Six months ago today, Dave Harvey and the Sovereign Grace Board of Directors reacted to my sending out of The Documents to the SGM pastors with five resolutions. Those resolutions drew immediate fire from many quarters for being arrogant and heavy-handed.
Two days later, Dave was forced to write, ”When people are tempted to think that you are (and I’ll pull from our vast supply of quotes here) “gaming the system,” engaging in “cronyism,” “going to war,” behaving with “hubris,” “presumptuous and self-serving,” and, well you get the idea—you’ve got the burden of ensuring they know you get the point.” The critics were right. The descriptions were true. In the days to follow, Dave tried to spin his way out of trouble (see “An Honest Take on a Difficult Week,” July 15; “Listening,” July 18). A firestorm began.
The initial reaction of the SGM Board embodied and revealed the most serious issues I’ve raised with C.J., Dave, et al. over the past seven years. Their response was a near perfect illustration of what is wrong and needs to change in SGM. That change is not possible without new leadership.
Dave’s post is in italic letters and blue ink. My comments are interspersed in regular letters and black ink.
July 13, 2011 by Dave Harvey
I’m posting the statement below on behalf of our board of directors.
Last week we announced that C.J. Mahaney would be taking a temporary leave of absence from his position as President of Sovereign Grace Ministries. This leave was intended to create a fair and open process of evaluation for C.J. and the ministry and was not intended to be disciplinary. We assumed that the charges against him would remain private and that following the evaluation period, we would be able to announce publicly an independent evaluation panel’s findings.
Three observations. 1) The charges would have remained private if not for the obstinacy and deceit of C.J. and Dave. 2) This is exactly what was done in the case of my assessment. Per Dave’s instructions, and contrary to my appeals, the charges against me were read to the church before my evaluation began in June 2009. See “The Untold Story,” pp. 55-70. Dave is being a hypocrite. 3) An independent evaluation of C.J. and the ministry was stopped by the SGM Board on August 25, 2011. 4) An adjudication hearing was stopped by the SGM Board on October 24, 2011.
Since our announcement Brent Detwiler sent his accusations against C.J. and Sovereign Grace to all Sovereign Grace pastors.
For good reason. See “Eight Reasons Why Sending Out the Documents Was Not Slanderous but Necessary” at BrentDetwiler.com under “Documents – PDF” on the right side of page.
His material has also been published on the internet. Brent sent his material to the Sovereign Grace pastors despite repeated appeals that he engage C.J. and Sovereign Grace through the agency of an independent mediator, and if he refused to do that, to simply meet with an independent evaluation panel so they could examine his charges without C.J. or Sovereign Grace present to respond.
If Dave were truthful this sentence would read. “Brent sent his material to the SGM pastors because 1) C.J. and the Board saw no need for a public confession but wouldn’t be honest with Brent and tell him so; 2) C.J. and the Board refused to provide Brent a thorough response to any of his documents as promised; 3) C.J. was not honest about the reasons for his leave of absence and Dave was deceitful in spinning his story about Brent to the pastors.
In light of the fact that C.J. has now been publicly accused with no opportunity to defend himself, the board of Sovereign Grace has made the following resolutions.
The first time I wrote C.J. in “Response Regarding Friendship and Doctrine” on March 17, 2010, I asked him to respond in writing and include a defense. He’s always had complete freedom to defend himself both before and after I sent out The Documents on July 6, 2011. This is a laughable excuse. Truth be told, C.J. has steadfastly refused to provide a defense. I hope he still does. One person humorously wrote me, “I love the part where the Board maintains that C.J. has lost the right to publicly defend himself because Brent’s documents went public. Does C.J. not have internet access? Have his hands become arthritic? Has he taken a vow to hide behind the statements of others on his behalf?”
That Brent Detwiler’s refusal to participate in mediation with C.J. Mahaney—unless Mahaney first agrees (a) to publish an extensive written response to each of Detwiler’s accusations and (b) to make a public confession prior to any mediation or impartial evaluation of his charges—is unjust and constitutes a denial of biblically grounded due process for a qualified minister of the gospel (Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Timothy 5:19-20, Proverbs 25:9).
These two charges were slanderous in the truest sense of the word. First, both statements were completely untrue. Second, the new SGM Board knew them to be false (at least C.J., Dave, and Jeff). Third, these statements were malicious and intended to discredit me.
Here is what I wrote on my Facebook page at the time.
Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire
by Brent Detwiler on Sunday, July 17, 2011 at 12:13 am
Lie 1. I never asked C.J. to publish an extensive written response to each of my accusations. I asked him to provide a private and thorough response to me in writing. He promised to do so but then violated his word.
Lie 2. I asked C.J. to agree that a public confession of sin was necessary before we met; not that he had to made a confession before we met. I never refused to meet with him (or a mediator) until after a public confession of sin was complete.
Lie 3. The Board says say nothing about my eagerness to meet. That is plain in all my writings. I laid out two simple conditions. First, C.J. needed to provide me an open, honest and accountable response to the issues, questions, and illustrations I raised. Second, I needed to know C.J. took his sins seriously and was willing to confess them to the movement and its leaders. A private written response and a willingness to confess in public – that’s all I asked. No more.
All of these points are crystal clear in what I have written in The Documents. I am afraid Dave and Jeff’s pants are ablaze and the pants of the new board members are smoking.
These were purposeful lies. I called the entire SGM Board to account and asked for proof regarding the public charges against me but to no avail. I was totally ignored.
From: Brent Detwiler
Sent: Wednesday, August 24, 2011 12:22 PM
To: Aron Osborne; Craig Cabaniss; John Loftness; Mark Prater; Mickey Connolly; Pete Greasley; Rick Gamache; Steve Shank; C. J. Mahaney; Dave Harvey; Jeff Purswell; Joshua Harris
Subject: Proof of Public Charges Requested
I formally request that you and the SGM Board substantiate your claims below with proof from my documents or correspondence. First, cite references when I refused to participate in mediation or meet with C.J. unless he first published an extensive written response to every one of my accusations. Second, cite references when I required C.J. to make a public confession before I’d meet with him or participate in mediation.
Here are your verbatim charges against me from the SGM blog on July 13 entitled “SGM Board of Directors announcement regarding C.J. Mahaney.”
“That Brent Detwiler’s refusal to participate in mediation with C.J. Mahaney—unless Mahaney first agrees (a) to publish an extensive written response to each of Detwiler’s accusations and (b) to make a public confession prior to any mediation or impartial evaluation of his charges—is unjust and constitutes a denial of biblically grounded due process for a qualified minister of the gospel (Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Timothy 5:19-20, Proverbs 25:9).”
The “evidence” for such charges should be readily accessible to you and the entire Board. Therefore, I expect a prompt answer with specific proofs.
No proof was ever provided because there was none. These were not innocent mistakes. The first two lies were intentional exaggerations. The third lie was a blatant misrepresentation. Later in the day, I sent a second email and reiterated “
From: Brent Detwiler
Sent: Wednesday, August 24, 2011 5:31 PM
To: Aron Osborne; Craig Cabaniss; John Loftness; Mark Prater; Mickey Connolly; Pete Greasley; Rick Gamache; Steve Shank; C. J. Mahaney; Dave Harvey; Jeff Purswell; Joshua Harris
Cc: Edgar Keinath; Ted Kober
Subject: Willingness to Meet
Dave, Jeff, Mickey, Craig, Aron, Mark, Pete, Rick, John, and Steve,
“That Brent Detwiler’s refusal to participate in mediation with C.J. Mahaney—unless Mahaney first agrees (a) to publish an extensive written response to each of Detwiler’s accusations and (b) to make a public confession prior to any mediation or impartial evaluation of his charges—is unjust and constitutes a denial of biblically grounded due process for a qualified minister of the gospel
In relation to me the fourfold strategy of the SGM Board has been obvious from the beginning. That is, tell people 1) C.J. and the Board have done everything possible to be reconciled with Brent; 2) Brent has repeatedly refused to meet for reconciliation despite extraordinary attempts to appease him; 3) Brent has made outrageous requests of CJ; 4) Brent’s documents are slanderous and largely untrue and therefore should not be read by anyone.
The SGM Board misrepresented my conditions for meeting with C.J. in order to make me look like an extremist and prejudice their audience against me. It is this kind of deceitful presentation that has characterized the leadership of Dave Harvey as interim President. He must be removed.
That Brent Detwiler’s distribution of written accusations against C.J. Mahaney to all Sovereign Grace pastors constitutes the public slander of Mahaney’s reputation.
My actions did not constitute the public slander of C.J. They constituted an appeal to all the SGM pastors for C.J.’s repentance after all private means of appeal were exhausted.
One person wrote me, “I want to point out a problem that people who rely on circumstantial or abusive ad hominem attacks regarding slander are loathe to address. If you accuse someone of slander and don’t back up your accusation in substantive way, you’ve essentially slandered him/her.”
