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Brent Detwiler's Tweets
Wednesday
Jun192019

A Fourth Sovereign Grace Church Reproves Leadership Team for Refusing Independent Investigation. Denhollander Responds. I Put Focus Back on SGC Leader John Loftness for Alleged Sexual Sadism of Children.

King’s Cross Church in Manchester, New Hampshire is the fourth and latest church to publicly disagree with the Leadership Team of Sovereign Grace Churches, Inc. for their arrogant refusal to conduct an independent investigation of its “pastoral malpractice (i.e., covering up the sexual abuse of children and mistreating the victims and their families).

I recently wrote about the other churches in this article. 

Sovereign Grace Leadership Team Says Independent Investigation of Child Abuse Is Impossible – Three Prominent Sovereign Grace Churches Publicly Disagree
Thursday, June 6, 2019 at 7:57PM 

Here are a few quotes from the latest letter.  It comes “from the Elders and Members of King’s Cross Church.”  Some statements are deeply disturbing.  It is apparent they have not studied the evidence I’ve put forward since 2013.  For example, “With no concrete evidence against them, our pastors certainly have a right to maintain their innocence of the charges of pastoral malpractice.”  

This statement asserts there is “no concrete evidence” against C.J. Mahaney for “pastoral malpractice.”  That is absurd.  C.J. had a long-standing unwritten policy of not reporting the sexual abuse of children to law enforcement including the known crimes committed by Nathaniel Morales and Charlie Llewellyn. 

The Conspiracy Surrounding Plaintiff Grace Goe at Covenant Life Church
Brent Detwiler
Tuesday, June 4, 2013 at 5:18PM
 
The Conspiracy Surrounding Plaintiff Grace Goe at Covenant Life Church
Brent Detwiler
Tuesday, June 4, 2013 at 5:18PM 

Similarly, Mark Prater, Paul Buckley and Tommy Hill set up an illegal “hush fund” under Mahaney’s direction to keep a family from joining the lawsuit.  In this case, an associate pastor’s son was repeatedly sodomized by the senior pastor’s son.  The church was never told.  Furthermore, Mahaney relocated the senior pastor and his son to another Sovereign Grace church where the father continued in pastoral ministry and the new church was never told about his sodomite son.  That is “pastoral malpractice”! 

Hush Fund Set Up by Top SGM Leaders to Meet the Demands of a SGM Pastor Whose Son Was Sexually Abused 
Brenet Detwiler
Monday, March 30, 2015 at 1:56PM 

Because King’s Cross Church has not studied the comprehensive evidence, they are vulnerable to the lies put out by the Leadership Team.  That aside, they make some keen observations.  For example this one. 

“In our perspective, Sovereign Grace Church’s Leadership Team’s public statements have consistently lacked the appropriate humility about these allegations of pastoral malpractice in our history, and have sidestepped the agreed process our churches have approved in our Book of Church Order.” 

The Leadership Team is comprised of Mark Prater, Mickey Connolly, Tommy Hill, Bob Kauflin, Ian McConnell, Jeff Purswell and Rich Richardson.  These men have adamantly and arrogantly refused to allow an independent investigation of Sovereign Grace’s handling of child abuse throughout its history claiming it is “impossible” and would “dishonor Christ and harm the cause of the gospel.”  All of this is a whopper of an excuse.  

Each of the four letters from SG churches rightly point out an investigation is not prohibited in any way under the Book of Church Order.  And this letter highlights the Leadership Team has no authority to impose such a decision upon the churches.  I’d also like to know why the Executive Committee (i.e., Board of Directors) has not stepped in and rebuked the Leadership Team.  They are over the Leadership Team 

Book of Church Order
The Executive Committee of the Council of Elders
Page 85 

17.  The Executive Committee exists as an extension of the Council of Elders. Its primary responsibility is oversight of the Leadership Team on behalf of the Council of Elders. Its specific responsibilities are strictly limited to those listed in BCO-17.2. 

