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What Sovereign Grace Ministries Is Telling SGM Members About The Lawsuit

Sovereign Grace sent the following letter to members recently:

Dear [Member Name],

Last October, we informed you of a lawsuit filed against Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM), two of the local churches that were at one point affiliated with SGM (Covenant Life Church and Sovereign Grace Church of Fairfax), and eight individually named pastor-defendants.

As a valued partner in Sovereign Grace’s mission to plant and build churches with the gospel of Jesus Christ, we write to update you on this matter and provide you with the latest details as we prayerfully trust the Lord and submit to the legal process.

The allegations in this lawsuit are vague and largely unclear, but to the extent they can be summarized, they claim that several church members were the victims of physical or sexual abuse by a number of alleged perpetrators at various times and places across a number of years and that a number of pastors failed to report this to the secular authorities. The suit alleges that some of the pastor-defendants failed to properly report the alleged abuse to the secular authorities after the victims’ parents told them of it. There is one pastor-defendant accused of abuse, and these accusations appear to be that he physically disciplined one of his children. We do not believe there was a “cover-up” of sex abuse or pedophiles at the two local churches involved and we trust that the local churches carefully reviewed any reports of abuse to see that the proper response was made. We would encourage any pastor or church member to step forward if they were aware of any such behavior.

Our actions on the legal front do not reflect a denial of real pain for the victims or an effort to avoid the rightful course of justice in these cases. Rather, we are simply exercising our right and obligation to oppose any litigation that claims, without any evidence, that SGM was involved with some sort of conspiracy to wrongfully or neglectfully respond to reports of sexual abuse. We do this while remaining devoted to caring for the victims of abuse and to encouraging our local churches to develop policies and practices to ensure they remain places of safety and healing. In the interest of pursuing truth, we are obligated to answer and defend accusations against our ministry, even at the risk of a perception of marginalizing our regard for any victims and their families. We regret this challenge and, again, commit to do all that we can to seek truth and minister to all who are affected by these allegations. If the process of review and evaluation of this case uncovers any issues of which we are not aware, the Board stands ready to address those concerns in a manner that pleases God and respects and cares for those affected.

We will keep you informed of any progress in the ongoing litigation and ask for your continued prayers for a just resolution to this lawsuit.  We have received questions about the use of the 1st Amendment as a defense. Please make sure to read that section below. Here are the updates:

Motion to Dismiss Filed February 25, 2013

CarrMaloney, SGM’s counsel assigned by its insurer, determined there were a number of valid reasons to file a motion to dismiss the case with respect to SGM. As their motion states: “Plaintiffs’ First Amended Complaint is a vague, confusing document that fails to state any legal or factual basis for the claims against Defendant (SGM).”  Because Plaintiffs’ complaint is so vague, it is difficult for SGM to know the specifics of the incidents that have been alleged. Further, the alleged reporting of abuse would have been handled at the local church level and therefore would have been a matter strictly left to the local churches, not SGM. SGM does not have the authority to control local churches or govern their internal affairs.

Below is a summary of SGM’s Motion to Dismiss, as filed on February 25, 2013. The entire motion is 25 pages long and is a matter of public record. Because many of the deficiencies in Plaintiffs’ allegations are applicable to all defendants, several of the arguments SGM made were similar to those made by the other defendants. The following is a summary of our arguments. (The sections below in quotes and italics are taken directly from SGM’s Motion to Dismiss.)

  1. “[Plaintiffs’] complaint is so vague and factually deficient that it is nearly impossible to tell who committed the acts of abuse and when and where the alleged acts of cover-up occurred, much less how old the alleged victims were both then and now. Plaintiffs appear to have done this in a deliberate effort to deprive SGM of the factual grounds that it is entitled to for various defenses, including statute of limitations.”
    .
  2. “By alleging the alleged tortious conduct was a product of the churches’ teachings that conditioned the church members to “unquestioningly obey” their “spiritual leaders,” Plaintiffs have put the spiritual and doctrinal affairs of SGM and the local churches directly at issue. Plaintiffs allegations therefore violate the Free Exercise Clause of the 1st Amendment and must be dismissed.”
    .
  3. According to Maryland law, Plaintiffs have failed to state valid claims or have no legal basis for any of the alleged torts against SGM on grounds of negligence, infliction of severe emotional distress, conspiracy to obstruct justice, negligent hiring and supervision, or misrepresentation. In addition, the Motion to Dismiss includes a number of grounds for dismissal relating to each individual plaintiff, including statute of limitations and lack of legal standing,
    .
  4. Even if Plaintiffs are able to show that their case satisfies the legal criteria for stating valid claims, they still have no grounds to impute liability to SGM based on the alleged acts of the other defendants. It appears they are alleging that SGM owned and operated both CLC and SG Fairfax, and that they can therefore impute to SGM any liability these churches have for the alleged cover-up actions of their pastor-defendants. However, SGM does not own, operate, or control any churches. And, at the time of the alleged conduct, SGM did not employ any of the defendants who are alleged to be “personally involved in the events that led to this lawsuit.” Therefore, there are no legal grounds to impute liability for the actions of the individual-defendants to SGM, which is simply a religious denomination, and does not control or govern the local churches.

