We are Protestant, Calvinistic and Reformed Prayer Book Churchmen and Churchwomen. In 2012, we remembered the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; in 2012, we also remembered the 450th anniversary of Mr. (Bp., Salisbury) John Jewel's sober, scholarly, Protestant, and Reformed defense An Apology of the Church of England. In 2013, we remember the publication of the "Heidelberg Catechism" and the influence of Reformed theologians in England, including Heinrich Bullinger's Decades. Our book of the month for Aug 2014 is Mr. Underhile's "The Church's Favorite Flower: A Patristic Study of the Doctrines of Grace," a handy little volume at: http://www.amazon.com/The-Churchs-Favorite-Flower-Patristic-ebook/dp/B00KUCITIS/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403315865&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=andy+underhile. We've added Mr. Underhile's anti-Marcionite and Reformed "Comfort in Chaos: A Study in Nahum" as the book of the month for September 2014 at: http://www.amazon.com/Comfort-Chaos-Study-Preserves-People-ebook/dp/B00KQX8JBI/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407621661&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=andy+underhile+nahum. Our book for October 2014 is Francis Turretin's 3-volume "Institutes of Elenctic Theology" at: http://www.amazon.com/Institutes-Elenctic-Theology-vol-set/dp/0875524567/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412273572&sr=8-1&keywords=turretin+elenctic
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Put This In Your Dispensationalist Pipe And Smoke It.
BLESSED Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning; Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace, and ever hold fast, the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
- Jim Powell likes this.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
IRELAND: Evangelical Anglicans Urge Orthodoxy on Morals in Bishops 'Pastoral Letter'
November 29, 2011
Dear Archbishops and Bishops,
Thank you for your most recent Pastoral Letter to clergy of the Church of Ireland. We welcome its publication and thank you for the time spent with one another wrestling with the issues involved. Further, we look forward to the planned Spring conference of 2012 and wish to assure you of our prayers throughout this process.
The Pastoral letter states that the purpose of the Conference will be threefold. First, to discuss the content of the letter itself. Second, to assist the church in becoming more fully informed. Third, to explore wider issues in relation to human sexuality. Further, the letter commends study in biblical, theological and legal issues before and after the Conference, confirms that members of Synod and 'some others' will be invited to attend, and envisages that the Conference will not be an end in itself. We wish to assist this process by addressing each of these areas in as constructive a manner as possible, making observations, suggestions, and raising some questions.
Purpose 1: To discuss the Pastoral Letter
We wish to reiterate our gratitude for the prayerful time and deliberations that informed the composition and publication of the Pastoral Letter. We recognise the difficulties in exercising leadership, yet we commend your own observation on the seriousness of your collective responsibility to act in a way that will help further the unity of the church in truth and love. We also commit ourselves to the same.
We find your affirmation of our Church's traditional teaching on marriage/Holy Matrimony particularly helpful at this time. We believe with you that 'the church's teaching has been faithfulness within marriage as the normative context for sexual expression'. This is in keeping with our Lord's call to holiness of life, a holiness that extends to every area of our existence, including our sexuality. In many ways all we ask is that life and order within our Church continue to be in keeping with your description of sexual activity being reserved for expression within the ideal of the monogamous union of man and woman. We recognise the factual distinction drawn between marriage and civil partnerships in both jurisdictions, and welcome the honest and helpful acknowledgement that the perception of such partnerships is that they are equivalent to, or an imitation of, marriage.
However, we have a number of concerns. The letter states the following
'the recent debate in the Church of Ireland on issues of sexuality has given added impetus to the bishop's process of reflection', and
'recent well-publicised events...concerning the issue of serving clergy...', and
'we as bishops take very seriously our responsibility at this time to act in a way that will help to further the unity of the church in truth and love'.
All three statements could convey the impression that the bishops are simply responding to issues that are not, in part, of their own making. The debate is in 'the wider church' or the actions are those of 'serving clergy' (clergy, in our synodical structure, being distinct from bishops). It would be more helpful to acknowledge the role of the bishops in allowing the debate to unravel as it has.
