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CrossWay Pastors Proceed with “Marking” as Divisive Despite Appeals for Adjudication

The pastors at CrossWay Community Church in Charlotte, NC are bound and determined to discipline me tonight at a members only meeting for being divisive in keeping with C.J.’s instructions at the Pastors’ Conference held last week by Sovereign Grace Ministries.

C.J. has learned next to nothing during his four month leave of absence based upon his comments at the Conference (see “Transcript of C.J. Mahaney’s Remarks at SGM 2011 Pastors Conference” for November 12 at  In fact, the sabbatical has proven to be counterproductive.  The input and counsel he cited during his message only encouraged his pride and self-justification.      

What is worse, at C.J.’s encouragement, a campaign of public denunciations may begin with Mickey Connolly leading the charge.  This could result in a new and horrid chapter in the abusive exercise of authority by other pastors within SGM.  I hope not.  In fact, I hope pastors throughout the movement will expressed their strong disagreement with C.J.’s exhortation and Mickey’s practice. 

People who are being “divisive” should be sought out and humbly heard not “marked,” excoriated, cut off, and ostracized.  In my case, the CrossWay pastors are unwilling to be evaluated.  Just like C.J., they refuse to allow for an adjudication hearing.  It is easier for them to mark me as divisive than it is to examine their hearts in the midst of hearing presided over by an objective third party.  Therefore, they must resort to control by silencing me.  So while Ambassadors of Reconciliation is listening to “divisive” people; C.J. and Mickey are planning to excommunicate and discipline them.    

Moreover, the SGM Board sent a letter last Saturday just before the Conference to all the pastors regarding Joshua Harris and the Covenant Life Church pastors.  In part, it said the following.

“Those of you who have been around for a while in SGM know we normally wouldn’t communicate to pastors throughout our family of churches where we disagree with a particular member-church. But there are a number of factors that seem to make this a helpful and necessary step in this case. The major reasons already mentioned include the number of pastors who have inquired about these things and the affect CLC leadership has had on some of our member-churches as the CLC pastors have chosen to broadcast their differences and disagreements in public meetings and through the internet.”

This is tragic!  No one can express differences or disagreements with SGM in public without fear of being mark, reproved or intimidated.  The pastors at Covenant Life have shown extraordinary kindness, patience and long-suffering toward C.J. and the SGM Board.  Believe me, they have not begun “to broadcast their difference and disagreements.”  If they do, look out.  Sovereign Grace Ministries as we know it is over.  That is why they are being manipulated and put on notice by C.J. and the Board.

It is this kind of information that Mickey is trying to keep from people.  He is willing to use passages of Scripture that do not apply, abuse his authority by using it to coerce silence, control people by telling them to stay away from those who know what is going on, and require the sheep to only listen to the authoritative information and interpretation he provides them as a “shepherd.”  It is no wonder a growing number of  people think SGM has become cultic in its leadership.  Here are three emails from the last 24 hours.

From: Brent Detwiler  
Sent: Saturday, November 12, 2011 10:08 PM
To: Mickey Connolly; Joseph Lechner; Nick Swan; Larry Malament
Cc: Jeremy Oddy; David Moore; Jonathan Shea
Subject: An Appeal to Call Off Family Meeting

Mickey (Larry, Joe and Nick),

I am sending this to you tonight so you have time to cancel the Family Meeting scheduled for tomorrow night.  You can easily reverse course by making an announcement in the morning at the Sunday meeting.  Brothers, you are erring in many grievous ways and I hope you will change direction before you do greater harm to CrossWay Community Church. 

As I’ve pointed out before you are badly misinterpreting and misapplying Titus 3:9-11 and Roman 16:17-18.  Your exegesis is frightening for a group of pastors.  You are forcing an interpretation upon these texts that is totally foreign to the texts.  You are doing eisegesis, not sound biblical interpretation.  That is, you are reading into the text what you want it to say so you can justify your sinful actions against me.   

Titus 3:9-11 But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. [10] Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. [11] You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.

