On October 1, Dave Harvey posted “Group Reconciliation Assistance and how you can be involved.” That post drew massive criticism. As a result, SGM is allowing people to provide feedback without mandatory attendance at the “Getting to the Heart of the Conflict” seminar on November 8 during the Pastors Conference. Praise God!
Now, you can appear before “congress” and give testimony without traveling to D.C. I’d encourage every person to take advantage of this opportunity. The leaders of Sovereign Grace Ministries have been deaf, dumb and mute when it comes to serious and substantial charges against them. Maybe God will open their ears, minds and mouths. But not if we are silent. Now is the time to speak.
I can’t guarantee this “group reconciliation” will result in biblical change. I doubt the findings will ever be published in any specificity. I don’t imagine it will hinder C.J. from returning as President. And I can’t envision any disciplinary being taken against men like Dave Harvey, Bob Kauflin, Steve Shank or Gene Emerson. I am not naive. Disappointment has become an dubious friend. Disillusionment an unwelcomed companion.
But it is still important for all of us to share our grievance, offenses, concerns, observations and correction. There are still good people and good churches in SGM. There is still the possibility of public repentance, confession and restitution by C.J., the SGM Board, and other leaders in SGM churches throughout America and the world. Read the book of Jonah and the ESV footnotes. God is compassionate.
But people must courageously speak up regarding their former or present SGM church and its leaders. This is not a time for silence. This is a time to speak out. Yes, redemptively, but also loudly and clearly!
The hundreds of people who left the Richmond Church must speak. The good folks who were part of Grace Community Church in Mooresville, NC must speak. Brothers and sisters from Gaithersburg, Ashburn, Orlando, Phoenix, San Diego, Charlotte, Denver, Stillwater, Philadelphia, and a host of other cities must lift their voice and send in their thoughts.
If SGM doesn’t hear from us they can make a case that concerns for the ministry are overstated and actually quite limited in scope. It can be presented as all is well except for a few tweaks here and there.
Voting in a national election doesn’t always produce the desired results but it is necessary, right and sometime effective. So too, writing your Senator regarding the budget, health care, abortion may accomplish nothing. But is a civic duty and God is pleased to use your efforts as He sees fit.
I spent two hours laying out my concerns for SGM to Ted Kober, President of Ambassadors of Reconciliation, on July 14. I covered critical issues like the growing presence of lying, deceit, manipulation, lording, hypocrisy, and spiritual abuse by C.J. and others. I’ve provided him 1,000 pages of documentation. But I am one voice and it is a voice SGM has sought to silence. All my writings have now been condemned as gossip and slander. They are off limits to people in Sovereign Grace churches. So SGM may not listen to me but maybe they will listen to a multitude of people around the world.
Please participate for the glory of God, the advance of the gospel, and the good of people in the movement! Sovereign Grace Ministries used to be different. It has changed for the worse and is in need of radical reform. But God can restore them if there is authentic repentance that results from your faithful appeals. Therefore, pray for them and contact AOR. See how below.
October 3, 2011 by Andrew
Everyone who wrote with questions about Group Reconciliation Assistance over the weekend—thank you. Below are answers to two common questions that seem pressing to clarify to all our readers.
Is there a way for me to participate if I can’t attend the seminar?
Yes. This concern came up pretty early in the planning for Group Reconciliation Assistance, so here is what we worked out the following with AOR. For those who want to participate but can’t attend, there will be an alternative option after the Pastors Conference concludes. We will record and publish on this blog the “Getting to the Heart of Conflict” seminar. Those who listen to the seminar online will have an opportunity to complete feedback forms regarding SGM and send them to AOR for inclusion in their review of SGM (similar to the forms that seminar attendees will fill out). People may also indicate in those forms if they desire a phone interview. If a large number of people make this request, AOR will select a sample from them for phone interviews.
Because the interviews are not just for receiving information but also for coaching, AOR prefers to meet in person as much as possible—so we (SGM and AOR) do hope that many people will attend the in-person event and interviews. At the same time, the second option is designed to give others a meaningful way to participate, receive helpful teaching, and provide input for AOR’s review.