There has been a failure to engage in any process following the 2003 statement. Further, the perception is that the actions of serving clergy were undertaken with the foreknowledge and/or approval of a serving bishop or bishops. We wish to state that this is, at present, a perception but until such time as the role of the bishop or bishops is clarified, conclusions or inferences may be drawn that are not conducive to facilitating constructive dialogue. Until this is clarified it is genuinely difficult to see how responsibilities have been, up to this point, exercised in order to further the unity of the church. We feel it is very important to have clarity in order that the stated intent of the Conference to assist the church in becoming 'more fully informed' is realised. We would seek a greater acknowledgment by the bishops of their own role in not building upon the letter of 2003 and, either individually or collegially, overseeing the present situation that has caused considerable hurt and confusion to many.
Purpose 2: To assist the church in becoming more fully informed
We have stated above our desire for greater clarification on matters of oversight and process. We feel it would be helpful for the bishops to clarify what is meant by becoming 'more fully informed'. We most certainly need to share information relating to the present situation, as well as engaging with the biblical, theological and legal issues that arise. However, in a situation such as this, in which one group is agitating for change and the other seeking to maintain the status quo, it could be implied that it is the latter position that needs to become 'more fully informed'. The pastoral letter of 2003 refers to those who seek a change in favour of same-sex relationships on the grounds of 'a developing understanding of the nature of humanity and sexuality'. We would reject any implication, explicit or implied, by default or by design, that somehow those who hold to and affirm the teaching and doctrine of the church are somehow 'less informed' or have a 'less developed understanding'. Whilst none of us see all things clearly, there are matters on which it is possible, on mature and informed reflection, to be clear. We welcome the inclusion of, and opportunity to engage with, all shades of opinion on the presenting issues.
Purpose 3: To explore wider issues related to human sexuality
We welcome this purpose and hope and pray we can conduct ourselves and our conversations with sensitivity, honesty, truth and grace. We would observe however that it is not just issues 'related to' human sexuality that need to be addressed, but rather issues 'within which' the current issue of human sexuality presents itself. We recognise the need to establish clear parameters that will enable us to deal specifically with the issue of sexuality. However, the framework in which we must think is indeed, as you have asserted, biblical, theological, and legal, to name but three. These are issues of how we interpret scripture, how faith engages with and critiques culture, of what it means to have a unity of mind and purpose, of what our mission is. The presenting issue is human sexuality but it is not the defining issue. We must not make the mistake of allowing human sexuality to become the lens through which we look at and understand wider issues.
The defining issue is our vision of God, and what it means for His people to represent Him in His mission of love to redeem His world. If we start with the ethics of human sexuality the danger is that we will end up with rather legalistic and regulated forms of wording as to what is or is not acceptable, with potentially some very hurtful and divisive dialogue along the way. If we start with our vision of God we might just end up with a renewed confidence in what it means to be a redeemed and transformed people, a new creation, a royal priesthood and a holy nation. Perhaps in so doing the Word of God made flesh may well redeem our words that they might speak truth in love, seasoned with grace. Language, and how we use it, will be very important as we proceed. We would respectfully suggest that the third purpose be stated as being 'to explore issues that include and may be related to human sexuality'.
Further study in biblical, theological, and legal issues
We welcome the encouragement to undertake study in these areas, with the addition that there are ecclesiastical and liturgical issues that also need to be addressed. We shall indeed commit ourselves and the groups we represent to such undertakings. However, we seek clarification as to how the bishops envisage such work being carried out in order to serve the Conference. Are the bishops intending to facilitate such work? Who might be involved in this and how are they appointed or invited? Is there a plan to facilitate such work being done in order that it might assist the conduct and content of the Conference? Will this work be organised in such a way that it might observe, collate information, reflect and perhaps even seek to articulate a common mind arising out of the Conference?
It would be very helpful if the bishops would provide further detail as to how these matters will be progressed. Further, we seek to place on record the willingness of our respective groups to be represented in whatever process is established to enable such further study to take place.
The Conference - attendees
With regard to 'some other guests' we would simply enquire as to who might be considered for invitation. Although many of the members of our respective organisations are members of synod, are organisations such as our own to be invited in a representative capacity? Further, will the bishops be seeking suggestions as to who might make formal contributions to the Conference?
