To the Board of Directors for Sovereign Grace Ministries,
C.J. announced his leave of absence on July 6. He blog posted, “I’ve asked to take a leave of absence in order to give time to considering these charges, examine my heart, and receive the appropriate help from others…. In order for me to receive an objective evaluation in relation to these charges the board is securing the help of a third-party ministry that has no history of relationship with SGM. With counsel from that ministry, the board will determine the appropriate steps I should take going forward.”
Amazingly, that “third-party ministry” has recommended C.J. not receive an “objective evaluation” from them; but an evaluation from a SGM Board Member and four SGM pastors. It has taken two months to come up with this agreed upon proposal.
From the beginning, the MOST important ingredient has been the pursuit of outside assistance in order to secure an OBJECTIVE panel of men NOT ASSOCIATED with SGM in order to evaluate my charges against C.J. The Board has failed to do this in every respect. That is unacceptable.
A panel comprised of one SGM Board Member and four SGM pastors does not in any way secure objectivity in evaluating C.J. It does just the opposite. It guarantees bias regardless of any elaborate selection process for pastors.
If the bylaws of SGM prevented outside arbitration than the bylaws should have been changed by you. That is a small matter. It takes little effort. The recommendation from Ambassadors of Reconciliation should have been respectfully rejected, the bylaws changed and a third party pursued (and not necessarily AoR).
You don’t appoint a board member to evaluate C.J.’s fitness for ministry who has already determined he is qualified and above reproach. Common sense tells you that much. Furthermore, you don’t put four SGM pastors in a position where they’ll experience incredible temptation to follow the favorable assessment of C.J. by the ten most powerful men in the movement: Dave Harvey, Jeff Purswell, Aron Osborne, Craig Cabaniss, John Loftness, Mark Prater, Mickey Connolly, Pete Greasley, Rick Gamache, and Steve Shank. None of these men feel C.J. is unfit for ministry or his role as President of SGM. They can’t wait for him to come back.
In addition, these four pastors will probably be biased in C.J.’s favor. You and the Covenant Life Church pastors have condemned my actions and classified my documents as gossip and slander. Other pastors have done the same. In all likelihood, these four pastors think favorably of C.J. and unfavorably of me. They have been fed a one sided perspective.
These poor men will be under extraordinary pressure to agree with the verdict already announced by the Board that C.J. is suitable in every respect. Now one member of the Board will be influencing the pastors the entire time they deliberate. Furthermore, these men are put at great risk if they rule against C.J. It could split their church, cost them their livelihood, destroy friendships, result in a loss of reputation, put them at odds with people like Ligon Ducan, Al Mohler, Tim Challies, etc. This is no way to go about an objective evaluation. It defies all reason.
It also demonstrates a total disregard for every promise made by you and C.J. to secure an objective evaluation that was safe from partiality, bias, and favoritism. Once again, you have violated your word, compromised your integrity, and disillusioned people inside and outside of SGM. It reminds me of George H. W. Bush’s pledge, “Read my lips: no more taxes.” He lost his reelection in 1992 as a result.
I am not surprise by your reversal but I am always saddened. It is one of many such disappointing experiences related to a lack of integrity. How can anyone trust you to keep your sacred word?