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But My Church Is Different!

I get a lot of email that would fall into one of two categories.  People will frequently write to ask if I am aware of any abuse situations at a particular Sovereign Grace Ministries location.  Or, they will write to assure me that while some SGM churches may be dysfunctional, their particular church is different.

As a rule, I don’t make pronouncements about whether or not a specific SGM congregation is connected to any abuse.  I think that on a lot of levels, it would be irresponsible of me to do that.  I do, though, tend to believe, after everything I’ve learned from interacting with the Sovereign Grace situation for the past five years, that the underlying twisted doctrines and the foundational cultural norms within SGM have far-reaching effects.

Yesterday, a commenter wanted to know if he should be concerned about his sibling’s involvement with a specific SGM church.  A couple of people responded to this commenter by saying that they were not aware of any abusive situations at that SGM location.  Commenter “Hope in Him” then said,

Please, people responding to “Concerned Sibling”, be aware that just because you don’t know of any incidents, does not mean it has not happened. Is it typical of SGM culture to keep members blissfully unaware?

To which I responded,

From what I’ve observed, the answer to that question is “Absolutely!”  I might be generalizing a little, but after everything I’ve learned, almost all of SGM’s dysfunction has flowed out of a desire to keep things looking as close to perfect as possible.  Anything that could be construed as reflecting negatively on the organization (or the individual congregation, or the pastors) is shared on a strictly need-to-know basis…and the rule of thumb seems to be that pretty much nobody needs to know anything negative…even if it might impact their own safety.

So rest assured that if a church is still controlled by the pastors, with no formal mutual accountability and/or no formal congregational input, the pastors are still likely following the ways of the culture in which they were raised to leadership.  One of the cornerstones of SGM culture is information control, particularly control of negative information.

Just because you haven’t heard of it does NOT mean that it hasn’t happened.  If any of your pastors were trained within SGM and had to subscribe to SGM’s rules for being recognized as possessing leadership qualities, it’s highly unlikely they’ve avoided the kinds of problems brought about by the SGM culture…and it’s highly unlikely they’ve been able to truly ditch the culture, especially if they are reluctant to speak out and repent of specific things that were wrong with the culture.

What do you think?  Do you believe that there are SGM churches out there that can retain their affiliation with the organization and yet be completely unaffected by SGM’s long history of legalism and concern for the organization’s image?

For the congregations that have departed from Sovereign Grace Ministries, what does it take to become healthy?  How much of SGM’s practices and unique culture must be rejected?  How much overt, specific repentance needs to take place?

459 comments to But My Church Is Different!

  1. A Kindred Spirit
    February 6th, 2013 at 10:46 am

    I absolutely, positively **DO NOT** believe a SGM church can retain their affiliation with the organization and yet be completely unaffected by SGM’s long history of legalism and concern for the organization’s image.

    Realistically, it’s just not possible.

  2. Diego
    February 6th, 2013 at 10:52 am

    It’s NUTS to believe that your SG church can be untouched by the SGM cancer. The way the franchise is set up to duplicate itself reproduces dysfunction, defective local cults. The lording over God’s people is rediculous. The secrecy is scary! They don’t look to God for direction or repentance. Unrepentant churches will reap what they sew. People of God don’t subject your families to this cult. Look at who is not at your church anymore and ask why!! They have realized something that you refuse to believe. Pray and have God place you where you will bear fruit.

  3. Rose
    February 6th, 2013 at 11:00 am

    For me it breaks down to two things, first that Sovereign Grace has a culture of “Doctrine over Person” which contributes to an attitude that since thier doctrine is right, things will be good. This is based on a lack of humility. Doctrine is disputable. There are many doctrines that many people are able to agree upon, but ultimately, each person is led by thier own experiences to the doctrine they feel works for them. Because even SGM leaders can make statements like “If you feel led to a different church because of disagreement with our system, follow God’s leading for you,” they must on some level see that they don’t have everything right. This should lead to a practice of valuing the people they shephard more than the proclaimations of great minds.

    Second, they need to allow for doctrinal variance in the church. When I had my new member interview, I was told that if I disagreed with something, I should probably leave. The example used was if I disagreed with people speaking in tongues in worship…Wait, what? What if I like a lot of the things in the church, but don’t personally believe that the gift of tongues are for today…but my neighbor next to me praying as best they know how in the Spirit doesn’t bother me much at all? If you encourage all who don’t agree a hundred percent to leave, you lose any ability to discuss your beliefs in an intellegent atmosphere. If having some of your congregation believe slightly differently is that threatening to your peace, you have a major problem.

    I once heard a statement about fanatacism that really sums it up for me. It basically said that if you have an exclusive group atmosphere with no room for discussion, those with intellegence and ability to think critically will differ sometimes. Those people will be encouraged to leave. Slowly by slowly, the people who can think for themselves will leave until only the unthinking followers remain. As you have no one left to criticise, the establishment can and will become more radical. They will become more radical because they have to prove themselves more and they have to continue to raise the bar.

  4. griefofwisdom
    February 6th, 2013 at 11:24 am

    “Do you believe that there are SGM churches out there that can retain their affiliation with the organization and yet be completely unaffected by SGM’s long history of legalism and concern for the organization’s image?”

    No, I do not. The reason SGM churches are planted or adopted in the first place is to replicate what SGM has/had going. And it is a heavy-handed culture that is being replicated. So while churches will vary one from another depending on the personalities of their pastor(s), they are all seeking in one way or another to be just like SGM. If independence in thought and process is encouraged in anyway in a SGM affiliate, it is in minor areas. If SGM considers an area major, key theological components and practices, independence will be squashed.

  5. A Kindred Spirit
    February 6th, 2013 at 11:31 am

    SGM is a TACO (totalist aberrant Christian organization). You can’t be affiliated with a TACO and not be affected by it.

    Read the following article, especially #6 and #7.

    http://www.culthelp.info/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=280&Itemid=8

    Sorry, folks…it’s just not possible.

  6. Lost in (cyber) Space
    February 6th, 2013 at 11:41 am

    I have to chime in re: Frederick. I am a former member who recently left due to this whole SGM debacle. I have had many very open and honest conversations with the pastors. I do not think they are hiding anything. I was able to see the letters written. They are not ‘kool-aid” drinkers at all. I think they are trying to figure all of this out and give opportunity for SGM to repent. Taking too long for me, but I definitely do not think they are being secretive about the SGM stuff.

  7. Darkwingbird
    February 6th, 2013 at 11:49 am

    NO! They are all “fruit of a poisoned tree” and leaven works its way through the whole loaf. If a particular Church splits away from SGM, then there is HOPE for change, but NO assurance. After all, they have been trained up by the masters of deception and tend to run to the natural pathway for which their tires have been designed. Trust nobody! Except God. Question everything! Especially Church leadership.

  8. Waiting
    February 6th, 2013 at 11:51 am

    There are some recent posts on Wartburg Watch which prove what Kris has posted about the silencing of information. Different types of posts to SGM/SGM-friendly, which addressed various items, getting deleted very soon, and I doubt the posts included foul language. As you point out Kris, unless the root issues are dealt with, nothing is really going to change. In fact, they may get smarter at hiding problems because of the last few years.

    So, Concerned Sibling, I’d stay concerned!!! At first,the SGM we were in was all sweetness and light on the surface, but by the time we left, I had realized that the methods and terminology used to suppress and manipulate other believers, was also involved in some ugliness behind the scenes. The congregation only received a very vague address of problems from one perspective, the leaders’. Those involved in the situations under the leaders had gag orders, and the leaders were picked specifically because they swore to solidarity and obedience.

  9. Steve240
    February 6th, 2013 at 11:59 am

    Besides Ligon Duncan taking down his post defending C.J.

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2013/02/04/ligon-duncans-post-defending-c-j-mahaney-accidentally-deleted/

    Larry Tomczak took his statement down about his departure from PDI(now SGM). Not sure when it was removed but wouldn’t doubt if it was related to the lawsuit and being a co-defendant with C.J. Mahaney.

    A copy of the statement is here:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20111215190646/http://www.larrytomczak.com/Docs/departure_sgm.pdf

  10. A Kindred Spirit
    February 6th, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    A newly adopted church might have a chance, but not a “plant.” No way.

    And my thinking would be that any church that considered adoption into SGM would be like-minded in many respects.

  11. Virginia Knowles
    February 6th, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Brent Detwiler posted on FB on Monday that three more churches had left SGM:

    Allen Snapp – Grace Community Church, Corning, NY
    Gareth Lloyd – Sovereign Grace Church, Merthyr Tydfil, Wales
    John Feska – Sovereign Grace Church, Aurora, IL

    I haven’t been reading all of the comments here on Survivors since I can’t keep up with the volume of them, but has this already been noted on the blog?

    I recently told an SGM pastor that I could not in good conscience be a member of any SGM church, even if the local congregation had changed. I do know there are good things happening at the one I left (and where one of my adult daughters is still a thriving member), and I am encouraged by their progress and by my conversation with the pastor. (I should say I was being pretty blunt with him, and I fully believe he handled it forthrightly and graciously in the best sense of the words.) I just hope they *keep* progressing toward formal independence and beyond. :-)

  12. Jenn Grover
    February 6th, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    Most people just don’t see what the affects are and don’t see them as negative when you point out the effects to them. For example, I recently mentioned to an SGM friend that there was no biblical premise for
    2 of their favorite control tactics. The first is this idea of not taking up another persons offense. In other words, if an SGM pastor so s against your spouse, that offense is between the two of them. The first time I heard this notion peddled it was via Mark & Jill Prater. I asked them to back it up with Scripture and they never did. This is the opposite of what Scripture actually teaches. The premise is that of you were offended (because you could never be a victim) the fault was yours. The second was the idea that you have to believe the best and we know that Proverbs teaches that if you believe the best of the wrong people you are a fool.

    Those two little notions have gone quite a bit to keep people quiet over the years. Couple that with the gossip and slander fear mongering and you need do little else to protect the image and leave most people unaware of the problems.

  13. Nat W. Clerk
    February 6th, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    @ Steve240 (Post #9): Tomczak’s responses have been taken down for some time now. Before the start of this year if I remember correctly.

    @ Virginia Knowles (Post #11): This was briefly discussed on a previous thread. Everything I’ve heard has confirmed that those churches have left or are leaving. However, last I checked, they were still listed on the SGM website.

  14. Hope in Him
    February 6th, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    Sexual abuse has occured by a adolescent child of a SGM Frederick member. They have since left. Also, a one year old was injured while in CM and will have a scar on her face for her entire life. (Please see my previous post.) The incident was not widely known and personnel handled it quietly. YES it is happening there and even on this blog people are replying that all seems ok there. To the best of my knowledge a few children were assulted by the adolescent perpetrator at SGM Frederick Church.

  15. Square Peg
    February 6th, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    QUOTE: “Question everything! Especially Church leadership.”

    This is definitely true. Question with boldness.

  16. James
    February 6th, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    RE: Lost #6

    I’m curious about your real-world identity. I hadn’t noticed that anyone left, and there’s certainly been no discussions about members that have left. Can you send me an email? jiminfrederick@gmx.com

  17. Lost in (cyber) Space
    February 6th, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    Hope in Him,

    My post in #6 was only in reference to a comment left on the previous post about the secrecy surrounding the letter sent to SGM by Frederick pastors. I do not know anything about abuse.

  18. Jenn Grover
    February 6th, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    From Biz Tchividjian

    “One study indicates that child molesters who sexually victimize females outside of the home averaged approximately 20 different victims. That same study found that child molesters who sexually victimize males outside of the home averaged approximately 150 different victims”

    http://theresurgence.com/2012/04/14/5-things-you-should-know-about-child-sexual-offenders

    Does your SGM church reveal those who were abusers? If not, the above quote should scare you.

    If your church does not disclose past abuses you have been affected by SGM.

  19. Uriah
    February 6th, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    I’ve addressed this in a previous post but think the response below is particular relevant to Kris’s questions. Here it is again, with some minimal edits:

    I am emotionally conflicted. My heart breaks for yet, more victims, while at the same time I feel so frustrated with those who continue to attend SGM churches and believe they have no culpability in the matters before them. If you are currently attending a SGM church then you are not neutral. You have made a decision that directly affects whether or not SGM will continue to adhere to and exercise the abusive polity structure that got them in this mess in the first place.

    By your very attendance you are vicariously affirming and supporting the fundamental reason why this insidious abuse gained a foothold in the lives of so many. The reason being, ….. a very unbiblical and ungodly use of spiritual authority by leaders in SGM. This remains the fundamental reason as to why men who lead in SGM feel no compulsion to be beholden to you, your brother/sister, the police, child protective services, or the entire body of Christ in your locale. Because they believe the authority of Christ rests upon them to lord over the flock of God as they see fit, without accountability…. and so they do.

    It is very critical to connect the dots that ultimately led to the atrocities which have been noted ad nauseum. These abuses happened because SGM pastors/leaders believe they have ultimate authority over individuals in particular and entire churches in general. Make no mistake, they continue to believe it today and have no intention of changing (see SGM’s current polity statement).

    SGM has just recently solidified and codified their “new and improved” polity statement, one that continues to grant them absolute and final authority over you and your church. This is the height of arrogance! Practically, this means, as it did in every one of these cases of abuse, that they wield ultimate authority in the affairs of individual lives and churches. People of SGM…. NOTHING HAS CHANGED!

    Therefore, if you (members of SGM) continue to give your money and attend your SGM church, you are vicariously supporting the continued existence of SGM. You may have chosen to ignore all the drama which occurred over the past 5-7 years while your other brothers and sisters were sounding an alarm, but this does not absolve you from your responsibility before God to demand that this nonsense cease. Your indecision, apathy, and lack of indignation regarding what has happened to your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ continues to be incomprehensible. Whether you like it or not, if you remain a member of SGM, you have chosen to be active participants in the propagation of the abuse of authority that results in the horror stories that continue to be noted here.

    Your leaders may have recently TOLD you they are signing the new polity document. Unless you raise your voice and communicate a loud resounding “NO”, this ungodly and heretical abuse of authority will continue unabated. …. and it will continue on your watch, because you said nothing and did nothing to challenge it.

    I say the following without malice but with much dismay and grief in my heart. Either you (current member of SGM) are very deceived or paralyzed by cowardice. However, there is another choice….. to be brave and courageous, to stand up and allow your heart to be filled with the indignation and grief of God,….. to love your leaders and fellow brothers and sisters by speaking up and saying ENOUGH! This is wrong and I will have no part of supporting it any longer!

  20. Moniker
    February 6th, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    CLC posted a statement about the Nate Morales news story. http://www.covlife.org/blog/response_to_news_reports

    I’ll just copy it below in full so you can read it….

    On Monday news reports were widely circulated about a Nevada man, Nathaniel Morales, who has been charged in Maryland with molesting boys during the 1980s. The reports contain allegations that this abuse occurred when Mr. Morales was a teacher, erroneously implying that he was a teacher at Covenant Life School. The reports fail to state that Mr. Morales, though a church member at the time, was never a pastor in Covenant Life Church nor a teacher in Covenant Life School. Rather, Mr. Morales was a teacher employed by an independent private school in Montgomery County not affiliated with Covenant Life Church or School.

    Contrary to the impression left by the news reports, Covenant Life Church had no knowledge of such abuse until many years after the abuse when an adult who had been victimized as a child came forward.

    The criminal matter described in these news reports is distinct from the civil lawsuit filed last October against Sovereign Grace Ministries, that was amended in January of this year to add Covenant Life Church as a defendant. The church will respond appropriately to the allegations in that pending lawsuit through the legal system.

    Our church places a high priority on protecting children, and has had robust child protection practices and policies in place for many years. Our hearts and prayers continue to be with anyone affected by the trauma of sexual abuse. We pray that they will receive the healing, comfort and peace of Christ. And we continue to invite your prayers for all those involved in these matters.

  21. Square Peg
    February 6th, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    QUOTE: The first is this idea of not taking up another persons offense. In other words, if an SGM pastor so s against your spouse, that offense is between the two of them.

    Jenn, Could you explain this again, an example perhaps? Trying to follow?

    Thanks!

  22. Michael
    February 6th, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    @ A Kindred Spirit #5, I understand that the subject matter here is serious, but to read out loud “SGM is a taco” gave me quite a hearty chuckle. Thank you for that side benefit.

    The indignation expressed here I feel myself and have expressed to some people I know who are still in SG churches, namely my parents. My mother and father have never been the type of people to blindly swallow down anything that they’ve been taught at what was once “our” church. I actually attribute my own tendency to question and to think critically about these matters to their example, and it is one thing I will always be grateful to them for.

    However, it is disheartening to hear my mother, one of the boldest persons I know, pretty much tell me the subject title of this blog post: “…this church isn’t like the other churches.” It is disheartening to hear my father, who has vocally criticized the leadership of the church for supporting SGM’s moves in the last year and more, who is purposely remaining in the church to make a positive difference, repeat many of the same “doctrines” that Jenn Grover (#12) has cited as control tactics when he takes objection to my understanding of the problems his church is facing.

    It doesn’t seem to me, when it comes right down to it, that reason and strenuous pleading are enough to help those still remaining in SGM churches to leave. It takes illumination from the Spirit, His power–those who remain are blind, hypnotized. We can’t just say, “Be free!” and that does the trick. God has to set them free, as He did the rest of us.

    I won’t recount my entire history in the SGM church that I left, but I will say that God used those experiences and teachings there, both the good and the evil, to make me into the man I am today. I don’t know who I would be if I hadn’t gone through that. It doesn’t mean that I praise God for the suffering I went through–I’m still mad about that. But I would be suffering much more if I was still there.

    What all SGM churches have in common is a twisted view of human reasoning and church leadership. This twisted view does not always mean that each individual church is as bad as it could possibly be, but it is an abusive door that opens up the church to further varied abuses. As long as SGM members accept that they are merely sinful sheep, inclined at all times to depravity and to be unintelligent, they will never stand up for themselves. If they will not stand up for themselves, they will not stand up for others.

    And while SGM pastors are told constantly how special they are, really they are just slightly more privileged sinful sheep looking to the dictates of SGM HQ. I am hopeful for the pastors who have separated in title and association from SGM, but spiritually it takes a WHILE to recover from that way of living.

  23. Terry
    February 6th, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    Some good stuff being said here and I don’t know where to start but will try. One of the things I struggled with in my local SGM church in El Paso, was that the pastors were not only “wonderful” people but my dear friends (still are even though I’m getting a bit of the “shun” treatment since I’ve been active on this blog). There are a lot of wonderful people in the Mormon church. I have a couple of agnostic friends who are wonderful people. However, I’ve learned through all this that being “wonderful” and being a “friend” does not make them right. These two pastors who are “wonderful” and my “friends” have been deceitfully removed, after many years of service, from their positions as pastors (fired by SGM BDs)and now sit as “regular” church members in the congregation…oh, but the last pastor “FIRED” did receive his “honorary eldership” instead of the symbolic gold watch. They were told the church could no longer afford to pay them but somehow find the funds necessary to pay the new “very young” PC graduate “rock star” preacher who replaced the two seasoned middle-aged “wonderful” CoG pastors. Before the senior pastor’s demise, he would always answer my SGM questions of concern by saying…”Because we (CoG) are in El Paso and geographically removed from the SGM mainstream of churches…”We are not like many of the other SGM churches”…and even though they are no longer pastors having been manipulated and deceitfully removed from their positions, they still support “We are not like the other SGM churches”. Unless God intervenes and removes the scales off their eyes, I have no doubt that if they were to independently open their own church, that church would very quickly become contaminated with the same SGM culture that has them sitting in the congregation unemployed.

    Diego – RE: Repentance – Another former pastor from this same church was sent to plant a SGM church in Las Cruces, NM. He faithfully did so. But when the SGM BDs (Steve Shank, Paul Palmer, and others) decided this pastor was not raising his kids correctly according to SGM standards, he was put through “SGM Hell” for a year until he couldn’t take it anymore and he left his post. Many of you on this blog know him. When I suggested to the newly appointed CoG pastor and to the senior pastor (before his demise) that since you guys aren’t “like the other” SGM churches, then maybe a good place to start for CoG is to go to the former Las Cruces SGM pastor and admit the abuse, ask for forgiveness and repent…even though these current pastors were not a part of that pastor’s demise, but because they wear the SGM brand I thought it a good place to begin. The “former” senior pastor and the new PC grad pastor both thought that might be a good idea. A month later, the new PC grad pastor approached me and said…”I’ve been thinking about what you said and I believe I’ll attempt to contact the former Las Cruces pastor and speak with him.” That was over a year ago and the former Las Cruces pastor has yet to be contacted. Repentance is not something you think about…it’s something you do. Obviously, for whatever reason, this does not apply to SGM.

    I say all this to say this. God is MORE than capable to wipe out this SGM culture/mindset from their hearts and minds; however, until this takes place, I’m afraid that any attempt to break away from SGM (which they discussed with a band of other SGM churches but to no avail) will only be “cross-contaminated” by anything they touch. Also, if there is no repentance…no adherence to correction…and according to Proverbs 10:17…they will only continue to lead others astray.

  24. Steve240
    February 6th, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    Nickname said:

    We knew better than to go to the pastors with questions, because the response would be “you have a rebellious heart issue, because you do not trust your pastors.”

    If you’re in the Frederick church, ask for some answers. Ask for the synopsis AND a copy of the letter, and ask that it be distributed. And if you are answered with the “you don’t trust”, you can agree and say, “Of course I do not trust. You are fallible human beings just like everyone else, and you need to be honest and forthright with everyone involved, because you have the office of a pastor. In Christ alone I place my trust.” Just my two cents.

    I find this baffling that pastors would typically respond this way. After all, they use to train members to defend them by saying their pastors were “imperfect.” If someone really feels they are “imperfect” (as these leaders claim) then they wouldn’t use this tactic of don’t you trust me. This is especially true with all the teaching on “indwelling sin.”

  25. Terry
    February 6th, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    @ Michael #22- Ditto this:

    “What all SGM churches have in common is a twisted view of human reasoning and church leadership. This twisted view does not always mean that each individual church is as bad as it could possibly be, but it is an abusive door that opens up the church to further varied abuses. As long as SGM members accept that they are merely sinful sheep, inclined at all times to depravity and to be unintelligent, they will never stand up for themselves. If they will not stand up for themselves, they will not stand up for others.”

  26. Tempest
    February 6th, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    In response to the “but my church is different” thinking, maybe Kris can dig out her awesome resturant analogy she posted a while back.

  27. JeffB
    February 6th, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    Moniker #20 posted CLC’s statement about about the Morales case. One quote: “Our church places a high priority on protecting children, and has had robust child protection practices and policies in place for many years.”

    This doesn’t quite jibe with what Mr. Boisvert said in the AP report. If what he said is accurate, they are still clueless.

  28. Let Us Reason
    February 6th, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    Large or small churches that leave SGM would (apart from a genuine move of the Holy Spirit) have to ‘reinvent’ themselves. ALL SGM churches declare their reliance on the Word of God in ALL THINGS, so how does a church that has existed under the SGM umbrella for so many years, and therefore under those who claim to teach from the Word of God, and is a local body standing on the Word of God, do things differently now? Most of the pastors are the same men that embraced SGM prior to the revelations of 2011 and old habits die hard!

  29. Let Us Reason
    February 6th, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    A name change is not enough!

  30. yentl
    February 6th, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    I asked my Frederick friends your questions.

    1. One year old child fell in children’s ministry and cut her head. A pediatric emergency room nurse immediately provided first aid and told parents she needed to go to the ER. They took her.

    She said children’s ministry has a 3 to 1 adult/child ratio.

    2. A child sexually abused another child outside of a church setting. Although it was not required that police be contacted due to age of the children, the pastors strongly encouraged the victim’s family to do so…which they did. All contacts of the child were notified. Security were assigned to watch the child at all times in the building. Child eventually left.

    The pastors are adamant that police be notified in cases of child abuse or sexual assault.

    3. The pastors wrote a 12 page document describing all of their interaction with SGM in the last year and a half. They read the document at a family meeting, gave members the audio and gave written copies to everyone. They hold monthly meetings to get input from members and update them on SGM issues. They have a polity committee made of men and women laypeople evaluating polity and making recommendations.

    I can’t remember her other answers or what the other questions were.

  31. Fruit Flavored
    February 6th, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    I’m a bit puzzled about CLC’s response to the Nate Morales case.

    In the response the CLC spokesperson states, “Contrary to the impression left by the news reports, Covenant Life Church had no knowledge of such abuse until many years after the abuse when an adult who had been victimized as a child came forward.”

    I’m thinking that Mr. Morales was no longer in the church when the victim came forward to CLC leadership. If so, did Robin Boisvert and Grant Layman then track down Mr. Morales to discuss the allegations? “Police interviewed a co-pastor at the church who recalled having confronted Morales about the allegations. That pastor, Ernest Boisvert, told police that “normally the church would appeal to the person to stop his criminal behavior and then, should it not stop, they would alert people that the person is not acting in a Christian manner. The person would need to show contrition,” according to a police report filed in the case.
    Boisvert said that going to the police was in the “realm of possibilities,” but that he took his cues from the families, the police report says.
    Another pastor, Grant Layman, said he had communicated with Morales several years ago and that Morales had admitted to “alcohol abuse and homosexuality.” He said that Morales told him that he remembered having committed abuses and having confessed his past to an older pastor, but that Morales now said he was very ill and could not recall the specifics of anything that occurred.”

    So, if they did track him down and he made the statements regarding remembering having committed abuses, why did RB and GL not report the crime to the police? RB states regarding reporting that they take cues from the families. It this is standard procedure it is absurdly flawed.

    I’m going to repost a question I posted earlier. So if CLC pastors discussed this crime with their attorneys and chose not to report it, is there any provision in the law that states attorneys must report the crime? Just wondering…

  32. Steve240
    February 6th, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    This doesn’t quite jibe with what Mr. Boisvert said in the AP report. If what he said is accurate, they are still clueless.

    That AP Report was quoting a police report. Thus is doubtful that it could have been misinterpreted.

  33. Hope in Him
    February 6th, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    Yentl, it sounds like your friends down played the situation with the toddler. I know for a fact that she received no first aid! The person who told you that she received first aid from an ER nurse at the church did not tell you the truth. Why don’t you check your facts with the child’s parents?

  34. Lost in (cyber) Space
    February 6th, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    Yentl,

    I concur with all that you said in point 3. That is my experience and understanding.

  35. Yentl
    February 6th, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    I’m sorry if I was misinformed. I don’t know any of the people involved.

  36. Hope in Him
    February 6th, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    Yentl: you wrote that a child sexually abused another child. Is your friend attempting to minimize? The perpetrator was a juvenile, yes, but are you sure that only one child was affected? The children were in no way peers in size or age. Lots of people who could have been affected who either had left the church or were visiting the care group where children were left to play with the juvenile offender in basements of homes were NOT notified. There is simply no way the pastors could track down everyone. For the most part, though we were all submissive secret keepers and did not talk.

  37. Lost in (cyber) Space
    February 6th, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Hope in Him,

    Could you explain this statement: “For the most part, though we were all submissive secret keepers and did not talk.”

    I am confused. Were you involved in the situation or close enough to be aware? Are you a member of SGCF?

  38. exCLCer
    February 6th, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    “An indictment returned in December charged Morales, 55, with 10 counts of either sex abuse or sex offense. The indictment says the sex acts involved four boys and occurred between 1985 and 1990, when police say Morales was helping the church with youth ministries, conducted Bible studies, teaching at a Christian school and hosting sleepovers.”

    What Covenant Life so conveniently (intentionally) glosses over in their statement is that Morales was not “some man from Nevada” or “just a member”, but a very esteemed member of COVENANT LIFE, who vigorously participated in the COVENANT LIFE worship group, led COVENANT LIFE bible studies, and was so involved with the COVENANT LIFE youth group that he would host “sleepovers” in his home where the kids from the COVENANT LIFE youth group would be invited to sleep at his house where, according to police, some of these criminal assaults were perpetrated on COVENANT LIFE members children. I attended the high school he taught at(MCCA) which was at the time referred to as covenant life’s “sister school” because Covenant life did not have a high school yet. The affiliation may not have been official, but it was most definitely affiliated.
    I’m starting to see that “deflect, deny, and lie = vigorously defend” in their dictionary. Just so infuriating!

  39. delta dagger
    February 6th, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    My Friends,
    Yes most of the SGM churches in Minnesota,Illnois and Kansas are the same but after the this huge amount of bad press and one ungodly huge lawsuit things will start to change for the better.

  40. exCLCer
    February 6th, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    http://www.mynews3.com/content/video/default.aspx?videoID=3928194

  41. Diego
    February 6th, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    yentyl #30
    “child eventually left”… that is the SGM answer to everything. People with concerns LEAVE. They don’t care about the relationships you have, service given, love for your church. If the elders feel that you are a problem, they don’t want you in their church. Yes they feel that its their church. They don’t want your vote, feedback, concerns expressed. They want you to be a joy to them. If you have questions. If you cause them “problems” they want you to leave. You are just a number. They feel that your seat will just be taken by someone else eventually once this blows over. I don’t think God is going to let this blow over. Child leaves, they don’t have to give counsel or answer for the child. NOT THEIR PROBLEM ANYMORE…

  42. A Kindred Spirit
    February 6th, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    So does Covenant Life not think that there are others out there like exCLCer who know the truth?!

  43. LetMyPeopleGo
    February 6th, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    In regards to Kris’s original question from her post….

    I can only speak for the SG that I attended….I believe that every single person that is a committed, loyal member of my old church needs to leave and get help to experience the true grace of God. I don’t believe that you can experience it there in all the legalism.

    After I left, I came to the conclusion from reading Steve Arterburn’s book: Faith that Hurts, Faith that Heals…that CJ is a religious addict. And I also believe that my senior pastor was a religious addict, too. And many other members of that church are, too, I believe. Again, this is MY belief.

    In that book, the author says, “When religion becomes an addiction, it is very difficult to identify in the early stages. It looks so good. As the addicts serve themselves, they appear to serve God. They escape into an unreal world where people, ideas, and rules replace a relationship with God. The farther they drift from God, the more desperate the addicts become, until they are willing to lie, cheat, steal, or kill for the harmful faith system or the leader. They become so hooked that they are almost unreachable or unapproachable because their denial is so strong.”

    He goes on to list the roles that religious addicts play: persecutor, coconspirators, enablers, & victims.

    He believes that “no matter what role a member plays, the person becomes addicted to the system, the beliefs, and the behaviors.”

    He then goes on to say, “These people have one primary function: allow the persecutor to function, insulated from reality. With the faithful followers willing to do anything to support the persecutor,the organization becomes dysfunctional and unbalanced, leaning heavily toward the top.”

    There is also the role of the “outcast”….that is the only person who is not a religious addict in that toxic system.

    In my church, I was a victim at times, an enabler at times, and finally an outcast during the months before I left.

    I think that everyone involved in SG needs to get out, consider their part in this unhealthy system, repent of what they need to, and let God heal them by experiencing his boundless grace. If you don’t repent of your part in this toxic system that, in my church, harmed people daily, you can’t get free. I had to do it….I repented of just encouraging people to join a caregroup. Who was I to tell them that they needed to start fellowshiping? I wasn’t the Holy Spirit. I also had to admit when I had been vicitimized and get help to heal from that.

  44. Moniker
    February 6th, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    Brent has sent a letter to a long list of national Christian leaders regarding CJ Mahaney. I hope to God that they pay attention to it. Read it on his blog: http://www.brentdetwiler.com/brentdetwilercom/2013/2/6/an-appeal-to-national-leaders-regarding-cj-mahaney.html The list of names is at the bottom of the post.

    Please, if you have a Twitter account, tweet this link out and mention the names. Thanks.

  45. Terry
    February 6th, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    @ Moniker – RE: List of Names…that’s quite the Who’s Who list. Glad you found that. I posted the link you provided on my FB. The “Reckoning” has commenced I believe.

  46. Jenn Grover
    February 6th, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    Square Peg – sorry if I was too brief – I was posting from my phone. :)

    The phrase that was propagated was not to “take up anther’s offense.” So, if you sin against my brother, I am supposed to not be hurt or offended by it. Or, if you see someone getting the royal SGM treatment, you should not be offended on their behalf. If I become offended, or even question something that happened to another person, your questioning is squelched by implying that you are sinning by taking up another person’s offense. We all know that there are numerous places in Scripture where we are called to act on the behalf of others. What I don’t find in Scripture is any explicit or even implicit not to take up another person’s offense.

    A few years ago I got tired of trying to put a happy face on the way SGM treated my brother, so I told people how I saw it when they asked about him and where he was. It often made people uncomfortable and elicited a surprised response.

    The more I reflect on SGM and their manipulation and branding, the more sick it makes me. I remember he had to have his photo taken for some SGM songwriters thing and the direction was for him to wear something “hip, but casual.” For those of you who know the Grovers, “hip” is not the first thing that comes to mind. What did we do? We went shopping at the right stores to pick out the SGM uniform of the time: khaki cargo pants, and a v-neck sweater with a horizontal stripe. He didn’t look any more hip than he did in his usual blue jeans and polo shirt, but the uniform was right.

  47. Argus
    February 6th, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    I’m pretty sure that “not taking up an offense” comes from Bill Gothard seminars.

  48. Jenn Grover
    February 6th, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    Kris blogged on taking up offenses here: http://www.sgmsurvivors.com/2009/07/01/frequently-asked-question-isnt-it-wrong-to-take-up-the-offenses-of-others/

  49. Toni
    February 6th, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    Terry #45

    The “Reckoning” has commenced…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vry0ijbJVE

  50. acme
    February 6th, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    exCLCer re: #38 – that is exactly my recollection of Nate during this time period, singing on stage, working with kids, and engaged to a friend. I remember that so many of the CLC high school kids were at MCCA, since CLS was just for elementary school.

    Not cool, CLC, not cool.

  51. Persona
    February 6th, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    “Do you believe that there are SGM churches out there that can retain their affiliation with the organization and yet be completely unaffected by SGM’s long history of legalism and concern for the organization’s image?”

    Kris, excellent post; no, I do not believe it is possible for any group trained or affiliated by SGM, to ever function as a healthy church.

    Abuse of every kind is rampant in our society but, even more so in an environment where perpetrators believe that they will escape with a slap on the wrist.

    I count numerous cases of abuse in my own extended family, over three generations. Given the amount of cases of abuse in just one family, it is not hard to imagine that there may have been hundreds of cases of abuse, in more than a hundred SGM churches, over more than 30 years. Given their history of concealment and non-reporting to authorities, a predator might actually find a haven within their walls.

  52. Steve240
    February 6th, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    Let My People Go said:

    After I left, I came to the conclusion from reading Steve Arterburn’s book: Faith that Hurts, Faith that Heals…that CJ is a religious addict. And I also believe that my senior pastor was a religious addict, too. And many other members of that church are, too, I believe. Again, this is MY belief.

    In that book, the author says, “When religion becomes an addiction, it is very difficult to identify in the early stages. It looks so good. As the addicts serve themselves, they appear to serve God. They escape into an unreal world where people, ideas, and rules replace a relationship with God. The farther they drift from God, the more desperate the addicts become, until they are willing to lie, cheat, steal, or kill for the harmful faith system or the leader. They become so hooked that they are almost unreachable or unapproachable because their denial is so strong.”

    That sure sounds like a possible explanation for C.J. Mahaney and those who have continued to support him despite all the sin that has some out. I had thought maybe it was something like he didn’t have a conscience and that is still a possibility.

    You definitely would see within SGM at times the approach that the “end justifies the means.” I have had phone conversations with one board member and he seemed to “extend grace” or bend the rules for C.J. Mahaney that you wouldn’t have seen happening with others.

  53. A Kindred Spirit
    February 6th, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    Both exCLCer and Acme have the same recollection of Nate during this time period.

    What was CLC thinking?

  54. Persona
    February 6th, 2013 at 10:54 pm

    I agree with you, Steve240 (#52)

    We tried to bring their false mode of operation to the attention of those at the top and were immediately told us that doesn’t happen there. The fact that it doesn’t take five seconds before they defend themselves tells me they are seriously deluded.

    They protest too much, even in the most recent statement at CLC about the Morales case. Why wouldn’t they take the high road and invite anyone who has been abused by Morales to come forward and report it to the authorities? Their callous response proves without a doubt that they care more about their reputation than the young sheep in their midst.

  55. Eagle
    February 6th, 2013 at 10:54 pm

    Interesting post and an interesting question! I have to tell you about my experience with a Sovereign Gracer that crossed paths with my life here in Washington, D.C.

    In late 2011 my friend who was new to the area started inviting me to Sovereign Grace. I went through a faith melt down in 2009 and was suspicious of Christians in general. Well as I started to talk with my friend more I started to research Sovereign Grace. He kept pressuring me to attend. As I researched I discovered you guys. I was horrified as to what I read about Sovereign Grace…molestation, criminal activity, blackmail, cult like behavior, etc… On a side-note I almost became a Mormon in college and drank a lot of LDS kool aid when I was 21, and 22 and I live with the scars from that experience. What I read about SGM raised red flags in my mind. I’ve told my friend that Sovereign Grace can be called “Mormonism 2.0” due to its history, cult like behavior, and doctrine.

    Getting back to Sovereign Grace this issue has become a barrier in our friendship. If he were involved in any other church (except a Pentecostal, CHBC or McLean Bible) I’d actually go regularly and listen to the sermons and speak to the pastor or two about my problems, concerns or doubts with Christianity. However, since its Sovereign Grace I would never consider it. These are some of the issues that come up.

    1. My friend emphasizes that his church is independent of the SGM mess (Redeemer of Arlington). I don’t buy that for one second. First it was born out of CLC and has ties to SGM Fairfax. Though its left why is it healthier than those in the network? Also for a church that is “independent” I am perplexed as to why Eric Simmons would go to the SGM Pastors Conference. If you are “ independent” why would you associate with any SGM national activities? Also since Eric Simmons was reared, raised and part of the leadership of CLC for years, as well attend the Pastor’s College how is Redeemer any different? The SGM culture was transplanted there and is still a cancer.
    2. I have noticed that my friend spends a lot of time trying to “sell” Sovereign Grace. He’s either trying to explain away the problems, act like its not an issue, or when I introduced him to another solid Christian friend (who was a missionary in Africa and plugged into his church) my friend tried to recruit him into Sovereign Grace. I was really pissed when he did this and called him on it.
    3. My friend from Sovereign Grace reminds me of a Mormon due to his behavior. The last time I have seen someone act in this manner was when I was involved in Mormonism in college. My friend focuses on being nice, is concerned about image, and buys the party line. There are little to no questions asked. No doubts, issues or problems. Also he treats and worships Eric Simmons and his Elders at Redeemer in the same manner that a Mormon would talk about Joseph Smith or Brigham Young. He also excuses the hypocrisy involving Mark Dever/CJ Mahnaey in the same manner that a Mormon excuses the hypocrisy of Joseph Smith or Brigham Young.

    I have been upfront and difficult with him for a reason. Part of it is my remaining vigilant; even though part of it is my concern about his thinking. He’s an adult and if he wants to be in a cult that is his choice. He and his wife had their first kid and I am perplexed why anyone would want to have a child in SGM due to the excessive problems with molestation that SGM has. Other churches don’t have these problems to the same extent. But I am difficult because after what I went through when I was younger with Mormonism and a faith meltdown several years back I am hyper vigilant. I am looking out for myself. I have asked my friend direct questions about Sovereign Grace, and in many ways he is evasive. He avoids criticism or spends most of his time praising how his church “is the healthiest church he has known.” I’ve only been to Redeemer twice. The last time I went I gave my friend a spoon – a large wooden spoon that I picked up at Target. In front of his friends I told him that “Since it’s “the Gospel” to strip and spank an adult woman this (I gave him the spoon) spoon will help you practice your faith.”

    I’m vexed about this friendship. Honestly I don’t know what to believe about my friend. I’ve wondered about his motivations or intentions. When he speaks to me I second guess him often. And I’ve told him the following “I don’t know where ‘Bob Blue’ ends and Sovereign Grace begins”. And its sad…he reminds me of the Mormons I once knew in Montana years ago. And it’s frustrating. Fortunately it’s not like this with my other Christian friends. When I am hanging out with them over a coffee or in their apartment or home, I’m at ease. I trust them, I trust their judgment, I welcome them and am grateful for their fellowship. I am eager to seek out faith and discuss it with them. I really don’t have any issues with them. Whereas my SGM friend I do second guess him. He’s indoctrinated, brainwashed and in a cult. Despite all his claims that “his church is independent and separate” from Sovereign Grace …I don’t buy it. My B******t detector is going off. There are too many red flags with Sovereign Grace.

  56. Persona
    February 6th, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    Eagle 55

    Stay your ground. You seem to have really good innate sensibilities. I really appreciate your involvement here.

    Redeemer is no different than any other SGM church except they most closely resemble the Gathering of Believers, the earliest version of CLC, back in the 80′s..totally in love with their own reflection in the mirror.

    Somehow Eric managed to skim off the youngest, most creative and idealistic members of CLC and Fairfax and convince them to relocate to the wealthiest DC suburb.

    There is an ACTS 29 church down the street and probably many other healthy churches nearby so not sure how they chose the site. Eric is married to a wonderful woman but, she is the eldest child of the earliest founders of the Gathering.

    Eric has many good qualities but he not only sat at the feet of CJ in the PC, he was also the accountability partner for Joshua Harris for years before migrating to Arlington. That says a lot about his pedigree and who he is beholding to.

    I agree with you that SGM is a lot like the Mormon church. Stay at arms’ distance and follow the Spirit, not men and you will do well.

  57. Nickname
    February 7th, 2013 at 12:40 am

    One of the reasons I homeschooled our kids for a few years was to keep them from suffering massive peer pressure until they were a little more mature. I’d spent a week substitute teaching in our local middle school, and peer pressure at that particular school was the strongest I’d ever seen. I didn’t want my children to be in that environment, ever — to this day I’ve never seen a school with meaner kids, and after homeschooling I taught in public schools with positive atmospheres, so I know they’re not all like that. The schools that had positive atmospheres were that way because the principal, superintendent, and teachers made a point of being positive people. When our kids returned to public school, they were more mature and handled peer pressure and socialization well.

    In the same way, SGM churches have developed a culture that is modeled, taught, and expected by the guys at the top. The pastors are under tremendous peer pressure to be just like, oops, I started to say CLC, but since they’re gone, I guess it would be more appropriate to say just like Louisville. The worship teams all want to sound like the latest SGM cd release — forget sounding like the unique blend of talent that God put together. Sound like the CD!

    It occurred to me tonight that the SGM churches I’ve observed have stronger peer pressure than that awful middle school I kept my kids away from. Mature adults are pressured to conform in that environment more than anyplace I have ever seen.

    So, no — I don’t think any SGM church is immune, because the culture of peer pressure has been touted and modeled as the best representation of Christianity in history. It’s not just the pastors people are trying to please; it’s their friends, too. They conform because they cannot stand the idea of being lonely, of losing friendships, of no longer being part of the middle-school popular crowd.

    The title of this post, “But My Church is Different”, started me laughing. I remember back in the early 90′s, when some of us would visit other SGM churches, we’d come back and say to each other, “That church is different. It seems a lot freer than ours.” Little did we know that what we thought was freedom was a carefully constructed facade. Our church probably seemed freer to those who visited from other SGM’s, too — because nobody had yet decided to ‘speak into your life’ or ‘care for your soul’.

    I noticed that in the letter Brent posted to the Big Dogs today that he used the ‘care for his soul’ phrase. I’d like to never hear those words again.

    In an orthodox church before we ever heard of the Family-of-Churches-Formerly-Known-as-PDI or the extra-biblical apostles, I remember learning that we are body, soul and spirit; that the soul is made up of intellect (mind), personality (emotions), and will. Wish I could explain this well, but it helped me to understand that spirit breathes life into our souls; the Holy Spirit in us quickens our spirits and brings life, so we are not just lost souls. So this strange term, ‘care for your soul’ doesn’t make sense to me and just sounds like religious verbosity and heebee jeebee wierdness. It is the jargon of those who are addicted to religious excess. It is another example of SGM re-defining words.

  58. Eagle
    February 7th, 2013 at 1:39 am

    Persona-

    Over at Wartburg when I write about Sovereign Grace I draw heavily upon my LDS experience. I see many similarities about SGM that I just can’t say for many other churches. When I went to Redeemer I was on the lookout for all that, especially the love bombing. I didn’t see love bombing there but I still got the gut feeling that this wasn’t right. The feeling I got at Redeemer was similar to what I got when I went to Ward services in the LDS faith. It felt too good to be true…and as I learned painfully…it often is.

