Reports From CLC’s Recent Meeting

Covenant Life Church had a meeting last night to address the lawsuit and other issues.  Here are one attendee’s impressions:

Nothing to report regarding the CLC family meeting.  CLC’s attorney did most of the talking.  He gave a chronology of the lawsuits.  That would have been OK as a summary but he took a lot of liberties to interject his opinions regarding the attorney of the plaintiffs.  He mentioned a couple times about how these types of cases are handled this way to aid the plaintiffs and their attorneys to force large settlements.

The only quote worth noting from Josh Harris was “(the) plaintiff’s picture is not accurate it is far from accurate”.  Other than that they spent the whole evening telling us why they can’t tell us anything.

Here’s what another reader had to add:

There were pros and cons from tonight’s members meeting…not that many of each because the pastors aren’t willing to address any specifics while the appeal is ongoing–so that’s the first BIG con, but I can understand the legal stuff even if I don’t like it.

Another con is how at times they vaguely described the plaintiffs’ accusations as not 100% accurate. (“vaguely” b/c they aren’t giving any specifics)  I feel that the opposite pro also happened though: I feel that our pastors are taking the accusations seriously (and by extension aren’t just throwing them all away as false).

How are they taking it seriously?  Josh said that CLC will be hiring an outside, independent organization to investigate.  The reasons for this are even when the lawsuit gets to its final completion point, it might not get us any closer to the truth of what happened.  This independent investigation will.

From another reader:

Looking over my chicken-scratch notes from tonight, there really isn’t much more to say.  The lawyer talked for at least 30 minutes–and he just gave a detailed timeline from the initially-filed lawsuit to the first then second amended lawsuit.

My notes specifically on the “independent firm to investigate these matters” had these 3 sub-bullets: – provides the truth – will give us (the pastors) outside, objective correction where necessary – process that might identify any false claims

The timing of this independent investigation is subject to the lawsuit, i.e. they might have this investigation happen and be completed in the next 3-6 months, but while the lawsuit is still open or pending (the appeal), CLC pastors won’t be able to share the results of that investigation with the church.  Josh brought up the valid question, “Then why do this independent investigation at all??” .. and the reason is simply it’s the right thing to do. [Josh said this]

And then another reader had this to add:

Well….I was at the meeting.  My jaw dropped when Josh trotted out a defense lawyer who spoke for half the time.  This felt so manipulative, because the defense lawyer made the point that no specific times or dates were mentioned, none of the accusers names were brought forth, etc. etc  (even though they would be later).  He really made it look like, to an outsider, the accusers never had any kind of case at all, and were just making wild, broad accusations.  In reading through the charges and amendments though, it sure seemed pretty specific to me, and there were a lot of vivid accounts.  On top of this, the lawyer only mentioned the statute of limitations with regard to the civil lawsuits — with no mention that criminal lawsuits have no statute of limitations.  This gave the appearance that CLC was completely in the clear, so long as the appeal fails, and that only the Virginia church had to be concerned.  He also questioned the timing of the 2nd amendment to the lawsuit occurring 3 days before the judge was to rule on the lawsuit as a whole.  He didn’t say it directly, but it came across as him calling all of those accusers bald-face liars.  He said the prosecution knew they had a very weak case, and that’s why they brought these other cases forward.  Ah, but what if these people were telling the truth?  Does the timing really matter?  Shouldn’t we want to get to the truth?

If none of this is true, it’s quite odd that NM is in the trouble he’s in, and DA was already convicted.  And sure, maybe they can’t talk about the allegations now because of the suit.  But didn’t they have 5 years previous to talk about this, when the SGM Survivors board began?  Where were these guys from 2007-2012, if they really wanted to get to the truth?  They were hoping this would die away.

If nothing happened, why was CJ able to blackmail LT?  Do we know the truth of what the blackmailing was about?  Don’t we have the right to know the truth?  What was that all about?  Is it tied to this sexual abuse?

So many questions — so few answers.

Finally — ZERO mention of Brent’s accusations with CL and the pastor’s potential roles in covering that up.  I guess they didn’t even want to dignify that with a response.  But again, if you’re 100% innocent, wouldn’t you want to put those horrible lies to rest?  Wouldn’t you want to shout it from the rooftops?  Unless….Brent is absolutely right.  Hmmm….interesting.  If you’re 100% innocent, why not come RIGHT out and say it?  What’s the risk in that?  How would that message get twisted by congregation members (which is why the lawyer said they couldn’t talk about the suit, since members might misconstrue their points).  If you say “we’re dead innocent” there ain’t no misconstruing a thing.


253 comments to Reports From CLC’s Recent Meeting

  • Contentious Jones

    Jenn 247:

    Both versions of the T4G statement are available at


    They can run, but they can’t hide (from God)!

  • Todd Wilhelm

    Dt. Pepper – I will speculate on why it happened:

    Psalm 115:3
    “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.”


  • Dr. Pepper

    I don’t want to say if it was CJ’s idea or not because I’m not sure which it is. There is always a lot of speculation on this website on why things happened. The main thing people at covfel hate about this website is the speculation. I don’t think anyone on here has speculated on if it was CJ’s idea or not, but I’m just going to not speculate because I don’t know the truth.

  • Done (Just) Watchingb

    Jenn @ 247: I went to the site a few minutes ago and read the statement. I re-visited about 3 minutes ago. Poof! MIA…
    What do you make of that?

  • Persona

    Ha. On 248 I wrote Person instead of Persona.

  • Person

    Jenn 247 :

    Amazing! I really think this series of events is important even though they don’t really explain any of their actions. It means the end is near to this travesty.

    And, without his posse or anywhere else to run, CJ will be left alone with God.

  • Jenn Grover

    The T4G statement of support is gone, altogether now.,

  • Jenn Grover

    Done Just Watching: I am sorry you have to leave your church. I know what that is like. You have to try to move on with no real closure and it is frustrating.

    I will give the Pasadena team credit for at least acknowledging God’s discipline. He is the only one I am aware of (there are likely a few others) who have made such statements and remained with sGM.. The question is, if you believe God is discipling SGM, and the SGM leaders do not believe this, what is the likely result? We all know where this scenario takes you, and it isn’t pretty!

    I will say, your pastor drank the poison when he was on the interim board. He participated in their half-truths. He was likely left out of many decisions and discussions, but by remaining silent, he participated.

    Here’s the good news Just Done Watching: you can have a vibrant life, hear from God, grow in your love for Jesus without your current local church. May God give you grace as you act on your conscience.

  • Done (Just) Watching

    Verifying that “Lynn” is the associate pastor, Lynn Baird. And, yes, that is very small for two pastors.

  • Jenn Grover

    Re: the Stephen Altrogge post – Stephen would not have experienced what Hannah did for a few reasons. First, the Indiana church has always been different than other churches. It, too had its days of extreme legalism, but before Stephen grew up. Second, he was a boy. Third, he was a leader’s son. But, I will reiterate, after attending many different SGM churches there were a few that stood out as different: Indiana – mature, solid believers, seasoned by life, St. Petersburg – genuine, friendly people, Akron – a bit odd.

    The news about CJ…after the other reports that made it seem like his LOA, and stepping down as president were his idea only to learn later that they were not, you have to wonder if this was completely his idea? However it came about or was communicated, it is progress. I would love to find out that this was all CJ’s idea and that his post was 100% genuine. I am still rooting for God to break through in CJ’s life (really, I want to see God breaking through in all of this mess, still.)

    From what I understand (from multiple sources) there was a resolution passed at the pastor’s conference (or council of elders, Sith council, Jedi council, whatever they want to call it.) to issue a statement supporting CJ. Will they release it, or are they holding it back due to the blowback from other T4G/GC statements, or are they holding it back to keep from scaring off any more churches from signing or withdrawing their letters of intent…or is it all of the above? You would think if the council passed the resolution, they should act on it. If they are not acting on it, why not? How can churches have any confidence that sGM will act on other resolutions? Oh, it is so hard to make people think their voice matters, when their voices never mattered at all. Their pocketbooks, well, that’s another story.

  • TrustingOnlyInJesus

    Glad I Am Out #235:
    For the record, I think Lynn is Lynn Baird, the second pastor at Pasadena. Someone from Pasadena can verify. I understand he is a real SGM koolaid drinker.
    Note: When I last visited up there they had about 160 people in both services. Is it me or is that pretty small for 2 fulltime pastors?

  • Dr. Pepper


    I actually did think that was probably a factor into why he stepped down. However, I want to believe more so it was because they realized they were wrong in defending him, but it’s all about T4G and money.

  • whattodo

    Can anyone help? Sometime ago there was a post on the family relationships within SGM leadership and pastors. Can’t seem to find it. Does anyone know where it is?

  • Dr. Pepper

    Wow! Who would have thought! However, I really wish it didn’t have to happen.

  • whattodo

    237 & 238. This should not be a surprise. Looking at the conference as a business which it is, it makes total sense not to have CJ speak or be part of the conference.

  • Somewhereintime

    Good! Now CJ, step down as a pastor!

  • MAK

    Regarding the Stephen Altrogge quote, it’s ironic that Stephen Altrogge has his own blog and gives his opinions very decidedly and one-sided of course.

  • Glad i am out

    RE: 216 – i could not read all of this, it is just so tiring, and so SGM.. First Ron, you mention how you and Lynn labored over these decisions together. Really? Lynn really had equal input, or even a little input? You really expect all these x-sgmers to believe that? We have been there. She most likely had very little or nothing to do w/ the decision. I remember back in the 80s at CFC how after many wives protested, the pastors wives were finally allowed to even sit on the stage with them. That didn’t last long, of course, and soon they were all sitting in the front row. I always wondered if it was just so the wives would not have to sit on stage…

    You mention “making the gospel known to the ends of the earth” – have you done anything, EVER, in all your years, other than to plant a few churches in upper-white-middle-class well-churched areas locally (and one, where, in KC, or something)? Have you sent the gospel to the poor and needy? Are you in Africa, Asia, any of those largely un-churched areas??? NO? I did not think so.

    Finally, you mention something about the importance of the SGM music and conferences? I may be wrong, and correct me if i am, but are they not discontinuing to sing Mark Altrogge’s excellent songs, the basic foundation of all PDI music? I hope i am wrong about this – am i? If not then that is very petty.

    And the conferences??? They are an important reason to stay w/ the ship as it goes down? Is it possible, and i do not know, that SGM is being judged by GOD himself for pride and man-centeredness?? Are these conferences really that important?

    Dude, if you are reading here, i hope you will wake up. Ron? anyone home??

  • Diego

    My apologies to Socrates and Plato but I think they would understand those deceived in SGM:

    Allegory of the SG cave:

    This allegory is dedicated to those in SGM who believe that they hear the gospel and truth rather than the shadows of truth supplied by men seeking glory.

    Inside the Sovereign Grace Cave there is an environment in which what people take to be real, in fact, is an illusion. Certain words are used that are common in the Christian world, but meaning in SGM has morphed to allow leaders to control the sheep. Imagine children growing up in this environment, in a sense prisoners who have been chained and help immobile since childhood; not only are their legs held in place, but their necks also immobilized. They are compelled to gaze at a wall in front of them. Behind the children is an enormous fire which is out of view of the children. There is doctrine taught, but the children are not shown the True God. They are taught words and behaviors, but they cannot see the true reason nor shown the true Jesus. They only see the reflection given them by SG leaders on the wall they must stare at. There are also echoes off the walls of SGM, talk of a cross, but no concept of life and forgiveness of sin. They are told of their sin and the necessity of Jesus who died for their sin. Encouragement not of growth in Christ, but only to confess their sins so that they can appreciate the cross more. The children take these shadows and echoes to be real things. They do not understand that they are being exposed to just reflections of reality. Since they grew up in the SG cave they have never seen or heard the Good News of the Life we have in Christ. These children are praised for their behavior to be in the image of the shadows and leaders. They are trained to look at men as examples of Christ and model the life of the men, not the life of Christ. Their society depends on the shadows on the SG walls. If a child of the SG cave is set free, when exposed to the truths that they only saw shadows of they would not recognize the truths. The child would believe the SG shadows on the wall to be more real than what truth has been revealed to him/her.

    Suppose that if such a man is compelled to look at the fire(truth) he would be struck blind and would be compelled to turn his gaze back toward the SG shadows as toward what he can see clearly and hold to be real. What if someone forcibly dragged this captive child upward out of the cave; wouldn’t the child be angry at the one doing this to him? And if dragged all the way out into the light, would he be distressed and unable to see even one of the things now said to be true because he was blinded by the light?. After some time on the surface, however, the freed prisoner would acclimate. He would see more and more things around him, until he could look upon the Son. He would understand the Son not just the cross, is the source of life and all things true.

    Wouldn’t this freed child remember this first home, what passed for wisdom there, and his fellow prisoners, and consider himself happy and them pitiable? And wouldn’t he disdain whatever honors, praises, and prizes were awarded there to the ones who guessed best which shadows followed which? Were he to return there, wouldn’t he be rather bad at their game, no longer being accustomed to their darkness? Wouldn’t it be said of him that he went up and came back with his eyes corrupted, and that it’s not even worth trying to go up? Would not they believe that they ONLY hear and see the truth. That the gospel is not preached outside of the SG cave. Wouldn’t those still deceived by the SG shadows want to do harm to the man exposing their shadows. The captive children ignorant of the truth outside their cave would see the freed man and be afraid of anything but what they already know. It can be argued that the captive in the SG caves would find the freed man corrupted, maybe in sin, maybe under the influence of the enemy. He would be pitied due to the current state of his eyes. They would not see the truth, but continue to be deceived and follow their shadows seeing their view of reality as the only truth.

    Seek truth, Seek Jesus!

  • Tim C

    I think the SGM “brand” is toast. Why would anyone choose this circus? The name will forever be linked (thanks to google) to cover up, pedophile, authoritarianism, cultish behavior, “churches leaving”, etc. It will be a shadow of its former heyday. Done.

  • 3rd name

    Rick @206 (message from Steven Mark Altrogge) He may have grown up in an SGM “whatever you want to call it” but I call it a cult, but what Hannah shared was EXACTLY what we experienced in CLC/SGM. Sadly, it is helpful for others to put into words things that were experienced but still not recognized as wrong! Still many weeds to recognize and apply the weed-killer of the Holy Spirit to the root. The untold damage wrought on the children and women is indeed similar to that of the Middle East and the cults in Utah. Watching Breaking Amish I can see where some of that legalism seeped into CLC/SGM. That’s what Carolyn grew up in. Mennonite legalism. Combine that with CJs proclivities (too many to rename) it’s no wonder women were objects subject to their husband’s every whim, meeting every selfish “need” and women and children having to have do it with a “cheerful attitude”. Her blog entry is spot on!

  • Luna Moth

    I didn’t figure you were Ron. ;)

    It troubles me so much to see how people can just go along, despite the untruths. Well, the lies. It is just not true that SGM had no authority over local churches.

    I am troubled thinking of people I know. One of these days maybe I’ll come out of the closet.

  • Done (Just) Watching

    Is everyone clear that I am not Ron Boomsma writing these posts? If I was not clear about that, please forgive me. I am a very sad observer no longing warming a seat in the “meeting.” (Another word to ban: “meeting.”)

  • Done (Just) Watching

    5 years #5: Either these men are (1) stupid, (2) blind, (3) incompetent, or (4) partners in “crime” to go along with this. And it doesn’t appear that they neither care nor believe SGM told a bold-faced lie.

    I read the document. It would seem Ron and Lynn had a different copy. Through two years of this nonsense, I cannot continue to “believe the best.” And that is another phrase banned from my ears.

  • Done (Just) Watching

    5 years #225:

    So Pasadena is saying that there used to be a centralized leadership team with authority over local churches. But SGM said that they did not ever have authority over local churches.
    Pasedena does not care that SGM told a bold faced lie, because now SGM is going to share authority now, so it is OK to covenant with blatant liars?
    They will learn. Power will be shared temporarily, long enough to suck them in. Then control will rear itself once again. If you don’t renounce and put to death shepherding movement errors, they just lurk in the corner waiting for another chance.

  • Done (Just Watching)

    I am sad but also not surprised. I am looking for a new place to worship. Definitely going to take my time and will not jump in to the first place that would like to “serve” me. ;)

    Certain words are banned now: “serve/served”, “gospel- anything”, “humble/humility”, “observe/observed”, “gossip/slander”, and “submit.” Also this phrase: “Have you checked with the pastors?” and “He has a unique gifting…”

    God have mercy on those looking for a new worship home. He is able!

  • Stunned

    Live Free, glad you are living a life! Isn’t it amazing what can happen once you get out?

  • 5yearsinPDI

    SGM said this: SGM does not have the authority to control local churches or govern their internal affairs in April.

    But Pasadena says :

    The authority has shifted from a centralized leadership team to a council of elders that involves every SG church.

    So Pasadena is saying that there used to be a centralized leadership team with authority over local churches. But SGM said that they did not ever have authority over local churches.

    Pasedena does not care that SGM told a bold faced lie, because now SGM is going to share authority now, so it is OK to covenant with blatant liars?

    They will learn. Power will be shared temporarily, long enough to suck them in. Then control will rear itself once again. If you don’t renounce and put to death shepherding movement errors, they just lurk in the corner waiting for another chance.

  • Done (Just) Watching

    I should mention that the pending lawsuit against SGM, etc., played in to my decision. At the last members meeting with Ron and Lynn, the question was posed as to why the rush to join when it seemed (by the polity agreement itself) that they could wait two years. The member’s question was reasonable. Why couldn’t SGC Pasadena just take a wait-and-see approach?

  • Luna Moth

    Done (Just) Watching,

    Whatcha gonna do now?


    I am sad with you. But not greatly surprised.

  • Live Free

    Stunned, “us poor slobs” – LOL! Yeah, that was about our experience in Sovereign Disgrace… poor slobs. Not invited into the elite, inner-circle, eligible for leadership positions based on economic status and butt-kissing ability not gifting; alas, neither were we ever treated to special dinners and vacations by the wealthy in the church. Poor slobs, indeed! But, no worries, God rewards us poor slobs in heaven – and sometimes here on earth for being faithful to Him. That’s a promise. :D

    I haven’t been following the conversation too closely lately – life is busy post-SGM (we actually HAVE a life outside of “serving” our “local church”), so forgive me if I just jumped in here…

  • Done (Just) Watching

    Yes, I am done. It has absolutely nothing to do with polity. The decision to leave was based upon the lack of integrity and character from the top-down leadership in SGM. This was expressed time and time again. For Ron and Lynn to hitch their pastoral-wagons to SGM, is mind-boggling to me but apparently made perfect sense to them.

  • (Done) Just Watching

    Live Free: At one of the first meetings the pastors called for the purpose of discussion re:SGM, Ron emphatically stated, “This church will never be congregation-led.” OK, gotcha; this isn’t going to be pretty.

    I have been to the meetings, I have heard the questions, I have heard Ron and Lynn say, “We’re open” to what the Lord and you (the congregation) are saying. OK, gotcha #2. Unfortunately, when pushed up against the wall (so to speak) and allowed very little wiggle room, the questions from the members were direct and the pastors could only muster what they believed to be in “our” best interest – stay with SGM – and unflaggingly support CJM. (After all, CJM was never under discipline! Question to Ron, Lynn, and any other male: If CJM was never under discipline, why wasn’t he?? He certainly should have been.)

    Apparently Ron called a group of 5 “leaders” in the church to a meeting where they apparently gave their opinions of what to do about SGM. Apparently, Ron and Lynn must have felt bolstered from that meeting (apparently…). To my knowledge, the names of the 5 leaders were never disclosed. I am shocked! SHOCKED!! So, again apparently, Ron and Lynn felt the apparent freedom and conviction to stay with SGM.

    No vote. Seriously, you must be kidding… After all, if the church is congregationally-led, what do you do with that sticky problem of [discounting/disregarding/dissing] the females? Apparently you save yourself the trouble and make decisions as “elders.”

  • Live Free

    Or Just Watching, are you “Done Watching” because of the decision? I reread your post and am a little confused, sorry.

    My guess, either way, is that the decision was made by just two men in leadership, not the whole church/congregation.

    I recently heard that our former SG church has also decided to stay with SG. It’s a tragedy if you ask me, although I am not surprised in the least. Move along, folks, nothing new to see here!

  • Live Free

    Just Watching/Done Watching/Ron,

    So, question: The decision made to stay with SGM was made by you and Lynn? Or did the whole church decide; ie., was there a congregational vote?

    Thanks, just curious.

  • Foot

    #216, this coming from a $GM board member, no surpri$e at all. There will be a bigger issue of accountability for RB and co to answer for…

  • Just Watching

    SGCP’s senior pastor, Ron Boomsma, sent this out yesterday afternoon so those members not in the service could have a record (actual transcript) of what he shared.

    “This morning (Sunday June 30, 2013) Lynn and I shared with the congregation our decision for us as a church to remain in partnership with Sovereign Grace. We wanted to make sure that every member was aware of this decision and our reasons behind it. Below is the transcript of what I shared with the congregation during the meeting. If you were not able to attend, please take a couple of minutes to read this.

    “If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us and let us know. We would be glad to dialogue with you about this.”


    Our Partnership with Sovereign Grace

    Our history

    Back in 1984, a group of people relocated to the LA area to plant a new Sovereign Grace Church. This was the beginning of Sovereign Grace Church of Pasadena and marked the beginning of our partnership with Sovereign Grace Ministries. For almost three decades we have maintained this partnership and benefited from the leadership and teaching that we have received through SGM’s resources and conferences. The most significant benefit has been the understanding and practice of keeping Christ central and applying the gospel to all of life. We have also benefited from the personal involvement of regional representatives. They have brought wisdom and discernment to significant decisions we have had to make and provided a level of personal care for us as pastors.

    The question

    Currently we are faced with a decision whether or not we will remain a Sovereign Grace Church. This came about because Sovereign Grace has been recently redefined and reorganized. While the values we have always aspired to remain the same, the relationship among Sovereign Grace Churches and with Sovereign Grace Ministries have all been redefined. These changes are significant enough for every Sovereign Grace Church to reassess their partnership and recommit before moving ahead into a future together. It is a new day for Sovereign Grace Churches.

