Peacemakers and Sovereign Grace Ministries – Can There Be Peace Without Repentance?

"They have healed the wound of my people lightly,saying, 'Peace, peace,' when there is no peace."  Jeremiah 6:14 (ESV)



KingsWay Community Church, which belongs to the SGM “family of churches”, has experienced much dissension in recent months. We covered this crisis in a previous post called “KingsWay (SGM) Pastor Fails to Follow the “King’s Way”. 

According to “Looking Elsewhere” who commented on the SGM Refuge website,

“half the people at KingsWay have left over the last year. And there are many more that are in attendance that are on the verge of leaving pending the outcome of the meetings this very weekend.”

What caused the mass exodus at KingsWay? In a nutshell Gene Emerson, the lead pastor, lied about a colleague during a “family meeting” almost a decade ago and did not confess his sin publicly to the congregation until recently.


(Addendum 12/8/10-Due to several nitpickers trying to back Deb into a corner regarding the definition of the word lie-Deb posted the following comment which clarifies the various definitons for this word.Here is an excerpt for this comment which can be found under the post dated 12/7/10.

 "How do you know which connotation I intended when I used the word “lie”? According to, there is a myriad of synonyms for the verb “lie”, which are interchangeable. Here is the entire list:

“BS, be untruthful, bear false witness, beguile, break promise, bull, con, concoct, deceive, delude, dissemble, dissimulate, distort, dupe, equivocate, exaggerate, fabricate, fake, falsify, fib, forswear, frame, fudge, go back on, invent, make believe, malign, misguide, misinform, misinstruct, mislead, misrepresent, misspeak, misstate, overdrawn, palter, perjure, pervert, phony, plant, prevaricate, promote, put on, put up a front, snow, soft-soap, string along, victimize”)"


12/9/10 addendum :One of our readers continues to harp on the word lie used above. His definition is limited to "intentionally speaking something one knows not to be true." Most of our readers understand that it was our intent was to say the Emerson said some things about his colleague which we believe to not be representative of Scripture or that individual.  As many Christian understand, we, as a group of believers, often use words such as "that is a lie from satan" when someone says something wrong about Scripture or another individual.

This poor individual who is commenting on our blog is in such distress that we have decided to clarify our statement. We do not believe that Gene Emerson intentionally lied. We think he said some things that were wrong and painful. We do not know his intent or motivation, either positive or negative but we do know that we do'[t likewhat he said. So, we apologize to any person who thinks that we meant that Gene Emerson intentionally lied. We did not mean for it to be interpreted in that fashion. Also, we are beginning to understand how people gte hounded by certain elements in this ministry. No wonder there is turmoil. Good night.


As we explained in posts subsequent to the one linked above, Peacemaker Ministries was hired by the church to solve the church crisis. The meetings “Looking Elsewhere” mentioned have recently been conducted by Peacemaker Ministries. Paul Cornwell, the Peacemaker representative who is trying to solve the conflict, addressed the congregation on Sunday, November 20, 2010, with a message he called “Forgiveness”.


 I have listened to the 77 minute sermon twice, and the title basically sums up his remarks.


Cornwell explained that he has been meeting with eight men, including Emerson, to help them resolve their own personal conflicts. Each of these men signed a confidentiality agreement preventing any discussion with the members of KingsWay. It certainly appears that the congregation has once again been left in the lurch.



SGM Refuge has been an excellent resource for trying to understand what’s really going on at KingsWay. Here is what one commenter shared following Cornwell’s message: 


Free from KWCC says:

November 23, 2010 at 10:14 pm

“Let’s understand very clearly what has happened before our eyes. We have been hoodwinked, bamboozled and deceived. Bob, Buddy and Steve spent a year trying to convince Gene that what he did 10 years ago was wrong. All we got was a controlled, orchestrated show in a family night where Gene sort of confessed to Steve that he had wronged him and asked forgiveness. Bob, Steve and Buddy understood that there was so much more to the story than was spoken that night. There is the trail of legalism and ruined lives. There is the oddball PDI/SGM theology on leadership. There are the bad decisions and lack of discernment. There are lies such as Gene telling the congregation that he decided to recant his decision to make 25 year old Matthew the Executive Pastor…essentially his heir apparent… and then leave him in that position anyway. (Who is really in charge there at KingsWay?)

So, as the congregation at KingsWay sees the problems and wants them to be fixed, Gene calls Peacemakers in. Now the congregation hopes that the third party will see the problems and help to make things right. Instead they get delays and then the focus turns to the relationships between the pastors and Bob, Steve and Buddy. And everything is focused on seeking forgiveness. While I feel that seeking forgiveness is important, the issues with KingsWay as well as the rest of Sovereign Grace are way more important. And they are not going to be dealt with, people of KingsWay. All you will get is to be made to feel guilty for your sin: the lack of forgiveness. Until you can get that right, you cannot move forward. It is the same old tactic.

And as was reported, they “have more work to do.” and so this thing will drag on and on.

Remaining people at KingsWay, how can you stay there? I guess if you have a vested interest such as being a Community Group Leader or hold a coveted Worship Team position or are just sentimental about all the people that you would be leaving behind. But do you lack the discernment to see that there are problems at the root and foundation of this ministry. Stay if you want to, but I for one am out of there. Enough is enough.”

I have appreciated the thoughtful remarks made on SGM Refuge by Steve 240. Here is one of those comments.


Steve 240 says:

November 27, 2010 at 8:41 am

“I have seen a few people comment on what really happened at Kingsway. One thing those in the know could do (vs. just posting the information here) is to write Paul Cornwell and share with him what you know. He needs to hear especially from current and former members about Gene Emerson’s sin and be asked why Gene is still a pastor when his actions have disqualified him.

Maybe if Paul Cornwell gets this feedback Kingsway won’t be able to use Peacemakers as a means to “white wash” the sins of the pastors. We certainly don’t want Paul Cornwell to not have all of the information on what happened at Kingsway. If Paul has this information it would be harder for him to look the other way with Gene Emerson’s blatant sin.”

As the SGM Refuge discussion continued, several commenters explained that Emerson has disqualified himself as a pastor and should step down (at least for a season). Here is one such comment: 


Waters says:

November 29, 2010 at 11:07 am

“Hello all — we’ve been out of town for the holiday— Hope you all enjoyed a blessed Thanksgiving!
Eyes Opening and Grace and Steve240 –

As I listened to the message given by Mr. Cornwell at the Sunday meeting — I just had to take a ‘break’. I was struck with a deep sadness, and just needed time to think, pray…

Mr. Cornwell is, I believe, sincerely passionate about restoring relationships within the body of Christ…and walking in peace with one another and without angst or animosity towards a Brethren. He is gifted in sifting through “heart issues” and getting to the motive of a person’s actions. This is the heart of Peacemakers Ministry. Probably many of us know of and are aware of the good reports of their reconciliation ministry within the church.
The KingsWay ‘conflict’, in my perspective, does NOT come under the category of resolving personal conflict issues, digging for heart motives, and extending forgiveness. These would all be characteristics to be pursued AFTER a person in leadership, a pastor, has been examined and held to scriptural accountability for sins against his own people/congregation/Brethren. The person in leadership would need to step aside for a season for his own time of repentance … and for the congregants to be healed and restored and have the time to trust in said pastoral leader.
When I listened to the message given by Mr. Cornwell, I could “hear” the silent sadness of the congregants. Mr. Cornwell was upbeat and attempted encouragement. I must say, my heart was weeping with those who were weeping. The tempo of being upbeat seemed terribly out of place. This is a church that has been lied to — for 10 YEARS by their PASTOR.

Yes, Eyes Opening – Sovereign Grace Ministries called upon Peacemakers Ministries to intervene on their behalf – so that the sins of the leadership and pastor would not be held accountable. Instead, with Peacemakers’ involvement, the tables are now turned to the issues of each man’s sinful heart motives and the need for forgiveness.

As Mr. Cornwell stated, now the 8 men are going through a process to “understand what God is doing in THEIR hearts, and what is their motive.”
Thus, a successful deflection has taken place — the 8 men are now signed into confidentiality, as Mr. Cornwell stated: “Don’t talk about the proceedings. Pray instead. The transfer of information is not important now, but that God is doing His work.”

