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Friday
Apr202018

My Letters to the Apostolic Leaders of Advance and Newfrontiers Asking Them to Remove P.J. Smyth from Leadership in Their Global Ministries

P.J. Symth “leads the Advance movement of churches, that plants and strengthens churches around the world, currently working into five continents.”  Advance is part of a larger network of 1500 churches called Newfrontiers.  It was founded by Terry Virgo.  It is led by David Devenish.  P.J. is one of eight top leaders in Newfrontiers.

THE NEWFRONTIERS APOSTOLIC LEADERS
Learn more about the Apostolic Leaders and their networks of churches around the world.

It was agreed by the apostolic leaders that David Devenish should lead what we do together and he has invited a team to work with him, now called the “Newfrontiers Together Team” (NTT). The team with David are currently John Lanferman, Edward Buria, David Holden, PJ Smyth, Steve van Rhyn and Steve Tibbert, with Alistair Gregory in a management capacity.

P.J. is also the lead pastor of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, MD.  He and the pastors have recommended CLC becomes a part of Advance but that is now on hold due to the swirl of allegations against them.  It has always been the plan for CLC to join Advance from the time P.J. was recommended to be the lead pastor by the Search Committee in October 2015. 

Seven weeks ago, I sent this email to the apostolic leaders of the Advance movement.  

From: Brent Detwiler
Sent: Saturday, March 3, 2018 3:39 PM
To: Stephen Jack; Rigby Wallace; Steve Van Rhyn; Greg Heasley; Arno De Bryn; Steve Rothquel; Gareth Bowley; Blake Tucker; Sheshi Kaniki; Mbonisi Malabe; Alan Frow; Brian Barr; Donnie Griggs; Vik Stander; Matthew Hosier; Pete Cornford; Ray Lowe; Scott Marques; Andrew Ellis
Subject: New & Indisputable Evidence Proves P.J. Smyth Knew All About His Father’s Violent Beating of Boys
Importance: High

Gentleman, 

One year ago today, I wrote most of you and said,   

“Sad news regarding P.J.  I hope NFI [Newfrontiers] & Advance will encourage him to quickly repent & be truthful for the sake of Christ and his gospel.  He is causing great harm. This could destroy Covenant Life Church. 

Lead Pastor P.J. Smyth Deceives Covenant Life Church About Knowledge of John Smyth’s Violent Beating of Boys
Friday, March 3, 2017 at 6:52AM 

“Thanks for helping him.”

In the providence of God, I am writing again because new and indisputable evidence demonstrates P.J. knew all about his father’s beating of boys.  He has simply lied.  There is no doubt about it.  Here is my post from yesterday. 

New & Indisputable Evidence Proves P.J. Smyth Knew All About Father’s Violent Beating of Boys – He & Pastors Continue to Deceive Covenant Life Church Despite My Appeals
Friday, March 2, 2018 at 2:40PM 

I’m sure this development will sadden your hearts.  P.J. is your friend and the top leader for Advance.  I well remember when our top leader, C.J. Mahaney was exposed for similar acts of deceit.  It was hard to face and accept.  In his case, he fled discipline and determined to cover up his transgressions.  They are still being exposed today.  

For example, read Rachael Denhollander’s, Response to Sovereign Grace Churches on her Facebook page.  Rachael is the young lady who has recently made international news for exposing the renowned sex abuser, Dr. Larry Nassar.  She is also exposing C.J. Mahaney and Sovereign Graces Churches, Inc.  Read her insightful and informative interview with Christianity Today. 

I don’t wish the same kind of future for P.J. and Advance but that will take integrity, courage and faith on your part.  It is not easy to replace a leader around whom an organization is largely built.  But that is exactly what is required given the magnitude of P.J.’s deceit.  

Therefore, I appeal to you to do what is commanded in Scripture.  Remove him from his position.  Care for him, love him, and encourage him but please don’t cover up for him in order to sinfully protect Advance.  

What he has done needs to be addressed in an open and transparent manner.  All the churches in Advance and NFI need to be informed.  That kind of action will be respected by the people and rewarded by the Lord.  Allowing it to go unaddressed will only meet with the Lord’s opposition and displeasure. 

Terry Virgo is preaching at P.J.’s church tomorrow.  I hope and pray he will address the issue in private and then in public.  Terry could be a great help in calling P.J. to account and communicating openly and honestly with Covenant Life Church.  Please encourage him to do so. 

You and P.J. are in my prayers. 

Brent Detwiler 

The next day, I wrote the apostolic leaders in Newfrontiers with an almost identical letter.  

From: Brent Detwiler
Date: March 4, 2018 at 8:12:59 AM EST
To: Andrey Bondarenko; Bryan Mowrey; Colin Baron; David Devenish; David Holden; Guy Miller; Jeremy Simpkins; John Landerman; Joseph Mwila; Lee Yarbrough; Martyn Dunsford; Mike Betts; Scott Marques; Simon Holley; Steve Oliver; Steve Tibber; Steve van Rhyn; Valeriy Seleznev; Vinu Paul
Subject: New & Indisputable Evidence Proves P.J. Smyth Knew All About Father’s Violent Beating of Boys 

Gentleman,

One year ago, I wrote the apostolic leaders of Advance and said,  

“Sad news regarding P.J.  I hope NFI [Newfrontiers] & Advance will encourage him to quickly repent & be truthful for the sake of Christ and his gospel.  He is causing great harm. This could destroy Covenant Life Church. 

Lead Pastor P.J. Smyth Deceives Covenant Life Church About Knowledge of John Smyth’s Violent Beating of Boys
Friday, March 3, 2017 at 6:52AM 

“Thanks for helping him.”

