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Saturday
Aug202011

In My Own Defense

Introduction

"Silverboy" was sent the following response from one of his former pastors.  It serves as a good example for the kind of problems that exist in SGM.  My remarks are in brackets and italics.  I hope you find them helpful.  Brent

 

Hi Brent,

I usually post under another pseudonym, but I changed it for this one out of a desire to remain (even more) anonymous, as this post consists of an e-mail from another.  For the past couple of days I have been dialoging with an SGM pastor at one of my previous churches.  I had been expressing my lack of satisfaction regarding the, in my opinion, less-than-serious nature of SGM's approach to all of the problems in the organization.  The topic of the motive behind your documents arose, and to one of my responses, this pastor sent me this.  I was wondering if you would be comfortable commenting on his perspective/accusations against your documents.  There is information in there that I have not heard and that I think would be good to hear your side on (I've omitted and changed names to preserve anonymity; otherwise, I have not edited any part of this pastor's response).

Silverboy

 

A Pastoral Letter Regarding Brent

I'm in total agreement that Brent and CJ as ecclesiastical figures in SGM have everything to do with us. CJ as a leader of the board and president of the ministry certainly has a role in our lives.

[Then he should understand why it is necessary to go public.  C.J.’s sins and actions have adversely affected many pastors, many people and the entire movement.  They should have been acknowledged a long time ago.  Instead they were covered up.  No one could get away with this except C.J.]

Therefore, if Brent wants to make formal charges against CJ, he is free to do that, and should do that, and you and I will likely be affected by the outcome. What he has done is to bypass any due process and gone straight to email inboxes and now to blogs. This is not due process.

[Your former pastor is gravely mistaken.  For 11 years I went to C.J. in private.  So did others.  He was basically unrepentant and resistant to our input.  In 2004 he took over a process of discipline and turned men against me and Dave.  In addition, he acting abusively and sent men to condemned me for the righteous and truthful actions I took.  In more recent times, the SGM Board failed to act in obedience to 1 Tim 5:19-21 when I appealed to them.   The CLC pastors also took limited action when I approached them.  Instead, SGM acted deceitfully in their actions and labeled my documents slanderous - the very documents they said were extremely helpful.  They also posted inaccurate and libelous statements about me and the supposed actions I would take.  Much more will be said in the future.  If we were not cowards for so many years, due process would have resulted in C.J. making a public confession of sin and experiencing righteous consequences like so many other men in our history under his leadership.]

Further, if Brent wanted to restrict his documents to only situations concerning himself and CJ I would see that as a (distant) second best. Unfortunately, he has dragged about two dozen non-staff people into the mud just so he can "make his case." He brings into the wide open personal confessions of sin (meant only for Brent, not wikileaks), he has discussed the marriage problems of well-meaning volunteer leaders, he has talked about the sins of two teenagers, he has called the salvation of a leader into question. This is not calling a witness to the stand in a due process. This is slandering innocent bystanders by spreading evil reports about their private lives across the web. It is perhaps the grossest act of a shepherd uncovering his sheep I've ever heard of.

[I haven’t dragged people into the mud.  Any non-staff people mentioned in the documents are people who were throwing mud with rocks in the form of betrayal, lying, deceitful actions, sinful judgments and the like.  They have never repented though all appealed to on several occasions.  They destroyed a church.  They mislead many others.  These people should have been rebuked by SGM.  Instead SGM gladly received their accusations against me on repeated occasions with no opportunity for defense.  Much has been made about not receiving accusations against C.J.  More times than I can count, C.J., Harvey, Emerson, Kauflin, Connolly, etc. believed all manner of evil against with no due process.  So it is necessary to “make my case” using these people who made a libelous case against me.  These false witnesses are referenced in the letter send out by C.J. to all the pastors in SGM in 2009 declaring me unfit for ministry.  SGM made it a national issue.  Not me.  SGM covered up the truth and protected false witnesses.  In constrast, I protected C.J. and SGM and so many other people for so long.  Many people would say for too long.] 

It is for this reason that Josh Harris is apologizing to his people and all the people mentioned for recommending that his church read Brent's documents.

[Joshua has now said people don't need to read them because your leaders are reading them.  That approach has often produced disastrous results in SGM churches.]

No one is dismissing any of the accusations or charges, by the blogs or Brent. Leaders throughout our entire movement are spending hours and hours and hours and hours and hours talking to affected individuals, working toward reconciliation, even processing matters legally.

[If that is true, then you see why it is so important for people to read the documents because they have experienced what I describe.  So many people have been afraid to speak up or didn’t know how to speak up until they read the documents.  It has helped them immeasurably.  Over a thousand people have written me to tell me.]