    When I was involved in the LDS faith I exhibited cognitive dissonance. There were red flags but I ignored and rationalized it. I think this is what my SGM friend is doing. He and his wife were so desperate for community and fellowship after moving around a lot, they got sucked into the cult. Many wise, educated people do fall into that trap. That’s what makes cults like SGM so evil.

    I did that to with the LDS faith. Today I’m 38 and I want to shake my head in shame for what I bought into when I was 21 and 22. I think one day my SGM friend will do also. I love him, and I care about him, if I can get my faith together and work through some of my doubts I told him that I’d have no problem getting baptized again and letting him play a role. That would be my way of showing him grace, and of course it would happen at a non SGM church. But its hard when someone has drunk the kool-aid. He doesn’t know how indoctrinated and lost he is…well when I was in Mormonism…I was lost also, and I didn’t know how brainwashed I was in my thought process.

    Time will tell but I am hoping he’ll come to. I also hope his daughter is not molested or harmed.

  59. Eagle
    February 7th, 2013 at 1:43 am

    Persona-

    This is my analysis here…but I predict that Redeemer of Arlington will be affected by the lawsuit. I think people will learn things that will shock and surprise them. I think this will be due to its connections to SGM Fairfax and CLC. That’s what will derail Redeemer. And I don’t think Acts, Sojourners, etc… will won’t them. Who would want to bring on board a church with legal problems that poses a liability? They would pose a threat to the entire network. Any SGM church will have that baggage and brings undue risk.

    My .02

  60. Recovering Free Reformist
    February 7th, 2013 at 1:44 am

    I couldn’t agree with this post more. As I stated in an earlier post, run and don’t look back even if they have disassociated themselves. Unless they had the courage to remove themselves personally as Pastors (lot’s of noble threats that they could easily get other jobs with no actual follow thru) and allow the Lord thru the congregation vote to determine their future as a humble leader would, their motive and intent is difficult to trust. The acknowledged unrepentant posture (wall) we came across of which no one knows about was unbelievable and subsequently unbearable and worthy of Titus 3:10,11. To understand the brief story of a long sad exodus, review #5 under “Tips for watching the Superbowl” post which was my attempt in responding to the very relate-able comment #2 of the same.

    As a side note can someone please tell me your thoughts on this quote and subsequent perspective: I have some thoughts but I wanted to get other feedback to stand corrected possibly.

    “Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” (John 8:10-11 ESV)

    I was just thinking what a power picture of the gospel this is. I really think this woman was overwhelmed with the mercy of Jesus in this brief meeting and put her faith in him. Jesus shows her mercy and yet knows that she deserved every stone that the law demanded be thrown on her. At the cross, Jesus welcomes the just punishment of every rock that this woman deserves and volunteers to be buried under a rock pile in her place.

  61. Jenn Grover
    February 7th, 2013 at 4:19 am

    Eagle – though I have no personal experience with LDS, I have become interested (not as in me becoming Mormon, but in general, interest in the group.) When I saw this PBS documentary on LDS I drew the same conclusions as you: http://www.pbs.org/mormons/view/

    SGM is closer to the real gospel, but the control and branding tactics are eerily similar. The recent SGM posts by various pastors is very reminiscent of the “I’m a Mormon” commercials.

    The SGM loyal won’t hear it, but the further you can remove yourself from SGM, the more clearly you see.

    Here is my list of things I mention to current members to help them see how their church is more similar than they realize:

    1)Does your church disclose those who have confessed or been charged with sexual abuse?

    2) Is your church transparent about what mistakes it has made and specific? (More than we aren’t a perfect church)

    3) Is your church transparent about decision-making? Does your leadership team always present itself as unanimous in their decision-making?

    4) What is the role of the congregation in decision-making?

    5) Does your church opt for young guys for leadership positions versus mature men?

    6) Does your church practice discipleship?

    7) Does your church allow for member-led (versus pastor-led) Bible Studies? If so, how recent was the change?

    8) How does your church treat women? Is the primary value in being a wife and mother or do the excel at the spiritual gifts? How does your church treat/view single women? Is it less preferable to be single in your church? How often does your church address singles apart from preparation from marriage? Is a preparation for marriage a regular topic?

    9) Has your church slowly drifted form practicing the Charismatic gifts and have charismatic distinctions faded?

    10)Does your church culture seem to imply that there is no such thing or at least there are very few legitimate victims?

    11) How many non-SGM, or SGM related songs do you average a month?

    12)How many non-SGM or non-Gospel Coalition leaders are mentioned in SGM?

    13) Do members of your church seem to know more about Reformed doctrine than they do Scripture?

    14) Do people who leave your church basically cease to be friends with folks in your church? Does that seem normal to you?

    15)Is talk of the resurrection or our abundant and victorious life in Christ a rarity?

    16) Do many people seem to regularly struggle with God’s love for them?

    17)Do CGL’s have access to information that members do not? Does information seem connected to level or status?

    18) If you told your CGL or pastor you red the blogs, would you feel a little nervous?

    19) Are you concerned that people who are not reformed might actually not be saved?

    20) Do people gravitate towards phrases or quotes more than Scripture as maxims to live by?

    21) Does your church communicate (or has it in the past) that it understand Scripture better, has a higher view of God, or takes sanctification more seriously than other churches?

    22) Do you feel guilty being proud of any of your children who are not following God or may not seem to be as spiritually minded as other kids?

    23)Besides believing the right doctrine or growing more aware of your sin, what fruit can you point to in your church? Are people regularly saved in your church? Are people discipled after being saved?

    24) Does your church embrace the loving pursuit clause in its membership agreement (or similar)? How many pages long is your membership agreement?

    25) Does your church have regular dialogue where people disagree? What happens when someone has an opinion different from the group?

  62. LetMyPeopleGo
    February 7th, 2013 at 7:43 am

    Steve 240,
    Re: #52…..Oh, just because I believe he is a religious addict certainly doesn’t negate the fact that he may not have a conscience! In fact, given the extent that I think his addiction has pregressed to and how deluded I think he is about everything…I would highly suspect that if he has a conscience it is pretty much completely not operating any longer.

    I would never believe a word he speaks because I honestly think every word is, at this point in his life, completely manipulative. I am sure that he doesn’t even know who he really is. Scary to say, but at this point, I believe he is his addiction. I have never heard him preach live, but from the sermons online and the Youtube clips etc that I have watched, I don’t believe there is a moment that I have seen what I would call him “real.” His preaching never seems to pour forth from his heart. It seems well-planned out, methodical, and from his head. I have never sensed the Holy Spirit speaking when I have listened to him. Maybe others have from years past, I don’t know. To me, his words, actions, and the horrible condemning posts that he allows on his blog (and his son’s) about sports figures who aren’t even Christians are enough evidence for me to never, ever trust him.

    So…just to respond to your comment (which I appreciated), I actually don’t see any evidence of a conscience. Of course, only God knows if he still has one. But I certainly wouldn’t trust him, his words, his teaching…nothing.

  63. Enjoying Freedom
    February 7th, 2013 at 7:54 am

    Jenn Grover #61

    “The SGM loyal won’t hear it, but the further you can remove yourself from SGM, the more clearly you see.”

    Right on. So true….

  64. Kris
    February 7th, 2013 at 8:13 am

    “Recovering Free Reformist” said,

    As I stated in an earlier post, run and don’t look back even if they have disassociated themselves. Unless they had the courage to remove themselves personally as Pastors (lots of noble threats that they could easily get other jobs with no actual follow thru) and allow the Lord thru the congregation vote to determine their future as a humble leader would, their motive and intent is difficult to trust.

    Before our SGM experience, Guy and I spent several years as enthusiastic and ultra-loyal members of what I’ve come to call a hyper-Charismatic Prosperity Gospel church. We eventually were forced to come to grips with the fact that that pastor-owned-and-operated church was a family business and the pastor had veered dangerously away from the Bible. The pastor seemed to be emphasizing both money and his “prophetic gifting” more and more. All of his sermons were along the lines of, “Here is this verse, and here is what God told me it REALLY means.”

    In terms of governance, there was no congregational input and no formal accountability at all. On paper, the church had a board of trustees that apparently met once a year as a legal formality, but the members had nothing to do with this board. There were like 5 trustees, and they seemed to be guys who had been heavy financial supporters when the church had gone through its most recent building project. A couple of the trustees didn’t even seem to attend the church anymore.

    But the general feeling was that the pastor was completely trustworthy and above ever needing to be questioned anyway. After all, he was a proven prophet who was very comfortable saying the words, “God told me…”

    We were growing increasingly uncomfortable with a lot of stuff but kept rationalizing everything. Looking back now, I think we felt like we’d invested way too much of ourselves to even open ourselves up to the possibility that maybe we shouldn’t be at that church anymore.

    But then there was a turning point in our thinking. The pastor gave Guy a personal prophecy that was more specific than his usual “words,” and when that prophecy did not come close to proving true, we had to face the fact that our pastor was just as fallible as anyone else.

    Once his credibility took one hit, it was like the entire scaffolding of what kept us at that church fell apart. If he could make a mistake in one area while operating (supposedly) in the office of prophet, he obviously could make huge blunders in others. Suddenly, all his sermons became suspect. “Here is this verse, and here is what God told me it means” just didn’t hold water now.

    Because we realized we could no longer trust this pastor just on the basis of his word alone.

    That’s when we allowed ourselves to ponder the unponderable: what if the pastor was operating out of self-serving motivations? What if the shift to talking about money all the time had nothing to do with what God had told him but was instead about his own pocketbook?

    There’s a parallel between that experience and what has happened within SGM. For decades, questioning was discouraged. People were taught that their pastors had some sort of special spiritual gift that made them practically infallible when they were functioning in their role as pastors. It was always implied that pastors could be trusted to police themselves.

    Well, now that it has been proven that at least some of these pastors cannot always be trusted to police themselves, it’s like the whole thing has fallen apart. Sure, a lot of SGM pastors are still, by all appearances, deeply sincere believers who only mean well. And maybe when they implement changes these days, it’s because they’ve truly had some sort of epiphany, some sort of change of heart. Maybe everything that’s shifted within SGM over the past few years (so that pastors can assure members, “Oh, sure, the blogs talked about that but we don’t do that anymore!”) has shifted because the pastors honestly realized their errors and understand their old teachings and practices are wrong.

    But – and here’s the thing – maybe not.

    Maybe all the changes are happening just because these pastors want to keep their jobs. Maybe things have shifted out of embarrassment from the realization that the old stuff made the organization look bad. Maybe it’s all more about public relations and maintaining a positive image that will not affect the cash flow.

    The problem is, once that trust has been broken, the whole thing falls apart. Everything becomes questionable. Nothing can be assumed.

    Pastors who are still asking members to “believe the best” about them and still trust them to police themselves are operating under the old paradigm. And that paradigm simply cannot work now.

    What’s been seen can’t be unseen.

  65. Square Peg
    February 7th, 2013 at 8:47 am

    Thanks for explaining Jenn. Now I get it. WOW! I don’t remember every specifically being taught to “not take up another’s offense”…but then again, I was probably not in a situation where that would come up. Had I been, then perhaps that’s what I’d be told. One of things that helps me in reading stuff here…it sheds light on the mysterious behaviors of my fellow SGM friends and acquaintances. Stuff that I knew was odd, but could never put my finger on it? I was often the voice of dissension at caregroup meetings, etc. I woud usually just get a deer-in-the-headlights look from people. They never quite knew how to respond to me except to smile and nod and look uncomfortable.

  66. Square Peg
    February 7th, 2013 at 8:54 am

    Julie Anne, what is the link to your blog? Thanks!

  67. Nickname
    February 7th, 2013 at 9:01 am

    Kris, great post. You said,

    We eventually were forced to come to grips with the fact that that pastor-owned-and-operated church was a family business and the pastor had veered dangerously away from the Bible.

    This is pretty much the situation with SGM.

    Something that hasn’t been mentioned here for a while — the SGM corporation was legally established as CJ’s own personal business. He owns it. Don’t know if that changed with the move to Louisville — can anyone with legal expertise comment on that?

    If it is still true, removal of CJ by the Board is not possible. He’s the owner. He’s the one in control of the paperwork, the finances, etc. He can remove the Board — they can’t remove him. If you’re the owner of a corporation, every year you fill out corporation papers to be submitted to the state. Those papers include the names of the officers of the corporation. The owner can add and remove officers whenever he wants to — but they can’t remove him.

    Unless CJ decides to close the business, he and SGM cannot part ways.

  68. Whirlwind
    February 7th, 2013 at 9:08 am

    @Kris #64 – “The problem is, once that trust has been broken, the whole thing falls apart. Everything becomes questionable. Nothing can be assumed.”

    Exactly what I’m experiencing.

    Discussing polity issues with my SGM pastor, I’ve come the realization that even though I disagree with elements of the polity (I’d prefer the independent route chosen by CLC, the San Diego churches, etc.), I could probably live with the polity structures – in any other denomination, under any other leadership.

    The problem is I don’t trust the current leadership that keeps affirming CJ’s “fitness” for ministry and stands by the various panel findings without ever dealing with the mishandling of Larry’s departure and the confessed coercion exerted by CJ and the rest of the A-team. (The events surrounding Larry’s departure need to be openly confessed, giving the same details we see in Brent’s documents. All the SGM members who won’t read the Leadership Letters (a.k.a. Brent’s documents), need to hear exactly what happened and how the A-team members sinned against Larry and his family. His departure was not private and the confessions need to go beyond private meetings with Larry as well.)

    Could SGM just remove everyone and let the pastors nominate and vote in replacements for the board and leadership team? Would it be acceptable if they let all the SGM pastors vote to approve members of the leadership team and then published real results (e.g. C.J. Mahaney – 53% approve)? I might have thought so before the departure of 16 (and counting?) churches. But if all you have left are churches that are apparently okay with the current handling of SGM problems, how can you really expect to win back much trust?

    In some ways, I think SGM is okay with these churches leaving because when their Council of Elders vote on board members, etc., they’ll be able to publish larger approvals.

  69. Whirlwind
    February 7th, 2013 at 9:27 am

    A comment about not taking up another person’s offense…unfortunately, this doesn’t appear to be how God operates:

    Jer. 51:36-37 – Therefore thus says the Lord: “Behold, I will plead your cause and take vengeance for you. I will dry up her sea and make her fountain dry, and Babylon shall become a heap of ruins, the haunt of jackals, a horror and a hissing, without inhabitant.

    Lam. 3:57-59 – You came near when I called on you; you said, “Do not fear!” You have taken up my cause, O Lord; you have redeemed my life. You have seen the wrong done to me, O Lord; judge my cause.

    And it’s not just that the Lord takes up the cause of others. We are told to take up the cause of the weak and those suffering as well:

    Isa. 1:16-17 – Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.

    In most circumstances we probably don’t want to take up an offense for someone who has decided to overlook some sin in the interest of love (Prov. 10:12), but we certainly have every reason to fight on behalf of those who have been wronged and are refused a just hearing by those who have sinned against them. (Otherwise, the church would need to remain silent on the issue of abortion, euthanasia, and similar social issues.)

    It is the spirit of Cain that has no interest in his brother’s well-being.

  70. exCLCer
    February 7th, 2013 at 9:50 am

    Acme #50 – yes, exactly. And for CLC to act as if all this about Morales was sooo long ago, that they don’t have people there now who knew what was going on then is ABSURD at best. Grant Layman is their executive pastor now. He knew then. Boisvert is still there too. He knew then.
    Plenty of the church families whose children were in that high school and youth group are still at CLC, and many of those former students have now married each other (weird, but not at all unusual for SGM)and continue still to be very involved with the church. Both Simmons and his wife attended the school and were in the youth group. They (and other former students and youth group participants)might not have known then what was going on, but they definitely know and can attest to what leadership status and level of involvement Morales was unabatedly afforded in CLC at the time.
    Nora Earles (CJ’s personal executive SGM secretary) was, at that time, the MCCA school executive secretary! When this was also reported to the school (who also failed to call police) you think the executive secretary was aware of nothing? Doubt that. I can only imagine what hidden information SHE may have been privy to over the years especially after becoming CJ’s personal secretary. I know she knew what was happening in my family at the time.

    They know. They all know. And I suspect they collectively know even more than we do individually about things they have covered up. It is an impossibility that most or any of them don’t know. They continue to deflect and defend what is indefensible.

  71. Stunned
    February 7th, 2013 at 10:42 am

    exCLCer, you are a wealth of information. Thank you for being here and exposing that which has been sadly hidden for decades.

  72. intheNickoftime
    February 7th, 2013 at 10:48 am

    Terry in # 23 –

    Reading your description of your former pastors calls to mind they way alcoholics see the world. It is not until they “see” their condition that they can start to change.

    The same it true with SGM. Your pastors, despite their poor treatment, have not “seen” the truth yet.

  73. Waters
    February 7th, 2013 at 11:54 am

    Kris, in response to your question: “For the congregations that have departed SGM, what does it take to become healthy?…”
    I find it impossible to believe they can BECOME healthy. Aside from the miraculous knock- you- off- your- horse encounter such as Saul of Tarsus experienced.

    Why? The mysterious condition of sleep has ensconced all that is SGM. The leaven/law of control and manipulation have appealed to their senses. ~As in a deep sleep when someone is attempting to awaken you…you can hear their voice and are somewhat aware of the reality of needing to wake up…but sometimes, when in a deep sleep, it takes a conscious EFFORT to decide to wake up.

    Two weeks ago friends called to inform us of their SGM church leaving SGM. ( A big church on the east coast).The caller states something like: “well, its the best thing, because whenever anyone googles SGM, all this crap comes up on the internet.” This person KNOWS, personally, of the horrible abuse of several women, rapes of teens, and the horrifying responses of pastors towards the victims.–We were speechless, cut to the quick. Yes, it was brought to their attention of their knowledge of the truth of all this and how the SGM machine responds—but, there has been a change in pastoral leadership in that church, and they have decided they “ALWAYS trust their pastors”!!!! And so here comes the mantra “Our church isn’t like THAT”!!!!!

    We know, currently, that in the midst of God knocking down the SGM closet door to reveal what has been hidden in the darkness–the congregants are unwilling and unable to connect the dots in regard to the pollution they breathe within SGM.
    Love of their friends and pastors trumps the Holy Spirits Hand on their shoulder, attempting to awake them…to SEE Truth and to realize the bondage they are in. Sadly, they CHOOSE to remain as puppets, in thought, response, and spirit.

    So, we pray for eyes to open, and speak truth when someone comes across our path. For a generation, their culture has been and is, saturated with duplicitous teaching–their mind, spirit, and emotions are hijacked. Therefore, I donot believe they can BECOME healthy —the need is deliverance from all that is SGM (I agree with the parallels Eagle has illustrated with LDS).
    Jesus words were to FLEE leaven. Flee those who rule you with the law. I pray SGMites will hear Him calling for them.

  74. Whirlwind
    February 7th, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    @Waters #73 – Can I paraphrase the response?

    “It’s best to leave because if someone Googles SGM, they discover all the rotting corpses in the closet and we think it best to just keep that door closed because the odor isn’t as strong that way.”

    SGM’s public reputation is perhaps of some concern, but it’s certainly not the primary concern – that would be the numerous reasons for that reputation. Of course, concern for the outside of the cup over the inside is typical of Pharisaical influence.

  75. keepinstep
    February 7th, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    One day – CJ to thank bloggers?

    http://www.charismanews.com/world/38120-vatican-official-thanks-media-for-uncovering-church-abuse

    “The Vatican’s new sexual-crimes prosecutor on Tuesday acknowledged that the U.S. media ‘did a service’ to the Catholic Church through its aggressive reporting on child abuse that helped the Church ‘confront the truth.’”

  76. Steve240
    February 7th, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    LetMyPeopleGo said:

    Steve 240,
    Re: #52…..Oh, just because I believe he is a religious addict certainly doesn’t negate the fact that he may not have a conscience! In fact, given the extent that I think his addiction has pregressed to and how deluded I think he is about everything…I would highly suspect that if he has a conscience it is pretty much completely not operating any longer.

    I would never believe a word he speaks because I honestly think every word is, at this point in his life, completely manipulative. I am sure that he doesn’t even know who he really is.

    Good point Mahaney could have both conditions. In all likelihood Mahaney doesn’t have a conscience and has this “religious addiction.” I would also think that leaders supporting Mahaney despite all his blatant sin do it based on this “religious addiction.”

    When I read the following book:

    http://www.amazon.com/Sociopath-Next-Door-Martha-Stout/dp/0767915828

    I think of Mahaney as a “sociopath” using this author’s definition. This is a summary of that author’s definition:

    We are accustomed to think of sociopaths as violent criminals, but in The Sociopath Next Door, Harvard psychologist Martha Stout reveals that a shocking 4 percent of ordinary people—one in twenty-five—has an often undetected mental disorder, the chief symptom of which is that that person possesses no conscience. He or she has no ability whatsoever to feel shame, guilt, or remorse. One in twenty-five everyday Americans, therefore, is secretly a sociopath. They could be your colleague, your neighbor, even family. And they can do literally anything at all and feel absolutely no guilt.

    Back in the TAG days Mahaney appeared to be sincere and have a conscience and maybe he did. Either it was all a facade he put on or he has changed. It wouldn’t surprise me if was more the latter.

    On the other hand it isn’t like Mahaney’s sin just started. Maybe it was all speaking the right things but never really doing them or taking them to heart. Only God really knows.

  77. Waters
    February 7th, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    Whirlwind #74 — an appropriate paraphrase, sadly so.

  78. mandavilla
    February 7th, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    They knew alot-If you watch the news clip that no#40 shared you can see Boisvert accompanied Grant-meeting took place in a park-was this before or after the arrest-If someone could get the court papers .It is at mark 0.29.

  79. Nickname
    February 7th, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    I originally missed the link at #40 — thanks to Mandavilla for mentioning it again. http://www.mynews3.com/content/video/default.aspx?videoID=3928194

    This report doesn’t audibly mention the park meeting i but shows video of what may be a police report or court document. A portion of the written report is visible on-screen with words indicating that Boisvert & Grant had a meeting in a park with the perp. (How pervy does that sound…)

    The reporters from this Las Vegas tv station referred to him as Pastor Nate. They went to his apt, the apt of the person listed as a church official, and also to the church building that was purchased by another entity — said he was difficult to track down.

    Although I find the leadership completely at fault if they covered up crimes that they knew about, I want to point out that these perps are very good at manipulation, building trust, lying, covering-up themselves. The leadership should realize at this point that they’ve been played by a master player — especially if they knew stuff and covered it up. That’s exactly what these perps bet on. They feel fairly safe that nobody will blow the whistle on them.

    Churches everywhere need to let perps know that there is NO safe place to hide — you will be outed, you will be prosecuted, and you will go to prison. No ifs, ands or buts about it. These guys know how and where to insert themselves.

  80. Waters
    February 7th, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    Steve 240 — And so… it has become obvious that sociopaths attract/link arms, with their fellow sociopaths. Probably unknowingly…but this would explain the depths of ‘why’ they protect one another. Sociopaths are usually highly intelligent and are also capable of emulating correct emotional (and spiritual?) responses —however, because they are void of or diminished in conscience, their responses are NOT real or TRUE. Therefore, they cannot be trusted, in any form, to lead Gods people. Sadly, their charisma often leads we gullible sheep off the path….BUT GOD brings His Light for our path, and begins to shatter shadows and deceptions. *Ask….*Seek… *Knock….always!

  81. Steve240
    February 7th, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    http://blogs.courier-journal.com/faith/2013/02/06/ex-ministry-worker-in-former-sovereign-grace-flagship-church-charged-with-sexual-abuse/

  82. Waiting
    February 7th, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    I liked Kris’ parallel to the prosperity church she and Guy were in. That self-serving approach to pastoring, combined with CJ’s obviously questionable mental state, combined with the closed system circle of group think, fear, unquestioning obedience and silence, have set in motion something that has to change from the ground up and from the top down, in order for any of these once SGM or SGM friendly leaders or members to experience and appreciate reality and positive change, so that they can actually begin to mature in Christ through faith in His grace.

    Steve 240, it’s good that you included the hallmark of sociopathy, a lack of conscience, and its fruit, an utter lack of guilt and a constant bent towards seeing oneself as a victim. I have a family member who was raised in a Christian environment and fits this bill perfectly, and am greatly saddened, but not surprised to have heard directly from them recently, that they do not believe in Christ. This person spoke eloquent Christianese for almost 40 years and “did” all sorts of things “for the Lord”. Yet, all along, the attitude and behavior they displayed was completely self righteous, manipulative and condemning of others.

  83. just saying...
    February 7th, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    I haven’t been on in awhile and perhaps I missed something.

    ExCLCer – Is Morales the one in the lawsuit referred to as teacher/pastor? Is he the one linked to Covenant Life School or is there another perp? Although CLC kids went there, MCCA was affiliated with a different church. He wasn’t a pastor in SGM.

    Will additional perps be named?

  84. Stunned
    February 7th, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    just saying, there was another perp to my understanding.

  85. Let Us Reason
    February 7th, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    Kris #64
    First impressions on why the implementation of SGM church changes?
    Probably no shifting or epiphanies, but the deep embarrassment of nationally publicized shocking revelations of multiple (local and national) cases of child abuse within the SGM house. The whited sepulchres were in reality a lot stained. Also complaints of member abuse and how many self-policing pastors handled things badly and ineptly.

    Will they still invite CJ to speak at their churches? Hmmm?
    His sudden and unexpected abandonment of CLC which smacked strongly of great pride and anger must have surprised and grieved them. I think these pastors mostly saw and see themselves as caring and dedicated, but they realize that they misjudged the once popular and highly “in demand” CJ and SGM failed to serve all members especially victims of abuses. Those churches/pastors who are leaving want to carry on in the reformed way (with congregational input), but without CJ and SGM, though they probably won’t say it outright regarding CJ (in most cases), because of past loyalties and fear of judging him too harshly. Men like Mark Dever, who pastorally covered CJ during his ‘journey’, are apparently still closely connected to the gathering number of churches of the Exodus in the DC area!

    (Kris wrote: Sure, a lot of SGM pastors are still, by all appearances, deeply sincere believers who only mean well. And maybe when they implement changes these days, it’s because they’ve truly had some sort of epiphany, some sort of change of heart. Maybe everything that’s shifted within SGM over the past few years (so that pastors can assure members, “Oh, sure, the blogs talked about that but we don’t do that anymore!”) has shifted because the pastors honestly realized their errors and understand their old teachings and practices are wrong.

    But — and here’s the thing — maybe not.

    Maybe all the changes are happening just because these pastors want to keep their jobs. Maybe things have shifted out of embarrassment from the realization that the old stuff made the organization look bad. Maybe it’s all more about public relations and maintaining a positive image that will not affect the cash flow.

    The problem is, once that trust has been broken, the whole thing falls apart. Everything becomes questionable. Nothing can be assumed.

    Pastors who are still asking members to “believe the best” about them and still trust them to police themselves are operating under the old paradigm. And that paradigm simply cannot work now.

    What’s been seen can’t be unseen.)

  86. Wasabi
    February 7th, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    Lost in (cyber) Space (#6) said:

    I have to chime in re: Frederick. I am a former member who recently left due to this whole SGM debacle. I have had many very open and honest conversations with the pastors. I do not think they are hiding anything. I was able to see the letters written. They are not ‘kool-aid” drinkers at all. I think they are trying to figure all of this out and give opportunity for SGM to repent. Taking too long for me, but I definitely do not think they are being secretive about the SGM stuff.

    to which Hope in Him (#14) replied:

    YES it is happening there and even on this blog people are replying that all seems ok there.

    This is a good example of the kool-aid toxicity: members are intentionally kept in the dark about issues that may tarnish a SGM church’s image; the members believe things are terrific because they haven’t heard about anything bad; SGM pastors reinforce the “slander and gossip” doctrine if something DOES happen; members with complaints are invited to leave; members ignorantly trust their pastors; and the endless cycle starts again. YES, HiH is right, it even happens in Frederick! SGCF had a registered sex offender on their children’s ministry security team! What…you didn’t hear about that from the pastoral staff??

  87. Nickname
    February 7th, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    The perps in these cases are worth some case studying by whoever does that kind of thing. Think for a minute — if a sex offender showed up from nowhere, grabbed and molested a child playing in the yard during caregroup, somebody would’ve called 911 from their cell phone,and every red-blooded American male in the church would’ve run the guy down, tackled him, and beat him to a pulp before the police could get him in handcuffs.

    But these perps are slick, slick, slick. Before they ever went near a child, they befriended everybody. They got to know parents. They served, oh yes, they served — ran errands for people, helped them paint their houses, fixed their cars, and finally, when they attained the status of good old Uncle Joe, and oh, isn’t he great with kids — they were safe to do their dirty work. They knew that nobody would suspect them. And if they were caught, they knew they’d go easy on them. So, if there were any whispers of inappropriate behavior or if anyone saw something that would’ve looked inappropriate had somebody else had done it, the reaction of the run-of-the-mill church member would be “Oh, no — it couldn’t be true — Uncle Joe would NEVER do anything like that. Think of the Bible verses he’s taught to the kids. Think of the anointed way he sang O Holy Night. Think of all the family times we’ve had with him. Think of the times he laughed around our supper tables. Think of the photos we have of him with his arms around the kids at Celebration. He’s someone we know and trust.”

    I cannot begin to convey the atmosphere of the family meeting in which we were told that everybody’s favorite Uncle Joe had molested a church child. The depth of the shock felt by those of us who had been friends with him is beyond anything I have ever seen in a public meeting. One of the first questions asked by a teary-eyed mom was “Could there have been a misunderstanding?” The answer from the pastor was, “No. He told us what he did.” And the further shock of finding that he had previously served 8 years prison time for molesting children when he was a teacher and coach. And, as time went on, the shock of realizing we had been suckered in, we’d been used, we’d been set up by someone who knew exactly what he was doing.

    In that case, this guy went to prison. The victim was never publicly identified to the church, and never had to lay eyes on this pervert again. But there were questions we were too naive to know to ask. We should’ve known to ask “how many more victims are there?” There should’ve been much more proactive investigating of this person’s every move and relationship. Somehow, we had a naive expectation that this person would’ve been kind of monogamous in his perversion. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    But think of the cases where the cops were never called. The church members and the pastors are all thinking, “It couldn’t be true. Not good ol’ Uncle Joe. He’s a teddy bear. He’s like a brother to me. Perhaps the child misunderstood. Maybe the victim is embellishing the truth. Maybe there’s a grain of truth, but it couldn’t be all that bad.” But yes. Yes, it could be all that bad, it was all that bad, and it is going to get worse.

    Because these perps prey upon gullible, unsuspecting people. They spin webs of deceit and cocoons of self-protection. They use relationships as insurance. They know that if they are well-known and well-liked, everybody in a church is going to try to do the Christian thing and overlook things, forgive things, minimize things, and try to make the problem disappear by ignoring it.

    And the pastors, by thinking that somehow forgiveness can be coerced from victims, have screwed up royally. I remember watching gripping tv shows or news reports that show victims of heinous crimes who have gone to visit their tormentors in prison and have extended forgiveness to them. That kind of thing is a wonderful and amazing work of the Holy Spirit. But realize: the criminals still paid for their crimes. They still got jail time. They still were punished by the law for what they did. Seems like the pastors saw too many of those shows, and missed the point entirely. That kind of forgiveness can be volunteered, but it cannot be coerced. The concept of that kind of forgiveness can be taught, and held up as an ideal, but it cannot be legislated. You cannot guilt-trip a victim into somehow working up forgiveness.

    And even when forgiveness is extended in a sincere way from the heart of a person, it does not mean that they are not scarred and deeply affected by what happened to them. It does not mean that they do not need someone to hold them, cry with them, protect them, and counsel them — maybe for years, before they can learn to trust again.

    These pastors are indeed culpable for their wrong actions, for their wrong theology, for their wrong application of it. I am not excusing them in any way for this mess. Pastors, leaders, parents, teachers — we need to be aware that these criminals are out there. We need to make it easier for a guy to break into Fort Knox than to scale the walls of protection we erect around our children.

  88. Persona
    February 7th, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    exCLCer #70 Nora Earles, CJ’s personal secretary for many years at CLC and SGM, would be the perfect witness to bring to court. She would be aware of just about anything that went on in SGM.

  89. Muckraker
    February 7th, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    Did CLC pastors lie on their recent blog post about the Nate Morales’ news reports? You decide…

    Their quote:

    Contrary to the impression left by the news reports, Covenant Life Church had no knowledge of such abuse until many years after the abuse when an adult who had been victimized as a child came forward.

    From the Washington Examiner quoting the police report:

    The victim’s father told detectives that he talked with pastors about Morales, but there were “concerns of tarnished reputations,” and no police report was made.

    Links:
    http://www.covlife.org/blog/response_to_news_reports
    http://washingtonexaminer.com/former-christian-school-teacher-accused-of-molesting-boys/article/2520547

  90. Nickname
    February 7th, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    I hit send too soon. I’m not talking about the simple walls of background checks and Sunday school security. I’m talking about watching for the signals, never letting the Uncle Joes of the church take the kids places alone, noticing when someone appears to be in the wrong place at the right time. Recently, a young woman in a church noticed a man she thought looked a little strange. She googled him, and found that he’s on the sex offender registry. When she asked the pastor, he said that the care group was watching him. But she told him that she’d seen the guy walking around unaccompanied, and that kind of watching him wasn’t safe enough for her kids. She left.

    So — what should be the protocol when a known sex offender, a known murderer, a known spouse or child abuser is attending a church? What discretion should or should not be observed? I honestly have never been in a church setting where anything of this nature has been disclosed to a congregation. What should be done?

  91. Dee Parsons
    February 7th, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    Wendy Alsup calls out the silence of the leaders in the SGM lawsuit.
    http://www.theologyforwomen.org/2013/02/gospel-testimony-amidst-abuse-in-our.html

  92. Roadwork
    February 7th, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    “But My Church is Different!”

    Really? We were in three different franchises over a 20 year period. The consistency of the “product” is rivaled only by McDonalds.

    In all of the fallout over the past couple of years, you know there has to be some Assistant Pastors (“Elders” in SGM-speak) that would like to find a way out. But how has SGM positioned them for gainful employment and success in the “real” church world? A now horribly tainted brand, churches leaving, the equivalent of a GED for ministry, and nine more franchise managers looking for employment in a few short months.

    There have been some that have stood up and said, “No more!” and trusted God to provide. It’s a difficult decision when you have the large family (seemingly one of the requirements for paid eldership) and the family relies on your job for sole support.

    You know if you buck the system, you’re toast. It’s happened time and time again.

    But, let’s say the Branch Manager has decided to depart from this Mob Run Family of Franchises. The congregation was allowed to vote (first time in history that they were given a say in anything) and the SGM banner was removed from over the door.

    What has actually changed? It depends. Did they do this to save face or from deep conviction? Even if from deep conviction, it’s going to take some time. They will have to prove themselves and for many, it won’t come easily or quickly. There’s so much that has to change. A new mission statement and a new polity and governance are a beginning, not the end. Retraining takes time. Personally, I would advise any paid elder coming out of SGM to allow himself to be mentored by a local pastor of a well established mainline denomination. Sit at the feet of an older Man of God that’s been faithful to his calling for many years. Learn what’s it’s like to trust God for direction and vision and not the regional Cardinal. Learn to glean from the wisdom that God has provided through the faithful in the congregation. (That’s a HUGE one that SGM has missed, ignored and neglected for decades.) They have to learn that the local church functions as a body and it works together. The congregation is not there merely for practical service such as children’s ministry and hauling stuff around on Sunday. That guy cutting the grass could be a man that rises early each day, prays and knows God. That woman, unassuming as she may be, is a deep fount of wisdom. This isn’t going to be like flipping a switch. Some of these former paid elders I would trust to learn how to do things differently. Others, no way.

    The congregation is going to have to learn how to do things differently. Like speak. Communicate. Dare to disagree. Rely on God. Practice charity when others don’t quite hold the same view. Learn not be a lemming. Require real outreach, real missions and real accountability including in-depth financial statements. Know what your pastor gets paid and what money goes where in the church. (Don’t micromanage his life financially – give him room to minister and take care of his family.) Demand that the hurt and needy are cared for. Don’t believe the best – believe the evidence.

  93. 5yearsinPDI
    February 7th, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    nickname 87…. a beautiful post. Thank You.

    Nickname, I believe the bulk of protection must be with parents, and not leaders of organizations whether church, school, camp, etc.

    Your children must be told at an early age that some people who act nice can be secretly wicked, and if anybody ever, for any reason at all, makes them feel uncomfortable, they are under no obligation to talk to that person or respect them or trust them. I have noticed the last couple years that my mid teen daughter will inform me that a certain guy (adult or young) “gives her the creeps” or seems like a “stalker” or “creeper”, and without fail, every time the same person gives me a vague intuitive feeling of uncleanness or creepiness.

    I have had to tell her that most men today are hooked on porn; even in churches it is everywhere. She may be sensing lust (she is very pretty and busty, and modest clothes don’t hide attractive bodies). She has been warned to listen to her intuition and feel no pressure to be “nice” and relate to them. Kids MUST be given the freedom to listen to their gut discernment.

    I’ve also had to talk to her about women. There are “emotional lesbians” I call them, married with kids, but desperate to be “used by God” and have a ministry. These women latch onto younger girls to help them, fix them, be used of God, and go behind parents backs because they know more than the parents about what is best for the kids. You can’t believe the sheer amount of syndromes out there with Christians who need to be needed. Pathological and endemic. Daughter already can pick up on it, and every time without fail, such a woman is very cool to me but sucks up to daughter to get another girl into her web. I’ve seen and heard a lot from various Moms and churches, and it is almost like some sort of subtle witchcraft operating in ladies who act so sweet but have an agenda underneath. I am grateful that my daughter is getting the clues that help protect her. It is all over.

    SGM is doing the worst possible thing to force little kids to look strangers in the eye and be polite, and force teens to bend over and submit to authority, to the point that there is no freedom to feel a gut warning and avoid perverts. You want a balance of respect and kindness that allows a girl or guy to avoid the creepers. You have to be like Paul and warn kids that there will be savage wolves in churches, and tares among the wheat.

    I don’t have all the answers; I think of myself as too cynical and suspicious, but one month ago I was discussing something related to teens with a CCEF trained counselor who told me I was too trusting. Ha.

    Most of all pray pray pray. Unless the Lord guards, we labor in vain who watch. Watch the best you can, but be on your knees before the Lord for our kids.

  94. Waiting
    February 7th, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    Nickname, I think any time minors are present in a group or facility of any kind, if known sex offenders are present, there should be a requirement that caregivers and legal guardians be made aware. We are to show Christ’s love, but we are also to be wise. Pedophilia is a whole different problem to deal with than, say, someone with a history of kleptomania. The leaders, employers, etc., should risk losing families with children over keeping their reputation or $$. There are enough opportunities for registered sex offenders to find worship and fellowship out there, without children being present, and the offenders of all people, know that fact.

  95. Bridget
    February 7th, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    Wendy Alsup is questioning the “silence” surrounding the SGM lawsuit.

    http://www.theologyforwomen.org/2013/02/gospel-testimony-amidst-abuse-in-our.html

    Of course all those who were quick to defend SGM and CJ will have a bit of explaining to do.

  96. Lost in (cyber) Space
    February 7th, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    Wasabi,

    My defence of the Frederick pastors was in reference to the letters they sent to SGM about CJ and decisions made (i.e. move to Louisville). As I said before, I cannot say anything about how abuse was handled. We have been gone for almost a year. When did the abuse occur? Don’t know anything about a registered sex offender, but that does concern me.

  97. Bridget
    February 7th, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    I agree with #94. I would add that there is no reason why a convicted pedophile should be around children at all. If they are truly repentant, they should have come into the local church and explained everything and said that they will abide by whatever your guidelines are for them attending public worship.

    As far as other sex offenders are concerned, the church should be familiar with their individual cases and have a plan for how they can participate. Some of the cases are unfortunate (18 year old men in trouble for having a 16 years girl friend).

    Pedophiles that have never been caught are an entirely different story. The only way to ward them off is to have an abundance of policies in place so that people are never alone with children that are not their own. Parents must always be on guard as well. Too much interest in children by other adults should be a red flag.

  98. A Kindred Spirit
    February 7th, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    Nickname and 5 Years,

    You go, girls!! 5 Years, I also think of myself as too cynical and suspicious and have been told similar.

    A counselor and pyschology instructor said this about Steve Sitler (the pedophile that Doug Wilson encouraged to marry a young lady in his church and then presided over their wedding).

    Having spent many years in social work and mental health, I have seen first-hand how sexual abuse ravages families. The recidivism rate is so high that a pedophile can never, ever, ever be trusted with a child or teen again – not even for a moment. As documents about Sitler reveal, he even molested a toddler in the nursery with her parents across the hall. As one commenter pointed out, pedophiles can never be trusted to tell the truth about their desires and impulses either. It is important to remember that pedophiles work VERY hard and spend MORE time grooming and seducing their social environments than they do their own victims. They are experts at crafting the perfect image to those around them. At one point, the Megan’s Law website described common profiles of sex offenders – one that I remember which stands out in my mind had the following list of characteristics – age 42, married with children, religious, attends church, active in community. Pedophiles seem to say and do all the right things and many people, upon hearing that the offender has been arrested, will say “He was the LAST person I’d think of….”

  99. Waiting
    February 7th, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    Glad to hear there are others here who are cynical and suspicious, especially about this issue. I can’t say why, but I get a really creepy feeling from the younger, single lady who runs the daycare/learning center our grandson is in. I’ve warned our little grandson about telling anyone NO, to touching private parts. Even at his age, I could tell he understood me. Trouble is, the lady is like his second mom, babysits him a lot, is at the center early and late, of course. I just have to pray and trust God at this point, and realize that she may be a perfectly healthy individual in that regard.

  100. Waiting
    February 7th, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    p.s., I’ve had to get background checks several times over the years. I’m sure anyone managing children in a public setting would have to submit to the same, but it occurs to me that just because a person has passed a bc with flying colors once or twice, doesn’t discount the possibility of having a history of pathological behavior.

  101. LetMyPeopleGo
    February 7th, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    Steve240,
    Thanks for mentioning the book, The Sociopath Next Door. I’ve been wanting to read that one. I have read quite a bit about sociopaths. I agree with your thoughts about CJ in this regard.

  102. 5yearsinPDI
    February 7th, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    waiting….if you are getting a really creepy feeling please do not disregard that. Even if you are not in charge of the childcare decision, at least be honest about your intuition with the parent. For all you know they might be the same way and trying to brush it off. If it was me, the kid would be out of there immediately.

    Thye say about 20% of hard core p0rn viewing is women nowadays. Our culture is so filthy. Please listen to your intuition.

    Good book, on listening to those intuitive inner warnings…the Gift of Fear, by Gavin deBecker. Vital book for protecting ourselves and our kids.

  103. Waiting
    February 7th, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    Thanks, 5years! It will probably get me into hot water with the parents, because they have become very close friends with the person since the child started going there full time. I should be willing to risk it, though. I do have several specific reasons for the concern, and don’t feel that way about his other caregivers. Prayer is appreciated.

  104. Unassimilated
    February 7th, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    Acme #50

    I thought Nate’s escapades were the reason the pastors ended the engagement? That’s what JB told me. The whole pastoral team knew.

    Not cool at all CLC

  105. Eva Amos
    February 8th, 2013 at 1:25 am

    Well all I can say is that our church has really changed, changed in it’s look, it’s music,,and the fact that C.J is never mentioned, no more cj books on the book table. And the young women. They come in all wiht their tight low cut jeans and tight t shirst…evan many of the older women are hot! This is not my fathers PDI. Forsure there are a few women who try hard to look like mrs. Ingles, and their kids as homespun kids. these are the homeschollers.I think leadership should get a hold of these inapraprate clothes for church, I mean short-shorts, midrifts.;;;this is a call for leadershipto retrn our church to wholesome clothing. O and the hair…all strait and sexy…I’m talkng to leadership, even to DAve Ihave to

  106. Eva Amos
    February 8th, 2013 at 1:29 am

    What’s most inapproproiate about the girsl in thier tight jeans and shirts…when they worship, well you can imagnine…all the jumping and hand raising in those close.

  107. Jenn Grover
    February 8th, 2013 at 1:37 am

    Eva…your church (Pittsburgh) might have changed on the surface but not at the core.

