Ergun Caner. I find it very hard as vitriolic that he’s been for years toward the Reformed Camp that there isn’t some other motivating factors, but either way the outcome has been good even if Peter Lumpkins is a total twit.

  • Philly Girl

    http://fouroakschurch.com/resources/the-next-100-years/ on another note, where do i go to find a house church in my area? I went to organic church and house church and somehow i got to acts 29.

  • just saying...

    Silent Guardian – What are you becoming – Brent?

    The guy left SGM and disappeared to an obscure location leaving all friends and family behind. What more do you want???

    Are you going to follow these guys forever??

    Leave this little church alone.

  • Dr. Pepper

    Silent Guardian,

    I agree with Just Saying in post #554. Dave moved far away and no longer works for sgm. I think it’s time just to leave him alone. They probably Dave had issue with with his former employment. Just give it a rest. If not for him, but for his wife. What more do you want from him?

  • Stunned

    Grace,

    I couldn’t say it better than Let My People Go said it so I am only posting to say that, yes, there are times when it seems like the claws can come out here. (Though, I am glad to say that, at least, the claws aren’t hidden behind velvet words of religion. If someone is about to hurt ya, they don’t spend five minutes calling you Brother,in preparation for the kill.)

    Unfortunately, I am not always bright enough for that concern to keep me from commenting, but I sure do see it sometimes. ( And have brought my own claws out more than I’d like to admit.) The good news is that with very few exceptions, most of us overly passionate posters realize the harm we have done and apologize. Every once in a while, there’s even a group hug at the end of it all.

    For my two cents, I’d rather participate in a community where I gets ugly once in a while, rather than one where the cost of peace is truth. ( Not that you are advocating such a thing in the least. Just that right now I am thinking of my old SGM church where everybody was so focused on behaving properly that love and truth got lost on the way to nice & good.)

  • Oswald

    Grace @544 — I understand what you are saying. My 2 cents worth is this: Don’t make statements that are very sure of yourself. Preface remarks with, ‘in my opinion’, or ‘I think’. When you say (for instance) that something in scripture is ‘clearly’ so-and-so, it might be so clear to others and they will let you know it. Also ‘clearly’ sounds arrogant and self-assured. Say whatever you feel and others will correct you or interact with you in agreement. This is a good place to read and comment. Don’t be afraid, just be humble and pray that your comments are helpful and that others will be helpful to you. If you’re new here, welcome.

  • Jenn Grover

    I just hope for Four Oaks’ sake, Dave’s arrival is not a part of the church joining SGM.

  • Oswald

    Jenn @558 — Well, I would bet they have been sufficiently warned.

  • It's just the beginning

    @LetMyPeopleGo, #550: thanks for that great overview about your path to posting here.

    The only thing I’ll add is communicating via comments was a big learning experience for me. Sometimes there is a lot of room for misinterpretation / assuming motive / etc. and I’ve found that making comments and interacting via comments has honed my ability to write definitively and with more clarity (at least I think it has).

    Also, when reading other people’s comments, I’ve learned to ask questions of the content without jumping to too many conclusions.

    What I appreciate the most about Survivors is the platform it provides to openly talk about issues and problems in SGM, instead of being under the mistaken veil of “the perfect church” .. life is full of problems–I don’t know how SGM leadership can really believe it’s better to ignore the problems away instead of dealing with them.

  • Dr. Pepper

    Reading those stories of those being bullied in CLS made me sad. It made me think of when I was bullied in high school, and back in high school all I could think about was killing myself. Just reading those comments made me think about the bullying i sufferered through. Being bullied is not nice and my heart breaks for those who were bullied in CLS.

  • Oswald

    Philly Girl @553 — I also would like to know more about house churches in the Phila area, if there are any.

  • Oswald

    The message by Dave H which is linked above was delivered May 12th. At the linked page, he is listed as a guest speaker. In the intro, it is stated that he was introduced to them by Daniel Montgomery, a part of Sojourn in L’ville. This was probably a message given to the church so they could evaluate him. I guess they liked what they heard and it looks to me as if this past weekend, he was received into the church as their pastor for preaching. Now I’m going to listen to the message. I wonder if I’ve heard it before. :)

  • 5yearsinPDI

    oswald and Philly girl….

    Structure is not the answer. We know a few people who joined different Circle of Hope house churches and they vary from nice evangelical to emergent to control freak.

    We were in a fabulous small group once that eventually picked up needy talkative attention demanders and the leader could not hem them in. You just don’t know.

    I think you are better off looking at churches with men who have been married and pastoring for many years, and have several similar elders, and midweek small groups. Could be wrong, but structure/polity is not the answer and these start up groups led by guys in their 20s are enthusiastic and sweet, but one of these days they’ll probably be a mess. Maybe I am just cynical :)
    Will pray for the Lord to lead……

  • MAK

    From the CLC website:

    “Yesterday in church Joshua encouraged and challenged us all to fast and pray for three days during the week of June 23. This period of fasting will follow an important Members Meeting on June 23 at 6 p.m., and lead up to an evening devoted to worshipping the Lord through singing on Saturday, June 29, at 7 p.m”

  • LetMyPeopleGo

    It’s just the beginning – #560:
    I totally agree with your comments about how your writing has been honed here in the same ways you mentioned. I was going to comment about that, too….but my comment got so long, I got tired and I wasn’t sure how to express what you did. But I have experienced the same thing…the writing more definitively and with more clarity and the part about asking more questions before jumping to conclusions. I can relate to both. Thanks for commenting. Some days when you’re recovering from controlling relationships you wonder if you’re making progress. I’m glad that Grace asked that question. It has helped me today to see how far God has brought me. I was so messed up.

    Stunned – thanks for this…”Just that right now I am thinking of my old SGM church where everybody was so focused on behaving properly that love and truth got lost on the way to nice & good.” Ugh, how true.

  • Oswald

    Good message by Dave H from Four Oaks Church, linked above @553. And yes, I’ve heard it before, but it is well worth the listen. It spoke to my heart and, as with any sermon, may speak to anyone depending on where they are in their life.

  • Oswald

    5years @564 — Thanks for your input and advice.

  • Caesarsalad

    Trusting 452 Your list of what SGM pastors give themselves using tithes floors me. I’m not against the list as long as it all adds up to a typical income for their area. I hope the “salary” item is LOW because there are SO MANY perks the average church tither never gets. Another perk to add: low commuter costs (gas, car wear and tear). Question: What is hospitality reimbursement for? Why do they need that? At the 2 SGM churches I attended, the pastors never housed the visiting speakers (the members did and I and others I know never got reimbursed any costs)and who here was ever invited to a pastors house for dinner? Someone might say,” Well, they had leaders meetings at their houses.” Well, I had care group meetings at mine. No reimbursement at my “level” and didn’t expect it as I saw it as serving unto the Lord. Am I missing something? SGM’s use of money was one thing that made me want to leave as I kept getting wind of things.

  • Philly Girl

    Having been CGL for so many years, I don’t know if I’m ready for having a house church in our home. We don’t really know anyone who goes to church in our area. We will have to get together with others in our area who we have met and see what happens. Religious monuments, yes, but I’m not comfortable in the pews. Wondering what they believe, what they’re like outside of the building. Not very friendly here. The thoughts of being deceived again is unbearable. So, CLC and CFC are having family meetings. Hope they come clean. I’m rambling. Sorry. I heard DH voice and I’m creeped out again. Have a pleasant evening.

  • Jenn Grover

    MAK #565 – it encourages me to see them coordinate a meeting with fasting. I still hold out a shred of hope that CLC will act differently than sGM about the lawsuit.

  • Oswald

    Philly Girl @570 — Did you attend CovFel? Did you leave SGM within the past 2 years?

  • Philly Girl

    5yrsinPDI #564. Thank you. I looked up Circle and they are not near us. I’m reading the Gospels. Can’t do the letters right now. Thanks again.

  • Philly Girl

    Oswald #572. No, the final straw for us was when DH lied to us and wouldn’t meet with us. At the time of the changeover to Reformed, which was another straw. We were there from near the beginning to the late 90’s. Still have family and dear friends there. Thought we were the only ones who were treated the way we were, as, we were not to speak about anything. (Gossip, you know). Still wonder how we could have been so stupid, so blind, so deceived. How does that happen? Is that our pride? To think we were more mature than dumb sheep? That we should have had discernment to take up on the ‘off’ teachings? The pastors sent us to Toronto and there, I began to underline the other half of my scriptures. Bad bad sin terrible wretch became balanced with His love and forgiveness for me. Jesus’ blood was enough. Done. He forgave me for past, present, and future sin. I know God loves us and we rest in Him, but I do miss doing church. Well, I miss the good parts. Thank you for listening.

  • Iwasthere

    I have so much to say that I don’t know where to start. I only learned of the lawsuits and this website two days ago and I have tried to read through most of the comments here.

    I was there. Born into PDI, attended CLS 84-88, remember all the children’s ministries, different meeting places in the early 80s. S.G. taught my kindergarten class.