1st Amendment Defense

The second point summarized above addresses the 1st Amendment defense. Plaintiffs claim that the alleged abuse and/or cover-up was a product of the local churches’ religious teachings and doctrines that ordered the church members to “unquestioningly obey” their pastors. Our First Amendment defense points out that such a claim cannot stand because it asks the court to inquire into the legality of the churches’ beliefs. It is a matter of religious liberty to not involve the courts in determining whether the doctrinal teaching and pastoral counseling of a ministry or church is done correctly in their eyes. That is why this is included as part of the legal defense.

I want to strongly emphasize that we are NOT in any way using the 1st Amendment as a defense to somehow protect sex abuse or a conspiracy to cover up crimes of any kind. We fully respect the gift from God of established legal authority according to Romans 13. And we strongly encourage all our churches to fully comply with all laws pertaining to the reporting of crimes in their state.

With these commitments firmly established and understanding the nature of this lawsuit, we must use all appropriate legal means to address the spurious and defamatory charge of a cover up of sexual abuse as well as all the destructive legal implications that come with this lawsuit.

Please note that our November 17, 2012 statement referenced this First Amendment issue prior to the filing of the Amended Complaint. I hope this explanation adds any needed clarity as to why it is necessary for our legal counsel to make this defense.

Next Steps

Now that SGM legal counsel has filed their Motion to Dismiss and the Plaintiffs have responded to the motion to dismiss, a hearing is scheduled on May 17, 2013 to consider the defendants’ arguments for dismissal. After this hearing, the judge will rule on the motion, normally within two months of the hearing.  So, as we have communicated before, this is more of a marathon than a sprint. If the suit is not dismissed, the actual court date is currently scheduled to begin on February 3, 2014, but there are many things that could happen before then including judgment being granted in favor of some or all defendants based on the evidence presented during discovery.

We are all pained by a process by which we are perceived as “guilty until proven innocent” through a “trial” seemingly already taking place in the court of public opinion, resulting in myriad questions being asked based on incomplete information presented online. But, we are providing this information to ensure you that we are doing all we can to address these charges and address them in a way that honors God, and the members of Sovereign Grace churches. Thank you for your prayers and support.

Sincerely,

Tommy Hill

Director of Finance and Administration

Thoughts???

476 comments to What Sovereign Grace Ministries Is Telling SGM Members About The Lawsuit

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  1. soarin'
    May 6th, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    Off topic -sorry – I just had a need to express what it felt like to be in a SGM church and what it feels like to be out – at least for me.

    I was like a bird in a cage
    perched all day
    long
    never noticing the way of escape
    the opened door.

    Freedom flew outside
    my self made prison
    teasing me with her acrobatics.

    I felt a gentle breeze blow across my cheek
    and caught a glimpse
    of the swinging cage door.

    On the threshold
    I took a deep breath in
    took a leap of faith out
    and now I am soarin’..

  2. Breeezey
    May 6th, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    Waiting: As a ten year subscriber to the Omega Letter I miss his current events daily commentaries. There were things I found out through him that I never would have found in the news. His family will still put out the OLs from the archives and some of them still read like tomorrows newspaper. This is the announcement of his death:

    We have terrible news and because Omega Letter is run and operated by our family this is all we are able to muster for you at this time.

    Below is the obituary we are sending out today to the local newspapers. Many have asked what they can do for us as we get through this. Like my Dad’s final note to you, please don’t leave us yet and we covet your continued prayers for strength, healing and HIS guidance. Please accept our deepest condolences for your loss. The world is a lesser place without Jack Kinsella.

    John “Jack” Michael Kinsella was born October 7, 1952 in Fort Erie Ontario and went home to be with the Lord March 14, 2013 at 12:30 pm at the age of 60.

    Son of the late, Jack Kinsella and Doris Kinsella (Winn).

    John lived his life as a hero beginning at age 10 when he received the Carnegie award for heroism. In 1969, John signed up to the US Marines at the tender age of 16 where he served until 1975 receiving an honorable discharge. During his service for the Marines, John also had a battle with cancer and won. He then began his career in law enforcement in North Texas reaching the rank of Captain before the age of 30. He then headed back to his hometown of Fort Erie where he dedicated his life to the service of the Lord Jesus Christ preaching, teaching and mentoring until the Lord took him from this world to grant him his heavenly rewards.

    John is survived by his wife, partner and best friend Gayle Kinsella (Snyder). His brothers, Roy, Walter and Tony Kinsella, his sisters Jacqueline Anderson, Barbara Dumelie and Georgina Wisbey and all of their children, who greatly admired their Uncle “Johnny”.

    He leaves behind six children, Karen Velemirovich (Mike), John Kinsella, Charlyn Fischer, Richard Kinsella (Nikki), Michael Fischer (Kerilyn) and Jessica Cook to whom he freely shared all his accumulated wisdom. John loved and enjoyed all of his 9 grandchildren, Hannah, Jacob, Michael, Taya, Bailey, Sarah, Tristan, Lorilai and Natasha.

    John was also a loving cousin and nephew to the Opatovsky, Pooler, Spear and James Families.

