C.J. Mahaney Says He Will Not Be Participating In 2014 T4G Conference

C.J. Mahaney announced today that he will not be participating in the 2014 T4G conference.  Here is his statement:

After much prayer, reflection and counsel I have decided to withdraw from participation in the 2014 Together for the Gospel conference. My reason for doing so is simple: I love these men and this conference and I desire to do all I possibly can to serve the ongoing fruitfulness of T4G.

Unfortunately, the civil lawsuit filed against Sovereign Grace Ministries, two former SGM churches and pastors (including myself), continues to generate the type of attention that could subject my friends to unfair and unwarranted criticism. Though dismissed in May (and now on appeal), the lawsuit could prove a distraction from the purpose of this important conference. My withdrawal is not intended to communicate anything about the merits of the suit. My decision simply reflects the reality that my participation could create a hindrance to this conference and its distinct purpose of serving so many pastors. My strong desire is to make sure this doesn’t happen. I believe the most effective way I can serve my friends who have supported me, and continue to support me, is by not participating in the 2014 conference.

My enthusiasm for this conference is undiminished and I believe it will continue to be a powerful context for encouraging and equipping pastors in their efforts to serve their churches and proclaim the gospel. I am immensely grateful for the undeserved privilege to have been involved in previous conferences, and, most importantly, my ongoing friendship with these men I love and respect.

You can read the statement on the T4G website here.

1,467 comments to C.J. Mahaney Says He Will Not Be Participating In 2014 T4G Conference

  • Jenn Grover

    Just Done Watching: Well, given their pattern of prioritizing “unity” and “loyalty” at the expense of the complete truth, I have my suspicions. If they release a new statement tomorrow indicating that it wass not right to issue a statement on behalf of the entire organization or that it was premature and that they were wrong and that they are sorry, I might (notice, “might”) feel differently.

    It’s a shame that the brand loyalty demanded by the neoreformed guys has actually been their achilles heel.

    I do have my suspicions that either arrests or more damaging information will hit in the near future. If it’s one thing I have learned is that neither coincidence nor providence seems to be at work with their timing.

  • Contentious Jones

    Like rats jumping off a burning ship…

    Too bad is already taken.

  • It's just the beginning

    I also thought it was good that the Pasedena church called out that the last two years was God’s discipline.

    Back around the July-August 2011 time frame, CJ and SGM did not agree that Brent’s documents were God’s discipline …. but I think even them [CJ and the 2011-2012 leaders of SGM] now must admit all that has transpired is clearly God’s discipline. I don’t think they will admit it publicly, since it contradicts their reported stance back in 2011. (Question: was their negative reaction to labeling it “GOD’S DISCIPLINE” ever documented .. or just word of mouth?)

    Anyway, I also wonder what large shoe [think "steel clog"] is going to hit the floor next. Criminal lawsuits–against pastors or perpetrators–if any of that is going to happen, it should be fairly soon .. right?

  • Oswald

    Sorry, a little off topic…I listened to the CovFel message given on Sunday by Marty M. It was somewhat of a pep rally, explaining the past 2 years, chastising folks for speculating, telling what’s ahead in CFC and SGM, etc, but one thing I heard was that Tim Shorey will soon be installed (I think that was the word) as an elder at CovFel. So I guess the one who keeps after him to go home, can give up now. Doesn’t look like it’s gonna happen.

  • Paul

    I’m surprised the t4g statement even mentions the lawsuit. I’d have thought that CJ would say something like “since I’m starting this new church in Louisville, I can’t devote the time I’d like to preparing for the t4g conference so I won’t be participating”. Relative to previous statements, this one is fairly honest.

    It’s interesting that the statement begins “After much prayer, reflection and counsel”. That word “counsel” makes it sound like this issue was discussed at length by t3g and CJ and t3g “counseled” CJ to not participate.

  • Stunned

    I’m going to lie to you but you may NOT speculate whether what I am saying is a truth or a lie, you must jus accept it. I am going to give you half truths, but you may NOT speculate which of what I am saying is true and which is not, just accept it all. I’m going to hide things from you which are pretty darn important for you to know but you may NOT speculate, no matter how much the truth could impact you and your family. I’m going to lead you to think awful things about innocent people but you may NOT speculate on such matters which they are over your head and knowing the truth may lead you to think something poorly about me…errr…. I mean, I am ordained by God to be His mouthpiece and you may not know the truth.

    Basically, shut up and don’t think.

  • old timer

    Jenn wrote((( If it’s one thing I have learned is that neither coincidence nor providence seems to be at work with their timing.)))

    Astute statement Jenn.

    Exactly. Exactly. Exactly.

    Also, speculation…Oswald and Shunned. Don’t you dare do it you ungrateful, rebellious, unfaithful sheep. There is nothing to see here…step away.

    I pray that ceejay feels some of what the other men he has helped ruin throughout the past 20 years have felt. And that the men who have blindly followed him, never questioning, or if they did question(and secretly disagreed with him-but still went along) feel some of the sting too.

    Vengeance is mine says the Lord, I will repay.

    Let those with open, honest, vulnerable, and transparent hearts shine before the Lord.

  • Jenn Gtover

    Stunned, spot on!

    Also notice no McAurthor or Sproul speaking at T4G. I think it is safe to say support has eroded. I wonder if any of these guys are making private or even semi-private appeals for CJ to step down as a pastor?

  • Since C.J. Mahaney, beleaguered defendant in a sexual abuse lawsuit, has stepped down from speaking at the T4G conference in April of 2014, I am attempting to find out if he will still be speaking at this conference in Louisville, KY in December 2013. Mahaney’s presence has not, to date, been a hindrance to 11 individuals from UCCD and Redeemer Church in Dubai also listed as participants. One would hope a discerning Christian leader may wish to rethink an invitation which includes Mahaney on the venue, but if past actions are any predictor of future actions it will be full steam ahead.

    The skeptic in me wonders if round trip airfare is provided to conference participants, and if so would that enter into the equation when deciding whether to accept a speaking engagement with a known blackmailer and alleged sexual abuse cover-up man? Probably not, it’s all for furthering God’s kingdom.

  • Phoenix

    Dr. Pepper,

    Really, why should any commenter here care whether CovFel loyalists hate this site? Speaking only for myself, I don’t give a rodent’s behind what people who continue to support liars, corrupt moneychanger, and abusers think.

    I think they dislike the “speculation” because they don’t want to think. They want to be soothed back to sleep.

    And no one would NEED to “speculate” if SGM and its fellow traveler churches had any history of telling the whole truth.

  • Dr. Pepper


    The reason many people at covfel hate this blog is because a lot of it is speculating. Nobody knows the real reason CJ decided to not speak at T4G. Maybe CJ really cared for his friends and wanted to step away or maybe T4G asked him to not speak for 2014. Just because someone tells you to not speculate onto why something happend is not telling you not to think. We don’t know why he did what he did. At this point I don’t want to speculate anymore because we will never know the truth.

    Jenn Grover,

    You don’t know why MacArthur or Sproul were not speaking. Maybe they had another commitment. Unless, they were listed as speakers before fine, but maybe they were never even listed.

  • Dr. Pepper


    You’re right nobody here probably cares what covfel people think about this website. However, it really doesn’t help them see any truth if its all speculation and not the truth. I do think you’re right that if sgm were be more transparent then there would be no need to speculate.

    However, I do think that the people at covfel no matter what the pastor did they will still support them no matter what. After what happened with JV.

  • Thomas

    Any survivors ever get the drift that counsel in SGM was considered more important than prayer?

  • Question: was their negative reaction to labeling it “GOD’S DISCIPLINE” ever documented .. or just word of mouth?

    This view on whether the release of the documents was the “discipline of the Lord” was given as a major reason for Josh Harris stepping down from the SGM Board. SGM released a statement indicating that the didn’t feel that the documents were the discipline of the Lord while Josh Harris did think it was. I believe the board called the documents “slander.”

    It was as if Josh didn’t get the “memo” before he gave his sermon right after the documents came out where he said SGM was being “publicly spanked” and SGM was being “brought low.” Josh said at that time something along the lines that this was requiring SGM to address issues withing SGM that it didn’t have the guts to address.

    A shame that when these documents came out the SGM Board didn’t see this for what it was as the discipline of the Lord. It is good that at least now SGM Pasadena is admitting that it was God’s discipline.

  • Stunned said:

    I’m going to lie to you but you may NOT speculate whether what I am saying is a truth or a lie, you must jus accept it. I am going to give you half truths, but you may NOT speculate which of what I am saying is true and which is not, just accept it all. I’m going to hide things from you which are pretty darn important for you to know but you may NOT speculate, no matter how much the truth could impact you and your family. I’m going to lead you to think awful things about innocent people but you may NOT speculate on such matters which they are over your head and knowing the truth may lead you to think something poorly about me…errr…. I mean, I am ordained by God to be His mouthpiece and you may not know the truth.

    Basically, shut up and don’t think.

    Very good statement. It sad that people in SGM that are critical of speculation don’t seem to realize that a lot of it is due to so much being hidden and not shared or there not being truth about various actions. Sad they don’t realize the true cause of all of this.

  • Todd Wilhelm

    I am not going to tailor my comments here to avoid offending people attending Covenant Fellowship. According to their pastor they are committing a greater sin visiting websites like this than they would be if they visited pornographic websites. The hate these members feel is probably transferred from their guilt of viewing this sinful website. I certainly hope they are confessing their sin of coming here to the overseer of their soul, a.k.a. their care group leader, on a bi-weekly basis. He may yet be able to save their souls from hell.

    This from Jared Mellinger, pastor of Covenant Fellowship Church in Philadelphia:

    “I was thinking this week and praying this week as I often do during sermon prep about what this point means for you, the people of Covenant Fellowship, and what does it mean for me with the responsibility that I have along with the other pastors to protect the holiness of the church and there were two areas in particular that came to mind as I was thinking about the application of this text to you that came to mind that I want to share with you here today.

    One area to turn people from sin is to help them avoid ungodly speech. There are so many Scriptures that speak to the defiling effect of sinful speech. There is a kind of speech that will ruin all who hear it according to 2 Tim 2:14-17. Speech that will, the text says, “lead people into more and more ungodliness and their talk will spread like gangrene”…

    Words can do incredible damage. [A] question for the discerning. Which would be more dangerous for a Christian to be exposed to? A website devoted to sexually immoral images or a website devoted to sowing suspicion against leaders and tearing people down. Friends there is more than one way to ruin your soul. Avoid ungodly speech. Avoid speaking of it. Avoid listening to it. For the sake of the holiness of the church.”

    This message was given on Sund

  • Paul K.


    Many have sentenced themselves to self-imposed prisons to protect themselves from the pollution of facts that would force them to change their view of reality- they cherish their view of reality more than Reality itself. This is a tendency for many and so we have a special word when a revelation sneaks into our prison and affects our take on what is true : we call it “a paradigm shift” – like a shift of underground rock that might cause a volcano to erupt (we like our Atlantis).

    It was heresy to think that the earth travelled around the sun! For many the notion that everything doesn’t travel around CJ Mahaney makes them uncomfortable.

    There was a time in the 80’s that CJ decided to be called “Charles Joseph Mahaney.” I wrote him, ” CJ – Charles is too formal for a guy S loose as you. We have King Charles, Charles Simpson, and Charles Schmidt – all pretty tightly wound guys (though Simpson has a good sense of humor.)

    I guess I could get used to calling you “Charles” but it may take ten years.” Within a week – back to CJ. I think names should mean something and observing that CJ is no longer “loose” but more tightly wound than anyone I know, I will now AMEN his previous request (timing is everything) and shall heretofore call him “Charles Joseph Mahaney.”

    To call him CJ now is as awkward for me as calling him Charles would have been 30 years ago. I have had a paradigm shift : it took a lot to get there.

  • Jenn Grover

    It’s just the beginning – I don’t know if it has ever been officially documented that they didn’t believe it was God’s discipline, but I know when Mark Prater was an interim board member and I said that I believed God was discipling SGM he said he didn’t agree and it has been recounted to me by other people that other SGM leaders do not see it that way (from 1st hand accounts.)

    Dr. Pepper, as much I also detest speculation, it is the route SGM has forced upon us by not telling the whole truth (telling half-truths) and failing to be transparent. Remember when they moved to Louisville they told us it was all due to finance. We could have just accepted that garbage, but most of us speculated it was more likely due to the conflict between CJ & SGM and CLC. Well, turns out they weren’t telling us the whole truth. Time and time again they have failed the honesty test and therefore, you have to wonder and speculate whether they are telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. The people you describe from CovFel won’t change their view unless it comes officially from SGM themselves, and even then, many won’t listen to anything negative. The problem is not speculation, the problem is honesty and transparency.

    Also, when CJ was forced out as president, there were multiple people who reported that board members, Paul Buckley among them, informed them that the board forced CJ & Loftness out. Then Buckley changed his story in an email – to some degree. He said he stood behind the SGM statement. So he never had to completely lie, he just had to change perception. This mincing of words that they do is not the behavior of the righteous. Avoiding a technical lie does not make a man honest.

    Also, I never said that Sproul and MAcArthur were not speaking at T4G due to CJ, but I will say, McArthur has spoken as a panel member or main speaker have spoken every other year and McArthur and Sproul are hosting an anti-charismatic conference this year. Also, McArthur has been more focused on rooting out charismatics, again.

    A couple of things I noticed on the T4G website – there is no list of members and the only reference to CJ is the statement from him, which is a tiny link buried in the middle of the speaker page. All of the images with him in it are gone. If you had been on the website before, CJ was a central figure of T4G. I believe they are trying to salvage it because CJ has hurt the brand.

  • Jenn Grover

    In addition to last comment, CJ’s messages and panel discussions are still there, too.

  • Dr. Pepper


    Sorry when you said, “Also notice no McAurthor or Sproul speaking at T4G. I think it is safe to say support has eroded”. I took that as you were saying they were not speaking because of CJ.

    I don’t really look at the T4G website ever. I would then never know if CJ was ever on there.

  • Paul K.

    Children’s literature or just simple sayings have a way of reducing pages and pages of analysis to plain and simple reality :

    HUMPTY DUMPTY SAT ON A WALL (high position looking down on others)
    HUMPTY DUMPTY HAD A GREAT FALL (pride comes before the fall)
    ALL THE KING’S HORSES (power) AND ALL THE KING’S MEN (carnal spin)
    COULDN’T PUT HUMPTY TOGETHER AGAIN (only God can after confession, restitution, and repentance)

    May we pray and rejoice if God sovereignly redeems the man chosen disgrace of SGM in despising the Discipline of God.

  • Somewhereintime

    My comments to CJ’s Announcement …

    After much prayer, reflection and counsel (*** and because everyone bugged the crap out of me to get the heck off of the team ***)

    I have decided to withdraw from participation in the 2014 Together for the Gospel conference. My reason for doing so is simple: I love these men and this conference and I desire to do all I possibly can to serve the ongoing fruitfulness of T4G.(*** Simple in that they weren’t going to put up with all of my crap any longer and didn’t want the gospel to be hindered, unlike how SGM allows me to hinder the gospel in Louisville and with my old SGM-related churches ***).

    Unfortunately, the civil lawsuit filed against Sovereign Grace Ministries, two former SGM churches and pastors (including myself), continues to generate the type of attention that could subject my friends to unfair and unwarranted criticism (*** WHAT AN ASS*!!! He doesn’t give a Rat’s ass* about the gospel. It’s all about him.)

    Though dismissed in May (and now on appeal), the lawsuit could prove a distraction from the purpose of this important conference. (*** I wonder how many people had to bend his arm to write “and now on appeal”??? … Also, conviently left out that it was dismissed because of time, not because of the actual charges! ***)

    My withdrawal is not intended to communicate anything about the merits of the suit. My decision simply reflects the reality that my participation could create a hindrance to this conference and its distinct purpose of serving so many pastors. My strong desire is to make sure this doesn’t happen. I believe the most effective way I can serve my friends who have supported me, and continue to support me, is by not participating in the 2014 conference. (*** Hey CJ, how about effectively supporting the ministry you helped build and step down as a pastor! … now how in the world could you do so for T4G, but not think that the same would apply to you and SGM??? ***)

    My enthusiasm for this conference is undiminished and I believe it will continue to be a powerful context for encouraging and equipping pastors in their efforts to serve their churches and proclaim the gospel. (*** I doubt it. T4G has little to NO impact on society. I don’t want to slam them here too much, but the church in the United States has completely lost touch with what is going on around them. Do they realize that 48% of all children are born out of wedlock? Do they realize that the hispanic community is growing tremendously across the United States? Nope! They are together for the gospel for white, anglo saxon protestants who wear khaki pants, buttoned down collars and have decent paying jobs.***)

    I am immensely grateful for the undeserved privilege to have been involved in previous conferences, and, most importantly, my ongoing friendship with these men I love and respect. (*** I’m just guessing that you only care about those that YOU love and respect. You obviously don’t care for or respect those in Sovereign Grace Ministries do you? If you did, you would have written the EXACT SAME LETTER letting everyone know that you are stepping down from ministry to not distract the gospel going forward. At least a godly man would have done that. ***)

  • Jenn Grover said:

    It’s just the beginning — I don’t know if it has ever been officially documented that they didn’t believe it was God’s discipline, but I know when Mark Prater was an interim board member and I said that I believed God was discipling SGM he said he didn’t agree and it has been recounted to me by other people that other SGM leaders do not see it that way (from 1st hand accounts.)

    If you go to this link:

    This is the statement the board gave about Josh stepping down and Josh’s remarks about the discipline of the Lord (I added the bold):

    But we disagree on some important matters too. For example, we disagree in our interpretation of this current season of ministry. Is God disciplining all of Sovereign Grace Ministries right now? Josh says yes, and we’re open to that conclusion. But before arriving at that conclusion we would want to walk through a process of evaluating all of SGM, which we have not done yet. It also became apparent that Josh and the board think differently on how best to help C.J. engage with an evaluation, and how the board should exercise leadership as that process unfolds. These differences in our thinking are important and it recently became clear that the other 10 board members and Josh are in a different place on these issues.

    The statement by the board doesn’t flat out deny that it was the the “discipline of the Lord” as Josh had claimed but just leaves open the possibility and that the board wasn’t ready to admit that this was the case. It sound like what a politician would say to walk the fence etc.

  • Friends, I think you’ve already linked this sexual abuse conference, so as a reminder, if you know folks in the Upstate of SC, please pass this along to them:

  • Stunned

    Dr Pepper said, “You’re right nobody here probably cares what covfel people think about this website. However, it really doesn’t help them see any truth if its all speculation and not the truth.”

    Dr. Pepper, do you really believe that “its all speculation and not truth” here? I would be surprised if you believe that, given your participation here. But I am perplexed as to why you would say that. Is that something someone at Cov Fel has said to you in regard to this site? I am very confused why you are here if you believe that it is all speculation and not truth. I would agree that a site that is all speculation and no truth is useless. But I sure as heck don’t believe that about this site. I have found more truth, through people’s testimonies here, than I ever heard in my 15 years of cover-up/SGM.

  • Mandavilla

    Spin Spin Spin and more Spin-Worst than a spinning class.ha ha

  • JeffB

    I see that, at the CROSS Conference, Mahaney is speaking on his signature subject:

    “Humility: The One Thing You Can’t Leave Home Without”

    I would prefer:

    “Self-Knowledge: Something I Am Always Without”

  • Dr. Pepper


    I do believe a lot of what is said here is true. I just mean that people speculate on what led to CJ not speaking at T4G 2014. I do agree that what people experienced is true because I have experienced it. But what I’m talking about I’d when people try to speculate on why people CJ no longer will be speaking at T4G or why so and so did that or this or the reasons behind it. I do believe that what people experienced is that complete truth.

    If you could Stunned, please pray for me. My image of God is not good. I don’t see a God of grace. All I see is judgement. All I see is my sin, sin, sin. I’ve gotten so depressed lately because i really don’t feel that I’m loved by God at all. At covfel I’m confused. I hear I’m loved by God and I can’t get to heaven on my own and then I hear about being Godly blah blah blah. I feel really emotional right now. I feel that God doesn’t care if someone hurts me because I need to look at my own sin. I just want to scream.

  • Jenn Grover

    Dr. Pepper it takes along time to get out of that mindset. I have recently been encouraged by a few dramatic answers to prayer, experiences where I strongly felt God leading and also by Tullian Tchividjian’s tweets. I gave up reading the “recommended reading years ago, but I have been seriously considering reading his book because he seems to haveea passion for Jesus and knows his love.

  • Dr. Pepper


    Covfel does not have any of Tullians books in their book store. I do wonder what he thinks about this whole sgm lawsuit. His brother is Boz.

  • It's just the beginning

    Concerning “speculation” or not … there is often times lots of speculation here, but this CJ announcement–to me, he made it perfectly clear in his opening phrase:
    “After much prayer, reflection and counsel

    That ‘counsel’ is obviously outside counsel .. this was most certainly not 100% CJ’s idea. We don’t know any more details than his statement reveals, but I don’t think it’s speculation at all to assert that other people influenced CJ’s decision to not speak.


    Now was he “forced” to not speak? i.e. does CJ feel he should be allowed to speak but his outside counsel disagreed to the point where they convinced him he should not speak? we’ll never know…and really it doesn’t matter. His not speaking at the conference this year is a big statement in and of itself.

  • Stunned

    Dr Pepper, thank you for clearing that confusion up for me.

    As to the speculation, I don’t think we as mere humans can ever know what is in the heart of a man. We would be foolish to say we know 100 percent. Though I have found I have often gotten to the heart of the matter and find out the truth by listening to my gut and saying, ” Something is not right here” and discussing my concerns with others until the truth comes out. For me, I think a lot of what is happening here is that. Though I am not a fan of someone saying, ” This is how something happened.” More- ” this is what I wonder” or am suspicious of.

  • It's just the beginning

    @Steve240, #24: thanks for digging that up…that really makes it clear (as mud). :)


    This brings back so many questions from two summers ago like:
    * if someone is “forced to apologize” .. does it really count? does it really mean anything?

    * if an organization refuses to acknowledge that something they did was wrong .. but then later acquiesces to it only because the larger public believes it was wrong, is that true repentance?

    You’re so right — SGM plays the politician role so well: not admitting to past wrongdoings, talking around the issues, delay tactics, yuck!

  • Wow

    Attention! Revised statement:

    This, from CJ Mahaney:

    July 1, 2013

    After much prayer, reflection and counsel I have decided to withdraw from participation in the 2014 Together for the Gospel conference. My reason for doing so is simple: [I've tried in every way to escape accountability but have not had success]. I love these men [who made a formal statement in support of me, which has recently disappeared] and this conference and I desire to do all I possibly can to serve [I can hardly make a sentence without drawing attention to how I serve] the ongoing fruitfulness of T4G.

    Unfortunately, the civil lawsuit [the decision to cover up child sex abuse and to protect pedophiles] filed against Sovereign Grace Ministries, two former SGM churches and pastors (including myself) [i put myself in parentheses so that you may not notice that i was the leader of the entire collusion] continues to generate the type of attention [you know...civil, criminal] that could subject my friends to unfair and unwarranted [fair and warranted, as they continue to diss the survivors of the abuse] criticism [accountability]. Though dismissed in May [more accurately, not allowed in its form, due to the fact that statute of limitations had expired on ll but two victims] (and now on appeal) [other ministries have been held accountable with no protection from statute of limitations] the lawsuit could prove a distraction [yes, the coverup of sex abuse carried out by me is distracting from my good intentions] from the purpose of this important conference. My withdrawal is not intended to communicate anything about the merits of the suit [no, I won't address the merits. And please don't read it. That would be a participation in gossip and slander]. My decision simply reflects the reality that my participation [has been prohibited by those trying to save themselves] could create a hindrance to this conference and its distinct purpose of serving [again...count my serves] so many pastors. My strong desire is to [have this crap go away fast] make sure this doesn’t happen [a conference being ruined not a child being protected]. I believe the most effective way I can serve [Note! I'm serving!] my friends who have supported me, and continue to support me, is by not participating in the 2014 conference [look for me in 2016 when this has gone away].

    My enthusiasm for this conference is undiminished and I believe it will continue to be a powerful context for encouraging and equipping pastors in their efforts to serve their churches and proclaim the gospel. I am immensely grateful for the undeserved [undeSERVED] privilege to have been involved in previous conferences, and, most importantly, my ongoing friendship with these men I love and respect [who will take me back after I've found my way out of this conundrum].

    C.J. Mahaney
    Sovereign Grace Church | Louisville, KY

  • Hi gang,

    Just wanted to pop in and thank you for your support on the previous thread. So appreciated everyone’s kind words.

    And, just a point of clarification: I was at KingsWay, not CLC, for 10 years. I also spent a year at Providence in Pittsburgh (had an overall positive experience there), and another year at Iain Duguid’s church in Grove City, Pa (less positive there, due to similarities in use of authority to SGM). I visited CLC a few times with my ex, who did grow up there, and I used to comment here under the moniker “Mattie Chatham.” :)

    Thanks, everyone!

  • Jenn Grover

    Dr. Pepper they went through a season of quoting Tullian a while back. My guess is that due to his association with his brother we won’t hear much more about him from SGM.

  • Sandy Thompson

    Dear Dr. Pepper and to all my dear brothers and sisters (the walking/limping/crawling wounded)
    It has taken me years and years of purposeful prayer, reading, and study to finally be at the point where I can say that God loves me, He likes me (What’s not to like, right!?) He’s for me and NOT against me. I still have a ways to go but I have finally gotten to a place that doesn’t have despair in it. I view books as my personal therapy sessions directed by God. Sometimes, when you’re in a “state”, it may be easier to read a book and be ministered to that way. God can work through anything, even a donkey.
    The TOP 2 books that have helped me the most besides the Bible are:
    The Gospel According to Job by Mike Mason ( I’ve read it 2-3 times, learning something new each time.)
    Disappointment with God by Philip Yancy (Several of his books have been helpful.)
    There are probably a few more but I can’t think of the titles right off the bat, just the authors.
    Brennan Manning’s books and Max Lucado’s books have also been helpful.
    Mike Bickle (Internation House of Prayer) books and messages

    I know the Bible is our Source but just as Jesus is our Healer, those who believe you shouldn’t go to a doctor might use the same reasoning for not reading books for help. (Thank you clc/sgm) But I have found significant help as well as the Lord speaking to me between the lines. I keep a journal of what He says and take notes from the book that I use to review. (Yes, I am a teacher and that’s what teachers DO!)

    The GOOD work that HE began in us, HE WILL bring it (us) through to completion.
    He causes us to do and to desire to do HIS good pleasure.

    One quote from Mike Bickle that I heard about a year after leaving CLC that “shocked” me but really, really helped me as I meditatted on the truth of it was that “God sees the “YES” in your spirit and He is so pleased.” So to all of you, because you are still seeking and seeking healing, HE sees that hunger, that “yes” in your spirit and He never gives up on you!” No one can steal you out of the Father’s hand. No one! We are in a committed relationship with the Holy One and He is ever faithful even when we falter.

  • Stunned

    Dr. Pepper, it sounds like you are in a lot of pain. I know God can get you through. Many people have to go through what some call “detox”. It can be a painful process at times, while at other times there is either joy or at least a new kind of rest you may not have experienced in a long time.

    I think God’s path for everyone is unbelievably unique, just like the way he made each of us. I can share with you what God led me to do, though who knows what your path may look like so I wouldn’t expect your path to necessarily look like mine.

    For me, I felt God pull me away from Sunday services. It was strange and the first time in my entire life. I kept sensing that He was a jealous God and He wanted me all to Himself, without having the voices of other mere humans telling me who He was. HE wanted to tell me and show me all himself. It was scary, especially coming out of SGM where Sunday services could be a huge golden idol.

    And then one day a few years later, He spoke to me, in the aisle of a CVS of all places. It was there he released me to start going to Sunday services and to create a community for myself. I was able to minister to others much more powerfully out of those few years where God kind of kept me to myself than I was able to due to the fruit of SGM. (Don’t get me wrong. I believe there were good things from my time in SGM. Just today I was thinking of one of the many things I am grateful for from my time there.)

    Anyway, all that to say, I think I may have gotten closer to God or at least, He spent that time cleaning up my misunderstandings of His care.

    I KNOW He can show you who He is. He loves you. He cares for you. He is close. He does NOT condemn. He convicts, not condemns. If you feel condemnation, it is NOT of God. If you experience some free floating fear, God is NOT in it. He gives us a spirit of love, not of fear. If you recognize that you are not loving yourself, God is NOT in it.

    I will continue to pray for you today as I think of you.

    Much love and many hugs,

  • Sandy Thompson

    Good word, Stunned” @38. I guess that’s is how I “detoxed”. I read books that could negate the negative, misguided doctrine we had sat under for 20 years, erasing it from my heart and replacing it with the Truth.

  • No1uknow

    I wonder if Bob will be leading worship at t4g?

  • JennGroverSuperFan

    Oswald mentioned Marty’s message from this Sunday at covfel. I just listened to it. Wow! I would encourage MANY of you to listen to it. **Warning- hearing this could really hurt some of you*** Fast forward to about 15 min into it. listening for 5 min will be enough to get the point. Marty references people that have left SG by quoting from Ephesians and says, “run away”, as he laughs. This post is dedicated to Marty.

    You have exposed your heart. Out of the abundance of your heart, your mouth speaks. Marty you have been a pastor at cfc for 25 years. Recently your job was sparred from you being disqualified as the elders forced the change of church doctrine on its members to ensure you and Dave wouldn’t lose your jobs as your home lives were in complete violation of qualifications of a minister. You see Marty, people ARE RUNNING from your church but they are in no way running from God. Most are not running because things are difficult. Many members fully executed and still are executing Matthew 18. You refuse to listen. I believe you are an arrogant man (and im being gracious)! How could you poke fun and judge people’s motives? Marty, scores of people (past, present, and definitely future) members have been hurt by you. You helped create an environment that has hurt people mentally, physically, and spiritually. You played a part in families being destroyed and people running from their faith. Your heart is hard and you may or may not know what you are doing. How could any decent human being make light of such horrible and tragic reports? You know most of your congregations cries bc people were emboldened to face you. This site is no more sinful then your own heart. REPENT!!! Shout from a roof top Marty! Shout this, “I’m sorry for the role I played in you being hurt!” Shout it Marty! Shout it for the mother that weeps herself to sleep every night bc of your arrogance. Shout it for the teenager that is further from God then he’s ever been before. you are well aware of of what people are troubled by and so is your staff as well. REPENT!

    Mark Prater. REPENT!

    To members of Covfel:
    Some of you have been at that church since it opened its doors and you are weary and confused. You’ve tried to hang in there. You’ve been so patient. Do not let this kind of guilt from Ephesians hold you back from leaving. Do not let the guilt hold you back one more time from answering Gods Spirit prodding you over the last few years. Grab your babies and flee like there is no tomorrow. Run! All of you beautiful people! Run! God is with you! God is with you! And God will sustain you. Run! And may God have compassion on Marty and Mark Prater. “Father forgive them for they no not what they do.” Or do they know what they do? Scores of people have addressed the same issues over and over again; many of these times as groups. Matthew 18. We’ll never know what they know. We don’t really know how to pray for them other then, “show them Lord. Just show them”


  • Questioning

    I have read through all of stories here and some of Brent Detwiler’s documents and it appears there are incredible similarities with respect to the character of each man whom has been accused of pride and being “unteachable” and requested to “step down/leave”. I find it amazing that each of the men’s stories seem so similar in that each one of them was Very humble, Trusting, God fearing and God loving had a serving heart and a desire to please the Lord above men. Each of these individuals seemed to be targets to SGM/CLC/SGM etc., due to what appears to be one single issue:

    —None of these men exhibited the necessary leadership qualities. The following were very important characteristics required by the SGM Board: (arrogance, sinful pride, slander, self promotion and self preservation, love of money, love of prestige, lying nature, cold heart, and a callous nature, I may have missed an additional few).

    In all stories it seems like SGM Pastors have an evil/devious ability to distort the truth. They call lies the truth and the truth a lie.

    Perhaps each person whom has been grievously sinned against should consider one thing. Thank you LORD for not allowing me to partake in this sinful evil culture. God spared you from judgement, because I believe at some point God will pour out His righteous judgement on these men -if it is not happening today?

    The Lord is Merciful, but He is also Righteous, Slow to Anger, but does NOT withhold correction.

    For those people whom have been wrapped up in this church, The doctrines espoused here do NOT line up with scripture at all. Your ungodly focus on sin is what the Devil wants you to do NOT GOD. Was JESUS not raised from the Grave on the 3rd day? Did Jesus not die for your Sin? Jesus is ALIVE today NOT DEAD. He lived a life for us to Model. That should be our endeavour. Our focus should be on his life, we are adopted into the Kingdom, we are sons and daughters of the MOST High! When we gave our life to Jesus we relinquished our lives and desire to live “as we pleased” but to allow the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts. Man has no ability to forgive sins – ONLY Jesus (in the catholic church you are called to confess your sins daily so the priest can forgive you). How is CLC/SGM/CGC any different from the Catholic religion? Your relationship with Jesus is YOURS ALONE –no church or pastor will get you to heaven NO EXCEPTIONS. Notice ONE of the fruits of the spirit is JOY: Galatians 5:22-23 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. IF you do not experience LOVE, and JOY you are not experiencing the fruit of the Spirit -then ask yourself what are you experiencing? Does this church exhibit the fruit of the spirit? Do you have peace? I submit to you to challenge yourself to answering these questions.

  • Jenn Grover

    Can Jenn Grover be a fan of JennGroverSuperfan? Oh, wait, I am describing the celebrity pastor culture. :)

  • Jenn Grover

    The part where he bashes people who left starts around 26:30. I am pretty much astounded that he would reference people who left SGM in a message on Judas.

    Wow. You want to talk about authoritarian abuse and a controlling and manipulative message. That message was as evil as the televangelists who manipulate people for money.

  • Jenn Grover

    Let me appeal to anyone still at CovFel – please for the sake of your souls get out and do not tarry under that poison any longer. I am not sure I would have recognized the control, manipulation, and abusive behavior as clearly 2 years ago but having been out it is perfectly clear.

  • Jenn Grover

    Dr. Pepper, I now understand your remarks about the blog and people at CovFel. There is serious spiritual bullying going on at that place that is pure evil. The leaders are clearly using fear and intimidation to control people. I am very disappointed that Tim Shorey is aligning himself with these men.

  • Oswald

    Jenn, Pep — I guess this message from Marty at CovFel has something to say concerning Pep’s confusion and being emotional. I’ve been there/done that also. And Jenn I also am disappointed concerning Tim S. I had hope…
    Pep — If you are a believer, you have no business looking at your sin; it’s gone. Raking through all that crap is a study in unbelief. It’s carried to the bottom of the deepest sea. Don’t go there. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on you own understanding. In all you ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your way”. Prov 3:5,6.
    Time to get out, Pep.

  • Questioning

    Jenn Grover,

    You are absolutely correct! And I would say any church that does not want you to “question” because they have labeled that “Gossip” has a manipulative hold on people. Because silence is how Evil is perpetrated and works best. God gave us a sound mind, God also tells us to question what is taught and compared to scriptures so we are NOT DECEIVED. Look at the other religions –Please note I’m not condemning anyone but for purposes explaining so someone whom has drunk deeply into the “SGM kool aid” would understand. We are taught that Catholicism is not scriptural because they worship May and the priests are the intercessors between you and God. You have to do good works and you have to pay penance for sins with your money. Ok do you believe in the catholic doctrine? No because it’s not biblical – Ok so how can you in good conscience not question if what is going on at SGM is biblical. Are you being led by HONEST people? Are these people condemning of others who don’t share the same view point? This IS NOT biblical FYI. Did God really give the pastors at SGM the authority to condemn and pass judgement on people! Is that biblical? Go to the bible —NOT their books and interpretation of the Bible.

    I know when I left that church the idea that I had participated and was so wrapped up in it made me feel like a fool. I felt like a doormat I was so gullible, but what was so hard to understand was because I honestly with all my heart wanted to do what was right. I believed with all my heart these “Pastors” had my eternal welfare at heart. I felt like a fool when “I woke up”. Your NOT dumb, Your not foolish! You have a heart for the Lord and that is NOT bad. But as Jenn say’s it’s time to leave. You cannot have more warnings than you have received. You know you must. Just believe there are so many people on this site whom have been where you are right now. —It does get better when you leave. God does not want you to be discouraged and abused. That is not His plan for your life. Please know HE loves you!!! You are precious in His site! He knows your sins – you have confessed to Him (not your caregroup) and He has forgiven them! If you are a parent you know what I’m saying. When your daughter or son say’s something or does something that was wrong and they ask you to forgive them you do! You don’t’ hold it over them, you don’t look at them and only see what they did NO! You let it go immediately and you hug them and kiss them and tell them you forgive and understand. So does our Heavenly Father hug and kiss us and tells us He loves us! Otherwise He would not have died for us. Please know this and please believe –their is hope there is freedom! there is love! –may Jesus hold you in the palm of His hand and walk you through these times.

  • Jenn Grover

    Questioning – well stated.

  • Dr. Pepper


    I’ve known it was time to get it a long time ago, but kept on staying and hoping for change.


    thanks so much for your kindness to me. Thanks for the hugs too.


    It’s really sad for me to see so many people I care about trust everything the pastors say. After what happened with JV, I’m not sure what could wake them up. I guess Jesus will one day.

  • Jon

    @Jenn Grover, I listened to a recording of Machowski’s message, and I agree, this is evil, more evil than I thought. More yelling and talk of the devil attacking them than I have heard in an SGM message in a while. I think this was a pep rally message, including at the end when the audience response wasn’t enthusiastic enough, “No, you’re still not excited enough.” Juvenile. Not even a consideration for anywhere they might be in error. I was a bit embarrassed for everybody. SGM is truly not a healthy place, and for those on the edge, I wish all the courage to step out into scary freedom.

  • Waters

    Mahaney will not be participating in the 2014 T4G Conference. He is bowing out. So the continuing news and ongoing revelations of the SGM sex abuse allegations will not adversely effect his bosom buddies at T4G. (Really? No one will remember his close affiliation with the T4G guys??? Uh-huh, ok)

    Out of the abundance of the heart—his own mouth has spoken. He has NOT cared about the victims, the cover-ups, the established factual patterns of pastoral/SGM overseers-formerly-known-as-apostles protecting pedophiles!!!!!!
    No, no, no—the MOST important reason to NOT be a part of the T4G Conference is……. his fellow standing-in-the-stead-of God RBD’s. Incredible.

    This decision clearly shows Mahaney, his sycophant SGM churches, SGM pastors, SGM leaders, SGM congregants….are crippled.
    Crippled by the sexual abuse allegations which are continuing…..Crippled by the thousands of dollars they are spending in courts; crippled by the ‘social media’ which has brought SGM’s spinning, duplicity, unholy counseling, perverse ‘doctrine’, into the LIGHT. Into the light to be revealed and exposed.

    The spiritual principle Jesus exhorted us to live by is ALWAYS a part of our lives: ASK, SEEK, KNOCK……..for Truth!

    JennGrover SuperFan #43,
    I am so deeply saddened to hear Marty’s scoffing reference to his own congregants as he laughingly says “run away” while quoting Ephesians. And, as you stated, he has revealed what is in his heart–scoffing, mocking, derogatory.

    Todd Wilhelm #16,
    You include a link to what I have referenced several times on this forum. The absolutely astonishingly horrific “advise” young pastor Jared Mellinger issued his congregants on a Sunday morning: “Which would be more dangerous for a Christian to be exposed to? A website devoted to IMMORAL IMAGES or a website devoted to sowing suspicion against leaders and tearing people down?….”

    CLC congregants, do you GET IT that your very own pastor (I use this title with sarcasm) would prefer you to watch “immoral images” rather than his veiled reference to the Survivors and Refuge sites???!!!!?? This young man has revealed his own heart—for he too has spoken out of what is in his heart. He is encouraging YOU to CHOOSE “IMMORAL IMAGES” OVER reading the blogs!!

    Where oh where is such a statement coming from in his life???? Wretched.

    Who could follow and listen to such a boy (he could not be a man) in the church??? Where is the public correction, admonishment, and confrontation over such a statement? I can only imagine how his wife must feel (truly, if she allows herself to be truthful with her own reactions) over his preference of “immoral images” over websites to confront leaders.

    Please, please wake up SGM.
    In Revelations Jesus spoke to all the churches, ending with “AWAKE O Sleeper” —SGM, You are being ROUSED with truths

    As Paul K in #18 wrote: “Many have sentenced themselves to self-imposed prisons to protect themselves from the pollution of facts that would force them to change their view of reality — they cherish their view of reality more than Reality itself.”

    Awake, O sleepers—- ASK, SEEK, KNOCK—- let JESUS answer the door of your seeking~

  • It's just the beginning

    @Waters, #54: honest mistake I’m sure .. but your middle paragraph starts off with “CLC congregants, do you GET IT that your very own pastor…”

    It was Jared Mellinger, pastor of Covenant Fellowship Church, who said that. “CFC” / “CLC” .. one little letter, totally different church [each with their own unique problems and challenges] :)

  • Dr. Pepper


    Jared Mellinger is actually senior pastor of covfel. He is very young. I always think a senior pastor should be older.

  • Waters

    It’s just the beginning,
    THANKYOU for that correction— yes, I meant to write Jared Mellinger of CFC (Cov Fel)… NOT CLC.

  • Waters

    Dr. Pepper,
    I agree. I always thought a senior pastor should be older, too! And thankyou, too for your correction for my typo error!

    I have appreciated your writings, Dr. Pepper. Sometimes I think many of us are writing as we are “thinking out loud” and progressing in our journey. We have been out of SGM for a bit over 4 years. Those first steps away were like cold water hitting your face and jarring you into looking at your surroundings….finding our bearings…

    DP, I still love reading the Psalms—all the throes of emotion, questions, crying out to God—It’s all about being His people, battling evil, being loved by Him, knowing Him, and walking with Him. — He really will bring you through all of this……Remember when Jesus was in the boat with His disciples on the Sea of Galilee—a terrible crashing thunderous frightening storm—but they rowed, He brought peace….and they arrived on the other side… Not only are we the “SGM Survivors”—we are on the shore with Him, relearning His Voice above all others—He has placed eternity in our hearts and He lives within us—-this we can hold onto as we go forward!
    Our love and prayer to you ~ Waters and household

  • Jenn Grover

    Can I just say, that I have never seen the word, “sycophant” used as much in my entire life as I have over the last two words. Not saying it has been abused, but man, what kind of mess is this?

    Dr. Pepper, ultimately you aren’t going to be able to help those people see, but Jesus can. Pray for those you care about as you go. I am not saying leaving will be easy but it will be freeing. You will rediscover Jesus.

    Jon, i was in shock when he said they weren’t excited enough. SGM has always decried that type of emotionalism. The whole message was so bizarre and everyone seems to agree, it was more of a pep rally than anything else. But it was like a pep rally for team that is 0-8. Everyone knows the cheers are hollow.

    So, we know nothing in sGM is coincidental, and less likely to be providential, but the concerted effort (referring to the release of Purswell’s e-book) to convince those who are still with SGM that this is all just an attack of the devil is pitiful and unbelievable since up until CJ came under fire, everything that was wrong in everyone else’s lives was all related to sin. SGM is doing everything within its power to remain relevant to the churches that are left and to their neo-reformed friends. They feel the influence and celebrity status slipping away.

  • Questioning

    I thank God for the ability to discern evil.

    Yes, God does SEE ALL Jared – perhaps you should THINK about that—think about how that applies to your life and to the message you just gave the congregation.

    Think about how God KNOWS your MOTIVES, Just as He knew Judas’ Did you ever wonder why Jesus chose Judas to be His disciple? Yes, so the scriptures could be fulfilled Jared. Luke 22:22 But WOE to that man who betrays Him!

    Did you know that God says for each person to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling? Philippians 2:12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Jared –NOT WITH THE CARE GROUPS/PASTORS/CHURCH note: “YOUR SALVATION”

    From what I have read on this site, it is not a place whereby a group of people have decided to engage in “gossip” “slander” or “idle talk” this is site where people are being real! People are asking QUESTIONS!. Many people have been seriously hurt and had the scriptures twisted and distorted to serve dare I say “your/CLC/SGM/CFC pastors” purpose? Yes, many of you have judged and condemned the people on this site and practice lies and deception hiding behind the scriptures.

    You Distort and twist the scriptures so the flock does not see our TRUE LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS! who is FULL OF LOVE AND MERCY. Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

    For those of us who believe in our Lord Jesus, He does not give us a spirit of D**nation but one of PEACE.

  • Questioning

    As I now know the pastors of SGM churches read this blog let me say the following to you.

    Jeremiah 5:23-25 23 But this people has a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone. 24 Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the LORD our God, that gives rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserves to us the appointed weeks of the harvest. 25 Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withheld good things from you.

    James 5:4 Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you have kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of those who reaped have entered into the ears of the Lord of Armies

    Pepper blessings and peace to you my dear. You are about to embark on a wonderful journey with God! Don’t fear :) There is much to be excited about. I pray Peace and Joy to you. The Lord will open the eyes of those who are dear to you still in that place and not able to see at the moment.

  • Sean Michael Curran

    Done Watching, feel free to get in touch with me via Facebook or at my email address, I appreciate you posting what was labeled as “members only” but should have been shouted out publicly and posted on the Pasadena church’s website as a move of integrity.

    In appreciation of your post, I have decided to renounce my slight anonymity of posting under only my middle name. My family attended the church in Pasadena starting when I was 5 years old. At age 18, I became a member of Abundant Life Community Church, and at age 27 I departed from membership at Sovereign Grace Pasadena, also stepping down from serving as the youth group’s worship leader and as a member of the worship team. I am the former bass player for the band West Coast Revival.

    I’ll go ahead and say that the main reason I left was for a girl–I entered a hasty engagement with a troubled young woman who on some level I had convinced myself I was serving by being in a romantic relationship with. There are many things I regret about that relationship, but I am glad that she awakened me to how the church I had grown up in was an environment of excessive control (she used the term “fundamentalist,” but I think that means something different).

    It was around the time I broke off my engagement that the dam burst for Sovereign Grace Ministries, and it became all too clear to me I had left a ship that was going to sink–that had been heading towards a set of iceburgs for many years. Brent Detwiler provided a warning about his documents that they were “disillusioning,” and those documents along with the events of the last two years have been incredibly disillusioning for me. I consider myself an intelligent man, and I feel like I sold my birthright for a bowl of stew.

    I will admit that I have had little interest in being part of ANY church over the last two years. As Done Watching put it, to hear any of the phrases used in SGM (as well as my old church) like “gospel-______” or something about “humility” has triggered revulsion in me. To hear about Jesus dying on the cross has been nearly unbearable. Was I stabbed by a Morgul-blade on my way out the door?

    I have seen my friendships suffer as the men I considered my best friends have heard my complaints (and that is what they are, though the word is unfairly trivialized in its pejorative sense) and reacted sometimes with disdain, mostly with disbelief. One of them, after mentioning the now past Worship God West conference, asked me teasingly whether I would be outside of it holding a picket sign. They may be reading this even now. I only hope that when their eyes are opened that they do not suffer much.

    Now of Ron Boomsma and Lynn Baird, the pastors of the church in Pasadena, I have said little on this blog thus far. Lynn was told I was writing on the blog, and asked me after hearing some of what I’d written (not reading it himself, he insisted) if I had any personal offenses against himself or Ron. At the time, I didn’t.

    But now, after having read this decision of theirs, to say to the whole Pasadena church “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,” and to say in regard to the charges and offenses brought against SGM and its leaders “Whatever has taken place from a human perspective, the divine perspective is most important”…

    Ron and Lynn:

    WHY do you kowtow? Why do you feel the need to annihilate your SELVES in order to further the agenda of a nakedly self-serving corporation? IF YOU DID NOT MAKE A LIVING FROM BEING SGM PASTORS, would you make the same decision? Are you convinced that you must follow where God leads you, even if it is away from SGM? Or are you convinced that God has led you to SGM and therefore you must follow him within it?

    I cannot undo your long-held beliefs about authority, part of which feeds into your decisions. My perspective on authority might be considered radical even by the bloggers on SGM Survivors. But I can appeal to your hearts for the Pasadena church! How can you set aside the grief and anger of so many of those whom you call friends at the behest of 5 leaders in SGM who at best visit the church a few times a year? What benefit does your partnership bring beyond the appeal of a well-designed brand? How does your unilateral decision actually serve those who believe you are yoking the church with monsters?

    What will you say to those who leave now? “Be warm and be filled”?

    Consider that Jesus drove the moneychangers out of the Temple with a whip. Consider how much the role of finances plays into your decision–you effectively say that planting the churches in Kansas City and in Orange County would have been impossible without the help of SGM. Consider that nothing is impossible with God.

    For my part, I would not submit to your leadership again, and you would not listen to me if I were a member. Consider my words, then, as a man whom you have seen grow up, partly under your care, and who has considered your sons to be like my brothers.

  • Stunned

    Mattie/Hannah! So good to see you around these parts, again! Thank you, once more, for sharing your story.


  • Stunned


    Wow. Just wow. Your words are truth. Thank you for sharing them.

  • Stunned

    Questioning, thank you for sharing post #44.

    Jenn- 45 to 48- Amen.

    In 49, Oswald said, “Pep — If you are a believer, you have no business looking at your sin; it’s gone. Raking through all that crap is a study in unbelief. It’s carried to the bottom of the deepest sea. Don’t go there. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on you own understanding. In all you ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your way”. Prov 3:5,6.”


    Dr. Pepper said, “It’s really sad for me to see so many people I care about trust everything the pastors say. After what happened with JV, I’m not sure what could wake them up. I guess Jesus will one day.”

    Yup, yup and yup. I think of that scripture where the rich man, now in hell, looks up to Abraham and asks Abraham to send a warning to the rich man’s brothers, to warn them of their impending doom if they do not change and help those in need. Abraham’s response was, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” I fear for some of my dear, dear brothers and sisters at Covenant Fellowship. If they would not listen to scripture about loving the least of these, if they would not heed the warnings to stand for those who can not defend themselves, if they continue to allow scripture to be used as a battering ram against others without taking a stand for justice and righteousness and love, if they would not stand up for JV, what will happen to them? What tragedy will it take? When will they grow a spiritual backbone? If they will not weep for JV and stand beside her and the hundreds who have left, if they will not confront Marty for his hateful heart (apparent to all for over a generation), who will stand up to the bullies? Who will stand for them when they are being crushed under the heel of religion? For it is already happening. And they sit in the pot being boiled…

  • Stunned

    Paul K said, “Many have sentenced themselves to self-imposed prisons to protect themselves from the pollution of facts that would force them to change their view of reality…”

    How true and what an eloquent way to put it.

  • Stunned

    So when something is wrong in my life (or the average Joe’s life), it is because of my sin. But when something is going wrong for CJ or the SMG pastors, it’s an attack of the devil.

    How very convenient.

    For them.