The SGM Board has never attempted to back up their charge of slander in writing or in person despite repeatedly appeals from me to do so. To date, they’ve made no attempts to correct anything I’ve written. I continue to welcome such an effort. Instead they broadly condemn my writings but offer no proof substantiating their denunciation.
That the board of Sovereign Grace Ministries has reviewed Brent Detwiler’s documents accusing C.J. Mahaney of sinful practices in the conduct of his ministry and finds no reason at this time to deem him unfit for ministry. However, the board will reevaluate Mahaney’s fitness after receiving formal evaluation of the accusations lodged against him (see below). The board acknowledges that sins have been committed but also recognizes and appreciates Mahaney’s eagerness to confess sins, pursue reconciliation with Detwiler, and pursue personal holiness and growth as a minister.
Over the course of six days, the new Board comprised of Dave Harvey, Jeff Purswell, Steve Shank, Mickey Connolly, John Loftness, Mark Prater, Pete Greasley, Rick Gamache, Aron Osborne, and Craig Cabaniss reviewed 600 pages of documentation (i.e., RRF&D, AFA, CR, TUS). Incredulously, none of these men had any concerns for C.J.’s qualifications and immediately pronounced him fit for ministry. Only Joshua Harris was unwilling to declare C.J. fit pending an independent review. He resigned from the Board the same day in protest.
That C.J. Mahaney is a qualified minister of the gospel and this board approves his pastoral and teaching ministry in Sovereign Grace and the wider body of Christ.
Nothing I wrote gave these ten men any reason to conclude C.J. was unfit for ministry. John Loftness explains in the post script, “The board wanted us to know that from what they know of C.J.’s sins and leadership failures, they don’t consider him disqualified from any ministry.” In fact, the Board believed the opposite was true about C.J. Each of them boldly and unambiguously concluded he was “a qualified minister of the gospel.” Without question, C.J. met all the qualifications of 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 in spite of 600 pages of serious charges. How can this be? I can only imagine that C.J., Dave, Jeff, Steve and Mickey were busy defending C.J. and discrediting me and my documents to John, Mark, Pete, Rick, Aron, and Craig during those six days in order to secure a favorable assessment. No one can read The Documents and immediately conclude C.J. is unquestionably fit for Christian ministry unless they are influenced and biased.
Furthermore, this upbeat and optimistic assessment was very different from what Dave, Joshua and Jeff wrote me on March 11, 2011. I’ve never been told what “sins we’re found in our own hearts” and C.J. has since repudiated his previous admission that his sins were serious.
“First of all, we want to stress that we take very seriously the allegations you made in your documents. By his own admission, C.J.’s sins were serious expressions of pride. Given the holiness of our God, the high moral standards required of pastors in Scripture, and the effects of these sins on others, we have been both sobered and grieved as these sins have been revisited in detail over the past number of months. We have wanted to walk carefully and circumspectly as we consider them. Due to the nature of your contentions and the many people they involve, this has necessitated a lengthy process, numerous discussions, and much prayer. We would also add that, along with C.J., we have all been compelled to search our own hearts for unaddressed remaining sin. In addition, we have been freshly reminded of the power of the gospel and the hope it gives to all of us, including C.J. How grateful we are that Christ came to atone for sins like the ones we’ve been scrutinizing in C.J., and sins we’ve found in our own hearts.
“Secondly, we would affirm a number of things in your documents. When the SGM board, the CLC governing board, and other involved parties met with CJ in November, he asked the 12 of us who know him best to identify in our own experience the things that you communicated in your documents. All of us could see his tendencies to withdraw when disagreed with, to make correction difficult, to be unduly confident in his own judgments (including his judgments of the motives of others), and to give insufficient attention to process in his leadership. We, too, recognized and regretted his failure to follow up on the August 2004 meeting and its ill effects. We agreed that during the period you describe from 2003-2004, he resisted yours and Dave’s correction and failed to lead the team to work through disagreement and conflict with you and Dave. We regret his failure to reach out to you personally after you stepped down from ministry. Brent, this is not an exhaustive accounting of our areas of agreement with your documents, but we hope it is sufficient to communicate general areas of agreement and our sorrow over these sins and failures.” (Dave, Joshua, Jeff, March 11, 2011)
This is a far cry from how Dave “painted” me and The Documents to the SGM pastors three months later. See “The Mona Lisa of Spin by Master Harvey” on October 20, 2011 at BrentDetwiler.com.
