Current Page: 3 of 19
Re: Sovereign Grace Ministries
Posted by: Maranatha Trail ()
Date: August 18, 2012 08:14PM


Yesterday, Noel's husband Grizzly received a phone call from Ken Sande's Peacemakers¡± organization. Sovereign Grace Ministries wants to "reconcile" with them.

For some of you out there reading this, that fact is the only answer you need. With Peacemakers involved, you feel that all your questions are now answered and that you can put Noel's story out of your thoughts.

In that way, Sovereign Grace Ministries' decision to involve Sande's organization is a true stroke of genius. Many people - many current Sovereign Grace Ministries members - have written me to share how disturbed they were when they read Noel's story, and many of them have had questions that they wish to ask their Sovereign Grace Ministries leaders. But now, if Sovereign Grace Ministries can point to initiating the whole ¡°peace-making¡± process, and suggest that this story is nobody else's business since it is now being handled as a private "Matthew 18" matter, pastors can effectively shut down any member who has questions about it.

Plus, Sovereign Grace Ministries can now point to the fact that they ¡°initiated¡± this peace-making process, another point apparently in their favor.

Don't get me wrong. I'm glad that Sovereign Grace Ministries finally got around to taking an action - involving Sande and his organization - that apparently acknowledges that they may not have handled Noel¡¯s situation appropriately.

But so many questions remain.

First of all, how many of you out there join me in thinking that what happened to Noel and her family, and how her Sovereign Grace Ministries pastors responded, is so much bigger than the mere individuals involved? If the essential facts of her story are true ¨C and apparently, Sovereign Grace Ministries is not disputing any of these facts, aside from a few insignificant timeline issues ¨C then what Noel has shared with us, horrific though it was for her family personally and privately as the primary victims, is also merely an illustration of so many deeper problems that Sovereign Grace Ministries has on a lot of other levels.

So I think that Sovereign Grace Ministries' move to involve Peacemakers actually raises far more issues than it settles. I have more questions now than ever before - and if you are a current member of a Sovereign Grace church, you should, too.

To start with, Noel and her husband have made it clear that they have moved on and reached a place of personal healing. They say they are ALREADY "at peace¡" with Sovereign Grace Ministries in the broadest sense, in that they are perfectly OK with their current relationship with the pastors who mishandled their situation. They are "at peace" with where they are now.

They have made it clear from the beginning that they are telling their story now - ten years after the fact - only because they want to speak out in a broader and public way against the kinds of abuses that took place in their situation.

So yes, while it would be nice if Noel's former pastors were to apologize to her family for attempting to minimize the crime that was committed against them and for attempting to protect a child rapist, Noel and her husband did not come forward with their story because they were seeking an apology¡­or "peace¡" with Sovereign Grace Ministries.

So my first question is, why is Sovereign Grace Ministries trying to turn this back into a personal issue, an issue about "peace" between the specific people involved?

In so doing, it seems like Sovereign Grace Ministries is attempting to redefine the terms and still seek to be the authority in charge, even as they once again minimize Noel's situation by boiling it down to just the initial small group of individuals involved.

Why must Sovereign Grace Ministries try to assume the superior position and insinuate that THEY have more accurate knowledge about what is going on in Noel's and her husband's hearts? Why can't Sovereign Grace Ministries just take Noel and Grizzly at their word and accept what they say about where they are with respect to ¡±peace¡±? Wouldn't that demonstrate more true repentance and humility?

Why not just meet Noel and her husband on THEIR terms? Why institute a "peace-making" process, when Noel and her husband have already expressed no need for ¡°peace¡± (as they believe they have already ARRIVED at "peace")? Why not instead first address the real issues that Noel's story raises?

Secondly, if Sovereign Grace Ministries is truly interested in pursuing "peace" with Noel and her husband, are Sovereign Grace Ministries leaders going to quit minimizing what happened and actually deal with the root causes - root causes that are organization-wide - C that led to the pastors' really strange and terrible responses to a clear case of child sex abuse?

For instance, in this "peace-making¡" process, is Sovereign Grace Ministries going to address the strange way that they downplayed the sins of the criminal and instead focused on the suspected sins of the victims? Is Sovereign Grace Ministries going to address its deeply held and organization-wide tendency to deflect real concerns and criticisms by turning the conversation around so that the person pointing out the concerns or making the criticisms then finds himself suddenly talking about his OWN possible sins?

Will a "peace-making" process involve Sovereign Grace Ministries "opening the vaults" and now disclosing just how many other victims of sexual abuse have been handled in the exact same way as Noel and her family were treated? Will they go back and consult all the copious records they keep on their members and refresh their memories as to all the other similar cases, and then make a clean breast of what they¡¯ve done?

Will the "peace-making" process include changing their policies about reporting sexual abuse to the appropriate civil authorities? Whether or not they can legally take cover behind some sort of "pastor-parishioner privilege" (similar to attorney-client privilege), will they continue to seek protection under such a "privilege," or will they now report cases of molestation to Child Protective Services, as anyone else in good conscience would, EVEN IF the perpetrators happen to be people with very visible connections to Sovereign Grace Ministries?

Will the "peace-making" process include a complete overhaul of Sovereign Grace Ministries' deep-seated sense of superiority? A key piece of how Noel's situation was mishandled and a key reason why a lot of other situations, situations that have not yet been publicized, have been mishandled is Sovereign Grace Ministries' belief in dealing with all problems "in house." Noel's pastors appear to have been laboring under the assumption that as the perpetrator's "spiritual authorities," THEY were better equipped to help him deal with his problems than any outside agency - even the LAW. Despite the fact that the Bible tells us clearly in many places to honor the laws of our land, Sovereign Grace Ministries seems to have a policy in place that goes out of its way to keep a lid on the problems that could embarrass them as an organization, EVEN WHEN those problems involve sex crimes that are in almost all other situations required by law to be reported to the appropriate state agency.

Also, despite the fact that most Sovereign Grace Ministries pastors have scant training in the area of mental health issues, Sovereign Grace Ministries teaches its pastors that their advice and counsel is far superior to that of professional psychologists, even Christian psychologists.

Will "making peace" with Noel include any sort of repentance or change on this position?

Moreover, will the ¡°peace-making¡± process include openness and repentance about all the people whom Sovereign Grace Ministries may have endangered by their practices of harboring known sex offenders without forcing them to seek treatment? Will Sovereign Grace Ministries notify every parent of every child who was exposed to known child molesters because Sovereign Grace Ministries sought to demonstrate its "forgiveness" by allowing those molesters to work in children's ministry?

I have additional questions, too, that aren't specifically related to what might occur in the "peace-making" process in Noel's situation.

I also have questions about what Sovereign Grace Ministries will now teach about its pastors' "authority."

An attitude pervasive among Sovereign Grace Ministries members is that their pastors have the final word. We saw this in operation even with respect to Noel's story. The general response among a lot of Sovereign Grace Ministries members, after reading Noel's story, was to assure themselves (and anyone else) that the pastors probably had "good reasons" for behaving in the way they did. Many of these Sovereign Grace Ministries members did ask their pastors questions about Noel's story, but they did so with this assumption (an assumption that seems really crazy to an outsider) that if they would just ask the pastors involved what happened, those pastors would tell them the full and complete truth - and all would be well.

(By the way ¨C to all you Sovereign Grace Ministries members who think this way ¨C let me tell you, it is HIGHLY ILLOGICAL to depend solely upon the word of a person suspected of lying and dissembling and covering up ­ESPECIALLY when asking said person IF they lied and dissembled and covered up. If the person did lie, why would you assume that they'd suddenly come clean with you about it, just because you ask them?)

Is Sovereign Grace Ministries going to acknowledge that no human being is infallible in this way? That despite believing themselves to have "apostolic authority" over their people, and - onsequently - despite believing themselves to have supreme judgment over all matters involving their church members, there is still the potential for Sovereign Grace Ministries pastors to make grave mistakes?

Will they now actively seek to undo nearly 30 years of teaching on this matter? Will they now seek to re-educate people not to assume that the "buck always stops" with their pastors? Will they put procedures and policies in place to address the very real possibility that pastors can (and do!) make mistakes, DO sometimes SIN AGAINST the members entrusted into their care? Will they make provisions for members to seek mediation for these sorts of situations?

Will they ditch the concept ¨C rooted in the old 1980s "Shepherding Movement" - of teaching members that it is normal and expected for them to have their pastors weigh in on all important decisions? Will they can the idea that pastors have the authority to, for instance, "release" a family to move to another state, or to "counsel against¡" such a move?

I mean, if Sovereign Grace Ministries pastors' judgment can be so poor in situations like Noel's - situations that would seem like "no-brainers" to normal people - how reliable can their discernment actually be on LESS OBVIOUS matters?

Closely related to that is this question: will they institute a ministry-wide overhaul of their practice of ferreting out vague "sins" such as "the fear of man" and "pride" and "arrogance" and instead first deal with the really BIG sins that actually put children at risk? Again, if Sovereign Grace Ministries pastors can "miss it" in such a big-time way when a terrible crime - a sin that they can SEE - crosses their path, why would anyone trust a pastor's assessment about one's private and personal "sin issues" that CANNOT be seen?

And finally, will Sovereign Grace Ministries initiate the peace-making process with others now? Many folks have shared their stories here. Most of those stories do not involve anything potentially illegal, such as seeking to cover up child molestation. But nonetheless, Sovereign Grace Ministries has hurt a lot of people through its harsh, authoritarian ways over the years. Will Sovereign Grace Ministries now seek to "make peace" with all those folks?

Or do they only do this with the cases that have legal ramifications, the cases that could truly come back to embarrass them in the eyes of the rest of the Reformed Christian world whose opinion is so valuable to them?