Also, he warns the congregants of participating in ‘adversarial means’- and not to “allow forgiveness to be replaced with vengeance.” (????)
The many meetings, hoop-jumping, examining self for sin will continue on. And, SGM hopes the 8 men will forget what brought them all there in the first place. Scripture and tones of humility will be evoked.

Our story held similar characteristics. Our family member was blatantly and obviously sinned against by spouse and SGM pastor. However, family member was required to read the “Peacemakers” book (for several months) and then begin a series of meetings to determine their own “owning” for responsibility of being destructively sinned against. I testify to you that these meetings were spiritually taxing –not in the owning of responsibility but in the constant questioning, with a tone of unbelief (which would be calling us liars)…and their posture of “IF what you are stating occurred…” etc. etc.

The months that this went on caused an underlying attempt by the enemy to confuse us and draw us in to focus on our own sinful heart. BUT GOD. Praying, and with the intercessory prayer of those who have been delivered from SGM, we were able to not only stay the course, but began to SEE, more clearly the deceptiveness, control, and evil pollution within SGM. {I don’t want to go on a trail of our story here, just giving an example of experience}.

King David fell on his face in sorrow and repentance, when Nathan the prophet uncovered his sin before the entire court. King David, the beloved king and Psalmist.

Scripture does not record the ‘necessity’ of pursuing heart motives of Nathan, or any of the myriads of both palace servants and Bathsheba’s servants.

No, the focus was on the King — who had sinned against his own people. David the King did not call in several priests or elders to discuss and evaluate and dig for each persons heart motivation in their ‘part’ of the cover-ups, or question Nathan for his “adversarial judgmental” proclamation. Pure and simple. The King had greatly sinned. Only he is the one standing taking full responsibility.

SGM continues to seek to strengthen their stance and belief that their pastors “stand in the very stead of God.” God, you see, would not be required to bow before any man or any mans accusations, so neither do SGM pastors.

The Blood of Jesus has made available the purchase for every man and woman. To become redeemed and walk in the Light as He is in the Light. We are co-heirs with Jesus Christ. Sons and daughters of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Jesus is the way the truth and the life—- He does not set us upon a spinning merry-go-round…..There are no gray areas, shifting shadows with Him.
God’s people at KingsWay need time and ministry of healing and restoration. I pray they will leave the confines of SGM KingsWay to a fellowship of Believers who walk in the love of Jesus Christ and in the Light of His Truth and in the peace of not being controlled and manipulated by leadership. Where lies and maligning and destruction are defined as such. Where truth is truth. Jesus is the true Cornerstone. The cornerstone in SGM shows fruit of the wielding of control. Flee. The pollution of leaven in SGM is now insidious.”

Then the following comments were posted at SGM Refuge (following Waters’ poignant remarks):


Steve 240 says:

November 29, 2010 at 12:42 pm


You just made some really good points. It is sad that Gene Emerson’s sin and need for repentance and stepping down is apparently being lost with the “peacemaking” process between these 8 men.

Paul Cornwell did seem sincere as you indicate. I hope he isn’t used by SGM to “white wash” KingWay Leaders’ sin, especially what Gene Emerson did. Sadly it wouldn’t surprise me if that is what happens.

I would again encourage people to write Mr. Cornwall, especially if you are a member or were a member of Kingsway and give him your view on this situation. Let him know your concern and ask him why it isn’t obvious that scripturally Gene Emerson needs to step down. Maybe if Peacemakers truly sees how SGM has operated here (including SGM leaders such as Dave Harvey) maybe they will reconsider their affiliation with SGM or point out changes that need to be done.

Commenting here may do some good. Letters written to people in authority who might be able to effect change such as Paul Cornwell does even more good.”

Eyes Opening says:

November 27, 2010 at 10:06 pm

Someone please correct me if I am wrong but it is my understanding that Peacemakers is dealing with this not as a church issue but as an issue between 8 individual men – seeking reconciliation between those 8.”

Steve 240 says:

November 28, 2010 at 4:38 pm

“If Peacemakers is only going to deal with reconciliation between these 8 men, it sounds like they won’t be addressing Gene’s actions and that these actions disqualified him from being a pastor.”

It appears that Paul Cornwell on behalf of Peacemaker Ministries is trying to encourage forgiveness in an attempt to bring peace and reconciliation to the KingsWay congregation. Unfortunately, he has never publicly addressed the members’ concerns that Gene Emerson may have disqualified himself as a pastor.

Have you ever noticed how Jeremiah 6:14 is repeated verbatim in Jeremiah 8:11?

They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, 'Peace, peace,' when there is no peace.”

Is this what Peacemaker Ministries is attempting to do at KingsWay?

We have previously discussed an excellent book called The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse (written by David Johnson and Jeff VanVonderen), which aptly applies to the royal mess at KingsWay. Wade Burleson posted a review of this book co-written by his friend Jeff VanVonderen. 

In the article, Wade states:

“Jeff compares this abusive spiritual system to the "pretend peace" of Jeremiah's day when the prophets cried 'peace, peace' when there is none.”


Members of KingsWay, please read Wade Burleson’s review of The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse, or better yet, get the book! It will help you to understand the spiritually abusive system in which you find yourselves and empower you to make a healthy change.

No matter how often Sovereign Grace Ministries calls in the Peacemakers, there will never be peace until SGM’s polity changes. 


Peacemakers and Sovereign Grace Ministries – Can There Be Peace Without Repentance? — 103 Comments

  1. Thanks for opening up the mess at KingsWay to your readers. In my conversations with people who are leaving or have left KingsWay, a variety of reasons emerge. Some are offended by the ten years of lies and cover ups. Others see through the polity and see that they have no say. Others are concerned about a person who was encouraged to remain there despite inappropriate behavior with a child and the cover up of that. Others sense the spiritual abuse and the vestiges of Shepherding in the leadership style. Some are tired of the overemphasis of the cross and our sin and the de-emphasis on the resurrection. Some are upset that the church is too charismatic and some are upset that it isn’t charismatic enough. Many were very put out by the fast track that Gene put young Matthew on, bypassing the older and more experienced Aaron and the subsequent “degifting” and departure of two other pastors.

    It is a smorgasbord of spiritual abuses. The bottom line is that I believe God is removing His hand from KingsWay and Sovereign Grace. In the coming years it will be a dead work unable to continue to function due to a lack of money. I believe that God takes it very seriously when leaders abuse his bride, the church.

  2. It would be so awesome if folks could learn from others instead of continually going through these things. In my experienced opinion, it is a waste of time to write Cornell about the sins. Never assume he really cares about that. He has a mission that most likely does not match what he wants you to think it is. If it were, his actions would look more like 1 Corin 5. I am astounded that anyone thinks this person who was inappropriate with children would ever be qualified to minister. Perhaps a ministry in prison?

    The only answer is to run away as fast as you can from these wolves in sheep’s clothing. This is about saving an organization. It has nothing to do with Christ.

    The commenter above me says that God takes it very seriously when leaders abuse His Bride, the church. The problem with this thinking is two fold: The concept of authoritarian leadership and not understanding what is His Bride. Until we figure that out, we will constantly be dealing with this problem because it is everywhere in various forms in what people call “church”. It is in seeker, emergent, Calvinist, etc.

    We are not to follow humans. We are to be Bereans. That is the foundational problem. There are mature believers who can shepherd us for a season but we are to grow in Holiness and eat meat and we move on and shepherd others. We too, have the indwelling Holy Spirit if we are saved. There are no specially “anointed” humans. Until we understand that, we will continue to have so many people caught up in this cultic behavior. We have made man’s traditions of church organization and titles more important than truth and the fact that ALL believers are “priests” now.

  3. Free from KWCC,

    Thanks for your candid post over at SGM Refuge, which has been included here. Dee and I are doing our best to get the word out about spiritual abuse here at TWW. We are grateful for the technology that allows us to do so.

    My prayer is that our brothers and sisters in Christ will have the courage to remove themselves from abusive situations. They need to listen to the Holy Spirit that indwells them, not their abusive leaders.

  4. Is this a first in Sovereign Grace Ministries?

    Kris over at SGM Survivors has just posted an invitation from Josh Harris to select members of Covenant Life Church asking them to join him and other pastors at his home for a pow-wow.

    Here is an excerpt from Josh’s invitation:

    “…the pastors and I are seeking feedback from the church about changes that have occurred over the years in our pastoral leadership and the emphasis of teaching (or the way this teaching was unhelpfully applied). We’re trying to discern where change is the result of normal and healthy growth in maturity and where we got things wrong in the past and need to acknowledge that for the good of people who were done a disservice by our leadership.