    There are also factors that have made this decision difficult. The past two years have included many allegations against SG and several of its leaders. The allegations in and of themselves are troubling and cause for real concern. This has led many to question both the integrity of the organization as a whole and also the wisdom of staying joined to it. Lynn and I have struggled through this difficult season along with many of you, as we tried to understand the truth in all of this. We have found the situation to be complex and nuanced, making it at times very challenging to discern how best to proceed. The opinions and conclusions among many in SG have varied and have unfortunately caused some to leave their churches and for some churches to leave SG. It has been sad to part ways with friends although we take comfort in the fact we all remain in Christ and remain friends.

    The process

    Lynn and I have endeavored to walk through this decision making process with two goals in mind; what would most please the Lord and what would be in the best interest and long term health of this local church. With those objectives in mind, we have given ourselves to several things. We have prayed and asked the congregation to pray with us about this decision. We have taken it to the Lord, asking for his wisdom and for him to guide us toward a decision that is right for this local church. We have fasted and asked you to join us in this, setting aside some good things because we needed something better; to hear from God. We have had many discussions with people over this decision; people with many different opinions and perspectives, some in SG and some who have left. In the fall of 2011 I was part of a panel to investigate one aspect of charges against SG. In early 2012 I accepted a seat on the Board of Directors (now called the Executive Committee). Both of these roles have given me an opportunity to gain perspective of SG. We have had many conversations with people in our congregation in order to try and answer questions and listen to concerns. We have met with our ministry leaders and their wives to discuss this and hear their thoughts. We have had family meetings where these things were discussed openly. We have made ourselves available and regularly invited any to come to us with questions or comments. Please hear our heartfelt thanks to all of you who participated in this process, whether in expressing concerns, asking questions, praying, or fasting. The members of this local church do play a vital role in its health.

    The decision

    Through all of this, Lynn and I believe that God has met us and given us the clarity we need to proceed. We feel that it is most pleasing to the Lord and in the best interest and health of this congregation for us to sign the new partnership agreement and remain a SG church.

    Things to clarify

    Before stating our reasons for remaining in SG, it is important to say that we do not see this decision as a kind of absolute and universal decision that is either right or wrong for everybody. We have sought to know the mind of the Lord for us as a local church and we realize that this may not be what the Lord is leading another church to do. Each congregation is dealing with their own unique set of information and is seeking the same Lord for their unique future. It is not our intent to imply that another church is wrong for choosing a different path.

    We would also want to state clearly that there are situations that would cause us to part ways with SG. If at any point in the future we find ourselves in a place where we are doctrinally incompatibility with SG, or our conscience clearly prohibits us from this partnership, or we clearly sense God is leading us in a different direction, then we would, in a God honoring way, end our partnership with SG and pursue the Lord’s leading. While we freely acknowledge problems in SG, we have not found anything that hinders our conscience from partnering with other SG churches or embracing the new polity. Our observations and our experiences have left us confident that these problems can and will be addressed (many of them have already been addressed) and that a genuine desire to grow and please the Lord is the norm among SG pastors and the churches.

    One more thing to clarify is that we see this very challenging season as God’s discipline for us. Regardless of who was right or wrong, who sinned and who was sinned against, who responded well and who responded poorly, above it all we see the hand of a loving Father disciplining his people. Whatever has taken place from a human perspective, the divine perspective is most important. The truth and promises of God’s sovereignty, his fatherly love for us, the complete and satisfied justice for our sins met in Christ, and his wise, fatherly discipline to mature and perfect us, all leave us in a place of peace and hope. We have felt and have seen in others a real sense of repentance and sorrow over the sins and failures of the past and we have watched (and participated) as SGM has undergone seismic changes in response. We look back with regret over past failures, with repentance over past sins, but we look forward with hope because we have seen evidence of a movement that has been disciplined and is moving forward with real change.

    Our reasons

    Remaining in this partnership reflects and displays the power of the gospel.

    We are not denying that for some, another path could be a genuine expression of the gospel but for us, we see this partnership as a clear expression of the gospel’s power.

    Few things have created more criticism against the Church than its own lack of unity and all too often the visible reality is that we simply cannot get along with each other. But it is the gospel alone that produces the unity that God designed for his Body. Problems are not absent from the Church but it is the power of the gospel that gives us a supernatural strength and commitment to resolve these differences and to grow through them. When we partner together, build together, and help one another grow in the context of a realized commitment to one another, it honors the gospel and produces a good testimony to the world around us. It was Jesus’ prayer for us in John 17, that we may all be one so the world would believe that the Father had sent him. The concept of being united as one Body will be merely theoretical unless it is practiced in real partnership. Our partnership with SG provides a recognizable expression of gospel unity.

    The power of the gospel is also on display when we practice faithfulness. “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Pr. 17:17. We have benefited much from our longstanding friendship with SG but have found ourselves in a challenging and difficult season. Anyone can be “on-board” when things are going well but the gospel is a source of power that works when other things fall short. We see this as an opportunity to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which we have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Eph. 4:1-3)

    We highly value partnership.

    The idea of local churches partnering together for accountability and broader mission is something we see taught and practiced in the New Testament. It has also been the norm throughout church history and has been a significant part of our own 28 year history as a local church. It is an important conviction for us to live in extra-local partnership as opposed to either independence or an association without any real commitments.

    This kind of partnership provides accountability. None of us are immune to losing our way, whether doctrinally or morally and while much of our accountability lies within our local church, there is an added (and we believe a necessary) accountability we gain from our partnership with SG. We recognize that many of the accusations and problems in the past have arisen out of the perceptions and practices of accountability within SG. We have actually been encouraged to see how much effort has been given to addressing these issues and encouraged by what we see in the new polity that clearly define the lines of authority and the areas of accountability provided through our union of churches. The authority has shifted from a centralized leadership team to a council of elders that involves every SG church. There are now avenues of recourse for conflicts and disagreements beyond our local church and the ordination standards for pastors provide a safety for the future integrity of our churches.

    The other aspect of partnership is to facilitate and enhance our mission. We bear responsibility as a local congregation to make the gospel known to the ends of the earth and he has given us our very own starting point here in Pasadena. As one local church we have limited gifts and resources for this mission but as a union of churches, all of these are multiplied. Besides the fact that working together reflects well on the gospel, our labors are multiplied and more effective when we partner together. We can plant more churches together than we can alone. We recently invested significantly to help start our sister church in Orange County and some time before that, in Kansas City but without the help from SGM, both in wisdom and finances, those churches would not be where they are today. The music that is being produced and the conferences being held are all reaching a broader audience and touching more lives than if we were to attempt these things on our own. People visit and join our church because of their exposure to these ministries and resources while many others remain in contexts outside of SG but deeply affected. We thank God for them all.


    Lynn and I realize that not every member of our church views this situation in the same way. We also appreciate the fact that there are many good questions being asked. We will continue to answer these questions to the best of our ability. We hope this serves you.

    We also want you to know that to the best of our ability, we have made this decision with God’s glory and the future health of this church in mind. Please know how much we love and care for each of you. We are committed to honoring the Lord with our lives and as a church and we are committed to each of you. In spite of a challenging season, we write this with faith in our hearts and excitement in our hearts for our future together. We believe God has many good things to do in and through this local church and we are ready to move forward together in the power of the Holy Spirit.

    Your friends and pastors
    Ron & Lynn

    You can now call me, “Done Watching.”

  • Persona

    Mr. Altrogge also goes to a distal church which provides a alternate culture to the larger churches in bigger cities and the Mother Ship. There really is little comparison.

  • Stunned

    Bridget said, “IMO a male leader, or son of a leader, in SGM is going to have had a far different experience in an SGM church than a teenage female from an average, attending family.”

    I KNOW!!!!!!!!!!! A least most of the privileged class in this world KNOW they are the privileged class. It’s a sad day when someone doesn’t even get that they have had a “special” experience and think that they have endured the same things as the poor slobs. (Us.)

    Your second sentence was just as good, “Why is it so hard for pastors/leaders in SGM to grasp this fact?”

  • Bridget

    IMO a male leader, or son of a leader, in SGM is going to have had a far different experience in an SGM church than a teenage female from an average, attending family. Why is it so hard for pastors/leaders in SGM to grasp this fact? AND why do they always seem to minimize the experiences that other people had in SGM churches?

    :( :( :( :( :(

  • 5yearsinPDI

    Paul…I am probably only a couple steps ahead of you into the stone age. Two weeks ago I learned how to use the camera on my phone, haha. I am techno challenged.

    But seriously, to learn to copy and paste is really really easy. You highlight something like a link URL at the very top, or text on the screen- and it is easy to highlight- and press two keys, and then another two keys. Honestly it is really easy to learn and will save you time handwriting. All you need to do is get some kid who is like 12- 14 to show you what to do, real slow, and write it down and then try it with the kid a few times and you’ll get it. I know you can do it, just don’t get a mental block about it. It really is not hard if somebody shows you wnat to do.

    Re Altrogge- I said this before and I’ll say it again. Until a church renounces man as their spiritual covering/kippur/kaphar/atonement, instead of the blood of Jesus being our one and only covering, they are doomed to some sort of demonic darkness. That idol has to be ground down and powdered into dust. Until you can properly talk about authority without turning pastors/fathers/husbands into the blood atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, you are in dark deception. Very sad to see Altrogge fail to grasp this.

  • Tempest

    RE: The Altrogee quote,

    I wonder just how objective and “well-balanced” a leaders kid can be? Hannah’s account was dead-on, IMHO.

  • Persona

    When someone writes their own blog posts, they can really only present their own experiences. How can they express any other point of view but their own? Someone might comment to Hannah that they did not have a similar experience but, I think it is out of bounds to tell her to “get both sides of the story.”

    Anyway, Hannah’s point of view is representative of a lot of women who have passed through SGM churches. In my opinion, her views need to be broadcast to others in similar situations.

    Unfortunately, shutting down the conversation in an effort to control the free-flow of information is endemic in CJ-trained leaders and will be hard for them to overcome, without the help of the Holy Spirit.

  • Paul K.

    First, (1) thx Pam Palmer for ur kind words awhile back – I’ll pretend I was waiting to wish u HAPPY BIRTHDAY! the same day I thanked you (2) 5 Years – I appreciate advice but I learned e-mail two years ago and am quite proud to have left my cave – my Swiss grandfather called me “the Neanderthal Man”” because I didn’t wear a watch.
    I have no clue how to paste anything except w glue – but u’re advice isn’t wasted : I will hand write longer posts so if a SBM ( S Bondage M) hacker deletes them I can smile and say, “Thx to 5 Years, it’s coming again pal!” (so thx!) (3) Fruit Flavored – I’ll post it tonight – want to take 5 Years advice and write it out. I’m out here cutting grass
    in rain but it’s lunch time.


    ME : My wife told me.

    AM : So u both have Tuesday down?

    ME : DUH Tree Beard!

    AM : Thx Pippin!

    ME : There’s nothing you can’t handle my friend!

    AM : Thx for letting my son take the day off – should be good for tomorrow.

    ME : I think u understand how much I appreciate the person God has made u and continues to make u.

    AM : Thx bro! God is awesome!

    ME : We are HIS workmanship – so YES – GOD is awesome!

    AM : Amen, what grace. Grateful for you too!

    ME : I have a dad-friend, a pastor-friend, an all day work w me and laugh w me friend (Bill Mahaney), and two new, deep, peer-like friends- and to top it all off even Jesus called us friends!

    AM : And I have a hobbit friend who thinks he can still beat Tree Beard (basketball) straight up! Not happening.

    ME : u are correct in what your hobbit friend is quite sure of – u see, speed, moves, and the three pointer always beats slow, awkward, smack talking height. As I told Ben W, the court is the judge!

    AM : Ben’s no Tree Beard!

    ME : True that! He got smacked for all his smack talking and kicked out of the gym for stinking up the place. I’m sure u’ll win (strategic humility) – after all, ur carrying me on your shoulders! I just figured Ben had a bad day when my wife told me she saw him play and couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn. He should take up fencing, ballet, or basket weaving. Let’s pray for the guy that he finds something besides smack talking to be good at – u have to be able to back that up!

    AM : “A man’s got to know his limitation.” But he’s a great pastor!

    ME : And that’s what counts! It’s also why we can tease him – he has perspective. But getting beat by a 60 year old fat guy 7 to 0 after calling yourself a”gym rat” in your first sermon is hard to handle even for the humble! I’m giving him a chance for Redemption (if he’s humble enough to take it) at Jim Wilson’s house now that he’s absorbed the shock. He said, “GOD was w u brother!” I said, “O, only GOD can beat Ben W!”

    AM : My money’s on u for the rematch.

    ME : We’ll my money’s on u for pastor-friend of the year! I enjoy our friendship so much and appreciate your compassion for our whole family. Enough mush!

    ME : I know u are a plurality but is Josh the lead

    AM : The Fellowship Of The Ring had Frodo.

    ME : Thx for speaking my language – that’s what Jesus did in becoming a Man.

    (I posted this in a private blog shared with two friends called AND HE TOOK THREE UP THE MOUNTAIN (8/2012). I never imagined I’d have that kind of playful – friendship interaction w a pastor here.)

  • TrustingOnlyInJesus

    Rick #206/207:
    Thanks for bringing this to everyon’s attention. First, Stephen Altrogge needs to understand that IF this were the ONLY abused person in SGM, then it would still grieve our Lord and requires repentance by SGM. Unfortunately this is not the ONLY abused life in SGM. Second, I agree that it will be a difficult battle to rebuild the foundation of any former SGM church. I believe because Mark Altrogge (Sr.) truly loves his Lord and his people, they have a fighting chance to change.

  • Rick

    The Altrogge quote from 206 is why I think it will be a struggle for CLC and other churches that leave SGM to leave all the negative pathologies that SGM has ingrained in them behind. Meet the ‘new’ leadership (supposedly free from SGM); unfortunately the structural faults may be the same as the ‘old’ leadership.

  • Rick

    I know that many of you think highly the Altrogge family and the decision of the Indiana church to leave SGM. Below is a response from Stephen Mark Altrogge to Hannah Ettinger, who detailed her life in SGM at Rachel Held Evans blog: The url is as follows:

    Stephen Mark Altrogge • 3 days ago −
    I’m sorry, but as someone who grew up in SGM, and is now a pastor in a church that recently left SGM, this is a VERY poor representation of SGM as a whole. This is one young woman’s perspective and it is filtered through the lens of her family experience. What she is communicating was not the systemic experience throughout SGM. Some were abused, yes. But this young woman’s experience is not representative.

    Rachel, I’m appealing to you, please at least try to post well balanced arguments. This is not well balanced in the least. At least try to get both sides of the story.
    7 5 •Reply•Share ›

  • 5yearsinPDI

    Paul…that has happened to me more than once here. If you put time and thought into a post, do the highlight and copy thing- control C for me, control V to paste- and then if it does not post, paste it in and try again. Sorry about that, but it may happen again, so best to make a habit of copying longer posts. My guess is that if you are dialed in here for a long time with the window open, you may actually get disconnected and not realize it. Just a guess, but it always happened to me with long posts.

  • Fruit Flavored

    Paul K #199 –

    Thanks for your efforts. I hope to read your response when it posts.

  • Pam Palmer

    Discovery: LOL Thanks. You gave me a good laugh today. :)

  • Dicovery


  • Misseditbythatmuch

    Ha- I meant “thought”. Darn iPad.

  • Misseditbythatmuch

    @pattyS, post 197- I tought that at the meeting Josh Harris said “the plaintiffs picture is not accurate it is far from accurate”. That can easily be taken to mean that he’s saying that they are lying.

  • Paul K

    Fruitful Flavored ,

    I took a lot of time to answer ur questions and shared at length some preliminary things I believe will need to happen before before this will be a house God has built : “Unless The Lord builds the house, all who labor labor in vain” but it didn’t post – a little disappointing – will try again tomorrow.

  • intheNickofTime

    In the OT God sent the Israelites in with orders to kill everyone AND the livestock.

    In the NT Jesus went into the temple and whipped and clubbed folks while overturning tables.

    Brent Detwiler is the current cudgel God is using against SGM. Against an organization with such deeply rooted control and against a man like CJ who rules with no mercy, God would not choose to be gentle in his corrections.

    Like him or not, like his tactics or not, Brent is God’s agent in getting the attention of the SGM cult of churches.

  • pattyS

    servant of the most high, Mr. Harris did not say that the victims were liars. The lawyer that spoke at the members meeting said that the judge did not find enough evidence. In all the long explanation that was given, apparently the plaintiffs still can provide more evidence to support their case.

  • servent of the most high

    I Will keep everyone in prayer. I personaly dont like how the victims were labled as liars. That’s a bold move by Mr. Harris. I hope that doesnt come back to bite him. But im trying not to judge but let God bring his justice to all parties concerned. I will keep the members of clc in prayer. I know it is frustrating to be kept in the dark and not really know what is going on. Keep the body of christ in prayer.

  • Luna Moth

    I’m sorry to hear about Pasadena too. Not surprised…but sad.

    I know people there.

  • Waters

    Just Watching,

    Not surprised to hear Pasadena remaining officially SGM.

    Churches who remain with SGM entrench themselves in their polity, culture and allegiance. (No rocket science there)

    Those who leave SGM and perhaps change their name —- what? steps to disentangle from SGM? Decisions what to retain and what to discard? And the long road to do so? I believe without RENOUNCEMENT of what they have done, been a part of, and propagated, they will remain in the pollution of SGM. (We personally renounced how and what we walked in in SGM, each time a characteristic or stronghold rose up…)Scripture exhort us to pull down and DEMOLISH unGodly strongholds

    An SGM church planter of 25 years ago — known for his humility, service and prophetic voice(no longer a part of SGM)stated:
    “….Has (SGM) church leadership actually turned from it’s well-worn ways of over-lording, unbiblical polity, unholy counseling, and questionable doctrines? Has their recent parting of ways with SGM amounted to anything more than a changing of the guard?”

  • Persona

    Concerned.. 191

    Not sure why but, requiring care group leaders to fill out care group forms went out of fashion a few years back. Each pastor was different in their requirements anyway and the forms were modified yearly so, it would be hard to compare and contrast them without exact copies, from each year.

    Nowadays, pastors seem to elicit the information they get on members, by mouth (or informants). Then, I suppose they keep their own records for future use. They do try to be discrete but any astute observer can tell when they are stealthily, information-gathering.

    The only thing we could do to stop them, as members, was to withhold information from them. Even then, when you we were surrounded by informants, there was no way to know what they are telling the pastor about you. Needless to say, that is not a very healthy way to live the Christian life.

    Apparently the pastors do keep copious files on members in the office. I learned this from someone who would know. The info is allegedly stored online, so all the pastors can exchange info to better ‘protect’ the church from ‘infidels’. But again, there is absolutely NO way for a member to know exactly what they have on you. And, there is absolutely NO way for you to correct the records if they are faulty or incomplete. And, their opinions and judgments are final because, of course, they have all the power and they know what is best for you and the church (dripping sarcasm).

    Who knows where all those ancient care group forms are that were filled-out for Loftness, Ricucci and Boisvert, etc.? Hopefully they are all destroyed but, I think it unlikely.

  • Jenn Grover

    Just Watching #188: sorry to hear that. They will be pretty much all e out there.

  • Concerned for the kids

    Re: “vision”

    See this link for a good discussion of why so many people misinterpret that passage to think it means vision in the purpose-driven or corporate sense, like Paul K is using it and I’d bet how Josh would use it to defend his thoroughly unbiblical pursuit of “vision casting” skills. His use of that phrase alone a few werks/months ago reduces his credibility dramatically.

    To be clear, I don’t know or endorse the guy behind that link, just think it is a pretty good discussion of a widely misunderstood and misapplied passage.

    On another note- I still haven’t seen any discussion on the CLC confession regarding keeping files on congregants nor the repentant act of destroying them.

    Is everyone just ok with that practice? Seems dysfunctional at best, cultic and controlling at worst.

  • Fruit Flavored

    Paul K –

    Regarding the Executive Director position at CLC – is there an elected board of directors in the new polity? I’ve been a member of a number of non-profit organizations in the past. Each has had an elected board of directors who give direction to the Executive Director. It’s the Executive Director’s mandate to develop and implement the vision of the board.

    Will this board be a subset of the pastors? Will it be the entire pastoral staff? Will there be lay members on the board? Will they have equal authority? Will the Executive Director be hired from within the congregation or from the outside? Again, many non-profits hire an executive director from the outside so that they are unbiased. I don’t see that happening at CLC. The downfall of an Executive Director is that they often take the fall if the board itself is ineffective.

    Thoughts? Clarifications?

  • Paul K.

    Correction @185 – (3) help by (skip ‘my’).

  • Just Watching

    This just in: SGC Pasadena will be signing the Intent to Join letter. Maybe already have… The big news is set to be shared with the congregation tomorrow morning.

  • Persona

    186: Not sure how customary sabbatical breaks are in church circles. CJ started the sabbatica-tradition when he began to take the month of August off each year, back when he had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. After that, Gary, Josh and others have take them.

  • Rick Malament

    All this talk about sabbaticals got me thinking. Do for-profit organizations give sabbaticals to their employees? Never heard of that before. Seems a lot easier for a non-prof. that gets their money from willing donors to give paid sabbaticals to select employees than to have to account for those funds to a board of directors or stockholders or something like that. Not being snarky hear, just wondering. Really.

  • Paul K.

    With regards to an executive pastor being sought after, perhaps many remember that the Advisory Committee suggested the church hire a consultant (Brian Howard) in helping us evaluate (1) the overall health of our pastors (2) their giftings, passions, strengths, and weaknesses (3) help by my making suggestions on how we might establish more effective policies and procedures to more effectively care for people without burn out…in sum – how to be a relational and fruitful church in which an environment is created that helps all grow in loving God, loving one another, and effectively bearing fruit in our city and other nations. Josh has mentioned how helpful Brian has been.