That Sovereign Grace Ministries will engage a process of evaluation regarding CJ Mahaney’s fitness for ministry.
A preliminary panel will examine confessions that Mahaney has already made to determine if at present he is qualified to be a pastor and the president of Sovereign Grace. In light of the public defamation of his character, this is to be done with all deliberate speed. The board deems this preliminary panel necessary to show that while it has concluded that Mahaney is fit for ministry, other temporary outside evaluation is necessary either to lend credibility to its assessment or to make changes this panel deems necessary.
This is a misleading paragraph by Dave. The “preliminary panel” comprised of Carl Trueman, Ray Ortlund, Kevin DeYoung based their findings on C.J.’s confessions not on a review of my documents. Dave is comparing apples with oranges. The panel’s conclusion did not lend credibility to the pronouncement of the Board which was based upon the totality of my writings.
A second panel will commence work concurrent with the first. It will consist of members of an independent conciliation ministry with no ties to Sovereign Grace. This panel will create a process for examination of the outstanding charges against Mahaney and create and lead a process for a fair hearing of those charges to determine if they are true or false. The board will then seek review and comment from qualified pastors with a good reputation in the body of Christ who are not directly associated with the ministry. The board will then make a determination of appropriate action in light of the panel’s findings and the advice of the above pastors.
Of course, this promise, like so many others, was broken by the SGM Board. There has been no “fair hearing of those charges to determine if they are true or false.” Only small portions of my charges were presented to three SGM panels over the course of five days on Nov 29-Dec 3, 2011 behind closed doors without cross examination. I asked for six weeks in order to make my case in an “open court” including three weeks for witnesses. I was granted four hours with no witnesses.
Dave, Aron, Craig, Jeff, John, Mark, Mickey, Pete, Rick, and Steve
Addendum from John Loftness:
A lot of you are asking why resolutions #4 and #5 seem different. In #4 the board wanted us to know that from what they know of C.J.’s sins and leadership failures, they don’t consider him disqualified from any ministry. They thought they had to make a statement about that so no one misunderstood. In #5, they’re saying that they recognize that their conclusion about C.J. at this point may not be credible to some, so they want a preliminary panel to look at what C.J. has already confessed to see if they agree or not. The board believes that if any disciplinary action is to take place, it should come only after the full period of evaluation. Before that they want C.J. to serve.
No one on the SGM Board had any misgivings that C.J. might not be “above reproach” after reading 600 pages of carefully documented charges. It was only because their commendation “may not be credible to some” that the Board was willing to “engage a process of evaluation regarding CJ Mahaney’s fitness for ministry.” Otherwise, they saw no need for it.
At the SGM Pastors Conference on November 9, 2011, C.J. said the following, “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.” This is the opposite of what C.J. repeatedly expressed to me (e.g., see footnotes 44 and 45 in my blog post, “C.J.’s State of His Heart Message – Reflection on Personal Sins,” December 29, 2011).
I pity C.J. because pastors throughout SGM are increasingly expressing agreement with much of my “narrative” and he is oblivious. But set my narrative aside! The SGM pastors and churches no longer need it to assess C.J. They have lots of new reading material. I am referring to the narrative written by C.J., Dave, Mickey, and the SGM Board since I sent out The Documents including this July 13, 2011 blog post. They can’t blame me for the incriminating story they have told these past six months. Their deceitful prose should result in their letters of resignation.
Lastly, the following quotes are provided in order to show I never asked C.J. to publish an extensive written response to each of my accusations or make a public confession prior to any mediation or impartial evaluation of his charges. The quotes also show I eagerly desired to meet but this did not occur because C.J.’s refused to honor his word and he saw no need to acknowledge any wrong doing in public. The SGM Board supported both of his refusals. C.J. and the Board chose not to walk in the light with me and the movement. They continue to try and control the process but it has become increasingly difficult since many of the SGM pastors are calling for honestly, transparency and accountability now.
