Peacemaker or Kingmaker? Beware of “Covenants”

Ken Sande and Peacemaker Ministries are greatly respected among Christian leaders, especially those who label themselves as “reformed”. Sande’s masterpiece, The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflicts, comes with some high-powered endorsements. Here are just a few from the latest edition (2004) which was reprinted in 2006. To read them all, go to this link

“The Peacemaker is an indispensable tool for pastors. . . . There is no need for another book on the topic to be written now that this volume exists.” C.J. Mahaney, pastor, Covenant Life Church

“Here is wisdom both biblical and practical. You can tell it was written by a man who has lived out these principles as a lawyer in practice, and as a leader in his church. We are in debt.” Mark Dever, pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, D.C.

“This generation of believers is called to authentic Christian peacemaking and reconciliation. Ken Sande shows the way in The Peacemaker. All pastors and Christian leaders should read this book.” R. Albert Mohler, Jr., president, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“Ken has given us a biblical and practical strategy for resolving personal conflict. While the enemy is busy trying to destroy relationships, this book will give you the strength and strategy to make peace.” Mac Brunson, pastor, First Baptist Church, Dallas (We wonder if Tom Rich would agree?)

In the six years since this edition was published, we have been able to see the fruit of Ken Sande’s teachings in the lives of his endorsers, particularly C.J. Mahaney and Mac Brunson. If they have been diligently applying Sande’s peacemaking principles, then there is a BIG problem.

Mark Dever’s endorsement highlights our deep concerns about Sande – “You can tell it was written by a man who has lived out these principles as a lawyer in practice…” Why is Dever so indebted to Sande? Do his peacemaking strategies make CHURCH DISCIPLINE (Dever’s hot button issue) much easier to administer?

Al Mohler’s endorsement appears to identify who comprises Sande’s target market in writing The Peacemaker – “All pastors and Christian leaders should read this book.”

“Hey Al, what about the priesthood of ALL believers? Shouldn’t they be reading this important book, too?”

Now you understand our problem with The Peacemaker as well as Ken Sande’s peacemaking effort. While we do not know Sande’s true intentions in writing this book and developing his peacemaking process, it certainly appears that in practice his methodologies favor shepherds over the sheep. Why? Well, where would he be today without all of these Christian leaders who have given him high visibility in the Christian community?

Based on the evidence we have presented in this series, do you believe Peacemaker Ministries is an UNBIASED MEDIATOR? By “connecting the dots”, we believe we have demonstrated that Ken Sande and his organization are BIASED TOWARDS PASTORS AND CHURCH LEADERSHIP. After all, PM developed a kit specifically for PASTORS that C.J. Mahaney bought for the pastors throughout SGM.

Who makes contributions to Peacemakers, hires them, and purchases their resources? Not the church members by and large (although their tithes actually do pay for all of this). By the way, how many average Christians even know about Peacemaker Ministries to contact them? However, it certainly appears that the pastor network has heavily promoted PM as a great pastoral resource.

It’s important to remember that Ken Sande is not a theologian – he’s an attorney! Please don’t misunderstand. We are not at all in favor of frivolous law suits; however, we stand against church leaders who silence the flock through legal maneuvering. Remember this comment we previously posted from a former member of KingsWay?

Moving On-August 19, 2010 

“I am a former member of KingsWay. Unassimilated, I think that’s a major reason why a “gag” order would be kept in this situation at KW or in other SGM churches…. Also, at KW the congregation was given papers to sign (little contracts) that basically said you would not gossip or listen to gossip, this after Ken Sande’s ministry on “Peacemaking” came to KW. This was many years after the events that happened to SW. I found myself in situations where to be a real friend and truly care for someone I was going to listen. If that was labeled listening to gossip, then I listened to gossip. Everyone needs somebody that they can talk to about anything and feel safe…. Boy, things sure have been made so complicated in SGM churches.”

Based on this testimony, it appears that Peacemaker Ministries has been hired by KingsWay in the past. And how did PM bring about “PEACE” at KingsWay Community Church? “The congregation was given papers to sign (little contracts) that basically said you would not gossip or listen to gossip.” Sorry, folks, but that’s NOT peacemaking! That’s a GAG ORDER to control the flock!!!