I would caution you about seeing Brent's docs as objective. The first reason is the basic one: he is giving you emails mostly, and before you read an email he is telling you why it represents sin, and then as you read the email he is underlining the offensive element, and then if you missed all of this he is providing footnotes to help you "interpret" things more clearly.

[True, I am highlighting the most important stuff.  What’s wrong with that?  I am helping people to focus on what I think is most important.  Readers can agree or diasgree wiht my emphasis.  This is hardly an argument against their objectivity.  When I make subjective comments they are based upon objective evidence.  For example, read the notes leading into the August 20, 2004 meeting.  See what Joshua, Grant and Kenneth said.  Read the official minutes of the meeting.  There is no interpretation necessary.  As the sr. pastor of CLC and the President of SGM, C.J. was generally unaccountable contrary to all his teaching.  That is a fact.  He was largely on his own.]

The second reason is more troubling. He isn't including all of the facts.

[Really?  More troubling?  Like what?  The "facts" below are not facts at all.  They are erros.  I’d like to know who this "fact check" expert is because I am happy to interact with him and find out what source material he is using in support of his statements.]

As an example, Mooresville.

If all you have is Brent's story, you would assume Brent was removed as a pastor because Dave and Gene hate him (or whatever the proper verb).

[Don’t downplay the hatred Dave and Gene demonstrated.  I have not begun to share what they said and did.  Threats, lies, deceit, intimidation, horrible judgements to name a few.  All easily documented.  This pastor dismisses their sins and fails to take seriously what I have written.  He should be outraged.]

The reality is that Brent was given a church filled with pro-Brent people from Crossway. All of them left Crossway because they wanted a church pastured specifically by Brent. For this reason, it was a virtual church split.

However, almost from the first weeks, the leaders that went with him began to have concerns about his leadership, feeling that he lacked grace and that he was lording over them. This is not the assessment of anyone at Crossway, but the sense of the leaders in his church.

[That is absolutely not the case in any way, shape or form.  This is slander with a capital “S”.  The SGM board should find out who this pastor is and call him to account.  Tragically, they won't.  Why?  Because they have repeatedly done the very same things.  Truth be told, this pastor has no idea what he is talking about.  No leader including Ray and Eric ever accused me of lording or lacking grace.  None of the other leaders had concerns for me.  They all commended me.  That continued until the very end when some of these friends turned against me without grounds because of Eric and Ray’s slander but none of these men had personal concerns for me based upon personal observations.  I know because I asked them.  Read the Untold Story to see what really happened.]

As these concerns escalated, serious blunders occurred. His resignation was forced upon him most unwisely. I'm not ready to call it sinful, but certainly unwisely and too hastily.

[Blunders?  Unwisely?  All morally neutral words.  There was serious abuse, lying, betrayal and cover-up.  Horrors you would not believe.  SGM counseled that all this be kept from the church which it was.]

Yet, all that simply enabled the assessment team to begin their work. Brent says nothing about the Mooresville once the assessment team begins. The reason is that they were unaffected by anything that happened between Brent and SGM in the past. They were not there to decide about SGM and Brent, but simply about Brent and the people within his church.

[Bob was exceedingly biased.  His heart was full of previous judgments about me.  He was not neutral.  This is obvious in the dcouments.  I asked that he not be on the assessment team but SGM appointed him to head the team.  That represented C.J.’s bias.  The cards were stacked against me from the beginning.  I never expected a fair evaluation under Bob and I wasn’t disappointed.  Dave and Gene were also having a terrible impact upon the Assessment Team and the leaders in the church and all this behind my back.  So much for the due process they covet for C.J.]

They talked to Brent for 80 hours to get his side of the story.

[This is a totally inaccurate portrayal.  Not nearly that much time was given to hearing my side of the story.  This pastor is lost when it comes to the facts.  This statement, like many others, is distorted.  It is added motivation to finish “The Untold Story.”  The long and the short of it, I was not told in large measure what others were saying about me.  I couldn’t give my side of the story because I didn’t know the story (lies) that were being told especially by Eric and Gene.] 

They talked to every leader in the church multiple times for another 50 hours.

[The leaders were largely kept in the dark on the matters they really needed to hear about.  For example, they were never told about the contents later contained in RRF&D, AFA, and CR and the bearing it had upon my evaluation.  I was never given any opportunity to talk to them.  Many of them have gotten back to me and said they hardly knew what was truly going on.  They were kept in the dark by SGM.  They were not being informed impartially.  Some of the Care Group leaders have told me that only upon reading “The Untold Story” have they been able to make any sense out of things.]

In the end their assessment was not that "Brent was proud and should resign." Their assessment was that "Brent's pride has prevented him from building a team of leaders that will work with him, and his pride has affected his pastoral care for his flock." Thus, he was not removed for pride. He was removed because he could not build a team of leaders to work with him or a church that would follow him.