    John lived his life to the absolute fullest and made every moment count. Being ready at all times to give an answer for the hope that was in him.

  3. Waiting
    May 6th, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    Breeezey, thank you! I’m glad they’ll continue putting out the OLs.

  4. Just Watching
    May 7th, 2013 at 12:53 am

    Trusting Only In Jesus #346: You said,

    “Seriously, if true, this is an obvious tatic (sic) to distance themselves from the lawsuit and the negative publicity. However, it doesn’t change that they continue to preach the Doctrine of Sin without COMPASSION and focus on CORRECTION OF SIN without RESTORATION OF THE SAINTS. I doubt they will ever publically, as an organization or as individual churches, acknowledge their sin, repent and seek foregiveness of those who have been hurt. If they did, they would disqualify themselves for their present positions threatening their rather comfy life styles and high compensation.

    “I believe the truly humble man is one who lives his life for the glory of God. In all that he does, he does it without calling attention to himself (ie, “the worst sinner I know”, pastoral authority (“elder led”) and polity (“Book of Church Order”). For all these things draw our eyes and hearts to a defective man rather than a perfect God.

    “This lack of intergrity (sic), false humility, and subsequent stubborn pride is at the root of SGM troubles, and a name change won’t change anything but the name.”
    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    Ron Boomsma, in a sermon preached three weeks ago, admitted how SGM has gotten things wrong. This was a big moment and took courage admit this. However, he did not apologize for those things he may have “gotten wrong” as a pastor and he did not apologize for those things he may have been party to as a member of the board of directors. An important moment lost. Ron is not a proud or arrogant man so why did he stop short of seizing this important opportunity?

    Pasadena will have another family meeting in two weeks. The document-signing has been put off for a month or so. I would be *shocked* if Ron and Lynn don’t end up signing SGCPasadena into SGM. My perception is that they think the members are hung up on polity. That’s not it; we in the “fringe” are hung up on integrity, Christian character, accountability to one another, and truth. We’ve received precious little of that from SGM Corporate — and our pastors don’t seem to understand that we expect them to stand against — firmly — the wrongdoing of the various boards of directors, the leadership team, and especially CJ Mahaney. We’re looking for our pastors to do the right thing, the biblical thing, and lead in front, not from behind. We expect transparency not obfuscation. We expect mistakes to be made because that is human. But since Ron and Lynn are believers first and pastors second, we also expect them to own up to their mistakes and to take responsibility for how they have led in the past. If there is refusal to stand up to SGM Corporate, and at least communicate the very strong misgivings of a growing group of concerned members, how do they expect us (me) to continue following their leadership?

    Yes, I’ve had many meetings, I’ve raised my concerns and voiced my opinions. I’ve been “heard.” To what end? Ron stated “this church will never be congregationally led.” Ok, that’s fair (and IMO bad practice). What would change my mind? Nothing.

    Almost two years have passed since the news of CJ stepping aside for a period of time. What progress has been made in getting the SGM house in order? Incessant meetings, conference calls, third-party reports, a call to “resist gossip and slander”, and many, many lost opportunities to settle these issues in a manner that would please the Lord.

    So I ask: What indication is there that God is blessing SGM? Anybody?

  5. James
    May 7th, 2013 at 5:43 am

    MAK, that’s a good question. I’m not privy to any info on the Florida churches.

  6. Diego
    May 7th, 2013 at 5:55 am

    Just Watching 354: One of the things that the “pastors” have learned over the past 2 years is to identify “mistakes” and correct them, at least on the surface giving the appearance of change. The experience of CJ trying to give the appearance of being humble and initially submitting to the accusations against him was a failure because his humility apparently does not come from the heart, nor is it apparently from the Holy Spirit. He was quick to recant when the heat was put on. Lesson learned for the PC grads. Don’t confess to sin because it will come back to bite you. I’m sure the PC grads were given no Bible verses/scripture to support this and they do not use scripture anymore to support the things they do. They use scripture as chrome, to make their manmade machine look shiny and god-like. Pastors no longer confess sin, but admit to making mistakes and promises to correct. They have no forward Jesus focused vision. They have no conviction by the Holy Spirit. They only have vested interest in maintaining their franchise. There is no repentance from the spiritual leaders of SGM only lip service. They will not follow a Biblical model of repentance as they model after CJ, Mickey, Dave Harvey, Gene Emerson, etc. These spiritual leaders are the doom to SGM even now if they don’t repent to all those injured. But then again after the AOR stage show they feel they owe you nothing.

  7. Reader
    May 7th, 2013 at 8:05 am

    Oh boy, check this out from The Cripplegate:

    http://thecripplegate.com/the_need_for_pastors_to_counsel/

    Related to the SGM mess? I wonder. The “no need for outside counselors” idea seems fairly suspicious, not to mention dangerous.

  8. 5yearsinPDI
    May 7th, 2013 at 8:40 am

    Reader- I think I understand his concern. In SGM there was an unwillingness to face that maybe a happy clappy “has it all together” guy in his 30s was not able to help a woman in her 40s who had been molested by an uncle, or had an abortion before she was saved, etc, and is in deep depression with major marriage problems. ( my PDI small group…we had three of these in one small group alone). PDI should have gotten more help for some people and been willing to refer them outside the local church. Yes indeed.