    The first two priorities put forth and agreed to by Brian, the pastors, and the Advisory Committee are (1) to clarify our mission/vision (what are we called to do and how do we get there (2) to seek God for an executive pastor. I believe, in a sense, Brian Chesemore had part of this role : overseeing pastoral ministry as a whole. Obviously this current role is broader in scope. I think it important to have a person over -seeing pastoral ministry as a whole and working with Josh on over-all vision : “Without a vision people perish.”

    Corby would still oversee the rest of the staff, finance, and other ways he serves. Grant’s passion is overseas missions. I’m not exactly sure what Kenneth’s job description will be but I know there’s plenty for him to do and he has a lot of experience and wisdom.

    I think the pastors are working through a lot before making final and quick decisions or before presenting plans they believe to be of God and soliciting input from the congregation with the truth that if we’re all involved in finalizing decisions then there is a greater sense of ownership of the responsibility of stewardship by all of us for His church and also greater unity which He blesses.

    I do know Grant’s sabbatical is beginning July 1.
    Perhaps that’s when Kenneth’s is over – not sure.

  • 5yearsinPDI


    If this was brand new, first time accusation and conflict, you would be entirely correct in my opinion.

    However, we have sitations going back years with zero- or unsuccssful- attempts on the part of those accused to resolve them, and no known attempts to bring in adequate help.

    One plaintiff write letters annually for at least 20 years to CLC pastors involved and got no response. One family in another church did get to talk to CJ and did eventually meet with pastors in their church bit it remained unresolved ( Wallace and HappyMom).

    When a former CLC pastor Greg Somerville write a nice letter to the blogs expressing sympathy for victims and an invitation to talk together ( that was huge- to even acknowledge this site) he- or was it Josh?- had to apologize at CLC for not running his final draft past the accused (Ricucci and Loftness if I recall correctly). The accused made no attempt to reach out to the blogs. The accused made no attempt to get in Boz or anybody else, nor did Josh or CJ at that time.

    There was one point in time where Ken Sande contacted Kris- not sure who initiated that- but she wanted all discussions in writing and they wanted them secret. You could say that that was an opportunity blown; I would say Kris made the right decision. They had lost her/our/blog posters’ trust and Kris was not willing to end up with some “he said she said they said, no he didn’t” situation, after SGM’s track record of denying what they say and spinning what they say and changing what they say. In my opinion, if the accused had been really serious about resolving this, they would have been willing to dialogue with a taped or written record to at least some initial degree, at least to get the process started. It is a moot point, as according to Jim and others who have posted at the late Refuge blog, CJ would not listen to Sande’s counsel anyway.

    All this time there have been organizations that might have been helpful, if for no other reason than to get help for the victims. Diane Langberg’s group comes to mind, CCEF, Boz, I am sure there must be many others. CLC and Fairfax, while denying any culpability, could have been gracious enough to offer to pay some counseling bills.

    After the DetDocs came out and AoR was hired, AoR issued a final report that said in part that they were not equipped to mediate and resolve the sex abuse cases. Fine. It is good that they knew their limits and knew that there were unresolved conflicts and stated that in the final report.

    Did SGM say “well, here is AoR admitting they are not adequate to deal with these particular situations; we better get in some folks who are experts in this subject” ? No, they did nothing. They paid 400,000 grand to get a report that says they need better equipped help for these unresolved sexual cases, and they did nothing about it. To this day I am convinced that if they had humbled themselves and called in somebody like Boz, this lawsuit could have been avoided.

    So CRW, I appreciate your gracious heart, but I ask you- do you think that perhaps God himself is allowing these accused men to be named in public in a publically posted lawsuit? Is this in the category of some snitty stupid girl who makes up a rape story against a decent man, and ruins his life before he has a chance to even say or do anything to prove his innocence? Or is this a situation going back many years- in one case over 20 years- where the accused have shown no genuine interest in conflict resolution and getting help?

    Matthew 5: 25 says 25 “Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.”The point of that verse seems to me to be directed at this situation. Deal with it fast, resolve things quickly, “be at peace with all men as much as it depends on you.”

    As I see it, the accused brought this on themselves and have only themselves to blame. They had access to all sorts of men and ministries who could have helped for many years, and they did nothing…except to criticize guys like Somerville who made an overture to victims. Let us all learn a lesson from this.

  • Encouragement

    Hi I’m not sure if this has been addressed in other posts or not –forgive if repetitive.

    Has ANYONE at the church taken action to review all individuals whom are caring for the children in Sunday School and “The mandatory” Care Group Meetings? When I say “review” I mean seek out ALL individuals whom have had an issue with child pornography, (whereby the church has counseled them) or are listed as Sex Offenders?

    Has the Church identified those individuals and alerted (provided a list) to ALL parents?

    Has anyone spoken with each individual and stated they WILL not be allowed to participate in ANY church function where children are present?

    Has anyone DEMANDED this be done? If not, why?

  • Concerned for the kids

    Sooneone re-raised the topic of CLC keeping files on care group attendees and other members. In light of all the “Josh is really changing!” conjecture, has he announced the cessation of this dispicable, unbiblical, abuse-centered practice? Along with the permanent destruction of those files and an apology to those the church violated through the practice ( which I guess would have been everyone)?

    Until he comes clean on and ends the practice of snooping for purposes of control ( and removes from circulation all copies of his ridiculous dating books that have caused so much damage) let’s hold off anointing him as “repentant” just yet.

  • Encouragement


    Thank you. Yes, I did attend during CJ’s “regime” however, I also attended another SGM Church during the latter part of my stay. My husband and I also believe in the importance of education and encouraging both of our children to find careers in which they enjoy and will flourish. My daughter has a strong proclivity to pursue the field of law. My son also, had an interest in the field of law and engineering. I raised both of our children to stand up for what is right and to not allow bullying of any sort in any setting. It has been very hard to read some of the victims stories as they are so heartbreaking. I understand the church is changing and it is hopeful to hear Josh is taking a different approach. I was at that church when CJ paraded and praised Josh on the stage. So perhaps as Josh seemed to look up to CJ and called him his mentor it would have been hard to believed the church was any different under his regime. I will note however, Josh did seem to have a more honest character and did appear to be as much of an actor as CJ.

    There were many things at that church that seemed off to me, the way they viewed and treated women AND children was more of a “Middle East” mindset. The way they praised each other instead of giving the Glory and Praise to God. The way they paraded people on stage and announced their good works instead of what the Bible says in Matthew 6:2-3 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3″But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” So you can see why this troubled me so much. Additionally, the way selected books were encouraged and praised instead of reading the Bible. The church caused much division in my house and much heartache. We did not realize just how toxic that place was until we left. But by then the damage was done to us. I walked away from the Lord for many years, but He never walked away from me. Praise be to God whom Gracious, Faithful and full of Mercy. I know the Lord knows what we need and the Holy Spirit guides us.

    Thank you for taking the time to respond.

  • Persona

    CRW 175

    It is hard to discuss child abuse without mentioning the alleged abusers, when they are adults. Underage abusers’ identities are usually protected (but, I think there are times when they should be revealed, to those who spend a lot of time with them).

    However, my sentiments are with the parent, who needs to know who is safe to leave their children alone with. If there is ANY concern about the behavior of adults around us, we need to know about it.

    Over the years, as I assessed babysitters, I would have concerns about everything from immaturity to psychological issues. But, I have to say, to my shame, I never once thought once about sexual abuse, as a possibility. I was naive.

    Thankfully nothing horrendous happened to our children. But, I understand why some parents we knew, never left their children with care givers or only left them with close family members.

    So, to me, knowing who, in our midst, should never be left alone with kids, greatly overrides any issues about sparing the reputations of the adults, who have been outed.

    Personally, I would not avoid those persons but, I would definitely not allow my children spend time with them alone.

  • Dr. Pepper


    I think it’s really important to be educated and I think that growin up in sgm you’re taught if you’re a woman your job is in the home. What if the husband died and left you to care for the kids? I have no problem with woman staying home to take care of the children. However, I think you need to be educated just incase something where to happen. Or what if the husband loses his job? I just always believe you need something to fall back on.

  • MaryMelissa

    Encouragement and Waters
    Your stories are good examples of God’s redemptive work. My guess is that you attended CLC back during CJ’s “regime”, which would placed Carolyn an example of the “perfect” godly woman. I have been attending CLC for a little over 10 years, right before Josh became the Senior pastor but I never understod their idea of “biblical womanhood”. My take is that the concept is nothing more than a reaction to some of the strong Charismatic women that brought error in many churches at that time. The couple of times that I’ve heard Carolyn and/or one of her daughters speak made me very upset, the Scriptures were twisted sometimes. I remembered one of the son’s in law blaming himself for his wife’s walk with God. I thought that was a joke and a complete insult to my intelligence and I did put that in the forms that were handed to us, but never heard back from them. Why would so many women just believe her and not check the scripture themselves, some of the ideas were so out of reality. An example of this was Carolyn giving an example of a “good trade” as her daughter taking a couple of accounting courses. Carolyn obviously does not have a clue of what the job market looks like out there. Maybe whatever they said didn’t affect me the way it did other women. I came from a different background where education is considereda privlege and one that you take advantage of it if you are able. I talked to my daughter after each meeting and pointed out the things I didn’t agree with, but my husband and I didn’t think that that was a good reason to leave the church because in my forty plus years of being a Christian, I have been in so many different churches and never found one that I considered had perfect theology, probably there isn’t one until we get to heaven. I did eventually realized that CJ, Jeff and others had some big flaws in their teaching, some errors, and some of them involved their own opinions. It puzzled me how no one questioned them, we were asked to be CG leaders which was pretty difficult because people wanted to depend on the pastor’s leadership. Growing in faith is a believer’s responsibility and is not the pastor’s fault. Aren’t we accountable to God for our own walk of faith?.
    The last couple of years, as Josh started listened to people’s hurts, to my surprise a growing group of members started to let the pastors know their concerns and past experiences. The church is changing but maybe not at the rate that some of us would want. There are a couple of the older pastors that I am afraid are still under the old “regime” in their hearts at least, which makes the changing process even slower. One of the issues some of us are praying about (actually I have asked a couple of the pastors) is to review not only CJ’s old practices but also their theological stand, just because Al Mohler believes in something, doesn’t mean we should. Same goes for Bill Hammond, or Kenneth Copeland ministies. The truth is that there is error in the church. SGM’s stand on “biblical womanhood” and concept of submission sure needs to be looked at in the eyes of the Scripture (that is not Al Mohler or Piper, or Kevin DeYoung). One group thinks that woman is a second category citizens and another one over exhaults woman as a teacher prophetess, this is what caused a reaction of people like CJ who went to the extreme with very little difference that the Mormon church. My prayer is that any healthy church would let God’s Holy Spirit changes us “from glory to glory” from “faith to faith”. I taught my daughters to value education, the youngest graduated from CLS, her husband grew up in CLC but both of them pursued their master level education, my other daughter is also pursuing her PhD, when people gave us a dirty look, we can just say a prayer in their name. I really didn’t care what Carolyn or others believed. I had a conversation with a very sweet lady that was very hurt and frustrated over the church and she told me that she had always wanted to be like Carolyn. I just couldn’t understand that because the minute I heard Carolyn, I knew I never wanted to be like her because her ideas of life were so distorted and not based on reality. I know that CLC is far from being the perfect church, hopefully they will change especially in some of their theological stand that I consider error, and I have nothing against going to another church, there are plenty of good churches around but wherever God takes we should be opened to learn from God and use the discernment that the Holy Spirit gives us and take what is from God and reject what it is not.

  • Encouragement


    Well said, a very thoughtful analysis.

  • Stunned

    CRW, I fully agree with your statement on post #175. While I don’t believe for a minute that it is the courts which truly determine guilt or innocence, with some innocents being found guilty and visa versa, therefore I do think there is a time and a place to warn others of people who have not been found guilty in a court of law (for example, my daughter would date OJ Simpson over my dead body), I do think there is a time and place for everything and plastering the names of the accused all over the place is not a good idea at all times.

    As far as Brent is concerned, each man must do what his conscience tells him before God. Maybe God is leading Brent to do this. I don’t know. Doesn’t feel right to me many things that he has done on his blog.

    I think dealing with our own past abuse or other issues really enables us to hear the Holy Spirit or our guts in a clearer way so what seems like a good idea at one time may not be so at a later date. From what I understand some of the founders of SGM have all had some rough patches in their childhood. (Alcoholic or abusive parents or rather tough, abusive neighborhoods.) I don’t know which one of them may have sought out the best therapy available to them and seen professional counselors who specialize in these fields to aid them in their healing but I don’t see a lot of fruit that may indicate that has happened. (Not like I’m a fruit inspector.) Rather during my time at SGM I heard a lot of “move on” or “get over it” from the pulpit. I think if the leaders of SGM had done the hard work of the therapy they needed, SGM would have been a much more supportive and loving environment. After all, if these men had to suppress their own abuse issues, why not force a little kid to do the same? But as an adult, if you actually deal with the stuff from your childhood and come to a place of peace, you’re going to be much more apt to make sure everyone else is protected, safe and supported, too.

    At least that’s my opinion. Not that anyone was asking. ;)

  • CRW

    I don’t think I am alone in saying that Brent D’s aggressive approach makes me uncomfortable. There is a thought I would like to share, but I’ll preface by saying that this isn’t an attempt to downplay the seriousness of any illegal, depraved abuse of children that has occurred.

    From my perception of the issues at hand, the physical abuse of children is of foremost concern. However, I also believe that public accusations of people without the matters being evidently determined in court is of penultimate concern. If events did occur as described in the lawsuit, then the names and details of the cases should be made public as the application of justice proceeds. On the other hand, if a person is found guilty in the cyber-court of public opinion but is, in reality, accused falsely, would that person’s life not also be ruined much like those children who WERE truly abused? Awareness and justice must be priorities, without a doubt. But I also believe more caution and discretion could be used to protect any person who may, for whatever reason, actually be accused falsely.

    I raised the issue of Brent D because he intentionally uses full names in all his writings. Many on this site utilize tools of anonymity and I respect those of you who exercise discretion and a measure of confidence. It may be that this subject has already been discussed at length, but if not, I am interested to hear opinions on this point.

  • Paul K.


    U are right in reminding me abuse began before CJ headed up PDI. Abuse existed from the beginning. People even in their late twenties who liked each other would be told they couldn’t see each other for no reason at all.

    I am grateful that kind of crap is over – there is definitely a lot more freedom and love in our community – a good step in the right direction while the rest gets sorted out. Hopefully the real truth will be brought forth for all involved in the lawsuit in a way that gives justice to all and we all believe it – that truth is established convincingly – no AoR crap. May it all work redemptively.

  • Encouragement

    Former CLC’er

    Thank GOD you mother trained you to have a voice! After reading just some of the stories (because they are soooo heartbreaking and hard to read) on this website I want to scream it on the roof tops: Parents Get CLOSE to your children know everything about them so you can protect them from SICK perverts -don’t lord your position over them because this does not build trust and DO NOT EVER ALLOW anyone to take away your INNER MOMMA BEAR INSTINCT (this is God given) when you find something to be wrong DO NOT BE SILENT, and Take your case to the God Ordained Authorities –The POLICE. I know that as a Christian we are called to forgive –but you are allowed to be angry FYI is an emotion acknowledged in the Bible. You are called not to take revenge as that is the LORDS! DO NOT Think God is blind and silent on the sick abuse of children and the praise, encouragement and protection of wicked men! God did not set up laws and the Justice system for the innocent. If these people don’t receive justice in this lifetime they WILL have to Answer to God in the Afterlife.

    Oh and for the pastors —It would have been better for them NOT to have known the Word of God in the Day of Judgement because they WILL receive a punishment different from the rest of the unbelievers. I leave you with a few verses to contemplate.

    Matthew 23:27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitened tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but inwardly are full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.

    Proverbs 25:26 Like a muddied spring or a polluted well are the righteous who give way to the wicked.

    Ezekiel 3:20 Again, when a righteous man does turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die: because you have not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteous deeds which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at your hand.

    Ezekiel 33:8 When I tell the wicked, O wicked man, you shall surely die, and you don’t speak to warn the wicked from his way; that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood will I require at your hand.

    Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’

    Matthew 23:23 “Alas for you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for you pay the tithe on mint, dill, and cumin, while you have neglected the weightier requirements of the Law–just judgement, mercy, and faithful dealing. These things you ought to have done, and yet you ought not to have left the others undone.

    Romans 2:1 You are therefore without excuse, O man, whoever you are who sit in judgement upon others. For when you pass judgement on your fellow man, you condemn yourself; for you who sit in judgement upon others are guilty of the same misdeeds

    Romans 2:3 And you who pronounce judgement upon those who do such things although your own conduct is the same as theirs–do you imagine that you yourself will escape unpunished when God judges?

    1 Corinthians 5:13 while you leave to God’s judgement those who are outside? Remove the wicked man from among you.

    2 Timothy 1:7 For the Spirit which God has given us is not a spirit of cowardice, but one of power and of love and of sound judgement.

    James 2:13 For he who shows no mercy will have judgement given against him without mercy; but mercy triumphs over judgement.

    James 3:1 Do not be eager, my brethren, for many among you to become teachers; for you know that we teachers shall undergo severer judgement.

    2 Peter 2:3 Thirsting for riches, they will trade on you with their canting talk. From of old their judgement has been working itself out, and their destruction has not been slumbering.

    2 Peter 2:21 It would be better if they had never known the way to righteousness than to know it and then reject the command they were given to live a holy life.

  • Persona

    171 Women are definitely second class at CLC.

  • Former CLC'er

    I agree that it was difficult to know how you were “supposed” to act as a woman at CLC. Or rather, you kind of felt you should melt into the background and be meek and mild and submissive. Thank God that my mother had already trained me well to be crazy and opinionated, and that side of me eventually came out. I remember one or two years after I left CLC, a friend of mine still in CLC asked me what happened, and that going to another church was good for me. I said it was the first time I could finally be myself.

  • It's just the beginning

    Grant is taking a sabbatical starting in a week or two I think.
    I believe Kenneth has been on a sabbatical the last few weeks (they last a month I think?).

    I attend CLC, and although I would say the attendance feels a little light, I actually don’t think we’ve netted any big loss over the last two years. At each members meeting, they pass out a list of members who have left and who have joined since the last member’s meeting. There are are maybe 5-8 people more on the “Left” list versus the “New Members” list. The numbers have gone down, but I bet only by 100 or so.

    Now, are there more members who have left than just on the those lists? absolutely…those lists reflect members who the pastors know have left.

    Anyway, my point is it’s not like 15% or 25% of CLC has left….I’d guess in the 5% to 10% max range. (had I kept all those pieces of paper from each members meeting since last summer list members leaving/joining, I’d know!)

  • Persona

    AnneGG + 168

    Didn’t we hear that Grant was taking a leave of absence? Maybe his position is being filled or maybe they are creating a new position to take over some of his responsibilities? Josh has had two executive pastors and Corby Megorden to help him since he took the helm. I wonder how many executive pastors do they need over there? How much ‘vision setting’ do they really need for a dwindling congregation?

  • formersgmer


    I am not a CLC person (I am a former fairfax person) but I looked at the job description you mentioned and ut us clearly a senior level administrative position. It is likely Corby Megordon’s position. He may be leaving ot it may be that since Matt Maka is leaving to plant a church the CLC elders may be looking to eliminate the two executive pastor roles and return one or both KM and GL to hands on pastoral roles. However, this is the first time I have ever seen an current or former SGM church post an open position on a public website and I would take this as another snall step in CLC”s transformation to improved transparency. I am sure that if you asked the elders what this new position is about they will tell you.

  • Encouragement


    I really appreciate reading your words — thank you for sharing your words of encouragement and truth. For those people who still attend that church, if you don’t feel the Holy Spirit moving in that church –then ask yourself if the Church is dead. I believe with all my heart that a true church is a place of unbelievable joy. When you leave the service you are lifted up so high and you are singing on your way home. See LORD is WONDERFUL, So POWERFUL, FULL of MERCY, INCREDIBLE and He LOVES US SOOO MUCH –we are His children :). I just want to share a song to encourage those who are going through a hard time right now. Kerry Robberts “No Matter What” —

    I know I posted earlier that Marriage is a Team –when you take out the word “Submission” and replace it with Team Lead -this I believe is what God intended for the man. As mentioned earlier I won my court case, my husband was my “Lay Representative” we worked together as a Team and we make an AWESOME TEAM :). I would not have won if it were not so –but again GOD takes the credit for this PERIOD.

    Unfortunately, I know my daughter was profoundly affected by CLC/GCC/SGM, and her take on the “Church” it is full of hypocrites and is oppressive. This is years later Her little spirit was crushed while we were attending that place. Know this, our maternal parenthood instinct to protect was not removed with membership. I hope and pray people will open their eyes in the future regardless of where they are and be sensitive and intune with children and their needs. Children need to be protected, nurtured and loved and above all parents should never relinquish the “moma bear” syndrome. I believe you can be a Godly Moma bear.

    I have heard people talk about how CJ required his wife to perform for him while in pain the night before her operation. What should be eye opening to all peoples is this: This man headed up CLC/GCC/SGM –think about this long and hard. If a man is called to Love his wife as Christ Loves the Church how does what he PROUDLY boasts of resonate with you? Is this behavior in line with how Christ Loved the Church? Is this in line with the Bible? If not, then you have a very big issue to think about. Because this is the man that lead and trained Pastors at all the churches. Ask yourself did they align with this train of thought? Would they be pastors at CLC/SGM/GCC if they did not agree with him?