[This is absurd.  This is the type of slander I've had to contend with since August 20, 2004.  The church loved me and was following me wonderfully.  There were a few exceptions but those were people who had serious issues in their lives.  Eric thought I was the best thing since sliced bread for the longest time until I had to confront him on a couple things at the very end in May 2009.  He constantly commended me for my humility and team work.  He was extremely pleased with me and told everyone and his brother.  Only at the very end did he turned against me.  As a leadership team, Jonathan my adult son, felt I was overly deferential to him, Ray and Eric.  In any case, Eric, Jonathan and I worked well as a team.  It was good Ray resigned.  He was demanding and impossible to work with as Eric said on several occasions.  But even with Ray, we had many great meetings and I appreciated his input.  And we had a great time working with all the Care Group leaders and their wives.  There was great team work and camaraderie.] 

Thus, in August of 2009 the entire group of home group leaders (not the 1-2 man leadership team) voted for his resignation. They felt that the assessment team represented their feelings and thinking well and their recommendations should be followed.

[I think this is false statement.  Not all of the leaders were in favor of my resignation based upon what I’ve heard.  Most egregiously, over the seven week evaluation, I never had a chance to answer these leaders questions, share my perspective, attend any of their meetings with the Assessment Team, participate in any phone calls, know what was being covered, find out what was being said about me, etc.  It was a horrendous miscarriage of justice.  Accusations by Eric and Ray and even the Assessment Team, that were based upon erroneous information, went unchallenged by me.  I didn’t even know what they were sharing about me. The leaders were badly manipulated by Eric and Ray and SGM.]

This side of the story is simply not present in Brent's documents.

[What side of the story?  That all the leaders were manipulated.  That I didn’t know what was going on.  That I was kept in the dark.  I will get to this “side of the story” but it will not reflect well upon SGM and others.]

The great difference between Brent and CJ, is that Brent received due process before he resigned. He is asking for CJ's resignation without any due process. He simply does not have the right to do that.

[I just pulled out all my hair and screamed bloody murder.  This pastor has got it all wrong.  This is why people must read the documents.  Pastors like this are a terrible disservice to the truth.  What I experienced was a kangaroo court.  There was no due process.  It was a sham trial comprised of false witnesses, a rigged jury, and a biased judge.  In contrast, I asked for C.J.’s resignation as President based upon 11 years of failed attempts in private and in groups to see him repent of serious and long standing sin.  He has been defending himself and fighting off correction for a very long time.  And others have shielded him.  Leaders throughout the history of SGM have been removed from ministry for far less serious sins that C.J.]

It is for these reasons that I think Brent's material is "gossip." Gossip does not mean a lie, un-factual, or biased. Gossip means I'm not part of the group that needs to hear this.

[You are a part of the group that needs to hear this.  All of SGM needs to hear what I am saying because the problems in SGM are widespread.  And it is not just me who says so.  SGM has not revealed the ton of feedback they have been receiving regarding spiritual abuse, hypocrisy, pridel, manipulation, unjust actions, etc.  It is not just C.J. but that would be enough since his example and leadership affects everyone else.  There are problems everywhere like this pastor who is so completely duped.  This letter is an example of extraordinary bias that is not grounded in the truth.  It results in deception.  It is manipulative.]

For me to hear it will likely be cancerous to my soul because I will never get the full other side of the story. I will never hear whether Ray is actually converted or not or whether Eric's marriage is doing well now or not, or whether Justin has repented of the sins he committed as a teenager, or whether Gene has had victory over the areas of pride that he confessed to in 1997. Brent has told one side of these stories. Sadly, these men will never get to tell me whether there is a happier, holier, other side.

[I hope you do get the full side of the story.  It is worse than you know.  That is why no one has tried to present "the other side."  Here is the central fact, Eric and Ray, in conjunction with SGM, destroyed a thriving church.  They worked in concert with Gene Emerson.  The true cancer in this pastor’s soul is the unfounded accusations he’s heard about me.  Like with C.J., I welcome the "other side of the story."  I’m glad to make it public.  The information about Ray was relevant.  Eric was so concerned for him he wondered about his conversion.  Eric was wrong in his assessment and I believe I said so in the documents.  Listen, if this pastor knows them, he can asked them about their lives.  Otherwise, I doubt he’ll remember their names in 6 months.  In a similar way, the information about Eric is relevant. These men were all given many opportunities to repent and make things right in public.  I asked for Eric and Ray to get back to the church.  The Assessment Team never required any public confession.    Their actions were covered up.  Unrepented sin has consequences.  It is told to the church.  Their sin was also a part of SGM's sin.  Hence they are included in the story.  In other words, people who know Eric and Ray should know about their sinful actions. No one at large will remember their names but they should remember their actions and the actions of SGM. What happened at Grace Community Church is a lesson for all of SGM.  So are many other stories that SGM has concealed.  Will they ever be open and honest?  The information about Justin was already made public by his father not me.  Read the docs.  Gene should not be leading a church.  The abuse I suffered at his hands is almost inconceivable.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  I’ve yet to tell the whole story.  Once again, SGM has been negligent.  More than four hundred people have left his church.  Less than 250 remain.  In my dcouments I appealed to the SGM board to take action.  I provided them detailed information in order to made my pont.  They did absolutely nothing but defend Gene.  People need to be warned.  If Gene ever comes to repentance I’ll be the first to tell the world.  I’ve appealed to him time and time again.  Gene is part of what is wrong with SGM.  He was a regional leader.  It must be part of the public record.  I am happy to let these men make their case and I will be happy to let the world know if they repent and change.]   