    Would you be willing to help us?

    You’re receiving this invitation for one or more of the following reasons a) you’ve been around awhile! b) you have already expressed a desire to participate in this process, or c) one of the pastors suggested that you might have valuable perspective. You may or may not have concerns about pastoral practices in the past. Please don’t feel any obligation to participate in this discussion. But if you have experiences or insights that could help your pastors serve this church better in the future, we would be deeply grateful for your involvement.”

    I’d be interested in your take on this latest change in SGM.

  5. If I attended the meeting and suggested that they all give up their beliefs or at least give up their profession and that either way folks would be better off, if that’s their real concern, think they’d take my advice.

  6. Free From KWCC wrote:

    “Others are concerned about a person who was encouraged to remain there despite inappropriate behavior with a child and the cover up of that.”


    I haven’t heard about this before regarding KingsWay. Is this pervasive in SGM?

  7. “Is this a first in Sovereign Grace Ministries? ”

    Image and perception management. Seriously, how could they not know so much of what has been public and wrong and their bizarre handling of it has been to only salvage their image. Why is this different. Listening is free and people are manipulated….once again. It also gives them the opportunity to identify troublemakers and then later claim that any dissenters had their opportunity at these meetings but did not take it and are now just troublemakers, gossipers and divisive. How do I know this? It is in the playbook.

  8. Lydia,

    Oh yes, the playbook…

    Cognitive Rogue posted the following over at SGM Survivors. Perhaps it came out of the SGM playbook.

    “The SGM 10 Commandments of Men”™:

    – You shall love your SGM church with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. You shall have no other church before an SGM church. You shall not visit or even contemplate other churches, for SGM is a jealous “family of churches,” punishing deserters, to the third and the fourth generations of those who reject SGM. (Well, we’re anticipating “in faith” that there will be third and fourth generation SGM believers).

    – You shall not make wrongful use of the name of SGM, for SGM will not acquit anyone who blogs or otherwise speaks in vain the name of SGM

    – You shall not date, unless it is what we describe as “biblical dating”

    – You shall be “accountable” and confess sins to artificially created “friends” in a care group. Even if you don’t have any ‘sins’ we’ll make up some more rules that you’re not living up to so that you have something to confess. Or you shall just make something up to fit in with your new artificial “friends”

    – You shall submit to the pastors and their direction/teaching

    – If you are a wife you shall submit to your husband, unless we say so like in some specific circumstances that don’t support our view of things

    – You shall have hierarchical polity and respect, honor, and accept the supremacy of the pastor

    – You shall live in fear of leaving this flock, which is your family that Almighty God sovereignly placed you in

    – You shall not think for yourself under any circumstance

    – You shall have no other books except those approved of in “the world’s greatest book store”

    So saith the self-appointed apostles and pastors of SGM”

    There you have it. I wonder if any of this will be discussed at Josh’s house.

  9. Karl

    I can’t believe that I am agreeing with an atheist! But I agree. They need to think clearly about the basis of their faith. There is an interesting book called Pagan Christianity which talks about how we, in the church in America, have deviated from the early faith. This shepherding movement fits right into the premise of the book.

  10. Cue major kissing sounds. Are any of these invitees those who have truly tried to change SGM like the good people of SGM Refuge or Survivors? If so I would need to be picked off the ground.

    Perhaps they will morph into another permutation-new name, same abuse. Kind of like Amway morphed to Quixtar now back to Amway. I good name never needs to be changed. for example, this past year Tropicana Orange Juice (my personal favorite) tried a new carton design which eliminated the orange with the juice straw in it. A revolt ensued and the orange and straw were revived. Good things do not need t be tampered with.

  11. Lydia

    Hope usually springs eternal but, I must admit, in this case, I am not hopeful. BTW tell your daughter my kids had trouble with the sleepovers at some of the Christian school kids. My kids went all the way through in Christian schools. My daughter was sos ick for so many years, I needed the comfort and standards of that environment. But, as I learned, things in school did not necessarily match things at home. Many parents put their kids in that environment to keep them “safe” whatever they define that to be-usually gangs and over the top liberalism. They don’t do it for the standards of Scripture. I remember one rich chick complaining that she was tired of the school preaching about mission. Her kid was not going to be” one of those missionaries, ever.” Tell her to hang in there. My kids found some wonderful friends who have been stalwart companions throughout their lives.

  12. Also, ye shall be promoted over all other pastors if you you are one of the chosen, even if you abuse kids.

  13. Karl

    I have disappointed a myriad of Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses and other assorted belief systems. However, I am still fun to be around.

  14. Dee,

    Thank goodness! I wouldn’t want you to exchange one belief system without evidence for another one that has even less, you’re smarter than that!

    25 years as a Christian and I can tell you without hesitation, there isn’t a single thing of substance that I miss. No lightning bolts from the sky and I’m happier, enjoy life much more, if there was any change in how I understood the universe, it was that this is the ONLY life I am going to have so it’s moved me to do so much more and be involved in trying to make a better place here and now.

    I know, when I was making the decision…there was fear. I truly did not know what my life would be like after finally abandoning my belief, but with 100% hindsight I can tell you it is awesome!

    If there is anything I miss maybe it’s the organ music and the architecture…way cool. Most buildings today are so utilitarian..uggh

  15. Free from KWCC,

    Is this child abuser at KWCC and when did this abuse occur? Is this person in leadership? I have not heard of this concerning KW.


  16. I read the entire previous post, including synopsis 1 & 2. What proof do YOU have that Gene Emerson intentionally gave a false testimony regarding SW at that family meeting ten years ago? How do you know that he lied?

  17. anonymous,

    I have the testimony of those who were there. Sorry, I don’t understand what you’re trying to prove. Do you doubt their truthfulness?

  18. Here is what I mean:

    Gene Emerson truly believed deep within his heart that SW was walking in sin that disqualified SW from his leadership position.

    Do you have proof to the contrary?

  19. “Gene Emerson truly believed deep within his heart that SW was walking in sin that disqualified SW from his leadership position.

    Do you have proof to the contrary?”

    Why should Gene be believed over the others? Are you calling the others liars?

  20. It has been reported here on this blog that Gene Emerson lied. I am asking for proof.

    What proof do those in attendance at that family meeting have that Gene Emerson lied?

    Serious charges like this demand proof.

  21. Don’t you think that anyone who is making a serious charge such as lying should provide proof that they are lying?

  22. Another good blog entry here.

    Paul Cornwell in his message to Kingsway talked about godly sorrow as a requirement for being able to repent. This sorrow would include acknowledgment of the consequences of one sin.

    I certainly hope that as part of this “peacemaking” process that Gene Emerson develops this sorrow and see what the consequences were of his lying. Just think what impact what Gene Emerson had on this other pastor who he withheld the truth about. Also what about what it has done to Kingsway Church and how much credibility Gene Emerson has lost. I say “hopefully” but am skeptical.

    I wonder if Gene Emerson has even thought how things might have gone if he had done the honorable thing and stepped down when this was admitted? Maybe he wouldn’t have lost the reported 1/2 of his membership.

    People may say there is another side but I certainly haven’t heard another side to support Gene Emerson remaining as Sr. Pastor when he has admitted to lying. Scripturally Gene’s actions disqualify him from being a pastor. It is so obvious.

    I didn’t notice you commenting on this but have you also listened to Dave Harvey’s message about elder rule? I am sure you know that Harvey is one of the top leaders with SGM has spoken at a number of Peacemaker events. Dave Harvey said in his message that he (and presumably SGM) didn’t have any authority over Kingsway and that the church was elder led. It was almost as if Harvey was washing his hands of any responsibility for addressing the sin at Kingsway.

    I find Harvey’s “no authority” quite a cop out. Even if SGM doesn’t have legal authority they certainly could put pressure to have the right thing done. Other have suggested that SGM isn’t stepping in and doing anything because they really don’t want to vs. not having any “authority.”

  23. anonymous

    People have indicated that Gene Emerson himself admitted this lying in a family meeting. From what I have seen this lying is basically an established fact. There is no question that he did this though there are different variations to the story.

  24. Steve,

    Did Gene Emerson actually confess to lying about SW at that family meeting?

    What did he actually say?