    The church I attended after many years of no church due to my experience at GCC/CLC was absolutely the opposite of them. They were praying for me constantly lifting me up encouraging me, joyful when I won motions in court – they were a God send. I was very very scared about finding a church after CLC and thought it was always better to just worship God on my own. I had a friend who encouraged me to find a church. I found my church online. I read their statement of faith very closely before I even visited and search the whole website for anything alarming (what was the focus of the church?). I felt God calling me to attend that one and add blessing to blessing they were very close to where I lived. See I believe in the Holy Spirit guiding us and I believe God gives you a spirit of discernment –NOT to be ignored. If you love the Lord with all your heart and as I’ve said before He knows your heart He WILL direct to the Church that feeds you and lifts you up. God does not want us to be dragged down, the Enemy does. The enemy is King of FEAR. Please Do NOT feel that living in Fear is Godly it is not. To the children whom have been the victims of a muddied water – Please know God is not blind! While we sometimes want God to act right away, when it does not happen there are reasons (we do not know) for the delay, but know this: His timing is perfect. God is working behind the scenes, I like to think of it like connect the dots. We start with number 1. God starts with number 100.

  • OutThere


    Oh, where have the good old days gone? Does anyone remember when CJ preached a series called “People God Killed”? I think that might have been my favorite…

  • Waters

    exCLCer #161

    YES YES YES!!!!!

    The Truth is, EVERY woman has within her, the capacity to walk in full redemption. With a voice. With value. With strength, dignity and Holy Spirit empowerment. On this forum I read many “Deborahs”, “Esthers”, “Priscillas”……..
    Women are life-givers…… we carry life within us, and then bring forth that life in birth. The enemy seeks to stop and silence life-giving…emotionally, physically, and SPIRITUALLY.

    The Truth is, EVERY man has within him, the capacity to walk in full redemption. With a voice. With value. With strength, dignity and Holy Spirit empowerment. On this forum, I read many “Isaiahs”, “Davids”, “Peters”, “Pauls”— men called to lead in strength, courage…while protecting their wives and children.

    We complete one another….as we are changed….from glory to glory… into the likeness of Jesus Christ, Messiah Redeemer.
    Let no man put asunder what God has ordained as precious and good!

  • I haven’t listened to C.J.’s latest sermons. I almost barfed when I listened to his message on Phillipians 2. ;-) How someone could teach on humility and looking out for others interests after all he has done is just baffling.

    These are the titles of Mahaney’s last 3 sermons as shown on Louiville’s website:

    A Call to Action | Jude 3-4 | C.J. Mahaney

    Called, Loved, Kept | Jude 1-2 | C.J. Mahaney

    Hidden in Plain Sight | 1 Corinthians 1:1-9

  • Stunned

    exCLCer- well said!!!

  • Waters

    Thankyou for posting the link and quotes from Hannah — So excellent

    Your #155 inset perfectly describes the INSIDIOUS CULTURE which has been created within SGM, and is reproducing itself to this day. Sadly, the generation who are now young men and women have been hijacked of their God-given responses and impulses. Walking as “Bereans” and hearing the Lord’s direction for themselves is foreign. — as you write of above.

    But God….We are seeing (“For those who have eyes to see and ears to hear”)the lion-heart courage of the abuse victim rise up and CONFRONT with TRUTH. Pam writes:
    P R A I S E G O D !!

  • exCLCer

    Yes Pam!, I can so relate to Hannas blog post

    “being a biblical woman in SGM was the emotional equivalent of lying back, closing one’s eyes, and taking one for Jesus.”

    That’s exactly what it is like. And to grow up with the mindset instilled in you that your true purpose in life is to learn to “take one for the team” as the submissive servant doormat for others (men) for the rest of your life AND that is more than you deserve, AND you should find a way to be grateful for this “calling” (meanwhile having all the self preservation intuition or individuality either spanked out of you leaving you believing that any feelings of dissent or rightness are your own indicators of sinfulness) is a pure set up. It’s insidious the way it is presented to you – as a gift you are born with – “you are created to serve your husband — called to serve your pastors — your beauty is in your service (service code for submission)– your self worth lies in your ability to behave properly at the direction of authority”.
    Even after getting out, it can take years to deprogram this mindset and build a healthy foundation of intuition and the ability to say no to others demands, or be able to confidently dissent when something seems wrong. Even understanding that “wrong” is something that you can determine objectively and not just something that you subjectively always are, can take a while to understand. As a female child growing up in SGM, you are indefinitely under everyone’s authority, and are never in authority of anything, not even your own thoughts or feelings or behaviors, because you can possibly know what is right and wrong without someone telling you at every turn. What feels wrong is actually right if your authority figure says so and you are just obviously too sinful to see that yourself. If it feels right, well it MUST be wrong then because as a sinful wretched being you cant possibly feel good about something unless your in sin because you dont deserve to feel good about anything. So it doesn’t surprise me some girls that grow up there, without any alternatives, can end up subscribing to the system and accept the role as an adult to be under the next male authority in line to “cover” them – the husband – who is, of course, still under the pastor’s authority.

    Ironically, while they seem to operate as a corporation, most modern corporations have overwhelmingly found that giving up authority, abdicating control, and moving towards leadership that provides greater autonomy produces incredibly higher levels of success while clamping down control with the hierarchy has serious negative effects. But I suspect any new executive director that may suggest this would likely get the immediate boot.

  • Dr. Pepper


    I still can’t get over why ANY man would want sex from his wife while she is in pain. I think being a man he should have cared for her more. In the words of Marc Driscoll, “you’re a boy, not a man”.

  • Stunned

    Amen, Pam! Every time I think of the way kids were raised in SGM, it makes me so grateful that my parents raised me to have a voice. I have hated that voice at times in my life, wishing I could be quieter, but praise God, I don’t have some of the hurdles to jump over that many of the kids who were raised in SGM have to deal with.

  • Waters

    To Encouragement #145


    We are not called to sit around and discuss the depths of sin in our lives and lack of submission to our husbands– that puts the focus on me, me, me instead of the great faithfulness and power of God!!
    The SGM leadership is SELF-FOCUSED—therefore, in a controlling manipulative manner they instructed their congregants to be self-focused—looking inward at sin, sin, sin. And being controlled and manipulated by the twisted scriptures on submission.
    Stay tucked into the garments of His care, love, and guidance, Saints! HE loves to reveal Himself to us!

    Thankyou for answering my question. Let us pray many at CovFel will be awakened and stirred by discernment given by Holy Spirit~

  • Pam Palmer

    Stunned: What Hannah shared describes the indoctrination of passivity, a twisting of scripture — whether purposefully or by ignorance — created several “generations” of children (and current adults/parents) who are afraid to think for themselves, stand up for themselves, read scripture for themselves. “I had to not be wild, unusual, forward, outspoken…” Oh how those words resonate with me! “Biblical femininity was a state of passive openness to receiving—suffering…because any suffering that resulted would be better than I deserved.” Think about it: If you were a child, particularly a female child or teen, being abused in that church “family”, how incredibly difficult it would be to take the step and speak out!
    I have observed such empowerment in the abuse victims, who have been able to come forward and speak out. Instead of being crushed by the enormity of standing up to their abusers and the church leaders who allegedly covered it up — they have become women and men of strength and dignity. It brings tears to my eyes! Evil men tried to keep victims weak and fearful, but speaking the truth always makes you stronger. It breaks open the secrecy, and it stops the cycle of abuse. Praise God!

  • Stunned

    Pb&J, sounds glorious!

    Pam, great quote. Thank you for sharing it and thank you to Hannah E for writing it. I NEVER knew about the secret meetings that parents knew nothing about, nor the elaborate Valentine’s. I did know that men could expect immediate and first time obedience, er… response to sex from their wives or at least that is what CJ bragged about. (The reports of him bragging about poor Carolyn having sex with him when she was in pain the night before hip surgery makes my skin crawl.) Or poor Taylor who was told that her husband would stop having sex with her young child if Taylor would just have more sex with him (beyond perverse and I have a hard time believing God will not deal with this pastor severely if they do not publically and privately repent of this very soon and try to make restitution) makes me amazed at how sex obsessed these “leaders” were, right down to CJ Mahaney saying how he needs to plan out visits to the mall, finding out where the Victoria Secret is so he doesn’t walk past it and is tempted. And no, this was not said when he was an understandably ultra horny 18 year old, but a man in his 50’s. There is something seriously wrong with that. And then to put that on other men and tell them they should become familiar with the floor plan of any mall they are going to go into to avoid the same temptation? Wow.

  • Pam Palmer

    Another couple of quotes, because what Hannah says is soooo well said:

    The mindset you get into when you’re in a SGM church—when you’re really immersed in the culture—is like a limp hand, waiting to be met by a stronger one and taught how to shake hands properly. You’re the follower, the passive complement to leadership. Your life is like that of a stay-at-home mom in a patriarchal family: you submit, you respect, you respond, you serve, you give, give, give.

    This is why it’s such a huge thing for the victims to speak out. They’re doing everything they were trained not to do.

    And so I stand with the abused. I believe the victims. SGM’s culture of believe-the-best-so-don’t-gossip, the mindset of I’m-the-worst-sinner-I-know, the assumption that the leaders were God-ordained and righteous? These things worked together to hide a lot of abuse that I did see myself or heard from close friends who suffered it in silence, alone and ashamed.

    I learned how to fit in at our church, hoping it would let me find close friends like the other girls had. I had to tone myself down (emotional modesty), not ask too much (selflessness), not attract too much attention (humility). I had to give up my hobbies and interests to “serve” my family. I had to dress in a way that didn’t show my body too much (physical modesty). I had to not be wild, unusual, forward, outspoken. Biblical femininity was a state of passive openness to receiving—suffering, male attention, the Holy Spirit. Though it was never said in so many words, being a biblical woman in SGM was the emotional equivalent of lying back, closing one’s eyes, and taking one for Jesus. Doing all of this was worth it, of course, because any suffering that resulted would be better than I deserved.

    If you are wondering why so many victims didn’t come forward sooner? Why so many victims didn’t go to the police sooner? Why more victims didn’t publicly testify to the Celebration allegations, yet? This is why. This insidious culture.

  • PB&J

    Stunned 151: Yeah, that’s what I’ve been told too… What I’ve seen when a woman is given a voice is how God is glorified. Truth spoken. Relationships built. Post SGC live lived in dependence on God rather than ruled by self appointed elders.

  • Pam Palmer

    A revealing quote from a guest post on RHE’s blog by Hannah E. of (who grew up in SGM/mostly CLC):

    They have told us to pray, to be patient, to believe the best of those whom God placed in authority. Discussing the case in public is labeled “gossip,” and whistle-blowers are characterized as troublemakers. We get angry because we know that children very rarely have the courage or motivation to fabricate abuse allegations…And we get angry because we know the culture; we see how this could happen. There has to be some truth to the stories.

    But the stranger ones? The masks and Celebration, the spankings in a row on a desk? The boa and the cameras? Could these too be true? They’re so far fetched. So detailed. So exotic.

    But I sit here and wonder about things I remember. How the pastors could call a secret gathering of young children at Celebration for a surprise skit for the parents and then tell the kids to keep it a secret. How we would go and rehearse and never tell our parents and never be questioned if we said we were helping the pastors with something.

    How the Valentine’s Day dinners they did with the couples were elaborate, prom-like. How the pastors made videos, made skits about the specifics of a good date night. How CJ bragged that his wife was so self-sacrificing and never turned him down when he initiated intimacy.

    How women, abused by their husbands or neglected because of affairs, would try to go to the pastors for counseling, for advice, for help. How they would be told to “be more sexy, be more submissive” and not to come back until the husband initiated the request for pastoral help (being the head of the household and all).

    How women with post-partum depression were told they were suffering from a sinful lack of faith and if they really loved God, they could change their attitudes and recover.

    How parents gave me permission to spank their kids if I needed to when I babysat, how other parents promised to come straight home from their prescribed weekly date night and spank their kids if they gave me any trouble. How they made the kids call me in tears the next morning if I reported any sassiness at bedtime or “delayed” obedience.

    “Do you think the allegations are true?” asks an outsider friend, and I hear myself saying, “Yes, yes, I think they are.”

  • Stunned

    PB&J, “men and women”?! Are you insane! God doesn’t use women for anything but birthing, helping in children’s ministry (under a much lesser qualified 22 year old man but it’s OK because he has the working parts needed to lead) and cooking. You have really gone off your rocker if you think God could use a woman in a church setting to help do anything else.

    ;) Sorry, I couldn’t resist. It’s just too absurd to think of all the wasted gifts and talents over the decades at SGM churches. Waste. Few things I hate more than waste. According to the parable of the talents, God isn’t such a big fan, either.

  • Pam Palmer

    AnneGG/PB&J: Julie Anne Smith wrote an interesting post about this last week.

  • PB&J

    AnneGG 147: That is what corporations do when they are casting their vision. They hire and consult. They see a need and hire someone qualified to do it. What a Church does is depend on God to raise up men/women from the body of the local church to use the gifts that God has given them to edify the body in love and glorify Himself. A corporation will never be a church. A church should not be a corporation. You be the church. Prayerfully demand change.

  • Thomas


    Thank you. Thank you so much.

  • AnneGG

    For CLC folks – why is CLC hiring an “Executive Director”? It is listed on the main church web page as “job opening” and then a link to the description. What is the need for an Executive Director? Was this announced at last weekend’s member meeting?

    I’m just curious why the church needs a new staff member. I had heard attendance is down, especially during 2nd worship, and that the Discovery Land attendance in children’s ministry is down as well.

  • Stunned


    A and MEN!

    Thank you for sharing.

  • Encouragement


    Sadly I was a CLCer and attended during some of the years in the Complaint. I did not know this website existed until a family member posted the Amended Complaint. To Guy and his wife, I want to say thank you for your honesty and for setting this forum up for those people whose faith and beliefs have been profoundly affected by SGM and CLC.

    I can say with honesty and clarity the doctrines espoused by CLC (I don’t call it a church – because the “Church” is the Bride of Christ, a place of HOPE, A Sanctuary for CHILDREN, a place of Encouragement and Spiritual Sustenance, a place for Lifting Each Other Up– NOT TEARING EACH OTHER DOWN as was “The practice” at CLC by talking about each other’s “Sins” – If I could sum up everything about CLC in one word it would be “Sin”. That and Submission are all they focused on nothing else. I recall going to “Care Groups” (for many years that word had a VERY yucky connotation for me), and we would sit around in a circle and discuss the previous message or a book CJ was recommending. LOL I wouldn’t buy those books FYI –know why? Because if you have read the Bible you will know you don’t need anyone to interpret for you — please read James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” Therefore if you believe and have faith the Lord WILL show you in his word the answers you seek.

    Background: My sister and mother were already members and serving in this place before I started to attend. The first time I visited was during what was called the “Alfa” outreach. I continued to attend and then I convinced my husband to attend. My husband had not been a churchgoer but became a believer and we became members. My husband is not an insecure, power hungry man and while he was sometimes controlling, he never fully believed in the “submission part and focus of their doctrine” but because he tithed his full salary and bonuses –he was WELCOMED to the family. To make a long story short, I am not the type to just “submit” without questions, I refused to quit my job to be a stay home mom and drive a minivan. I did not stop taking self defense martial arts classes.
    We were not the typical members in these “Care Group settings” Our last meeting was a discussion on Wives submitting to their husbands. This is where my husband and I pulled the plug. It was in this “submission discussion” where I let them know –not all women were stay home mothers in the bible: and quoted Judges 4:4 “Now Deborah, a woman prophet, the wife of Lapidoth, was judge of Israel at that time.” They also did not like the fact that I mentioned Samuel 25:25 “Please don’t let my lord regard this worthless fellow, even Nabal; for as his name is, so is he. Nabal is his name, and folly is with him; but I, your handmaid, didn’t see the young men of my lord, whom you sent”. See NOT all women in scripture submitted blindly to their husbands as CLC/SGM required. Abigail calls her husband some choice words and directs her servants to disobey her husband’s command.

    I cannot remember a sermon where CLC taught on the old testament. Perhaps that was because there were many WONDERFUL stories in the Old Testament that would not agree with their “New Testament” interpretation. The bible contains both the OLD and NEW Testament for INSTRUCTION. If God did not intend for us to know this information, it would not be in the Bible.

    What CLC/SGM did was pull “selected verses” to promote their way of thinking from the Bible. All I can say is Sheep READ the BIBLE know your scriptures and God will help you understand. I check ALL information received against the Bible period.

    I was the type of wife where the pastors urged my husband to “control” me to no avail. I urge you to read 2 Timothy 3:5 “holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.” Those words seem most appropriate. What CLC/SGM ignores completely is Mark 8:10 “And they two shall be one flesh: so then they are no more two, but one flesh”. I understand this to mean; both (man and wife) are to be a Team to think and act in unison. Nowhere in the bible does it say “Women you now have no will, no voice and you are my servant”. Perhaps the reason why there was so much confusion about marriage at CLC is because men are called to LOVE their wives as Christ Loved the Church. As stated previously I don’t see that place as being a church therefore with a demented and twisted view of “Church” how can they love and preach anything about marriage. These pastors loved Praise not their wives! I could not stand to see people paraded on stage and listen all the “self promotion and self congratulatory speeches. What was so clearly apparently missing in this church was REAL humility, real LOVE and real JOY. And BTW God requires you to confess your sins to HIM not the world. When you take that most important and pivotal step in your life to become a Christian – “Christ Follower” and you really give ALL your heart to Jesus you DO and WILL confess your sin to HIM. Think about this how could you be grateful if you feel “you were not that bad”? How could you have joy if you don’t feel you have been saved? You can’t help but tell the world the wonderful news. This is real. When you are a real believer it is written on your face period. Matthew 6:22 “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light” I have met people whom have the love of God in them and their whole face beams! Your spirit instantly connects with theirs. Those are the people I seek those people don’t ask you about your sin they are too busy praising God. They ask the question how many prayers has God answered? And they share your joy for answered prayers. Anyone who directs you to a book to get answers instead of the Bible –question. The Bible is the living WORD period.
    After the experience with CLC/SGM, we walked away from the church completely. It almost destroyed our marriage – it left scars, it caused a lot of heartache and pain. We did not seek another church. It scared both of my children –whom do NOT want to have anything to do with the church because of CLC/SGM. I pray for them daily, I know God will work on their hearts. HE knows the hearts of ALL men. He knows what my children went through and He will work things out in His time. His timing is perfect. I fully trust God to bring back my family to Him.

    About 10 years later I needed a lot of prayer in my life and did find another church whom were wonderful and are missed. The pastor never once preached a sermon on SIN and Submission. He preached on being a Christ Follower, to deny yourself, to seek to HELP others not bring them to church. Their home groups involved bible studies (where the Bible was read – each person reading a verse) but more than that it was an occasion to tell everyone how God had answered prayers, talk about scriptures that had helped (OLD testament as well). Talked about encouraging one another always. I never once “confessed my sin” to anyone in type of setting actually come to think of it I didn’t period. It was not the focus of the church. The church is to ENCOURAGE one another – lift each other up. How can you encourage someone when you are talking about sin? That is just not an encouraging topic. Jesus saved you from your sin. Brothers and Sisters, He knows everything you have ever done or will do in the future. He knows your hearts. Jesus spoke harshly to the Pharisees’ not the sinners.

    I want to say to those children now wonderful young ladies and gentlemen who have stepped forward and are prosecuting those wicked men, Hold fast to the Lord. God will give you strength; He will select the judge for the case. No matter what the defendant’s attorneys tell you or how they try to intimidate you with briefs, motions and whatever else they throw at you –believe with ALL your heart God is in control. You are doing the right thing God will honor this. The Lord has already written the end to this story so just trust in Him and praise Him because you will prevail. I was also involved in a legal battle as a Whistleblower and had a 12 day trial (I won as a Pro Se Complainant) the credit goes to the LORD. The path will not be easy for each of you but you have endured so much this too you shall overcome with Gods help. Nothing is impossible with God NOTHING. Read the Old Testament stories they are stories of God’s Power, How he saves and answers prayers– I loved Joseph, king David, and Queen Ester. Stay close to God and watch HIM Work. The Lord said to me as I was walking down the corridor to the courtroom on the first day of my trial “I am with you”. I will never forget those words. He is faithful, men will let you down but HE does not. To the mothers of these children my heart breaks for you – for you see firsthand the pain and destruction these men caused in your beautiful children you have the pain in knowing how their innocence was stolen from them. Hold Close to God too, He knows what they have gone through He will not abandon them now in their hour of need. Isaiah 40:31 “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” And Deuteronomy 31:8 The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” HOLD to those words the decision has already been written God knows –hint pickup the bible and read the Story of Queen Ester. I know in my heart the Lord will reveal to you what you need. I felt moved to write these words. Please know your in my thoughts and prayers. God will take care you He will see you all through this horrible ordeal. Your daughters are brave and courageous young ladies whom are treasures to the Lord. They are His princesses.

    Final thought this was ALWAYS MISSING from CLC/SGM: Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” NOT YOUR SIN. Your sin is GONE FORGIVEN.

  • Oswald

    Waters @139 — I did not verbalize my concerns to anyone, so I didn’t hear any agreement from anyone.
    This evening I’m feeling particularly creeped out. I’ve heard a testimony from someone recently and was impressed by what I heard. This person was very inspiring. Today I learned more about the ministry through which she was ‘saved’. And I thought ‘this sounds like a cult’ Here’s the creepy part…it sounds so much like SGM in so many ways. Can I have been almost taken in again. BUT GOD led me to do some research this time, and it sounds like a cult. Somehow this seems to be a confirmation for me that SGM/CovFel is also (IMO) a cult, with many believers taken in. Then Waters post above @139 added to my confirmation. I feel creepy tonight because I feel the enemy is knocking at my door, he was trying to trip me up. But I KNOW for sure that Jesus is keeping that door shut against the enemy, giving me His Holy Spirit as a guide for my soul.(I’m reminded of the open and the shut doors in Rev 2/3) I’ve not lost faith, in fact my faith is strengthened as I see God at work. I search the scriptures for wisdom, guidance, and encouragement.
    I know some have been praying for me here, (5yrs, etc). Thank you so much. Please continue. I feel like I don’t trust anyone and I am not looking to go to another church anytime soon. Jesus is my guide.

  • Dr. Pepper

    When the speaking of tongues happened at covfel i thought it was sort of odd because they haven’t had it for so long and then all of a sudden when Jared said he had a sense of someone would be speaking in tongues it happened. No one has spoked in tongues since then.

    To the kool aid drinkers at covfel, please don’t fall for the trap that it really was from the Holy Spirit.