The whole situation illustrates great dysfunction in our movement. About that we are in full agreement. As for Brent's material being a "loving" rebuke, I cannot agree. I hope you see where I'm coming from more clearly. I am not at all assuming CJ is innocent or should be president of SGM or didn't commit some level of "blackmail" back in the mid-90s. It's possible his sins are even worse than Brent says. But, it's also possible that his sins are not as great as Brent paints. I will only know this by getting CJ's side of the story. The blogs will certainly not help me think more carefully.

[I repeatedly asked C.J. and the SGM Board to respond to my points, questions and illustrations and feel the total freedom to disagree.  I encouraged them to defend themselves at any point.  I repeatedly asked them to correct anything I wrote that was in error.  I’ve pleaded, begged, and beseeched them to provide me an open, honest, and accountable response.  C.J. promised he would do this but then he broke his word.  They have not been transparent and revealing in many important respects.  If all my documents are so “judgmental” and “slanderous” then prove it.  No one has ever raised one example with me and presented their case!  That should be easy to do.  They may be right and I may be wrong but the must arguments that can be cross examined.  Instead they make sweeping statements but never proivde any examples.  If they ever do I will happily post them for the world to read.  But I don’t’ believe they will answer me because it is hard to defend matters that are indefensible.  SGM posted that I’ve been unwilling to meet over the past 1½ years.  That is utterly untrue.  I’ve been eager to meet.  This is clear in the documents.  I simply asked them to supply answers to what I’ve written in a thorough going fashion.  That refusal is the reason we have not met.  The fault is theirs, not mine’ but you’d never know that little detail given the SGM spin machine.]

It is a painful agony that is like watching (and experiencing) a slow-motion train wreck. I do believe that God's church will prevail--with or without SGM and SGC. I think SGM will be there, but not without a great deal of additional work.

Thank you, for the dialogue. These are hard matters. They are also ones we aren't used to handling well in SGM. We're all learning.

Take care

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Reader Comments (27)

So this is what "going to church" ends up doing for people? And these men are suppose to be "leaders"? What a joke! Who needs it? "I said this, then he said that, but that wasn't true, so I rebuked him, then he called me a liar, so I confronted him, then he slandered me, then this happened, then that happened, then something else happened.." Well glory to God and praise the Lord!

Why don't all you SGM pastors just go out and have an affair like other pastors do, get caught, confess, step down, and then go get a real job. Quit abusing God's people. Enough of this Sovereign Sewage already.

August 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDennis Collis

WOW!

Am I in the same group of churches where I first heard the gospel?

The issue between Paul and Peter and how it was handlled, both in method and the displayed hearts of both is commendable.
Peter never said to Paul, "Why did you not come to me privately, bro!" Nor did Peter leave the church or Paul get voted out for daring to speak against Peter.

Scripture does have much say. I still believe that God can make these seemingly dry bones live again.

To all SGM and SGM Church leadership, let's remember to "Keep the Main thing the main thing." No person is the ministry. Christ is the ministry. Loyalty to man alone is not the point. Loyalty to the cause of Christ Alone is the point.

Too much CJ, Brent and others in and OUTSIDE of SGM.

What we need is a revival. Revive US O'LORD!

August 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterThomas Perry

Perhaps this SGM pastor should heed the Proverb paraphrased here by Lincoln "Better to Remain Silent and Be Thought a Fool than to Speak and Remove All Doubt."

Instead of constant defenses, why not allow room for the Holy Spirit to operate. Now that the docs are out, allow God to use them and trust God with the outcome. why not now, "rather be wronged."

[ForReal. Read the book of Acts and the Pauline epistles. Paul is constantly defending himself against false charges so that his message is not undermined. He also believed in the Holy Spirit. For many years I took the approach of "why not rather being wronged." But when hundreds of people and many pastors are wronged, it is time to speak up or evil triumphs. The Bible knows nothing of pacifism. That's one reasons there are prophets in the Bible. Brent]

August 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterForReal

Brent,

Is it just me or did the mystery pastor not cite any references for the statements he made about you and your documents? If so, what was his source of information? Gossip and hearsay, perhaps?