SGM Survivors

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Sovereign Grace Ministries
Posted by: Maranatha Trail ()
Date: August 20, 2012 11:09AM


"I was in C.J. Mahaney’s home church (Covenant Life Church, nee Gathering of Believers 1978) from 1981-2000, and in its predecessor teaching-meeting, so maybe I can add something to this discussion.

Covenant Life Church grew out of a full-blown charismatic teaching ministry called TAG (Take and Give) in the D.C. area, which ran from the mid-to-late 1970s. C.J. Mahaney and Larry Tomczak became the young teachers, as Take and Give outgrew Lydia Little’s living room and moved from one school auditorium to another before maxing-out at over 2,000 participants & finding its Tuesday-night home at Christ Church on Mass. Ave. in Washington, DC.

Mahaney was a former high-school class clown, pothead and college dropout who was radically saved after being busted for possession of illegal substances. Tomczak, from an industrial immigrant family in Cleveland, had come to Washington DC with plans to become an AFL-CIO labor organizer. However, his life was changed after stumbling into a black church and being confronted about his spiritual condition by an elderly man.

At TAG there was enthusiastic worship, a wide mix of people ranging from high-school hangers-on to all denominations of the churched, including Catholics (I saw some dancing nuns back in those days of joyful worship). The Holy Spirit was present and did baptisms, healings and deliverances. There was excitement and tons of youthful energy. The centerpiece was the teaching, however, which was full of humor but focused on turning scriptural truth into real-life, everyday practice.

Covenant Life Church was started because Mahaney and Tomczak were being given truths by the Lord that are now taken for granted in much of US Christendom: emphases on belonging to and ministering through a local church of committed believers; small groups as the core unit of the church; family-oriented focus including practical teaching of the Christian roles of husband, wife and child; personal holiness and integrity among leaders and laity; discipleship and development of spiritual giftings, as pastors train the members to do the work of ministry, rather than doing everything themselves. The existing churches had no such vision, so a teaching fellowship turned into a church.

Covenant Life ChurchLC and Terry Virgo’s New Frontiers International have been close friends since those early days, with leaders visiting one another’s churches and conferences, and input from the late Arthur Wallis another strong influence on both streams.

As Covenant Life Church became successful in the ’80s at pursuing its vision, cassette tapes spread Mahaney and Tomczak’s teaching literally around the world. People began coming to Maryland from around the USA to join Covenant Life Church, which grew from a few hundred in the early 80s to over 2,000 around the year 2000. In the mid-to-late 80s, Covenant Life Church started planting churches in other cities (Tomczak’s Cleveland being the first), and some churches began joining the church-planting ministry, called People of Destiny International (PDI, now Sovereign Grace Ministries).

During this time, Covenant Life Church and PDI began writing their own worship songs, filled with scripture-based themes, to reflect the movement’s vision and understanding of the gospel. Though New Frontiers picked up on these songs, until just the last few years the rich & creative PDI music has been a hidden jewel.

The transition from charismatic to Reformed was gradual but real, as Mahaney and the PDI leadership (Tomczak, Brent Detwiler, Steve Shank and others who were pastoring PDI churches) continued to develop their theology. Over the years, PDI rejected the prosperity gospel, the word-faith gospel, the therapeutic-faith gospel and other fads that tended to diminish the authority and holiness of God, the inherently sinful nature of man, and the individual’s responsibility for his own actions and response to the gospel. By the early 90s, however, the Reformed element was beginning to kick in, with more emphasis on the Puritans’ and Jonathan Edwards’ teachings, and a sudden emphasis on the Puritan teaching of “indwelling sin” rather than a victorious, power-filled faith which had previously shaped the culture.

Also during this time, Covenant Life Church became not only the home of the movement, but also the home of a new PDI pastors school to train pastors for current and future PDI churches. PDI also began publishing People of Destiny (now Sovereign Grace) magazine, and a series of small books on discipleship, small groups, and other topics. These publications got the movement’s ideas known to even more people, leading to more growth in the PDI churches and more established churches’ joining the movement.

As it grew, PDI’s focus seemed always to be on the utterly practical, rather than on impressing anyone outside the movement. When questions needed to be answered regarding how to build a church building, how to organize children’s ministry, etc., Covenant Life Church pastors would visit other churches in other movements (Cho in Korea, Vineyard in Anaheim, CA, etc) to learn from the successful. It seemed that 20 years spent in obscurity, working out their message and methodology, made it possible to emerge in the last few years as something that surprised many people.

In the 90s came a chapter that I wonder if Sovereign Grace would even like to talk about today. In 1994, C.J. Mahaney visited a New Frontiers-related church in Missouri, which Terry Virgo was overseeing personally following a pastoral replacement. As Mahaney began to preach a sober message on the sad ending of Solomon’s reign, “holy laughter” began to break out in the church. Mahaney could no longer continue speaking, as the entire congregation was hit with the same renewal that currently was underway in Toronto, and being dispensed by Rodney Howard-Browne. The renewal affected both NFI and PDI, and throughout 1994 renewal — what PDI called “a time of refreshing” — held sway at Covenant Life Church and other PDI churches. The high-water mark came at the Memorial Day 1995 Celebration conference in Indiana, PA (theme “Passion for His Presence”). In addition to prolonged periods of worship before the main evening meetings — punctuated by powerful prophetic songs — personal ministry was done after one evening meeting. As at Toronto or other renewal spots, the Holy Spirit came in power, and bodies were on the floor by the hundreds as prayer ministry produced laughter, tears, shaking in most of those receiving prayer (including myself).

Though there was never any official public pronouncement given, it appeared that PDI began distancing itself from the Toronto-associated renewal after John Wimber expelled TAVC from the Vineyard in December 1995. While in 1994 and 1995 Mahaney was defending the renewal from its critics, including Hank Hanegraff, within a couple of years a PDI pastor, Craig Cabaniss, stated in a public debate that PDI had chosen “Geneva” (i.e., the Reformation) over “Toronto” (the current renewal/revival, and all the negative connotations associated with it).

By 2000, when I left Covenant Life Church for a smaller church that was more open to the ongoing move of the Holy Spirit, any participation in the 90s renewal had been officially forgotten, and there was a total emphasis on the Cross of Christ, the writings of C.H. Spurgeon, and on identifying and rooting out “indwelling sin” in each member. There was, to me, an unhealthy, guilt-producing, emotional reminder, nearly every week, of how awful our sins were that nailed Christ to the cross. What was unhealthy, to me, was that we were always left at the cross, whereas the Bible clearly teaches that Jesus rose again (having conquered death and sin) and now sits at the right hand of God — full of authority which he now shares with redeemed men and women for whom sin is not a continuing stumbling block, but something that should be less and less frequent in a maturing believer’s life.

So like the Vineyard, PDI (renamed Sovereign Grace early in the 2000s — after co-founder Larry Tomczak had been forced from leadership in a dispute over whether he had properly overseen his family) had been established following one charismatic renewal, but had then gone on to reject the following charismatic renewal, instead turning back to a 500-year-old foundation in the Reformation.

Yet PDI/SGM continues to want it both ways: to have charismatic “distinctives” such as believing in the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and charismatic-style worship, while embracing Reformed theology and rejecting the charismatic wing of US Christianity. Today, SGM identifies with Baptist pastor and author John Piper (who, BTW, believes the gifts of the Spirit are for today), and anti-charismatic John MacArthur, while still maintaining contacts with Virgo’s NFI (which has maintained more openness to Toronto-associated signs-and-wonders ministry), and having nothing to do with any ministry clearly recognized as charismatic.

All this to say that C.J. Mahaney has not suddenly become a “reformed charismatic.” What *is* sudden is the Sovereign Grace Ministries movement’s sudden appearance on the “radar screen” of the church, now that his and his wife’s books, plus those of grafted-in Joshua Harris, have become Christian bestsellers. In addition, areas in which PDI/SGM were once too out-there for many (local-church & small-group emphasis) are now popular, and Sovereign Grace Ministries has over 20 years of experience to share.

What’s interesting to me is that in rejecting the Toronto-Brownsville style of renewal, PDI/SGM led to the birth of other very successful ministries. Lou Engle and Che Ahn, now leaders at Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena and other related ministries, were both part of Take and Give and Covenant Life Church from the earliest days. They moved to Pasadena after Ahn had a dream in which a black man called him to California, much like Paul’s dream that led him to Macedonia. Ahn started a PDI church there but was eventually forced out of the movement — events that Ahn refers to obliquely in his 1998 book, INTO THE FIRE. Ahn and Engle continued to minister in the LA area, however, and when the 90s renewal hit the Vineyard churches, both were radically changed. Locating Harvest Rock Church at Mott Auditorium in Pasadena allowed Ahn to welcome the Toronto and Brownsville streams to California, and HRC hosted a number of Catch the Fire conferences since the late 1990s. Both men went on to found The Call and related youth/revival movements, including a new prayer-based ministry in Washington DC focused on social justice.

Meanwhile, after Tomczak chose to break with PDI rather than continue submitting to a potentially never-ending period of correction, he was welcomed at Brownsville AG and became a member of the teaching staff at their revival school of ministry. He now pastors Christ the King church in Atlanta, and has published books that explore themes he has been advancing since the 1980s — divine appointments and being a spiritual pioneer."

[ Note: Larry Tomczak has since moved to Nashville to plant churches with Rice Broocks, cofounder of Every Nation / Morning Star, former president of Every Nation, pastor of Bethel World Outreach, and former vice president of Maranatha Campus Ministries. ]

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Sovereign Grace Ministries
Posted by: Maranatha Trail ()
Date: August 20, 2012 11:40AM


I was a senior pastor in the DC area of a church that willingly submitted to PDI (now SGM) to be an “adopted” church. We got the “short straw” and Brent Detwiler became our “apostle.”