    This is a serious charge to bring against anyone. Maybe he did, or sort of, or perhaps he, I think is not good enough for this charge.

    Either he confessed to lying or he did not confess to lying.

    Can you in fact give us the quote of his confession?

  25. I asked for proof of Gene Emerson’s lying.

    I would think the moderator of this blog and the initiator of this discussion would have quoted Gene Emerson’s confession of lying at the family meeting ten years ago. This would have been convincing evidence.

    Instead, I am directed to synopsis 2, which says that Gene Emerson got up at the family meeting ten years ago and lied about SW’s sin. This is not proof that he lied.

  26. anonymous

    Lying for a pastor/elder is quite a serious charge.

    The fact that Gene Emerson admitted that he withheld the truth (lied) about something for 10 years has been verified by a number of people. It hasn’t been questioned. Thus is an established fact (with variations on the story). I am sure if there was a question about the veracity of something this serious, various people would have brought this us.

    Jim who use to be the moderator for the SGMRefuge blog is quite knowledgeable and would not have posted his orginal post had their been a question over this happening. It looks like you are trying to “pollute the well.”

    Here is one person’s summary of the events at Kingsway:

    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.

  27. I am after only one thing – proof that Gene lied.

    “I read it on a blog” is not proof.

    Which of the above proves he lied?

    Where is the quote of his confession of lying?

    You have given me no proof whatsoever that he fabricated what he said about SW’s sin.

    If he intentionally lied at that family meeting, than he should have stepped down long ago. But you have given me no proof that he purposely chose to lie about SW’s sin.

  28. anonymous said:

    “If he intentionally lied at that family meeting, than he should have stepped down long ago. But you have given me no proof that he purposely chose to lie about SW’s sin.”

    I am assuming you meant that if he confessed to the withholding of the truth for a 10 year period he should have stepped down long ago. Since it is pretty much established he did this a lot of people are asking why he hasn’t. I am sure that helps explain why 1/2 of the Kingsway members have left.

    I doubt that only a signed confession maybe notarized by Gene Emerson is all that you would believe.

  29. Steve 240 — 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.

    How about withholding the whole truth from the congregation.Wouldn’t you consider that a lie anonymous?

  30. Probably shouldn’t chime in, but as an atheist, I would consider a pastor to be lying every time he said “God told me…” to his congregation.

  31. anonymous,

    Paul Cornwell, in his message at KingsWay, spends a considerable amount of time explaining how Gene Emerson and “Buddy” are trying to work through their conflict. Have you listened to his message? According to “Free from KWCC”, Buddy is one of the church leaders who tried to get Gene to come forward about how he had misspoken about SW almost a decade ago. That’s all the proof I need to know that what has been purported is true.

    As Steve 240 has stated, it is alleged that half of the KingsWay congregation has left. I wonder why…

    And the hiring of Peacemaker Ministries is surely an indication that there are serious problems at KingsWay. That speaks volumes to me.

  32. Karlton,

    Just think, if you had remained a part of the Gathering of Believers, you might have ended up at KingsWay going through all this mess.

  33. Gene mispoke? Did he intentionally lie?

    Did he truly believe that what he spoke ten years was absolutely true? Did others in leadership agree with Gene at the time?

    Misunderstanding and disagreement does not mean that he lied. He may have truly believed in his heart before the Lord that what he shared at that family meeting was correct. And for nine years, when confronted with this issue, he continued to stand his ground. This is not lying.

    You are way over the top if you think I have some sort of “Gene is innocent” agenda.

    On the other hand, you appear to accept and assume, without important questions being asked, that he lied.

    You do not know the truth about this issue anymore than I do. Yet you report as fact that he LIED, not mispoke, but LIED.

    And you continue on with conjecture, supposition, and assumptions. You have convinced yourselves that he lied yet you have no proof. YOU initiated the charge of lying without proof that he actually did.

    Carruy on with your unproven charge of lying and you will carry on with slander.

  34. anonymous,

    Of course Gene thought he was correct about S.W. After all, SGM pastors are supposedly “standing in the very stead of God”. Their authoritarian posturing has caused tremendous dissension throughout Sovereign Grace Ministries, and KingsWay is just one example.

    We are getting the word out here at TWW that SGM’s polity is not biblical. A word to the wise is sufficient, fools have to be convinced.

  35. I am after only one thing – proof that Gene lied.

    “I read it on a blog” is not proof.

    Which of the above proves he lied?

    Where is the quote of his confession of lying?”

    Sounds to me like the only proof you will accept is his admission he lied. Good luck with that. Oh, btw: in seeker circles we always referred to lies as they “misspoke”. It is in the playbook.

  36. Anonymous

    This is the other glamorous blog queen finally getting around to your question. I was too busy writing another post.

    Here is my bottom line. In life, one is given a bunch of facts to sort out. At Harvard Law School, every year they have a group of people unexpectedly invade a class and commit a pretend crime with lots of people looking on. Then, after the event, everyone gives their version of events. It is always interesting to see the differing perspectives of what the facts were.

    In the end, that is how it goes in court. There are a bunch of facts given and a jury makes a decision. The jury bases their decision on the presentation of facts as well as the intangibles of the people involved. They often get it right but occasionally get it wrong.

    I have read extensively on this incident.I have also taken into account the hyper-authoritarian atmosphere of SGM which often places the pastor on a higher plain in terms of honesty and ability to overcome sin. I find that to be ridiculous and dangerous.It is a set up for major problems.

    Secondly, SGM has spawned more “survivors” type groups than any other ministry. And,where there is so much smoke, there is fire.

    I have read CJ Mahaney’s books. Since he is the commandant of this mess, I look to him for clues. I found his treatment of humility to be laughable at best. He is hardly humble and knows it.I find him to be haughty and distant.I find his focus on sin to be a smokescreen in order to control those who would disagree with him

    He formed SGM on the back of the shepherding groups that he was a part of in the last part of last century. These groups were known for their abusive behavior and strong, ruling pastors who, as time has gone on, demonstrated a less than honest application of discipline.There are a number of folks who would deem this movement to be cultlike.

    As an outside observer, given all that I have read, I believe the people on the survivors groups.

    I believe that you may be in the military. As you know, in many combat situations, one must make a decision based on a variety of facts and instinct. In fact, the best leaders are those who have much experience and good instinct.Sometimes it is impossible to get all the facts and it boils down to he said, she said.

    For many, JFKs assassination is explained by Lee Harvey Oswald. However, there are some who do not believe that to be the case. My guess is that there will always be disagreement on that situation.

    So, no matter how much we say, no matter how much we show, you will not believe it until you have unassailable proof. I, on the other hand, have heard enough and side with these poor people who have watched a dysfunctional church go down the tubes. And, when a church is dysfunctional, you can bet that the leadership has a lot to do with it.

  37. “And the hiring of Peacemaker Ministries is surely an indication that there are serious problems at KingsWay. That speaks volumes to me.”

    Incredible how much money they will spend to prop some people up.

  38. Karl, Karl, Karl…

    What to do about you? 🙂 A liar is one who knows he is lying. I would hope that most pastors would believe they are telling the truth. Do you think I am lying? If you answer yes, our EAT group is in serious jeopardy.

  39. “Carruy on with your unproven charge of lying and you will carry on with slander”

    For that, you have to prove the others lied. Do YOU have proof? :o)

  40. Oh, and I forgot to mention that the 8 men going through the “peacemaking” process at KingsWay are now under a gag order… That speakes VOLUMES, too!

  41. Anonymous

    I need to correct you on your use of the word slander. So many misuse this term. It is especially used to intimidate people in an honest discussion and, hence, is deemed a “no no” by me.

    Slander is defined by “defamation by oral utterance rather than by writing.” Defamation is by writing.We could not slander unless you heard us say something which would be difficult since this is a blog.

    Now, defamation is writing something which you know to be false. It does not mean that you cannot make an assumption about something you believe to be true.If one could be sued every time one said someone was lying, the entire country would be in court on a regular basis. To wit…Bush lied, Obama lied, etc.

    So, in this situation, one can say that Emerson is lying but one could not say that Emerson is a transvestite unless one had some pretty good information for that to be said.

    I am now waiting for Karl to answer the above comment to see if he thinks I am lying.Humph.