[Janna. Good observation. Many of his points were not based upon the documents but things he was told. Brent]

August 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJanna L. Chan

Brent, I hope that eventually all the men, and women, involved in this seemingly endless parade of pride and blindness finally open their eyes and repent. I left SGM 6 years ago after being in since 1991. I left because of abuse I saw and heard first hand and abuse reported to me by the people who suffered it - horrible abuse, the kind that leads to a desolation of the soul. I left because I didn't trust leadership to do the right thing for the women and children in their care, no way could I trust them with me any more. Sadly, the response to your long season of rebukes and pleas for change have fallen on proud, deaf ears. So far. I keep praying and hoping for true repentance to come.

August 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterVivian Louise

Dear Brent, I'm a SGM church member -- my experience has been nothing but positive; I guess from experiencing from troublesome experiences as a child in another denomination that I grew up on, I have learned to not put my stock in leaders, necessarily. In any case, I have been a SGM church member for around 3 years; I didn't grow up in SGM and am far removed from the relationships, frustrations, and information that you have put together.

In finding this blog that you have created I am feeling a bit overwhelmed with different emotions; it's hard to take what you have written as objective, then again, it seems like you have been hurt deeply -- and whenever we are hurt so deeply, it skews our objectivity. I'm sure that the level of hurt you you has greatly affected you in so many ways that you are unable to express. Moreover, my father was a leader in the Wesleyan church as I was growing up; he was also sinned against in many ways, which I think contributed to (not caused) to some grievous sins that he himself committed. I can attest to the type of pain that church leaders can experience; unfortunately we live in a very fallen world -- thankfully the King has and will finally overcome.

Without knowing you, I would encourage you to (as I'm sure you already do) continue to remain vigilent over your soul; I'm not saying that your documents, input, frustrations, etc... are not valid -- or that of others either. However, I am saying that it seems very possible that this experience could harden a person's heart, make them bitter, and even depressed in some way. I'm not saying you are, but I was just trying to imagine myself in your shoes (as impossible as that is). Correct me if I'm wrong, but at least from the outside looking in, it seems like you're very consumed with these things, as if it has taken a large percentage of your time/life. How are you being cared for right now, what else do you have going on in your life?

This "debacle" is hard to comprehend and even more it is hard to know what the truth is, though I'm sure God will reveal it. I hate sounding judgemental, but it does, however, seem extremely vindictive of you -- most of the tone that I have picked up on seems to reinforce that you have been especially hurt by others; therefore you're going at all of this through the lens of your personal experience (which is normal). Whille admittedly "juicy", the information that you have provided and continue to provide remains to be, in a sense, hearsay. I'm not saying it's not true, just that the the brunt of the info is coming from the things that you have printed. It's not to say that others don't feel the same way, though. It's also disturbing to have learned that people are literally waisting their lives/time creating anti-SGM blogs, etc... -- no denomination is perfect, but I guess my gut reaction/response is that this is not good or helpful, but seriously devisive, vindictive, and hateful.

In any case, I hope/pray that you are able to work through these things, whether or not you get the outcome you're seeking or not. Worst case scenario, according to you (in response to the time and effort you have put into these docs, blog, responses, etc,), CJ get's to stay President of SGM, and everything remain as it was -- how will this affect your soul? Do you think you would be bitter? Will you compile more documents? Will this dominate your life? Is it now? (I have no way of knowing).

Anyway, thanks for listening -- may God truly speak to you during this days.

[tdubb. Over the past 20 months I have dedicated the majority of my time to writing the documents and caring for people. That is not unreasonable. I am processing three decades of material and current events as they unfold. It is not s sinful obsessesion fueled by bitterness. It is a passionate pursuit of truth with a desired to see SGM helped. I know you see it as vindictive. Fine.

I never planned for it to go on this long. It is only the refusal of SGM to provide open and honest answers that resulted in this long season. At every point I'v sought to be "objective". That is build my case on facts and evidence. It doesn't appear you have read my dcouments. Furthermore, I don't think you realize the magnitude of problems that exist. If you did, you'd realize why this massive effort is necessary.

I have been "hurt" but that's not important. Truth is. God hates spin. I hope things are made right but I certainly don't expect they will be. C.J. can be President. It won't keep me awake at night. I am use to dealing with disillusionment.

I am concerned for the abusive actions of C.J., Dave, Gene, Bob, Steve Shank, etc. Many people have been devastated and SGM is not dealing with these realities. I have at least 15 stories of former pastors who were treated in like fashion to me by these men. Yet, these pastors do not want their stories to go public for various reasons like fear of SGM, hopelessness that anyone will listen because then haven't in past, pain in reliving their nightmares, manipulation by SGM that will necessitate further correction, etc.