    I believe them all… Every victim in the motion. Bravo to the attorney that let them finally have their voice. There is not enough “time served” possible to “repay your debt to society” when it regards abusing children. They have finally been heard after being “quieted” by the church and so called “leaders” for too long.

    I was there. I hear you. I believe you. Nothing will ever take away your pain.

    Each of these men deserve to have their lives ruined as they ruined so many. Let them flyer their neighborhoods! They don’t deserve “their day in court” or a trial to be proven guilty. They didn’t allow these children to have it.

    I remember music in hallways, the stage and curtains, being spanked for going behind the bushes during recess. I remember “celebration” and children being given freedom to run unsupervised during the entire event.

    I’m not here to respond to the doubters though. I know you, keep protecting your friends and then live with your guilt.

    PDI ruining my childhood and teenage years. I will never attend a church or open a bible again because of the disgusting actions and beliefs I was raised to see.

    So much more to say, but not worth say it. I was there and I believe you.

  • NoLongerSGMButNotAngryEither

    In response to CaesarSalad, I’m going to repost part of what I posted before pages back, but was stuck in moderation so probably didn’t get seen by many, and it was in response to a post by Stunned who was angered by things I don’t think should have caused anger.

    “Whatever you think of SGM, and like I said the one other time I posted I have significant differences as well which precipitated my leaving, pastors’ salaries and benefits is not the issue. If you ask pastors what they make I would be shocked if, today, they would refuse to tell you. The pastors at my church (I asked and they told me!) made a wide range of salaries based on stage of life and previous salary history (not dollar for dollar but relative). ie a man who became a pastor at age 40, after supporting his family on a $75k salary wouldn’t come in starting at $35k, but a younger man who didn’t have much work experience (I know, this has its own problems, but this is common in all denominations) would start around there. I was told that it seemed reasonable that the senior pastor would make approximately what the average per capita income was for the area. My pastor did. And that never struck me as unreasonable. I’ll bet it doesn’t seem unreasonable to the average SGMmember who isn’t angry at his pastors (like nearly everyone here seems to be).

    There are certainly those who think that pastors are called to a life of poverty, but most of those types are not evangelicals (or protestant for that matter), and Paul has strong words against your claim, Stunned, that pastors are paid an average per capita salary are living in sin, and that the money should have been used to feed the poor.

    First Jesus rebuked that pious Judas for Jesus allowing a woman to waste her money perfuming Jesus’ feet instead of feeding the poor (and I daresay that most everyone here who has criticized pastors’ salaries has wasted their money on something other than feeding the poor too).

    But given that no pastor is Jesus, so that is only marginally relevant (the point being that there are other matters of concern for what to do with money given to God besides feeding the poor), Paul takes this on directly in 1 Tim. 5:17-18 — “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. 18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.” Paul specifically says that elders who rule well by laboring in preaching and teaching are deserving of double honor, and directly relates that to their pay.

    So look, even if you disagree, it is quite easy and reasonable to make an argument that pastors should be paid the wages they are worth for the labor they provide. And many pastors, yes even SGM ones, put in many hours more than you might know laboring in prayer and the ministry of the word, caring for others, studying.

    You could argue that’s all well and good, but the congregation should have a say in what the pastors make. If you buy the congregational argument (and many do, many don’t) that’s well and good. But I bet if you put the average SGM pastor’s salary to a vote, most of the church would support what they currently make. And if you instead buy the Presbyterian model, the elders of your church set that salary, and the Bible gives great leeway as to what that should be.

    Finally, you all are speculating on salaries and benefits. You’re making judgments on facts that are not facts but speculations. For example, the housing allowance is a federal benefit to clergy that allows them to not have to pay taxes on their housing allowance; that was added as an option for churches that didn’t provide a parsonage for their pastors. What Steve 240 said was accurate in that regard.

    And further, I seriously doubt that DH made $200k, and to the person who said they’d have trouble paying for a $500k house on $200k, I found a way personally to pay the mortgage on a $400,000 house making well less than $100k living rather comfortably with my family. Add in the fact that DH probably made money from selling his previous house, he probably didn’t have a $500k mortgage. Id be surprised if he made much more than $100k. And in the Philly suburbs, that’s probably right around average, and even more likely the average for the members of his church. Do you really think it dishonors God for a pastor to have a wage that’s similar to the average member of his congregation? If he’s making more than anyone there, that should raise eyebrows. But if he’s living like most of his congregation, which was the case at my church and I bet in most if not all SGm churches, how can you complain about that? And do you know how much he gives back to his church or to the poor or other nonprofits in secret?”

    I’d inquired about the hospitality allowance as well, and it is there for pastors to cover the cost of meals when they have people over. Sure you can complain that you didn’t get a budget for hosting people, but it also isn’t part of your job, as it is with a pastor. The goal, I was told, and this makes complete sense to me, is that they don’t want pastors to have to turn away opportunities for hospitality because they couldn’t afford to have people over. I don’t understand for the life of me why people are complaining about having travel to conferences and smartphones paid for. If you work for a company or for the government, they provide smartphones, computers, training equipment (books) travel and expenses for conferences.

    Like I said, I have my problems with SGM which is why I’m not there, but you folks are letting bitterness, I believe, cause you to view everything pastors do through very harsh and judgmental lenses, such that you are castigating the same benefits that virtually every church in the country provides for its pastors. It’s this kind of censoriousness that leads people like the RBDs who read this site to dismiss virtually everything said as bitterness that is clearly not of the Lord.

  • Hurting But Hopeful

    I think Four Oaks Leadership knows exactly what they’re getting with Dave. H.

    From their introduction their church used many of Dave H’s books and SGM material.

    They mention his past career with Sovereign Grace Ministries and go on to laud his achievements and hi work in the ministry.

    I feel very sorry for the members of this church who (before Dave H.’s arrival) knew or know nothing about C.J. Mahaney, SGM, the lawsuit, the sexual abuse, the years of blackmail and cover-ups.

    I encourage everyone reading here to pray for the members of Four Oaks. I am going to pray that God expose Dave H. and his role in the SGM debacle.

    I am not praying that God expose Dave H. for vengeance.

    I am praying that God bring to light what happened at SGM during Dave H.’s time behind the ship’s wheel.

    He was the SGM’s spokesperson on the Plant and Build Blog and for the spokesman for the entire ministry.

    I believe he is just as guilty or even more so than John Loftness, the Board of Directors, the A.o.R., etc., in enabling C.J. to avoid and escape church discipline after the documents about his (Mahaney’s) hypocrisy, blackmail, pride, etc., were leaked.

    Dave H. could have been a “faithful friend,” to C.J. and encouraged him to repent and seek reconciliation and restitution for the thousands of SGM “Survivors” and victims.

    He didn’t.

    I don’t think we need (or should) pursue Dave H. as he flees to another church and another state. God will pursue Dave H. and God will have the last word with him.

    I it is misguided (or perhaps naive?) to think that just because Dave H. left SGM and is now preaching in another church/another denomination that Dave has repented and seen the light.

    As far as I know Dave H. has never repented of his role in what transpired at SGM and with C.J. after the documents were leaked.

    Dave H. leaving CFC and moving to another state and another church looks and feels like (to me) what C.J. did with SGM and his move to Louisville, KY.

    I guess Dave H. learned a lot from C.J. Mahaney.

  • Jenn Grover

    NolongerSGM – “And further, I seriously doubt that DH made $200k, and to the person who said they’d have trouble paying for a $500k house on $200k, I found a way personally to pay the mortgage on a $400,000 house making well less than $100k living rather comfortably with my family. Add in the fact that DH probably made money from selling his previous house, he probably didn’t have a $500k mortgage. Id be surprised if he made much more than $100k. And in the Philly suburbs, that’s probably right around average, and even more likely the average for the members of his church. Do you really think it dishonors God for a pastor to have a wage that’s similar to the average member of his congregation? If he’s making more than anyone there, that should raise eyebrows. But if he’s living like most of his congregation, which was the case at my church and I bet in most if not all SGm churches, how can you complain about that? And do you know how much he gives back to his church or to the poor or other nonprofits in secret?””

    100% disagree. Pastors are paid according to their labors, not according to CEO salary. It would not surprise, though I have no clue what his salary was, if he earned more than $200,000/yr, especially when it came on the backs of others making tremendous sacrifices, and especially when these guys were given free reign to promote their books within SGM, taking honorariums while collecting a salary, plus getting many other gifts in kind. And, did SGM/CFC pay for Dave’s advanced education?

    A pastor should live in a fashion that does not intimidate the poor among us. SGM became preoccupied with a yuppie culture and materialism. They can take their iphones and other Apple worship crap and flush them down the toilet (where all apple products belong.)

    When I look at how people I know gave to what was being presented as “mission” and find out the mission was lifestyles of the yuppie suburbanites, I am disgusted.

    Give me a break, these guys accumulated their wealth on the backs of SGM donors who thought that SGM was about building and planting local churches, that these guys were holding each other accountable, and that they were striving to live what they taught. You are darned right it matters how they lived.

