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Wednesday
Aug012012

The Ethical Demise of Sovereign Grace Ministries (Part 1)

The ethical demise of SGM has broken my heart more than any other aspect of its decline.  It has been excruciating to watch close friends lie and deceive in order to preserve their image and notoriety.  Is so doing, they have ruined a godly movement with their duplicity.  By trying to save their reputations, they have destroyed their reputations.  

At every turn over the past 13 months, C.J., Dave Harvey, and others have sought to preserve their reputations instead of their integrity.  This truth is evident to thousands of people whose trust has been lost.  In this post and my next one, I’ve compiled the fifty most egregious lies told by SGM.  This list could be much longer and I find no pleasure in saying so.  If I added all the lies of SGM leaders it would number in the hundreds with no exaggeration.  I have spent 3 weeks researching and writing this material.  

Everything you are about to read is factual in nature.  That is the sad truth.  I realize some people have a hard time coming to terms with this reality.  I did too.  It took a long time before I was forced to accept the harsh reality that friends like C.J. and Dave were so willing to mislead, break promises, and lie in order to advance their own self-interests.  It stills seems unbelievable to me.  These were men I once trusted but that trust is broken.  Only a fool trusts in men who have continually proven themselves untrustworthy and that without sorrow.  When you lose your integrity, you lose your soul. 

These Top 50 lies were all brought up but in no case did that effort result in repentance or confession by the appropriate person(s).  I also asked for rebuttals but none were supplied.  These illustrations are presented in context and supported by evidence.  I could easily add more references if I took additional time for discovery.  Therefore, I am not slandering or sinfully judging.  Broken promises are treated as lies because they represent sacred commitments regarding crucial matters that were violated without warning or discussion.  

As we begin, I am reminded of James’ exhortation, “Weep, mourn and wail” (4:9).  I still hope that happens with SGM leaders.  It is one reason for my ongoing efforts and willingness to present these charges to objective evaluators in a just setting.  Counting down…      

50. C.J. promising to reveal his salary.  

  • “As for my salary it’s no secret and I’m not hiding it.  You know me well enough to know I don’t pay attention to it…. I will find out from Tommy but he is out of town this weekend.”
  • After making this promise, C.J. refused to tell me his salary and the interim Board of Directors forbid Tommy Hill, the Director of Finances, from telling me his salary.  A year later, SGM is still hiding C.J.’s compensation from donors even though he is the President of a non-profit charitable organization.  

Reference:  The Need for an Independent Board of Directors & Financial Accountability

49. Tommy Hill pledging that Ambassadors of Reconciliation would deal with the specific issue of making known C.J.’s salary and benefits.      

  • “Our [the interim Board’s] plan is to direct those questions [regarding C.J.’s compensation, etc.] to AoR and will be asking their recommendations on how to address questions on salary.”
  • No recommendations were included in the AoR report or released to the public.  No compensation information has been released to the public though many people have asked questions and called upon SGM to be transparent. 

Reference:  The Need for an Independent Board of Directors & Financial Accountability

48. C.J. covering up the real reason for wanting to take his son Chad on a trip to Phoenix. 

  • C.J. to Pat:  “Is there a way Sovereign Grace can pay for Chad’s flight to Phoenix with all the traveling I do I am trying not to be away from my son too much.” 
  • C.J. to Brent:  “I asked about Chad going with me not because of my travel but Carolyn’s.” 
  • C.J. told Pat Ennis, our Executive Director at the time, the request for Chad was due to his travel but told me later it was not due to his travel.  He attempted this lie not knowing Pat had already made me aware of the reason for C.J.’s original request.  C.J. lied to me in order to make it look like the request for money was because of Carolyn’s needs and not because he wanted Chad to be with him.

Reference:  A Final Appeal (pp. 19-20)

47. C.J. lying to Gene Emerson about why he could not speak at a regional Celebration conference (i.e., Revive) and a regional marriage conference. 