  • QE2

    I wonder how the fact that conferences are HUGE money makers plays into this. Could it be that all those statements about “our good friend CJ” were less about him as a person but more about protecting their cash flow? Perhaps they are smarter than they look, and have realized that the only good press he is getting is from them, and the general Christian population isn’t buying it? If they tried to squeeze him out in a bold and honest way, he just might take his “family of churches” and go home, leaving lots of conference registrations unpaid. I’ll bet he still gets a cut of the profits this time. Then by the time the next one rolls around, he will most likely be completely out of the picture.

    I have realized Kris is right-reading what he says isn’t the same as watching him in action. Something truly is lost when you can’t watch the rocking and chopping hand motions, and can’t hear the cackling, and sudden whispers then volume increases. I did enjoy the re-worded the press releases-thanks, I laughed out loud!

  • Stunned

    I agree with SomewhereinTime, that CJ needs to write the exact same letter to SGM and those in Louisville. Why care more for his “friends” in T4G than for his own church? Why is their “gospel” more important than the one CJ claims is being preached in SG?

  • Stunned

    Sandy Thompson said, “…to all my dear brothers and sisters (the walking/limping/crawling wounded) It has taken me years and years of purposeful prayer, reading, and study to finally be at the point where I can say that God loves me, He likes me (What’s not to like, right!?) He’s for me and NOT against me.”

    I liked your phrase, “the walking/limping/crawling”. Jesus uses the broken vessels of this world to minister to the hurting. Amen to God loving you and liking you!

  • Jenn Grover

    Sean Curran, welcome. It is very freeing to be not afraid to speak plainly about SGM user your own name. It is hard to describe, but to me I felt the spell was broken. I know itt isn’t that way for all and some have legitimate reasons for anonymity, but fir some of us, there is a freedom.

    “Unity” has become an idol or in some cases the cover fir fear if man. Of course unity is something we should strive for but what these men consider unity is not godly unity. At best it is enablement, at worst it is a complete lack of moral courage. When words are minced or to ed down to the point where they ha e no impact, that is not unity. When partial truths are told to present a unified front, that is not unity. Absence of thought or discussion of a difficult subject is not unity. What these men consider to be unity is control and spiritual abuse.

    Mark Prater (and others) you are not a man, who by nature is an abusive person but you have bought into an abusive theology and leadership model. Abandon those ways.

  • PB&J

    Stunned 69: Good observation! CJ must teach this is PC, that friends are more important than the sheep. At my last SG church in Fredericksburg one of the senior pastor’s reasons for staying in SG was that he was friends with many of the leaders and trusted them. He too chose them over many of the now former members of the church.

  • Todd Wilhelm

    QE2 #68

    I believe you are correct. It’s all about the money. Registrations for the April 2014 T4G conference must be way down and I would also assume conference organizers were being inundated with negative emails concerning their ongoing endorsement of Mahaney. I just reviewed Mahaney tweets for the last 6 or 7 months and back in December the 4 boys of T4G were meeting together to plan for the conference. They had no concerns of integrity then. What has changed? Follow the money. (Or lack thereof.) The timing of these events also lead me think that there will soon be some criminal charges leveled against Mahaney and friends. These guys got word of it and their PR advisors probably told them it would be much better for them to dump Mahaney now as opposed to doing it when criminal charges have been filed. Just a hunch, but time will tell.

  • 70's shepherding survivor

    Are there any Dicken’s scholars in the house? Just heard a message by Alistair Begg in which he referred to men who trumpet their own humbleness as Uriah Heep characters.
    “The character is notable for his cloying humility, obsequiousness, and insincerity, making frequent references to his own “‘humbleness”.”

    Okay, not to insult your intelligence, dear readers, but I looked up the words used in the description of our old friend, Uriah Heep.

    CLOY (kloi)
    v. cloyed, cloy·ing, cloys
    To cause distaste or disgust by supplying with too much of something originally pleasant, especially something rich or sweet; surfeit.
    To be too filling, rich, or sweet.

    OB·SE·QUI·OUS (b-skw-s, b-)
    Full of or exhibiting servile compliance; fawning.

    I do think this fittingly describes CJ and company.

  • Jenn Grover

    PB&J: I doubt it was ever truly taught butit was like replicated by words CJ would use. When SGM leaders would come to town they would almost always use over the top language and exaggerate their relationship with the Sr. Pastor. This made the pastors feel like they knew them.

    CJ actually does not do a.ton of the PC instruction, but his role has traditionally been to model. Therein lies the key.

  • PB&J

    Article that communicates my previous experience/observations at SG Fredericksburg forwarded to me by a friend.
    By Sam Storms:

  • Jenn Grover

    PB&J: thanks for the link. There is a lot of sGM in that article.

    “A pastor domineers by widening the alleged gap between “clergy” and “laity.” In other words, he reinforces in them the false belief that he has a degree of access to God which they don’t.”

    This is the one, right here. The rest are symptoms of this underlying issue. IN SGM it transcended polity and doctrine. They always managed to make this fit their model.

    “He domineers by short circuiting due process, by shutting down dialogue and discussion prematurely, by not giving all concerned an opportunity to voice their opinion. He domineers by establishing an inviolable barrier between himself and the sheep. He either surrounds himself with staff who insulate him from contact with the people or withdraws from the daily affairs of the church in such a way that he is unavailable and unreachable.”

    Most do not see this in themselves but it is prevalent in SGM. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard the stories of people who were friends with men who were becoming pastors and they were told to not expect t be close friends any more. They are surrounded by new, superficial friends and the genuine relational care for their souls (pastors and wives) is left void. A big part of that is tied to the previous quote – they subconsciously don’t believe that regular members can effectively care for them and that “normal friendships” aren’t really an option. Regular members are kept at arms’ length and a lot of times these folks suffer in silence.

  • 5yearsinPDI

    That sermon by Marty M starting around 26 is just awful. He is accusing Josh Harris and Altrogge’s Church, and any other people that left, as giving into Satan? Revolting. Then he refers to a lawsuit that was later dismissed, as Satan’s attack……as if the lawsuit is over with and was just dismissed for being rediculous. Not a word of sorrow owning to any possible truth in it. No pity for any molested children.

    Sean- welcome. It is all just so stupid. If Pasadena wants relationships with other churches and not to be independent, they could relate to the churches that left SGM. They could advertise in World Magazine for Reformed Charismatics. They could actually relate to local churches in their city, you know, like fellow Christians. Ugh.

  • PB&J

    Jenn 74: Thanks. I often use CJ in place of SGM as I believe that his unrepentant condition is one of the main reasons this ministry is being disciplined by God. His manipulative nature contaminates this ministry and the PC.

  • 5yearsinPDI

    PB&J…nice link. I am reading one of his books right now. Thanks.

  • PB&J

    5 years 79: I read Sam Storms book Chosen For Life several years ago. Well thought out easy to read style. The Hope of Glory also good.

  • Soarin'

    This has been on my heart to write for awhile but for some reason I have hesitated. This is a list of things that helped me before I left SG and since we left. I know these ideas won’t work for everyone and that you may not even like some of the names/ministries I’ve listed but they were helpful to me so here goes.

    Before you leave – if for some reason you just can’t leave yet
    Try to:
    Do Something for yourself every Sunday morning – something that helps you look forward to even getting up out of the bed- for me it was listening to Charles Stanley -my “church” before I had to go to my so called church. (did this for around 3-5 years before we left).
    Join a Bible study at a different church or even not church related. (this helped me still hear from the Holy Spirit -at least to some degree)
    My last month there a friend suggested just opening my Bible and reading and to not listen to the sermon.
    Started seeing a counselor – very blessed to have one that accepts donations and does not turn anyone away that can not pay!
    Since I left about 4 months ago I often :
    Listen to music – not necessarily Christian.
    Visit an art museum
    Visit a beautiful park
    Start or keep on exercising ( I am not very athletic but I run/jog now -great stress reliever)
    I started writing poetry – maybe not very good poetry but it helped me.
    Gave myself permission to just put some things on the “back burner” .
    I had difficulty even eating (part of the grieving process for me ) so I ate things I normally wouldn’t -if it tasted good and I could swallow it I did- Starbucks strawberry smoothie)
    I struggled reading the Bible so I just read my yearly devotional Bible ( no decision making involved- just open up to the date. )
    This has been on my heart to write for awhile but for some reason I have hesitated. This is a list of things that helped me before I left SG and since we left. I know these ideas won’t work for everyone and that you may not even like some of the names/ministries I’ve listed but they were helpful to me so here goes.

    Before you leave – if for some reason you just can’t leave yet
    Try to:
    Do Something for yourself every Sunday morning – something that helps you look forward to even getting up out of the bed- for me it was listening to Charles Stanley -my “church” before I had to go to my so called church. (did this for around 3-5 years before we left).
    Join a Bible study at a different church or even not church related. (this helped me still hear from the Holy Spirit -at least to some degree)
    My last month there a friend suggested just opening my Bible and reading and to not listen to the sermon.
    Started seeing a counselor – very blessed to have one that accepts donations and does not turn anyone away that can not pay!
    Since I left about 4 months ago I often :
    Listen to music – not necessarily Christian.
    Visit an art museum
    Visit a beautiful park
    Start or keep on exercising ( I am not very athletic but I run/jog now -great stress reliever)
    I started writing poetry – maybe not very good poetry but it helped me.
    Gave myself permission to just put some things on the “back burner” .
    I had difficulty even eating (part of the grieving process for me ) so I ate things I normally wouldn’t -if it tasted good and I could swallow it I did- Starbucks strawberry smoothie)
    I struggled reading the Bible so I just read my yearly devotional Bible ( no decision making involved- just open up to the date.

    I think I hesitated to write this because it seems so narcissistic to think this much about myself. But I remember what my husband tells me “put your oxygen mask on and then think about helping others put their own on” I think one way to get well is to treat yourself like you are in recovery. For me this is a hopeful process.

    I have promised myself that i will not forget what it is like to leave SG. When I get frustrated with people who have not left yet ,I remind myself how hard it was for me/us to leave. I have said it before it is like a thick fog and you can’t see the way out. There is definitely a spiritual oppression/abuse involved.

    To those of you still just thinking about leaving -don’t over think it – just take one Sunday at a time. Give yourself a “summer break” from your SG church . I think once fall comes around you will not go back. The farther you get away from SG the clearer your thinking becomes. You will begin to hear the still sweet small voice of God. You will hear Him”singing over you ” . You will fall in love with Jesus again. On very good days you will learn to love the cross again – you will love that He is no longer there -that He is with the Father -that He sent His Spirit to dwell in believers and that He is coming again for His bride! On very very good days you will actually want to share this good news with others !
    So is every day like this -NO not for me- I still have struggles . I think it will be a long time before I a comfortable going to a small group (other than a Bible study) but I am hopeful that I will have some semblance of a healthy church life again some day .More importantly I am beginning to have a healthy relationship with Jesus again.

    So I hope this helps even one person. I hope it makes sense because if I read thru it again I may chicken out and not send it so here goes.

  • Dr. Pepper

    In MM message when he says two pastors left under very different circumstances or something like that. Well, BV did not have to leave. You did not have to make JV see doctors. There is something going on at covfel that is evil. And Dave Harvey didn’t have to leave either. We will never know the real reason why Dave left because you don’t want the members knowing anything at all.

  • Stunned

    Soarin’- great list!!!!!

  • Dr. Pepper

    Thanks to everyone for praying for me and helping me through this. It will be hard to leave. It’s something I’m going to have to do.

  • Stunned

    Dr Pepper,

    Only leave when He leads you. He will make it clear, when and how, if He hasn’t already. HE LOVES YOU! You are His precious little one. Think of the creature (baby, pet, friend) which you feel the most tenderness you have ever felt toward anyone. That is how God feels about you, except a million times more. He thinks about you all day long, tenderly and gently. He gets excited when you talk to him. You are the joy set before Jesus, which He endured the cross so that you could know Him some day. You are the apple of His eye.

    He will lead you so tenderly, even if the process may seem painful. He is all about YOU. Not what you can do for Him, but loving you, lifting you up, comforting you. He will be there and He will see you through this time.

  • Persona

    Dr. Pepper, It gets easier every day you are out. I never had one regret after we left. Pray, pray, pray for them and yourself and God will lead you.

  • I listened to Mark Machowski’s message that he gave this past Sunday at CFC and agree with most of the comments people have posted here.

    I do wonder if it ever occurred to Mark when he talked about hidden sin to think in terms of CJ. Mahaney’s hidden sin. What about C.J. Mahaney’s actions where he blackmailed Larry Tomcak and then hid that for over 10 years? What about C.J. not practicing a lot of what he wrote about in his book on humility? What about C.J.’s unrsesolved relationship with the leaders of CLC?

    It was just something to hear Mark talk this way but seem to forget about actions that came to light about SGM Leaders especially Mahaney.

    As others have shared, Mark Machowski certainly talked as if people and churces leaving were attacks of Satan vs. due to at least partially SGM Leaders’ actions. Sad how he sees it all that way.

  • Stunned

    Marty Machowski, not Mark. No big deal, though.

  • Soarin'

    Sorry for the repeats in my post. Not sure what happened!

    Dr. Pepper-

    Does Covfel have a new pastor on staff?

  • Dr. Pepper


    The only new pastor that covfel is getting is Tim Shorey. But he has already been there for a while.

  • intheNickoftime

    So when something is wrong in my life (or the average Joe’s life), it is because of my sin. But when something is going wrong for CJ or the SMG pastors, it’s an attack of the devil.
    How very convenient.

  • intheNickoftime

    So when something is wrong in our life , it is because of my sin. But when something is going wrong for CJ or the SMG pastors, it’s an attack of the devil.
    How very convenient.

    Just wanted everyone to be certain they saw this! It’s the SGM way!

  • intheNickoftime

    Jen in #74 –

    When SGM leaders would come to town they would almost always use over the top language and exaggerate their relationship with the Sr. Pastor. This made the pastors feel like they knew them.
    CJ actually does not do a ton of the PC instruction…

    If anyone has read here for a time, they know that CJ doesnt really have many friends. He has people that he uses, and people that worship him, but as for real friends, I think the number is very low. And many who were once in that number, have been removed when they said something CJ didnt like or they didnt agree with him.

    CJ is a singular figure with lots of people in his wake but very few real friends. As SGM comes crashing down around him he just has a couple of close friends, his longtime henchmen, a couple of sycophant kool-aid drinkers to round out his circle of acquaintances. When the spotlight goes some place else, it will be a sad time for CJ. He will only have his wife and daughters to boss around. Too sad.

  • 28 years gone...

    Jenn 46

    You said ” That message was as evil as the televangelists who manipulate people for money.”

    I disagree. This is MUCH WORSE. Televangelists took people’s money, but they went away. They didn’t turn thousands of people away from god (including me), allow pedophiles to victimize children and prevent parents from reporting them to the police, cause emotional pain to tens of thousands. (Jenn, I am just kidding about disagreeing, I just wanted to underscore a point. I appreciate your posts very much!)

  • Kim Torres

    I thought Satan’s influence was a very passe concept in SGM circles. Interesting that none of this is being attributed to the Sovereignty of God. My, my how things change. But yet not, their doctrine has just been one logical inconsistency after another. Almost as bad as proof-texting. I’m so over all of this. Hope it all crumbles soon. Sigh.

  • exCCKer

    When CJ and his clan showed up in Knoxville right after Brent’s docs hit the interwebs, he did a 2 hour Q&A with the CCK CG and ministry team leaders. At the end of that meeting, he threw out the idea that the growing controversy over the docs was an attack of Satan. He framed it as joke, referencing PDI’s more Pentecostal/Charismatic leanings in its earlier days. It got a laugh from the group, but it was clear he wasn’t totally joking. It wouldn’t surprise me if this idea gained steam and worked its way through SGM’s leadership structure to the point where it’s the “official” position now.

    T4G notwithstanding, Mohler obviously isn’t concerned about appearing with Mahaney at this conference.

  • Stunned

    I think someone is confusing the fruit of Satan with an attack of Satan. With fear of man over God and not loving others as yourself, you get the mess that is SGM.

  • Stunned


    If this question is too personal, please forgive me and ignore it. But if not, would you be willing to share why you left CCK? I dont believe I have heard from anyone who was in the Knoxville church. Again, I understand if that is too personal of a question.

  • 5yearsinPDI

    Kim- BINGO. Satan does nothing apart from the express permission of God for God’s divine purpose. How quickly they revert back to allegedly discarded docrines.

    from Detwiler’s latest:

    (Ya know, if this SGM saga was a John Grisham novel, everybody would think it was way too far fetched a story.)

    By the way, the SGM Council of Elders comprised of 62 men passed a resolution that commended C.J. and condemned me at their inaugural meeting in Orlando on May 23-25. This commendation/rebuke was to coincide with the statements by Dever, Duncan, Mohler, and Carson, DeYoung and Taylor. There were also 36 non-voting observers at the annual meeting.

    The Council of Elders pulled the plug on releasing the commendation/rebuke for several reasons. One, numerous pastors said they would leave SGM if the statement was published. Two, the Council saw the immediate and strong opposition to the letters of support from T4G and TGC. They knew the same reaction awaited them. Three, they feared a lawsuit by me in which I could present all my evidence against C.J. and others in a court of law. They announced their plans to have a lawyer review the rebuke before publishing it.

    The SGM Council of Elders may still proceed with the commendation/rebuke but I doubt it. Every day the evidence collected against C.J. and his co-conspirators increases and no one wants me testifying in a court of law where there is due process. Due process is SGM’s worst nightmare!

  • Oswald

    Soarin’ @81 — Thanks for the post. Lots of helpful things mentioned. I would add…Proceed with NO guilt, just do it!
    Again, thanks.

  • Oswald

    exCCKer @98 — This could (and probably will) change by November. A lot could happen by then.

  • exCCKer

    Stunned @100

    Not too personal at all. I had never considered it until you asked, but it might be helpful for me as well as others. I’ll see if I can put something together over the holiday weekend.

  • Jenn Grover

    exCCKer – will the conference with Mahaney in attendance produce a new round of exoduses? I know some in Knoxville believed CJ was in the wrong but are pro sGM bc they trust local leadership and think CJ is figure of the past.

  • Oswald

    5years @101 — Referencing the Detwiler blog post– “The Council of Elders pulled the plug on releasing the commendation/rebuke for several reasons. One, numerous pastors said they would leave SGM if the statement was published. Two, the Council saw the immediate and strong opposition to the letters of support from T4G and TGC. They knew the same reaction awaited them”.
    I would hope that there might be some SGM pastors who still have some ba–s and spoke up to say, ‘Jeez, give it a rest, for goodness sake’. SGM wants the Det Docs to be forgotten so why bring up Brent again, even if only to condemn him.

  • Oswald

    5years @101 — Referencing the currant Detwiler blog post– “The Council of Elders pulled the plug on releasing the commendation/rebuke for several reasons. One, numerous pastors said they would leave SGM if the statement was published. Two, the Council saw the immediate and strong opposition to the letters of support from T4G and TGC. They knew the same reaction awaited them”.
    I would hope that there might be some SGM pastors who still have some ba–s and spoke up to say, ‘Jeez, give it a rest, for goodness sake’. SGM wants the Det Docs to be forgotten so why bring up Brent again, even if only to condemn him.

  • Oswald

    Have a joy-filled 4th of July, everyone. what a great country we are privileged to live in. Much prayer is needed if it is to continue.

  • Paul K.


    One of the great problems of human existence is to find a solution to the reality of separateness we
    experience when we leave the sense of oneness and security of the womb. Our whole identity in this crisis of frightening separateness and helplessness is wrapped up in our identifications with our mothers. As we develop and become less helpless, we slowly begin the process of individuation, which in essence is seeking to answer the “who am I” question. Though parents within Christian community should help children and young adults to form their individual personhood within the narrative revelation story of God through loving instruction in grace and truth, the parents and community will tend to become abusive if there is not a safe environment for the individual person to become personal (to become a genuinely unique individual in accordance with how God has designed them). This is particularly challenging in communities that aim for certain common standards with young people growing up within their communities. The process of individuation is not easy. Most people choose to blend in with “the herd” through conformity. It takes courage and security to choose the journey of being true to yourself. In this process a young person may begin to feel secure enough to tell their parents they aren’t sure they believe Jesus is actually God. When this happens, the parents/ community must treat this person w respect and dialogue about truth w them respectfully as they would a non- believer. There must be encouragement, patience, and the same level of grace and love being shown to a child who in actuality may simply be conforming for the time being rather than becoming an individual. In communities that don’t understand this process takes time, these people can be shunned and considered rebellious when in fact they are on a journey of searching to see if they are able to genuinely make what has been handed down to them their own. If they don’t have space to do this they may well rebel against what is actually spiritual abuse because they are not being respected as a person and being given the freedom to develop as such. It is those who embrace God as individuals and not as conformists who will ultimately be genuine and fruitful in community because their hearts will truly be engaged.

    “You must become personal before you can become interpersonal.” True friendship can’t develop between people who haven’t become individuals. When a community exists to preserve itself rather than love and serve people, it becomes suspicious of friendships, seeing factions everywhere. Deep friendships have the power to change things within community and if those in power want things a certain way (biblical or not) they will discourage friendships.

    The irony is that it takes genuine individuals and the power of interpersonal relationships to make a community strong and vibrant.

    IMO SGM has perpetrated much more abuse than almost anyone realizes through the insecurity of forced conformity and has damaged the very people who properly treated would have actuality made SGM churches healthy communi-
    ties. To require conformity on secondary issues
    because of a desire to control due to insecurity or the pride of a leader who wants to have “the best ‘family’ of churches” for his glory rather than caring for the good of the individual has chosen the collective which is a figment of the imagination over each individual whom Jesus actually died for and has given the right to be children of God. SGM will not go to heaven : only individuals will.

    When the individual is expendable for the sake of an ethereal thing or concept such as SGM – a non living thing – the idol is already in decay if not dead.

    On the way to the Cross, Jesus stopped for a blind individual named Bartimaeus and on the Cross He told an individual, a thief, he’d be with Him in paradise. Unless this nebulous thing called SGM cares for individuals rather than trying to prop up a mere dead concept it, it will be nothing but a dead and shameful name so unlike Christ whose name it uses and whose Word it hides behind having been utterly deceived by Wormtongue and employing spineless YES MEN.

  • Luna Moth

    I have a lot of respect for you, Sean Curran.

    But you know, I watched you grow up.

  • NarrowistheWay

    Off topic, and old news, but interesting.
    James MacDonald resigned from TGC in early 2012 because they wanted MacDonald to dis-invite TD Jakes to a debate event due to Jakes’ heretical views on the Trinity. James MacDonald was hoping to use it as platform to engage Jakes on his stand. MacDonald resigned rather than caving.
    CJ & Co, though, get a pass, and even an endorsement from the TGC gang, for covering up childhood sexual abuse, alleged or not.
    A bundle of contradictions these guys.
    Drives home the point made here many times that what drives their thinking seems to be more about what’s expedient and profitable. Very sad.

    Happy Independence Day, everyone.
    Yes, pray for our country, and pray that our American people, ALL OF US, would get a clue and use at least one good brain cell that God gave us before walking into a voting booth. SHEESH!!

  • Paul K.

    (A Gift Of The Holy Spirit)

    Whom Jesus fills brim-full with wine will first drip but then spill / Out smiles and laughs of shared thoughts and thoughtful kind deeds until / Orphans He homes in (but how!) forget how joy came to tame / With God’s wild within, this warm burning, this joy-fire flame / Which without would wane to naught but brought blame or bore with same / Torpid savor stale both now and still when aged flesh will ill.

    But once flame fired within, the joy-burn of it, it
    came / Down deep, deeper till deepest part filled up to deep within. / Then how (oh Lord!) would or could any attachment now aim / To lay hold of me, pull me back, disguise as wise and keep.

    (Sometimes we fear attachments – connections with creation or people either because we (1) think these attachments will take away from our love for God or (2) we fear the loss of friendship will too great a pain for us to bear. But a love for birds, for example, is taking an interest in what our Father has made and can increase our affections for God. Likewise, we need not fear close friendships for if we should lose a friendship, the Holy Spirit is sufficient comfort for our souls – always a balm for our hearts.)

  • NarrowistheWay #111


    Happy Independence Day to you too.

  • MAK

    Paul K #109

    “SGM has perpetrated much more abuse than almost anyone realizes through the insecurity of forced conformity and has damaged the very people who properly treated would have actuality made SGM churches healthy communities.”

    Yes, this is very true and something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. Also, I don’t believe even the churches who have left SGM even understand this fully yet.

  • Luna Moth

    I have decided to tell my story today.

    My name is Dorothy. I was at the PDI/SGM church in Pasadena for more than 25 years.

    I was very young when I first went there; I was 24 when I came out to California from Kentucky, and got into Abundant Life Community Church.

    I grew up Baptist, and I didn’t go to ALCC out of a wish to stop being Baptist. In fact I was kind of scared of the whole Charismatic scene. I went there because of a relationship, and stayed because I found friends.

    I started out thinking I could be in the church and keep my integrity and be my true self. I guess I hoped I could speak up for what was important to me. But what I eventually found was that I wasn’t strong enough to stand alone against the opposition of what I held dear. I gave up speaking out, and I hid what I really thought and felt and who I really was.

    In the early days I was troubled by the cheerful arrogance of the people in the church. I heard frequent disparaging comments about “traditional churches” (i.e. non-charismatic), especially Southern Baptists. I was hurt and angered by this, because I was a Southern Baptist missionary daughter, and I loved my heritage. But when I spoke up against it, I was treated as if I were the one who had a problem.

    I was troubled by the authority claimed by the pastors at ALCC. I had never heard of Shepherding. I didn’t know how to examine Scripture and see what was true, I only knew I was uneasy. And I was ashamed, and I didn’t want to just seem rebellious. (It has taken a long time for me to learn that sometimes I need to do something even if it displeases someone else.)

    I didn’t know how to put into words what I didn’t like about the church. And I had been taught–and had accepted–that I needed to submit to the wishes of a particular family member. I was taught that I could not leave the church without the agreement of this person. And this person believed that if you were “called” to a particular church, to leave that church would be sin. Also I remember being told that if you left the church (without it being God’s Will), you would just “take your problems elsewhere.”

    There seemed to be no way to be honest with anyone about how I really felt. Everyone in the church seemed to think this was the Best Church Ever. I tried a few times to share my struggle, and heard “there’s no such thing as a perfect church.” Finally I gave up trying. I felt tremendously lonely and isolated and desperate.

    (I’m going to break this up into parts so it won’t be one huge long comment.)

  • Luna Moth

    Here is the second part of my story:

    I did what I could, as far as involvement in the church. I worked with the three-year-olds for years. That was a place I knew I could share my gifts. My own children gave me a purpose and a heart’s garden of my own. We never got into the “babywise” method. I would not have left my babes to cry alone. I did feel like a wimp because I didn’t spank my kids over and over till they obeyed immediately. But I couldn’t do it.

    I tried to shield my kids from the most damaging things at the church. But I know that they were affected.

    Around 1997, the pastors began teaching Calvinist doctrine. I was not and had never been Calvinist, and I would not go along with it. I spoke out in care group as best I could. This was another indication to me that I did not fit in this church, that I could never build it.

    In 2000 I came to a breaking point. A friend who had been in the church, but had left, urged me to seek outside counseling. I did, and I am sure it saved my life. It has renewed my hope and helped me to draw close to God in a way I had not dared to dream.

    When I came to know the Lord as my companion, my perspective began to change. I was no longer so desperate just to get out. I had an inner fortress now. I waited awhile longer. I was still lonely, and my true feelings were mostly hidden.

    Around New Year of 2009, my cousin (known as acme) posted a link to “Noel’s Story.” I clicked on it and my mind was blown. There was a WEB SITE??? There were other people??? I read through the archives, night after night. I learned that Shepherding was a thing. (I had known it, but not its name.) I learned that when people went to leaders with questions or concerns, the conversation would be turned to the questioner’s sins and pride. That had happened to me!

    It was over a year before I gained courage to post and join the conversation. I still read much more than I post.

    I am not ashamed of anything I have said on SGM Survivors (or on Refuge, though it is not available to read any more).

    A few years ago, my older daughters began attending a nearby Baptist church. I decided I could dare to go with them half time, and I did. Last summer our whole family made the transition.

    I am starting to like going to church.

  • Luna Moth

    Now that I’ve told my story, I’m going to address the people in the church I left behind:

    There are several people still at Sovereign Grace Church of Pasadena (as ALCC is now called) that I care about. I’m speaking to you now.

    What I have shared may come as a surprise to you. Or it may not…You may feel like you never really knew me. That would make sense. Mostly I hid my true self. I was very very lonely. I nearly despaired of my life. You have no idea what those years were like. I needed to get out of there.

    I think maybe you need to get out of there too, whether you feel it or not. I wish you would think about it.

    I am not your enemy, and I would love to see you. If you want to hear more about my story, I would be glad. If you don’t want to talk about all that right now, we could talk about other things. I looked after many of your kids over the years, and I loved them and still do.

    Wishing you blessings and peace.

  • LookingOutward

    @ Done Watching @Luna Moth @Sean Michael Curran Thank you for who you are. I am preparing a note to my Pastors, followed by an email to close friends, care group and then to other friends in the church. After that, I too, will post my real name and story. Your posts have given me strength.

  • Luna Moth


    I am glad that I have helped you find strength!

    I know it is hard, and for a long time I didn’t feel I needed to post my story. But I have hidden long enough.

    I am amazed that hiding became a customary way for me, for so long. I’m learning to “tell what I want, what I really really want!”

  • Luna Moth

    (Yes, it’s a Spice Girls reference!) ;D

  • Stephanie/Soarin'

    Dear Luna Moth-

    I have always loved to read your post. Thank you so much for sharing your story – perhaps it is a type of independence day for you as well?! I am so happy you are free from SG and doing so well. Your story gives me hope that I too will some day feel comfortable in church.
    We have some similarities in our stories. I too grew up Baptist and love my heritage as well. It’s not perfect but I still love the Baptist faith.
    I find it ironic that when we first started going to a SG church that Baptist were spoken of in a negative way and now SGM is in the backyard of the SB.
    We were in a SG church for almost 14 years. I fault myself for staying there because I heard “warning bells” from the beginning. All of the CJ talk and the odd looks I would get when I talked about the Bible study I belonged too and the fact that SG people pretty much spent time with other SG people. I have felt a lot of shame that I pushed those warnings to the side and didn’t question them.
    I too spent time in children’s ministry – almost 10 years. I concentrated on my kids , friends on the outside , and keeping my marriage intact. We really didn’t buy into all that was taught. I stayed on what I called the “outskirts of the bubble” but I was still miserable inside.
    The teaching finally wore me down – almost every Sunday the sermons would come back to the cross and my sin. I became weary of the disconnect b/w what I read in the Bible ,heard at my Bible study and what I thought I heard during my times of prayer. I dreaded even driving up into the parking lot. I began to go to a counselor and believe that has helped make this process of detox easier.
    Thru a number of different opportunities given us by the Lord we left this year. My husband began to really see how unhealthy it was for me to be there and eventually for himself and our children as well.We are doing so much better -still have days of struggle but we are all basking in the love of Jesus – we have all been experiencing the joy of the Lord. Last night my 20 year old son told me “Mom it’s been hard but we are all actually closer than we were before”.
    I hope many others will declare their own independence day and leave their SG church!

  • Paul K.

    Luna Moth (Dorothy:),

    What a great day for u open up both your true story and your true person! What I wrote above under “Spiritual Abuse And The Individual, Friendship, and Community” though pointing
    specifically toward children becoming their own persons without experiencing rejection and shunning was something I knew also applied to so many – really every person is challenged to
    have to say, as Martin Luther did, “Here I Stand
    And Can Do No Other” when caught between a community which steps in between a person and God claiming God’s authority is expressed through them rather than directly from God.

    You begin your story saying you thought you could stay In the church and keep your “integrity” as “your true self.” That word integrity connects too the word integer which is a “whole” number.
    In other words the community you were in was not a safe place for you to be a whole person – your own person. We Christians are already challenged to be who we are in Christ in the world – how utterly tragic when it’s more safe to be ourselves in the world than in the church!

    You first spoke up when those in ALCC began making disparaging remarks about church denominations of which your parents were missionaries in one and were treated as if u were the problem. You then became troubled (rightly so) by the authority these men claimed to have. Specifically, you would be “in sin” unless u stayed in the church a certain family member wanted you to. The results were (1) you had to hide your true self (2) you felt shame and guilt not wanting to be rebellious or disappoint this family member (3) you felt totally isolated and alone : friendless.

    You were being kept from openly being yourself (individuality – it would hurt your family) and u were friendless UNTIL a friend who left the church began being your friend and encouraged you to get counseling and “I am sure it saved my life. ” This friend and counselor provided the safe environment you needed to begin healing from having to hide yourself and from being friendless. This is what I meant when I wrote “SGM has done far more damage to people than we even realize” despite this blog!!!

    Now you were able to properly connect with God again and u were able to hope and dream again in a way you never imagined possible. God was at work. …acme (whom I personally know) contacts u and on this blog site u learned the information u needed to see that many have been in this nightmarish trap of spiritual abuse called SGM – which is a huge misnomer because it should be called SDBM – sovereign disgrace bondage ministries – because of what it has done to thousands of individuals like you.

    What beautiful words : “I finally enjoy going to church again.” Then u address those currently in bondage hoping to awaken them. You’ve made the journey of becoming an individual through the power of friendship and then found community here which eventually lead to being safe in face to face community with your whole family.

    What a powerful story of being rescued from bondage and set free to skip once again like a calf from it’s stall! A glorious testimony of an individual being set free from the invisible horror that the hideous strength of SGM once was……it is now a house of cards – chaff in the wind that God is bringing down with no help from Satan – why waste his time in men unwittingly serving him and giving him the credit for the demise of this diabolical entity – it is a ruin soon to fall.

    Thank you Dorothy for being counted among those who has shared both the horror of abuse so vividly and the glory of freedom in being delivered by His mighty hand step by step with wisdom and patience! Made my day!

  • Luna Moth

    Dear Stephanie/Soarin’–

    Yes, I think Independence Day was a suitable day for me to openly share my story! Also I wanted to kind of stand with Sean Curran and any others from Pasadena.

    I know what you mean about the irony that SGM leaders are now so tight with some Southern Baptist leaders.

    Over the years I was so glad to have my kids to be a focus for me. For a long time I only had a few friends outside the church–one of whom used to be in it, and she has been a great support and sounding board. I have been branching out much more, the past few years–learning how to make friends.

    I am glad to hear your family is doing better! Hope it continues!

    Dorothy from Southern California

  • Questioning

    Many times while in was in SGM this issue came up for me. Not sure if it’s helpful or not but thought I’d paste what I found The Holy Spirit does for us –I had always known this in my heart but could never find it or the words :) These are so encouraging to me. And I think sheds some light in what SGM was trying to smother and suppress in me.

    The Holy Spirit regenerates us.
    The Holy Spirit set the Believer Free.
    He will cause you to walk with God.
    The Holy Spirit teaches Truth.
    He makes you a New Person.
    He gives you Rest.
    He will bring excellence into your Life.
    He will bring Life where there was death.
    He is your Seal and Guarantee.
    The Holy Spirit Sanctifies you.
    The Holy Spirit liberates you.
    The Holy Spirit brings renewal.
    The Holy Spirit brings you Hope.
    The Holy Spirit gives you Comfort.
    The Holy Spirit gives you assurance.
    The Holy Spirit leads and guides.
    The Holy Spirit Helps in Prayer.
    The Holy Spirit inspires us to Worship.
    The Holy Spirit Leads us to give Thanks.
    The Holy Spirit bears witness of the Lord Jesus.
    He will turn your Wilderness into a Fruitful Place.
    He will cause you to Understand God’s Word.
    The Holy Spirit imparts the character of God.
    The Holy Spirit reveals the things of God.
    The Holy Spirit brings the Works of Christ to your remembrance.
    The Holy Spirit teaches you to be occupied with spiritual things.
    He will cause you to know God’s Presence.
    The Holy Spirit strengthens the Inner Man.
    The Holy Spirit brings you into God’s Presence.
    The Holy Spirit will manifest the emotions of God within you (Fruit of the Spirit)
    The Holy Spirit leads you into all Truth
    The Holy Spirit’s work is much more

  • exCCKer

    Jenn Grover @105
    I don’t think so. I suspect many medium to long term members might pass on the conference knowing the history with CJ, but I’m sure many of the newish members (ignorant of all that’s been taking place) will participate.

    Something to keep in mind about CCK is that few, if any, members seek outside information about the happenings within SGM. The vast majority only know what Bill Kittrell and the other pastors tell them, and I doubt any SGM pastor has more strongly supported CJ than BK.

    BTW, Jenn, we actually know each other :-)

  • Paul K.

    I have heard people say, “No one gets help on Survivors – they just embolden one another in their bitterness.” Anyone who actually cares and reads what has been posted here today would have to say, “The Holy Sirit has obviously been working mightily here today.”

    Luna Moth respects Sean Curran who she watched grow up (apparently left SG – perhaps shared here) and told her story. Looking Outward has been inspired by the people Done Watching, Sean Curran, and Luna Moth are and is now emboldened to move wisely forward in God’s purpose for her at this time. Courage has stimulated more courage and all are acting in love, grace, and truth.

    Stephanie/Soarin is given hope by Luna’s testimony that her family too will find a healthy church and I identifies with so much of Luna’s story including Baptist roots.

    Questioning feels led to paste a long list of wonderful things the Holy Spirit does. Thus these two concepts (1) freedom and (2) the Hoy Spirit come to mind in this verse :

    “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”

    Roger Dillon, whose precious wife, Janice, is Carolyn Mahaney’s sister shared this verse in a group context 30 years ago and it impacted me so much I’ve never forgotten it : “The Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Great respect for Roger and Janice Dillon – wonderful people!)

    How could one argue that the Kingdom if God has not been at work here today?! God has been glorified!

  • Jenn Grover

    exCCKer – I am sure we do actually know each other. :)

    I have been led t pray specifically for people in the place of needing to leave, let their voice be heard, and yet struggling. specifically, I have been praying for Dr. Pepper and people at CFC who are feeling not at peace after Marty’s message last week. Sean Curran and Luna Moth (Dorothy)are other examples of where God is at work, and Looking Outward,it seems you are as well. I am going to be pressing in over the next week to pray for Dr. Pepper, Dorothy, Sean, Looking Outward and the scores of others who know that they day for the to leave, be heard, or confront the darkness is either at hand or coming soon for them. I would be thrilled if others would like to join me. I believe there is legitimate spiritual warfare at work here. I want to see more brothers and sisters set free to fix their eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.

  • Luna Moth

    Paul K.,

    Thank you for your kind words!

    Yes, Sean has shared earlier on this thread (comment #62). When he decided to give his name I was emboldened to tell my story and my name.

    Oh, and at the church most people knew me as Dot.

  • Soarin'

    Luna #123- I will pray for God to continue to teach you to make friends and for him to bring more true friends into your life. Good for you for branching out!

    Paul K. – Thanks for #109 #112 and #127. Very insightful. When I first went to a SG church I was an individual -I think that is part of why I didn’t fit in but I clung to my true self and to the true friends I had outside of church. It makes you weary to constantly be on guard – not healthy – it is a battle to stay true to yourself while in a SG church. Perhaps it is not so much trying to stay true to yourself as it is trying to stay true to who we are in Christ -who He made us to be.

    Questioning #124 -THANKS!! I copied -pasted and printed your list.


  • Scary Stuff

    Any updates on the criminal proceedings? It’s the only thing SGM-related that I care about these days.

  • Former CLC'er

    Can anyone enlightened me (along with Scary Stuff) on the status of the lawsuit. A friend and my roommate tried to tell me that the lawsuit was dismissed completely, after the CLC family meeting. I tried to tell them that Montgomery County Police may be investigating the charges, but wasn’t sure if I had my facts correct. I thought that criminal suits could be pursued, but not civil?

  • It's just the beginning

    Concerning the civil lawsuit against SGM, CLC, CJ, et al — Montgomery Couty Maryland courts dismissed it because of statue of limitation reasons, except for 2 plaintiffs who live in VA.

    The plaintiff’s attorney is appealing that dismissal, and that could take 1-2 years. (and by all accounts, it’s a long shot .. but I am glad they appealed)

    None of this affects ongoing investigations from police/district attorneys. To my knowledge, no criminal charges have been brought to date against CJ or JL or any other person-defendant named in the lawsuit. But it could happen any day or it could never happen. (Criminal charges have been brought against NM, but he wasn’t a named defendant in the lawsuit.)

    When/If criminal charges are brought against CJ or JL or whoever, I am guessing that the public will first hear about it through Brent’s blog.

  • 2tim224

    there are many of us who have left CCK, probably for as many reasons as people. some were angry, some are just sad and many remain anonymous here because of family and friends still there. we left because it became clear that while they said they wanted an engaged congregation, what they really wanted was a compliant congregation, and we were obviously becoming irrelevant in our attempts to be “engaged”. some one earlier in this thread said something like the people at CCK do not look outside their own leadership for info, always “believing the best”, as we’ve been so well-taught (another phrase that makes me throw up a little), and methinks it is because their local “branch” appears so healthy, but in truth, if the trunk is rotten, eventually all the branches will suffer. that’s definitely a John 15:5 parallel.

  • 2tim224

    errr, parallel is not the correct word there. mayhap reference or something, but not parallel. sheesh.

  • Hurting But Hopeful

    I am feeling very sad for the Pasadena Church members who feel that they have no choice but to leave their home church.

    I am also feeling sad for those Pasadena Church members who will remain there under the cowardly and self-concerned/centered leadership of Ron Boomsma and Lynn Baird.

    I read Ron (and Lynn’s) letter to the Pasadena Church and, frankly, I am appalled by the twists and turns in his thinking/logic and his talking out of both sides of his mouth. At one moment he’s acknowledging the discipline of God on SGM and the poor way SGM handled so many things and the next moment he’s giving props to SGM Conferences and Music, etc., and it’s newly ‘vamped’ church polity.

    Are you kidding me, Ron?

    Any (single) one of the scandals that have been exposed over the past 2-5 years should have been enough for you (and Lynn) to ‘get the heck out of Dodge’ so you could protect your precious members from further spiritual abuse and from the lies and the deception that continues to come out of SGM and C.J. Mahaney’s mouth.

    Think of all the lies and SPIN Dave Harvey perpetuated on SGM churches and SGM members through the Plant and Build Blog (on behalf of SGM and C.J. Mahaney).
    Those lies and that SPIN affected your church, Ron and Lynn. Those lies and spin affected the Pasadena Church members.

    I ask you, Ron and Lynn, WHERE IS DAVE HARVEY NOW?

    Dave Harvey was in charge of SGM while C.J. left/fled/ran away from Covenant Life Church, it’s Pastors and Leadership Team, and God’s discipline and correction on his life. Dave Harvey was the spokesperson for the ENTIRE MINISTRY – SGM – and I’ll ask you both again, WHERE IS DAVE HARVEY NOW?

    Dave Harvey isn’t even a member of a Sovereign Grace Ministries team-related church anymore! Dave Harvey has left SGM just like so many THOUSANDS of other members and pastors have left SGM but you two, Ron and Lynn, have decided to remain chained/tethered to SGM and C.J. Mahaney.

    My husband and I (we are both college-educated) would submit to you that this question (and answer) ALONE should have been reason enough for you both to not re-sign (sounds like a car dealership agreement) with SGM and at the very least – hold off on re-signing with SGM for a decent waiting period.

    Your lack of discernment in regards to the men (and women) that have COME AND GONE through the doors of SGM over the past 25 years is frightening to me.

    How you could not discern the favoritism, the cronyism, the partiality, the hypocrisy, the black-mail (SGM called it “coercion” but even using their definition/interpretation should have been enough to label C.J. Mahaney as unfit for ministry!!), the half-truths, and the out-right lies is beyond my comprehension.

    If you two (or your present members) do even some rudimentary math the number of people who have left SGM churches in the past two years is well into the THOUSANDS.

    If you were honest with yourselves (and your congregation) you would have left (or held off on re-signing) based on the same doubts, questions, and problems your fellow brothers in Christ serving in California – Mark Lauterbach and Tab Trainor, had/have with SGM Leadership and C.J. Mahaney.

    I don’t know about anyone else but after wading through the gobbledygook Ron and Lynn sent their congregation – I was appalled! I was appalled by their: lack of discernment, lack of courage to do the right thing, their inability to let go of a ‘brand’ name and traditions, their overlooking and marginalization of their congregation and their (astute and well-documented) concerns, and most-importantly – their CLUELESSNESS to (even by the world’s standards) the charades and shenanigans at SGM Central.

    Really, Ron and Lynn – think about it.

    Do you really think ALL the men and women who have COME AND GONE from Sovereign Grace Ministries in the past 5-10 years have gotten it wrong? You might feel comfortable brushing off Brent Detwiler’s concerns, questions and accusations but I don’t.

    I took the time to read the hundreds and hundreds of pages of documents and (verbatim) emails and, frankly, you both should have too. Those documents outline a time-bomb waiting to happen and explode and it DID – all over SGM churches and congregations.

    Have you two ever wondered where so many of the men (and women) who used to be paraded on stage, lauded and applauded by the SGM faithful for organizing conferences, running SGM finances, planning and leading SGM’s future endeavors … Have you ever wondered WHERE THEY ALL ARE?

    We know what happened to Larry T. and Brent D. but what about Bo Lotinsky, Paul Palmer, Pat Ennis, and the scores of other respected and well-loved SGM former Pastors and Leaders?

    It wasn’t and never has been about POLITY, Ron and Lynn. It’s about HONESTY, TRANSPARENCY, and INTEGRITY.

    It would seem (appear) that you both decided to stay with SGM even with the grave concerns of well-loved and well-respected members echoing in your ears and in your hearts.

    I’ve lost respect for you two and I don’t even really ‘know’ you both. Your letter to your congregation speaks for you both.

    I have a promise for you both and for your past and present members – I promise to pray for you both and pray for your church.

    I know God is capable of bringing light and discernment to you both regarding SGM and C.J. Mahaney. I pray that it won’t be too late for you both and your congregation.

    Oh – and when you consider the time, energy, and money you spend on hosting SGM conferences and workshops, buying SGM music and books for your bookstore, and paying the honorariums for SGM Speakers to come ‘minister’ to your church, etc. …

    Take all those hours, all that energy, and all that money and consider what you could do (as Pastors and as a church) in the poorest and most needy places in Pasadena.

    Feed the hungry in your community. Clothe the naked (and the dirty) children that fill your cities. Help widows and orphans in their distress.

    You don’t need the SGM brand/SGM name/or C.J. Mahaney to do this!

    Wake up, Ron and Lynn!

    Wake up before it’s too late!

    “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” James 1:27

  • 3rd name

    Luna Moth @116 – What is the “babywise” method? Maybe I’m familiar with the practices but not the label.

  • Acme

    Love you, Luna Moth / Dorothy / big cousin – and thanks for sharing your story.

    Anne CLC 1986-2007

  • Luna Moth

    Thank you for the link, Persona! “Babywise” is a book by Mr. Ezzo, who also wrote “Growing Kids God’s Way.”

    Actually the fashion for the Ezzo methods seemed to happen around the time my fourth daughter was a baby, or maybe a little before she was born…Anyway, by then I knew more about what worked for me and my little ones. The mother-baby relationship was a real refuge for me.

    And Hurting but Hopeful–thank you for being bold to speak up.

    (I’ve gotta go take some kids somewhere but I’ll stop back in…)

  • Jim

    I’m not sure if I’ve said this before, but Ezzo never died in my part of Florida. It just went underground.

  • Paul K.

    Dear Acme (Dot’s little cousin)

    My e-mail…please send me a “hi” e-mail… something I’d like to send you.


    PS – I think folks in Pasadena thought your cousin was just a dot. They didn’t know she had three posts with many paragraphs of well expressed thoughts followed by caring advice to friends with all kinds of dots in between. She had the wisdom and grace to speak at the right time in the right way and didn’t call anyone a “Wormtongue.”

    But as a friend told me, “We all speak differently as led by God – don’t condemn yourself for that.”
    Thx JF:)

  • Foot

    HBH #136

    And, then there is…wait for it…Steve Shank. Footsteps comin your way Shankster…

  • 28 years gone...

    Hurting 136 (or anyone for that matter)

    What DID happen to Bo Lotinsky. I completely forgot about Bo. He was a nice guy and worked on the PDI magazine years ago.

    My guess is he asked the wrong questions, or disagreed with CJ at some point. Anyone know where he is now?

  • MAK

    Yes, what happened to Bo and what does he know?? There are two men that have been extremely silent Bo Lotinsky and his successor Pat Ennis. I personally know that Bo is not as silent as one may think but not publically outspoken. Pat is very silent. Both probably have a story to tell but one we’ll never hear.

  • MAK

    Bo is still a member of CLC.

  • Nickname

    Since we just celebrated our nation’s Independence Day, here are a few examples of the freedom that’s possible to find in church!

    Did you know that in some churches, dare I say ‘many churches’, you are not required to show up every time the door is open?

    Did you know that in some churches, if you miss a Sunday morning or a Bible study, nobody’s going to ask to meet you for lunch on Tuesday to find out where you were and what sin kept you away?

    Did you know that in some churches, the pastor cares more about loving people than replacing the Holy Spirit in their lives?

    Did you know that in some churches, you don’t have to do ANYTHING — but you might want to do EVERYTHING, so be careful not to burn yourself out.

    When you leave, though you feel weak, and weary, and fearful — you’ll experience the joy of freedom. And the joy of the Lord will be your strength!

  • Happiola

    Yes,28yearsgone and MAK I was wondering the same about Bo and also curious about the story behind Bill Galbraith and why he was laid off/let go yet continues to attend CLC.

  • Luna Moth

    Love you too, little cousin Anne (Acme)!

    And Paul– ;D


  • Luna Moth

    Paul, I was amused by your comments about me not being “merely” a dot. I sense all sorts of metaphors…

    Good night to all!

  • Waters

    Luna Moth,

    I have always appreciated your posts and insights. In my recollection you have always been gracious and kind-speaking — far more than I.

    Thankyou for writing your story. Yours is similar to mine in that I (and Mr. Waters) were on the peripheral–helping in Childrens Ministry for many years, going to caregroup…BUT…always an uneasiness about the doctrinal change to Reformed and weird leadership authority practices. We had no knowledge about the ungodly counsel to abuse victims until it hit home with our family member—AND at the same time, our dear friend “Esther” happened to be confronting and uncovering authoritarian abuse back in our homechurch in Chesapeake. Talk about a wake-up call…

    I have repented for not asking more questions when I felt so many “unctions” of discerning something not quite right…The last few years I was in SGM, I would often return home from church service and run my hands from head to knees and speak “I am not a Catholic, I am not a worm, I am the Righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. Within me is the dwelling place of Christ, and the same spirit that raised You from the dead, Jesus, Lives in me…..” Really, I look back on that and think, WHY did I not seek out the WHY’s my spirit was crying out for truth to proclaim over my own self??