17.2  The Executive Committee will have the following responsibilities. 

17.2.1  To insure that the Leadership Team and its officers are acting in accordance with the mission and core values of the Sovereign Grace churches;

17.2.2  To appoint and evaluate the Leadership Team; 

17.2.5  To determine the responsibilities of the Leadership Team; 

As stated above, the Leadership Team “sidestepped the agreed [upon] process.”  The Executive Committee has done the same in the past.  The Book of Church Order is followed and applied selectively!  For example, C.J. Mahaney would have been removed from ministry if the BCO was followed for not meeting the standard of “above reproach.” 

Here’s a quote from their February 2018 letter that was never sent to the Leadership Team. 

“Over the last five years [2013-2017], SGC has had ample opportunity to publicly address these questions.  Answering them publicly would have been both humble and wise, and would have bolstered the reputation of the Gospel through our churches.” 

“Over the last five years,” I was primarily the one asking all the questions of Sovereign Grace Churches, Inc.    I literally wrote 82 articles from October 17, 2012 to December 31, 2018.  

100 Articles from 2012-2018 on the Conspiracy to Commit & Cover Up the Sexual Abuse of Children in Sovereign Grace Ministries
Brent Detwiler
Wednesday, January 9, 2019 at 11:05AM 

“Answering [my questions and charges] publicly would have been both humble and wise, and would have bolstered the reputation of the Gospel through our churches.”  Instead, C.J. Mahaney, the Executive Committee, the Leadership Team, and the national Council of Elders determined to destroy my credibility with the most evil slander and malevolent schemes.  That continues. 

No one understands the conspiracy to commit and cover up the sexual abuse of children in Sovereign Grace Churches, Inc. better than I do.  SGC won’t allow an independent investigation because they are arrogant and because they are hypocrites but especially because they are guilty!  It is not complicated!  Refusing to do an outside investigation is part of the cover up!  They can’t allow it to happen because SGC would never survive the tsunami of evidence!  

Here’s another quote. 

“We fear our negligence in answering these questions has resulted in our leaders delegating leadership in this area to our lawyers, rather than leaning whole-bodied into these questions for our own good, and the good of others.” 

The Leadership Team stopped following Jesus Christ and the Bible in this matter a long time ago.  A host of personal lawyers have advised their clients to admit no fault whatsoever.  And a cadre of insurance company lawyers have demand their institutional clients admit no fault or their liability coverage will be dropped.  So be it! 

One more quote from King’s Cross Church. 

“Further, we have an obligation to our broad family of evangelical brothers and sisters to give an account of these issues because we are bound together in Christ, united by the same Gospel and cause.  Our broader family not only looks to us for answers, but also an example of how to respond to these questions in a distinctly Christian manner.  We strongly disagree with the tone and posture of SGC’s public statements regarding Rachael Denhollander’s questions, and SGC’s refusal of a third party investigation with public findings.

The obstinance of Sovereign Grace Churches, Inc. has done harm to the “broad family of evangelical brothers and sisters” and the gospel cause.  That is why evangelicals leaders across the nation are calling for an investigation.  In reality, the survival of SGC is far more important to the Leadership Team than the good of the gospel.

In response to the letters, Rachael Denhollander posted an “Update on Sovereign Grace Church Questions” on her Facebook page yesterday.  She provides four “quick notations regarding current objections to an independent investigation.”  One, “an investigation does not shift the burden of proof.”  Two, “an investigation is possible without violating church autonomy.”  Three, “the investigation is not requested of the entire denomination.”  Four, “the investigation is not a declaration that Scripture is insufficient or that man’s standards are morally superior to God’s law.”

Here is the larger section regarding point three.  Underlining is mine to make a point.

“The investigation is not requested of the entire denomination - Again, when I met privately with SGC leaders, we discussed in-depth that the investigation would not span the denomination, but rather provide an avenue for allegations of mishandling to be considered, in the churches where such allegations arose.  We discussed this at length.  To represent that the request is to investigate the entire denomination is not a good-faith representation of what SGC leaders and I discussed a year ago.”