At the time I was leading the church and its building program and Brent left me alone to get our building completed (for nearly two years). Two weeks after we dedicated the building in 1989, Brent, Mickey Connolly, and two other leaders I had discipled, met with me in my office and told me I was proud, unteachable, self-centered, contentious, and unqualified to lead the church that I had founded 14 years before.

I never denied those accusations were from time to time true in my life, but that is not who I was. I had willingly submitted myself to accountability to the brothers, and like any committed Christian was working out my faith with fear and trembling.

Nevertheless, they gave me two weeks to find a job and hit the road. (That was modified later because my father died inside the two weeks, which gave them a little time to reconsider and have “pity” on me.) Their plan for “restoration” was for me to become the church janitor and handyman at a reduced salary and submit to Mickey Connolly as my pastor and continued input from Brent Detwiler.

Somehow I hung in there (in a miserable depressed, thought of suicide, state) for nearly a year. One highlight I remember, after being labeled as a “proud” man, Brent Detwiler stood before my church and told them that the sin of pride was worse than the sin of adultery (I wanted to melt into the floor). Too many other details to share of all the isolation, abuse, “curses” and guilt trips Brent and Mickey laid on me during that time. Countless nightmares of church meetings with Brent and Mickey (and other Sovereign Grace Ministries people) rejecting and ridiculing me; I lost count of the times I woke up screaming and crying for God’s mercy (lasted weekly for more than two years)!

At first I thought they really loved me and wanted to help me overcome the sins and weaknesses in my life. I willingly submitted to their role as “Holy Spirit” in my live. I made no waves in the local church. I rocked no boats. I willingly submitted to excommunication from a church full of people I had led to the Lord and fathered in the faith. I would soon found out I had been nearly mortally wounded by “friendly fire!”

Why? Because the apostle, Brent Detwiler, knew what was best for me and my church. While I was working myself to exhaustion finishing a church building and leading the church, he was slowly and skillfully winning the hearts of Mickey (my assistant pastor at the time) and my other leaders. He adeptly convinced them I was unworthy and unqualified to lead the church and must step down. He made a pronouncement over me one day that I should have NEVER been a pastor (even though I had been ordained 17 years before and had seen the success and blessings of God on my ministry). Brent Detwiler knew best though and I was thrown away.

I have too many details to bore all of you with. Suffice it to say, Brent’s exposure of abuse, legalism, and impersonating the Holy Spirit is 20 years too late in coming.

I suppose some of you think that all the other leaders in Sovereign Grace Minstries were oblivious to his ungodly behavior over all these years. I suppose Mickey never saw these ungodly traits over the last 22 years of interaction. I appealed to every leader in existence 20 years ago and they ALL (except Larry Tomczak) turned deaf ears to my plight. If it had not been for Larry and Doris, my wife and I would have surely been spiritually shipwrecked.

By the way, they used the same “playbook” to get rid of Larry Tomczak that they used on me. Tell a man of God that he is proud, unteachable, and contentious — then no matter what he does or says in regards to explanation or defense — he fulfills their diagnosis and proves their point. Once diagnosed you can NEVER be good enough again!

Yes, all the “apostles” including C.J. Mahaney, Steve, Gene, etc. have known for years who the real Brent Detwiler was and is, and they obviously covered it up and turned a deaf ear to the many complaints. How could that be? Only God knows for sure, but maybe it is because they did not find anything wrong with the way Brent conducted himself. Maybe it was the way they conducted themselves, too. Maybe it was the way they believed God would have them treat people. Maybe they were sincerely trying to love and lead the church according to their interpretation of the Word. Maybe they really believed that they are God’s gift (of the Holy Spirit) to all those under their care.

I cannot judge their hearts or their motives, but I can judge what they did to me and my family, and MANY others I have known through the years, and what I read they have continued to do to so many of you who post on the SGM Survivors and SGM Refuge forums. They have left many, many precious people dead and dying in the trenches through their misguided and misdirected “friendly fire!”

May God have mercy on them and those they have wounded! I believe the church would be better off if the whole lot would resign tomorrow and the doors of their “churches” would close for GOOD!

Yes, I still love the Lord and am walking with Him, but I do walk with a limp.


WHY did I turn everything over to PDI/SGM in 1989. (no short explanation) First, you must understand there was not 20 years of documented abuse and scandals involving the “A” Team. I had been friends with most of the leaders of TAG (“Take and Give” ministries – the forerunner of “Gathering of Believers” and “People of Destiny” (PDI) for more than 10 years.) We loved God and each other and saw a need for renewal in the church with authentic Christianity that promoted committed relationships and accountability with the Lord and one another. We had very similar visions. There was sincere mutual respect for each other and our ministries.

Within that context, Larry Tomczak and C.J. Mahaney were highly esteemed and respected in the DC area among the young, up and coming church leaders. They offered a fresh voice of what the church was all about and the need for a “community of believers” built together, not just a big pile of “stones” in the same place. I didn’t even know Brent Detwiler when I went to Larry Tomczak and C.J. Mahaney and asked them to consider allowing myself and the church I had founded 12 years before to become a part of PDI. Brent was a relatively new face in the DC area.

I had thought (because of my lengthy relationship with Larry Tomczak) that he would be the “apostle” that would work with us. Things would no doubt have turned out very differently, but it was not to be. Brent Detwiler got the assignment in 1987 and went to work undermining the loyalties of my leaders.

I had brought Mickey Connolly into full-time ministry a few years earlier in 1984 as my assistant pastor. We shared the ministry and were like brothers – before Brent Detwiler. I was too busy in 1987 through 1989 building our new church facility to notice what was happening behind the scenes. By the time they set me down and told me I “no longer qualified to be their pastor and lead the church,” it was too late – Brent was in control. The men that were my closest friends saw in Brent the new order. I no longer had their ears or hearts. Brent had convinced them I was “unworthy” and they needed a new leader. I think they sincerely thought they were trying to help me and do what was right – thus my handle – “FriendlyFire.” Mickey was tapped and accepted the call of Brent to take over.

Could I have fought for the church I founded and had led for 14 years? Was I still the spiritual “father” of the church? Did I have a right to stay and pastor my spiritual children? YES, to all of those questions. BUT, I really felt the Lord showed me that if I made a claim to my fatherhood to this church, it would be destroyed and the sheep would be scattered. (the Solomon story about the two women who laid claim to the same baby inspired me to let the “baby” live, even if it were in the possession of an imposter)

That all probably sounds a little silly and naive now, but it helped me release the church without killing it off. The church went on to be re-indoctrinated in Brent’s brand of Calvinism/Reformedism.

After all these years and after reading all the junk that has taken place as a result of these misguided “Godplayers,” I sometimes wish I had gone ahead and blown the whole thing up – the lesser of evils.

I wasn’t “dazzled” by anyone, it was a whole different era, it was the beginning of the sorrows so many of you have shared on. There was no reason to be skeptical or to believe the worst in those days.

And, YES, – On the Healing Journey – I was the founding pastor of Solid Rock Church and had been close to Benny in Fairfax – BEFORE he got the axe!

FYI – the impact of my experience with Brent, Mickey, CJ and others, was so devastating I was never able (after 17 years of full-time ministry) to get back into full time ministry or pastoring again. Needless to say it has given me much more time to pastor my wife and family of six children, for which I am grateful.

In the last few weeks (since discovering the SGM Survivors and SGM Refuge forums), I have been thinking new thoughts. Thoughts that make me grateful I got out (even though not by choice) when I did; so my family and I did not have to grow up with the toxic influences so many have endured over the last 20 years. That is a totally different perspective for me.

To all who have expressed prayers, empathy, and hugs – THANKS – it means much, even after all these years! Who knows, maybe the limp can be healed, too! (sorry for the lack of brevity)


This is why when I appealed to the “A” team about Brent Detwiler’s abuse 20 years ago, nothing was done except to say, I had an attitude problem, a pride problem, I wasn’t thankful enough for them kicking the crap out of me, etc. etc. The ones on the “inside” are protected at any cost. But if you question too many ridiculous decisions, appear a little too negative about the party line, or don’t swallow all the new doctrines coming down the line……. suddenly you have serious issues and must be dealt with!

“Only suspicions about BB at Solid Rock. No facts. Like all of us, he had his issues, so they moved on to the next young inexperienced leader they could fully control! I remember once when after many years I got up the nerve (when BB, was pastor – he was one of my former “disciples” and elders – before Brent Detwiler) to go back and attend a service at Solid Rock. It was extremely surreal. BB recognized me in the service and made a bland statement about how I had played a “role” in getting the church started a dozen or so years before. When I stood for recognition, the congregation (still primarily made up of my spiritual children and their children) broke out into a huge standing ovation that seemed to go on for way too long.

It was a “healing” moment from all the rejection, berating, and condemnation Brent and Mickey had heaped on me a dozen years before. There I stood in the middle of the building I had built, in the middle of the congregation I had by God’s grace raised up…and they were affirming me…after all those years.

I wept and wept. After the service an elderly gentlemen who knew me well and had been a close friend in yesteryears, came to me and said in a low voice: “I know what BB said about your “role” in starting the church. We know the fact is there would not be a church here if it had not been for you.” Then he gave me a big hug. After several such “affirmings” from past congregants I left feeling better than in years about who I was and the “fruit” of my past labors.

Short lived though it was to be. Not long after returning to my home I got a letter from BB telling me how full my life was with unrepentant sin. He picked up where Brent and Mickey left off telling me how full of pride and sin my life was and how I could not come back to the church anymore to visit, unless I repented. To say the least, I was again devastated … after once again being emotionally assassinated. I guess it was too much for BB to see all that love and affirmation going out to a “marked” man who had been rejected by the apostles.