    Trusting we stayed in long enough to be able to SEE all that has transpired – and to be in a place, geographically, and spiritually to care for our family member and little ones who have come out of the abuse cycle. In this, I see Gods beautiful sovereignty of knowing the ‘end from the beginning’…and speaking TRUTH because of what we have seen and gone through.
    Because our family member was in leadership, we know “too much” of the workings and ‘grooming’ and ‘training’ of upcoming leaders and their wives. The CULTURE SGM has created for 30 years is a dark pollutant.

    “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.”
    (Gal 5:1) —Evidently the yoke of bondage manifests in various forms—‘even’ in the church — and so we choose to stand firm and speak the truth! Nicknames #147 proclaims the freedoms we CAN live out in our churches!

  • Jim said:

    I’m not sure if I’ve said this before, but Ezzo never died in my part of Florida. It just went underground.

    I am not sure if this is what you mean but even when a church like SGM stops teaching something like this the culture that was previously produced by promoting this type of child raising remains. Thus even if they no longer teach it people still practice it and regular members suggest it to newer parents unless the practice is renounced. I don’t think there was ever any admitting of the problems Ezzo created; SGM Leaders just stopped teaching it.

  • An example of the culture remaining that I mentioned in my last comment is the “kissing dating goodbye” culture. Even if/when some of the extreme teaching is stopped, the culture remains.

  • Mr Stretch

    I concur with Hurting but Hopeful #136. It’s NEVER been about the polity.

    CJ’s letter a joke. It very much says he learned nothing. Lying and spinning have become commonplace.

    Can we please get some truth. C’mon SGM I know you can do it. Just once, c’mon.

  • Live Free

    Just now listening to CovFel’s Sunday message (link @ #43).

    SHUT UP, Marty, seriously. It’s MISSIONS. As in, with an S on the end? Hello. Not “mission”. What the hell is that, anyway?!?

    Oh, yes, I forgot – Sovereign Disgraces “mission”, which is certainly different than missionS with an s on the end…. which is what the REST of Christendom does.

  • Sick with worry

    Why do you folks bother listening to those silly sermons if you are all fed up? I mean…. Are you into other forms of self-punishment as well? It seems nuts to do that to yourself.

    Ok… Sorry, I listened to some of it too. Marty seems off his rocker. It really did sound like a pep rally. I like a good marketing job… But it makes me sick when it happens in church.

  • Live Free

    Marty goes on to talk about “our work”, “our midst, “our numbers”, our, our, our.

    Funny, I thought it was “the LORD’s work, “His Kingdom”, “His church”, His, His, His.

    I don’t hear the references to those who have left, so please point me to it if he actually says it. I did hear him trying to encourage folks at the end that they will hear more discouraging things in the future, but not to be discouraged because Satan has been defeated blah blah or whatever.

    I never heard Satan mentioned so many times in one sermon at my old SGM church. He pretty much didn’t exist, certainly was never mentioned in ten years that I can remember. My, my, how things change. Satan apparently is alive and well and this is all his fault.

  • Live Free

    Sick with worry, I listened to this one message because one) I have a rare moment and two) curiousity. this is the church that planted my old SGM church. I wanted to see the similarities and influence. It’s there.

    Mostly I just yawned through the bits I did listen to. Sorry, Marty, I wasn’t served by this message. It sounded a bit self-serving. I don’t want to help “the mission” by inviting people to church. I prefer missions, which invites people to know CHRIST. Who cares what church they go to?

    I wonder if that local pastor in Uganda you mention wanted to out the mzungas because they don’t like your gospel. Gee, that’s a thought.

  • JenGroverSuperfan

    Jared Mellinger on twitter today…
    “Wisdom discerns between the cries of the innocent victim seeking help & hope and the cries of the vindictive spirit seeking destruction.”

    Jared- I think you are really missing it. Most people never wanted your organization to destruct. In contrast most wanted SGM to walk in all integrity for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You and your affiliates have chosen to continue non biblical practices that continue to harm families through control, manipulation, half truths, deception, and silence as hundreds of members have charged your elders and sgm; individually and in groups. You continue to destruct yourselves. I really believe most people that have fled sgm churches and also most people on this site are not motivated by evil spirited attacks on you. You/SGM are not the victims here. Perhaps God is disciplining you all? Perhaps the “destruction” you are so concerned about is the fruit of “Gods holy and authoritative” plan to show you that you have severely mishandled your roles in so many different ways? All anyone has asked from you and SGM is to repent for your own individual participation in how each of you has hurt people. If your confessions are genuine then i have no doubt your actions will then lead you to execute appropriate consequences. A true, ol’ fashion, grassroots apology that is clear, concise and not wrapped into an agenda or your attorneys. I believe Ken Sande (Peacemaker Ministries) can help you. Many of us have charged you face to face. It seems to me that you are trying to plow forward without reconciling with your brothers and sisters of the past. Are you experiencing continuous resistance? Is this resistance of evil vindictiveness or perhaps God wanting so much more love for one another from his precious children?

    Most of us are NOT attempting to force you into repentance. Only God can do that. I think a lot of the passion you experience from this site and from ex-SGMers is actually the fear and trembling that many still bare for your souls and our loved ones.

    Many of us believe your actions (intended or not) clearly communicate that we have no choice but to adopt your practices and lead it, follow it, or get out of your way. We got out of your way. This is not loving your brother as yourself Jared. Could your own actions be the cause of your destruction? Many of us see your resistance to repent and continued cover-ups as harmful to those we love in your institution. I believe You have an individual responsibility to repent for your past and present sins. Your ministry bares the name of my Savior. Christian leaders ought to exemplify moral integrity to a greater degree. i have witnessed greater integrity from executive leadership from BP after its horrific oil spill in the gulf of mexico. But BP is representing an earthly natural resource and you are representing MY super natural Savior!

    In my opinion, true remorse should drive you to want to make a public statement. This is the only way you have any chance of getting to the flock that you scattered. how else will they hear your pleas? But be aware that trust will still take time. Trust is so hard to get back. You will have to earn it.

    Had you taken these steps years ago, then you would already be in an expansionary phase of institutional recovery. But I suspect you fear the monetary loss from any admission of wrong doing and it may just bring you to bankruptcy. You’ve chosen to follow your man centered AOR, but, in my opinion, you missed the most important guidance you could follow in your own (free!) personal counselor, Jesus Christ and his Holy Spirit. We all have choices Jared. In your case and at this point, either choice ‘to repent or not to repent’ will continue significant monetary loss to your organization. However only one of these choices will truly set your paths straight and set you free. Many of us have experienced this freedom as we continued to follow the Spirit of God’s leading (unfortunately for you this leading was leaving your organization). How hard it was to leave but oh how sweet it is to hear His voice so clearly again!

    Jared most people are not trying to attack you. most people are not trying to get even with you or settle a score. Most are not trying to destroy you. Search within yourself Jared. I can’t help but think that one day you will look back and appreciate these words. Moreover I suspect you will see Gods love for you as you reflect.

    I am afraid what you don’t see is a separate class action lawsuit that could have been initiated for all the physical, mental, and spiritual abuse imposed on members. A constitutional violation of free will. But I suspect many wish to heal and not “waist (anymore of) their life”. i believe this is Gods mercy and grace to you.

    Bill of Rights 1776-“…And that no authority can or ought to be vested in, or assumed by any power whatsoever, that shall in any case interfere with, or in any manner controul, the right of conscience in the free exercise of religious worship.”

    Jared- we are not cowards. we have already faced many of you. We know of no other method then public action to set the captives free. Let the people know the truth, let them decide, and let all mighty God judge.

    Jared Mellinger. Repent!
    Phil Sasser- Repent!
    Bill Kittrell- Repent!
    Ken Mellinger- Repent!
    Mark Prater- Repent!
    Charles Joseph Mahaney- Repent!
    Brent Detwiler- Repent!
    Joshua Harris- Repent!
    David Harvey- Repent!
    Bob Kauflin- Repent!
    And All Others- Repent!

  • vol fan

    I was a member of CCK for many years. Not everything was bad. I became a Christian through the campus ministry and the church had a very positive influence on my life. My husband and I were married by Bill Kittrell and had the wedding away from my hometown because we wanted our church friends to be able to come. We loved that place and had so many good friends there. Today, most of these good friends now attend other churches in Knoxville and many of us feel hurt, confused, and betrayed.

    For me, things started to change when CCK moved from a high school to our new building. CJ himself called this building the most beautiful church he had ever seen. Before leaving I remember telling my husband that I would gladly go back to that high school if I could love CCK the way I once did.

    I could go on, but the most offensive things were abuses within the care group system, manipulation to sign a legal document (one-sided to pastors – you can read this on the Wartburg Watch if you have not already), separation between pastors and the congregation, unwillingness of pastors to listen or seek input from anyone outside themselves, complete secrecy in the church budget, and an insistence that we obey the pastors above anyone or anything else.

    My husband and I wavered between staying and leaving CCK for a very long time. A big part of it came down to fear of falling apart relationally, as my only friends were CCK members. I knew some of them were on the fence as well, but one day God just filled my fears with faith that even if they all stayed, we were to go. God had other plans for us and our time at CCK was finished. I felt set free and we left two weeks later. Visiting new churches was hard but I now feel knit in with my new community and am growing spiritually in a way I had not the last few years at CCK.

    Jenn Grover, as far as your question as to whether or not another exodus of members is on the way with the Nov. conference, I would say yes. When CJ last spoke at CCK about a year ago, a few members attended our new church. They told me they were not leaving but just could not attend CCK that day because CJ was speaking. Maybe the exodus will be small but I do know that Bill’s alliance with CJ was a big part in many people leaving CCK.

  • 28 years gone...

    Like everything else that gets released, it looks like the T4G gang(that is the topic, right?) has learned well from CJ. This is how it goes. No one is to ask questions:

    CJ is transitioning from leading SGM. What is he transitioning to?

    CJ decides he is not going to speak at the conference. We say yea. BUT, what is his relationship with T4G? Is he stepping away from T4G for the same reason he gave?

    I was thinking this little episode says a lot about T4G. That CJ can make this statement on the T4G website must mean he is still within the good graces of the group, just not speaking at the event. For now. I bet he is just waiting to see if he gets some kind of break or hoping everyone forgets about all this so he can go, maybe participate in a discussion and be his own humble hero servant.

    BTW, I had a friend from Orlando visit the embattled Metro Life Church. When they asked about all that is going with SGM a die hard member said something about ‘its not worth looking at all that stuff they are trying to put out there’ – Yep, not worth looking at. … And the beat goes on, the beat goes on… (Sonny and Cher reference)

  • Jenn Grover

    jengroversuperfan (this is embarrassing) #159:

    “Jared Mellinger on twitter today…
    “Wisdom discerns between the cries of the innocent victim seeking help & hope and the cries of the vindictive spirit seeking destruction.””

    Unbelievable, but not really. Mellinger obviously believes he has such discernment but his members do not. Folks, it’s a cult – get out of CFC. Jared will continue to bully you and lord authority over you. Get out, for the sake of your souls!

  • Jenn Grover

    You know, if the SGM lawsuit makes it trial, Mellinger’s arrogance and stupidity will certainly make it easier for a jury to believe that SGM was a culture that intimidated victims. I would think he would have enough sense not to post a ridiculous attack on victims like this – guess not.

    Would he actually have the nerve to consider that tweet a “gospel-centered” (I can’t tell you how much I hate that phrase) response? Does that tweet sound like the words of a man who is charged with binding up the broken-hearted? Is that the good news, Jared? Are you omniscient?

    Here is a tweet in kind for Jared: The gutless coward takes to Twitter to attack the wounded and blocks dissenters from replying to his tweets. – I think that fits under 140 characters.

  • Jenn Grover

    You know, here’s the real revelation in Mellinger’s Tweet – it is obvious that one has to be have the “correct” response in order to deserve compassion, help, and hope. In other words, you have to earn help and hope. Nice job, Mellinger. Legalism comes in all shapes and sizes.

  • NarrowistheWay

    Are the echos of Paul’s call to the Corinthians bouncing off the walls of today’s American evangelical church?

    “I am afraid that when I (Paul) come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged.” 2 Corinthians 12:21

  • 28 years gone...

    Jenn 162,163,164

    I had to go back and re-read that tweet. And Jared is a leader?
    He didn’t get the memo about making stupid statements that defend CJ and SGM and how they can come back to bite you like the T4G gang. How stupid can you get? Thanks for sharing that Jenn. I don’t think I would have ever found that in my daily info gathering!

  • justawife

    @Steve240#152: Regarding the Ezzo methods:

    I haven’t particularly seen Ezzo methods espoused recently at any SGM or former SGM church (I’ve only been to 2). Sure there are some moms EVERYWHERE that pass around the “Babywise” book but it doesn’t seem to be an SGM-exclusive culture thing. It just seems that despite the garbage in that book it still gets touted as the best thing since sliced bread in some communities of new young moms.

    It does seem, from former member accounts, that this method was strongly suggested by previous pastors despite protests from people like Deb Baker (who, you know, actually RESEARCHED the claims in the book). All this seems now to have died down as I know some moms at CLC that are actually big fans of attachment parenting (AP) the polar opposite of anything Ezzo and they are very forward about it.

    Yes, I think the advocacy for this book did change (according to historical accounts) without near a peep from anyone. But in the case of the Ezzo parenting method, I don’t think the culture persists as I don’t see that many moms following Ezzo/Babywise.

  • Luna Moth

    Thank you for your kind words, Waters! I hope you and your family are doing well.

    I look back sometimes on how I was told I had to just keep waiting till someone else’s mind changed, and I wish I could have stood up and said, “Enough of this nonsense!”

    I know with God nothing shall be wasted. I am learning more about standing firm and speaking out and not being afraid to make mistakes. I have tried so hard and so long to get it right.

  • Live Free

    NEW FLASH: Shunning still alive and well in SGM churches! Allow me to share my recent experience.

    I was recently at an event where I saw many – and I mean a lot of – people from our old SGM church. Many (maybe 2/3rds) were kind and nice to me, said hi, how you doing, etc. (there are many nice ppl at SGM churches, I do love many of them, some of the most lovely Christians I have ever met).

    But MANY people completely ignored me. It was SO obvious. They acted like they never even saw me (even when I walked right in front of them several times), acted engrossed in conversation, busy with something, never looked at me, etc. I was literally standing right in front of a loyalist and this person was forced to say something to me. I “hi” would have been a normal thing to say but the reaction was really weird. No hi, no how are you doing, oh good to see you (ok, I wasn’t expecting that), but this person said something to me that didn’t even make sense since I never even said a word to this person. It was really weird. My presence made several ppl clearly uncomfortable.

    Two good things: 1) it was only the old-timers, the die hard SGMers, the ones who were SGM church planters, there from the beginning, friends with the pastor, who openly shunned me. The newer folk did not shun me. 2) I laughed. Two years ago I would have probably cried.

    It’s good to be free.

    As someone said to me once, “Their reaction is between them and God. We will all have to give account to God one day for our responses.”

  • Persona

    Live Free 169

    I agree that it can be uncomfortable attending weddings and funerals of old SGM friends and patriots. You never know who is in or out or if they will talk to you or not. And, you don’t really know exactly what they are thinking about you. Some have thanked us for our contribution over the years and some seem to view us a traitors for leaving.

    It also takes a little time after the event, to decompress and readjust to real life again. I wish it wasn’t so but, that is probably the fall-out of a church split, made even worse by being an SGM church split.

    I am really not looking forward to any event that includes pastors or x-pastors but, I am sure there will be some in the future.

  • Live Free

    What makes the shunning experience even weirder #169 (and more obvious) is that the ones who shunned me where people I have know for over a decade, much, much longer than the newbies! We “did life together” for a loooong time.

    I told Spouse all about it. We laughed for days at how ridiculous the craziness is.

    I knew God had healed me when I realized that being openly shunned no longer hurt my feelings. Nor did it send me into a pit of depression – a depression that comes from being rejected from the very ones I was taught are closer than my own biological family! Some family. I was able to watch their obvious shunning behaviour with curiousity, purposefully looking their way to see if they would look back so I could wave hello. I am sure it took energy for them to keep from acknowledging me. I found it amusing and sad, mostly sad. I suspect I know what they are offended about – I have spoken out against their sacred cow, their beloved pastors, their SGM – all of which can do no wrong in their eyes. Therefore, logically, I am anathema.

    I have decided to not pursue them to find out what their problem with me is; they are not pursuing me, either. Post-SGM I don’t have the time or desire to play their games guised as “living biblically”. Life after all the immaturity, manipulation, spin, and control in SGM is too good and busy to waste! Maybe someday the shunner will know there is more to the story than just the one side they have heard. I am not angry at being shunned, I am sad for them. There is so much that goes on behind closed doors at your local SGM church that is spun, spun, spun. SGMers NEVER heard the whole truth when they only rely on their pastor to tell them! I can assure you of that.

  • Live Free

    Persona, very true – it can be uncomfortable. I know people that will not attend any function where there are SGMers, even one, because they just can’t or don’t want to deal with the emotional and mental strain, the rejection, the ignoring, the shunning, the negativity after investing so many years in those very same people.

    I chose to remember my manners. I went to the event because I wanted to go, even knowing they would all be there, and I was not looking forward to having to deal with the possible reactions. No SGMer asked me if I was going, and I wasn’t planning on going until a non-SGMer asked me to go. I’m so glad she did. I was so blessed in the end at how God met me at the event. God is bigger than their nonsense. I was tempted to avoid the shunners (and their were at least half a dozen obvious ones) and keep my distance, but that’s when I realized I was allowing SG and its followers to still affect me. I decided then and there that I cannot allow that. I am free now.

  • Persona

    Live Free: One SGMer patriot we know told us they essentially had to put on ‘blinders’ in order to stay focused on their devotion to CJ and SGM.

    You are right that it takes more energy to shun or keep from learning the truth about the sinking organization you have hitched your wagon to.

    But, that is also why God will hold them all accountable for their choice. Everyone has a free will and they are exercising it to stand behind CJ.

  • A Kindred Spirit

    On Becoming Elderwise: Caring for Grandma God’s Way

    A Parody by Rachel Mills

    Babywise taught you infant management. Toddlerwise taught you toddler character development. You discovered how to ignore your innate mothering instincts and instead nurture your children “God’s way.”

    And now, from the renowned expert in everything, comes On Becoming Elderwise: Caring for Grandma God’s Way.

    Elderwise Excerpt Examples of “Caring for Grandma God’s Way”…

    Daughter: Honey, Mom’s crying again. Should I go see what she needs?
    Son-in-Law: NO! She’s just trying to manipulate us. Let her cry it out. She needs to learn to self-soothe.
    Daughter: Are you sure?
    Son-in-Law: You’re letting your instincts to nurture take over. Do you want her to end up in jail someday?

    Son: Mom, you didn’t make it to the bathroom AGAIN. You need to clean this up – what do we say?
    Mom: Right away, all the way, and with a happy heart!
    Son: OK. I’m not asking twice.
    Mom: Please don’t spank me. Please?

    Daughter-in-Law: Feels kinda silly sitting here on the couch like this, ignoring her. Shouldn’t we, like, talk to her?
    Son: She needs to learn that we are the primary relationship in this house.
    Daughter-in-Law: She looks sad.
    Son: She is NOT the center of the universe. She has to learn this.

    Daughter: Mom, what are you doing?
    Mom: I’m supposed to take these pills with food.
    Daughter: Well, it’s another [checks watch] hour and a half till your next scheduled feeding. How about if we watch some Golden Girls and get your mind off it?
    Mom: But I feel faint.
    Daughter: Come on, Mom. We can’t have you getting off the schedule with this snacking.

    Yes, Elderwise. The babies get back…

  • Luna Moth

    Live Free, I’m sorry you were shunned–but glad you were not devastated by the experience! God is bigger than any nonsense…

    >^-^< Dorothy

  • A Kindred Spirit

    Luna Moth,

    Thanks for sharing your story. I, too, have enjoyed your posts through the years and sensed your sweet spirit.

  • just saying...

    SGM banned Ezzo books from the bookstores in the very early 90’s.

  • Dr. Pepper

    Just saying,

    It would be nice if Dave Harvey apologized to Deb Baker for kicking her out for going against the teachings. Just because he’s not in SGM doesn’t mean it gives him a free pass to not apologized to those he hurt him SGM.

  • Jenn Grover

    Just Saying – if that is true, I am not sure the message made it to the Praters. They were still pushing Ezzo practices, and I believe the books, when we had our church plant in Pittsburgh in the later 90’s. TRueBlue & MusicMan – any recollections?

  • Stunned

    just saying, I was taught that style off parenting in my sgm church in

  • Stunned

    My niece was born in 1992 and throughout her whole life in her four or five different SGM churches, the harsh parenting practices were pushed hard core.

  • Eric NS

    Ezzo was not “banned” from CLC until approximately 1996/1997, because we bought the materials in the CLC book store in 1995. Babywise later replaced the main Ezzo material for a brief period, but I know for certain that it was still being sold at least a year after my first child was born. If it didn’t leave CLC until at least 1996, then I’m certain that it took longer for it to filter out of other SGM churches.

  • Maybe teaching and promoting the Ezzo materials outright was discontinued sometime in the 1990s, but the underlying mindset and assumptions of a lot of those harsher approaches to parenting were still very much a part of SGM’s culture when Guy and I were in our own SGM church in 2006-2007. You could TOTALLY sense and even see it.

  • Yo
    Follow up on Ezzo. As I remember, Roger and Dottie Small taught Ezzo (I’m almost certain that it was Ezzo)at Covenant Fellowship back when my child was young. They are the parents of the NJ church’s pastor’s wife, Kim Beottcher (sp). Very nice people and very into Ezzo. I left before they did and I don’t know what ever happened to their teachings. I think Roger and Dottie moved with another SGM church plant.
    I was sent to this site by a friend who wanted me to know that I’m not the only messed up soul tossed out by SGM/Covenant Fellowship.

  • Paul K.


    Today, as I consider the fact that had Brent Detwiler not taken such meiiculous records of all those luny, cowardly e-mails that reveal so many men full of fear of one man, and the ability of this one man to outwit them all and control them like a chess master does his pawns, I am humbled and ashamed that I would still think of CJ Mahaney as “a hero of heroes.” It is particularly humbling for me because I had so many real experiences w him in the early days that I should have been more discerning. I can honestly say that for me it had nothing to do with fear. As mentioned before, my dad told my wife, “Paul’s biggest problem is that he thinks everyone is good.” Actually, though there is a lot of truth to that, I think the gift of mercy is involved in that shortcoming. But there is no excuse because Jesus said. “You will know them by their fruits.” Jesus certainly warned us to be on the lookout for the leaven of the Pharisees and the gospels are full of His shaming of these men : (1) He called them “white washed tombs full of dead men’s bones” (2) He said “the greatest among you should be servants of all” and that our leaders should not Lord it over others as the leaders of the Gentile world do. (3) He said “they put heavy loads on others and aren’t willing to lift a finger to help them” (4) He said they love the praise of men (5) He said they are liars because they are sons of the devil who has been a liar from the beginning (6) He often began by saying to them, “Have you not read?” after they once again misapplied Scripture. (7) Jesus made a distinction between “true shepherds who give their lives for the sheep and hirelings who care nothing about the sheep.” The warning of Jesus and of James concerning the temptations
    involved with leadership should have made me
    much more suspect (which I am now).

    It is true that I wrote a 32 page critique of CLC the year I completed The School Of Ministry and addressed it to Larry Tomczak and the pastors of CLC explaining why I had no faith to be a pastor here, but as soon as they implemented the paper (despite rejecting me – a paper they never let the dean of the “college” Brent Detwiler even know about !), I thought they had changed : I thought more pastors would solve the problem, but realized later that more pastors wasn’t the solution, but how you pastor.

    I think it fair to say we have seen all these things played out before our very eyes and did not apply
    the warnings of Jesus to them. I wasn’t being Burean enough.

    (To be continued)

  • 2tim224

    This is a tad off-topic, but I thought it worth sharing. One of our grown daughters has also left SGM and is exploring fellowship elsewhere (so awesome to watch her really processing all of this!), and she shared part of today’s message w us. The pastor was describing different ways of “doing church”, and his example of an “ant hill church” struck a familiar chord w her: the focus of the ant hill is to save the queen at any cost, even self-sacrifice. Preserve/promote the ministry, save the queen. He noted that the bigger ant hills are basically built on old ant bodies, hmmmmm. He also talked about “starfish churches”, w the idea of breaking off and replicating, creating new creatures. There was a lot more, but that’s an interesting take, is it not?

  • Persona

    Kris 183

    From what I could tell at CLC, some of the pastors wives seemed to use Ezzo methodology. But, when we reared our children, I don’t remember seeing the Ezzo book in the bookstore or hearing about their book in parenting classes.

    We did not take the Ezzo’s advice and none of our close friends did either as far as I know.

    The CLC pastors were typically adverse to adopting whole systems from other organizations. At times they recommended whole books but, they frequently cherry-pick ideas from different sources and then wrote their own handbooks.

  • Sonya

    Mmmmm. For a smart person like Jared to tweet that… I truly don’t understand.
    The world is not neatly divided between innocent victims and bitter non victims calling for revenge. Often people who are victimized do become bitter and difficult.
    My job as a follower of Jesus is not to wisely determine who is who and respond accordingly, although my discernment certainly plays a role. Only God knows what happened and the true condition of a heart.
    In fact, if I am confronted with someone who claims to have been victimized and I cannot truly know, I would “assume the best”- that they are telling the truth and if I see sins of bitterness in how they process it and they are inviting me in to walk alongside them, I would help to gently woo them to a more life giving way to view themselves, their suffering and God.
    The fact that in this whole sad mess, that there may be people who have jumped in and want blood only speaks to our sin nature- it has nothing to do with the facts of the overwhelming nature of the problem.
    The stories of good, kind, confused people following foolish or corrupt leaders for far too long is clearly the majority of the issue, not what Jared is trying to insinuate.
    I see him as blinded, not willfully evil.

    But I am sure he has received praise for that tweet from who matters most to him.

  • Jim

    In 2007, a close family member of the then “apostle” of Florida was recommending Ezzo books by name. I’m aware of a more recent and disturbing occurrence that I won’t discuss.

    I’m not speculating here, I’m telling you that Ezzo is still taught in some Florida churches, but it’s kept on the DL.

  • musicman

    Jenn Grover-

    Ezzo was not put on the back shelf until the late 90’s. I heard that CFC was backing away from it around 1999-2000. The Praters were big on pushing Tedd Tripp and some of the Ezzo stuff.

    I have no idea if they still promote these parenting books…but I know that my wife and I confronted Mark and his wife about their heavy handed parenting advice towards our family. They said they would pray about the issues we raised and get back to us about our concerns.

    That was in the spring of 1997…they have yet to get back to us!

  • Paul K.


    My plan was to share my latest thinking about SGM in two posts : the first would be about all the warnings Jesus gave to “beware of the leaven of the Pharisees.” He was speaking to His followers and I think the idea there implies that those in leadership must be careful not to allow small characteristics of the Pharisees to get into them because “a little leaven leavens the whole lump.”

    Then I was going to contrast that post with the kind of pastoral-servant leadership that Jesus endorsed and how He made Peter that kind of shepherd.

    As I was preparing to do this, I thought to myself,”Yo, u’re off topic – everyone’s yapping about Ezzo and u’ve never heard of it.” As I thought about it further, the Scripture about straining out a gnat but swallowing a camel came to mind (a good picture of SGM.) So I found it in Matthew 23 and saw it was the chapter in which Jesus fired off seven WOES to the Scribes and Pharisees. I don’t have an M-Div, I don’t know Greek, but I do know the word WOE is pretty darn serious and that seven of them represents infinitely serious as in probably going to hell serious. Jesus, like God, is love and therefore these are words of loving warning. Here’s my question: “If I had taken these seven WOE warnings seriously and asked myself, ‘Do these warnings line up with what I see in SGM?’ would I have seen the corruption before Brent’s documents came out, before Charles Joseph
    Mahaney said, “I meant to say, ‘I take my sin seriously’ but I accidentally said, ‘my sin is serious'”, before the farce AoR report, before the RBDOGS revealed their duplicity, cronyism, partiality, and lack of fear of God (condemning Penn State while giving Charles – our good pal – a pass), before Charles picked up his toys, unreconciled, and fled the dearest place on earth
    against the written Word of God from where he preached and from where he declared from the pulpit in the meanest and most slanderous manner, “I’d rather die than do what Larry is
    doing!!!” and then did himself with no remorse,
    before the lawsuit finally got me reading
    Survivors, before Dave Harvey disappeared without explanation, before Cov Fel’s 28 year old “lead pastor” Jared M made three of the greatest blunders in SGM history (too embarrassing to repeat), before Charles Mahaney announced he would not be speaking at T3G in 2014 (but no one may ask why), and before Marty
    Machowski blamed the fallout of all this stupidity
    on a Satanic attack when Satan need not waste his time on those who destroy themselves.

    (1) “the scribes and Pharisees don’t do what they preach” (Charles is still alive – and wrote a fine book on humility)(2) “They tie up heavy burdens and put them on men’s shoulders while they themselves won’t lift a finger” (All the badgering of people for what they should be doing or shunning for what they aren’t doing) (3) “They do all their deeds to be seen by men; the love the seats of honor at feasts ; they love being greeted in the market places and love being called ‘rabbi.'”
    ( All the clapping etc for pastors was nauseating)(4) “you shut the Kingdom of heaven in people’s faces” (“The way many people were treated has contributed to many wondering if they believe in God or whether He just doesn’t love them) (5) “You tithe mint, dill, and cumin but you neglect the more important matters of the law : Justice and Mercy and Faithfulness( have they been faithful in carrying for God’s people? Are God’s people even on their computer screens? Have they been merciful to God’s people? Are God’s people’s trials even on their radar screens? Does true justice toward God’s people even register on their conscience screens?) (6) “You blind guides – you strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! You clean the outside of the cup and but inside you are full of Greed and Self-Indulgence.”
    ( The greed and self-indulgence has been duly noted over and over again).(7) “You hypocrites! Outwardly you appear righteous to others, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (what was presented to us publicly appeared so good but behind closed doors was hypocrisy, duplicity, and deceit).

    Despite all these warnings from Jesus which have been so apparent in SGM leadership (not all pastors) I didn’t see it. I guess I wanted to believe the beautiful lies proclaimed from the pulpit about how wonderful everything was instead of facing the ugly facts played out in day to day reality – I just couldn’t break out of what I thought was true : I allowed myself to be deceived.

    Well, God’s judgements are slow but sure : no matter how hard Charles tried to shut down SGS or tried to appease Brent w a ten page letter of asking for forgiveness which obviously he didn’t mean if he took back his feeble attempt at asking forgiveness of “the people I love most in the world other than my own family.

    You feel like you really are a dumb sheep when it takes all this to open your eyes……BUT get this : how many still have their heads buried in the sand? Believe it or not, a lot of good people whose blind loyalty will bite them in their rear ends one day but we’ll still love them : this reality hasn’t been easy to swallow (like swallowing a camel).

  • Waters

    JennGrover #128,
    Joining you in praying for those who are nearing the day of leaving SGM/CovFel…taking a stand and in action,confronting with truth. Spiritual warfare IS involved…yes, agreeing in prayer that the eyes of those beginning to SEE, will fix their eyes on Jesus…Who bring us out of darkness and into His glorious Light.

    Thankyou, Luna Moth.#168 Yes, our family is well, pressing through, and going after our first love, Jesus Messiah Redeemer!
    Our family member also knows SMC and family. We love them so!

    Paul K,
    Your words are right on. True words remind me of the scripture of “Gods light pierces the darkness”…as more truth is spoken…more darkness and shifting shadows are overcome…the love of God ever delivering and redeeming His own.

    In regards to Jared Mellingers tweet— I find it revealing that SGM leaders often take up a particular word which Survivors bloggers have often used in confronting SGM—like ‘discern’ — Sadly, Jared has lost discernment due to law saturation. Therefore, he employs the word ‘discern’ (see tweet in #162) in such a ridiculous manner. Indeed, he WOULD be a great asset for Susan Burke to have on the stand, exemplifying the arrogance and Pharisee law representing SGM.

    So Jared, do your congregants or your wife have anymore questions for you regarding your appeal for them to view “immoral images” instead of reading the blogs????

    Boy, Jared, Jesus said to even look at a woman with lust, one is guilty of adultery. So Jared, have you repented of encouraging your congregants to, in a sense, commit adultery, rather than read the blogs that are crying out for justice for sexually abused children and women???? Is anyone in your congregation FLEEING your church because you have encouraged them to engage in such a viewing of “immoral images”??? How do the teens and young women and girls in your congregation think about that??? Does that make them feel valued—-or used and abused? Hmmmmmm….seems to be a very common thread in SGMland, doesn’t it????

    “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks”—
    Repent and turn away from such defiling

  • Jenn Grover said

    You know, here’s the real revelation in Mellinger’s Tweet — it is obvious that one has to be have the “correct” response in order to deserve compassion, help, and hope. In other words, you have to earn help and hope. Nice job, Mellinger. Legalism comes in all shapes and sizes.

    This attitude has long been pervasive throughout SGM. It was pretty much a theme in Andy Farmer’s 2009 teaching at the pastors’ conference. In his session entitled “The Pastor and the Counseling Process,” there were all sorts of suggestions for pastors about how to assess whether or not a member actually needed help. Most of the suggestions were about judging the member on how well he or she took the pastor’s advice. If a member clearly demonstrated the ability to help/improve himself, then he would be worth counseling. If he did not, then there was a load of spiritual judgment heaped upon the person, and he’d be cut loose. But of course, all outside help was also considered suspect within SGM. So if a person REALLY needed help but could not jump through the hoops their pastor would set for them (without of course actually telling them they were being assessed), they were out of luck.

    Such a graceless, legalistic mindset.

  • 5yearsinPDI

    Paul K- don’t beat yourself up about being taken in. We are not to go around being suspicious and cynical of everybody we meet. Wolves in sheeps clothing look good, they look like sheep.

    I talked to a professional counselor in the 90s…..he went to Westminster Seminary, trained with CCEF and Crabb/Allender….and I said that I did not want to get taken in by an imposter again. I felt like I was too trusting and gullible and nieve ( hubby too) and didn’t want to be that way.

    This guy had worked with countless victims of often terrible abuse, and he said every single client asked the same thing- how can I not be taken in again??? How can I be more discerning?

    He had to tell everybody that there is no fool proof guarantee to stop it. Evil men are slick and great actors and at least intially take even the most discerning people in. Go slow in relationships, “trust your gut” when you get that uneasy feeling or sense uncleanness- but don’t beat yourself up for being taken in. You must walk with the Lord and pursue fellowship, even knowing that one out of 12 might be a Judas, and savage wolves will try to take over in Ephesus, and Peter the amazing apostle may fall into hypocritical deception and legalism in Antioch (book of Galatians). The answer is not to go nowhere and stay home and be a walled off suspicious person, the answer is to trust God in a world where wolves can look like sheep. It is HARD! BRUTALLY HARD! Who has not felt the temptation to give up on the gatherings of the saints for good? Who has not felt like giving up on loving people knowing that one of them may turn around and knife you in the back?

    Christianity is hard. But if you choose protecting yourself in withdraw, God will see that you go through more pain to deal with that idol. We are a body and meant to me members of one another, knit together, with pastors and teachers and elders and deacons and every member of the body of Christ. It is not a solitary calling to be a Christian. And that inevitably means tares and wolves and anguish.

    Do your best…look for fruit, look for sound doctrine, look for tender love and not superiority…..but know that it can be faked for a while- you can be fooled for years. So don’t beat yourself up. A lot of “big dogs” were fooled. We were fooled. Most of the people here on this blog were fooled. To some extent we chose deception for various reasons, but it was still deception. Satan appears like an angel of light. Read the bible all you can, pray, listen to your “gut”, listen to your spouse, trust God- the only hero and the only perfection we have.

  • Waters

    Kris summarizes SGM counseling, culture, doctrine: “SUCH A GRACELESS, LEGALISTIC MINDSET.”

  • “ANNIVERSARY” of the DOCUMENTS being released?

    Wasn’t yesterday 7/7 the 2 year mark on when the documents were made public? Did we miss it. A lot has happened since then but not a lot of what I would like to see like confession and repentance.

  • It's just the beginning

    As I was reading 5yearsinPDI, #194, the thought that came to me was in your future church (post-SGM), don’t put the pastor up on a pedestal.

    I hope that doesn’t sound callous…and it’s hard not to do because pastors/elders ARE supposed to be spiritual Leaders of their local church. Yet how do we not fall into the same trap?

    The type of church / culture of the church is probably the biggest factor. I have friends who have left CLC and found churches where their model of preaching is simply teaching from the Word, get this, _without_ the “application section” at the end. Oh how heretical (or at a minimum useless) I thought at first!

    But the pastor explained that he believes the Holy Spirit is the one who helps each individual apply the scripture/teaching in whatever specific way works best for the individual. Wow, that really makes sense.

    Anyway, the point I am trying to make is two-fold: (1) don’t exalt man very highly, ever; (2) look for a church that has a doctrine/culture where leaders/pastors aren’t the end-all.

  • Diego

    Steve 240 (196): If it was the anniversary looking back we see many spirit filled Christians leave SGM. For the good of Christ’s Church. But what you have left in many of the SGM churches are folks who have grown accustom to the sour poison of this ministry, now more concentrated and more dangerous than ever. They refuse to repent from the top down, but only make excuses. New labels on the ministry bottle, but still deadly to one’s walk.

  • PB&J

    IJTB 197:
    Freedom in Christ
    Gal 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

  • Luna Moth

    Good morning everyone.

    Kindred, thank you for your kind words. I have enjoyed your posts too.

    I got to reconnect with a friend yesterday and share more about our family’s journey. We might actually get together for coffee sometime soon…

  • Diego

    Interesting that a significant portion of Paul’s letters warn against false teachers and false doctrine to guard the believer’s heart and walk, but today’s leaders spend most of their time defending their friends and promoting their books and conferences.
    Paul’s example to todays leaders…
    2 Cor 2:14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.
    16 To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task? 17 Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.

  • Persona

    Did anyone else notice that SGM launched the replant in Arnold at the end of June? I cannot fathom how they can trust SGM with their future. It boggles my mind.

  • Waters

    Diego #198: “…They refuse to repent from the top down, but only make excuses. New labels on the ministry bottle, but still deadly to one’s walk.” — A great example of a ‘why’ Jesus exhorted us to FLEE legalism/the law/leaven — it chokes and poisons.

    This description would also include some churches that have left SGM, BUT continue to walk in the poisonous mindset, culture and counsel, and doctrine ~
    *On the east coast, a large church that left SGM a few months ago: A member (now a former member) asked the church if they wanted to help/be a part, of his starting-up of a ministry downtown to feed, help, and bring Gods love and Word to those on the street. The pastors response? “That is an OFFENSE to all the other churches in the area.” !!!!!!!!!!!

    Would that be an offense because their cultural mindset continues to be “us against them” in the Body of Christ??
    Well, the ministry is growing, has started a similar ministry in New York—and people on the streets are being fed, clothed, loved, and ministered to. (Alas, the big church on the corner in Hampton Roads is OFFENDED over this ministry…)

    Gal 5:1—The entire YOKE which has kept one in slavery must be hurled afar…and even demolished, lest it’s fumes entice Gods own into legalistic slavery.

    As Diego stated “…..what you have left in many of the SGM churches are folks WHO HAVE GRWON ACCUSTOM TO THE SOUR POISON OF THIS MINISTRY, NOW MORE CONCENTRATED AND DANGEROUS THAN EVER.”
    —Jesus exhorted us to FLEE leaven— because it begins invisibly—then slowly saturates into all areas—like pollution.

    “….do NOT LET yourselves be burdened again (and again and again) by a YOKE of slavery.”

  • Thomas


    Thanks for what you’ve written. Means a lot.

    I wish I could purge all memories of SGM out of my mind.

  • Waters

    Dear Thomas,
    Our love to you and your household~ Be encouraged— YOU are a Joshua when you SEE the giants in the land, and set yourself to fight and to defend the faith, and your household!

    Yes, I hear you… to purge all memories of SGM out of our mind…After 4 years of being ‘out’, I have come to view the memories like *scars*. Whenever I hear of the continuing destructive legalism of SGM, it is spiritually and physically nauseating; the intensity of desiring to see Gods people set free rises up! Because our family has scars—places where we recall the wounds. But the wounds are no longer gaping holes taking in more leavened poison. Now there are scars that have been anointed with the ‘Balm of Gilead’, Jesus. Bringing Him the woundings, disappointments, betrayals, stealing of Life, maulings from leadership, etc etc etc are bringing healing and restoration of joy—scars can remind us of the destruction that was STOPPED. Scars can remind us that we have life and movement where there once was disease or woundings. Spiritual scars remind us that our Redeemer LIVES…and He lives IN us! His full redemptions crowds out legalism/Pharisees/Law/leaven/spiritual pollution

    Truly, I pray the joy of the Lord, knowing His unfailing, fathomless love for you as He walks you (and all of us)towards eternity with Him. And that this joy will renew and strengthen ~ Waters and family

  • CovFellowshipAlert

    For those of you still in Covenant Fellowship,

    I hope you are paying close attention to the words coming out of your pastor’s mouths. These are not words from men filled with the Holy Spirit. These are words straight from the pure flesh of man. A common issue within Sovereign Grace.

    Do yourself a favor, run … no, sprint to the nearest exit and get out of that church. To continue to keep yourself in a church where the senior pastor and at least two other pastors are NOT hearing the Lord is dangerous. The Lord has not and will not bless this church as long as these pastors remain and are unrepentant.

    Guess what? There are dozens are churches in the area with pastors that are filled with the Holy Spirit. You CAN break the chains that bind you and have kept you in legalism. You CAN regain that deep love of the Lord and begin to once again have personal fellowship with Him.

    Run away! That place is a pit of pharisaical death.

  • just saying...

    Kris #193


  • Scary Stuff

    Can anyone verify if there’s any truth to the rumor of SGM planting a church in Germantown, MD?

  • vol fan

    For those posting about Gary Ezzo and Babywise, CCK sold this book on its resource table long after the early 90’s. I know because I served in the resource ministry and remember it being a popular books for many years. Sometime between me changing ministry teams and the birth of our first child, it was removed. But even after its removal, this book was still strongly encouraged as a resource for new moms. After my first child, I tried using the scheduled feeding plan and it just didn’t work. I remember telling a leader’s wife that I had made the switch to demand feeding and she was very disappointed. She encouraged me to try again, saying I did not want a child-centered home. I never did go back to scheduled feeding. I had a friendship with this woman that ended quickly over this.

  • Lover of CLC

    Scary Stuff 207–I have been told by people in the know that Larry Malament is moving to the D.C, area to plant a church somewhere in the area. I heard Clarksburg, Germantown, But not Gaithersburg. With all the people who have left the church since the church split they should have a good number of folks right off the start.

  • Luna Moth

    “If you don’t watch out you’re going to have a child-centered home!”

    “You say that like it’s a bad thing…”

  • Peony

    This from the following breaking news story:
    The Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph unsuccessfully sought to have the lawsuit thrown out because so much time had passed since the alleged abuse. But a judge found that the case could go forward because the diocese had sought to cover up the allegations.

    The judge refused to throw out a 30 year old abuse case on the basis of statute of limitations because there was a cover-up. The church immediately settled out of court.

  • concerned sibling

    I just have to say to those who have left sgm/sgc/etc. and feel the time you spent there was a waste please remember Romans 8:28…
    “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (NIV)
    …God does not see it as a waste for it can be turned around and used for HIS GLORY!!! How awesome is that..YOU can now turn around and help others who are going through the same thing because you know better than anyone what they are going through…
    Many moons ago I came out of an abusive marriage and felt the time spent in it as a waste but after coming upon Romans 8:28 I looked at it in a whole new way…
    My prayers are with you all as you continue to grow in Jesus…

  • Attention all you folks in Survivorland – I just received this response from Wayne Grudem’s assistant.

    Dear Todd,

    My name is John Paul Stepanian, and I am Dr. Grudem’s assistant as well as a student here at Phoenix Seminary. One of my jobs is to see to Dr. Grudem’s correspondence on his behalf.

    Thank you for your inquiry regarding Dr. Grudem speaking at CJ’s church. Dr. Grudem has the challenging task of weighing many worthy and intriguing requests. His current research, teaching, speaking engagements and family commitments have filled his schedule, and unfortunately he will be unable to answer your questions directly. Please accept his regrets. Dr. Grudem has asked me to personally respond to these requests on his behalf.

    Dr. Grudem is speaking at CJ’s church specifically so that he can signal support for CJ in the face of unjust accusations. No further communication on this subject will be responded to.

    May God bless your continued work for His kingdom.


    John Paul Stepanian
    MA to Dr. Grudem
    Phoenix Seminary

    On behalf of:
    Wayne Grudem, Ph.D.
    Research Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies
    Phoenix Seminary
    My email to Grudem:

    Dear Dr. Grudem,

    I understand you are scheduled to speak at C.J. Mahaney’s church on the 21 July. I would urge you to reconsider. Prudence would dictate that national leaders such as yourself refrain from indirectly supporting those who cover up sexual abuse in their church.

    Thank you,

    Todd Wilhelm

    “I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign Lord. I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.”

    Ezekiel 34:15-16

  • Stunned

    “Unjust accusations”? And the beat goes on….

  • Persona

    SGM sells a lot of copies of Grudem’s theology books. Just saying..

  • just saying...

    #214 – Wow. Grudem. Fail.

    “Dr. Grudem is speaking at CJ’s church specifically so that he can signal support for CJ in the face of unjust accusations. No further communication on this subject will be responded to.”

    How many men will take a fall over one man’s refusal to repent?

    Throwing away Systematic Theology now.

  • whattodo

    #206. “There are dozens are churches in the area with pastors that are filled with the Holy Spirit.” #206 Who are they and where are they? When I ask the same question of people who make such statements as you have, their response is usually silence.

  • Nickname

    Wow. I could understand if he said, “showing support for him during a difficult time”. But to declare the accusations unjust sounds pretty naive for a guy who has scrutinized the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.

  • ccinnova

    #217 – I would call the response from Dr. Grudem’s assistant an epic fail.

  • Bridget

    Dr. Grudem is speaking at CJ’s church specifically so that he can signal support for CJ in the face of unjust accusations. No further communication on this subject will be responded to.

    Has Grudem interviewed all the plaintiffs? Was he judge and jury? Does this mean that Grudem has found CJ and SGM innocent? It is really astounding to see the men who are making their way to Louisville to support CJ. I’m finding it nauseating.

  • Beloved Child of God

    Waters- (#205)
    Thank you for those beautiful words. Though they were directed toward Thomas, they hold so much truth and power to heal that anyone reading this blog probably needs to hear.

    I am so glad you shared these words. I copied them down in my journal to come back to later when I forget that the scars mean that the bleeding has stopped.

  • NarrowistheWay

    How does Dr. Grudem know the accusations are unjust?
    The implication is that he is stating they are false. He knows this? How?
    I’m careful to say this, because I certainly do not want to be guilty of the same thing, especially in light of the Scripture below. But between the official statements, and tweets, and now this letter, their responses are sounding increasingly arrogant.

    “Dr. Grudem is speaking at CJ’s church specifically so that he can signal support for CJ in the face of unjust accusations. No further communication on this subject will be responded to. ”

    “No one who practices deceit will dwell in my house; no one who speaks falsely will stand in my presence.” Psalm 101:7

  • Marge Sweigart

    Well, Todd, at least he gave you an honest answer. :/

  • Jayson

    I would hope Grudem would have some basis for his claim of “unjust accusations”. Perhaps there is some secret knowledge only he has??? Not a chance. Could it be that SGM sells many of his books? Possible!!!.
    It would seem to me he would take a systematic approach to the charges against CJ/SGM before brushing then under the rug.
    Well, maybe not, there are alot of books for sale.

    I believe his comment “unjust accusations” will come back to bite him in the back side some day and soon.

    Perhaps Grudem has something up his sleve. Imagine for a minute the look on CJs face if the good Dr Grudem starts his sermon message with, “The title of the message is “It’s not about you!!! CJ!!!”. Well, no. Funny thought, but there are those books.

    Speaking of books, the one I have by grudem will be in the trash tonight.

  • Paul K.

    (1) Did u know CJ used SGM funds so Grudem could take a full half year off teaching at the seminary in Phoenix to head up the group of men who did the ESV Translation? Jeff Purswell was a teaching assistant to Grudem and adapted Systematic Theology into a smaller book. CJ has actually found ways to encourage these guys in their ministries to the point they look to him for counsel – CJ knows how to win-over just about anyone who doesn’t know him well (with money, humor, praise, encouragement of the next project they should do, having them come speak to a standing ovation they’ve never experienced before) but those days are over – now it’s “their turn” to help him. Cronyism : a sadly disturbing unchristlike carnal “ism” of man – diabolically contradictory to the Word and the Spirit.

    Jesus, one moment says to Peter, “Blessed are you Simon, for flesh has not revealed this to you but the Father in heaven.” The next moment He’s shockingly in Peter’s face, “Get behind Me Satan! You have set your interests on man and not God!”

    We have Paul calling Peter a hypocrite in front of the church!

    Do these men not read the Bible when they translate it w all their knowledge of Greek and Hebrew with an intent to obey it? Doesn’t James sternly warn against partiality? Sad to say, as much as I love the pastors in our community in G-burg, from the outside looking in, it sure looks like Charles Joseph Mahaney has been shown unprecedented partiality (a letter of recommendation for Chad to go to New Life – whoever wrote that I hope regrets it ; being allowed to leave unreconciled and with pastoral blessing!? ; a willingness to say CJ’s confession was adequate despite saying he never should have confessed to begin with! ; no public disclosure of their honest assessment of CJ to protect the wider body of Christ when CJ made so many men get up in front of congregations with scripted confessions forced on them by him before being disqualified from ministry!)

    Silence is not leadership IMO because it leaves people in a position of having to interpret the meaning of the silence without having the facts the leaders have in the silence you have these choices (1) believe they are doing what’s right even though they don’t explain themselves (2) believe that because they did his bidding for years (the older ones) that speaking out the truth would require repenting themselves of many wrong things (3) wonder if they are afraid of the rejection they would experience in taking a stand for righteousness regarding Charles Mahaney
    (4) wonder if they fear more people will exit if they tell the truth (5) wonder if they are hiding beyond the actions of David who would not touch God’s anointed (6) wonder if they are listening to Gamaliel who said, “If this be of God you can’t stop it and if is not of God it will die out on it’s own
    (7) wonder if they only tell the truth to SGM churches who call them because they don’t know whether to stay with SGM or not and they know these men know “the real Charles.”

    Leadership doesn’t leave people to fill in silences
    and preach messages on endurance when they could end the need for endurance on many issues by simply telling the truth (the problem is you don’t want “one man rule” : even though the one man would probably do ‘the right thing.’ Plurality is essential but decisions can get bogged down in plurality – especially costly ones. Nicodemus could follow Jesus as an individual but if he could follow Jesus only if the plurality of Pharisees said it was OK for him to do so, then he never would have).