Rachael met with Mark Prater, Rich Richardson and Tommy Hill from the Leadership Team.  They have a long history of lying and deceit.  Here is the intentional lie they published in "Thoughts on the Call for an 'Independent Investigation' of Sovereign Grace Churches" by the Leadership Team about Rachael demanding an investigation of the entire denomination.    

“To demand an independent investigation of an entire denomination based upon unsubstantiated allegations—especially against only two churches, neither of which is any longer a part of the denomination—is unwarranted and unjust.” (April 12, 2019) 

The Leadership Team will lie whenever it serves their purpose.  That has been proven time after time.  

Here is an important quote from Rachael that has a bearing on the allegations of child abuse against John Loftness.  He is the Middle Atlantic Regional Leader for SGC and the pastor of Living Hope Church in Bowie, Maryland.  

“Rather, it is SGC apparently requiring a standard beyond the Biblical measure by repeatedly pointing out that no SGC pastor has been convicted of abuse or cover-up, as if that is a requirement before taking any action whatsoever. … Also note that at least two witnesses have independent made allegations of abuse against one current SGC pastor.  This does not make guilt a certainty, but it is nonetheless worth noting given SGC’s repeated requests to stand by the Biblical standards of proof (1 Timothy 5:19).”

The “one current SGC pastor” is a reference to John Loftness.  He has not been arrested, tried, or convicted to date; but “at least two witnesses have independent[ly] made allegations of abuse against” him.  John used to be a good friend.  I wrote a very important article about the allegations of sexual sadism six years ago. 

John Loftness in Focus – Former Chairman of the SGM Board & Alleged Sexual Sadist
Brent Detwiler
Sunday, July 14, 2013 at 5:32PM

At the end of my article, I made this personal appeal. 

“John, you were a friend for 30 years but based upon all the evidence in my possession, I believe you are guilty of physically and sexually abusing children.  That evidence exceeds the testimony of more than two credible witnesses as required by Scripture.  You also have extensive information that can lead to the arrest of multiple sex offenders.  You must share this information with investigators.  All of you need help.  Honesty is the first step to getting that help.”     

Loftness has been at the heart of the conspiracy to commit and cover up the sexual abuse of children in Sovereign Grace Ministries, Inc.  Notice my reference to “more than two credible witnesses.”  And notice Rachael’s reference to “at least two witnesses” that have made allegations independently of each other.  In other words, they have not worked in conjunction with each other.

I concluded with these words.  John would still be wise to take my counsel. 

“John, please don’t wait for indictments and an arrest.  Follow the advice of Boz Tchividjian (not your lawyers) and turn yourself in to law enforcement as a fruit of repentance.  Come clean, get help, and seek forgiveness! … God ordained consequences are necessary but Christ’s grace can still prevail in your life.  Making it your goal in life to help victims and prevent the physical and sexual abuse of children.” 

## 

King’s Cross Statement on a Third-Party Investigation of Sovereign Grace Churches
Jacob Young
June 11, 2019 

From the Elders and Members of King’s Cross Church: 

In recent months, Sovereign Grace Churches’ Leadership Team has made two public statements about the allegations of pastoral malpractice with regard to child abuse in our past.  After five years or more of public outcry about these allegations, the Leadership Team published on the SGC website a question-and-answer page and their rationale for recommending that SGC not launch an independent third-party investigation. 

The issues SGC has faced nationally have not majorly affected us as a local church.  We have benefited from SGC’s recommended policies and resources and have eagerly supported our denominational statements on sexual abuse and amendments to the Book of Church Order (section 12.4). 

Nonetheless, the national dialogue about this issue and how SGC should respond has affected us for two reasons: First, we believe it is important that our history not be murky, that we must address allegations with honesty and transparency for the sake of our own integrity and for the reputation of the Gospel.  Second, we care about what matters to our neighbors — and they care deeply about these issues.   A lack of clarity about our past could deter many for whom a local history of clerical abuse is still an open wound. 