Of course all of these mean are hateful, bitter, vindictive, and obsessive. NOT! You are playing into a common tool of SGM. Call people bitter and writs off their accounts. When people speak out SGM labels them. They don't listen to them and repent, confess, or make restitution. That has been the case in each situation referenced above. The same has been true of many, many people. You should be glad the word is out. I don't see internal change but externally SGM will at least be more careful not to abuse people in the future. Brent]

August 20, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertdubb

Brent,
You said:

"This is absurd. The church loved me and was following me wonderfully. There were a few exceptions but those were people who had serious issues in their lives. "

So anyone who didn't love you had serious issues in their lives? Really?

Can you at least consider the possibility that you may be mistaken on this one? Statements like this don't help you argument, but rather, make you seem almost comically (or tragically) biased.

Really Grateful

[Really Grateful. You are twisting my words. Simply point out that the church was doing well. Brent]

August 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterReally Grateful

What Thomas Perry siad. AMEN!!

August 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMo Willis

Brent, you said "Paul is constantly defending himself against false charges so that his message is not undermined."

I ask you, Brent, what is your message? Is your message the gospel of Jesus Christ? Is your message "I will boast in nothing save the cross of Christ by which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world?" Is your message "God spoke, man sinned, Christ came, died for my sins, rose from the grave, ascended to glory, makes intercession for me even now and is coming again to judge the quick and the dead?"

If that is your message, I have not heard a lot of it either in the documents or in your blog posts since the document's release. Brent, God is on his throne. He knows the truth of this entire situation and every other similar situation that has ever happened throughout the world. He will not be mocked. He will ensure that justice is served. Trust in him, turn from bitterness and anger, and let the message of Gospel of Jesus Christ be heard.

[Foofighter. SGM is preaching the gospel so there is no need for adjustment. But please study all the epistles. The vast majority are "occasional documents." That means they were prompted by current issues of concern to the writers. They addressed a host issues unrelated to the contents of the gospel. As you said, justice will be served. Maybe not in this life but let's hope so and let's obey Scripture and work toward that goal. We cannot ignore injustice. That is blatant disregard for Scripture. For instance, study every passage in the OT dealing with the oppressed. Furthermore, study the gospel. It is the greatest display of God's holy justice in all of Scriptures. Study Romans 3. Brent]

August 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFooFighter

Here are TWO comments based on my observations since this all started.
1. This pastor's email that Brent is responding too, is the first authentic and honest communication I've seen from a SGM person (both in the last month and with reference to all the emails in Brents documents)...honest in that it reveals its true frustration, anger and maybe some bitterness about the whole affair. Finally! Normally they are all so full of overdone diplomacy, heavy references to the cross and grace, many thanks to each other for what is being learned, an affirmation of love, and then some point or question. Its all so phoney. I read most of this SGM correspondence and want to say:"just say whats on your mind, no more caveats, stop saying that you love each other (which is crazy, since we can all hear the deep bitterness that's just dying to get out)...just be honest." I think Brent has been alot better at that lately.
2. Brent...one thing seems a bit odd to me, and if you are ok with this, I'd love your response. You constantly refute SGM's charge that you have refused to respond to their many requests to meet with this argument (my words): "I have told them repeatedly that I will meet with them ONCE they have supplied a written response to my 600 page documentation that adequately deals with all the charges I outline there." Here's what I'm tripping up on (am I the only one who sees this?). Which begs the question, what constitutes and adequate response? What you are really saying Brent, I think, is that in order for SGM to provide an adequate response they will have to provide about 600 pages of response to you, and essentially agree with all of it. Sorry - not trying to be difficult. Its just that I saw the written apology that CJ provided you in your documents, and it was, what, 11 pages long, and I thought that it was a decent start. In most settings, a 11 page apology would be considered long enough.
But you discounted it out of hand. I don't think there was anything in 11 pages you showed any respect for... It seemed like the amount of detail you require is much much longer...maybe more than any non-lawyer could ask for. As I read his apology and your response, I thought to myself: there is nothing that CJ could say in 10, 20 or 200 pages that would satisfy Brent UNLESS it ended in agreement that he should step down permanently from SGM. Is that reasonable? I came away thinking, I don't know how anyone could write a response that would be acceptable for you to then say: ok, not bad, we are getting somewhere, now my conditions have been met an we can meet. So Brent, Im just putting this out there for you to consider/refute. Thank you.