Apparently, Peacemaker Ministries is being used across denominational lines, as this unsolicited comment from TrinityWatcher indicates:

“Hmmm, this is all very interesting information and I can’t wait to hear the rest of the story. This is also personally interesting because one of the first church-wide studies we did after Chad Everson came to Trinity (Baptist Church) was… Peacemakers. We have a Peacemaker Team now, who I think are supposed to be helping conflicts between church members (maybe?), but apparently the Team has become an information source for the pastor as to who is complaining about him or policies or staff, etc. It has become a source of consternation for many Trinity members. =( Thanks for exposing all this stuff and connecting the dots for us.”

There is so much more that could be said about how pastors appear to be using Peacemaker Ministries to carry out their own agenda. There certainly seems to be a SYMBIOTIC relationship between pastors and Peacemakers. Based on the evidence we have presented here, we believe Peacemaker Ministries is BIASED towards pastoral leadership.

Lydia, who has had extensive experience with megachurches, provided this warning:

“Never EVER sign any contract, so called “covenants”, etc these churches give you. Let your yes be yes and your no, no. The horrible deceit I have personally witnessed from mega’s who have used such tools to silence people who later disagree with any point…is directly from satan. If you have signed one, I would suggest writing the church and telling them you are publicly rescinding it. Keep a copy of your letter and send it registered mail. I am deadly serious.”

With the rise in hyper-authoritarianism we have witnessed in recent years, we would strongly urge you to consider what you are being asked to sign.

DISCLAIMER: We are NOT attorneys and we are NOT providing legal advice, but as your sisters in Christ, we want to urge you to exercise EXTREME CAUTION when asked to sign ANYTHING at your church.

Here are our recommendations:

– Do not sign a covenant unless you have investigated all of your legal rights.
– Be very careful when the word “gossip” is used — it could be used to limit conversation.
– Do not assume that Peacemakers or any other organization is neutral.
– Always remember:..the pastor is no less prone to sin than any member of the congregation.

Times they are a changin’ and we fear these changes are NOT in the best interest of the flock, aka “THE PRIESTHOOD OF ALL BELIEVERS”. Please seek the LORD’S WILL through earnest PRAYER, and may the Holy Spirit ALWAYS be your guide…


Peacemaker or Kingmaker? Beware of “Covenants” — 48 Comments

  1. Dee:

    Very good heads up on all of this. It is troubling, to say the least, in regard to the bias toward leaders. Does the flock ever become worthy of receiving a “charitable judgment?”


  2. Protestant Knight,

    I hope what we have shared helps the flock see how these leaders are connected. I have been STUNNED by what I have discovered through my research. They have a cozy little club, unbeknownst to many Christians.

    If Peacemaker Ministries is called in to mediate the mess at KingsWay, how can Ken Sande possibly remain unbiased given his relationship with C.J. Mahaney and Josh Harris (who is speaking at the PM conference taking place this very weekend)? I wonder what Ken and Josh are discussing “off the record” while they are together in D.C….

    I’m following SGM Refuge very closely, and I continue to keep my SGM brothers and sisters in Christ in my prayers. Thanks for all you do at the ‘Fuge!!!

  3. “Hey Al, what about the priesthood of ALL believers? Shouldn’t they be reading this important book, too?”

    Al Mohler tried to get “priesthood of believer” taken OUT of the BFM 2000. A little known fact that folks need to be reminded of

  4. “- Be very careful when the word “gossip” is used — it could be used to limit conversation.”

    It is more often used when there are negative truths they want to sweep under the rug. Just call it gossip and make it a sin to even disagree or question. It works! Trust me, I know the play book well. I lived it and was part of it.

    Look at all the pew sitters who come onto blogs and accuse the commenters of gossip and division! They are parroting what they have been taught erroneously and because they follow a human, they know no better.

  5. I have heard of this ministry because I know some folks who were at Germantown Baptist in Memphis a few years ago when they had their big fight. The idea of hiring Peacemakers was discussed, but not acted upon. I remember that their fee was high, but that’s all I know.

    We have a church covenant that we ask people to sign when they become members. If we ever had a problem with a member, we would not use the covenant as a basis for action. It all depends on how these covenants are written.

    In most states I believe that the courts pretty much stay out of the business of congregational governance. So, if the elders, deacons, congregation, or whomever the church constitution and by laws give the power to discipline or expel members, I don’t think a court would intervene regardless of whether one has signed a covenant.

    But it’s a good point – don’t sign anything that you are not comfortable with, especially if it doesn’t look right.

  6. Annonymous

    There have been some more recent incidents in which churches have gone public with the personal life of members and have thrown them out of the church. This has resulted, in some instances, in lawsuits.