  • Glad i am out

    Cj: Bob i sense that God is putting a prophetic song on your heart for men w/ in-grown toe nails…

    Ok, not really, but it was that weird!! I mean, there were songs for Bald men, songs for men named Bill, etc…

    it was strange. However, there were also songs for divorced parents, children who lived under a divorce, etc… It was not all bad.. But, BOY!!, was Bob on the spot!!!

  • 5yearsinPDI

    Creepy. I am listening an old set of tapes from the 80s and the speaker warned of the danger of pressing into gifts in the flesh, and how easy it is to tap into counterfeit demonic spirits and end up with false prophecy and false tongues.

    Been going on for years though, like at Celebration when CJ would tell Bob he had a prophecy and Bob would say God didn’t tell him that….but then do it anyway. I remember being so creeped out. At the time I thought it was the flesh but something inside me cringed at those performances (hubby felt that way too). This speaker was saying that when you see gifts being forced, often they tap into the demonic realm, not just human soulish flesh, and if you get that inner revulsion, leave immediately. I wish we had been wiser in the 90s.

  • Stunned

    What Waters said in 139.

  • Waters

    MAK and whattodo,

    Don’t know if Ceej is preaching the same Jude sermons—I just can’t bear to listen to his voice to find out. However, since he repeated the Jude sermons several times, it wouldn’t surprise me. ~ Which brings me to reread Oswalds post #87 as he/she reported:
    “At CovFel about 6 weeks ago or so, they said they were EXPECTING someone to speak in tongues and someone to interpret. And so, it happened in the first service of the day. I heard that at the second service they had quite a wait while someone eventually brought an interpretation. I don’t think tongue speaking has happened since. I WONDERED IF IT WAS A SHOW OF STILL BEING CHARASMATIC OR WHAT. IT DID NOT SEEM TO BE FREE-FLOWING FROM THE HOLY SPIRIT. It happened during the “Life in a Changing Church’ sermon series.”

    This is disturbing. Suddenly, after yearrrrrrrrrrrrrrs of no tongue/interpretation in church, they are “EXPECTING” this to occur, by happenstance, during the “Life in a Changing Church” sermon series???????????????
    DANGEROUS to coerce a spiritual gift to operate during church services. ‘Something’ just isn’t quite right here.

    Oswald, do you know if other congregants sensed this was not “free-flowing”??
    This would be an excellent example of *WHY* JESUS said to FLEE from legalism/leaven/pollution: spiritual discernment is assaulted….compromise becomes a part of the entity of the church…compromise leads to lessened seeking for TRUTH.

  • Waters

    Jenn G reminds us of Ed’s observations about SGM at the conclusion of the AOR report. Yes, I too, would love to know WHY
    Ted Kober CHOSE to exclude Ed’s crucially revealing remarks that SGM shows a “culture of selfish ambition, spiritual pride, and legalism. He also spoke of SGM leaders blindly following CJ…”

    Selfish ambition was visibly operating in SGM pastors and leaders who covered up child sex abuse. They obviously wanted to protect the SGM churches and reputation.

    Spiritual pride was operating as they ‘counseled’ parents of sex abuse NOT to report to proper authorities. Spiritual pride was evident when counseling wives to endure abuse and abuse of their children. So prideful of their own ideology at the expense of wounded and mauled girls, boys and women.

    When Mahaney was confronted by J Harris and a handful of Pastors at CLC, those who followed Mahaney and SGM FLED Gaithersburg and relocated to Lousiville KY, rather than remain in their home church, the ‘flag-ship’ church Mahaney founded 30 years ago.

    What a sham you are Ambassadors of Reconciliation. Who could trust your organization to be discerning and fair?

  • Remnant

    Anyone have a guess as to how many people attend CJ’s Sunday meetings?

    I’m assuming mostly family members plus Kaufman’s. Right?

    And how many times have those people heard all CJ’s recycled sermons?

  • whattodo

    Steve240. If CJ is preaching on the same passage he always does in Jude then its his pocket sermon that he pulls out. Preached countless times – sigh.

  • MAK

    Steve240 #134….oh…not the Jude sermons again…can’t he come up with new material…ugh…

  • I looked at the SGLville website and in the sermon archive I dont see that CJ is doing much preaching. Shouldnt the pastor of a new church be busy preaching the Word?

    It looks like CJ. preached the last 3 sermons (all since Dever was there). 2 on Jude and 1 on I Corinthians.

  • Remnant

    3rd Name: I don’t know. People thought we were crazy. We thought we were crazy for not feeling right about all the enthusiasm surrounding that group.

    And you know what we did? A decade later, we sent family there, new believers…many of whom are still there. I feel like blood is on my hands. I have family who attended CLS during the years the “ring” is reported to have operated.

    Face palm.

  • Mr. Nobody

    Remnant #130 BINGO!

  • 3rd name

    Oh Remnant, would that we had known you back then. It would have saved us from so, so much pain and heartache!

  • Remnant

    Formersgmer, #125, ah. I see your point. Again with the integrity (or lack thereof).

    If CJ and Larry were ever ordained, I imagine it was done by the Fort Lauderdale Five in their early shepherding days. I can’t imagine where else or how else they obtained ordination, unless, of course, they ordained each other or had their friends ordain them in an unofficial capacity (ethics again) and they just ran with it.

    Further, to imagine non-ordained men, or men who did not earn ordination through the hard work of year’s of Theological study, then ordaining men through their 9-month pastor’s “college” is mind boggling.

    There is a reason credentials are earned and bestowed by others who have spent the time also earning those credentials. CJ and Larry have spun a legacy of questionable doctrinal purity, heretical (IMHO) gospel understanding and twisted Jesus’ compassion.

    If only they would have heeded a multitude of counselors as young, enthusiastic men. Their pride of so many decades ago has set up the current state of woes.

    Narrowistheway, #117, Stunned in #120 describes well how it all began. They started a church based on their charismatic personalities, the fatigue of people searching for enlightenment through the drug culture of the ’60’s, and an over abundance of enthusiasm. It truly was endearing, different, and refreshing to find something so new and alive.

    They quickly got off God’s path when they decided to start a church rather than continue Tuesday night teaching’s at TAG meetings. It was at that time that a “strange spirit” took over. My husband and I tried so hard for a couple of years to join in, only to be rebuffed both by the Holy Spirit (warning us) and by them (we asked all those annoying questions the Holy Spirit made us wonder about). We were clearly not quiet, sheep followers but black sheep that could have ruined their good thing. They wanted nothing to do with us. Nor we with them, after seeing the direction they were marching in.

    If only they had taken a step back, grown up a bit, grown into men with maturity, dedicated a few years to getting educated and being mentored by mature, Godly men in a Seminary environment, had a chance to bounce their ideas off those who had been Christians for decades, and given God the time to mold them and mold their ideas a bit. If only.

  • Persona


    “Ted Kober has proven himself to be a loyal mercenary for SGM.”

    Loyal Mercenary is the perfect word for all the RBDs, too.

    Paid Mercenaries is even more accurate.

    May God have mercy on us!

  • intheNickoftime

    I looked at the SGLville website and in the sermon archive I dont see that CJ is doing much preaching. Shouldnt the pastor of a new church be busy preaching the Word?

  • intheNickoftime

    Ted Kober has proven himself to be a loyal mercenary for SGM. Why wouldn’t they use him again and again. He worked for SGM before, did what they asked and withstood a fusillade of harsh words and threats over his whitewashing of CJ and SGM as mentioned in the Detwiler documents.

    Why wouldn’t they hire him again?

  • intheNickoftime

    Nickname in 116

    If it looks like a duck, and walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…

  • formersgmer

    I asked about whethe or not Mahaney and Tomczak were ever ordained not because I was curious about their level of theological education. They obviously had none when they started but I am curious if they were claiming the ministers housing allowance whenn they were running TAG. Based on the below, I do not think they would have beeb eligible to claim it. Was Mahaney paid by TAG? I think at that time Tomczak was still working for the AFL-CIO.

    Most services you perform as a minister, priest, rabbi, etc., are ministerial services. These services include:

    •Performing sacerdotal functions,

    •Conducting religious worship, and

    •Controlling, conducting, and maintaining religious organizations (including the religious boards, societies, and other integral agencies of such organizations) that are under the authority of a religious body that is a church or denomination.

    You are considered to control, conduct, and maintain a religious organization if you direct, manage, or promote the organization’s activities.

  • Joy Huff

    Lee… anything to fight against Al Molher is just fine with me.

  • Lee

    Interesting comments about Peter Lumpkins over at FBC Jax Watchdog. His name came up because of Ergun Caner.

    Apparently I am not the only one to feel that Lumpkins movitvations in the SBC resolution about child abuse were not exactly for the children only.

    One poster says this: “Nobody takes Peter Lumpkins seriously. The only reason Lumpkins got on the band wagon against child abuse is because he saw it as a way to strike back at an enemy – Al Mohler”

  • Pffft

    You’ve brought to my attention factors to address in what I consider a threshold matter.
    Thanks for communicating.

  • Stunned

    monkhead, there are few things that make me happier here than when one of us reminds another of Jesus’ love. Thanks so much for letting me know that I got to be a part of that for you today!

  • Shunned

    SGM is nothing but a group of men who got the idea that they can do what other pastors are doing and better. Then they saw the possibility of making it big (i.e. power and money). They went for it. Now they cannot stop even if they wanted to. The machine hass its own life with many feeding from it. The only way Godly reform can come is by undoing all things and go start a new foundation. All else is just tinckering on the walls wheh the very foundation is cracked and sinking. I am not saying this befcause i want ruin for the men who are pastors in SGM. I want this beccause God wants this. God cares for his people (the sheep) more than any leader. Jesus laid down his life for the lost sinners and not for pharisees. If we really care about people in SGM, we need to continue to speak the truth, shine the light, and pray that God would remove any abusive and sinful leadership until he is estaqblished as king and lord. I do not believe SGM leaders believe in sin in their own life and thought. If they all agree, it must be truth and God’s wisdom. This is why so many have been hurt in the past. It is so clear that they hide their actions aainst one from other members. This is why so many believe everything was fine until they pointed out sin in their leaders life. Just because we do not know the earlier abuse, God is not mocked. He will reveal al things (just as it is happening now). Even now, all is not revealed. The SGM pastors are still keeping a tight lid on all things incriminating. However, God will bring all things to light. The more secretive SGM is, the more would be the heavy hand of God coming on them.

    It is sad so many believe that everything was OK until they pointed out pastors sin. The reason for this is that members do not question, evaluate, and dig deeper when an issue is revealed. Most members still believe that pastors have told them all they need to know and that whoever has left is because of sin in their lives. Pastors communicate to members that they do not need to engage or entertain the sinner or his request for fellowship. That is why most who point out sin whould find themselves outside of fellowship very soon and all their friends will vanish. This is done by pastors so that they can control what members think and keep their job. If only members talk to those who have left directly, keep an open mind, jot down their thoughts, look for similarity in how the pastors handle other issues down the road. If all members diligently do that instead of accepting whatever is given by pastros, they will not only see the abuse, they will see how it affects their life as well and theri relationships. Of course, this is hard work. This will also possibly make you ask hard questions of pastors. How many are really men of God who would want to stand up for God no matter what the cost is? We all want creature comforts. This berean way of life may not deliver creature comforts that we all long. When are we going to live like sojoners and not someone who has arrived?

  • monkhead

    ‘Peach’ & ‘Stunned’ – posts 83 & 84 – ur words are so kind, loving, and gentle – so clearly influenced by Jesus. Thank you!!! I relate intimately and 100% to what you say here. ur words are ‘balm’ and love and true treasure.thx!!! May this love continue unabated. thx!!!

  • Stunned

    Is SGM a denomination? Here’s the way I’d answer it. Once upon a time, many, many years ago, whilst I was still a wide eyed SGM attendee, I was talking with a nearly elderly woman (probably in her 50’s) and I was extolling the virtues of my wonderful church. (In reality I was probably just talking about it enthusiastically.) I referred to the church as non-denominational. She asked me if there was more than one church it was associated with. I smiled and said, “Yes.” We waved me off and turned away and said, “Then it’s a denomination.”

    I had to admit, she was right.

  • NarrowistheWay

    Ref: Remnant @108:

    I’m sure this has been ad nauseum in the past. But if cj and Larry weren’t ordained at Halpine Baptist and never went to seminary, exactly what is/was their theological/spiritual background in terms of education?
    They quit the Catholic church, started going to a Baptist church, and then basically started their own church?
    Not that education always brings wisdom or discernment as evidenced by Dever, Mohler, Duncan, DeYoung, etc.., but if I’d known that, I’m not sure I would’ve ever gone to a SGM church.
    They started their own church based on what, exactly? Really? Wow!

  • Nickname

    Is/Was SGM a denomination? It depends on the definition you use. defines it as:” de·nom·i·na·tion [dih-nom-uh-ney-shuhn] noun 1.a religious group, usually including many local churches, often larger than a sect: the Lutheran denomination.”

    However,it has been my understanding that in religious circles, ‘denomination’ carries the connotation that there’s a hierarcy of leadership that governs a group of churches. So the Lutherans, the Methodists, the Presbys, would all be denominations.

    The Southern Baptists have held that they are NOT a denomination because each church is autonomous — there is no hierarchy of leadership or authority over local churches, so they are actually a ‘family of churches’ that simply hang out together once a year in a convention to support missionaries and vote on suggestions (resolutions) with each other.

    So. Go figure. SGM was in the past a denomination with a hierarchy presided over by one person who hired, fired, made policy, changed policy, and dictated to the ‘team-related churches’, but they called themselves a ‘family of churches’ and didn’t like the word denomination, sort of like they didn’t like the terms Sunday school, worship service, reverend, elders, deacons, choirs, etc, etc.

    And now, with the new polity, looks like they are no longer a denomination, but they are a family of churches?? Recently, I’ve seen the use of the word ‘denomination’ from within the camp.

    Doublespeak. A rose is a rose is a rose…

  • 5yearsinPDI

    Pffft…while it is true Paul speaks of miracles, he seems to spend a far greater portion of scripture speaking about his love and care for the church. His devotion like a father with children, working night and day so as not to be a burden. Devotion to prayer for them, being poured out like a drink offering. Worrying about them. Collecting money for them. Warning them of savage wolves, teaching sound doctrine, urging them to holy living and brotherly love. He talks so much about his pastoral and teaching ministry. Signs and wonders seem periferal. He constantly draws their focus back to Jesus christ. He constantly exalts the Lord.

    So I guess- this is just my thoughts, I am no expert- the self styled, self appointed apostles lack this sort of unselfish love and care and devotion to prayer. They lord it over the flock, abusing them, taking advantage of them ( 2 Corinthians). They love to be first among them. Maybe they lay hands on people and miraculous healings happen; God is merciful to the sick. So I would not look at signs and wonders as the single evidence of genuine apostleship, but at the care for the sheep, as well as sound doctrine (I reject Roman Catholic apostolic succession)

    interesting subject, will have to give it more study sometime.

  • Oswald

    Just @111 — He is good and He loves us.

  • Oswald

    Remnant @108 — As learned at IBYC, (Bill G.) there is a chain of command that should not be ignored, like parents, police, mentors, etc.
    Please give me a break and don’t tell all the things wrong about Bill G. We’ve already heard it all. I know, I know…

  • Stunned

    God loves you, just saying. That is the important thing to remember about God.

  • just saying...

    Can anyone just remind me about what is true about God again?

  • Pffft


    The portion you quote is a thought-provoking umbrella to the false apostle phenomenon; I presume it could apply to anyone having miraculous signs. Your distinction, I guess, is that the self-styled apostle lacks miraculous signs whereas the true and false apostles have miraculous signs. It seems plausible enough.

  • Oswald

    Jenn @107 — said “…it’s a great show to bring in Ted Kober”. And we all know that the ‘show’ must go on. To quote Billy Chrystal, ‘Dahhling, you look mahhh-velous’.
    Ah, but ARE you mahhh-velous??

  • Remnant

    Formersgmer, I do not believe that CJ or Larry T were ordained at Halpine Baptist. Pastor Kline was against them starting their own church without first going to seminary, which they never did. The whole SGM thing was done against the advice of their spiritual mentors. And, boy, in hindsight, were those mentors full of wisdom.

  • Jenn Grover

    FormerSGMer – you raise a good point. Ted Kober was brought in because people have questioned why SGM ignored all of AoR’s recommendations and it’s a great show to bring in Ted Kober.

  • Formersgmer

    Oswald @ 104

    That is called trying to have your cake and eat it too. When sgm formed the pastors college, that was when I felt they were becoming a denomination because now they were establishing an institution to establish a systematic theology to help define sgm churches. At one point, they even tried to pursue accreditation for the pastors college but could not because its courses are too short. To that point, I know of one high profile pc grad who told me he was going to a seminary after pastors college because nine months at the pastors college simply did not provide adequate theological education. If I told you who said this you would be surprised.

  • Formersgmer

    More than sgm getting advice from Kober, why is sgm not getting advice on polity from dever and Duncan? If these men are good friends of sgm would they not want to help sgm establish good foundations?

    My own thought is that dever, Duncan, mohler, Carson and others know little to nothing about the inner workings of sgm and probably do not wish to know. Their knowledge of and experience with sgm begins and probably ends with their relationship with mahaney. someone posted on refuge a few years ago, Dever’s interest in sgm is so that he has access to pool of younger men who are potential candidates for his 9 marks internship programs so he (dever) may care about sgm a bit more.

  • Oswald

    Rick @98 — IMO SGM avoided being called a denomination because it indicated things like responsibility, control, oversight that they did not want to be accused of. Oh yes, they wanted the control and oversight without being accused of being responsible for anything that might happen; like the lawsuit. But, of course they like to be seen as responsible for good music and conferences, books, etc. To avoid being accused of lording over any church, they can say ‘we are just a family of churches, all of which are on their own, free to make their own choices, we have no control, we just offer advice, music and books, etc’.

  • Formersgmer


    All of the attributes of orthodox Christianity which mahaney eschewed earlier was simply a function of his immaturity and arrogance in thinking pdi would restore the church.

    Also, does anyone know if mahaney and tomczak were ever officially ordained even at the baptist church where they started.

  • Formersgmer

    When we left our sgm Church I was bothered by their still using the charismatic label but these sign gifts had all ceased but the continuationists label did not bother me because I thought it was a reasonable term to use describe the activity of the Holy Spirit in someone’ s life beyond just looking for manifestations of the spectacular gifts in people’s lives

    Now as a former charismatic who has embraced reformed theology I still beleive that all of the spectacular gifts can occur today but I am troubled by tongues because I do not know what to make of the babble that characterizes current charismatic practice. If you watched “The Bible” series on the history channel earlier this year when the show depicted Pentecost they showed people speaking in Hebrew, Latin, Greek and Aramaic as the book of acts describes. My sense about Pentecost is that it was God reuniting the nations that he had previously separated at Babel to allow the gospel to spread more rapidly. Even in our current generation, I have heard accounts of people speaking in tongues such as Gaelic. I think this type of manifestation of a practical or linguistic tongue is the correct use of the gift and not the seemingly unintelligible talk one often hears in charismatic churches. To my still charismatic brothers and sisters, this is not meant to be a trashing of your experience but simply a believer trying to make sense of a spiritual gift clearly described in scripture, a gift he used to practice but who does not see contemporary practice completely aligning with scripture.

  • Persona

    CJ eschewed anything that smacked of ‘churchianity” (his word).

    At first, he did not want a building, for a long time he did not want a cross on the building, he did not want (boring) Wednesday night meetings, he did not want customary Bible studies before church, on Sunday, he called the Sunday Celebration a ‘meeting’ rather than a ‘service’, he did not want anyone calling the pastors, Reverend or Pastor, he did not even want pastors to look too much like a pastors….on and on and on.

    In my mind, with the formation of the parent organization of PDI, a denomination was born, whether or not the leaders chose to call it that or not. And, that happened really early on.

  • It's just the beginning

    @Rick Malament, #98: over the years/decades, I do not think that CLC/SGM has ever liked to call SGM a “denomination” .. a family of churches named PDI/SGM, sure? but the d-word was never embraced — practically a bad word.

  • Jenn Grover

    Oswald – yes, Ed said those things to me and very similar things to my brother. So, either Ted Kober ignored his colleagues comments or the agreement with SGM was written so that damaging analysis would never be released to SGM churches. The report was a sham.

  • Rick Malament

    Okay, I know I’ve asked this before (yeah, I’m slow), but can someone PLEASE tell me if SGM is a denomination. I mean, they have a BOCO (Book of church order), a polity statement, their own college, Statement of Faith, and on and on. Sure looks like a denomination. Just wondering.

  • Stunned

    Paul, I believe that many people have testified that the abuse they experienced began long before 1988. I only point this out because almost all of us have had the testimony that “it was good until such and such a time.” But the such and such a time varies according to their experience. I have always found this sad/fascinating. Somehow I was blessed while others were already abused. It wasn’t until I came here that I realized others were hurt very early on in the life of GOB/TAG/PDI/SGM.

  • 5yearsinPDI


    based on this scripture :

    “On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness’.”

    … would appear to me that false Apostles doing “mighty works”, and preaching(prophesy as proclaiming God’s word) are unaware that they do not belong to the Lord.

  • Oswald

    Jenn @90 — Thanks for the link.
    Time was when SGM would never have asked advice from the likes of a Lutheran (what could they possibly add to US). Now they probably can’t get anyone else.

  • Oswald

    Jenn @90 — or are YOU that witness?

  • Oswald

    Jenn @90 — Where did Ed of AoR share these words of observation? Are they in writing? Or have we heard them second-hand from people who talked to him at sometime; maybe during the collecting of info for the ‘report’? If the latter, can we get a witness?
    Sorry for allowing my cynicism to show so boldly.

  • Paul K.

    I know we all experience “feelings” in general and the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit differently (I guess – from asking others).