    I read a great statement : “I want to be the kind of man who will confront the king but also the kind of man who will listen to the Nathans in my life.” I
    suppose that’s what we all need power from the Holy Spirit to be like.”


    (1) Todd – writing Grudem and getting his “response” back to us – quite sad. And for Ezekiel 34:14-15.

    (2) CovFelAlert : “Run away! That place is a pit of pharisaical death!”

    (3) GOD : It does not alarm me in the least should SGM plant a church in Germantown because of this promise, “You work all things after the counsel of your will.” Every pro – SGM person is my brother or sister and I will treat them as such.


    “Jesus, please complete the work of conforming us all into the likeness of Christ from the least to the greatest for in Your eyes we are all in Christ and in Him there is no least or greatest. He is the Sun ; help us be stars that shine in the darkness walking in grace, truth, and love.”

  • 5yearsinPDI

    Peter had an epic fail at Antioch (book of Galatians). Even Barnabas was sucked in. Many years later, Peter wrote scripture.

    People have epic failures- King David comes to mind.

    Grudem is having an epic fail, yes. But his book is still good, the same way Peter’s sermon at Pentecost was good, and all the years of teaching he did up until Antioch were good.

    God is pruning. I don’t fully understand it all- Piper, Carson, Grudem, etc. One thing I am sure of is that CJ has “help.” There is a strong dark spiritual force masquerading as light that has sucked them in. Again, remember Peter- mightily used of God at Pentecost and in Acts, then an epic fail later that we read about in Galatians, and restored back by 10 years later when he writes scripture.

    We are ALL OF US subject to temptation and attack and delusion. How many of us were decieved for years in SGM/PDI? I was. These men are decieved I think, weak, and not wicked- at least not yet. They will have to repent.

    Todd- If Grudem will not listen to voices like Boz, and the guy who wrote that good piece that was on the Aquila report and linked here (response to T4G and GC) he sure won’t listen to any of us. But thanks for trying.

    Unbelievable, to brush off abused kids this way. He is also brushing off Josh Harris indirectly. Absolutely horrible.

  • Stunned

    I agree with 5Years that all of these people are just regular human beings. We all screw up. (Just not on such a royal scale. That is probably one of the drawbacks of being a celebrity. Your screw ups are more public.)

    Yet at the same time, we are all responsible when we support evil and turn a deaf ear to the cries of the smallest.

    There’s one thing I would change in what 5Years said (and I am guessing 5Years would agree with me, even if she didn’t say it). Instead of saying, “If Grudem will not listen to voices like Boz, and the guy who wrote that good piece that was on the Aquila report and linked here (response to T4G and GC) he sure won’t listen to any of us,” my thought was, “If someone will not listen to the cries of innocent children who were brutally abused, they will listen to no one.”

    But one day God will show us all the truth.

  • Paul K. #226

    Thanks for that interesting bit of news about the relationship between Mahaney and Grudem. Things get stranger and stranger in this whole celebrity reformed culture and I must say I am disillusioned with the whole bunch.

    I am (still) a member of the United Christian Church of Dubai ( ) A 9Marks church pastored by John Folmar; previously Folmar served as assistant pastor at Mark Dever’s Capitol Hill Baptist Church.

  • Stunned

    I just read something by David Instone-Brewer, the rabbinical studies guru (I’m sure that’s his official title) at Tyndale House. He is talking about the biblical reasons for divorce but his comment reminded me of what Paul K said above regarding the pastors who have remained silent in the face of CJ leaving and breaking the hearts of so many at CLC.

    “Neglect can be just as destructive as abuse – it just takes longer.”

  • Has Grudem interviewed all the plaintiffs? Was he judge and jury? Does this mean that Grudem has found CJ and SGM innocent? It is really astounding to see the men who are making their way to Louisville to support CJ. I’m finding it nauseating.

    I wonder if Grudem has read the documents that came out 2 years ago. Those alone show a lot of issues, sin and hypocrisy with C.J. Mahaney not to mention SGM and other SGM Leaders. Really sad to see this.

    One thought is that Grudem really doesn’t want to hear or believe all this about C.J. Mahaney. After all, C.J. did promote his book for a while. It is convenient to just dismiss or “believe the best” vs. really investigate and be open that there may be something to this since it has caused CLC to leave SGM for example.

    As someone else said, you would think Grudem would do more analysis with his producing a Systematic Theology book.

  • Bridget

    Stunned —

    They don’t have ears to “hear” the cries of the wounded . . . the reasons are many and varied for this type of deafness. It can be seen throughout most of this particular camp.

  • Joy Huff

    Paul K. @226 you frequently make me remember things the way they actually were. Do you remember when CJ would yell at all of us because we didn’t clap loud, long and enthusiastically enough for someone? Cheep pay, if you ask me.

  • intheNickoftime

    Lover in #210

    With all the people who have left the church (CLC) since the church split they should have a good number of folks right off the start.

    I am interested in how many you think are still up for a SGM style church. How many left because they were fed up? How many left because they don’t like the way the current leadership is still being vague and hiding behind partial truths? How many left because they now see that there is more that one way to be a christian?

    I dont think everyone who left was a kool-aid drinker?

  • intheNickoftime

    Just Sayin and Nickname in #217 & #219

    “unjust accusations”

    Gee, I thought CJ and the other half dozen pastors and the law firm all agree that he blackmailed his brother in the Lord…

  • griefofwisdom

    Grudem is a person who has inserted himself politically (not just theologically) into a number of controversies (Westminster Theological Seminary, biblical inerrancy, gender roles, climate change, etc.). So it does not surprise me to see a response like that at all. I would guess career and power and influence are all tightly wrapped together in those decisions.

  • Jenn Grover

    I think it is quite possible that to the folks more on the periphery, like Grudem, don’t have a clue about the depth or the content of the accusations. I think there are those, like Duncan, Dever, and Mohler, who have intentionally kept their knowledge limited. Mohler had his assistant read the documents, but would not read them himself.

    I am disappointed in some, but I think they have been told there is nothing to see here and they don’t know that they aren’t being told the truth. Most of these guys would have no reason to doubt their friends, any more that you or I would have reason to doubt our friends, unless we had observed or experienced a betrayal ourselves.

    This blind support is the negative effect of the “branding” of the neoreformed movement and a byproduct of the celebrity pastor culture. I am concerned that there are many men who are supporting the neoreformed brand and know the brand more than they know CJ.

    On another note: this focus on “Called to be Faithful” from bob Kauflin (and others) is code for a call to be loyal. I have heard the supporters mantra about loyalty, but they assume loyalty trumps convictions. Can you imagine if the Israelites had claimed that they were following Aaron into idol worship because of their loyalty to him? Can you imagine of Nathan would not have confronted David because of “relationship?” Did God call Paul to ignore conflicts in the NT churches so as to “protect the gospel?” There is no biblical example to point to that is alignment with the the way “loyalty” and “relationships” are being tossed around as a reason to stay with SGM. However, there are plenty of examples in Scripture where individuals and groups are called to uncomfortable choices for the sake of righteousness. If only SGM pastors had such moral courage.

  • Jenn Grover

    GriefofWisdom – you raise a good point. Grudem also supported Romney over Huckabee and made that view known…not desiring to start a political debate, but pointing out his pattern of inserting himself in controversial discussions.

  • Lost in (cyber) Space

    Jenn said in 237:
    “On another note: this focus on “Called to be Faithful” from bob Kauflin (and others) is code for a call to be loyal. I have heard the supporters mantra about loyalty, but they assume loyalty trumps convictions. Can you imagine if the Israelites had claimed that they were following Aaron into idol worship because of their loyalty to him? Can you imagine of Nathan would not have confronted David because of “relationship?” Did God call Paul to ignore conflicts in the NT churches so as to “protect the gospel?” There is no biblical example to point to that is alignment with the the way “loyalty” and “relationships” are being tossed around as a reason to stay with SGM. However, there are plenty of examples in Scripture where individuals and groups are called to uncomfortable choices for the sake of righteousness. If only SGM pastors had such moral courage.”

    Very good points, Jenn! We are called to walk with “truth in our innermost being”, not be loyal or faithful to men out of affection or affiliation. We are to be loyal and faithful to God! When we are faithful/loyal to God, we will be uphold His cause and support those who do.

  • Waters

    Grudem believes Mahaney has been charged with “unjust accusations”???? Obviously, he has not systematically studied or justly weighed ALL EVIDENCES. —

    Stunned, you bring it all to the basic point: “…If someone WILL NOT LISTEN to the cries of innocent CHILDREN who were brutally abused, they will listen to no one.”

    The loyal bond any of us share should not trump the voices of the weakest ones, children. Jesus actually rebuked His disciples for attempting to shoo them away while He was speaking to ‘multitudes’. (Kinda like a modern day Christian Conference, big church, T4G, distributions of Systematic Theology at the latest SGM Conference, etc)….

    Jesus ELEVATED their importance when He proclaimed/instructed “Let the little children come to me—FOR SUCH IS THE KINGDOM OF GOD”.—The childrens weak standing because of being young and small; their voice that others try to shush and/or not hear; their complete dependence on Father God, innocently trusting in Him.—Jesus directs our eyes, ears and heart to lift up the weakest among us —and at the same time reveals that this is what exemplifies the Kingdom of God! (Not grown men and women; not pastors or leaders; not kings or queens). God help us.

    Beloved Child of God #222,
    I am thankful you are encouraged. We all are holding each other up as we walk this part of our journey….
    The Lord continue to uphold you and your household in His unfailing love ~Waters and family

  • Waters

    Jenn Grover #237:

    “On another note the focus on “Called to Be Faithful” from B Kauflin (and others) is CODE FOR CALL TO BE LOYAL.
    I have heard the supporters mantra about LOYALTY but THEY ASSUME LOYALTY TRUMPS CONVICTIONS.”

  • PhillyInDC

    Here’s what I don’t understand for the life of me…

    I grew up Catholic. Went to Mass every Sunday for the first 18 years of my life. Every Sunday, I heard the same three priests speak in rotation, never a “guest” or a “celebrity” – did the priest recycle his sermons, probably, but I never listen carefully enough to realize. Plus, the RCC reading “schedule” is on a 4 year cycle, so even if it is a repeat sermon, it would have been 4 years since you heard it before. And it was a nice 15-20 minute sermon. You spend 80% of the time praying or listening to readings or reciting things. Not the SGM way of listening to one person speak for 90% of the time.

    Following SGCL twitter feed is hysterical. Sometimes I swear that CJ just writes a sermon for sound bites. That is when he has an original one, or he doesnt have a guest “back patter”

  • Former CLC'er

    I was sitting at my computer eating lunch and I almost choked when I saw Larry Malament will be planting a church in Montgomery County near CLC. I’m guessing he won’t recruit his brother and family to join. :O

  • Persona

    Former CLC’er 243

    I wonder if the core group for this church plant is already meeting. I see some signs of that. People who would be interested in it, recently left CLC. And, SGM church plants usually meet as a core group for a time before officially launching.

  • Stunned

    Jenn, I hate to disagree with you (actually, it probably doesn’t bother me too much) but if my dearest friend in the whole entire world whom I have known WELL for decades has been accused of covering up sexual abuse, you can be darned tootin’ that I am going to research the accusations to the hilt. Now imagine it’s a colleague I’ve had dinner contact with over this years. Then, let’s say he is in ministry and I know people in ministry can be gifted at looking one way on the outside but another way inside. (I mean, if I have written a book on theology, I have probably met one or two ministers in my day.) I sure as heck wouldn’t put my good name on the line without speaking with the people who brought the accusations! And none of those people whom I know have brought up that Wayne Grudem has contacted them to do so. Trust me, it would have come up.

    It’s one thing to remain silent. (Cowardly but understandable if you’re a selfish lout.) But quite another thing to actively and publicly support someone who has been accused of evil without strenuously doing every single thing in your power to suss out the truth.

  • Dr. Pepper

    I have a question. If there were an alleged cover up then wouldn’t criminal proceedings have started? I know nothing about the law and maybe they are still gathering more evidence, but I feel like maybe its not enough to proceed.

  • Stunned

    Opps, I wrote, “Now imagine it’s a colleague I’ve had dinner contact with over this years.” I have NO idea what I meant to type and my auto correct put in “dinner” contact. I am guessing I wrote regular contact or something like that.

  • Pam Palmer

    Stunned @247: It happens to the best of us. :)

  • Jenn Grover

    Stunned, it shouldn’t bother you to disagree with me and I am not for a moment giving him a pass or saying he was right. In the celebrity pastor culture, these have the appearance of knowing each other without truly knowing each other and are in essence, defending their brand, not the man. If Mohler, Duncan, and Dever were so completed convinced of CJ’s character, they would not have backed down.

    Grudem, the SGM resolution, the statements all fit the pattern where CJ demands loyalty. Even DH who was loyal by our standards did not pass CJ’s test.

    All of this, is orchestrated by CJ and his posse. Joshua’s number one sin was that he was not seen as loyal enough. In this celebrity culture, loyalty trumps convictions.

  • Critical Mass

    Jenn, I’d put it a little differently. Unfortunately, loyalty (and unity) by their definition trumps the pursuit of truth.

  • 5yearsinPDI

    (1) Did u know CJ used SGM funds so Grudem could take a full half year off teaching at the seminary in Phoenix to head up the group of men who did the ESV Translation?

    That explains a lot….

    By the way my PDI pastor said the #1 qualification for leadership in PDI was loyalty. I kid you not. To them. Not to God or bible or
    a statement of faith or your wife, but to the other leaders. Ugh.

  • Paul K.

    (Could The Contrast Be Starker?)

    During the four months following the release of the documents, I would look for opportunities to simply walk Josh to his car. I purposefully avoided being seen with him in public because we had a members only forum started by a couple guys in the church which had a domain owned by one of them and they did not allow our pastors to be on this forum. One of them invited me to be on it : I had no clue what a forum was and in hindsight I think he and the moderators which it had remained that way:)

    I was in a strange place – we had a huge community trying to figure out what in the world was going on. We thought Josh Harris was being mentored by a great man when in fact there had been two to three years of fairly serious conflict going on. There was a problem : a guy that just learned e-mail was caught in the middle of an unexpected collision because he knew Mahaney since Mahaney was 24 and watched Mahaney go through a collision with Charles Schmidt, Larry Tomczak, and himself. One week before the documents hit, a sovereign accident brought Josh Harris into his life in an astonishing way after 8 years of mowing his lawn with no significant connection. The reason I avoided Josh in public is because I was candid to say the least about the difference I saw in these men. A guy who married a girl from my former fellowship group asked me if I wanted to ask Josh on a date (where is the gratefulness for crying out loud!) I didn’t get to see that post – the moderators deleted that one (I got robbed of a good laugh).

    Of course my views of Charles were far from flattering so much so that SGM loyalists broke forum rules and shared these posts and others to SGM leaders who put together a complaint against our pastors which they had to return to their part of the building because they committed

    In all the chaos of RBDOGS supporting Mahaney, I asked Josh, “Do you have any friends in all this?” What I noticed about Josh was that he was never ruffled and never spoke an angry or harsh word against CJ or anyone but I wondered, “Who does he get to talk to?” So his answer to my question, “Do you have any friends in this conflict was as follows, “My friends are also CJ’s friends.”
    You see Josh chose to be alone in all this in terms of outside leaders – he didn’t want to slander his friend. Alone in conflict, Josh was at peace. When I saw Mahaney in conflict with Schmidt with friends all around, I saw a man who was both angry and so unsettled that when he spoke right next to me his hands were shaking and his voice was trembling.

    In this conflict, Josh has not used anyone to come and “stand with him.” He has decided that if God is for him, who can be against him? He has decided to trust God rather than beg men all over the country to come and stand up for him. As I’ve watched the contrast between these men, over and over again, it feels like the story of David and Saul all over again.

    No writer could have made up this tragic-comedy that has unfolded before our eyes. We’ve watched and are still watching a real life narrative play out before us that has more drama in it than any dramatist with great imagination could ever create.

  • just saying...

    Is it just me or does the idea that CJ paid someone to write the Bible disturbing?

    Where’s my NIV?

  • DK

    Grant Layman was castigated by CJ and Caroline for not being loyal to CJ in the split from CLC. He explained he needed to obey God, and was told in no uncertain terms that he needed to be loyal to CJ.

  • Dr. Pepper

    Isn’t Grant related to CJ? If so, how?

  • just saying...

    Carolyn’s brother.

  • Persona

    Grant lived with CJ and Carolyn before he was married and owes the fact he is a pastor, to CJ.

    I respect him for sticking to his convictions.

  • I wonder if the core group for this church plant is already meeting. I see some signs of that. People who would be interested in it, recently left CLC. And, SGM church plants usually meet as a core group for a time before officially launching.

    As others have said, if there is truth to this rumor of SGM starting a new church I really doubt all or even most of the people that have left CLC would join this new church. I would think only the hard core C.J. loyalists (still at CLC)who IMO don’t want to see the truth about him or are just so mesmerized with him. Also, I would also imagine those making long trips each week to Solid Rock would join this new church.

  • Foot

    Hmmm, Jim Jones wanted unquestioned loyalty. Those that gave their unquestioned loyalty to Jim Jones are dead to this day. The fruit of their loyalty to Jim Jones was actual DEATH and impacted multiple generations with collateral damage. So much for loyalty to a man who served Satan (John 10:10, Satan’s MO as a thief; Satan’s character has not changed).

    Jesus requires loyalty! He said Follow Me! Jesus said I AM the Resurrection and the Life…do you believe that (John 11:25-26)? Who is your Daddy (Gal 4:6 or John 8:44)? It is all about Daddy issues…and the fruit with the Seed within itself. Loyalty to THE SEED, which is our Lord Jesus Christ alone (Gal 3:16). Any other path or person or entity is DEATH. WHO are you loyal to??? WHO has truly been loyal to you? That my friend, is a loaded question…

    Ah, Matt 25, some people focus on talents, others character, others self, and some focus on God alone. What is your revelation of God and your loyalty to Him, how do you see Him, His Character, His Name? WHO are you accountable to, yourself or our Lord Jesus Christ?

  • just saying...

    What happened with Charles Schmidt?

  • Jenn Grover

    If there was any uestion about where Rick Gamache stood, let this remove all doubt:

    Too bad their shared value say nothing of Jesus.

  • Pam Palmer

    This is a really powerful video (@22 mins.) by survivors of sex abuse speaking about the affect on their lives and how they walked to a place of healing from their past.

    We in the Church, as a whole, need to get educated on what is abuse, what is its affect in a child’s entire life, how abusers function and manipulate people in our faith communities, etc. I believe that it is ignorance of all of the above, that would cause a leader, such as Wade Grudem (ostensibly he approved the response from his assistant) to call alleged abuse and the cover-up of alleged abuse as “unjust accusations”. It shows clearly that he does not understand the issue.

    Mr. Grudem, please watch this video!

  • Persona

    Steve240 #258

    I agree that it will be tiny exodus from CLC to the Clarksburg plant. But, that subgroup has been busy recruiting over the past year. So, it might be a sizable church by the time it launches. Bigger than L’ville, anyway.

    I hope CJ did not promise Josh that he would not be doing this.

  • Watching in Houston


    These three words are without doubt in the top ten pieces of best advice that I have ever received. Never again will I trust a man behind a pulpit, especially a self-appointed Apostle. The stories of conspiracy to cover criminal offenses, paying hush-money, paid vacations and the like…I would expect from a corrupt politician, but a group of pastors? But then again, we are dealing with a group of self-appointed Apostles who operate in a perfect vacuum with accountability to no man. No matter how the CLC/SGM spin-doctors work this over, no matter how many lawyers Josh trots out to discredit the plaintiff arguments, the facts are going to be harder to explain as time goes on. I just hope everyone remembers where the attorneys came from and what Josh had to say all along the way.

  • Foot

    WIH #264: Try VERIFY then trust IF Trustworthy…

  • formersgmer

    just sayin

    Charles Schmidt pastors a fairly large church in the Maryland suburbs of D.C.

  • Protestant Dame

    The post by Todd about Grudem’s (assistant’s) chilling response to his email has caused me to come out of lurkdom to confess I must have been apparently holding Wayne Grudem up on a pedestal in my heart. I literally had a meltdown about this revelation last night. The one (last) man I actually respected has now let me down. That’s what I get for looking to ANY man. But Dr. Grudem I really thought was the “real deal.” He showed up at our little SGM church one Sunday unannounced (he must have been vacationing in the area or something). He seemed to be the most humble, unassuming guy. Our pastor begged him to say a few words & he reluctantly agreed. So he just spoke to us, off the cuff, about certain current issues and the kingdom of God, and I was just so impressed. He was articulate and engaging, but not showy in any sense of the word. It was as if he were just sitting down in my living room chatting with me. I appreciate those who said everyone makes (epic) mistakes – take a look at the book of Acts for examples, etc. That helps me a little. I spent the evening praying earnestly for Dr. Grudem that his EYES WOULD BE OPENED. God knows it took decades for MINE to open. Please, dear God, be merciful.

  • Paul K.


    Wow – spiritual abuse is a relatively new concept
    in my biblical world-view – shocking – though it shouldn’t be in light of all Jesus spoke against the Pharisees. The problem : it never occurred to me that the word “pastor” could be connected to the word “Pharisee.” The word pharisaical seemed to simply be a synonym for legalism – saving yourself through your own dead works.
    I never really focused on how much Jesus talks about how the Pharisees viewed and treated others as their leader-rabbis

    It’s as if a whole new constellation has suddenly appeared in the heavens next to Orion the Mighty Hunter who represents Jesus to me because Orion looks like the cross and Jesus is the Mighty Hunter of men…..This constellation of Spiritual Abuse has Subtle Power (from THE SUBTLE POWER OF SPIRITUAL ABUSE). I call this constellation The Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing.

    This Wolf, meant to be a servant-shepherd who lays his life down for his friends as Jesus did (“if you love Me feed MY sheep”), uses the sheep for his own purposes and abuses those who refuse to be used. How does he do this ; what is the root to his attaining the subtle power to do this?

    The Wolf lies to the sheep saying, “You can’t hear Jesus for yourself and follow Him directly. I am the authority through whom He wants you to hear His voice. You show your submission to His authority by trusting that He has placed me in authority over you.” Jesus said, “All authority has been given to Me on earth and in heaven” and that “MY sheep hear MY voice.” The Wolf’s power is rooted in that he usurps (steals ; robs) the authority given to Jesus to lead those He died for by lying to the sheep about who has authority over him. How many of us believed Bill Gothard’s diabolical teaching on submission to authority? We are to submit to legitimate authority out of submission to God Himself – not in place of submission to God…..I think this is the subtle usurpation of the authority of Jesus. Once this root gets implanted in a body of believers, it begins to spread rapidly – first underground, then little shoots surface, then saplings, and eventually full grown trees bearing ugly fruit.

    The Wolf like Satan has been given spiritual gifts meant to serve the sheep and the sheep are so amazed by these gifts they find it hard to believe their “shepherd” is actually a Wolf. As the Wolf sees the sheep believes he’s a shepherd, he is increasingly emboldened to be the Wolf he really is. He becomes more and more wreckless in what he demands of sheep just as Hitler became bolder as he saw he had convinced the masses that he was their Fuhrer.


    Foot, what a great post! When we believe the Wolf, we follow the Wolf, thinking we’re following Jesus until we see the Wolf asking us to do things that are clearly wrong if we have the fortitude to withstand the consequences of not obeying the Wolf who now has everyone seemingly fooled. The really dangerous thing is that those men who have their incomes as a result of the sheep giving their money to the Wolf (thinking they were giving it to God) have made compromises because the cost of facing the Wolf for who he is and choosing to follow Jesus is called de-gifting which equals the experience of losing your income……many have paid that price….160 de-gifted pastors? I don’t even know.

    So, in time, this Wolf no longer wears sheep’s clothing. The Wolf and his wife can demand that his brother in law be loyal to him when he asserts that he must be loyal to God. The Wolf is so used to acting like a Wolf and having people submit to him that he doesn’t even understand how diabolical it is to completely reject his brother in law for wanting to follow God directly.

    Charles Schmidt

    Schmidt recognized the leadership of Gathering Of Believers was lording it over people’s faith. Larry and CJ made a compromise with Schmidt because they didn’t agree. The agreement was that Schmidt could start his own church and GOB would support him to start with by giving him $1000 per month until the church could support itself but Schmidt was to make it appear that this was a mutually settled upon agreement. As he and CJ drive one Sunday morning to the four little churches to explain all this, Schmidt decided to present this as something forced on him which it was. CJ lost his composure in all this. Schmidt saw the spiritual abuse but because he didn’t leave quietly as he agreed to, a great turmoil was created. In this heart wrenching situation(we had come to respect all three of these men so this split felt like a divorce – who do you go with?)Ev
    Live Free Says:
    July 7th, 2013 at 11:44 am
    NEW FLASH: Shunning still alive and well in SGM churches! Allow me to share my recent experience.

    I was recently at an event where I saw many — and I mean a lot of — people from our old SGM church. Many (maybe 2/3rds) were kind and nice to me, said hi, how you doing, etc. (there are many nice ppl at SGM churches, I do love many of them, some of the most lovely Christians I have ever met).

    But MANY people completely ignored me. It was SO obvious. They acted like they never even saw me (even when I walked right in front of them several times), acted engrossed in conversation, busy with something, never looked at me, etc. I was literally standing right in front of a loyalist and this person was forced to say something to me. I “hi” would have been a normal thing to say but the reaction was really weird. No hi, no how are you doing, oh good to see you (ok, I wasn’t expecting that), but this person said something to me that didn’t even make sense since I never even said a word to this person. It was really weird. My presence made several ppl clearly uncomfortable.

    Two good things: 1) it was only the old-timers, the die hard SGMers, the ones who were SGM church planters, there from the beginning, friends with the pastor, who openly shunned me. The newer folk did not shun me. 2) I laughed. Two years ago I would have probably cried.

    It’s good to be free.

    As someone said to me once, “Their reaction is between them and God. We will all have to give account to God one day for our responses.”en I was torn because I thought Schmidt was right on the issues.

    Unfortunately what resolved it was Schmidt was engaged in inappropriate physical contact with young men he was discipling. One or more of these young men felt they must tell the truth so the community wouldn’t be ripped apart. Once CJ and Larry had “the goods” on Charles S he was done and went hobbling to “pastor” Kline of Halpine who CJ was initially discipled by until CJ saw Kline’s family life for what it was.

  • 5yearsinPDI


    Charles Schmitt’s wife Dotty wrote this book quite a long time ago:

    In the book she is open about her husband’s “moral failure” and some of the ensuing fallout. We were told privately by somebody who had personal relationships with Ft Lauderdale 5/6 guys like Ern Baxter and Bob Munford and John Poole that it was homosexual in nature.

    To his credit, it was confessed and admitted as sin, he supposedly was going to get help, and I think he took time off- is that correct? No cover up.

    You can’t really understand the whole SGM mess including this part without understanding Shepherding error. This is wiki, if you search you can find more:

    SGM is and has been shepherding for 30 years, with a unique Calvinist twist added. The rest were mostly all standard Arminian charismatics. When you hear the word “shepherding error/doctrine/movement”, just mentally substitute the word “control freak”, and picture levels of inferior and superior people- like the caste system in India, or Downton Abbey nobility and servants- and you get a good picture.

    Way back then Larry and CJ were “under”- or at least next to- top dogs, of whom Charles Schmitt was one, and CS had a reputation for rigid control. Charles gave imput to Larry and CJ back when it was TAG before it was GOB; they were young and CS was older and had more experience. So I don’t know what happened precisely with Larry and CJ, and what guys got the homo seduction treatment- but in this particular case, I would be slow to blame CJ, even for furious anger at CS. It is entirely possible some guy he cared about was seduced. Anyway, Larry and CJ gave CS the royal boot to the rear, and a long time latter Larry had a reconciliation with him, but CJ never did as far as is publically known.

    What is so incredibly odd about all this is that you have a man guilty of using his position in some way to take advantage of young men for “moral failure”, and CJ got enraged and kicked him out at some point. So what happened with CJ over the years that now we see all this sex abuse cover up?

    CJ has become a man who is adept at charming younger men into adoring him. It is like he became CS- minus the sexualization of that whole thing. Is this a case where if you don’t forgive, you end up like the person you are bitter towards??? I wonder.

    Paul K is right about the drama. Simply incredible. Foot 259- Amen. Good post.

    We may never know all the inside wheelings and dealings. God is at work to tear down idols, of that I am sure.

  • 5yearsinPDI

    Paul- thanks. My post above has some of the timing off. Sorry about that.

    We heard it from the best of sources that CS was just as controlling as LT/CJ, actually more so…if anything, LT/CJ were less controlling and more open to the Holy Spirit back then than much of the shepherding movement.

    At this point, I don’t think I would believe any of them about anything :) :) :)

    P Dame….I am sososososososososososo sorry!! Sorry Sorry Sorry! I went through it with Piper. I thought I was all past it, until that GC thing came out signed by Don Carson. Oh the grief.

    Jesus Christ has met me with the sweetness of his presence. We are all so sinful and he is so full of grace and mercy. May the Lord give you peace.

    Don’t be too hard on any of them. CJ has “help”. This principality that mesmerizes knows how to get a foothold. Money, applause, audiences- it knows where weak spots are and meets them to seduce. God is allowing all this. We all would probably fall for it too apart from God’s help, if it turned on us to flatter and give gobs of cash. Keep up the prayers, they are not in vain.

  • Jenn Grover

    From Bob K tweet: “Does your Sunday meeting prepare people for suffering and death? Wise words from @revkeydeyoung.”

    I thought the Sunday meeting was about corporate worship and glorifying God. A better question would be, “Does your Sunday meeting help people to love Jesus more?”

    Every life will have its share of suffering and doctrine doesn’t make it any easier but a relationship with Jesus does. doctrine might help you put on the “right” response so that you are in alignment with the neo-calvinistss, but doctrine itself does not produce fruit. Communion with Jesus produces fruit. I have long been concerned about the pressure people in SGM feel to have the “right response” to tragedy in their lives. As Christians we want to glorify God with responses that flow from our relationship with him, not contrived, canned responses that picked up from the latest sermon or book on suffering. Do you want to understand suffering? Study the suffering of Christ, in Scripture. :…Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who, for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sits at the right hand of the Father….” (Heb 12:1-2)

  • Steve

    Jenn #271,

    Did you listen to DeYoung’s sermon before you posted?

  • Former CLC'er

    I will never again trust a man behind the pulpit. I have just strarted to trust my pastor a little bit, but will never trust a pastor completely. I will always be jaded. Just sayin’

  • Soarin'

    Jenn Grover – #272

    Thanks for the encouraging words. So glad to be visiting a church that does just that – helps me to fix my eyes on Jesus and encourages me to be in a love relationship with Jesus!

  • Paul K.

    5 Years – appreciate the spelling lesson. I’ll just stick w CS:) Also NP on timing, etc. Who really knows everything about all this. I don’t blame CJ for being flustered at Charles S. changing an agreement they made and doing so without saying anything ahead of time – how weird that was and how awkward for anyone.

    When all this first happened (the docs) I had this attitude : I have never known what it’s like to be as highly thought of as CJ and I don’t know (I don’t even want to know) the effect it would have had on my soul to have his giftings. Part of the reason I thought highly of him is he seemed very humble in light of his giftings but after 88 I didn’t see much of him.

    When Tiger Woods was exposed I just thought, “You’ve never had a billion dollars and have never had women throwing themselves at you and he’s not a Christian so in that situation that could easily be you.”

    So I thought it sad that CJ would be so hard on Tiger and then not recognize himself later in his over concern with public opinion in what he wrote about woods.

    I apologize for personalizing CJ w The Constellation Of The Wolf. It’s just that seeing what Foot posted and seeing (knowing) what was expected of Grant (and others I know), what is probably ‘the obvious’ to most, impacted me greatly : that spiritual abuse occurs in an environment in which the individual is not encouraged to hear God directly but through others (especially leadership) just as Luna Moth explained so well.

    From reading here this goes back to Covenantalism and from there to The Shepherding Movement.

    Live Free, glad u felt free to interject your fine post in the middle of mine :) There’s no doubt it was my fault!

  • glad i am out

    SGM has it soooo Bass-Ackwards: Bob tweets about whether or not your sunday morning service prepares people for suffering and death, not, as Jenn points out, glorifying God and loving Jesus more. If Cj were teaching (and most other sgm pastors) it would be about the Cross – as an end – no resurrection and no Victory over death, it all ends at the cross. And Rick Gamache starts his sermon not by reading a text from scripture but reading from the SGM book of church order. These guys quite honestly are sick. They are lost. People who listen to them are fools. Yes, yes, i am aware… whatever whatever… you people still loyal want to call me,,, bitter, gossip, reprobate, etc… if you read your bible at all, then you would know you are fools. You follow the blind. CJ is a lunatic — that is not too strong of a description, just read his crazy rantings from the transcript of the 2011 pastors conference. Just read it and tell me, honestly, that the man is not quite off hgis rocker, and you are quite foolish for following him. Oh… and that’s just .005 % of the overwhelming evidence.

  • Peach

    Paul K and 5Years, thanks for filling in the missing back-story from my deficient understanding of the Schmitt fallout.

    Jenn G – “doctrine itself does not produce fruit. Communion with Jesus produces fruit.” Yes, thank you for that.

    Even the satisfaction of (in a sad sort of way) finally beginning to piece together many of the strange, unexplained weirdnesses of my CLC/SGM years doesn’t bring healing, only a measure of wisdom. Only Jesus brings true healing. Only his love can make things tender and sweet again. With Him I don’t have to mouth those “right responses.” I can, as David did, “pour out my complaint” to Him, if I need to. He isn’t shocked or scandalized. In fact, He desires truth in the inward parts. I am accepted by God simply because I am in His Son.

  • Hoi Polloi

    @267 – Protestant Dame

    My sentiments exactly.
    Fool me twice shame on me – ouch!


    This is an old but excellent article on the Sheperding Movement which shows that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. SGM church members included. Just copy and paste.

  • WalkingWounded

    @Former CLC’er

    “I will never again trust a man behind the pulpit.”

    Amen. I’m right there with you.

  • 5yearsinPDI

    Gal 101……Excellent article!! Never saw that one before. Thanks so much!

  • just saying...

    I hate to break it to his wife, but when a 40 year old man molests teenagers and young men he is discipling, it is a hell of a lot more than a moral failure. It is spiritually abusive and criminal. You really can’t destroy a soul more than abusing spiritually authority in that way. And no man who has done that to a soul has any business in ministry.

    I’m no fan of CJ, but I agree with him on this matter. He had every right to be outraged.

    And, the fall-out and attacks he took in the years that followed on the public airways and at the hands of Kline I think most certainly affected whether he publicly called out a pervert again.

  • Jim

    Protestant Dame,

    In His mercy, God has not so gently ripped many idols out of my heart in the last 10 years. As you well know, it hurts like heck, but then we heal and are left with a heart more able to Adore only Him.

    Praying for you and your knight.

  • Stunned

    I missed when CJ exposed CS. From the stories I read above, CJ was planning on paying him off to walk away, not doing all he could to bring about Matt 18 or to warn ANYONE about CS’s potential to abuse. It wasn’t until CS didn’t play by CJ’s rules that CJ kinda/maybe/sorta-but-didn’t-really expose him.

    How is any of this different than every other situation that was covered up at SGM?

    PS. From someone who HAS taken lumps for outing and exposing a sexual molester, I resent the implication that taking some lumps for doing what is right is somehow an excuse for not protecting other victims.

  • Stunned

    Sweet PD, wish I could be there to give you a hug right now and comfort you in your pain and share a tea. (I look forward to heaven where I am sure we’ll be enjoying seeing each other in person finally.)

    Your post reminds me of that scripture where it says, “Jesus entrusted himself to no man, because he knew their hearts.” It can be devastating to see an idol fall (even when we don’t realize we are holding this person in higher esteem than we ought.) The great thing is that when the dust settles, it is God whom we can depend on all the more.

  • keepinstep

    Paul Kellen & Just Saying – please tell me when, in the chronology of CJ & Schmitt deciding that Schmitt would leave GOB with $1K/month for a new congregation, did the homosexual-seduction issue arise?

    Plus: did someone come forward and accuse Schmitt? Or, did CJ Mahaney know about it, and decide to play that card when Schmitt embarrassed Mahaney by revealing the true details of the kick-Schmitt-out arrangement?

    Also, I was told that some of the extra-local Christian leaders, who GOB got to sign-on to the final Schmitt expulsion, later repented for their participation in the entire mess. Does anyone know who they were, and what they said later about it all?

  • Persona

    We had heard that Che discovered CS teaching universalist doctrine during his Sat. teaching forum and that, CJ and the others initially asked CS to refrain from teaching. After that, supposedly, some young men came forward and claimed CS propositioned them. Then, the pastors allegedly discovered CS had a history of such things in FL before he came to MD. Not sure how we heard all that. For the most part, even though they held Family Meetings during that time, not many details were ever shared. This is the first I am hearing about a pay-off being offered to CS.

  • Robert B.

    Re: comments from #268 & 269
    I was a member of TAG/GOB from 1977 til end of 1981. Having previously survived a hardcore “christian” cult in 1971 more like Jonestown or Waco I still have to say this SGM outfit is just as insidious yet much more subtle. Its still mind control.

    A little background on the Schmitt affair:
    Charles had prayer group of approx. six guys, all very handsome, young, single & some musical. I was best friends with one of them. The inappropriate encounter happened with one of these men at a retreat called Camp Dominion Bemidji, Mn. summer 1981.

    By the time the leaders went around to the 4 churches that are mentioned at #268 CJ/LT already had the goods on Charles. The way they presented the split was a total lie. I know cause I was there and so incensed I went to the front took over the microphone and told everyone what was really going down. Well, CJ,the narcissistic sociopath that he is, along with his lieutenants overwhelmed my effort. We all wound up outside where I proceeded to accuse CJ of all manner of evil doing and deception. He could not dialogue but kept turning to the onlookers repeating that I was attacking his character. Indeed!

    While I don’t know much about Charles Schmitt regarding controlling in private I do know at the time his was the voice of liberalism and freedom compared to CJ/LT.
    What they began that day was more like a coup/purge of that element of people within the church, using Charles’ fall as a cover. And now the very same subject, sexual misconduct, has ensnared them. In any case during the next several months til I left I was followed, harassed, intimidated and threatened. Among the worst criminal phonies besides #1 CJ has to be the Heinrich Himmler of GOB – Che Ahn with whom I had several showdowns. The sordid details are too much to repeat. As soon as I could I left but the damage was already done my kids, being subjected to that pathetic excuse of a school. Needless to say, people I had known for 10 years I never heard from again. Looking back I wonder what came over me to be involved with such a perverse twisted version of Christianity.
    Fundamentalism is a poison whether it be Christian, Muslim or Jewish.

    In the end I take comfort in knowing that my music hero,
    Bob Dylan made the same mistake!

  • Paul K.

    Well Peach – I’d say John B’s filled it out pretty good. Here once again I was thinking better of Charles M than deserved. I can just imagine him completely exposed and being so flustered he had nothing to say but “he’s attacking my character” – appealing to man. By the time he got to College Park, Schmitt wasn’t w him and that’s where I saw his hands shaking and voice trembling – the discipline of God was on him – he was young and his conscience wasn’t seered yet. LT came back from Cleveland and “lead” through the conflict. He screamed at the congregation in a most undignified way as if it was our fault we were confused about who to trust and now it’s even more understandable why we were confused. My guess is if everything done in secret will be shouted from the housetops we will be saddened at all that went on behind closed doors if not shocked. Trying to unravel it all now thinking we’ll get to the bottom of it is probably a waste of time in light of what is documented for us already but John B’s version sure resonates w what we do know.

    I rather take Jenn’s advice as u have and heed His promise, “Come unto M, all who are weary and burdened and you will find rest for your souls. Take My yoke upon you for I am gentle and humble in spiri and you will find rest for your souls.”

    Our rest is not ultimately in knowledge but in a Person – the only One who we can entrust ourselves to so I think Psalm 131 Is where I need to hide in for awhile.

  • just saying...

    Robert B. – What happened to CS victims? I grew up in a neighborhood with some of them. Where are they today? How are they doing? Were the six from Maryland and traveled to MN for the camp? I don’t really get that.

  • monkhead

    #268 Paul K- Can someone further explain what “160 de-gifted” pastors means ?

    Does this mean 160 SGM pastors were asked to step down from ministry?

    Thx for answering this.

  • Joy Huff

    The official reason for the excommunication of Charles Schmitt was divisiveness. Not immorality. This whole episode changed me somehow for the worse. After this I was really sucked into the mind control of it all.

    Robert B. Thanks for sharing. We must know each other if you had kids in the school!

  • 5yearsinPDI

    I feel like throwing up.

  • It's just the beginning

    Where in the Bible do today’s Christian leaders see any example of covering up sin or masking sin/problems with some “better sounding story” for the sake of unity or whatever … how do today’s Christian leaders justify their deeds of lies/half-truths/deception/not being fully honest about a situation?


    This is a real, honest question: are there ANY examples in the Bible of trickery, cover up, ‘slight of hand’ when it comes to exposure of sin?

  • It's just the beginning

    I hate to answer my own question .. but after I clicked the Submit button, I Googled “did Jesus ever lie”. The results were interesting — all about John 7:8-10.

    I found this quote from the website below SSOO true of SGM and CJ’s actions the last two years (especially Jul-Dec 2011):
    “Furthermore, it is not a lie when a person decides to do one thing and then later changes his mind to do another.”



    Anyway, I’m still curious about other examples in the Bible — like between Paul and Peter (or was it Paul and Barnabas). We probably don’t get a ton of details in the scriptures, but are there any examples of downplaying (flat out lying/covering up) of a person’s sins for the “sake of unity” or whatever.

  • Todd Wilhelm

    News Flash!!!
    I just clicked the link to John Piper’s Cross Conference to be held in Louisville in December.

    C.J. Mahaney is no longer pictured as one of the speakers. I am not sure when he was removed, but I saved a screen shot of the conference speakers on July 2nd and he was pictured among the speakers.

    I am wondering if there was a public announcement of this, or was this another T4G stealth type maneuver of attempting to secretly change things?

  • Dr. Pepper

    It’s just the beginning,

    When the bible talks about covering up sin for the sake of unity, you can find that in the book of CJ 10:3. The SG edition of the Bible will be out in a few years, but don’t waste your time by not preordering it now.

    For anyone reading this, I’m kidding about SG coming out with their own Bible. There is NO book of CJ.

  • Waters

    It’s just the beginning,

    The Bible is full of life stories of trickery, covering up sin, lying, stealing, cheating, etc, etc, etc.
    Your reference above from John could go on a trail of much discussion and expository definitions etc.

    Bottom line, for me, I believe Jesus. I believe Him when He said “IAM THE way, THE Truth, and THE Life”
    I believe He is the Messiah, Annointed One, Son of God
    I believe Him when He said “I only speak what the Father tells me to speak”
    I believe He was and is The Word become flesh— He was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was God in the beginning.” (John 1:1)

    Satan is a liar. All the production of lying comes from an evil source.

    We fight the “good fight of the faith” Faith embodies all that is TRUTH.

    This battle with SGM is one more battle for TRUTH. The battles we all face are the same: in Shepherding movement, any churches or denominations, Believers and unbelievers, political arena or any other person on the planet…

    Our journey in life, as Believers, is a wonder— to actually be changed, from glory to glory, into HIS image—and when we see Him, we will be like Him (Galatians)!!!! (And He IS Truth!!) I just love how He loves us……..

  • Live Free

    Todd #296, CJ and his inward-focused “family of churches” called Sovereign Grace does not do world missions, so why would he speak at a missions conference?!? He has about zero to contribute. Perhaps somebody finally got a clue 86-ing him from the speakers line-up. SG does not want their students to go ANYWHERE or do anything for Christ except come Sundays, obey, “serve their local church”, and drop their tithes in the basket. SG/CJ participating in a conference like this is like trying to mix water and oil. They just don’t.

  • Live Free

    From the site purpose page: “World missions is the glorious gospel enterprise of going like Christ into another cultural world to rescue people from eternal suffering, and renovate their broken lives, that they might render to God the splendor of his majesty through faith in Christ.

    There is no better reason to lose your life and no greater way to live it.”

    Need we say more why CJ is not speaking? Ceej can’t even lose his life for his own beloved CLC, what kind of example is he of losing your life for Christ, or living it for Him? By going off to do world missions in Louisville?!? Bahaha!

    It looks like they are finally seeing it. At least that is my hope and prayer, that eyes are actually being opened.

  • Waters

    Live Free,


    SGM/Mahaney have NO “Good News” to bring —SGM preaches sin, sin, sin and is controled by manipulation and a perverse culture — how is that much different that what any of the 3rd world countries battle on a daily basis (as do we)??

    No, Ceej—missions involve preaching JESUS—The Resurrection and the LIFE!

  • intheNickoftime

    Monkhead 291 –

    Can someone further explain what “160 de-gifted” pastors means ?
    Does this mean 160 SGM pastors were asked to step down from ministry?

    De-gifting is the official unofficial way of sacking a pastor that was not loyal enough or did not drink enough kool-aid or for some other reason was no longer welcomed on the staff of many SGM churches.

    The head pastor or several pastors would just hold a meeting with the “victim” and tell him they no longer believed he had the proper gifting to lead in the church. How do you argue with that?

    There would have been major lawsuits and fights but they always seemed to have a package deal for the guy. It is hard to prove that you DO still have the gifting (if you even knew what gifting they were speaking about) so when they say they will continue your pay for four months and leave you on the health care list until the end of the year and not five negative references if you “leave well” it is hard to turn down.

    “Leave well” means the victim would stand before the church and cry and tell them some agreed on excuse for why they are leaving, and after being gone, they would not say bad things about the men that forced them out of ministry.

    Someone who reads here actually coined the term. It was a documented approach used by many SGM churches but the term was coined in a post here and was picked up by the hundreds/thousands that read here and is not a regular part of the lexicon of anyone that has ever been in a SGM church (and perhaps other cultist churches now, as well.)

  • intheNickoftime

    And Monkhead – the number of degifted pastors is easily over a hundred. 160 is a good estimate. Some have said over two hundred.

    I understand that AoR received communication from at least 106 degifted pastors when the great “investigation” was going on.

  • Persona

    Live Free 299

    Not long ago, CJ did go over and speak in S. Africa with some of the Cross Conference plenary speakers. He is likely thought of by them, as highly missions-minded.

    Unfortunately, one of the reasons CJ likes to plant a few SGM churches in foreign lands is that it inspires his American members dig deeper in their pockets to contribute to SGM.

    I really don’t know where the end is regarding the corruption of SGM. Sometimes it seems endless to me. And, the silence of the executive branch doesn’t make our search any easier.

  • Dr. Pepper

    Does anyone know the story behind Copely, OH? I know that Jace Hudson from covfel was supposed to plant a church from where he was from and I think it was the state of Indiana. However, after Mark Prater talked with Jace about going to Copely instead Jace felt God was leading him there instead. My question is what was the reason why Jace went to Copely? I don’t think I ever really got the answer from covfel.

  • Stunned

    Dr Pepper, if I were a betting woman (which I’m not), I’d guess Copley was an upscale community in Ohio and has lots of good churches. At least that is the demographics which SGM has used in the past to choose where to plant churches.

  • Stunned

    OK, I looked up Copley, OH.

    The median household income in 2010 (dollars) was $69,294. That same year, for the rest of the nation the median household income was $41,994. In case math isn’t your thing, that is nearly 75% higher than the rest of the nation. Yup, they’re rich.

    It’s, also, 11% more white than the rest of the nation. Five percent less African American. One ninth of the Native American population in the rest of the nation.

  • Dr. Pepper


    I think I should have said that Copely, OH already existed and Jace was sent there to take over being senior pastor. I just was curious to know what happened with the previous one. I guess I should have added that info.

  • Todd Wilhelm

    I just published the pre and post “dump C.J. from the Cross Conference.”
    I am (still) a member of the United Christian Church of Dubai ( ) A 9Marks church pastored by John Folmar; previously Folmar served as assistant pastor at Mark Dever’s Capitol Hill Baptist Church.

  • Waters

    T Wilhelm,
    There is certainly quite a bit of shaking around and sifting….Of course there is a behind-the-scenes story, for Piper to drop Mahaney from the Cross Conference. — For all to see (for those who have eyes to see), Piper is operating ala SGM–cut’em loose but don’t say a word…unless it’s a contrived convoluted word for the “why”…Surely Piper will tweek a reason at some point(?)

    Paul K,
    I was catching up on posts and in reading yours from yesterday—caused me to think about Josh Harris. — I know Mr Harris hasnot recanted and/or repented in depths as some here would call for him to do. Understand that.

    However, he really has been somewhat of a lone man **IN** SGMland. He dared to confront Mahaney. His handful of pastors are, from your accounts, attempting to steer the flock aright–and what a gargantuan task amidst the legalistic culture they have been entrenched in (and helped to create and propagate.)

    This caused me to wonder— where are the voices of encouragement or endorsement for Josh Harris??? Have Devere and Piper and Bridges and Grudem etc etc been silent in speaking anything on behalf of Harris and his attempts to shepherd a broken and mauled flock?? A flock that for 25 years CJ trumpeted as the “dearest place on earth”?? Maybe they have and we have not heard of such? Have they publically helped, or rebuked, Harris in any way??

    Do you know of any men in ministry leadership, Paul K, who have perhaps offered counsel, prayer, encouragement for him?
    Anyone who has publically stood with him in any manner? Or are those who have brought their speaking gift to CLC in the past 20 years saddling their posse with Ceej?

    In light of the lawsuit and how it effects CLC, I am trying to understand just what is occurring within CLC……..
    And at the same time, where does Harris stand among “the friends of CJ” (who are or were, his friends too)?
    Just wondering over it all…..

  • Waters


    I recall for a season Tulian Tchvidjian (sp?) a friend of Josh’s and some alliance or speaking engagements with SGM?
    Since Tulian is a brother of Boz T, is there help there in bringing Boz’s ministry, counsel, and wisdom for Harris/CLC?
    I know others on this forum have asked about Boz’s availability to bring his ministry and expertise to Harris/CLC..?

  • Formersgmer


    Regarding Copley, the original senior pastor there stepped down in the 1990’s after his teenage daughter became pregnant. After that a pastor formerly from north coast church served as the senior pastor until he retired I beleive. After that Jason Reyes from the Joppa church came to be senior pastor until he stepped down for reasons I do not know. Jason’s farewell message was on the Copley site but I do not think he stated why he was stepping down. Perhaps someone decided he should not be a lead pastor. Jason is now a pastor in marlton.

  • Protestant Dame

    5Years, Hoi Polloi & Stunned, thanks so much for the kind words. Jim really appreciate your encouragement and prayers as well.

    While I’m temporarily out of lurkdom, I wanted to say hello to Luna Moth & thanks for the shout out to me a few threads back. Thank you for telling your story and for speaking to your former church. God bless you for that.