    Has Mike disclosed the former sex abuser in your midst?

    Has Mike changed the bylaws to make your church polity so that board members have voting versus advisory power?

    Is your church planning on signing the SGM membership agreement?

    Has Mike held detailed discussions about the 16 churches who have left SGM or the lawsuit and amended lawsuit?

    Young women’s clothes are not the problem at Providence, culture is the problem. The fact that so few people at Providence are concerned about an SGM alliance reveals that problem. Anyone can where the “right” clothes but discernment is much more difficult path.

  108. Eva Amos
    February 8th, 2013 at 1:37 am

    But I still worship there. No I’m not a part of the pampered chef girls, or of the home school mom cause I don’t have kids, and not in with the moms either. I just worship and find God ther

  109. Eva Amos
    February 8th, 2013 at 1:38 am

    There is no such abuser here…we would know about it and mike isn’t that kind of guy, anway, that abuse is problable not here any way

  110. Eva Amos
    February 8th, 2013 at 1:40 am

    and I’m not sure what you mean by a membership agreement…i havent’ heard of such a thing

  111. Jenn Grover
    February 8th, 2013 at 2:14 am

    Well, if you tithe, Eva, your money is going to SGM and will be used to defend these guys in the lawsuit. And, I guess it must not have been announced at Providence, but Dave not work for SGM any more and it isn’t because he was frustrated with the shenanigans.

  112. Terry
    February 8th, 2013 at 6:43 am

    @ Nickname #90 – Since my life is an open book for all to see I will use myself as an example. I am a Vietnam veteran who became addicted to heroin… and remained one for 15 years. I attained multiple felony convictions to support my habit (i.e., robbery, burglary, forgery, multiple degrees of theft). I spent 4 1/2 years in prison. Except for murder, rape, and pedophilia, there isn’t much I haven’t done at one time or another.

    I was one of the first if not the first “prodigal” son of my (ex)SGM church…now CoG of El Paso. For 20 years the church knew all that was going on in my life because my mom and a group of other ladies who were intercessory prayer warriors vehemently prayed for me in the church’s little morning prayer group (they didn’t pay attention or didn’t know “intercessory prayer” or “fighting against the gates of hell” was no long fashionable in SGM circles…lol).

    I have and continue to speak publicly to high schools and colleges…I have spoken to both here in the Philippines too. There are two main reasons why I “expose” my past…one, because it is part of my testimony and depicts God’s wonderful grace and love for his children…two, because I want the “light” to continually shine on it so will never rear its ugly head again.

    I say all this to point this out…there was a time I would have stolen everything in the church house. There was a time I would look you straight in the eye…call you my friend…and be contemplating the whole time how I can get into your purse, house, etc… As difficult as this is to admit, there were times in the 80s when I randomly appeared at church that I should have been watched…and maybe I was being watched I don’t know…lol. People began to trust me again when I began bearing good fruit…this didn’t happen overnight but it did happen. I am now a Behavioral Health Counselor and have worked for the federal government now as I speak readying myself to leave the Philippines to work as a counselor in the Wyoming Dept. of Corrections.

    Now let me attempt to get the focus off myself. Between my own prison experience and my work experience I have dealt with more than my share of diagnosed with “Anti-Social Personality Disorder”…this label replaced “Sociopath” which replaced “Psychopath”…all the same disorder. The dividing distinction between a “Sociopath” and a “Narcissist” is sociopaths have a tendency toward violence and/or murder where as narcissists generally do not. The biggest problem with those individual is you can NEVER get them to admit they’re wrong. They may admit they’re wrong to a certain degree but usually will include others as part of the blame…and they usually only admit this if it is going to serve them positively in some way.

    If CJ is truly a Narcissist or Sociopath, and without God intervening in some miraculous and gracious way, CJ will never own up to his part. Even if he loses everything like Job, he will still continue to blame others if some form or fashion…from a mental health viewpoint, I can’t ever see CJ ever truly repenting if in fact he is diagnosed with one of these disorders. However, with God, all things are possible.

    Pedophiles have a predisposition…a never ending taste or appetite for children. Even if he/she never act on those impulses or urges again, they will, in my opinion, always have that desire or appetite for children. If these individuals are known and attending your church then I would highly recommend telling them where they are allowed and not allowed at all times…should someone be designated to follow him/her wherever they go? I don’t think so…where do you draw the line? If God’s Word is true (it is) then wisdom is worth far more than precious jewels…wisdom will give you the answers you need to the many questions I see here on this blog. Discernment…we the church need discernment…great discernment. It may not be the whole answer but we, I, need to be filled with wisdom and discernment…we the church need to pray for these things so we know how to address many of these issues that plague us. Statistics show a murderer will not likely ever murder again. But a pedophile is always hungry. And then you have the many unopened closets of leaders and members in your church…what’s about to come out of their closet…we don’t want to operate in fear but we do want to operate in wisdom and discernment. Just my opinion for what it is worth.

  113. Kris
    February 8th, 2013 at 7:13 am

    Terry, what a great comment. Thanks for sharing from your experiences and telling us a bit more about “Anti-Social Personality Disorder.”

    In the past, when the talk here has turned to what amounted to diagnosing CJ with a specific mental disorder, I’ve felt a bit uncomfortable about joining in. Yet from all indications, CJ exhibits many of the characteristics of a narcissist. It’s highly telling, too, that CJ spent so long being so vehemently anti-counseling, anti-psychology, and anti-therapeutic movement.

    A part of me has always wondered if his anti-psychology rants were at least partly about keeping people from figuring him out.

    And of course, if people distrust all sources of outside help, they will be more easily advised and controlled by their SGM leaders.

  114. Kris
    February 8th, 2013 at 7:42 am

    Eva said,

    There is no such abuser here…we would know about it and Mike isn’t that kind of guy, anwyay, that abuse is probably not here anyway.

    DISCLAIMER: I don’t know this pastor (Mike) at all – wouldn’t be able to pick him out of a lineup if my life depended upon it. So what I’m going to say has nothing to do with him personally.

    But – I have always wondered why people believe any pastor “isn’t that type of guy.” Why would you think that?

    I understand how nice and kind SGM pastors can be. Our own SGM pastors truly seemed like the nicest people in the world. They were always very kind to us.

    But lots of people are nice in certain situations and yet engage in self-serving behavior in other situations. Why would anyone assume this or that pastor would be above that, especially if the pastor is able to tell himself that he’s doing certain underhanded things (like hiding information about abuse from his congregation) for the “sake of the gospel”?

    The bottom line in so many of these situations is – well, it’s the bottom line. SGM pastors have a lot to lose if members leave and giving drops. Although people are quick to point out that Pastor Such-and-Such was once a successful real estate agent (or whatever), most of these guys are very comfortable on the SGM gravy train. No, I’m not saying they’re necessarily living in luxury. But they are used to a certain lifestyle that certain types of people find very appealing. Most SGM pastors are paid enough to permit them to support wives who do not work outside the home. Most are able to afford adequate housing. Many SGM pastors have fairly flexible schedules and are at least somewhat in control of how they organize their time.

    More significantly, the SGM pastor is an important person in his own world. By virtue of his job, he has authority over people. He knows people look up to him. When he gets together with other pastors, he is part of a unique brotherhood where they all take turns putting themselves down and pumping each other up. And he gets to feel more spiritual from having pursued “the ministry” as opposed to some other career.

    If his job were to be taken away, where else would the SGM pastor find equivalent employment these days? Where else could he get paid as much and have as much clout? Particularly with just his SGM Pastors College training?

    It seems so obvious to me that SGM pastors could easily have all sorts of selfish motivations for wanting to keep everything running as smoothly as possible.

    Why do people assume otherwise?

    Why do people assume their pastors “aren’t those kinds of guys”?

    Are they somehow different sorts of human beings than the rest of us?

  115. Kris
    February 8th, 2013 at 8:02 am

    About CJ’s apparent narcissism –

    One thing that has served to muddy the issue is the fact that by all appearances, CJ has good relationships with the members of his family. Carolyn has made a career out of singing his virtues. His daughters have nothing but the highest admiration for him. Even his sons-in-law are fully on the CJ love train, to the point where two of them sent out pissy letters and then quit their CLC jobs because they didn’t feel like daddy-in-law was getting enough honor during the time Brent’s documents came out.

    Narcissists typically have difficulty with relationships, especially long-term relationships with spouses and family members. How could those closest to CJ apparently think so highly of him, if he were really someone with anti-social personality disorder?

    None of us knows, of course, what goes on behind closed doors. But I tend to think CJ is the sort of narcissist who is smart enough to have trained himself to engage in loving behavior with his family members – because especially in the Christian world, he knows you lack credibility without good family relationships to put on display.

  116. Marie
    February 8th, 2013 at 9:06 am

    Kris #115 great points….but have you seen original Manchurian Candidate movie from 60′s? I think it relates to CJ’s immediate family. Using phone here, sorry for typo’s. Anyone seen that movie and can unpack the phrade, “X is a wonderful man” where X was one of the principal characters? Someone mentioned movie in earlier post. I might not have right quote, but if you saw movie you would recognize it….

  117. Moniker
    February 8th, 2013 at 9:46 am

    Here’s another news article. http://www.abpnews.com/ministry/people/item/8198-former-aide-mahaney-should-be-sidelined#.URUPP2fnCKw It’s about Brent’s letter that he sent out to national leaders the other day.

  118. Remnant
    February 8th, 2013 at 10:21 am

    From the article Moniker linked in #117: “…to remove the disgraced minister…”

    Someone on the outside has pierced the veil of deception.

    Bob Allen of ABP New has called CJ “disgraced.” From Merriam-Webster:

    1. archaic : to humiliate by a superior showing
    2. to be a source of shame to
    3. to cause to lose favor or standing

    I think of CJ globe-trotting with smile in place, sharing his “funnies” with world-wide Christian leaders as he shares pulpits, totally oblivious to the seriousness of the charges surrounding him, completely unconcerned about those seriously hurt in the wake of his ministry, silent to the cries of the heartbroken, acting like a moron.

    The only one’s denying CJ’s disgrace seem to be those drunk on Koolaid

    Dis-grace. An ironic, but fitting, word to use for this leader of Sovereign GRACE Ministries because those who have been hurt have received not an iota of GRACE from the leader of this ministry who has a proven habit of bullying those who oppose him, rather than extending grace and love.

    Bob Allen: took a bit of chutzpah, I think, but well done!

  119. intheNickoftime
    February 8th, 2013 at 10:24 am

    Whirlwind –

    “It’s best to leave because if someone Googles SGM, they discover all the rotting corpses in the closet and we think it best to just keep that door closed because the odor isn’t as strong that way.”

    SGM’s public reputation is perhaps of some concern, but it’s certainly not the primary concern — that would be the numerous reasons for that reputation. Of course, concern for the outside of the cup over the inside is typical of Pharisaical influence.

    That second statement that you quoted from Waters is the key to the entire SGM debacle.

    The concern is about reputation! The concern is not that they were lied to. Not that raped children were not assisted properly. Not that pastors did not do what they were biblically required to do.

    NO! The only concern is about reputation. The concern is that when people google the church they will see bad stuff. The only worry is about a poor reputation. THAT is what got SGM in trouble. THAT is why the person Waters was speaking with is a useful idiot for SGM. THEY are the ones that keep watch on the reputation. They are as much of the problem as the pastors. They have no business saying “But my church is different”! It cant be different because THEY arent different!

  120. 5yearsinPDI
    February 8th, 2013 at 10:29 am

    Terry, thank you SO MUCH!! God bless you!!!!

    Kris, we don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. But, we do know what he tells us himself.

    I am happily married to an “ordinary guy” (I think he is something very special, but I am talking about what the world sees). He would never- never- never never- want to engage in bedroom intimacy that caused me physical pain or suffering. How can anybody listen to them speak about “doing it” when her hip was in agonizing pain? Or she was ready to vomit? Ugh.

    How about sensitivity to those with financial struggles? Bragging about wasting money on a hotel room because he didn’t have the self control to wait until he was home to unzipper his pants? I mean, just how far is Gaithersburg from the airport? This is all public, all promoted as part of the CJ persona.

    I see the happy family and adoring girls as a reflection of Mennonite culture. You wonder if they feel the hollow ache underneath. Chad is more revealing- you don’t need pot when things at home are good. (I smoked it for a couple years and it sure helped deal with my parents, sad to say.)

    It is possible CJ merely has the religious addiction referred to earlier. I have been a big promoter of the book “The Sociopath Next Door” and the author details the CEO narcissist with the perfect wife at his side syndrome. So it can certainly fit. I could be wrong though, maybe he is a real Christian with severe addictions. But the biblical description of false apostle seems to fit to me.

    I suppose time will tell. Jim Bakker seemed like he was out to fleece the flock and only fleece the flock, but he has demonstrated true repentance and a changed life. After his jail time! So we will all see what the lawsuit and the years to come bring.

  121. Concerned for the kids
    February 8th, 2013 at 10:50 am

    “How can anybody listen to them speak about “doing it” when her hip was in agonizing pain?”

    I can’t imagine any circumstance where it would be appropriate for me to share stories like this one, or the puke one, or the hotel room one in a public setting. People in the pews didn’t find this sharing incredibly inappropriate?

    CJ himself didn’t? Makes you wonder what else we still don’t know about this twisted dude.

  122. intheNickoftime
    February 8th, 2013 at 11:08 am

    Kris said:

    I have always wondered why people believe any pastor “isn’t that type of guy.” Why would you think that?

    In looking at the three men who “had problems” at our church…None of them were “that type of guy”. At least not when you looked at them. BUT…over time they changed! All were fathers, all held good jobs, all were respected, but something in their lives changed, something threw a switch, something broke…who knows why they went over to the dark side, but they did. So when we first knew them they were not that type, but sometime over the years they changed and WERE that type. But since we already knew them no one noticed.

    So the caveat is to not only watch for people like that, but especially in Eva’s case, keep watch for men to could become that type.

  123. just saying...
    February 8th, 2013 at 11:16 am

    To All of the Concerned Relatives Out There,

    Thank you so much for all of your involvement and concern. We feel the love. Or not so much.

    This blog has always existed for those inside SGM and those who have left SGM to discuss their experiences, identify issues and offer solutions and hope to one another. It has always been self-correcting. If misinformation is put out there, those who know more of the facts correct.

    Now, we have freaked out relatives, who are neither a part of these churches or perhaps any church, watching news stories and coming on to the blogs and posting uninformed conclusions which are then confirmed by other uninformed relatives who are speculating, too. In that, we lose the checks and balances. We now have a lot of people informing the world who don’t even know what they are talking about.

    How many current SGM members are taking it from self-righteous coworkers and busy-body relatives who are in a tizzy that they are sure the grandchildren are in a sex cult. How many members now have fractured relationships with their self-righteous relatives outside the church who are judging them? Shame on you grandma. Go mind your own business. You don’t even know the facts. Put down your torches. Your grandchild has a greater chance of being molested by your second husband than they do at church.

    The blogs are increasingly becoming a witch hunt by uninformed outsiders.

    SGM certainly has it’s issues. Among them are authority “we’ve got this” issues, some that primarily occurred decades ago. It is right for us as members to demand our movement look at how they mishandled situations and go back and make it right. That is the primary focus of this blog. Particularly egregious are traumatic events such as sex abuse that may have been mishandled. We as members are demanding they take steps to apologize to anyone who was mishandled in such a sensitive manner.

    But, sex abuse does not define our movement. And you don’t need to “try to get your grandchildren out”. We are not idiots. We know these people, some of them for 30+ years. We know the Children’s Ministry policies. We know the people working in there. We know the pastors. We know what they are evaluating at this time.

    A time may come when I will decide to leave SGM because everything needs to be overhauled and evaluated, and I may not want to waste my time on this earth waiting for that to happen. But, in the meantime, I will make the choices for my family based upon information that I know to be true. Whether they be relatives or co-workers or trolls, some things being posted here are outright false. And that is a shame.

    I will always be vigilant at church and everywhere else we go regarding the safety of my children. That is just common sense.

    This is an internal matter, being publicly observed by the greater Christian world. And, that is necessary.

    But, it is up to those of us associated with SGM to decide what our family should be doing. This isn’t the choice for ex-members or distant relatives to make on our behalf.

    “We read on the blogs that your church was into shunning, so we’re going to shun you until you leave your church”.

    Our solution is up to us. Stop bullying us to do what you want.

  124. concerned for the kids
    February 8th, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    Hey “Just saying,”

    ok, let’s stick to the facts:

    - SGM matches way too well on all criteria on that “you may be a cult” list published a while back
    - SGM has repeatedly hidden child sexual abuse, even going so far as to force little kids to face the abuser and forgive them, doing even more damage to the little mind.
    - SGM has repeatedly kept children at risk by protecting the abuser, not the flock, and there were multiple incidents of repeat abuse because of this silence.
    - CJ Mahaney blackmailed Larry T.
    - Larry T is a freaky playa who likes to get his “nude spank” on with adults.
    - SGM, under CJ’s authority and occasional direction, removed pastors willy-nilly all over the country to stick in pastor’s grads and SGM insiders
    - SGM pastors have no accountability for finances or time spent, and the double dipping issue has been discussed at length here and elsewhere
    - CJ creepily mimics John Piper’s whacked out mannerisms
    - pastor’s college grads creepily mimic CJ’s whacked out mannerisms
    - No one outside SGM creepily mimics these whacked out mannerisms
    - until about 2 months ago, SGM/CLC/etc were still trying to claim “all smoke, no fire” to these issues.
    - Everyone NOT in SGM who hears about this says, “WHATTTT? are these guys crazy!/!?!”
    - Everyone IN SGM who hears about this says, “don’t read the blogs, nothing to see here, move along.”

    You’re right, when looking at just the facts SGM is indeed a healthy, biblical, “gospel” environment.

    Sheesh!

  125. Androl Genhald
    February 8th, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    @just saying…
    “Whether they be relatives or co-workers or trolls, some things being posted here are outright false. And that is a shame.”

    Please give an example.

  126. Oswald
    February 8th, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Concerned @121 and 5years — CJ shares these things because, in his pride and arrogance, he thinks that his hearers admire him so much that they will be amused and nothing more. He doesn’t realize that there are folks in the audience who are embarrassed and embarrassed for him and for the church where he is speaking. I’ve seen this a CovFel where CJ spoke out from the audience as he was being introduced, adding his ‘funny’ comments, making a fool of himself. I wished someone would help him understand how foolish and insensitive he seemed. After all, this was NOT open mic/improv time at a comedy club.

  127. Oswald
    February 8th, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    Moniker @117 — Thanks for the link to the ABP article re: Brent’s very recent letter to many in high places. Worth the read, including the (2) comments.

  128. Free to Seek Truth
    February 8th, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    Brent has a new post up…20 Hard Questions to Ask Your SGM Pastor

    More and more churches in Sovereign Grace Ministries are meeting to discuss whether they should stay or leave. And more and more people are asking hard questions of their pastors. That needs to happen in every church at public meetings where the pastors are accountability for their answers. This week I was asked to put some “hard questions” together that could be used at these meetings. Here are some suggestions. Please don’t allow for vague or evasive answers. Respectfully challenge your pastors if they do so. It will take courage.

    Do you believe C.J. Mahaney is above reproach as set forth in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-8?
    Do you believe C.J. should be removed as President of Sovereign Grace Ministries?
    What specific attitudes or actions by C.J., the interim Board and the current Board have concerned you over the past 19 months?
    Why was Dave Harvey suddenly asked to step down from all his responsibilities by his local pastors in the midst of the current crisis facing SGM?
    Has anything been covered up over the last ten years that would have called into question Dave’s qualifications for ministry?
    Why did SGM break its repeated promise to have all of Brent’s charges heard and judged by an outside, independent, no history with SGM, third party of evaluators?
    Did you oppose the unjust and crooked approach implemented by the interim Board in devising the Three Panel Review which trampled underfoot all due process and made certain Brent’s charges were never heard?
    Why did C.J., John Loftness, and the Board of Directors respond so self-righteously to the Plaintiffs and lawyers in the class action lawsuit when it was filed?
    Given the horrific nature of the Complaints in the lawsuit do you support SGM’s apparent attempt to hide behind the First Amendment?
    Is the SGM Board of Directors doing a thorough investigation of all the Complaints against C.J., John Loftness (Chairman) and Gary Ricucci (pastor over the Pastors College)? When will they report on their findings?
    Have you asked the SGM Board of Directors to place C.J., John and Gary on “administrative leave” until they are cleared of all charges in the lawsuit?
    Is SGM using any monies given by donors and churches to pay for their lawyers and legal fees in the class action lawsuit?
    Is our church giving monies to SGM? If so, how much and why?
    Are you committed to contact law enforcement regarding all incidents of sexual abuse you become aware of by anyone who visits or attends our church?
    Are you committed to reveal the identities of all juvenile and adult sex offenders who attend our church to members?
    Have you talked to the pastors of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, MD and Sovereign Grace Church in Fairfax, VA in order to fully understand why they left SGM over concerns for its leadership culture? What did they tell you?
    Have you talked to any of the pastors from the other 14 churches that have left SGM? Why were they compelled to sever ties?
    What are your greatest concerns for how our church will be governed by SGM according to the Sovereign Grace Book of Church Order?
    Will you allow the church to vote on whether to accept or reject the Sovereign Grace Book of Church Order since its statues and regulations will directly affect all of us?
    Why do you think we should stay or leave SGM? Be specific.

  129. Jim
    February 8th, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    Good for starters: http://www.brentdetwiler.com/brentdetwilercom/2013/2/8/20-hard-questions-to-ask-your-sgm-pastor.html

  130. Oswald
    February 8th, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    Concerned @124 — This is your list of ‘facts’? SERIOUSLY?
    Have you seen all of these with your own eyes? I don’t think so.
    And why report some of these with a rap-style ‘gangsta voice’? Is this more effective?
    I agree with observations of ‘just saying’ @123. Most people don’t need to be told what to do, and how and when. Gentle reminders would suffice.

  131. Greg
    February 8th, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    I’m not defending anyone involved, but I do have two questions: 1) NM is not named in the lawsuit (though I would not be surprised if he eventually is). How was he part of the pedophile ring at the CLC school if he never worked there? 2) If Brent was a “founder”, and knows enough to identify NM as one of the perpetrators not named in the lawsuit, then why is Brent not responsible as well?

    The only thing worse than one narcissist, is two narcissists to see which one comes out on top.

  132. (formerly)oneofthem
    February 8th, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    Just saying #123,
    I’m just wondering which stories or accusations you feel may be completely false? Are you saying that you suspect that some of the child molestation cases are falsified or exaggerated? Maybe the victims had a misunderstanding? Or is it that there must be certain details of the story that we cannot possibly know and therefore cannot come to a judgement? Please enlighten us. I

  133. Mary
    February 8th, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    Just Saying #123 I get where you are coming from to a point. I remember when people would try to tell me what was going on – I didn’t believe them because I thought too highly of my pastors. Pastors were not portrayed to me as men that were flawed just like everyone else. But, before you dismiss and trash concerned relatives – they have reason to be concerned. SGM is not healthy. I think you are being harsh to say, “Shame on you. Go mind your own business. You don’t even know the facts. Put down your torches…” People should ask questions in light of countless reports of abuse by former members and the recent criminal charges. They should ask. And, I don’t think you can declare what is and is not the primary focus of this blog. You see here – unlike SGM – we can share our thoughts and opinions. We can dialogue about anything we want. And, concerned relatives are welcome.

  134. concerned for the kids
    February 8th, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    Oswald,

    “Have you seen all of these with your own eyes? I don’t think so.”

    I never saw the revolutionary war, Napolean, Billy the Kid, or even Jesus for that matter, but I did read the credible accounts of those who did witness the events. Is that the final defense now for SGM? The old Bart Simpson, “no one saw me, no one can prove a thing?”

    I am shocked that you are going to such length to deny the overwhelmingly documented child and spiritual abuse as merely “allegations” and not facts. Truly floored at the side you align yourself with on this discussion.

    Either dozens of people are lying, in orchestrated fashion given the similarities between the stories, or it happened. Even if only a couple of the cases are accurate, isn’t that enough to warrant widespread concern and reform? How many hurt children does it take to warrant your concern?

    The mannerisms mimicking is my own observation. It is fact. I’m willing for your argument to retract it for this discussion.

    The wording of the Larry T situation doesn’t change the serious perverted nature of the events. Larry T repeatedly forced a grown women (I think not his daughter, correct?) to strip and then beat her with spoons and such on her naked behind.

    Does it sound better that way?

    Ignoring the mimickry, and the wording of the Larry T spankgate which we know DID happen and is fact, which of the other SPECIFIC items on my list do you disagree with?

    VERY interested in your reply since you opened this line of discussion.

    PLease, correct me. Which “facts” are mistruths?

  135. just saying...
    February 8th, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    (formerly) – I am not saying that I suspect the child molestation cases are falsified or exaggerated. I think they are probably true. And, I would not want to wound victims by challenging their stories here. I am so glad they came forward. However, I do think there are some extenuating circumstances that aren’t being disclosed here that would explain some of the actions of the pastors. In an absence of that information, it is not wise to speculate about the motives of the pastor or state those judgments as fact. I think the courts will probably reveal both sides of the story and I’ll wait for that.

    I’m primarily not referring to the sex abuse issues. I just think because sex abuse is not something we all have done, it is easy to create a self-righteous hysteria and start throwing stones. If the topic were stealing pencils from work, I think it would be quiet here. In the stone throwing, we’re frantically throwing out as fact a lot of opinions that have been stated before on extraneous topics. There are just drive by passing comments that are just plain wrong and people all accept them as fact.

  136. (formerly)oneofthem
    February 8th, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    Just Saying,
    Everything you said is exactly what my former pastor said to us. While it may appear reasonable,level headed, and legally justifiable, I feel it’s just them trying to cover their butts. Yes, under any other circumstance i would agree with this reasoning. The problem is that as Christians we are supposed to abide by a greater law. It just baffles me how an organization who pushes “Gospel Centered” everything, immediately goes to a legal response for everything. Telling the congregation things like “you don’t know the situation” while refusing to disclose any of the situation is just a way of getting time. Convincing the congregants not to jump the gun because you take child abuse very seriously is not the same as apologizing for the past abuses. Sometimes there are two rights in a situation. In this case being right means forgetting how to be compassionate to victims.

  137. Nickname
    February 8th, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    Stealing pencils from work is wrong, no doubt, but it does not cause traumatic harm & damage to an innocent victim. This is where the Sin is Sin idea breaks down. The teaching about this has been faulty. SIN is SIN is the idea that SIN (missing the mark) causes us to be divided from God. Specific sins, however, do carry specific weights and penalties. SGM never seemed to understand– or at least, in my experience, never taught — the difference between sin (singular) sins (individually or collectively plural.) Clear as mud?

  138. (formerly)oneofthem
    February 8th, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    Ok just for fun let’s take a pop quiz!

    1. You have just pushed someone on the playground on purpose. What is the correct response?

    A. I’m sorry for pushing you, I was wrong for getting angry. Will you forgive me?
    B. I’m sorry if you may have thought that I pushed you. (There may be different accounts of what may or may not have happened)
    C. Are you sure you were pushed? Maybe you misunderstood what happened.
    D. What happened to you was very unfortunate. I am now leading an anti-bullying campaign. I take bullying very seriously.

  139. Diego
    February 8th, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    I wouldn’t be so quick as to dismiss sexual abuse as just sin. Dismiss stories as hearsay. And justify actions or lack of by saying we don’t have all the facts. Facts are that SG pastors historicall cover their behinds. Minimize their sins. More interested in image than persuing God. In the midst of this movement Satan has found a buffet. He dines on the ambitions of men, shows them a kingdom from the mountain top. They have not rebuked him, but agreed with him. They are reaping what they have sown. They seek their praise and fulfillment of their plans. Where God has drawn back His protective hand there is danger. Minimizing it and telling people to wait to hear the whole story is deceiving. Questions should be asked. If your pastors can’t give you answers, guess what, they aren’t going to have answers 6 months or a year from now when the heat is turned up even higher. People pray that God moves you to His shelter and protection. Find a church that is Spirit Filled and Jesus glorifying!!

  140. concerned for the kids
    February 8th, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    “Facts are that SG pastors historically cover their behinds.”

    With Larry T’s history of nude spanking, can you blame them?

  141. James
    February 8th, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    #136

    As an SGM-er, my training and reflexes tell me to select option B.

  142. Marie
    February 8th, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    CJ is a victim….CJ is a victim….CJ is a victim…That is the mantra that CJ seems to be saying over and over again, and he probably has his family saying the same thing….That relates to the Manchurian Candidate….The movie plot is different from the SGM story, but the idea of having people repeat a mantra until it “fits” does seem to relate. So the blogs have become a perpetrator of sorts? And SGM has to defend itself against them?

    Hmmm…I learned a new phrase in recovery, “I have choices” – I have become convinced that there were many choices for the top leadership to make leading up to the lawsuit. And that is what will likely come out as a result of the lawsuit, many passed up opportunities to make things right…When I continuously thought I was a victim, instead of thinking about my own choices, I was in a great deal of pain. Knowing what choices I do have to protect myself has alleviated a great deal of unnecessary pain, besides repenting of my anger, and many other things that would not fit in this space. The main thing I have needed to do over and over is see my part and own it. If I can do it, so can SGM leadership.

  143. Eva Amos
    February 8th, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    Kris 141…let me be perfectly clear; When I said that our pastor “is not that kind of guy” I meant it in the context of not that kind of person to hide information such as an abuser in our midst. Thank you

  144. Jenn Grover
    February 8th, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    Eva…you are wrong. My brother was on the Providence board
    Ask Mike if there is,recently was a member who confessed to being a past abuser. It didn’t happen at Providence, but the congregation should be aware, nonetheless. The statistics are too high to take someone’s word for it that they won’t abuse again.

  145. Kraftig
    February 8th, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    #138. Trick question! The correct answer is:

    E) *smile* The Pastors are handling it. *blink* . . . *blink*

  146. Terry
    February 8th, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    @ Diego – DITTO!

  147. just saying...
    February 8th, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    Concerned – In the past few hours, you have stated the Larry T “strip spanking” as though it were fact quite a few times.

    That’s what I’m talking about.

    If what Larry referred to as a “troubled relative” made that allegation in regards to “parental discipline”, we should respect her and not further harm her by possibly falsely accusing her of making it up.

    But, there is no way we know that to be fact. And, I don’t think we should make statements that it is fact until further information is available.

    The NM situation is slightly different in that someone has been arrested and law enforcement investigators concluded something likely happened. I think we can speak as though something likely happened.

  148. Awake
    February 8th, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    Marie 142
    I left SGM 18 months ago after twenty years and I like what you said about seeing your part and owning it. When I left the Lord began to show me just how controlling I was to my kids, how I pushed them into a mold of obedience and how I was instilling fear in them and worst of all how I was not loving them or caring for them with love. I wonder where I got that from? It is sad but I was using the same tactics to create little robot children, who submit and act outwardly obedient! I want more than fake submissive kids. I want them to be motivated out of a love for the Lord and not to put on an outward show. Which I beleive is ALL that SGM knows how to do. Put on a self righteous “show”.

    Well as my code name say..I am wide awake now and I have done a 180. When the Lord illuminated all the control, hierarchy and MAJOR hypocrisy of CLC, I was broken inside and could not not help but repent of robbing my kids of a life of love and freedom in Christ. And sadly this is exactly what they did to me.

    I took that same mirror you used and used it to become wise and repent by God’s grace. That is what they need to do as you said… Look in the mirror and take responsibility to repent. But when “image” and “reputation” are protected who can ever look in the mirror really and admit to any wrong. Aren’t they just dancing around at a masquerade ball? This is what Jesus charges the Pharisees with in MT 23 as “outwardly clean but inside full of dead man’s bones.” Jesus says to “clean the inside then the outward will become clean.” But since they only talk about polity how can they adjust behavior. Polity in essence are just new outward rules, it is the “outside cup” as Jesus talks about.. But many stay at CLC “thinking” it is changing. Only from the outside by concepts and rules these are all empty words. They do not know love. It is not just a word or biblical concept to throw around it REAL and SEEN by actions. Clanging gongs my friends, clanging gongs!

  149. Stunned
    February 8th, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    just saying said, ” In the stone throwing, we’re frantically throwing out as fact a lot of opinions that have been stated before on extraneous topics. There are just drive by passing comments that are just plain wrong and people all accept them as fact.”

    Dear just saying, may I suggest that you do NOT know what some of us know and what some of us don’t know. Can you really say when someone on here is speculating and when one is sharing facts they know? Many of us know behind the scenes facts but can’t come out and say things due to the suit or other reasons. If you don’t want to believe someone, that is your choice. But I don’t think your accusation of speculation is applicable to all. If you’d like to point out a specific thing you believe is speculation, then would you, please, consider addressing it specifically rather than making wide, sweeping accusations?

  150. Stunned
    February 8th, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    just saying said, ” How many members now have fractured relationships with their self-righteous relatives outside the church who are judging them? Shame on you grandma. Go mind your own business. You don’t even know the facts. Put down your torches. Your grandchild has a greater chance of being molested by your second husband than they do at church.”

    just saying, I just read this and am SHOCKED. Was this tongue in cheek or did you really mean this when you said it? I can’t believe how cold and cruel it came across.

  151. Mary
    February 8th, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    Just saying and others…here is some twisted logic. SGM discounts the stories here as being untrue and from disgruntled people—so we are wrong (per them). Then just saying says that people are going to take everything we say here as fact (we are wrong again). Too funny. I feel like I am back at CLC. LOL

  152. lmalone
    February 8th, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    “…..it is not wise to speculate about the motives of the pastor or state those judgments as fact. I think the courts will probably reveal both sides of the story and I’ll wait for that.”

    We don’t need to speculate about “motives”. Motives have nothing to do with it. How about we stick to the fact they did not call authorities….ON PURPOSE and did not warn others of criminal behavior in their midst. That is all we need to know. “Why” does not matter. It tells us all we need to know about these guys. You just have not connected the dots yet.

    The fact you think there is another side to the story we have not heard that will explain it all…. is one reason many victims do not come forward. The deck is stacked against them with folks who think like you….and there are a lot of them out there in these man centered organizations.

    Sorry but that sort of thinking is what keeps this stuff alive and well. These sorts of hierarchical pastors who coddle perverts love folks like you.

    My prayer is that someday folks will have more compassion for the victims instead of the big cheeses who protect criminals.

    BTW: We already know their “motive”. They mentioned it in the response. they are protecting their religous freedom rights as pastors. That one blew my mind. Very close to how Sharia is going to be accepted here in some forms. Who cares about the victims as long as the religous person’s rights are protected?

  153. Lady N
    February 8th, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    I keep reading hints as to a hidden reason why Dave Harvey stepped down. After reading Brent D’s latest post, it especially concerned me. Is there a reason due to being disqualified for ministry? I always appreciated his writings, he “seemed” more relatable than the others.

  154. 5yearsinPDI
    February 8th, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    Lady…..

    as far as is known publically, there is no secret scandal with Dave for you to worry about. No infidelity, no crime.

    Dave has adult children who have made some poor choices in life, the same way many, many Christian parents have watched their children make bad choices. It only disqualifies SGM leaders when adult kids are not perfect; most of the rest of the body of Christ is not so stupid. God is merciful and brings the prodigals home much of the time.

    Dave was top tier A team, so that is enough to disqualify him for plenty of ex SGMers. But in the snese you mean, like hidden dark perversions, well no, it is about his kids as far as we know.

  155. Maggie May
    February 8th, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    What happens to a church where men are in charge 
     Where submission and the fear of man looms large
    Where forgiveness and grace have all been ignored
    And control given to men is NOT from the Lord

    Where filtering comes down from the pastor instead
    Of using their brain  inside of their heads   
    Where “grace” is a word that sweeps sin under the floor
    No one held to account, no one helped or restored 

    Chaos and abuse of power becomes the norm
    People are kept quiet and made to conform
    False religion, not a relationship with Christ is created
    Where evil is permitted that should have been hated

    Where Real grace is forgotten and never lived out
    When empty words are stated, I just want to shout
    Where tithes continue and people remain blind
    They have seen all the lies and still  push them aside

    People beaten and bruised are never protected
    It is never reported and forgiveness is expected
    Many came crying looking for protection
    Sharing their stories but instead THEY received correction?

    People tried over and OVER to share
    Trying to get help and get their lives repaired
    It is sad to say that no care or help ever came
    The pastors care only for themselves, it is such a great shame

    Their image too high to admit any wrong
    It is all “gossip and slander”  is their anthem song
    refusing to listen the world will now be their judge
    Since words of appeal never brought forth REAL change or real love

    All of this resembles and reeks of Penn State
    It is all so tragic and the devastation is great
    God’s name and His son Jesus is dragged through the mud
    When God said “you will know who is Mine by their fruit and their  love”

    Wolves in sheep’s clothing YOU are proving to be
    The brood of Vipers from Matthew 23
    Blind guides held in high esteem
    Dirty inside yet the outside is clean?

    Seek the Lord God for HE is in charge
    You’ve made Him small and made yourselves LARGE
    Seek HIS COUNSEL and you will soon find 
    You’ll receive sight and no longer be blind
    Let the Lord show you what you are all about,
    Then walk in His truth and carry it out.

    Jesus died so we can have power to change
    He gave us His righteousness and took all our blame.
    AND Grace is not an excuse to continue in shame!

    Become a church with the fear of the Lord
    Turn from all evil, repent, and  be restored!

    (This is a poem I wrote about ALL controlling legalistic churches across the board)
     

  156. BoughtTheField
    February 8th, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    Unassimilated #104, many of us wondered why NM suddenly broke his engagement and disappeared. I was personally too afraid to ask, for fear of being called a gossip, so I just kept my mouth shut. I think many at the time took the same approach and unknowingly enabled whatever apparent coverup that may or may not have happened.

  157. Waiting
    February 8th, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    Thanks, Maggie May! Your words show the difference between night and day!

  158. Acme
    February 8th, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    Please sign this petition asking the Reformed Big Dogs to step up and uninvite CJ from speaking at conferences, to take this seriously.

    http://www.causes.com/actions/1730803-an-appeal-to-national-leaders-regarding-c-j-mahaney?recruiter_id=34087680&utm_campaign=invite&utm_medium=wall&utm_source=fb

  159. Oswald
    February 8th, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    Mary, Imalone, concerned, others — Why must we be labeled as ALL one or ALL the other. Just because one believes that there could possibly be unknown circumstances in SOME cases, does not automatically mean that he/she has no feelings for victims and calls them liars. Everything is not all-or-nothing. That thinking is another form of kool-aid drinking. Why must one way of thinking cancel out another.
    It looks like time to go to Netflix (good documentaries), this crap is out-of-hand.

  160. Stunned
    February 8th, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    What documentary are you going to watch? (I love me a good documentary.)

  161. Jenn Grover
    February 8th, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    Eva Amos – the membership agreement is a binding agreement Providence will sign in April, agreeing to submit to the new SGM polity, which includes, among other objectionable things, that your church tithe a mandatory 5%, but suggested 10% to SGM.

    The membership agreement, although recently given a 2 year reprieve signs your church up for the SGM Hotel California: You can check out but you can never leave (or at least not without it being ugly.)It includes extra-biblical criteria for bringing a charge against an elder to basically insulate a leader form ever having a charge brought, and increases SGM’s power over local churches. If your leadership team tells you otherwise, they are insanely naive and should not be trusted.

  162. Concerned for the kids
    February 8th, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    Oswald,

    Still awaiting part 2 of your comments. Part 1 was where you strongly objected to my facts as clearly not facts.

    I asked you to explain which ones you didn’t think happened or which ones you don’t think are facts.

    Eagerly awaiting your response given your earlier passionate defense. Please, enlighten me.

  163. Oswald
    February 8th, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    Stunned @160 — I like biographies and historical documentaries. I recently watched, and enjoyed, one called Meltdown from Frontline, about the financial crisis of 2008. Also, saw a bio of Eleanor Roosevelt that I liked very much. She seemed to be a woman who knew how to get things done, and she seemed honest in her opinions. Of course, it was a different time then, without everyone knowing everything that was happening as it happened. I also like documentaries about the civil rights movement, bio of MLK. Good movie–’The Long Walk Home’, about a bussing boycott in the south. All enlightening info.
    That could keep anyone busy for a while.

  164. Oswald
    February 8th, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    Concerned @162 — You said ‘I asked you to explain which ones you didn’t think happened or which ones you don’t think are facts’, as if I owe you something. Your question is sort-of a trick question. My answer is bound to say something about my thinking that is not true. As Jesus said to the Pharisees…”Neither do I tell you”.

  165. Stunned
    February 8th, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    The one about Eleanor Roosevelt sounds good. I don’t think my mind (or heart) could wrap around the one on the financial meltdown of 2008. (Maybe in 30 years when it’s history instead of what people are living still. :) )

    Long Walk Home sounds good. Don’t know if you’re interested in genealogy or not but there’s this BBC series called Who Do You Think You Are, which mixes genealogy and history. So much to learn! So little time. You can catch it on Youtube. Hours of history for this dork in me!

  166. Oswald
    February 8th, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    Thanks, Stunned.

  167. Steve240
    February 8th, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    http://www.janetmefferdpremium.com/2013/01/18/janet-mefferd-radio-show-20130118-hr-1/#

    Hour 1- Attorney Bill O’Neil talks about the Sovereign Grace Ministries lawsuit.

  168. lmalone
    February 8th, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    “ary, Imalone, concerned, others — Why must we be labeled as ALL one or ALL the other. Just because one believes that there could possibly be unknown circumstances in SOME cases, does not automatically mean that he/she has no feelings for victims and calls them liars. Everything is not all-or-nothing. That thinking is another form of kool-aid drinking. Why must one way of thinking cancel out another.

    Give me some examples of “unknown circumstances” that would make not calling the authorities about molestations of children an excusable action.

    I will be more than happy to drink koolaid that protects children and seeks justice for victims of evil predators. I will buy a case of it for sgm pastors.

  169. Friendly Observer
    February 8th, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    There is talk circulating asking people to sign an anti-Mahaney petition.

    I strongly urge everyone to think carefully and with restraint. Such things represent a sincere (but misguided, in my judgment) attempt to establish a view of “truth” by vote or consensus or majority. The result is essentially an opinion poll and often eventuates in creating a sense of martyrdom for the person (or group) being voted on. What is the point? What is accomplished?

    If there is a different view on this, I’d appreciate having it shared. I am not dogmatic, but I hope personal self-discipline is invoked before “piling on.”

    F.O.

  170. Concerned for the kids
    February 8th, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    Oswald,

    After saying my facts were not facts, you actually DO owe me something. You initiated the discussion. I simply asked which facts you didn’t believe were true. you poked, I engaged, and you ran when asked for clarification.

    Passive-aggressively Calling me a Pharisee and ducking out doesn’t change the fact that you proactively engaged to defend SGM but refused to elaborate when called on it.

    I get it, I really do. Sgm people aren’t used to critical thought or rebuttals, or having to explain themselves after lobbing grenades. To be honest I didn’t expect you to answer because clear answers in defense of abusers and pedophile enablers always sound bad no matter how you word them.

    I’m still befuddled on why you have aligned yourself in the “well, maybe it isn’t that bad” camp, but believe me and the hundreds of clear thinking individuals watching this cultic freak show- it IS that bad. On an epic scale.

    The defensive and irrational “we dont know for sure” responses of those like you only reinforce the mind control and damage that’s been done to most of the congregants. This is not just a cj mahaney issue- the whole organizational structure is twisted. It’s an SGM problem.

    Either stuff happened, or this is the most elaborate and coordinated slander effort in history. Given there have been suicides, attempted suicides, and documented child sex abuse cases, I’d say the pranksters must be REALLY committed.

    Or it’s true.

  171. Moniker
    February 8th, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    Friendly Observer (#169): Why don’t you go to the link the Acme provided and read what the petition says? I don’t think it’s what you seem to think it is.

  172. Terry
    February 8th, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    @ Imalone #52 – Motives have everything to do with it. Motives displays the “condition of the heart”. The reason we speculate, debate, and discuss motives is because SGM is not transparent in any of their dealings. We’re just trying to find sense in all this madness. If SGM operated in transparency, openness, and integrity then this blog wouldn’t be here. You say you want to wait for the courts to decide…we do to. However, the sexual abuse is the most tragic of the abuses but SGM’s abuse(s) goes way beyond just the sexual abuse. The other abuses (i.e.,control of people, information, polity, doctrine, theology) may or may not come out in the courts; thus, we put it out on the table for the “light” to shine on it. I am currently being “politely” shunned by members (not all but most) because I pursue truth…I am not offended by it nor do I take it personally because I know what they are subjected to and I know they are only behaving the way they have been taught to behave. We too have a relationship with Jesus and we too hear from the Holy Spirit.