    Here is how it can play out. Jeff Anderson, the famous attorney in the RCC priest scandals, told me that a church can throw a dissident member of a congregation for virtually any reason and there is usually no legal recourse. However, there is often recourse when public humiliation is involved. For example, if a pastor calls another church and attempts to prevent that church from accepting a new member by “reports” of unBiblical behavior. I have some first hand knowledge of this sort of thing.

    Also, if a church has received documentation that a member has resigned from said church and that church then continues in enforcing public discipline via public humiliation, that church may be liable in civil court depending on the circumstances. There is some discussion by Christian legal groups of the possible effectiveness of these covenants in preventing such action. However, I believe if membership is predicated on signing one of these, duress may be a legal option.

    Please do not get me wrong. I believe that discipline is warranted in some situations in accordance with Scripture. However, such discipline can be handled in a manner that is both Biblical and thoughtful, with the result that said soon to be former member will receive the admonition that is intended by the Bible.

    Unfortunately, some pastors who loooooove to be “in control” will put sections in these covenants that are intended to prevent a member from expression of concerns within the context of that church. It is a control mechanism which is not intended by the relevant Scripture and is used by abusive churches and pastors. Gossip is one of the most misused words in these covenants. It is sneaky, conniving, and wrong.

    The most important issue involved in this is that the playing fields is equalized between the members and the pastors/elders. Peacemakers appears,at least superficially, to be biased towards the leadership and that is unBiblical, in this writer’s opinion.

    Thank you for your comments.

  7. Here is something to think about…when is the last time you all saw someone join a church and be given the by-laws? or, how about they are given the by laws before they join? Not usual, is it?

    One other thing…Patterson got by with firing Dr. Klouda simply because she was a woman because his attorney argued that the seminary is a church and the judge agreed..

    What the church can get by with is incredible not only financially but with employment law, etc. But is such an institution the TRUE Body of Christ? I think not.

  8. Fascinating discussion. The growth of independent churches and new fellowships of churches (quasi-denominations) like SGM has set the stage for all sorts of confusion and abuse of authority.

    Your comments led me to browse around Peacemaker’s website to find more information. I can see how church leaders might misuse the church covenant you mentioned (the same way they could misuse Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 18), but on its face the covenant seems to apply equally to everyone in the church. In fact, in the section on discipline, the document specifically states:

    “The leaders of our church recognize that God has called them to an even higher level of accountability regarding their faith and conduct (James 3:1; 1 Tim. 5:19-20). Therefore, they are committed to listening humbly to loving correction from each other or from any member in our church, and, if necessary, to submitting themselves to the corrective discipline of our body.”

    This philosophy of holding church leaders to a high level of accountability is reflected in two related articles on Peacemaker’s website:

    Leadership Accountability:

    Leadership Approachability:

    Individual pastors can certainly ignore or twist these documents to their own purposes, just as they can twist Scripture itself, but on their face, they seem to be calling all members of the church, leaders included, to be humble and open to correction.

    Regardless of what these documents say, I certainly agree that God calls pastors to serve their flocks with humility, gentleness, and an openness to correction. Where they fail to live up to that standard, I pray their church or denominational structure will provide a way for them to receive correction and be required to repent and change.

  9. Great article. Wade is right on. Amen, amen!

    Actually I didn’t mean to imply that my church leaders are all humble servants of God. They all want to be that way, but they stumble along the way. In fact we’re working through some pretty challenging relational issues with our leadership team at the moment. The good thing is that they’ve all made a commitment to listen to congregational concerns and do everything possible to discern God’s leading, even if that involves bringing in someone from outside our church to help us get to the root of the problem. They know they are vulnerable to sin and self-deception like everyone else, so they’ve made sure our church has a clear path to follow if there is a conflict between the members and leaders of our church. Everyone needs accountability!

  10. “I believe that discipline is warranted in some situations in accordance with Scripture. However, such discipline can be handled in a manner that is both Biblical and thoughtful, with the result that said soon to be former member will receive the admonition that is intended by the Bible.”

    Can you please describe how this would be done? Thanks!

  11. Anonymous

    I have the perfect example! It was an actual circumstance that happened at Pete Briscoe’s church when I was a member. A married man, who was a member of the church, left his wife and moved in with his honey.The elders and Pete met with the man several times, exhorting him to repent and to do the right thing. The man refused to do this. With much sadness, the elders terminated his membership in the church. There was a quiet mention of his removal from church membership during a a church meeting. No gory details. I would imagine if anyone wanted to know the reason, they could have approached a church leader and it would have been explained to him.