“I also understand your [C.J.] preference to do this in person and not by e-mail. For me, however, e-mail is a necessary first step. My trust has been shaken. E-mail ensures accuracy and accountability. It is also a form of letter writing which the saints have used as a fruitful vehicle of communication throughout church history.” (RRF&D, Mar 17, 2010, pp. 2-3)
“You [C.J.] contacted me because you heard I might be offended. You didn’t contact me because you were convicted of sin. Therefore, I hope this response helps you ‘to hear [my] heart and consider [my] perspective in hopes of discovering if [you] have sinned against [me].’ I suggest you interact with this material and then write me back. Please let me know if you are convicted of anything. This is a necessary first step for me if we are to move ahead.” (RRF&D, Mar, 17, 2010, p. 126)
“In your [C.J.] case, there has been no confession but there has been considerable damage control. I suggest you acknowledge to the blogosphere and confess to the churches in the movement, the patterns of sin we’ve addressed in your life. In addition, I think you should give a more detailed confession to the Sovereign Grace pastors and senior staff at the upcoming Pre-Conference Gathering before T4G. It presents a great venue and would be a wonderful display of humility. So I will gladly meet with you and work to see our friendship restored provided you are willing to acknowledge your sins in private correspondence and confess your sins in public.” (RRF&D, Mar 17, 2010, p. 127)
“…Your response makes it clear you are unwilling to write and let me know of any ways in which you are convicted of sin and feel the need to ask forgiveness... C.J., I am eager to meet after you explore the contents of my document [RRF&D] and seek to discover any ways in which you have sinned. I have written clearly. This is a small thing to ask of you. Please reconsider. I will gladly meet but first I need some assurance you have processed what I’ve written by providing a meaningful response. I do not expect complete agreement… It appears our correspondence has concluded for now unless you have a change of perspective.” (Email to C.J., Mar 23, 2010)
“Bob [Kauflin] wrote me yesterday on your behalf. I thanked him for his note but explained that I’d like to continue corresponding with you directly. As a next step, would you please provide me a thorough response in writing to my document, “Response Regarding Friendship and Doctrine” (i.e., RRF&D)? After you do so, I am glad to talk about setting up a time to meet and discuss its contents including our friendship.” (Email to C.J., June 19, 2010)
“…At the risk of being misunderstood, I must appeal again for a written response to my document that covers a plethora of important subjects. There is need for accountability. There is need for clarity. There is need for full disclosure. Therefore, I’d greatly appreciate if you were completely open and transparent about the matters I have raised with you.
“In this regard, it is necessary to understand how you view the issues and concerns I’ve brought to your attention. This could go a long way in our pursuit of reconciliation and remedy. So while I sincerely appreciate your willingness to meet, and wish I could accommodate your request, I cannot do so until I have a written and plenary response to issues I have raised with you. This does not mean I cannot forgive you. You are welcome to ask my forgiveness by writing me.
“In responding to the larger document, please be perfectly honest and share your thoughts in a comprehensive manner. For instance, what aspects of my presentation troubled you, helped you, or convicted you? What points do you agree with or disagree with? Do you believe there is a need for “a restoration of integrity, truth telling and justice in Sovereign Grace so there is no lying, spin, manipulation, lording, cover-up, or partiality?” Do you think others have sinned against me? Or do you believe I’ve sinned against them? You recently wrote for example, “I don’t know how to accelerate the process since a number of others are involved and implicated in your document.” These are just a few questions to help you understand my appeal. I realize there will be disagreements but those disagreements are important to understand in order to pursue reconciliation…” (Email to C.J., June 21, 2011)
“Real quick…sitting down to dinner. I asked for a written response as a precursor to meeting not as a substitute. Please reconsider. I want to meet with you in person but only after you provide me your thoughts on what I have written.” (Email to C.J., Aug 25, 2011)
“Let me reiterate an important point I repeatedly made in RRF&D, subsequent correspondence and now again. I am eager to meet with you but I must have a written response to RRF&D, and now AFA, in advance. This is not a substitute for meeting but a precursor to meeting. On March 17, I wrote “I will gladly meet [with you] but first I need some assurance you have processed what I’ve written by providing a meaningful response. I do not expect complete agreement.
“I’ve been open and honest with you. I’ve put my thoughts and concerns in print. They are open to examination and scrutiny. I’ve been candid and I welcome the accountability such a format secures. I’ve also asked for your critique and invited your correction. To these I will gladly respond in print in advance of any meeting. In addition, you are welcome to show my response to others in preparation for any such meeting.
“For these reasons, I don’t understand your adamancy. Why are you unwilling to do the same? What might this reveal? Do you really think written communication will make things worse? Or, are you avoiding accountability? I don’t know. In any case, I need you to be open, honest, candid and accountable in print. You’ve had months to think about RRF&D and talk to others about it. I am simply asking you to supply me what I have supplied you. I am not trying to “catch you” or “trap you.” I just want you to be transparent about your agreements and disagreements. This will help me immeasurably in preparing for a meeting. For instance, it still baffles me that you remain unwilling to share in writing what differences in doctrine and praxis preclude ministry in Sovereign Grace Ministries. I guess that question awaits heaven.