  • Jenn Grover

    Hurting #577 – well said.

  • Paul K.

    I’ve told Kris I want to limit my comments to 3 or 4 a week simply because I can easily get sucked into spending more time on a blog (especially this one) than is God’s will for me in light of higher priorities. I think it appropriate to view it as a potential addiction if it interferes with obvious biblical priorities. However, to simply remain silent at a crucial time like this would also be wrong. Just a clarification as to why I disappear for a couple weeks and then return. I think it wiser to post less but consistently otherwise I feel like I’m starting all over w some people.

    I have really been impressed with some of the posts and attitudes on this blog. (1) Oswald – how long have u been at Cov Fel? Did Bill Patton speak Sunday? Is it a possibility Jared could be
    replaced by Patton as senior pastor – seems church not impressed w him. Is Cov Fel the last big church in SGM? Also appreciate ur humility and how u even listened to message out of CLC
    as well as Harvey’s message. Anyway, just
    appreciate ur spirit – thx!

    (2) 5Years – I appreciate ur intelligence and wisdom. Particular think #564 is just plain wisdom and not cynicism at all.

    (3) I know JL personally – he’s brought so much health to the school and what a hard worker – I’ll be mowing grass at 7:30 or 8:00 and he’s just leaving. I’ve mowed his lawn a couple years and his family loves him dearly. As far as bullying goes, it just isn’t acceptable but one person can’t stop it. It would need to be a concerted effort of all teachers, parents, and through instruction teach the students about the damage in can do to people.

    (4) Peach (my good friend:) u were referencing me as a the guy who had a vision for churches within the community. I now believe it to be too complicated – I rather see “the smaller churches” be planted churches in the area (like Mt Airy) or in other nations. I think Ben Wikner does have the grace for leading a church – that would eliminate one of Josh’s favorite gnats. Ben always has ideas – let him go do them instead of annoying Josh (Josh loves gnats like Ben – prefers gnats to “yes men” – in his better moments – one can only take so much).

    (5) LetMyPeopleGo #550 – incredibly wise and helpful post! Thank you!

    (6) I am the Queen that’s why : what a dream from God! Your friend, Sue R had a prophetic word for the Oct 30th meeting when we chose to no longer have “the covering of SGM” (SOV SHAME MIN) but be JESUS RULED. Her prophecy was in essence your dream but different in that it had snowed while the trees were still strewn w colors (hadn’t happened for 50 years!) and she saw this as a promise of God doing a new work here. I called that night CHRIST’S FREEDOM SONG DECLARING YEARS OF JUBILEE FOR CLC in a three part poem. I view that day as a serious day in His story for our community.

    (7) Eric NS (Real Estate?) in my opinion, the CLC pastors need a pastor over the pastors – someone Josh may know or come to know in the future – they’re on their own by and large. I think Brian Howard is recommending this – don’t we all need oversight and further training?

    (8) I think Brent crossed a line big time disclosing sealed info regarding CL. Accusations brought are not accusation proved and he took a liberty that was not his to take – these things were sealed for a reason. Brent, u spoke as if CL is quilts as charged but just read the accusations closely – preposterous! The man was overly strict quilts of trying to have the perfect family the Gothard way ; the flesh way ; spanked too hard etc, There’s been a lot of “fishing” for people to join this lawsuit – some are legitimate; some fabrications by invitation and taken due to bitterness or at least u should have considered that. U were the worst of spiritual abusers but have acknowledged none of it. Now u seem like the “goodbye” cause u didn’t participate in the sexual abuse cover up. Guess what? If this gets thrown out, it’s a big victory for Maheney and all his spiritual abuse is ignored. U should fast and face the man in the mirror and confess all ur spiritual abuse from which u run as u chsse Mahaney down and don’t care who u hurt in the meantime. U become what u focus on – your becoming like Mahaney: denying your own sin and chasing another guy down just as Mahaney has blamed Josh. Come on Brent – come clean if u are going to be a so called prophet.Are u doing this for God? God is using u but is He pleased w u? U ask Hm that. Easy to see everyone else’s faults while making it ur occupation with no job. Go pastor a church like Dismond Dave. Support your family. I guess there will be 1000 letters to a church that accepts if one does (“don’t hire that guy unless u want to be lorded over!)

  • Grace

    Wow! Very kind of all of you to respond with such compassion.

    I still feel a little intimidated about commenting, but probably due to my lack of experience commenting on any blog, even the more trivial ones I read. I’m not that old, but the whole cyber community thing, even though I have benefited greatly from it, still feels a little foreign to me.

    Like most things, I guess the more you comment, the more comfortable you get, which is probably why some people have no problem calling it like they see it. But for those who are a little more timid, those comments can seem intimidating and well… sometimes uncharitable, I guess.

    That being said, maybe I’ll be brave and try commenting now and again! Thanks for understanding and for the encouragement.

  • Nickname

    I believe that pastors should be paid as well as any other professional person with the same kind of educational background — I don’t begrudge them a good salary. Most pastors are not celebrities; most of them outside SGM have completed expensive seminary educations and should be considered well-educated professionals and compensated with that in mind. Before celebrity pastors became the fashion, everyone who went into the ministry knew that they were, in effect, taking a vow of poverty. They knew they were not going to get rich in the pulpit. We never had to worry that they were only in it for the money. When the Bible says those who teach are worthy of double honor, I understand that it means respect and monetary compensation.

    Most non-SGM pastors I know do NOT keep honorariums, though they may need to accept something to cover expenses for out-of-town engagements. And many don’t accept payment for doing weddings and funerals — they believe that those tasks are part of their job as a pastor. One pastor I know who is also a published author believes that whatever he writes belongs to the Lord, so he is paid a paltry sum for his books (we’re talking less than $500 from an actual publisher for an entire book) and gives his materials away to anyone who requests them. The amount of time he can write is specified in his employment agreement. On the other hand, I received a hospital visit once from a part-time pastor, and I’m 99% sure that the reason he came was because he could get paid for the time spent and count the mileage!

    As we’ve discussed before, the frustration many of us feel is not so much with the dollar amounts, but with the fact that those amounts are kept hidden from the congregation. Most people in secular jobs don’t want their incomes to be common knowledge – it’s always been considered bad taste to ask or tell salary information. But when the church budget is passed out and all the salaries are lumped into one amount, it looks like something is being hidden. And if they’re trying to hide something, they must know that something’s wrong or at least embarrassing.

    We can criticize dollar amounts till the cows come home, but in the end, what is an exorbitant salary in some people’s minds is small potatoes to others. There are many schools of thought out there; the idea that the pastor should be paid a salary that meets the average salary in the congregation; or the idea that the pastor should be paid a bare minimum because he’s a pastor and called of God, so his wife and kids should depend on hand-me-downs from the congregation for clothing, etc. And lately, there are the mega-churches whose pastors are pulling down Fortune 500 CEO salaries, but they refuse to disclose actual salary amounts.

    The housing allowance is a federal tax benefit to pastors; not something the church came up with. Fifty years ago, almost every church owned a manse (Presbyterians) or parsonage (Baptists, Methodists) or rectory (Episcopalians) in which the pastor could live rent-free. In my childhood church, when the church hired a second pastor, there wasn’t a manse for him, so he received a housing allowance instead. The housing allowance is in lieu of church-provided housing. The military does the same thing; if you don’t live in government quarters, you receive a housing allowance that goes with your pay grade. If the church had explained this kind of thing to everybody, there’d be a lot more understanding — but no, they kept it secret. Private is one thing; secret is another. They’d say “if you have any questions, ask us,” knowing that we probably wouldn’t ask. But if someone did ask, they’d hit them with the “your pride is keeping you from trusting us.”

    The problem in some church organizations is that they are secretive about their financials at the samt time they’re promising transparency. That’s what has happened when they say ‘mission’ instead of really meaning ‘missions’. That’s why people are suspicious about the church bookstores — and as I’ve said before on several occasions, whatever happened to the good old-fashioned church library?

    I was on a trip last week, and passed a sign in front of a country church that said, “Community Christian Lending Library Inside.” I wanted to stop and cheer.

    No Longer SGM But Not Angry Either: 561. I agree with most of what you say. But I don’t like you labeling people or comments as bitter. I’ve personally received far more encouragement than bitterness here. Perhaps some are bitter, but to use SGM jargon, it’s probably not helpful to use that label. I am not bitter — but I have been deeply burdened for those who’ve been abused spiritually. But mostly, I am joyful that much of that burden has been lifted as people have begun to see the truth and understand freedom in Christ.

  • monkhead

    I totally 100% agree with post #576 and “not angry either”. …….and yes, unfortunately the ” bitterness” over too many things besides the children is too strong and far too apparent and far too critical in far too many posts. I am apalled at these charges, but i am also enormously grateful for all the goodness Jesus put into his churches and how much my sgm church was used by Jesus to help and bless me.

