"Brothers and Sisters, we must not allow this witch hunt of C.J. and other SGM leaders to continue. . . The other pastors and I have sensed for some time that we are on the brink of some great things here."
Mickey Connolly, Pastor of Crossway (Charlotte)
In case you haven't seen it, Jim over at SGM Refuge has posted a Letter to Crossway members from senior pastor Mickey Connolly, who has led the church since 2002. Perhaps you will remember that Brent Detwiler, who had been a member of Crossway, helped plant a church in nearby Mooresville. I have relatives who live there, and I have enjoyed family reunions at their Lake Norman home.
According to a previous SGM Refuge post entltled That's That, Detwiler resigned in July 2009. In the three years that have transpired, there has been considerable turmoil in this 'family of churches'. Now Sovereign Grace Ministries has moved (fled) to Louisville, Kentucky, and so far one church (Redeemer) has publicly announced its departure from SGM. Based on Connolly's remarks to Crossway members, there must be quite an exodus taking place. Here is how Connolly began his communication:
"Brothers and Sisters,
I’ve been made aware that Brent Detwiler has emailed a document to many of you regarding what he calls the “ethical demise” in SGM. While I’m not surprised by this development I am saddened and angry. This is what we would have anticipated when, in November, we marked Brent as a divisive man because of his persistent gossip, slander, scoffing and threats. If you had any doubts whether this was just, I hope this latest development will put them to rest. He has now, in a sense, invaded your home and workplace with his campaign against SGM and Crossway. Now that that door has been opened I will not be surprised if he continues to do so. So while I’m not planning to respond every time Brent may send something I think it is important to respond this first time."
As you continue to read the letter, remember that Brent was closely aligned with the Charlotte church. Connolly continues:
"Let me be very frank with you. His claims of love and concern aside, in my judgment (and it is a pastors sacred duty to make judgments in situations like this) Brent is driven by a sinful lust for vindication and vengeance. The charges that Brent has brought against C.J. Mahaney have been thoroughly examined by respected pastors in SGM who, having all of Brent’s documents, other pertinent documents and the first-hand testimony of many witnesses had access to more evidence than any of us will ever be privy to. Their findings were published and are still available on SGM’s Plant and build Blog. Nothing was hidden, nothing was kept back. And considering all this evidence they found C.J. fit for ministry. Let me quote to you from the SGM board’s recent endorsement of CJ."
Mickey Connolly, who is currently serving on the Board of Directors for SGM, lauds C.J. Mahaney, emphasizing how fruitful his ministry has been over the last 35 years. Connolly then explains that CJ . . .
"has been rigorously examined over the past year (both through individual examination of accusations brought against him and through a comprehensive evaluation of our entire ministry). This comprehensive process has clearly confirmed C.J.’s fitness to lead and his exceptional character as he has graciously endured major trials. Through all of this he has been found to be a man and a minister of fundamental integrity.
In addition, SGM has undergone a rigorous examination by AoR, a report that is also available on the blog. SGM recently published our response to the recommendations in both those reports on Plant and Build and we welcome anyone who hasn’t read it to please do so. SGM and the individuals involved have confessed and apologized where appropriate and as you will see in our responses are taking steps to correct the areas that these reports have noted."
You may recall our discussions about the three individuals who declared C.J. fit for ministry. These 'objective' individuals were Kevin DeYoung, Ray Ortlund, and Carl Trueman. Who did they think they are fooling? We have documented how these individuals are affiliated with SGM and C.J.
Connolly also mentions the Ambassadors of Reconcilation report, which we discussed in our post entitled: AoR Report – Just How Unhealthy is SGM? Then Connolly opines:
"Brothers and Sisters, we must not allow this witch hunt of C.J. and other SGM leaders to continue. We can’t stop Brent from his writing but we can and should refuse to read or listen to the divisive speech he and others continue to spread. To do otherwise is to poison your soul, damage Crossway and displease God. I would not be a faithful pastor if I didn’t tell you so.
Sadly, many people have already left because they have been affected by this. I appeal to you not to let this continue. I love Crossway. I think we are a solid biblical church. By God’s grace we faithfully preach the word, care for one another and have a heart for the lost. Like Paul I feel like a fool talking this way but for the sake of this church I believe I must. So please join me, the pastoral team and many faithful members in fighting for Crossway. Please stir the love and loyalty I know is in your heart and pull together to weather this storm that we find ourselves still in the midst of. Please don’t let Brent or any other divisive man or woman destroy the unity that scriptures command us to be eager to maintain. Please don’t let the devil have his way in this. Please don’t let gossip, slander and divisiveness have their evil effects.
The other pastors and I have sensed for some time that we are on the brink of some great things here. I am excited about our future together. Please don’t let these issues distract us from what God is doing right here, right now. I am eager to work and fight to pursue our mission to make disciples of Jesus. Please continue to work and fight with us. Thanks to the many of you who are already doing this."
Isn't it incredible that a ministry which has promoted itself so staunchly via the internet is now attempting to control the flow of information by trying to impose a gag order on the rest of us.
Is this a 'witch hunt' or a long overdue proclamation of the truth?
Is the devil having his way?
Are our souls being poisoned?
The SGM 'storm' was self-induced, and now the leaders are reaping what they have sown. They have sown to the wind and are now reaping a whirlwind.
Lydia's Corner: Genesis 20:1-22:24 Matthew 7:15-29 Psalm 9:1-12 Proverbs 2:16-22