    From 1988 – 2011 (what is called CLC by others -not me – after all it used to be called THE GATHERING OF BELIEVERS and then SILVER SPRING CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY), we were a part of this community because of the bonds of affection built up over the years of being on a common journey together made possible by the one book of truth from heaven, by the only God-Man, Jesus, who gave us Someone worthy of our worship – worthy of our hearts who would never disappoint us, and Who poured out the love of God in our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom He could now baptize us with since God accepted His blood as that which would take away our sin
    so He would not leave us as orphans but make
    His home within us and we would know His manifest Presence within us and never thirst again. The bonds of Affection would be impossible without the Truth of the Word of God (the One Book of Magic if u will – of True Myth),
    the incomparable God-Man (“no one has ever spoken the way this man speaks”), and the Holy Spirit (very God of very God resident within us in a manifest way – a way we feel and know so our faith is not in ideas about God only, but God
    the Son cries out from within us because we are sons, “Abba Father!”

    Therefore community life depends upon a healthy and right intake and application of God’s Word, a growing knowledge, affection (treasuring), and following of Jesus through the indwelling power of the Person of the Holy Spirit.

    By 1988, our community had only three pastors for 1500 people whereas in 1978 our community had 10 pastors for 300 people. It was about this time that Larry Tomczak no longer headed up PDI and CJ began leading both CLC and PDI. In this
    transition – the abusive authoritarian culture
    began to take shape under one man rule. All the things that eventually found themselves on SGS were in their formative stages and snow balled quickly people were asked to leave over big time
    secondary issues. CJ wanted one brand of
    Christian. What was done to so many was hidden : “questions were met w “if u don’t trust us, this is probably not the church for u.” Many other problems emerged – all hidden. In the meantime,
    Mahaney came to know “the important” men of
    God in America and fooled them all into thinking SGM was “the movement” to model movements after.

    In the meantime the rest of us, because of the Word, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit continued to be bonded together despite what pastors did or didn’t do. There were those esteemed by Mahaney and the rest expendable. Many, it was decided by the leadership were in a category called “we don’t have faith to pastor u” ( not because of sin but because “u actually have questions based on God’s word but u don’t trust us so put your Bible away – that’s not the issue.”)

    Consequently we enjoyed God and one another despite the pastors

    I thought August 22, 2011 and Oct 30, 2011 would change all this. August 22 in my mind meant, “we’re only beginning to see the damage of so many years of neglect, poor counsel, abuse of those with differing opinions, pastor worship w standing ovation after standing ovation, punitive rather than redemptive discipline, etc, etc would be delved into, more deeply understood, repudiated and repented of, reconciliation between leaders who had done these things and people within the church and those who left because of mistreatment would be pushed. The August 22 promises made were never kept : it was words not followed by action.

    Oct 30 – JESUS RULED, ELDER-LED, CONGREGATIONALLY ACCOUNTANLE has thus far been meaningless. Decisions are made : major ones with nothing of input by the congregation. There is no more grievance committee. Putting an add for an executive pastor – never discussed with the congregation. The mission statement changed without even informing the congregation.

    So “feelings” (1) sad (2) full of joy in the Holy Spirit, the Person of Jesus, and the eternal word of God. Friends, real ones, remain. The Holy Spirit places the members in the body as it pleases Him and that’s not necessarily “care groups.”

    There’s always hope for a church where God rules but there’s certain righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit” regardless of how much a church marginalized Him. Jesus said something quite powerful with these words ; “It is to your advantage that I go away otherwise I cannot sent the Holy Spirit to you. He is near you but will be in you.” Better to live in the 21st century filled w the Holy Spirit than to walk by Jesus’ side in Galilee.

    Our hope is not in pastors or the churches they build – Jesus builds the church. How grateful we all can be that no matter what, Jesus is enough and every promise of God is YES and AMEN in Him.

  • 28 years gone...

    This, like most everything about SGM/PDI/CLC/CFC is plain and simple. Like the old joke; “It is better to have people think you are an idiot, than to open your mouth and prove it!”

    In the authorized, spin-sanitized SGM version, it goes like this; “It is better to have people think you are guilty, than to open your mouth and prove it!”

  • Jenn Grover

    So, Ted Kober is back at sGM:

    Ted Kober, please come forward with the truth and let your colleague Ed come forward. We have only heard from you, Ted, but Ed shared very different thoughts with some of us than were in the AoR report. Ed talked of a culture of selfish ambition, spiritual pride, and legalism. He spoke of SGM leaders blindly following CJ – why were those comments not in the report, Ted Kober? Why did you cherry pick?

  • 3rd name

    No longer SGM but not angry (from last thread – I’m WAY behind!)
    I was struck by your words that you will be forever grateful for what you learned under CJ. As I reflect on the decades we were there, I, too, am grateful for some of what we learned, although trying to remove the weeds is still very difficult, especially since recognizing the weeds is also difficult. Whew! Long, rambling thought! For many of us, especially as new Christians, we learned a lot in CLC (but unfortunately, not much about God’s love). So yes, you can be grateful to CJ but may I offer a different approach or focus of your thanks? God’s word does not return void. No matter WHO shares Biblical principles, our lives will be forever changed if we embrace those truths. So yes, thanks, CJ, for being the conduit, (Not being man-centered or pastor-centered.) but to GOD be the glory and gratitude for His word is what changes us, not the deliverer of the word.

  • It's just the beginning

    @Somewhereintime, #80: thanks for sharing, what a powerful testimony and what an amazing God we serve!

  • Oswald

    At CovFel about 6 weeks ago or so, they said they were expecting someone to speak in tongues and someone to interpret. And so, it happened in the 1st service of the day. I heard that at the 2nd service they had quite a wait while someone eventually brought an interpretation. I don’t think tongue-speaking has happened since. I wondered if it was a show of still being ‘charismatic’ or what. It did not seem to be something that was free-flowing from the HS. It happened during the ‘Life in a Changing Church’ sermon series. Also, there is prayer for healing after each service on a certain Sunday of each month. And I’ve heard that prophecy is given to people, often by Mark Prater. Also, at CovFel people can go to whatever CG they want to. It seems to be that at some SGM churches people are assigned to one. CFC also no longer has single and family CGs, all are mixed. None of these things are pertinent to the gospel, just ways of keeping people coming and pointing to things they might like.

  • Bookhead

    #81-Jenn Grover- I appreciated your “thinking out loud,” and your statement that a church/denomination should pursue “love for Jesus.” Which reminded me of a similar pursuit which should typify a church: “Love your neighbor.” The church should care for the members and the neighbors outside the church. My mom and dad made the radical decision to change churches because of the love they experienced from one church when my mom was hospitalized. Church members and family members from their first church totally ignored them while my mom was seriously ill, because their church doctrine viewed illness as a result of either sin, or a lack of faith. However, my mom’s nurse, her pastor husband, and their church prayed for and cared my parents. We as Christians, and our church, should be known by our love. Love for God, and love for each other. Forget all the big words, the “isms,” the “ologies,” etc. Jesus even simplified it in Matthew 22:36-39.

    #83 Peach- Great post. We’re probably at the same place.

  • formersgmer

    Here is the link the “Strange Fire” conference. It seems like it is going to be a big deal because registration and the wait lists are already full.

  • Stunned

    Jenn mentioned, “a source of spiritual pride”. It seems to me that any definition of ourselves, other than simply, “Hey, I love Jesus some days and lucky for me, He loves me every day” is an exercise in spiritual pride. If the ONLY thing anyone ever knew about us is that we love Jesus and love others like ourselves… well, what else is there that matters? Wouldn’t it be GLORIOUS if that is the ONLY thing that any of us or any “church” was ever known by? Jesus come and make us known for our LOVE!

  • Peach

    Somewhereintime, thanks for the article. I had just been thinking about that subject today.

    Formersgmer and Jenn – thanks for the comments on the SGM “seven shared values” as expounded by Cabiness. No surprises, but I guess it’s useful to see in print that SGM no longer claims a specifically “charismatic distinctive” – which of course we’ve known experientially for quite a while. “Nick” – good analysis.

    I also want to bring up something from the last thread, with apologies for the lag. I appreciated the timeline recap from Year 1 and on. Like others here have expressed, I, too, naively believed that the revelation of the Detwiler docs would mark the beginning of a “new day” for CLC and SGM. CJ would humble himself, there would be a course correction, etc., etc. Obviously, that didn’t quite go the way we’d hoped.

    I don’t agree with the way that the CLC leadership has done everything since then. With the benefit of hindsight, seeing the way SGM leadership circled the wagons, CJ’s recanted confession, etc., makes some of our pastors’ decisions and public statements post Det-docs seem naïve and foolish now. But many of us were in that same boat. The recommendation I keep hearing that members should leave CLC and any other church which isn’t moving reforms along fast enough perplexes me. But it seems to raise a more fundamental question of “What is Church?” For me to leave friends of many years standing, and countless warm acquaintances, because the pastors aren’t reforming on my timetable is a hard leap for me. It seems to harken back to the pastor-centric view of church that I object to — that the pastors are the be-all and end-all of a church, that we look to them for everything, that members can’t take any initiative unless it comes from the top, and yada-yada.

    I think this view – which was very real in CLC – is changing. Maybe not as fast as we’d like to see, and I strongly suspect that change is not being embraced to the same degree by everyone on the pastoral team, but I do think the pastor-centric model is changing. I have heard, for instance, that there is an open door for member initiatives, and that if your care group isn’t meeting your needs you’re free to find another one, or even to start your own. Member-initiated ministries aren’t exploding exponentially, but in the last few years I have noticed a number of member-led initiatives you wouldn’t have seen back in the old days. Change has begun.

    While I have cordial relationships with a few of the pastors on the team, to me the church is not about them. It’s about regular people loving Jesus and serving others. The way I see it (at least… this week ;-)) is that I’m not going to stress over the fact that I know a pastor at CLC who really seems to not “get it.” And that the new (on-hold) constitution is pretty weak, or what have you. I’ve been living life with the members of CLC for many years now, and if the pastors were to all disappear tomorrow, I would hope that the members could find a way to keep living life together. Yeah, it’s definitely not anything close to perfect, and I keep dialoguing and sending emails about the issues, but the fellowship that we have here (imperfect as it is) and the sense of being “known” (by the members, if not the pastors) is worth something, isn’t it?

    Yes, we need to continue to seek God for the manifestation of the Holy Spirit as in the former days, but I think it’s as likely to happen at CLC as anywhere. And for those who have already left, would you consider sharing the names of the “greener pastures” churches you’re attending where the Holy Spirit is at work? Some of us here might like to visit from time to time. :-)

  • intheNickoftime


    The continuationist vs charismatic is now an exercise in splitting hairs for SGM. They want to keep both groups. It is what allows them to hold on to the Pentecostal/charismatic folks from the old days while at the same time looking good to new people that are not from a holy spirit background.

    The technical word for it is 3rd Wave. That system believes in the workings of the holy spirit but don’t associate themselves with Pentecostal/charismatic backgrounds or experiences. They also view the workings of the holy spirit differently. In the SGM version the spirit can do healings and other miraculous things, but mostly the holy spirit turns our heart towards God, stirs our attentions…encourages us to good works…urges us to expressions of love and care…things like that. Things that most people associate with good people. Wanting to help people after a shooting, or sending money to Sandy victims is just plain empathy and sympathy, you dont have to be born again to do that. But SGM sees those things as manifestations of the holy spirit. In that vein, they see the holy spirit still actively working in the congregations. They aren’t bothered that tongues, healings, interpretations, miracles, important revelations, dancing, hands lifted and active worship that us old timers remember don’t happen any more.

    In short, by definition, SGM folks say continuationist and charismatic are the same, but in practice they dont exhibit any of the gifts most people would term charismatic. (The weak “words” or “prophecy” in most SGM churches are so bland, benign and wimpy one would be hard pressed to call that the working of the spirit.)

  • Jenn Grover

    FormerSGmer – thanks for that summary. I think there are 3 points of interest here.

    First, “Continuationist pneumatology”. They don’t have the guts to call themselves charismatic any more. It is not politically correct among the GC/T4G crowd where “continuationist” makes it tolerable. I am not a fan of John McAurthur. Having grown up in a church where McArthur was king, I remember the vitriol spewed towards charismatics. However, at least John McAurthur has the courage to be honest about how he view charismatic issues. And, he is quite the opportunist: in the shadow of Mahaney-gate, he is putting on a conference to attack Charismatics, called, “Strange Fire.” There are some legitimate criticisms of the televangelist stereotype, but overall, he is just looking for another opportunity to hate on charismatics. A friend noted that an entire conference against something was quite an interesting approach. If your church is contemplating leaving, ask your pastor whether he considers himself a charismatic or a continuationist. It will tell you a lot about the charismatic future of your church.

    The second point of interest is that there is not mention that preaching will be central. Mark Prater made a big deal about the fact that “preaching will always be central in SGM churches.” in a message he preached in Pittsburgh a few Decembers back. I think Mark and SGM still believes that but have avoided advertising it due to the criticism SGM has received about being too pastor-centric. Maybe someone should ask Mark if he would stand by that statement today.

    Lastly, they felt it was important to include their view on complementarianism. I am not weighing the right/wrong of complementarianism but I do wonder why in SGM it is such a big deal? When I visit other churches, churches that would also hold a complementarian viewpoint, and also follow it, it takes some effort to determine where they stand on this issue. So, after a few experiences like that I have to ask myself why is it so important to me and why is it so important to SGM? Does not making a big deal about it mean you believe it any less? I don’t think so. I think it is an intentional point of distinction that is unnecessary and perhaps a source of spiritual pride, and, even now as I type these words, really all 7 of those distinctions are just that, sources of spiritual pride. If you have a polity statement and a doctrinal statement, why do you need a list that highlights these 7 things? So visitors who share your spiritual pride can check off those boxes? Notice that none of those distinctions have anything directly related to Jesus. Sure, you can say that “gospel-centered” (my least favorite phrase in the human language) or Reformed soteriology do, but they way they have evolved in SGM, they, sadly, have little do with Jesus. Does Scripture say, that the world will know we are Christians by our Reformed soteriology? Nope. I think a church or denomination should pursue one distinctive: love for Jesus.

    (end of thinking out loud.)

  • Somewhereintime

    Here is an article that I ran across, by accident, that discusses a person who fell in to sin, and FULLY repented. An example that any of us should follow when we fall in to sin. One that I pray will one day be the mark of SGM’s leaders.

    “I want to share with you what I regard as an outstanding example of this very thing (true repentence). Some of you were here five years ago when we had to take an action in this church, which was very painful at the time, with regard to a brother Christian,________. (*) He was involved with certain acts of homosexuality which he resisted counsel on, and refused to acknowledge were wrong, and eventually we had to take this step of telling it to the church, which we did. It was a very painful and a very grievous time because we loved him deeply. A couple of weeks ago, however, I received this letter from him, and I share it with you with his full permission:

    My fellow Christians,

    Several years ago the congregations of PBC and South Hills Community Church took public action against me in accordance with Matthew 18:15-20. The charges against me were true.

    I cannot reverse history and relive the events that led me to my downfall. I have harmed many people and brought ruin to myself. Because I was an outspoken, prominent member of the Christian community my sins have been all the more deplorable and horrendous.

    After I became a Christian some 18 years ago I failed to deal thoroughly with lust, covetousness and masturbation. In time I became self-deceived, proud and arrogant. Moreover, eventually God shouted upon the housetops that which I had tried desperately to keep hidden. God finally let me go into alcoholism and sexual immorality, both of which were worse than I experienced before my conversion. Twice I went through the horror and hell of manic-depressive psychoses (as Nebuchadnezzar did) that I might learn that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.

    I am very fortunate to be alive. I came very close to suicide and should have died in ignominy and disgrace except for the scripture which says, “Dost thou work wonders for the dead? Do the shades rise up to praise thee? Is thy steadfast love declared in the grave, or thy faithfulness in Abaddon?”

    I am in need of your forgiveness for I have wronged you all. I earnestly desire your prayers for wholeness and complete deliverance from homosexuality. The church widely believes today that there is no cure for homosexuality beyond arrested development as a celibate. I am certain that God can do much more than he has already done for me and for countless others in this area who are afflicted with this crippling disease.

    It is impossible for me to retrace my footsteps and right every wrong, however I welcome the opportunity to meet and pray with any individuals who have something against me that needs resolution. I am looking and waiting for the further grace and mercy of God in this matter. What you have bound on earth has been bound in heaven, and I now know your actions were done in love for my own good and that of the Body of Christ.


    * [This man's name was changed in the printed sermon to avoid unnecessary notoriety. Ed.]

    A few days ago a number of us who had been closely associated with him asked him to join us in a “welcome home” dinner. We killed the fatted calf. (We had barbecued veal. This was the first time veal steaks have ever been barbecued, I think.) Then we asked him to stand up, and we welcomed him back, as one who had been dead but was alive again. We called out to bring a gold ring to put upon his finger. We bought him a new sport coat and put it on his back, and welcomed him home as the prodigal son.

    He felt so welcomed, and forgiven, that he sat down afterward to tell us what God had taken him through in these intervening years, how God had dealt with him in ways that were ruthless and yet loving, and what a hell he had gone through. He said, “I’ve come to know the full meaning of the words, ‘It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God’.” But it was a joyful time of restoration and of renewing our love and fellowship.

    We rejoice, as I am sure the angels in heaven are rejoicing, that God has effected this discipline not by human pressures, but by the power of God at work in an individual heart in obedience to the word of the living God. This is what the apostle is talking about.

    So these are the marks of a true apostle: Certain authenticating signs that only the original apostles had; a selfless spirit that loves and does not demand anything in return; a sense of accountability to God alone and not ultimately to the congregation or to any man; a reliance upon the power of God to carry out the work of God on earth. If we base our faith on men with these qualifications we will find ourselves standing firmly, in spite of all the shaking that is going on in our day. I urge that upon you in this time.


  • formersgmer

    Following are the seven shared values of SGM churches from Craig Cabiness message at the recent regional elders meeting. These are ostensibly derived from the SGN Book of Church Order

    1.Reformed soteriology
    2.Gospel-centered doctrine and preaching
    3.Continuationist pneumatology
    4.Complementarian leadership in the home and church
    5.Elder-governed and -led churches
    6.National and international outreach and church planting
    7.A family of interdependent churches united in fellowship, mission, and governance

    If the first item is the only reformed distinctive SGM aderes to I hope that they will have the ethical standung to not refer to themselvs as essentiality reformed any longer.

    What is Gospel Centered Doctrine? It sounds like another term like “sound doctrine” that SGM will define over time.

  • Somewhereintime

    Apostles …

    Brent and I had a discussion about them. My point is that UNLESS an apostle shows the outward gifts that are identified in scripture, then that person is NOT an apostle. I am not a cessationist, but I have yet to see ANYONE exhibiting those gifts, in SGM or any other place. Is it just me? Does anyone know of any?

    “I have been a fool! You forced me to it, for I ought to have been commended by you. For I am not at all inferior to these superlative apostles, even though I am nothing. The signs of a true apostle were performed among you in all patience, with signs and wonders and mighty works. For in what were you less favored than the rest of the churches, except that I myself did not burden you? Forgive me this wrong! (2 Corinthians 12:11-13 RSV)

  • Bridget

    5yearsin PDI @ 75 –

    That has been my thought all along about the A Team. They were self appointed, er, or appointed by those who had been self appointed. They were never set in, or recognized, by anyone but themselves. If they had been part of a church body which recognized them and set them apart because of their deeds and good works in spreading the Gospel, and continued in that work, it might be a different story. But it’s not a different story. As an aside, anyone can “function” as an Apostle without the title. It’s a matter of what a man does and his attitude in doing what he does that is important.

  • Pffft


    I had never considered a distinction between false apostles and self appointed apostles.
    Do false apostles, under your distinction, know that they are servants of satan and/or not saved?
    “Masquerading” could apply equally, in my mind, to self-styled apostles and to false apostles.
    I would be interested to read a break down.

  • 5yearsinPDI

    I apologize for my remarks that CJ is not saved, after a rather intense theological discussion with my husband. He agrees that the 2 Corinthians passage about false apostles is clear that they are servants of satan, masquerading, and not saved. A false apostle is not a Christian.

    However, he pointed out that I am assuming CJ is or ever was an apostle of any sort. He does not believe any of the apostolic team were ever apostles, even with a charismatic understanding of the continuation of apostolic ministry. They were self appointed apostles, not called by God to do what they did (lord it over local churches and local elders). They are vintage 70s shepherding error, and always were.

    He believes CJ appeared to be saved way back when, and has fallen into deception and other sins, but he never was a false or true or any sort of apostle…just a screwed up sinner like all the rest of us who fell under some dark influences. God may yet deliver him.

    So, while holding to the position that the false apostles Paul fought at Corinth were not Christians, I will remove the A team and CJ from that category and into the never really apostle category, and apologize for judging his secret heart and his salvation.

  • Stunned

    shunned, I am afraid that most of what you write is true. :( I hate to think of more pain coming to those in SGM, but this is not over, no matter how deeply one may want to bury one’s head in the sand. Stunned

  • TrustingOnlyInJesus

    intheNickoftime #72:
    Right on. Also, go back to the Recommendations of the AOR report and see how many were actually addressed – only those that served the regime’s agenda. Absolutely no reconciliation has come from SGM – mainly because it takes integrity and godly charater to admit sin, truly repent and then seek reconciliation. SGM leadership lacks integrity and are only “humble” if it benefits them.

  • intheNickoftime

    AoR was not brought in to do a real investigation. They were brought in to whitewash the whole ordeal and make it possible to re-install CJ as pope.

  • 5yearsinPDI

    re Brent’s post…..

    When the AoR report came out, and AoR said clearly that they did not feel adequate to deal with the sex abuse related conflicts, at that moment in time there should have been an immediate decision to get in somebody who was capable of dealing with them, like Boz. It is no shame to AoR to say they were in over their heads. That was good to admit.

    And T4G and GC should have said “hey, if AoR is not equipped to resolve these sex abuse related cases SGM, you MUST seek out other help and at least try to get them resolved”. Why didn’t CJ’s buddies insist SGM get help with these specific cases? This is a speaker at their national conferences…..why was there not a standard set that with unresolved serious problems in his churches, the speaker must get adequate help to try and deal with them?