[Tom. I appreaciate your questions and I don't mean this to be a callous reply, but all of these are answered in my documents at length. I know people don't have the time or motivation to read all I've written, but neither do I have the time to answer all the questions I've alrady answered int the documents. Several of your assertions are baseless. For example, "But you discounted it out of hand. I don't think there was anything in 11 pages you showed any respect for..." Just the opposite but you'll have to dig it out of the documents. Respectfully. Brent]

August 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTom

Thank you for your thoughts, Brent, and for clarifying. I can see that it seems as if you're genuinely trying to do these things out of a sincere heart. In any case, I am praying for everyone involved -- for god-glorifying outcomes! I'm sure this is difficult.

Thanks again

[tdubb. Bless you. Brent]

August 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertdubb

Hi Brent,

Really Grateful quoted you above: "This is absurd. The church loved me and was following me wonderfully. There were a few exceptions but those were people who had serious issues in their lives. "

Then his response to your statement was: "So anyone who didn't love you had serious issues in their lives? Really? Can you at least consider the possibility that you may be mistaken on this one? Statements like this don't help you argument, but rather, make you seem almost comically (or tragically) biased."

Then you replied "Really Grateful. You are twisting my words. Simply point out that the church was doing well. Brent]

I think Really Grateful does have a very valid point. How is people following you and loving you equal to the church is doing well? What if someone wanted to defend Jim Jones concerning the tragedy at Guyana saying "People loved Jim Jones and were following Jim Jones." Well then maybe that was the problem, do ya think? DUH!

Really Grateful quoted you verbatim and I read your statement the same way he did. So only the people with "serious issues" did not love you and follow you? In other words, THEY were the ones with the problem, not you. If someone has a problem with leadership, it is often turned around on them to make them look like the bad guy. This is exactly why some people do not bring their grievances to leadership.

I am not trying to be rude here Brent, but your statement does seem very self serving. "The church loved ME and was following ME"? Even if that was not your emphasis, it could easily be read like that. And that is not trying to twist your words, it is just how it comes across to me, Really Grateful, and maybe some other readers. How about saying "The Church was being built up in Christ, and the church was being loved, and needs were being met." If you wish to discuss good fruit that was being produced, then please do so. People loving you and following you is not in itself good fruit. And maybe those who were following you had serious issues, like the blind following the blind?

Maybe you should be talking with those who did NOT follow you and get their perspective. We have already seen the perspective of those who follow C J and love C J. We want to talk to those who are not blinded by their idol worship.

[Dennis. I'm not going to take much more time. The pastor in question made it sound like the church was a wreck. It wasn't. There was unity and joy. People were very supportive and enjoying all God was doing. Of course, not 100% of people but the vast majority. We were having a blast to the glory of God.. You have any idea who I am referring to as "having serious issues." If I filled you, which I won't, your charge would be futile. Don't speak so confidently when you don't have the facts. Brent]

August 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDennis Collis

Brent,
You said:

[Really Grateful. You are twisting my words. Simply point out that the church was doing well. Brent]

Those words, quoted directly were:

(Brent) "This is absurd. The church loved me and was following me wonderfully. There were a few exceptions but those were people who had serious issues in their lives. "

(Me) "So anyone who didn't love you had serious issues in their lives? Really?"

I've been out of school for some time , but unless things have changed considerably, "...." still indicates a direct quotation. So here's what I did, I quoted you directly, in context, and then added an editorial comment in the form of a question. Is this troubling to you? Does it seem unfair?

But, in fairness, I'll ask, is the measure of "a church doing well" how wonderfully they follow and love their pastor?

Really Grateful

[Really Grateful. Last comment. I made my statement in light of the pastor's charge that I was lording, etc. You are twisting my response because you have yanked may answer our of its original context like a bad exegete. I hope you don't handle the Bible as poorly. I was pointing out how baseless the pastor's charge was. We were united. The fruit of the Spirit was present. We had a great mission centered in the gospel. Brent]

August 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterReally Grateful

@Anonymous by request of family I agree!

@All

I just saw this tidbit from the pastor's e-mail Brent dissected:

It is for these reasons that I think Brent's material is "gossip." Gossip does not mean a lie, un-factual, or biased. Gossip means I'm not part of the group that needs to hear this.

So we're redefining gossip now, too? Goodness, Merriam Webster's stock will plummet if we all start making up our own definitions for words.

Perhaps SGM could save everyone a lot of time and invent its own dictionary. The entry for Brent Detilwer can read as follows:

Heretic who should be ignored by all no matter what the Bible may have to say about addressing dissent in the church.

;-)

August 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJanna L. Chan

ForReal Wrote: Instead of constant defenses, why not allow room for the Holy Spirit to operate. Now that the docs are out, allow God to use them and trust God with the outcome. why not now, "rather be wronged."

Interesting concept ForReal--the essential part is this --now that something is "out" (written, made known) let the Holy Spirit do the rest, whatever that may be. I think this sums up your thinking. Fortunately, when we commit our thoughts to writing and then throw them out there for public consumption, we have the benefit of having our ideas examined by others for their validity, accuracy, logic, etc.