  42. Here’s one SGMer’s attempt to correct the “myths” that he claims are being spread via the internet regarding Sovereign Grace Ministries. The post begins as follows:

    Friday, October 15, 2010

    “Myths concerning Sovereign Grace Ministries”

    “Within the past couple of years, many stories have spread like wild fire thanks to the internet. Millions upon millions of articles can be accessed within a couple clicks of a mouse. Sadly, due to this fact, great lies and gossip can circulate rather quickly. The same is true with Sovereign Grace Ministries. Due to the vast popularity of just a few blogs, the organization led by C.J. Mahaney has been depicted to look like an organization that is not what it was meant to be. Here, we will, with the help of God, analyze some of the arguments brought up by those slandering SGM.”

    The blogger proceeds to ask and then answer these questions regarding SGM:

    – Does Sovereign Grace Ministries support Ezzo parenting?

    – Is Sovereign Grace Ministries hyper-episcopalian?

    – Does SGM strictly enforce homeschooling and courtship?

    The blogger ends the post as follows:

    “In closing, the misconceptions of Sovereign Grace Ministries are (so) great that they needed to be addressed. The time has come when the truth needs to be exposed against those who are covering it and hiding it. May God be glorified in the mi(d)st of all this!”
    (Sorry, misspelled words like “mist” above really bother me so I had to add the “d”)

    You might be interesting in reading the first comment regarding this post:

    Steve said…

    “Are these the blogs you are talking about that expose things about C.J. Mahaney and the group he leads, Sovereign Grace Ministries:

    SGM may now not promote Ezzo parenting but they did a while back and according the person involved excommunicated a woman and her family for her daring to disagree with SGM Leadership.

    Realize that pastor = elder in SGM. It isn’t like in Baptist Churches where there is a board of lay elders that provides a check/balance. None of the “elders” are lay people and the regular members really have no say.

    One may even claim that SGM Churches are just a “family” of churches but with their uniformity and admiration of Mahaney it seems a lot more than that.

    When most of the members both homeschool and apply courtship even if it isn’t strictly enforced there is bound to be a lot of pressure for all members to do that.

    Have you heard about the recent events at Richmond VA SGM KingsWay? The Sr. Pastor has admitted to withholding the truth (lying) about something for 10 years and hasn’t stepped down. What kind of integrity does that show? Wouldn’t one think that his lying for a period of 10 years disqualifies him as an elder?”

    October 16, 2010 2:16 PM

    Anyone care to respond to these “myths” that are being spread like wildfire via the internet?

  43. Deb
    It must be so hard for these SGM apologizer types to deal with the likes of you and me. We are not part of SGM, have never been (thanks be to God) and never will be. We don’t buy their arguments and do not buy their interpretations of gossip. We are not anyone of importance so they cannot bring social pressure to bear. We are not in any church that would accept a call from an SGM pastor complaining about us and crying crocodile tears. In other words, we are cussedly independent and these types appear to function only when they can intimidate people.Its really hard when a church loses control of the people, they start writing about their issues, and then independent types pick it up.Ah the freedom of info on the blogosphere.They need to take a page for Mac Brunson and not fight it. It will only end in further embarrassment.

  44. To not be confused with anonymous, I gave myself a number. If you have never even been apart of an SGM church, how do you know exactly what is going on? What if the testimonies are false? How do you know that the blogger Deb quoted is not speaking the truth? Can you give me any sermon or proof besides the testimonies posted that showed that Gene Emerson lied? I had a brief conversation with Matthew Williams about this. I got a whole different story from him about what is going in Kingsway than what I am reading here. There are pastors at Kingsway that do not believe that Gene lied at all.

  45. Anonymous 2
    I am sure that there are pastors who do not believe that Emerson lied. They wouldn’t be able to be a part of SGM if they believed differently.I have tried to explain that there are many aspects that go into ones personal beliefs.I have read the history of the development of the current Mahaney permutation of SGM, I have read a couple of his books, I have visited an SGM church, I have read a couple of blogs that are proSGM and a couple of blogs that are not. I have even read some comments on blogs outside of this group. I have weighed what is said and I fall down on the side of those bloggers who believe he lied.

    I am not impressed that a “pastor” believes he did not lie. i do not believe pastors are anymore truthful or insightful than the average member of a church. So, why should I believe the pastor over others? In fact, you seem to be saying that, if the pastors says it, it is true. Therefor the church members who believe differently are wrong. I must tell you that you are doing exactly what you accuse others of doing. That is making a judgment on the truthfulness of one person and the falsehood of another.

    As an outsider looking in, I believe that SGM is in a world of hurt. The faith does not have to be like this-dissensions, distant and “anointed” pastors, and hurting church members. There seems to me to be something in the system that is not working well.When I see this sort of systemic problem, then I have a tendency to believe that those in charge of the system are the ones responsible for the pain. In the end, the buck stops with the leadership. however, it seems to me that some in the leadership put the buck back squarely on the shoulders of the members. That is not real leadership and it is certainly not “manly.”

  46. Dee, Dee, Dee…

    Putting me on the spot are we…OK, let me rephrase it this way. I don’t think they are lying in the sense of me asking directions of you, and you know the correct way is left but you tell me right just to have a laugh.

    I mean the kind of lying when deep down inside, when you are home, alone with no one around and that little voice nags at you but you push it to the back of your mind and continue on with what you are doing. I believe every believer has that, some call it the devil tempting them, some call it a crises of faith, some call it immaturity in the Lord, but what ever you call it, I believe it to be our sub conscience quietly railing against the cognitive dissonance cause by belief in something that deep down inside we know isn’t true.

    We all do it with a variety of things in our life, we just choose not to deal with it, either because of the pain it might cause, the repercussions, to save face, because it’s our livelihood or because we convince ourselves that other Christians don’t experience it, they “really” hear God’s voice, why would they lie, so it must be something in me, so we silence the internal voice and soldier on, hoping it will go away. I suppose after many years of repressing that voice, in some people it may in fact go away or just be so overwhelmed with the noise around us that we fail to hear it anymore.

    I know it was true for me, and I know it has been true for anyone I’ve know who has left the faith, and it apparently has been true for anyone else who has left the faith and gone public to tell their story. In fact, I cannot think of even one example of someone who’s left the faith and not expressed those sentiments.

    Different Topic – I didn’t know you were Russian! My family, although German, behaved the same way (except it was schnapps not vodka!). I grew up arguing, yelling, dancing around the room, throwing a pencil at someone for being stupid, etc. etc. But like you said, it was never personal, it was more mental gymnastics, who could out argue the other, mostly it was fun! People have lost the art of debate these days. Say anything at all that contradicts someone’s belief and they are instantly “offended”, how sad (and silly).

  47. How do you know what is going if you are not at kingsway? If Gene really said he was lying, there needs to be some substantial proof like a write by Gene or a sermon. That is why documentation exists. College professors do not allow students to use wikipedia because anyone can change the information on anything that is on that site. Here, people claim that Gene lied without backing it up with evidence. Rather they build up credibility by saying they are apart of Kingsway and were at the meeting where Gene admitted. This is not enough proof. If you do not have a sermon or a piece of writing, I will call this the latest “buzz” going around.

  48. As a former KingsWay member who was there when this whole thing started ten years ago up through the present mess, I understand the controversy over whether Gene lied or not. To be honest, ten years ago, I believe that he truly believed his flawed theology that could only categorize what was obviously a nervous breakdown on the part of SW as a result of sin…more specifically SW’s sin of unbelief. It was a biblical term used in an unbiblical way. For ten years SW’s friends (who I must add are men that have known Gene longer than anyone else there) pleaded with Gene to recant his original assessment of why SW failed in Roanoke and restore Steve’s destroyed reputation. What we got at the August Family Night was a carefully orchestrated event that, if anything, showed how controlling the leadership was. We saw Gene apologize to Steve, but he never really apologized to the congregation.

    What is a lie? It could be withholding the truth. That is what Gene did. Maybe it took him ten years to realize it, but that is what people see. Most of the problems here would have not happened if Gene had merely stood up before the congregation and said something to the effect of “I believed a lie and presented it to you in regards to Steve. I repent of that and ask you to forgive me. I have been stubborn and self protective and repent of that.”

    Part of Gene’s problem has been the people that he has surrounded himself with: the other pastors that encouraged him that he was ok and “had shown signs of repentance.” Of course these guys are going to encourage Gene. It’s their heads on the block next.