  173. katie
    February 8th, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    As someone who has contact with people who are aware of the state of SGM/CLC, but who are not actually Christians… it is an awkward place I am in when they make a joke in front of others about how I am a part of a cult. It gives me no place to defend or explain myself, and even if i tried to explain that I’m no longer involved and I understand it’s problems, the fact that I grew up in a cult, makes me feel stupid and sub-par… as if I was clueless to something everyone else was aware of all along. Which I guess technically I was, but I was also a kid so I have an excuse.

  174. Terry
    February 8th, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    @friendly ovserver #169 – I couldn’t sign it fast enough. CJ is a narcissist and will always seek out the martyr role regardless what information comes out or what sanctions are placed on him.

  175. katie
    February 8th, 2013 at 11:17 pm

    What I’m getting at is, there isn’t much understanding from people outside of this circle. You don’t understand what being in a cult is like until you realize you’re in one. You don’t think it’s possible you’d ever be in a cult until you realize you’re in one. You think of cults as something that happens somewhere else to other people… stupid brainwashed people… until you realize you’ve been one of them. So that must be what the outside world thinks of you. I shrink at the thought of telling people where I went to high school, because they must immediately think less of me! I don’t want to have to explain myself to every new job that sees my resume or to every co-worker who reads about it in the newspaper. Part of me really wants this out in the open… and part of me would rather have it dealt with without getting into the news so it doesn’t make my life more complicated. crazy huh?

  176. 5yearsinPDI
    February 8th, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    Katie-

    Trust God. His hand has been on your life, every bit of it, and he will work it all for good. Be thankful you learned from this and will be able to help others. God will provide everything you need- a job, friends, a husband, whatever. Anybody who blames or degrades you for decisions your parents made is not worth having as a friend.

    Be fair to your parents. They wanted to go to a church that read good theology books and believed the Holy Spirit can work miraculously today. They wanted to get you out of public schools innundated with political correctness and humanism. They loved you and loved the Lord. CJ fooled national speakers and pastors, he fooled a lot of people. There was no shame in being a trusting person when they just didn’t see it.

    There is a good life ahead for you. I was in my 30s when I even started to face my insecurities, putting men on pedestals, religious legalism, etc. It is wonderful that you are even trying to think about all this. It takes years to process. Give yourself a lot of time. Read the bible a lot. And trust God- believe me, you have no idea how many other people you’ll be able to help someday. This stuff is all over, not just in SGM.

  177. Oswald
    February 8th, 2013 at 11:50 pm

    FO @169 — I agree. What is the point?

  178. Waiting
    February 8th, 2013 at 11:55 pm

    So true and good advice, 5years. I was just going to mention that these things are not peculiar to SGM. Lots of false teaching are in the churches; prosperity/positive confession, contemplative/transcendental meditation(using Jesus or some similar word as the mantra) barking like dogs to praise God, the anything goes mentality (because we all should be loving and tolerant, which is a really intolerant view itself), etc. I ditto that our main defense is trusting God, trusting His words, and as Micah relayed, “do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God”.

  179. Oswald
    February 9th, 2013 at 12:03 am

    Katie @173, 175 — There is not need to explain yourself. Just smile, shrug, ignore. The more explaining you do the more others comment at your expense. 5years gave good advice @176.
    Remember who you are in the Lord, you have nothing to be ashamed of. Prov 14:26- ‘In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence’.
    I’m reminded of words from a Keith Green song, ‘just doin’ your best, pray that it’s blessed, and Jesus takes care of the rest’.

  180. Awake
    February 9th, 2013 at 12:12 am

    Katie 175 I came out of CLC too. I brought my family up in that place their entire childhood and part of their teen lives. My oldest are the most messed up. Man am I messed too after 20 years. I can’t believe I was in a cult either. It is crazy. Like you said cults are like Wacco crazy people or Scietology nuts. I am in shock at times that when I think about it but I was blind to it until the documents came out last summer. I believed these guys were really who they said they were. Apparently not! It is like a bad dream to me even now. I was being controlled and I am in counseling because of that place. I moved away from the area to start life over and get my kids away from their old CLC friends. When I talk to others about my church experience here if i say anything I say it was controlling and legalistic and that scandals broke out in regard to sexual abuse. It is easier for me because no one knows the CLC name out here but many have heard of Josh Harris though. It sucks for you to be in the area around knowledgable people. Consider yourself blessed to be out. You all did the hard thing by leaving. That is a story of victory and courage. You are wise, don’t be ashamed! We are now both spared from more trouble and heartache. Do you think all the Josh book fans out there know he is a CULT leader? I told one of my neighbors here his name and her jaw dropped for a long time. He is more deceived than most people. If he wakes up he too will be in shock. If not he will have wasted his life there. We have been spared. When you get to college and not around people here you can start your life over easier without having these people around. Are you near that age yet for college?

  181. yentl
    February 9th, 2013 at 12:17 am

    Katie,
    You don’t have anything to be ashamed of. Were you abused or mistreated by people in your church? Were your experiences awful? Or, were the people loving and kind? Regardless of the leadership failures, the churches and schools were full of people who loved the Lord. You are so blessed to have that. God is bigger than their failures and he is faithful to you.

    I look back and realize that many of the practices were cult-like. That’s disturbing to think about now. But, the people with whom I had personal contact were genuine and sincere, god-loving people. We may have all have been duped, but we did it together and God was in our midst.

    As much as I tried to keep this away from outsiders, it is an opportunity to be transparent. Every organization deals with these sorts of issues. People know that. There are news stories everynight of the week of different organizations facing these sorts of scandals. Not to be cliche, but just be humble. “I have no idea if these allegations are true, but I think some might be. That would be tragic and we as members are asking hard questions about this.”

    I think others respect when they get a straight and honest answer. They need to know you aren’t just following blindly, but you are intelligently evaluating and considering things. If something was wrong, acknowledge it.

    Don’t be ashamed of your life. There was much good mixed in. That was where God was.

  182. ONLY ONE HERO
    February 9th, 2013 at 1:44 am

    “THERE I AM”

    Having seen slow Death in the cruel Lust
    to hold ‘precious’ a place : “the inner-ring” -
    I love His small groupings of twos and threes
    who love to see and sing and sup with Him.

  183. ONLY ONE HERO
    February 9th, 2013 at 4:19 am

    THE SOBER STEWARDSHIP ENTRUSTED TO PASTORS BY JESUS ;
    “If You Love Me, Feed, Tend, And Care For My Lambs”

    1. VISION WITHOUT REALITY DAMAGES THE BRIDE OF CHRIST

    Joshua Harris was about three years old
    when a group of friends met in a basement
    in nineteen seventy-seven with a bold
    faith that Jesus had called them as one’s sent

    to gather believers and be intent
    on living shared lives like christians of old
    as described in Acts chapter two who sold
    all that they didn’t need because they meant

    that not one among them would be in need.
    Sadly, sins of pride and selfish power
    abused Christ’s bride…..Lack of love and kind deeds

    which Christ requires, makes men prone to devour :
    Hirelings preached His Cross to use His sheep…Weeds
    of man-made ways choked His Life…..something was sour.

    2. VISION WITH REALITY BUILDS UP CHRIST’S BRIDE

    When he was thirty, native of Portland,
    Joshua Harris was called by Jesus
    as lead pastor of three thousand of us.
    We didn’t have a clue what kind of man

    he would prove to be…time passed….Every man
    or woman I spoke with could sense fresh Grace
    inside our building walls….could almost taste
    the sweet aroma….seemed like a new place.

    My friend said, “I sense Aslan’s on the move…
    the snow is melting.” I wrote Josh a poem
    but realized later, I had to move

    the last four lines to the start of the poem :
    “Josh, this makes you look like an addendum!”
    He smiled and said, “Aren’t we all addendums?”

    (This conversation took place on July 4th, 2011)

  184. ONLY ONE HERO
    February 9th, 2013 at 4:45 am

    JESUS, BARTIMAEUS, AND THE CROSS

    On the Horizon, Jesus saw the Cross.
    He did not flinch, made His face like flint, faced
    man’s hate, the fire in Wrath’s Cup, for men lost.
    It was for “the one” that He slowed His pace :

    He cared for more than just the human race;
    more than just some cause – the whole lot called, “Lost.”
    It was for an individual He paused -
    blind Bartimaeus to others was base,

    but Christ heard his cries despite what He faced:
    He came to save, one by one, each one lost.
    Before pouring out His blood, He poured Grace,
    healing Grace, to one man whose eyes had lost

    the facility to see….Jesus could see
    need….He wept, taught, cured, friended….then He’d bleed.

  185. ONLY ONE HERO
    February 9th, 2013 at 5:35 am

    As I consider the question, “Is my Church different?” I’m reminded of a question
    asked by a newspaper in England. They wanted to give a monetary award to the
    person who wrote the best essay answering this question, “What’s wrong with the
    world?” A wise-guy actually gave a wise answer because he felt too lazy to write
    an essay. He actually wrote two words on a piece of paper and sent it to the paper.
    He simply wrote, “The problem with the world : I AM.”

    Those are dangerous words. Jesus said, “Before Abraham was I AM.” They tried to stone Him, but apparently it wasn’t His day or hour or time (whatever). The wise-guy’s name was GK Chesterton. Big influence on CS Lewis (a deluded Arminian!) – the man whose writings have helped more than anyone’s. And Chesterton (for crying out loud)
    became a darn Catholic after being protestant! The dude wrote THE ROMANCE OF
    ORTHODOXY…..Romance in orthodoxy – he didn’t do drugs!…He wrote a book called
    THE EVERLASTING MAN…..it’s about the GOD-MAN – there’s only one of those. He’s
    the guy who said that He was living before Abraham who was born two thousand years before Him – no wonder they wanted to stone him! See, some people thought when Chesterton wrote that brilliant essay with the words I AM that he thought he was the GOD_MAN incarnated : what blasphemy!

    All that to say this : there’s a lot of work to be done for our church to be all Jesus wants it to be and I’m grateful it’s His Church. I’m so grateful He cares about blind people like Bartimaeus and myself. because I’m still a man in need of a Savior and the only One I know is Jesus- it would be too big of a job for a church to change me but I’m convinced THE EVERLASTING MAN can’t do it and it’s why I believe there’s romance in
    orthodoxy : VIRGIN BIRTH; A MAN WHO SAID IF YOU SEE ME YOU SEE THE FATHER; A MAN WHO COMMANDED A FOUR DAY DEAD MAN TO COME OUT AND HE DID; A MAN WHO SAID I’M GOING TO PREPARE A PLACE FOR YOU….DO YOU SEE THE ROMANCE IN ORTHODOXY!….I don’t know if the church I go to is different or will be different, but I know this : ONCE I WAS BLIND BUT KNOW I SEE and I want to be a disciple of the GOD-MAN….He is my only hero and He can do the big job of changing me.

  186. ExClcer'sMom
    February 9th, 2013 at 8:00 am

    Katie, I totally understand your feelings! Part of me wants to try to explain to others, so they understand what I am going through-why I shrink away from getting too close, or recoil at certain “key phrases”, but I realize that it is probably too hard for them to understand. Obviously, some people MUST be made aware of things, for the sake of ending the madness, and for protecting others, but beyond that, I have come to realize how everything else should be brought to God in prayer. He listens to us, and He wants us to listen to Him! Do you ask your friend to tell you what you natural Father wants? No! You go directly to you natural Father. If I were to tell you that you Dad told me he wanted you to do something, you would totally question it, and go to your Dad, and ask him what he meant to say, and why didn’t he just talk to you directly, wouldn’t you? So it is with God! Anyway who wants to ‘speak for God’ to us, well, we must ALWAYS ‘back it up’ for ourselves by directly speaking with God about it! That’s why/how we have a ‘relationship’ with Jesus.(Matt 7:22,23..Psalms 5:3…Hebrews3:7-19, and Hebrews 12:1-3.) I could go on, but I hope I have made my point. We must continue to look to Him, the Author and Finisher of our Faith. Jesus knows and understands where we have been. We can talk to Him, and He can actually offer a solution and a direction! He is Faithful!

  187. Sam McGee
    February 9th, 2013 at 8:56 am

    New article in local paper.

    Trial set for former Montgomery County Covenant Academy teacher charged with sex abuse

    http://www.gazette.net/article/20130208/NEWS/130209034/1124/trial-set-for-former-montgomery-county-covenant-academy-teacher&template=gazette

    Key take always:

    1. Morales trial in June
    2. Hearing will be held to determine mental state
    3. Writer clarifies distinction between MCCA and CLC based on CLC statement. Someone should tell him that distinction isn’t as big as it made out to be.

    Key paragraph:

    The sister of one victim told her pastor of the abuse, according to Morales’ case file. When the investigating detective questioned church officials, “They acknowledged learning of the abuse, however indicated that the families, at that time, did not want to come forward. They recalled speaking with Morales who acknowledged wrong doing but with no specifics or details about the incident,” according to the charging documents.

    So they knew at the time.

  188. Awake
    February 9th, 2013 at 9:57 am

    Katie you may want to check out a more private blog for women at aftersgm@gmail.com. You can email “Canary” there and she can answer any questions about it. No one ever gets “corrected” there. I feel it is safe and encouraging with a wealth of wisdom from courageous women if you are interested. The are two exclcers there…

    People here have given you good advice here. Trust God and the Holy Spirit more than ever. He guides us into truth. He is our counselor and comforter. As someone already said to you about going to the Father. It works!

    And another thing I learned in counseling is I CONTROL what comes into my mind (what i believe) and what goes out (what I share). Before in CLC I was told what to believe most of the time, well not anymore. That is how they control you. And as far as sharing with people. I do that sparingly and keep many things quiet now taking WAY more to the Lord in prayer first. You see I was the one who wore her heart on her sleeve at CLC and unfortunately poeple did not respect or care for me and my heart many times. It was used as a weapon by those who deemed themselves as spirtually superior. Plus NO ONE has a right to know about my life that is for the FEW PRIVILEDGED friends I trust. These are healthy boundaries! Even Jesus did not entrust Himself to some people because he knew their hearts. So why should we?

  189. Maggie May
    February 9th, 2013 at 11:03 am

    Church of Confusion (sing to the Land of Confusion)

    I must have dreamed a thousand dreams
    Been haunted by a million screams
    But I went out and hit the street   
    Outside to a world they don’t preach 

    Now did you know Josh pulled away ?
    They say they left their Sovereign Grace
    But I can see that neither is alright
    Refusing to come in the Light

    There’s too many men, too many pastors
    Making too many problems
    And not much love to go round 
    Can’t you see this is the church of confusion?

    Well this is the “world”  they live in
    And these are the “plans” they  give them (conform without question)
    Use them and keep them tithing (members)
    To keep this a church controlled within

    Ooh, CJ man you are too proud
    All secrets out and blaring loud (scandal after scandal)
    You’re not real , you’re a coward (read and apply YOUR books)
    You’re  losing “your church” and your power 

    Such a sad time, now a court date
    With no hope of a future (let’s hope so…)
    There’s not much love to go round 
    We know why,  this is the church of confusion!

    Well this is the “world”  they live in
    And these are the “plans” they give them 
    Use them and let’s keep trying
    To keep this a church controlled within

    I remember long ago when the SON was shining   (all God references)
    Yes,  when the Word was “right” all by Your might
    And the sound of Your pleasure as we held You  (Jesus’ alone)
    Tight, so long ago…  (maybe this is a stretch if “God” was ever there at all)

    Will you really ever make things right? (admit, confess, repent?)
    Ever you come into the Light?
    We knowThey’re just making “promises” (CLC is changing…)
    But we know they’re blind Pharisees!

    Too many men, there’s too many pastors
    Making too many problems
    And not much love to go round
    Can’t you see this is the church of confusion?

    Now this is a cult you live in
    And this is a place that’s grieving
    No truth they just keep lying
    It’s NOT a place worth fighting for! (in my opinion if they don’t repent)
    Just leave and say “good riddens!” ( get out and run away!!!)
    Get out and learn to live in
    A place where love is growing  (a healthy church)
    And tell them your tithes are going too…  (stop feeding the leaders!)

    Added bonus chant:

    Nah, nah, nah, nah
    Nah, nah, nah, nah
    No pay… (for pastors)
    Goodbye! 

    This is my opinion based on the resolve of SGM to NOT change or look in the mirror and for CLC who has truly not admitted any fault either. You have a right to YOUR own opinion.:)

  190. Eva Amos
    February 9th, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    Jenn, will we have to sign this?

  191. Eva Amos
    February 9th, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    Sorry…I’m referring to your post 161. Also, I’m not always well; suffer from mental illness and am not always rational or clear; Was a law student once way back, and as an athiest at the time vowed to prove God’s non-existence. Went insane during law school, psychotic break…Can’t say God doesn’t have sense of humor… but am better with meds, when I take them, along with therapy. Sorry, way off context, just thought I’d explain my ramblings and irrationality on this post at times. Thanks. Not presently attending Providence, but still questioning.

  192. 5yearsinPDI
    February 9th, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    http://www.martyduren.com/2013/02/08/schools-sex-and-degradation-losing-the-sacred/

    I hope everyone will read this article (Christian), parents especially, although I should warn that it is distressing to read. We are insane to think it is not in our churches.

    One snip:

    This p0rn problem goes right into the hallways, classrooms and bathrooms in schools every day. These addictions sustain such a powerful grip some boys say they cannot go to sleep without watching p0rn. You really think this stays behind the bedroom door?

  193. discovery
    February 9th, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    When we get older we are supposed to get wiser.That is not the case with the Pastors when they are asked,did they know of a sex abuse.Its a yes or no question,I understand Teenagers trying to wiggle there way out cause they don’t want the consequences and they are immature.
    If you are a pastor just own up for what you know and then trust God for the outcome.Most likely the consequences won’t be as you think.You would have a clear mind and you don’t have to try making up lies to be innocent.Try to trust what you teach when you tell others that the Truth will set you free!

  194. Recovering Free Reformist
    February 9th, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    @Kris #64
    Your summation after daring to think for yourselves is exactly what we had to come to conclusion. After attempting to do some due diligence on our part to determine why a church split (disguised as a plant) was in the apparent works, it was then I realized that questions which cut too close to the bone were not welcomed by men who once espoused “observations and input”. We have since left and the better for it and likely they would say the same. There is so much more to the story but I’ll leave it there for now. I’m quite sure that once they begin to connect the dots they’ll begin to watch for me dropping names and possibly “warning” of our “divisiveness” when in fact the entire congregation ought to have walked in Titus 3:10, 11 towards these unrepentant men. For the record they “repented” for historical sin and irresponsibility but remain unrepentant about actions that would divide a church (maintaining jobs and positions) rather than in good faith remove themselves or subject themselves in true humility and faith to a congregational vote or input. Yet the Facebook propaganda machine continues and people continue in claiming that they are glad to not know the details and would rather forgive….Jer 8:4-11 And men don’t fool yourselves many of us are ready to forgive your actions but it begins with your courageous repentance to at least 100 if not 300 people thereby making you culpable of serious wrong doing as “leaders” and thereby putting your qualification to lead and be paid, up for questioning. You men have hurt and shaken the faith of many, can you and will you repent? BTW don’t continue in that misguided notion that God using this to shake and strengthen ones faith is good thereby justifying your actions.Without sending your unseasoned representative or fall guy, will you men repent or just continue in the charade….?

    Kris, though I don’t know much about you personally, appreciated your story of reasoned, engaged and thought provoking Christianity…..

  195. lily
    February 9th, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    5years, thanks for posting the link. Sadly, sexuality has a whole different meaning for our youngest generation now. It is well documented that a large number of children are having intercourse in the U.S. as young as 6 and 7 years of age. If not actual intercourse, forms of molestation are occurring between children, who display the category of personal involvement, by different colors on bracelets which they wear. This is documented fact, rampant in some parts of the country.

  196. katie
    February 9th, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    5 years, yentl and others… Thank you for your kind words. I did not have a bad experience growing up, but as I’ve become an adult I’ve started to see and understand what was truly going on there. So many things that happened to people I knew have back stories of what REALLY happened.

  197. Friendly Observer
    February 9th, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    Moniker — 171
    I will do that. I thought I got it but will return. As I said, I’m open to different points of view and to be instructed.

  198. lily
    February 9th, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    And in case someone thinks I’m being an alarmist to have mentioned what I did in #195, I heard this directly from a family member within the last few weeks, who holds a public position and was required to learn about it and other trends in the current culture.

  199. Friendly Observer
    February 9th, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    Re Moniker, 171 and suggestion that I go back and re-read the petition (link provided by Acme in 158). I did so, coming away with the same feeling and concern I stated in 169. (BTW, it isn’t my wish that any of this this should create a diversion from the main flow here.)

    But, regardless of anyone’s personal view of Brent, including his motive and his method, we do know him to be prolific enough (to say the least) and articulate enough to state his case and choose his audience (recipients) with laser-like precision. Why, then, would some think those called the BDs need further opinions to bolster Brent’s appeal that they act/respond in a certain way? It’s just where I am. I think the petition in question will serve little — if any — purpose for anyone’s ultimate good or well-being. Just me, perhaps.

  200. Patricia
    February 9th, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    Since rising to the top of the SGM food chain requires men to focus on climbing the ladder and to be “yes men” to anyone who can grant the most coveted “pastor title”, then it’s clear that every single “church” in this sorry money-sucking enterprise is infested with sharks.

    Personally, I avoid shark infested waters.

  201. Jenn Grover
    February 9th, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    Eva Marie – yes churches who do not sign will not be part of SGM. It appears as though Providence is on a path towards signing.

  202. Mary
    February 9th, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    FO and Oswald – I am torn by the petition and I don’t like it. I struggle with that kind of thing. While I think CJ needs to be removed from leadership signing a petition is unsettling for me. I know some people are okay with it. I also don’t like that by not signing it could appear that there are only a few people that think there is a problem. The petition to me will not reflect the numbers of people that think CJ has serious problems. The men Brent’s letter was sent to are some of the top leaders of Christianity today. If they need us to sign a petition to realize something is really wrong here – then I wouldn’t put too much stock in these men either. They should have already been concerned. God’s sheep are more important than CJ’s reputation. If church leaders care more about protecting each other than God’s people – I can’t respect them or support them either by purchasing their books and materials. I question their ability to lead if they care more about CJ than the people whose faith he shipwrecked.

  203. Concerned for the kids
    February 9th, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    Is this correct?

    The police report says the pastors at CLC knew about the Nate M abuse issue veryclose to the time it happened but CLC leadership just recently publicly lied about it in the released statement?

    Do I have that right?

  204. Ellie
    February 9th, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/bl_jelly_bracelets.htm

  205. lily
    February 9th, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    That’s how I read it too, Concerned. Unbelievable.

  206. BoughtTheField
    February 9th, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    Concerned #203,

    You might or might not be right. “The devil is in the details.” I was NOT close enough to the NM situation to know all the details of what actually happened, but my take on this is that CLC leaders are probably technically telling the truth in their statement, “Covenant Life Church had no knowledge of such abuse until many years after the abuse.”

    When all the facts are revealed they will probably match with the literal word-for-word meaning of the official statement, but you will have to parse every word. For example, by “such abuse” did they mean only sexual abuse of a child under the age of consent? Maybe they knew that NM had sinned sexually, but did not know the ages of the victims. Also, how do they define “Covenant Life Church”? Maybe a few pastors knew but others didn’t, so they can claim that “Covenant Life Church” as a legal entity did not officially know.

  207. Persona
    February 9th, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    BoughtTheField 206

    You make a good point. I speak with decades of experience of falling for their guile.

    Sadly, CLC Pastors (Josh included) make statements that may be truthful but, only in part. It is up to each hearer to proceed with due diligence to investigate what the full truth is.
    “Truthiness” more closely typifies their responses at times like these.

    In my opinion, CLC pastors are masters of truthiness which is, “Insincere political rhetoric” or “the quality of stating concepts one wishes or believes to be true, rather than the facts.”

    Members need to do their homework and learn to ask really precise questions and require a greater degree of honesty from their leaders. Their childrens’ safety is at stake.

  208. lily
    February 9th, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    Even if technically, that specific CLC sentence is not falsifying information, imo, it IS giving misinformation by implying complete lack of knowledge on the parts of totally responsible, law abiding, innocent “shepherds”. The multitude of first hand experiences listed here is proof enough that trust should under no circumstance be automatically extended,(even though in our country, one is innocent until proven guilty)because, what responsible, law abiding, innocent person in a position of authority where minors are involved, would not immediately contact law enforcement to begin an impartial investigation regarding child or domestic abuse? I’m not referring to current leadership who may have never been aware of past incidents, but the current statement seems to imply that past leadership was unaware.

  209. just saying...
    February 9th, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    Was the engagement broken because NM was involved with CS? Or was there more than one engagement that was broken? Seems like another engagement was broken over groom and CS? Are these the same incident? Would it be possible pastors knew about NM and an adult, but did not know he was also a pedophile?

  210. Acme
    February 9th, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    The Charles Schmidt split was before I joined in 1986. NM was engaged after I joined. I don’t think these incidents are directly related.

  211. Eva Amos
    February 9th, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    Thanks…just to clarify; will we need to individually sign ?

  212. acme
    February 9th, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    In regards to the petition, I think it can’t hurt, Friendly Observer, but it could help and it costs me only a little time to add my voice.

    I know that many have appealed to the Big Dogs about this, including Kris, Dee and Deb from Wartburg Watch (who keep count of the days of silence on their blog), and more. And, yet, sometimes “it only takes a spark to get a fire going”.

    My own concern about it is seeming to support Brent who has yet — to my knowledge — not addressed his own culpability in the mess that is GOB/PDI/SGM polity, theology, and heavy-handed shepherding.

  213. Bridget
    February 9th, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    Eva Amos -

    If you have already signed a membership agreement with your local church, then you are submitting to whatever your local elders decide. I think that this new agreement between churches and SGM should trigger new membership agreements between churches and their congregants. Since so much is changing, churches should rewrite their own membership agreements, if they use them, to explain everything. The members should not just be expected to follow along . . . members be forewarned. Do you know what your elders are signing you up for?

  214. Terry
    February 9th, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    @ Mary – I believe there are many current SGMers that know there are serious problems with SGM but for many reasons can’t take that step forward for whatever reason. They may be hoping and praying this all comes tumbling down without their involvement…waiting for God and folks like us to begin the process. A good prosecutor builds his/her case one layer at a time…line upon line and precept upon precept. This petition is just one of those layers that add to the case of SGM’s growing incompetence. The petition alone is not the solution but it is a part of the solution. There are member in my former SGM church who want to leave but because of relationships, family, etc or because they don’t know where else to go..are having a difficult time severing the umbilical cord. I also believe in the national leaders mentioned, there are more than we realize who know SGM as it stands now needs a thorough house cleaning…and I also believe some of those leaders are OK with SGM. Regarding these national leaders…Jesus said in Matthew 24 that even the elect will be deceived…so don’t think it strange if they’re all not jumping aboard. The way I see it we are the voice crying out in the wilderness…we are the ones sounding the trumpet from the watch tower…if we don’t do it then who will? Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to direct your steps and comfort you through this…He loves doing that for us if we let Him.

  215. lmalone
    February 9th, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    “@ Imalone #52 — Motives have everything to do with it. Motives displays the “condition of the heart”. The reason we speculate, debate, and discuss motives is because SGM is not transparent in any of their dealings. We’re just trying to find sense in all this madness. If SGM operated in transparency, openness, and integrity then this blog wouldn’t be here. You say you want to wait for the courts to decide…we do to. However, the sexual abuse is the most tragic of the abuses but SGM’s abuse(s) goes way beyond just the sexual abuse. The other abuses (i.e.,control of people, information, polity, doctrine, theology) may or may not come out in the courts; thus, we put it out on the table for the “light” to shine on it. I am currently being “politely” shunned by members (not all but most) because I pursue truth…I am not offended by it nor do I take it personally because I know what they are subjected to and I know they are only behaving the way they have been taught to behave. We too have a relationship with Jesus and we too hear from the Holy Spirit.”

    Terry, Focusing on the “motives” of a narcissist and those trained by a narcissist which institutionalized his sick pattern of authority is a losing battle and you will go nuts. Focus on facts that are verifiable, patterns of behavior, etc and outcomes. Do you have any idea what you are dealing with? A narcissistic sociopath. CJ has no empathy or conscious. Do you realize that? Look at the history. So what has been his motive? Himself. That is his motive. Now what? Because a lot of people are not going to believe that.

    What is Al Mohler’s “motive” for supporting Mahanay? Himself. What is Ligon Duncans? Dever’s? Themselves. Period. There is the big motive.

    You cannot force people to also pursue truth. Nor can you force them to look at the “light”. Besides what CJ taught, people do have free will. They make choices. God is not forcing them to support or defend CJ. God is not forcing people to be willfully blind.

    But then you have the choice of focusing on motives if you so desire. But I ask you where you see the focus on the wolves/hirlings/Nicolaitans “motives” in the NT? We are told to recognize them for what they are and in some places to deal with it. We are definitely to warn others just as Paul, John, etc warned folks in writing of wolves/hirlings, false teachers to be made public for 2000 years. There is your model.

  216. Eagle
    February 9th, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    Over at Wartburg we discuss Sovereign Grace a lot. As I’ve read more about it, there was so much that reminded me of Mormonism with which I do have a history. Last October I compiled a list of similarities between the 2 organizations.

    Here are the similarities I see between Mormonism and SGM

    1. Both organizations were founded and led by a charismatic individuals.
    2. Both organizations suppress questioning and encourage people to tow the line.
    3. Both organizations encourage the church to shun and cut off those who leave.
    4. Both organizations twist and manipulate scripture for personal and productive reasons.
    5. Both organizations re-write, deny their history, and are constantly editing it. I realized this only recently when reading some of the SGM Survivors stories. You should see what Jerald and Sandra Tanner of the Utah Lighthouse Ministry have done in documenting and writing about LDS history. They forced the Mormon Church to constantly change its story.
    6. Both organizations consist of white, upper middle class and are interested in attracting white, upper middle class. While I know the Mormon Church has a history with racism I am unsure if SGM does. Very quickly in the LDS Brigham young taught that blacks had dark sin due to a curse, the mark of Cain. Racism existed throughout its history and blacks were finally allowed to hold the Melchizedik Priesthood in 1978.
    7. Both organizations indoctrinate their youth.
    8. Both organizations use similar evangelism methods. This includes deceit, love bombing, and a false sense of love.
    9. Both CJ Mahaney and Joseph Smith practiced excessive nepotism. Smith gave positions to his brother Hyrum and others in his family if I remember right. And Mahaney has doled out positions and pastor slots to his extended family.
    10. Both organizations because of an autocratic structure attract members in the military. I don’t know why…but in the Third Wave movement and mainstream evangelicalism, I didn’t meet a lot of members in the military. There were some…But when I looked into Mormonism I met a number of military folk. I think members of the military who are used to following orders and have done so most of their life is attracted to authoritarian organizations out of habit.
    11. I really see CJ Mahaney leading SGM to Louisville to be similar to Brigham Young leading the Mormons from Nauvoo, Illinois to Utah.
    12. In both organizations the end justifies the means, and criminal activity was encouraged and supported. The Mormons violated US law in regards to polygamy, blood atonement, fraud, and murder. SGM has given its members blackmail and extortion, and encouraged its members to violate and not report child molestations to local authorities.
    13. Both organizations have an “us“ vs. “them” mentality.
    14. Both organizations perceive outside questioning as persecution. Is this due to both organizations having been grown in sinful ways?
    15. Both organizations saw itself as being pure and to be to Christianity, what Christianity was to Judaism. A purer faith, and more “Biblical” faith.
    16. Both organizations need charismatic individuals to survive.
    17. Both organizations have a terrible track record when it comes to dealing with the poor. The Mormons have a food bank, and in Third World countries give out food, but they use it for evangelism purposes and love bombing. My understanding is that SGM does church plants in affluent neighborhoods nad really has no interest in working with the poor. If I am wrong please correct me.
    18. Both movements have their roots in some type of charismatic revival. SGM in the 1970’s “Jesus movement” and Mormonism out of the upstate New York in the 1800’s which also gave us the Shakers, etc.
    19. Both organizations are elite and condescending to others in the world, and think of themselves as being better.
    20. The motives or both organizations, and its members who drink the kool-aid are suspect.
    21. Both organizations operate like businesses and are guided by business principles. The Mormons establish quotas for Mormon missionaries when it comes to baptism, number of new contacts, etc.. SGM plants a church in the same way that an upscale business or franchise operates. They go to upper, white middle class areas, and avoid lower middle class and areas with poverty or blight.
    22. Both organizations have excessive problems with child abuse and molestation. On the exMormon blogs you can read about child abuse issues in the LDS Church. It’s similar to SGM. Also both organizations go after the victim; they stonewall, deny and continue to create a culture where such abuse is enabled.
    23. Both organizations place excessive pressure on members or people involved. In Mormonism 17 year old men are under great pressure to do a Mormon mission. They know that if they don’t do one they effectively can’t be a Mormon. Mormons are also under great pressure by their organization when it comes to tithing, etc… When I investigated Mormonism as a 19 year old college kid I was under incredible pressure to be baptized. I’m grateful that I could resist. This comparison came to me because of the one and only time I attended a SGM service. I heard them push and pressure people on membership at the SGM church I visited. It was my only visit and I felt the pressure to join. It bothered me and as I sit there hearing this hard push for membership it was a déjà vu experience to the Mormon missionaries trying to pressure me to be baptized.
    24. This dawned upon me this morning as I was dressing. But I would say both organizations down play major Christian holidays and as a result Christianity. In 1995/1996 I attended the Mormon General Conference which happened to fall on Easter Sunday. When I sat in the ward and listened to Mormon Prophet Gordon Hinckley speak he barely mentioned Easter or the importance of why Easter was so important. I walked away from the Mormon Church puzzled. When I attended the SGM this past Easter. I don’t recall the sermon or church really caring about the fact that it was Easter Sunday – the most important day of the Christian faith. Now some young girls were dressed for Easter, but I didn’t hear a long sermon about Easter. Maybe I’m mistaken on this point…
    25. Both organizations teach members to do mental gymnastics to be loyal members. Both organizations teach members to avoid controversy, be overly nice.
    26. In both Mormonism and SGM both organizations which have drunk the kool-aid hold up their leader, prophet with reverence, awe, and excuse all their activities – even their criminal ones.
    Joseph Smith was basically a 19th century David Koresh. He went out with a bang (literally) in a shoot out in Navoo, Illinois jail. His brother was killed in the shootout as well. It can’t be denied that he was murdered…but the fact of the matter is that Mormons treat Joseph Smith like this “sacrificial lamb” who was led to the slaughter. An innocent victim of persecution. To a faithful Mormon you can’t point out any of the following:
    A. Joseph Smith’s criminal history with fraud and run ins with the law.
    B. The likely reason that he introduced polygamy was to cover up an affair.
    C. Fraud that he engaged in Ohio, if I remember correctly if helped lead to a 19th century “panic” (recession) because he was printing up/laundering currency or engaging in speculation.
    D. Order the destruction of the opposition newspaper printing press in Navoo, Illinois.
    E. Had false and unfilled prophecies.
    To a Mormon all this is not evidence…it’s “anti-Mormon material” Many LDS are blind and ignore or excuse this behavior or criminal activity. And Mormons look up to Joseph Smith with awe and wonder.
    In SGM there are many people who look upon CJ Mahaney in the same way. They excuse his criminal activity, defend him, look upon him as being persecuted. Basically its like Mormonism…a personality cult. There are some who drunk the kool-aid who turn a blind eye and defend someone who blackmailed and extorted Larry Tomczak. Or his authoritarian culture which has led to child abuse, and other problems.

    Gosh I see many similarities….

  217. SGMOvercomer
    February 9th, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    Here’s a great article from a friend on spiritual abuse http://swordofthekingdom.com/2013/02/09/spiritual-abuse-it-takes-two-to-tango/

  218. MOLE OUT OF HOLE
    February 10th, 2013 at 1:56 am

    I’m sure most of you have heard of the book ON WALDEN POND by Thoreau. He decided to live in a cabin by himself for two years. He’d do odd jobs now and then and buy food in town and so on. There he had experiences of his own with nature, reflecting, and writing. This book is symbol for me that it’s necessary to get out of any collective group u are a part of in order to process your experiences there and have new experiences by which their very contrast helps you understand the community you are in. In my journal I wrote : “Walden is the symbol of how you need to get out for awhile to keep from being walled in.”…..

    So much of what is written here is insightful, helpful, and spot on. Often people “on the outside” of a collective group, especially if they’ve been inside the group and experienced some of the most dumbfounding things imaginable, are able to see inside the group way better than those in the group. This is especially true when it comes to SGM because it’s extremely difficult to assess a collective group you belong to, even when you experience abuse, because you don’t what is going on with others.

    A quick example : I had had encounters with CJ that were quite perplexing (actually they weren’t really perplexing, they were encounters that revealed his true character) in the late 70′s and 80′s. I truly thought he became a different man when he began leading
    SGM. He seemed to be becoming all that the guys like Mohler, Piper, MacArthur, the
    people at CCEF, Grudem, etc believed he was. Some of you are perplexed about why is family is so loyal to him and why a contingent of people can’t see the obvious : that’s something a person on the inside can see as plain as do : “either you are for me or you are against.” Jesus said the same thing, but the difference is this : Jesus loved those who were against him. He had dinner with Simon the Pharisee, let Nicodemus bother Him at night, and even let Judas betray him with a kiss. CJ lavishes those who are for him (actually, they need him for their own sense of self-worth in most cases, and almost all of them were saved through his ministry, or their financial security – yes men – are
    dependent in being in his good graces. The real CJ emerges when you have questions or see things differently – you think it’s just you – perhaps it gets so bad you leave. By having those who dissent leave, there are few around saying “something is wrong here.”

    Then add to that the fact that by all indications Brent, up until 07, seemed to be the #1 CJ fan, when in fact he was embroiled in serious conflict with him. It’s hard to evaluate what you don’t know. I had vaguely heard about Sovereign Grace Survivors – but to be honest, at the time, the very name Survivors seemed like people who had been through the holocaust and seemed like a bunch of sad sack victims to me. Until the documents came out. My attitude changed, but still, reading Brent was enough for me at the time. I knew him when He was the dean of the first pastor’s college (87-88).

    Law suit – that did it for me. I sat up all night, literally, and read every story. I felt sick
    in so many different ways. And yet, because of all me weird random experiences with CJ, the ugly truth made sense – connected the dots of my experiences with him. Suddenly the people on Survivors weren’t a bunch of cry babies – the rejects who create their own group because nobody wants them and for good reason. Now SGS
    were people who, for the most part it seems, are either people who experience serious spiritual abuse or knew others who had, and that was enough truth to get out.

    I began to notice that this was actually a ministry – a no brainer. The community of Christians I relate with are no longer joined to SGM. This ministry has actually become a ministry not just to those who have left their church, but to some of us within our church for this reason : “you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” This
    applies to pastors as well – why? – well, many pastors knew nothing about any of his and those who do, must now face themselves in the mirror and taste what it’s like to
    wonder what everyone thinks about you and, hopefully, what God thinks about you (do
    I really qualify to be a pastor, what was I thinking, will my sin bankrupt the church, do I
    need medications till we get throught this, etc, etc, – the kinds of situations they’ve put others in, with all their ways of mistreating people’s own personhood, using them, shunning them, keeping us in the dark of isolation, neglecting those in crisis, and here I’m not even mentioning sex abuse of childre which is too much for me too emotionally stomach. In Nov 2011 – I officially and publically made it cleat that I was no longer affiliated with SGM – before the lawsuit. I was told, “bro, that’s OK – don’t worry about it”
    by the pastor I told after making it clear on a forum.

    You folks have helped me, are a kind of Walden Pond for me, because I don’t want to settle for anything less than organic relationships – organizations are just names – they don’t last forever – people do. My tendency is to always understand, feel compassion, and believe the best. I want to make sure I’m not a fish in a bowl or a mole in a hole -
    and this helps care even more about the community of people I care about – and it makes me care about all of u – I know if I met u I’d know many of u. I feel total freedom from my church to write her – don’t care if anyone knows – I’m not conversing with the enemy. I respect what I read here just as I respect people in my fellowship. Of course that doesn’t mean I agree with every perspective just like I don’t swallow hook, line, and sinker everything in my fellowship…I just want the truth…ultimately that’s Jesus – I mean
    the truth period, whether it hurts or not : I can handle the truth because of grace.

  219. Greg
    February 10th, 2013 at 2:58 am

    NM joined several years after Cs was gone. There was no connection.

  220. Terry
    February 10th, 2013 at 5:00 am

    @ Imalone – I stand by motives are everything…even if they point to mental illness as the foundation. You say CJ’s motive to do what he does is himself…that depicts the condition of his heart…self-centered, pride, arrogant, etc…Yes, I also know the characteristics of a narcissist, anti-social personality disorder (sociopath), and I can name all the “isms” because that is what I do for a living…I lived 4 1/2 years with “sociopaths” of every kind in one of the nastiest, meanest prisons in America. From the stories I hear, CJ has many of those characteristics but until I see a confirmed diagnosis from the DSM-IV, I cannot say 100% he is any of those…but my opinion is he is a narcissistic and not a sociopath…the difference being sociopaths have an appetite for violence…most have been incarcerated at one time or another. Narcissists like staying out of jail (lol)…I would love to sit down with him for one hour then I could tell you if he has one of those disorders. I live in a very dangerous part of Manila…when someone I don’t know is friendly to me I want to know their motive for being friendly…is their motive because they are genuinely friendly or are they being friendly in order gain my trust in order to “hamstring” me later down the road. What are the motives of the men you mentioned in regards to supporting CJ…maybe financial…maybe they have their reputations invested in him…maybe just pure ignorance…heck if I know…you say themselves…OK, then that depicts the condition of their heart…then it’s all about them. So when any future pearls of wisdom come out of their mouths, then I know what to do with that information because I pretty much know the condition of their heart. Jesus attacked the condition of the Pharisees hearts over and over…so must have been important. I’m not sure why you’re going all over the map with your rant against me…I’m not you’re enemy. I’m just posting my opinion which you are free to agree or disagree with.

  221. Moniker
    February 10th, 2013 at 6:17 am

    By way of explanation about the petition that has been mentioned – Some people (myself included) on Facebook were discussing Brent’s letter (An Appeal to National Leaders Regarding CJ Mahaney) and someone said “I wish there was a way for current and former SGM members to co-sign the letter.” The best way to do that seemed to be to use an online petition to collect signatures. So the petition was born. It’s open to anyone concerned, not just those with SGM experience.

    There are a lot of valid reasons why someone would not want to sign it, and I certainly respect and understand that. But there are also people who would want to sign as a way of saying, “I think this is important and I want my voice to be heard.” Maybe it’ll make it difference. Maybe it won’t. But at least we can say we tried.

    The Wartburg Watch did a post on the petition yesterday if you care to read it.

  222. Moniker
    February 10th, 2013 at 6:19 am

    And here again is the link to the petition if you’re interested: http://www.causes.com/actions/1730803-an-appeal-to-national-leaders-regarding-c-j-mahaney?ctm=home

  223. Much afraid no more
    February 10th, 2013 at 7:53 am

    In case you dont ‘do’ facebook, they made another way to add your name to the petition at the bottom under:

    Update #1

    Posted by Marge Ague Sweigart (Cause Leader) on February 9

    If you do not have a Facebook account, you can still read and sign the petition by clicking here. Your signature will be sent along at the end of the campaign with those collected here at Causes.com, but the total number of signatures reported on this page will not reflect signatures collected at the alternative site.

  224. Marge Sweigart (aka Moniker)
    February 10th, 2013 at 9:16 am

    The article that SGM Overcomer linked to in #217 is really good. I think it strikes a good balance between the responsibility of authority figures and the abused. (The author of the article is a friend of mine, and, believe me, he really understands about abusive leadership and really cares about victims.) I know I’ve had to ask myself some hard questions about how I got sucked in to the SGM system. I was a young adult, in my early 20′s. I didn’t come from a broken home or anything like that, but I was definitely looking for a “cause” to live for. That’s what drew me in, I guess.