    His wife was counseled and received the help she needed to get through this difficult time.

    Then, the elders did not forget about this man. Over the course of a year, they would call him and visit him. Through a combination of gentleness, marked with the firm removal from membership, this man began to feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit. He left the relationship, contacted the church and asked for assistance in putting his life back together. On one remarkable Sunday, Pete got up, discussed, for about 3 minutes, the concept of forgiveness in the middle of exegeting a book of the Bible. Then he said, I am going to let a couple tell you their story of forgiveness.

    This man, who was now reconciled to his wife, got up and told the moving story of this incident and the reconciliation. Kleenex boxes were being passed up and down the aisles.The church membership, at that time was about 3,000.

    This is one of the reasons that I respect and admire Pete Briscoe. There were no histrionics, no strutting around with dire pronouncements on the fate of the man, no blow by blow descriptions of the sins, no grand pronouncements from the pulpit on the wages of sin. Instead there was genuine sadness and love shown along with discrete application of discipline. And it worked.

    Does this make sense?

  12. Chuck
    I would agree that these articles are posted on their site. However, there seems to be such close ties to people like CJ Mahaney who runs a ministry that has had numerous accusations of abuse.To me, I look at the actions as opposed to the writings. And the SGM crowd is in tight with Peacemakers. I would think they would go out of their way to avoid any conflict of interest. They don’t or at least they don’t in an manner that I can see.

  13. Dee,
    Please help me understand what actions indicate Peacemakers is likely to act contrary to the principles stated in the two articles I mentioned. The only actions I found on the web related to SGM are that CJ endorsed Ken’s book six years ago and has since recommended other things they’ve written, and Peacemakers asked Dave Harvey and Josh Harris to speak at recent conferences.

    I looked at a coworker’s copy of the book this morning and saw that it was endorsed by a wide spectrum of Christian leaders, including Chuck Colson, Franklin Graham, Josh McDowell, Tony Evans, Max Lucado, Dennis Rainey, and the presidents of both the Assemblies of God and the Christian and Missionary Alliance. Peacemakers website lists a similarly broad span of speakers for their conferences.

    SGM leaders seem to make up only a small portion of Peacemaker’s endorsers and speakers, so it doesn’t seem to me that the two groups are so tight that Peacemakers would be unable to help in this situation. And how could they earn endorsements from across the denominational spectrum if they are biased in their work? And it’s not just church leaders that endorse Peacemakers; most of the reviews I found on seem to be from individual Christians, not pastors.

    I’m new to this blog, so you may know something I don’t. If there are any concrete facts that prove Peacemakers is acting in a way that is biased or inconsistent with the two articles on their website, it would be helpful to get them out in the open. If not it seems like the best thing we can do is to pray that God would use this group or another one like it to help resolve this painful situation.

  14. Chuck,

    Thank you for your diligence in investigating Peacemaker Ministries. We are well aware of the endorsements you have mentioned; however, we are concerned with what appears to be a growing relationship between Peacemaker Ministries and Sovereign Grace Ministries, a “family of churches” that we believe has serious polity issues.

    In case you’re not familiar with SGM’s polity, please check out this link:

    Since we have been focusing on KingsWay, we highlighted endorsers that SGMers would easily recognize, namely: C.J. Mahaney, Mark Dever, and Al Mohler. Mac Brunson was included because he has previously been discussed here at TWW and is of interest to our readers.

    We want to let our loyal readers know that we will continue to monitor the KingsWay situation and keep them apprised of any developments should Peacemaker Ministries be hired to mediate.

    Dave Harvey, who spoke at the 2009 Peacemaker Conference, recently addressed the KingsWay congregation and made it absolutely clear that SGM PASTORS ARE IN CHARGE!!! It’s their way or the highway! You can hear his candid remarks here:

    Should Peacemakers be called in to mediate this volatile situation, it will be interesting to see just how unbiased they are in the reconciliation process. Perhaps they should do their own research on SGM (as we have done here at TWW) before involving themselves in this situation. They could start here because we have written extensively on C.J. Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries.

  15. Thank you, Deb. I looked at the information on their polity. If it’s true that they allow no congregational say in selecting leaders, I would differ from them based on passages like Acts 6:1-7. At the same time, I realize that there is enormous divergence within the universal church on this issue, and that many large historical denominations allow for pastors to be put in place without a congregational vote. I disagree with this approach, but realize SGM is not the only group to use it.