"Friendly Fire, I had the misfortune or fortune (depending on how you look at it) to sit under Brent Detwiler for years at Crossway. I got out just after the plant. I never was a big fan of his approach to life or ministry and I have sinfully rejoiced in his fall from grace. The more tilting at windmills he does the more I am convinced he’s already lost it or well on his way. I have solid knowledge of damage done during his reign of destruction and in those regards he remains unrepentant. However, he’s a brother in Christ and I’m going to try to bless him in some small way. It’s really hard because the larger part of me wants to pull up a lawn chair, grab a six pack and laugh while I watch Rome burn. My wife thinks I am out of my mind as does my good friend who was burnt to a crisp by Brent on the plant."

"We were there when “Friendly Fire” got replaced by Brent Detwiler. I remember that day we were all told our pastor was going to be removed. “Friendly Fire” was going to be set down due to pride and replaced with Mickey Connolly -- a person who many of us saw as “full of himself”. We were under the impression this would be for a time. Had we all been given the truth and the total truth, I believe many of us would have left SRC that very night or possibly thrown Brent and his “robots” out the door."

“Friendly Fire, Like you, our PDI nightmare was twenty some odd years ago and Brent was a pivotal player. It took many years for us to recover and we were not in nearly as high a position as you were, so we didn’t have as much to lose. Still, it was a gut-wrenching trial. Like you, we tried to illuminate the errors we saw by sending materials on spiritual abuse to everyone in a position of authority locally and nationally. We sent the materials anonymously, frankly out of fear, so we weren’t expecting a direct response, but we got one from Brent, who tried to send the materials back. I am joyfully walking with the Lord these days and I am well, but I can understand that ”limp” you speak of. For me the limp is a good thing, an ever present reminder that I am in New Covenant Christianity where the priesthood of every believer is firmly in place. Any time a man tries to step between me and the Lord, taking Jesus’ place as mediator, that little ache helps me to see it quickly and end it. Still, I will be praying for Brent and his family. The Lord disciplines those He loves. I pray that the discipline Brent receives in this season will truly be from the Lord’s heart.”

“Brent told my husband and I when we questioned him that we did not “understand the doctrine of sin” ( I later learned from the Lord that we did not understand the doctrine of GRACE). That was bad enough, but to question your salvation? To deny it? What man can do that? What man knows your heart?”

“Brent, to me, is like a Cold-War Communist leader who defects to the West -- not because he’s turned against Communism, but because he’s been purged from leadership by those he accuses of straying from the true path of Marx, Engels and Lenin.”

“Bridget asked what reason Brent gives for the failure of the Mooresville church plant. I gather from “Part 4 -- the Untold Story (Incomplete)” and point #7 under “The Ethical Demise of Sovereign Grace Ministries (Part 2)” that he blames a number of people (CJ, Dave H, Bob K, Gene E), etc. for conspiring to remove him, which quickly brought about the demise of the church. I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen any other explanation from him.”

“I was a member of CrossWay at the time, and we were told a little bit, but not much about what was going on in Mooresville. We found out later from several individuals who were in the Mville church that they were really in the dark and had no idea what was going on. Can you say shell-shocked? So Brent was removed, and then the question was what to do. Bring in a new pastor from somewhere else or dissolve the church? There was discussion about whether to send both Jim Hawkins and Mike Seaver (CrossWay pastors at the time; later to plant the church in Summerville, SC) to take over as pastors. CrossWay decided that it would not be a good idea to send Hawkins and Seaver, so the church was shut down. The people in the Mooresville church apparently didn’t really have any say in the matter, which generated a lot of resentment, as you can imagine. A lot of really messed up people returned to CrossWay. Some did not. Some who went back to CrossWay left within a short time, and a few remain to this day.”

“As I’ve said before, it’s amazing that both Mickey and Brent were under the same roof for so many years…two STRONG personalities. Brent was the blatant, obvious “legalist” and Mickey was the personable, manipulative “legalist.” At least you knew where Brent stood and what he was…”what you saw was what you got.” Mickey was deceptive and manipulative, masking his “evil” behind his big warm smile and charismatic personality…MUCH, MUCH MORE dangerous. And Rick Malament…How has Larry Malament survived all these years under the same roof with Mickey and Brent? I always felt Larry was a strong personality. No offense, but I thought he was arrogant, legalistic, and judgmental, too. Sorry, just stating my personal observation of Larry.”

“The Mooresville church plant that Brent led was a text book example of the failings of their SGM belief system…not just practice. In fact, I have never seen such a clear example of a law based system in action across the leadership team and see it utterly fail…its like it was “pre-destined” to fail so that God could show up and turn on the light of his love to quite a few people.”


“As for Brent having to look for other work, a friend of mine in the Charlotte church told me he is only going to be out temporarily. He may not have to go through the process of looking for work in the private sector. Unfortunately, for many that Brent let go from their positions, that was not the case.”

"Brent’s job of exposing sgm’s problems is now over. There is now an abundance of publicly documented info for anyone interested to educate themselves. I am thankful that he was the whistleblower, and do acknowledge that it took bravery and subjected his family to financial and relational strain. However, this story is totally played out. His continued persistence to spend countless hours blogging and emailing, continuing to try to achieve the result or vindication or reformation that he desires, is now quite obviously a lost cause.”

“And I am sorry, but thus nonsense that he can’t find a job at his age is ridiculous. Teach at a seminary, get a job as a pastor in a different church and denomination, gather your loyal friends and followers and plant your own church, be a high school teacher at a local Christian school, start your own pastors college if you love doing that so much, start a lawn mowing business, get a loan and buy a franchise… I know the economy is tough, but America is still the land of the most opportunities in the world, and the most upward mobility, particularly for a white educated, intelligent, able bodied male.”

“I am a missionary overseas and i work with people who are really, actually in need financially. (like they work 70+ hours a week to feed their families, and still can only eat meat once a month) To support a well educated, able man, in the most prosperous nation in the world, quite literally the land of opportunity, to continue to obsess on the internet over this sinking ship of sgm and batter its leaders with absurd quantities of email communication at the expense of his own families’ financial well being… is in my opinion completely irresponsible."

“There is no excuse for being unemployed for three years and he is not intitled to financial support from the Christian community as Biblically that is reserved for widows and orphans in distress, not able-bodied adult men that have been focused on something other than supporting their family for much too long. Get a job Brent, work your SGM project (which will fail) as a part time project.”


From: Alicia
Sent: Monday, August 06, 2012 10:01 AM
To: Brent Detwiler
Subject: The Ethical Demise of SGM (Part 1)

Brent, do not send us any further communications in any way to us or our family. Do not write us back and tell us how you are only sending this out of love and concern for our souls, your actions speak otherwise. I’m sorry but I do not respect the way nor the means you continue to attempt to bring down SGM and CWCC. Brent from my vantage point you are in a very sad place. I find it very hard to believed that you actually think that your actions are pleasing to God. I am stating again, do not send us any further communications in any way to us or our family. Do not write us back, remove our email from your arsenal.

From: Brent Detwiler
Sent: Thursday, August 09, 2012 12:14 PM
To: Alicia
Subject: RE: The Ethical Demise of SGM (Part 1)

I think of you and Bob fondly. You are fine servants of the Lord and I sincerely appreciate all your contributions to CrossWay Community Church over the years. I’m sorry I can’t oblige. I have a higher obligation. The principle of Ezekiel 3:16-20 applies to me. I am not the watchman of SGM but I am a watchman. Before the Lord I am endeavoring to be faithful to call C.J., Mickey and other SGM leaders to repentance in this time of discipline. I don’t imply by using this verse that C.J. or anyone else will die. I do, however, have an obligation before God to warn you and others about the on-going sin and seriousness of the situation. You can ignore this warning but then you are accountable to God for that decision and I am not guilty before the Lord for being complacence ... You’ll be receiving “The Ethical Demise of SGM (Part 2).” I mean no disrespect. I am not endeavoring to provoke you. But I am providing you a biblical warning and I am providing you rock solid evidence. You’d be wise to read all I have written. See Concluding Remarks, pages 160-163 and especially footnote 364.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Sovereign Grace Ministries
Posted by: Maranatha Trail ()
Date: August 20, 2012 01:09PM


“CJ said he'd heard enough about my situation already from his "men" that he'd known, I believe he said, for 17 years. (These were his brothers-in-law, Gary and Grant). He included a long list of accusations about me that stunned me, and included telling me that he didn't want his men to waste their time on people like me. They had enough other people that really needed their care…

…When I told him that I wanted to discuss his dismissal of me from Covenant Life Church in 1994, he said very "sweetly", "Joyce I never dismissed you. I would never do anything like that. (I do have witnesses and letters, that he did dismiss me, if anyone would like to see them, which, so far, everyone has refused.) I told him that he had dismissed me, which he kept denying, as my daughter stood there with tears rolling down her cheeks. When I asked her later why she was crying, she said, "Because I knew he was lying." This is a child who knew very little about the situation, but, I believe, discerned in her spirit that CJ was lying…

…Almost all I was told during this time, if not all, before I was dismissed, was lies, and I was pretty convinced that those the leaders were claiming had said these things about me, would never say them in front of me as they knew they weren't true. I have my doubts that most if any of what I was told was ever said by the ones they said were saying it. The leaders kept refusing to allow me to meet with the ones they claimed were saying these things. They wouldn't even let me call them by phone in the leaders' presence. They did say they'd ask so and so, or so and so, just not the one they said was saying it, and I think I know why…

…I was told by Bob Kauflin that if I brought any witnesses, they would cancel the meeting (I have that in writing also- is this another Bible/Peacemaker principle? If they'd been right in what they'd done to me, why would they have had such a fear of my bringing witnesses?)…

…I am not at all surprised that Sovereign Grace Ministries is moving far from the DC area, as the truth has started to be shared a lot at Covenant Life Church and in the DC area, and I believe CJ knows it would be quite hard to start a church here where people are starting to hear about what he's really been doing…

…I suspect CJ feels trapped, maybe even longing for help to get out of the mess he has created. I don't think he has any idea how to get out of the huge lying mess he's made with the big reputation he's built…

…I was told that, because of CJ's position in the organization, his writing of many books, and his many speaking engagements, that he made it a practice of not meeting with people he had offended, but I could meet with other pastors…

…Why do so many of us still tremble when we hear CJ's name, or get close to Covenant Life Church, or maybe other Sovereign Grace Ministries churches? Is that how God designed his shepherds to affect their flock?...