In the wake of the Boston Globe’s 2002 Spotlight investigations into child abuse within the Roman Catholic church, Manchester, NH, was one of the cities found to have a bishop who enabled abusive priests: Fourteen sexual predators continued to hold positions of power and authority in the church despite the church’s awareness of their sins against God, their flocks, and the state.  The institutional cover-up (not to mention the crimes themselves) devastated the reputation of the Catholic church — and, for some, Christianity itself — in one of the most heavily Catholic parts of the country.  The Catholic church’s response communicated disregard for the abuse of children, lacking humility, introspection, and repentance. 

With this local history recent and personal, our neighbors care about institutional accountability on the issue of child sexual abuse.  They want to see courageous and determined systems to ensure current and future accountability for child safety and a humble, transparent accountability for the past.  This is a matter of justice that our neighbors feel through common grace, and they have not experienced a church that pursues introspection and care on this issue.  While those betrayed by a religious organization are looking for Jesus, we must show them that Jesus’ people will walk with them in their pain and recovery.  This includes being honest about potential past mistakes, failures, and malpractice. 

The Leadership Team asks, “Does an entire denomination have to prove its innocence, based upon a presumption of guilt, for every accusation made online, whether it has been substantiated or not?”  No, and indeed we agree that both the church and its elders have the right to presumption of innocence, and that they are not legally or morally obligated to clear their names.  Insofar as we believe that a pastor innocent of the charges laid against him has the right to assert his innocence, we agree with the Leadership Team’s statements. But we also recognize that at times exercise of some rights can hinder Gospel witness. 

Take the Apostle Paul’s example: “We have not made use of this right [to pastoral compensation], but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ” (1 Corinthians 9:12).  His aim is the advance the Gospel, a reward greater than the payment he deserved, a reward apparently obtained through his sacrifice of a legitimate right.  “What then is my reward?  That in my preaching I may present the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:18).  Paul saw fit to surrender a right so that he might identify more deeply with, learn from, and witness to those to whom faithful Gospel witness is due.  “To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak.  I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.  I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings” (1 Corinthians 9:22–23). 

Our neighborhood is weak from the injustice of child sexual abuse.  With no concrete evidence against them, our pastors certainly have a right to maintain their innocence of the charges of pastoral malpractice, but what is the reward of claiming this right?  What is the alternative?  Could we win some of the weak by becoming weak — not falsely claiming guilt where we are innocent, but taking on the burden of proof and submitting to impartial (and therefore more credible) investigators? 

We have an opportunity to humble ourselves and practice Gospel witness, a chance to show our neighbors, weakened by persistent injustice, that the church is a place for weak people.  If we, as the Leadership Team has recommended, refuse to surrender our position of strength, we fear we are refusing to “become all things to all people” and, disastrously, hindering those we serve from hearing simply “of Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor 2:2). 

While it is appropriate for SGC elders to assert their innocence, we believe that the church’s right to investigate through a third-party — for the sake of Gospel witness — should also be asserted.  Our elders should submit on this matter for the sake of the church’s witness before a watching world.  To the best of our knowledge, the allegations of widespread conspiracy to cover up pastoral malpractice within our churches are unfounded.  Yet we care about how our witness on this matter is interpreted by our neighbors.  We want accountability on this issue and want to know if there are any valid claims about our past concerning pastoral malpractice. 

Are their measures we can go to that could establish evidence or innocence on these charges?  Yes.  Some type of third-party investigation can be commissioned.  While the rationale paper presented by SGC’s Leadership Team implies that there is only one option for how to engage this question — a comprehensive church-by-church private criminal investigation that would disregard biblical teaching and amount to an attack on the accused — that is simply not the case.  Rachael Denhollander’s public comments have made clear that there are “multiple independent firms capable of carrying out” an investigation that “did not violate SGC’s ecclesiology,” and simple research into the available entities to investigate these claims proves this true. 

In our perspective, Sovereign Grace Church’s Leadership Team’s public statements have consistently lacked the appropriate humility about these allegations of pastoral malpractice in our history, and have sidestepped the agreed process our churches have approved in our Book of Church Order. 