  • nolongersgmbutnotangryeither

    Nickname,

    All I can say for sure in regards to bitterness (and again I’m speaking in generalities of the broad tone of most comments here, not every single poster) is that as a reader who is not bitter or angry, but also no longer with any sort of personal interest in SGM, as I read most of the comments, the aroma I walk away with is nothing like the aroma of Christ, but of rank bitterness. Few bitter people think they are bitter. Bitterness, according to Scripture is a foothold of Satan in the believer’s life that comes from unforgiveness. Where there is a holding on of unforgiveness, “bitterness, rage, and malice” are sure to follow in time rather than the putting on of tenderhearted compassion, kindness, and the forgiveness of others as we have been forgiven (Eph 4:26-32). Bitterness, rage, and malice permeate a great deal of what I’ve read over years of browsing here, reading more frequently more recently. If I walk away thinking, “These poor people are so very bitter they can’t see straight or think reasonably about their brothers in Christ,” it should be no surprise that the RBDs do the same thing. It is hard to take a bitter person seriously.

    Jenn’s comments above are a good reflection of what I’m talking about. She seems to be so continually angry, that she’s now condemning SGM pastors for having iPhones. Because no other faithful pastors have iPhones or Apple computers, right? And all who do must be hell-bound, selfish wretches, right?

    I don’t think you have any way of knowing what pastors do with honorariums, and neither do I. I have trouble understand why you freak out about a pastor collecting a few extra hundred dollars here and there for preaching, which is not just their ministry but their profession. If those who labor in preaching are worthy of double, financial honor which Scripture is clear on, and a man preaches at another church, is that man not still worthy of said honor?

    What you don’t see is that you are setting legalistic requirements for what is acceptable and what is not based on your own personal sensabilities, not on Scripture, Jenn and others. It’s legalism, the same legalism that you decry, but because it serves to advance your bitterness, you’re promoting it as the way all faithful Christians must think. But I’m calling you on it. Unless you have direct Scripture to condemn as sin the specific practices of collecting honorariums or having the church pay for iPhones, you are being a legalist, plain and simple.

    And it is no different than the legalism that says Christians must homeschool or must court or must ________. It’s judging someone else based upon your own sensibilities for what is appropriate and what is not.

    Nickname, as for the concern about transparency being the real issue, I understand what you are saying, it’s just that in the 4 large churches I’ve been a part of, only one of which was SGM, NONE of them published their pastors’ salaries. I think that’s pretty standard fare for churches. If you ask, though, I’d be shocked if they wouldn’t tell you. Most people don’t want to know, and frankly, most people shouldn’t know, especially if they are asking with bitterness or judgment in their hearts.

  • whatistruth

    just sayin #554 you’re kidding right? so now Dave Harvey is the victim? Dave left voluntarily, he was the one to resign he was not fired nor is he a victim so stop making it seem like all this was somehow someone being mean to him. That church needs to know he has been the mouth piece and the spin doctor i.e. head liar for Sovereign Grace Ministries for years.

  • Enjoying Freedom

    @Jenn Glover #578 said “When I look at how people I know gave to what was being presented as “mission” and find out the mission was lifestyles of the yuppie suburbanites, I am disgusted.”

    Right on! Never thought of that, but you are so right on. Ugh…….. I feel duped and totally used.

  • Pam Palmer

    Iwasthere: Thank you for saying that. I am one of the parents supporting my daughter on the suit. My husband and I did go to the police and press charges after her abuse, but for those who have little or no support from their immediate family and/or finally got the guts up to come forward (as is extremely common with sex abuse victims!) a comment like yours really helps — it is very hard to not be believed or to be criticized for not coming forward sooner, etc., etc.
    And welcome to sgmsurvivors! We are a unique family! Sometimes we have “group hugs” and sometimes we have our tiffs, but I have learned much from this ragtag group. ;)

  • exCLCer

    Help4abused #546 said:

    Along with the culture war going on against believers in relation to sex, which can be so addictive itself, porn is also addictive. If teens/adults don’t receive help for this, a percentage of this group will most likely be the next sex offenders.

    That is the assumption I would take issue with…….”most likely be the next sex offender”??? Porn has a lot of harmful effects – the objectification and servitude of women, creation of unrealistic sexual expectations, and can be an unhealthy distraction from healthy satisfying relations with another person. But it does not, in itself, create sex offenders.
    I would argue that authorities attempts to overwhelmingly control the natural inclinations of young people combined with the teachings of indwelling sin do far more damage to a young persons natural course of maturation than anything. “If you think about another teenager, you’re sinning – saying a boy is cute is like cheating on their future wife with them – no dating only courting – your father is in charge of your sexual purity – males have superiority and uncontrollable urges only avoided by women’s modesty – any desires or feelings about the opposite sex are from the devil trying to tempt you – etc etc” …..this teaching takes a natural process of puberty and turns it into something that is ugly and bad and must be hidden if it is felt.

    It is obvious that mindset can cause deviation from the natural course of things. Sexual repression causes all kinds of deviations from the norm, and throughout history, all over the world, all kinds of crazy methods of repression have been loudly supported and enforced by groups and people who falsely claim disastrous effects of the natural expression of sexuality – male teen circumcision, female circumcision, lobotomy, tortures, even child castration as the punishment for masturbation. If you teach children their natural feelings are bad and evil and that they should be hidden, instead of discussed and nurtured responsibly, then it is no wonder they will turn to either complete rejection of these ideas and act out, or try to adapt and find hidden ways of dealing with it – like porn or other deviant methods. So in that case the repression is the factor that leads to the viewing of porn and the deviation, not the porn itself. The whole promise keepers obsession with a woman’s purity is creepy at best and imo abusive to teach a young girl that her worth and value lies in a physical part of her body rather than in her personality, mind, beliefs, and talents.

    So whatever leads people to find more pleasure in porn than in a real relationship is really what should be questioned as the cause of deviance because not all (not even most) people who view porn in their youth turn into sexual offenders. By your assumption, I could say “all known murderers drink water, so a percentage of youthful water drinkers will most likely be the next murderers” but it does not make drinking water a causation of murderous behavior.

    Early exposure to sexual imagery does have ill effects on children, but there is a lot of sound leading research (that does not come from Christian psychology internet sites) that spells out those effects. It is dangerous, IMO, to continue to push the idea that insisting on purity and obsessing on the repression of human sexuality is the answer to eradicating harmful sexual deviance. And to then teach the hiding and covering up (silencing of victims and failing to report crimes) of deviant and perverted offenses against children once they occur is even more reprehensible than the mindset that initially may have allowed it to happen in the first place, and that is what has happened. It goes to show the mindset affects the actions (or inaction) of not only the deviants but also those in authority around them (pastors).

  • OutThere

    I walked out of CLC never to return during one of their building fund raisers. A leader was telling about the example of a donor couple who had decided to give the money they had been saving for their child’s college tuition. I was disgusted that the leaders accepted the money and didn’t use their so-called pastoring skills to advise the couple that, although their gift was very generous, it would be better used caring for their own child. But what sent me over the top was that they were not “honoring” the couple, they were using the couple’s giving implicitly to manipulate others into following their example…

  • CRW

    Jenn #578

    You’ve identified a massively important and tragically ignored issue that is rampant throughout American Evangelicalism. It’s ironic to me that, so many times, I was taught by SGM leaders that the “prosperity gospel” was false and its preachers (e.g. Hinn, Osteen) were heretics. I am disgusted by the upper-middle-class extravagance and materialism of many in SGM and in the evangelical culture at large. There is so much need, so many beautiful people who have been socially and economically disenfranchised. The schizophrenics, the crack dealers, the depressed atheists, the shattered veterans–these creations of heaven–are too often ignored. A la Matthew 25, the selfish will say, “Lord, if we he had known it was you, we would have fed, and clothed, and cared for you.”

    I found this picture that encapsulates my frustration with all self-centered, comfort-loving Christianity
    http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ludbg8Bm4H1r3gqzqo1_500.jpg
    Subtitle: “The people who are most in need of hope are often the least likely to be given any.”

  • Jenn Grover

    I believe pastors should be paid a modest wage based on their work, not their education. The higher the pastor’s salary, the more at risk he becomes to protect that salary and standard of living. If you want to gauge a pastor’s salary on the going rate,find out what your local sheep farmer makes, not a CEO.

    Nickname, I believe you knew the exception when it came to not taking honorariums or profiting from books, and I believe there are exceptions.

    I don’t believe all SGM pastors are overpaid and it diea vary from church to church.

  • Finally, you all are speculating on salaries and benefits. You’re making judgments on facts that are not facts but speculations. For example, the housing allowance is a federal benefit to clergy that allows them to not have to pay taxes on their housing allowance; that was added as an option for churches that didn’t provide a parsonage for their pastors. What Steve 240 said was accurate in that regard.

    Again one thing to realize with pastors’ salaries is that with the housing tax benefit/shelter they get, they effectively make more money then it appears. Thus if you make a comparison of their salaries compared to what lay people make some adjustment needs to be made to correctly compare them. In other words a pastor making $80k a year might effectively be making $100k as a result of this tax sheleter pastors get.