…I began to notice that the SGM board kept changing, as had the pastors earlier at CLC. I used to wonder if they all could really have been in such sin to need to decide to step down, as so many seemed so very Godly. Or was someone else making them stand on stage, saying that they were in sin, and felt they needed to step down?”

"I feel I have, to the very best of my ability, over the past 18 years, finally completed all I can do with C.J. Mahaney from what Matthew 18 and 5 requires of us in resolving conflict with him. I don't know if I am Biblically accurate in this or not, but I feel I can now speak publicly about my situation with CJ, something I have not wanted to do until I completed all steps of Matthew 18 (and Matthew 5). Please bear with me, and try to believe me. This is the truth.

A question I asked the pastors who were present at my last meeting with them, was, "Have you read Ken Sande's Peacemaker book?," something we at Covenant Life Church were all told we had to complete and be practicing. Sadly, some admitted they'd only read parts. When I got to CJ, I was abruptly told by Bob Kauflin, I believe, not to ask him that question. CJ never did tell us whether he'd read any of the Peacemaker book. If he has read it, I strongly believe it is only since I asked him that question within the past couple of years, long after he insisted we have read it and we be practicing it, and long after he began speaking at Ken Sande's Peacemaker seminars, and was considered an expert it Peacemaking.

I will not claim that all I have written in this is exact quotes, but it is very close to what actually took place. I have many, many, many pages of phone transcripts, written down as best I could as the conversations took place, as well as letters and e-mails, mostly from the pastors involved, to prove what I am saying below, though I am not using them to write this.

From my personal experiences with C.J. Mahaney over the past 30 + years, I believe he is an extremely intelligent, very clever man, who should have rested and prospered in who he was in Christ, (if indeed he ever made a true commitment to Christ- which I had hoped he had, but am no longer sure of), who, I believe, has been living a lifestyle of major, major lying, for at least the last 18 years I have watched and experienced him, and covers up by good sounding Christian speech and writing, and by attaching himself to top name Christian leaders who have no idea who this man really is, and other much younger leaders, who feel it an honor to be asked to serve with him, but who are all too ready to cover his tracks, though I suspect it is unknowingly for many of them.

From what I've seen, CJ seems to have started early on with Ken Sande, soon after (or maybe before???) CJ began leading Covenant Life Church in place of Larry Tomczak. He insisted his church all read Ken's excellent book, The Peacemaker. Then when church members tried to put it into practice, some were falsely accused and dismissed from the church with little or no say in the matter at all, while CJ proceeded to teach at Ken's Peacemaking seminars, all the while refusing to practice what he was teaching, and having his church listed as a Peacemaking church. We were trapped, as Covenant Life Church was the church Peacemaker's referred us to to get help resolving conflict, but when they heard my conflict was with a leader at Covenant Life Church, they wouldn't believe it.

I believe CJ knew who he would need on his side to do the evil he was doing, and he has gathered sooo many big name Christian leaders to his aide over the years. Sadly, unbeknownst to them, I suspect, their reputations are all being tainted badly, while those who have been in far closer connection to CJ and his churches watch in amazement at how well flattery and money can buy off even many of the top name Christian leaders we thought we could really trust. (How many of you leaders have been encouraged by CJ that you just had to write a book, or were flattered incredibly by CJ, and/or were given big donations of money because he supposedly thought so well of your ministry? If you talked with each other, you might be surprised that the tactics used on each of you were quite similar.) We stopped giving to Ken Sande's ministry long ago, when we saw Ken's great allegiance to CJ, and kept hearing of CJ's involvement with Peacemakers and Ken.

We didn't join a seemingly very good church because we found out what fans they were of CJ, and found it necessary to have members read and study his books, not realizing what deep pain the suggestion alone could bring to some of us. Psalm 37:35, sadly always reminds me of CJ these days: "I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree." The enemy has successfully deceived us all, I think, greatly weakening the church as so many of us were told that we were in deception, and found ourselves backing away from God, because we were told the relationship we had with Him was not truth.

In reality, we are starting to wake up and to realize that we weren't the ones who were deceived, and that we weren't the only ones who had this happen to them, as I thought from 1994 until I first was directed to the SGM Survivors website and wept at so many other stories that sounded just like mine. Reading these is what motivated me to try again, and harder, to complete Matthew 18 regarding my situation with CJ. I wondered if more of us had stood up more firmly to try to complete Matthew 18 with CJ, if the harm and isolation he was causing might have stopped spreading to so many people and churches. Sadly, Brent's story and so many others on "the websites" sound too much like what I experienced. I believe every word Brent spoke, as I've experienced most of it myself, from CJ himself, but I was never more than an assistant Care Group leader.

The men CJ has surrounded himself with have been great at protecting him from taking responsibility for what he's done, and, I believe, is still doing. (I began to notice that the SGM board kept changing, as had the pastors earlier at CLC. I used to wonder if they all could really have been in such sin to need to decide to step down, as so many seemed so very Godly. Or was someone else making them stand on stage, saying that they were in sin, and felt they needed to step down? Years later I mentioned this to someone at a memorial service, and they said that was exactly what had happened to them and someone else who had worked in one of the offices there. They had been forced to go on stage and lie about their feeling they were in sin and needing to step down.

The last time I personally spoke with CJ about what he did to me, (shortly before Brent's information came out) he straight out lied about what happened, as he had the time before that in front of Jeff Purswell and the office staff at Sovereign Grace Ministries. This time, when he kept insisting he hadn't done what he'd done, I found myself (not at all planned) telling CJ he was lying, as he continued to state that he wasn't, and then I read him Scripture from Revelations about where liars go in the end. (I think we ought to be taking a much deeper look at God's perspective on lying, and maybe make this the issue to bring up in CJ's "courtroom".) I was told by one of the pastors that I didn't need to read Scripture (as I had been told before, as a 14 year member at Covenant Life Church, when trying to say why I was speaking truth, even though I was being accused of not), and I continued until I had finished the passage.

CJ soon after implied that it was coming back to him, and acknowledged he actually had had a meeting with me, which he had denied repeatedly earlier in this meeting. He still denied having said any of the things he had said to me, including having "non-disciplinarily" dismissed me (is that Biblical and in keeping with Peacemakers???) from Covenant Life Church on March 6, 1994, a day I will probably never forget as I was in such shock at this CJ I had never seen before. He was not willing to hear my story, and said when I asked to talk with him after the last service I was at as a member, (after having been advised to do so by my unbelieving, but wise father), that "It will be brief" something I'd been shocked before at when I had some other seemingly Godly CLC leaders say to me earlier-had they learned this from CJ?

CJ said he'd heard enough about my situation already from his "men" that he'd known, I believe he said, for 17 years. (These were his brothers-in-law, Gary and Grant). He included a long list of accusations about me that stunned me, and included telling me that he didn't want his men to waste their time on people like me. They had enough other people that really needed their care.

When I tried to tell him I hadn't done what he was accusing me of, he stopped me and said something like, "You interrupted me. I don't interrupt you and I don't expect you to interrupt me. You interrupt all the guys. (Especially when I'm falsely accused.) Granted, interrupting is not polite, but I'm not sure God is as considered about interrupting as he is about false accusations, lying, pride, sowing discord among brethren. Proverbs 6:16-19 says the Lord hates them, that they are an abomination unto Him. I believe the Lord hates and finds abominable CJ's repeated lies, false accusations and sowing discord among the brethren. That's what I think needs to be tried in the Sovereign Grace Ministries court for CJ. And I am convinced he is very, very guilty of all three.

When I returned home after my non-disciplinary dismissal from Covenant Life Church (I have this in writing also), in shock, and in many, many tears, and trembling (which continued for many months and years; We're to tremble at God's word, not at CJ Mahaney. Why do so many of us still tremble when we hear CJ's name, or get close to Covenant Life Church, or maybe other Sovereign Grace Ministries churches? Is that how God designed his shepherds to affect their flock?), I wrote down what CJ had said to me when he dismissed me, as I was still trying to seek God on my deception, and felt I needed to write it down to remember what I was being accused of so that I could pray through it and see if God would be gracious to show me the truth of the deception I was being accused of and apparently was blind to, as deception usually has it.

Four years after my dismissal, after having lived in incredible condemnation and loneliness, having lost many wonderful church friendships developed over my 14 years at Covenant Life Church (the single's pastor apparently visited my care group to tell them why I was no longer a member of the church or care group), two of the pastors involved admitted that they had made a mistake, that they had been presumptuous in my situation, that things had been exactly as I'd told them it was when I was accused of being presumptuous. So I hadn't been in deception after all? One said he didn't see why I couldn't return to fellowship with them.

However, CJ would never admit he'd dismissed me, so he couldn't invite me back. All he could say, only 4 years later, was "I can't recall," even though I have copies of a letter he sent to a former member of Covenant Life Church, discussing my situation, only shortly before he told me he "couldn't recall" (something another well known leader said in almost exactly the same time period.) However, 17 years later, CJ finally "recalled" a little more. I had gradually been able to follow through on each step of Matt. 18, (all of which was fought quite strongly over the years by CJ and the CLC leaders.)