  • C.J. didn’t want to attend these events but instead of being honest with Gene he came up with the bogus excuse that he was too busy working on a 7 year plan that was taking up much of his time. 

Reference:  Response Regarding Friendship and Doctrine (p. 99)

46. C.J. claiming he would make it easy for apostolic team if we asked him to step down.  

  • “I [C.J.] want you men to know if you think I should step down because of my sins I don’t think I would make that difficult for you.  Actually I think I would make it easy for you.”
  • One month after this boast, C.J. was deeply resentful, bitter and angry at the notion of stepping down as team leader (i.e., President of SGM).  He relentlessly confronted me on the subject.  Even the slightest attempts to bring discipline into C.J.’s life provoked his indignation.  His claim was far from true.  It was humble sounding but that is all.         

Reference:  Response Regarding Friendship and Doctrine (pp. 49-53)

45. C.J. deceiving me into thinking he did not give my notes from our November 2004 meeting to Bob Kauflin and Kenneth Maresco. 

  • C.J. corrected me for four hours during a face to face meeting in Charlotte on November 19, 2004.  In March 2005, I asked him if I could send my notes from that meeting to Dave Harvey, Steve Shank, Bob and Kenneth (I was doing everything possible to be above board).  We agreed he would send the notes to Bob and Kenneth and I would send them to Dave and Steve.  Truth is, C.J. had already sent them to Bob and Kenneth without my permission but lied to me about it.  Bob confronted C.J. on his deception but C.J. never returned to ask forgiveness.  

Reference:  Response Regarding Friendship and Doctrine (pp. 38-45, 66-67)

44. C.J. saying he lessened my responsibilities in SGM due to a lack of capacity and gifting when it was due to offenses with me.

References:  Response Regarding Friendship and Doctrine (pp. 69-74); A Final Appeal (pp. 61-62)

43. C.J. and Jeff Purswell lying about the reason I was removed from teaching in the Pastors College.  

  • Jeff to Brent:  “Actually, as C.J. and I have been looking over the calendar, we will be making a number of changes involving different teachers.  So at this point, I will not have you teaching this course [The Doctrine of Scripture] next year.”
  • Brent to Jeff:  “That is personally sad to hear…maybe you could provide some kind of explanation at some point…. It has been a joy teaching over the last 23 years.”   
  • The stated reason for not having me teach was “C.J. and I have been looking over the calendar, we will be making a number of changes involving different teachers.”  Those numerous changes involving different teachers never occurred.  If fact there were absolutely no changes made involving SG teachers except that Jeff taught Pneumatology instead of Wayne Grudem and Jeff taught the Doctrine of Scripture instead of me.  Dave Harvey, Jeff Purswell, Bruce Chick, Mark Mullery, Gary Ricucci, Mickey Connolly, Bob Kauflin, Phil Sasser, Robin Boisvert, Steve Shank, Corby Megorden, Craig Cabaniss, Kenneth Maresco, Jim Donohue, and Tommy Hill all taught the same courses in 08-09 as they did in 07-08.  No new SG teachers were added.  No old SG teachers were deleted.  I was the only one removed for this deceitful reason.  I brought this to C.J. and Jeff’s attention but they have never responded to me with an explanation.

Reference:  Response Regarding Friendship and Doctrine (pp. 122-125)

42. Dave denying the existence of his private letter to C.J. confronting him on the breakdown in our relationships on the apostolic team due to C.J.’s pride and especially his harsh treatment of me.

References:  Response Regarding Friendship and Doctrine (p. 90); A Final Appeal (pp. 85-87)

41. Dave Harvey saying there was 98% agreement between Joshua Harris and the interim Board when Joshua stepped down as a Director.