    I haven’t had time yet to listen to Dave Harvey’s message, but whatever he says, I don’t think it would be fair to automatically attribute his views on polity to Peacemakers. It looks like they work across the denominational spectrum, so they probably have to engage all sorts of polities as they serve various churches, even if they disagree with those forms of government.

    After reading your blog over a second time, and then rereading Peacemaker’s two articles on accountability and approachability again, it seems clearer than ever to me that Peacemakers promotes exactly the principles the SGM leaders need to hear. What do you think of those articles? If the SGM leaders took these principles to heart, do you think that would be a step in the right direction? If so, maybe you could encourage your readers to bring these articles to the attention of their own church leaders and then pray that they would read them with really humble hearts.

    In any case, we need to keep praying, praying, praying. The key here is not what the SGM folks or some outside group tries to do, but rather that God graciously works in everyone involved to promote the repentance, confession, reconciliation and change that reveal the presence of Christ in their lives.

  16. Chuck

    I concur with Deb’s response.

    Sovereign Grace Ministries has spawned several sites that deal with abuse that appears to us, observers, that there are systemic problems that result in recurring painful episodes. You point to resolution of “this painful situation.” SGM appears to have a myriad of painful situations that have dogged their ministry and its previous permutations for decades.

    I would suggest that you investigate these concerns that span the years and continents. Yet, Peacemakers continues to use the leaders of these debacles to give “advice” to others on the peacemaking process. That seems, to this blogger, akin to calling in Rod Blagojevich to address a convention on ethical governing.

    Yes, there are endorsers throughout the Christian spectrum. I used to be one that wholeheartedly supported the concept of this group. My reading has given me cause for pause. Many of these leaders/endorsers may have no idea (or don’t want to have an idea-I’m not sure) about the number of blogs outlining the purported abuses of SGM. The stories are heart wrenching and so frequent that it should give any person of firmness some concerns.How they could continue to support SGM is a mystery to me.

    As for prayer, the good people, who have been devastated by the ministry of SGM, have been praying for decades. Perhaps it would be best to take the answer given. SGM appears to have no intention of changing its polity and attitudes and the greatest peace would be had by getting out of Dodge.

    However, thank you for your thoughts and different perspective as well as your documentation. We are challenged to think more deeply on this issue and will continue to do so. Perhaps you will prove us wrong. How wonderful would that be?

  17. If you head over to and look through the archives for Noel’s Story and the next few posts afterwards referencing Peacemakers, you will see that there is some interesting history behind SGM and Peacemakers as reported by the author of that particular blog. Be warned that Noel’s story is very, very sad.

    When I first found the two articles you linked to earlier on the Peacemakers’ site a while back, I remember giving them a ringing, sound endorsement in my own mind. Those principals seem to be biblical and sound. What I believe the ladies behind this blog are doing is calling for Peacemakers to uphold them in the situations that they are called into.

  18. Thanks for your comment, Watcher. Here’s the link to Noel’s story for those who haven’t read the sad, sad saga.

    As I mentioned in a previous post, I had never heard of Peacemaker Ministries until Ken Sande contacted Kris over at SGM Survivors. What transpired was fascinating! I support the position Kris took in her response to Sande. There’s been way too much secrecy in SGM, and it’s time for TRANSPARENCY!

  19. I don’t want to prove anyone wrong (too often it’s me!) I just want to see Jesus proved to be right when he said he came to deliver us from our sins. Wherever there’s been sin in this situation, I simply pray that God will use someone, whether it’s Peacemakers or a similar group, to help everyone face it, confess it, and experience the forgiving and redeeming power of the gospel.

  20. Chuck,

    Here is the issue at KingsWay that is causing tremendous conflict. The pastor confessed to the entire congregation (after nine years) that he lied about a colleague who went to plant another SGM church. Some of the members believe he should step down (at least for some period of time) because they believe he has disqualified himself. How would you mediate this church conflict?

  21. Frankly, I’d follow the process described in Peacemaker’s article on accountability and their Guidelines for Christian Conciliation. They seem to have a lot of wisdom and experience in this area, so I’d probably track pretty closely to the mediation practices described on their web site.

  22. Chuck
    There is a problem with a Peacemaker approach in this instance. This process works when both sides are on the same page with Scripture and the problem is a discrete set of circumstances not a systemic problem. The problem with SGM, from my reading of the blogs over the years, is that there is an underlying, pervasive problem with SGM that a nice pow wow dealing with one isolated problem will not solve.