    If the doctor says he can’t help you and you need a specialist, you take it up a notch. You don’t do nothing if you want to be healthy and get better.

    I still hope that the GC guys are like Peter in Antioch ( book of Galatians). He fell into terrible fear of man and hypocrisy and Barnabus followed. But many years later he had repented and was writing his wonderful epistle. I pray they turn, and the years ahead are fruitful. It is all so grievous to watch.

  • shunned

    We are all waiting with a baited breath hoping that SGM and related churches would glorify God and do what they always preached and modeled. After the last two years, we all know that they never lived what they preached. It is for all of us suckers! They do not have any interest in taking responsibility or care about members of the church. Their only goal is to minimize, delay, verbal calisthanics, and call you a sinner. Once all this done, there is no reason for them to even feel any remorse. I just say start praying that God would severely spank every single one of these guys who call themselves pastors but refuse to put god’s people ahead of themselves. Do not relent but continue to pray severe discipline of the Lord. This is so that they can be saved and the Lord’s people will be cared for and led down the righteous path by humble saints. This is very bad. These guys are really really bad. If they will not submit to God and admit sin and do the right thing even after all this revelation, I only fear what they will respond to. My only guess is thier discipline is not over by a long shot. Continue to speak out. Contnue to call them to repent. Continue to be a voice in SGM’s life. Do not give up just as they do not give up placing themselves ahead and defending themselves. We as God’s people have the responsibility to continue to vociferously call them to humility and repentance. Do not give up. Have faith in a God who can humble a king or raise up a peasant.

  • Persona

    Yellow 68

    It would be simply astonishing to hear Josh speak the plain, unvetted, unadulterated truth.

    Who knows? It might even begin a cascade of other pastors telling the truth and in the end, incite revival of the American (corrupted) version of the church.

    “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” Jn 8:38

  • Yellow is a Happy Color

    Just thinking outside the box:

    What if Covenant Life Church did the most courageous and integrity-filled thing of all: admitted they were wrong. NOW????

    Yeah, maybe they’d financially put themselves at risk, maybe pastors would lose their jobs, maybe the church would have to close, maybe disillusioned believers would find themselves looking for a new church…….

    Someone once wrote a book about doing hard things………

    I don’t want to offend anyone, and a church closing its doors will always be a sad thing. But sadder still are all the victims of sexual abuse who have been consistently marginalized and dismissed by Covenant Life church.

  • Dr. Pepper

    I have a question. If Brent has hard evidence that there was a cover up then wouldn’t there be criminal proceedings happening already?

  • Same Ol same ol

    Steve 240-4,
    Persona -18,

    Bingo. Just more smoke and mirrors, imo.

  • 5yearsinPDI

    Pam Palmer#50…..totally excellent response and set of quotes. Thank you.

    Jenn #59….if they backed down even from that most basic and non committal apology Greg Somerville sent to the blog, can we expect them to do more?

    And by the way, stop blaming Reformed theology for this crap. John Owen and Jonathan Edwards and Spurgeon and the rest must be screaming with horror in their graves……

  • It seems, to me, that they have chosen to pursue winning the lawsuit above the glory of God. Nemo was absolutely right with the Scripture he/she posted. True, CLC pastors have been charged with caring for the church, but the church are the people in the church, not an institution. The view that institution is the church versus relationships is one of the negative side effects of SGM adopting reformed theology.

    Well the high road for CLC/SGM would be that if what is alleged occurred then some type of financial settlement to occur even if the statute of limitations has expired. That is why it would be good for CLC to try and get to the bottom of this and see if they can figure out which allegations (if any but am sure some do) have merit.

  • notBob

    When I attended a SG church, I stopped going to the family, or church-wide, meetings outside of Sunday morning. Nothing was ever revealed. It was always, “we are considering”, “we are studying”, there is a possibility that ….” and you could never get a firm date or action defined. To question this was to be rebellious. The only firm decisions I ever saw were when a pastor, or their family member, was going to be sent on a missions trip. No problem deciding to spend hard-earned money given as tithes on themselves!

  • Oswald

    Phoenix @55 — Apology accepted by me, though one is not needed. Here’s the deal…I believe 99.9% of the whole lawsuit, but I’m skeptical concerning a few things that seem made-up and far-out in the 2nd amended complaint. And I know others feel this way also. I also know you are someone with first-hand knowledge and emotional involvement and I’m sorry for that. I’ve been there/done that, too.
    This will not be the first time I am accused of supidity and meanness. And we know I’m cowardly or I would not use the name ‘Oswald’ here instead of my given name.
    My only concern is the name God calls me.
    Praying for all concerned.

  • Dr. Pepper


    A few of the people that went on the church plant were back at covfel including the pastor. However, the pastor is NOT is pastor at covfel now. I don’t think they’re meeting at homes.

  • Jenn Grover

    I have to say, I am actually more discouraged by the path CLC chose a day later.

    It seems, to me, that they have chosen to pursue winning the lawsuit above the glory of God. Nemo was absolutely right with the Scripture he/she posted. True, CLC pastors have been charged with caring for the church, but the church are the people in the church, not an institution. The view that institution is the church versus relationships is one of the negative side effects of SGM adopting reformed theology. This is not something I had thought of until I read this book review of Tim Keller’s book: I mostly agreed with the review’s perspective.

    So, perhaps CLC will explain why they are putting the lawsuit first. Maybe there is some law that prohibits them making amends first. If so, I hope someone tells us. However, if it is because the lawyers and insurance companies are driving the bus, I am not impressed. There is no escape clause to obeying Scripture and honoring God, one that would excuse us in the event it was financially harmful. And, if CLC thinks they stand a better chance of surviving by following lawyers than obeying god, I believe they are incorrect.

    For the sake of argument, maybe many of the accused are innocent. You are causing further division by leaving the unanswered charges out there.

    Perhaps you don’t agree with the term “ring” but you know that abuse did occur and that pastors did counsel people not to go to the police or that victims were not treated kindly. You are concealing the truth and practicing deception by trying to discredit the attorney and plaintiffs. You are telling a narrative that is only partly true – hardly the spirit and intent of honesty.

    Would CLC, Fairfax, or even SGM please stop and consider how badly a corporate style response like you are showing maligns the gospel?

  • Dr.Pepper

    Are they not meeting at all or just scaling back and meeting at people’s homes etc? It sounds like has more to do with money coming in vs. association with SGM.

  • Dr. Pepper


    I’ve heard that they decided to wait a year or so and see what God has in store. It could either be a church replant or just close the church officially. Also, I heard that was someone who actually was part of the church so it was not from a third person.

  • Has anyone heard any updates on the SGM Middletown DE Church that Chris Patton is the pastor of? This church’s website still indicates that they are taking a break from Sunday services.

    The break has now been a month or so.

  • Phoenix

    I do want to make a clarification of my #53. I definitely don’t think that Oswald is either stupid, cowardly, or mean and Bob (who I do not know) is probably not either; and it may have sounded like I was calling them names. My apologies for that. However, I don’t for an instant retract my statement that the idea of being “equally skeptical” is all three of those things.

    How much more benefit of the doubt do these guys get?

    Are people waiting to see which side “wins” before they pick a side? Because that’s what this looks like.

  • Bridget

    Though there were some issues going on for a while, I wouldn’t say it was 30 years. Sure there were problems going back to the TAG days including the rivalry between C.J. and Larry and control issues since almost the beginning of CLC (called Gathering of Believers). It appears most started later. The blackmailing and hiding it was for over 10 years. 15 years might be a better number to use.

    It is hard to believe that CLC thought C.J. and other SGM Leaders would be “swayed by the HS and repent and change” after their refusing to call the release of the documents and its exposure the Lord’s discipline. I think Harvey called the documents “slander.”

  • Phoenix

    Bob #45 and Oswald #51,

    Really? You would apply skepticism/cynicism equally? To proven liars who have made it no secret; by their documented actions and words, that they consider it their responsibility to protect the reputation of the church above all? And to victims who told their stories long before they had anything to gain by telling them but character assassination?

    That sounds on the face of it very fair-minded but it is really cowardly, mean, and stupid. You may not be cowardly, mean, and stupid people, but really?

    I am personally aware of one of the stories in the lawsuit. I WAS there when the perp confessed, with the family of the victim as they were deceived, manipulated, and hounded out of the church, AND with the family of the perp as they were coddled and more incidents of sexual abuse occurred.

  • Bridget

    It’sjustthebeginning@49 –

    Why would Josh and the CLC pastors think that CJ and the others leading SGM with him would be swayed by the HS and repent and change? As I’ve read this information over the past two years, including SGM’s own “press” releases and communications to their family of churches, it was quite clear to me that CJ/SGM has not been softened or swayed by the HS for some time. I just don’t see why the CLC pastors would think that anything different would occur. Most of them have seen the same patterns for 30 years. After 30 years (fewer years for Josh, but Josh saw issues) of patterns you’d think they could respond in reality. They could still be in faith that God is at work WITHOUT giving a pass on the real and harmful actions that were continuing before their eyes. It’s a hard thing to respond like this to people you love, but it’s not impossible. It seems harder to deal with the issues than let them fade into the background, but that is a lie. The issues are still there and will arise again. We are seeing the bad fruit of dishonesty and covering up of sin, that should not have been covered, play out in SGM now. I hope CLC and Josh don’t continue down the same path.

  • Oswald

    Bob @45 — I thought that same thing a few days ago.

  • Pam Palmer

    Bob @45

    I say, we should apply the same skepticism equally. The fact is unless we were there, we just don’t know. Let’s apply the same cynicism toward both sides.

    Skepticism or cynicism should NOT be applied equally. The public can withhold pronouncing judgement until a criminal investigation and court case is completed, but skepticism is the last thing that a concerned citizen should direct at a victim.
    Statistically, pedophiles are notorious at lying and deceiving others around them, denying that they really did do such horrible crimes. From an article published by the Mayo Clinic:

    When confronted about engaging in such activities, pedophiles commonly justify and minimize their actions by stating that the acts “had educational value,” that the child derived pleasure from the acts or attention, or that the child was provocative and encouraged the acts in some way…A US Department of Justice manual for law enforcement officers identifies 5 common psychological defense patterns in pedophiles: (1) denial (eg, “Is it wrong to give a child a hug?”), (2) minimization (“It only happened once”), (3) justification (eg, “I am a boy lover, not a child molester”), (4) fabrication (activities were research for a scholarly project), and (5) attack (character attacks on child, prosecutors, or police, as well as potential for physical violence)*.

    And conversely, victims of pedophiles within religious organizations, are sadly, often not believed by those around them, even though false claims of sex abuse are very rare.**/+ From the Child Protection Project’s website, an organization fighting the abuse of women and kids in the FLDS cult:

    It’s expected that any religious organization will have some predatory pedophiles join, in order to gain access to children. What is alarming about these cases is that in nearly every one, the people (usually women) making the allegations are not believed, are often vilified as troublemakers, shunned, and lose their church support system at a time when they need it most. In a number of these cases Religious officials had notice for ten to thirty years of the abuse and did nothing to help the children. Unbelievably, the perpetrator is regularly offered counseling and even financial help by his Church while the victims, often single parent families, fend for themselves.

    It is shocking how similar the reaction to abuse allegations in the FDLS church is to how things allegedly have occurred in SGM/CLC/SGC.


  • It's just the beginning

    I totally agree Rick.

    You also see the cumulative effect of small mistakes/errors made throughout the last two years. 6 weeks after the documents come out, Josh says this:
    “You know, in an ideal world it would be best for C.J. to stay here. I think he agrees with that. I think he would want that.”

    If the right thing to do was to have stay at CLC and not flee to CHBC, then it should have happened that way.
    If the right thing to do is to _not_ plant a church when you have open and unresolved issues with the pastors from your former church, you shouldn’t plant a new church.


    There is never a good enough reason to do the wrong thing, yet tolerance and the over-emphasis on being at peace with your brother opens the door for so many real problems/concerns to be swept under the rug for the sake of unity. Unity trumps righteousness; unity trumps true accountability.

    I think many years from now (possibly even now?) Josh and the CLC pastors will realize their mistakes of leniance (if that’s a word) and tolerance–I understand WHY they did what they did at certain times..I watched it all unfold: it was always with a heart seeking reconciliation / giving CJ/SGM space for God to penetrate their heart. Josh truly believed that CJ/SGM would give in to the conviction of the Holy Spirit and recognize that how CJ/SGM was responding to the CLC pastors was wrong (even if CJ/SGM had valid concerns where Josh/CLC pastors got things wrong) ….. but that never happened.

  • Tempest

    From the last thread:

    “The only quote worth noting from Josh Harris was “(the) plaintiff’s picture is not accurate it is far from accurate”.

    I find this incredibly sad coming from the Sr.Pastor who tearfully told his church just last month that he was a victim of child sex abuse. Was he physically present for each and every allegation?

  • Rick

    The most disheartening characteristic of the CLC and SGM leadership is their tolerance (for several years or more) of leadership hypocrisy and deceit that the Detwiler document dump so meticulously documented. We sometimes think that the boundaries of integrity are rooted in abstaining from adultery and embezzlement of funds. I think hypocrisy and deceit (a false facade of righeousness) are, frankly, more corrosive to the life of a church than the ‘big 2′ sins.

    That tolerance (and the documents make it clear they observed questionable behavior for years) is what makes moving forward so hard–their refusal to self-disclose robs them of a necessary credibility with all except the hardened faithful. That is why, even a well-meaning comment that CJ is not disqualified from ministry, is a relatively dangerous (to one’s own credibility) statement to make. Silence really is golden, at times.

  • It’s just the begninning re: 43

    I would say that there is a big difference between not being “comfortable” with having someone as a leader of your and the person being disqualified as a leader. Sometimes this happnens with leaders have different doctrinal beliefs (e.g. Calvinism) or views of how the group should be going. Sometimes people are comfortable with a certain personality type on staff but that doesn’t make the person disqualified.


    Regarding Josh and others being ambivalent and kind of explaining Josh saying C.J. wasn’t disqualified, Josh said this 1 year after the documents became public. By that time a lot of the dust had settled. I could accept this explanation had Josh said what he said earlier.

    Josh indicating that C.J. wasn’t disqualified almost leads one to believe that Josh had more details than are public about C.J.’s actions that better explained C.J.’s actions. I doubt that there was but that is what someone could read into this. On the other hand, maybe it was just Josh Harris fence walking.

    It was still disappointing to hear Josh claiming C.J. Mahaney wasn’t disqualified.

  • Bob

    Kris, you wrote: “This really gets at the heart of what goes on anytime anyone says one or another of the lawsuit allegations cannot be true. Unless one has personal insider knowledge, one is just exercising faith in what one thinks one knows about the defendants.”

    Agree wholeheartedly. But, of course, the same can be said on the flip side. In other words … This really gets at the heart of what goes on anytime anyone says one or another of the lawsuit allegations ARE true. Unless one has personal insider knowledge, one is just exercising faith in what one thinks one knows about the PLAINTIFFS.

    I say, we should apply the same skepticism equally. The fact is unless we were there, we just don’t know. Let’s apply the same cynicism toward both sides.

  • Nickname

    #43 – It’s Just the Beginning

    I’d imagine that Josh and many others involved in this situation have been ambivalent about many things throughout this trial, and that his/their opinions about qualification and other subjects have changed as more and more information came to light.

    It is so hard — so hard — to believe bad things about someone you love. This is why victims of pedophiles are often not believed at first. It’s easier for us to believe that a beloved victim lied or misunderstood than it is to believe that a beloved friend/relative committed an act our minds can’t even begin to re-create. Our minds can handle the ‘small sin’ of lying much easier than we can the huge sin of molestation.

    It’s incredibly hard to believe that someone you have loved and trusted as your Christian brother and leader has acted wrongly.

    Our defense mechanisms kick in; we deny, minimize, normalize — combinations of all three things — because our hearts are broken and our minds are in states of disbelief.

    As time goes on, the truth will be easier to swallow — I hope.

  • It's just the beginning

    Steve240: I agree that Josh should not have said that, especially since just a few months later Josh said at a coffee and questions*** that they would not feel comfortable if CJ were a pastor at CLC. If you’re not comfortable with him ministering at your own church, how can you be comfortable with him ministering somewhere else? That was a foolish sentence to say. I think given the context, he wanted to “wish CJ well” in his new church plant.

    ***[not sure which coffee and questions it guess was it was closer to the Sep-Nov 2012 timeframe]


    Three sentences later Josh says this: “I am disappointed by aspects of the way he’s [CJ] related to our pastoral team and to our church through this process.” — but apparently on June 28, 2012 those disappointments in CJ’s behavior didn’t amount to enough for Josh personally to think CJ was disqualified. I wonder if he still feels this way?

  • This is what Brent quotes Josh Harris as saying July 2012:

    Some of you have told me that you think we should have publicly disciplined CJ or should speak against him serving as a pastor. I disagree with that. I do not believe CJ is disqualified from ministry. And so I wish him success in his new church plant and pray that he will prosper.

    It can be found here

    Under the subheading ” Relationship with CJ”

    This is one of the most disappointing words I have read about Josh Harris saying.

  • Dr. Pepper

    Sometimes I think we’re living in a dream. Sometimes I sill cannot believe that two years ago the docs came out and in Dec. 2012 covlife became no longer a sgm church. It’s still very shocking. If someone would have told me in 2010 that covlife would not be a sgm church anymore I would have laughed in their face.

  • Marie

    Jenn Grover #6, yes it was me who brought up Zechariah 4:10: “New International Version (©2011)
    “Who dares despise the day of small things, since the seven eyes of the LORD that range throughout the earth will rejoice when they see the chosen capstone in the hand of Zerubbabel?””

    I had said before that this verse could get mis-quoted, because I am sure there is an entire context behind it.

    How I hope and pray that CLC makes a serious, impartial independent investigation outside of the lawsuit.

    I was never a part of CLC so I don’t feel like I have the right to share an opinion about it, except to support ExClC-er’s point that it was unfair of the lawyer to insert opinions into his speech.

    I hope that this could be the start of something new for CLC, but I am sensing from the people who are more familiar with that church that things are continuing to look bad…

  • Mr Stretch

    Sounds like another ho hum day in SGM.

    Let’s just all move along so we can get on with our lives. This whole thing has been just a bother. Can’t we just all go back to telling everyone how worthless they are. Man, isn’t that an awesome calling. Let’s all say I’m a worthless worm together. C’mon you all can do it!!

  • nemo

    It has been said that CLC and SGM can not speak about the specifics of the case while the civil suit is being appealed. Even though they won round 1 on a technicality, they should seek to settle. There is a statute of limitations in man’s justice system, but not in God’s justice system. If people were harmed, CLC and SGM should seek ways to compensate them. Does God care if they waited to long to file? CLC and SGM should follow Matthew 5: 25-26:

    25 “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.

    Once they have settled, they can freely confess and begin the healing. Healing will not occur until then.

  • Yellow is a Happy Color

    Thank you, to the Covenant Life folks who posted about the meeting.

    Wow, in the past 2 years, nothing has really changed…… For shame.

    CLC members, take this meeting as a clear sign from God that your church leadership is toxic. Get out, and go find a healthy church. There are tons around, and the folks there would welcome you and help you heal.

  • Persona

    I remember Josh saying he “..could not say CJ was disqualified from leading.”

    I have heard so much double-speak over the years that I immediately recognized Josh was being very carefully in choosing his words and it probably meant there was a hidden meaning in his choice at that time. Later, as I read that Josh’s position at SGM at the time, forbade him to evaluate or bring judgement upon CJ, I realized why he chose the words he did that day.

    CJ protects himself well. NO ONE is allowed to assess him, negatively, that is.

  • Rick

    Justawife–thanks–my memory must be in a state of fade.

  • justawife

    IJTB#32: I recall a clear message from the pastors (all but one who disagreed with the statement) “We do not believe CJ is unqualified for ministry”. They then backed it up at a Coffee and Questions by stating it was not their place to make that determination, that was SGM’s place to determine whether or not he was fit for ministry, since many people were disturbed by the statement.

    They did say at that Coffee and Questions that if CJ wanted to return and preach they would not just let him preach until he had addressed the issues he left unresolved. So it was almost as if they weren’t saying he was disqualified from ministry but he was disqualified from ministry at CLC unless he resolved some major issues he left behind. It would have been better, IMHO, to not have said anything regarding his fitness for SGM ministry.

    Rick#33: There really weren’t much flattering words toward CJ or SGM so much as no ill will. I think there was something at the time (this is around the time he moved to Louisville) that basically wished him and those other SGM pastors well in their church plant there. At the same time, this information was simply relayed in a members email and was never really made a big deal of. CJ and other SGM employees were never sent off with any lofty grandeur (though I do believe this happened at SRC). It was mentioned but mainly ignored with neither extreme praise for CJ or condemnation.

    There may have been some blurb about being thankful to CJ about his years of service to CLC but it was relatively minor. Still, in light of how Larry Tomczak left and how his role in founding CLC was pretty much equivalent to that of CJ, it felt a little unfair to some that CJ received at least minor recognition while Larry T never was.

    I do think the tone of CLC towards SGM still attempts to be as non-threatening as possible (the mention of them as brothers in the faith). There isn’t any explicit praise for SGM or CJ anymore as there used to be, however. I often wish CLC pastors came down a little harsher against SGM and how they had acted, but I understand that they really didn’t want to offend people. Ironically, their not calling CJ, SGM, and the whole AoR process out did lead a fair amount of people to leave CLC.

  • Rick

    IJTB (32)–thanks for the clarification. I did not remember the statement that they would not let CJ be a pastor again. I remember a lot of flattering words toward CJ and SGM from Josh in that immediate time period.

  • It's just the beginning

    @justawife, #29: you said “I don’t think a declaration should have been made regarding CJ’s fitness or unfitness for ministry” — from my memory, the CLC pastors never made any declaration about CJ’s fitness or unfitness. They did say that if CJ were to come back to CLC, they would not let him be a pastor–and based on what had traspired up to that point (this was probably in the Oct 2011 timeframe), I totally understood with and agreed with the pastors.