Regarding trying to arrange my most recent meeting (where I was told there was no need or use for any more meetings when I was told the meeting was over and I asked if we could meet again. I had felt we were finally making progress in CJ's eventually having admitted tiny bits of truth for the first time in 17 years, admitting he had met with me, and as I sensed he was perhaps soooo longing for someone to love him enough to help him end his lying, evil lifestyle), I was told that, because of CJ's position in the organization, his writing of many books, and his many speaking engagements, that he made it a practice of not meeting with people he had offended, but I could meet with other pastors (Is that another Biblical/Peacemaker principle?). I was stunned initially, and then realized it fit in with my previous experiences over the years before and after my dismissal.

The person who told me this said they would see CJ the next day and double check on this. When I called back 3 weeks later, after not having heard back from this person as I thought I'd been led to believe I would, they confirmed having asked CJ if this was still true, and that he had said it was. I repeated all three of the above reasonings for his not meeting with people he had offended, and asked if that was what he had said again. This person again said it was. I had never experienced this particular person lying before, and have a strong feeling they were telling me the truth. However, when I decided I'd better hear it from CJ myself, I e-mailed him, where he denied it, and had the person e-mail me and apologize for misleading me. CJ added, "Nevertheless, the case is closed" (indicating there was no need for further discussion).

I first, early on, in 1994, tried to go in private to CJ, but I was told my sin was far too serious to even consider discussing with them, then tried to get a conciliator to help me (Ron Zabel), but Covenant Life Church refused to allow him to meet with us. I eventually went with my daughter and husband, only after, unbeknownst to me, Ken Sande had just spoken at Covenant Life Church and encouraged leaders to be willing to meet with those who had felt offended by them.

After months of being promised they'd call me back, and hearing nothing, I finally received a phone call wanting to set up an appointment. It was at this meeting when the two pastors admitted they'd made a mistake, , though CJ could only say he "couldn't recall." I finally went to the church, where I asked Josh Harris to be present, and when he said he couldn't, I tried to convince him that he might want to hear what I had to say. Initially he said he wouldn't be able to, as he was busy writing a book (sound familiar?).

My husband and I were then advised by a local pastor (a fan of CJ's , whose church we'd been attending and had hoped to join until we started hearing more and more about CJ and having free CJ books delivered from the pulpit during the service), to just go up to the church to see if we could catch CJ, even though he'd told us he wouldn't meet with us. We were told to go the next day, and we did. God was amazing in arranging what happened next.

I believe we asked if we could speak with CJ, and were told he wasn't in. My daughter and I went to the restroom, and as we were returning, CJ and Jeff Purswell entered the building. My husband stood up and went up to CJ and told him that his wife would like to speak to him. CJ came over to me in very friendly fashion (he hadn't seen me in close to 10 years, so I strongly suspect he didn't recognize me as the one he'd been getting messages from and had been e-mailing). I introduced myself. (Keep in mind he had just been e-mailing with me about this shortly before our visit.)

When I told him that I wanted to discuss his dismissal of me from Covenant Life Church in 1994, he said very "sweetly", "Joyce I never dismissed you. I would never do anything like that. (I do have witnesses and letters, that he did dismiss me, if anyone would like to see them, which, so far, everyone has refused.) I told him that he had dismissed me, which he kept denying, as my daughter stood there with tears rolling down her cheeks. When I asked her later why she was crying, she said, "Because I knew he was lying." This is a child who knew very little about the situation, but, I believe, discerned in her spirit that CJ was lying.

The office staff was present. CJ left, other pastors came to talk with us. We decided to go to try to speak with Josh Harris in the Covenant Life Church office side of the building, where the Sovereign Grace Ministries office staff told us he was when we asked for him. When we asked at the Covenant Life Church desk for Josh, the office manager, ?Corey?, hemmed and hawed a bit (I think they may have been warned we were coming??) and went to the back, and returned and then said, as I believe Josh was walking out right beside us, "Josh isn't here. He's at the Sovereign Grace Ministries office for a finance meeting." We were surprised and told him that we'd been told he was not in the Sovereign Grace Ministries part of the building, but was in the Covenant Life Church part of the building. I also couldn't believe he was telling me he wasn't there, as what I am almost positive was Josh, walked by. (We think there may be some "secret passageways" between the two sections, so that they can play the seeming "cat and mouse game" they appeared to be playing this day. ) We went back down to the Sovereign Grace Ministries office and asked for Josh, were told again he wasn't there. We told them we'd been told at Covenant Life Church that he was there for a finance meeting. They didn't seem to know anything about a finance meeting either. The office staff said they were going to check, and came back and said he wasn't there, but that he was in the Covenant Life Church office. We went back to the Covenant Life Church office again and were told that Josh had had an emergency and had to go home to his wife, that he would not be back in the building for the rest of the day, that we were welcome to call him another time.

After the continual refusals to meet with me, I was eventually allowed to come for my requested meeting with CJ and Gary and Josh, though they wouldn't let Grant, my singles' pastor who had been directly over me, and a part of all of this, come. I was told that Bob Kauflin, who had never met me (but apparently was being told their story about me) would be there. I had to go through a preliminary long phone call with Bob where he tried to get me to speak about CJ without CJ being present. I told them I wanted no part of this, as they had done it to me repeatedly earlier on in my situation, pitting different ones of us against the other, but refusing to allow us to be together to hear what we were being told from the Covenant Life Church leaders they were saying about us. My care group leader said to me once earlier on, "Isn't this something? They're all talking about us, but no one will talk to us, and we're the only ones that were involved to know what really happened."

Almost all I was told during this time, if not all, before I was dismissed, was lies, and I was pretty convinced that those the leaders were claiming had said these things about me, would never say them in front of me as they knew they weren't true. I have my doubts that most if any of what I was told was ever said by the ones they said were saying it. The leaders kept refusing to allow me to meet with the ones they claimed were saying these things. They wouldn't even let me call them by phone in the leaders' presence. They did say they'd ask so and so, or so and so, just not the one they said was saying it, and I think I know why.

Before my last allowed meeting, in a very recent year, I was told by Bob Kauflin that if I brought any witnesses, they would cancel the meeting (I have that in writing also- is this another Bible/Peacemaker principle? If they'd been right in what they'd done to me, why would they have had such a fear of my bringing witnesses?). This was told to me repeatedly. I was allowed only to bring my family. I again, was not allowed to bring Ron Zabel, conciliator. (I think he would also be willing to attest to these two times they wouldn't allow him to meet with us, unless he feels threatened in some way???)

When I finally arrived for the meeting, and shared some of my story, Josh, (seemingly possibly well trained by CJ, as he used some of the same techniques of quick accusation, so unlike the grace CJ preached about publicly) asked my husband if he didn't think I was quite bitter. My husband very graciously stated that he thought we might all have a bit of bitterness in us, but that he thought CJ and I really needed to work this out. When I read the Scripture passage about liars, CJ finally admitted he had met with me, but denied all else he did. Gary Ricucci shared more of what had actually happened in my situation, and I believe, spoke total truth now. Thank you, Gary.

The truth really does set men free, and lies have put very, very many of us into chaos and bondage, and I believe has very greatly weakened far too many very Godly believers in the SGM churches. I strongly suspect this may well continue if CJ doesn't come out and start acknowledging the truth of what so many of us are claiming we have been through as a result of him.

I am not at all surprised that Sovereign Grace Ministries is moving far from the DC area, as the truth has started to be shared a lot at Covenant Life Church and in the DC area, and I believe CJ knows it would be quite hard to start a church here where people are starting to hear about what he's really been doing. I suspect CJ feels trapped, maybe even longing for help to get out of the mess he has created. I don't think he has any idea how to get out of the huge lying mess he's made with the big reputation he's built.

We were taught really well not to gossip, which I believe has greatly helped to protect the evil going on in Sovereign Grace Ministries and Covenant Life Church, etc., as many of us felt we could not tell anyone what had happened to us, so we lived with it basically in silence and alone for way too many years, while the evil proceeded to person after person, with no one else knowing what was going on.

I'd love to know how many of those affected in this way may have developed cancer, heart disease, other major diseases, even died, or committed suicide, how many families became dysfuntional as its loved ones tried to resolve conflicts that weren't allowed to be resolved, and started believing the lies that were pronounced about them, as they were isolated from their support systems and sometimes even family systems, and were living alone with false accusations, and lies and hypocrisy, and scared to trust any other church again, let alone God, since they were often told they were in deception, so couldn't even trust themselves to hear from God and discern His truth.

Until you leaders, Sovereign Grace Ministries, Covenant Life Church, and top name Christian leaders from Together for the Gospel, the Louisville Baptist Seminary, even Family Life. and any others CJ has tried to link himself with, Ken Sande, Jerry Bridges, etc., start believing the truth that you've been hearing from those who have been badly harmed by CJ, you are contributing to the continuation of all CJ has been doing, and I believe is going to continue to do (and I don't think we've heard the half of it yet), and worse yet, all I believe that Satan has been trying to do for decades now to greatly weaken the church, through CJ and the Sovereign Grace Ministries movement."

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Sovereign Grace Ministries
Posted by: Maranatha Trail ()
Date: August 21, 2012 07:37PM


Here is the history of all this Ken Sande / Christian Counseling Education Foundation / Peacemaker Ministries stuff as it was related to me, with brief editorials.