    I have seen church conflict resolved because both sides were able to trust the motives of the other side. Unfortunately, the history with some of the parties in the SGM mess goes back decades.

    You keep referring to “this situation.” It seems to me that you do not wish to acknowledge my point. This is not one situation but a host of situations that have their roots based in decades old problems. In fact, do you know the sordid history of the shepherding movement? You will need to understand that before you can even begin to comprehend the issues surrounding this organization.

    SGM presents a hornets nest for Peacemakers.I hope they are prepared for this.If Peacemakers sides with SGM leadership or tries to make this seem like a situation in which both sides have equal responsibility, Peacemakers’ reputation will take a hit.

    And I can assure you, prayers are and have been going out for DECADES.

  23. Ken

    Are you saying we should open a subsidiary and call it the Wartburg Mediators: “You screw up, call us up!”

  24. Makes perfect sense. I attend a church that handled a similar issue in almost the exact same way although to my knowledge the repentance part has yet to occur. So now how do you think things should be handled if a church member has a disagreement with a church policy or something a church elder or pastor has done……….kind of the reverse of the situation you describe above. Thanks!

  25. Perhaps your church should call in Peacemaker Ministries to assess the responsiveness of the pastors to the member’s concerns. Members do not usually like to bring up problems with pastors unless they think it is a big deal. It takes a lot of courage to face off with pastors.

  26. Dee,
    I’m sorry my answer did not address your concern. I was trying to give a succinct answer to the scenario and question Deb posed regarding Gene’s confession and some members’ desire to have him step down.

    I don’t have your experience dealing with systemic conflicts, so I would not attempt to suggest a way to deal with the long term issues in SGM. The only thing I can offer is the observation that even though Jesus was constantly exposed to long term systemic issues involving oppressive politics, corrupt religion, and social injustice, his consistent response seems to have been to focus his teaching on individuals, encouraging each of his listeners to humbly examine their own hearts, take responsibility for their own actions, and to follow him regardless of what the crowd or the “system” was doing right or wrong.

    This undoubtedly seemed like a naive approach to most people, but by God’s power and grace it turned the world upside down in his good time. May his love and wisdom prevail at Kings Way, throughout SGM, and in each of our own lives and churches in his good time .

  27. Chuck
    Thank you for your thoughtful reply. However, I believe that Jesus dealt with “the system” in rather emotional ways. Take for example, the little brouhaha He caused at the temple when he turned over the moneychangers tables and told them to get out of there. Since there were more than one , it seems to me that He took on the system of the moneychangers. Why didn’t He just have a nice, quiet conversation with each of the individuals involved? I think it was because He knew that the system was corrupt and wanted to say so in a startling and unforgettable way.

    Then, he called some Pharisees, snakes, dealing with them in a collective way as opposed to having a peaceful meeting with each individual to address each of their peculiar. snakelike ways.In fact, I don’t remember HIm encouraging these guys to humbly examine their own hearts. It seems to me He was making a big statement about systemic abuse. And that is the problem that I perceive in SGM. And that is a problem that I don’t think Peacemakers is equipped to handle.

    I am not trying to be provocative. This is a conclusion that I have come to after reading reams and reams of info on this ministry, visiting one their churches and listening to their “Head Apostle”speak in person.I think it is time for the “friends” of Mahaney and the other SGM leaders to tell them to cut out the nonsense.

  28. Chuck,

    Here’s an excerpt from Looking Elsewhere’s comment on the SGM Refuge blog :

    “Brothers and sisters, look again at the DVD of the family meeting. You see what looks like a repentant GE. Maybe he was. But in the weeks since then you have seen a return to business as usual in attitude and positioning. You have seen a man that may have started to turn away from his past sins, but when the going got tough during the Q&A, at the CGL meeting and in the days after, you have seen him fall back into a defensive posture. What has your conversation with him been like? I suggest that Dave and CJ and other leaders in SGM have encouraged him to get back into this position because his acknowledgement of his wrongs in regard to the events of ten years ago put a big spotlight on the systemic ills of Sovereign Grace Ministries that are due to their top down power structure that is bolstered by their unbiblical polity. This is what everyone needs to understand. You must connect the dots. This entire thing is not just about one man that was wronged ten years ago. It is much, much bigger.”

    There is a systemic problem in SGM as Dee described. Mediation is NOT possible when there is such a HUGE imbalance of power at KingsWay. The pastors are in charge PERIOD, and that’s not going to change. I believe that SGM has an UNBIBLICAL POLITY, and there is nothing Peacemaker Ministries can do to change it.