    The flip side of this is that we know a pastor who went to Westminster and only got one class in three years on dealing with the sheep in your church and typical problems. He elected to do an extra year at CCEF while his wife worked and Granny took care of the kids, just so he could help people better. He said that without the extra year of training, he would not have been able to even begin to pastor people who were suicidal, addicted, depressed, and had all sorts of problems. Pastors need to be able to comfort and help their sheep at least to some degree, and many of them take all sorts of bible classes without much if any practical training.

    Bottom line is that it is about loving people. You can be an untrained bumbling inept guy who cares and you will still help people, and a lot of SGM pastors didn’t love the way they should. But it still can help to take classes about cutters and alcoholics and abortions and adoption and all the many patterns that happen to souls who pastors have to relate to. Pastors do need to care for the flock.

  9. 5yearsinPDI
    May 7th, 2013 at 8:57 am

    Breeezey…..

    I hope you and those you respect would never do this:

    I know folks who hear about Christians being thrown in jail in China and their organs harvested and they don’t even blink. Or you talk about the unbelievable oppression in Saudi Arabia and that gets no reaction either. We suck up to both nations for reasons of oil and commerce with no regard to how a Christian is treated even unto martyrdom. I talk about sex slavery and maybe get a visceral human response. I go to a prayer meeting and it is next to impossible to get people praying for those under Islam.

    But Israel moves out of part of the West bank or Gaza? It is like the end of the USA. God will judge because the land belongs to the Jews, and Bush or Obama is complicit in giving back the land. People will write to politicians, get all into it, pray about it, prophesy doom, focus on it, and make the biggest deal out of how we support or don’t support Israel. But if we support corrupt and evil regimes tramping on Christians, you get no reaction.

    What is particularly sad is that formerly Iraq, Syria, and Egypt let Christians coexist in peace, and when their despots are removed in the name of democracy, you get Muslims voted in that want to destroy the church. Lebanon is a prime example. All very tragic.

    May God bless your witnessing. I do think we very may well be at the very end of the age before the Lord comes back, but I think God’s purposes are global and I pray for a great harvest all over the world. And I’d like to see us keep a global prayer focus, where the people of God are those of faith in Jesus Christ in every nation, and it isn’t all about Israel all the time. Just my opinion, and maybe your mentors are not like that. The dispys I know are so narrowly focused on Israel that the Islamic and third world fades from sight, and American politics regarding Israel takes center focus. Not good IMO.

  10. Jenn Grover
    May 7th, 2013 at 9:29 am

    Well, look who preached in Joppa, MD this past Sunday….a church that just so happens to have had 2 pastors resign over the last year…. http://sovgracemd.net/sermons/sermon/2013-05-05/the-audacious-claim-of-the-gospel

  11. 5yearsinPDI
    May 7th, 2013 at 10:39 am

    Jenn or anybody…..I am out of touch but back in the 90s based on what exposure we had, I thought Dave was an intelligent and articulate teacher and CJ was a terrible teacher. Not discussing anything here about ethics or shepherding error, just their basic teaching gifting. CJ told long jokes and stories for 20 minutes and then sniffed and sobbed about the cross and yelled at us to be more passionate. Dave laid out a good teaching from scripture that edified.

    Is it still the same with Dave? I know he got an MDiv from Westminster; is he still regarded as a good teacher from the pulpit? I know that being on the A team he must have been part of terrible thinking and practice towards local pastors and lowly sheep, but does he still come off like a good teacher? A guy could be a creep to those under him and yet be an intelligent seemingly good preacher. Just wondering.

    Did he, or anybody in higher levels in the happiest place on earth, talk much about prayer and seeking God and dependency on God? Did any of them in their preaching stress the need for God to move and for us to pray? I know the new guy planting in Allentown Pa is really into prayer; I wonder how he got mixed up with this mess.

  12. Sick with worry
    May 7th, 2013 at 11:08 am

    Dave was always the smart one. CJ was the founder and Chief Marketing Officer, but Diamond Dave was the COO that made things happen those last few years.

    CJ was not a good teacher, in my opinion. His jokes and stories were just filler. I do think, however, that with the help of an editor, that his books were decent. Of course, now we know the hypocrisy.

    CJ was used as much by these men as be used them. Without CJ, Dave was nothing but a regular guy. He is smart, but there are smart men everywhere in Philly.

    The new center of SGM is CFC, Cherry Hill, and north.

  13. Argus
    May 7th, 2013 at 11:18 am

    Did he, or anybody in higher levels in the happiest place on earth, talk much about prayer and seeking God and dependency on God? Did any of them in their preaching stress the need for God to move and for us to pray?

    Mahaney is fairly famous for admitting that he isn’t much into prayer and doesn’t pray as he should. He has kinda poked fun at saying grace before eating.

    I can’t imagine raising my family or running my business without prayer, much less trying to run an entire denomination. But look at the mess with SGM and you see what happens when people think knowing the right doctrine about God is the same as walking with God.