    That is why the church’s polity is under fire. It is what allowed this whole thing to happen and be covered over all these years. There is a lack of true elders in the leadership. We have guys in their twenties and thirtys being put up as elders. The last time I looked, “elder” meant “old person”. Yes, even in the Greek. KingsWay is an example of a church that had many true elders (old guys with the spiritual maturity and life experience that characterize a TRUE elder) that were ignored and set aside in favor of young, paid staff who each had a financial stake in agreeing with Gene. Need I list the KingsWay pastors that have come and gone? (just since Steve W, there has been Craig R, Steve P, James B)….who’s next?

  49. “To not be confused with anonymous, I gave myself a number. If you have never even been apart of an SGM church, how do you know exactly what is going on?”

    Because it is going on everywhere and the basics are the same. It has it’s roots in authoritarianism. The elevation of men…the fight for control. the tactics might change but the end game is the same: Control, authority, power, influence, etc. (and a guaranteed income)

    Some of us were IN IT and part of the playbook. And there is a typical playbook they all use. (Sin is pedantic and has common traits. As Arnedt once said: The banality of Evil. It really is)

    When ministry became a career path within the church growth movements, it really unleashed this stuff to a huge degree. SGM has it’s own bizarre brand of church growth movement…most of them do. But the underlying basics are the same. CJ just just changed the “brand” name and some of the products.

    The bottomline is he is no different from Rick Warren, Al Mohler, Paige Patterson, John Piper, John McArthur, Billy Hybels, Ligon Duncan, RC Sproul, and on and on. The doctrinal twists might be different but the bottomline is about control, power, authority and influence. It is about being great among men. And all their sychophants are taught to be just like them. Whatever it takes. People would be astonished at what goes on behind closed doors they never knew about.

    You will never be convinced there is something to question at all. One man’s reputation is more important than another’s.

    I know a man starting out in ministry years ago who had something similar happen to him during a period of high church growth movement with on particular mega. 18 years later, I ran across him and he was STiLL trying to get his name cleared. Of course, they just wanted him to go away.

    Church is big business. Even if they are small and part of a larger structure. Many people depend on these incomes and career paths. They will do anything to keep it. I think they should make tents.

  50. If it really was a case of authoritarianism, people would have a harder time leaving their churches. In fact, how are you guys on these blogs if pastors are domineering as you say they are? SGM pastors know these sites exist. But you still do not offer me a document by Gene Emerson himself where he admitted lying. I am getting different stories from different sources about this. But I have no proof. I can’t trust anyone story unless they have the confession recorded or wrtitten by Emerson himself.

  51. Anonymous 2 et al

    I have not accused Gene of lying. People interpret his withholding of the truth as lying perhaps. But this whole thing is not about Gene saying something that was untrue and being caught in a lie. It is about power, authority, control and money. It is about a flawed polity that leads to abuse of those things. It is about flawed theology that is legalistic while claiming not to be; and about a system of church government that makes young people elders and ignores the non-paid leaders. It may be about lies and about ambition and about agendas. These things are indeed hard to prove and in some ways can be red herrings causing us to miss the important big issues while we are sidetracked by something else.

    I am thinking that you are at KingsWay and are defending the pastors and SGM. Maybe you are fine with how Gene handled things ten years ago and just wish Bob, Buddy and Steve would just go away so everyone could just get on with church. Hang in there as long as you can. To be honest I have felt very free since I left.

  52. I have a question for all of you.

    If a pastor publicly pronounces that someone’s nervous breakdown is due to sin or pride, would that be truthful? Why would he believe he has the qualifications to make such a diagnosis? Does he have a medical degree?

  53. ” But I have no proof. I can’t trust anyone story unless they have the confession recorded or wrtitten by Emerson himself.”

    This comment answers your first sentence:

    “If it really was a case of authoritarianism, people would have a harder time leaving their churches”

    They have a VERY hard time. Many are like you for a long time and unless the big cheese admits something, they cannot believe it.

    It takes a HUGE crisis for people to leave to any degree. Which is why Harris is having the home meetings. They have got to get back control in any way they can. People are figuring it out and leaving and NOT thinking it is a heinous sin anymore. That is HUGE in SGM speak. And it is HUGE in other churches, too, who have the authoritarian paradigm of specially anointed leaders.

    People feel like it is a sin to leave. Some even think they are leaving their pastoral “covering” which is a horrible evil joke. Those who leave are usually emotionally handicapped for years over it. Some have to have the evil perpetuated on them BEFORE their eyes are opened. And then usually they do either 2 things. They become unbelievers or they go back to the Word to see what it really says without the man centered filter. Some even study the Greek, like I did.

    More and more people are leaving the institutions. In fact, several books and articles have focused on this in the past 5 years. It was shocking for one author to find that those leaving were mainly true committed believers who could no longer support the man centered institution.

  54. “If a pastor publicly pronounces that someone’s nervous breakdown is due to sin or pride, would that be truthful? Why would he believe he has the qualifications to make such a diagnosis? Does he have a medical degree?”

    I* would question his definition of a nervous breakdown.

    Although I have seen this tactic before of claiming depression is always sin. I have even witnessed people on mega staff’s refusing to go along with an evil against another person be accused of not obeying authority and being hounded so bad they did have a breakdown! Then they were classified as weak in faith!

    The evil that goes on behind the stage would astonish many. All so they can keep the gravy train going.

  55. Dee,

    If a Christian tells an unbeliever that he should become a Christian because God loves him and has a wonderful place waiting for him after he dies…would that be truthful?

    I think it would be on the same level as the pastor…he may BELIEVE it is true and due to sin, so he is not intentionally lying, just like telling people there is a Heaven… you don’t KNOW it to be true but you communicate it to others as if it is fact.


  56. Karlton,

    Very astute point; however, you don’t know it to be false. Yes, I believe Heaven exists.

  57. Deb,

    true enough, but that is the same as the pastor..he doesn’t know that the connection between sin and nervous breakdown is false either…in fact he doesn’t KNOW either way but it doesn’t stop him from proclaiming it true because the ends justify the means.

    Is that not the same with evangelism?

  58. Hi Karl

    Yes, I believe it to be true. And unlike some, I had my crisis of faith and talk about it openly. It is interesting that the very same passage of Scripture that led Bart Ehrman out of the faith, became the Scripture that led me to search and more deeply claim the faith.It was the Scripture about the woman caught in adultery. Bart said it wasn’t in the original Scriptures and I concur.

    So, I went on a search. I read books by theologians, by those who left the faith. I talked with atheists.I wrote to theologians. I talked and read about other faiths. And Karl, I was willing to be disproven.

    What I learned brought me back to Christianity. I found answers to my questions and also discovered find nothing else gave me both answers along with a Presence. I have given up trying to convince anybody. Instead, I speak from my own life and accept that many will not agree with me. So, instead, I just enjoy the people who come into my life and am willing to entertain questions about my beliefs.

    In the end, Karl, something is true and I believe in an absolute truth. I think we are given this one life to figure it out and we are free to choose our belief or lack of belief system. Just as you have said that you feel happy and free in atheism, I feel great joy and contentment in my faith. No concerns, no regrets and openness to all who want to tell me something about who they are and what they believe.

    So, I tell people what I believe if they want to hear and I leave it up to them to figure out if I am deluded, insincere, stupid, or one who is sincerely expressing her beliefs. I can’t prove anything. I am just happy to be faithful to my beliefs.

    In the meantime, I am unable to force you to believe but I hope to convince you that there are some Christians who are pleasant to be around. And I do cook fish very well!

  59. Anonymous 2

    I do not believe that you would even believe recording. I know intimately of a situation in which a pastor type confessed to something in a recording. Said proof was played to the elders and pastors. They all looked like deer caught in the headlights and said “We have no comment.” This is all baloney and you know it.

  60. Hi Lydia and those on all sides of the SGM thing

    If a pastor claimed that a person had a nervous breakdown in a group of people, then there are HUGE legal implications.

    1. If the pastor was making a diagnosis, which a “nervous breakdown” is he would be guilty of practicing medicine without a license.Is this person a psychiatrist or one of those red neck theologians who believes that all mental illness is due to sin? Weren’t there some folks in one of these types of churches who did not believe in seeking outside professional help for those with mental health issues? What are they teaching these days in seminary or don’t they believe in that either?

    2. If said pastor learned this within the context as his role of pastor, he could be sued for breaching confidentiality.

    3.If he said this to a large group of people, he could be sued for interfering with someone’s ability to make a living since, I presume, no church would hire a pastor who has a mental illness.