True, C.J. Mahaney was on the board of CCEF with Ken Sande, and they did work together. Sovereign Grace Ministries has donated money to the Peacemakers in the past and supporter they goals and their practices. CJ/Sovereign Grace Ministries ingrained the practices in all the churches and used the Peacemaker materials as the reason that no one in the family of churches should need outside counseling…the Peacemaker approach can handle everything that scripture does not directly and specifically address.

Ken and CJ are buds.

Then the problems in the Midlothian church started to fester. Gene Emerson ran a large church into the ground over there by not listening to the people of the church nor the men around him, by issuing “gag” orders to people and threatening them if they talk, by emphasizing practice over principle, by not extending care to people, by being task oriented in the best Sovereign Grace Ministries way and surprise…by not communicating properly. Mickey Connolly goes out there and “knocks heads” to straighten things up. He says people need to think of Gene and “remember his best moments”. Mickey also said “we all walk with a limp. Don’t focus on the limp.” (That is his level of care!)

Ken, at the urging of CJ went down there and tried to help that church recover. It was said that we was so disgusted with the behavior of the church leaders down there and with what CJ had taught and put up with in his pastors that Ken wanted no more to do with CJ and Sovereign Grace Ministries.

Then soon after that Fairfax had their problems. Ken was asked to come in there and help. Fairfax and Sovereign Grace Ministries and SJ were all practicing Peacemaker principles, which in a nut shell are, “get the speck out of your eye first, then deal with the log in the other guys/gals life.” And that works for typical marriage problems and room-mate/office-mate problems, etc. But when you have a pedophile sitting across the table you don’t pull Peacemaker steps on him. You call the cops! Fairfax was so caught up in applying the official Sovereign Grace Ministries style of Peacemaker steps that looked so different from what Ken really taught, that Ken refused to come down and help them out.

Low and behold, CJ runs into his problems, and he immediately says he will call in his good buddy, Ken Sande from Peacemakers. Ken will “fix” him. (I assume CJ saw this as an easy solution.) Ken knew full well what kind of an organization CJ was running. Ken’s brief view of Sovereign Grace Ministries through Midlothian and Fairfax made him certain he didn’t want anything to do with the kind of guy that would oversee this kind of “misues” of Peacemaker principles and practices. And Ken could probably deduce that much of what CJ was accused of was true. So Ken kindly refused to become embroiled in the Sovereign Grace Ministries kerfuffle.

Then, CJ says, he will go and get help from his other good buddy, David Powlison. Well, I assume these guys all run in the same circuit and they probably know a lot about each other and I would assume David had already heard about the issues in CJ’s churches. Those kind of leadership issues point back to the founder and CJ didn’t look like someone David wanted to be associated with in public. Yes, Sovereign Grace Ministries had funneled some money north but not enough to cover the damage that might result from being embroiled with someone from a shepherding background. So David quietly declined to become involved.

Sooooo, when you cant go to your friends for help, you pay someone to help you. And that is what he did. CJ hired Ambassadors of Reconciliation who played the game quite well and picked up a cool half mil or more to listen to a bunch of complainers and write a report about it. Quick money for Ambassadors of Reconciliation, CJ off the hook, everyone goes home happy.

Then, we all know about the board affirmations, and the affirmation of the three Report to the Boards of Directors reports, and then the panels and then the interim board and now the new board. So here we are.

But in the business world people will avoid you when you become a pariah, and they might even be seen at the same party as you, but they usually wont be seen talking with you and they certainly wont be seen doing business with you. So Sovereign Grace Ministries may still push the Peacemaker way of doing things, although not as a solution for everything. And Peacemakers will still attend Sovereign Grace Ministries functions and let Sovereign Grace Ministries sell their materials. But as for all the buddy buddy stuff that CJ loves to trot out and show off…I think that has come to an end.

In the Nick of Time
SGM Survivors

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Sovereign Grace Ministries
Posted by: Maranatha Trail ()
Date: August 21, 2012 07:49PM


Dear Mr. Sande,

Thank you for your email.

Since your initial request was for me to provide you with what I saw as the main issues in “Noel’s story,” I will get that out of the way first.

Noel’s story, as horrific as it is, is merely one story of MANY that illustrates all of the following:

Sovereign Grace Ministries’ (“SGM’s”) deep-seated distrust of any outside intervention, from either mental health professionals or even law enforcement, when appropriate.

Closely connected with that, Sovereign Grace Ministries’ sense of themselves as superior and “above” other organizations (again, including law enforcement and/or mental health professionals), which leads them to attempt to handle all problems “in house,” no matter how deep or outside the pastor’s field of expertise the problem might be.

Sovereign Grace Ministries’ continual drive to redirect questions about real issues and real concerns back onto the questioner, to where the conversation eventually devolves into a discussion about the questioner’s own “sin issues” and the need for the questioner to “submit” to whatever it is the pastor is saying – with heavy-handed and unreasonable church discipline eventually following if such submission does not occur.

A culture of secrecy, where what goes on behind closed doors is rarely the same as what is communicated to the average SGM member.

Sovereign Grace Ministries pastors’ overblown ideas about the finality of their own authority, and their dual identities as (supposedly) the “worst sinners they know,” and yet, somehow, also God’s emissaries who will never make any real mistakes or sin against their parishioners. Normal ministries have real and formal avenues in place so that members’ grievances can be addressed. The very fact that Sovereign Grace Ministries needed to call Peacemaker Ministries into Noel’s situation is enough evidence to prove that members with grievances ultimately have nowhere to turn if their pastors prove to be unaccommodating.

I have to say, I was quite amazed to have been contacted by the founder and president of an organization that I have heard currently has more than enough cases brought to its attention, something you yourself even alluded to in your email when you expressed your concern about overburdening your small staff with “disorganized” and “disconnected emails” from the readers of this blog. Certainly you’re not in the position of needing to “drum up business.” So it seems more than a little unusual for someone of your stature within your organization to feel the need to get involved in this situation, especially given the skepticism you expressed in your email about the credibility of blogs.

Also, I am confused because even as you acknowledge that you would not be qualified to participate in this sort of intervention, due to your close ties with Sovereign Grace Ministries, you nonetheless are asking me to communicate privately via telephone with you and reveal further information to you so that you can somehow take this information and…do WHAT with it? I appreciate that you wish to help, but since by your own admission you need to recuse yourself from any role as a mediator between Sovereign Grace Ministries and its former parishioners, why would you still be seeking additional information about those parishioners from me?

I am further confused about how the phone conversation you’re requesting leaves less room for misunderstandings than does written communication, where every word exchanged is recorded. That really makes no sense. With a phone conversation, there is always room for memories to fail, or for words to be transposed or even changed in future re-tellings, so that meanings can be altered and confusion results. In these respects, the written word is a much more reliable and trustworthy form of communication than the (non-recorded) spoken word.

Most importantly, I am not interested in ANY process that cannot be entered into on a completely open and public basis, with communications made available for all to see. I believe this level of accountability to the interested public is absolutely crucial in any serious attempt to address Sovereign Grace Ministries’ aberrant practices. Your request for all our communications to be private is perhaps the most troubling aspect of this whole thing. I am very bothered by what seems to be an effort on your part (or on behalf of Sovereign Grace Ministries?) to reduce what has been a broad and public discussion of Sovereign Grace Ministries’ organization-wide problems into specific private “grievances” between specific individuals that then must be handled privately, behind closed doors.

I’m trusting that you must see how such a request would merely appear to perpetuate Sovereign Grace Ministries’ culture of secrecy. Further, by suggesting that these instances are NOT reflective of widespread problems within Sovereign Grace Ministries that need to be addressed “company-wide,” but are instead merely isolated events that can be solved in isolated, private ways, the push for secrecy seems to do one of the very things that Sovereign Grace Ministries is said to have done in the first place: marginalize the abused families’ experiences.

Especially in my own case, there is literally NOTHING that I need to see “resolved” between Sovereign Grace Ministries and myself personally. This is simply NOT, in any way, shape or form, a “Matthew 18″ situation. All that my husband and I have done is set up a blog that set forth our opinions of the “cultural oddities” that we noticed at the Sovereign Grace Ministries church we attended. At the time the original blog was established, we had absolutely no knowledge of the deeper problems inherent in Sovereign Grace Ministries’ structure of governance and church polity. We had no knowledge that anyone had ever been hurt or manipulated or controlled by Sovereign Grace Ministries leaders. All we’ve ever done is provide a forum for people to share their own stories about Sovereign Grace Ministries.

Anything that any “peacemaker” or Sovereign Grace leader needs to know is already there on the blog. For well over a year, we have discussed Sovereign Grace Ministries’ issues plainly. I do not believe that I can provide any further clarification in a private conversation that cannot already be found on the blog.

Sovereign Grace Ministries (and Peacemaker Ministries) are free to do with this information what they will. There is no need to “make peace” with me on any level that would require my personal involvement.

Interestingly enough, I am convinced that Sovereign Grace Ministries already has all the pertinent information they need regarding other cases of sexual abuse that may have been “swept under the rug,” as well as the MYRIAD of cases where members were spiritually abused in other ways. All Sovereign Grace Ministries would need to do is consult the copious records that they maintain on all their members. Those records would provide them with the names and identities they crave, actually probably for far more individuals than have ever written to me under the cloak of anonymity.

But…what everyone who is concerned about Sovereign Grace Ministries’ problems still needs to realize, though, is that in the end, Sovereign Grace Ministries simply does not even NEED all these specific identities to figure out if they’re “guilty as charged.” Especially if Sovereign Grace Ministires’ purported victims have already moved on from Sovereign Grace Ministries and have expressed no interest in re-entering any sort of relationship with the organization – thereby nullifying any need for personal “reconciliation.”

All Sovereign Grace Ministries leaders really need to do is take a good look at themselves and see if there’s any truth to the observations made on the blog about their organization.