  14. Oswald
    May 7th, 2013 at 11:27 am

    Jenn @360 — Thanks for the link to Dave’s message. He mentions at the beginning that this is an old message and I’ve heard it before at CovFel. It’s a good message about going forward not knowing what’s ahead or where you are to go but trusting God who does know what’s ahead and where you are going.
    I have many questions, like why Dave at this church at this time? And is he still part of SGM? even though he left CovFel in disagreement? He casually drops into his message 2 names of current SG pastors in other churches; Paul Buckley and Ari Mangram. Why? Is this just because these guys fit in with the point he was making, or what? Now I’m anxious to see where we see Dave next, and in what capacity. My cynicism and suspicion is at an all-time high.

  15. Jenn Grover
    May 7th, 2013 at 11:57 am

    Oswald – that message fits into the church’s series. Also, Arie was a pastor at (Chesapeake) the Joppa church! He is no longer with SGM. So, who knows why he cited them (I didn’t listen to the message.)I just think it is interesting that Dave arrives not long after his controversial departure from CovFel and not long after a controversial departure of one of the Joppa pastors.

    Maybe it was planned way ahead. Maybe Dave was just filling in. Maybe Dave is job hunting. Who knows?

    Still no post from SGM about the churches that signed the letter of intent.

  16. formersgmer
    May 7th, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    5 years:

    I agree with you that Dave Harvey was the best preacher in the SGM leadership. I think the combination of his seminary education and his own rhetorical gifts made him so. There was a time in the early to mid-1990′s when I thought CJ was getting better as a preacher perhaps because of all of the reformed reading he was doing. As I have mentioned here before one of my favorite messages by CJ was at Celebration 92 on the topic of suffering from the book of Job. I think it was the best message I ever heard from preach. I also have a tape of a sermon CJ gave in 2002 from James 2 on “self-suffiency and the sin of omission”. However, generally speaking, his tendency to try to be funny and glib most the time undecut his preaching skills and despite all of his reading I do not think he really knows how to exegete a passage of scriture. Finally, a word about Larry Tomczak. I thought he was the worst of SGM’s preachers especially near the end of his time in the demomination. At the point it seemed that only used a Psalm as his text and that his message were nothing more than a Zig Ziglar type of motivational speaking. I remember one sermon he gave at Celebration called “Top Trends for the 90′s” it was completely vacuous.

  17. formersgmer
    May 7th, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    Jenn:

    I noticed a few days ago that Arie Mangrum was no longer at the Joppa church when I looked at their website to see if there clues to their leaving or staying. Do you know why Arie resigned?

    As far an announcement from SGM regarding the letters of intent signing, it may be that there were fewer churches than expected to sign the letter and the leadership does not know to put a positive spin on this.

  18. Waiting
    May 7th, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    5 years, I beg to differ with your statement that disp. make everything about Israel. That’s not at all what I’ve heard and read. There has been much discussion and warning about all kinds of issues for decades. Now we’re seeing the changes those issues have made because of our own apathy and desire to be politically correct, (regarding the ones we could have done anything about, of course). Imo, there is a large Christian contingency which is vilifying all things Jewish or Israeli, however. History repeating.

  19. Jenn Grover
    May 7th, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    FormerSGMer: I have no idea why he resigned.

  20. Marie
    May 7th, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    FormerSGMer: Ok I could not help it – I did a web search for Arie. I did not officially meet him while at CovFel a LONG time ago but I always admired him – he and his wife seemed like genuine people.

    His Facebook page has some very nice comments about his last day as an SGM pastor. His description of that day is touching. Looks like this was voluntary on his part, just a guess.

    https://www.facebook.com/arie.mangrum

  21. Marie
    May 7th, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    …and maybe this is where he is now? Picture looks like him….
    http://www.churchatriverside.com/?i=11862&mid=10

    The Church at Riverside, a little southeast of Bel Air in MD.

    This looks like a reasonable set of beliefs, maybe Arie and his wife will experience real freedom at this community:
    http://www.churchatriverside.com/?i=11862&mid=2

  22. Philly Girl
    May 7th, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    OSWALD #364. DH threw AM under the bus and closed his church in Chester, PA. Thought AM was preaching at a non SGM church. Sure hope that’s true. AM was a pastor. Alan Redrup was a pastor. CFC had many yes-men administrators, good orators, but no pastor’s heart for the people. I didn’t listen to DH message. Don’t want to. Please, don’t make me!

  23. Oswald
    May 7th, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    Philly Girl @372 — In the message by Dave linked @360, Dave mentions the closing of the Chester church when he mentions Ari. The closing of that church was before I came to CovFel. A. Morris had a lot to say about that church here quite a while back. I do know some of the folks who were a part of that church and I also remember the applause when it was told that Ari would be sent to the PC and then when he went to the church where he has just resigned. Ari and his wife are highly respected by many at CovFel (or maybe formerly at CFC) My guess (pure speculation) would be that Ari has too much integrity to stay with a SGM church, just MHO.