“Finally, you said, “So, although I have a number of questions about what you’ve written, I think trying to address and resolve them in written form is unwise and would only prove unhelpful.” Trying and resolving are two different matters. Please try to address them in written form. And remember, my request for written communication has always been in preparation for meeting, not a replacement for meeting. I am not expecting total resolve via writing but it could go a long way in that direction. Please reconsider.” (AFA, Oct 8, 2010, p. 75)
“I’ve also written in detail knowing your propensity to dismiss, distort, and forget past events and conversations. I’ve endeavored to only make assertions I can support with facts and evidence. I have no interest in libel. That is one of the reasons I’ve asked you to respond in writing over the last 10 months – a request you have adamantly refused. I am happy to be corrected. This is my final appeal. You are welcome to provide me an objective response of a similar nature to these documents. But I must hear from you.” (AFA, Oct 8, 2010, p. 164)
“Two simple questions remain. First, are you willing to provide a thorough response to “Response Regarding Friendship and Doctrine” and “A Final Appeal.” Second, do you see the need for a public acknowledgement to the blogosphere, a general confession to the movement, and a more detailed confession to the Sovereign Grace pastors and staff? Are you ready and willing to publically acknowledge your sins and explain the long process we’ve been through? This can be done in varying degrees depending on the audience.” (AFA, Oct 8, 2010, p. 164)
“My friend, I [Brent] remain eager to meet but cannot do so unless you [C.J.] agree to the conditions above. If you do, I am glad to talk through “Response Regarding Friendship and Doctrine” and “A Final Appeal” in private. We can also discuss how, when and where you will make public acknowledgments and confessions.” (AFA, Oct 8, 2010, p. 165)
“…C.J., I appreciate the contents of your December 16th response but there remain a host of vital topics unaddressed. Please interact with me in writing. Please include your disagreements and correction. They are equally important to me.
“Responding in writing will serve both of us. Before we meet, I must understand far more clearly how you view my assessment. For instance, in what you’ve written you acknowledge no lack of integrity, no deceit or hypocrisy, no concealment or cover-up, no damage control, spin or manipulation, no partiality or favoritism, no abuse of authority or lording, no need for a confession to the movement or the leaders, no wrong doing by others, no realization of how your sinful judgments negatively influenced many others, etc. As such, I assume you continue to believe these are non-issues and have not changed your position since July 2 when you wrote, “Brent, I don’t think Sovereign Grace in general or anyone I know in particular is ‘lying, covering up, manipulating, lording, etc.’”
“I know you are willing to engage these matters in conversation; but first, I need you to engage these matters in print. This is not an unreasonable request. Nor is it an unhelpful one. Just the opposite. It will require you to honestly face and transparently respond to the charges I’ve brought to your attention. They are serious. I welcome your disagreement. I welcome your correction. I am simply looking for candid, frank, open, and accountable interaction on the multiplicity of issues and examples you did not address.
“In closing, would you please provide me a prompt response whatever you decide? If you care not to write a thorough going response, let me know. If you decide to write, could you please clear your schedule as much as possible and make its completion a top priority? The long waits from last year, now into this year, have been exceedingly difficult for many reasons and on many fronts…” (Email to C.J., January 21, 2011)
“I take your non-response as a “no” to my appeals unless the Board of Directors directs you otherwise. In that case, I know you’ll do what they recommend. Realistically, that’s your only option. I just wish you didn’t need to be told what to do if indeed the Board affirms my requests. I suspect they will ask you for a public acknowledgement of limited scope but release you from any further response to me in writing. Obviously, I could be wrong.
“I care deeply about you and our relationship. If you had been willing to answer my most serious charges and saw the need for public confession and accountability, we would have met a long time ago with reconciliation well under way, if not complete. That is the source of my disappointment.” (Email to C.J., January, 25, 2011)
“I made my final appeal in AFA. As a wrap up, I’ve decided to write CR. It consists of concluding comments. I sincerely hoped this third document would be unnecessary but that is not the case having received such limited responses to RRF&D and AFA from you and the Board of Directors. While I appreciated the restatement of personal pride in your second response, the issues addressed remained narrow in scope when compared to the wide range of moral issues I brought to your attention. Furthermore, you again expressed no desire, and no need for a public confession to the movement or the Sovereign Grace pastors. Nor did the Board of Directors affirm the need for you to do so. In RRF&D and AFA, I appealed for repentance and confession, not mediation.