  • Dave to SGM:  “A few minutes ago, we announced that Joshua Harris is resigning from the SGM board.  If you’re wondering what that may represent, let me just make a couple of points…. Josh’s resignation from the board is not a grand statement about our future together.  It’s not even an indication that we disagree on most things.  We don’t.  In fact Josh and the board agree on about 98% of things.”
  • Brent to Joshua: “I don’t believe for a minute you agree with Dave on 98% of things.  Yes in regard to the greater mission.  No in regard to C.J. and the serious problems in SGM.  That is the kind of spin [Dave] has become masterful at.  It totally misleads the audience.  You can’t let him get away with it.”
  • That very week, C.J. left Covenant Life Church never to return and three weeks later two of his sons in law, Brian Chesmore and Mike Bradshaw, resigned as pastors at Covenant Life Church.  They left sighting serious differences with Joshua and the pastors over the past “few years” regarding SGM. 

40. John Loftness and the new Board saying the main reasons for relocating SGM to Louisville was its central location (untrue) and lower cost of living (true).

  • SGM was not honest about the main reason for its departure.  That was, the breakdown in relationship with the church’s pastors and people.  The cost of living in Gaithersburg, MD was given as the fundamental reason for the departure of SGM to Louisville, KY.  That was dishonest.  It may have been a factor but it was NOT a major factor.  The main reason, and everyone knows it, was C.J.’s conflict with Joshua, the pastors and the church.  C.J. (and SGM) would never have left “the dearest people on earth” if not for the breakdown in relationships.  No one ever seriously thought of relocating SGM until conflicts arose between C.J. and the CLC pastors.  The plan was always for Joshua to replace C.J. in Gaithersburg.  We never thought of turning SGM over to Joshua so he could move the operation to Louisville (or elsewhere) and leave Covenant Life Church.  

Reference: Sovereign Grace Ministries Relocation Announcement

39. C.J. leading the CLC pastors to believe he was starting an accountability group on his own initiative having gone without one for three years when in reality he began the group in response to our directive as an apostolic team.

  • The CLC pastors thought C.J. began a men’s accountability group on his own initiative and credited him for it.  He didn’t adjust their faulty perspective.  Later they found out it he started the group in response to our direction. 
  • “There was a marked change in C.J. when he began his accountability group but no acknowledgement that he was responding to the team’s observations.” (Joshua Harris)

Reference:  Response Regarding Friendship and Doctrine (p. 18)

38. C.J. lying about his accountability to the pastors of Covenant Life Church and the amount of input he was receiving from them. 

  • For years C.J. led the apostolic team (i.e., Dave, Steve, Pat and me) to believe he was the most accountable and corrected leader in the movement because men like Joshua Harris, Kenneth Maresco and Grant Layman were speaking into his life.  We believed him until December 2003 when his deceit was exposed.  No one was bringing correction to C.J. or providing pastoral care for him.  We were duped by C.J. and so were the pastors at CLC who assumed it was happening with us.

References:  The Three Years Trying to Help C.J. (Dec. 2000 to Dec. 2003); A Final Appeal (p. 118)

37. C.J. concealing from the CLC pastors three years of input and correction he received from the apostolic team and other leaders.  

  • Brent to CJ:  “On the December 16-18, 2003 retreat, we again raised concerns for you but with little effect.  Five weeks later, I had lunch with Joshua on January 24, 2004.  I asked him directly if you had been filling him on our correction.  He said he was vaguely and barely aware of any evaluation we had brought you.  When I asked what he remembered you sharing with him, he could not recall anything.  It is hard to express how distressed I felt that you were once more withholding information.”
  • Dave to Brent & Steve:  “Guys, there are several illustrations of times where I specifically asked CJ if he would talk with someone about what I am talking to him about and he did not.”
  • This widespread pattern of withholding unfavorable information characterized C.J. and continues into the present. 

References:  The Three Years Trying to Help C.J. (Dec. 2000 to Dec. 2003);  Response Regarding Friendship and Doctrine (pp. 9-15)

36. C.J. telling Dave, Steve and me, that Pat had no concerns for his leadership or heart when he abruptly and unilaterally decided to cancel New Attitude contrary to our counsel.