We note that 2012 being a triennial year that membership of Synod will change. Will both outgoing and incoming members of General Synod be invited to the Spring conference to ensure a breadth of opinion is sought and to provide continuity with regard to decision making? We would be grateful is this could be clarified.
The Conference - not an end in itself
We recognise that the Conference has no decision making powers. Yet, being open to members of General Synod it will no doubt inform the mind of Synod. Whilst the Conference will not be an end in itself, it must point to and lead towards a definitive end. We believe the ongoing life and witness of the church will be harmed by protracted uncertainty as to the position of the church. This is especially the case in this instance as we are no longer participants in a theoretical discussion about changes which, if provided for, could then be enacted. Rather, the situation now is such that the teaching of the church has not changed but some have chosen to act contrary to the position of the church. This changes the context in which constructive dialogue can take place, and necessitates a considered but swift resolution. The public nature of a Civil Partnership requires a public response, according to the life, teaching and rule of the church in practice at the time of Dean Gordon's action and the inaction of Bishop Burrows. This precipitous act must not become a precedent to which others appeal.
Unfortunately we who wish to uphold the life and teaching of the church on holy matrimony are often caricatured as only ever being heard on the topic of human sexuality. This is far from true. If we are heard on this issue it is only as and when the actions or instigations of others seek to move the church away from what we believe to be true. We are passionately committed to outreach and mission, to the needs of the two-thirds world and the many Christian agencies that seek to support the needs of others. These issues form the bread and butter of the daily life and witness of our churches and congregations. We do not issue joint letters on such matters as, to the best of our knowledge, within the Church of Ireland we are agreed that issues of mission and outreach to the poor and broken are vital and no-one is seeking to change the teaching of the church with regard to these. We have been, however, challenged individually and collectively to reflect upon how we are heard (or not as the case may be) on the outreach and mission, entrusted to us by God, of the people of God within the Church of Ireland.
We ask for a swift resolution to the position of the church on human sexuality in 2012 in order that we might begin to be more vocal as a church on mission. Perhaps future spring conferences, even in 2013, might then be able to focus on growth, and unity and service.
We recognise that as those in leadership within our Church you face many problems and difficulties. They are not yours to bear alone. We all shoulder the burden of responsibility as God's people. We assure you of our prayers, and the prayers of worshipping congregations for yourselves and our Church, that this situation with all its potential for division and bitterness will bring glory to God and hope and peace to his people.
We look forward to your response to the issues and questions raised.
Brian Courtney on behalf of
Church of Ireland
Evangelical Fellowship of Irish Clergy
New Wine Ireland
Monday, November 28, 2011
Lo! He comes with clouds descending,
Once for favored sinners slain;
Thousand thousand saints attending,
Swell the triumph of His train:
God appears on earth to reign.
Every eye shall now behold Him
Robed in dreadful majesty;
Those who set at naught and sold Him,
Pierced and nailed Him to the tree,
Deeply wailing, deeply wailing,
Shall the true Messiah see.
Every island, sea, and mountain,
Heav'n and earth, shall flee away;
All who hate Him must, confounded,
Hear the trump proclaim the day:
Come to judgment! Come to judgment!
Come to judgment! Come away!
Now redemption, long expected,
See in solemn pomp appear;
All His saints, by man rejected,
Now shall meet Him in the air:
See the day of God appear!
Answer Thine own bride and Spirit,
Hasten, Lord, the general doom!
The new Heav'n and earth t'inherit,
Take Thy pining exiles home:
All creation, all creation,
Travails! groans! and bids Thee come!
The dear tokens of His passion
Still His dazzling body bears;
Cause of endless exultation
To His ransomed worshippers;
With what rapture, with what rapture
Gaze we on those glorious scars!
Yea, Amen! let all adore Thee,
High on Thine eternal throne;
Savior, take the power and glory,
Claim the kingdom for Thine own;
O come quickly! O come quickly!
Everlasting God, come down!
Additional information about Lichfield Churchmen and Churchwomen at: http://www.lichfield-cathedral.org/History/history.html
"Pilgrimage to the shrine of Chad continued formany years.The Cathedral was expanded by the addition of a Lady Chapel, and by 1500 there were perhaps as many as twenty altars around the Cathedral. All this changed at the Reformation, and the Cathedral was severely damaged during the Civil War, being beseiged three times.
