Nine months ago 103 churches were listed on the SGM website. That’s when the Charlottesville, VA church first left. Today there are 82 churches on the list but you must keep in mind the following confusing factors.
- Two churches were added to the list since August (Louisville, KY; Cebu Philippines)
- One was never listed (Melbourne, FL)
- One new church should be added (Wissinoming, PA)
- Two church plants never joined SGM (San Diego, CA; Mandeville, LA)
- Two churches remain on the list but have decided to leave (Downingtown, PA; Cleveland, OH)
There was also a major development over the weekend when three international churches were removed from the list. Those churches are from Sri Lanka, Philippines (Fernando Impang) and Mexico (Mario Jacobo).
The brothers from Sri Lanka cannot be listed by name because of the severe persecution they face. Fernando is a dear brother from Bohol. Much has been written about him on the SGM website over the years. Mario planted our fourth international church in Tijuana in 1995. He is an extraordinary man and been a part of SGM for 25 years.
Bottom line: 25 out 107 churches have effectively left SGM over a nine month period.
But not even that statistic tells the real story. Three years ago there were 28,000 people in SGM. The departure of 25 churches, including some of the largest ones, amounts to a loss of approximately 11,000 people. In addition, approximately 3,000 other people have left over the past three years. That means a real loss of 50 percent! Half the people in SGM are gone.
On Saturday, Mark Prater posted the results of the ratification vote on the Sovereign Grace Book of Church Order (see below). He said:
- 67 churches participated in the vote
- 62 churches voted “yes” to affirm the polity
- 5 churches voted “no” to not affirm the polity
- 6 churches refrained from the vote for various reasons
This is fuzzy math. It doesn’t add up. There are not 73 churches in SGM. Here is some real math.
- 88 churches were eligible to vote last Friday (69 in US and 19 international)
- 21 churches did not participate in the vote
- 15 churches are unaccounted for in Mark’s tally
That means 21 churches are missing in action for unknown reasons. So at the end of the day, you have 62 churches voting in favor of ratification and 26 churches voting against it or not voting at all. That’s a lot!
But here’s what Mark wants you to believe.
“Based on the ballots cast yesterday, the new Sovereign Grace Polity and Book of Church Order was ratified with 92.5% of the vote!! This morning, let’s give God thanks for providing clarity through the voting process for the results of the vote communicate an overwhelming support of our new Polity and Book of Church Order.”
The actual number is 70.0% not 92.5% and that doesn’t include the 20 churches that already left SGM with concerns for the new polity before the vote was taken last Friday. Furthermore and more importantly, Mark does not tell us who and why 26 churches were unsupportive and what they plan on doing now. Obviously, more churches will be leaving SGM.
Folks, the ratification math doesn’t add up. Do I expect we will ever get an explanation from SGM for these huge discrepancies. Absolutely not! Statistics do lie and especially in the hands of Mark Prater. Get use to this kind of spin from Mark. Remember, he is Dave Harvey’s disciple.
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