While we would like to present a case for what a third party investigation could look like, the more critical point to the nature of SGC’s partnership and voice on this matter needs to be addressed.  While this may seem like a technicality to some, the reality is that the Leadership Team’s recommendation is only that, a recommendation.  It is not binding, nor authoritative for Sovereign Grace Churches.  The only body in SGC that can make authoritative, binding decisions and statements for our denomination is the Council of Elders. 

This is why we have long maintained that the only appropriate avenue for engaging these allegations is in the Council of Elders.  We may not all agree on solutions, but we must all own the decisions together.  That is what we agreed to in our partnership agreement.  If the elders of SGC do not convene to deliberate and decide on this issue, then our polity will retreat to our apostolic roots which was the time period of these alleged policies and events.  If the elders of SGC do not convene to decide on how we will address these allegations about our past, we will be retreating from the important progress we have made in our ecclesiastical union.  We must acknowledge our responsibility as the voice of SGC, address whatever mistakes we can from our past, and in repentance and faith, move forward together. 

What follows is another letter that we wrote in February, 2018.  At the time, we set it aside in the spirit of preserving unity and in the hope that the work and events of 2018 that were in motion would lead to SGC satisfactorily addressing the allegations regarding pastoral malpractice.  We publish this letter as well because the arguments in it still deserve consideration. 

While we have dissented from the Leadership Team’s position for a while, we have not dissented from our partnership.  At this juncture, our eldership feels that we must put forward our thoughts for other elders and members of SGC to consider, along with registering with our broader family in Christ where we stand on this important issue. 

With you in the grace of the Gospel,

Pastor Jacob Young,
With the elders and members of:
King’s Cross Church


An Appeal to Sovereign Grace Churches (February 2018)

From the very beginning of our church plant we have been deeply grateful for our partnership with Sovereign Grace Churches.  We exist because of their training and equipping.  We have thrived thanks to their care, support and friendship.  We are a Sovereign Grace Church, and are grateful to be bound with like-minded men and women around a common confession of faith, order of church government, and mission initiatives. 

In recent years, Sovereign Grace has walked through very difficult and turbulent waters regarding our past.  There have been many questions; questions about allegations of improper handling of sexual abuse within our churches, and questions regarding our policies of pastoral practice.  These questions are right to ask.  These questions address serious ethical issues.  Knowing the love of Jesus for the safety and flourishing of children, and concern for the reputation of his churches and his pastors and thereby the reputation of the Gospel to the watching world, these questions must be answered. 

Over the last five years, SGC has had ample opportunity to publicly address these questions.  Answering them publicly would have been both humble and wise, and would have bolstered the reputation of the Gospel through our churches.  Despite SGC’s virtual silence on these issues, in God’s good providence these questions still demand answers. 

Last year, Rachael Denhollander raised serious questions about specific points of our history on this topic, and to date SGC has made three public responses to her, including an initial letter in 2014 about the civil lawsuit dismissal.  These responses have been substantively true in judgement but marked with an unnecessarily defensive and combative tone.  The Gospel-centered attitude we claim for ourselves should invite critique and acknowledge specific areas of repentance and change.  These responses failed to display that attitude, and our posture to point has failed to humbly invite an objective evaluation of our past that give an account to our brothers and sisters in Christ such as Rachel Denhollander. 

During our crisis a few years ago we invited a third party investigation into our leadership culture.  The resulting report by the Ambassadors of Reconciliation was very helpful in evaluating the dysfunction and unhealthy dynamics of our leadership — issues that needed repentance, faith, and change.  Additionally, on an annual basis we have third party evaluations of our finances.  With that in mind, it is contrary to our values and history for SGC to baldly refuse any third party investigation into the questions about past allegations. 

We strongly disagree with this posture.  While we are extremely grateful for the work to improve our churches policies and procedures moving forward, we believe there is still work to be done regarding past allegations.  We appeal to SGC to work with a credible third party to investigate these past issues and make a public report.  If we truly believe the Gospel says the worst about us but promises unending grace for confession and change, then we have nothing to lose by this investigation, and everything to gain.  Further, we have an obligation to our broad family of evangelical brothers and sisters to give an account of these issues because we are bound together in Christ, united by the same Gospel and cause.  Our broader family not only looks to us for answers, but also an example of how to respond to these questions in a distinctly Christian manner. 

