Todd is a well known worship leader and song writer. He is also a beloved pastor. He has touched thousands of lives through music and the personal care he extends to everyone. After leaving Sovereign Grace Ministries, Todd found himself working as a manager at Chick Fil A. More recently, God opened up a wonderful teaching position at a private Baltimore school.
Like scores of other leaders, he has suffered greatly. Former pastors in SGM have responded to SGM differently. Here are the categories.
Some remain afraid to speak up for fear of what SGM will do to them again. Others have given up on appealing to SGM because they have not listened in the past and are not listening now. They view the actions and behavior of the current SGM Board with great concern and alarm. A third group is participating in the AoR Group Reconciliation. Another group is writing letters to Ted Kober, the SGM Board and CLC pastors but not releasing them to the public. A fifth group is willing to express their concerns in public.
Here is one of Todd's letter to Dave Harvey. It is used by permission.
From: Todd Twining
Sent: Tuesday, October 11, 2011 2:43 PM
To: Dave Harvey
Subject: My Participation in Group Reconciliation
Good afternoon, Dave,
I trust you are enjoying the grace of God. I am praying for you.
The lifting of the confidentiality agreement by AoR represents the removal of a key stumbling block for many of us. I think it represents a step in the right direction for SGM.
Again, as I have stated before, I deeply love Sovereign Grace and wish things were different. I do wish you all the best in your endeavors, but cannot in conscience and in good faith participate at this time. Here are my remaining reasons:
- I do not agree with the way the process has been handled. I see too much control and feel the process is rigged. Perhaps that is critical judgment, I think it is survival.
- The things I have already submitted and the personal interviews I have already done with CJ, yourself and Aron Osborne are sufficient to air my grievances and complaints. You know what my issues are and you know where to find me.
- While I am thankful I have been heard, I am not confident that in the things I have already written and shared that I have been listened to.
- Being asked to listen to the conflict teaching is insulting to those of us who have been through years of teaching on conflict resolution ad naseum. BCF, CCEF, Peacemakers. While I would hope you know I love humility, that may be more humiliating to the parties who have been offended and wounded than it is helpful. Perhaps I am wrong there.
- When I left Orlando, it was in part because I did not agree for a variety of reasons with the process of having to interview with an evaluation team who were coming to town. I saw a similar failed process unfold in Mooresville. Those stated reasons would continue to be the same concerns I have had all along in what I perceive to be the imbalanced processes for my brethren like Dave Bendinelli, Dan Walsh, Trevor Haines, Keith Jacob, Paul Palmer, Brent Detwiler, George Harrington, Gene Prince, Dan McIntosh, etc. I would continue to have those same concerns.
- Brent needs to be listened to and fully involved. He needs to be able to call witnesses. Without it, this is not a balanced adjudication process. I believe Brent's requests to be reasonable. I struggle with why SGM cannot just humbly submit to his requests. It would seem to me for the glory of Christ and His Church that this would be the way to come to the table.
- My past attempts have been in large part, in my opinion, fruitless, exhausting and honestly disappointing. Financially, the stress and strain on my life and health have been too detrimental for me to want to return to the table any time soon. I am grateful for your offer to help us financially get there [to the Pastors Conference] but I have no vision for what lies beyond getting there.
- What wrong is SGM currently owning at this point? What error? I hear about a lot of changes being made, but do not hear admissions of sin, confessions with penitence and restitution to the aggrieved parties. I think you all know where to find us. We have already come to you so to be called to come again to you seems out of order. It is your turn to come to us.
- Where is CJ Mahaney at this point? Is he still a member in good standing with CLC? Is he attending Capitol Hill Baptist Church still? Has the SGM Board given him the green light to preach in this hour? His absence is crucial and his unwillingness to stay involved in the local church [i.e., Covenant Life Church] through thick and thin is out of line. Until he returns to the table, we should not have to.
- We (former pastors and members) were all asked to stay and work things out. Some of us, like George Harrington, stayed for 4 long years before finally leaving Grace Covenant Church of Jacksonville. We were all urged and admonished to stay in the local church like myself, for example, who stayed 5 years in the Atlanta church after the Tomczak debacle. Then, after a year at the Pastors College, was sent to Orlando. As problems arose on the pastoral team, we persevered 4 long years and to be honest with you, I can never get those years back for my family. We hope we have learned the lessons of the wilderness, but I am not eager to take my family back into the wilderness at this point.
So I pray you will pardon me, but I do not have the grace or strength to help you right now. Perhaps, if the process changes and I see a willingness on the part of SGM to listen to Brent, who was with you for over 3 decades, then I would have some hope that you might listen to me, who was with you for half that time.