  24. griefofwisdom
    May 7th, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    “Picture looks like him…”

    Yes, definitely is him, and also this:
    http://www.churchatriverside.com/index.cfm?i=11862&mid=10&id=25325

  25. Wizer
    May 7th, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    Jenn, thanks for sharing about the where-a-bouts of DH this past Sunday but how in the world did you find that? This tells me that indeed DH is not about to leave the business of preaching. After all, he is far and away the best preacher CFC ever had, just being honest, even after all the nonsense. It just angers me that these men move around in Christian circles acting before the body of Christ one way and another way behind the scenes with all their power moves and machinations. If Dave was hurt and if he did the hurting, why is the healing always in secret? Shouldn’t the body know in order to help itself? The Body of Christ is deficient of the necessary ‘vitamins’ for its proper functioning when leaders leave all the problems in one room, the board room.

  26. 5yearsinPDI
    May 7th, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    Thanks to those who replied to my question. Interesting, sad, just plain wierdness.

    I was thinking today that for me, its pretty much over with this SGM letter Kris posted up top. You can try and rationalize away so many things- Brent is bitter, Josh and CLC were hasty and unappreciative, Louisville was a good move financially, Dave needed to step back for a bit, people are rejecting sound doctrine, people are rebellious and gossipy, the internet is just anonymous complainers with no life, AoR did their job well and people on blogs won’t accept it, the three man panel was good guys and people on blogs won’t accept it, everybody is sinful and no church is perfect, blah blah blah, ad nauseum.

    But here we have this nonsense that “we trust that the local churches carefully reviewed any reports of abuse to see that the proper response was made” when they know full well that the responses were not proper. And they have the audacity to claim that SGM “does not control or govern the local churches”, such that Brent had to file a written affadavit that they did indeed control the local churches.

    Anybody on the Gospel Coalition, who knows full well that they used to have apostles and CJ plus his crew ruled over the local churches- and they all know it, Piper, Dever, Duncan, Mohler, etc- knows that they are lying. Lying. I feel like this letter is the final warning from God to all SGM people, and from now on, anybody who stays in has willingly chosen to be lied to and abused. And they know full well that the pastors did not call the cops; the entire first amendment defense is about their right to not call the cops and keep it confidential. Another lie, to claim that they trust churches responded properly.

    I have wanted people to see the light, and I have especially wanted the broader Reformed Community to see the truth about Mahaney and SGM and shepherding error doctrines. I have wanted the young Calvinist noncessationists to realize that SGM is not what it means to be Reformed and Charismatic. But this isn’t doctrine here, it is basic ethics. If people and big dogs still slap their backs and suck up after this letter of lies, it is their choice, but I think people need to leave SGM and confront the lies or face ever increasing spiritual dullness.

  27. 5yearsinPDI
    May 7th, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    Waiting- I saw your reply earlier on my phone.

    I think it is to some degree a case of terminology that is so broad and so varied that you can’t define it anymore. Reformed, charismatic, conservative, evangelical, born again, dispensational……the flavors within each group are quite distinct and you can’t assume anything anymore. My apologies for lumping too many people together unfairly in the category under discussion.

  28. Waiting
    May 7th, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    5 years, thanks for your reply. I agree with your take in 376, about this letter pretty much being “their final answer”.

  29. 28 years gone...
    May 7th, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    Dave hasn’t slowed down. He has launched several business ventures:

    http://www.daveharveys.com/Pages/default.aspx

    http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20100311-LIFE-3110332

    http://www.harvey-cleary.com/about_us_our_board_members.html

  30. Persona
    May 7th, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    It is so strange to hear about Dave Harvey speaking at an SGM church. Truth is certainly stranger than fiction..

  31. Deuteronomy 32:35
    May 7th, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    You all have to be smoking something…DH was the best preacher SGM or CFC ever had? First of all even if it WERE true it wouldn’t serve DH well at this point of his lack of repentance to compliment him in any way…if you think he doesn’t read this blog…well since it talks about him you can bet your sweet bippy he’s all over it…all the ancient history brought up here only serves to keep the mystique they want to perpetrate alive…Bill Patton was and probably still is the best preacher PDI/ SGM ever had…but he drank the “I can’t have an independent thought” juice long ago…Anyone who was capable of independent thought, or having their own mind, was deemed by DH as “not one of our kind of guys”…sadly, like so many crusty old bureaucrats…if you didn’t kiss his keister DH had no use for you…pretty simple process…

  32. Nickname
    May 8th, 2013 at 1:24 am

    Tonight, former kidnap victim Elizabeth Smart appeared on tv. After she was rescued, her mom gave her some advice that really resonated in my spirit, and perhaps applies to some of us here. Something like ‘that man stole 9 months of your life from you. Don’t let him have one more minute.’

    YEAH!! 9 months, 9 years, 90 years, however long and painful it was — but not one more minute. Good advice. Not easy to follow, but a great way to think!

  33. Wizer
    May 8th, 2013 at 2:34 am

    Deuteronomy,
    Perhaps you weren’t referring to my commment about DH having been the best preacher bec. I said CFC not SGM throughout, but no matter. I don’t smoke, thank you, and as you know a person can be judged solely upon content/delivery without being judged upon character. And as we all know OPINIONS are personal and individualistic. Having been at CFC for more than 10 years and left after the debacle, my smokeless opinion remains, for whatever it’s worth and I doubt one bit that DH cares about my side-swiping compliment. He seems to be busy moving on, something that posting here reminds me that I probably need to do, too. If my view of him smacks or hints that I’m somehow still in love with his preaching, for the record, his message is now nothing more to me now than a clanging cymbal.
    With all that said, I having nothing left to say here. Adios, thank you Nickname and Elizabeth Smart.