    Thus before you think or don’t think SGM pastors are well paid, make sure you take this tax shelter into account.

    One thing I would be concerned with on the porn usage statistics is they were comparing a city (Wash DC) to states. I would be curious what these stats are if Wash DC was compared to other cities like NYC, Atlanta, LA, etc. I am not downplaying the problem but just saying the comparison might not be an apple to apples comparison.

    With regard to the bullying, it wouldn’t suprise me if the pastors disparaging remarks they made about each other from the pulpit (hopefully in jest) contributed to the bullying at CLS. I have no doubt that teenagers typically don’t understand that this was something in jest. Sadly the kids imitated what they saw and not being close to them they didn’t realize this was jesting.

    Ephesians 5:4 warns against doing this.

    I remember when I was a kid my mom telling us kids before we went to her company picnic that if someone said a remark about someone else like this don’t agree but at most laugh. It was just how some related. They were really friends but said things like this to each other. It was something someone age 11 or doesn’t normally get.

  • Joy Huff

    Iwasthere, thanks for your post. I wish others like you would speak up. The kids who grew up at GOB/CLC haven’t said much here. Your stories are important ones to be heard, I feel.

  • It's just the beginning

    Joy, I am going to ask you a bit of a bold, in-your-face question..and if you’re not comfortable answering, I totally understand.

    I assume you and your husband will be attending the upcoming member’s meeting this weekend at CLC (as will I)…what are you hoping to hear from Josh and our pastors?

    ..

    I suppose it’s only fair that I answer my own question–and I will. But I know you’ve been at CLC for much longer than I have, and I have much respect for your whole family..I am curious how you are processing all of this and your hopes/expectations for the members meeting this weekend.

  • LetMyPeopleGo

    Hi again Grace! Thanks for your comment. I realized that what you shared is yet another reason why I was also somewhat fearful of commenting here in the beginning….I too had little experience commenting on blogs. In fact, I think this was the first blog I ever commented on. That alone was a whole new world for me. I forgot about that part…I guess because I am used to the cyber world part of all of this now. So thanks for reminding me that. It helps me see another way that God has brought me through!

    But I do know that the kind of connections I have made here and the kind of support and understanding and knowledge I have gained here I could not have gained anywhere else. This is a very unique situation in that it joins people from literally across the world who have experienced something similar and I believe God has brought us here together for our good and His glory. Even though it gets messy some days…people are getting free here. Spiritual abuse recovery is messy, that’s just the way it is, I think. I also think that God is doing a huge work in many hearts through this site and I personally find it all quite amazing and find God completely amazing!

    I prayed for you this morning and hope that this site serves well the purpose God has for it in your life.

  • whattodo

    What is up with a new survivor site?

  • Dr. Pepper

    I’m a little confused. Does the church pay for the iPhone and the pastors cell phone bill or do they just buy them the cell phone?

  • Oswald

    whattodo @592 — What are you talking about?

  • whattodo

    Do a search on SGM Survivors and see top listing of search results.

  • Caesarsalad

    NoLongerSGM 576 I think you misunderstand me. I’ll try to clarify: I said “I’m not against the list if it all adds up to a typical income for their area.” I never said it does or doesn’t. I hope it does and I wish I could know because we gave a lot of money. I think the only way it could is if the salary part is lower than the average salaries of their community because they get numerous perks that people in their community would at best only get some of, not all of them. If the average salary of an area is 75K and if the pastor’s “salary” alone is 75K, if you add the perks, it is above the average.

    When it comes to the hospitality allowance, I had an honest question–“Am I missing something?” I really don’t understand because we were taught hospitality is about “encouraging, not entertaining” and that we didn’t need to spend much money to be hospitable. And I don’t understand because when we were not and also when we were leaders, we were never invited over to a pastor’s house, except for a leader’s meeting. Maybe the allowance is just to cover meetings? Maybe paper cups? I don’t know and I don’t think it is right that those who supply the money have never been allowed to know more than one big lump sum on a budget report.

    I’m not mad, I just don’t get it.

  • NoLongerSGMButNotAngryEither

    Jenn, what you’re saying is so extreme and unreasonable. No SGM pastor is making CEO wages, but nor should they be making sheep farmer’s wages. You really believe that pastors should be making wages that keep them at the poverty level? Comments like these make it very hard to take you seriously. It’s full of rhetorical punch that may get you lots of comment likes and kudos, but has no meaningful substance.

    And attacking them for living suburban yuppy lives — Like most everyone else at their churches? These are typically yuppy, suburban churches in yuppy suburban areas. If you want to attack the comforts of suburban living, fine, but stop pretending that this has anything at all to do with SGM. you’re attacking every suburban church and virtually every suburban pastor regardless of denomination with this line of thinking. If you’re committed to pastors who live in poverty, go find your local Roman Catholic church, but make sure it’s a Franciscan priest because those Jesuits tend to live pretty high on the horse.

    It seems to me that SGM pastors, including the top ones like CJ and Dave Harvey, make within the range of salaries that keep them living in the similar comforts of the average member of their churches, and that’s exactly how the majority of members would want it. Which is precisely what most other evangelical pastors in their areas do. I’d bet money that if you put Dave’s salary to a vote when he was the senior pastor, the vast majority would have supported it. Yes pastors should live modestly, but modesty is culturally relative. Modest living in suburban Philly or DC is different than modest living in rural Iowa, and certainly different than modest living in Burma or Timbuktu. I happen to admire men like John Piper who live very modest lives despite the opportunity to be very wealthy from book sales, but in turn gives all profits back to Desiring God, which enables them to give away all their resources, living only (previously at least) on his pastor’s salary. Rick Warren, on the other hand, takes no salary from his church and lives (very comfortably) on his book sales (and I imagine he’s quite generous himself). But the point is that the Bible gives wide discretion to the individual consciences on these matters, and because we don’t know what pastors do with their money, we are not in a place to make the judgments that are being cast quite strongly here.

    As for money made from book sales, it seems like no one here has any idea how the publishing industry works — not that it’s stopped anyone from waxing on about what they don’t know. Until a book reaches astronomical sales, authors don’t make very much off of book sales, and probably see zero in returns until after a high level of sales. They may see a small advance up front (if they are established as authors), but that often goes to defray expenses related to the writing process. It’s the same way with the music industry. Authors usually receive an advance fee that helps defray costs of writing, and until the publishing companies recoup their expenses in marketing, distribution, and printing, the author will see nothing more than that small advance fee. Usually the way these deals are structured is that when, for example, the CLC bookstore sells one of CJ’s books, they didn’t buy them from CJ but from the distributor or from the publisher (or they might buy them from SGM, which bought them from the publisher and is seeing little if any profit on it). CJ would see none of the money from those sales directly if at all.

    But again, all the anger directed towards this is assuming that these men write for the purpose of profit and wealth. I don’t believe that’s CJ’s motive at any level (Though even if that was their motive, why can’t you, with Paul say, “What then? Whether in pretense or truth, Christ is proclaimed and in that I rejoice”?). I believe he writes because he loves God’s people and because he loves God, and wants to see God glorified above all. That doesn’t mean I don’t have my criticisms (I do), but it does mean that I think of CJ as the brother in Christ that he is, and Christian love covers a multitude of sins. He’s a brother who has his own weaknesses and brokenness like I do, and he’s one who has received God’s mercy and deserves mine. I wish more of you could have such a perspective on these brothers in Christ, or that you could remember God’s perspective on them; sinners who are loved by God and saved by grace, who are righteous in Christ and who are being progressively refined through sanctifying grace. That doesn’t mean there aren’t real concerns and real hurts. It just puts those concerns and hurts in the perspective of the cross and resurrection. I see virtually none of that perspective here, and that’s really sad. And I dare you to show me from Scripture why that perspective is not the only biblical and godly one to have.

  • Silent Guardian

    TO JUST SAYING AND DR.PEPPER #554 and #555

    I am NOT becoming Brent for two reasons:
    1.) I am better looking and although my Sanctification process is on-going, I am way more humble than he is.
    2.) Brent is not a real investigator. He just happen to have some e-mails. If you want to figure SGM out, you have to become dirty like them. I confess, I may have had to break in a few local church offices and read some confidential files, but I get the job done. It is AMAZING what these pastors leave laying around.

    Dr Pepper – when it comes to ‘leaving Four Oaks alone’ – It is not my desire to follow Dave where ever he goes and bother his churches. My point, which was missed, was how easily Dave has become a Free Evangelical. It explains a ‘layer’ un-realved by the Anti-SGM Movement, a hidden church with SGM. Un-realved how certain leaders for over a decade have hidden money, hidden secret meetings, hidden strategic ‘moves with-in the local churches, and were creating a secret religious sect were they could retire too. These leaders felt they achieved transcendence, whereas, decisions they made were ‘God-breathed’, and realized their local congregations were failing at the requirements needed to join. For fear of only being a two-generation denomination, losing millions of support money (to include seed money), and a catastrophic fall-out from possible new members this un-realved sect made the dizzying moves we have witnessed these past few years. But my eyes have seen the glory….