In the providence of God, I am writing again because new and indisputable evidence demonstrates P.J. knew all about his father’s beating of boys.  He has simply lied.  There is no doubt about it.  Here is my post from yesterday. 

New & Indisputable Evidence Proves P.J. Smyth Knew All About Father’s Violent Beating of Boys – He & Pastors Continue to Deceive Covenant Life Church Despite My Appeals
Friday, March 2, 2018 at 2:40PM 

I’m sure this development will sadden your hearts.  P.J. leads Advance and Advance is a part of Newfrontiers.  He is also a friend.  I well remember when our top leader, C.J. Mahaney was exposed for similar acts of deceit.  It was hard to face and accept.  In his case, he fled discipline and determined to cover up his transgressions.  They are still being exposed today. 

For example, read Rachael Denhollander’s, Response to Sovereign Grace Churches on her Facebook page.  Rachael is the young lady who has recently made international news for exposing the renowned sex abuser, Dr. Larry Nassar.  She is also exposing C.J. Mahaney and Sovereign Graces Churches, Inc.  Read her insightful and informative interview with Christianity Today.  

I don’t wish the same kind of future for P.J. and Advance but that will take integrity, courage and faith on your part.  It is not easy to replace a leader who leads a movement.    But that is exactly what is required given the magnitude of P.J.’s deceit. 

Therefore, I appeal to you to do what is commanded in Scripture.  Since Advance is a part of Newfrontiers, you have a responsibility to remove him from his position.  Care for him, love him, and encourage him but please don’t cover up for him in order to sinfully protect Advance and Newfrontiers.  

What he has done needs to be addressed in an open and transparent manner.  All the churches in Advance and Newfrontiers need to be informed.  That kind of action will be respected by the people and rewarded by the Lord.  Allowing it to go unaddressed will only meet with the Lord’s opposition and displeasure. 

Terry Virgo is preaching at P.J.’s church today.  I hope and pray he will address the issue in private and then in public.  Terry could be a great help in calling P.J. to account and communicating openly and honestly with Covenant Life Church.  I’ve already asked the leaders of Advance to encourage him to do so. 

You and P.J. are in my prayers. 

Brent Detwiler 

I know Terry Virgo and have spent time with him over the years when I was part of Sovereign Grace Ministries.  He is the one who recommended P.J. be the lead pastor to Joshua Harris. 

Vision Sunday: Installing PJ Smyth as Lead Pastor
Mark Mitchell
January 31, 2017 

In January 2015, our lead pastor, Joshua Harris, announced his plan to transition from his role in order to attend seminary.  And after reaching out to a number of ministry friends and leaders, Terry Virgo, who has been a friend of this church for many decades, suggested to Josh that we consider P.J. for the roll of lead pastor.  Now, that conversation led to a phone call between Josh and P.J. which took place in March [2015] (which happened to be the same month we were finalizing the members of our Search Committee). (Minutes 4:18-4:55) 

The Search Committee was headed up by Pat Ennis.  I know him well.  He was hired as the Executive Director for Sovereign Grace Ministries on my recommendation and served in that capacity from March 2003 to December 2010.  

Pat and the Search Committee recommended P.J. for lead pastor in October 2015.  He was confirmed by CLC in December 2015.  I met with Pat for five hours in Charlotte, NC in January 2016.  We talked about many things.  Here is what he told me about P.J. as memorialized in my notes.   

  • P.J. is head and shoulders above everyone else considered as a preacher
  • That’s what the church wanted – a great preacher
  • He will be able to fill up the auditorium
  • It was almost full when he preached last two Sundays
  • Is a leader – able to direct staff of 18 pastors
  • Is missional – outward focus
  • Pat believes money will come into CLC
  • P.J. will want to buy the SGM space in basement
  • CLC will join Advance in the future and plant churches in USA   

There was no doubt Pat felt P.J. was the answer to all their problems and the guarantee of future success.  He would pack out the church building and restore its fortunes.  This would result in the ability to buy the 17,000 square foot space owned by Sovereign Grace Ministries on the bottom floor.  I assume to house the global ambitions of P.J. and the Advance movement of churches.  It all left me very concerned. 

I am told Terry Virgo and David Devenish are meeting with the CLC pastors this weekend.  David preached at CLC last Sunday.  My counsel to them remains the same. 

“Sad news regarding P.J.  I hope [Newfrontiers] & Advance will encourage him to quickly repent & be truthful for the sake of Christ and his gospel.  He is causing great harm. This could destroy Covenant Life Church.” 

“Since Advance is a part of Newfrontiers, you have a responsibility to remove him from his [apostolic] position.  Care for him, love him, and encourage him but please don’t cover up for him in order to sinfully protect Advance and Newfrontiers.” 

P.J. and the pastors have acted corruptly in so many ways.  It is not only P.J. that needs to be removed and disciplined.  The same is true for Mark Mitchell and the other pastors.  They have all colluded in evil doing.  I hope God gives Terry and David the courage and wisdom to address these men forthrightly and put forth a plan for their replacement.  I’d love to see CLC prosper but it can’t unless there are wholesale changes in leadership. 

Related Posts 

P.J. Smyth & Mark Mitchell Refuse to Answer Question at Members’ Meeting About Reliable Witnesses Calling P.J. a Liar for Denying Knowledge of Father’s Violent Beating of Boys
Thursday, April 5, 2018 at 5:38PM
 
C.J. Mahaney, Covenant Life Church & the Conspiracy to Cover-up the Sexual Abuse of Children
Tuesday, February 13, 2018 at 12:42PM

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