“Red flags are moments of hesitation that determine our destination.” ― Mandy Hale.
Jeremy Foster, Pastor of Houston megachurch, Hope City, has resigned due to an affair.
I have written previously of the rather bizarre actions of the ARC (Association of Related Churches) leadership in swooping in, sending the offending pastor on a vacay with his spouse, and then restoring them to a pulpit after having a time preaching with Chris Hodges at The Highlands. It has gotten so bad that Hodges admitted that there were ARC pastors who were “falling” and is planning on building a “lodge” on the grounds of the Highlands to house pastors who have had indiscretions and also those who are feeling stressed and need mental health. Read about it here in The ARC Takes on Luke MacDonald’s (James’ Son) Church While Planning on Treating the Sex Abuse and Mental Health Problems of Pastors and Part 1: Dino Rizzo and Pastors/Leaders of the ARC Get Sued Over Allegations of Sexual Abuse and Coverup.
Julie Roys just wrote: Pastor Resigns From Houston Megachurch After Admitting Affair.
This week, Pastor Jeremy Foster has confessed to an extramarital affair with a woman not affiliated with Hope City,” Mark Briggs, a Hope City overseer and pastor of Riverpark Church in Shreveport, Louisiana, announced in a YouTube video. Briggs added that Foster would be replaced by Pastors Daniel and Jackie Groves, and he encouraged people to continue supporting the church’s mission.
Stop and ask a question when dealing with this crowd. What do they mean by an “affair with a woman not affiliated with Hope?” My first reaction was that I was relieved that it was not anyone in his church- clergy abuse and all that. But, I found it interesting that the response was specific to the church. Did his affair have anything to do with the roiling mass that is the ARC and those who do business with them? Was it anyone who got to know him because he was a pastor and entered into a trust relationship with him? I’m not sure he thinks he’s going anywhere. Here is what it says on his personal website.
Looks like he is hanging in there.
Back to the ARC. Jeremy and his wife built the church to the attendance of @ 14.000 on weekends. Now that is a success, Arc style. Here is my prediction if Jeremy (and his wife) do what Chris and the boys will tell them, all will be well.
- Don’t say a word. Let us do any talking.
- Your name will be wiped clean from mention at Hope.
- You are your wife go on a vacay for a month at our expense.
- Spend some time at the lodge Chris Hodges is building.
- Then, you will get to preach at one of the churches that the Overseers run.
- Finally, you will be restored. Just stop talking.
Let’s see if I’m right. ARC folks, keep me posted.
Recently, someone on Twitter asked me if Tim Challies had actually said that he had decided not to learn anything about CJ Mahaney and the SGM lawsuit because it was poor time management. He sure did. I wrote about this in 2013 in Tim Challies and SGM: “I Have Deliberately Avoided Learning Too Much.”
I never forgot that garbage answer. So, I got to thinking, “To What sort of church does Tim Challie lend his insights as a pastor?” So, today I visited the website of Grace Fellowship Church in Toronto. It’s amazing what I discovered.
I saw some red flags and got an idea. Why don’t I get you to assess their church covenant and the rest of the website? Most people can avoid trouble by never walking into a potentially abusive church. So, today’s assignment is to look for potential red flags in this church.
Let’s start with the church covenant.
There are hints of potential abuse here, but I will hold my observations until I hear from you.
This statement will be read (or repeated in certain instances) by each new member upon their reception into the membership of Grace Fellowship.
Having been led, with assurance, by the Spirit of God,  to receive Jesus Christ as my Saviour and Lord,  and upon profession of my repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, having been baptized by immersion in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, I engage therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit; to walk with you in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this Church, in knowledge, holiness and comfort – even to the laying down of my life in service for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ and my brothers and sisters, and if called upon by my Lord, to hazard my life for the gospel’s sake;  to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to sustain true Biblical worship in it, observing the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s table, discipline, and doctrines as revealed in the Word of God;  to contribute cheerfully and regularly of my income as God has graciously prospered me for the support of this church, relief of the poor, and the spread of the gospel throughout all nations. 
I also engage to maintain family and private devotions; to biblically educate my children; to seek the salvation of my family and acquaintances; to be zealous in my efforts to advance the kingdom of my Saviour  ; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in my dealings, faithful in my engagements, exemplary in my deportment, abstaining from all appearances of evil;  and, to avoid all backbiting, gossiping, and unrighteous anger  .
I further engage to watch over you, my brothers and sisters, in brotherly love;  to remember you in prayer; to aid you in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy in speech;  to be slow to take offence, but always ready for reconciliation, and mindful of the commandments of our Saviour to secure it without delay. 
I also understand that if I am overtaken in any fault, I will be subject to biblical discipline which seeks my restoration. 
I moreover engage that when I remove from this place I will, as soon as possible, unite with some other church of like faith and practice, where I can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word. I also realize that Grace Fellowship Church has already entered into this covenant one with another and that she is also responsible to me in like manner. (Romans 5:5)  (Romans 8:14; 10:9-10; John 3:8)  (Galatians 5:13-16; Romans 8:13; 16:3-4; Acts 15:26; 1 John 3:16; 2 Peter 1:2-8; 3:18)  (Hebrews 10:25; Acts 2:42) (Malachi 3:8; 1 Corinthians 9:7-14; Galatians 6:6-8; Philippians 4:14-20;1 Timothy 5:17-18; Hebrews 13:15-17)  (2 Timothy 3:15; Genesis 18:19; Deuteronomy 6:6-8; Ephesians 6:4)  (2 Corinthians 6:3-10; Ephesians 5:15-16; Colossians 3:13-17; 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12; 5:22)  (James 1:26; Ephesians 4:25; 5:7; Colossians 3:3-17; 1 Timothy 5:5-11; 2 Thessalonians 3:10-15; 1 Peter 4:15; Proverbs 6:16-19; 8:13; 26:20)  (Matthew 22:37-39; John 13:34-35; 1 John 3:18; 4:11; 2 Peter 1:5-8; Romans 5:5; 12:9-10; 1 Corinthians 13:1-7; 2 Corinthians 8:7-8; Galatians 5:6,13-14; Ephesians 4:2, 15-16; Colossians 3:14)  ( 1 Corinthians 12:26; Colossians 4:12, 13)  (Matthew 18:15-17)  (Galatians 6:1, 2; Matthew 18:15-17; Romans 16:17, 18; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 2 Corinthians 2:6-11; 2 Thessalonians 3:11-14)
Other areas of the website to explore for potential red flags.
Now, here are some other areas to explore. In each of these, I saw some problems.
- Affiliations (Hint: Explore the Sovereign Grace Church-Which branch does it belong to. Read the link at the beginning of the post again which was about Challies response “Not learning too much.”
- Under affiliation looks at the final paragraph. “We also find significant affinity and fellowship with many ministries including:”
- Constitution: Look at all membership procedures
- The “unique” Letters from Walter. Look at the one about women. The church leaders seem to think this is rather amusing. I think that Walter is……
Well, there’s more, but this is enough. I’ll chime in later in the weekend.