“Over the past 12 months, I’ve repeatedly laid out two simple conditions as prerequisites for meeting together, believing them necessary components of repentance. Here is what I reiterated in AFA.
“Two simple questions remain. First, are you willing to provide a thorough response to “Response Regarding Friendship and Doctrine” and “A Final Appeal.” Second, do you see the need for a public acknowledgement to the blogosphere, a general confession to the movement, and a more detailed confession to the Sovereign Grace pastors and staff?” (AFA, p. 165)
“I was hoping for the earnestness, vindication, fear, longing, zeal, and avenging of wrong (2 Cor 7:11, NASU) that demonstrate godly sorrow. While not entirely absence, these virtues do not characterize your repentance on a broad scale. Just the opposite – they are noticeably absent. These expectations are biblical and in keeping with Sovereign Grace polity. They simply have not been met.
“Finally, none of my most serious concerns for Sovereign Grace Ministries were addressed by you or the Board of Directors. Furthermore, there is no indication that any correction, discipline, or accountability has been introduced by you or the Board to any of the individuals referenced in RRF&D and AFA. For example, Dave and Bob have taken no initiative to ask forgiveness for the abuses cited in these documents. This does not require mediation or more information. In fact, all the people referenced in RRF&D and AFA appear approved by you for their actions except one – me. I am reproved for falsely implicating all the others. (CR, June 8, 2011, pp. 1-2)
“A lot more progress could have been made if you were completely open, honest, candid, and forthcoming in your written responses. I’ve added endnotes to RRF&D and AFA to illustrate what I mean. Please review them. They are very important. Moreover, personal conversations and meetings have frequently not involved dialogue where disagreement is welcomed. They’ve often been punishing, judgmental, silencing, manipulative or even abusive. As a result, I’ve been unwilling to meet with people until I get straight answers to important questions in advance. In most cases, people have refused to answer questions and be transparent and accountable in print.” (CR, June 8, 2011, footnote 97, p. 32)
“Have you found my openness, honestly, and transparency, helpful or unhelpful, productive or unproductive? You know my thoughts. I still don’t know your thoughts about many things. You have concealed them. You are welcome to defend the actions Dave, Bob, Gene, et al. You are welcome to express all manner of concerns for me. I am not looking for agreement. I am looking for truthful answers before we meet in person.” (CR, footnote 257, p. 78)
“I have waited for honest answers and humble responses. Within a narrow range you provided honest answers and humble responses. These are meaningful but limited in scope. Why? Because you did not acknowledge or address any of my most serious concerns. Therefore, I still don’t know what you think in many important respects. From the beginning, I hoped to meet with you. That was our goal but it was predicated upon certain conditions. Those conditions remain unmet. You do not appreciate what we’ve [Jenny and I] experienced the last decade. If you did, you’d understand the need for frank, open, and candid responses on the wide range of topics I’ve raised.” (CR, footnote 260, p. 78)
“Your second response was supposed to “honor [my] request” for “greater detail” than that contained in the first response. Grievously almost nothing new was added pertaining to specific kinds of sins or occasions of sin by you or anyone else. In this regard, only two minor admissions were included. Otherwise, you simply restated the points from your first response…. The “greater detail” amounted to next to nothing.” (CR, p. 88)
“In the paragraph above I mentioned 15 areas of concern for you and the movement. You denied any lack of integrity, deceit, or hypocrisy (with one exception) in your own life; expressed no need for a public confession, and failed to see how your sinful judgments negatively influenced anyone). You left the remaining 10 areas of concern (i.e., concealment, cover-up, damage control, spin, manipulation, partiality, favoritism, abuse of authority, lording, wrong-doing by others) entirely unaddressed.