This passage has absolutely no relevance to me or the issues I’ve addressed.  Verse 9 gives the context for a proper interpretation.  It deals with “foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law.”  More is said about this group of false teachers and their divisive heresy in chapter 1:10-16.  They were preaching a false gospel and therefore condemned.

Rom 16:17-20 I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. [18] For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. [19] Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil. [20] The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.

This passage is also about false teachers who had no love for Christ.  They were not Christians.  They were teaching doctrine contrary to the book of Romans.  They were putting forth a false gospel and causing division in the church as a result.  Their heresy needed to be stopped and they needed to be identified so they could be avoided.  More than avoided, they need to be crushed by God since they were Satan’s servants.

These are the two passages you sight as a justification for your actions.  These passages are more severe than the church discipline found in Matthew 18:15-17 where you are dealing with a Christian brother.  In Titus and Romans you are dealing with false brethren.  The Lord forgive you for misusing his Word in order to abuse me. 

What I’ve said in my documents and on my blog ( needed to be said having exhausted all other biblical remedies and having been denied an adjudication hearing.  Mickey, you were one of the men who refused to allow me present my case.  Furthermore, you and the SGM board have not been truthful, open, accountable or humble.  You have been deceptive and manipulative.  There are many examples of this.  I cannot recant of these charges.  That is neither safe nor wise.  I fear God and you’ve needed to be exposed since you have concealed and distorted so much important information.  I am not being divisive.  I am doing the work necessary to address a group of leaders who has acted with impunity, self-interest, and favoritism.   

It is no secret why you don’t want people to read my documents and posts.  In them, people will find a superabundance of evidence supporting my claims.  Instead you must suppress the truth and keep it from the people of God by labeling me divisive and my writings slanderous.  You are not guarding the flock, you are lording it over the flock and hiding your sins.  C.J., you and the Board remain self-appointed, self-determined and unaccountable.    

People need to know that pastors and churches are contemplating leaving SGM, holding back on giving to SGM, calling the SGM Board to account, not having C.J. into preach,  registering strong disagreement with the Board, expressing ethical concerns for actions and decisions by the Board, feel C.J. did at poor to terrible job at the Pastors Conference, are aware that AoR is troubled by what they’ve hearing in the interviews,  etc.  These are facts.  Not gossip.  Not slander. 

Just like Joe and a majority of pastors at CW who decided not to have C.J. into preach as scheduled contrary to your wishes.  You shared that information with many of your friends.  It was not private.  It was public information.  I was not being divisive.  I was reporting public information regarding a disagreement. 

I have offered to meet with you and the church to discuss these matters but you have refused.  You do not want to be open and accountability to the church.  I also asked if I could come to the “marking” but you have forbid me.  I cannot even hear what you are going to say about me.  You want no accountability. 

In your condemnation of me and of my materials tomorrow night, you are taking another step in suppressing the truth and answering to no one.  Over the last 20 months I’ve repeatedly asked C.J. (and the SGM Board) to correct anything I’ve written.  Not once has C.J. or anyone on the Board responded.  You disparage my writings with sweeping statements but you have not offered one example of error.

Mickey, I have appealed to you about your pride, abuses and deceit on several occasions.  I have done this in private.  Over the years, I have also protected your reputation and put you in as good a light as possible.  For example, after a year of repeated invitations, you finally came to speak at Grace Community Church in April 2009.  You had shown no interest in the church plant whatsoever.  You example caused considerable division.  I gave you a sincere and honorable introduction with tears of appreciation.  You said nothing.  People noticed.  Mickey, there have been issues in your heart toward me for a long while so it is unsurprising that you are about to mark me as divisive and warn people to stay away from me.     

Mickey, for over five years, you have maintained your absolute sinlessness.  That is no exaggeration.  I am not being sensational or dramatic.  No one’s input into your life concerning your relationship with me, or your conduct in relation to Grace Community Church, has had any impact upon you.  It has produced no contrition.  You believe you don’t nothing wrong and everything right but you are deceived according to Scripture.