  29. Anonymous said,

    “…although to my knowledge the repentance part has yet to occur.”

    Sorry, Anonymous. It’s not clear from your comment who needs to repent in the situation you described. Can you clarify?

  30. Most of the NT Epistles address believers who were experiencing some kind of oppression. As I recall, the apostles gave few exhortations to overturn tables and call others snakes. On the contrary, when referring to Jesus, they were more likely to write things like this, “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered he made no threats. Instead he entrusted himself to him who judges justly” (1 Pet. 2:22-23; cf. Phil. 2:1-15; Rom. 12:14-21). May God give you and the other readers of this blog wisdom as to which path he is calling you to walk.

  31. I agree that Peacemakers, on its own, can do nothing. But I believe our God is so big that he can use Peacemakers or another group like it, weak and inadequate as they are, to bring about any change he wants to see. In fact, he actually delights to display his power by working through vessels and channels that are weak and lowly (1 Cor. 1:18-31). So if Peacemakers is really as deficient as you believe, it might prove to be exactly the tool God chooses to use to effect the changes he wants to see in SGM.

  32. Opps. My response below (“Most of the NT Epistles …”) was intended to respond to Dee’s comment, not Deb’s.

  33. Chuck
    I understand the Bible verses that you quote. I am making another point. Sometimes, there is entrenched institutional sin that pervades all “situations.” Its like a broken faucet. You can mop up the floor but it will continue to get wet unless the faucet is fixed.

    SGM, according to a number of writings, has engaged in abusive and demeaning behavior throughout the “family of churches”and over a long period of time,both in this permutation and previous incarnations.

    I don’t know how many times I can say this. This is not “one” situation, it is a systemic problem. I am sure Peacemakers can make both side say “Im sorry” and then rejoice in reconciliation. However, it will be a pyrrhic victory because the underlying sin of an institution continues.

    So, will Peacemaker’s win? Perhaps, for one short moment, but they are getting into bed with a very manipulative crowd.

  34. Chuck
    I did not say that Peacemaker’s was deficient. I believe that it is an organization that can be helpful in some situations. However, in this situation it is my opinion that Peacemaker’s has already formed friendships with the problem people.The bias is apparent by simple observation by two middle aged women playing around on the Internet.

    Peacemaker’s should have kept their hands clean and not have the likes of SGM “leaders” address conferences of peacemaking and endorsing its books. It is just plain asinine and calls into question the wisdom of the leadership of Peacemakers. But, perhaps they were duped as well.

    It is also disconcerting to have people sign contracts in which they promise not to reveal the negotiations.The average people in the congregation do not have the expertise of understanding the ins and outs of the legalities involved. At the minimum, the congregation (not the pastors) should be advised to have a lawyer review the contract(or whatever it is called) prior to entering into such a negotiation.

    I have no such concerns for the pastors. Most of those guys have lawyers lurking in the background.

    Now, you seem to have some insight into the Peacemaker organization. I am impressed that you have a colleague that has one of their books on his desk. You must have a “peaceful” organization.

    Here is an observation from out here in the wilderness. Peacemaker’s appears to be focused on the pastors of churches. Perhaps that is how they get their business known. But, from the get go, it seems biased to leadership.

    For that perception to change, Peacemaker’s should attempt to market their business to the average joe of the congregation. How about some endorsements from “nobodys?” But, “nobodys” don’t bring in the business so they are probably not important.

  35. Chuck,

    A former member of KingsWay has written a summation of what he/she reports to have occurred. Thought you might like to read it.

    “As a former KW’er on the outside looking in, I’m trying to look at this situation with a heart of love and an objective eye. Here’s my summation of the situation:

    1. SW obeyed his employers by going to Roanoke to plant the church even though he did not feel equipped or called, then somehow was not able to carry out his duties, and was fired from his job as an SGM pastor.
    2. GE called a Family Meeting, in which he said, in effect, that SW had abandoned his post, and was guilty of the sins of pride and unbelief. GE did not mention that SW had gone under duress.
    3. SW returned to Kingsway and served faithfully in unpaid low-profile positions as a regular member of the church for the next 9 years, suffering the loss of his ministry job and damage to his reputation, after having been publicly disgraced when he was not there to defend himself, and further damaged by being forbidden to tell the truth of the situation to anyone.
    4. Unbeknownst to the church, two long-time leaders and historically dear friends of GE appealed to him repeatedly over a nine-year period to reveal the whole truth about the situation to the congregation at large in order to restore SW’s reputation.
    5. GE refused, for 9 years, to do any such thing.
    6. Over the past year or so, GE began to entertain the idea of revealing the truth.
    7. A family meeting was announced. Subject of family meeting was not revealed.
    8. SW’s defenders asked GE for a time of questions/answers as part of the meeting.
    9. GE apparently said there would be no questions/answers.
    10. SW’s defenders then said they would not agree to a family meeting if there was not time for questioning. A pastor stated they would allow questions if they were written out and given to them prior to the meeting.
    11. SW’s defenders said “no questions, no meeting.”
    12. Family meeting was tabled indefinitely.
    13. A week or so later, GE agreed to questions from congregation.
    14. Family meeting was held. SW was exonerated. GE admitted sin. Church was shell-shocked. Congregation asked questions. Members called for restitution. Members asked if GE planned to resign. Meeting over.
    15. Mickey C came to town and preached on Unity, exhorting the congregation to unite.
    16. GE met with care group leaders and wives. Said there’ll be a letter sent out. CGL’s did not accept the letter idea, and called for more family meetings so that everyone will hear the same questions and same answers.. GE apparently agreed and said there would be more family meetings.
    16. Dave Harvey came to town and preached on polity. Basically told the congregation to sit down and shut up, that in SGM’s polity, they have no authority and no voice.
    17. GE changed his mind about family meetings, and sent email to church members and said there would be no more family meetings, says they are at an impasse, and will call in Peacemakers. The impasse was not defined. No date was given for calling in Peacemakers. No information was given to explain exactly how Peacemakers will proceed with mediation.
    18. At least one CGL sent email to his group saying he supports SGM polity, that the leaders have always sought counsel.
    19. Many members have left the church. Some are waiting to see how it plays out. Some are committed to staying and seeing it through.”

    Based on comments over at SGM Refuge, it appears that SGM has failed to implement recommendations made by Peacemaker Ministries in the past. Perhaps history will repeat itselt at KW after Peacemakers has come and gone.

  36. Chuck

    Here are a couple of Bible verses for you to consider as well.

    Jeremiah 5:26 (The prophet speaking for God):…” for wicked men are found among My people…they set a trap, they catch men.” Then, “An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land. The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule on their own authority.” (vv. 30-31)

    Jeremiah 6:13-14 For from the least of them to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for gain, and from the prophet even to the priest, everyone deals falsely. And they have healed the brokenness of my people superficially saying, “Peace. peace,” but there is no peace.

    That is not directed at Peacemakers but at some of the situations in which Peacemakers intervenes. Sometimes, the decks are stacked and even the peacemakers do not realize it.

  37. Dee said:

    “So, will Peacemaker’s win? Perhaps, for one short moment, but they are getting into bed with a very manipulative crowd.”

    I hope Peacemakers is starting to realize this. I’m still wondering how much SGM contributes to the $3 million annual budget of Peacemakers. In the current economic climate, PM can’t afford to make SGM leaders mad if the amount is sizeable.

    We have established that SGM has given in excess of $100,000 to Southern Seminary and that SGM churches contribute to CCEF. I can’t help but wonder how much they give Peacemakers which appears to bail them out of their messes.

  38. The offending spouse of course. Dee describes a situation in which a husband left his wife, moved in with his honey, but eventually repented and reconciled with his wife. I shared that my church handled a similar situation the same way she described but that the husband in the case had my church had yet to repent or reconcile to my knowledge.

    Now back to the last question……….what do you recommend when a church member has concerns about the behavior of an elder or pastor? Thanks!

  39. Could you please direct me to at least one of the times that you have answered this? Thanks!

  40. Anonymous asked:
    “So now how do you think things should be handled if a church member has a disagreement with a church policy or something a church elder or pastor has done……….”

    Perhaps you should make an appointment with your pastor and discuss what’s bothering you with him. No doubt you can trust him to handle the matter biblically; otherwise, you wouldn’t be attending there.

  41. “Now back to the last question……….what do you recommend when a church member has concerns about the behavior of an elder or pastor? Thanks!”

    In the NT Body of Christ, you would handle it exactly the same way you would handle it with any other brother or sister in Christ.

    What we have to decipher is that now we have to handle within the world structure since that is how the church is structured. It is more like “how would you go about disagreeing with your CEO or bossman”.

    Some questions are harder to answer than others because what some think is biblical has no resemblance of biblical. Pastor is not an “office” but a mere function among many others in the Body.