For instance, DO THEY, as an organization, have a system of church governance in place that is too heavy on the notion of “authority,” with no recourse for the common member should a disagreement arise? HAVE THEY, as an organization, caused their pastors to view themselves as the final arbiters of God’s truth, even for non-essential matters? HAVE THEY, as an organization, taught their pastors to turn every confrontation back around onto the questioner, so that the questioner is then left defending himself and his own sinfulness that caused him to have a difference of opinion in the first place? HAVE THEY, as an organization, fostered a culture of secrecy, where decisions are made from the top down and then imposed upon the people in the pews, often with little clear explanation to these people about the changes imposed upon them? HAVE THEY, as an organization, come to view themselves as better than all other organizations? DO THEY, as an organization, hold themselves and the counseling their pastors offer as superior to any sort of professional mental health or law enforcement intervention?

Finally, HAVE THEY EVER minimized a case of sexual abuse by – say – having the admitted abuser merely place a phone call to apologize to his victim, and then permitting the abuser to remain a member in good standing?

Nobody here at this blog needs to somehow prove his or her “credibility,” because a “credible” blog (however that would be defined) is not necessary. Neither does Sovereign Grace Ministries need specific cases, with specific identities and names and addresses, in order to determine if these things are true.

All they need to do is look in the mirror and dare to ask themselves the hard questions.

I do appreciate your interest in this matter. I join you in praying for this situation, and yet I’m guessing that my prayers are a bit different than yours. I pray that Sovereign Grace Ministries would repent of its current “authority” structure. I pray that Sovereign Grace Ministries would change every one of its policies that leads to the problems evidenced in Noel’s story. I pray that Sovereign Grace Ministries members would be empowered with some format with which their grievances (and even simple differences of opinion) could be addressed. And I pray that God’s real peace – possible only after honesty and true repentance – would then prevail.

SGM Survivors

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Sovereign Grace Ministries
Posted by: Maranatha Trail ()
Date: August 21, 2012 08:57PM


As random bystanders who were ourselves thrust unwittingly into the midst of Sovereign Grace Ministries’ problems back in late 2007, we definitely sympathize with the magnitude of the job with which the Ambassadors of Reconciliation organization was tasked when hired to explore Sovereign Grace Ministries’ weaknesses and failures and attempt to bring healing to Sovereign Grace Ministries’ victims.

Much has already been said on the Survivors site in response to the report which Ambassadors of Reconciliation released recently. If I were to summarize our readers’ reactions, I’d say that many were very disappointed with the way so much of the report’s focus seemed to be upon “the blogs” and the (perceived) sinfulness of those who had spoken out about the way they’d been harmed by Sovereign Grace Ministries. It came across quite clearly in their report that the Ambassadors of Reconciliation folks had taken personal offense with “the blogs” early on and never bothered to dig more deeply to try to find out WHY Ambassadors of Reconciliation was met with suspicion. Consequently, Ambassadors of Reconciliation is – ironically – guilty of committing the very same sins toward blogs and bloggers that they themselves had found so off-putting. The Ambassadors of Reconciliation representatives felt free in their report to vent their disdain toward “the blogs” without ever having communicated with anyone from SGM Survivors. (And this, of course, was despite the fact that I’d made at least a couple of efforts to engage with Mr. Kober via email back in December and offered to help Ambassadors of Reconciliation in any way I could.)

Also, since it is my understanding that Sovereign Grace Ministries was hired to examine and evaluate Sovereign Grace Ministries, NOT “the blogs” or Sovereign Grace Ministries’ victims, it was especially bizarre to see so many peevish references to all the ways in which bloggers and Sovereign Grace Ministries’ victims did not meet Ambassadors of Reconciliation expectations.

That being said, I can truly say that Ambassadors of Reconciliation report was, unfortunately, essentially what I had expected it to be. I’m sorry that that turned out to be the case, but I can understand why a “reconciliation” business with only the most rudimentary outsider’s understanding of Sovereign Grace Ministries’ history and culture would lack the perspective and the knowledge to look beyond Sovereign Grace Ministries leaders’ pretty words and shining surface behavior and see how twisted the organization actually has been.

We don’t want anything from Ambassadors of Reconciliation. But if they would like to grow from this experience, I would suggest that they consider the ways they failed Sovereign Grace Ministries, Sovereign Grace Ministries’ victims, and themselves by being so quick to accuse bloggers of sins without taking the time to explore more deeply where the bloggers are coming from – and why they themselves felt it was OK to castigate “the blogs” in their report without first following their own rules for conflict resolution.

SGM Survivors

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Sovereign Grace Ministries
Posted by: Maranatha Trail ()
Date: August 21, 2012 09:05PM


As most people understand, it is extremely difficult for anyone who has been abused to report the offense, even to the proper authorities for a myriad of reasons (fear of retaliation, fear of more abuse, ostracism, fear of revisiting the feelings and emotions relevant to the abuse, embarrassment, shame, etc.). Everyone who shared their stories of abuse with Ambassadors of Reconciliation were hoping that by entrusting their story to the perceived “proper authority,” in this case Ambassadors of Reconciliation, justice and resolution would occur. The very last thing abused individuals expected was for the proper authority to essentially turn on them. This is a great travesty. These people are now doubly harmed and have had emotional and psychological problems aggravated by their experience with Ambassadors of Reconciliation.

Our interviewer [Ed Keinath] was moved to tears as we shared [our] story. He gave every indication that he completely sympathized and understood the tragedy of our situation. When we were finished with the interview I looked out the small window of the office door and saw Gene and Liz sitting there. I asked the interviewer to please escort Gene and Liz down the hall so we could leave without interacting with them. He did so and said, “I absolutely understand.”

Personally, Marsha and I feel betrayed. We were told by another couple who interviewed with Ambassadors of Reconciliation that their counselor had indicated with dismay and shock, that in fact, 104 pastors had come forward in an effort to expose Sovereign Grace Ministries for their abuse. He gave every indication that he completely sympathized and understood the tragedy of our situation. When we were finished with the interview I looked out the small window of the office door and saw Gene and Liz sitting there. I asked the interviewer to please escort Gene and Liz down the hall so we could leave without interacting with them. He did so and said, “I absolutely understand.”

Prior to the interviews starting I wrote Ambassadors of Reconciliation asking them to reconsider the venue for the interviews because they were asking the abused to come back to the place that represented where the abuse occurred. I also mentioned the Pastors Conference was simultaneously being held where those reporting abuse would likely see their abusers face to face (which of course they already knew). In light of the emotional trauma this would likely engender in those reporting abuse, I asked them to reconsider where they had chosen to do the interviews. They ignored this request (which further demonstrates and lack of appreciation and knowledge in dealing with abused people).

Looking back, now that the report has come out, I am convinced Ambassadors of Reconciliation simply did not and does not comprehend what has happened to those who have experienced abuse at the hands of Sovereign Grace Ministries. I’m afraid rather than resolve any problems or being ambassadors of reconciliation, they have stirred up a hornet’s nest and are complaining as to why they are being stung.


Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Sovereign Grace Ministries
Posted by: Maranatha Trail ()
Date: August 21, 2012 09:11PM


I have been asked my thoughts on the Ambassadors of Reconciliation report. First, I appreciate all the hard work that went into this project dealing with very sensitive matters in scores of people’s lives. I trust AoR was well compensated.

Second, after waiting and praying for almost a year regarding this endeavor (regularly not daily), I was EXTREMELY disappointed with the results. I could scarcely believe what I was reading. I believe multitudes share this perspective.

Third, my wife and I believe the report was a serious disservice to scores of people who invested incredible amounts of time and effort to serve the Ambassadors of Reconciliation team. Doris and I gave over 250 hours to prepare for our contribution in addition to travel time and the days given to the interview. Addressing the illegal, immoral and documented blackmail plus the reprehensible conduct that shattered our reputation, relationships and family ties (plus our livelihood) was afforded a dismissive SIX sentences in the report! Unbelievable.

Finally, we are of the opinion that if the Sovereign Grace Ministries leaders had simply done the report on their own, they would have been more forthright and harder on themselves than this most favorable Ambassadors of Reconciliation document.

When we shared our experience with Ted and his assistant, one wiped away tears and the other dropped his head in shocking dismay at our traumatic experience, manipulation, falsehoods and numerous examples of unChristlike behavior we experienced that could have destroyed our Christian lives as a family of six. We, like hundreds of others who experienced spiritual abuse from Sovereign Grace Ministries leaders, now wonder if some of the apologies and asking of forgiveness will have to suffice.

We love you Ted and the team but inquire if your labors represent the accurate picture of the systemic problems that multitudes hoped would be addressed and corrected so Sovereign Grace Ministries could begin a new season in humility and integrity.

Trusting God’s sovereign grace, I am, yours in His service,

Larry Tomczak

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Sovereign Grace Ministries
Posted by: Maranatha Trail ()
Date: August 21, 2012 09:20PM


I would add that my own interview with Ed Keinath also was in complete contradiction to what Ambassadors of Reconciliation published. Ed told me that since last summer he and Ted had been concerned about the board’s blind devotion to C.J. Mahaney. He also expressed whole-hearted agreement when I indicated that at the heart of Sovereign Grace Ministries’ problems was a culture of selfish-ambition. Ed also indicated that he and Ted estimated that about 20-30 churches within Sovereign Grace Ministries were already prepared to leave SGM.

I don’t pretend to know why the report does not match what was communicated to many of us but the disharmony between what we heard with our own ears and what was published casts a significant cloud of suspicion over the report and the Sovereign Grace Ministries leadership.

I plead with you that if any of you fear God and know why this disharmony exists that you would come forth.

Jenn Grover

Pittsburgh, PA

Options: ReplyQuote
Current Page: 3 of 19

Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.
This forum powered by Phorum.