1 John 1:8,10 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us…. [10] If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

This has greatly concerned me and I sought to speak to you about it.  But for the longest time, you refused to even allow me to meet with the CrossWay pastors to register my concerns for you and them.  You turned me down time after time.  Finally you changed your mind.  But there was no changed in your disposition.  You still maintained that you were perfect in all your ways.  Therefore, there was no reason to meet again though we talked about it again on August 24, 2011.  I’ve told you several times, and I say it again, I am happy to meet if you ever move away from your claim of sinlessness and have a change of mind.

And I should remind you of our meeting on February 28, 2009.  It was one of the worst experiences of my life.  I have not written about it or told others about it.  The meeting was set up to cordially discuss mutual concerns and move toward reconciliation.  Instead you, the other pastors, and Gene Emerson “ambushed” me.  In the midst of it, Gene told me to remain silent, saying nothing, and give no defense.  For 45 minutes you leveled one charge after another.  I was devastated.  It was abusive.

Moreover, you told me I must return to CrossWay and make a public confession of selfishness for taking so many people on the church plant without regard for CrossWay.  That was a wicked and unfounded charge.  You also said I must make a public confession of sin to Grace Community Church for my handling of Andy and Lanie and Karen. Your knowledge of those situations was terribly distorted, one sided and unfactual because you and Gene were deceitfully meeting with them behind our backs and refused to hear our side of the story.  I strongly confronted you on this deception and recklessness.  I showed great grace to Andy and Lanie and restraint to Karen given their sins against me and my family.  Nevertheless, you formed many sinful judgments.  This caused great anguish for all of us.  The accounting of all these events is clearly documented less you deny it.

I am extremely concerned for you Mickey.  You have regressed.  The action you are taking is worse than the fourth step of Matt 18:15-17 commonly called excommunication.  But that is not the issue.  It is your misuse of Scripture, abusive use of authority, and complete lack of self-examination that frightens me the most.  It is evidence of a heart that has grown hard and dark.  I hope you do not destroy the dear church I worked so hard to build and turned over to you in 2003. 

Furthermore, it is tragic that C.J. has instructed you to take this action.  You are now putting yourself forward as the first “courageous” pastor in Sovereign Grace Ministries to discipline me,  mark me as divisive and treat me as heretic and unbeliever.  SGM is going to implode.  This strategy of intimidation and manipulation only feeds the distrust already in people’s hearts.  They’ve watched the past four months.  They’ve read the past four months.  They realize C.J. has acknowledged almost no wrong doing (and even less after this week) and the Board has acknowledged absolutely nothing of an ethical nature.  And now C.J. is saying that SGM has more humility than courage and courage must be demonstrated by identifying as divisive those who correct you and hold you accountable with evidence and witnesses.        

“I think the days ahead are going to require more discernment as it relates to the identification of slander and the influence of slander in our churches.  I think the days ahead are going to require courage on the part of pastors and when necessary publicly identify those who are divisive.  I think the days ahead are not only going to require, I think they are going to require courage.  I think in some ways in Sovereign Grace we have more humility than courage.  And we are going to need more courage.” (C.J. Mahaney, Pastors Conference, Nov 9, 2011)

This strong arm approach will backfire.  You can’t silence people.  You can keep evidence from people.  You can’t tell people you’ll do all the discerning and thinking for them.  All of this will result in more departures.  You are afraid of the truth.  That is why you canceled the adjudication hearing and have provided me no arguments against what I’ve written. 

It is no wonder people and pastors are afraid to be honest in SGM.  People don’t feel the freedom to disagree and confront the likes of you and C.J.  Will people speak out tomorrow night against this immoral action you are taking?  Will people ask you hard questions about your repeated claims of sinlessness?  We people call for pastoral accountability to the church?  Will members demand a just process whereby I can present my charges against you?  I hope so but that will require real courage not your kind of courage.  Genuine courage (and humility) would allow for a hearing of my charges against you, Nick, Larry and Joe.

Finally, your actions as senior pastor are analogous to your actions as a SGM Board Member.  No one at CrossWay should believe the case you will now make against me tomorrow night.  You will act as though their god but they must investigate things for themselves.  You have proven by your words and deeds that you cannot be trusted. 