    We need to ‘peel’ away this last layer. This will surely bring SGM to its knees. Mark Prater is a pawn, and there is already dissension among the new ‘elders’ of SGM. There last regional meeting has local pastors outside the ‘sect’ realizing nothing has changed since CJ left the Board.

  • NoLongerSGMButNotAngryEither

    Caesarsalad, it’s a fair question, but my deep concern here is that none of us know the answers to the questions, and yet people are making strong conclusions (even if you’re not, other posters certainly are) about sinful excesses and exorbitant compensation packages that I don’t think is either fair or accurate. From what I understand, the housing allowance is a portion of what would otherwise be considered the salary, and then the salary is much less than it otherwise would be. It doesn’t cost the church anything extra. But of those “perks” listed, most of them are pretty common for other jobs. Business equipment (phones and data plans, computers), health care, training, conference travel and expenses, are all covered in most white collar jobs. I can see an argument against a hospitality allowance, but I can see an argument for it too. The point is it isn’t in anyway prohibited in Scripture, and I don’t think it’s a very large line item anyway; what, a few hundred dollars each year for each pastor? That’s hardly some massive secret perk; it’s reimbursement for food and drink at church-related events in their home. It just doesn’t seem unreasonable at all to me.

  • Jenn Grover

    Dr. Pepper – it will vary by church. Check with your pastors. It is my understanding the larger churches pay for it all.

    Whattodo – if you are talking about the ChristianAgnostic blog – it belongs to a member here (MM) and it shows up in the search due to the tags.

  • Jenn Grover

    Nolongersgm: “It seems to me that SGM pastors, including the top ones like CJ and Dave Harvey, make within the range of salaries that keep them living in the similar comforts of the average member of their churches, and that’s exactly how the majority of members would want it. ”

    How do you know? There is zero transparency on their compensation package. Comments of blind loyalty like this are part of the big SGM lie.

    The other problem is that the churches are primarily made up of middle class to upper-middle class and very little genuine care and ministry for the poor.

    One of the big revelations I have had since leaving SGM is that there is no call for genuine sacrificial living that is congruent with gospel mission. Outreach occurs primarily t people who look like them, talk like them, act like them, read the same books as them, and espouse the same values as them. No wonder they work so hard to protect it.

    If you don’t think the standard of living has keep some SGM pastors’ mouths shut, you are sadly mistaken. I know of one man who quit, despite the great loss to his family. It was a tremendous act of faith. If only there were more like this.

  • The key thing about pastors’ salaries is, in my opinion, not so much about how much they earn as it is about openness and congregational input into and awareness about how much they earn.

    In an email exchange I had earlier with “NotIn,” he said that in his experience, SGM pastors were very open about their salaries. He said he simply asked his pastor what the pastor’s salary was and the pastor freely shared that information with him.

    But that’s not the kind of openness I’m talking about – or the kind of openness which characterizes the majority of healthy, “normal” churches. In “normal” churches, members don’t have to ask for the information. It’s already out there, published in some form of annual report or budget report that is available to every member, often distributed to all members whether the members request it or not. And, members don’t need to rely on the pastor’s willingness to share the information or the pastor’s honesty about the information.

    In SGMville, the bottom line is that the standard operating procedure is to make the pastors the sole dispensers of information. And the information is only as reliable and trustworthy as the pastors are themselves.

    Considering how it is a proven fact that high-up SGM leaders have been known to shade the truth and relay incomplete or inaccurate or totally false information in the past, I’m not sure why anyone would feel comfortable having financial integrity and accountability in a church setting rely so completely on what a pastor might decide to share.

  • Jenn Grover

    BTW, I doubt any of them are getting rich on book sales alone, but on top of every other perk they get, it sure isn’t hurting them, either.

  • Persona

    Kris 606

    I was just thinking about those things and you took the words out of my mouth. This I know, CLC has never published the salaries or the perks, of the pastors nor, have they ever described how they are evaluated or get raises.

    I am pretty sure the interns make very, very little and the senior pastor and pastors who have been there awhile, make a LOT but, I can’t tell you any numbers. Those things are hidden.

    Also, the church we attend now never has family meetings for one simple reason: they don’t need them. Information is free-flowing and there are NO surprises and NO need for any ‘member-only’ meetings.

    In my opinion, the sleeping giant at CLC should rise-up and ask for complete transparency or vote with their feet.

  • El Pastor

    Speaking as a non-SGM pastor, all our churches financial information is open to members, or non-members for that matter, including all salaries, housing allowance, retirement, etc. It’s all published to the church annually in a written report. I would not recommend attending a church where the books are not open to members. What, exactly, would there be to hide?

  • whattodo

    Jenn. That was not the blog I was talking about. It is this one. http://www.sgmsurvivor.com

  • No Longer in SGM but not angry either

    Kris, if the point is the lack of transparency about their salaries that’s one thing. But Jenn and others are focused on the unreasonableness of their possible compensation; thus they have made the issue something other than transparency. Understand why I say that? The issue for Jenn CLEARLY is not the transparency; it’s the fact that they dare have iPhones or don’t get paid sheep farmers’ wages. If that’s not what bothers her then why is she all up in arms that they have iPhones and live in $500k homes? I wouldn’t have launched in with the details I did if the issue being talked about by many posters was nothing more than the transparency issue.

    As for the transparency issue itself, again, I’ve never been a part of any church that published its pastors’ salaries or benefits package (and that includes two other major evangelical denoms and one Bible church), unless it is in one large line item that covers all salaries for the church (which my SGM church did publish for members). If all of your other churches have, I think that’s unusual, but even if not, from my experience alone, the transparency issue isn’t something that is unique to SGM but to many churches. I can see your case for transparency. I can also see the case for making it upon-request-only. There’s no command in Scripture either way, though. This demand for transparency is not a Scriptural issue IMO; it strikes me as a uniquely western perspective that is highly skeptical of any authority, but I don’t see that perspective permeating Scripture, so it doesn’t bother me when I don’t see it being a matter of importance for a lot of churches, SGM or otherwise. There are things that get me concerned, but this just isn’t one of them when I try to let the Scriptures dictate what should be of concern to me.

    Jenn, as for your comment about the poor, I think you have a theological error that’s guiding that, and it’s another reason why it’s easy to invalidate your concerns. The emphasis on the poor in Scripture is specifically focused on the church caring for the poor in their midst; fellow believers. A lot of people forget that when Jesus talked about the “least of these” he added “my brothers”, which without exception is a reference to the people of God. So if there are poor in the local church going uncared for, that’s a serious problem. But do I think the church is responsible for the poor who are unbelievers around them? Not as the church, I don’t believe, though they may be as individual believers. Justin Taylor recently had a post about this that made your comment stand out to me for response. This perspective probably comes as a shock to many of you, but I think it’s quite defensible from Scripture, and one of the ways that theological liberalism has invaded evangelical thinking for a long time. I realize this is a debatable perspective; but again, this is a theological difference that goes much more broadly than with SGM, so when you make it your line of attack against SGM it just seems like clanging-gong ranting and, again, to me makes you easy to dismiss as bitter and censorious.

  • Jenn Grover

    A Survivors of Survivors Blog? :P Let them have their own blog and spare us from their “observation.”

  • Wizer

    Silent Guardian,
    I’m just a little weirded out by your post, particularly this: “I may have had to break in a few local church offices and read some confidential files, but I get the job done. It is AMAZING what these pastors leave laying around.”
    Are you saying you actually broke into church offices? Whoa. That’s not cool. Also, you used this word 3x in your post: ‘ un-realved’ Maybe I’m missing something, but what the heck IS THAT? You said:

    “It explains a ‘layer’ un-realved by the Anti-SGM Movement, a hidden church with SGM. Un-realved how certain leaders for over a decade have hidden money, hidden secret meetings, hidden strategic ‘moves with-in the local churches, and were creating a secret religious sect were they could retire too. These leaders felt they achieved transcendence, whereas, decisions they made were ‘God-breathed’, and realized their local congregations were failing at the requirements needed to join. For fear of only being a two-generation denomination, losing millions of support money (to include seed money), and a catastrophic fall-out from possible new members this un-realved sect made the dizzying moves we have witnessed these past few years.”

    You seem to have some sort of inside scoop, you like the words “hidden” and “secret.” I’m no SGM fan but I’m not for breaking into anything and how do you have all this knowledge about hidden $ and hidden meetings? Esp. if they’re that secret and hidden?? If I was 4 Oaks, I’d be a little miffed with the barrage of emails and I’m not surprised someone made the Brent reference in regards to your supposed M.O. but I do have to admit I chuckled at your comment about looking better than him. You seem like you’d make a great conspiracy theorist. Feel free to set me aright, no harm, no foul.