"Bishop Hacket restored the Cathedral in the 1660s, and William Wyatt made substantial changes to its ordering in the eighteenth century, but it was Sir George Gilbert Scott, Cathedral Architect from 1855-1878, who was responsible for its successful restoration to Medieval splendour.
"Today, Lichfield Cathedral still stands at the heart of Lichfield Diocese and is a focus for the regular worship of God, the life of a thriving community, the work of God in the wider world, and for pilgrimage. The great building shows all the signs of its long history as a Christian community, serving God and the world, and now moving confidently into the twenty-first century."
Anti-Calvinists: The Rise of English Arminianism c.1590-1640
We Are Taking Brent Detwiler's Allegations Seriously!
- What happened?
- What is the significance of what happened?
- What should the Sovereign Grace board do based upon the panel’s findings?
In their evaluation, each of the committees is able to look at any evidence and call any witnesses without restrictions. The facilitator will oversee each panel to certify that all evidence was heard and considered in accordance with standard rules of evidence.
The committees don’t know who to call as witness. Along with others, I should have been consulted.
Each of the committees will prepare a report that will contain recommendations for the SGM board. We will publish the unedited reports after the board has reviewed them and written its own response to them. Since the committees have until December 13 to produce the reports, the board will likely wait until January to release them.
Composition of the committees
Each committee is made up of two pastors from within SGM and one member of the SGM board. Both AOR and the facilitator recommended a panel of three and affirmed this composition. Under the facilitator’s direction, the board established the following qualifications for those serving on the review committees. Each member must:
- Be an ordained pastor in SGM
- Have at least five years of ministry experience
- Have demonstrated wisdom and discernment in the past
- Have a reputation for being trustworthy
- Have no prior involvement in any of the issues at stake
No member of the SGM Board is trustworthy given their consistent bias and deceit since July 6.
Additionally, the SGM board members serving on the committees were required to have board terms beginning in 2011, and to have not served on the previous SGM board.
That only excludes Joshua Harris. What a pity. I’d love for him to be on any panel, especially mine. He is the only one who has demonstrated any humility and honesty. I guess that disqualifies him.
Members of each committee were selected by the board in line with those qualifications.
Just a few thoughts. Is this a perfect process? No, of course not. We never could come up with a perfect process. But we believe that this is a fair, impartial process. The fact that it has been endorsed by both the independent facilitator and the team from AOR gives us confidence that the questions before each panel will be answered fairly and judiciously.
This is not a fair, impartial process. The scope of the investigation is altogether partial. In addition, no Board Member should be empaneled. They have been extremely biased from the beginning. See Dave’s July 13 blog post. Furthermore, I am excluded from question one and three. That is crazy if you are looking for justice.
Of course, ultimately our hope is not in a process, but in Jesus. He is more committed to truth and righteousness and justice than anyone else. We want the truth to be known. But if our hope is ultimately in a committee or in a process, we’re going to be disappointed. That’s why our hope is in Christ, who is building the church and will continue to build the church. So please pray with us he will accomplish much good for our family of churches through the work of these panels.
This is one point I agree with – Jesus will make the truth know in this life or in the life to come. I certainly don’t expect this from the SGM Board. The three panel approach is a sham.
|SGM Strategies and Tactics 101|
Sovereign Grace Panels Are of Little Worth In Determining C.J.’s Fitness for Ministry
I received the following letter from Bryce Thomas just 10 days ago. As you know, he is the trial lawyer Ambassadors of Reconciliation asked to serve as facilitator for the three review panels. I’ve interacted with Bryce. He is a good and godly man. He is also required to follow the directives of the Sovereign Grace Board. He is not accountable to me or looking to me for advice. All my advice to him appears to have been rejected. He is accountable to them. They govern all his actions.
Sent: Friday, November 18, 2011 7:36 PM
To: Brent Detwiler
Subject: Review Procedure
I also pointed out how Dave Harvey, on behalf of you and the Board, was breaking his word once again in a deceptive manner.