  • The opposite was true.  Pat’s input was unfavorable but C.J. lied and deceived us into thinking Pat was supportive of his decision and that Pat had absolutely no concerns for C.J.

Reference:  A Final Appeal (pp. 54-56)

35. C.J. saying the CLC pastors disagreed with the apostolic team’s assessment of his character when in fact they agreed with our assessment.

  • Dave to Brent & Steve:  “Why did [C.J.] represent the CLC guys as disagreeing with us?  Why represent them as saying the areas under critique are actually strengths for him?”
  • C.J. deceitfully misrepresented Joshua, Grant and Kenneth who expressed “broad agreement” with our observations of his character.   
  • Steve to Brent & Dave:  “Numerous times C.J. has used…the CLC pastors’ commendation [under false pretense] to support disagreement with the [apostolic] team’s perspective.” 
  • C.J. often presented us with false information.  He’d put himself in a good light by citing the commendation of other leaders like Joshua, Grant, Kenneth when in fact they disagreed with his exalted view of himself.   

Reference:  Response Regarding Friendship and Doctrine (pp. 16-28)

34. C.J. lying on multiple occasions when he promised the apostolic team he would update the CLC pastors on input we were giving him.  He did the same thing with the CLC pastors.  He’d promised to update the apostolic team on their input but then concealed it from us.

  • In so doing, C.J. deceived the apostolic team and CLC pastors by leading us to believe he was informing both groups of the corrective input he was receiving when in actuality he was keeping it from both groups.  This was exposed on numerous occasions.   

Reference:  Response Regarding Friendship and Doctrine (pp. 61-65, 87)

33. Jeff Purswell claiming C.J. “fully apprised” the Board of Directors of all his sins against Larry Tomczak. 

  • Jeff to Brent:  “First, we [Dave, Joshua and Jeff] wanted to let you know that the board is fully apprised of C.J.’s interactions with Larry Tomczak.” (March 30, 2011)
  • Jeff was lying for C.J. who was concealing his sin against Larry from everyone.  C.J. never told Jeff or Joshua about his premeditated coercion of the Larry.  Being “fully apprised of C.J.’s interactions with Larry Tomczak” did not include anything contained in Concluding Remarks (pp. 131-179).  At the CLC Members’ meeting on July 10, 2011, Joshua told the church that he and all the other pastors had no knowledge whatsoever of C.J.’s blackmail of Larry. 
  • Joshua to CLC:  “The other thing that was significant about the third document [Concluding Remarks], is that it contained all the information about Larry Tomczak and that was, if you’ve read the documents, the most scandalous thing in the documents of issues and sins for C.J. and the pastors here at CLC, we were not aware of that, we were not aware of the threat that C.J. made to Larry in that phone conversation that was recorded.  We did not know about that.  It was deeply grieving, it really knocked all of us for a loop especially men who had been on the team for a long time.  I think of Kenneth in particular.  He had a real friendship with Larry.  He just wept when he read this.  He called Larry the next day or so and just said, ‘Larry, I had no idea that this had taken place.’  It is important for you to know that because we have not been seeking to hide that detail or cover that up.  We got that three weeks ago when Brent sent that third document.” (July 10, 2011)

32. Dave characterizing my documents as a “sad tale” and his version of events since January 2010 as a “faithful narrative” in a secret letter to the SGM pastors intended to discredit me behind my back. 

  • Dave to SGM pastors:  “Gentlemen, it ain’t pretty…but it’s a faithful narrative of a sad tale.”
  • This famous line summed it all up!  Dave’s account of the previous 18 months was a “faithful narrative.”  My 600 pages of documentation (RRF&D, AFA, CR) were a “sad tale.”  All the work, all the research, all the patience, all the appeals, and all the documentation derided as a sad tale.  Dave commended his rendition as faithful to the facts.  His story as true and credible.  My rendition was pitiful and spurious on the other hand.  What I wrote was both a sad tale and a tall tale.  Time has shown my documents were the “faithful narrative.”  No one in SGM leadership has ever demonstrated the presence of any error.  They contain no lies.  Dave’s letter was the “sad tale.”   