  • intheNickoftime

    Just because a panel “found him” not to be disqualified doesn’t mean it was so.

    You can be found innocent of all kinds of crimes but that doesn’t mean you didn’t do it. It just means you got an expensive lawyer. CJ/Harvey/SGM paid big bucks to get an innocent finding for CJ.

    And if the CLC guys would say things in plain English, and move away from the “lawyerspeak” and saying things so that they don’t come back on them, we would all be better off.

    Lastly, CJ may have officially left CLC but he was still sucking up the adoration and worship from all the kool-aid drinkers, and he was in the building so much of the time it would be difficult for many to understand the fine points of whether CLC guys could or could not speak into his life and make judgments on whether he was disqualified or not.

  • JustAGirl

    EXCLCER: You are absolutely correct in every single comment! Josh was not apart of the church or Sovereign Grace when any of these allegations were going on. He probably hadn’t even heard of them at the time. He has NO right to say that these allegations are untrue and that the CLC pastors never did these things because he was not one of them, nor did he even know them at this time. He came to be an intern when I was in middle school and has no clue what these children went through. My main concern is that maybe these things are still going on at CLC and he’s trying to cover up those too.

    As a person who KNOWS that these things happened, no one has the right to say “they didn’t happen”. I just hope that this only makes them realize that there is an issue that needs to be corrected and not hidden. Our children deserve this.

  • justawife

    IJTB27: I don’t think a declaration should have been made regarding CJ’s fitness or unfitness for ministry. There is one pastor on staff at CLC who was against any such mention of CJ’s qualification for ministry. If it wasn’t their job to assess his fitness for ministry then why did they declare him fit one way or another?

    I agree it was a hard time for CLC pastors as they were dealing at the time with a very hurt church over what CJ had done in the whole blackmail fiasco, the disinvitation of Larry Tomczak, and the fleeing to Capitol Hill only to leave CLC and go to Solid Rock and then plant a church in Kentucky.

    Maybe they didn’t want to burn their bridges with CJ and wanted him to come back at some point and address many of the members valid concerns. I think a good amount of people left CLC following this incident as they were particularly hurt over the preferential treatment of CJ and his family following the revelation of events.

  • 5yearsinPDI

    rick- I believe you are referring to the three man panel with Ortland and Trueman. Yes, they said CJ had done some normal human typical sins, but not the scandalous kinds that disqualify a man from church leadership. I am sure you can bring that report up with a search.

  • It's just the beginning

    The CLC pastors would not declare him unfit, i.e. they would not say he was disqualified from ministry. BUT at the same time, the CLC pastors did say if he were to come back to CLC to be put on staff [by SGM or something], the CLC pastors would not just let him on staff because they had concerns about his leadership.

    So the CLC pastors at the time were not comfortable having CJ on staff at CLC–they made that perfectly clear. But they didn’t feel it was their place to declare him unqualified for ministry.

    Does that make sense?

    The sentence in bold above is certainly debatable: should the CLC pastors have made the public declaration that CJ was unfit for ministry? some people think so / some people don’t.

  • Rick

    Was it that they said his actions did not disqualify him from ministry? Something to the effect was said–I regret that I do not have an exact quote, but I am sure something to the effect that I related was shared.

  • It's just the beginning

    @Rick, #11: I don’t remember Josh or the CLC pastors ever declaring “CJ is fit for gospel ministry” .. they stopped short of calling him UNFIT–and perhaps they should have, but the CLC pastors felt it was not their place to asses CJ’s fitness for ministry since CJ was a pastor/minister of SGM not a pastor/elder of CLC. (even though CJ was senior pastor of CLC for 27 years…when Josh Harris took over CJ was not on staff at CLC in any capacity)

  • 5yearsinPDI

    2 Samuel 21 speaks to NOT living in the future and going forward, when the past is unresolved:

    During the reign of David, there was a famine for three successive years; so David sought the face of the Lord. The Lord said, “It is on account of Saul and his blood-stained house; it is because he put the Gibeonites to death.”

    2The king summoned the Gibeonites and spoke to them. (Now the Gibeonites were not a part of Israel but were survivors of the Amorites; the Israelites had sworn to spare them, but Saul in his zeal for Israel and Judah had tried to annihilate them.) 3David asked the Gibeonites, “What shall I do for you? How shall I make atonement so that you will bless the Lord’s inheritance?”

    God brought famine on His covenant people until the sins of the late (dead) leader Saul were resolved and justice was made to the people Saul had wronged. David had NOTHING to do with what Saul did, but he was still responsible as the new King to clean up injustice that Saul had left behind.

    1 Cor 10 speaks of warnings from Israel’s history to the church:

    These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come.

    These sex abuse cases are the Gibeonites. You don’t go forward and you don’t get away from famine until you clean up the past, even if it was the other guy’s fault.

    Oswald, CFC has yet to declare that the SGM statement in their defense- to the effect that SGM had no control over local churches- is a deliberate lie. You are in a church that is submitting to liars. I am genuinely worried about you. I hope the Lord grants you the strength to leave. It’ll be worth it even if the leaving is hard.

  • justawife

    @Persona18: The lawyer who spoke yesterday was Scott Ward, a lawyer that works for the Gammon and Grange law firm. I never had heard of him prior to yesterday.

    I, like a couple of people who have written here, was not a huge fan for having Mr. Ward speak for the majority of the meeting. I too felt like he could have just stuck to telling you the timeline of the lawsuit rather than interject some personal opinion regarding the plaintiff’s attorney. I also didn’t view his speaking as any objective POV, as I knew he was hired as a defense lawyer and his opinion regarding the accuracy of the accusations is probably going to be biased.

    The “far from accurate” claim made by Josh Harris regarding the plaintiffs was a misstep on JH’s part. Especially in light of the fact that many of the comments made by Josh following the lawyer’s explanation of events actually was trying to NOT reach a conclusion regarding the accuracy of the accusations. I don’t know why he said that and perhaps he would like to believe that the claims are far from accurate but the truth is he probably doesn’t know, especially given that one individual (DA) actually went to jail for pleading guilty to a charge.

    I actually thought the internal investigation was probably the best part of the whole meeting yesterday. I do have my doubts given the AoR debacle, but I am giving the pastors the benefit of the doubt that they will hire a reputable organization to do the work. I am praying they hire G.R.A.C.E. and don’t just go with any firm that doesn’t specialize in looking into sexual abuse. I really am glad there is at least somewhat of a desire to accept that there were flaws in the way that they handled these cases.

    Other than the internal investigation (which hopefully will yield something good), I don’t know what the real purpose of the meeting was, other than to tell members why they can’t comment on the case. I guess if that is a significant problem it serves its purpose but it could’ve done without the personal opinions that commented about the accuracy of the plaintiffs’ claims.

  • Remnant

    I am hearing so much absurdity.

    RE: Not living in the past but forging onto the future without glancing back…..but if the past has never been reconciled, how can the past be left behind. An unreconciled past simply brings all the jumbled emotions, the jumbled lies with truths, the distrust, the wrong doctrine, the wrong Jesus, the hidden things, the things that aren’t repented of INTO the future. For example: Does CLC intend to continue the practice of keeping secret files on members? If CLC has never officially admitted to those secret files, has never given those secret files to the members, has never repented, how in the world can the membership move into the future not knowing how the modus operandi will be handled? There can be no future without a completely reconciled, honest, respectful assessment, and complete transparency about what the pastors think they did wrong and/or right. How can a congregation trust a pastorship who does not let the congregation know and understand and approve or disapprove the manner in which business is conducted. How can a membership trust a pastorship who does not transparently show how money is spent, how salaries stand, how other monies are accounted for? How can a congregant, an individual, judge whether they want to remain a part of a church where the pastorship does not respect the congregant enough to be completely honest? Forgetting the past? NO. Not until the past is discussed and dissected. Not until the present is dissected and discussed and a congregant is given the opportunity to say yea or nay for themselves regarding the current standards of operating.

    RE: Having an independent evaluator come evaluate the situation. Been there done that to the tune of $400,000 (right?). The modus operandi in that situation was to do nothing about the sexual and spiritual abuse reports except for vague bandaids applied without doing much deep surgery to fix the root cause of the justified concerns.

    RE: An attorney coming to a family meeting and blaming the victims.

    RE: Josh making such disparate remarks that only seem like SGM is still in full force: what was actually said that made any difference to any of the issues at hand?

    RE: It is as if CLC/Josh/Pastors think that lot’s of words spoken equates with love, care and concern. Give the peoples an appearance of “family” while not treating them as family.

    RE: Untruths about unknowns, unspoken words about CL while the elephant is in the room.

    One absurdity piled upon another.

    And people have the audacity to say some people just might be experiencing bitterness? I’d say bitterness is a justified emotional response. Until these “men of God” can act in a Godly fashion, there is much room for disharmony, discordant emotional experiences, and distrust.

  • shunned

    If you really want to know a bit more about what is in the play book of SGM, please read the book,”I fired God” by Joceclyn Zichterman. Leafs from IFB has been in use in SGM for a long time. It is time to demand that the leaders live by the word of God and what they preached in the past. If we, as congregants, give them a pass, do not be surprised that you are violated. It will happen sooner than later. You just cross the pastors, just disagree with them and require that they share it with the entire church. See if they would do it or manipulate and paint you as the sinner who must be treated as an unbeliever, cut off all relationship, require members to cut off all relationship, spread gossip and slander with the sole purpose to destroy the credibility of anyone who challenges them. They are not worried about God or his people but only about money and power. When they say “we are doing this for the good of the church” they mean we need to protect our small group of people who are the sole supporter of our life style. If we do not protect it, God cannot protect it. Men have come and gone. God has protected his church from state sponsored terrorist yet you would not believe if you are in SGM churches where the local pastors somehow have a powerful hand to help our God. What a load of crap! These men destroy the name of Christ and must be opposed if you really care about Christ and his surrfering. SGM makes a mockery of Christ and his suffering. They will continue to sin, destroy peoples lives, threathen, blackmail, declare mentally ill anyone who calls them to repent. They never really dialogue just like you and me with our friends. They treat you like a toddler and proceed to tell you what you must think. Do noy buy it but question what they say. Ask others within and without the church if what they say can be corroborated. If there are gaps, go back and drill down. You, as a man or woman of God, must be like bereans. Get to the bottom of these issues. do not take what SGM says as complete truth. They have a track record of providing only a portion of the story that make SGM look good or reduce the full effect of sin. This is tantamount to slaughtering the sheep by the covering shepherds. Do not accept it or you will be slaughtered soon (because you also are only a sheep in their eyes). If you rise up and stand with Christ, he will protect you and bless you.

  • Persona

    In this case, sarcasm is warranted…the root of sarcasm is ‘lack of trust’.

  • FashionablyLate

    Gee, I’m so glad that CLC has changed so much now that it’s not part of SGM. ( <—I'm being sarcastic, in case anyone isn't sure.) Ugh.

  • Persona

    If Chip Grange was the attorney who was asked to speak to the CLC congregation, I believe he should recuse himself from any involvement in the case, due to his long-standing friendships and relationships, with the defenders.

    With all due respect, how can any of his views be considered objective? Additionally, it puts him in a very awkward position if he disagrees with any of their goals.

    And, if Josh is truly interested in getting the full truth about child abuse cases at CLC, he would invite the local police and social workers to conduct a thorough investigation, immediately.

    He wouldn’t try the same trick SGM did when they hired the AoR in to do ‘independent’ audit. Surely, you all remember how helpful they were in resolving the issues of greatest importance to the congregation.

  • This may sound heartless but whenever anyone mentions how hard this must be on Josh or other pastors ( and I am sure it is hard), I keep thinking of the three year old who was forced to face her molester or the woman who was told she had to have sex with the man who molested her young daughter. That, that is hard. Repenting for harsh leadership? Easy peasy in comparison.

    What about ExCLCer’s mom? Right after she found out that her now ex husband molested her daughter and had CLC Leaders Loftness and Ricucci siding with the molester, she found herself pregnant. Having to deal with all of this must have been rough enough and then to add being pregnant and having to deal with opposition from CLC Leaders was really rough.

    She was pregnant with little support and CLC Leaders cutting off church support from her.

    Not saying the other situuations but just saying her situation was rough also

  • Stunned

    exCLCer, AMEN!

  • JeffB

    I recall that the AoR report mentioned that pastors said that proclaiming God’s forgiveness after someone’s confession was a new concept for them. That’s pretty astounding.

    It wouldn’t be surprising if, despite the AoR’s teaching, their original belief (that forgiveness had no place in confession), still held, after so many years of reinforcement. So, at a deep level, they may feel that if they confessed that they had any part in the abuse and/or cover up, they would not be forgiven by their victims and the general membership. And, maybe, not even by God.

    Of course, this would in no way excuse them for not being completely honest about their culpability. It’s just another example of how false teaching can lodge in one’s mind and heart.

  • exCLCer

    and by the way, “acknowledging people were hurt” is NOT the same thing as acknowledging the responsibility one has had in causing that hurt.
    If I punch you in the face and say “I recognize that your face now hurts — and Im sorry you FEEL like you have been hurt — and categorically I do not agree with the practice of punching other people in the face — BUT that is the past now so look to the future”……something is seriously missing, namely, “I should not have punched you in the face and I am sorry I did that, it was wrong, and I will show I have remorse for my actions and I will do whatever it takes to help your face to heal and to make sure I do not do that again to you or anyone else.” Even young kids know the difference between a real apology and a fake one.

  • Rick

    Oswald, I think that the going forward you speak of would have been possible if all of the CLC pastors had offered their resignation when all this broke. I think the offer of resignation would have been honorable and appropriate–the church could then, in grace, refuse that offer–but it would have in some measure allowed the CLC pastoral staff a fresh start, free from the debilitating behavior of the past. A sermon on focusing on the present and future seems rather self-serving in the context of all that has gone on, don’t you think? Scripture records good and bad behavior of leadership–unsparing even to those named in the Faith Hall of Fame detailed in Hebrews 11. Leadership must be willing to self-disclose and accept the consequences of mistakes and failure. The congregation has the blessed place of forgiveness and restoration. I have not observed this interchange, which is why for the leaders sake, yeah go with that sermon–it would have been more appropriate coming not from leadership, but one of those who had been hurt by their past practice.

  • exCLCer

    “we need to live in the present and the future, not going back to what should been and what might have been”

    ………um, if you don’t even acknowledge mistakes of the past,it is bound to repeat itself. People and institutions can only learn from a mistake after admitting it. As soon as the blaming others, hiding, and minimizing starts they distance themselves from any possible lesson. “Not going back to what should have been” is stupidly dismissing the value of retrospect and how essential it is for any possibility of future change or at the least the assurance of change.
    To me, “cant change the past” sounds a lot like “get over it – we arent going to focus in on it, so neither should you”

  • Rick

    Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it; a thorough autopsy often can help prevent future bad practice. Their current practice still smells of their past practice. CLC missed their best opportunity to break from the past when they declared CJ fit for gospel ministry. They have chosen the path they are walking. The only cure is unsparing self-examination, unsparing repentance. The way they handled the CJ situation set the stage for the trust issues that play themselves out today.

    If past practice isn’t disclosed with courage, candor and honesty, how can they hope to build anew. Doesn’t mean they are not forgiven–just unwise.

  • Oswald

    I think we can be reminded, as the message from CLC yesterday included…we need to live in the present and the future, not going back to what should been and what might have been. We can’t change the past, only learn from it and go forward. It is God who is a work in you, both to will and to do of ALL His good pleasure. We can trust that His name will be glorified in all this.
    Stunned and Rick have gone back to ‘yes, but…’. Let’s resist that thinking and trust that God has brought all of that about to teach something. Yes, people were hurt and that is acknowledged and we hope plans are being made to avoid that happening again.
    We must trust God Who is definitely at work in us.

  • Stunned

    This may sound heartless but whenever anyone mentions how hard this must be on Josh or other pastors ( and I am sure it is hard), I keep thinking of the three year old who was forced to face her molester or the woman who was told she had to have sex with the man who molested her young daughter. That, that is hard. Repenting for harsh leadership? Easy peasy in comparison.

  • exCLCer said,

    If he is basing his statement on what the defendants have told him, well, then he sure is putting a lot of (misguided) faith in the integrity and character of the accused, convicted, and implicated persons, and should be more honest about the bias (judgement) he is representing in that statement.

    This really gets at the heart of what goes on anytime anyone says one or another of the lawsuit allegations cannot be true. Unless one has personal insider knowledge, one is just exercising faith in what one thinks one knows about the defendants.

  • Rick

    Steve240, what does it say about the CLC leadership if they won’t launch the investigation until after they are no longer legally liable? Isn’t that the height of cunning and guile? Ultimately, here lies their conundrum–if they truly have a conscious understanding of the demands of the Gospel (to use their term), what does it say if the investigation goes forward once they are no longer legally liable; will they commit to compensation for the victims if the independent investigation shows that some of the allegations are true? I must confess, I have doubts, based on the lack of candor they have shown thus far.

    I feel for them; had they come clean about CJ before the Brent documents were released (which forced their hands), I think they would be in a much better position regarding trust. Their tolerance of questionable leadership behavior, and their very flattering words toward those who were behaving badly, have put them in a much worse position regarding credibility. I don’t know how they will recover–my hope for them is a confrontation of grace and wisdom for them all.

  • Jenn Grover

    Disappointed – thank you for the kind words.

    IJTB – thanks for answering my questions on the last thread so thoroughly.

    It can be easy to be disappointed that there was not a ton of detail provided from the CLC meeting but if you stop and think about it, there is zero discussion from the CFC meeting because most people doubt they are getting a 100% straight story (and I think that might be a generous description) and discussion is pointless in the CFC culture because the pastors believe it is their job to tell you what to think, not to listen and accept feedback. At CLC members are still talking because at least at some level they believe their questions and concerns are being heard.

    Someone referred to the day of small beginnings on the last post (perhaps it was Marie about the PCA statement.) I think that is how CLC can be viewed right now – they are seeing the day of small beginnings, although it probably feels more like gargantuan compared to the past, it is still the day of small beginnings towards the larger goal, but it is the start. So, perhaps critique is appropriate, but try not to despise it.

    Is this how members see it, or was it too discouraging and disappointing to see the progress?

  • exCLCer

    Mak at #936 in the last thread said: Josh Harris said “(the) plaintiff’s picture is not accurate it is far from accurate”. This begs the question: Sooo, Josh’s assertion of personal knowledge of accuracy/inaccuracy is based on what exactly? Firsthand knowledge of the actual situations of abuse? A strong personal belief in the defendants and their “version” of events?
    For some of these situation in the case, Josh was not even at CLC, so he would have no way of knowing how “accurate” those are. For the situations that occurred while he was at CLC, to make a bold statement about the accuracy of what happened, there must be some knowledge relied on and members should ask what that knowledge is. If Josh didn’t know what had gone on, then he can’t say for sure what is accurate and what isn’t…..if he DID know what had been going on, and was privy to the circumstances, then he would be outright lying to make this kind of statement, knowing it is actually a very accurate picture, and at the least should have been upfront about his personal involvement in these situations from the beginning. If he is basing his statement on what the defendants have told him, well, then he sure is putting a lot of (misguided) faith in the integrity and character of the accused, convicted, and implicated persons, and should be more honest about the bias (judgement) he is representing in that statement.

  • This is interesting about CLC hiring an outside company to investigate these allegations. My guess is that CLC won’t want this investigation to start until after they are sure they can’t be sued by the plaintiffs. If they have the investigation while still able to be sued, they they risk of whatever information is discovered in this investigation getting into the hands of those suing and possibly making it easier for the plaintiffs to win their lawsuit.

    Just my hunch.

  • Follow Him

    It’s Just..#961 (previous thread) – Your summary is what I took away from the meeting too – for the most part. Jenn asked “Did they answer the question, ‘How can we best glorify God amidst these allegations?'”. I perceive that Joshua has been answering this question for the last year, in that his continual emphasis/entreaty to the congregation has been to follow Christ, not man. He has continually pointed back to the sufficiency of the Word as our guide. That’s probably the best way we can glorify God in our lives. This week he has encouraged the congregation to pray and fast for three days. In the recent letter to members about this, he wrote: “As we fast, let’s pray that:

    We will treasure Christ above all other things.
    We will run the race of faith with endurance.
    We will deliberately consider Jesus during difficulty.
    We will love one another.
    We will honor God and glorify him with our lives.”

    He has also said many times (both in member’s meetings and on Sunday’s from the pulpit) that the pastor’s desire regarding the lawsuit is for the truth to be revealed – whether it is favorable towards CLC as a church, it’s pastors, it’s members, or not. When all is said and done with the lawsuit, my expectation is that the truth will be made plain. If it is not, then my family will listen to the Spirit to see if we are led elsewhere. We have decided to follow Christ. Sometimes he shakes the dust off his sandals, and sometimes he sits and waits. Right now we are waiting.

  • Bridget

    Rick –

    I am so at the same place where you are with the structure of the Church in our day. After over 30 years in the Church, I feel like so much of one’s, time, money and effort is sucked into the structures of the Church and pastors spin and exhort that this is what God desires to further His kingdom. Once one is in the gripps of the system, it’s hard for anyone to escape it, especially pastors.

  • Disappointed

    Thank you very much to Jenn Grover (#953 from last thread). I have posted one other time. I really appreciate the insight you bring to the blogs. You seem like a very intelligent, insightful, and level-headed woman. You bring a lot to the board.

    How do you all feel about the independent review? I know they are trying, but isn’t there a conflict of interest for them to pick the firm? I’m not sure who else could pick it, but when I look back in history, I think of Enron and Arthur Andersen. Of course we know AA was willing to reflect Enron’s books to show massive profit, to cook the books, in return for a hefty payment from Enron. Will CLC release how much they will pay this independent firm, and what this firm charges normally? In other words, who’s to say that CLC wouldn’t just say “Whatever you normally get paid, we’ll pay you double.” OK, yeah, I’m a conspiracy theorist. But those things happen in business, as illustrated above with AA.