Mickey, I fervently pray my appeals to you will someday be effectual and you will come to see the abuses about which I have written.  Please don’t proceed with your illicit and coercive action.  This is reminiscent of C.J.’s treatment of Larry Tomczak.  Call off the meeting.  Not for my sake, but for your sake.  If you proceed, there must of necessity be divine consequences.  God protect the saints from your example and the harm to follow.  May they too appeal for your repentance.  If you do repent, my heart is ready to forgive.

If you have the meeting, please read this letter in entirety to all my friends at CrossWay Community Church.  They need and deserve to hear my perspective.



From: Mickey Connolly
Sent: Sunday, November 13, 2011 9:16 AM
To: Brent Detwiler
Cc: Nick Swan; Joe Lechner; Larry Malament
Subject: Re: An Appeal to Call Off Family Meeting


We have heard and considered your appeal but continue to believe we stand on firm biblical ground to proceed.

Brent, all of us are grieved to take this step.  Our sincere desire would be to meet with you and talk Through these issues.  We want to hear and consider your perspective and have you hear and consider ours.  What we have steadfastly refused to do and will continue to refuse to do is conduct this conversation by email or Internet.  Please hear our appeal to sit down face to face and talk.  We are anxious to do this at any time.  Please consider.

Mickey (on behalf of all of us)

From: Brent Detwiler 
Sent: Sunday, November 13, 2011 11:35 AM
To: Mickey Connolly
Cc: Nick Swan; Joe Lechner; Larry Malament; Mike Seaver; Jim Hawkins; Jonathan Shea; Jeremy Oddy
Subject: RE: An Appeal to Call Off the Meeting to "Mark" Me

There is nothing to talk through at this point.  You have made your position perfectly clear.  For the last 5½ years you claim to have done nothing wrong and everything right.  There has been no openness to any of my input.  It has all been rejected.  I’ve raised major concerns with you but you have dismissed every one of the them.  And in each case, you turned things back on me.  You have not listened.  You have not humbled yourself.  You have not followed your own teaching.    

Mickey, you’ve abused your authority and you’ve acted deceptively.  These are serious, but far and away, my greatest concern for you and the other men, is your claim of sinlessness.  I’ve never seen such a display of arrogance and self-righteousness.  You remain deceived regarding your sins against Grace Community Church, me and others.    

Nevertheless, I am willing to meet with you but only if members of CrossWay are authorized to hear and adjudicate my charges against you.  You may defend yourself and level your own charges against me.  But I cannot meet with you and the pastors alone.  You’ve abused me too many times and always insisted upon your perfect innocence and my complete guilt.  Let’s meet but put others in charge so there can be a fair and just hearing.  Demonstrate you are willing to be evaluated and held accountable by the church.  This is now my third appeal for justice.  You rejected my first two appeals.

As a result, I will be posting this material.  My appeals have failed to secure any repentance or an equitable hearing of charges.  You’ve resisted the former and blocked the latter.  Furthermore, your actions as the senior pastor mirror your actions as an SGM Board Member.

Now, you are going to “mark” (Rom 16:17, KJV) me as divisive when you should be marking yourself.  Your action tonight will divide, frighten, and harm the body of Christ.  It sets a terrible example for all the churches in SGM.  C.J., provided you bad counsel.  He should be listening to critics rather than threatening to discipline critics.  Your action will bring shame upon CrossWay and that is not right.  The members of CrossWay should appeal for your repentance and oppose your actions.  Once again, you are lording it over the flock and acting as the supreme judge.  I pray you will renounce your heavy handedness and allow for the hearing of evidence.

I have hundreds of friends at CrossWay whom I love and carry in my heart.  Don’t do this to them.  Your sinful actions will have negative consequences for them.  Instead, choose the way of humility and allow yourselves to be examined by others in a fair and honorable fashion.  In condemning me, you condemn yourselves.  I am not concerned for my good.  I am concerned for your good and that of many brothers and sisters.  You are choosing the way of abuse, not truth.  Please stop for the sake of CrossWay, SGM, and the gospel.  Don’t introduce this reign of terror, intimidation and control. 

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