  34. Breeezey
    May 8th, 2013 at 7:25 am

    5years: Remember what I said about attending festivals and hearing different preachers from all over? Well I believe God gives each person a specific ministry that is a burden to their heart. In going to the festivals I learned the burdens and emphasis from numerous preachers that were at the top of some of the things that God was doing all over the world. From Loren Cunningham of YWAM I learned about world missions, from Walter Martin I learned about cults in our backyard, from Terry Law I learned about smuggling bibles into communist countries, Josh McDowell was all over getting bibles in the Soviet block in the early 90s when the wall fell. I learned about the blood covenant from Malcolm Smith at Jesus 75 and really studied it to learn it in a deeper way afterwards. Winkie Pratney is a youth evangelist and he truly is a theologian and historian. Peter Marshall was preaching about restoring the Christian roots of this country before it became “popular”. Mario Murillo has a burden for the San Francisco/Oakland area. And Dr. Hal Lindsey has been preaching about the Lord’s soon return in this generation for 50 years. For all their faults the vision Larry and CJ had was for the local church. Each of these ministries and many more had an impact on me. For me, my life verse has always been “…always have an answer to every man that asks of the hope that is within you.” So I’ve wanted to read and study them all so I could reach whoever I encountered at the point where they were and deal with their specific issues with well reasoned answers from scripture and history. My “gift” has been to “harmonize” the disparate things God has done and theologies that are taught into a whole. In other words my base is Moral Government with a historical dispensational prophetic bent thrown in because the purposes of God are long range and not short.

    When I look at the long expanse of church history I see where individuals had great effects for good and bad. Some have done great damage to the church. Personally I count Augustine as a person that has done damage because He looked around and saw the there was no Israel yet there were all these promises given to Israel. He then gave them to the church. (Now he may not have been the first to do this but he was the best preacher and most prolific writer of his day.) Augustine’s theology allowed for persecution of the Jews and non-Catholic Christians. If I remember correctly his contemporary John Christostome vehemently disagreed with him. His arguments with Mane and Pelagius hardened him into positions that in some cases were unscriptural. The mistakes of the centuries both before and after Augustine had the long term effect of needing God to use progressive revelation to return doctrines like justification by faith, sanctification, holy living, the baptism in the Holy Spirit, etc, back to the church. Now there is an Israel and the promises God made to the Jews can be fulfilled to the Jews. So now there is an argument in the church about the nation of Israel. Yet the church has been persecuting Jews for 1500 years. God has work to do in the heart of the church towards His covenant people.

    I try to look at the whole and not just at any specific part. So as a teacher of dispensationalism I take the looooong view of history. I look at the purposes of God in the long term as teacher of prophecy. That being said I try to see where one theology falls short of the full purpose of God and where the next one picks up the baton and carries it forward to the full completion of God and His purposes. None of us has it all. No one church or any one ministry. And any one church that thinks it does is lying to themselves. I believe God gives us niches to flow in to complete His purpose for that area in that specific generation. Each generation is different with specific callings and giftings. And God is the one who calls and the one who gives the gifts to fulfill that calling.

  35. Glad i am out
    May 8th, 2013 at 7:32 am

    Deuteronomy 32:35, i agree with you and was thinking the same thing: DH was by far the worst preacher CFC ever had (except for maybe Prater). I considered leaving Cov Fel just because of his preaching. Dry, dull, uninspired. And, yes, just the opposite of Bill Patton.

  36. old timer
    May 8th, 2013 at 7:33 am

    After the events in Cleveland I have to post this song by Johnny Cash—it not only applies to the perps in that horrendous story but also to everyone who fights against God.

    Who treat others in a callous way and disregard which shows their lack of humanity.

    Especially of men who call themselves leaders and who desire to be a mouthpiece for God. Killing the God spark in those to whom God has called His Own. Keeping the beloved children of the Most High in bondage to their perverted and distorted beliefs.

    You can run on for a long time but sooner or later God will cut you down.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Bwfm7-uNS4

  37. Muckraker
    May 8th, 2013 at 8:04 am

    28 yrs. #379 Can you explain…these links are not for the DH formerly of SGM.

  38. 28 years gone...
    May 8th, 2013 at 8:21 am

    Sorry, it was a joke. Tongue in cheek. Everything is such a mystery about everyone who leaves. Didn’t mean to throw anyone off.

    Sometimes a little humor is good for the soul. There is very little to laugh about with SGM.

  39. Diego
    May 8th, 2013 at 8:36 am

    My vote is for Joe Mc Mullen as the best preacher from CFC. Excellent teacher who presented God’s word humbly, not having to fill his sermons with doctorate level wording.

  40. Muckraker
    May 8th, 2013 at 8:38 am

    28 yrs. OK lol.