Sent: Saturday, November 19, 2011 11:33 AM
To: Bryce Thomas
Subject: Another Broken Promise
October 28, 2011 by Dave Harvey
The board will also commission three panels (1 board member and 2 senior pastors per panel), each guided by Bryce Thomas, for an internal review. Each of these panels will review one of the three major events around which Brent builds his allegations: Larry Tomczak’s departure from SGM in 1998, C.J.’s conflict with other SGM leaders in 2004, and Brent’s removal from ministry by his local church’s leaders in 2009. The panels will interview the key witnesses of these events, evaluate their testimonies for consistency with Brent’s interpretation of events, and determine if and where Brent’s allegations and conclusions have merit. These panels will then issue their findings and recommendations to the board, who in turn will publish them online and make a final determination on C.J.’s future in ministry with SGM.
The question for the panel doesn’t begin to address “Brent’s removal from ministry.”
C.J. Still Unwilling to Make a Defense
At the Pastors Conference two weeks ago, you said the following to all the SGM pastors.
“Finally, in relation to my confession, I wish I had defended myself. I think I briefly, at the outset, possibly at the conclusion, referenced my disagreements with Brent’s narratives and accusations. But I wrongly concluded that it wouldn’t be humble of me to defend myself. I am now convinced that this really reveals an ignorance of, a misunderstanding, a wrong application of humility. I had no category for an appropriate defense against criticisms and accusations, especially public ones. I think not having a category didn’t serve me.” (C.J. Mahaney, Pastors Conference, November 9, 2011)
For the last 20 months (see RRF&D, March 11, 2010), I have begged you to defend yourself. I’ve repeatedly gave you categories for an appropriate defense in my documents and correspondence. Instead, you purposely avoided my tough questions. I pled for a hearing where I could make my case and you could defend yourself. I still want you to defend yourself.
In this regard, I went out of my way to make allowances for you to defend yourself at the adjudication hearing when I capitulated to all the Board’s demands. Still you refused. You still haven’t stated your case and you will not allow me to make my case. At the Pastors Conference, you dismissed me with broad condemnations but presented no evidence. You never have. That is wrong. If you want to reject what I’ve written, you need to show up for a hearing. Don’t be cowardly and use the bully pulpit like you did at the Conference.
“However, it does appear that some assumed or concluded that I agree with Brent’s narrative, his accusations and interpretations and judgments of my motives, and this simply wouldn’t be true and it never has been true. Brent’s docs construct a narrative that I disagree with. That narrative portrays my sins as scandalous, calculated and deceptive, and uncommonly intentionally hypocritical, and pervasively so, and this is false.” (C.J. Mahaney, Pastors Conference, November 9, 2011)
This is not a defense. This doesn’t deal with the evidence. This doesn’t address any of the issues, answer any of my questions, or speak to the scores of illustrations I have presented in 1,000 pages of documentation. You remain unaccountable. You continue to be evasive. You choose manipulation over debate. This kind of statement should only be made by an objective panel, if warranted, after a full and complete review. Defend yourself but not with a microphone behind a pulpit where you cannot be challenged and you don’t present any kind of case. In all seriousness, you need to defend yourself! You must defend yourself. Stop hiding behind the SGM Board and panels where no cross examination will occur.
I initially rejected the terms for the adjudication hearing as a matter of conscience because they violated a host of promises you, Dave, Jeff and Joshua made to me over 12 months regarding a just proceeding. A little later, upon further consideration, I decided to accept the terms. I figured a hearing of any kind was better than no hearing; so I agreed to follow all the terms you imposed upon me. This went nowhere. You and the SGM Board killed my request for a hearing and deceitfully justified your action by quoting me out of context regarding the hearing being “unjust” or “bogus.” That was pure deceit. You had absolutely no reason not to hold a hearing and of course, the SGM Board never called me or wrote me to discuss any of my concerns for the adjudication hearing. You have never involved me in any process. You have never negotiated with me. You have never adopted any of my suggestions. You just impose your will without discussion and then purposefully misrepresent me. So in this case, you ended the possibility of a hearing and blamed it on me. Let’s be clear, you are the ones who were unwilling to meet, not me.