  • Marie

    On perhaps an initially unrelated but long-term related note, here is a link about Amtrak and Drexel U’s President:
    http://www.drexel.edu/now/news-media/releases/archive/2013/June/Drexel-President-Testifies-on-NE-Corridor/

    He is making a case that demographic trends will support innovative uses of the Northeast corridor’s rail system. I have heard that the system needs a good deal of repair to make it usable for more folks, but it has been a political football to toss around, because very few people are willing to pony up the amount of scratch needed. But Prez Fry is trying to make a long-term case about the potential use of the rail system.

    The question for the future of SGM is, how can they change their culture so that they can fit into an urban environment? Sure, they have a recent addition of a Northeast Philly church, and perhaps a few others, but can they really adapt from their white-bread homogenous suburban mentality? Can they plan that far ahead?

    For the West Philly plant, can they really get a pastor who is willing to live among the sheep in West Philadelphia? What if his house does not appreciate at the rate that the suburban houses do? Will his children get to go to great public schools? Will the congregation support the pastor enough so the wife does not have to work outside the home, so home-schooling is a viable option against the dreaded city school system? Hmmm….

    Fry noted the demographic and social trends that are contributing to the rebirth of urban environments and leading urban growth: the millennial generation with a strong preference to work, live and socialize in urban versus suburban or rural environments; aging baby boomers whose children are grown who are downsizing to cities for convenience, for culture and for the overall social environment of city life; and highway systems and major airports near urban centers that are stretching beyond their capacity, and are essentially unable to expand service. – See more at: http://www.drexel.edu/now/news-media/releases/archive/2013/June/Drexel-President-Testifies-on-NE-Corridor/#sthash.Z71Hcwml.dpuf

    “This, of course, is a project measured in decades rather than years,” said Fry. “But the time is right to start the work, and begin similar conversations that can happen, and in fact are happening, all along the Northeast Corridor” – See more at: http://www.drexel.edu/now/news-media/releases/archive/2013/June/Drexel-President-Testifies-on-NE-Corridor/#sthash.Z71Hcwml.dpuf

  • TrustingOnlyInJesus

    Ceasarsalad:
    The Hospitality Allowance is reimbursement for in-home hospitality (food, supplies, gifts, etc…) and for hosting meals in restaurants.

    Jenn, Kris, et al:
    You said what I didn’t say. For the most part, I don’t have an issue with pastors’ pay, but why the secrecy? Why don’t SGM pastors give a full accounting to their congregants on what they actually receive in compensation? It is typical SGM and shows that the lack of transparency and questionable integrity permeates the organization.

  • NameGoesHere

    The following resolution will be presented tomorrow at the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America: http://ow.ly/d/1k3m. It is much more pointed than the one the Southern Baptist Convention passed.

  • NoLongerSGM but not angry either

    On the above post, I should have said “clearly it’s not JUST the transparency” in the first paragraph.

    Again, the transparency issue isn’t completely invalid, but I think it is common that churches do not publish proactively their pastors’ salaries, at least not individually, and to attack SGM for doing what seems to be standard fare for other churches is unfair. Challenge them on their sin. Lack of transparency is not sinful in and of itself. It may be motivated by sin, but you cannot know that, and to assume it is, I believe, according to Scripture, makes YOU guilty of sin.

    And this ultimately all boils down to a theological difference. Are the elders of the church accountable to church members for how they govern? Or are they accountable to one another for how they govern? Or are they ultimately accountable to a larger body of elders above them for how they govern? Or are they accountable to an apostle? This is a theological issue, not necessarily one of conspiracy and motivation.

    If you’re a Congregationalist, then the right answer is found in the first question, which seems to be the dominant perspective here. If you’re an independent elder-led church, the answer is the second. If you’re a Presbyterian or Anglican, the answer is found in the third. If you’re a part of the old SGM, the answer is somewhere between the second and fourth.

    But people can and have made a biblical case for each of those perspectives, and they can do it based on Scripture, not on some inherent control issue that they have. Critique the theology, not the motivations that you simply cannot know. When you attack the motives without clear knowledge of those motives, you are not being charitable, but censorious. That is indeed the dreaded S word — slander. If you’re a Congregationalist, then by all means, don’t be a part of an elder-governed church. But don’t be so confident in your own polity conviction that you castigate as wicked those with other preferences and convictions. On these debatable matters, we are commanded to not judge our brothers. Again, I dare you to show me how this is not the biblical perspective to have on this.

  • Marie

    Wow, NameGoesHere #615, very cool!!! Makes me proud to have grown up Presbyterian!!

    Loving the last statements:

    RESOLVED that we exhort all pastors and church officers to use their power for the protection of the vulnerable, by any and all godly means, including speaking boldly about the horrors of child sexual abuse in our time, urging anyone with knowledge of these sins to “take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” (Ephesians 5:11), and by supporting victims who are easily intimidated, and often suffer in silence, without the clear support of those in positions of power; and be it finally

    RESOLVED that the 41st General Assembly urge all members of the PCA to renew our allegiance to our Lord Jesus to love our covenant children as he loves our covenant children, for to such belongs the Kingdom of God (Mark 10:14).

  • Full Court Press

    Silent Guardian’s efforts to thwart Dave are to be commended. Assuming, of course, he is joking about breaking into offices, which he seems to be. DH has hurt a lot of people as a matter of policy and there is every reason to think he has not changed.

  • formersgmer

    Jenn and others:

    Regarding pastors salaries at Fairfax, CLC and CFC, I can tell you that the salaries are generally set from a handbook which provides eztensive empirical data on church staff salaries by church size and region of the counry. This handbook is a commercially available publication which the above churches have purchased and is used to set benchmarks for church staff salaries. Notstanding the lack of disclosure regarding salaries to their respectvie congregations, there is no malfeasance involved in the setting of salaries. Regarding the senior pastor salary at fairfax, MM is not involved in setting his own salary. A group of two or three pastors along with the the administator will set his salary based on guidelines from the publication I just described.

  • Marie

    formersgmer #617, thank you for pointing out the existence of this handbook….does it take into account “perks”, as well? Like if a salary range is a certain amount based on the church size and region, could that range be adjusted a bit, if someone gets all of the perks that the previous posted listed? That is the issue I am having with the salary ranges….a salary can change quite a bit when all the other perks are factored in….Just asking….

  • Marie

    Also, related to my previous post, how recently has this policy been adopted? Was the handbook in place at the start of PDI/SGM, or what kinds of measures have been taken over the years to keep compensation fair? Just curious….

  • Pam Palmer

    Name…615 That is really cool! Is it considered a non-binding resolution?

  • Jenn Grover

    FormerSGMer – thanks for that information. I really don’t think if you just looked at salary it would be out of whack, it is the cumulative effect or salary, plus SG< provided perks, plus member provided perks, plus honorariums, plus book sales and other such profits and add to that the non-disclosure.

    Let's face it, none of these guys lived in average housing. None of them dressed from the Salvation Army. None of them were using dated technology. I believe the situation is far different at smaller churches, but where is the biblical precedent for a pastor living a celebrity lifestyle?

    I don't think wealth is the primary problem with sGM, but it is a pretty good indicator of the symptoms.

  • Persona

    Jenn Grover 621

    Don’t forget the pastors are given free private schooling at CLC, anyway.

  • Glad i am out

    Looks like Queen Bee went and did what Guy suggested, started his (or her) own blog. My question: whattodo, how did you know about it? It certainly does appear on the top of google searches.

  • Glad i am out

    Correction to my #623 – ‘does not” appear

  • Marie

    Jenn #621, Persona #622, a few more things that might sound petty, but I think they do count:

    Getting housing in an area more likely to have prices go up. I live in a nondescript rowhome in the suburbs, and our house has not gone up that much in value in the past 5 years. My mother just sold her house for a hefty profit, because she lived in an area that has bounced back from the housing slump. I still think that that counts – the demographic mantra of SGM churches has always been to go where the money is, which will almost always entail a good real estate investment. There are bound to be exceptions, but Fairfax has bounced back a great deal, it looks like West Chester has, it would seem that the Gaithersburg area has….

    Secondly, many folks who have a cellphone as a perk have TWO cellphones – one for personal use, and the provided one. They use the personal one, and pay for it, for family/private concerns, and the business one is only used for business concerns. I don’t know how common it is for this to happen, but most people I know in the tech industry, at least, would feel funny about having only one cellphone if it is company-provided.

  • Guy

    Glad…anybody can start a blog. There have been many, many sites that try to discredit us here. Best wishes to them….

  • Dr. Pepper

    At covfel they have the financial information in the lobby, but all the salaries are lumped together. Ill have to look at it to see how much the salaries actually are that are lumped together. I will say if a pastor is making 85,000/year the he should be able to afford his own iPhone plan. I make a lot less and I pay for my bill on my own.

  • whattodo

    #626. I don’t have survivors booked marked and had to go through a Google search for sgm which always brings up stuff. During that search the other site came up. Its such a poor site its laughable.

  • Enough already!!