    A warm hello to my pal Waters. And Jenn Grover I would join your fan club if I did that sort of thing (ahem). 5Years I enjoy your comments, and Paul K your insights are mind-blowing. And a warm cyber hug to Dig Deeper; I admire you & encourage you to keep digging. I appreciate all of you here.

  • Luna Moth

    Hi, dear Dame. It is nice to have your voice here again. All good wishes to you and Sir Knight.

  • Waters

    Oh PD!

    Your heartfelt words and insights are soooo very welcoming to read —I smile to see you “coming out of lurkdom”, even if just for a bit!
    Our love to you and your knight! Yall are one of those special “living letters” ~

  • Steve

    Live Free,

    Post #299? Is that your personal experience at a SovGrace?

  • From Pembroke Pines con Amor

    Waters @ 311,
    The 2013 Desiring God Regional Conference (April 5-6) in Fort Lauderdale was held at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. Al Pino was one of the featured speakers!

  • Dr. Pepper


    thanks so much for telling me the info.

  • Concerned for the kids

    Someone said: “In this conflict, Josh has not used anyone to come and “stand with him.” He has decided that if God is for him, who can be against him?”

    I must remind the forum that josh leads a group that keeps secret files on the members, KGB- style. And willingly protects child sex abusers, subjecting Innocent little ones to more abuse by the deception and cover up.

    Not sure what side God’s on, but I can say with certainty it’s not that one.

    Please, stop pretending josh has not been part of this very serious problem. Calling him Joshua or mr Harris doesn’t change the fact that this dude has damaged multiple lives between his coverups, his silence over 10+ years, and his lousy “advice books.”

    Thank God for Brent, or all these jokers ( josh included) would still be playing coverup and degifting games.

  • Bill Frank

    Amen….. what “Concerned for the kids said” @ #319.

    And….. would that John Piper had been FAR more forthcoming about the absence of one noted speaker as announced by Todd Wilhelm here earlier today.

    Thanks, Todd, by the way. :)

  • Peach

    Concerned, regarding your #319, do those files still exist at CLC, do you know? Are personal disclosures from pastoral counseling sessions available for staff or the other pastors to see?

    Does anyone here have current knowledge about this?

  • 28 years gone...

    So John Piper is now dumping CJ at his conference… But of course, he is doing the stealth version, not saying anything just removing his picture from the speaker line up! When will these guys learn we have more than the 10 brain cells and can see right through their “Fear of man” – as SGM would teach!

  • Philly Girl

    Paul, #275. I had to look up Covenantalism vs Dispensationalism. Though I’m not Reformed in any way, I had to go back and refresh my memory. It’s been years since I’ve really studied and find I’m very often forgetful. If only, if only. If only someone didn’t correct and direct LT/CJ in the beginning, it would have gotten rid of the rotten root of their hearts. Sometimes I wonder why no one saw all this. Where was the discernment? I’m not blaming anyone, well, maybe myself. Why didn’t I see what was happening? Where were the prophets? Where was DW, the official CFC prophet? If I had not seen this blog, I’d still be a happy, miserable, wanderer. There are so many who have had their lives ruined to date, because men chased after men and not the Lord. I pray our Father, does and will restore. Good will come to us and our hearts will be healed. I appreciate your taking the time to inform us on the history of PDI/SGM.
    Another thought: Did no one ever stop CJ from giving so much $$$ to outside organizations and people? Did he have free reign to support as he chose? I remember those annual fund drives, when he would come and beg for funds for the newest and greatest outreach. I did get out my ESV and in the Preface, it states “a complete list of the Translation Oversight Commitee, the Translation Review Scholars, and the Advisory Council is available upon request from Crossway. And here, I thought CFC changed from NIV to ESV because it was the desire of the pastors to have us all in one accord. Follow the money. It’s all about power and control. I found this site, don’t know anything about the guy, but he did explain your note above. Again, thanks, Paul. From, the not so happy, not so miserable, still the wanderer!

  • just saying...

    keepinstep – I believe the local leaders repented of opposing the excommunication of Schmitt on the airways and standing with Kline who supported him. Later, when Kline’s immorality came to light, they said they felt their church was cursed for having supported Schmitt and came to CLC and apologized.

    Does anyone know if I understood that right?

  • keepinstep

    RE Peach’s #321: has any CLC member ever asked to read or get a copy of their personal “dossier” kept by the pastors? Has any member asked that their dossier be destroyed for privacy reasons?

  • Concerned for the kids

    RE: “the secret files”

    I don’t know the current status. It’s my understanding that they had care group leaders submit reports on members, often written ( can anyone confirm or correct this?) and the files were real. This was something that occurred at multiple sgm churches I think ( again, anyone confirm or correct?)

    I think real progress would be admission, apology, and turning the files over to each member, complete and UNEDITED. What’s to hide?

    But I don’t think that will happen. Too much money at stake, and in mega churches and crime syndicates, following the money let’s you know the next move of the group.

  • I have said this before, but I use to think that C.J. Mahaney and others handled the CS incident with integrity and tried to do the right thing. But especially now after hearing what C.J. Mahaney did to Larry Tomczak one has to wonder what else C.J. Mahaney has done lacking integrity. If Mahaney would blackmail Larry and feel that was OK and hid it for over 10 years what else has C.J. done lacking integrity possibly with the end justifies the means mentality.

    Also, Larry and CS did reconcile and Larry was quoted as saying that the leaders of CLC (was GOB) brought up items from CS past etc.

  • Marie

    Steve #328, maybe this is past my bedtime but I do not understand your last statement: “Also, Larry and CS did reconcile and Larry was quoted as saying that the leaders of CLC (was GOB) brought up items from CS past etc.” Do you mean to say that at the time (30+ years ago?) the GOB leadership brought up items from CS’ past, to CS in private? Or did they do that later? I feel confused….

  • Persona

    Do you suppose John Piper was asked to dis-invite CJ? I am not sure how independent the RBDs are but, it seems like most of them have governing boards who have a say in what is done in the organization. I would think alignment with a controversial character would not be considered wise by some conservatives.

  • lae

    Does anyone remember a man named Everett who was in leadership at Covenant Fellowship in Glenn Mills? When I was there he was not a pastor, but did a lot of facilities type of work. I left many, many years ago, but always thought fondly of him and his wife. I noticed a while ago that their website had listed his tasks as ‘overseeing cleaning the restrooms’ and other tasks that seemed to be listed more to cause embarrassment or put down than to just say her oversees facilities operations/maintenance, etc.

    Also, anyone know what Dave Harvey is doing now? (And my thoughts towards him as not so good…he was a snake to me.)

  • lae

    Oh, on my previous post, I did not finish about Everett. He is no longer on their webpage, so I was not sure if anyone knows what happened to him.

  • Waters

    Pembroke Pines #317,
    Thankyou for the info– Pino is an SGM pastor and spoke at Coral Ridge, where Tulian T is sr pastor. Connecting the dots…

  • Jenn Grover

    Protestant Dame – thanks for the welcome…I think we have had enough fan clubs and we see where that got us :) I read your posts for a long time while I was a lurker. :)

    Jim has hit the nail on the head. It’s like God has removed all of those “celebrities” that we held on to with the specific purpose of drawing closer to Jesus. To be honest, the outsiders don’t impact me as much the inside folks who are walking in total deception.

    Still praying for the folks and churches on the brink of leaving/not leaving. Pray for the Pittsburgh church. I think it will take a miracle for them to leave, but God is able.

  • Philly Girl For those who want to read more history. This is current in 2007!

  • Wizer

    Apparently, Leah Remini has quit the ultra mind controlling Scientology religion after years of interrogations for questioning the head of the church, for example questioning the where-a-bouts of the head of the church’s wife at Tom Cruise’s 2006 wedding. Long-time church members/friends she had for 25-30 were giving the church reports to the church internally about her. Interesting parallels. I’m not a very good techie but the link is above if anyone’s interested in checking it out.

  • NoMoESV

    From Crossway ESV Bible website…

    “Given this changing dynamic, it is our calling to remain faithful to the “Gospel-Centered” vision that the Lord has entrusted to us—via the printed page but equally by means of every new digital medium, as soon as it becomes available.”

    CJ, you SOB, you played me! And I have street smarts.

    I have begun my personal boycott.

  • Thomas


    Heard that this morning too, and thought the exact same thing.

  • Thomas

    Doing a bit of reading on Scientology and found this quote from a former member

    “most of the time the activities [in the Hole] were either you confessing your own sins or bad things that you’d done, or getting other people to confess theirs

    “The Hole” is where they sent all the upper management in the church when they were performing at subpar levels, or at the leader’s whim.

    Also this

    Scientologists are encouraged to look out for any fellow members violating Ethics and to submit “Knowledge Reports” on any violations they spot

    It is SGM on steroids.

  • Stunned

    Scientology is SGM on steroids? No way, Thomas. What was described as their place of discipline was a regular homegroup night in SGM. I’d say SGM is them on steroids. ;)

  • Pam Palmer

    KeepinStep326 and Concerned327: Dominic and I have not asked for ours yet, but I’m sure it will be asked for in any deposition of CLC. Greg S. said in the CLC Family Meeting in Aug. 2011, that he had read through ours. He said something like “he was reading through ours for the better part of the morning”! implying that our file is very lengthy!! (Note: He was talking about our “file” in 2011, we had not been members of CLC since 2006, the part of the file he was specifically talking about was from after our daughter’s abuse, from 1993.)

  • Stunned

    Pam, that is disturbing and stunning. Reminiscent of the KGB. Scary.

  • intheNickoftime

    Keepinstep #326 –

    has any CLC member ever asked to read or get a copy of their personal “dossier” kept by the pastors? Has any member asked that their dossier be destroyed for privacy reasons?

    Did the Stasi in East Germany ever give up their files? Did the KGB ever give up it’s files? Does the NSA ever share their files (without the help of wikileaks?)

    Does any organization share their tools of control with those being controled?

  • intheNickoftime

    Steve240 in #238 said

    If Mahaney would blackmail Larry and feel that was OK and hid it for over 10 years what else has C.J. done lacking integrity possibly with the end justifies the means mentality.

    Just wanted to make certain everyone saw your post. It can’t be said often enough or loud enough.

    And remember that there was a full leadership committee that sat in on the decision and all agreed to blackmail Larry. It was the lawyers that said it wasn’t a good idea. This is the quality of integrity that SGM leadership has. I think Shank is the only surviving member of that inquisition. When will he get his just rewards?

  • Steve #328, maybe this is past my bedtime but I do not understand your last statement: “Also, Larry and CS did reconcile and Larry was quoted as saying that the leaders of CLC (was GOB) brought up items from CS past etc.” Do you mean to say that at the time (30+ years ago?) the GOB leadership brought up items from CS’ past, to CS in private? Or did they do that later? I feel confused….

    As I recall the reconciliation letter that both Larry T, Che Ahn and CS signed (around 1998), Larry said that him and fellow CLC Leaders (GOB at the time) brought up publicly things of CS’s past when CS was excommunicated. Larry indicated something along the lines that this was done due CS confronting CLC Leaders about their shepherding style.

    Hopefully this clarifies this.

  • keepinstep — I believe the local leaders repented of opposing the excommunication of Schmitt on the airways and standing with Kline who supported him. Later, when Kline’s immorality came to light, they said they felt their church was cursed for having supported Schmitt and came to CLC and apologized.
    Does anyone know if I understood that right?

    You may be referring to what the new Halpine Baptist pastor (who was there after Pastor Kline left) did with along with the elders of that church. They showed up on Sunday morning at CLC (when it was still meeting at Magruder High School) and quoted the passage that sons were sometimes held accountable for the sins of their fathers. They asked forgiveness of their church’s involvement and actions (including former pastor Kline’s) in what happened with the CS incident. I believe this was around early ’93.

  • And remember that there was a full leadership committee that sat in on the decision and all agreed to blackmail Larry. It was the lawyers that said it wasn’t a good idea. This is the quality of integrity that SGM leadership has. I think Shank is the only surviving member of that inquisition. When will he get his just rewards?

    Another good point. C.J. didn’t act alone but was agreed to by the other SGM Leaders. It certainly shows how little integrity the whole leadership team had at them time.

    It has been alleged that C.J. covered up Chad Mahaney’s alleged pot smoking incident (he wasn’t punished like other CLC students were). This was alleged before it came out that C.J. blackmailed Larry. With the blackmailing coming to light it is a lot easier to believe C.J. orchestrated this coverup both to protect Chad and to protect his position as leader.

  • Persona

    The pastors at CLC took copious notes at every pastoral meeting with members. If there is an ‘dirt’ on you it is in those notes. The forms filled out by care group leaders was also integral in building any case they wanted to build against you. And, someone who would know, has told me that at least some of the information, is online.

    Every member at CLC needs to be aware that the pastors more than likely have very different goals for the outcome of every case, than you do.

    You may have your heart set on resolving a relational conflict or situation. But, they are eager to snuff out controversy and dissension that might lead to a church split. That is why cases lie unresolved for decades.

  • Paul K.

    Waters – just to be clear, there are, as u know, different levels of friendship. I don’t want to project that I have “a close, deep, share your most intimate struggles and challenges of life” w Josh Harris. So, after some explaining, I will answer your question on what I know but there may be more than I know.

    I would say I was not in the center of the fire (as Kenneth M, Grant L., and Corby M. were) w Josh from July 7th (release of documents) to Dec
    16 (announement that 93.5 % of the congregation voted to leave SGM but I was very near the fire and had many private moments with him both in person and texting. In this fire (pressure, heat, fire reveal the person) what I saw in this man was love for individual people, one after another (not the have it all together people) rather than love for the imaginary thing called CLC (the corporation). As I watched him doing this, I simply wanted to be there for him – to see how he was doing. On one of these occasions I asked him, “Do u have anyone to talk w about what’s happening?” People watching from the outside need to use a lot of imagination to comprehend what these documents hitting the Internet was like for this community but especially for Josh, a 36 year old man (21/2 years old when I first came) who found out three days before the docs hit that CJ had blackmailed Larry. I can understand why ConcernedForTheKids is in my face for my overall high regard for Josh. What this person doesn’t understand is that just because Josh and CJ were supposedly close, doesn’t mean Josh knew what CJ had done and was doing behind the scenes (CJ keeps vital information from those closest to him – Brent knew nothing of sexual abuse cover-ups and Brent was never told that one of his students, me, wrote a 32 page prophetic letter of correction called SEVEN BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES OF PASTORAL MINISTRY FOR THE GROWING CHURCH in which after explaining each principle, I gave my observations of how all but one of these principles were being violated which is why I refused to become a pastor at CLC even though my living expenses with three children were paid). Perhaps this person has noticed that I have questioned certain things that quite frankly have baffled me to the point that I’ve even said two or three things of Josh which I think we’re unfair and close to judgemental if not. For example, I was quite annoyed that he changed our mission statement without ever informing us or presenting a proposed mission statement and getting our input before finalizing it and for putting out a job offer for an executive pastor without communicating w us. My “judgement” on this was harsh: “It seems to me that our Oct 30th commitment to be JESUS RULED, PASTOR-LED, AND CONGREGATIONALLY ACCOUNTABLE was meaningless.” It wasn’t meaningless because we chose to no longer go through SGM red tape (at the same time, I feel making changes in something as important as a mission statement w no communication w the congregation is inconsistent w the kind of church we were claiming to be. I explain this to make plain that my high regard for Josh, which has not diminished, does need keep me from being a true friend to him, “one who speaks both truth and encouragement to my brother.” I respect him for not rejecting me even when my “truth” may not be fair, kind, or when it is based on appearance.

    Those quick to judge Josh, I can understand because in a normal situation, someone as close as Josh appeared to be to CJ, would know the things he’s being accused of knowing. I think it unfair to assume, in light of CJ’s keeping so much from people, that Josh knew as much as people assume he did. Unfortunately, CJ has become a wolf overtime and I think those ‘on the outside’ my finally be starting to consider ‘their friend’ isn’t who he projected himself to be, and are slowly considering throwing him off the boat to save their own necks as the sailors did Jonah.

    So finally, Waters, I know Josh was not pursued by his 5 T4G friends and he didn’t pursue them. I’m pretty sure JD Greer may be someone he’s been able to discuss things w and possibly Boz’s brother – but if so, it’s been private. I believe (and I think this wise though I recently brought our pastors to task on this – I’m sure they pray for Paulie), our pastors have felt to speak against CJ or to defend themselves would not be productive to God’s purposes. I believe letting God deal with it would avoid an ugly scene. As our pastors have chosen this course, they’ve added no fuel to the fire to enrage CJ and perhaps rally his friends behind him vehemently.

    To my knowledge no one has publicly rebuked Josh or publicly defended him. Had he sought people to publicly defend, he may have received public rebukes. Those defending CJ have probably been shocked at the public rebukes they’ve received and begun wondering if the man who can keep quiet regarding his innocence and who publicly confesses things he believes he’s done wrong, eventually “makes even his enemies at peace with him.”

    Finally, as far as “secret files” go, I’ve never been in a Care Group (and have always been quite close w any care group leader I’ve had) no secret files were kept. That’s sounds like how Brent would run things and his one time disciple Gene Emerson. I am not saying no pastor ever had care group leaders give general notes on how people were doing or even ridiculously detailed (nobody’s business”) notes to their pastors. This is one reason I believe pastors must not merely manage people through Care Group Leaders, but rather have some personal connection with everyone in their sphere through e-mail, seeking folks out on Sundays, and visiting each Small Group twice a year. He must get a feel for how the group is working: is it loving or legalistic; is there joy in the people or do they go out of obligation, etc.

    Philly Girl : that was the problem – u capitulated to the Wolf or lost your job. I know of a pastor who had a close friend of his share his objections to Calvinism to all the pastors w CJ there. CJ got so angry and beet red in the face, the pastor, in front of the other pastors told CJ, this guy has some good points – u need to listen up. Later Maganey got that pastor alone and Nr Wolf made it clear the pastor must recant everything he said in front if the pastor snd then go to the guy and confront him. This guy left and started a house church. Besides my paper, another brother had a vision of a squid on CJ’s head. He had been in a cult before and was more alert to the signs.

    This is why CJ has downplayed Joel’s depiction of the new covenant in which many would prophecy, have dreams, and see visions. A Wolf doesn’t want God to break in on his control through dreams, visions, and prophetic words.

    I so appreciate the title if Francis Chan’s book, THE FORGOTTEN GOD. CJ has dismissed this God, the very One Jesus would baptize us w and Who converted 3000 in a day while Jesus had only about 500 followers after three years!

    Personally, I think God raised up Survivors to be the rod of correction to thrash the Wolf and used a man inside the wolf’s inner circle who was much like him and also hasn’t repented to supply information to the Survivors. I think God has used the many abused by the Wolf to rally together and
    expose the Wolf that he would return to Jesus again and be saved but as one through fire for his work shall be torn down.

    Again, all IMO (very limited picture of all that has happened behind closed doors.) Though we see through a dark glass, we should still strain to see
    together w/out failing to see Jesus.

  • Much of your points,
    Presume church is game theory,
    But you stretch plausibility,
    Until Athena is weary.

  • Waters

    And so…SGM Inc. operates by stealth. Not by truth. Not by transparency. By stealth –maintaining personal files for lording over their own congregants. What a web. Layers and layers of webs.

    Disentangle from the SGM web, SGMites —CHOOSE to walk out for deliverance from evils “The Lord will deliver me from every evil DEED, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen” 2Tim 4:18

  • Sick with Worry

    Watch the SGM website today….. Something may be coming.

  • Peach

    Pam, “Nick” and Persona — thanks for the info on church member files.

    Very disturbing to hear this.

  • Peach

    Great article just up on The Tolling Bell, here:

    Good insights regarding SGM’s inability to see corruption at the core, and their new focus on spiritual warfare.

  • just saying...

    I know you have doubted the CS shanking.

    I have heard numerous reports from those involved that CS exploits were current and not just from his past. I’ve heard those close to him refer to him as a dangerous predator.

  • just saying...

    The idea that CJ had awareness of CS behavior and offered him $1000/month to go away and start his own church makes me wants to run and puke.

    To think that church is larger than CLC and may have countless additional victims over the last 40 years makes me puke again.

    If you were a victim of CS, please call Susan Burke.

  • Jenn Grover

    Sick with Worry – One almost has to wonder in disbelief what could possibly be coming next.

    It occurred to me today – SGM primarily, and almost exclusively interviews pastors. I realize I am dating myself here, but does anyone remember the old PDI magazines where they printed member testimonies?

  • keepinstep

    I remember them, Jenn. I suspect, however, that all testimonies were carefully vetted before publication.

  • keepinstep

    Steve240 wrote:

    As I recall the reconciliation letter that both Larry T, Che Ahn and CS signed (around 1998), Larry said that him and fellow CLC Leaders (GOB at the time) brought up publicly things of CS’s past when CS was excommunicated. Larry indicated something along the lines that this was done due CS confronting CLC Leaders about their shepherding style.

    Hopefully this clarifies this.

    This appears to answer my question. Mahaney, Tomczak and the others appear to have deliberately exposed Schmitt’s sexual sins, in order to subject him to maximum shame and discredit at the very time he would be leaving and starting his own church. Was it Schmitt’s sin that so bothered them, or the prospect of Schmitt taking with him a substantial portion of the GOB membership – and their recurring $$ contributions?

  • keepinstep

    I apologize for my incorrect usage of blockquote tags in #359 above. The quote from Steve240 was the first two paragraphs. My comment was the final paragraph, beginning with “This appears….”

  • Steve240
    I know you have doubted the CS shanking.
    I have heard numerous reports from those involved that CS exploits were current and not just from his past. I’ve heard those close to him refer to him as a dangerous predator.

    As I thought I have presented before, my doubts are both due to reading the reconciliation statement that Larry and Che Ahn both signed and especially due to reading that C.J. and other SGM board members conspired to blackmail Larry Tomczak. If C.J. and others thinks it is OK to blackmail someone and even consult a lawyer about the legality then one wonders how much C.J. and others exaggerated and distorted the facts regardiing CS and his departure.

    I learn toward the side of believing that there was some truth about what they reported about CS but sadly C.J. Mahaney has been shown to be someone lacking in integrity with apparently an end justifies the means belief. With that appearning to be the case one wonders how much did CLC Leaders distort and exaggerate the situation with the belief that the end justified the means and a convenient way to remove a known leader that disagreed with how they were doing things?

    I doubt we will ever really know this side of eternity.

    After being removed and CS taking year or so off did start a new church which has grown and has multiple pastors etc. That seems to say something.

    Also there was never any reconciliation or fellowship between CLC and CS and his church even years after the event. One person here even reported Mahaney having almost a hatred toward’s CS even years after the falling out occurred. This just seems to show that something wasn’t right here with what was done.

    It took a long time for C.J. to pursue reconciliation with Larry Tomczak and might not have ever occurred had there not been a threat of the documents being released. Even after the documents were released C.J. still didn’t see all of his sin and apparently still to this day hasn’t seen all his sin. My guess is there is something similar with CS where C.J. still doesn’t see all his sin he did towards CS even if CS did what has been alleged.

  • Live Free

    Steve #316, yes. I know of missionaries that left a sgm church for the overseas mission field and never got a dime from the so-called mission fund. They also asked their home sgm church to be their sending church and the pastor said no.

  • Persona

    Keepinstep 359

    I heard a pastor say they estimated that about 250 members of the G.O.B. left, to follow CS. (The congregation was less than 1000 back then so, that was a hefty split).

    Does anyone know why CS first went to FL and then came back to settle on New Hampshire Avenue?

  • Live Free

    re: #321, 326, & 341 (the “files” on members). I distinctly remember being in a counseling session with a sgm pastor and having him TYPING IT ALL ON HIS LAPTOP deeply personal things I was sharing. And I did not go to CLC, but another franchise. I’m sure it’s all in my “file”. I should have gotten a freaking clue then (and the many other red light moments I dismissed, ugh). I was so asleep. Praise to the LORD for waking me up finally.

    I’ve had other convos with sgm pastors where they’ve had print outs of emails I’ve sent in front of them while we were talking and have held it up for me to see. It was so weird. Normal people don’t dialogue like that. But what about Sovereign Disgrace is normal?

  • 5yearsinPDI

    P Dame- thanks, and more prayers for so many people represented here…..


    I have heard numerous reports from those involved that CS exploits were current and not just from his past. I’ve heard those close to him refer to him as a dangerous predator.

    Just saying, I believe you, I totally do……but this is a public forum and you are speaking of a pastor with a large congregation so I am asking for clarification.

    Are you saying that after the first incident that CS’ wife referred to as moral failure- and that that a new poster here discussed in more detail: ( Robert B, 288, “A little background on the Schmitt affair:
    Charles had prayer group of approx. six guys, all very handsome, young, single & some musical. I was best friends with one of them. The inappropriate encounter happened with one of these men at a retreat called Camp Dominion Bemidji, Mn. summer 1981.”)

    …..instead of the alleged repentance and confession and change and holy living and all that jazz…..

    ……you heard from credible sources that CS had more of these sexual encounters with young men, even recently?

    Is it more of the sort of thing we see with CJ….mesmerizing young guys who adore him, but not necessarily sexual…..or was it actually across the line into physical immorality?

    Can you say anything at all about your sources- anything- so that this doesn’t become one more accusation of the “evil slanderous blogs?” I totally believe you, I am just asking if you can say more.

    I can join you in that running and puking……

  • Does anyone know why CS first went to FL and then came back to settle on New Hampshire Avenue?

    From reading one of CS’s newsletters right when he came back, he took a year off after what happened with him and the leaders of CLC (was GOB back then). Sometimes when something like this happens one needs a break etc.

    Keepinster #359
    In addition to CS taking members and money I am sure they didn’t like someone in the position CS was in who questioned what CLC Leaders were doing. That might have been more of an issue then him taking members and their tithe money.

  • Paul K.

    Pam, thanks for sharing that about your files – quite disturbing. I want to find out what I can about that – I don’t think it will be difficult : when did it start? Why was it done? Did any pastors not do this? Were certain people targeted and others left alone? I’m so sorry about what your family experienced. I hope you all are doing well. You and your daughter were very composed on TV (which indicates hearts full of grace to me).

    PD – thx for the helpful feedback – it means a lot. When your posts are longer than the norm u wonder if, as Underhill supposed (even compsed!) I make more than just “Athena weary.” But, if she exists, she does so underhill w Underhill who must read the great Greek poets inspired by the Muse and by their standards, of course I’m boring…..I don’t know where this came from – oh yeah – my initials PK – someone asked me,”Did u used to post as Protestant Knight?” Funny world we live in. Obviously u and your husband are much appreciated here.

    5 Years – I think u may appreciate this : a friend of mine recently informed me that all caps, in forum and blog posts, means u are yelling. As I’m sure u’ve figured out – this ‘emerging from the cave’ man is learning these things on the fly (thx for forebearing w me after our initial collision). And btw (scared to use caps!) u seem to be growing closer to Jesus – more full of grace and compassion (not just toward me but in general). Perhaps I shouldn’t ask personal questions, but I’ll just ask since I think it’s a complimentary question : am I accurate in sensing your heart is being drawn in deeper into Jesus? It sure seems that way to me.

    Waters – briefly (I didn’t mean to lie about being ‘brief’ – a lot on my heart) going back to your question in a less weary and more plausible way:)

    First, I just appreciate your balance in trying to process what’s happening at CLC. On the one hand you see the positives in Josh and our pastors in not capitulating to SGM : Josh stepping down from the board, Grant choosing to obey his conscience in what he believed to be God’s will despite rejection from CJ and Carolyn (a price Roger and Janice Dillon paid years ago), and your compassion for what the challenge of changing the culture here might be. Other than God Himself and his truly happy wife and children, Josh’s support is in the pastors here (all of whom stuck w him rather than follow CJ) as well as numerous people such as myself(I’m one of many) who have seen godly character and wisdom in him and are thankful he points us to Jesus rather than himself. I know someone who has been through so much who met w Josh recently. This person is amazingly discerning. Their assessment of Josh is this : “His greatest spiritual gift is love.” The person called me after the time w Josh and their pastor. I knew the depth of abuse this person experienced and hearing that Josh connected as best as he could made me weep in this conversation because the fact that this person is still standing makes them a trophy of God’s grace in my eyes.

    On the other hand, though the pastors are making significant strides (the legalism of the past I don’t sense at all) and I’ve heard from a staff member of some exciting developments that I imagine will be made public in our upcoming FamilyMeeting this month which will get away from the cookie cutter care group structure we had, I still feel it important that the pastors are clear about abusive practices in the past. I think it inadequate to simply change without identifying, confessing, and publicly asking forgiveness for the past. I believe if they don’t do this, people won’t be able to give their hearts to the mission of the church the way they did in Nehemiah’s day. Too many of them don’t read Survivors and don’t understand the depth of the damage. I would say the majority of pastors and majority of people just want to move on. Many of those deeply hurt have left but many hurt are still here but we seem to be in the minority and we should just go to our pastor and get reconciled – not everyone has the strength to do that. Therefore the pastors need to truly think through the past in order to create an atmosphere that the ones hurt can safely come forward and receive apologies from the heart that that reach the hurt and damage done and with the balm of compassion and a broken heart. If all u get is “I’m sorry – I didn’t know better – that was how we did things back then” to a hurt that did extremely deep damage to a person or whole family, the apology means nothing.

    At times I wonder if I come across schizophrenic here because I see so much good and yet I see certain things I consider necessary that are not happening. The two big issues in my mind that need addressing besides this one are (1) better
    communication of pastoral thinking in general and (3) a defined form of congregational accountability so that the promise of being a CONGREGATIONALLY accountable church is believable – is real. In my mind, pastor – led/ CONGREGATIONALLY accountable means pastors bring forth initiatives and then ask for input from the congregation before voting. I don’t like the word affirming because of course we want to affirm – it can make u feel rebellious. Also, pastors shouldn’t know how individual congregants voted otherwise people may feel they’re on the pastors’ bad list for disagreeing w their initiatives. In saying this I’m thinking of the future of the church. Right now, I don’t think this group of men would think negatively of those who disagree. But then again, many people may not know the pastors well enough or be secure enough to believe what I believe about them.

    So I would say the law suit is not the big monster in the room. I know strict measures are in place to do all possible to insure safety for children though I believe some families have left with younger children who haven’t been here long which is understandable.

    With the coming changes, I think there will be a new excitement making people want to come. I’ve heard by Oct we may be one meeting again as many are going to Mt Airy and we will feel so much more whole and connected and the meeting will be at least 15 minutes longer with the flexibility of being as long as two hours and maybe more as the Spirit leads. But these three things I still believe are needed (1) a night of confession and repentance for pastors and non-pastors (2) a congregational accountability that is real including a grievance committee (3) the development of a better system of overall communication between pastors and people.

    If someone sends in an e-mail that has a question in it, it should not be either not answered or answered like this : “Why do you want to know?” If we are going to say publicly, “Please don’t leave- this is our church – let’s work through this as a family” then you have to communicate like a family and not ignore people so they have to fill in the silences. Many people have left this church over the failure to take three minutes to say, ” Listen, I’m glad u care enough about the church to ask these questions. I’ll look my schedule over and see if we can talk about it next week or after the Sunday meeting.”

    Our tendency is to want to see things as all black or all white : good guys and bad guys. Thankfully we live in a world of color. I choose to see the good and celebrate it, but also see what I registers to me as lacking and speak to it I hope humbly, patiently, respectfully, but also prophetically if the Spirit in me is bearing witness and compelling me to speak out. I try not to voice opinions here that I have not voiced first to our pastors.

    As mentioned, I have significant areas in my life that must be overcome by the very means Josh just taught in a great series of sermons on Heb chapter 12 called “Endurance” – with Ben Wikner doing one of the five messages. Someone talking about me that knows me could sound schizophrenic as well or maybe “double-minded” is a better word. “Man Paul really has such and such down and this might shock u reading his posts, the guy’s actually a good listener! But the guy really needs to work on organization skills and prioritizing and living more by a schedule – I think he’s been self-employed to long.” And so it is with most of us : areas of strength and weakness and failure to face what we should. In the case of CLC, I quite honestly would say what has taken place here since the documents hit compared to what could have happened has to be viewed as mercy, grace, wisdom, and providence of God in responding to His discipline. I share my observations of what I believe is lacking out of loving concern as one who himself is lacking more, and yet it feels wrong to focus exclusively on myself and just ignore what I see.

    Waters – I hope I didn’t bore u w this answer – it’s just that a realistic answer to something so complex can’t be done in a paragraph.

    Underhill – the poem was actually good. Would u mind posting one about Jesus or a nature poem or your favorite poem? I’d appreciate it and I mean it. I don’t mind being teased, criticized, or messed w except at home:) Yellow Is Happy Color knows I can take it (she sure can give it! – and like I said, “You better be a girl Happy Yellow or else I’ll be pissed!”)

  • annie

    much of your comment
    assumes we’re all crazy
    but you’ve failed to investigate
    please don’t be so lazy!

  • Jenn Grover

    annie – BRAVO!!!!


    “Stop your rhyming now, I mean it!”

    “Anyone want a peanut?”

  • Jenn Grover

    Paul K #367

    Your comments about not leaving people to fill in the silence and also about how we want people to either be good guys or bad guys were spot on.

  • Dig Deeper

    Protestant Dame, thanks for the hug! I am always lurking on here as well. My family has moved on from the SGM families. It was extremely difficult since I was raised in them and they are all I’ve ever known. My digging has caused friction within my family (parents and siblings) since they are still there and I believe they will always be there (strong ties; I know you understand that situation all too well). I have had to pull away from commenting on here and other various social media because of it. It makes me so very sad that my family can never be the same because I’m the only one in the family that has chosen not to follow man, or a business model, or “friends” but instead follow God and His word, which led me out of SGM. I hope you and your knight are doing well in your new place with your 2 children (gatos) :) love to you guys.

  • Bill Frank

    “Name the ten wealthiest men in the world. Name eight people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize. How did you do? I didn’t do well either. With the exception of you trivia hounds, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday too well. Surprising how quickly we forget, isn’t it? And… these are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten.

    Here’s another quiz…. Name ten people who have taught you something worthwhile. Name five friends who have helped you in a difficult time. Easier? It was for me, too. The lesson? The people who make a difference are not the ones with the credentials, but the ones with the concern.” Max Lucado “And The Angels Were Silent”

    Good reminder, eh? I thought so this AM.

  • Bill Frank

    “Files” on church members…. I join the chorus of people who want to puke. I am sure I had one made up on me/us as we sought membership at one point in an SGM church. I will never forget the chat we had the interviewing pastor.

    Wanted to thank Peach for the ‘Tolling Bell’ link (#354). She (Julie Ann) knows and writes the matter very well, in my opinion. I linked it on my FB wall this AM.

  • Diego

    Peach 354 – thanks for the link. I too don’t remember any teaching on spiritual warfare at CFC. If it wasn’t Satan tempting CJ to blackmail LT back then I guess it was just CJs evil heart, or will history be recast… I guess it is good to remember that satan may be calculating and cunning and have his plan, but he really doesn’t see God’s plan. He may know man and our hearts but He no longer knows God. He can only calculate. Jesus does not calculate but has authority. Peace knowing who is in charge. God’s rebuke and chastisement of SGM has His purpose in mind. The enemy may be a player but please leaders of SGM practice what you use to preach. All your teachings seem hollow now that we see the guts of your ministry. You like to display smiling family pictures and try to teach lifestyle but your hearts are as wicked as the rest. You still try to hide it. You refuse to repent. You are more like Judas than Peter.

  • saywhat

    Files on church members…. I join the chorus of people who want to puke. I am sure I had one made up on me/us as we sought membership at one point in an SGM church. I will never forget the chat we had the interviewing past

    Very odd. I have been in two different SGM churches for several years each. Neither church kept files on members. I was in a non-SGM church that did requires small group leaders to report on meetings each week and to detail any problems. This is evidently done in various churches. In my personal experience, let me reiterate that neither SGM church I attended had this practice.

  • Former CLC'er

    @Pam Palmer – I would actually like to see my file at CLC. It would be interesting to see how they described me – rebellious? disagreeing? unsubmissive? I was the one who used to say things that would make people go “huh?” But only one on one and never in care group.

  • Peach

    Paul K – I went back and reread your number 349. Can you clarify the first part of your paragraph six? I wasn’t quite sure what you were saying about whether or not files were kept on CLC members. It sounds as if perhaps your experience with this was different than Pam Palmer’s, but I want to make sure I understand what you are saying there.

    Thanks, Paul. I read your recent posts with great interest.

  • Paul K.

    Peach – my experience is different in that I know Rick McLaughlin, John Casler, Jim Furnish, Dave Mays, Jim Wildon, and Ed Scott never took notes to be put in files, but obviously if GS pulled out files some did. I know GS well enough got him to tell me. If this was a practice then it’s one that needs to be publicly confessed and repented of.

    And Annie, I don’t think Survivors is crazy, I think I’ve been crazy to wait so long to read and learn from u. For that I have apologized. As far as investigating goes, I read Survivors so I learn what to investigate. For example, now I can investigate about these files. I don’t have all the Anderson but I thank God I can at least find out the questions here.

    I am very grateful for this ministry and pray for me that I won’t be so lazy. God bless your day w much grace!

    Thanks Jenn and Peach for in encouragement.

  • 5yearsinPDI

    I am not familiar with the blog that originally posted this, but it was reposted today on The Aquila report, a leading blog for news in the Reformed Community.

  • Persona

    I would like the pastors of CLC to build a big bonfire out back and throw all their files on members into it in a big ceremony. Of course, they would have to ask CJ, Gary R., John L. and Eric Simmons to bring back their files on members, too.

  • battered but unbroken

    Paul K re 268
    I was doing my weekend lurking when I read your post, as I am currently taking a leave of absence from CLC (after 15 years) to try and sort out my conflicting feelings about men I had long looked up to. Shock-outrage-sadness-…
    I used to go to Halpine’s coffee house the “Olive Tree” from ’74-’78 every Friday night, unless I was camping with my scout troop. I also attended a few Sunday night services. Not your normal Catholic teenager huh?
    To cut to the chase, I’m trying to find out to find out the truth about what happened with CJ, Larry, ( I went to TAG too) etc. I moved away in’79. I never heard that R Kline had been sacked. Can you tell me why? I do NOT need or want sordid details, just need to know the truth.
    I need to make some hard decisions, I cannot make them on false, or even partly false, data.


  • Jim

    I’d like sgm pastors who just can’t seem to remember who they might have sinned against to pull their exit interview files and reflect. It might also help them define “systemic”.

  • monkhead

    ‘In the Nick ….’ #302 &303 – Thx a ton !!!! Very informative and useful! U r a good communictor . I will follow up with a few additional q’s I have concerning same topic. If u r led , share what u know .

    #368 Paul K – ur post had ‘love’ (greatest command, John 13, etc.) all over it!!! Thks u so much, it is encouraging and uplifting and beautiful !!!

  • Stunned

    Persona, I would be horrified if they burned all that evidence. They must go through the files, one by one to repent, seek reconciliation, then after all the truth with the public and private has been dealt with, all possible lawsuits put to rest, then and only then should there be a bonfire. (I will bring the marshmallows. Who’s got the Graham crackers?)

  • monkhead

    Ps – I agree. 5Years, u r different bro!!! Ill take whatever ur eating too! Anyway, I noticed same thing and just thought it beautiful and that u’d want to know.

  • Paul K.

    Battered But Not Broken

    e-mail me at…I can explain best that way. After e-mail, making telephone conversation would be best way to fill u in – would
    be glad to help u sort through it – there is much hope. I hope the below poem encourages many:

    (For Annie and Mr Underhill)

    Substance – the Word living through mud-made flesh / Has always been our Maker’s great Passion. / So when caught snared in Adultery’s mesh / He remade, new-named her (what Compassion!)

    But what and why were those marks made in sand? / Would it even matter what we suppose ;
    Matter what Michelangelo made or Shakespeare composed / If scars had not psalm-marked our names on palms of His hands?

    (Dag Hammerskjold, chairman of the United Nations, left behind a short book of reflections and poems called MARKINGS. Mark Smith gave me this book with a treasured inscription. As I pondered the title, I thought, “All our markings would be like marks in the sand – soon gone because of wind and rain if not for the marks made by steel nails on His hands – “nails we all carried in our pockets” – Luther).

    Because of Him we can leave our marks, our legacy…..otherwise life is nothing but “striving and chasing after wind” (Solomon).

  • Pam Palmer “Only Servants and No Masters” a sermon by Pastor Wade Burleson posted at TWW (only @ 27 mins)

    I believe this is the most important sermon that I have ever heard. Every person who has been in SGM should listen to it.

  • intheNickofTime

    Keepinstep #359 –

    As I recall the reconciliation letter that both Larry T, Che Ahn and CS signed (around 1998), Larry said that him and fellow CLC Leaders (GOB at the time) brought up publicly things of CS’s past when CS was excommunicated. Larry indicated something along the lines that this was done due CS confronting CLC Leaders about their shepherding style.

    Mahaney, Tomczak and the others appear to have deliberately exposed Schmitt’s sexual sins, in order to subject him to maximum shame and discredit at the very time he would be leaving and starting his own church…

    I didnt know all the stuff with CS and Che and those guys when I was in southern Va. But when you read all the blackmailing and exposing CJ and Larry did, was it all THAT surprising when CJ turned around and did the same thing to Larry?

    Larry’s blackmail was, evidently, just one in a long list of blackmails. Looks like the table was turned on Larry in the end. The entire SGM culture was rife with turncoats, blackmailers, and exposers!

    What is really hard to believe is that CJ and SGM has gone on for soooo many years, doing this kind of stuff and was never exposed for it!

  • intheNickofTime


    Even after the documents were released C.J. still didn’t see all of his sin and apparently still to this day hasn’t seen all his sin.

    How kind and gracious of you, Steve.

    I think CJ knows full well exactly what his sins are. He knows and doesnt care because they got him what he wanted.

    You are gracious to say he doesnt see them. I say he knows them and is comfortable with them.

  • edith stein


    I was a former CLC-er and have been reading this blog for awhile.

    I have seen a few comments about Carolyn’s siblings — Janice and Grant. Does anyone know what their relationship is now????? A strong family seems to be a recurring SGM theme. How is THEIR family????

  • Jenn Grover

    Jim #381 – EXACTLY!

    When I see pastors trying to change their church or church culture in a post-SGM life I think they won’t get very far without dealing the past. What was it that made people want to leave? Are they the very things you want to change now?

    For the SGM loyal – have you no appreciation for Mtt 18? Do you realize that there is not one documented reconciliation that has arisen from their “recommendations” or so called “group-reconciliation”? Do you realize that your current leader has numerous unreconciled relationships in his life as well?

    But, it shouldn’t take files. If SGM pastors know this is an issue, why aren’t they praying and fasting and asking God to show them who they need to repent to and what they need to repent for.

  • 5yearsinPDI

    monkhead and paul, thank you for the sweet comments.

    Actually, I hadn’t noticed any difference in myself to be honest. But I will tell you a true story:

    In the beginning of June, somebody who has never to my recollection come to me with a “word” (and does not do that to others either)wrote to me and said that God was about to take me out of the wilderness into the Promised Land.

    Now, I didn’t think of my life as wilderness. I am happily married to a great guy and have many, many, blessings. But, we have several children, and all but one grew up normal (whatever that means, haha) and happy and hard working and get along great with us. But one kid (teen) has a serious learning disability, a physical problem, and all tied into that some wounds (inc. one sexualized touch at age 9 that didn’t go far, but enough to damage deeply) and rebellion and struggling with God and us. I have worried about this kid for like two and a half years, non stop, even with pastoral and counseling help for all of us. Lost plenty of sleep. Major, major worry where you feel on alert all the time. We’ve had to take away FB, phones, texting, on and off…you feel like a prison guard sometimes.

    Anyway, I wish I could give details and not lose my anonymity, but this kid has had a breakthough like you would not believe with God and His plan for their life and His sovereignty. What is most noticable is their joy and worship, and wanting to pray and read the bible. It happened within two weeks of that “word”, like mid June. I almost didn’t realize how badly I had not entered God’s rest until this kid turned a corner and I finally was able to calm down inside. I have read all kinds of book on sovereignty, but when you watch a kid self destruct, as a parent, I just could not trust God fully with it.

    The next thing that happened has blown me away. Like a dream. We live paycheck to paycheck with a mortgage and car loans and helping out one kid with college, and the furniture is old and the vinyl bathroom floors must have been laid in Abraham’s day. But God did something financial through a relative that is paying off the mortgage, cars, and college, and sending a wad to a desperate missionary who was praying for a miracle. Hubby still hopes to work until he is 70 so we can survive retirement, but maybe we won’t end up on a park bench :) It is still hard to feel like it is real, but it is.

    Anyway, for the past month I’ve been so aware of undeserved grace. And I don’t mean some mealy mouthed “better than I deserve” crap, what I mean is that this is all grace, and I don’t deserve it, and I am so grateful, especially for my kid. I really mean it. And we are not any better than the next guy with a struggling kid and a financial pit.

    I am sorry to think I was so ungracious before that the change is noticable :) What can I say…..please forgive me :) But I was usually wanting to help SGM victims to know it wasn’t them, even if I came off ungracious.

    Anyway, if your kid is far from God, take hope. It can change suddenly. And it isn’t your fault. We had the golden stars and the rebel, both in one family. God is sovereign over all this stuff.

    And by the way….when we got the money, honestly, the first thing I thought of was helping out this poverty stricken missionary who works with steet kids. I used to think maybe I could fall into the selfish trap if we had extra money, and maybe I will without God’s grace, but normal Christianity is to care about poor people I think.

    Anyway, thanks again for the nice words, even if now I feel a bit bad about being too ungracious before…..oh well. And my thanks to the many people who pray for people on this blog. I bet people like stunned will get to heaven and see how much their prayers mattered.

  • Pam Palmer

    Paul K.,Bill F.,& Former CLCer: Those who are still in CLC (or SGM etc.) should be asking tough questions about those files. Those out may want to consider asking for theirs…And I agree with Stunned, the files shouldn’t be burned (or destroyed) yet! Too much evidence!

    To any pastors or former pastors out there: Is this a common practice in other churches/denominations?

    Just Saying @355 and 5 yrs @365: I want to know this as well. If the alleged “moral failure” by CS (as mentioned in his wife’s book) was with consenting adults (over 18) from reports on this blog (comment #288/355) it was alleged homosexual activity — however, if it was with teenagers under 18 — then we are talking about the crime of child sex abuse and the CS de-gifting was another alleged cover-up, assuming that the police were not informed. Can anyone confirm about this?

  • Roadwork

    Hi, 5 Years.

    Here’s something I had not long ago that may be of comfort:

    Luke 15:4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?”

    You’re here with your family and yet your thoughts are with the one that isn’t here – the lost.

    Listen to the Heart of the Good Shepherd: He hasn’t forgotten the one.

    He goes after the one. “Until He finds it.”
    He doesn’t tire.
    He doesn’t grow weary.
    He doesn’t sleep.
    His provisions do not run out.
    He does not quit His pursuit.

    His Word is sure – “Until He finds it.”

    Trust your Shepherd. You may not see Him at work today but know His pursuit is sure.

    vs 5 “And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.”

  • IntheNIck said (in response to one of my comments):

    How kind and gracious of you, Steve.
    I think CJ knows full well exactly what his sins are. He knows and doesnt care because they got him what he wanted.
    You are gracious to say he doesnt see them. I say he knows them and is comfortable with them.

    Good point. I do remember when the documents first came out that Josh Harris indicated that C.J. didnt see all of his but hoped that C.J. would eventually. Larry Tomczak also said something similar about C.J. not seeing all of his sin around the same time in a message Larry gave at CS church.

    It certainly could be (as you are indicating) that C.J. knows its sin but doesn’t want to admit it and thus would have to face the consequences. The other is as I have said C.J. Mahaney is so arrogant or full of himself that he can’t see it.

    Thus would be hard for C.J. to reconcile with CS since C.J. either can’t see or won’t admit his errors.

  • Bill Frank

    “Say what” (#376) said,

    “Very odd. I have been in two different SGM churches for several years each. Neither church kept files on members. I was in a non-SGM church that did requires small group leaders to report on meetings each week and to detail any problems. This is evidently done in various churches. In my personal experience, let me reiterate that neither SGM church I attended had this practice.”

    Apparently as a caregroup leader/pastor…. either you or your fellow leaders in your two churches (one of them mine formerly me doth think, by the way)had fallen down on the job then, “Say what”? I was asked to consider going (not ordered, admittedly) and speaking personally to someone in Care Group who I took to the woodshed pretty good once; but thinking then and now I was justified for my stance. I did get too excited in my delivery for the group. This said, I am quite sure that this WAS reported to the pastor(s) and before we were officially in, this was most likely written up by at least the CGL (Care Group Leader) and submitted to the church office. Pastoral guidance was assuredly sought out and given and the soon to follow chilly reaction quite openly came my way from a pastor we had always gotten on with well to that point. He knows who he is. He, too, probably reads here clandestinely, like many other pastors in SGM. This is my story…. and I am sticking to it.

    If what you say is correct, ‘Say what’, it does zero to invalidate what the others have said here about these ‘files’. Rather strange that you offer nothing of any ‘comfort’ (a good SGM Caregroup Leader word, after all)to the others here who have said what they have on this thread. My own experiences with your organization tells me that this happens…. maybe not in every church, as you say.

    I have been a huge apologist for Brent D. here and to him personally, so this is NOT a swipe at him, but an anlaysis of mine.

    Brent was and is one detailed, meticulous guy. By the way, ‘Say what’…. I’m willing to say that you have NOT read his meticulous notes… so take it from me, others here, Detwiler kept ‘records’, ‘notes’, ‘files’ that have made the collective heads of your organization’s spin like a top. Ironically, however, this type of attention to detail and recordkeeping are some of the things he is criticized here by more than a few. From my own independent reading of over two years now, people who knew Brent say and are still critical of him say he was to blame for much of the heavy-handed authoritarianism from Gaithersburg down.

    Ergo, it is no leap at all with Brent’s position and presence within SGM to reason that such detailed, sin-sniffing, shepherding stuff was and is regularly being documented and when necessary according to leadership, put in some kind of organized, “file” to keep folks in line, as it were.

    This is your organization’s model, ‘Say What’. This is not to say that there are not dear, warm, caring, Christians present in your assemblies. The one we attended is full of them… possibly including yourself as one such one. :-)

    Interviewing pastor: (Circa November 2010) On the role and almost infallability of the “Senior Pastor” at our local church to us in our ‘one on one’ after going through membership classes….

    Pastor: “If we did this initiative that was approved by our senior pastor (Aron Osborne at that time) and it worked out well, fine. But, even if it failed, (money, energy, time)this was fine, too, and he is not to be accountable because he is the senior pastor.”

