"For God is not a God of confusion but of peace."
1 Corinthians 14:33 (ESV)
What in the world is going on in Sovereign Grace Ministries? We are totally perplexed. The SGM leadership is causing confusion in the camp, and it is wreaking havoc throughout this "family of churches". Remember, God is not the author of confusion.
In our previous post, we featured Mickey Connolly's admonition to the CrossWay congregation at a recent Family Meeting. He warned them not to read anything written by Brent Detwiler or the anti-SGM blogs IF it would cause them to fall into temptation. Here is what he said:
"From our biblical study, which we have presented to you tonight, and our prayerful perspective, we believe, sadly, that Brent clearly fits the definition of a man who is causing divisions and because of his refusal to cease has the potential to cause even further division and therefore must be marked as divisive.
Having nothing more to do with him, or avoiding him, would include not discussing these things with him personally, reading any of his materials on blogs or Facebook. That means if you have to defriend him to avoid the temptation, do that, or following the story on anti-Sovereign Grace Ministries blogs.
So I want to be clear. Not discussing this with him personally. Not reading any of his materials on blogs or Facebook or following the story on the anti-Sovereign Grace Ministries blogs."
Perhaps someone could shed some light on exactly what temptation Connolly wants the CrossWay members to avoid. Is it the temptation to leave, to sin, or to finally discover the truth?
Then we have Dave Harvey, acting president of SGM, making the following statements yesterday on the Sovereign Grace Ministries blog: (link)
"As we've grown we’ve made mistakes. Plenty of mistakes. Some of those mistakes have hurt people. In fact maybe you're one of those people. If so, we still want to hear your story. And if you’ve been hurt by things we’ve done wrong, we want the opportunity to say we’re sorry.
Right now we're in a time of identifying the different areas that Sovereign Grace Ministries needs to change. We’re pursuing as much counsel in this area as possible and we’re doing a lot of diagnosing. We've read your e-mails and heard many of your critiques."
So we have Mickey Connolly issuing what many perceive as an edict of censorship while Dave Harvey makes a public confession that SGM has made "plenty of mistakes". Talk about confusion! It's important to point out that Dave and Mickey both serve on the SGM Board and that both spoke at the SGM Pastors Conference held just last week.
Not only that, we purportedly have Mark Dever admonishing his congregation NOT to read Brent's documents. Here is what a commenter who identifies as a member of Capitol Hill Baptist Church wrote on the SGM Survivors blog.
November 17th, 2011 at 10:45 am
"This is a good, thoughtful post. It’s interesting, but this is exactly what Mark Dever did. He told CHBC members what they ought to think about the situation and discouraged us from reading Brent’s documents because he said they would not be edifying."
Folks, that is called censorship. Mind control is a very serious matter, and that is what is happening here. What are these Calvinistas so afraid of? Yes, these are indeed confusing times for many people involved in the SGM debacle.
We want to share with you a heartbreaking comment from Argo, who has been involved with SGM for fifteen years. There is a strong possibility that Argo speaks for many SGMers who have been hurt by their hyper-authoritarian leaders over the years. At least Dave Harvey is finally admitting it.
November 18, 2011 at 12:43 pm
"Well… been listening to the SGM Pastor’s conference sermons, as well as others from Mickey, Jared, et.al. All I can say is that I’m very discouraged; very sad. I believe their hearts are very hard right now… no evidence of humility, no sign of remorse, no indication of culpability in any of this. They are just victims, and the only thing they think they need to learn right now is how to “respond properly” to those bringing unjust accusations. I can’t believe it.
So, I’m gonna jump on the humility bandwagon and take my own “leave of absence”. I’m witnessing the spiritual death of a church org that I gave more time and money to than I can count, and I need to grieve. I need to grieve for their hardness of heart, and also for the fact that in my support for SGM, I’ve been a tertiary supporter of their “authority”, and so that makes me sad.
So, I’m going to take time off from commenting and try to come to terms with the fact that I’ve been listening to hypocrites for the past fifteen years. They preached humility; there was none. They preached specific confession of sins; there was none. They preached no “damage control”; there was more than you find in a governor’s election. They preached caring for the weak, the sick, the abused; there was none, only disdain and revulsion for the “evil” blogs. They preached change and promised to examine their hearts; there was only a digging in of heels, excommunication, and a forbidding of “information”.
So, I need to grieve, I need to study, and I need to find out where I can be a part of a community of believers who practice love, forgiveness, and the need for all men and women, pastors or not, to truly humble themselves before Christ, and focus on the primary issues of peace, love, kindness, comfort, and understanding and forgiveness, without the worshiping of a man, or an orthodoxy, or an office.
I’ll keep reading these blogs: you all are brilliant; you all are the remnant.
So take care, God bless, pray for SGM… but their hearts are cold. So pray even harder for the few that are listening to the Holy Spirit, like Josh, and pray that He would give them strength and courage in this time."
Argo, if you're reading here, we will definitely be keeping you and those who have experienced the same kind of pain in our prayers.
What blows our minds is that in the midst of this confusing rhetoric from SGM leaders (not to mention Mohler, Duncan, Dever, DeYoung, Ortlund, Challies and other Calvinistas), the Ambassadors of Reconciliation are listening and learning about the terrible abuses that have taken place at the hands of SGM leadership. According to Harvey, at least seventy-five individuals have come forward so far. Jim over at SGM Refuge has issued a final plea for victims to provide their testimony. We agree with Jim that this is a crucial time and that those hurt by SGM may never have this opportunity again. We leave you with the information posted just today at SGM Refuge.
All of this has been said before, but I wanted to make a final appeal. I believe that we have a once in decades opportunity here to give our input to an outside party in regards to our opinions and experiences with Sovereign Grace Ministries. Although Ted Kober communicates in an extremely gracious manner, (which is too gracious for some, given the topic) he has pulled no punches with SGM thus far. There is no reason to believe that he will not give an honest evaluation in the future, especially after hearing from hundreds of us. I honestly think that without knowing it, this time and season is the reason I started this blog. Please. Please send your feedback regarding SGM to AoR. The window is closing.
You can use the online form here.
You can download to print and mail or email the hard copy (link is on the Refuge site).
Phone interviews may be requested until November 30.
AoR hopes to complete phone interviews by Christmas, and will accept feedback forms (with no request for a phone interview) until the interviews are complete.
AoR hopes to deliver their evaluation report by March, and SGM has promised to publish it. They have kept their promise in this regard thus far, and I have no reason at all to believe that they will not publish the final report.
Please join me in this endeavor.
Feedback can be email to email@example.com or can be mailed to:
Ambassadors of Reconciliation
P.O. Box 81662
Billings, MT 59108-1662
Lydia's Corner: Ezra 10:1-44 1 Corinthians 6:1-20 Psalm 31:9-18 Proverbs 21:3