And now we have another novelty that doesn’t address the widespread abuses by you, the SGM Board or other people like Bob, Gene or Mickey. The new proposal for three panels to investigate a narrow range of issues related to three events does not do justice to the issues or events in any way, shape or form. I have talked to Bryce Thomas about this travesty. Therefore, I appeal once more for a full and complete examination of the issues, illustrations, and questions I have raised in my documents. C.J., you and the Board repeatedly promised such an opportunity would be created. You have not lived up to your word.
Letter to Covenant Life Church (November 22, 2011)
On Tuesday of last week the pastors at Covenant Life sent out a letter to all the church members. Here is what they said regarding their understanding of the work assigned to the three panels.
“We’ve been informed that the three panels, each comprised of two SGM pastors and one SGM board member (for a description, see the “Pastoral review” section of this blog post on the SGM website), have been constituted and will immediately begin to evaluate the documents written by Brent Detwiler. We understand that the panels will not only be evaluating C.J.‘s fitness for the role of President but also concerns for Sovereign Grace as a whole.” (Pastors’ Letter to CLC Members, November 22)
I have no reason to believe this is not an accurate portrayal of what the SGM Board has told them about the breath of the three panels’ work. If true, the SGM Board has misled the CLC pastors. The panels are not evaluating my documents. Far from it! They are looking at tiny portions of the documents. And they certainly are not evaluating “Sovereign Grace as a whole.” What the CLC pastors have been told by the SGM Board is entirely bogus.
Until you allow for such a hearing, the truth will never be heard or judged and that includes your defense. My request is simple; I want the opportunity to present all my concerns for you, the SGM Board and SGM in general to a group of objective evaluators. Based upon your actions, I think you and the SGM Board are afraid to defend yourselves against my charges. I don’t believe you and the Board want this to go to trial because the evidence and witnesses are overwhelming. If I am wrong, you can easily prove it by allowing for such a proceeding. The half measures (and that is an overstatement) you are taking now are designed to vindicated, protect and favor you, not hear the full array of evidence against you.
Dave Harvey’s Deceptive Post
It is bad enough the CLC pastors were misled, it is even worse misleading all of Sovereign Grace Ministries. Here is what Dave wrote on the SGM website on Wednesday.
“Now, this doesn’t mean that we aren’t closely examining the charges brought against C.J. or the sins to which he has confessed. In fact, we have created several panels for that sole purpose. We aren’t simply dismissing the issues. As AoR said in their report, “While God’s forgiveness assures us that the consequence of eternal death has been paid in full, such proclamation does not necessarily remove earthly consequences.” But even as we examine these charges, we need to let the free forgiveness of the gospel ring. The gospel is what breathes life into us, and I want it to permeate this entire process.” (Dave Harvey, A note about online confessions, November 23, 2011)
The three panels have been given narrow assignments. Their “sole purpose” is NOT to “closely examining the charges brought against C.J. or the sins to which he has confessed.” That’s a bunch of buffalo steaks. The original adjudication hearing was designed to do that but the SGM Board killed my appeal to meet. Instead, they came up with this crafty strategy that examines very little. Dave is once again deceiving all of Sovereign Grace Ministries.
I pointed this out to Bryce Thomas on November 19. He sent you a summary of my thoughts from our discussion.
Summary of Main Ideas Brent Shared with Bryce ThomasFrom: Bryce Thomas
Sent: Wednesday, November 23, 2011 11:05 AM
To: Edgar Keinath; Ted Kober; Tommy Hill
Subject: Questions Regarding Work of Panels
Ted & Ed,
Brent and I talked this past Saturday, 11/19. Brent asked me to pass onto to you and others his thoughts. I attempted to reduce to writing what he shared with me and asked him to proof it to ensure the accuracy of what he told me. He did that. Enclosed is what Brent shared with me and I am now passing this on per Brent’s request to you and to Tommy to share it with the others Brent requested below.
Summary of Conversation
The way the issue (“Did CJ Mahaney wrongfully influence the process of Brent Detwiler’s dismissal from his church in Mooresville, NC?”) is framed shows no regard for, no empathy for me (Brent) and does not address the real concerns I have for the unfair, abusive treatment of me by others (e.g. Dave, Bob, Gene, Eric) and the cover up by SGM Board. There is no concern to learn the truth of what happen in Mooresville and benefit from my input. Instead this approach is designed to make C.J. look good and me look bad.