    I the article also might offer one explanation of why SGM always has had such a strong emphasis on and effectiveness in reaching the younger generation and grooming men for leadership while they’re young. And why they have replaced a lot of older pastors with young ones that were indoctrinated at their “Pastors College”.

    (By the way, this is my “coming out” post. Since my full name is on the petition, I may as well let it all hang out! I’ll be posting as Marge from now on.)

  225. 5yearsinPDI
    February 10th, 2013 at 9:19 am

    mole- welcome and thanks. good post.

    overcomer 217- great article. should be required here:)….read it twice. yup, I was inferior and tied to the great ones. Ugh.

    terry….some of us refer to the terminology used by the best selling book The Sociopath Next Door, which does not include any violence necessarily. There is a spectrum with the jailbirds on the far end. The book decribes the “good citizens” who are ruthless, without remorse or empathy, and must always win. (Charming as well.) I think we are all speaking of the same thing.

  226. Muckraker
    February 10th, 2013 at 10:48 am

    Mole: Thank you for sharing. You echo many of the same things I have felt in my transition and healing from SGM ways of thinking. I also feel that we are a community, most of us will never meet this side of eternity, but there is so much healing here and NOT many whiners. (Hmmm? Where are the whiners? I think you all can guess.)

  227. Muckraker
    February 10th, 2013 at 10:52 am

    Eagle @216 Very thoughtful and thought-provoking post. Thank you for pinpointing so many aspects of what is wrong, dysfunctional and eerily similar to Mormonism. Wow, never thought of THAT before.

  228. Muckraker
    February 10th, 2013 at 11:04 am

    Marge: Just read your last post. Thank you for writing that petition. I signed it too. I’m not crazy about everything ala Brent but I do respect that AT LEAST he is saying SOMETHING to SGM, the whole world (via his blog) and now the Christian Big Dogs — that takes “guts” (aka insert another spherical word lol) I didn’t add my signature because I agree with everything that Brent has ever said or done, I signed because it is true love to fight for justice — to speak out for the victims — and to hold men responsible for NOT DOING SO. The Christian leaders IMO have NOT stood up and been courageous and exhibited what is God’s definition of TRUE LOVE. That is why I immediately on reading it, added my “moniker”.

  229. Marge Sweigart
    February 10th, 2013 at 11:25 am

    Muckraker (#228) – I don’t agree with everything Brent has ever said or done either. I view it much like you do. Whatever you might think about Brent, you have to admit that he has “guts”. No fear of man in that one, that’s for sure. And he has paid dearly for taking a stand.

  230. Kris
    February 10th, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Marge said,

    Whatever you might think about Brent, you have to admit that he has “guts”. No fear of man in that one, that’s for sure.

    I’ve said for a long time that I admire and respect Brent for sticking to his guns. No matter what a person thinks of Brent’s guns (like, I personally think he got way too obsessed with the SGM-centric habit of trying to get CJ to agree with his assessment of CJ’s “sins”), he has remained steadfast.

    That being said, I don’t think I’d say Brent has “no fear of man.” As others have pointed out, it is remarkable that anyone could be the #3 or #4 (or even #2) man in an organization for decades and then turn around and call out the organization for a pattern of wrongdoing – all the while never himself embracing at least some responsibility for the organization’s pattern of wrongdoing. Many of us have asked Brent about this in one way or another, and thus far, he has not appeared to grasp that he had anything to do with the faulty teachings that caused pastors to counsel abuse victims in ways that blamed the victims and protected the perpetrators. I don’t know exactly why this should be the case with Brent – but I’d bet that “fear of man” has at least a little bit to do with it. It’s probably a really hard thing, to come to grips with the fact that you celebrated and helped perpetuate a dysfunctional thought system. You’d probably feel all sorts of trepidation over what other people would do and say if you owned up to your part in it.

    So yeah. Still loads to admire about Brent’s persistence and determination. He’s definitely a pit bull. But there’s probably at least a little bit of “fear of man” in there, still keeping him from coming to terms with his own culpability in things.

  231. Foot
    February 10th, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    Kris #230, that is putting it mildly: “But there’s probably at least a little bit of “fear of man” in there, still keeping him from coming to terms with his own culpability in things.”

    From Brent’s website: 02/06/2013, An Appeal to National Leaders Regarding C.J. Mahaney, an excerpt:
    “Gentlemen, I’ve worked with C.J. since I graduated from seminary in 1979. I wrote the Statement of Faith, founded the Pastors College, oversaw 23 churches in the southeastern United States, directed our outreaches in Asia and the Caribbean, served on the Board of Directors for 25 years, and was one of four men who started Sovereign Grace Ministries in 1982. I say none of this to impress you, only to establish some credibility with you.

    In 2007, I stepped down from the Board of Directors largely due to my loss of trust in C.J. In 2009, I left SGM because of the pride, deceit, hypocrisy, and heavy handedness that characterized the leadership culture. It became unconscionable. I could not stay.”

    To the above I would point out:
    I Cor 3:10-15.

    SGM operates by Fear of Man, not Fear of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is the SGM DESIGN and that is why it will fail. That is why many in the SGM circles are still frozen-chosen. I say that not in condemnation, but compassion. There is still much work to be done…

  232. Steve240
    February 10th, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Greg said in the last thread:

    Schmitt was accused of homosexual advances by several church members. In the ensuing battle over how he would be disciplined, he sought to divide the church. GOB leadership admitted early on that they made mistakes in the process, but whether or not there was due cause is not in question. Schmitt was a predator, not a victim. Sometimes I wonder if that is where it all started.

    If there is due cause then I can accept that. My point with this was that if C.J. Mahaney thought it was acceptable and had no qualms with blackmailing Larry Tomczak (and even consult an attorney to find out if it was legal) then it is possible that C.J. and others lied or did something else unethical with regard to Charles Schmidt. Lets hope that wasn’t the case with regard to the Charles Schmidt incident.

    I know the Charles Schmidt incident was in the late 70′s and Larry Tomczak was blackmailed by C.J. Mahaney in the 90′s but just saying. When a person such as C.J. Mahaney shows they lack ethics or feel the end can justify the means then you wonder what else C.J. has done.

  233. Persona
    February 10th, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    “The ends justify the means” could be the unspoken slogan of the PDI/SGM organization.

    If you scratch the surface of almost any of their big decisions, it seems they invariably choose to manipulate, prevaricate or outright lie to get what they want.

    At the core, how can they call themselves a Christian ministry?

  234. witness
    February 10th, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    just to alleviate any of the uncertainty, yes, nate morales was a sick child molestor. he molested me and 3 or 4 other kids from MCCA that I am aware of…none of whom, myself included, are involved in the case against him. No doubt there are many more.

    Was CLC aware? Probably within a couple years of it. Nate had some sort of breakdown and started calling people’s parents, repenting. at least he called mine. Or maybe he was feeling the heat and trying to preempt it, who knows.

    I have come to understand that the church is probably THE most attractive hunting ground for people like him. And, yes, Nate cultivated his image masterfully, while grooming all of the kids he had his eye on. There’s a reason that parents let their kids have sleepovers at his house…because he seemed like a model of Christianity. He was a charismatic worship leader, with a seeming enthusiasm for God that was inspiring. Everyone looked up to him…and it was all a cynical manipulation…he needed to establish that stature so he could operate without raising suspicion.

    Now I have my own kids and, frankly, I’m paranoid as hell. Yes, the church is where God has called us to be, but make no mistake, its a dangerous place. Loving your neighbor as yourself doesnt mean that you foolishly let your guard down where your kids are concerned…

  235. MOLE IN HOLE
    February 10th, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    First of all, I want to thank all of you who have found this Website of Refuge (Jim) from
    which to receive ministry , minister to others, or both. I read the post on THANKSGIVING (5 year anniversary of Survivors). In reading about how it came about, it’s obvious that God initiated it unbenounced to Kris and Guy at the time. Isn’t that what what sovereign grace ministry is? Think of the guy (Ethipian eunuch reading the
    Bible – he’s trying to understand Isaiah; God transports a guy to explain the prophecies concerning Jesus in Isaiah; he gets saved.) Philip did not plan this ministry -
    he simply responded to a situation God placed him in. Likesise, Kris responds to something strange – a deleted post that was not pro SGM. Guy comments why don’t you take ur post (which she still had) and post it on your own blog? She does so and goes to bed not expecting much to happen : couple days later, many hits and posts
    and she responds.

    Thus, a God-initiated (sovereign) ministry of grace and truth was birthed. I think it ironic that God would create His own sovereign grace ministry necessary to care for people trampled over by wolves of a man-made “Soveregn Grace Ministry” in name only. If Jesus told us, “You shall know them by their fruits” isn’t the existence of this website alone enough evidence of their “fruit” to know them? Is it enough to know Lucifer by his name (a reference to light) when in fact Jesus called him the father of lies ; he exalted himself above God; he disguises himself as an angel of light? God isn’t fooled by names
    and personally, I’m convinced God has a sense of humor : “God uses the things that are not to nullify the things that are.” I can understand if you get sick just hearing the phrase “Sovereign Grace Ministry” – I did for awhile until I understood the name is a lie
    when applied to that hideous organization. like calling Lucifer the “son of the morning star” when he is in fact “the prince of darkness.”

    I’m sure you’re familiar with the expression, “some people make things happen, some
    people watch what happens, and some people wonder what happened.” Heard this in a sermon by a friend of mine (one of the first ‘de-gifted pastors’) designed to motivate us to be people “who make things happen.” I’ve added to this “clever” statement : “some people get hurt by what happened; some people care about people who get hurt by what happened ; some people don’t want to know what happened ; some people know what happened but feel powerless or are too cowardly to do anything about what happened ; some people know what happened, even to their best friends, but want to be liked by the “inner ring” (who really don’t care about them anyway) so they reject their best friends and find out they have no friends when “the inner ring” kicks them into a ditch one day because they dared (finally) to have a different opinion ; some people, the “inner ring, don’t give a darn what happened to others until, after being faced with a lawsuit, they “pretend to care” ; and finally, some people care, try to do something, are tempted to believe all their efforts will come to nothing, continue their efforts sensing God encouraging them to do so. They believe “your efforts are not in vain”, ‘he who gives a cup of water even to the least of these, my brothers, has given it to Me”, and “through faith and patience we inherit the promises.” This last are the type listed in Hebrews ch 11, and, though I don’t know them, I consider them, and many throughout church history to this present day to be among them (I know they’d laugh at that – which is good).

    Anytime something happens, we must try to interpret from the facts that we’re able to gather, the truth of what has happened, and then ask our Lord, if He’s our Lord (un-
    fortunately, too many times, I’ve called the One who is my Lord “my Lord”, while, unconsciously and sometimes consciously, not making decisions that are consistent with what it means for Him to be “my Lord”), “Lord, in light of the truth I do know, what do You want me to do?” I believe courage may be one of the highest Christian virtues
    because courage and humility (God is great ; I am a man), are foundational to receive the grace to stand alone (He gives grace to the humble) and power to do the difficult things that God will require of us times such as to stand up for the truth when it means loss of friends, respect, or money (whatever); stand up for the hurt when it means their abusers will hate you; seek out more truth when it may be you are kicked out of your church, etc. How many times does God instruct people like Joshua, “only do not be afraid” ?

    I love the narrative of the man born blind. After being kicked out of the synogogue by the Pharisees for saying, “I don’t know if He’s the Messiah. What I do know, as I’ve told you before, once I was blind but now I can see. Why do you not believe me? Do you want to become His disciples also?” When Jesus heard he’s been kicked out of the synogogue, Jesus looked for Him (have you ever noticed that?) – “Jesus looked for him”!!!…The man says, “when Messiah comes, He will tell us all things.” Jesus says, “The one speaking to you is He.” The man worshipped Jesus. Ironic, the guy kicked out of the synogogue is worhshipping Jesus who came and founf him. Who were the people who walked to the synogogue that day worshipping?

    Finally, I posted the other day under ONLY ONE HERO. “THERE I AM” is simply a way of encouraging all that being in a big church building isn’t the only way to be with Jesus or to be church. The second post is there just to say I have known CJ up close since he was 24 and I know Josh up close since July 1, 2011, have been alone with him through this crisis, have never seen him afraid, slanderous, complaining, in self-pity, wanting admiration, shunning those oppossed to him, treating me preferentially because I happen to think highly of his character, defending himself, admitting he wasn’t sure about what steps to take at times, asking me what I think about certain things, lovingly adjusting me at times, truly loving his wife and children, engaging hurt people more than “healthy people”, pointing us to Jesus, disliking or avoiding public recognition or attention, refusing to promote his book DUG DOWN DEEP, asking for forgiveness only when convicted and never because it’s pragmatic, being patient rather than impulsive, honest about how he has had to learn to sing “cave songs” because at times he just doesn’t feel like reading his Bible or oraying but must makehiself do it, and I could go on and on. In the natural, he would have become my hero as Mahaney once was. But, guess what – he’s not my hero. Through another forum, someone made the observation that I seemed to be pastor-centered. I thought about it and realized she was right. Not growing up with a dad who was at all interested in me or sports, I was subconsciously always looking for a dad. I found when when I was fourteen and I still call hin once a month – I call him dad – been friends for forty-five years. CJ became my “hero of heroes” around 2001 despite all he’d done “in the past.” Josh started becoming my hero
    in 2011, but after this woman’s observation, I realized what I was doing. I began to think “seeing Josh as your hero is not loving him. You must simply care about him as a person : no one should carry the burden of being someone’s hero. Jesus is the hero – the real hero. Whose word does Josh preach : Jesus’ ; what power has gifted him and anointed him to write and preach : the Holy Spirit ; who is Josh constantly pointing us to : Jesus…..I am not a close or intimate friend of Josh – I am simply a person who in God’s economy, allowed me to see Josh up close and often in a fire of affliction. There’s a saying, “pressure reveals the person.” What I saw in that fire, was a man, close to Jesus, caring about hurting people, resigning from the SGM board, making a few unintended mistakes and asking forgiveness for those mistakes, being kind to all who sided with SGM, saying fron the pulpit, “if you have lost trust or never had trust in me, I can live with that, but please, whatever you do, don’t turn your back on Jesus. H will never disappoint you.”

    So, I’ve just documented for you, how a man, still inside a church once affiliated with SGM, has changed from the tendency to be pastor-centered, to see certain men, if they seem to warrant high respect, as heroes, now recoiling from that tendency, and seeing it as robbing God, the very God who created them, of His rightful place in my heart. And the neat truth is, Josh does not want to be anyone’s hero…..Josh may have serious flaws I’m unaware of because I’m not a close friend (heart to heart) of his even though there is much affection between us. From what I’ve seen, I believe Josh will not compromise for the sake of expediency. At the same time, Josh is not impulsive. Many were trying to push him to leave SGM much sooner than we did. He waits on God. He doesn’t allow how others interpret that to change the posture of waiting on God. Waiting longer to leave SGM than he preferred allowed more of who SGM is to be brought out into the light and is why 93% of the members felt the leaders’ opinion that we should no longer be functionally tied to SGM was the right move.

    The post JESUS, BARTIMAEUS, AND THE CROSS was put there to say ” this is my hero” and should be the hero of all christians. The last post was a “wise-guy” way of saying, “It remains to be seen whether the fellowship I’m in can become an organically healthy, relationally strong, people centered community rather than a “preserve the organization” centered church. And to say, the change must start with me, because if I’m not who I should be, why should I expect this church to be what God would want it to be. In the meantime, rather than saying, “but my church is different”, I will hope that Jesus will make this church one that glorifies Him. If it becomes apparent to me, that the leadership of this church is not willing to pay the serious price, no matter the cost, to dig down deep into the truth and own it and repent of it and then build on the rock of God’s word, then, as Josh wrote in DUG DOWN DEEP, my personal favorite book to give to unbelievers and new believers in Montgomery County, I CAN’T PLAY CHURCH.
    At this time, I’m not playing church or I wouldn’t be writing here. I will leave for with this : at this time, I’m friends with a pastor in the fellowship I’m in who I do know heart to heart and I trust him deeply. “As for Jesus, he was not entrusting Himself to ANY man, for He knew what was in man.” Trust is to be earned : entrusting is idolatry.

    Paradigm shift : I no longer view things as “inside” and “outside” between those on this website in a former SGM church, those in another church, or those not attending church
    in a building. Christ is breaking down the barrier of the dividing wall : all truly in Christ are in His Body and are His Bride. Please forgive me for taking so long to even bother
    to look at this Website. The very fact that some people out there considered themselves to be “survivors of sovereign grace ministries” should have moved my heart to at least investigate. It grieves that I could be so indifferent, and though you don’t know me, please forgive me. Thank you for what I’ve learned here – there’s no other place I could have learned it.

  236. Acme
    February 10th, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    I am so sorry, Witness. I’m sorry you weren’t better protected. I’m sorry you went through this.

    You’re right – predators do act just like that and parents foolishly let their guards down at church.

    Anne CLC 1986-2007

  237. Bridget
    February 10th, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    Witness -

    I’m really sorry for what you experienced as a young person. I hope you are healed from the awfulness of it all. I wonder how many children he abused. It seems it must be many as some have come forward and, as you share, some have not. NM needs to be locked up for a long time.

  238. Brent Detwiler
    February 10th, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    I was never told about any of the incidences in the lawsuit. That information was kept from me. I’ve always directed pastors to contact law enforcement and inform the church of child molesters. For example, that’s what I did in the Richmond church 20 years ago. The pedophile went to jail and the church was told. I have feared C.J. plenty but believe me I would not have remained silent had he told me about any of the alleged atrocities in the lawsuit. That is likely why he never involved me. I would not have allowed a cover up.

    There is only one kind of “robust” child safety policy. Contact the police if evidence indicates there has been sexual abuse or physical abuse. Post a registry of sex offenders on the members portion of the church website. Not allowing a sex offender to be a children’s ministry teacher or showing his picture to the ushers (or whomever) is woefully inadequate.

    Here is what Roy Cooper, the Attorney General in NC, says on the State registry listing sex offenders.

    A MESSAGE FROM THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

    Knowing when offenders move into your neighborhood and where they live can be an important tool in keeping families and communities safe.

    Sign up here to receive e-mail alerts when an offender registers to an address in your community, or to track a specific offender. You can also map all offenders’ addresses up to five miles away from any site you choose, such as home, school, child care center or park.

    ##

    Why is the World wiser than the Church? If you are serious about preventing sexual abuse in your church you must be willing to go public. Predators are the most deceitful and cunning of people. It is not enough to keep them out of the Christian school or follow them around at a church picnic. Everyone should know their identity so they can protect their children at all times and in all places.

  239. KMD
    February 10th, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    CLC will be holding a meeting tonight to give members a chance to have questions about the new draft constitution answered.
    I hope to be able to attend but may not make it.
    Here’s the question I submitted, and which I hope will get addressed:
    “Do you believe that pastors hear more clearly from God than members of the congregation?”
    If any CLC members attend, would you be good enough to post any answer?

  240. Brent Detwiler
    February 10th, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    I guess it goes without saying that I have never subscribed to “blame the victims, protect the perpetrators.” That is the epitome of injustice. A horrendous scenario. Off to hear God’s word. Thanks Kris for all the ways you have helped the Plaintiffs.

  241. Mary
    February 10th, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    Terry #214 – thank you – I will pray about it.

  242. Steve240
    February 10th, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    Brent Detwiler said:

    I was never told about any of the incidences in the lawsuit. That information was kept from me. I’ve always directed pastors to contact law enforcement and inform the church of child molesters. For example, that’s what I did in the Richmond church 20 years ago. The pedophile went to jail and the church was told. I have feared C.J. plenty but believe me I would not have remained silent had he told me about any of the alleged atrocities in the lawsuit. That is likely why he never involved me. I would not have allowed a cover up.

    Does anyone know of another SGM Church “telling the church” about a pedophile being caught in their local congregation? I have stated this before, SGM churches not “telling the church” that it happened IMO gave members a false sense of security including thinking in their minds that “this isn’t happening here” when it did and was.

  243. JUST CURIOUS
    February 10th, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    Dear Brent,

    It’s impossible to keep up with everything u write. My wife and I were just wondering u’ve ever apologized for your handling of the guy that started Solid Rock – his story is
    in Survivors – I have friends in that church when all that went down.

    Secondly, did you apologize to Steve in Richmond when you told him if he didn’t plant the church, he would lose his job – Bob Diixon was in the room when u did this. When
    I knew u, I liked u, but I liked CJ also. Where could we read a true confession of the spiritual abuses u’ve perpetrated so we can respect u? It seems u want to dictate all these confessions not only from CJ, but the CLC pastors, etc. Where have u owned the damage I know u’ve done and owned the damage I don’t know about because I’ve haven’t gone around to sniff it out – not hard to do. I’m grateful u’ve been used by God,
    but ur unbelievable praise for CJ for years, even while in conflict, helped to deceive us as to what we were seeing but not believing because of what people like u were
    saying? I would like to believe there is such a xomfession by you – could u tell us where to find it? If there isn’t one, would u consider a leave of absence (just joking) to write one.? It would enhance ur credibility. It’s not that I don’t think you’re lying, it’s that I’m wondering if u’re doing the same thing u accuse CJ of (rightly so) of demanding of others what u don’t demand of yourself. I want to have a high opinion of u as u do
    have some admirable qualities, but so does CJ. This is not sarcastic Brent – I really want to know if this genuine apology exists somewhere and I’ve missed it. Right now I can barely mention ur name, even to my wife, because we both knew u and there seems to be a double standard. Help me believe the best, or make that full confession of sin for us all to see and set an example for CJ and others. If u don’t hold the same standard to urself as u do others, ur audience has a harder time listening to u. I can’t stand CJ speaking anymore – I don’t want to feel that way about what u write. My wife won’t read u at all – I have to do it when she’s not Lookimg. Please help me out here bro.

  244. 2tim224
    February 10th, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    wow. so much to read. so much to process. wow.
    @brent, bro, hard time believing.
    @mole in a hole, my heart is heavy for you. will commit to pray for/with you to the Lord of hosts. so many saints (set apart ones), so much hurt.
    Lord Jesus, walk with those who are hurting, help all to see Who You are.
    our problem is not “this” or “that” but that we do not see Jesus clearly. serious nod to Abraham Piper.

  245. SGMOvercomer
    February 10th, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    Here’s a blog on a book I’ve found to be VERY helpful.

    http://calltorevolution.blogspot.com/2013/02/toxic-churches-restoration-from.html

  246. It's just the beginning
    February 10th, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    @JUST CURIOUS, #243: wow, this one sentence stood out to me like a beam of light — Brent, I think you owe this blog and all the former SGM’ers an answer/explanation:
    “your unbelievable praise for CJ for years, even while in conflict, helped to deceive us”

    Brent: do you feel the weight of that statement? Now that you are on this side of the truth of the situation, do you see how unrestrained public support and adoration for a man who you had [secret] concerns about—do you see how that contributed to deceiving hundreds, probably thousands? Or do you not see it that way?

  247. Persona
    February 10th, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    Although I find it admirable that Mole wants to change his pattern of hero-worship, he will need to address some deep root heart issues. And, he should not expect change to happen easily in the culture of his church. It’s very hard to take pastors off their pedestals in any SGM-trained churches.

    The culture trains you to flatter the pastor and never openly critique your pastor. Also, I have yet to hear one pastor tell you to stop fawning over them or flattering them.

    It would be better when members flatter them that pastor should immediately tell the member to stop. That is one way to simply address the issue and they should be doing that on a regular basis if they want to truly stop it.

    Still, since I have never heard them do that in over 30 years, my guess is they won’t start now. But, who knows? I would be elated to hear that Josh had started the trend at CLC.

  248. Stunned
    February 10th, 2013 at 11:23 pm

    Dear Witness,

    I am so terribly sorry to hear what happened to you. I admire your strength to speak out about it. THANK YOU. There are millions of men in the same shoes you have found yourself in and I wish more would speak out. Every person who is abused feels so alone. Having you add your voice, like this, allows others to feel not quite so lonely in their pain and healing.

    God bless,
    Stunned

  249. Foot
    February 10th, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    Eagle, #216, you said in #23:
    “23. Both organizations place excessive pressure on members or people involved. In Mormonism 17 year old men are under great pressure to do a Mormon mission. They know that if they don’t do one they effectively can’t be a Mormon. Mormons are also under great pressure by their organization when it comes to tithing, etc… When I investigated Mormonism as a 19 year old college kid I was under incredible pressure to be baptized. I’m grateful that I could resist. This comparison came to me because of the one and only time I attended a SGM service. I heard them push and pressure people on membership at the SGM church I visited. It was my only visit and I felt the pressure to join. It bothered me and as I sit there hearing this hard push for membership it was a déjà vu experience to the Mormon missionaries trying to pressure me to be baptized.”

    Perhaps this can explain your being “under great pressure”:
    Tithing by Coercion
    By Bill McKeever

    Most people would be offended at any organization which teaches that in order to escape D**nation, giving of your financial means is mandatory. Yet, this is exactly what Mormonism teaches.

    Mormonism teaches that there are three degrees of glory reserved for those who have passed on from mortality. These are called the celestial, terrestrial, and telestial kingdoms. Within the celestial there are three more levels. LDS leaders have proclaimed that what a person believes and does in this life will be tantamount as to which kingdom that person will abide in the next life. Interestingly enough, any level lower than the top level within the celestial kingdom has been described as D**nation.

    To clarify this we quote LDS Apostle Bruce McConkie. McConkie stated that salvation has varying degrees just as D**nation has varying degrees. According to page 177 of his book “Mormon Doctrine,” he states that those who are D**ned are, “Those who fail to gain exaltation in the highest heaven in the celestial world, even though they do gain a celestial mansion in one of the lower heavens of that world.” He goes on to say, “The rejection of any covenant, the gospel, celestial marriage, or any other, assures the rebellious person of D**nation.”

    If one hopes to obtain the celestial kingdom in the next life, he must practice what is known as “celestial law.” In the words of third LDS President John Taylor, “We are told that if we cannot abide the law of the celestial kingdom we cannot inherit a celestial glory” (Journal of Discourses, Vol.26, p.133).

    Brigham Young, Mormonism’s second president, stated that if a person hopes to obtain the celestial kingdom,

    “it requires a strict obedience to every point of law and doctrine and to every ordinance which the Lord reveals: in short, it requires a strict observance of every requirement of Heaven, to fully prepare a people for the possession and enjoyment of the celestial kingdom” (Journal of Discourses, Vol.10, p.286).

    Having said all this, it should be noted that paying a full tithe is a requirement under celestial law. Said Mormon Apostle James E. Talmage,

    “It is important to know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has observed this requirement from the early days of its history–not because it was operative in ancient Israel, nor because it was law and custom among the Jews in the days of Christ, but because it has been authoritatively established through modern revelation in the Church.”

    Talmage then quoted Doctrine and Covenants 119: 3-4, which reads,

    “And this shall be the beginning of the tithing of my People. And after that, those who have thus been tithed, shall pay one tenth of all their interest annually; and this shall be a standing law unto them for ever, for my Holy Priesthood, saith the Lord.” (The Vitality of Mormonism, p.207 – p.208).

    Our argument is not against tithing per se, all of us at MRM freely give to the churches we attend. We do so, not as a means to escape “D**nation,” but rather as a means of furthering the ministry of the church. Giving to our individual churches enables it to spread the Christian message whether it is at home or abroad. The Mormon may argue that he freely gives of his tithes to his church and that he does not feel he is being coerced into doing so. This may be true; however, it is the letter of Mormon law wherein the coercion lies, not an individual’s feelings about the law.

    Another important aspect of celestial law is participation in the temple endowment ceremony. But herein lies the catch. In order to enter an LDS temple, it is necessary to obtain a temple recommend. A recommend is granted only when the Mormon has been found faithful in numerous categories, including tithe-paying. If a Mormon does not pay his tithes, he cannot get a recommend. If he cannot get a recommend, he cannot go to the temple. If he cannot go to the temple, he cannot go to the celestial kingdom; hence he receives D**nation in the next life. Consequently, if the Mormon wants to escape D**nation, he is compelled to pay up, whether he likes it or not. This is tithing by coercion, not the biblical method prescribed in the Bible.

    Well Brent Detwiler and/or former SGM shanked/demoted leaders, care to “chime in” that SGM aspect of tithing by coercion (sinning if you don’t tithe)? There are people out in SGM land and those out of SGM land that possibly could use some explanations about now…why don’t you “serve us” with those explanations? What did SGM teach in the Pastor’s College say around year 2000 regarding tithing? What was the “a”postolic directive and documentation of those days, Mr. Detwiler? No doubt you are a “detail” man, were instrumental in the PDI/SGM design and have kept much documentation. Care to share?

  250. Oswald
    February 11th, 2013 at 12:31 am

    It’s just…@246 — Concerning Brent, while I believe CJ/SGM are all as Brent’s documents depicted, I feel that he would never have revealed all of this except for his being disappointed at not being listened to by others in the denomination, and now, outside the denomination. His reasoning seems to me to be vindictive and vengeful. These attributes don’t help his credibility. When he writes anything, he always goes to how they hurt or dissed him somewhere in the writing.
    I agree with comments to Brent by JUST CURIOUS and 2tim224 @243 and 244. And, amen to the prayer @244.

  251. Oswald
    February 11th, 2013 at 12:40 am

    Yo. Mormonism, seriously? Enough, already. Cultishness/SGM, yes we get it. (maybe I’m just tired)

  252. ONLY ONE HERO
    February 11th, 2013 at 1:16 am

    Persona, I meant to write “MOLE OUT OF HOLE” – from THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS – when
    Moly decides to forgo spring cleaning and go out and see what’s in the world and meets Raty. The post was too long to expect for me to think anyone would understand that MOLE IN HOLE and ONLY ONE HERO are the same person. JUST CURIOUS (same guy). Getting therapy for multiple personality disorder – will have one name soon – bear with me.

    One of the most challenging things in life is for people of different points of view or mind sets to try to enter the point of view of someone else. I do apologize for the length of that post. I do hope some took note of the last paragraph : PARADIGM SHIFT.
    May I ask a few people to comment on that – it’s easy to write something and think it means to others what it means to you. I would really appreciate it. I’m making a serious attempt to enter this group of individuals, who it seems by and large, are of the persuasion that to truly be free and follow Jesus, you would have to leave not only SGM, but CLC as well. I am not critical of that belief….it’s easy for me to understand how a person would have a very strong conviction about that. I don’t expect you to agree with my assessment that it’s not as hard for everyone. Persona, if you have time, please read the four posts on ONLY ONE HERO just ask yourself, “Does this guy seem to have a problem with hero worship.” We all need a hero – we just need the right one. Josh can sense hero worship and discourages it. He has stopped all clapping for pastors – in the long post I mention many things on what he does to discourage it.

    Also, 2tim224, I do appreciate ur expression of compassion, however, I feel I must be the worst communicator. My heart is full of joy and I’m not sure what I wrote that made u have compassion. The man I call “dad” is my friend – led me to the Lord, was my basketball coach in high school, he lost a son in an automobile accident, God sovereignly made it clear that as Paul was a father to Timothy, so is he to me. He also was provided with a son who loves him. I will try to write more clearly.

  253. ONLY ONE HERO
    February 11th, 2013 at 2:07 am

    About four months ago, I wrote a poem call CONCERNING GUARDING OUR HEARTS WHEN A LEADER FALLS OR DISAPPOINTS US – it’s emphasis was on being like Samuel who grieved over Saul’s demise ; Joseph’s treatment of his brothers ; how Jesus treated Peter.

    A few days ago, I started writing a poem with the idea that just as a preacher can be deceived that just because he preaches well, even so, a writer can be deceived that because he writes about God, he’s obeying God. I wanted it to serve as a sign post to me that the life I live is more important than any poem I write. The poem took on a mind of it’s own and turned into a poem dedicated primarily to this ministry. I mention the first poem because this poem has a mocking tone toward SGM and taken by itself, doesn’t represent all of my heart toward individuals within SGM or even all the leaders – ultimately I hope God brings them all into repentance. God does this in the Bible as well, and therefore we must look at the whole counsel of God. Again this poem just happened – my plan was to write about something else.

    For now I’ll just give you the title’ it’s 2AM – I need some sleep.

    LORD, DID YOU REALLY SAY, “GO TO LOUISVILLE”?
    (For All Who’ve Been Abused By SGM Or Helped Those
    Who Have – Especially For Sovereign Grace Survivors)

  254. Concerned for the kids
    February 11th, 2013 at 6:55 am

    I see Oswald is back defending sgm. Oswald, care to complete the criticism you began about 3 pages back where you took issue with the listed facts about SGM? Or still pretending you didn’t take that position of defending the circus and the clowns that continue to promote it?

    Sgm is not “cult like,” it’s a pretty full blown cult when evaluated from a variety of angles. Multiple independent cult checklists, uncanny similarities with the LDS, similarities with recognized cults like Jonestown and koresh when you look at the systemic control, lying, and manipulative/abusive leadership structure, and the list goes on.

    All we were missing were the sex and financial shenanigans. Now we have spanking of nude adults by leadership and enabling horrific sexual abuse of children, for YEARS.

    I wonder when/if financial shenanigans will surface. Given the intentional lack of transparency on that issue, I suspect it’s the next “other shoe.”

    And Oswald will return telling us that it’s not our place to discuss, we just don’t understand the facts, financial matters are private, and it’s just a local CJ problem, not an SGM core defect.

    *sigh*

  255. Marge Sweigart
    February 11th, 2013 at 7:10 am

    Just Curious (243) & It’s just the beginning (246): Very valid points, for sure. And my guess is that a lot more people would want to co-sign Brent’s letter (the petition) if he did publically acknowledge this. (Although I maintain my opinion that the petition is primarily about CJ and the silence of the “big dogs”, not Brent.)

  256. Diego
    February 11th, 2013 at 8:07 am

    As there are no more apostles, nor prophets, in SGM. They combined the ministries of elders and pastors. Only few evangelists… You have sparse titles of men. Offices that were to be gifts to Christ’s church, now only empty titles. The most condemning facts of SGM is lack of vision of Christ. You have no Christ likeness in the leadership. You have likeness of pharasees. Talking of humility, but not leading in it. You have talk of repentance and restoration, but you only have division in their ranks. Though they blame the blogs, it was not the blogs that are bringing them down. It is their lack of repentance. Lack of pursuing Christ. They talk of a gospel, but do not encourage God’s people to be rejoicing in Christ. They market, but do not disciple. They have the PC grads, more CJ like, and not more Christlike.

  257. Kris
    February 11th, 2013 at 8:14 am

    Oswald said,

    Yo. Mormonism, seriously? Enough, already. Cultishness/SGM, yes we get it. (maybe I’m just tired)

    I can see how the comparison of SGM to Mormonism would seem extreme. Doctrinally speaking, the two are worlds apart. While SGM churches consider only the Bible to be sacred scripture, the LDS church elevates the Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price, and the Doctrines & Covenants as equal to (but in effect far more important than) the Bible. While SGM would say that our faith in Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection 3 days later are what saves us, Mormons would pay lip service to Jesus but actually mean a totally different character, Lucifer’s brother…and then go on to add a gigantic checklist of works to what a person needs to do to be saved.

    In terms of doctrine, SGM falls within orthodox Christianity, while Mormonism is clearly and overtly heterodox.

    The two cultures, however, do share many similarities. Particularly in SGM churches where the “home arts” were emphasized as a woman’s highest (and in effect only true) calling, the expectations for girls are the same. The uniformity, the specialized lingo, the striving to achieve a certain lifestyle, the special privileges for people who looked a certain way or were from a particular family or who held influential positions outside the church – there are many parallels. Perhaps the main similarity is that in both organizations, it is believed that those recognized for leadership then have a supernatural ability to do the job in a way where they almost can’t make mistakes. Also, leaders are recognized by other leaders.

    I don’t know that we can make too much out of these similarities. I think they tend to happen anywhere that there’s a self-contained church that believes on some level – spoken (the LDS) or unspoken (SGM) – that they have a special, singular handle on “the gospel.” It’s unfair to SGM to act like the two are equally culty. They’re not. SGMers don’t believe their salvation hinges on participating in secret temple ordinances where they chant and get baptized for the dead and get assigned a new name and get pulled through the veil.

    I do think that, in an odd way, it’s a lot easier to reject something like Mormonism than it is to reject SGM. At least Mormonism puts its full-blown wackiness out there overtly. People are told at the get-go that their special gospel comes to them courtesy of Joseph Smith’s changing visions…and if they hang with the religion for any length of time, they will eventually become card-carrying (Temple Recommend-carrying) members who get to experience the bizarre for themselves.

    It’s a lot harder to see and reject the parts of SGM that make it cultic, as the beliefs that are written down on paper are basically fine. It’s all the other unspoken stuff that is the problem.

  258. just saying...
    February 11th, 2013 at 9:03 am

    I, too am concerned about signing the petition because of the fear that it might show me to be a “follower of Brent”. A petition like that could be interpreted that Brent has a “following” of 1000 people like it is just a routine church split and we took Brent’s side. From everything I’ve read here, Brent WAS part of the problem and seems to be using the victims on this blog to make it appear he has support. Perhaps in writing on our behalf, he may begin to see our side. But, he’s not our poster child.

    I think it has been presented to the RBD that Brent is mentally ill and CJ is a victim of his obsession. CJ can’t speak up out of “compassion” for Brent’s illness.

    If 1000 people sign a petition supporting Brent, it looks like we are ignorant people who are following a mentally ill man blindly.

    I would probably sign a separate petition that said I concur with the issues raised, but do not support Brent.

  259. Stunned
    February 11th, 2013 at 9:11 am

    Oh my, just saying. May I ask if the representing Brent as mentally ill is a supposition on your part or do you have any information that they have actually done this?

    I am just shocked that these men would go so far as to make such false accusations, if they have actually done that. (Why I am shocked, I have no idea. After seeing/hearing all the deceptive things they have done over the years, you think I’d be unshockable.)

  260. 5yearsinPDI
    February 11th, 2013 at 9:19 am

    I think it has been presented to the RBD that Brent is mentally ill and CJ is a victim of his obsession. CJ can’t speak up out of “compassion” for Brent’s illness.

    If 1000 people sign a petition supporting Brent, it looks like we are ignorant people who are following a mentally ill man blindly.

    Where did you hear this? It is rather funny actually, but CJ does not believe in mental illness, only sin, and there is no compassion for depression, much less a Brent style criticism. If indeed the RBDs were led to believe this, they were lied to.

    Kris, nice post on Mormonism…yeah, the comparisons were getting stretched to the point of the blog losing all credibility (if we had any to start with, ha.

  261. just saying...
    February 11th, 2013 at 9:21 am

    In regards to the My Church is Different post. Why do we stay in our churches when so many negatives of our movement our coming out?

    1. I shouldn’t have to be punished for their self-serving sin. I shouldn’t have to leave my friends and my family and my sources of fellowship because they haven’t led well. To some degree, the exclusivity with which they lead the church leaves many people who happily fly under the radar, not even trying to enter the “how do I get recognized by leadership” food chain. They support one another and care for one another and pray for one another and talk about the Bible together. Ironically, people who are struggling, care for each other because the leaders are too busy caring for each other to care for those struggling. As far as we are concerned, WE are the church. We operate independently of leadership and we shouldn’t have to give up all that we enjoy because of them. We love one another.

    2. In order to keep all we enjoy, we’re willing to hold our leaders to the fire to bring change. Not sure if that will happen. If it does not, then we will either continue to operate independently under the radar, or at that point decide whether we need to go elsewhere.

    But, for now we are wait and see.

  262. just saying...
    February 11th, 2013 at 9:52 am

    I have never heard anyone say to RBD that Brent is mentally ill. I have heard it from very close Louisville Loyal fans. I am completely speculating that CJ just whispers to RBD’s that Brent is mentally ill and they all have compassion and support CJ in his “persecution”.

  263. Ellie
    February 11th, 2013 at 9:57 am

    Just Saying,

    DON’T think that you will continue to have the option to “fly under the radar”. That’s exactly the term my friends & I used at our SGM church. NONE of us are there now. Some of us didn’t get the option to choose to stay or go.

  264. Phoenix
    February 11th, 2013 at 10:11 am

    @just saying, these words are for you and through you for all who are choosing to stay in SGM or former SGM churches;
    just saying, i’d ask you to reread your excuses in #261 for staying within a corrupt system that is putting children in danger and is worshipping Mammon and reputation above God. Perhaps you may see upon rereading how utterly self-serving they are. While you and your friends are loving upon one another and staying in your happy bubble you are disrespecting the victims at a profound level and compounding hurt upon their hurt. Exercise your option to stay while you can; but acknowledge that in doing so you are choosing the side of the bullies and Pharisees.

    And please stop making excuses for the RBD’s, the biggest of the bullies. No way do they believe that Brent is mentally ill, but they will readily seize upon that as an excuse to continue supporting CJ. CJ is the rotting corpse to whom their sins have shackled them. You however, are not shackled; so why do you continue to drag that body of death around? Ask you Louisville buddies the same question.

    Don’t anyone bother to correct me for being rude or mean. I meant to be both. There is a time for it and for me this is now.

  265. just saying...
    February 11th, 2013 at 10:14 am

    If Brent is truly a narcisist, then refusing to respond to him could cause “narcissitic injury”. That injury feeds his obsession. The more they ignore them, the more he demands to be acknowledged.

    http://thelastpsychiatrist.com/2007/01/neither_is_this_is_a_narcissis.html

    The only way a narcissist can recover is to again be acknowledged. Like it or not, we are acknowledging Brent. But, is it really a good thing?

  266. just saying...
    February 11th, 2013 at 10:37 am

    Phoenix-

    I’m sorry I illicit outrage for my comments. I must be lacking in tact. I am a mixed bag. I am NOT on team CJ. But, I also don’t agree with every statement made on this side of the fence.

    I am a victim. And I find comfort in the victims with whom I associate. There are a lot of victims who are trying to find our way and it is helpful to have each other. I’m not going to find that in another church. CLC is a friendly environment at this point for those trying to undo years of mistreatment.

    I don’t support the RBD’s. I think they are a-holes for their response.

    I don’t support the Louisville Loyal, but I know what they are telling each other. I think most of them believe Brent is mentally ill. I think we should all agree, his obsession with this is not mentally normal.

    I don’t believe children are currently in any more danger than they are in any other social environment, although I think the mishandling of situations in the past put children at risk. My experience has been pastors who are very quick to call the police and some are outraged at the response of SGM to this lawsuit.

    I don’t think your everyday pastor is worshiping Mammon. I’ve seen their budgets. I know personal information. While CJ and others are probably getting rich with speaking engagements, your pastor down the street is probably not. For many of them, their pastoral salaries present hardships.

    I think CJ is completely detached from the local church. To him, it is all about the RBD’s. He has moved on. Now, it’s up for individual members to decide whether to recover from him in their local church with others who had the same experiences or to quietly slip into a different church and never bring it up.

    I need to talk about this with my friends who have been through this.

  267. Jenn Grover
    February 11th, 2013 at 10:38 am

    Just Saying – The petition was developed to give people a chance to agree with the content of Brent’s letter to the RBDs. If you don’t want to sign it, don’t. I will add that the distinction between Brent and the rest of the SGM leaders is that it appears that Brent actually follwos through with what he believes. For those who have asked, Brent has owned where he particiapted and contributed to some of the culture ills of SGM and has maintained that he was completely unaware of the abuse situations and the counsel given reflected in the lawsuit. If Brent was aware, he would be a pretty big fool for publicly proclaiming otherwise as it would be a sure invitation to name him in the lawsuit as well. I think it is very likely Brent did not know as we have discovered communication was not CJ’s strength, especially when it involved transparency.

    Oswald, I think the comparrison to the Mormons is probably more spot on than you realize. Like Kris said, not in doctrine but in practices. I watched this PBS documentary “Oh, my, it sounds like SGM.” This was especially true of how the Mormons systematically eliminate those who are the thinkers of their group.

  268. Stunned
    February 11th, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Jenn, there are many who are still awaiting his apologies. They have even contacted him and specifically addressed this with him without getting an apology. I don’t doubt you know of some situations where he has repented. But you can’t speak for what he has done and not done. I can only pass on what my friends who have been wounded by him have told me.

  269. Stunned
    February 11th, 2013 at 10:46 am

    sorry, Jen, I didn’t mean to say you can’t say what he has done. Bad communication on my part. I meant to say that while we can testify to some of the good things (like some of the people he may have repented to), we don’t know all the circumstances of those who are waiting to hear from him yet. I’d suggest you include “some” in saying that he has owned some of what he has done.