    Finally, I have something to say to all of the yahoos who allowed this situation to progress. Mac Brunson of FBC Jacksonville called Tom Rich a sociopath in the local newspaper. This is unbecoming , stupid and shows a complete lack of understanding about the role of a pastor. Standing in the very stead of Jesus, my foot!

    No wonder people leave the faith when this garbage is going on. I have a post to write so stop getting me all riled up!!!

  61. My thought about anonymous asking for all this proof is that he/she doesn’t want to believe anything like this is going on in SGM. He/she may have a lot invested with SGM in the form of time and money and thus it would destroy his/her perfect world. He/she isn’t prepared to accept this. If I had that much invested it would be hard for me to want accept it.

    When Dave Harvey gave a message to Kingsway he did say that Gene Emerson acknowledged he had issues with pride. With that being the case I wonder if that alone might be a good reason for Gene Emerson to step down. Is it even proper for Gene Emerson to be a pastor, especially Sr. Pastor, when one has an issue with pride and has lead to a number of problems due to his pride.

    I would certainly think not. Gene Emerson should have at least stepped down from being the Sr. Pastor if nothing else. So much for enforcing scripture uniformly.

  62. Steve,

    I think Anonymous 2 is our old ‘friend’ “30years”, in which case he/she isn’t going to ever accept anything negative about SGM.

  63. Dee

    Very good point about pride and if that was an issue for SGM Leaership Mahaney would have had to step down.

    I always found that ironic that C.J. Mahaney of all people would write a book on humility. I guess he is a “perfect” example of the old phrase “those who can’t teach.” That is, C.J. Mahaney can’t practice humility so he has to teach it.

    I also wouldn’t be surprised about SGM practicing medicine without a license as you mentioned earlier. A while back one of the current “apostle’s” wives treated a woman for supposedly having anorexia. This “apostle’s” wife had not medical training and the woman she “treated” was a normal weight (though low due to a small frame) for her height.

  64. Steve240

    That line, “those who can’t teach” provided me with a laugh to go with my coffee this AM.

    I am frankly deeply concerned about churches who think they can actually provide professional counseling. They are headed for a lawsuit. I know of one church in which boys were seriously abused by a pedophile. A couple of pastors did the “counseling” with no outside intervention. This shows a complete lack of professionalism and church members need to be aware that most pastors get 3 years of some general theological training. Many go into the pastorate with humanities background. My understanding is that some pastors at SGM get a 9 month course and don’t even need to have graduated college. Then some, like ol CJ has zilch training.

    There have been many church members who put themselves in the hand of their pastors for serious mental illness and have committed suicide, etc. Some of CJ s fellow pastors actually believe in sending women back into physically abusive homes.

    Who do these pastors and “apostles'” wives think they are? They are stupid yahoos who have too high of an opinion on their “special” anointing.

    This is a hot button issue for me. Perhaps you can tell that I have had some experience in this area.

  65. Dee said:

    “Who do these pastors and “apostles’” wives think they are? They are stupid yahoos who have too high of an opinion on their “special” anointing”

    It is baffling that someone like this apostle’s wife would feel she has the skills necessary to diagnose and treat anorexia. From what I have heard, most medical professionals such as a general practice MD etc. would have deferred diagnosis and treatment of anorexia to someone who specializes in this area or at least has experience with this.

    This “apostle’s” wife assumed a lot more about her qualifications than she had, especially when the woman “treated” was a normal but low weight for her height. I always wonder if some type of jealousy or wanting to lord it over someone was in this “apostle’s” wife.

  66. Dee/Deb:

    “Several anonymous commenters hounded us about whether Gene Emerson, senior pastor of KingsWay, lied at a Family Meeting held in 2001. What exactly was said at that infamous meeting?”

    Sorry to inconvenience you when asking for something silly like proof when you accuse someone by name, publically, of lying.

    You say “several anonymous commenters” asked for proof. I count two.

    He said / she said – the tape will reveal what was said by Gene. How will this tape reveal that Gene made up what he said? How will it reveal that he knows the words he is speaking on this tape are false?

    Do you have a recording of any conversations between Gene and SW prior to the family meeting? Any recordings of SW’s response after the meeting?

    Any recordings from the friends of SW? Any recordings from the pastors who were/are in agreement with Gene?

    You can prove whether or not he lied without a signed confession. It’s called research. Asking questions of those involved. It involves much more than reading anonymous posts.

    Gene did not confess to lying. Peacemakers did not say Gene lied.

    You don’t know Gene Emerson from Ralph Waldo. And yet you publically proclaim that he lied. Without proof. You call this tape a smoking gun. Are you admitting that without this tape, you have no real proof?

    And now this tape will answer all the questions?

  67. Anonymous

    I told you that this would be your response. You are so deeply embedded in a ministry that you have lost all perspective. When I heard that recording, I m sick at what goes on your excuse for a Christian leadership.

    So moan and defend all you want, this sort of treatment of the body is, in this outsiders opinion, sick and you are continuing to be a part of this. You should be ashamed.

  68. Anonymous
    As for Peacemakers, they, too, should be ashamed for attempting to shore up this sorry excuse for a pastor. May God forgive him his “unbelief”, selfishness, pride, and downright meanness. This is what they teach at Pastors College????? It should be called How to Abuse in One Simple Speech. May God have mercy on those they have hurt. Shame on all of them, especially for Mahaney for allowing (or could it be, encouraging) this garbage to infect the church. I lay the blame at his feet.

  69. “I told you that this would be your response. You are so deeply embedded in a ministry that you have lost all perspective. When I heard that recording, I m sick at what goes on your excuse for a Christian leadership.”

    You are so deeply embedded in anonymous blogs, you have lost all perspective in regards to the many scriptures that govern our speech.

    Look again at the questions I posed above. Are these not normal questions that anyone would ask when searching for the truth regarding a significant lie spoken by a pastor to his congregation?

    You have done no research. You have no proof. Gene is a part of SGM, therefore, of course he lied. It says so on a blog. SGM is rotten to the core, therefore he lied. That is all the proof you need. You assume, suppose, guess, and believe at face value unresearched reports of abuse at SGM.

    The abuse you heap upon SGM members is what is shameful. SGM members chose to join their church with their eyes wide open, fully aware of the church government. Fully aware that there are no admin board meetings, no ballots in the bulletin.

    We are fully aware that we are all in relationship as brothers and sisters in Christ, including with the leadership. Many conversations occur every week regarding the direction and decisions of our churches.

    We also see the abundance of good fruit, blessing, and great work the Lord is doing here, none of which is reported here.

    So, go ahead. Explain how that tape is going to tell the whole world that Gene Emerson lied at that family meeting.

  70. Re: the smoking gun –

    Are you just now fing out what Gene said at that family meeting ten years ago?

    You told the world that Gene Emerson lied without finding out for yourself what it was he said?

    I am not the one who is blind. A little slow, but not blind.

  71. BTW, I am the author of all of the “anonymous” blogs on this thread. “Anonymous 2” has his own. We are the 2, thus far, who are “hounding” for proof. Deb/Dee may not have known this when they said “several anonymous bloggers”. I was wrong for making the comment I posted regarding this.

  72. Anonymous

    You say that people choose to join an SGM church with eyes wide open. Perhaps. I say they come and are greeted warmly and are enamored by the exciting worship and what they think is good teaching. They joined and then, with eyes opened wider, they left. Since the church moved into the new building in 2005, of the many many that came and joined and had their faces put up on the big screen in new members videos, proclaiming how they found the right church…how many of those people are still there? I would venture to say 90 percent of those that have come in the last five years are gone. That in combination with the “old timers” that have left has put the church back to where it was at in, perhaps, 1999 or 2000.

    I for one, do not say that Gene lied. I do say that he was part of the attempt to keep Steve silent and that he truly believed the junk he said in the 2001 family night. In August, he repented of something on stage. Not quite sure what, though.

    The bottom line is this. Many things attract people to a church, but what keeps people at a place is that it is a place where God is moving. The stunted growth of the first 15 or so years of KingsWay tells you something and the mass exodus of recent years confirms it. KingsWay can attract people either through appealing strongly to a HomeSchooling Christian subset or just by putting up a fancy new building that brings existing Christians from other churches, but it can’t keep people because, in my opinion, God is not moving there. And the way that things were handled in 2001 and in 2010 prove it. Despite all of that, when Christians seek God, he will move and change hearts and that does indeed happen among believers in and out of KingsWay and for that we all can be grateful. But when people are taught from a legalistic point of view either by word or by example, personal Christian growth is stifled and freedom from such an environment is needed.