Reference:  The Mona Lisa of Spin by Master Harvey

31. Dave, Joshua and Jeff saying their sending out of this secret letter would be evaluated.

  • “We know this has upset you and we can understand why…. If you believe our sending this letter was unethical or sinful, please submit that issue to the evaluation panel along with the other complaints you have against us.  We welcome the opportunity to have objective eyes and minds examine all we’ve done so we can see our mistakes and make needed changes.”
  • I submitted this issue and “other complaints” to the “objective eyes and minds” of Ambassadors of Reconciliation but AoR did not follow up with me (I followed up with them), discuss the vast majority of those “complaints” with me, or address any of my specific charges in their final report to SGM.  For example, words like “deceit,” “lying,” “manipulation,” and “cover up” do not appear in their report.  Nor do the realities they portray. 

Reference:  The Mona Lisa of Spin by Master Harvey

30.  Dave Harvey and the interim Board misrepresenting my reasons for initially turning down the proposal for the Adjudication Hearing last October and refusing to post my actual explanation.

  • Dave to SGM:  “But first, a word on the latest with Brent.  Two weeks after declining our offer, Brent wrote us to say that he changed his mind and wanted to participate.  Unfortunately, he also said that he considers the [adjudication] process “unjust” and “bogus,” the logical implication being that even if he participated, he would also consider any unfavorable results for him unjust and bogus.” 
  • Brent to Board:  “I’m sorry you are unwilling to negotiate, consider my counter proposal or live up to your promises so I could participate in a just adjudication.  I am not to blame.  You are the ones who forced upon me such a faulty adjudication procedure.”     
  • I never said, or implied, by using the words “unjust” and “bogus” that the Adjudication Hearing would produce unjust and bogus results that were unfavorable to me.  I said the procedure was unjust and bogus in relation to all the commitments made to me for an objective evaluation.  Dave took these words out of context and deceitfully gave them a meaning I never intended and then used them as an excuse to shut down the hearing proposed by AoR.  Furthermore, I felt even more strongly that the Three Panel Approach was unjust and bogus.  That certainly did not prevent the SGM Board from proceeding!  They did a bait and switch.  It was manipulative and dishonest.   
  • Brent to Bryce Thomas (copy to interim Board & CLC pastors): “Furthermore, the SGM Board is unwilling to negotiate or alter any of their terms in this agreement and they have rejected out of hand my counter proposal with no discussion whatsoever.  Moreover, the content of their agreement, and the fashion in which Dave Harvey and the Board forced it upon me, give evidence to their authoritarian manner, arrogant attitude, and deceptive practices.  Lastly, would you please make sure this statement accompanies any statement made by SGM in private or public (e.g. the SGM blog) regarding my rejection of the arbitration agreement.  In so doing, I seek to prevent the SGM Board from misleading people regarding how and why this rejection was necessary and also to reiterate my willingness to pursue a better agreement that would have included the promises made to me by the SGM Board which they are now openly breaking.”     

Reference:  The Right of Tyrants; Another Illustration of Dave Harvey’s Deceit

29. Dave and the interim Board concealing from the public my eager desire to meet with C.J. and the reasonable conditions I set forth for such a meeting. 