  270. Marie
    February 11th, 2013 at 11:05 am

    Just Saying #266, I am trying to understand one paragraph of what you wrote:

    I am a victim. And I find comfort in the victims with whom I associate. There are a lot of victims who are trying to find our way and it is helpful to have each other. I’m not going to find that in another church. CLC is a friendly environment at this point for those trying to undo years of mistreatment.

    I consider myself a victim (not directly of SGM, from some childhood trauma) who is moving to being an active survivor and thriver. I am not sure how CLC could provide solace for victims that another church could not provide. I was fiercely loyal to a church until about a year ago. I thought it was a great place for me, and then it all came tumbling down, and I found these blogs after I left. I am now affiliated with two fairly healthy congregations. I don’t have to disclose to anyone anything about my childhood trauma at these places, and I am very accepted. I still deal with my issues in many ways, but by opening up to people in my last church, they concluded many unnecessary things about me, and it ultimately was too painful to stay.

    If you are finding what you need for now to help you with being a victim, I can understand a perceived need to stay for now. I just wanted to say that I find it puzzling to believe that there is only one place to deal with being a victim. Could you please elaborate on any aspects of the church that help you that you won’t find anywhere else? I understand if this is a private matter. Is it partly because it is so hard to open up to people to talk about it, because they often are judgemental, and you have found a great deal of acceptance in your “under the radar” group? I don’t mean to pry or go off topic, I just am concerned for you. It was very painful to leave my previous church, but God did provide for me with two kind, accepting communities – long story on why I attend two for now – one far away, and one close by – and I am praying for you, that God will protect you from any “collateral damage” that could somehow spatter on you from the top.

  271. Stunned
    February 11th, 2013 at 11:15 am

    just saying, I totally get your desire to stick with people who actually understand some of the insanity. I find that every once in a while I see others who have left my old SGM church and often times, the conversation turns to the craziness we lived in for so many years.

    Yes, there are very compassionate people in other churches who will listen and maybe even, these are awesome and healthier places for healing, but there’s still something to be said for having friends who can look at you and understand what you are talking about with just a very few words. It can be exhausting to try to explain to outsiders the craziness of what SGM is.

  272. Oswald
    February 11th, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Many have chimed-in to say what it is that I said about Mormonism/SGM, and to correct me where I seemingly have it wrong. My point is…we don’t need any more lessons in LDS, with long, drawn-out posts. I, for one am tired of it. It adds nothing to me. It’s like beating a dead horse, it helps nothing.

  273. Stunned
    February 11th, 2013 at 11:23 am

    but Oswald, it makes the horse pulp that much more tender. ;)

    Honestly, I don’t enjoy long, drawn out posts either. (Though I probably write the longest ones!) I just skip the ones that don’t want to read.

  274. Marie
    February 11th, 2013 at 11:23 am

    PS I was assuming the statement “I am a victim” referred to something that had happened outside of SGM. I am “understanding impaired” about staying with a church that had victimized me in some way, so if I misunderstand the whole situation, I apologize. Praying for you anyway. :-) You come across as someone with a deeply caring heart.

  275. Brent Detwiler
    February 11th, 2013 at 11:23 am

    The steps taken at Solid Rock were right and necessary. The story he tells is not true. Everyone, including all his closest friends, were in agreement with the need for him to step down. His abusive practices as a pastor clearly required it. As I’ve said before I have no interest in documenting the truth of my statements because it would serve no good purpose at this point in time.

    I never told Steve “if he didn’t plant a church, he would lose his job.” I have asked Steve forgiveness for not taking more seriously his concerns for Gene Emerson.

    See “What About My Own Sins. (Dec 31, 2011).

    I honored C.J. in public for his commendable strengths while helping in private with his weaknesses. After the crisis intervention in August 2004, all honoring stopped. C.J.’behavior worsened.

    Here’s what I’ve done with the motive of helping C.J. and SGM. Began addressing C.J. in December 2000. Got Dave Harvey and Steve Shank involved. Got the CLC pastors involved in December 2003. Led the critical meeting in August 2004. Continued to raise issues in private until 2007. Also raised issues in 2009. Wrote C.J. in March 2010, Oct 2010, and June 2011. Informed the SGM pastors in July 2011. Informed national leaders this month. Soon my work will change.

    For the last 12 years, I’ve labored for reform. I’ve addressed the same leadership sins the Prophets and others addressed in Scripture (i.e., deceit, hypocrisy, self-preservation, love of reputation, lack of integrity, injustice, lying, spin, manipulation, lording, cover up and partiality). Their language and their righteous condemnations were far stronger. My words have been mild. I have no interest in vengeance since that is exclusively the Lord’s prerogative (Nahum 1:2; Heb 10:30). My calling has been to speak justly and truthfully about the sins above with the hope of repentance. That has been my heart and motive.

    I wish to God other leaders in SGM had addressed these issues with perseverance. I’ve simply tried to faithfully obey the Lord. On the Last Day we will all have to give an account(2 Cor 5:10). For everything I’ve written. And for everything that has been written on this blog. In the meantime, we are accountable to Scripture and the dictates of conscience. I think I’ve been true to Scripture and I’ve sought to be faithful to my conscience. One day, I’ll find out for sure.

    National leaders are now informed. They too can learn from God’s dealings with SGM. With this development, I feel I’ve largely fulfilled what God call me to do. I will comment on SGM from time to time as critical issues arise but that will not be my focus. SGM and its pastors are fully informed. There is no lack of clarity or evidence. They know what needs to be done. They know what sins must be confessed. They know the truth about their leaders and their deceitful ways. They can still respond like Nineveh in sackcloth and ashes. That remains my hope and prayer.

  276. just saying...
    February 11th, 2013 at 11:29 am

    I think it is very freeing and spiritually redemptive to have people acknowledging that what happened to us was wrong. Not only that, you were not alone. There are hundreds in your midst who were silenced by fear and manipulation, some were your closest friends, but you didn’t know what they were going through because everyone was silenced. I think it is redemptive that Josh Harris has made bringing wholeness to victims more important than silencing people. After years of isolation, friends can look at each other and say, “It happened to me, too”. I think it is even more redemptive, that friends who enjoyed being the “favored” and never had a bad experience are now standing with the victims. The 97% vote to leave SGM communicates that support. It brings healing.

    I agree that regretfully, I am unable to leave this church at this time. Someone posted here, it takes 25 years to successfully extract yourself from a cult. I see that. I am intertwined in so many ways. I would like to leave, but can’t. I hope all churches leave SGM. Then, I hope they devote a lot of time to reviewing all of the practices of SGM in light of the Bible. I hope they make wise choices. If they don’t, I will have to leave. But, it is not easy.

  277. Stunned
    February 11th, 2013 at 11:29 am

    Brent, this may seem like a silly request/suggestion, but I think it could really help people to hear you more/better. I think it would help if you were willing to share the things you have done wrong in all this, too. It oftentimes makes people see that you are able to see things more clearly and that possibly your lenses are not as skewed as it may seem to some.

    Is that something you would consider doing?

  278. Stunned
    February 11th, 2013 at 11:31 am

    just saying, God will lead you when/if He wants you to leave. I personally see no need for anyone to stay in SGM, but I’m not God. He may have you there for a very specific purpose. He will show you. He is one AMAZING God. He is faithful and He loves you and He will lead you.

  279. just saying...
    February 11th, 2013 at 11:47 am

    One thing I don’t want to do is leave in shambles and walk into the doors of another church and dump it on them. I want to find wholeness and walk into another church ready to contribute. Being victimized by a church essentially makes you high maintenance because the issues were never resolved. I don’t want to be the high maintenance person in my new church still trying to get over my old church. I don’t want this to enslave me forever. I want to rediscover who I am in Christ. I want to find spiritual wholeness. And then, I want to walk into a church and be a productive Christian who can serve faithfully and care for people and make up for the decades I spent disabled by this.

    I’m not ready to do that yet. Right now, when I visit a church, I burst into tears at the visitor’s reception.

    Perhaps it is my experience at SGM that would say that if you have ever struggled, you will never be of value. But, I don’t really want my new church to know what I’ve been through. It is humiliating.

  280. Jenn Grover
    February 11th, 2013 at 11:51 am

    Stunned – no apology necessary – I was speaking in generalities. I think Brent has hit the specifics more than I did.

    Oswald – I hear you and respect your opinion. I only posted the link because it was helpful to me when I watched the documentary.

    Re: repentance – I wonder if we couldn’t all repent for where we participated and contributed to the SGM system? Have the churches that left or are planning to leave asked memebrs to consider and pray about where they ahve contributed? For a few months I have sensed the need for corpoirate repentance. Sure, the leaders led us down this path but at some point we all abdicated our repsonsibilties to think like the Bereans. I agree that leaders own more responsibility in this but we all played a part. Jsut a thought.

  281. just saying...
    February 11th, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    One reason encouragement is found in other victims is because we understand how we were all enslaved. The punishment for speaking out was so severe, that we were silenced. We failed to stand up because we couldn’t endure the torture any longer. We all understand that about each other. Nobody else comprehends that.

    When you talk to others outside the church who did not experience this culture, or those inside the church who were oblivious, they think YOU are the stupid idiot for staying so long. Their condescending attitude essentially rejects you all over again. You’re revictimized by their response. That’s why I respond with hostility on here when people rebuke me for not leaving.

    Right now, I’ll huddle with the victims and not subject myself to everyone else’s opinions.

  282. Marie
    February 11th, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    Just Saying, thank you for sharing all of your clarifications. It all makes total sense. When I visited my first “new” church about this time last year, all I could do is cry when I prayed with the pastor’s wife, early on. I also cried with someone else who prayed with me. I was not thrilled that that happened, because I look ridiculous, red-nosed, snotty, etc. But I just felt a need to get away from the other place that was so horrible for me. I do understand a desire to not burst into tears in public. The pastor’s wife was extremely understanding. I did not serve at all in any capacity. Then something opened up for me to do that was relatively low-key, low profile, for a new service that was starting. Just wanted to share a little hope that when the time is right, things do open up, and there is healing. I feel much more whole, safe, and healed than I did a year ago. Reading these blogs has made me understand how vulnerable I can be to abusive church stuff, and to let go of it.

    I can see your point with “Perhaps it is my experience at SGM that would say that if you have ever struggled, you will never be of value” but I think there is a verse in I or II Corinthians that says quite the opposite. I will look it up. Thank you so much for your contributions here, I know you have a busy life.

  283. Marie
    February 11th, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    2 Corinthians 1:1-7

    3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

  284. Tom Coda
    February 11th, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Hi. I was the person who made the suggestion that led to Marge posting “the petition” with Brent’s letter to national evangelical leaders. Since it has engendered many interpretations and responses I thought I should tell why I suggested it in the first place. I read Brent’s letter on his facebook page last week before I headed out to work. I posted the following on his facebook:

    Tom Coda It would be nice if there was a way to post this somewhere so current and former members could co-sign it.
    February 7 at 8:17am via mobile • Like • 3

    Marge Ague Sweigart That’s a great idea, Tom. There are free online petition sites out there.
    February 7 at 8:19am • Like

    Marge Ague Sweigart Brent, I would be happy to set up a petition and promote it, if you’re interested.
    February 7 at 8:31am • Like

    Brent Detwiler That would be fine Marge. Thanks.

    Since I have never posted anything on any of “the SGM blogs” I should first introduce myself so you can understand my relationship to SGM. I know this will lead to the regular speculation about my motives and to what extent I am part of the problem or solution to what I will call for a lack of a better description – the SGM mess.
    I started attending TAG around 1976-77. After TAG shut down I heard through a friend that CJ & Larry had started a church, so I began to attend Gathering of Believers when it was about 100 people. I went through the membership series, but did not become a member. I didn’t feel I could make the commitment that was required at the time. I married and moved an hour away from the DC area. We still followed much of the teachings and growth of PDI through their magazine and decided to go to a Celebration conference. I was convinced after that that God wanted us to start going to a PDI church. We started to go to Fairfax Covenant around 1985 and eventually moved to be closer. In 1992 we moved to the Raleigh, NC area to be part of the PDI church plant which in now the Apex, NC SGM church. During the 20 years at SGC Apex I was on the leadership team (never a paid staff member), a home group leader, youth group leader, corporate officer, on the financial advisory board, my wife and daughter were church secretaries, etc. I say this not to impress anyone, but to let you know I was not a casual member and I know personally many of the individuals that are discussed on these blogs (Brent D, Larry T, Bob K, Phil S, several pastors who are no longer pastors because of SGM leadership, and many of those cited in the civil suit). I have not had the same relationship with CJ. I have spoken to the man a few times and drove him to the airport once. In August 2012, my wife and I resigned our membership in SGC Apex. We had lost confidence in the SGM leadership and desired to be part of a church that was more missional. The mishandling of child molestation sickens me. I still am friends with the leaders in SGC Apex, but I am a follower of Christ.

    I have no regular conversation with Brent and as many have expressed on these blogs, I would not endorse many of his methods or actions as a leader in SGM or since he left. So why did I make the suggestion about his letter being co-signed by others? Since the documents first came out it was apparent to me that CJ was not above reproach. His actions since then have only reinforced this. Leadership in SGM appears to not want to, or are unable to, govern his actions and statements. SGM churches are made of people who God loves and who love and want to serve God. I believe his position and actions are a hindrance and unnecessary distraction to those in SGM churches, and obviously, an affront to those whose lives have been hurtfully affected by SGM’s methods and practices. Brent’s letter is by no means perfect, but it is a good summary of why CJ is not above reproach
    CJ many times expressed to our church that all he is able to accomplish extra locally was made possible because those in the local churches provided a platform through their example. What he was saying is the local churches and the people in them validated what he would say to other evangelical leaders. CJ used this validation that all was well and working in the “movement of churches” (and much of it was), but now that it is not I don’t see him taking the responsibility. So I thought it would be good to be able to express to those leaders that the platform CJ was standing on as he speaks at these prestigious venues is rotting beneath his feet. I thought by having other sign Brent’s letter they would realize this is not just a “Brent thing” but that CJ does not have support from all those who validated his appearance at these conferences – the current and former members of SGM. So I signed “the petition” — with my real name.

    If Brent’s letter is problematic for some, I’d encourage you to start another petition. If you or a family member have suffered indignity while associated with SGM I understand the use of pseudonyms to protect your identity, but if not I encourage others use your real name on the blogs or in signing petitions.

    I hope this provides a better understanding of the origins of “the petition.” Each person should follow their own conscience before God as to whether they sign it.

  285. Marie
    February 11th, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    Just Saying, I just read your post about rebukes. I don’t mean anything I have posted to be a rebuke. I apologize if it has come across that way. I also don’t like it when someone says to imitate them. Just wanted to mention that I related to how painful it could be to leave an abusive church situation. It has taken a good deal of strength to believe I have worth and value, and that people at the new place will take me seriously.

    The verse I just posted is related to an idea I just heard about recently, called the Wounded Healer. I don’t think that SGM pastors would teach on it. I would be surprised to learn that they did, since there is such an emphasis on Old Testament perfection in ministry – no one can approach the Holy of Holies – be in leadership in modern times – if they have an imperfection of some kind.

    Looking up the concept of Wounded Healer reminded me of how ridiculous CJ has been to compare himself to Paul. This book excerpt brings out Paul’s sufferings. I don’t think CJ has come anywhere close to all the things that happened to Paul.

    http://www.lovinggrace.org/book_excerpts/woundedhealer.html

    I love things that Wayne Monbleau says. I will try to listen to him later today, to wash out the SGM stuff from my head. Thank you again for being here, Just Saying. I pray for your continued healing and recovery, no matter whether you stay or leave CLC.

  286. Stunned
    February 11th, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    just saying, first of all, great big hugs, Sister/Brother. I completely get not wanting to be a high maintenance mess at your new church! Oh heavens, no body wants to do that. Thing is, that may be exactly the role you are called to for a season. You see, God doesn’t see you as strong or weak if you’re the person in healing and recovery. I suspect He only sees us as proud (I hate using that word anymore) because we think being that person is a bad thing or something to be disdained. (I am not saying you are proud nor do I assume you would disdain that role.) I think if God brings you out (I’m only saying IF) and if He takes you to another church where you’re a mess for a time, then you would be serving the people there just as much as if you showed up all strong and perfect and whole.

    I’m not trying to chide you in any way. Just want you to be FREE to be who God made you to be. One day that person will be a mess and on another day that person will be the one who gives comfort. I see one of our highest callings as to give comfort in the same way He comforted us.

    So go ahead and be the one taking comfort and care as willingly as you offer it. Don’t judge yourself if you’re in a bad place. (I think when we do that, inevitably we run out of grace for others and end up judging them at some point, too.)

    Wish I could give you a real hug and sit and have coffee for a while and listen to your story. Maybe some day that’ll be God’s plan.

    Hope this post hasn’t been too preachy.

    Stunned

  287. Nickname
    February 11th, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    #266, Just Sayin’ said,

    I think we should all agree, his obsession with this is not mentally normal.

    That’s a statement with which I cannot agree.

    I don’t agree with everything Brent has said or the way he’s said it, but to say his ‘obsession with this is not mentally normal’ is mean and judgmental.

    Walk a mile in his shoes. Walk a mile in the shoes of any of those who have suffered under the SGM (gag) umbrella of covering. Draw a line from that statement to anyone who reads this blog regularly. And who of us is the arbiter of what is and is not mentally normal?

  288. Nickname
    February 11th, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    RE: my #287 — referred to #266 — but although I copied and pasted that quote, I can not longer find it. Too bleary-eyed, I guess. I apologize for the mistake / misattribution.

  289. Terry
    February 11th, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    @ Stunned #278 – I’m in agreement. We all clamor here how we want to be led by the Holy Spirit and not by “vacant men.” The Holy Spirit may be keeping an individual in a particular SGM church in order to do a work in that person’s heart/mind…to put something in or take something out of that individual’s heart that can only be accomplished st that particular church and/or situation…or maybe He is keeping an individual there to intercede in prayer for another member, etc…As always, we ALL only see in part…He sees it all. A long long time ago, I was at Lester Roloff ministries in their “City of Refuge” program for wayward men/women. It was the most extreme legalistic religious experience I’ve ever encountered…and even though I didn’t want to there, I knew in my spirit that was where I was supposed to be…that is where God wanted me. Now I can look back and see God’s sovereign plan for me in all that…the chain of events that occurred by my being obedient and staying there changed the course of my life forever. I would never go back to something like that but at that particular moment in time it was right where I was supposed to be.

  290. Foot
    February 11th, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    Brent Detwiler, do you believe you are or were an apostle (i.e. Eph 4:11)? Please explain…

  291. Mark
    February 11th, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    Does anyone know how these national leaders would even see Brent’s letter to them? Did he email it to all of them or is he just hoping they will go to his website and see it? Just curious.

  292. Marge Sweigart
    February 11th, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    Mark (290): Brent told me that he mailed them all individually with the best addresses he could get. In some cases, he had to send it to their assistants with a request to forward.

  293. Marge Sweigart
    February 11th, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    Sorry, I meant to say that he EMAILED them all individually.

  294. Wasabi
    February 11th, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    Brent Detwiler in #275 said:

    I think I’ve been true to Scripture and I’ve sought to be faithful to my conscience.

    I can’t count how often was I corrected by SGM staff that my “… heart is deceitful above all things…” (Jer 17). They manipulated us with this verse as a means to reinforce their pastoral rightness and our deception. How ironic that BD is now using his own conscience as a moral yardstick.

  295. Terry
    February 11th, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    @ Wasabi #293 – RE: Brent. I understand and share your concern…but sometimes in regard to content, one can only “Eat the Chicken and Throw Out the Bones” until something else is provided that is more palatable.

  296. Waiting
    February 11th, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    I would definitely sign a different kind of petition, depending on its content, if monikers could be used. I think it is important for the body of Christ at large who might read it, to understand that many former SGMers have experienced some form of abuse toward themselves or witnessed it in regard to others, that it would not necessarily have anything to do with specific people. I think it could better serve as a warning of sorts that way.

  297. Waiting
    February 11th, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    I also think that since SGM and SGM-friendlies have been following some of the blogs and BD has seen a petition go out to well known leaders, a more appropriate place to show it might be on a site such as Christianity Today or similar venue which would be inclined to post it. That would also allow for a much wider readership. Links to blogs could be provided as well, for those who would want to read first hand accounts for themselves.

  298. Nickname
    February 11th, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    Someone (Marge, I think, after posting on Brent’s FB page, went to the trouble to research online petitions, and find a site on which to create one, and make one available for people to sign.

    And now, it seems that there are critics of that very simple act.

    Read the petition. If you want to sign it, sign it. If you don’t want to sign it, don’t sign it. If you want to come up with a petition that includes the particular jots and tittles that you prefer, by all means, do so. True verifiable names make it possible for a petition to be taken seriously. Monikers don’t usually carry weight, but if you want to set up a petition to accommodate that, perhaps it will work.

    Thanks!

    Thank you

  299. Persona
    February 11th, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    We were at a church event in our new church and sat at a table with someone who asked us about Covenant Life. One question was one we had frequently been asked in years past. “Isn’t that church know for it’s shepherding?”

    What was different this time, was it the first time we ever answered in the affirmative. In years past, we always tried to defend CLC to what we regarded as unfounded accusations.

    The woman was unaware of the any of the latest snafus in CLC and SGM. She hadn’t never even heard of SGM. But, she surprised us when she told us her father was the one who led CJ to the Lord. Small world.

  300. Terry
    February 11th, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    @ Nickname #298 – Ditto! You are correct when you say monikers carry little weight…I will go further and say they carry ZERO weight. Also, it has to be presented in a very professional and formal way…delivered into the very hands. I’m involved with many “Political/Christian” petitions (i.e. AFA, FRC, ACLJ, etc..)…and petitions are cast aside if not properly presented.

  301. Paul K.
    February 11th, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    First of all, recently I have posted under the names ONLY ONE HERO and MOLE OUT OF HOLE.
    Normally, when u enter a group, you should take a lot of time getting to know other people rather than coming in running your mouth. I have read all the stories and have
    followed this blog since the law suit. Right after the lawsuit, I made a few posts under BBTB (bought by the blood.) Last night, I began a post in which I was explaining that I would post a poem called DID GOD REALLY SAY, “LOUISVILLE”? and I explained that it was 2 AM and, being a poem of 50-60 lines, I was too tired to post it. The poem is dedicated to all who have been abused by SGM, those who have helped them, or both (you can both get help here and help others) but especially to the ministry of SGM Survivors. Yesterday I also posted under the name JUST CURIOUS in which I asked Brent
    (graciously I hope – if not please forgive me Brent) if he could point me to a place where he had taken time to post a public acknowledgement of any wrong doing of his own
    in regard to lording it over others. Bob Dixon, of Symbolous Ministries, is well known on this site. He has a non-profit counseling ministry specializing in helping victims of spiritual abuse. Bob was my best friend at CLC (I may not have been his). I have a great deal of respect for him. He was Gene Emerson’s right hand man in the church plant from CLC to Richmond. He is a great husband and father. He served Gene and that church faithfully. He’s not a pastor, but he has an unusual insight into people, he stays close to God (not a blind, man pleasing follower), has an unusual prophetic gift (no exaggeration, and has what I posted above, one of the foundational christian virtues,
    actually both : courage and humility. I liked Bob so much that I made three trips to Richmond to see if the Lord would want my family to relocate there. Bob told me he was in the room with Brent, Gene, and Steve when he was told that if he didn’t overcome his fear of planting this church (his lack of faith was being called fear : these men were lording over Steve’s faith). Ultimately Steve went and sure enough, it proved to be true that God had not given him faith to be a senior pastor. He couldn’t handle it and had to return. He was shamed by the church and fell into serious depression which required medication. Brent, you appear to be calling my friend, Bob Dixon, a liar – the man who befriended Steve and defended Steve before the entire church. Strangely, Dixon, not called to be a pastor, ended up caring for the myriads of neglected people in a church that went from 750 members to 250 members (probably less now) as most excited to another church nearby. You dismiss all this in one sentence.

    I have heard nothing but negative reports about you from people at Solid Rock, including your secretary, about your authoritative way of dealing with people. The guy who started Solid Rock, whose story blew my mind (one of the first in the list of stories), you’ve dismissed as if he’s a gnat.

    Brent, I’m shocked that you have 1200 pages of documents regarding this attempt to hold CJ accountable and yet offer three sentences defending yourself from eye witness reports – one of whom was left with a broken heart for those damaged by a church you
    were the regional apostle for (how many years did you train Gene?). Dixon was not only personally broken hearted, he helped folks find a healthy church because, quite frankly, he cared more about the people than you or the pastors. Then he persevered to get a masters in counseling so he could counsel people free of charge if they couldn’t afford it. In my book (and I’m sure in God’s book) the man is a hero in this situation, a hero among inept hirelings. Why woulf 500 hundred people exit – trusting him more than the “in name only” pastors? When Harvey came down to “remedy the situation” Bob
    couldn’t believe the nonsense coming out of his mouth and challenged Harvey. He then turned to Emerson and said, “Are you handing the authority of this church over to a guy who lives in Philadelphia – a guy who knows nothing about our people or this situation?
    Emerson said, “Yes.” Dixon gave 25 years helping Emerson (believe me, he needed it)
    and Emerson (the biggest of all yes men – I know him – in my visits down there I concluded I could never build with him) chooses to abandon his responsibility for the people in his church and take orders from a guy in Philadelphia – rather than to role up his sleeves with Dixon and those loyal to Dixon and work at healing the church.

    Brent, thanks for all u’ve uncovered for us about CJ and the inner workings of SGM. God has helped His Body through you. But I can now I understand why you deem your time to serve us is over. Those who consider you to be mentally ill are entitled to their opinions. I honestly believe that you see that SGM is not about Jesus – that it’s about CJ Mahaney and feeding the food chain under him. You honestly believe that God called you as a prophet to bring this “evil empire” down for the good of all. I honestly believe you believe you have run your race and finished the course which God called you to like a heroic Jeremiah. Seeing what’s wrong with others isn’t all that difficult.
    Above, under JUST CURIOUS, I recommended you take a leave of absence to document your own culpability and said “just joking” and I was. Apparently you are taking that leave of absense, and seeing your flippant response to a simple request to guide me to a post that focused on your contributions to what SGM did and what it’s become (for crying out loud, Brent, CJ asked you to lead it while you were putting pressure on him!) I am no longer joking. God can use anyone – he used a donkey to help a prophet see – the donkey saved his life even as he was cursing at and beating the donkey. After awhile, we all have to face the ugly truth of ourselves – I know it’s not easy – I’ve had to do it without a leave of absense. But having finally seen that I am the primary problem has freed me to do something about it. If others are the problem, I can’t fix it because I can’t change others…..Please don’t misunderstand me : SGM is evil enough to warrant all your work and who else but you could have exposed it? – thank you very much (sincerely – I also hurt for how you were hurt – grieved me!).

    I don’t know your heart and I’m not your judge, but it appears to me, that CJ (his ten page letter of confession of sin to you) has actually (this is hard to write) done a better job of at least attempting to own his sin (even if only briefly) than you have, and your credibility, in the sense of being one who does what he demands others do, is waning at the very least. Could it be the the root of the SGM problem is still lodged within you – just asking. You wrote a most thorough paper (you must have German blood in you – everything they do is thorough) called THE FRUITS OF PRIDE – perhaps a good place to start. (I’ve had the embarrassing experience of having written things that I’ve come across later and thought, “oh my gosh, I wrote that? – if only I had read that every week, I would have lived a life which blessed others much more.)

    Brent, may our gracious God, a God who both comforts and convicts, have His way with us all. One thing is clear, we all need him. Looking forward to heaven, but enjoying Him even now. Hope you are too. May He guide you in the next chapter of your life.

    Folks in light of all the response after JUST CURIOUS, I felt I needed to respond. Can’t the petition be sent under someone else’s name – I don’t think Brent cares about getting credit – I think he just wants SGM brought down. I want the organization brought down and the people restored.

    A little background : I was the first person CJ sent (CLC paid my way) to what was then called THE SCHOOL OF MINISTRY. Brent was the dean and Larry was still the functioning
    head of PDI.

  302. Jenn Grover
    February 11th, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    Here is the truth about the petition – sadly, most of these guys could care less about the rank and file SGM members. I signed it primarily in hopes it would help wake up current SGM members. If these RBD’s cared about the people fo SGM versus their friend, CJ, they would have already come forward. AS we have all discussed before, these guys make a lot of money off of each other. I used to believe they were good guys. I have a hard time buying that any of them are good guys any more.

  303. 5yearsinPDI
    February 11th, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    Just saying…..

    No need to defend yourself for staying at CLC. They left SGM. The pastors stood up to the Royal family and the body voted to leave. Josh has admitted to systemic problems, and to making legalistic practices out of biblical principles. It is a great start. He wants to pray….great!!!

    I think God will continue the detox. If not, you and your friends will know it is time to go. If for example Josh goes and hooks up with some other super authoritative “apostle” who has authority over your local elders, I’d get out, but there is no reason to expect that. I don’t think it is fair for anybody to equate SGM and CLC right now.

    It is different than staying in Cov Fel or any of the still SGM churches that are choosing to defend CJ. I tend to think that is a mistake. But its not my business. That’s a bottom line. Care group leaders and pastors did far too much of not minding their own business when it came to peoples lives and marriages and families. When it comes to detox, many of us need to detox on that one. It is not our business to confront the sin of most other people and tell them what to do. I don’t mean pedophiles or that sort of thing, but I mean people feeling led to be in a certain church. That is between them and God.

  304. Waiting
    February 11th, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    I have good reason to avoid using my real name. First hand, I heard racist comments made by leadership and confirmed indirectly by some of the congregants, and we live in an area which is known for its high proportion of racial bigotry, compared to others. I refuse to put others in possible danger or open my self or my family up to a lawsuit, or worse, simply because the best most of these leaders can do when faced with the harm of their words and actions, is deny, deflect, project, or remain strangely silent. And, as Jenn Grover just said, these guys make a lot of money off of each other. I don’t know how to play hard-ball or manipulate, and am not going to try to learn now.

  305. SGMOvercomer
    February 11th, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    Bewildered by your SGM experience? Listen for a message of hope and opportunity for dialogue with a new online show beginning this week. http://calltorevolution.blogspot.com/2013/02/announcing-sgm-detox-new-talk-show.html

  306. musicman
    February 11th, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    Brent-

    I know you read here, and I appreciate that you are willing to comment every so often. I believe you when you say you knew nothing of the child abuse/ sex abuse cover ups.

    I think what you may be failing to see, is that for almost a decade, you chose to deal privately with CJ, Dave, and other SGM Pastors/Apostles. At the time you were trying to hold these men to account, SGM continued to ask members to put their trust, time and money into these men. The main reason that was told us, was because they were men of integrity that loved each other enough to hold each other accountable.

    But the truth is that their was very little accountability and that a lot of us little people got run over by this “Pastors First” mentality.

    Marriages were ruined, families were divided, children beaten and disowned and shamed for minor infractions…etc…because of the the lack of wisdom, pride, and arrogance of SGM pastors.

    Brent…to be blunt, even the cover ups aside (assuming they’re true-which I do) you helped set up and perpetuate a culture in which legalistic pastors ran roughshod over their flocks. You may have had the best of intentions…but you know what they say abut best intentions and the roads they pave.

    In all seriousness, while I appreciate your willingness to call CJ out and to try and make the general public aware of his hypocrisy. I will respect you all the more when you are able to be more accepting of your own role in setting up a system in which men like CJ Mahaney are able to go for decades without any real accountability. A system that at it’s heart, assumed a posture of arrogance towards all other churches and would dispense disciplinary actions against it’s own at the drop of a hat.

    For your own peace of mind, take the time to look yourself in the mirror and acknowledge that you are just as culpable as CJ when it comes to the everyday sins of SGM.

    respectfully-musicman

  307. Indiana Jones
    February 11th, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    I know there is a serious conversation here but I wanted to see if I was the only one here who thought that the real reason why the Pope stepped down was becuase he was degifted by CJ? Just saying… maybe he is doing to him what he did to tomczak…

  308. Uriah
    February 11th, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    Kellen and Musicman are right…

    Brent, you apparently have failed to see your long history of culpability regarding the atrocities propagated on countless number of God’s people throughout SGM. You, after all, were the resident theologian back in the beginning. You are responsible for much of the cultural architecture of legalism, lording over, spiritual intimidation and manipulation, and hyper-authoritarian behavior which is classic fare in SGM…. and which has existed in SGM since the beginning of your tenure.

    Brent, you are an accomplice to all that has been harmful in SGM. By your own admission, you have behaved as a coward, fearing man rather than fearing the Lord. SGM’s man centered Christianity has reaped havoc on many a saint. If you desire to be a godly and humble man, you will take responsibility for the spiritual abuse and shipwreck that has occurred on your watch.

    CJ is simply a microcosm of what is wrong with SGM. Unfortunately, the leaders around him have succumbed to pleasing CJ rather than pleasing God and have failed to love CJ as a christian brother, thereby allowing this travesty to be visited upon member associated with SGM.

    Brent, the theology and doctrine you espoused, particularly regarding biblical leadership as it relates to the church, was in error. The application of this error has born horrendous fruit. Rather than avoid, dismiss, minimize, and excuse, why not take responsibility and admit that you, along with all the other leaders in SGM were, and continue to be very wrong. How refreshing that would be.

  309. Unassimilated
    February 11th, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    The Pope de-gifted himself, CJ should take note.

    “VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Benedict stunned the Roman Catholic Church on Monday when he announced he would stand down, the first pope to do so in 700 years, saying he no longer had the mental and physical strength to carry on.”

  310. Jenn Grover
    February 11th, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    BREAKING NEWS: Pope Benedict blames degifting on Internet gossip and Detwiler’s Documents. Hillary Clinton to testify before the Papal College next week regarding the scandal.

  311. Bridget
    February 11th, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    The Pope also publicly apologized for the abuses that had taken place throughout the Catholic church. Seems CJ/SGM could take a few lessons from the RCC and the Pope.

  312. delta dagger
    February 11th, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    CJ owns SGM 100% but what happens if CJ dies or quits does his wife take over SGM or is there a chain of command for SGM? I been in a SGM church here in Minnesota for over 20 years and I have no idea. I wish someone could find out.

  313. Paul K.
    February 11th, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    Dear Brent,

    I got your face book message but am with my daughter and can’t access a way to respond back. I’m grateful to hear you encouraged Gene to be compassionate to Steve. I’ll contact Bob to see what he has to say about it. I want God’s best for you Brent – whatever that is. If there is no truth to anything I’ve said, I know the Holy Spirit will give you a double portion of His comfort so you don’t feel hurt. In complete rejection myself for speaking truth later implemented, I felt closer to God than ever – He will do the same for You.

    Your brother,

    Paul K.

  314. Greg
    February 12th, 2013 at 12:04 am

    Hi Paul,

    I’m praying for you

  315. Terry
    February 12th, 2013 at 1:06 am

    @ Paul K, Brent & others: In no way am I or have ever been involved in the levels of SGM affairs as you and many others on this blog. I’m more of an “angry” objective observer (although once a SGM member) but share the pain my mom and several ex-SGM pastors (who are my close personal friends) have experienced by the hands of men I see written about daily on this blog. I’m encouraged to see this blog, particularly this post, is drawing many responses from many folks from multiple tiers of SGM involvement. Paul, I appreciate your comments, concerns, and transparency. What I am learning from all this is ALL have been effected by this toxic and diseased SGM culture. I have met Steve Shank a couple of times but do not know him. I was surprised to learn of the situation you mentioned about him with Brent, Bob, and Gene. There is no doubt in my mind your account of what happened to Steve is true. I also personally know Steve has mercilessly dealt the same abuse (if not more) to other SGM pastors now EX-SGM pastors for the good of the “Movement.” I’m not attempting to have a “who can pee the farthest” contest of which leaders are worse than others. My point is to say that SGM has reached highly toxic levels destroying everything it puts it’s hands on. Does the whole thing need to be “taken down”…I honestly don’t know because I only see in part and am not the Holy Spirit. However, I do know it will take divine intervention and the thorough washing and cleansing of God’s Word to restore any part of SGM if there’s anything left to be restored. I believe before all is said and done EVERYTHING about SGM will be exposed and bared in the “Light”. No matter what SGM was before, it now reeks of “MAN” not God. Yesterday I was having a conversation with my dear friend and ex-SGM pastor Keith Rushing (who can tell much of Steve’s heavy handedness) regarding another topic and he said this and I thought it was also appropriate for this discussion:

    “One of the major problems with theology in general is it appeals to the mind and experience where the Holy Spirit is not needed. The Holy Spirit interferes with theology in that it becomes more common sense rather than wisdom from on high. The reformers trust the writers not the scripture so to speak. They are building on another man’s foundation not the foundation of Jesus Christ. They make the scriptures say what it doesn’t say and excludes things they want out of necessity to protect their theologies”…Keith Rushing

  316. seeking truth
    February 12th, 2013 at 6:54 am

    @Terry,

    Are you sure you or whoever first talked about the situation with Bob, Gene, Brent and Steve aren’t getting the Steve’s mixed up. If it’s the situation that I am thinking of, it isn’t Steve Shank, it’s Steve Whitman. He was another pastor at KingsWay.

  317. Paul K.
    February 12th, 2013 at 7:02 am

    TO YOU WHOM JESUS LOVES:

    This post is an introduction to a poem called, “DID YOU REALLY SAY, ‘LOUISVILLE’?
    I want this poem to be in a post by itself, but without these words of explanation,
    the poem will not be understood in context nor will the heart behind it even have
    a possibility of being understood. Making this poem ‘public’ is one of the most
    difficult things I’ve had to do. This poem will be offensive to people who believe SGM is a good organization. I have friends in CLC who believe this and consequently their hearts will be tested as to whether they will love someone who believes that an organization they love and identify with should not have authority over local churches
    and would be wise to release every church to be under Jesus directly and not under them. The very existence of this website and the stories of those who once loved SGM
    is in itself proof enough that this organization does not bear good fruit (in my opinion.) I have not shown this poem to a single person outside my family. My wife would not want me to make it public and does not know I’m making it public – I would not want her friends to think she supports it (she doesn’t.) I don’t want any pastor in CLC to be associated with it – none of them have seen it.

    There is a big difference between how one may feel about an organization and how one feels about individuals within an organization. Jesus often lambasted the Pharisees as a collective group, but unless I missed it, no where do I ever see Him doing anything but loving individuals. Nicodemus was not the only Pharisee who came to believe in Him.

    This is hard to write because I have much work to do to get ready for the landscaping season and some close to me may feel in light of that I shouldn’t be posting anything.
    I won’t be a regular poster. I have made an exception in this case because of Kris’ question concerning what would need to happen for a church that is no longer functionally joined to SGM have to address to be a healthy church. The CLC pastors, in my estimation, have shown much courage and character since July 1, 2011. However, it seems many think it highly unlikely that they will be able to hear and obey God and build a healthy church in concert with the members of the congregation. In my opinion, that viewpoint doesn’t honor the power of God in changing men. The incredible reforms brought about by Josiah when the Bible was discovered should encourage us all that if men are willing to be transformed according to the truth of God’s word then the Holy Spirit will indeed be operative to bring about change that goes down to the root. Based on what I’ve seen so far, I believe the CLC pastors will pay the price to build a church that is a sweet aroma to God – but I do not automatically assume so. They will need great wisdom from God to assess the root problems and then they will need wisdom
    from Him as to what to do about those problems. It will be a huge challenge : to automatically assume it will be done is naive and to assume it can’t be done means you don’t believe Jesus, “With God, all things are possible.” In my opinion, the biggest challenge will be to rightly assess the condition of the walls as Nehemiah did. If we can truly face the truth about ourselves, there’s great hope for change. The same as true for a church. We always want to believe we’re really better than we are. The same goes for a church.

    But there is much to be encouraged about. I know two men who just up and started incredible ministries. Josh has encouraged folks to hear Jesus and obey Him and see what He builds. This doesn’t negate seeking counsel, however, it’s not mandatory. Do you think I would post under my real name if CLC hasn’t dramatically changed? To get further clarity on my views on SGM and CLC, read under ONLY ONE HERO and MOLE IN HOLE.

    Four months ago, I wrote a long poem called CONCERNING GUARDING OUR HEARTS WHEN A LEADER FALLS OR DISAPPOINTS US. It begins with the fact that Satan attacks leaders because if he can bring them down, he can scatter the flock. It then says if this
    isn’t true, who seduced Solomon, of all men most wise, to turn is back to the fountain of living waters and choose to drink sewage water? I believe the book of Ecclesiastes is proof that Solomon returned to God because life under the sun without the Son above the sun is utterly meaningless. The poem points to the example of Samuel mourning over Saul’s demise ; who Joseph treated his brothers, and how Jesus treated Peter.

    In the prophets and in Jesus, there is this dual aspect of grace and truth. When the rich young ruler walks away, Jesus isn’t rejoicing ; He’s sad. So, please understand this poem in context.

  318. Phoenix
    February 12th, 2013 at 7:23 am

    just saying,

    Yes, I am outraged; but I have found some mitigation for my outrage in your case by your responses to me. I don’t believe you were lacking in tact at all; for what it’s worth. That’s not the point. It must already be apparent that we must agree to disagree about staying in SGM/former SGM churches; and of course I may be wrong. But here is where(one of the places) I have taken my stand. I’d like to be able to assure you that you wouldn’t lose your friends if you chose to walk away; but in my experience you would indeed lose most of them. And I actually agree that it’s hard to see where you would find healing outside the environment where people understand so well. I know this because I lost most of my friends when I left and I found healing in unexpected places. I also get how intertwined your life becomes with those churches; because I had to rebuild mine. See my story at The Wartburg Watch http://thewartburgwatch.com/2013/01/02/difficult-stories-from-former-sovereign-grace-members/

    As long as it was apparent that almost no one inside an SGM church knew about the evil being done I could see why people stayed. Now that the evil is no longer deniable in SGM, in Fairfax, in CLC, I am puzzled to the point of pain by how they can stay. I shared meals, worshipped, and prayed with some of those still inside. That’s my cognitive dissonance. God help us all.

  319. Mary
    February 12th, 2013 at 7:31 am

    Jenn #302 “sadly, most of these guys could care less about the rank and file SGM members” This is why I would hope people would no longer give them any support – to no longer purchase their books or attend speaking engagements. How can you be a Christian, let alone a leader, and not care about the rank and file? Remaining silent – shows something lacking in their character.

  320. Terry
    February 12th, 2013 at 8:08 am

    @ Seeking Truth #317 – I stand corrected and I apologize. I transposed the work thank thinking it was Shank. Again, I stand corrected. When I think of Steve Shank my mind goes blind anyway…lol (forgive me Lord).

  321. radicallysaved
    February 12th, 2013 at 8:37 am

    The “SGM/CJ” scandal at times has caused in me frustration, sadness, anger.

    But this picture of lightning striking St. Peters hours after the pope resigned is, just, really cool (google it). I think many Christians, upon studying the word of God, have concluded that we are in the end season. Just too much prophesy being fulfilled at a rapid rate to not see that we are in the “end times”, we do not know the day or hour, but Jesus told us we would know the season.

    Maybe God is busy preparing his bride, cleaning house – today that thought, that God is cleaning house in his church, breathing new life into individual Christians, taking us to a new level of following Jesus as we are in the midst of the end season, has brought me joy and peace today.

  322. Paul K.
    February 12th, 2013 at 9:14 am

    When I began writing this poem, the idea was to illustrate that just because a man preaches great sermons – sermons even anointed by God – doesn’t mean he is living what he’s preaching. The poem would then turn on me as one who writes and say, in like manner, just because you write something doesn’t mean you live it. It was meant to be reminder that the life I live is more important than any poem I write. The poem then decided to go it’s own way – probably because in my subconscious mind, both the names and stories on this website had been incubating within me – so I let it write itself. It doesn’t feel like I wrote this poem – perhaps some of you know what that feels like.

    LORD, DID YOU REALLY SAY, “GO TO LOUISVILLE”?
    (For All Who’ve Been Abused By SGM, Helped Those Who
    Have, Or Both – Especially For Sovereign Grace Survivors)

    When he thundered HIS Word from the pulpit
    and made men shake like earthquakes do mountains
    he loomed large – didn’t think : “I must live it” ;
    forgot it’s HIS Word and HE anoints it ;
    thought his words power “to cast down mountains

    into the sea” without faith the size of a mustard seed.
    Mountains (trials) will trail him like the hound
    of heaven whose love came and found him drown-
    ing in drug illusions and self-delusions of invincibility ;
    life-laughter of the party ; master of conscious incivility.