We strongly disagree with the tone and posture of SGC’s public statements regarding Rachael Denhollander’s questions, and SGC’s refusal of a third party investigation with public findings. 

In our Father’s good providence, we believe that this issue has been pressed upon us for the good and reputation of our pastors and our churches, and for the advance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who himself deeply cares about the safety and flourishing of our children.  We fear our negligence in answering these questions has resulted in our leaders delegating leadership in this area to our lawyers, rather than leaning whole-bodied into these questions for our own good, and the good of others. 

We must change this.  We appeal to all Sovereign Grace elders that we change our tone and posture on this issue.  Our elders must call a Special Counsel of Elders to deliberate this issue for ourselves (see BCO 15.2.2).  Let us invite a third party investigation with public findings.  Our Father cares about this issue, and we must set an example by expressing his heart with public accountability.  We must do this for the reputation of the Gospel, for the reputation of our churches, and for the protection of our children into future generations. 

With you in the Gospel,

Pastor Jacob Young,
With the elders of:
King’s Cross Church

## 

Update on Sovereign Grace Church Questions
RACHAEL DENHOLLANDER·TUESDAY, JUNE 18, 2019

In the last few weeks, three current SGC churches have released statements urging the denomination to participate in an independent investigation to evaluate numerous allegations that SGC leaders have frequently mishandled sexual and domestic abuse issues in the church.  These statements can be found here: 

For clarity, I have not communicated with these churches or anyone in them, nor was I aware that these churches were urging an investigation, or intended to make a statement.  However, I am deeply grateful for the integrity and clarity they have shown in simply recognizing that serious questions deserve a serious response. 

Quick notations regarding current objections to an independent investigation: 

1 – An investigation does not shift the burden of proof - The recent SGC argument, that an investigation is unbiblical because it shifts the burden of proof to the accused, is simply false.  An investigation has no effect on the burden of proof, it merely provides a mechanism for evaluating and weighing evidence to determine IF the burden of proof is met by those bringing the accusations. 

2 – An investigation is possible without violating church autonomy - When I met privately with Mark Prater, Rich Richardson, Tommy Hill and two third-party witnesses, I gave multiple suggestions and frameworks for how an investigation could be pursued and encouraged without violating autonomy.  The SGC churches that released statements also provide suggestions for conducting an investigation without violating autonomy.  This is simply not a valid objection, and it has been thoroughly discussed. 

3 – The investigation is not requested of the entire denomination - Again, when I met privately with SGC leaders, we discussed in-depth that the investigation would not span the denomination, but rather provide an avenue for allegations of mishandling to be considered, in the churches where such allegations arose.  We discussed this at length.  To represent that the request is to investigate the entire denomination is not a good-faith representation of what SGC leaders and I discussed a year ago. 

4 – The investigation is not a declaration that Scripture is insufficient or that man’s standards are morally superior to God’s law. 

A brief review of the English language makes this clear.  While some Christians may think of the term “higher” as meaning “morally superior”, this is far from the only usage and definition of the word.  Dictionaries reveal a wide range of definitions, including “advanced in complexity, development, or elaboration” (Merriam-Webster).  In regards to legal or evidentiary questions in particular, this is the common usage. 

For example, civil courts and criminal courts require varying burdens of proof.  A criminal conviction requires “proof beyond a reasonable doubt”, whereas civil claims can employ a variety of evidentiary bars, including “preponderance of the evidence”.  The burden of proof in criminal court is “higher” than the various standards in civil court, but it is not morally superior.  That is, we do not argue that God dictates the former and disapproves of the latter. 

We also recognize that our justice system has a more “developed” or “complex” standard for evidence.  We do not, for example, find the Federal Rules of Evidence or the hearsay exceptions, in the Scriptures.  Scripture provides a basic framework and principles for justice, but various jurisdictions develop and elaborate on the specific rules.  Getting evidence into court today requires passing the “higher” (more developed, more complex, more elaborated) bar of evidence that each jurisdiction requires, as compared to introducing evidence in Old Testament courts, which set out the framework Scriptural principles to hear both sides of the case and require the testimony of multiple witnesses. 