  • Dave Harvey and the interim Board incessantly put me forth as unwilling to meet or pursue reconciliation with C.J.  This could not have been further from the truth.  From start to the finish, I continuously expressed my desire to meet if only two simple conditions were agreed upon – provide a thorough written response to my documents and acknowledge the need for a public confession.  They never cited my eagerness or my conditions and consistently distorted my attitude (e.g., Brent “insisted,” “refused,” etc.).     
  • Dave to SGM pastors:  “CJ contacted Brent with the hope of meeting to discuss any concerns.  But rather than meeting with CJ, Brent sent a 128-page document [Response Regarding Friendship and Doctrine] to convey the ways that he thought CJ had sinned as well as to call upon CJ to publicly confess…. On October 8, we then received a second document [A Final Appeal] from Brent numbering 165 pages.  In it Brent was more expansive on his concerns about CJ and continued to insist upon a public confession…. In all of this, Brent refused to meet with CJ, declined a mediator, and informed us that he would begin to prepare another document.  Yesterday Brent responded with another 199-page document [Concluding Remarks].  In it he informed us that he would now be conveying his concerns to the pastors of Sovereign Grace and certain others outside of SGM…. Now it’s important that the board convey something else to you.  The board has spent hundreds of hours examining these documents, meeting together, evaluating CJ and attempting to persuade Brent to meet with a mediator…. The SGM board can think of nothing more to ask of CJ in the pursuit of reconciliation with Brent.”
  • Brent to CJ:  “Let me reiterate an important point I repeatedly made in RRF&D, subsequent correspondence and now again.  I am eager to meet with you but I must have a written response to RRF&D, and now AFA, in advance.  This is not a substitute for meeting but a precursor to meeting.  On March 17, I wrote “I will gladly meet but first I need some assurance you have processed what I’ve written by providing a meaningful response.” 
  • Brent to C.J.:  “Stop the manipulation!  Stop trying to frame me!  Your machination to tell the world I have refused to talk to anyone, including Ken Sande, President of Peacemakers, is obvious.  I have said a million times, I will meet with you and the Board but not until you respond in writing to the issues, questions, and illustrations I have raised.  You promised to do this very thing but then broke your word to me.” (June 14, 2011)
  • Brent to C.J., Dave, Jeff & Joshua:  “So let’s be clear.  I requested a thorough response as a prelude to a meeting but you believe such a document is detrimental to reconciliation and therefore refused to provide it.  You withheld such a response knowingly and willfully.  That’s your decision but please hear yourself!  Your adamancy, not mine, is the only reason talks and meetings have not transpired.  Your decision to withhold an open, honest and accountable response is to blame for any lack of progress toward reconciliation…. Your refusal to walk in the light is the only reason we have not met.  It is wrong to say I am not willing to pursue reconciliation or that I am not willing to meet in person.  That is not true.  I’ve been very willing.  If you had done your part, like I did my part, we might be reconciled.”  (June 16, 2011)  
  • Here is the truth.  If C.J. had provided open, honest and accountable answers to my points, questions and illustrations, none of this would be happening.  That is clear in my documents.  He promised to respond and then reneged.  And of course, the SGM Board failed to hold him accountable to his word.  That’s why we didn’t meet.  Not because I was unwilling which is falsely asserted by SGM.

References:  The Mona Lisa of Spin by Master Harvey; A Final Appeal (p. 75)

28. The interim Board posting that I refused to participate in mediation until after C.J. published an extensive response to every one of my charges. 

  • “That Brent Detwiler’s refusal to participate in mediation with C.J. Mahaney—unless Mahaney first agrees…to publish an extensive written response to each of Detwiler’s accusations.”
  • I never asked C.J. to publicly publish an extensive written response to each of my accusations.  That is clear in all of my documents.  I asked him to provide a private and thorough response to me in writing.  This was a malicious lie by C.J., Dave, Jeff and the interim board intended to discredit me as unreasonable.     

Reference:  Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire; The Five Resolutions – July 13, 2011; Concluding Remarks (pp. 4-9)

27. The interim Board posting that I refused to participate in mediation until after C.J. made a public confession.  

  • “That Brent Detwiler’s refusal to participate in mediation with C.J. Mahaney—unless Mahaney first agrees…to make a public confession prior to any mediation or impartial evaluation of his charges.”
  • I asked C.J. to agree that a public confession of sin was necessary before we met; not that he had to make a confession before we met.  I never refused to meet with him (or a mediator) until after a public confession of sin was complete.  This too was a malicious lie intended to discredit me as unreasonable. 