    So it seems NOW there is a “questioning” of this Nathan prophecy given to the pastors 2 years ago at CLC? (I beleieve this Nathan was correct and the truth IS playing out and will continue to play out to it’s full judgement)

    However, Isn’t the fact that children were unprotectected and abused (even once) ENOUGH for us to just end all this madness of questioning and consideration of just how evil this place IS?

    Are we so “spirtual” that a prophetic word carries more weight then CARE for human beings especially when the father of families and teachers were continualy sexually abusive and never stopped?

    Just a thought…

    I think truth and love (protection) of abused people is what Jesus weeps about most of all here. That is what the Nathan correctin is all about anyway, right?

    Until the pastors and leaders actually admit and confess to specific sins here using biblical language, how can repentance or real “reform” ever occur anyway? Also how can they be forgiven when they are so adamant to not confess properly as we were always expected to while we were there?

    Perhaps people are making more connections with the whole hypocrisy of SGM… :)

    I am just glad that more and more people on the outside are making their voice heard Against them in publications to these obvious truths!

  • Nickname

    No Longer SGM…said: “I don’t think you have any way of knowing what pastors do with honorariums, and neither do I.”

    My comment was based on a fact of being in conversations when several pastors who, when offered honoraria, turned them down with the explanation, ‘this is part of my work as a pastor, and I am compensated by the church to do this.’ These have not been SGM pastors, and the situations happened when they preached at out of town churches; conducted out-of-town weddings and/or funerals — in 3 different denominations. If you want to know names and dates, I’ll be glad to share them with you privately. My point in saying this is that there are men who see their mission in this way. I would not fault them for accepting honoraria, but I admire them for taking this position.

    I personally am glad to see anyone prosper monetarily, whether they are pastors or not, and it doesn’t bother me one bit if a pastor is wealthy, unless he has gained such wealth by being duplicitous or by profiting from pleading sacrifices from people who live far below his standard of living. I believe that has happened to some degree, within SGM. I think of the ‘missions’ presentation at Celebrations, where we were asked to contribute monthly to SGM in addition to tithing to the local church, and the local church sending money to SGM. I did this for a while, but now believe that the extra SGM giving was somewhat coerced.

    And I’m sorry that you’ve not been in churches where the pastor’s salary was disclosed. Once, many years ago, the congregation of our PCA church met to look at the budget. Someone spoke up that they were appalled that the pastor’s salary was what they considered low — and at the budget meeting, the congregation acted to raise it — without one word of request or pressure from the pastor. It was something I admired.

    And, I don’t have a problem with anyone having an iPhone or whatever technology helps them to do their job better. It’s a legitimate business expense, tax-wise.

    When people prosper, they are able to give more. The rub here is that as we’ve looked back at our experiences in these churches, we’ve not seen a pattern of giving or increased giving. It’s heartbreaking to think we gave, trusting that people in need were being helped, only to find out later that they were turned away because they’d not tithed, or because they’d brought a perpetrator to justice, and therefore were ‘responsible for their own poverty.’

    Bitterness is in the eye of the beholder. Tone is very difficult to convey on a blog. Sometime, I hope you’ll be able to think ‘these people are hurting’ rather than ‘these people are bitter.’ You’ve been pretty judgmental — are you feeling bbitter towards people who are wounded and hurting? I hope not. Thanks.

  • Persona

    Guy 629

    As BusyBee has her own blog, she will quickly see what a great job you and Kris have done here over the last 5 years. Handling a rowdy blog isn’t as easy at it looks :)

  • Dr. Pepper

    Marie,

    I’m sorry, but I think having two cell phones is shady. Sorry to anyone on here who have two cell phones. My dads company gave him a cell phone and they paid for the bill every month, but he never had another one. Maybe that’s why I think it’s odd.

  • annie

    Am I mistaken, or is somebody busted for pretending to have “stumbled upon” a new survivor’s site? The question now is, “what to do?”

  • formersgmer

    Marie:

    The handbook does not take into account supplemental compensation such as honoria and royaltes. It only addresses base compensation and a few other issues. Here is a link to the guide:

    http://store.churchlawtodaystore.com/20cohaforchs1.html

    As far as I know the guide was not used in the early days of SGM but I think it may have starting being used in the early 1990’s. I would ask the administrator at CFC when they started using it.

    As far as honoria are concerned, sometime in the late 1990’s a range was established for the payment of honoria. These guidelines set out how much of an honorium should paid depending on who was speaking and the audience of the speaker. For example, a member of the apostolic team or an outside person speaking on sunday mornings might get a $ 1,000, a senior pastor from another SGM church speaking on sunday morning at fairfax might get $ 500 and an associate pastor from another SGM church might get $ 250.

  • formersgmer

    Also, items such as honoria policy would be set out in an SGM church’s administrative policy manual. When Bo Litinsky was the executive director of SGM, I believe he was requiring all of the larger churches to have am administrative manual as documentation to support policies governing such issues as honoria or payment of royalties if a pastor were to write a book.

    Also, there was a time when Bo and Tommy Hill would go on site to SGM churches and do administrative audits.

  • Glad I am out

    Guy, 629, never thought for a second you were going to suffer sleepless nights over it

  • Jim

    Acts 20. Paul to the Ephesian elders:

    33 I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or clothes. 34 You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my own needs and to the men who were with me. 35 In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

    Was Paul telling these pastors to follow his example?

  • Glad i am out

    Annie, 636, i looked Whattodo up and she/he has been around for a long time. I, at first, thought it might be QueenBee or a close friend engaging in subterfuge, but i no longer think so. Sorry WhatToDo.. I am suspicious sometimes. Anyway, all is good w/ YUG and we all like a happy YUG!!

  • formersgmer

    Jim:

    I do not think Paul was expecting other pastors. I think he was making the point that he would depend upon God for his financial needs so he could perhaps remain above reproach regarding being compensated for his preaching.

  • annie

    Okay. Sorry, whattodo, but I can’t even successfully google the web site you linked to. I can only get to the site by your link. Maybe I’m missing something. I apologize if I jumped to the wrong conclusion.

  • Regarding the senior pastor salary at fairfax, MM is not involved in setting his own salary. A group of two or three pastors along with the the administator will set his salary based on guidelines from the publication I just described.

    So does one really think this is unbiased when these other pastors who work for the Sr. Pastor are setting his salary? It is hard to see how these other pastors could be unbiased when they report to this Sr. Pastor and their own salary is dependent on this Sr. Pastor.

    As far as honoria are concerned, sometime in the late 1990′s a range was established for the payment of honoria. These guidelines set out how much of an honorium should paid depending on who was speaking and the audience of the speaker. For example, a member of the apostolic team or an outside person speaking on sunday mornings might get a $ 1,000, a senior pastor from another SGM church speaking on sunday morning at fairfax might get $ 500 and an associate pastor from another SGM church might get $ 250.

    Why did local SGM Churches pay a “tithe” to SGM and then feel they should give an honorarium when someone on the apostolic team spoke? It wasn’t like these team members had to pay any out of pocket expenses to come and speak.

    Also I am sure other SGM Pastors were reimbursed for their travel expenses to speak at another SGM Church.

    It sure appears that honorariums are another way “double dip.”

  • Concerned for the kids

    >>>>, I’ve never been a part of any church that published its pastors’ salaries or benefits package … If all of your other churches have, I think that’s unusual<<<<>>>but I think having two cell phones is shady<<<

    I have worked for several fortune 500 firms ( and one fortune 100) and most explicitly forbade using the work phone for personal use, thus most folks had two phones. Where I work now the majority have a work phone and all those who have a work phone also have a personal phone. It's not only normal, it's required by a significant number of large companies.

  • Dr. Pepper

    Concerned,

    The reason why I think it’s shady is be because I know of a girl that met this guy and they went on a date and the phone number he gave her was his work phone. I thought that was odd and shady. He gave some excuse on to why he gave her his work phone # than his personal phone # and that’s why I think it’s shady :). You are right though that many people do have a work and personal phone, but with the guy my friend went on a date with, it made me think how shady it does look having two. :)

  • Happymom

    NameGoesHere,

    Comment#616 – Thanks for posting about the upcoming resolution in the PCA, just read through it and that is very encouraging.

  • Caesarsalad

    I tend to think that the mishandling of something that is VERY important, namely sexual abuse, has caused many to get uncomfortable/worry with how another important area is being handled, namely money.I like what Ronald Reagan once said: “Trust, but verify.”

  • beaten but unbroken

    I was there 575: Sorry for your past hurt and current pain, I was there for a lot of years too. I am no fan of a lot of SGM practices, a whole lot. and let me say that child abuse is the one thing that might drive me to murder. BUT If only ONE of the accused is innocent, he does not deserve to have his (and his family) life wrecked. I’m not old enough to remember the “Red Scare” witch hunts of the 1950s. But they did an amazing amount of damage to many an innocent man. and woman. Please understand me here, I want justice. but a man should be able to defend himself thus the “day in court” you seem to think not needed