    That is as close as I can get to a verbatim quote since it was over 2 1/2 years ago and my wife will confirm as well. We both were silently flabbergasted. I knew that it was game, set, match for me/us at this point. We were officially gone shortly after the New Year in 2011. But, you may remember that, ‘Say What’. :-)

  • PB&J

    Bill Frank: I believe that I attended say what’s other SGM church. I was never in a meeting with the senior pastor or associate pastor that he did not come with notes and take notes from the meeting. My last face to face with the senior pastor he brought 3 pages of notes from my facebook and survivor site of my postings. He at that meeting referred to the meeting he had with my wife and I, and notes taken. He admitted to me in the last meeting (which was damaging to my wife) he noted in HIS NOTES that he “talked to much”. Won’t reveal AT THIS TIME what he was talking too much about. Also, I was a care group leader didn’t take notes but I really didn’t trust the pastor after his “counseling” my wife and I. They keep records probably better than a lot of physicians I know.

  • PB&J

    My friends still at CFC. There were recent posts wondering about local churches close to CFC that preach the gospel. Found Don Shorey’s church web site. Worth taking a look at.

    Note the difference in tone between Marty M and Don S. Enjoy Christ. Visit Enjoying Grace Ministries!!

  • just saying...

    Pam – I am not aware of any situations involving a child under 18. However, I do have my own opinions about a 40 year old man in a position of authority surrounding himself with young vulnerable men.

    I should correct that I am not aware of a crime worthy of arrest. But, it is a travesty.

  • former Cov Fel

    PB&J: Be careful. You can do a search here for some posts. Don Shorey did not deal openly and well with the arrest and conviction of his own son Adam for sexual offenses when it came up later (like online). (google it- Westchester newspapers…this is no secret.)

    I am not trying to dredge up this young man or his past. He served his sentence, got married, and has gone on with his life hopefully in repentance. Perhaps he did what he did because he himself had been abused. But Don needs to be open and honest, thank God for God’s mercy, and not try to engage in cover ups about the past.

    Joe McMullin left that church because Don betrayed Joe. I know that much. It is hard to know what to say here, but I don’t want CFC people to leave and end up with more of the same. Just be careful. I know Don has read this blog, and he is free to come on and say whatever he wishes. Like I said, I am not condemning Adam. Just sick of leaders covering up this stuff with convicted sex offenders.

  • PB&J

    former CF – thanks!

  • Wizer

    Spiritual warfare was never taught on in all our years at CFC (we used to wonder why but they were busy blaming it on the dark, human heart) and now Marty is saying the church is under attack by Satan? This is too convenient. I’m sorry, but when honest people just want the truth and want to know what in the world is going on, why not just tell the truth? Satan is in the cover-up, NOT the fall-out from the cover-up.

  • Stunned

    PB&J, one of the pastors quoted your facebook posts and your words here back to you?!?!?! That is news to me. I was at CFC. Can you say which pastor did such a thing?

  • Not at CLC any longer

    There has been a lot of talk here about the files kept on members ERIC NS if you are reading here, as a former CLC care group leader, can you confirm or deny the existence of such files?

  • Paul K.

    In thinking about Charles Joseph Mahaney’s confession and the documents he basically admitted to being untreatable etc, but I remember nothing about “love of reputation” which seems to be the core issue that caused him to make this all about Josh’s encouragement that we read Brent’s documents and how that encouragement angered him so because that got to his core idol. Very much like Saul.

  • Glad i am out

    Wizer,403 I went to CFC for 20 years and i can say w/ 100% certainty that they never once taught on spiritual warfare and never mentioned satan – EVER!!!! Suddenly Marty is talking about him???? It is a disgusting attempt at manipulation by machowski! The dude would better spend his time spanking his kids 40 times a day, like he used to, rather than charting new territory he knows nothing about

  • dk

    Pam, I also can say that the young men of which I was aware who were involved with CS were over age 21.

  • Persona

    If you were a care group leader, under a pastor, at CLC, you were asked to fill-out monthly cg forms or you verbally updated your pastor, about the members in your small group. Those
    updates became part of your individual file, at CLC. The longer you were there, the bigger the file.

    Do not make the mistake and think your care group leader never participated in this practice. Unless the pastor met with you individually and took notes about you, in-person, he received regular, detailed, updates about you, from your care group leader. And, you will likely never see the contents of that file and never be able to correct any errors therein.

    Unfortunately, we discovered that at least some of those files contain gross errors and grievous accusations.

  • Stunned

    I have recollections of CFC teaching about Satan and spiritual warfare back around 1985 or so. I remember BP teaching about this. However, there came a time when it seemed as if you even mentioned Satan may have brought you great criticism from the powers that be and an accusation that you weren’t taking responsibility for your actions. (The environment some of the pastors brought about became somewhat extreme.) I used to do counseling with Marty M and I don’t have any recollection of ANYTHING in my life ever being connected to Satan, in his opinion.

  • Creepy Christianity:

    I think more churches than just SGM may be keeping records on you!

    Here’s a novel concept – maybe pastors could actually visit members in their homes for the purpose of praying for them and encouraging them (and getting to know them). Just like the days when they would visit everyone in their church on a rotating schedule. Mega churches are too big for that? Maybe that’s one of the problems.

  • Bill Frank

    @ PB&J…. thanks for your addition to the record-keeping, file discussion here.

    We live in a highly litigious society, obviously. But, if there were more home visits being made by preacher/pastors with real dialogue taking place, there would not be the need for all of this worldly ‘CYA’ note-taking & record keeping that goes on.

  • PB&J

    Stunned 404 the pastor that collected my posts from facebook and this site was the senior pastor at the SG of Fredericksburg church, Ken Delage. (We left CFC in 2005 to move to Fredericksburg)

  • Dr. Pepper

    I think the only information a pastor should keep on you is your name, address, email, phone number. What more do they need?

  • Paul K.

    A Few Responses And Comments :

    (1) 5 Years – just know that though I don’t have the privilege of knowing u (what a flatterer! – must have read How To Win Friends And Influence People – a book Tomczak – a could have been politician loved – and I hate), my heart filled w joy reading of the wonderful, unexpected, far beyond what u ever dreamed or imagined has come sovereignly in your life at the appointed time! Also, that u receive His great mercy w such humility and encourage others from your testimony to trust God makes it about Him and not u. A wonderful work in your heart making u feel the tangible love of God in two huge areas of life – it shows! …That God saved me from taking my own life twice in one year made me feel that our Shepherd left the 99 and came for me and it did a deep work of security that He cared about me personally if no one else did. He uses these trials to make us secure in His love – so I rejoice w u greatly! Our children at least know God and are drawing nearer and that is wonderful. Now, may He help me provide for our family to bring security to all of us that way – but salvation is eternal so I rejoice in that greatly! Thx for sharing!
    “We overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the Word of our testimony.”

    (2) Let me say that the link Pam Palmer gave to what she called,”The most imp sermon I’ve ever heard” is a gift from God that I encourage all to listen to. Listened this morning : this man basically just shared in a scriptural way w Greek original meanings of words what biblical leadership is. There is in the Vimeo a video of a preacher lording over his people in a most shocking way! Never seen a Wolf so blatant. How any person could listen to him and not stand up and say,”Shut up!” I can’t comprehend. Seeing the extreme can help u see the more subtle. It lines up w the revelation I sort got through Foot that what enables spiritual abuse is theology claiming someone else rules u – someone else is your authority – very powerful – thx Pam – will never forget it!

    (3) Battered – just briefly on Kline : sexual immorality w a woman he was counseling for 20 years – she eventually came forward. He had a nervous breakdown and died within a year. No wonder he was so quick to give Schmitt safe haven and continually use the radio to malign CJ – obviously his conscience was so severed he could speak on the radio without a thought of his immorality.

    (4) To the kind brother seeing love in 349, that took careful reading and discernment and I appreciate it.

    (5) a request : read MARKS IN THE SAND? It is not a difficult poem – but how humbling to know whatever done in this life would be meaningless if Jesus didn’t make a way to eternity : “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life- no one comes to the Father except through Me.” This Person, this God-Man, is the One, the only One who has made it possible to be filled w God whose Name is the. Holy Spirit and by Whom the Spirit of Jesus within us cries out “Abba Father!” because now we too are God’s children and are part of the eternal family, what I call The Romance Family. We all want to be part of a great family and this. Family has God as the Father, Jesus as our Brother, and The Holy Spirit living in our hearts! Whatever our natural family may be, this is the real family : we’re all children of The King Of Kings who loves us so much that He became like use to bring us out of darkness into eternal life. We’re already seated with Him in heavenly places because we are in Him and He’s outside of time. Greater is He that is in us than He that’s in the world.

    SGM must not believe that anymore – they think Satan can attack them even though they’re in Jesus. Maybe the Holy Spirit has withdrawn His manifest presence as discipline and they are running from a lion who isn’t even bothering w them and doesn’t even have teeth. May our brothers find refuge through quietness and repentance. May they being willing to lose their collapsing empire to save their souls. As 5 Years said in essence, “destroy the shepherd and u scatter the sheep.” Satan has turned a one time pastor/prophetic into a wolf – he goes after shepherds at opportune times. CJ is our brother
    and had we been in his position, we too could have easily been seduced. He’s certainly fooled me often in my life. As he brings the ship down, may we care for our brothers and not rejoice over their demise. That would only please Saysn and displease our Father. I know it’s hard in the midst of much pain, but more and more are being healed so we can eventually be like Joseph was toward his brothers. To show mercy to abusers is a sign of the mighty work of the spirit making us like Jesus – in such love is true power and freedom -” it is for freedom (the freedom to receive His love and then have power to love those who have hurt us) that Christ has set us free. Carnal people can’t love those whop have hurt them. To love enemies is the evidence of Jesus ruling onus and making us whole – in time. There is a time to withdraw to be healed but there’s also a time when the healing brings fresh love so strong it loves even abusers. Only the Word, the Spirit, and fellowship can bring this miracle about and it’s happening here one person at a time. Thank God for this place! Who knows how many would no longer believe in Jesus are even killed themselves without Refuge and Survivors. God. raises up His ministries in unexpected places. He takes the things that are not that He might nullify the things that are – what a God – active and involved in all this must to love the “tax collectors and sinners” and discipline the Parisees living off His inheritance: He will not have it! He is a God of love and mercy and. justice. We will watch Him do mighty things!!!

  • PB&J

    Dr Pepper I agree with you. No need for records beyond the contact info.

    I think that in this Virginia region with the pastors young and inexperienced they depend on Mickey McConnelly and Gene Emerson for advise and direction. A lot of input from corporate. I’m believe that the pastors are probably seen as regional care group leaders under their control, even with the new polity. They probably have to report on issues on a regular basis. Note taking would be very important for them to report things upline…

    Soon after the exodus from SG of Fredericksburg the pastor started to preach on Satan and the enemy’s voice over the wall. SGM produces an ebook on Spiritual Warfare and other churches jump on the devil bandwagon. I think the strategy under the “new leadership” is similar to the old. Smile a lot, appear humble, don’t admit sin or weakness. Claim change and set vision. Blame everyone except yourself. Have friends in worldly high places. Edify your upline. Throw dissenters under the bus.

  • Dr. Pepper

    Today I didn’t go to church and went to a movie instead. It was odd because I normally at church. It was nice too because I could just relax. I could of just stayed home, but I felt I needed to go somewhere or I felt like it would have been more odd.

    It was actually a very nice Sunday. This is the first Sunday in years where I actually felt happy.

  • Protestant Dame

    Three things:

    Pam P, wow thank you for that link to Wade Burleson’s message. I agree everyone needs to check this out & be encouraged. This *almost* makes me want to start going to church again.

    5Years: Rejoicing with you on your great news! Thank you for sharing that piece of your life with us. God’s timing is always right.

    Dig Deeper: Thanks for the note. I had no idea you & yours had left SGM, but that makes my heart glad, especially for your kids. I am so sorry about the trouble it causes in family relations; we know it all too well. We echo what you said here, “It makes me so very sad that my family can never be the same because I’m the only one in the family that has chosen not to follow man, or a business model, or ‘friends’ but instead follow God and His word, which led me out of SGM.” Very proud of you for not hitching your wagon to CJ’s (falling) star. Our love to you.

  • Soarin'

    Dr Pepper –
    So happy you had a good Sunday. I pray that someday you will have that same experience at church or a Bible study or wherever two or more are gathered. If anyone had told me 4 months ago that I would actually love going to church again I would not have believed them! Last Sunday as I sat down to have dinner with my family I remarked that I was surprised that I did not feel tired -like I normally would on a Sunday afternoon. My oldest son replied “that’s because church is suppose to energize you Mom and not make you feel worn out”! His insight is so true – I spent way too many years coming home from church feeling exhausted. I had forgotten that I could actually feel so spiritually uplifted. Praying that others will experience the love of Jesus.

  • Eric NS

    Not at CLC any longer #405, I was a CLC care group leader from 1994 to 2001 and 2003 to 2008. I served under three different pastors, all of whom are still pastoring at CLC.

    I was never asked to fill out monthly forms on care group members and never encountered any other care group leader who was required to do this. That’s not to say that some pastors and/or CG leaders might not have done them, but I’ve never seen it.

    However…I was required to provide updates at periodic meetings (every 4-6 weeks) with my pastor on each member of my care group. These meetings/discussions were the pastor’s way of using the care group leaders as an “extension of pastoral care”, because they didn’t have the time to regularly and directly interact with every member under their care. During such meetings, the pastor took notes during these discussions about each person/couple. Every meeting that I was ever in with a pastor – for any purpose, whether in an individual or a care group leader context – involved notes being taken by the pastor. I was never privy to what happened to those notes, but its easy to guess that they were filed in some manner. I also have no idea if such notes/files, such as they were, were maintained indefinitely or purged after some period of time. These requirements for reporting about CG members were one of the reasons why I stopped being a leader. Frankly, though, I don’t think they have enough file space in the building to have kept all of the notes ever taken. You’re probably talking about 10,000 or more people over the course of time.

  • Paul K.

    Jesus warned, “a day is coming that they will put you out of the synogogue (the church) and think they are serving God.” We probably all thought that meant Jews would kick out fellow Jews who became Christians because that also was true and the church wasn’t established in Jesus’ time.

    In John 9 we read a most encouraging narrative. What I like about narrative (story events described without teaching) is that you get to discover the meaning but must pay attention – this is why Jesus spoke parables – those who really want to know will get it. But we’re so used to things just being told to us that we have forgotten the art of discovery learning : we like being spoon fed. But making your own connections is one of the great joys of being human and God takes delight when He hides truth and we find it – like children enjoying Easter egg hunts. How much more fun to find the eggs than just being handed a basket full of eggs! That’s why the poem is now a foreign language – we don’t like the work involved I seeing the connections that when seen make the point powerfully.

    The man born blind is healed by Jesus and all are talking about so the wolves are going to discredit it. All are afraid of the wolves – even the blind Nan’s parents. When simply asked was he born blind and who healed him they won’t stand with their own son but say, “Ask him – he’s of age.”

    The blind man already told them but they ask again. He says, “I already told you that I was born blind. I don’t know who healed me but this I know : once I was blind but now I can see. Are you asking me again because you too want to be his disciples ?”

    Enraged, the call him a “dinner from birth and do you dare teach us?!”

    And this is the great thing for anyone filling kicked out and disoriented ; think about this man – no job, just now can see, begged all his life , his parents wouldn’t stand up for him, and now he’s kicked out of the community! Does he have hope?

    Jesus hears what happens and goes looking for him! Can u believe that! Jesus goes looking for one blind man, unemployed, and a complete outcast! Ever feel like that?!

    Jesus finds him (of course – hasn’t he found so many of us? Will He not find anyone who calls out to him like another blind man did – Bartimaeus?)
    The blind man says to Jesus, “Messiah is coming and He will tell us all things.” This man, born blind, has greater faith than those who have seen all their lives! Could it be that experiencing the miracle of being blind all his life and now being able to see (something others said had never happened before) birthed a sense of Messianic expectation within him?

    Imagine the electricity going through his whole being when Jesus says, “The One with whom you speak – I AM He” !!! And he worshipped Jesus!

    Getting kicked out of a church for the wrong reasons or leaving for the right ones draws Jesus to come find you! He says to rejoice when this happens!!!

    Finally some humor : who were the people in the synagogue worshipping? Things aren’t the way men with carnal eyes think they are. In fact , getting kicked out or leaving may be your sweetest experience in the end : when false gods go – God arrives!!!! Don’t be afraid!!! He’s with us in the fire!!!

  • It's just the beginning

    Brent has a new blog post up — looks like he is re-telling the allegations from the second amended lawsuit, told with more context and background information. This initial installment from Brent is focusing on JL:

  • Persona

    You know, the note-taking and internal documentation on members was bad enough. We were particularly disturbed by their apparent use of secreted electronic devices to record conversations in one of the conference rooms in the CLC church office. I don’t know if every conference room was bugged but, at least one seemed to be.

  • Persona

    I am reading Brent’s new post. There was at least one other male teacher at Frost School during the time period he is recounting; John Butler. I’m not sure when Bob Schickler or John Bronson arrived. But, I am pretty sure it was later.

  • just saying...

    The concerning thing about reporting to pastors was their complete willingness to entertain slander and judgments and assessments of members without following biblical processes of informing or confronting the member first.

    That’s because nobody was interested in helping the member change. They were only interested in determining if the member had any value to them and/or was loyal.

    Gossip and slander has always been a rampant problem in SGM. While members were silenced and threatened not to G&S, the leaders could slander anyone they pleased.

  • just saying...

    Brent’s post is disturbing. Although I certainly want victims to find justice. I don’t believe anyone is asking Brent to be the judge and jury. It’s disturbing that he thinks it is his responsibility to determine guilt or innocence and more disturbing still that he is asking us to pay for his services for the month he spent working on it. We have a judicial system for a reason. The Tolling Bell doesn’t call him Brent Rottweiler for nothing.

    He certainly doesn’t help the cause of the victims as his posts only confirm what those in Louisville believe and probably what has been communicated to the RBD’s, that SGM is being persecuted by a mentally ill man.

    Lake the spiritual warfare discussion, it’s ironic that so many victims suffering from mental illness were treated cruelly by a movement that refused to believe in mental illness, but now when it serves their purposes, they believe in it. I don’t believe any of them are giving Brent 2 minutes of their attention. He has been dismissed long ago.

    Brent’s continual obsession with this only confirms their conclusions and hinders the credibility of true victims. Brent’s refusal to get a job to support himself while asking for us to donate to his “ministry” only confirms his strangeness. Brent’s refusal to write 600 page papers about his own contributions to this abusive system says his opinions are not to be trusted.

    I do not know what is true in all of this, but I do know that it isn’t Brent’s job to tell us.

  • Phoenix

    just saying #426

    Brent is fighting on the front lines of this battle. As the highest ranking SGM leader to come out of the movement under his own name he has made great sacrifices. I think it is cowardly and unhelpful for those behind the lines to take potshots. (BTW, I don’t know Brent at all; as I joined Fairfax a couple of months after he left.)And I don’t think he has been dismissed at all. I think SGCL knows perfectly well that he isn’t mentally ill. Also, I think that they will be very happy to read your comment.

  • Bill Frank

    @ Just saying…..

    1.) Brent, like any of us, gets to use his brain and render some opinion on all of this before there is ever a legal verdict. As I read his latest, I see that he leaves the door open for the chance for anyone to conclude that the alleged victims could be lying. He simply doesn’t think that due to the totality of the evidence that THEY are in fact, fabricators.

    2.) I like Rottweilers myself… whether they be the real ones or people described as such.

    3.) who gives a rip what ‘those in Louisville believe’? I mean, really? And the ‘RBD’s’ that have been influenced by the Mahaney loyalists…. same thing. Nobody is perfect… their solid theology aside. There will be time (we hope) for repentance from these.

    4.) Do not give $$$ to Brent, then. No problem…. but no need to castigate him for this, is there? What if God is actually using him despite his alleged ‘losing his marbles’ as you suggest? What if having Brent’s name and information that he possesses are actually key tools that the plaintiffs will be aided by in prosecuting the alleged perps? Could God not be using Brent to help bring these men to repentance for over 2 years now…. openly, anyway? Many more, in private?

    Praying…. that God’s will be done here on earth as it is in heaven. Come, Lord Jesus!

  • 5yearsinPDI

    Res Ipsa and others have posted enough to prove that Brent is still SGM. He won’t admit to his own apostolic wrongs nor talk and reconcile with those who wish to meet with him. Brent is just one member of the mob turning informant on other members of the mob. But yeah, God is using him. Definitely. Same way God used Assyria and Babylon to judge Israel. It does not make him a good guy. Not until- as “just saying” posted- he comes clean on his own contributions to this abusive system that he led as an apostle for many many years.

    I think you can do it Brent, I really do. And a lot of grace will flow when you do.

  • Fruit Flavored

    Persona #423 –

    WHAT?! And yes, Paul K, I wrote in all caps! I knew that a few of the larger classrooms had were wired for remote recording for the purpose of recording teaching, but I did not know that the pastor’s conference room was also wired.

    If the pastors at CLC are recording people without their consent, is this not wire-tapping? Is this not a criminal offense? If this is true, this is beyond outrageous!!!

    Can anyone confirm 100% that CLC pastors record private sessions without consent?

  • Persona

    Fruit Flavored 430

    I would love it if a secretary or an electrician who worked to install listening devised would come forward to describe their system.

  • TrustingOnlyInJesus

    Pasadena Update:
    Heard from Pasadena last night, Mark Prater is coming to town next weekend and will be preaching on Sunday morning. There are also 2 meetings on Saturday: one for the “Puppet Pope of SGM” to share his “exciting” vision for the “new” SGM and the other to share the CovFel teachings on the Holy Spirit. Also heard (strictly rumor – not verified) that 4-5 longtime families have left the church recently including one of LB’s sons.

  • Soarin'

    I have a question regarding the Marty M. sermon that has been discussed. Did someone say in an earlier post that he mentions “more things are going to be coming out about SGM “or did I misread that? I tried to find the post but can’t.Sorry to be lazy but I can not bring myself to listen to any sermons by SG pastors. Any of you who did listen did he actually say that or something similar?

  • Paul K.


    Some things deserve all caps – this is one of them – I’m just glad to know how to yell if I need to:) I’ll prove it to u. You see, I was yelling without knowing it – like a deaf person. Of course finding out the truth on this is important – I think u know I want the truth.

    One thing I don’t believe in is cover-up regardless of motive – files without permission is plain wrong.
    I know the truth anout files existing – judt found out today. A former janitor who is a church member saw all the files. As he did so, he looked up his roommates file and read it. he told his roommate what it said. His roommate reads Survivors – I don’t know whether he will want to verify or not.

    Wire tapping is going to require someone who set
    it up (if done) to come forth. This is why I keep telling our pastors if they don’t follow through on August 22nd’s promise to continue delving deeper into “how we got it wrong,” confess it, ask forgiveness for it, explain how they are now proceeding, be held accountable to that, and establish a grievance committee elected by the congregation (not pastoral appointees), they will never gain the most essential thing in church life :

    What a great title for a book : THE SPEED OF TRUST (gotta read it myself) Without trust – nothing good happens

    Someone wrote recently , “Verify, then, if able, trust.” And I would add NEVER entrust yourself to anyone but God. Trust and entrust are vastly different. I trust Josh Harris to do what is right with what’s verified – I want it to stay that way. But how our pastors respond to things that aren’t right can either strengthen or erode trust.

    Without trust (faith) u have nothing. Blind trust is something many of us no longer trust in. I wrote them about this trust issue very prophetically and got one serious response back. Then I wrote them about the lack of response to which there was a much better response to which I responded with much respect and gratitude.

  • Looking Outward

    TrustingOnlyInJesus #432. Yup, you’re right. We are one of those families – been there for over 20+ years. There are more too. Not a rumor on the other either… You have to search your heart and do what is right for your family is, no matter who you are related to. This is all done soberly by all of us, This was grieved, long thought out with hours before the Lord, asking Him to show us what to do. Please respect our decisions by not using them to vindicate or to prove the guilt of any SGM leader. We have done what we truly believe the Lord and our conscience would ask of us. Blessings to you all!

  • Foot

    Paul K #434, thanks Paul for sharing.

    “just found out today” I believe we will hear this phrase more and more in the coming months. As to trust: Verify, then trust if TRUSTWORTHY (the integrity of trust)!!! How long have you been at CLC and you “just found out today?” This is one of the many reasons why this blog is operational today. Files being kept on people has been discussed on this blog for many a harvest moon that the wolf is howling at…

  • Waters


    The schizophrenic actions of SGM elders-formerly-known-as-pastors, never ceases to amaze me.
    Really— Prater teaching on “The CovFel teachings on the Holy Spirit”? So…NOW they are talking about and teaching about Holy Spirit? Why the change? Because the blogs and the dearly departed from SGM have consistently questioned the ABSENCE of Holy Spirit? Because they have been charged, repeatedly with UNdiscernment??

    The “teaching” on the Holy Spirit, combined with Marty M/s sermon assigning satan at the root of all that is occurring in SGMland (lawsuits, victims voices etc etc)…..shows something is stirring in SGMland.

    Personally, I don’t know what they TRULY believe. What is Rhema to them……They are like spiritual chameleons

    Five years ago, I asked a specific question of a pastoral intern, who had just returned from pastors college. He gushed over Jeff Purswell, and CJ, and all they had ‘benefitted from’ at CLC.–My question, was ‘how does Sovereign Grace Ministries view satan?’ I asked this, because another SGM leader had communicated to us the differences in ‘possibilities’ of satans whereabouts/power/present standing. He responded that Purswell taught two different theological possibilities..resulting in
    each pastoral intern choosing for theirselves which they would embrace.

    One, was that satan is PRESENTLY bound in the bottomless pit and therefore not at work in the world today.
    Two, that satan IS manifestedly moving in and attacking with evil in the world today.

    Perhaps someone on this forum can better explain the PC’s teaching on this, but that was it in a nutshell.

    Knowing that many in leadership within SGM held to the belief that satan is NOW in the bottomless pit…was a huge step in our realization and confirmation how far SGM had stepped away from the reality of spiritual warfare- that we do not fight against flesh and blood, but principalities and powers of darkness (Eph) ((and yes our own sin is in there too))
    As time went on in our own story, we began to realize the depth of evil we were fighting and confronting…requiring much spiritual warfare and discerning the Lords Voice and direction above all others and in the midst of deceptions, lies, duplicities etc. Demonic forces and their strongholds were revealed as we battled on……

    Is Jeff Purswell continuing to teach and promote a choice to believe that satan is presently bound in the bottomless pit?
    If so, does no one in the movement have a consistent conviction of truth on such an important belief?
    Some believe satan is at work, and some believe he is bound and rendered powerless. Those would be polar opposites.

    Boz Tchividjian has stated the SGM lawsuit is the biggest alleged sexual abuse scandal to hit the Evangelical church.

    SGM’s response? Mahaney flees the church he founded in Gaithersburg and runs away to Kentucky; the T4G leaders stand with Mahaney & SGM as SGM fights the victims of abuse in court. No repentance. No renouncing of the destructive culture they have built on a counterfeit Gospel.
    Shifting shadows and little boys like Jared Mellinger encouraging his congregants to view “immoral images” rather than read
    “the blogs” (veiled reference to SGM Survivors and SGM Refuge where those who have been abused testified of their stories via the internet)

    The actions and legacy of the leaders and many elders-formerly-known-as-pastors in SGM have not and do not exhibit the attributes of “Righteousness, peace and joy *in the Holy Spirit*” — Quite the polar opposite.

  • formersgmer

    new sgm church in South Dakota

  • Fruit Flavored

    Paul K #434 –

    From the many things you have written, I can fully believe that you don’t believe in cover-up. The sad part is that it seems as though the pastors of CLC keep many things covered until they are leaked publicly. If the CLC pastors want to come clean, then they need to do so before info is made public. They seem to only respond when they are caught with their proverbial pants down. This is not Godly leadership! These are not men who are repentant. I’m wondering what else they have hidden from the congregation.

    You mention the meeting on August 22nd. I understand the logistics of holding congregational meetings can be complicated, especially in large churches. However, if they were truly repentant and wanted to confess, they would not wait so many months to do so. If they want to confess and repent, they certainly don’t need to wordsmith their confession and apology and run it past their lawyers before going before the congregation.

    I loved CLC when we were members. I did trust my pastors. I did trust that what I said to them was in confidence. I didn’t agree for any pastor to keep a file of my conversations, attendance, e-mails, etc. I certainly didn’t agree to being recorded when discussing sensitive matters in the conference rooms.

    Again, how could they possibly believe these practices were remotely ethical?

  • Waters

    Clarification from my above post…in “some believe satan is bound and rendered powerless” in satan’s influence and demonic activity is not at work in the world today because he is in the bottomless pit.

    (We know satans’ power was stripped as detailed in Colossians, and, we are empowered by Holy Spirit to enforce battling the demonic forces)

  • Philly Girl

    Former #438. Does that mean that CJ will be on Mount Rushmore?
    Stunned #410. Yes, BP did teach the about the Holy Spirit and Satan. Maybe the teachings stopped when they downplayed Charismatic and moved on to Reform. These pastors back in the Charismatic days, were moving in the gifts. I remember MM’s leg shaking. DH and his wife, KH were flat on the floor.
    I also want to say, YES, we did have to fill out reports on what went on at caregroup. As CGL, we would get a call from the office if we didn’t get them in on time. I don’t know what the pastors did with the reports, but, when we had CGL meetings with our assigned pastor, he would ask how we followed up on member’s issues. We were taught that as CGL, we were and extension of the pastors and they needed to know their flock. At the time, it sounded right, and we were under their authority. That sounded right at the time too.
    For those who pray for us ‘dropouts’, know that we visited a church yesterday. Too far from where we live, but it was a safe place to be. It was a good day for us. Keep praying.

  • Philly Girl

    Can someone list the Shorey family? I’m confused. I ‘bing’ed and somehow got to their FB pages and their listed friends. I was just wondering how they all are related. I need a life!

  • Oswald

    Philly Girl — Tim Shorey and Don Shorey are brothers. Joel Shorey is Tim’s son. Tim and Joel are pastors/elders at CovFel. Tim used to be pastor at a SGM church in north New Jersey, which I think he founded, pre-SGM. He left there for some reason, maybe health, but is now at CovFel, newly installed as an elder. He may also work for SGM in some capacity.
    Don used to be a pastor at CovFel after attending the PC. He left because of ‘doctrinal differences’. Soon after, he started a church with former CovFel pastor Joe McMullin, which folded after a few years.
    And the beat goes on, and on…

  • acme

    Philly Girl, what is that delicious-looking cake in your profile picture? Carrot? Spice?

  • Luna Moth


    Thank you for the Pasadena update (#432).

    Pasadena folks–thinking of you with goodwill and friendship. Wouldn’t mind hearing from you. Both you who are staying and you who have left.

    Wishing you peace…

    Dorothy (aka Dot)

  • monkhead

    #393 – 5Years – WOW!!!!!!! That is so awesome!!!!!!! Thk u so much for sharing that!!!! That made my day and is so encouraging!!!!! Thank u for being caring and sharing that!!!! Do u also want to hear something? i will also tell you a true story (for all here, not just 5years).

    There were about 9 things that you shared in your story that have also happened to my wife and I, and they are ‘spot-on’ identical or nearly identical to son also had a similiar ‘breakthrough’ with Jesus in june and a surrendering to him. he was also abused at a similiar age (by someone my wife knew – not her fault). He also has a learning disability. he also is doing so much better (Praise to Jesus!!!) and will be starting college in fall. We also felt like we were in a prison for so long in parenting. (i could not have said it better. thats exactly how we felt.)My wife and I were/are also burning the oil at both ends just to make ends meet and we both expect to do it (Lord willing) until we’re 70. yet we don’t want to/wont stop giving to our one missionary. Like u, were not bragging about giving,we feel privlidged to be used by Jesus to help this missionary. it is an honor to know him and to have such a great friend. we just feel this undeserved grace more than ever and stronger than ever, despite the fact that we have less than ever (we also have more joy than ever – its not our $ anyway. it’s God’s/Jesus’s, and he’s always given us more than enough for 50 years now. If we dont have enough in our 401k to move into a retirement community with lifecare, and we probably won’t, so be it. we’ll be in the county nursing home just as happy. It still is a palace compared to most of world and where this missionary lives – straw hut and dirt floors and heat, heat, heat!!!). And I think you’re right about christianity being mostly about taking care of the poor people. Yes, there is an element of being apostles and disciples and planting churches and this is equal part of the mission. But Jesus also talks about ‘feeding his sheeep’, ‘washing feet’, the ‘greatest command being love’, going back/out to find even ‘one lost sheep’ or ‘one lost coin’, and the reference to the ‘good samaritian’ parable, and many others. so i believe one must conclude that within this mission to evangelize the world, is to do it without being the first two men (who passed the injured man on the road without helping) in Good samaritian parable, otherwise this mission lacks ‘love’, and I think SGM could have done better here, and one way they can do better here is to be less authoritative and like so many of you have said here, one way to do that is to be more congregational and more accountable and receptive to such and the immediate needs of their people/congregants and I agree with that. and that is a major way (maybe the only way?)to build trust and to eliminate ‘lording over’.

    5 Years, thank you again!!!! I am so happy for you and your family, and “sorry for calling you ‘bro’ one post ago” (How u like that rhyme “Underhill”?). That was my own prejudice in thinking you were a man. Please, please, accept my appologies (I feel pretty stupid right now, but i feel better I confessed it.).

    Written in haste with many grammatical loose ends. thank you all for listening, thank you for the ‘love’, and I really have learned alot from this site and God has used you and this site to help me further learn Jesus’s view of the church and what he desires. B/c of this site, i feel led to tell my pastor a suggestion or two (that i would not have realized had I not read here)that will strengthen our church. I know all of us will continue to be healed further by Jesus. i see much evidence of that here. Thank you.

  • Paul K.

    Foot, FruitFlavored, and whoever is interested,

    Understand, I started reading Survivors because of the lawsuit. I read the docs July7th-8th, 2011.
    My life was suddenly consumed w doing what I could do to help in this struggle w SGM. You can’t imagine the four months from 7/7-10/30…..utterly intense. I wrote a three part poem celebrating that historic night called CHRIST’S FREEDOM SONG DEVLARING YEARS OF JUBILEE FOR CLC. Do you remember the struggle it was for Frodo to drop The Ring Of Power into the fires of Mordor? When that finally happens you know Frodo and Sam will make it to the Shire. That was the climax
    worth celebrating – the big struggle was over. The last stanza of Pt. One of that poem reads :

    But forget not the Horrors of Mordor
    Endured to drop Sauron’s ring of Power
    Into that fire – our finest, darkest hour!

    I thought the war was over and I could go tend
    to my farm and family. But all it was was our Declaration of Independence. It was merely a declaration of war and naive as I am by nature, I
    thought our community could now move forward.
    Then SGM sends a letter to all SGM pastors about how they are going to serve “the young and inexperienced pastors of CLC and I who had been strong and full of faith up to that point, had a brief Elijah-like breakdown as in that I’m thinking the pastors and people have partnered together in this fire to fix Charles Mahaney’s mess and now these clowns write a letter two days before the SGM Pastors Conference hosted at our church to embarrass our pastors?! I wrote on our forum a warning to Dave Harvey whom I don’t know, “Dave, this guy gets other people to fix his messes and when they start fixing them he turns on them. Dave, in your case, he’s turned the sinking Titanic over to you and when it collapses he’ll blame you saying, “Dave, I trusted you to fix this and look how you’ve destroyed it!” I said, “Dave, you better get out now or u will be waiting on tables.”… To top it off, Mahaney actually tells a bold faced lie : “I never should have confessed because my sin wasn’t serious. I accidentally said, my sin is serious when I meant to say, “I take my sin seriously.” We’re talking Nov 2011!
    I took us 13 months to leave – when? – a lawsuit!
    So, again being naive (upset we were willing to accept a 51% vote as good enough to leave but overjoyed that my 90% prediction was actually low) I now thought, “Okay, pastors, praise God – you’re free to build this church according to your promises made on Aug 22nd and Oct 30th – go for it – I got catch up to do.”

    Lawsuit – I read the stories, I learn things through e-mails to me I never knew happened, I see no deepening in attempting to follow through on Aug 22nd, I see the grievance committee disappear, I see major decisions made without even a comment made to the congregation, I see I church thinking it can just move forward in mess ions without coming to grips with the pastoral damage done to people for 25 plus years by just changing without evaluation, communication, reconciliation as if one can tear a house down and build another one on it without clearing the debris AND I’m literally in shock.

    On Survivors I begin finding out things done to people and I’m disturbed. I start finding out more and more – certain shocking things I’ve only recently become aware of that I haven’t posted here because my policy is tell the pastors first – if they don’t even respond come here – there’s no other place to be heard.

    So yeah, I am disappointed because not only is the past minimized, I’m suddenly learning more and more that I can’t yet speak about.

    And so Foot (wonder bout that name!) says,”I just found out today” will be said more and more –
    for me it’s already begun. Of course you must believe the best – no I must not. I must find out if what I am being told by people is true and I’m being told more than I want to hear but must. To love means you know only truth sets people free no matter how much you are for them.

    I am the one who was crazy and lazy not to get on Survivors sooner. I heard a pastor tell a young man that CJ appears to tend to withdraw when people disagree with him but this has not been an abusive culture. Of course he doesn’t read Survivors. Another pastor used to read it and was quite concerned but now he simply says I don’t stay away from Survivors out of legalism – I just find it’s not good for my soul.

    The Americans made the German people walk through the concentration camps they pretended to know nothing about and helped create through their silence looking out only for themselves I bet if you asked a German, “If you think it will be good for your soul to walk through the concentration camps, we’d be glad to show you” not many would say,” Yeah, I’d like to take a good look at what the Fuhrer I loved, saluted, and obeyed did.”

    A prophetic man sent the CLC pastors this vision : “I saw Josh w all the pastors with their hands behind their backs and Josh said, ‘Show me the cookies in your hands.” Three or four pastors wouldn’t show Josh their cookies.”

    Months later he called and asked why no one wrote him back. The response he got was, “You accused us of stealing cookies.” So much for interpretation of visions. If we don’t listen to dreams and visions ; don’t let the Holy Spirit come in and speak; don’t even call the prophetic brother and say,”What do you think God is saying” (since you have no clue how to interpret a dream or vision) then God will bring the truth in harder ways till u get it. It took the Jews captivity in Babylon.

  • Formersgmer

    Philly girl

    Your Mount Rushmore comment is hilarious

  • keepinstep

    FruitFlavored wrote to Paul K. in #439:

    “You mention the meeting on August 22nd. I understand the logistics of holding congregational meetings can be complicated, especially in large churches. However, if they were truly repentant and wanted to confess, they would not wait so many months to do so. If they want to confess and repent, they certainly don’t need to wordsmith their confession and apology and run it past their lawyers before going before the congregation.”

    This is something that shows just how far CLC – and many churches – have to go, in changing from corporate-business/entertainment organizations, to a family-type organizations led by the indwelling Spirit of Christ.

    If the leaders *aren’t* trying to look professional, but are just trying to tell the truth and let the Spirit guide the meeting, there’s truly little pre-meeting rehearsal needed. Mostly just prayer, and some notes jotted on index cards to make sure everything’s covered, and that scriptures the Spirit wants shared get shared. Really. You don’t have to put on a scripted performance, just because you’re facing 2,000 people rather than 20.

  • annie

    ’tis truly a pity
    to be such a bad poet
    that my point isn’t clear enough
    for Paul K. to know it!

    Sorry, Jenn! Last time!

  • It's just the beginning

    “Pastors Keeping Notes/Files About Church Members” — this is obviously a hot topic .. it has been talked about a bunch in the past as well. I want to play devil’s advocate for a moment: what about notes/files are wrong?

    I remember when joining CLC (and previous non-SGM churches), there was an application form where I filled out my name, family, testimony story, other paragraphs of data about me. That was given to the pastor who did the “pastoral interview” (after completing the new members classes). Should I have expected CLC do shred that application form? Or is it ok for them to keep that on file??

    Ironically, I think it was John Loftness who did our pastoral interview .. he obviously moved on some years ago, is it ok for whichever pastor took over my care group to read that application?

    Now obviously a member who fills in a paper membership application form and turns it into a church–that might be acceptable to keep on file … and this topic / this concern is really about other notes. But consider two types of notes:

    1. Pastor takes counseling notes or just general notes about members in his CGs

    2. Pastor is given notes from CGLs about members

    I have never been to any official counseling sessions with CLC pastors…so I’m speaking from a perspective of ignorance–but I feel like it’s ok, almost required, for a pastor to take counseling notes. Over time he can reflect on how things are progressing or issues that reoccur.

    What about just general notes that a pastor may keep? whether that be prayer requests from the member or notes/observations about an encounter that the pastor wants to follow up on.

    All of the things that fall under #1 .. I think a pastor caring for a large number of members in his CGs should be able to take notes. THE QUESTIOH TO ME IS who else sees those notes? (I’ll come back to this)

    Consider scenario #2–a CG leader turns in written notes about members to pastors. This feels deplorable. I do not think that CG leaders should be filling out any sort of ‘report cards’ about members in their care groups for pastors to keep over time.

    NOW, should CG leaders and pastors be able to talk about big issues in the lives of CG members? Yes. but I feel those members need to be there.

    Last thought: who should read pastors’ notes? certainly the pastor is taking notes for their own benefit later on. (these notes are about meetings/interactions with people the pastor is caring for.) The big question: should other pastors be able to read those notes???

    My thought is in general no. Pastor B cannot just randomly seek out Pastor A’s notes on a member. But what if Pastor A wants to bring Pastor B into a situation..seeking advice or something? I think Pastor A should be able to read over and review his notes with Pastor B–but he shouldn’t just plop a bunch of notes over to Pastor B.


    Anyway, those are my thoughts on the matter. I don’t see the big deal about pastors keeping their own notes about members, especially for bigger and bigger churches where a pastor might have 100-300 adults they are caring for. I think those notes need to be kept confidential and aren’t loosely shared among the whole pastoral team! But I also think if pastors need to get input and wisdom from other pastors, they should be able to consult their notes to bring someone up to speed. I think the idea of CGLs taking meticulous notes about members and passing them up to pastors is horrendous! (Eric NS said this wasn’t done for the pastor he was a CGL under in the 90’s .. but I bet some did.)

    Oh, and I think that if any member wants to see his/her file, they should be able to ask and see it at any point in time.

  • (Done) Just Watching

    TrustingOnlyInJesus #432, Looking Outward #435:
    Confirming the invitation to hear Mark Prater. I hope it will be a profitable time for SGCP.

    We are also one of those families that have departed. We spent over 20+ years as well. Waiting and watching over the past two years, we are so disappointed, dismayed, and grieved with what has/is happening in SGM.

    Looking Outward: Thanks for leading the way in discouraging anyone from assuming anything from the fact we have left. Frankly, I really needed to hear that. I apologize and ask for forgiveness because I believe I have piled on and have made unjust evaluations upon my former pastors. It is not up to me to determine why Ron has decided to go the way he has chosen. I cannot read his heart.

    I do not want to be one that sows discord among the brethren. Please forgive me if I have ignited or fanned the fires of discord in your heart. I am ashamed of my words.

    A note to Luna Moth and “Michael” — we know each other and have for many years. I pray God’s best for you as you follow the path He has for your life.

  • Live Free

    5 years #393 and Monkhead #447

    thank you for sharing, really – thank you. tears, just tears reading your stories. i am so encouraged and moved and… encouraged. on SO many levels. and i needed to be. WE need to be. i wish i could elaborate on how this has touched me, but can’t really at this time. thank you for sharing. sincerely, thank you.

  • Former CLC'er

    This doesn’t relate to any other topic, but it’s a true story from this a.m. I took the bus to work and saw someone from CLC I haven’t seen in awhile. I forgot what I was even talking about, but he literally said, “I just don’t have categories for all of that.” It didn’t even make sense in the conversation. But talk about totally absorbing C.J.’s vocabulary!

  • Persona

    It’s just the beginning…#452

    The pastors and small group leaders in the non-sgm church we attend don’t take notes or keep files on anybody. They just don’t need to even though they are, in size, larger than CLC.

    I don’t think there is any good reason to keep records on members except membership docs, which are basically only a signature.

  • It's just the beginning

    Persona, even counseling notes? I have friends who have been in marriage counseling for 6+ months. I’m guessing the pastor is probably counseling maybe a half dozen more couples? (maybe more / maybe less)

    You’re saying it’s wrong for a pastor to keep notes during the various counseling sessions he conducts?

  • Sean Michael Curran

    A friend of mine from the Pasadena church called me a few minutes ago to “ask, and just to ask, as a friend” that I not post on this blog, mainly asking that I not post about the Pasadena church (as opposed to posting in general about SGM, which he didn’t care as much about) since “we are going through a tough time,” referencing the families who have left the church. He also indicated that he felt that the Pasadena church’s “future looked bright” in its partnership with SGM.

    It is mainly because of the last statement that I am writing this, for his sake.

    Jeremiah 6:13-15

    “‘For from the least of them even to the greatest of them,
    Everyone is greedy for gain,
    And from the prophet even to the priest
    Everyone deals falsely.

    ‘They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially,
    Saying, “Peace, peace,”
    But there is no peace.

    ‘Were they ashamed because of the abomination they have done?
    They were not even ashamed at all;
    They did not even know how to blush.
    Therefore they shall fall among those who fall;
    At the time that I punish them,
    They shall be cast down,’ says the LORD.”


    I first learned of the SGM Survivors blog in 2006, and I was decidedly less than impressed. I was a frequenter of a number of different web sites and forums that gave various anonymous posters a platform, and time and again I had witnessed the Internet used by others (and myself, really, who am I kidding?) as a means to self-indulgently vent without heed to discourse or to dialogue.

    I didn’t think this site was any different.

    I concluded, “Wow, these folks sure are bitter,” and left it at that. I didn’t really visit the site for a while afterward.

    For the sake of brevity, I will say that my college experiences as well as living with Christians from different backgrounds and traditions changed my beliefs considerably over the years from having pretty much grown up in an SGM church and considering that to be “normal Christianity.”

    By the time I decided that I would be leaving the church in Pasadena, the decision was based almost entirely upon my personal disagreements with how the Church was supposed to function, not because I was offended with SGM or with the Pasadena church in particular. While it was an issue of what is “right” to do, I am also a firm believer in ecumenism, that while you may be separated by particular issues you don’t burn your bridges entirely.

    But then it turned out that it wasn’t just issues of doctrine or of “emphasis,” that there were cover-ups, and that behind the scenes there was manipulation and outright lying going on over SGM’s history. In some cases there was sin being committed by leaders that was not dealt with. And right at that time I saw SGM Survivors applauding Joshua Harris’s repentant message “The Father’s Discipline,” which among other things said “It is exactly as bad as it looks like.”

    I read for a while before I posted, not just Survivors or Refuge, but also the SGM website to see how SGM was dealing with all of this. And as I saw the responses from SGM, it became clearer and clearer to me that the rhetoric used on the blogs was not exaggerating. It was exactly as bad as it looked like.

    The very first time I posted on this blog was after I read a post from someone with the name of “Anonymous” who criticized the posters here for being unforgiving and demanding justice wrongly, saying that he had been a child molester but that the pastors of his (I am assuming an) SGM church had encouraged reconciliation and repentance while keeping his crimes secret from the police, so that he had stopped and even gotten married and had children.

    As a childhood victim of sexual abuse myself (RB called the police and supported my family during the trial of the perpetrator; I was not a victim of SGM secrecy in this case), I was incensed that anyone could so glibly talk about grace and forgiveness and dare to insinuate that they had a better grasp on Christianity than others who talked about justice, as though Jesus had eradicated the Law. I have seen SGM display a similar haughtiness, and as long as they decry those who call out such haughtiness, I will continue to write against it.

    SGM has not held themselves to the same standard that they held over their members. They have not made themselves accountable; they have not repented. They have said “this is a difficult season” when they have dug in their heels. They have revamped, changed their image, and spun the truth for marketing purposes.

    The future is not bright for SGM if they continue down this path, my friend. I’m reminded of a song with the lyric “…and it comes to be that the soothing light at the end of your tunnel is just a freight train coming your way,” when I think of such statements.

    Partnership with such an organization is nothing short of a devil’s bargain.

    While I am not convinced that you will actually read this (and I don’t know who you rely on to read this blog for you, but I’m using my actual name, so the reader is rather sloppy at attributing posts), I know your reaction would be one of anger. You have never dealt well with challenges to your fundamental beliefs.

    My friend, pray for calm and clarity; remember Luke 14:26.

  • It's just the beginning

    @Sean, #458: thank you for SSOO many truth-filled thoughts. I so appreciate your quote from Jeremiah 6:13-15.

    This sentence you said resonated so much with me:
    “SGM has not held themselves to the same standard that they held over their members.”

    I’ll say it again:
    “SGM Has Not Held Themselves To The Same Standard That They Held Over Their Members.”

    One more time:

    How can the ‘future be bright’ in the middle of such hypocrisy, lies, cover up and spin?

    This is NOT the future that Jesus wants for His church. Church Members who find themselves in SGM churches: as best you can hold your pastors accountable for every action taken by SGM leadership the last 24 months and the last 30 years. Seek the truth on every matter. TRUTH AND TRANSPARENCY!

  • Jenn Grover

    Sean Michael Curran – that word from Jer. 6 was spot-on. It is this facade of “unity” and “loyalty” that is the SGM cry of “Peace, Peace.”

    I am sorry that you suffered from abuse. There aren’t any words to express how sad that is to me.

  • Jenn Grover

    formersgmer – your news about SD is discouraging.

    Philly Girl – well, if CJ is added to Mt. Rushmore, T4G is likely to go and remove him under cover of dark.

    Annie – too much!

  • Persona

    It’s Just the Beginning #457

    The church leaves counseling up to the small group leaders of the folks needing counsel or, professional counselors in the area.

    Not every church considers the pastors the main source of counseling. Our pastors offer prayer and encouragement down front on Sunday but, they trust the Holy Spirit to provide the counseling that is needed…even in the most serious cases.

    And, the small group leaders are never asked to report back to the pastors. It all comes down to what role you believe the pastor has in service to the church.

  • (Done) Just Watching

    “The future looks bright…” Wow.

  • Wizer

    As a former CFC member, hearing of these recent departures on the part of long-standing, key families has me wondering: can one or some of you speak to the general mood each Sunday over the past year? I cannot imagine still attending that church each Sunday, trying to follow the Lord and trying to decipher truth from shadow/shading of truth, reading here and feeling guilty for doing so (perhaps)… that has got to be rough. What kind of church life is that? We still have friends there and I don’t know what they must be thinking, ESP. seeing with their own eyes influential, long-standing members now leaving…

  • annie

    Former CLC’er, I know, right? Using “category” that way sounds so arrogant and judgmental. It seems like they’re saying that if they can’t categorize something then it’s invalid and not worthy of their consideration. The pesky, person, problem or concept is relegated to the junk drawer. No wait, they have no junk drawers. It’s a way to keep everything neat and tidy; nothing enigmatic, complicated, messy or hard to pigeonhole need disturb the perfect order of their doctrine. Just say “I have no category for that,” and you’re good to go. Barf.