  41. Oswald
    May 8th, 2013 at 10:05 am

    Joe McMullin was a good preacher, a humble man but, for me, his Philadelphia accent was hard to get past.
    When Joe McMullin left CovFel Dave explained that (my paraphrase) “Joe is not going to the church in Ohio after all. He just can’t see himself in any other area except Philly and maybe at a future time, there will be a church more suited to him”. Case closed!
    After that Joe and family were around for a short while, then gone, never mentioned again. Word got around among the people that he was starting a church with Don Shorey, who had recently left also.
    All that was heard was through gossipy means with added speculation. And the bus continued on.

  42. Diego
    May 8th, 2013 at 10:17 am

    I thought Don gave a good sermon as well during his time at CFC. I understand why many left to go with him and Joe to their church at the time. By then the church did not have the same “feel” as it did meeting at the community center. Grew too big and too corporate.

  43. Somewhereintime
    May 8th, 2013 at 11:33 am

    That is QUITE STRANGE seeing Dave preaching at the Joppa church this past week. Quite strange indeed.

    Is Harvey a good preacher? I think he is OK. I like diving deep in to passages, history, etc. so I enjoyed a lot of what he preached.

    I think though that the ladies liked him more than the men with his general good looks, spiffy clothing, the fashionable black glasses, the perennial 3 day growth of beard and manly demeanor. I saw your eyes light up ladies when he walked in to a room. Don’t even begin to deny it!

    The better question to ask is if he is a good PASTOR! I never sat under him but knew him well. I never had a major beef with him UNTIL he took over for CJ. A man should not be known by what he says, but by his actions. Harvey’s actions were deplorable in the role of SGM President. Absolutely ungodly and deplorable! Repentence is STILL required!

  44. Sick with worry
    May 8th, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    That’s my Diamond Dave!!! Somewhere in time said………”. I saw your eyes light up ladies when he walked in to a room. Don’t even begin to deny it!”

  45. Jenn Grover
    May 8th, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    Somewhere in time – I just choked n my coffee.

    Deut. 32:35 has is pegged. The one thing that is by and large absent from SGM preaching is genuine faith for what is being preached. Many men can get up and provide the correct exegesis and do so in a relatively charming fashion. It is quite another thing to have faith for what is preached, to have the Scripture be meaningful to the preacher in a way that the sermon not only instructs but exhorts the hearer. I have heard two men who can preach like that: Mark Altrogge and Tim Shorey. I have never heard Don Shorey preach, but I have heard similar things said of him.

  46. KMD
    May 8th, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    Some of you may be familiar with the details of this story. I’d be interested in your perspective:
    http://wineandmarble.com/ir-joris-story/
    This blog is by Hannah, whom I believe was formerly a CLC member.
    Here she interviews a young woman who was raped – and when she told her parents at KingsWay about it, they took her to the police station to force her to say that she was lying.

  47. Sick with worry
    May 8th, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    Glad to hear nice things about Tim Shorey. He is the real deal. There was always something genuine about his testimony and how he encouraged people to persevere through trials. He experienced some of his own and he is not your typical “silver spoon SGM smug brat”.

    Yes Jared….. That is you.

    I do wish that he would return to his church. The man is a true pastor. My heart would break if be turned to the dark side.

  48. Philly Girl
    May 8th, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    Where did ‘Diamond Dave’ get his name? Just wondering. We did have to deal with him. Sneaky, little lying man. Power corrupts. Bill and Alan didn’t have a chance when Dave got to CFC. He should have stayed being a mall cop for Macy’s.

  49. Marie
    May 8th, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    28 years….Loved the links….I actually looked them up, and had a very good laugh.

    I LOVED what Diego, Jenn G, Deut 32:35 and SomewhereinTime said about DH.

    Trying to add just one idea: I think that the fact that DH was the only CFC pastor with formal seminary training might have made him look smarter than, perhaps, he really is. For me, stacking Dave’s preaching against seasoned preachers like Chuck Swindoll, Charles Stanley, Joseph Prince would not be fair. I just heard an interesting talk by Prince yesterday that focused on the goodness of God. It had some good historical points in it, and was positive.

    Dave must have come a long way. When I heard that he had replaced Bill Patton, I was surprised. I had always found Dave’s kind of preaching to be dull and formulaic. But I heard him before his seminary training. I had thought that BP was more inspirational when I was there in the late 80′s. I actually though that the church was in danger of losing membership with Dave at the helm. Yes, Philly Girl, it would have been better for him to have stayed a Mall Cop. I find it credible that he has stabbed people in the back.

    And if the people I named leave people flat, I would invite a comparison to Dr. James Boyce, a learned theologian who used to preach at 10th Pres in Philadelphia when he was a alive. Now THERE was a good preacher/teacher/scholar. I am not sure that DH would stack up well against that guy’s preaching, even on his best day.

    http://www.tenth.org/history/boiceindex.htm

    So, yes, I have had my issues with him, and that sort of colors my judgement, I admit that. But I bristle at the thought that he has a reputation for being the best preacher at CFC, when, as far as I know, he was the only one with seminary training, unless Tim Storey had some.

  50. 2tim2:24
    May 8th, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    Thank you for the link to wineandmarble.com, most cathartic reading. It’s definitely worth the time to check it out. Blessings to you, Hannah!

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