The SGM Board is violating its word once again. This is another example of control, manipulation and deceit. They promised to review the “major event” of my “removal from ministry.” Instead they reduce the hearing to one secondary issue which is a tiny sliver because they focus on one question related to CJ and none on others and what they did to me. They do not care about me. They are not concerned about the truth. This will be about vindicating CJ and nothing will be learned from the process.
It is just like Dave Harvey’s letter to SGM Pastors before the Pastors Conference. It was a preemptive strike against Joshua and CLC. It that was full of misinformation, exaggeration and deceit.
This would be a good way to proceed: have SGM write me and indicate they messed up in Mooresville and really want to listen, learn and hear without further retribution, without viewing itself as the victim (they are the perpetrators), without being self-righteous. Have them show a little humility!
The reason I initially rejected the adjudication process was a matter of conscience. Over 12 months I was repeatedly promised by the leaders of SGM (CJ, Jeff, Dave, Josh) that there would be an evaluation by a third party outsider with no history with SG. Then I got the adjudication procedure from you. All those promises were broken without any discussion or negotiation with me. Just imposed upon me. Upon further consideration, I decided any hearing was better than no hearing. I agreed to all their terms but they shut me down by using a lame excuse that I said the process was “unjust” and “bogus.” This was a distortion of my meaning and deceitful way to kill the hearing.
Bryce explained to me he understood it was Ted Kober who felt people from SG should be used to evaluate because of theological issues. Bryce used the example of Baptists being asked to evaluate theological issues of Lutherans. (meaning no disrespect to Baptists—just pointing out there are theological as well as other differences in denominations).
Thus it was Ted’s recommendation independent of SG to use SG people to evaluate the issues of SG, but to be structured and overseen by outsiders (AoR).
I think Ted is a great and smart person, but I think he was wrong on this recommendation. The SGM Board is not objective. You can lose your job if you disagree with CJ, if you find him guilty of something and take action. I told the SGM Board to do what they promised me—use outside people to evaluate. Instead they hid behind Ted’s recommendation. They did not ask for my input, there was no contact with me. I asked the Board to reject Ted’s recommendation, that it was only a recommendation, and honor their word instead. They never responded to me.
Now the SGM Board could demonstrate humility. They could set up this panel in order to learn everything possible from the abuses I suffered in being declared unfit for ministry by the SGM Board. But this will be another kangaroo court with no due process. On Dave Harvey’s blog he points out each of the 3 panels has a board member. All the board members have already declared C.J. fit for ministry. They should not be sitting on these panels. That is not impartiality.
From: Brent Detwiler
Sent: Sunday, November 20, 2011 1:53 PM
To: Bryce Thomas
Subject: Please Inform Others of My Reproof
Thanks for talking with me this morning!
Please convey everything I shared with Ted Kober, Ed Keinath, Ken Sande, the SGM Board of Directors including C.J. Mahaney, the two senior pastors on the panel, and all the Covenant Life pastors.
I sincerely appreciate your assistance.
The Investigation of One Narrow and Secondary Issue
You and the SGM Board have reduced a major event, my removal from ministry, to one narrow and secondary issue about you. That is beyond absurd.
Sent: Monday, November 21, 2011 8:03 AM
To: Bryce Thomas
Subject: RE: Please Inform Others of My Reproof
I asked Bryce, Ted Kober, Ed Keinath, and Ken Sande to address your duplicity.
Sent: Monday, November 21, 2011 3:36 PM
To: Bryce Thomas
Cc: Edgar Keinath; Ted Kober; Ken Sande
Subject: RE: Please Inform Others of My Reproof
I also had additional questions regarding the three panels.
Sent: Friday, November 25, 2011 8:28 AM
To: Bryce Thomas
Cc: Edgar Keinath; Ted Kober; Ken Sande
Subject: Questions Regarding Work of Panels
- Will I be invited to give testimony regarding Larry Tomczak’s departure from SGM in 1998 and C.J.’s conflict with other SGM leaders in 2004? Far and away, I have the most complete record of anyone in SGM regarding these events. For example, 1,000 pages of documentation regarding Larry. My oral testimony is also vital.