    So, did Gene lie? Or did he just, with a sincere heart, believe and therefore promote a lie? As far as I am concerned, Gene is not on trial here, but the system that allowed all this to take place unchecked is.

  73. “You say that people choose to join an SGM church with eyes wide open. Perhaps. I say they come and are greeted warmly and are enamored by the exciting worship and what they think is good teaching.”

    It is called “Love Bombing” and is a cult tactic. It works. For objective eyes that are well versed in cult tactics, quite a few are used at SGM. But they are not new to CJ. He used them before with PDI.

  74. Anonymous

    Is it hard to deal with people who you can’t control and play spiritual mind games with? It must be frustrating that you can’t call our pastors and tell them we are under “discipline.”

  75. Dee,

    Can you be more specific?

    Can you address the specific questions and issues that I raised?

  76. I do not consider calling out a person by name in a public forum and declaring him a liar to be a game.

  77. Anonymous

    Have you informed the “leadership” yet about this little issue? One nice thing about having one’s own blog,is not having to answer to folks like you. You show a mindset that is so tiring. There is nothing I can say to make you change your mind. And a lie is sometimes represented by misusing Scripture to meet your own selfish desires.But, you won’t like that either.

    However, think of all the props you will get from those above you for valiantly defending the indefensible. You will be looked at as one of those who are loyal to a fault. Isn’t that nice?

  78. Anonymous

    One further point-you have been immersed in SGM for so long that you can’t see how you are helping our readers to more clearly see the problems in SGM. But, good news for you, you are now, for a short time, right in the the “thick of things.” Bet its gratifying to have people to call and report on your latest comment.

  79. To all our readers

    Please note how “Anonymous” (whatever number he is) never mentions the victim in any form of sympathy. The victim here is Emerson and the apologizers for the SGM model.I refer you all to the book, The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse. These guys are so entrenched that can’t see clearly any longer.Please pray that his eyes will open.

  80. Dee,

    You call this tape, which I believe to be authentic (I have no reason to believe otherwise), a “smoking gun”. What were you relying on prior to the smoking gun to declare publicly that Gene Emerson lied?

    You have refused to answer my questions. I am not the one who is blind.

  81. Anonymous

    You are not blind? I would disagree.

    Just like the events of Jesus’ life, the life of the apostles, etc is verified via eyewitnesses who tell a remarkable compelling and integrated story with no contradictions,I would draw your own conclusions.

    However, I have a prophesy. You will say that disgruntled people cannot be trusted. Disgruntled people who are bitter is a typical blow off. I have heard it all and frankly it is getting very boring.

  82. I asked for proof of lying. You pointed me to scenario two that says Gene got up and lied. How is this proof?

    I listed several questions that anyone would ask when seeking the truth about lying. Do you have any answers to those questions?

    When the much-anticipated transcript of Gene’s words are published, in addition to the Bible, what do I hold these words next to in order to judge the truthfulness of his words? SW’s recorded response to Gene’s words? Your opinions of all things SGM? The recorded testimonies of those who agree with Gene? If not, than what?

  83. “Please note how “Anonymous” (whatever number he is) never mentions the victim in any form of sympathy. ”

    The ones who do the bad deeds are the victims if they have the right title. If you have ever read Christa Brown’s blog for any time period, you will see that many pervert pastors are considered victims by their people. What astonishes me is how they malign and emotionally abuse the victims who are many times children or teens. It is meant to send a message: Stay quiet or you will be maligned…which is abused all over again for daring to speak out.

    I have a bit of experience as a witness to those also in leadership who did not go along with the leadership. The stress can break a person. then that stress is used against them to communicate they are not capable. It is cruel and not of Christ. I have seen this too many times not to believe it happens a lot in Chrisitan leadership circles. In fact, I believe the process of being in those positions is a huge sin trap for most people.

    they need to go make tents.

  84. Here is a lie. Very shortly after Matthew W. returned from pastors college, Gene made him the Executive Pastor of KingsWay. This was in the CJ/Josh Harris model of handing the keys over to young unproven guys to prove ho humble you are or some other such nonsense. There was such an outcry from folks at KingsWay, that Gene recanted the promotion and said that they had rethought the decision. In reality, indeed functionally (to use a SGM term) he retained the position with the salary and responsibilities and is the obvious heir apparent.

    I would think that there are a number of folks that left just over that one.

  85. Deb,

    I posted that list as a bit of satire, but sadly those things exist in the culture at CLC, and often in the mindset of the SGM pastor. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a “playbook” though. They do try ever so hard to nuance these things.

    Given the back and forth here about lies vs truth. You may be interested in a comment I left on SGMSurvivors about Bob K. and Jeff P’s opinion of my salvation and then my comment about the emails I received from Bob K. and Jeff P. concerning that original comment.

    Anyway, I think the issue here (very much like what I’m dealing with in those comments above) is more an issue of deception than lie vs truth. If the mindset (psychosis) is the same for Gene as it is with Bob and Jeff then what they say they actually believe to be true and it is communicated in an attempt to deceive the listener for the purpose of appearing trustworthy. This is not out right lying. This is a serious psychosis that is often referred to as pathological. They do actually believe they are communicating the truth, but the purpose is not for truth-telling. The purpose of the SGM pastor is appearing trustworthy, so whatever is said in support of that is the truth to them. The truth within this mindset is, “I am trustworthy” and anything can, and will, be said to support that belief.

    Anyway, that’s my 2 cents worth after much study, analysis, and 20 years at CLC. Am I credible because I posted on a blog? No. Do I expect everyone to accept what I say? No. However, I do offer my individual opinion and perspective as an intelligent “insider,” judge for yourself if I am accurate or not.

    An individual’s perspective (new information) that would otherwise not be heard can now be heard: thanks to the domoctrizitzation of information (blogs and the like). Will Anonymous 1 & 2 like to destroy democratization? I don’t know, but there does seem to be negative bent and denigration of democratization in their comments. Still, they enjoy the very freedoms that democratization brings.

  86. CognitiveRogue,

    Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I will check out what you have shared over at SGM Survivors. Wow, you spent 20 years at CLC? I hope you will use your expertise and continue to comment.

    As you will see in today’s post, Dee and I believe SGM plays mind games. I guess that has been part of the training at the Pastors College.

  87. Deb,

    My parents took me there when I was 13. I physically left about a year ago. Also, I went to the pastors college.

    I plan on speaking out more. I’ve thought things were ‘off’ at CLC/SGM for quite awhile, but it took personal experiences to confirm that and a lot of courage to leave. I look forward to reading and commenting on today’s post: in my experience and observation there are “mind games” that go on.

  88. Anyway, I think the issue here (very much like what I’m dealing with in those comments above) is more an issue of deception than lie vs truth. If the mindset (psychosis) is the same for Gene as it is with Bob and Jeff then what they say they actually believe to be true and it is communicated in an attempt to deceive the listener for the purpose of appearing trustworthy. This is not out right lying. This is a serious psychosis that is often referred to as pathological. They do actually believe they are communicating the truth, but the purpose is not for truth-telling. The purpose of the SGM pastor is appearing trustworthy, so whatever is said in support of that is the truth to them. The truth within this mindset is, “I am trustworthy” and anything can, and will, be said to support that belief.”

    This is the best description I have seen of this phenomanon and I can concur this is EXACTLY what happens in many other church venues. That is why it takes us so long to figure it out.

    The bottomline is that image and reputation are everything. They also have the mindset that members do not need to know most of what goes on. They are “protecting” the church and this means that much is hidden that would make them look bad but they are doing it out of love and protection. They actually think more of the “institution” than the individuals who ARE the Body. So, the people become secondary to the overall institution.

    This way of thinking is circular and has become insitutionalized. I recognized exactly what cognitive rogue was talking about instantly because I have seen it over and over in quite a few venues.

    I am also a bit surprised to learn from another thread that the object of the big meeting we are discussing here, Steve, was NOT at the meeting. This only serves to make what Gene said more insidious.

  89. Cognitive Rogue, I hope you do speak out more. You have a clear understanding of the situation and are able to articulate it well for others. That is a rare quality.