  • annie

    Plus, it’s just downright nauseating mindlessly used cult-speak. Or at best it’s part of the cooler-than-thou jargon (not) of the celebrity pastor inspired neoreformed.

  • Pam Palmer

    Paul K. #448 In honor of you, because you post looooong comments :) and because I am very sorry that you are walking through this disheartening time, I am going to write a long comment. Here is a quote from today’s post by Dee at TWW, link here:

    A couple of months ago, I heard a sermon preached by a Mahaney look alike: shaved head and vocal/hand mannerisms that mimicked Mahaney to a tee. In his sermon, on which he touched on the “same old, same old” issues of gender roles, authority and obedience, he said the following:

    As Christians we must continue in obedience and not let up for a second. When we do, we are prone to sin. Just last week, I realized that there was a sin in my life and I couldn’t understand how it got there.

    Whoa-there is a sin in his life and he didn’t know how it got there? A sin?? I wanted to jump and say, “There are plenty of sins in your life, even though you consider yourself obedient.” In fact, I contend that it is this posture of the “almost sinless” leader who beats everybody else up about obedience and doctrine, that causes problems in the long run. Does anybody really believe some of the Neo-Calvinists when they claim that they are the worst sinners that they know?

    Many of us who frequent the blogohalls of TWW have been deeply wounded by the church. We must then reconcile what we see in the Scriptures with what we actually see in our churches. We have presented case after case of churches that abuse. We look at those who stay, or have stayed too long, and we often ask the question:

    Why don’t (or didn’t) they just leave?

    The answer goes something like this

    I prayed that it would get better.
    I thought things would change.
    I wanted to persevere.
    My spouse was convinced we could make changes by getting more involved.
    If I confront the leaders with the proof, surely they will listen?

    And yet, things don’t change or change so slowly that it takes decades. The leaders still cling to the public persona that they are “sin light” and, due to this perception, things continue unchanged. Elder boards are stocked with “yes” men while pastors hammer home an impossible task of becoming obedient, like them.

    Then, when the inevitable happens: the affair, the substance abuse, the expensive lifestyle, the controlling behavior, the anger directed at the members, we are shocked and hurt. We leave but then find ourselves caught in the same cycle in the next church.

    And some suggestions from Dee toward the end of this post:

    Here are some thoughts about church and abuse.

    We live in a fallen world. We are sinners and so is everyone, including Christian leaders.
    Leave any church in which the pastors and leaders show more concern about their authority, and your submission, than dealing with their own failings.
    You will sin and fail. Expect it, ask for forgiveness and do not beat yourself up about it. Jesus already has forgiven you.
    Find a church in which the leadership stresses love and grace more than authority.
    Find a church in which the leadership is willing to truly sacrifice themselves for the members (ala Stockdale).
    Run from any church that emphasizes church discipline, especially if the ones getting disciplined are the congregation and not the pastors and leaders.
    Remember, we know the end of the story. One day, Jesus will return and all will be made well. For now, expect an unfair world and leaders who sin.
    Confront the brutal facts. Sometimes, churches have no intention of changing. Do not waste your life serving a church which has no desire to love you.

    Paul, repeating what Dee wrote: “One day, Jesus will return and all will be made well.” Thank God! I know you believe this and I wanted to remind you of this in your angst and sorrow at how things are and were and have been in CLC. I have thought often of LOTR analogies, as well, in walking through these past two years since the documents were made public…I have read the trilogy through several times in entirety in my lifetime! (Yes, I’m a nerd! LOL) The War of the Rings was a long drawn out battle of seemingly insurmountable evil and corruption, but good people, doing what is right, really do win in the end. Be comforted!

  • annie

    Paul K., God bless you tonight. I meant no harm with my silly poems. I was just trying to answer in kind to Mr. Underhill’s silly poem. I appreciate your tender heart.

  • Waters

    Strange (or not)– I have heard reports of SGM congregants on the east coast and in the west, state “the future looks bright with a partnership with SGM.” Must be the catch-phrase the SGM leaders are mantra-ing….

    Thankyou, Sean Michael C for your excellent post #458 — you summarize so well the state of SGM.
    I continue to be saddened for Gods people —who choose to grasp the revamping, spinning straws of SGM—saying “peace, peace, when there is no peace”…..

  • Jenn Grover

    Waters….I’ll go with “or not.” There are no coincidences.

  • Jim

    This “bright future” stuff is just sad. Someone please name an established SGM church that has grown in the last year. The new Louisville mothership is smaller than a church plant, and it’s full of sgm employees and their families.

    Personality-driven from the beginning, who is the rockstar who will replace CJ? Jared? The ever dynamic Prader?

    The blogs, the docs, and the lawsuits have delivered mortal wounds from which sgm will never recover.

    Make no mistake-we are witnessing the death of a denomination.

  • Concerned for the kids

    “We were particularly disturbed by their apparent use of secreted electronic devices to record conversations in one of the conference rooms in the CLC church office”


    Can anyone add some info to this? Recording conversations in Maryland without the consent of both parties is illegal, I believe. So if true, an honest to goodness crime committed each time they did it.

    Anyone have further info on the recording of conversations with two-party consent as required by Maryland law?


  • Looking outward

    Jim #471. Which makes this more sad…. I became part of People of Destiny in 1987 (ish) because I did not want a denomination ….. I just wanted to follow scripture . Purely and simply. Is that possible?

  • Jenn Grover

    Looking outward, you just described a great many people. One thing that has occurred to me recently is that Scripture has been given a lower view by SGM in its reformed transformation. I have seen both CLC and SGM use “church history” authoritatively to defend positions of polity. That is a slippery slope for that is also how cessationists typically counter charismatics. I have recently revisited a truth that I have held since I was a child: Scripture is our highest authority and all believers can understand it with the help of the Holy Spirit. The PDI vision for building and planting NT churches was consistent with that. The reformed, elder-centric version of SGM is not.

    Why on earth would people consider church history as authoritative when it is full of sins of both commission and omission?

  • Philemon

    This “bright future” stuff is just sad. Someone please name an established SGM church that has grown in the last year. The new Louisville mothership is smaller than a church plant, and it’s full of sgm employees and their families.

    Jim, not sure where you got your information. There are over 100 adults in the Louisville church and well over 200 total including children. The church is actually growing quite well. I know that is really bad news!

  • Fruit Flavored

    It’s just the beginning #452 –

    Sorry to back track so far in the conversation, but much of your post #352 makes perfectly logical sense. Unfortunately, if I felt the pastors were trustworthy, I would not take issue with them keeping notes, especially in counseling situations. However, when a therapist or counselor or doctor takes notes there is a degree of confidentiality. At CLC, that does not seem to be the case. The pastors have full discretion to share your information with whomever they want. To me that is not ok.

    As for CG leaders taking notes and sharing them with the pastors, it was my understanding that sometimes this was done privately, but mostly it was done during CG leaders’ meetings. In this scenario CG leaders in the same sphere would meet in a group together with the pastor. The CG leaders would take turns sharing important information about situations that arose in their groups so that they could receive guidance how to best “care for” those within the group. I know that information was not just shared without names, it was often shared specifically. So the information you thought you were sharing in confidence in your CG was not only shared with the pastor, but with a bevy of CG leaders. Again, this is/was not OK.

  • Stunned

    I agree that good therapists should take some notes. I, also, believe those notes are confidential and a sacred trust when someone is sharing intimate thoughts with you. I find it horrifying that caregroup leaders would share what someone said in what they thought was the privacy and confines of their homegroup. Just as horrified that any counselor would EVER share his/her notes with any other person. Ever. Talk about a betrayal of trust.

  • Phoenix


    Not sure where your got your information. We know who Jim is and we know he has good sources. We don’t know who you are or how you might be manipulating the numbers. And don’t bother to take umbrage at that; because no one who still supports SGM has any credibility with me. You’re shoring up liars and abusers.

  • Phoenix

    I think the whole “pastors taking notes in order to give good pastoral care” is a red herring. I don’t think anyone is objecting to that; but I think best practices would dictate that those notes be destroyed. I work in higher education and we are required by law to be extremely careful of students’ privacy. Should the church do less? SGM has proven the destructive use they are willing to make of information AND has proven that they conceal the truth from members. If there is nothing wrong with this practice and they were doing it in order to provide excellent pastoral care then why conceal it?

  • Persona

    Phoenix 479

    The notes our Pastors’ took were used against us more times than I care to remember. And, woe to you if two or more pastors were taking notes on what you were sharing! That definitely added weight to their case and you might as well begin your search for another church home. They had a system and it was decidedly in their favor.

    I do not believe Pastors are called by God to direct the sheep in the intimate ways SGM pastors regularly did. God does not require that of them.

    And, as for Jim’s comment about lack of church growth. I happened to see a photo of their ‘New Members’ babysitting class and there was one child being cared for. And, it could have been the leader’s child for all I know. But, it does not appear that the people of L’ville are beating down the doors to join the new church.

  • PB&J

    Phoenix, yes and yes. Philemon, I know his type… kiss a** yes men… . And the motivation of note taking is not to provide better care. Just as their accountability groups are not for helping the sheep to walk closer with Christ. They use this information against the sheep. They follow CJs lead, manipulate, blackmail, lord over, and threaten. If you are on their “list” they will monitor your facebook, if they know who you are here, they track your posts. They will call you the enemy. They are obsessed with defending not the cross or gospel, but defending their image. Their shiny coat of paint on their wrenched business.

  • Philly Girl

    Fruit #476 and Phoenix #479. We were CGL many years ago and were taught that the pastors over us needed to know the flock. We were taught that we were an extension of the pastors. Names were in our reports, but, when we had our CGL meetings with the pastor, names were not mentioned. Of course, if you knew the people involved, you could guess who they were, but names were not spoken. That would be gossiping. And gossiping is a sin.
    Oswald. Thank you for the Shorey family tree. I thought it interesting who their ‘friends’ are on FB. I don’t know how I got to FB when I ‘binged’ their names. Keep cool!

  • Full Court Press

    Philemon #475. Wow a highly-publicized church with five pastors led by coveted speaker CJ Mahaney, worship legend Bob Kauflin and renowned theologian Jeff Purswell has a whole 100 adults. Man, they are killing it!

  • Jenn Grover

    The problem is not with pastors taking notes it what they have done with the notes. People take notes on prayer requests all of the time, for the purpose of prayer – or, for the benefit of the person sharing. The problem is that there are some SGM pastors who have used notes to build a case against members or to keep “files on members. I know not all SGM pastors are that organized, though. :)

    Taking notes can be useful. If a pastor has listened to a story in great detail, should the member have to re-tell the whole story when a pastor could use notes to jog his memory? Note-taking also helps some people listen to a person without interrupting and following up at the end of the conversation. So, I don’t see note-taking as an inherently bad activity.

    But, SGM’s reputation for a lack of genuine, loving, pastoral care has brought notoriety to the practice of note-taking. Note-taking is just an expression of the deeper problem.

    If there are in fact secret recording devices, that is just wrong. It is deceitful and likely illegal. Members should ask their pastors if the church has ever recorded meetings or conversations without the knowledge of the participants.

    I know some SGM pastors have practiced recording conversations without people’s knowledge and consent. That was deceptive. Those pastors should repent immediately! Ask yourselves why you did such a thing and allow God to deal with your heart.

  • Jenn Grover

    I will also add that I found it troubling to read that Greg Somerville stated he had read someone’s “file” when he had not been involved in the counseling or the situation. One of the things that bothered me the most was that SGM leaders felt free to talk about and share confidential information about members but the hypocrisy that was shown when information about these leaders was made known was unreal. Unless someone is a danger to himself or others – and I mean as in immediate threat of bodily harm, with an active plan and means to carry it out, information shared in confidence or a counseling session should not be passed on. In a large church, I could see where a CGL or a pastor would ask another pastor for help, without naming names or without providing enough detail to reveal the person’s identity, but I have too often seen where information was shared even beyond the local church. That is wrong.

    I believe this type of behavior stems from trying to manage people versus care for them. Pastors in SGM counsel situations, sins, behavior, issues, ect…they don’t counsel people. Bearing someone’s burden and patiently walking through trials or seasons of growth is a lot harder than referring some to a book, quipping one of their “truths”, or telling them what to do. SGM focused on fixing people, not walking with them.

  • Waters

    Phoenix #479 writes:
    “SGM has proven the destructive use they are willing to make of information AND has proven that they conceal the truth from members.” Sadly true.

    Concealing truth? How does that constitute a bright and rosy future ahead with SGM? Members will continue to be steered with half-truths—which is slick deception. SGMites, when you align yourself with deceptive leaders, you begin to believe their deceptions. Dangerous. Duplicitous thinking and perspective becomes a belief that is not true—which causes you to believe a lie or lies. Which causes you to become weakened in hearing and discerning truth. See the slippery slope???
    Then you donot even know you arenot operating in Gods gift of critical thinking and spiritual discernment. You automatically respond to challenges with “oy, I don’t have a category for that”… Let’s see, now just when did mixing some truth with some deception come into the realm of human living? Oh yes, satan, the The Deceiver. Following deceivers will NOT bring a bright future.

    Pasadena families who have left, we understand your grief. Because we too have experienced that depth of pain. And it is pain— a deep spiritual sorrow. May Gods Word continue to be a Lamp to your feet, and a Light for your path.(PS 119:105)… as the Lord Himself upholds you in His unfailing love ~

  • Jenn Grover

    Philemon – let’s look at the likely break-down:

    Pastors College students and spouses – 20ish?
    SGM employees/close friends & spouses: 20ish?
    5 pastors and spouses: 10ish?

    And when you have guest speakers in constantly (I know this from participating in a church plant)you can easily expect 25-50 extras who are likely 1x visitors. I think we had our biggest crowds in when Josh came and when Larry T came, both back in the late 90’s. Out of those visitors I do not believe any stayed and became members.

    The question churches who are staying should ask is exactly who is bank-rolling this church plant? Are these extra pastors donating their time? Is Gary being funded 100% by SGM for the PC? Is bob funded 100% by SGM? We know Jeff is funded 100% by SGM. What about CJ’s son in laws? What about CJ – is he getting the typical salary of a church-planting pastor, or one of a celebrity pastor? What about the guest speakers and their honorariums? Who pays for them? These questions are legitimate now that SGM is making tithing to SGM mandatory for member churches.

    For a movement that lost 25 churches, including some of their bigger churches, and likely lost a lot of individual donors, they sure have a lot of paid employees.

  • It's just the beginning

    @Philly Girl, #482: can you expand on the “reports” you sent to pastors as a CGL?
    * Were these monthly reports?
    * Was the content just about who showed up to CG each week? or more ‘about their souls’?
    * Did you have to fill out a sentence/paragraph about each member in your CG or only info about members’ problems?


    It sounds like SGM churches–and I’m guessing even different pastors at a big church like CLC–had different practices when it came to CGL’s reporting things up to their pastor. Eric NS said in #420 about being a CGL at CLC under 3 pastors from 1994 to 2001 and 2003 to 2008–he never filled out forms or sent in regular reports about members. He did have CGL meetings with his pastor every 4-6 weeks where the pastor and he talked about members in his there was verbal ‘reporting’ from CGL to pastor.

    I don’t think pastors should be secretly gathering information from CGLs. If that is the normal procedure of things, each new member of CLC should be told that CGL’s regularly meet with the pastor overseeing that CG and the CGL updates the pastor about each CG member.

    But more to the point, I don’t think pastors should be relying on reports (written or verbal) from their CGL’s .. there’s way too much room for miscommunication or misrepresenting something or just simply misreading a situation.

  • Diego

    I’m sure we will hear of revival coming to the L’ville church. There is probably 15 families coming for PC this year? That will be 30 more adults and probably another 60 kids. WOW, how the Lord is blessing this church. Stats don’t lie. GAG. Church growth by the numbers is surely a sign of blessing, right loyalists!!

  • Diego

    Jenn, I should update before posting, but I like how you think :)

  • Full Court Press

    According to the Our Pastors section of the SGC Louisville site, Brian Chesmore is the only full-time pastor. The bios for BK JP and CG pretty clearly indicate their days jobs or full time jobs are with SGM. Not clear about CJ.

    I doubt CJ needs the paycheck if he has the means to personally give at least $100K to a baptist seminary.

  • intheNickoftime

    Jim – You said it best!

    This “bright future” stuff is just sad. Someone please name an established SGM church that has grown in the last year.

    The blogs, the docs, and the lawsuits have delivered mortal wounds from which sgm will never recover.

    Make no mistake-we are witnessing the death of a denomination.

    Like the emperor with no clothes, people are starting to notice.

    And like a snake with the head cut off, it still writhes and slithers around because news of it’s death has not completely propagated down to the rest of the serpent’s body.

    Like the fall of Rome, as region buy region revolts, the seat of government is too involved in it’s own life to notice.

    The future looks bright because when SGM dies the people will have to go out and find new churches. Most of those new churches will be grace filled. God will be happy.

  • Dr. Pepper

    If CJ planted the church shouldn’t he be the only pastor?

  • Philemon

    If CJ planted the church shouldn’t he be the only pastor?

    It is fairly common for churches with 100+ adult members and over 200 total attendance to have two pastors.

  • Philly Girl

    It’s Just the Beginning #488. It was a long time ago. As I remember, we did reports weekly (caregroups met weekly)and if there were problems raised in the group, we would set up a time to meet with those people asap. In our report, we stated, the problems we saw, how we responded, our follow up, and also who was absent, had to find out why and give reason, what we discussed, if not given direction from the pastor. You know, there may be some, like us, who walked away quietly, as directed, and how much junk did we take with us? We thought we were ok. What we put the next pastor and his church through, without even knowing how messed up we were inside. Deep inside. OK. Gotta go, I’m starting to feel guilty again.

  • intheNickoftime

    Jen in #487 said –

    For a movement that lost 25 churches, including some of their bigger churches, and likely lost a lot of individual donors, they sure have a lot of paid employees.

    25 churches gone @ 5-10%(remember CLC donated almost a mil per year)

    Lots of donors who remain in their SGM church have stopped their donations. Some because they want no part of SGM and some because they aren’t certain they trust their current leadership. But the $$ is down in most of the churches. (Several of the Virginia churches had to release elders because they didn’t have the funds to keep them.)

  • Jim


    The first care group I led had 43 people, with others wanting to join. I remain unimpressed with Louisville…

  • Philemon


    The first care group I led had 43 people, with others wanting to join. I remain unimpressed with Louisville…

    gottcha – growth is not amazing – granted. But it is much larger than reported.

    BTW – We have a bit in common. I also had similar background with a very large care group that was very popular. My old care group is currently a church.

  • FormerFriendOfBrent

    Just wanted to report here that Brent Detwiler has blocked me from his facebook page. I was having a lively conversation with Brent and several other participants, including a relative of mine–who was also subsequently blocked. My main point was simply that we should not assume all of the stories in the amended lawsuit are necessarily true or factual. (I’m pretty sure several of the allegations are false).

    I thought Brent’s page was an open forum. Yet, interestingly, it sort of reminds me of his complaint against CJ: if you don’t agree, you get sidelined. Ironically, I actually agree with much of what Brent has been saying, but not all of it. Disapointing. . .

  • Jenn Grover

    Philemon – A church with less than 200 people will struggle greatly to support 2 pastors, especially if one is high-paid.Pittsburgh teeters right around 200 and had to lay-off a pastor last year. Most churches don’t consider a second pastor until they hit around 175.

    I think the “much larger than reported” remain to be seen.

    Friend of Brent – Brent’s page is a personal page, not a “Fan page”. Also, what would lead you to believe that several of the allegations are false?

  • Stunned

    FFOB, what would make you think that Brent is interested in an open forum?

  • PB&J

    A church with less than 200 people will struggle greatly to support 2 pastors is true, unless you are a Sovereign Grace Franchise pastor. I have seen where over half of the church budget went to pastor salary and benefits. Benefits somewhat equal to those of federal employees with time off, healthcare etc… . Renting a school, paying the pastors, leaves little for ministry and bereavement funds. Even when a significant portion of the church leaves (only a 30% decrease in revenue)won’t stop the “heads” of the church from downsizing. Only a church purging like that at Kingsway will cause the belts to tighten. But then that leads to change in doctrinal thinking on lay elders- they are more cost effective. Don’t need the Bible to support or refute decisions just cash flow…

  • Jenn Grover

    Former Friend of Brent – I just read through the thread. I actually have met you and I am going to assume that your response was that of a loyal friend. I would like to ask you to consider a couple of things: 1) Your friend has a proven history as an abuser. One thing we know is that abusers are among the most deceptive people on the planet. You might be deceived by your friend. I would love nothing more than to see all allegations proven false – actually proven, not just denied. If they are false, that would mean that there are far fewer victims than the lawsuit suggests, which would be a good thing. Also, the accused could be cleared. Secondly, I would ask you to consider that two sides can have completely different takes on what has happened and both earnestly believe they are telling the truth, especially in an abuse case. I have seen families ripped apart because those who sided with the victims rejected all who sided with the accused or who refused to side against the accused. To proclaim that the lawsuit has falsehoods based on what you have been told is dangerous unless you were present, yourself.

    As has been mentioned many times here, the best case scenario is for these accusations to reach trial where the matters can be solved by an impartial judge and jury. SGM is doing its best to avoid a clear hearing of the accusations (where have we heard that before.)Until is settled, I would withhold accusing anyone of falsehoods.

    BTW, Brent was right, your nephew should hold off playing the bitter card. It only reveals that he is an SGM pastor’s son.

  • Jim said:

    This “bright future” stuff is just sad. Someone please name an established SGM church that has grown in the last year. The new Louisville mothership is smaller than a church plant, and it’s full of sgm employees and their families.
    Personality-driven from the beginning, who is the rockstar who will replace CJ? Jared? The ever dynamic Prader?

    This sure sounds like “denial of peril’ that Jim Collins writes in his book “How the Might Fail” in describing the steps a company goes into falling into oblivion. It sure sounds like SGM Leaders are denying the stage they are in. This is sad.

    Maybe SGM Leaders should have read this Jim Collins’ book and not just his book titled “Good to Great.”

  • Jenn Grover said:

    Philemon — A church with less than 200 people will struggle greatly to support 2 pastors, especially if one is high-paid.Pittsburgh teeters right around 200 and had to lay-off a pastor last year. Most churches don’t consider a second pastor until they hit around 175.

    I would think that a church could support more than one pastor with this membership level when most of the members are tithing (not to mention giving additional offerings on top of the tithe).

    I guess some of this would depend on who you consider a “member.” Does that count include children with no significant income?

    If you have 200 adult members and say you assume that 120 have jobs outside the home (the rest are stay at home moms etc.). This would bring the church’s income
    assuming all tithed or better to 12 times the average salary. One would think that with 12 times the average salary even with other expenses such as building rent they could afford to have 2 pastors and support staff.

    I know that with benefits etc. the cost of a pastor is more than a person’s average salary but still.

    I would certainly like to see where money is going especially if most members are tithing or better.

  • 5yearsinPDI

    Former friend……

    Is it correct that you are basing your conclusions about the lawsuit on something Dave Adams said to you? Do you expect us to believe him? Or did you get your information elsewhere?

    Is it true that BD deleted comments questioning the plaintiffs honesty, based on statements by former convicted sex offender DA? Did you ever read that little Boz quote about how sex offenders are the most devious men in the world? (It doesn’t make Dave wrong and the plaintiffs right, but really, do you expect us to respect him as a source? Or respect you?)

    Brent Detwiler: FYI, Glen Flowers is a staunch supporter of Dave Adams who has already been convicted of child abuse. I imagine or hope Adams faces new indictment resulted from Plaintiff James Roberts. It is amazing the litter that can show up on FB some times. And then guys like Glen are not honest and tell you they believe a convicted felon over victims of abuse. 44 minutes ago

    · Like · 1..

    Janna Chan Thanks for the info, Brent. Glen Flowers long series of lies above makes what you’re saying very easy to believe. There’s a lot of trash on Facebook but I’m glad he came here so you could call him out on his creepy manipulative behavior.8 minutes ago · Edited ·

    Like..Brent Detwiler Glen, you were never a “Former Friend of Mine” per Survivors. I barely even knew you. Stop your lying in order to get an audience.

  • Jim

    This will be categorized (because we need categories these days) as sinful speculation, but I’m not bound by sgm’s categories or sinful speculations about me.

    Does anyone honestly think that CJ’s church plant got the same financing deal that other sgm church plants receive? It’s the new mothership, and I’m sure that finances are not a concern.

  • Jenn Grover

    Jim – 100% agree. As a matter of fact, churches remaining who do not support CJ but think Mark Prater is the answer, should consider their new mandatory tithe goes to support CJ’s new church.

  • Pam Palmer

    From “7 Steps to Protecting Our Children”

    Step 1: Learn the Facts
    Realities, Not Trust, Should Influence Your Decisions Regarding Children
    “We live in a beautiful, safe neighborhood. None of these children could be victims of sexual abuse, right?”

    -Experts estimate that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before their 18th birthdays. This means that in any classroom or neighborhood full of children, there are children who are silently bearing the burden of sexual abuse.
    -1 in 5 children are sexually solicited while on the Internet.
    -nearly 70% of all reported sexual assaults (including assaults on adults) occur to children ages 17 and under.
    -The median age for reported sexual abuse is 9 years old.
    -Approximately 20% of the victims of sexual abuse are under age eight.
    -50% of all victims of forcible sodomy, sexual assault with an object, and forcible fondling are under age twelve.
    -Most child victims never report the abuse.
    -Sexually abused children who keep it a secret or who “tell” and are not believed are at greater risk than the general population for psychological, emotional, social, and physical problems, often lasting into adulthood. It is also likely that you know an abuser. The greatest risk to children doesn’t come from strangers but from friends and family.
    -30-40% of children are abused by family members.
    -As many as 60% are abused by people the family trusts- abusers frequently try to form a trusting relationship with parents.
    -Nearly 40% are abused by older or larger children.
    -People who abuse children look and act just like every one else. In fact, they often go out of their way to appear trustworthy to gain access to children.
    -Those who sexually abuse children are drawn to settings where they can gain easy access to children, such as sports leagues, faith centers, clubs, and schools.

    “It can’t happen in my family. I could tell if someone I know is an abuser.”
    Yet in more than 90% of sexual abuse cases the child and the child’s family know and trust the abuser.

    “Most child victims never report the abuse” — when they are children. However, watching the unfolding of the sex scandal in the Catholic church, Boy Scouts and Penn State many of those victimized children grow up and gain the strength to finally confront and report their abusers, sometimes well into their 30s, 40s and 50s. This is precisely what we are seeing in the SGM sex abuse lawsuit. Young women and men are standing up to their alleged abusers and the pastors who according to our SAC covered up these abusers.

  • keepinstep

    Philemon, I must comfort you with the knowledge that people are actively praying for the Louisville church-plant to utterly fail, unless and until CJ Mahaney repents of his many sins, beginning with those against CLC members and pastors to whom he lied and from whom he hid and ran to Louisville trailing a cloud of lies.

  • “FormerFriendOfBrent” said,

    My main point was simply that we should not assume all of the stories in the amended lawsuit are necessarily true or factual. (I’m pretty sure several of the allegations are false).

    I would agree with you that we cannot assume all the allegations in the lawsuit are true. If you go back and read any of my comments from the past month or two, you’ll see that I have said as much several times, to the point where I know it bugs a lot of the readers here.


    That being said, I would truly love to know – really know – how it is that you know several of the allegations are not true.

    Seriously – could you tell us how you are so confident that some of the plaintiffs are lying?

    I would really appreciate it if you could share your perspective. Thanks.

  • Jim said:

    Does anyone honestly think that CJ’s church plant got the same financing deal that other sgm church plants receive? It’s the new mothership, and I’m sure that finances are not a concern.

    I am sure that C.J.’s church plant got a better deal than most if not all church plants. Someone pointed out a while ago that the sound equipment they were using (shown in pictures/videos) appeared new and was quite expensive. A lot of other plants didn’t get that caliber equipment starting off.

    It also wouldn’t surprise me if some of the salaries of pastors (such as C.J.’s) are being paid directly by SGM that makes the numbers look better for SGM Louisville.

    I am sure the SGM Louisville Church will be allowed to operate in the red for a long time and get support from SGM that if it had been another church plant would have folded or something.

    Isn’t it nice to know where you dollars you give to SGM go or your SGM Church’s tithe to SGM? ;-)

  • Roadwork

    Believe the best.
    That way you won’t ask about where your tithe goes.

    Believe the best.
    That way you won’t ask for personal accountability.

    Believe the best.
    That way you won’t question.

    Believe the best.
    That way you won’t find fault.

    Believe the best.
    That way you won’t see their sin.

    Believe the best.
    That way you won’t believe the truth.

    I had to believe the best, yet they always believed the worst in me.

    Don’t believe the best.
    Believe the evidence.

  • just saying...


    Wow. That comment reveals a lot about Brent.

    “Brent Detwiler Glen, you were never a “Former Friend of Mine” per Survivors. I barely even knew you. Stop your lying in order to get an audience.”

    Brent, if Glen was never a former friend of yours, then why did you friend request him along with thousands of other strangers affiliated with SGM churches all over the country?

    If anyone was ever trying to get an audience…

    What are you, five??? I would take Glen’s word over yours any day of the week.

  • Dr. Pepper


    You’re right! They want us to believe the best in them, yet they don’t believe the best in us.

  • patyS

    I think that there are many “Former Friends of Brent” after what he has been posting in facebook regarding the lawsuit. He is not hurting just Loftness or CJ/SGM but all the Body of Christ. He is ready to hurt anyone he can. He is smart enough to know the difference between being accused and being proven guilty. I was a strong supporter of Brent but now I am blocking him from facebook. He needs to received God’s healing before he falls into the devil’s deceptive ways. My non-Christian friends and family are commenting on his postings, it is like reading a porno magazine. He does not stand for truth any longer but for hate and disgrace to the Body of Christ.

  • intheNickofTime


    What does CJ do for SGM? He stepped down from being the pope and claims that he is just a pastor. SGCL claims he helps out by preaching and leading.

    I know he still walks around with the trappings of being a former pope, but what is his real situation. He claims he is the pastor of the new church but then he is not paid by that church, because his son-in-law is listed as the only full time (paid) pastor. The other pastors are all paid by SGM for their “day jobs” according to the church webpage.

  • Happymom

    Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (G.R.A.C.E.)
    Historic Public Statement Released Regarding Sexual Abuse in the Church. Please share!

  • Gareth McNab

    Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (G.R.A.C.E.)
    Historic Public Statement Released Regarding Sexual Abuse in the Church. Please share!

    Signatories include Justin and Lindsay Holcomb, of Mars Hill Seattle – authors of a book addressing sexual abuse and much heralded by Mark Driscoll.

    I wonder what Mark Driscoll’s view of his ‘mentor and discipler’ is now? Having learnt much about humility from him, I would love to see Mark teach CJ about abuse of women and children in the typical Mark Driscoll ‘I like cage fighting and hate men who hit women and children’ way that we have come to know and love or hate.

    That would certainly be a meeting I’d like to happen in CLC’s pastor’s boardroom for the sake of posterity.

  • Diego

    just saying,
    I think it was thousands of people sending friend requests to Brent, rather than Brent sending out thousands of friend requests. Just sayin…

  • Pam Palmer

    To be a shepherd in the body of Christ and blind to the knowledge that your sheep are being abused by wolves in your midst is to be an inattentive shepherd. To judge merely by outward appearances is a failure of righteousness. To fail to obey the laws of the land as Scripture commands by declining to report and expose abuse is to be a disobedient shepherd. To be told that wolves are devouring our lambs and fail to protect those lambs is to be a shepherd who sides with the wolves who hinder those same little ones from coming to Jesus. To fail to grasp the massive web of deception entangling an abuser and set him or her loose among the sheep is to be naïve about the very nature and power of sin. To be told a child is being or has been abused and to make excuses for failing to act is a diabolical misrepresentation of God. To know a woman is being raped or battered in hidden places and silence her or send her back is to align with those who live as enemies of our God. Protecting an institution or organization rather than a living, breathing lamb is to love ministry more than God and to value a human name or institution more than the peerless name of Jesus.

    from “A Public Statement Concerning Sexual Abuse in the Church of Jesus Christ”

    Wow, powerful statement! Happymom, thanks for posting that!!!
    “To be told a child is being or has been abused and to make excuses for failing to act is a diabolical misrepresentation of God.”

  • Stunned

    “diabolical misrepresentation of God.”

    Worth saying again. Diabolical.

  • Uriah

    Hi friends… just a heads up,
    There is a recent Newsletter posted over at
    It is basically a copy of the petition drafted by the director of GRACE, Billy Graham’s grandson, and has been signed by many other evangelical leaders and pastors relating to the sex abuse scandals. It is a worthy read and hopefully many of you will want to pass it on to others.

  • Uriah

    Sorry…. I see that many of you are already “on it”. I should have read the earlier posts. However, I believe more is better in this case.

  • A1 M00re

    From the statement:
    “Protecting an institution or organization rather than a living, breathing lamb is to love ministry more than God and to value a human name or institution more than the peerless name of Jesus.”

    Bingo. And may we all be reminded that loving an institution — or anything — more than God is a form of idolatry, plain and simple.

    “Bright future”? I’m not betting on that outcome until there is an honest and sobering assessment of the past.

  • Full Court Press

    Just to take a step back for a moment, I think it is good to point out the progress that has been made in impeding CJ. The fact that he has been pushed out of T4G and the Piper conference is huge. No way he wanted to do that, we already know how much he regrets his initial stepping aside because of how it made him look guilty. He was forced out as a speaker at these conferences, no question. And these recent statements responding to SGM’s corrupt ways are a big deal.

    CJ is now tainted, damaged goods. More and more people are realizing that CJ/SGM are not what they seem, caring more about themselves than the victimized children. Eventually the RBDs and Wayne Grudems of the world will have to give in to public pressure (moral pressure apparently doesn’t work) and really disassociate from CJ.

  • Dan Gerous

    Wanted to thank you all for shining light into a dark ministry. My family recently left SGM. We are in a period of figuring things out. Trying to separate the “junk” that we learned and focus on growing in Christ. Feel tainted right now, but I’m sure we’ll find clarity as time passes by the grace of God. Thanking Brent too for all that he has done, and grateful for how God has used him. None of us are perfect-yet. We will be only by the grace of Jesus and His completed work when we stand in His presence. See I’m sounding less SGish already!! Thanks again.

  • Stunned


    God will bring you through this time gently. It may not feel that way, but He will be at work to draw ya’ll closer to Him because there is nothing that means more to Him than you knowing Him and His loving nature.

  • Waters

    The public statement concerning child abuse – signed by many pastors, Christian counselors and Professors, authors— I pray this article/statement receives a wide scope of press. If we, as a community of Christians more highly value our conferences ,leaders, churches, books, theological studies rather than the value of every person (“For God SO loved the world…”)we have lost touch with Jesus command to “go, and do the same” in loving and caring for all, especially the wounded
    (story of the good Samaritan)

    Pam Palmer highlights the crux of the matter in #521
    Yes, Stunned, worthy of repeating #522…also I stand up to repeat:

    “…To be told a child is being or has been abused and to make excuses for failing to act is a diabolical misrepresentation of God.”

    “To know a woman is being raped or battered in hidden places and silence her or send her back is to ALIGN with those who live as enemies of our God.”

    “Protecting an institution or organization rather than a living, breathing lamb is to love ministry more than God and to value a human name or institution more than the PEERLESS NAME OF JESUS.”

    Our Pastors declaration several months ago: “Let us not elevate the noise of the Pharisees over the cries of the hurting.”

  • Jim

    say it with me…

    diabolical misrepresentation of God.

    diabolical misrepresentation of God.

    diabolical misrepresentation of God.

    diabolical misrepresentation of God!

  • Jenn Grover

    Jim: Amen.

  • Patricia

    Two questions for Steve250 in #505 or any others who care to respond:

    Does SGM teach that members should tithe 10% of their income to the church?

    And if so, is your sense that most members actually give a tithe?

  • Patricia said,

    Two questions for Steve250 in #505 or any others who care to respond:

    Does SGM teach that members should tithe 10% of their income to the church?

    And if so, is your sense that most members actually give a tithe?

    SGM churches have traditionally taught that members must tithe 10% (or more) of their income. While some churches were more legalistic about this than others, I believe the topic would be addressed in membership classes. Moreover, it was not uncommon at many churches for charity during a crisis to be contingent upon whether or not the needy member had previously made a practice of tithing. Members could be confronted for tithing less than what a pastor assumed would be a tenth of the member’s surmised income – meaning in at least certain situations, SGM pastors were kept informed about members’ giving.

    As to whether or not people actually make a practice/habit out of giving 10%, I don’t know. I believe that most members who want to fit into SGM’s culture eventually do find themselves tithing.

    (Please note, these are generalizations based upon what various people have shared here over the years. I realize that there are people whose experiences within SGM churches were different. Also, I know that SGM churches have attempted to back away from overt legalism about the tithe in recent years.)

    If anyone has anything to add, please do so. However, I am requesting that we DO NOT begin any sort of discussion about whether or not tithing is biblical, or whether or not SGM’s issues can all be traced back to teaching the practice of tithing. This topic has been visited and revisited in the past, and I know it is some readers’ special hobby horse, to the point where these discussions can become laborious and extremely boring. So PLEASE, do not go there today. Thanks!

  • It's just the beginning

    But I thought tithing was only….

    wait, sorry – bad joke. couldn’t resist Kris.

  • Foot

    Patricia #532, you ask an excellent question, but if you do your research, you will end up at Jim’s #530 truthful statement: “diabolical misrepresentation of God!”

  • Former CLC'er

    My understanding was that friends who joined CLC a year ago had to sign a pledge to tithe. But of course CLC is not longer SGM.

  • Philemon

    I attended an SGM church that did not believe in tithing, as it was considered to be part of Old Testament law. In this view, the New testament counterpart is systematic cheerful giving (taken from New Testament).

    In this system of giving, those on really tight budgets may possibly give 5% or less of their income or maybe just $20 or whatever, and those who are more affluent may actually give considerably more than 10%.

    I think this stance is vastly in the minority in SGM churches as well as all Baptist churches, etc. However I tend to think of it as possibly a more Biblical approach.

    I think my current SGM churc believes in tithing, but in three years I have never heard a message on the subject. BTW, our SGM church helped a needy family to the tune of thousands of dollars, and I doubt that they were able to tithe as they were destitute.

  • Patricia

    Thanks Kris.

    Uriah’s post #523 is worth repeating:

    “It is basically a copy of the petition drafted by the director of GRACE, Billy Graham’s grandson, and has been signed by many other evangelical leaders and pastors relating to the sex abuse scandals. It is a worthy read and hopefully many of you will want to pass it on to others.”

  • Foot

    Patricia, thanks for link. When thinking of $GM (formerly PDI), this quote from the link is powerful and thought provoking:

    “When we choose willful ignorance, inaction or neutrality in the face of evil, we participate in the survival of that evil.”

    I was just thinking, when the church “fails” to do its “administration of the gospel,” God (our Lord Jesus Christ) will use the world to still get the glory… Momentum is building, can you sense it, can you see Jesus doing this? If you can or don’t, it will not matter, it won’t stop till Jesus is glorified to His satisfaction!

  • Foot

    Oh (sorry, I am slow…), Jim was quoting from the link, got it, KABOOM! Wow, many people listed on that link, glad you all could make it… Take heart in Jesus!

  • Foot

    Hmmm, I have heard it said that the scenery does not change, except for the lead dog.

    However, when the lead dog is a wolf and your head is up his rear, how great a darkness is that? And, then to pay to have that happen to you? Yep, diabolical indeed! Why would you settle for a wolf’s rear end when you can have our Lord Jesus Christ instead??? Selah!

  • 5yearsinPDI

    Jim…um…you got that all wrong. Repeat after me:

    “You are a sinner too.”

    “Better than you deserve”

    “Maybe you liked the attention”

  • 5yearsinPDI

    re tithing……

    Our PDI membership covenant included the promise to tithe to the church.

    SGM has used and promoted-intensely- materials by John Piper and Randy Alcorn. ( and I happen to think very highly of their materials in general).

    Piper teaches (heard it on CD myself) that tithing is middle class America’s way of robbing God. He is into mega giving- for foreign missions. Alcorn is also into the live simply and give as much as possible model. Alcorn is also big on tithing on your pre tax gross income inc. health insurance and other benefits.

    PDI did indeed stress generous giving way beyond the tithe, to do the work of the kingdom…..which at that time didn’t seem to relate to anything overseas or the local poor, but nobody asked any questions.

    Still shaking my head at all that koolaid we drank. I am all for giving above and beyond our ability, to reach the lost and help orphans….but in retrospect so much was going to nice buildings and stupid stuff.

  • As others have said, SGM has typically pushed tithing and giving above the tithe. Thus I am sure that SGM takes in on average at least 10% of each member’s income and probably more.

    To me getting 10% is a whole lot better than I am sure most churches get but even at 10% they aren’t content; they want more. It is along the lines of you can never have too much income etc.

  • Finding My Joy Again

    Long time reader, first time poster. First of all, I want to thank survivors for being the first bit of light shining into my darkness that was sgm. When I stumbled upon the site accidentally four years ago, my first thought was something along the “wow, those people are bitter” claim that many loyal to sgm conclude. Also, because I didn’t particularly have a bad experience, I couldn’t fathom what many were saying against my “nearly perfect place”. However, God used to it give me some hope about several tiny inklings that I had had. Not being a particularly educated person (as in no college degree), I most often chalked my hesitancies up to not having a good understanding myself. After all, I was young, a new believer, and I was watching people who seemed to be very mature in their faith. Not only that, but my life in Christ was growing leaps and bounds and it did seem to be directly related to being in an sgm church. I now know that I have to attribute my growth to Christ alone! For two long years, I secretly read this site and and began praying that God would get us out. My husband knew about the site as well, but forbid me to read it. Then came the documents from Brent. Turns out my husband was a facebook friend with Brent, so he happened upon the documents the first day that they were posted and then spent hours upon hours reading through all of them. I knew then that things may be starting to happen. Slowly, but surely, my husband began realizing so many errors that he had also felt and yet stayed quiet about. After realizing that the problems within sgm are indeed systemic, we left our church. We have been out for almost two years now. It was amazing how quickly we left after the documents came out (only a few months). It was like my husband suddenly had a lightbulb go off!

    I thought I was living “the” life in sgm. The most godly, family-oriented, sin-aware, gospel-focused etc. place that we could be in. I was suspect of anything not sgm, and I’m ashamed to admit that anytime I knew friends or family who were struggling, my first instinct was to try and find them an sgm church to solve all their doctrinal problems. Ugh! Thank God I didn’t seem to be very convincing! It is amazing to look back now and see how I was nearly suffocated with condemnation. I have never felt so free and in love with Jesus! And it’s not oppressive. My joy has returned! We have since moved on to another church and I’ve been so amazed by the number of strong, dedicated, humble Christian people that I’ve found. For so long, I foolishly believed that I wouldn’t be able to find such wonderful people elsewhere. And make no mistake, that train of thought most certainly WAS implied and taught.

    I have said enough for now about my background. I did want to add two things to the discussion from my experience.

    1. My husband was a cg leader for 7 years. We were asked to turn in weekly cg reports. The reports included attendance, what we went over during the meeting, anything that was particularly wonderful i.e. if there was a word of prophecy, etc. and any struggles that members were having that the pastor needed to know about. We also went to monthly cgl meetings. We never shared with the other leaders about specific things going on with members of our group. I do know that cg reports didn’t get turned in regularly by most of the cgl’s because the pastor was constantly encouraging us to please get them in as it would help him in his job. He even would do silly things like give out a free book at a cgl’s meeting to the first man to have his reports in for the month.
    2. Re: tithes. At our church, there were sermons several times a year about money. Tithing was almost required. It was certainly highly encouraged. To be a cgl, tithing was one of the requirements. Without a doubt. It was required and clearly told to us as part of “being qualified”. Also, once we wanted to give a family in our church, who was in desperate need, an anonymous gift through the church. The pastors discouraged it because the family hadn’t been tithing. We ended up giving them the gift ourselves since we believed that God had put them on our hearts.

  • Patricia

    That petition is really taking off which speaks volumes as to how fed up Christians are with leadership (of some churches) ignoring the plight of those who are abused by predators in their midst.

    I am grateful for the work Bob Dixon with Symboulos Ministries and Boz Tchividjian with G.R.A.C.E. (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) are doing. This is action in a positive direction.

  • Waters

    Dear Finding My Joy Again,

    I love reading your story! Thankyou for posting! I believe your testimony is representative of many congregants of SGM.
    We and probably many on this forum, along with you, THOUGHT we were living “the most Godly, family-oriented, sin-aware, gospel-focused, etc place we could be in….” and as you state: “…the several tiny inklings…” of the something amiss-
    Holy Spirit IS arousing and ‘inkling’ His people —to walk in the liberty of knowing Jesus Christ and knowing His love afresh.
    So very happy for yall!

  • “Finding My Joy Again” –

    Thank you for sharing a little about your SGM experience. I’m glad you’ve found something helpful here.

    Thanks also for confirming what others have shared over the years about the general way that most SGM churches have approached tithing and small group reports. I’d guess that the tithing thing is even more universal than having care group leaders submit reports (although both were practices typical of SGM churches). I have heard from many people who were told in one way or another that they weren’t tithing enough, either when they went to pastors for financial assistance during a crisis, or because the pastor somehow knew what they’d been giving and was convinced that their donations weren’t representative of 10% of their assumed income level.

    Again, this probably doesn’t happen to everyone at all SGM churches, but it’s happened enough, and at enough SGM locations, that I’m convinced it’s something disseminated from on high and is part of most SGM pastors’ ideas about giving.

  • just saying...


    Everyone I know says they received unsolicited friend requests from Brent after the documents came out even though they have never met him and there’s no reason he should know them.

  • Patricia

    Roadwork in #513:

    Believe the best.
    That way you won’t ask about where your tithe goes.

    Believe the best.
    That way you won’t ask for personal accountability.

    Believe the best.
    That way you won’t question.

    Believe the best.
    That way you won’t find fault.

    Believe the best.
    That way you won’t see their sin.

    Believe the best.
    That way you won’t believe the truth.

    I had to believe the best, yet they always believed the worst in me.

    Don’t believe the best.
    Believe the evidence.

    Roadwork, that is all scriptural:

    By their fruits you shall know them and like the Bereans, search the scriptures to see if what you are told is actually there.

  • Phoenix

    Just saying,

    Your anti-Brent agenda grows ever more obvious and wearisome. You have now said that you will take the word of a friend and proxy of Dave Adams, the convicted molester of his own stepdaughter, over that of Brent AND of the plaintiffs. I think you would rather the victims NOT receive justice, that covered up child abuse continue in SGM and other churches, and that CJ continue to avoid the consequences of his sin and drag others down than that Brent should be vindicated in any sense.

    Amid the wide variety of opinions about Brent, one fact is without contradiction. He IS fighting on the right side in this battle. You? I’m not so sure.

  • lae

    I attended the CFC that is now in Glen Mills, I left before the building was complete.

    When I was there it was clearly expected that one would tithe 10% of one’s gross income. That was what we were told we ‘owed’ god. That was not a ‘gift’ to god.

    We were taught that we should give god gifts too. And a gift should at least equal what you ‘owed’. So the goal was to give at least 20% of one’s gross income.

    And we were taught that we ‘owed’ god tithing for all our income from the day we were saved. So if you were a Christian for years before and did not tithe a full 10%, you owed god and were to work out a ‘payment’ plan to repay god your debt. (And yes, CFC would take it, no reason to send it to your old church:))

    Many people got extra jobs or sold cars (and took public transportation to work) to pay their back tithes in my care group. Others doubled up on the roommates, two to a room.

    I got the idea it was being tracked at some level as we were asked often to give group level updates on our current status and if we were making progress on getting caught up.

    It was also said that god could not fully bless us if we were in debt to him. (That made no sense to me, how could we EVER repay the debt of salvation?) Oh, and we could not have a ‘leadership’ role if we were not current and not in debt to god. Some of the guys were wanting ‘leadership’ positions and that drove them to pay up fast.

    My guess at the time was they were wanting $ to pay for the new building. I know they often said that Allen R., one of the pastors had always tithed/gifted god with 20% and was doing a lot more now to help with the building expenses. He was our example to follow….wife and 4 kids and he can give at that level~

  • Stunned

    just saying, may I suggest that the phrase, “everyone I know” may be a tad inaccurate? I am not trying to pick on you, Brother/Sister/Loved One of God. I am just saying that it may help people to hear our point if we make it without the every/always/never phrases, unless, of course, it is true that every/always/never is accurate. (Again, not trying to pick on you in the least. I hope it doesn’t feel that way.)

    Again, not trying to argue, but for the sake of accuracy in this tiny discussion, I know quite a few people who have never met Brent (I know this never to be accurate), yet they requested to be fb friends with Brent.

    I think the point most care about (I am guessing you, too, just saying) is not the accuracy of whom friended whom first. I know Brent said something about Brent barely knowing this individual and it appeared to me that Brent may have taken umbridge (sp?) with this person saying he was a former friend of Brent’s. I may have misunderstood Brent’s point in that, but to be fair to the man who called himself a former friend, this man may not have been using the term “friend” as in a pal but in the fb term, which means someone who “friended” you or someone whom you have “friended.”

    As to Brent’s argument that this man was seeking attention for his point, yeah, it makes sense. Just as any one of us are trying to either get our own personal stories out there (for whatever reason- I hope mostly to bring the testimony of what God has done or to warn others of the harm which can be caused by SGM) or for some other attention getting reason. Just as Brent has used this and other forums to share the message which is important to him.

    To all of us, I don’t think (as if what I think is all that important ;p )either point is worth fighting over. Too much sun for us to all be enjoying! (Or avoiding.) :) Or in my case, listening to Israel sing, “Over the Rainbow.”

  • Stunned

    Hi lae,

    My heavens, which caregroup were you in?! That sounds intense. (My homegroup didn’t go there, thank heavens.)

    I liked your statement that we could NEVER repay God! Ever. Everything we have is His. Our bodies, souls, and the material goods which surround us. We should give (and only give) as HE tells us. If the “leaders” at SGM could have just KNOWN Him more closely, then they would have gotten it that all they had to do was point us to Jesus and that HE would show us how He wanted us to give, whether it be like the poor people in the OT who were commanded NOT to tithe or the widow giving her last mite or anything in between. How sad that instead of teaching us and encouraging us that God LONGS to speak to us individually and causing us to draw close to HIM, many of us were fed a diet of law and sin and death, which causes us to draw away from Him.

    If only they could know Him like many of us who have left SGM know Him… ah the joy so many of our brothers and sisters are missing out on! He knows us so intimately and doesn’t want us fretting over how He leads another. “Follow me, what is it to you how I lead someone else?” (My paraphrase, obvi.)

  • just saying...