    The Spirit who loves him no longer anoints him
    yet, like once humble Saul, he’s numb to it.
    The Spirit who comforts is there to convict him
    and grieves “the used” who think, “I’m a misfit”
    after kicked into a dug-deep black pit :

    as useful to him as the Gestapo thought traitors.
    His “yes men” will be tried – shamed till ashamed -
    worse than at Nuremberg (they knew better)…..Laughter
    behind closed doors : “those poor sovereign grace survivors -
    what ‘horrors’ they survived!”…But now they’re blamed :

    “their gossip and slander are destroying Our Disney-Land!
    These coward-cockroaches won’t die ! – don’t post their names :
    “Canary” “Enjoying Freedom” “Wanderer” “Musicman” !
    If they were abused, they’d be using dark, depressing names
    like “ImAlone” “Stunned” “Never Again” “Turtle-Man.”

    “Damascus – they may riot – let’s head to Louisville -
    maybe Mohler can help us with this X-File…He’ll
    help – the big dog owes us – we’ll both be pragmatic!
    To compromise for survival must be His sovereign will :
    we’ll be SGM Survivors…told the board, ‘won’t be problematic.’
    We got away from that big CLC Mountain -
    (Judas H !) – our ‘six-year plan’ (wink) to Louisville.”

    “Why’d we spend big bucks upscaling our homes again?”

    “Bro, ‘He works all things after the counsel of His will’ -
    just trust Him – He doesn’t change for the born-again.”

    “Lawsuit now?! – in this safe haven of Louisville?!
    I can’t believe it – these mountains just keep getting bigger!
    Maybe we should have paid attention to the Survivors -
    they were a still, small, desert-voice, that sounds so much louder!
    Could Louisville be ‘our Egypt’? Did God really say, ‘LOUISVILLE?’”

    “Come on my friend – unbelief makes all things end!
    You’ve been a rock of faith – don’t shrink back now!
    We knew this was a stretch, but Jesus is our Friend -
    He’s in the boat with us just as He was in the whale with Jonah.
    He worked it all for good – Nineveh was saved in the end!”

    “I’ve wanted to discuss that book with you myself -
    since you brought it up, I’m guessing God just might be in it.
    He fled from God, but in that whale he came to his true self :
    ‘salvation belongs to the Lord – He brought my life up from the pit.’
    In the whale, he believes he’ll see the temple – he entrusts himself

    “fully to God. He says, ‘When my life was fainting away
    I remembered God saying, “with the voice of thanksgiving
    I will honor You ; I will fulfill my vows in the light of day.’”
    The whale then vomits him on Nineveh’s shores – still breathing!
    He tried to go to Tarshish, but God didn’t let him for a day!

    “I don’t think I’m shrinking back from faith, I think I’m growing
    in faith. I’ll look God in the face and ask’ ‘Did You say, ‘LOUISVILLE?’
    or is this Tarshish – an idol – rebellion against Your true will?’
    To tell you the truth (if I can still hear Him) I’m planning on doing
    whatever He says (whatever you say) – to live I must – I will!’”

    “No problem bro – just don’t post on SGM Survivors.
    I’m sure they’ll help you – but don’t you ever be a poster!
    Make sure you remember the guy who’s my lawyer -
    let’s stay united for the gospel – you’re still my brother!
    Please give us a good word to those cockroach-like ‘Survivors.’”

  323. Steve240
    February 12th, 2013 at 10:04 am

    Paul Kellan said:

    Based on what I’ve seen so far, I believe the CLC pastors will pay the price to build a church that is a sweet aroma to God — but I do not automatically assume so. They will need great wisdom from God to assess the root problems and then they will need wisdom
    from Him as to what to do about those problems. It will be a huge challenge : to automatically assume it will be done is naive and to assume it can’t be done means you don’t believe Jesus, “With God, all things are possible.” In my opinion, the biggest challenge will be to rightly assess the condition of the walls as Nehemiah did. If we can truly face the truth about ourselves, there’s great hope for change.

    IMO there needs to be some real “Monday morning quarterbacking” and assessment of what in CLC’s culture enabled all this sin and hypocrisy to happen and go unexposed for so long. I am sure it isn’t just one reason but multiple reasons. Some possible reasons:

    - Over emphasis on submission to leaders.
    - A culture where questioning and disagreement is considered wrong.
    - The definition of “gossip” and “slander” allowing leaders being able to hide their sin and keep members in the dark about them.
    - Lack of check and balances. Having lay elders (maybe a majority) that don’t depend on a CLC paycheck to support their families would be helpful.
    - Leaders not admitting past sin.
    - Arrogance as being the ones that have it right.
    - Lack of openness.

    Even though CLC has left SGM, CLC still has a culture that allowed all that happened for people to be deceived for quite a long time.

  324. Marge Sweigart
    February 12th, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Associated Baptist Press has picked up on the petition.
    http://www.abpnews.com/ministry/organizations/item/8208-petition-calls-out-silent-leaders#.URpbqWdfGIT

  325. seeking truth
    February 12th, 2013 at 10:15 am

    Terry, I understand, it’s easy to get names and people mixed up , especially when there are so many negative SGM stories. I just wanted to make sure Steve W didn’t get drug through the mud anymore than he already has been thanks to Gene and the part of the congregation who believed the lies and deception they were being fed about the situation .

  326. Misseditbythatmuch
    February 12th, 2013 at 11:04 am

    One of my many concerns about people staying at CLC is that any money they give to the church will be used to defend hiding abuse and letting it continue by not reporting it to the authorities and at most, making the perpetrators leave the church. This did not handle it, it only moved these abusers on to other circumstances where they could abuse again. To my thinking, anyone who knew about the abuses and did not report them to the authorities (reporting them to the pastors is NOT the same thing) are guilty of allowing more abuse to happen and leaving the victims abandoned by the very people who should have cared for them the most.

  327. Nickname
    February 12th, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Interesting post this morning on the Aquila Report, a reprint of a Carl Trueman article from the Reformation21 site.

    http://theaquilareport.com/i-confess-the-discipline-of-being-confessional-part-ii/

    Trueman says,

    In the third post, I want to make the point that confessional churches should by definition not be churches led by celebrities and big personalities. I know that that is pretty counter-intuitive in the modern American scene but it is most certainly one of the pressing needs of the hour. Great teeth, an entertaining stand-up routine and the ability to hold an audience of thousands are no substitute for the more prosaic qualities of basic doctrinal and pedagogical competence relative to a confession of faith and good reputation with those inside and outside the church, Confessions and polity are great levelers because they place the church and its identity above and beyond that of its most significant individual leaders. In the meantime, if your elder tells you to stop wearing that 1970s plaid suit to church, you might want to take his advice — but do so on grounds of good taste and sartorial common sense, not because he has the right to dictate to you the content of your wardrobe.

    Wasn’t Trueman one who defended the CJ in the early days of the Det Docs? If this recent article is an indication, the RBD’s are coming out from under the spell. It took years for many of us who were up-close-and-personal with it to see the truth; it’s taking longer for those who don’t really have this tiny sect on their radar to realize the issues. But I believe they are taking notice. I doubt they will react with the vehemence we’d like to see, especially given the abuse lawsuit. I may be wrong, but I think they’re eating some of their former words and waking up to harsh reality.

  328. Another Presbyterian
    February 12th, 2013 at 11:28 am

    Nickname, Trueman has been in theory anti-celebrity for a very long time. It’s a point he repeats over and over again.

  329. Bridget
    February 12th, 2013 at 11:30 am

    Yes he was Nickname AND if this is his attempt to wake-up, he needs to be informed he is not really awake, but dreaming still.

  330. PhillyInDC
    February 12th, 2013 at 11:55 am

    According to SGM Louisville’s website (not FB) John Piper is guest preaching this Sunday, February 17

  331. just saying...
    February 12th, 2013 at 11:59 am

    #329

    Everyone go onto Piper’s Facebook and tell him what you think of that.

    https://www.facebook.com/JohnPiper

  332. Oswald
    February 12th, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    And in March, at SGCL, Jerry Bridges is guest speaker. I count both of these as no-nonsense guys who are very confident of who they are in Christ, and don’t worry about what anyone thinks about where they speak or who they are seen with. It will be interesting to see what people have to say.

  333. Sick with worry
    February 12th, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    Carl Trueman is not really a celebrity or an RBD. Unless you are a Philly-area Presbyterian “geek”, you may not really know who he is. I think Trueman got pulled into this via his Westminster connection with Diamond Dave.

    I think Trueman was given info that was vetted by SGM….. “Here are the charges, tell us what you think”. my guess, is that Dave H made this contact because Trueman goes to church not too far from CFC. He is a respected Elder and teacher in his church…. But no more an RBD than I am.

    I can almost understand how a guy like Trueman would just avoid the blogs and examine the facts as presented by SGM. Now, in the time that has passed, I am not sure how he could avoid hearing and seeing more on the subject. But even if Trueman thinks SGM is jacked up, I am not sure how he should present that info to the general public. My guess, is that some RBDs have privately confronted, but they do not see it as their place to make these conversations public. It may not be the way I would handle things, but if SGM deceived some of us that we’re in their churches, I can see how Trueman was pulled in.

  334. Stunned
    February 12th, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    I could completely understand why Carl Trueman wouldn’t want to speak on this issue. (Let’s face it, it’s messy. Taking care of bloody sheep usually is.) I wouldn’t blame him for ignoring it all. In fact, I wish he had. Instead, he came out and did speak on the matter and quite literally acted as judge, sitting on a panel. His assessment was wrong. Let’s hope he’ll some day have the integrity to recant and apologize. He used his name, for what it’s worth to put a stamp of approval on CJ and endorsed CJ and SGM. (If you doubt me, look it up. He was on a three man panel.)

    His words really rocked a few people who were hoping and praying for SOMEONE in any form of leadership in the church to speak truth. Tragically, he didn’t. (Who knows why. I hope he was deceived. That would be easier to swallow. Though it doesn’t speak all that great for his insight, or his desire to seek out both sides of an issue, eh?)

    You may not think Trueman is “anyone” but SGM used his name, along with Kevin DeYoung, and Ray Ortland to be the “leaders” who sat on this panel and used their names in the wider American Christian circles to prove to other Christians and Christian leaders that CJ was a-ok. So, if you think DeYoung and Orland are also no bodies in that American Christian world and unless you think SGM would really bother using no bodies to promote them, I think you may want to reconsider.

  335. Stunned
    February 12th, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Another Presbyterian,

    If you would, please, tolerate me trying to make a point for a minute. (I am not trying to be rude to you. Just trying to stress something.)…

    I am an old, African man.

    I am an old, African man.

    I am an old, African man.

    I could repeat this over and over again. (In fact- long story- but I have repeated this many, many times over the past 6 years.) But in truth, I am a white, middle-aged woman.

    Again, not trying to be fresh to you in the least, but I find that just because someone repeats things, we need to look at the truth of either who they are or what they do. If this contradicts their words, then their words don’t carry much weight.

    Sadly, Trueman did speak up.

  336. Diego
    February 12th, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    Oswald 332,
    I hope that Bridges is a willing Jonah, coming to SGM/Nineveh to preach a word of repentance, and that God will move on the hearts of leaders, leading them to repentance.

  337. Sick with worry
    February 12th, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    By the way, I certainly agree that Trueman should have stayed out of this. It has harmed his reputation in my mind. I was simply pointing out how he may have been approached by Diamond Dave, and how SGM most likely framed the story for him.

  338. Muckraker
    February 12th, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    Paul K., thank you for that poem. It was very deep. Thank you for your heart and for your desire to do right and stand up against hypocrisy and deception. I know you from afar in CLC and I have always respected you as a truly humble servant — a real one, not just one in words.

  339. Blues0080
    February 12th, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    paul kellen

    Thanks so much for sharing paul. I know this is such a hard thing for you having been around since the g.o.b. days. the betrayal is deep and hurtful and i pray that jesus brings healing to your heart. i know you from long ago and have always looked up to you and respected you. jeff eastridge

  340. Nickname
    February 12th, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    Piper preaching at SGMLooeyville on Sunday: My first thought was “NO! HOW COULD HE??” And then, I remembered that Piper has called CJ out from the pulpit before — remember his missions comments from Celebration?

    I hope and pray this will be one of those ‘for such a time as this’ moments.

    Will quarterback come Monday morning.

  341. Concerned for the kids
    February 12th, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    I’ll be shocked if piper says anything not supportive. This is an orchestrated move to hopefully jump start the growth there.

    People can change but piper seems way too open to doctrinal squishiness these days.

  342. Persona
    February 12th, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    I looked on the SGCL site and didn’t see any announcement about Piper speaking. But, if he and Jerry Bridges go down there they will probably teach at the PC for a week and then preach on Sunday. That is something CJ and Jeff typically ask of their guest professors. Piper is kind of a lone agent this year, since he’s not pastoring at Bethlehem, right now. Maybe he has extra time to travel about. If he does spend time with CJ, I pray he is used by God as a ‘Nathan’.

  343. Waiting
    February 12th, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    I expect Piper to speak of looking to the Cross, forging ahead in humility by courageously following correct doctrine. If references are made to CJM/SGM, I think enough ambiguity will be involved to insure continued book sales. Imo, he fully believes in the system which has empowered CJ, why should he oppose it now?

  344. Terry
    February 12th, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    Piper/CJ – another example of men reaching out to MEN to solve their problems…dogs returning to their vomit…I don’t know if God is shedding tears over this or just having a good laugh at their wasted expense. We will see what comes out of their mouth(s) come Sunday. Somehow, somewhere, someway God is going to “show out” in all this…rest assured.

  345. Oswald
    February 12th, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    Persona @342 — For the Piper and Bridges announcements at SGCL, see the 1st page of the site, among the ever-changing picture/announcements. You must be patient. I experienced the same thing; did not see any Piper announcement at first.

  346. Oswald
    February 12th, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    Nickname @340 and others — It could be that if Piper or Bridges do say anything to CJ about his integrity/transparency, we may not know about it. It seems to be something that may not be shared from the pulpit in a public sermon. I guess we’ll see.

  347. Oswald
    February 12th, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    To add to #346 — We know from past experience that CJ seems to have a knack for having big names used in association with his own.

  348. BoughtTheField
    February 12th, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    Paul K., I definitely know you, and I can say for a fact that you are telling the truth about Josh. He really has been as transparent with you as you say. Josh really has turned to God under pressure. He is a man of prayer and genuinely cares for us who are outside the inner circle. He is far from perfect and we should not put him on a pedestal, but he really is seeking to change things.

    One obvious change is that he welcomes and encourages messy people. I think of a certain formerly homeless artist who is very outspoken. A few years ago he would have been shown the exit door on his first visit, but not now. Another change is that CLC pastors are no longer trying to control all meetings with that tight grip that used to be so familiar. I think of a certain family that regularly hosts extremely charismatic prayer meetings that feature speakers from other churches and last past midnight. Under the old system they would have been shut down the first week, but not now.

    I know there are still big problems at CLC, but as we all turn to God, He will help us through them.

  349. Persona
    February 12th, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    Anybody know how the CLC meeting went the other night: the one having to do with the new constitution? Is there now full participation by the congregation? Were hard questions asked and answered with transparency?

  350. Another Presbyterian
    February 12th, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    Another Presbyterian,

    If you would, please, tolerate me trying to make a point for a minute. (I am not trying to be rude to you. Just trying to stress something.)…

    I am an old, African man.

    I am an old, African man.

    I am an old, African man.

    I could repeat this over and over again. (In fact- long story- but I have repeated this many, many times over the past 6 years.) But in truth, I am a white, middle-aged woman.

    Again, not trying to be fresh to you in the least, but I find that just because someone repeats things, we need to look at the truth of either who they are or what they do. If this contradicts their words, then their words don’t carry much weight.

    Sadly, Trueman did speak up.

    No offense taken. I was simply trying to say that Trueman was making his anti-celebrity point before he was on the 3 man panel, which means him still making it has nothing to do with the lawsuit or probably SGM in general. I think the theory is good, but I think other people live out the practice of it better.

  351. Jenn Grover
    February 12th, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    Piper did not withhold his disapproval of SGM’s view on missions when he spoke at Celebration. Perhaps that same candor and sense of urgency form God will prompt him to rebuke his friend.

    I think Piper and perhaps Bridges could justify speaking at SGCL & the PC as not squandering an opportunity to preach yet still express disapproval. Instead of posting on FB – I recommend praying. I believe both men spend s dear amount of time before the Lord.

  352. Greg
    February 12th, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    I realize this is off topic, but we must realize that we are in a crucial point in history as the Pope has abdicated for the first time in 600 years. I would like to nominate C.J. as the obvious choice. Her are the top 10 reasons why C.J. should be the next Pope.
    1) He is very comfortable with the idea of the Holy See and Papal infallibility.
    2) The sudden shift in doctrine would not be a problem (he would just skim through the doctrines, dogmas, encyclicals, and councils).
    3) He has experience persecuting Evangelicals.
    4) He would have no problem negotiating contracts in Italy.
    5) Sexual abuse scandals? He had no idea that was happening.
    6) He would hold the line on male priesthood.
    7) Speaking Latin (or any other language) would be a impossible, but since lip-syncing is now acceptable at state functions, his handlers at the Vatican would manage to overcome that.
    8) He would have to annul his marriage of Carolyn, but she seems to be OK with just about anything he does, so I’m sure she would go along with it.
    9) The standard of living at the Vatican is about what he is used to.
    10) Catholics really need to get back to that good, old emphasis on sin, guilt, and meritorious suffering.

    Is there any reason he should not be the next Pope?

  353. Stunned
    February 12th, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    Thanks for understanding that I wasn’t trying to be offensive, Another Presby. I think your last sentence makes a lot of sense. Frankly, if you followed me around on any given day, you could probably spot me doing stuff I vocalized I didn’t do or believe but have a blind spot for.

    (Not trying the silly, “I’m so humble I’ll confess I have some sin” thing. I just mean I am guessing I have as many blind spots as the next guy so I understand that this may be the case with Trueman. Though I am waiting for him to recant or apologize to those who were effected by his public approval of the ceej.)

    Sick With Worry- I gotcha. I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case, either.

    Hope ya’ll have a lovely dinner on this night. And praying that if any of you are without a roof or food, there would be made known a way to get warm and fed tonight.

    Stunned

  354. Persona
    February 12th, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    I agree Jenn 351.

    At his age, Piper wants to leave a legacy and even though he may not invite controversy, I do not think he will hold back in asking hard questions. Also, he would likely want to influence the men in PC for the good. He is highly evangelistic unlike CJ so, I am not wholly disappointed in his choice to travel to L’ville. I say we pray for a profound infilling of the Holy Spirit for John and whoever else he brings with him.

    CJ is steamrolling his way to a dangerous end and I believe all of us need to work together to stop this madness.

  355. Oswald
    February 12th, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Interesting that we have been talking about Trueman lately. Carl Trueman spoke at CovFel 2/10, this past Sunday: “Plumbing the Depths of Depravity” using Judges 19.
    Copied below is an outline sent to members to ponder and apply. I’m sorry I missed this. It seems to me to be not the same old stuff. Is there hope for CovFel? I would like to believe there is. Some things seem to point that way. Or maybe I am naive.

    Take It Home Questions–
    Feb. 10, 2013 – Plumbing the Depths of Depravity

    Dr. Carl Trueman preached from Judges 19
    Key Ideas

    Background

    Flawed leader after flawed leader has led the people of Israel throughout the book of Judges.
    God’s chosen people are following the customs of the neighboring peoples rather than following the word of the Lord.
    Chapter 19 summarizes the degeneration of the nation of Israel, to the point at which they are indistinguishable from the nations surrounding them.
    “There was no king in Israel” means that the people have rejected God as their King. This narrative describes what the world is like when God is rejected as king.

    The image of God is defaced in this Israelite city where his character should have been reflected by his people.

    There is a distinct lack of hospitality, which is part of the nature of God that his people are meant to reflect.
    There is a dramatic misconception of the nature of power, resulting in a horrific abuse of power.
    The ultimate message: depravity is resident not only in Sodom, but also within the people of God.

    Points of Application

    We should not sit in judgment on people outside the church, but rather look at ourselves.
    We should not despair; God’s grace triumphs even over the extreme depravity of Judges 19.
    Christ did not die for us because we are righteous. Recognizing the depths of our depravity leads us to Christ as our only source of righteousness.

    Fellowship Starters

    Treasure – Application to stir our love for Christ

    The Bible exposes the realities of religious hypocrisy and human depravity (even amongst God’s people) in a very straightforward way. When you read such accounts, is your heart led toward cynicism or toward worship? How does this stark reminder that “Christ did not die for us because we are righteous” affect your heart?
    When hypocrisy and depravity are revealed in the church or in your own life, are you more likely to despair or to treasure Christ as your only source of righteousness?

    Grow – Application to stir our obedience to Christ

    Are you experiencing conviction in any specific areas where your life is presently indistinguishable from the unbelieving world around you?
    Men (especially husbands), are there any ways in which you have embraced a faulty view of spiritual leadership or headship? How can we hold to biblical principles of manhood/womanhood without falling into abuses of authority/headship that have been so common throughout history right up to our own day?

    Proclaim – Application to stir our witness for Christ

    Do you recognize any ways in which you’ve sat in judgment on the unbelieving world? How can a recognition of our own depravity apart from Christ foster a passion for reaching out in love toward those who sin boldly in our culture?

  356. Concerned for the kids
    February 12th, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    Greg’s “CJ for pope” post is one the best I’ve ever read. Thanks!

  357. 5yearsinPDI
    February 12th, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    I happen to know from a very trustworthy inside source that Trueman got quite a bit of flak at Westminster after the three man panel report. The facts must certainly be clear to other professors at the seminary, so one can hope that any koolaid drinking gets challenged.

  358. MaD
    February 12th, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    Comment 352-The papacy would have to double its travel budget !

  359. Stunned
    February 12th, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    5 Years,

    Thank you for sharing that. It actually gives me great encouragement. I am assuming that our brothers and sisters in the “outer world” have no idea what support or lack thereof can mean to some of us. I love that some, as quiet as they’ve been, may SEE.

  360. michelle
    February 12th, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    Speaking of big dogs…Al Mohler is scheduled to speak at the Knoxville church’s men’s conference…in case anyone cared.
    http://www.cornerstonechurchofknoxville.com/event/399541-2013-11-14-mens-conference/

  361. keepinstep
    February 12th, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    Greg, I think the cardinals would have to ask CJ about his views regarding transubstantiation, the immaculate conception and bodily assumption of Mary into Heaven. Who knows – they might not be deal-breakers, if the cardinals want to get the “right” leader!

    On t’other hand, both the latest popes have affirmed the legitimacy of the charismatic wing of the Church, whereas….

  362. unbelievable
    February 12th, 2013 at 9:56 pm

    Mohany or Mahaney… same difference: http://www.newser.com/story/162671/disgraced-la-cardinal-to-vote-on-next-pope.html?utm_source=part&utm_medium=united&utm_campaign=rss_3_2

  363. Jenn Grover
    February 12th, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    Mohler to Knoxville – not a surprise, sadly.

  364. Persona
    February 12th, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    Well, if CJ was baptized into the Catholic church as a baby, he might technically still be considered a Catholic by some.

  365. Nickname
    February 13th, 2013 at 12:11 am

    Greg, #352, CJ for Pope — #8 had me spewing hot chocolate!

    He might annul his marriage at first, just to get past the cardinals — but once he’s in, he’ll de-annul it, and all priests will be required to marry early and often.

  366. Paul K.
    February 13th, 2013 at 12:47 am

    0080 – Jeff Eastridge – good to near from u my friend of years ago! Hope u’ll send me an e-mail and let me know how u are – hope ur heart and life are well.

    Muckraker, thanks for reading the poem – I have to laugh at myself making such a big deal out of it – like SGS folks would be blessed by it and SGM people upset w me when probably very few read it (poems are sort of a foreign language these day). Also, please let me know the guy that knows u from a distance – kinda like the name “Muckraker!”

    Bought The Field – Amen! Pearl of great price – sold all for Him. Great name :

    here’s my e-mail in case u want to let me know whom I’m communicating with. Nice to know someone else here knows I’m not making things up about Josh – acts like who he is – a brother in Christ – I’ve called him dude so many times, but once I said, “I mean Mr Harris” – to which he immediately responded, “U can call me dude.” U walk around and hardly notice pastors.

    e-mail : pckellen@gmail.com – love to u from u guys, Greg and anyone else who may
    know me.

  367. Paul K.
    February 13th, 2013 at 1:09 am

    BTW – imagine in the past openly discussing things like “do our pastors really understand what would need to happen for the church to be a place where people are once again freely and passionately giving their hearts to Jesus, the church, and learning to be fishers of men?” It’s tough for a big church to be like that : I think we need smaller churches within the big one and call the whole thing A Community. Within the smaller churches, allow for all different types of fellowship groups depending on interest and need. Variety : maybe artists have a care group ; those with a passion for evangelism ; those wanting to just do bible study ; those wanting to focus on marriage or parenting ; those with a burden to disciple new believers; etc (their open to this sort of thing.) And so it on Survivors and not wondering if ur getting a phone call the next day…..”Yo – Josh – good to hear from u – what’s up?” Hey, glad u guys care enough to be thinking about how the church could be netter. Like some of those ideas. Can u think it through further and make it a sort of treatise suggestion?” “Love to man – have a good one.”

  368. Greg
    February 13th, 2013 at 3:13 am

    I left one out
    11) No need to excommunicate rogue priests or bishops. Just de-gift them and tell them to get a job!

  369. Recovering, Free & still Reformed
    February 13th, 2013 at 5:44 am

    Was doing some searching and reading in some current, old and closed posts and realized that in this ongoing record of unfortunate events of all kinds in all levels (of which we are thankfully no longer a part of for 7 months now) more care should be taken in endorsing and presuming respect upon men simply due to “gifting”. Men who have, through careless disregard, harmed (in-spite of appeals and confrontations) the very congregations they were “called” (if that can have any authenticity anymore) and at least paid, to serve, protect and preserve. BTW as many others they do not like these sites and consider it a blight as they continue in ongoing acknowledged unrepentance.

    We ought not speak in such ways of men simply because they have or had superstar status in SGM without understanding their history of similar conduct that has left a wake of pain, anguish and suffering behind them. Such men now continue in their elevated status of recognition within the network of departed SGM churches simply because they separated when it seemed beneficial, yet their conduct as pastors is much the same as what they distance themselves from now for fear of losing what’s left of their church and maybe income.

    Nothing is ever as it seems in our fallen state yet our goal as believers is to have that discrepancy between who we are privately and who we are “publicly” become the same person.

    John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another , and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

    As a leader of any sort with integrity, we ought not take pride in the statement or notion or crutch that “we are glad we’ve been knocked off your pedestal”.

    Such ignorant disclaimers seem to make 2 statements:

    1. You presumed that you had that place in the first place.

    2. And such a statement excuses your actions of ongoing acknowledged “unapologetic” sin.

    If you remain in an SGM departed church listen and watch closely to what is said and done, it’s uncanny in Biblical proportion how the following text (especially vs 34b) can be so true if we are listening carefully to what comes out of the mouths of men. One thing I’ve noticed in great leaders is that genuine humility has no interest in self preservation but rather what is truth and the interest of others.

    [A Tree Is Known by Its Fruit]
    [33] “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. [34] You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. [35] The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. [36] I tell you, on the day of
    judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, [37] for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:33-37 ESV)

    True shepherds lay down their lives for their sheep and are not preoccupied with creating a thriving ministry that showcases musical or teaching “gifts”. They are satisfied in building His church in relative obscurity allowing and trusting the Lord to build directly (by truthful yet respectful and engaging reasoned evangelism- not mindless chatter) or through truthful and integral referrals (testimonies). Other means of aggressive internet exposure and propaganda public outreach now have become quite suspect in this day and age as to what is driving such activity, the lost or a desperate need for cash flow. Questions that have been or would be considered as judgmental of motive, yet remain as questions unanswered none the less. Reaching the lost with the authentic good news of the gospels saving power in and through Christ is altogether one thing but having ongoing band based community events begs the question of intent, a question no one dare ask.

    Be wary of a church that gives public praise to you or others by name for the world to see on twitter or Facebook and is not satisfied with the results of private praise in person that may go unnoticed by the world about the kind of leaders they are in their church and in in their own minds.

    Many, as I, have also become very aware or attuned now of an emphasis on the ethereal perspective or view or unquantifiable catch phrase “for the glory of the gospel” or “gospel centered living” at the expense of the depth and richness of the love of Christ in restoring the dignity of man, His crowning handiwork in all creation, fallen as we are. A dignity I once heard a classic SGM leader say we do not possess at all because only Christ has any dignity to speak of, yet His death must have been for meaningless worms I suppose, as was often sung. I understand that “in me, that is in my flesh dwells no good thing” but there is a part of all of us in Christ that bears a dignity of self, worth noting in one another because of His ongoing work.

    Relegating congregants on a regular basis as often on the edge of ongoing sinfulness or as sin laden “onions” through nauseating self deprecating “modeling” unable or unwilling to recognize the ongoing and very present work of grace and righteousness in parishioners yet seeing that work of extended grace freely at work in their own lives as leaders, amounts to an abusive, unseasoned possibly unqualified Pastorate. Years of such teaching has done so much harm to God’s people and yet let’s not fool ourselves and think that because “my church has left SGM” all of such behavior is suddenly gone. Constructive criticism and welcomed input from even the lowliest (by whose standards I wouldn’t know) of members should be freely welcomed and taken seriously not to mention serious concerns brought by men of years of experience in walking with Christ. Sermons ought to also be open for clarity, meaning as well as questioning, scrutiny and intent being that NO ONE has an open direct line to the mind of God on any matter categorically. Such subjects ought not be too difficult to breach with departed SGM church leaders being that we were made aware and often not to trust our own sinful hearts and motives. I would also note that if the elderly are not present in reasonable numbers in our new healthy congregations this is cause for concern. The aforementioned model of leadership often seems to attract the young in years as well as experience, possibly because of it’s “serious” approach to the “gospel” as it did for me 14 years ago. Which unfortunately by simple deduction doesn’t speak well of what I was seeking at the time. Yet slowly and surely unbeknownst to us and me we became self righteous in our thinking and elitist Pharisees in our mindset. As true to scripture pride does come before a fall, for me as well, most definitely.

    I’ve read some of you state that it may take some time (although my Biblical counselor graciously encourages me saying it doesn’t have to) to unwind from all of this entanglement and I will be forever grateful to the Lord that leaders can be uncovered by their mere words that betray their heart. And that He has many wonderful God fearing churches filled with normal God fearing people, despite what such leaders would like you to think, waiting to be discovered and waiting for you to be knit and fit into for the good of the Body. Churches that don’t leave one with that nagging sense of something wrong that you never discover till you’re well into the mire and likely entrenched and entangled in a possibly harmful, dangerously elitist mindset that isolates us from God’s free kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. For so many of you as well as I, this has literally become like the great Pilgrims Progress-

    “Christian spends three days here, and leaves clothed with armour (Eph. 6:11-18),[14] which stands him in good stead in his battle against Apollyon in the Valley of Humiliation. This battle lasts “over half a day” until Christian manages to wound Apollyon with his two-edged sword (a reference to the Bible, Heb. 4:12).[15] “And with that Apollyon spread his dragon wings and sped away.”

    Yet He has promised He will lead us with Help, Goodwill, Faithful, Hopeful and a host of others to the Celestial City.

    Thanks for allowing me to share a mere fraction of my story, experiences and lessons learned. My apologies if much of what I have written seems disjointed or difficult to read with a steady flow.

    [The Truth Will Set You Free]

    [31] So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,[32] and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
    (John 8:31-32 ESV)…….
    ……..[36] So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
    (John 8:36 ESV)

    [Christ Has Set Us Free]

    [5:1] For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
    (Galatians 5:1 ESV)

    [Paul and Silas in Berea]

    [2] And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures,
    (Acts 17:2 ESV)……
    …….[10] The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. [11] Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
    (Acts 17:10-11 ESV)

  370. Lover of the Church
    February 13th, 2013 at 6:30 am

    But My Church Is Not Any Different

    My church is oh so imperfect
    There’s so much pride
    Saying one thing, doing another
    Falling asleep on Sundays
    Hardly listening
    People like me.

    My church is oh so imperfect
    Filled with old druggies
    And floaters through life’s difficulties
    And even a pedophile or two
    Who knows, maybe even a murderer
    People like me.

    My church is oh so imperfect
    Having a blind eye
    Towards the hurting and lost
    Afraid to evangelize the world
    So they won’t make a bad impression
    People like me.

    My church is oh so imperfect
    But I love my church
    For grace can be found there
    In places that are surprising
    For it is sinners for whom Christ died
    People like me.

    My church is oh so imperfect
    But Jesus is at work
    Filling old druggies with love
    Turning ashes and tears into joy
    Bringing life to pedophiles and murderers
    People like me.

    My church is oh so imperfect
    But life is so much there
    Ministry comes to Laytonia
    Service provided to Wounded Warriors
    And soup and a meal to the homeless
    People like me.

    My church is CLC
    Of which much is written in these pages
    But we are no different than you
    Sinners lost in their way
    Saints growing in joy, peace, and righteousness
    People like you and me.

  371. Steve240
    February 13th, 2013 at 8:51 am

    Paul K. said:

    BTW — imagine in the past openly discussing things like “do our pastors really understand what would need to happen for the church to be a place where people are once again freely and passionately giving their hearts to Jesus, the church, and learning to be fishers of men?” It’s tough for a big church to be like that : I think we need smaller churches within the big one and call the whole thing A Community. Within the smaller churches, allow for all different types of fellowship groups depending on interest and need.

    In the past “openly discussing” something like that would have been construed to be “gossip” or “slander” or be “rebellion” against the pastors supposed “God ordained” authority. People would have been fearful to openly say something like that questioning leaders actions.

    With regard to church size, it is something how CLC chose to become a large church vs. creating a number of smaller churches in the area. I have heard of some groups where there plan is to get up to a certain size and then split and form 2 churches and then repeat that as either church gets large. If that approach had been followed then maybe there would have been more local churches in Germantown, Olney, Silver Spring, etc. vs. just one mega church.

  372. SGMOvercomer
    February 13th, 2013 at 9:27 am

    A new installment in the SGM Chronicles Series: http://calltorevolution.blogspot.com/2013/02/sgm-chronicles-message-to-local.html

  373. Marge Sweigart
    February 13th, 2013 at 10:08 am

    Excellent, SGMOvercomer! (#372) I think what you’re communicating is truly from the Lord. I pray that God will open hearts and minds and set the captives free.

  374. Paul K.
    February 13th, 2013 at 10:33 am

    Lover Of The Church : what a great poem from the right heart : I’m copying that and sending it to Josh and a few friends and probably all the pastors. This poem helps
    everyone relax, remember Jesus loved those in need and missing the mark (prefer that phrase to “sin” – it’s the actual Greek phrase for sin), puts focus on “be the change” :
    “what’s the problem with my church : I AM” (then ur not walking around looking for everything wrong with people – blaming this, that, and the other), reminds u what ur there for : love God and love others – especially the most in need of a good word od
    encouragement, let’s everyone put down all pretenses : “of course we’re a mess – we live in a fallen world in the midst of war between heaven and heal – this is a place to
    clean up (remember the cross), get a good meal (God’s word), worship the true hero (not men) : a place like Rivendale in THE LORD OF THE RINGS, where the fellowship – exhausted, spent several days resting, healing, and being strengthened to continue the journey.

    YOU HAVE JUST PUT EXCITEMENT IN MY HEART ABOUT GOING TO CHURCH!

    Do u mind if I give your poem to some people (Josh may let me read it). Please e-mail me at pckellen@gmail.com….if he wants it read, would u want to read it?

    THIS POEM GETS AT THE ROOT PROBLEM : ANSWERS THE ROOT ISSUE : from here, secondary issues can be addressed rather than pretending they are not there. We have to stop walking around with eyes open (like policemen) looking for what’s wrong
    in a critical way, but rather who needs love today? God is love ; God is in us ; we walk into the church as His children, filled with His power, to love according to the gifts within us, including loving pastors (they are PEOPLE).

    I CAN’T THANK YOU ENOUGH OR JESUS ENOUGH : HE GAVE YOU THIS POEM
    AND GAVE IT TO US THROUGH YOU. There is no dividing line between this ministry and people in churches when people have this attitude : “He who has been forgiven much, loves much” (Jesus).

    SGM, however, in my opinion, should at the very least, only oversee churches by those churches who voluntary desire to be served and never sign any membership agreement and be allowed to leave whenever, no questions asked. But personally, I think they should fold before God has to do it for them, for their own good and the good of others.

  375. Paul K.
    February 13th, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Steve, the pastors are already thinking this way. We’re planting a church in Mt. Airy
    first. Matt Maka will be the team leader. From there we want to plant churches throughout the county – don’t want to be a huge church. This is a better way to solve the size problem and more people can use their gifts this way.

    But still CLC will have to be substantially large : and three churches within the community is doable : some from marrieds, some from singles together.

  376. Steve240
    February 13th, 2013 at 11:20 am

    Paul

    Good to hear they are starting to that way (of keeping churches smaller in size vs. mega churches).

    I agree that that with the CLC building being large it needs significant members contributing funds just to pay for the building’s upkeep and utility bills etc. Having multiple congregations there is one idea.

    More importantly I hope the CLC Leaders and members are doing some analysis of what was wrong with the culture there that allowed a leader to be in sin and hypocrisy for so long and for so many people to be duped for that long. Something must be wrong for that to have happened.

    If they don’t figure out what is wrong and needs to be changed then in all likelihood it will repeat.

  377. Luna Moth
    February 13th, 2013 at 11:57 am

    I have to say I am still not thrilled to hear of CLC planning to plant churches throughout the county. I personally don’t have confidence that they will be able to plant healthy churches.

    But then, I don’t live in that area, and if I did, I would not go to any church they planted.

  378. Rick
    February 13th, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    I’m with Luna on this one (#377); CLC is barely out from an abusive system and needs to approach these coming years perhaps with a bit more humility. Rather than trying to reproduce themselves (what their new identity is I think, at this point, anyone’s guess), they perhaps should be undergoing some intensive spiritual therapy (led by an entity outside SGM or the NeoCalvinist circles). If their leadership was so blind to what SGM was doing all these years, how in the world are they supposed to self-evaluate and self-report? Good motives don’t ensure good outcomes–

  379. James
    February 13th, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    A CLC plant in Mt. Airy, MD? That’s about 15 minutes from the Frederick, MD SGM church. Hm.

  380. Terry
    February 13th, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    @ Rick/Luna Moth: Ditto. I’m sorry but I don’t get the whole “we gotta hurry and plant a church” idea. Whatever happened to being still seeking His will while ministering to and making disciples out of your current flock? How about serving their community for awhile…feeding the poor, taking care of the widows and orphans, etc…how about investing in your current flock for awhile…investing in prayer, the spiritual gifts of the flock…how about just healing for awhile…I just see this as doing the same old thing and expecting different results…sick churches planting sick churches.

  381. Concerned for the kids
    February 13th, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    When the supposed “healthy” churches that withdrew from sgm start forming or building new networks (I.e. pyramid schemes) that’s a great indicator that growth and money still drive the decisions.

    I said that weeks ago, so it’s not Monday morning quarterbacking. Is CLC really looking to build a new “family of churches?”

  382. Paul K.
    February 13th, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    Kris, – I want to think u for this ministry God has called u to (and Guy – plus Jim’s contribution in the past). In that post where I quote Chesterton and talk about the heroes of Hebrews 11 and talk about how some people see a problem and persevere
    even when wondering if “all this time is with it” (or whatever lie Satan throws at them to stop the work), I didn’t type what I was trying to there (typo), describing u and this kind of person – someone who sees a problem and goes to work as led by God an inherits
    promises through faith and patience like those examples in Hebrews CH 11 – that’s when I wrote, “but they (u and Guy) would laugh at this comparison – and that’s good.”

    Pleases consider this a belated thanksgiving that so many extended u on ur post concerning the 5 year anniversary of Survivors. I would imagine u must be thinking, “Lord, u have done above and beyond….” I think u moderate this blog very fairly and lead it well with excellent topics. You interject if attitudes aren’t helpful without humiliating people. U share your own thoughts without making this a platform to persuade others of your opinion. I think ur creating an atmosphere where people of different view points and experiences are learning to respect each other. We are almost all Christians and I think an excellent blog would be one where we all can grow I’m christlikeness by making the main thing what Jesus made it : love God and love one another. But love involves grace and truth and there are serious issues that involve work, discussion, thinking, and scripture to get at the truth that sets men free. And yet as important as this is, I think u are creating a context where this work of seeking truth together and minis trying encouragement to others is being done respectfully and lovingly.

    Please receive my deepest appreciation : I have no clue the number have people that have found help here. I’m here because, though I believe CLC will grow imto a church
    that Chrisst will say “I built that church”, I want to understand the past damage that was hidden from me. I want to learn so my perspective and my part in His church, will by informed by reality and help my thinking. I called it my Walden Pond – not because I’m critical of CLC at this point and am running here for refuge which many, in light of the horrible experiences they’ve had,mshouldmand must – but because it helps me not do all my thinking inside one collective group. I’m so grateful I was a Christian before coming to Gathering Of Believers for 9 years – I was able to evaluate things which led to my submitting observations after completing their pastors college in which I explained why I had no faith for what theynwere building, explained thoroughly a d respectfully why, explained I wasn’t sharing my observations with others, asked them to answer my evaluation to help me have faith, and was met with the following words ny my pastor, “CJ wants u to know in no uncertain terms, u’ll never be a pastor here….Paul, as your friend, I need to say that you should consider who you’re talking to.” Six months later they implementedmthe entirety of my critique without saying a word to me. I told my pastor that day, “Please askmthe guy’s if I’vemsinmed in any way – I have no problem asking forgiveness. What’s matters to me is you used to have 10 pastors for 300 hundred peoplemand now u have 3 for 1500 people – adding me isn’t going to change anything.” He never told the guys I said this Amd they never tried to explain their thinking to help me have faith – that was that. When I was considering going to Richmond, Emerson asked CJ about it and was told, “Paul has unresolved issues here” – two years after all this. If I had unresolved issues, why didn’t they come to me? Christianity 101, “If u have ought against u’re brother, speak to him in private in order to win him.”

    Again, thanks for all I’ve learned here : I don’t want to “be walled in” the place I’m called to be and want to be because I will be less equipt to do my part.

  383. Jenn Grover
    February 13th, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    Indiana, PA has left SGM. http://www.brentdetwiler.com/brentdetwilercom/2013/2/13/mark-altrogge-and-sovereign-grace-church-of-indiana-pa-leave.html

  384. Waiting
    February 13th, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    Luna Moth, Rick, Terry, ditto. I’m still praying for SGM, SGM-friendlies, exSGMers, and will leave it at that.

  385. Persona
    February 13th, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    Mt. Airy is a sleepy little farm town with some population growth and not many churches, at least not from this century.

    Maka has a Baptist background and a seminary degree, I believe. Could be he wants to get out of the frying pan before he too gets burned.

    During rush hour, it can take 45 min. to get to and from Gaithersburg. But, it can take about an hour to get to Frederick from Mt. Airy. I’ve heard rumors that SGM may have its eye on Clarksburg which is about 15 min. from Mt. Airy and half-way between Frederick and Gaithersburg. Ironically, that is where another former SGM Pastor, Eric Tamaru holds fort.

    It’s kind of a frightening idea to think of SGM and CLC churches, big and small dotting the local landscape. Hopefully they won’t attract many members after all this negative exposure. Many Christians in the area already think of them as heavy-shepherding churches. CLC would have been several times larger if it did not had this reputation.

    I still think it would be a great idea if CLC reduced its stable of pastors by at least half but, not necessarily send them out to replicate CLC.

    Perhaps some pastors could take this time to retire and others could take jobs in the private sector and spend some time reflecting on where they got church wrong.

    I’m convinced that CLC has too high a concentration of Kool-Aid to be able to think clearly about their root problems and reform. There are plenty of great and wonderful people there and my heart goes out to them. They may not know it, but, I believe they deserve a healthier church than CLC can offer.

  386. Just saying...
    February 13th, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    Paul,

    We are so sorry to hear SGM robbed you off your call. We did not know that.