- Would you please send me the purpose statement for the other two panels regarding Larry’s departure and C.J.’s conflict with other leaders? Have they been reduced to a tiny sliver of the whole like “Did CJ Mahaney wrongly influence the process of Brent Detwiler’s dismissal from his church in Mooresville, NC”?
- Who have you invited as witnesses to each of the three panels? I should verify the SGM Board has provided you an accurate list of those who should participate in each panel and not left anyone important out of the process. That is very important.
- Did you, Ted, Ed, and Ken have time yet to confront the SGM Board for breaking their promise to do a thorough review of my removal from ministry and not reduce it to just one secondary question about C.J.? If so, how did the Board respond? If not, when do you plan to follow up with them?
Sent: Wednesday, November 23, 2011 9:23 PM
To: Brent Detwiler
Subject: Review Committee
Sent: Thursday, November 24, 2011 8:37 AM
To: [Leader from Grace Community Church]
Subject: RE: Review Committee
I just received some answers this morning from Bryce to some of my questions. I’ve included some of the background.
Sent: Sunday, November 27, 2011 7:54 AM
To: Bryce Thomas
Subject: Answers to Questions
Sent: Sunday, November 27, 2011 5:36 PM
To: Bryce Thomas
Subject: Answers to Questions
Sent: Monday, November 28, 2011 8:08 AM
To: 'Bryce Thomas'
Subject: RE: Answers to Questions
Sent: Monday, November 28, 2011 9:39 AM
To: 'Bryce Thomas'
Sent: Monday, November 28, 2011 9:50 AM
To: Brent Detwiler
Subject: Re: Answers to Questions
Sent: Monday, November 28, 2011 10:40 AM
To: 'Bryce Thomas'
Cc: Tommy Hill
Subject: RE: Answers to Questions
Here again is what Dave said about the issues to be addressed by the three panels.
In the same manner and for the same reasons, I should be present for Panel 2 regarding “C.J.’s conflict with other SGM leaders in 2004.” I headed up the process which occurred over four years. No one has the first-hand knowledge or documentation that I possess. I should be able to defend against charges since “The panels will interview the key witnesses of these events, evaluate their testimonies for consistency with Brent’s interpretation of events, and determine if and where Brent’s allegations and conclusions have merit.” I have no voice.
I should have been given the witness list for all three panels. In each case, I know who should be present. The SGM Board should be concerned about getting my input. In addition, it does not appear any cross examination will be allowed. That is a fatal flaw if you’re interested in justice. People should not be allowed to make assertions without being challenged.
C.J., I want you to hear my presentation. I want you to defend against it. And I want to hear your presentation and cross examine it. But this will never happen in this three panel sham. This is no way to examine the charges against you and others.
You and the SGM Board are trying to pull off a fast one again. These three panels don’t begin to address the important issues regarding you and your agents. The work of the three panels covers about 5% of my "allegations and conclusions." That is no way to evaluate your fitness for ministry.
I made my case against you in “Response Regarding Friendship and Doctrine” (March 17, 2010), “A Final Appeal” (October 8, 2010) and “Concluding Remarks” (June 8, 2011) not in “The Untold Story” (June 25, 2011) which is about my removal from ministry. The substance of those three documents should be thoroughly examined, not simply your influence upon my firing. I’ve never made your influence on others a big issue because I didn’t have documented evidence. It figures that is why you are making it the only issue to be examined.
But this is clear. You appointed Bob to head up my assessment contrary to my wishes because of his bias, knew about the unjust process as it unfolded, were part of the cover up, agreed with the one sided assessment, concluded I was disqualified from ministry, and sent a letter to all the pastors in SGM regarding the same. I don’t know exactly what your influence was upon others, but I do know you were involved and as President of SGM the buck stops with you.
Once again, you and the Board make it appear as though you are interested in being evaluated but in reality you are breaking promises, severely limiting the scope of the investigation, and showing no interest in learning about my abusive removal from ministry. If you were concerned about the truth, learning, growing, and changing; the panel dealing with my removal wouldn’t be answering one question that is all about you!