    Wow Phoenix,

    That’s a lot of conclusions about me. I am not for child molesters. I hope that skilled investigators get to the bottom of all of it and that those guilty of abusing children get theirs in jail. I would like to see CJ take the fall for all of it with them.

    I personally don’t think Brent is for victims of child abuse. I think he is an unrepentant cause of much of SGM’s problems. I think he is using these innocent victims to advance his vendetta for his gain.

    On the other hand, I see Glen as an unassuming, humble person that has never involved himself in these discussions prior and I don’t think he should be publicly called a liar by Brent for raising objections.

    That’s just more SGM bullying tactics. Brent hasn’t changed a bit.

  • Diego

    Yeah, SG leaders sins would still be in the shadows if God didn’t use Brent to reveal the cult leaders for who they are…just sayin… Don’t think Brent was able to fund his retirement with what has happened in the past 6 years for him. Not sure what you feel Brent gained by doing this, except maybe a jewel for his crown in heaven… but those will be cast away for the King anyway.

  • Phoenix

    just saying…

    You have your opinions, I have mine, and I stand by every word. By attacking Brent you, too, are shoring up child molesters, corrupt temple money changers, and liars.

  • Bob

    Just Saying #555:
    You are dead right…”I personally don’t think Brent is for victims of child abuse. I think he is an unrepentant cause of much of SGM’s problems. I think he is using these innocent victims to advance his vendetta for his gain.”
    Brent, please go away and tend to your poor wife and family…

  • PB&J

    just saying… you remind me of my former SG pastor (SGF) who valued his opinion over scripture and the facts. Your opinion of your “friends” mean more to you than the good fruit of what Brent is doing. We all fall short, but God is using Brent in His chastisement of the SG Ministry. There are still many that need rescued from this cult.

  • Ellie

    About the FB “friends” thing, after the documents came out many added Brent to their “friends” list. When that happens, FB “sees” that some friends have other friends in common. This will cause FB to offer up some of these friends, Brent included, as suggested friends. So, it could’ve been that Brent didn’t friend request, but it was FB doing the friend requesting.

  • 5yearsinPDI

    “We all fall short, but God is using Brent in His chastisement of the SG Ministry.”

    God used Assyria to chastise the northern ten tribes of Israel, and Babylon to chastise Judah, and in AD 70 he used Rome to severely chastise the Jews who were left. Being used by God doesn’t make you a good guy.

    “By attacking Brent you, too, are shoring up child molesters, corrupt temple money changers, and liars.”

    Please, do not go there with such an accusation. “Res Ipsa” (Kim,) Brent’s former secretary turned lawyer, has posted here more than once about Brent’s refusal to reconcile and talk to anybody he wronged while doing his SGM apostle/pastor thing. Barry Woods under the name Friendly Fire has posted about his experience with Brent (apostolic abuse from his perspective, one of those sudden degiftings of a long standing pastor because he was allegedly proud, and a new yes man gets moved in as pastor). Brent was part of much wrong in SGM.

    We should not consider Dave Adams a credible witness (even if he is telling the truth, it is possible.) But he can’t be a witness for the defense and should recuse himself under conflict of interest, and Glen may be a nice humble guy but he really needs to get a clue. You don’t try to make a case in this lawsuit with the “facts” you heard from a convicted pedophile. I mean really, get a clue here.

    Brent was a bad guy for almost 30 years, he was part of the founding apostolic team. Yeah God is using him to expose SGM, but have we heard an apology yet for his part in the abusive system, for apostles lording it over churches, for the shepherding error doctrines? Brent is not a “good guy” until he publicly admits to what he did and apologizes. He has not done it yet nor will he meet with people who want to meet, not yet. Is he on a path of getting his eyes opened? Yeah, I think so, I hope so. Life isn’t over for any of us.

    Just saying, don’t be intimidated. Brent reads here. We don’t know his heart, but until Brent confesses to what he has done himself, you may be right in saying “I think he is using these innocent victims to advance his vendetta for his gain.”

    Brent knows what happened with the Shepherding error guys and the way they came out (magazine covers even) admitting it was wrong and they were wrong. You can google Bob Mumford to see an example of apostolic repentance. Brent isn’t there yet. He is not a good guy yet, and he won’t be until he apologizes. I am leery of people here making him out to be some prophet of God in all this.

  • Oswald

    Concerning Brent…IMO (which is mostly unimportant)..among all that Brent has done or not done, again IMO, his overriding agenda is to make CJ look as bad as possible. The lawsuit fell right into place in this area and Brent ran with it, joining in wherever he could. One proof of his ways is the idea that he has never repented of his part in SGM, nor met with folks he has harmed. He seems very self-important.

  • Jenn Grover

    Ellie – good point and thanks for the reminder of the FB suggested friends. Also, people can recommend that you add other people as friends and it appears under the same drop down as a normal friend request.

    From the little I know of Glen, he seems like a nice guy and I don’t question his sincerity but I do question his discernment. I have mentioned this a couple of times but will repeat again: unless someone was actually present during the alleged incident (or can provide another alibi,) no one can say with absolute certainty that anyone is guilty or innocent, save those who have already been convicted or proven through other means (confession, witnessed, etc..) To proclaim certainty or to cast doubt is just setting yourself up to be proven wrong or to cast a shadow on either the plaintiff or alleged perpetrators unfairly.

    That being said, I do think it is fair to criticize the SGM/CLC/Fairfax response. There is enough known, and also enough alleged to draw a high degree of scrutiny, to which these institutions seem determined to dodge. By denying the plaintiffs the opportunity to state their case and present their evidence, and by generalized statements that discredit the plaintiffs from Joshua Harris and SGM, they are implicitly casting a shadow over the character of the plaintiffs and also making their defendants appear guilty. Nobody wins when justice is avoided.

    Joshua stated they can’t release the results of the investigation until the lawsuit has closed, but he didn’t say why. Is it for the sole purpose of winning? If so, not impressed. Is this lack of transparency really befitting ministers of the gospel? Jesus came to set captives free but secrecy keep people in imprisoned in darkness.

    If your church signs this letter of intent, you are signing up to support the response from CLC, Fairfax, and SGM (same lawyers.) Eventually, your mandatory giving will go to support these guys, too. Does aligning your church with such distractions help or hinder the church How many “family meetings” vs church outreaches have you had this year? The churches I am familiar with have held more family meetings than they have true outreaches. This is not likely to end anytime soon,either.

    Yes, 25 churches have left SGM, but how many more individuals have left their SGM churches over the last 2 years? Does this type of

  • Jenn Grover

    (oops, hit send accidently.)

    …fruit really give you the hope of a brighter future with SGM? Are you holding out for SGM because you don’t want to go alone? That isn’t a good enough reason and that is not a biblical reason – it is a man-made, man-centered reason that under-estimates the power of the Holy Spirit and God’s desire to speak to, lead, and do good for your church. This fear of “going it alone” is a man-planted, fear-mongering, controlling tactic – another subtle manifestation of the spiritual abuse that has been on-going for years. Relationships are beneficial, but who is left in SGM for you to relate to? Do relationships and “loyalty” trump honoring God by his commands to not associate with people whose fruit are works of darkness?

    Lot and his family lingered in Sodom until they were almost destroyed along with Sodom. Get out while you can.

  • Phoenix

    Yep, just saying may be right and I may be wrong,and yes, just saying should not be intimidated just as I am not intimidated. But I still stand by every word and repeat, attacking Brent (not disagreeing with him, thinking he’s not a very nice guy, or thinking he hasn’t worked through his own issues) but ATTACKING him is shoring up corrupt and abusive leaders. And it does make me doubt the attacker’s motives.

  • DefenderofonlyOne

    I think people are getting caught up with the Brent Detwiler issue as though you have to choose sides. As though one side is good and the other is bad. You don’t have to defend Brent in the least bit. God IS using Brent to bring about His purposes. I personally am VERY GLAD that this has happened. SGM, CJ, Loftness, Harvey, Connolley, etc. are literally EVIL men who refuse to bend their will to the Lord. God has used Brent to expose this evil (yes, E V I L).

    Now, on to Brent. I would NEVER EVER want Brent to be my pastor. He is legalistic and does not exhibit a heart of compassion and care at all times. He can be self serving and is need of repentence himself. If he refuses to reconcile with others then that’s on him. The Bible commands us to do so. That being said, he did miss his calling and should seriously consider becoming a lawyer. I do think that he has the mind and giftings to be a very good one. A pastor though? Nope! No thank you.

    Sorry Brent if this offends you.

  • One reason why Brent has so many “friends” on Facebook was a response to what Mickey Connolley (SGM Charlotte Crossway Pastor) said in one message. In that message Mickey was encouraging people to defiriend Brent if necessary so they wouldn’t be expposed to listening to something along the lines of listening to a bad report etc.

    After Mickey said this a lot of people friended him vs. defriending him. So much for the influence of negative influence Mickey had.

    Sad case of Mickey wanting members to believe the best (bury their head in the sand) vs, being informed and decide for themselves.

  • Onox Hanoju

    Does anyone know what happened to Grace Community Church of Kingsville, MD?

  • Waters


    Yes,— a HUGE manipulative tactic SGM uses is ‘encouraging’ congregants NOT to read or listen to anything of “negative influence” in regards to

    Since leaving SGM, one area we remind ourselves to be vigilant in is the God-gifted ability of critical thinking. Asking…seeking…knocking….assertive to gather information, pray, and come to our conclusions.– This, of course, is a spiritual principle which Jesus exhorted us to be assertive in — the desire to actively know and walk out truth. SGM seeks to hijack this principle and replace it with their Stepfordite culture. When peoples have no voice, the masses are more easily controled. Discernment is extinguished.

    To SGMites, I echo Jenn Grover#564: “lot and his family LINGERED in Sodom until they were almost destroyed along with Sodom.
    Get out while you can.”

  • KMD

    “Really, please dial it back. You often have valuable contributions but now you’re yelling too loud for me to understand you and you’re starting to sound unhinged. Just saying is answering you; not trying to shut you down. Take a break.”
    It’s no necessary to think in a binary way, about Brent or Just saying or anyone else. It’s fair to say that Brent is observably sinning even as his work has positive impact.

  • 5yearsinPDI

    If there is one lesson to be learned, it is this:

    It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer/bishop/elder, it is a fine work he desires to do. An overseer, then, must be above reproach……..

    …..and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil.

    These men were set up too young and too early, not just to be pastors without seminary or apprenticeship, but to then take on the name “apostle” and take authority over local pastors.

    It is hard to know in retrospect what would have happened if Brent and crew had gone a slower route. I think too much authority too young was a doorway for huge trouble, both flesh and devil.

    And watching it all happen once more with the PC grads…oy vey.

  • Todd Wilhelm

    But for Brent’s efforts the Ceej would still be one of the T4G celebs, still be speaking at Piper’s Cross conference and Wayne Grudem would still be speaking at the Ceej shrine in Louisville.

    Well, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad!

    Thanks Brent.

    Oh – and I would still be member of UCCD, the 9marks church in Dubai. Oh wait, I still am a member, even though I quit in March. …Hotel California baby!

  • KMD

    Also IIRC I am one other who received a friend request from Brent rather than me sending him a request.

  • I agree with those who say it’s not necessary to see Brent either as this total hero or else as a complete villain. In my view, he could be portrayed as both. Or neither, depending on how you look at things.

    I think he’s working hard to get pieces of the truth out there…but I don’t believe he’s siding with the victims purely for the victims’ sake. I think it’s more likely that the victims’ stories provide Brent with additional ammunition to continue to make his own case about his own position – that CJ Mahaney presided over corruption and has never repented of that corruption. Brent’s interest in the lawsuit plaintiffs is first and foremost about continuing to prove the point that CJ is wrong. Everything else is incidental.

    The plaintiffs are lucky that their side of the lawsuit happens to align so well with Brent’s larger agenda. He makes a much better friend than enemy.

  • lae

    #554 Stunned

    I was in a home group for singles that was lead by a man that came out the help start the church, Martin and his wife Karen. They went on to be cg leaders for a married cg then I believe returned to Washington DC.

    I also babysat for 2 married cgs and heard it (tithing) from those cgs too.

    And the question I NEVER got answered is why the church itself does not tithe 10% + give god gifts of the $ they church receives to missionaries and other ‘in need’ — folks such as the poor. For me it was the first time I had ever been in a church that did not have an open pantry with food and clothing for the needy in the community, or support other group’s efforts.

  • Jim

    Brent bashers sound a lot like blog bashers. I don’t know his motives, and have no interest in them.

  • Phoenix

    Ooh, KMD, nice trick. You read on Wartburg. And yes, sometimes I will ask someone to dial it back, sometimes I will make a joke, sometimes I will post a link, sometimes I will ask q question, sometimes I will publicly apologize, sometimes I will agree, sometimes I will support one “side” in a discussion… and sometimes I will speak very strongly and refuse to back down. Different responses are appropriate to different situations. Nice trick but didn’t work this time. I. still. stand. by. every. word.

  • Phoenix

    But taking a break might not be a bad idea:)

  • vol fan

    About two years ago, CCK (Knoxville) asked each member to give $100 each month for a year to pay off the building debt. Yes, you read that right, $100 per month, for both singles and families. I don’t remember anything being said about how this would be a financial strain on the members. And this was on top of already tithing 10%.

    A Sunday was set aside to be the “Building Plan Sunday”, with testimony after testimony that glorified the church. A company was even hired to build a lego construction of CCK that sat in the lobby. We did not feel called to give to this fund. Maybe we would been more inclined had the pastors given the church the budget or shown that they were making adjustments to scale back. There were so many things, at least to us it seemed, that were bought that were completely unnecessary (like swinging balls that were added to the stage as a “hip” decoration. why in the world does a church need something like that when they are asking each family or single to give $100 per month??). After not giving to the building fund we received a letter from the church in just a few days asking that we give to the fund the next Sunday. We never gave to that fund and I don’t know what the financial situation is right now at CCK but I have heard the attendance is down.

  • lae

    I could never understand how the pastors could ask people to give at such a high level when many were struggling to make ends meet, just so they could have an ‘over the top’ church built and not have debt on the building.

    They were paid enough that they could not relate to many of their sheep.

    The pastors were given a salary such that they could go out often to nice restaurants in the city (Philadelphia) and have free child care when they went, so they did not know what ‘normal’ families experienced.

    Many of the families I babysat for (never charged) had very strict food budgets just so they could give extra $ to the church–e.g. 2 wheat thin crackers per child, 1/2 cup milk, give them water if they are still thirsty at lunch, 1/2 piece cheese and 1/2 apple. Before the building fund it was very open for lunch options.

    I often wondered if they even thought about how families and singles came up with ‘extra’ money when they had tight budgets to start with. Did they care? I do not think so.

  • Just Adopted

    I’ve been lurking for a while now and decided to finally post. My wife and I are in-between churches right now. We found out about the allegations sometime in June and have not returned to our Knoxville SGM church since. We have been members there for ten years and it’s with a heavy heart that we are leaving. We truly loved the pastors there and some of the members. However, we never really felt like we fit in there and its because we didn’t adopt and embrace ALL of the culture for our lives. We had lots of friends outside the church and authentic friendships with unbelievers. We don’t have a lot of kids. My wife doesn’t leave every little decision up to me (thank the God, above) I will say this though, the “mold” of a CCKer was not forced upon us at all. As long as we were not afraid to be “different” then, that was fine. And there were some instances where I feel like it was even refreshing to some.

    Also, CCK now publishes their financials once a quarter for everyone to see. Attendance is down to a degree but, it’s still pretty packed on Sundays from what I hear. We are so on the fence because we haven’t found another church we like in Knoxville as much. However, we are coming to see that some of the CCK culture we had gotten really use to is actually quite strange.

    I really have ups and downs with this forum because I feel like some things are just knitpicked to death. I mean, no church is perfect, who cares if they spent some money on “hip” decorations. It’s up to YOU to not feel convicted or guilty because you didn’t give to the building fund. No one can MAKE you feel bad about it. Just toss the letter and move on. That’s what we did. :) At the same time, the forum has opened my eyes to some of the non-biblical practices that we thought were “normal”. Anyway, very convoluted but, I wanted to say “hi” and I wish I knew who all on here was a former CCKer. :)

  • Jenn Grover

    Onox Hanoju – kingsville, MD left SGM somewhere about 1-2 months ago.

    Vols Fan – that is pretty ridiculous. I have seen that church and it is by far the nicest church building in SGM. It didn’t cut the corners that CLC/CFC cut when it came to the fine details. It troubles my heart to know that many friends probably sacrificed more to meet that request.

    When Pittsburgh began its big building/land fund push it was said that a building would help us better pursue gospel mission” and even though I asked, that claim was never really explained. As a matter of fact my response was that if we weren’t doing outreach or sharing the gospel now a building wouldn’t fix those issues.

    Almost everyone I knew in Pittsburgh who would state an opinion, opposed the purchase, yet, it was pushed through anyway, in a more remote part of Pittsburgh, perhaps even outside of Allegheny County, that is not easily accessed by people who live in different parts of the city.

  • Stunned

    Cut corners at CFC? Oh Jenn, I don’t know what reports you are reading but CFC had custom built book shelves as well as custom built furniture for the back ends of the pastors. I knew some of what went on on the building end, too. They easily misspent one million dollars on one thing I can think of right now off the top of my head. And this thing was AGAINST the very strongly held opinion of one of the members of the congregation whose advice CFC sought, then dumped, when the person said, “Do not spend the money on that!” A year or two later they spent another huge lump of money undoing it. In fact, they ignored and rejected the advice of a couple people in the church who had been in the building trade their whole life.

    I don’t know what stories you heard about them cutting corners but I was there when it was done and knew some inside stuff and the money the wasted was sickening to me.

  • Glad i am out

    Stunned, while CFC probably did foolishly waste money (forget that story, does sound familiar), and while the pastor offices had a little more extra money spent on the details (Of Course !!) it is a pretty lacklustre building. That’s why the auditorium doubles as a gym, no steeple, no pews, super basic stage, etc. It is no crystal cathedral.

  • Jenn Grover

    Yes, I have been to the CFC corporate H many times. I am telling you, it doesn’t touch the church in KnoxVegas.

  • Jenn Grover

    Welcome, Just Adopted. I am sure we have a few mutual friends. I was there in the 90’s.

    I understand where you are coming from with the nit-picking. But, it doesn’t feel like nit-picking when you think of the legitimate financial hardships many have been under and the sacrifices made by families. To me, they aren’t just random folks, they are/were friends.

    You lost some well-respected members over the last 2 years, some of which are very happy in new church homes. Reach out to those folks.

    You know, when I first started to read Survivors, I blew a lot of stuff off to “bitterness” or over-reacting. And while I sometimes think the conspiracies here are not more the result of people doing exactly what SGM leaders and pastors of bigger churches do, over the last 2 years, more of the stuff I didn’t buy makes more sense to me.

  • vol fan

    Jenn Grover, We made many financial sacrifices over the years to help pay for the CCK building. I’ll have to disagree with you, but it is not ridiculous to point out completely frivolous decorative purchases when the leadership team presses the congregation to give even more. The only way to get out of debt is to stop spending, but instead of cutting back, CCK asked the members to give more.

  • Epaphras

    What Jim said: “Brent bashers sound a lot like blog bashers. I don’t know his motives, and have no interest in them.”

    Factually (you could, um, look it up), Brent frequently opined in 2011 and 2012 that CJ/SGM responding rightly now (e.g., then) and apologizing sincerely now (e.g., then) could stop the bleeding and even revive SGM. I remember irritation that Brent still loved and believed in SGM – CJ too, for that matter.

    Given the factual consequences to Brent/family of his role throughout God’s chastening work, Brent’s words (you could, erm, look them up) have been remarkably disciplined throughout, even when he has revealed personal shock at what was revealed.

    I will not address Brent re: his own history with SGM and underlying responsibility as #2 for everything, even what he did-not but should-have and/or could-have known if he had applied his legendary discipline to the task. He has admitted to being duped by C.J., which should not be lightly disregarded. Mahaney was VERY good.

    Brent’s soul-needs are a vital subject for the many who know Brent personally to take-up with him, doggedly, but not on point here. “I don’t know his motives” and can’t. You can’t either. Why not pray for this brother … doggedly?

  • 2tim224

    yea, the “request” for $100 apiece blew my mind, too. my hubby was out of town, so i was taking notes for him. we were still trying to be “engaged congregants” at that point, not quite having had the realization that what they really wanted was “compliant congregants”. when i think back on that, i wonder what would possess people to want to better outfit their cozy little fish bowl than to “go ye”. so very sad.

  • Jenn Grover

    Vols Fan – sorry if I was unclear – I completely agree with you. My point was, at first it can seem like nit=picking, but when you take a step back and consider those who lost job, homes and were really sacrificing at CCK, it seems more than ridiculous to make unnecessary purchases.

    I am mostly astonished they actually put a dollar amount on the pressure. $100 to some is more like $1,000.

  • Just Adopted

    Jenn Grover – yes, I see your point completely. I guess I just meant that in light of all the serious issues going on with SGM churches, serious disappointment over a purchase of hanging paper lanterns seems trivial. I get that it’s a part of a bigger picture though. I am so thoroughly confused about what to do and what to think. Sometimes it seems like one extreme or the other…

  • vol fan

    Just Adopted, perhaps you don’t remember these, but they were huge balls about the size of 4 beach ball put together. Maybe 5 of them? that’s a lot more expensive than “paper lanterns”. I could have chosen a lot of things, but that is just the first thing I thought of as a waste of money. CJ said the CCK lobby looked like a “5-star hotel” during our opening ceremony. You can’t buy expensive decorative things and keep the 5-star look up. That was my only point. I am much more upset with CCK/SGM things other than “hanging paper lanterns”. I only commented on that because there was a discussion already going on here about finances. Please go back and read my earlier comment (my first ever on Survivors) somewhere around #160 on this post if you’d like to know why I left CCK. (It does not have anything to do with lanterns)

  • Interesting what people share about CCK (Knoxville TN SGM) such as the pastors asking for more donations and specific donations to the building fund.

    I specifically remember here someone sharing (who had insider knowledge) that CCK pastors were fully funding their retirement savings including catch up contribtions while at the same time encouraging regular members to either reduce or not make 401K contributions. Sadly another case of do as I say but not as I do for SGM Leaders. I do find this really sad that people would be duped to reduce their 401K contributions and the long term affect this will have on their retirement. All for the sake of building a lavish building.

  • Someone said about their experience at CFC:

    And we were taught that we ‘owed’ god tithing for all our income from the day we were saved. So if you were a Christian for years before and did not tithe a full 10%, you owed god and were to work out a ‘payment’ plan to repay god your debt. (And yes, CFC would take it, no reason to send it to your old church:))
    Many people got extra jobs or sold cars (and took public transportation to work) to pay their back tithes in my care group. Others doubled up on the roommates, two to a room.
    I got the idea it was being tracked at some level as we were asked often to give group level updates on our current status and if we were making progress on getting caught up.

    Goodness. This is up there with the reported cases of manipulation within SGM. I guess it was another ploy that worked well to bring in dollars for CFC’s building fund. How sad that they did this.

  • Just Adopted

    Vol Fan, I totally remember them. They were up during the “Joy” series. I guess all I’m saying is that I know people who were on the hospitality team and on the decorating team and they tried really hard to get things on sale, on clearance, handmade, within budget, etc. and that the decor could look really nice but not cost an arm and a leg. I know of one dude in particular who built many things for the stage props, etc. That being said, I TOTALLY know where you’re and I guess in a way I’m playing devil’s advocate because I’m still trying to sort out for myself where me and my family belong and is CCK really all that bad, etc. We just never felt really guilty for not giving but, I’m trying to put myself in someone’s shoes who WOULD be wrongly convinced or manipulated into giving. I’m sure it happened.

    I didn’t mean to sound like I was picking on you at all. If anything, when I read comment #160, I was so thankful to hear a fellow former CCKer on this board speak up with a lot of clarity and not a lot of bitterness. I also agree with you that when we (they) moved to the new building is when things started going south. It always bugged my wife and I that they used the building fund under the “mission” umbrella. Ummm, no. Not missions, sorry. I have some bitterness myself, actually. My wife tried so hard to make friends with lots of ladies there but, plans would always “fall through” and connections just couldn’t be made for some reason. So, I’m in no way wagging my finger at you, trust me. We are just extremely confused and kind of like a family of deer caught in some huge headlights!

  • Just Adopted

    Steve240 (#593) -do you remember who had this insider knowledge? We are FAR from insiders but, I’m hungry to know more. I did not know this at all (about the retirement contributions). Every time we were counseled in the finance dept, it was with a lot of grace…but maybe we just got a good one.

  • Glad I am out

    Regarding SGM churches taking extra offerings and pledges to pay off the building:

    I always wondered “why do we need to have the building paid off to impact the community w/ the Gospel?”

    They always said at CFC how much a greater impact we could have if the building was paid off. And they’d spend 2 or 3 years asking the congregation to give to the “Mission Fund” – which of course was over and above the tithe.

    Many Many times they would invite some couple or family on stage to share how they had sacraficed. The stories were sad, really, about how someone had not paid for the car they really needed, or how some college kid took another semester off…

    ALL BECAUSE OF THE ALL SO IMPORTANT MISSION… which simply was for the pastors to have the church paid for (NOT giving money to needy people elsewhere, or even in the community – SGM’s definition of Mission is reason enough to RUN and NOT WALK in the opposite direction. IT is absolutely twisted for a church to call for more money from strapped people top pay of their own building while those same people dig deeper in debt). How may people in the church, how may people reading here right now, have your own dwellings paid off???? Is your life on hold while you work to do so??? Are you unable to have a family over for dinner, or engage a neighbor w/ coffee, or have a hospitality night, or even a holiday party??? NO, of course not! So why does your church say they need it all paid off to fulfill the mission (should read the great commission) -a term they have polluted- while expecting the poor congregant to put his or her life on hold..???? For what?? Folks, this was done at CFC, preached about, they brought in guest speakers just for this purpose, for 2 or 3 years. And they realized their goal, while many families sacraficed. WHAT FOR??? What is wrong w/ fulfilling your “mission” while you pay off your debt slowly like everyone else? Like all the people whoi give you money and pay your salaries. The whole thing is the thing above all things that makes me want to PUKE. Here is the Main Thing: Keep the Main the Thing the Main Thing!! Is it Jesus? NO. It is a debt free church so it can easily plant new churches in well-churched upper class white areas so the money will keep rolling in…

  • Persona

    I am so glad our non-SGM church does not require tithing. Whew!

    I remember the pressure we were always under at CLC to give until it hurts. Over the years, I am sure we gave tens of thousands of dollars to them.

    But, churches really don’t need long, upgraded, granite counters in their restrooms or million-dollar landscaping to share the Gospel.

    And, if the members knew details about the extravagant spending on pastoral retreats, there would be an uproar.

  • Just adopted said (in response to my post):

    Steve240 (#593) -do you remember who had this insider knowledge? We are FAR from insiders but, I’m hungry to know more. I did not know this at all (about the retirement contributions). Every time we were counseled in the finance dept, it was with a lot of grace…but maybe we just got a good one.

    This comment made on this blog a while ago (before the documents came out for sure). The person posting said they knew for a fact that the Knoxville pastors were fully funding their retirement savings (including catch up contributions one can do over a certain age) while telling regular members one way to be able to give more was to reduce how much you were putting in your 401K.

    They weren’t referring to a counseling situation but a situation where the pastors were saying one thing from the pulpit while personally doing something contradictory. Quite sad if true.

  • exCCKer

    We left CCK in July of 2011. Up until that point money toward the building was always called the Mission Fund. They made a Mission Fund presentation every spring. Bill always bragged about how bankers were so impressed with the amount the congregation gave. It never made sense to me why a church centered around a college ministry would purchase land and construct a building almost thirty minutes away from UT’s campus, but I bought their mission’s sales pitch for too many years and gave as much as we could. Of course, like many others have shared about their SGM church buildings, CCK’s property is in one of the wealthiest and most sought after locations in the city.

    I was dumbfounded when I watched the video for the 2012 mission fund presentation, conveniently renamed the Building Fund. I never saw a more manipulative presentation in my decade and a half at the church.

    Watch the video for yourself and tell me if the numbers add up:

  • Some thoughts on what having a paid off building does for the local SGM Pastors:

    – It makes the SGM less dependent on member giving and thus are even more free to do actions that a lot of members don’t like. They don’t have to worry so much about people leaving or not contributing as much since they don’t have the need to make monthly payments for the building.

    – It makes is harder for regular members to leave. When you have given so much over the years to a local SGM Church you have that much more invested in it and thus have a harder time walking away. Various books will say that having investment (time and dollars) in a group even when one starts to realize the group is cult like or has cultish characteristics.

    Thus is it no wonder that leaders pushed to have the buildings paid off quickly. They even resorted to calling it “missions” to make contributions to pay off the church’s mortgage early.

    Just some thoughts.

  • Michelle

    @steve240 and @Just adopted
    I previously commented on the cck finances. My husband was on the cck finance team and yes they were playing “catch up” with BK’s retirement fund. We had been fed up for a while…never felt like we fit in, etc, etc. When Brent’s documents came out we read all of it and it was just what we needed to hear to validate all of our concerns at cck. It was like all of the puzzle pieces had finally come together. It was all a big joke to those in charge…big salaries…no federal taxes…playing catch up to retirement funds…free dental care…free iphones…Mondays off…not allowed to be disturbed. We figured it up one day and over the course of 13 years we gave well over $50,000. Let’s just say it wasn’t a joke for us.

  • Jenn Grover

    Over 15, 0000 books sold….how many were written by SGM leaders? Maybe a third? I am sure someone is going to tell me how little I understand about book royalties, but that sure is a lot of bread, Lou!

  • Michelle

    Oh and in response to the extravagant spending on the stage decorations, don’t forget that these guys are good at getting things for free. Just ask them how much they paid for the smoker…

  • Long Gone

    The CFC leadership has been very lavish with gifts for themselves. One year at Christmas the pastoral staff treated themselves to nice tailored suits, a surprise gift to the lower level pastors. Bonuses for the pastors wives. So many ways that financial benefits flow their way.

  • “Just Adopted” said,

    …I guess in a way I’m playing devil’s advocate because I’m still trying to sort out for myself where me and my family belong and is CCK really all that bad, etc…

    Over the years of doing this site, I’ve noticed that quite a lot of SGMers will ask questions along the lines of, “Is my church really all that bad?”

    While I would never presume to answer a question like that, I have to say that I think this line of thinking is closely related to the reasoning that “No church is perfect”…which is a false dilemma, an artificial standard. I don’t think there’s a person out there who has ever expected that their SGM church should be “perfect.” Every Christian alive knows that there’s no such thing as a perfect church. But there are elements that can clearly define whether a church’s leadership is transparent enough…and whether a church’s leaders have an acceptable enough level of accountability to the congregation…and whether or not there is a pattern of behavior on the part of leaders that might have led to a noticeable number of members’ departures in a way that raises questions about why they might have left.

    I think if a person finds himself asking if his church is really “all that bad,” that could very well be a sign that it is. The problems that have arisen within many SGM churches are not your garden variety problems of a normal, “less-than-perfect” church. Instead, they are problems that reflect foundationally faulty assumptions that leaders have about their role, and what constitutes “the church,” and what part the congregation ought to play in making decisions and knowing what’s going on.

  • To add to my 606, I guess what I’m trying to get at is that if a person is asking if his church is really all that bad, I wonder what constitutes “all that bad” – and what it means? In other words, “all that bad” compared to what?

    And, has your church ever actually been “all that bad” for anyone else that you know of? If so, then it could someday become “all that bad” for you…

    I feel like I’m not doing a very good job of articulating what I’m trying to say, but something about the “all that bad” language reminds me of the way someone trapped in an abusive relationship rationalizes why they stay.

    And, I just know that people in “normal” churches don’t find themselves asking this sort of thing.

    One piece of SGM’s church-planting strategy that often comes back to bite them is that they “spread their gospel” in very church-saturated neighborhoods. There are likely at least a dozen Bible-believing, gospel-proclaiming churches within a 10-mile radius of the typical SGM church, churches that have a more logical level of formal accountability flowing from leadership to the congregation, churches that have a much greater level of transparency that doesn’t hinge upon a particular pastor’s honesty or willingness to share information.

  • SGM’s twisting of the definition of “missions” is another element of what makes them not normal.

    In normal Christianity, the term “missions” is loosely understood to refer to outreach in places where there aren’t a lot of Christians sharing the gospel and there aren’t a lot of resources for Christians. Sometimes “missions” can also refer to humanitarian efforts related to meeting the basic physical needs of people while sharing the gospel with them.

    If you were to go to a “normal” church and hear something about a “mission fund,” it would be safe to assume that the money was meant for one of these types of outreach.

    The fact that SGM has redefined “missions” to encompass anything relating to promoting the local SGM church is one of the signs that the gospel SGM shares has more to do with the SGM way of doing church than it does with sharing the good news of Jesus and being Jesus’ hands and feet to the needy and hurting.

  • Thomas


    The mission of an SGM church, as told to me by my former pastors, was, “to disciple members by having well-trained and well-educated pastors”.

  • Michelle said:

    @steve240 and @Just adopted
    I previously commented on the cck finances. My husband was on the cck finance team and yes they were playing “catch up” with BK’s retirement fund. We had been fed up for a while…never felt like we fit in, etc, etc. When Brent’s documents came out we read all of it and it was just what we needed to hear to validate all of our concerns at cck. It was like all of the puzzle pieces had finally come together. It was all a big joke to those in charge…big salaries…no federal taxes…playing catch up to retirement funds…free dental care…free iphones…Mondays off…not allowed to be disturbed.

    Thanks for chiming in here Michelle.

    Can you confirm if at the same time leaders at Knoxville were suggesting people cut back on their retirement savings as a way to give more? I recall somebody mentioning that but it might have been another SGM Church where leaders were making that suggestion.

    If it was at Knoxville I find it quite hypocritical if they were telling members one thing but then at the same fully funding BK’s retirement.

  • Just Adopted

    Yes, Michelle, thanks for speaking up. That’s disheartening to say the least. Kris, thanks for your comments. I feel jaded by church, in general right now and my “all that bad” comment is more of a comparison. I feel like all churches probably have skeletons in their closet. I’ll never trust appearances again. It’s a shame because I feel like my soul is suffering a bit and so is my family because we haven’t been to church in months.


    Dear Just Adopted,
    Thank you for your honesty in sharing some of your confusion having recently com our of an SGM church. Be encouraged, the fog will eventually clear. As someone wrote on this site a long time ago:
    If pastors and leaders are “doing church” in such a manner that results in a website being created for SGM SURVIVORS to tell their story, victims come forward regarding sexual abuse restlting in lawsuits, and there are hundreds of persons recounting their negative SGM experiences, something is very very very wrong with the way SGM is “doing church”!

    You have spent 10 years under SGM teaching. I strongly encourage you and your wife to invest about $26 to purchase two books and begin reading: “God Without Religion” and a fun reading spiritual insight book, “Operation Screwtape.”, both written by Andrew Farley. As you read these two books you will come to recognized that what you hyave been taught by SGM is not living your life in the LOVE and GRACE of God in Jesus Christ. You have been taught how to focus on your SINS and teereby pastors and care group leaders have trapped your life into a never ending cycle of “sin management” And yes my brother in Christ, SGM is really all that bad.

    Many times we are too deep in the trees that we have lost sight of the forest. Read the two books I mentioned above along with referencing your Bible.
    If you do not gain a truthful perspective of what it means to live life in God’s grace, just write me back on this site and I’ll make arrangements to refund your $26 !!
    You are blessed and a blessing,
    Galatians 101

  • “Just Adopted” –

    I understand why you might feel jaded right now. And yet…well…I’m one who still believes in participating in some form of institutional church, and I think the most important thing you could do right now for your family and yourself is just to get out there and go to church somewhere.

    Look at it more like going on an adventure rather than fulfilling a duty – look at it as exploring, seeing what’s out there, and perhaps getting something that God wants you to get that day. You don’t have to burden yourself with a ton of expectations, or sit through the service with a mental checklist of what you “should” be seeing. Just go, and be on the lookout for how God will bless you that day.

    Drop all your expectations…and even all your concerns. Sure, I’d do a little research ahead of time so you know you’re not ending up at some weird New Age place or something. But I wouldn’t worry too much about finding a church to “marry” again so quickly. Just go. Get out there and go.

    A few years back, I wrote a post where I shared more detailed thoughts about how I’d approach the “church shopping” process as an ex-SGMer. Maybe it might be helpful. Here is the link to that post:

  • Persona

    Kris 613 Amen! I actually enjoyed visiting a myriad of big and small churches in our area after we finally left our SGM church. God was good to clearly show us where we were to plant ourselves and jump into ministry again. He is a faithful God.

  • Thomas

    Kris, that post from 2010 was really helpful, thank you.

  • Philly Girl

    Galatians 101 #612. I just ordered the books. Thanks for the suggestion.
    Kris #613. Thank you for posting this reference. I have printed it out.

  • On another topic, the other day I heard from a reader who said that in at least one SGM location – SGM Titusville – the Ezzo Growing Kids God’s Way materials are still currently being taught.

  • lae

    When you left a sgm church, did the pastors try to sabotage you going to another church?

    When I left CFC a ‘connected’ family I had previously often babysat for called me and asked if I was going to a new church. (They already knew I had left CFC. I had told them previously and was pretty much cut off from any contact with the adults or the kids I loved in this family.)

    I told the family that I was attending another church and started to tell them about the service the last week and they interrupted and asked the name of the church. I told them and then they said they had to go. About a 3 minute call. So it was apparent that they were not interested in me, really, just the name of the church.

    But I still did not know what they were up to. However, the next week after church was over the pastor asked me to stay and talk. So I agreed. After most people left he sat me down with several ‘observers’ hanging around watching and said that Dave H had called him and said that he knew that I had recently left CFC. He said that their church did not support ‘church hopping’. He said that Dave had told him about me and that if I attended his church in the future there were ‘conditions’. He would not say what Dave H said, but when into his role as a pastor.

    Now, I left CFC voluntary, with out incident. I had been very involved, but resigned from all my duties and left quietly, telling no negative thing about CFC to anyone, just that I did not think it was where god wanted me at that phase of my life. I was never confrontational with anything. And I had been there 4 years, which to me is not ‘church hopping’.

    I know CFC was not too thrilled with my choices, but they were mine to make.

    Anyway, I went back to that church for maybe 2-3 more times and felt pretty shunned there, so I quit going.

    It was a nice church before Dave said whatever he said. (And am not so sure THAT would not have been gossiping.) In the end, reflecting years later, I now know that church would not have been good either, if they would act that way based on what I consider gossip. I never knew what Dave said; it must not have been nice, but when at CFC, I was never a problem to them.

    Anyone else have this happen when they left?

  • Jenn Grover

    Iae….I know others who had somewhat similar experiences. Despite their claims about making it “hard to join and easy to leave”, it has not been uncommon to hear these types of stories. It seemed especially true for folks leaving the bigger churches.

  • It's just the beginning

    @lae, #618: what year was that when you left CFC?

  • Persona

    lae 618

    We kept our departure pretty much to ourselves for a long time because we didn’t want to open the door for persecution or ‘loving’ pursuit.

    But, as soon as people from our old SGM church found out we left they ALL wanted to know where we attend. I did not want to tell the pastors what church we joined because I thought they might call our new pastors and slander us. As far as I know they didn’t.

    But, even so, our new pastors and church members do not practice shunning so, I don’t expect them to start with us. They have all been so kind; they continue to be a breath of fresh air to us as wounded warriors of the faith.

  • lae


    Why do you think they would do that?

    Is it to encourage one to return? Or to just destroy one spiritually?

    Do you know what outcome they are looking for?

  • lae

    Its just the beginning, I left in early 1993.

    persona, I am pretty sure that shunning was not really practiced at the church I went to next, but after that meeting, no one talked to me or sat by me and they had before. So to me it seemed like shunning. And not a church that would have been good for me in the long run either.

  • Jenn Grover

    Iae — I think it is for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, it’s because they over-estimate their roles as pastors and it falls under the umbrella of lording their authority over people. Think about it: of all of the stories of “loving pursuit” it has been abused more than it has been used properly. I believe that they believe they are doing it out of genuine care and if you asked them if they would want to be treated like that they would have answered, “yes” because it was an expression of love.

    However, now we know exactly how CJ would have responded and I am sure Dave has no desire for you to reciprocate the action with his new church. I do believe that Dave and CJ probably see things differently now that the shoe is on the other foot, or perhaps they just believe the situation does not apply to them. REgardless, there are no longer enough hours in the day for SGM pastors to keep up with all those leaving these days.

  • Dan Gerous

    When we left our SG church we initially got the cold shoulder from our (former) pastor. It seemed that it was all about him and his hurt feelings. It’s possible that they take it personal when someone leaves, not so much that they are “caring for your soul”, but more offended that you would leave. I think some of the older pastors have developed quite the ego. Some of the younger pastors trying to model the older pastors (not necessarily in good ways) will model this behavior. I don’t believe that they make it easy for people to transition to other churches. They have their image and reputations to maintain. They also want those remaining to see how hard folks are having it once they leave. (What I notice of those who left is there sense of freedom and joy that develop over time out of SG.)

  • Dr. Pepper

    I stopped going to services at covfel and I’m scared that if I join another church they may ask where and call the pastor and ask about me and I’m scared covfel will find out and call them themselves.

  • Stunned

    lae, that is absolutely bizarre!

  • Thomas

    Dr. Pepper,

    I’ll admit, I’ve struggled with the same fear, still do. You’ll make it.

  • Michelle


    “Can you confirm if at the same time leaders at Knoxville were suggesting people cut back on their retirement savings as a way to give more? I recall somebody mentioning that but it might have been another SGM Church where leaders were making that suggestion.”

    I can not remember a specific time where the pastors asked people to cut back retirement funds from the pulpit. I was however a member of the financial counseling team and I know of multiple families that were not contributing to their retirement funds so that they could give more to the “mission fund”…my family included. I know of one specific family that was nearing retirement age and had never contributed to a retirement fund because they had always “sacrificed” to the church. Since SGM and CCK had a knack for making any woman that worked “outside the home” feel guilt and shame for their decision…most were single income families living from paycheck to paycheck all the while “sacrificing” for the church. So whether it was preached from the pulpit or not…whether it was explicitly or implicitly stated…it was very hypocritical. I do remember something that was communicated directly from the pulpit. It was when the economy started taking a turn for the worse. BK stands up after worship during the tithe and begins to say that several members had lost their jobs and that times were tough and that those of us that still had jobs still had them because God wanted us to give more to the church. I was furious. I remember thinking…is it too hard to believe that God cares for each of his children individually? How arrogant to think that all of my money belongs to the church.

  • Diego

    If a new person would just read this page of posts they would be convinced that Sovereign Grace Ministry is a CULT.

  • Certain Hope

    I know some here ex Covfel’s are hoping to find a place to fellowship. I need to lay low for personal reasons, but wanted to be helpful if I can. Have been out of Covfel for 6 years (left “well” after 20) and have been very much enjoying a local, long extablished neighboorhood chuch (about 400 members)- no pressure there to join, and when finally did join still no pressure. Member now about 3 years. I would be happy to share with you, if Dr. Pepper or 5 Years) want to email me directly. Stunned (was good to see you at a good friend’s wedding last summer :-)- would you mind vouching for me (if you remember me, of course- no problem if you don’t remember)- also Philly Girl, if you don'[t mind? Thanks. Kris- would you mind sharing my email with Dr. Pepper and 5 Years? Thanks so much.

  • Michelle

    @Just adopted

    You said “I feel jaded by church, in general right now and my “all that bad” comment is more of a comparison. I feel like all churches probably have skeletons in their closet. I’ll never trust appearances again. It’s a shame because I feel like my soul is suffering a bit and so is my family because we haven’t been to church in months.”

    I can totally relate. In fact there is a growing number of us that have left CCK within the past 2 years and we know exactly how you feel. I remember how hard it was for me to go to church. Half the time was spent crying…the other half was spent angry. There were so many triggers. Early on, like someone else had mentioned, I was afraid that the CCK pastors were going to find out where I was going. That shows just how much control they had over me that I wasn’t even aware of. In fact prior to leaving I remember writing the pastors a letter expressing all of my concerns. I wasn’t sure if they would even read it because I was a woman. And sure enough one of the pastors asked my husband if he was aware of the letter and asked if he had given me permission to send it. You should feel no pressure whatsoever from anyone as to whether you should be going to church or not. You have to take time to heal. I’m not sure who you are but if you know who I am and want to talk please get in touch with me. You are not alone…trust me…you are among a list of MANY who have been hurt and disillusioned at the hand of the CCK pastors. Hang in there. It really does get a little better with time.

  • Peach

    Kris in 613 — Thank you for your linked post to those leaving a dysfunctional church. That the wounded, exiting sheep find safe refuge has been a real concern of mine. Your guidelines are really helpful.

    This part stood out to me:

    Under the section, “Don’t expect to feel comfortable in a new church immediately” you wrote:

    >A big part of people’s post-SGM angst has to do with the way they feel when they visit non-SGM churches. They often report feeling so cold and lonely and detached at the new church … They feel like the conversations are “shallow,” that there’s not enough “give and take.”

    I write them back and try to assure them that in most cases, this is NORMAL, and I always urge them to give the process loads more time than they initially think it will take. Truly deep and intimate relationships take way more time than a month or two to develop. In “normal” churches, deep exchanges of correction, or of stories about one’s struggles with a particular sin or of some other vulnerability don’t happen automatically, just because it’s part of the meeting format…and if they do happen, it’s almost never in a GROUP setting. Those things unfold in the context of friendships that have developed naturally over time.

    It was our experience that SGM produces a lot of manufactured intimacy – instant intimacy. SGM is set up that way, with the small groups and the formulaic, confrontational, rip-the-Bandaid-off approach to sin and confession of weaknesses.

    But normal people have much better boundaries than what you may find in a dysfunctional church. Normal people will not, as brand-new acquaintances, immediately launch into all their deepest secrets and problems. If you find yourself in a situation where folks are doing this and you don’t even know what their parents look like, or what color carpet they have in their homes, or what their specific occupation is, then they likely have issues with boundaries. Real friendships take time, sometimes years, to grow and deepen.”<

    I noticed that there were many comments on that post, btw. It would be nice to read those responses. Is it possible to enable the reading of comments on old posts, even if you bar people from posting any new responses?

  • Galatians 101

    THOMAS @ # 609
    Thank you for your comment regarding the pastors’ statement that the mission of an SGM church is to:
    “disciple members by having well-trained, will-educated pastors.” When I read it, a lightbulb went on in my head!

    I have written here on this site before about the SGM culture which places so much focus upon a “pastor’s approval”, what the pastor thinks, what the pastor says, what the pastor does or soes not approve of and how this all flows down stream through the home care groups to obtain compliance and control.

    Young men, perhaps called by God to enter ministry, their wives and children,quickly learn the importance of “agreement, approval and loyalty” to leadership pastors and leaders as the doorway to “Pastors College” and moving up the ladder to pastoring their own SGM church and doing a cookie cutter duplication of the same culture.

    Pastors who are no longer considered loyal are no longer “approved” for ministry and thus can be, I believe the term is, “degifted”, thrown under the next bus, and dragged into a life of dispair. I don’t believe for a minute that men like BD and JH ever thought they would find themselves in the situations they now face in life. There are many tragic stories on this website.

    The lightbulb that went on was that this “SGM culture” might be thought of as type of the SCIENTOLOGY culture that is currently making news headlines again.

    From a Wikipedia defination:

    SCIENTOLOGY is a body of beliefs and related practices created by ——————-,
    Scientology teaches that people are immortal beings who have forgotten their true nature.[9] Its method of spiritual rehabilitation is a type of counselling known as auditing, in which practitioners aim to consciously re-experience painful or traumatic events in their past in order to free themselves of their limiting effects.[10] Study materials and auditing sessions are made available to members on a fee-for-service basis, which the church describes as a “fixed donation.”

    SCIENTOLOGY Grace Ministry churches have their own methods, devised by the Shepherding Moovement many years ago, but perfected by SGM, as their own methods of:

    rehabilitation is a type of counselling (through pastors and care group leaders) known as auditing, (exposing SIN in your life) in which practitioners aim to consciously re-experience painful or traumatic events in their past in order to free themselves of their limiting effects —

    —EXAMINE THE SIN IN YOUR LIFE. — You have a “blind spot” that you can only see and be rid of in our SGM church. We (SGM) have the thruth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth and you could not possibly live a “free, grace filled life in Jesus Christ” in any other church!” If you even question our teaching or pastoral actions, you are “disloyal” and you will be shunned. If you are a pastor, we have plenty of examples of “degifted” men, shunned wives and children, who have been publically exposed for you to consider, so don’t even think about going there! And the well-trained and well-educated (and I suspect, well-paid) SGM pastors control it all.

    But then, perhaps I’m just exaggerating the matter?

  • Jenn Grover

    Dan Gerous, they absolutely take it personally. Even though they will say their church is not perfect, they are offended and defensive when you offer ways it could be better. It is the fruit of being a pastor-centric church.

  • Galatians 101

    Jenn Grover @ 934

    You hit the nail on the head!
    “A pastor-centric church” !

    That is why it’s the “happiest place on earth” because here,
    “It’s all abbout me!” – “It’s all about me.” It’s all about me!”

  • lae

    Yes, it’s all about me,

    It’s all about me!

    But did I tell you that I am a servant?

    Yes I love to serve!

    It’s all about me, the servant!

    No, not YOUR servant :( ,

    No, I am A servant.

    I love to serve!

    Do you remember the sermon I gave about how YOU can bring joy to me?

    Yes, you can be a servant too.

    You can serve me!

    Yes, I an a wonderful servant!

    Oh, and did I tell you how humble I am?

    I am a humble man, yes I am!


    your pastor

  • Michelle

    Thanks for answering my question. Sad story about the one couple that were near retirement age and didn’t have any savings. I doubt CCK will be there to help them when they don’t have much in retirement and time are tough.

    The CCK video indicated that they still had debt of $4 Million on their property. I did some quick payment calculations and assuming a 15 year payment term at 5% interest the church’s payment for this loan would be in the range of $32,000 each month.

    I am assuming that for church loans one doesn’t normally isn’t offered the 30 year term nor pay the lower interest rates. Even if they were given a 30 year loan at 4% the monthly payment would be around $19,500.

    Either way that is a lot money to pay just to service the loan. It doesn’t include utility costs nor janitorial or other building maintenance costs.

    The video did say that 833 people attended each Sunday. Depending on how many of those attending aren’t children and are employed with jobs outside home(I imagine fairly low with the pressure with wives to not have jobs outside the home) the payment on the loan could be a pretty significant part of what income the Knoxville church takes in each week.

    When you have a situation like this my thought is that makes the pastors of that church more money conscious etc. With this type of a debt burden to keep the doors open they have push people to give more etc.

    Something has been along those same lines about televangelists. The cost of TV is so high that it almost “forces” them to always be asking for contributions etc. I am not saying it is right but just indicating how things work.

    If anyone has the actual figures for CCK I would like to know what they are.