SGC has refused an independent investigation, arguing in part, that such an investigation fails to meet the Biblical standards of proof.  This is incorrect.  When an independent investigation is done by a qualified firm, it relies on the expertise and knowledge of personnel who are trained in these more developed standards for weighing evidence. Thus, an independent investigation will *include* the principles set out in Scripture, but will also take into account the more developed, elaborated, complex realities of evidence that flesh out those principles.  The “higher” standard. 

The notation of “higher” is not a statement of moral superiority.  It is a statement of development. 

Nor is this a statement that we MUST have these developed standards.  Rather, it is SGC apparently requiring a standard beyond the Biblical measure by repeatedly pointing out that no SGC pastor has been convicted of abuse or cover-up, as if that is a requirement before taking any action whatsoever.  Yet 1 Timothy 5:19 simply states “Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses.”  It does NOT add “and only if there is a criminal conviction in a court of law.”  Yet SGC repeatedly asserts the lack of court conviction as if it entirely nullifies the testimony of all witnesses (despite the fact that statistics show abusers are rarely convicted, and that statute of limitations typically prevents prosecution for covering up abuse.) 

*Please note*, this is not an argument that if two people say something, judgment is immediate and truth definitively established.  Rather, it is a notation that criminal conviction is not a Biblical prerequisite to taking any action whatsoever. 

To consider whether there are “two or three witnesses” asserting that SGC leaders have mishandled abuse allegations, making the pursuit of an independent investigation a wise and right pursuit, please see: 

Brief overview - https://www.facebook.com/notes/rachael-denhollander/public-response-to-sovereign-grace-churches/1694664773947169/?__tn__=HH-R 

Detailed Response - https://www.facebook.com/notes/rachael-denhollander/response-to-sovereign-grace-churches/1720170721396574/?__tn__=HH-R&fbclid=IwAR0tTT7-R-z9BRF6ECQRK3tBX2p2c9aW-qr5MxVLxULqRkKfD1IDkgamd5I 

Please also carefully review the statement made by Dr. Albert Mohler, President of SBTS, who had been a longtime ally and close friend of CJ Mahaney - former head of Sovereign Grace Ministries and current pastor of Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville - and who had previously come to his defense. - http://news.sbts.edu/2019/02/15/statement-r-albert-mohler-jr-sovereign-grace-churches/ 

Also note that at least two witnesses have independent made allegations of abuse against one current SGC pastor.  This does not make guilt a certainty, but it is nonetheless worth noting given SGC’s repeated requests to stand by the Biblical standards of proof (1 Timothy 5:19). 

5 – Correctly interpreting Biblical standards of proof, at this level, simply requires interpreting Scripture with Scripture. 

This discussion is not an issue of deep theological and academic debate.  Rather, it is a question of whether we have simply observed the passages that discuss principles of justice.  For example, while most evangelicals note that Scripture requires multiple witnesses, we frequently fail to note that Scripture gives us many examples of physical “witnesses” (such as presenting the sandal that two contracting parties exchanged upon contract, if a dispute about the contract arises), and also defines a witness as one who “has seen or come to know” of something. (Thus, for example, why my disclosure of abuse to a nurse practitioner shortly after the event, allowed said nurse practitioner to serve in court as a witness.) 

So again, consider the Biblical standards of two or three witnesses, and the definition of a witness, and review the links above. 

6 – Independently verify facts. 

Regarding specific claims and factual allegations, including the claim that an investigation was already done, please review the responses in the links above. 

Regarding the specific claim that Covenant Life Church refuses to participate in a new investigation, I suggest independently verifying that claim with CLC directly. 

I am grateful to these churches who have simply recognized that serious allegations deserve serious answers.  None of us should fear the truth, but all of us should rejoice in it.  As I have said many times before, should an investigation clear SGC of these allegations, I will post those findings gladly, and I remain willing to help SGC identify firms which are capable of investigating these allegations.