References:  Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire; The Five Resolutions – July 13, 2011

26. Promising to confess sins publicly and follow the recommendations from Ambassadors of Reconciliation. 

  • C.J. to SGM:  “Over the last few years some former pastors and leaders in Sovereign Grace have made charges against me…. These charges are serious…which include various expressions of pride, unentreatability, deceit, sinful judgment, and hypocrisy.  I believe God is kindly disciplining me through this.  I believe I have by the grace of God perceived a degree of my sin...but I want to perceive and confess any and all sin I have committed.” 
  • Dave to SGM:  “God is drawing our gaze inward as an organization…in a way that makes it clear to everyone, we have problems.  Some of these were already on the radar, others surfaced more recently.  But we’re going to face them.  All of them.  What I want to get across to people through how we handle this (and not just with what we say) is that we want to be more rigorous in our self-examination than anyone else is with us.  We want to be leading the charge in that, not playing catch up…. We hope to do a better job of…owning where we’ve been wrong…. We want to walk in the way Jesus would have us walk.  Where we’ve failed, we want to own.  Where we need change, we want to change.  That’s how I’m trying to view this season in our family of churches.”
  • s the leader of SGM since 1991, I want to sincerely apologize for the ways in which deficiencies in my leadership have contributed to the ministry failures catalogued in this [AoR] report.”  C.J., Dave and the interim Board told the public they wanted to know their sins so they could confess their sins.  They never confessed to any wrong doing of any kind.
  • AoR to new SGM Board:  “After considering our work, we make the following recommendations to the Board of Directors of Sovereign Grace Ministries for continuing the healing of relationships and the resolution of issues, and for addressing future conflicts in more God-pleasing ways…. Confess your individual and corporate sins.”
  • AoR instructed John Loftness and the new Board to confess the corporate sins of Sovereign Grace Ministries as part of the healing process.  John and the Directors refused to do anything of the kind in their response.  This directive was purposely passed over and set aside. 

References:  Why I’m taking a leave of absence; Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire; The Five Resolutions – July 13, 2011

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Stephen Covey says the following in his best-selling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

“Integrity includes but goes beyond honesty.  Honesty is telling the truth—in other words, conforming our words to reality.  Integrity is conforming reality to our words—in other words, keeping promises and fulfilling expectations.”  (pp. 195-196)

Dishonesty and broken promises are the habits of highly defective leaders.  In this regard, Proverbs 10:9 is extremely instructive.  It reads, “He who walks in integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will be found out.” 

From the advent of computers to email to the internet to social networking, I have always given full and complete access to my wife in all these venues.  She can review anything I’ve written, read, viewed, received or sent no matter how personal.  Why?  Because I have nothing to hide.  I live securely not fearing I’ll be exposed by anything she discovers.  The same should be true in every facet of our lives.   

C.J., Dave, and so many other leaders in SGM have lived some part of the past 8 years doing all in their power to avoid being exposed and to prevent SGM from being exposed.  During this period of time, I’ve sought to bring patterns of sinful living or ministering into the light especially related to C.J.  That effort has been weighty but in comparison my burden has been lite.  Here’s what I mean.  I could not bear up under the constant dread of being exposed and living before a holy God with a guilty conscience. 

When you live in integrity you are not looking over your shoulder and you don’t live with frayed nerves.  You have confidence before God and men.  C.J., Dave and others have spent the past 13 months exhausting their energies covering up iniquity and doing damage control.  I continue to pray God will have mercy upon their souls and lead them to repentance. 

Psalm 32:4-5 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.  Selah  [5] Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity.  I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord” — and you forgave the guilt of my sin.

To be continued.

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