In this case you state an apparent principle you believe is true. However, if we attempt to apply your principle to just one other case, we find that it is actually an irrational concept. Irrational - not endowed with reason : lacking powers of reasoning or understanding.

If we apply your principle to the scriptures everyone (hopefully) can see where this idea that its "out" now we just sit back and let the Holy Spirit do the rest is absurd. No translation, no commentary, no interpretation, no expository preaching, no discovery of context to understand the words, nada, nothing, zip.

Brent,

First I want to say THANK YOU VERY MUCH for allowing open and honest dialogue.

You are correct when you say that I do not have all of the facts. Neither do most of the people reading this blog. Most of what we have is "he said, she said". We have what someone said about you, then we have your response. So how are we to accurately judge this? Who do we trust? How do we discern the truth of this matter? Of course there is much more to this story, but we do not have it, and I do not want to judge you (or others) unfairly. Please forgive me if I have.

[Dennis. In my documents I do my very best to present facts including "The Untold Story." I leave out hearsay. If I included "he said, she said" it would be twice a long. Brent]

August 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDennis Collis

Tom Wrote: Here's what I'm tripping up on (am I the only one who sees this?). Which begs the question, what constitutes and adequate response? What you are really saying Brent, I think, is that in order for SGM to provide an adequate response they will have to provide about 600 pages of response to you, and essentially agree with all of it. Sorry - not trying to be difficult. Its just that I saw the written apology that CJ provided you in your documents, and it was, what, 11 pages long, and I thought that it was a decent start. In most settings, a 11 page apology would be considered long enough.

Tom, I won't do the hard work of reading Brent's documents for you, although it seems that someone should. Brent goes into specific detail about what he would consider an adequate response -- your portray that, disingenuously as a "600" page response. BTW, disingenuously, means dishonest. Brent's document include a lot of commentary from him--it is in essence a very long letter to CJ and the men who lead SGM. To point out the obvious it also contains numerous charges, which themselves do not total 600 pages. Brent is asking for specific item-by-item response to his charges and that response can be in the form of agreement with his charges, disagreement, partial agreement, charges against him. Brent's requirements for a response are that it be in writing (his already having been burned by the easy deniabiliy of verbal face-to-face undocumented meetings and that CJ and others response be comprehensive (and maybe even exhaustive).

If you are going to take the time to post, at the minimum please do the hard work of actually thoroughly reading what Brent has written.

[Anonymous by the request of family. Thank you. You said it better than I ever could. Brent]

Really Grateful wrote: (Me) "So anyone who didn't love you had serious issues in their lives? Really?"

I've been out of school for some time , but unless things have changed considerably, "...." still indicates a direct quotation. So here's what I did, I quoted you directly, in context, and then added an editorial comment in the form of a question. Is this troubling to you? Does it seem unfair?

Really Grateful: I am still "in school" and one of the things that I have been taught is that when exegeting something the golden rule is" a text without a context is pretext. You most certainly did not quote Brent "in context"--you are either ignorant of what it means to use textual context to determine meaning or you are being dishonest.

I would detail how your conclusion "So anyone who didn't love you had serious issues in their lives? Really" is a logical fallacy but it would take breaking down the syllogism and I don't really want to teach 1st-year logic here.

However, I will say that Brent's statement about the people of the church loving him and following him wonderfully does have two conditions --they loved him and were following wonderfully. Since it is not in evidence how the people who were the exceptions felt about Brent *(you would have to ask them--they could have loved him or not or partially or occasionally) but the actual exception is that they were not following him wonderfully regardless of how they felt about him and the reason were some unspecified issues. Lastly, there is no logical reason from Brent's statement that the people who did love him and were following him wonderfully did not have serious issues in their lives. There is no logical connection between loving and following wonderfully and having or not having serious issues. I would venture a guess here that at least some of the people who were loving and following wonderfully had serious issues. Your lack of logic here is tragically comical.

So then, what is the root cause of all the turmoil here. 1 Cor 8:1 says love puffs up. At least 2 tanslations say "Knowledge makes you arrogant." So is pride somehere at the root? That word seems to be tossed around a lot in these blogs. And the ones with the most knowledge are usually in leadership. So we have a bunch of arrogant leaders confronting each other about their arrogance and hypocrisy.

There is an excellent article called "Men Who Would Be Kings". Here is the link:

http://www.friktech.com/rel/kings1.htm

[Dennis. 1 Cor 8:1 has to do with morally neutral issues. The current issues are matters of extreme importance because they deal with matters of ethics. Deceit, hypocrisy, abuse, etc. Brent]

August 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDennis Collis
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