  387. Marge Sweigart
    February 13th, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    I am very, very glad and relieved that Sovereign Grace Church of Indiana, PA has decided to pull out of SGM. I spent 5 happy years there in the 1980′s. The Indiana Church is one of the smaller ones, but it’s also one of the oldest in SGM and several SGM leaders have come from there. This is very significant, I think.

  388. 5yearsinPDI
    February 13th, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    Wow. Altrogge leaving. Just wow. Thank you Lord.

  389. TrustingOnlyInJesus
    February 13th, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    WOW!! Mark Altrogge gone from SGM! This is like ripping out a critical foundation stone. I had the blessing of meeting Mark years back and I don’t know if I have ever met a man that was so close to God and His Word. What a treasure SGM has lost.

  390. Steve240
    February 13th, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    Brent said this:

    Post Script

    Sovereign Grace Church in Cleveland is the third oldest church in Sovereign Grace Ministries. Larry Tomczak started it in 1982. Two weeks ago, Darren Lander, the current senior pastor along with the entire leadership team, recommended the church leave SGM. They have asked the congregation for feedback and should finalize their decision by the end of March.

    This may be a case where surprisingly Brent has his history wrong. I thought the church that Larry Tomczak founded in Cleveland left SGM a long time ago. As one concern they cited the group’s move to Calvinism. Do I have the history wrong?

  391. Michael
    February 13th, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    It also seems that Stephen Altrogge was the dissenting pastor, after a brief search on the church web site (it seems that only the SGM main web site is able to account for a church leaving membership with them within the time of the announcement). I am not sure who Pastor Bob is, since he isn’t mentioned on the website.

    I certainly have some things I could say about Stephen’s attitude about SGM’s problems, but I am actually quite concerned about what this will do to his and Mark’s relationship. I am good friends with SGM pastors’ sons, and their loyalty to their dads–if I can take my friends as indicative of the whole–is very strong. I am hopeful that Stephen can see this as a good decision and not distance himself from Mark in any way, whether or not he ends up remaining at the Indiana church.

    Of the many pastors involved in SGM, I am least surprised by Mark departing from active partnership with them, since he apparently has had some doctrinal differences with SGM for a long time now that he may have kept mostly under the radar.

  392. Steve240
    February 13th, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    I did get a spam email recently from Brent. Does anyone else have a confirmation of SGM Indiana leaving? I am just wondering if Brent has been hacked? It wouldn’t surprise. Especially with this error for the Cleveland Church I would be skeptical of his latest post till it is confirmed.

  393. Steve240
    February 13th, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    WOW!! Mark Altrogge gone from SGM! This is like ripping out a critical foundation stone.

    I wouldn’t assume that Mark Altrogge is leaving SGM. If the vote was 2 of 3 elders and as others have said Mark probably was the one voting against leaving. Thus he may leave SGM Indiana and try and find another SGM Church to work for.

  394. Recovering Free Reformist
    February 13th, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    Don’t get caught as our dear friend George almost did….haha

    http://www.wingclips.com/movie-clips/its-a-wonderful-life/potters-offer?search_by=scripture

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4ne13Zft9Q&feature=youtube_gdata_player

  395. Persona
    February 13th, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    Steve240 Very strange to think about Brent being hacked. But, I do think it would be good to wait till we hear from the PA contingent before we assume this is the truth. I haven’t heard anything from close friends up there yet but will let you all know if I do.

  396. Paul K.
    February 13th, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    CLC does not want to be over any churches. Josh is excited about local churches being independent. Maresco who was a regional leader doesn’t believe an outside person has enough perspective to have authority over local churches. Josh isn’t looking to go find some mentor. He believes Revelations three : “God will address each church. Notice that : church by name. Not the pastors, the whole church. He believes that. He has asked my thoughts on some serious, very serious issues which shocked me. I had no answer at the moment. Two days later I felt God gave me an answer. “I told him, “Josh, I don’t like saying, ‘I have the word of the Lord.’ But if I would be tempted to, it would be now.’” I then sent him the letter. His response, “Paul, thanks. Very helpful insights.”

    Planted churches would continue in relationship because of friendship. No name for this group of churches ; no summer celebration etc. Josh isn’t into big : he’s into this, “Lord, you are the builder. Please, show us what to do.”

    I’ve been mowing his lawn for ten years or more. I’ve watched him grow from age 22 to to age 38. If he was into “Josh Harris” I would know it. He’s not what fame is at a young age – 22 – it’s not fulfilling to him. Being close to Jesus, his down-to-earth wife, and his children matter to him the most. He wants to work woth Jesus, the Holy Spirit, praying, and God’s people to build one good church. The rest is emptiness to him. I’ve seen CJ up close and the contrast just couldn’t be different. Still, he’s not my hero. He’s a brother in Christ made by Christ, brought by Christ from Portland, whi inherited a situation he didn’t sign up for. Instead of conforming, he assessed the situation, made unpopular decisions, experienced the trial of fire, is still in that fire, and loves Jesus and God’s people to much to run away from it all. He’s calm because he considers himself an under-shepherd and knows the government is ultimately on Jesus’ shoulders. I am not at all ashamed to say that I am proud of the grace of courage, humility (not for show), compassion, and faith in this man : not a seld-made man, but, like each of us, God’s worjmanship created in Christ Jesus to walk in the works prepared beforehand for him to walk in.

    This, an eye-witness account from someone here since 1977, who has wched this unfolding drama from inside and outside. Being so utterly dceived by CJ, I could never feel like this about Josh if I didn’t have personal encounters with him with no one around in the heat of battle. I don’t trust public ministry by itself alone.

  397. Marge Sweigart
    February 13th, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    Steve 240: I heard about the Indiana church leaving from a reputable source last night, before Brent posted anything. And I highly doubt that Mark was the dissenting vote.

  398. Steve240
    February 13th, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    Paul Kellan said:

    I’m so grateful I was a Christian before coming to Gathering Of Believers for 9 years — I was able to evaluate things which led to my submitting observations after completing their pastors college in which I explained why I had no faith for what theynwere building, explained thoroughly a d respectfully why, explained I wasn’t sharing my observations with others, asked them to answer my evaluation to help me have faith, and was met with the following words ny my pastor, “CJ wants u to know in no uncertain terms, u’ll never be a pastor here….Paul, as your friend, I need to say that you should consider who you’re talking to.” Six months later they implementedmthe entirety of my critique without saying a word to me.

    I wish that your experience with you:

    - giving them a recommendation/”observation”
    - the leadership resenting you for doing this
    - then later implementing it

    was more the exception then the rule. Sadly you aren’t the first person to share this happening with them. It has been told many times. It seems to be how they operated.

    Is that culture still there at CLC or has it changed?

  399. Paul K.
    February 13th, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    CLC does not want to be over any churches. Josh is excited about local churches being independent. Maresco who was a regional leader doesn’t believe an outside person has enough perspective to have authority over local churches. Josh isn’t looking to go find some mentor. He believes Revelations three : “God will address each church. Notice that : church by name. Not the pastors, the whole church. He believes that. He has asked my thoughts on some serious, very serious issues which shocked me. I had no answer at the moment. Two days later I felt God gave me an answer. “I told him, “Josh, I don’t like saying, ‘I have the word of the Lord.’ But if I would be tempted to, it would be now.’” I then sent him the letter. His response, “Paul, thanks. Very helpful insights.”

    Planted churches would continue in relationship because of friendship. No name for this group of churches ; no summer celebration etc. Josh isn’t into big : he’s into this, “Lord, you are the builder. Please, show us what to do.”

    I’ve been mowing his lawn for ten years or more. I’ve watched him grow from age 22 to to age 38. If he was into “Josh Harris” I would know it. He’s not what fame is at a young age – 22 – it’s not fulfilling to him. Being close to Jesus, his down-to-earth wife, and his children matter to him the most. He wants to work woth Jesus, the Holy Spirit, praying, and God’s people to build one good church. The rest is emptiness to him. I’ve seen CJ up close and the contrast just couldn’t be different. Still, he’s not my hero. He’s a brother in Christ made by Christ, brought by Christ from Portland, whi inherited a situation he didn’t sign up for. Instead of conforming, he assessed the situation, made unpopular decisions, experienced the trial of fire, is still in that fire, and loves Jesus and God’s people to much to run away from it all. He’s calm because he considers himself an under-shepherd and knows the government is ultimately on Jesus’ shoulders. I am not at all ashamed to say that I am proud of the grace of courage, humility (not for show), compassion, and faith in this man : not a self-made man, but, like each of us, God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to walk in the works prepared beforehand for him to walk in.
    This, an eye-witness account from someone here since 1977, who has watched this unfolding drama from inside and outside. Being so utterly dceived by CJ, I could never
    feel like this about Josh if I didn’t have personal encounters with him with no one around in the heat of battle. I don’t trust public ministry by itself alone.

    As far as Mt. Airy goes, who knows if that’s in the picture at this time. Let’s face it, the lawsuit and assessing the foundations of this church to get down to root problems is are huge priorities. But planting churches, wherever, is good .

  400. Steve240
    February 13th, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    Post Script

    Sovereign Grace Church in Cleveland is the third oldest church in Sovereign Grace Ministries in a convulted way. Larry Tomczak started the church in 1982. It left in 1997 primarily over differences regarding Reformed doctrine. SGM started over. Two weeks ago, Darren Lander, the senior pastor along with the entire leadership team, recommended the church leave SGM. They have asked the congregation for feedback and should finalize their decision to leave by the end of March.

    Brent has now revised his post.

  401. Roadwork
    February 13th, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    Off topic for a moment…
    Saw this on my fb page (I know nothing about the author):
    http://gracefortheroad.com/2012/02/03/idontwait/

    A lot of girls were sold on a deal and not on a Savior

    That got me. As a father of daughters and a former 20-year SGMer, it got me. And it’s not limited to “waiting for a husband”.

    We were sold on a deal. On how to “do” church. On how we should trust our leaders. On how to discipline our children, on “biblically-based” worship songs, on parent-led youth groups, on how to deal with relationships, on how to view professional counseling, on what was gossip and slander, on how to view parachurch ministries, on “biblical” small groups… You get it and I’m sure you can add many things to this list.

    We bought into a system and thought we had it right. In the meantime we missed the One we were looking for.

    Sackcloth and ashes…

  402. Stunned
    February 13th, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    Paul, you’ll forgive some of us if we chose to watch and see who Josh is (actions over words and all that) rather than take your or anyone else’s word for it? Some of us have seen too many people who were deceived and came on here trumpeting the virtues of (fill in any SGM pastor’s name) to be willing to take you at your word on the matter right now.

  403. Steve240
    February 13th, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    Paul

    If you want an example, Josh hasn’t been willing to admit the problems his “kissing dating goodbye” book has done though was quick to point out the defects he saw with dating.

    I am glad that you feel that Josh is a contrast to C.J. We wouldn’t want another C.J.

  404. Paul K.
    February 13th, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    Stunned,

    I totally understand. Believe me, if u knew the whole story of my family and
    the abuse we’ve experienced – unbelievable damage to my children which
    for their sakes I can’t put here (not sexual) – well, as one executive pastor who
    heard about it from my wife and I for the first time said, “I can’t believe ur
    still here.” He began to weep and then said, “This is too much to handle in
    one meeting, can we meet again next week.?”

    We had this meeting before the May 22nd meeting when the pastors were
    asking people who have been hurt by anything in this church to come tell
    them because they wanted to understand the truth. Please understand, only
    three of the current CLC pastors have been here more than ten years. I’m
    meeting w one tomorrow whose been here five years. We’re just flat out two
    guys who like each other. He writes, “brother I am happy to serve you, but
    you have so much to teach me.” I call him Raty from Wind In The Willows
    cause Raty and Moly were good friends.

  405. Paul K.
    February 13th, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    Steve,

    Actually, Josh came out with a message on how he realized that the he framed that book (he was 21!) had unintended negative consequences. He flat out wishes he’d written so that it didn’t come across as “this is the only option” or the best option, but rather “this is what I believe and why.” He lamented that he didn’t see how this could be applied in a way that teens don’t even learn to socialize with each other. He said, “I want to see guys walking girls to their cars if they want or going out and getting a cup of coffee together and learn to be friends. Also, at CLC, if parents are fine with their son or daughter dating then that’s what happens and no one is looking down on them. If people do it’s not because of the pastors. They keep emphasizing don’t judge people – love people. All this without compromising the pursuit of a life pleasing to God.

  406. Nicole
    February 13th, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    I’m a member of SGC Indiana, PA. It’s official, we have left. I don’t know who the dissenting vote was, but trust me, all 4 of our pastors are completely loyal to our local church body alone and there’s no way that Mark or anyone else would leave in the wake of this for another SGM church. Mark is completely separate from the rest of SGM leadership, although as people have mentioned he’s one of the originals. He’s an extremely humble and down to earth man (completely 180 from Mahaney’s brand of “humility”) and loves Jesus very much. I’m pretty shocked our church decided to leave… but we all think it is the right thing to do. We don’t want to be associated with the unhealthy authoritarianism, cultism, and scandal present in SGM as a whole. These traits are not present in our church, thank God, and please Jesus let them never be.

  407. EMSoliDeoGloria
    February 13th, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    Some combination of pride and naivity tends to make churches ideal hunting grounds for predators. Certain SGM pastors have severely mis-handled crimes committed between congregants families, abusing their spiritual authority and re-victimizing victims & their families with their “counseling.”

    It is clear to most decent people what should NOT be done. The GRACE website has helpful information that confirms most of our instincts when it comes to responding compassionately to victims and not covering up for abusers, no matter how charming or repentant they seem.

    What should be done to prevent abuse is more difficult. This is compounded by the fact that in some states individuals and the institutions that employ them could face criminal or civil liability related to comments made about a sex offender, especially if the individual has not been convicted in a court of law, if they are a juvenile whose conviction is sealed, or if they live in the state of CA (where telling your neighbor that another neighbor is on the sex offender registry is itself a criminal act). Prevention goes far beyond background checks, but some comments posted here imply that regardless of the situation, all parents in the church should be told immediately upon leadership finding out about the offender’s presence. This may not be the best protection (or even legal in a state like CA). As sad as it is that we live in such a world, children need to be educated about stranger (and kindly uncle) danger and that education starts with parents. We have to combat the idea that “it can’t happen here / it can’t happen at our church.” It can. And ministry leaders need expert training both in prevention in how to respond when what should never happen to anyone does happen.

  408. Oswald
    February 13th, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    Just wondering what the loss of the Altrogge’s will mean for SovGrace Music. Both Mark and Stephen are talented song writers and musicians. We should be praying for BK to think about his own ‘mortality’ in SGM. I’m sure folks would say, “never”. These churches leaving makes it more and more possible that others will think and act in a responsible way.
    Also, I wonder how Dave views the exit of SG Indiana. I think that was his first church as a believer.

  409. Nat W. Clerk
    February 13th, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    I’m not sure how long this has been up, but I noticed today that Grace Christian Fellowship (Spokane, WA) led by Pastor Bill Farley, had this posted under their “About Us — Our Beliefs/Values” section of their website:

    http://www.gcfonline.org/

    GCF has adopted the Sovereign Grace Ministries Statement of Faith (although we are not an SGM church). GCF also endorses the Affirmations and Denials of Together for the Gospel and the “Gospel Coalition Statement of Faith”.

    http://www.gcfonline.org/#/about-us/our-beliefsvalues

    Does anyone know how long this has been like this? Is this a recent development, or has it been this way for a while?

    - Nat

    Veritas nunquam perit!

  410. Nat W. Clerk
    February 13th, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    I should note that the church I mentioned above (Grace Christian Fellowship) is still listed on the SGM website.

  411. mary
    February 13th, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    Nicole # 406 thank you for posting. I find what you said to be very encouraging.

  412. Steve240
    February 13th, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    Paul Kellan said:

    Actually, Josh came out with a message on how he realized that the he framed that book (he was 21!) had unintended negative consequences. He flat out wishes he’d written so that it didn’t come across as “this is the only option” or the best option, but rather “this is what I believe and why.” He lamented that he didn’t see how this could be applied in a way that teens don’t even learn to socialize with each other.

    Paul

    I am familiar with the message (actually 2) that Josh came out about “kissing dating goodbye (KDG).” It was great that to CLC Josh admitted there were problems with how singles related and they needed to be corrected. I am skeptical that a few messages like those were any where near enough to change the singles culture at CLC. I hope you aren’t assuming that.

    That culture of KDG has been taught at CLC almost since it started in varying degrees.

    A big issue I have with Josh Harris is that from what I have seen there is no where on his blog where he has admitted the problems he found at CLC or the problems that IKDG has caused. Thus Josh may have admitted the some of the problems with KDG to his church but not to a wide audience. It isn’t only at CLC where KDG has caused problems.

    Why hasn’t Josh shared the problems to a much wider audience? I have some ideas but really don’t know. It could be that KDG is what gave him prominence and thus is hard to admit KDG has “defects.” KDG is also popular in the home schooling movement that his father is part of and that could possibly be another reason.

    I haven’t seen or heard where Josh “lamented” about its affect on teens and their not learing to socialize with those of the opposite sex due to how KDG was lamented. It is bad enough to see teenagers acting like this but what is even worse is when you see singles in their 20′s or older not learning how to relate. One person wrote a blog entry about “regretting” KDG since he found himself in his late 20′s/early 30′s and didn’t have the social skills to relate with single women.

    I have wondered it there might be a correlation between KDG and “Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye?” as one older unmarried CLC woman wrote.

    In summary Josh had a good start but didn’t nearly do enough to admit and counteract the “defects” with the approach he championed. Maybe if he was more vocal in admitting the problems it caused a better balance could have been reached.

    You can read more about my thoughts on KDG on my blog with the link on my name.

  413. Reporting In
    February 13th, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    About Spokane – recent development within the past four weeks or so. They decided to leave, based on a decision by the pastors. Congregational feedback was solicited, but no vote took place.

  414. just saying...
    February 13th, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    It was the perfect storm. Josh launched a book full of practice on a movement that shunned and ostracized those who didn’t follow the latest practice. It was a place where people were terrified of disobeying the teaching of the day. It was a place where only those in the know KNEW what the practices were and status and position was dependent on who could prove they followed the most rules.

    I don’t think Josh had any idea how his book could be misapplied. He was just a teenager saying he decided to stop dating every girl in the youth group. It was his personal journey.

    When you throw a book like that into a threatening cult-like environment where people devour one another, it had devastating consequences.

  415. Diego
    February 13th, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    In an earthquake, after the quake has seemed to stop, people come out and assess the damage. Very rarely in the midst of the quake do they evaluate, but generally pray, seek shelter, and seek out their family. In the midst of this shaking, people of Sovereign Grace Churches pray, seek shelter, seek out your family. The rubble of SGM will be complete, but God’s people will be kept safe. Seek our God’s people in your community. Find where God is at work. Join them. God is building HIS church, as SG, temple to man, is shaken down.

    He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.

  416. 5yearsinPDI
    February 13th, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    I did a brief search here and at Refuge but came up blank….can anybody find that vision or word or whatever it was Bob Dixon had a while back, about the tsunami that was going to hit SGM? Just sort of curious in light of all that is going on.

  417. Mary
    February 13th, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    Every now and then – the sadness of it all still hits me – today is one of those days – so I am looking to Jesus and not on foolish men. “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” Isa 53:3

  418. Paul K.
    February 13th, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    Steve,

    Thanks for u post. This is one of the reasons I’m here. I will check ot ur website. I want to ask him about addressing this to the wider public because it has affected the wider public. I would want to get his thoughts on this. To only address CLC would be insufficient. Sometimes we’re blind to things. At the very least, asking him about it gives him opportunity to bring it to the Lord. I have found him to be humble but not man-pleasing. He’s made a conscious habit of training himself not to recoil from observations (its almost as if u sense his mind asking God “is this from u?”

    When he stands his ground he does so in a loving way.

  419. Oswald
    February 13th, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    Mary @417 — Last night I watched “The Passion of the Christ” on Netflix and was reminded again of the things you are saying through Isa.53. That film is very moving.

  420. Steve240
    February 13th, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    just saying said:

    It was the perfect storm. Josh launched a book full of practice on a movement that shunned and ostracized those who didn’t follow the latest practice. It was a place where people were terrified of disobeying the teaching of the day.

    When you throw a book like that into a threatening cult-like environment where people devour one another, it had devastating consequences.

    That certainly explains the books effect in groups like CLC and SGM that pretty much had the culture you described (at least to some degree). It doesn’t explain why a lot of other groups seemed also follow it. Here is one person’s account of the KDG fad:

    http://ikdg.wordpress.com/2008/12/01/one-persons-historical-account-of-the-kissing-dating-goodbye-fad/

    This person describes this philosophy taking hold in Campus Crusad and Navigators.

    Fortunately it didn’t survive long in many groups and you now can buy his book online for $1.00 plus postage last time I looked.

    It is baffling that so many assumed that what Josh Harris as a teenager needed to do due to his issue with overdating etc. should be the model that everyone applies regardless of age.

  421. Oswald
    February 13th, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    5years @416 — Perhaps you could go to Bob’s Symboulos Ministries site and use the ‘contact’ and ask him. I think I saw it at that site a while back, but can’t find it now.

  422. Paul K.
    February 13th, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    Waters,

    Do u or someone u know have Dixon’s e-mail address. I wrote about him on this thread, mentioning among other things, his unusual prophetic gift. It seems that tidal wave-tsunami is beginning to get close to the shore. I’m wondering if he knows about
    Altrogge. He tried to exit years ago but they smooth talked him out of it – that was doctrine. It’s been obvious to me Altrogge would never cave in if ethics were involved. He is much respected in SGM – this is seriously a BIG DEAL. Whoever is able, send Dixon my e-mail pckellen@gmail.com….please – that way u don’t need to feel ur giving out his info. Please.

  423. Lee
    February 13th, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    Brent’s latest post confirms that the Indiana, PA church has left.

    He also talks of a post that Southern Baptist blogger Peter Lumkins made about CJ Mahaney.

    (Lumkins also defended Ergun Caner, go figure)

    http://www.brentdetwiler.com/

  424. Oswald
    February 13th, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    Paul @422 — There is a link to Bob’s site Symboulos Ministries with a ‘contact’ button to get in touch with him. The link is above on the left here at Survivors under ‘Love Links’

  425. Marie
    February 13th, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    PK #422 I used the email address I had for Mr. Dixon, and copy-pasted your request to talk with him into an email…I would imagine that you will be in touch with him sooner or later…

  426. Mary
    February 13th, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    Oswald – I agree with your thoughts on the Passion of the Christ. I plan on watching it again before Easter. I also like the Visual Bible Matthew video – it gives you a different perspective on what Jesus’ personality might have been and a different idea of the tone used in some of His teachings – good stuff.

  427. just saying...
    February 13th, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    The tsunami hits when the victims outside of SGM hit the blogs. They are the ones that never set foot in a door of a SGM church. They are the local church members whose churches were split by SGM’s harmful and arrogant teaching over the last 35 years.

    The hemorrhaging will never stop.

  428. Oswald
    February 13th, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    Lee @423 — Interesting article at Brent’s site below the Indiana news. I missed it earlier. I hope those to whom it was targeted will be thinking/pondering and speaking out to someone who counts. I’m not sure what the status is of Mr Lumkins among Southern Baptists, or if anyone pays him any mind, but the article is thought provoking.

  429. Paul K.
    February 13th, 2013 at 11:12 pm

    Thanks Marie!

  430. Balaam's Donkey
    February 13th, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    I found Bob Dixon’s prophecy about the tsunami of God’s rebuke regarding SGM. It is copied below:

    I wanted to pass on a vision I had the afternoon of 9/17/11. I believe the following vision applies to SGM as an organization, not to His people. I believe when God’s rebuke has passed, SGM will no longer exist as we know it. The churches that remain will either be independent or they will dissolve completely. His people will be rescued.

    In a vision I saw a place at the bottom of the ocean. It was smooth and tranquil. Suddenly, the sea floor shifted violently and I saw a shock wave rise to the surface of the ocean. The wave started out small but quickly gained size, power, and speed as it began to travel across the surface of the water. The wave became massive. The force of it was frightening to behold. Soon it was enormous, but still far out at sea. This great tsunami wave of God’s rebuke was headed for land with amazing power and force. I was awestruck as it continued to gather momentum and finally turned my head in fear.

    I believe the Lord is showing me, He has released the power of His rebuke that will cause SGM to be “destroyed—without remedy.” The Lord will no longer stay His hand. The fearful and awesome rebuke of the Lord is coming to SGM. Destruction is at hand, and nothing can stop it except complete and utter brokenness, repentance, and Godly sorrow. God will not be mocked. The Scripture says, “Whoever remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy.” Proverbs 29:1

    “Then the channels of the sea were seen,
    and the foundations of the world were laid bare
    at your rebuke, O Lord,
    at the blast of the breath of your nostrils.” Psalm 18:15

    “The stouthearted were stripped of their spoil;
    they sank into sleep;
    all the men of war
    were unable to use their hands.
    At your rebuke, O God of Jacob,
    both rider and horse lay stunned.” Psalm 76:5,6

  431. keepinstep
    February 13th, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    Speaking of Brent’s post that mentions both Indiana and Cleveland: he and everyone else states that Larry Tomczak took a team to Cleveland and “planted” that church.

    I’ve heard a different story: that the church was already running when Larry came in and, essentially, took it over for PDI – just as Brent took over an existing Fairfax church for PDI.

    Where’s the truth in these conflicting accounts?

  432. Steve240
    February 14th, 2013 at 1:02 am

    One thought I have on the 2 “big wig” speakers that are coming the SGC Louisville is that I wonder what their reaction will be when it is a small venue with a small number of people. This won’t be the large crowds that they are use to seeing. In some ways it will show these leaders how “the mighty” have fallen.

    In some ways I am almost surprised that Mahaney would invite these speakers with the reported small crowds the church has drawn.

  433. Nickname
    February 14th, 2013 at 1:14 am

    The venue for Piper’s sermon maybe small, but perhaps they’re anticipating that lots of giving units will come to listen to Piper.

  434. Ellie
    February 14th, 2013 at 1:58 am

    Bob Dixon (originally posted on SGM Refuge:

    I wanted to pass on a vision I had the afternoon of 9/17/11. I believe the following vision applies to SGM as an organization, not to His people. I believe when God’s rebuke has passed, SGM will no longer exist as we know it. The churches that remain will either be independent or they will dissolve completely. His people will be rescued.

    In a vision I saw a place at the bottom of the ocean. It was smooth and tranquil. Suddenly, the sea floor shifted violently and I saw a shock wave rise to the surface of the ocean. The wave started out small but quickly gained size, power, and speed as it began to travel across the surface of the water. The wave became massive. The force of it was frightening to behold. Soon it was enormous, but still far out at sea. This great tsunami wave of God’s rebuke was headed for land with amazing power and force. I was awestruck as it continued to gather momentum and finally turned my head in fear.

    I believe the Lord is showing me, He has released the power of His rebuke that will cause SGM to be “destroyed—without remedy.” The Lord will no longer stay His hand. The fearful and awesome rebuke of the Lord is coming to SGM. Destruction is at hand, and nothing can stop it except complete and utter brokenness, repentance, and Godly sorrow. God will not be mocked. The Scripture says, “Whoever remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy.” Proverbs 29:1

    “Then the channels of the sea were seen,
    and the foundations of the world were laid bare
    at your rebuke, O Lord,
    at the blast of the breath of your nostrils.” Psalm 18:15

    “The stouthearted were stripped of their spoil;
    they sank into sleep;
    all the men of war
    were unable to use their hands.
    At your rebuke, O God of Jacob,
    both rider and horse lay stunned.” Psalm 76:5,6

  435. Mary
    February 14th, 2013 at 3:59 am

    Keep in step #430 – I thought that Cleveland was a take over of a church already in existence and something happened that they left SGM – many years ago. I think they disagreed with SGM control over who their leaders should be. I could be wrong.

  436. Stunned
    February 14th, 2013 at 6:07 am

    Juat saying said, ” It was a place where people were terrified of disobeying the teaching of the day. It was a place where only those in the know KNEW what the practices were and status and position was dependent on who could prove they followed the most rules. …I don’t think Josh had any idea how his book could be misapplied….When you throw a book like that into a threatening cult-like environment where people devour one another, it had devastating consequences.”

    Just saying, I just thought I’d tell you that there were people all over the country who were negatively impacted by this book. People who never heard of CJ Mahaeny or SGM. People who are now in their 30′s and have yet to have a date or kiss another person. And some have spent time in my kitchen bemoaning the book that they believe ruined their lives and their ability to relate to someone of the opposite gender. Trust me, the damage from that book was not limited to Covenant Life Church or Sovereign Grace Ministries.

  437. Stunned
    February 14th, 2013 at 6:30 am

    Leave it to Ellie to find the prophecy. She’s an awesome researcher.

  438. Phoenix
    February 14th, 2013 at 6:50 am

    So has Josh given back (even a part of) the mint of money he has made from the publication (and recent republication) of that book? Has he returned any part of those funds for counseling/re-education to help those injured by it? Has he even returned any part of those funds to unrelated charities? He did not write that book as though it was just his own personal journey. He wrote it as a prescription.

  439. Stunned
    February 14th, 2013 at 7:26 am

    Paul K, I just wrote you a post and lost it all! Acckk. I’ll see what I can do to rebuild it.

    In response to your post 282- I wish that for the sake of their own souls and for the church and for you, they would have heeded your words. I’m sorry they didn’t.

    As per your 404 post- I’m so sorry to hear that your children were harmed. So terribly sorry. This aches my heart. I pray that they find healing or have found it. Thanks, also, for being understanding that after all the carnage some of us seeing lying on the ground at the hands of one or some, we are not always able to believe the words of a person in regards to the one who caused the carnage. We need to see the person who did the damage, walking the field, picking up the wounded and bandaging them himself, before we’re ready to believe all is goodness and light again.

    Now, I’ll post before I lose this one, too!

  440. Stunned
    February 14th, 2013 at 7:32 am

    Paul, hi again. I’m getting caught up some more. You stated that Josh, “flat out wishes he’d written so that it didn’t come across as “this is the only option” or the best option, but rather “this is what I believe and why.” From what I understand, the book was planning on being re-released this past year, but that it was edited, in part, due to the divorces of some of the main couples in his stories. Do you know if Josh, also, edited it so that this time he was QUITE CLEAR that this was just his story and not a how to book for Christianity? I mean, he’s not 21 now, as you pointed out and surely at 38 had the chance to see a bit of the harm this book did.

  441. Stunned
    February 14th, 2013 at 7:37 am

    Phoenix said, “He wrote it as a prescription.”

    Yup, yup, yup. Sadly. But yup.

  442. just saying...
    February 14th, 2013 at 7:47 am

    I’ve often heard a rumor that Josh committed the proceeds of IKDG to the mission fund at CLC. Does anyone know if that is true?

  443. Enjoying Freedom
    February 14th, 2013 at 8:03 am

    Great I mean Great! summary and analysis from tolling bell. http://www.thetollingbell.org/news/sovereign-grace-vs-gossipslander/

  444. Enjoying Freedom
    February 14th, 2013 at 8:10 am

    In another note, I am convinced Piper is getting used here by CJ to draw “re-shuffle” some sheep to the church. I am sure CJ told Piper he wants him but like everything CJ just wants what he can get from Piper. Piper is getting used, the question is does he know it?

  445. Jenn Grover
    February 14th, 2013 at 8:31 am

    I remember when Josh was doing his IKDG there folks, and not necessarily SGM folks, trying to paint Josh into a corner and add a lot of legalism. To Josh’s credit, even at that young age he didn’t fall for it and there were people who were visibly upset that Josh would not go further. To be honest, I have often felt that Josh got all of the blame for the courtship legalism but I think some of it needed to be directed towards those who made “Passion and Purity” the original courtship manifesto. Let’s not forget that there some good truths in those books. It was the way other people took those books and made them, wrongly, into law.

  446. Stunned
    February 14th, 2013 at 8:35 am

    Jenn, it’s, also, important to point out that Josh didn’t create the idea. This junk has roots in Gothard and other extreme legalists, probably dating back to the beginning of religion.

    But when you realize you’ve been used, you speak up and speak out to all of those you (even unknowingly) let yourself be used to influence.

    I am eagerly waiting for the day,
    Stunned

  447. Jenn Grover
    February 14th, 2013 at 8:42 am

    Good point, stunned.

  448. Kris
    February 14th, 2013 at 8:44 am

    “just saying” said,

    I don’t think Josh had any idea how his book could be misapplied. He was just a teenager saying he decided to stop dating every girl in the youth group. It was his personal journey.

    When you throw a book like that into a threatening cult-like environment where people devour one another, it had devastating consequences.

    Stunned said,

    Just saying, I just thought I’d tell you that there were people all over the country who were negatively impacted by this book. People who never heard of CJ Mahaeny or SGM. People who are now in their 30′s and have yet to have a date or kiss another person. And some have spent time in my kitchen bemoaning the book that they believe ruined their lives and their ability to relate to someone of the opposite gender. Trust me, the damage from that book was not limited to Covenant Life Church or Sovereign Grace Ministries.

    Phoenix added,

    He did not write that book as though it was just his own personal journey. He wrote it as a prescription.

    One thing we probably need to keep in mind is that at least some of us are thinking of two separate books. While I Kissed Dating Goodbye was along the lines of Josh’s saying, “Here’s why I stopped dating and why you should, too,” his follow-up book, Boy Meets Girl was all about, “This is how I got together with my wife, this is how various couples at my really great perfect church got together, and this is a much better way of finding a spouse.”

    It really doesn’t matter if Josh was 20 or 25 and inexperienced and dumb when he wrote those books. They went on to be what will arguably remain his greatest legacies in the larger (beyond SGM) Christian world. These books continue to be sold and promoted. Josh likely continues to make at least some money off of them. Boy Meets Girl was even going to be re-released last year, until that plan was put on hold because (as Stunned mentioned) some of Josh’s profiled couples had divorced.

    Josh really needs to do more to separate himself from these books.

  449. 28 years gone...
    February 14th, 2013 at 9:10 am

    Q. What do you call the 17 churches that have left SGM?
    A. A good start.

  450. Roadwork
    February 14th, 2013 at 9:20 am

    When talking about minimum age for being placed in ministry, a wise local pastor said, “They need to be beyond the age of stupid.”

    The PC didn’t fix that, it encouraged it.

  451. Steve240
    February 14th, 2013 at 9:49 am

    Stunned said:

    Jenn, it’s, also, important to point out that Josh didn’t create the idea. This junk has roots in Gothard and other extreme legalists, probably dating back to the beginning of religion.

    To add to what Stunned and Kris said, CLC taught various forms of “kissing dating goodbye(KDG)” and “courtship” starting in 1978 which was way before Josh Harris came out with his “kissing dating goodbye” book and then “boy meets girl” book.

    There were problems caused by KDG since it was first started. What I find ironic is hat Josh Harris wrote his book when was at CLC (correct me if I am wrong). If the church had experienced problems with KDG then Josh should have been made aware by other leaders etc.

    What I have seen (and probably what happened with Josh)is that the CLC Leaders heard what they wanted to hear about how well their form of KDG was working. They didn’t want to hear (and thus admit) the problems it caused.

    Still shocking that Josh has never come back and admitted and published (like on his blog) the problems and warn against misapplication. Josh never really defined even what he was “kissing goodbye!” If you read his book and “Dating” can mean a lot of things and sadly a number of people took the meaning to mean little interaction with those of the opposite sex.

    Here is my blog entry about this:

    Josh Harris did indicate in his latest IKDG “update” message, “Romance Revisited”, that the title of his book was “confusing.” He said that he could have said I kissed “short term premature selfish directionless romantic relationships” goodbye but that would be too long of a title for a book. Here is one of my blog entries that discusses this:

    http://ikdg.wordpress.com/2009/02/27/what-is-%E2%80%9Cdating%E2%80%9D-and-what-did-harris-supposedly-%E2%80%9Ckiss-goodbye%E2%80%9D/

    One thing I will say is that I wouldn’t go too hard on Josh right now. He has gone through a lot but the again he shouldn’t be ignoring the problems his book has caused. It certainly needs to be addressed. Maybe the difference is that this is more his issue that he caused while the other issues were more C.J.’s issues? It is easier to bring up and correct problems that you weren’t the primary cause of.

    According to Amazon Josh’s KDG book hasn’t been republished. Unless he revises it, one would wonder why it would be reissued when you can buy copies of his book for $1.00 plus postage online.

  452. SgmNot
    February 14th, 2013 at 10:07 am

    Lover of the Church #370 I am a mother of one of the sex abuse victims from CLC. I know intimately the trauma that some of the sex abuse victims have endured from the adult pedophiles at CLC. These child-victims were scarred emotionally as little children, and now as young women and men, they are battling through into healing — and many have not even started that overwhelming battle because up until now, they have thought that they were the only ones! They have felt the shame, heartache, confusion, even suicidal thoughts as a child-victim left alone in a prison of wretched memories, unable and unequipped to cope with the twisted evil that was forced upon them destroying their innocence. I completely reject your romanticized version of the church:

    My church is oh so imperfect
    Filled with old druggies
    And floaters through life’s difficulties
    And even a pedophile or two
    Who knows, maybe even a murderer
    People like me.

    AND

    My church is oh so imperfect
    But Jesus is at work
    Filling old druggies with love
    Turning ashes and tears into joy
    Bringing life to pedophiles and murderers
    People like me.

    Forgive me for my bluntness, but you have no idea of the lifetime — years and years, decades — of hidden pain that these sex abuse victims have endured! The reason I state this is because you would not have glowingly penned something like “And even a pedophile or two…” as if they add a little character and charm of your congregation! You are being foolishly romantic and nostalgic in the face of horror and CRIME. Pedophiles are not harmless doddering, old men now turned religious and “safe” — They are crafty, manipulative MONSTERS. They are LIARS. They are CRIMINALS.
    Have you read the Legal Complaint in its entirety? If not, please do.
    If any adult pedophile IS convicted of his sinful crimes, then he should voluntarily turn himself in to the police to protect all the children of CLC and all of Gaithersburg! If a pedophile has served a sentence already, he should not be hanging around thousands of vulnerable children! If God has truly changed his life, there are plenty of other ministries and churches to fellowship at where children would not be at risk. By stating:

    My church is CLC
    Of which much is written in these pages
    But we are no different than you
    Sinners lost in their way
    Saints growing in joy, peace, and righteousness
    People like you and me.

    You are mistakenly equaling sins. Not all sin is equal. Jesus died for all sin, but not all sins are equal. I personally believe that the emphasis in SGM all these years of how “we are all sinners” and how “we all need to look at own sin” has polluted sincere Christians’ minds causing confusion and blindness to the legitimate differences between sins, to the point where, otherwise intelligent people, even to this day, can not call crime or psychosis for what it is — they instead speak of it as equal to a person speeding or a child telling a fib! The fact is that SOME SINS ARE CRIMES and should be prosecuted to serve earthly justice — this is the will of God. Please read Romans 13.

  453. Kris
    February 14th, 2013 at 10:27 am

    SgmNot,

    Excellent comment! I want to emphasize this bit:

    You are mistakenly equaling sins. Not all sin is equal. Jesus died for all sin, but not all sins are equal. I personally believe that the emphasis in SGM all these years of how “we are all sinners” and how “we all need to look at own sin” has polluted sincere Christians’ minds causing confusion and blindness to the legitimate differences between sins, to the point where, otherwise intelligent people, even to this day, can not call crime or psychosis for what it is — they instead speak of it as equal to a person speeding or a child telling a fib! The fact is that SOME SINS ARE CRIMES and should be prosecuted to serve earthly justice — this is the will of God. Please read Romans 13.

    I think SGM’s long emphasis on sinfulness and the equality of all sin has caused a tremendous amount of confusion. Yes, it is true, in God’s eyes we are all sinners. But at the same time, it is also true that certain sins have different long-term ramifications than other sins. Moreover, true conviction and repentance for the sins with more grievous consequences will look different. The pedophile who has taken full responsibility for his crime will 1) embrace whatever punishment society (through the law) places upon him; 2) grasp the ickiness of his behavior and do all in his power to inform others of what he has done so that he can have safeguards around him; and 3) do all in his power to avoid putting himself in situations where he might be tempted.

    The pedophile who shows up at church and doesn’t request that the pastors inform parents of his past or the pedophile who even dares to volunteer for the children’s ministry – this sort of person is showing that he hasn’t fully grasped the seriousness of his past behavior and will likely become a repeat offender. This person is not actually behaving like someone who has repented.

    So, yeah – we’re all sinners. But if you gossiped about me, that’s going to bother me a whole lot less than if you molested my child. Gossip and sexual perversion are both sins in God’s eyes, but one sin has far graver consequences than the other.

  454. Mommy2boo
    February 14th, 2013 at 10:31 am

    SgmNot #452: Yes! Thank you for writing that!

  455. turtle
    February 14th, 2013 at 10:32 am

    I am a mother who was at a youth retreat about 4 years ago where Josh Harris had his book (ikdg) in his hand and held it out and said something to the affect that he wished he had not named it that and showed some regret for all the controversy around it. Then he dropped it on the floor. Later cj got up and made some angry (in my opinion) remarks about how any believer would dare distrust this book. I think looking back there were problems with the two of them at that time.

  456. 5yearsinPDI
    February 14th, 2013 at 10:32 am

    Balaam’s Donkey and Ellie-Thank you very much for finding that!!!

    SgmNot- really good post. And by the way, I am so very sorry.

    About Josh- what remaining blindness in any of us thinks that by leaving SGM, many years of indoctrination will instantly end completely in him or any other ex SGM pastor? It will take years! Not saying anybody should leave, and Josh is making a great start, but it is going to take a long while.

    Paul, you seem like a really sweet guy with a great big heart for God and the people of God, and I am glad you joined us. I think we all agree that Josh has broken with SGM and CJ and showed significant understanding of major problems. It is wonderful and we thank God and pray for him and CLC. But Paul, it is only a very good start and the detoxing is going to need to go deep, and that will take much time. It will take time for you too. It took most of us here quite a while.

    The desire to be special and close to people we put on pedestals, and in the church that is just a little bit better than every other church, and to feel like our imput matters to somebody on a “higher level”, is a lurking addiction that we have to fight for the rest of our life, even after we see it and repent. No offense brother, but I think you still have it, it oozes out of your posting here and there. That is OK, I still have it and I’ve been out over a decade…it just crops up again elsewhere. It is called the old man and the flesh, and it’ll always be something to resist. But SGM leaders had it bad, and it’ll take a while to clear the cobwebs. Years probably. If they are not getting help outside SGM, like from Dixon or somebody similar, they may never ever get free.

  457. 5yearsinPDI
    February 14th, 2013 at 10:41 am

    Enjoying freedom 443….good link, thanks!

  458. Waters
    February 14th, 2013 at 10:51 am

    SgmNot and Kris —– TRUE TRUE TRUE

    The poem written by Lover of the Church, clearly exemplifies the warped culture of SGM. SGMites focus on sin, roots of sin, motivations of sin–all the while hearing and chanting the mantra “we are all sinners” (I must say I donot as often hear CJ’s mantra ‘I’m the worse sinner I know’ — perhaps due to the outcry on the blogs?)—Therefore, the DISCERNMENT and COMMON SENSE for the danger of pedophiles and sexual perversions is lost on the SGM culture.

    Yes, Loverofthe church—Jesus IS at work—exposing deeds of darkness —and some deeds, we donot link arms with and sing kum-ba-yah…. God loves justice—He doesnot see raping and molesting children and practicing sexual perversion the same as the first grader who stole a pencil from a store. Sexual sins, as SgmNot pointed out, bring layers and years of spiritual, emotional, and physical wounds. This would be why God has seen fit to bring SGM into the internet and media light.
    We are ALL “imperfect”. EVERY church is “imperfect”. Imperfect is oceans apart from protecting sexual abusers.

  459. Diego
    February 14th, 2013 at 11:07 am

    SGMnot, thank you for making your points. I see in you the work of God.
    Through a tough time, God stands with you and your family.
    Those stained by SG mindcrap will feel that they just need to get through this and continue on. I don’t think God will let that mindcrap continue. He will put His people through the fire to purify them. Draw them close to Him. God loves His people. I think we will hear less and less of this Move On…, things have changed…, But we will actually see change as peoples hearts melt, and we feel the love of Jesus for the injured, orphans, widows, and lost from people who were previously inward focused. He will not let things stay the same. He is after our hearts and our love. He has a jealous love for us. We will know of change at churches as passion for Jesus and hearts for the injured bear fruit. SGM will be gone, but His people will be comforted and go forward strong in Christ.