“I specifically and intentionally asked to address these 15 critical issues. Instead you ignored ten of them. You don’t even reference them. So much for the greater detail you promised to supply. In addition, you left unaddressed considerable portions of material in RRF&D and AFA. I’ve gone back to these documents and added [over 400] endnotes to indicate the many critical points and illustrations you passed over without comment or insufficient comment. The moral of the story – you skipped over large amounts of material and added almost nothing as it pertained to areas or occasions of sin.” (CR, June 8, 2011, p. 89)
“I hoped your second response on March 11, 2011 would be quantitatively different from the first. During that three month interval, I hoped you’d perceive “the depth and the pervasiveness of [your] sin” to a greater degree. That did not happen. There was no additional illumination. My request for greater detailed was not honored. So taking both responses into consideration, you remain largely silent and my desire for an open, honest and thorough response is rebuffed…. That is not to say you didn’t add a lot of material in your March 11, 2011 response. But that “greater detail” was in the form of numerous denials and rebuttals.” (CR, June 8, 2011, pp. 89-90)
"…One clarification for you [Ken Sande] Over the last 12 months I’ve continuously told C.J. and the Board that I was eager to meet with them provided two conditions were met. First, C.J. provides me a thorough response to RRF&D and AFA. Second, C.J. be willing to confess his sins publically in keeping with Sovereign Grace polity. C.J. has not provided the former (his responses have been very partial) and he sees no need for the later. Nor does the Board of Directors at this point. These are the two reasons we have not met…" (Email to Ken Sande, Mar 31, 2011)
“C.J. and the Board have not been open and honest with me. They have avoided the accountability that comes with written interaction. I’ve been very willing to meet with C.J., et al., but not until they interact with me in a thorough going fashion. Lying, deceit, manipulation, cover-up, spin, lording, judging, power plays, dishonesty, partiality, etc. all play into this requirement. These sins are not hard to discern and they necessitate a public confession. That’s why mediation is unnecessary. This is not about me and C.J. being reconciled. This is about large numbers of individuals and C.J./SGM. I am not an isolated incident. These are patterns of behavior for C.J., Dave, Bob and Gene that have affected thousands of people and that is not an exaggeration. It must end and it can no longer be brushed under the Sovereign Grace rug. True repentance with public confession and restitution is the need of the moment.
“For 15 months, I interacted with C.J. directly, not through intermediaries. That was intentional. Unfortunately, that ended in March when the Board required him to cut off email exchanges with me. After sending them “Concluding Remarks” last Wednesday, the Board wrote me the following. ‘We (the SovGrace board) received your latest document yesterday. We are grateful for the communication although saddened that at present you are still not desirous of meeting with CJ or any of us to pursue reconciliation. That remains our sincere desire, and we stand ready to participate with you in such a process. At this point, as a board we will need to pray and consider what options we might take in lieu of mediation.’
“Of course, they totally misrepresent my position. I’ve been very desirous of meeting with them and C.J. from the beginning. I’ve repeatedly communicated my eagerness to talk in person and pursue reconciliation; but, I’ve also set two conditions (i.e., a thorough response to the issues I raised and the need for public confession). They have steadfastly refused to provide the former or agree to the later. I wish they’d be honest and just say, “Brent, your conditions are crazy. We are not going to answer your questions, address your concerns, or deal with your illustrations in print. Yes, we promised to do so but we’ve changed our mind. We fully realize our decision ends the possibility of moving forward with reconciliation.” Instead they frame the issue in order to put me in the worse possible light. It is another example of manipulation and spin. It is part of a predictable pattern. I have lost hope. They cannot be trusted.” (Email to Ken Sande, June 11, 2011)
“Stop the manipulation! Stop trying to frame me! Your machination to tell the world I have refused to talk to anyone, including Ken Sande, President of Peacemakers, is obvious. I have said a million times, I will meet with you [C.J.] and the Board but not until you respond in writing to the issues, questions, and illustrations I have raised. You promised to do this very thing but then broke your word to me. Time after time, you and the Board have refused to be open and honest. I am not talking with anyone unless they first communicate with me in writing. I have been on the receiving end of deceitful scheming far too many times.
“Indeed, I have many sorrowful experiences, where “conversations” turned out to be surprise attacks. Sometimes I was told these face to face meetings were for discussion; but, they turned out to be spiritual ambushes. The goal was not understanding. The goal was correction. So often, “conversations” have not been conversations, but the means to intimidate, control or confront. They have been used as guises for thrusting forth hidden agendas. Like a deer in the headlights, I’ve been stunned, frozen and frightened many times. They are a pretense for manipulation in an unrecorded and therefore unaccountable context; the contents of which can later be denied or distorted with impunity…” (Email to C.J., Dave, Jeff and Joshua, June 14, 2011)
“…So let’s be clear. I requested a thorough response as a prelude to a meeting but you [C.J., Dave, Jeff, Joshua] believe such a document is detrimental to reconciliation and therefore refused to provide it. You withheld such a response knowingly and willfully. That’s your decision but please hear yourself! Your adamancy, not mine, is the only reason talks and meetings have not transpired. Your decision to withhold an open, honest and accountable response is to blame for any lack of progress toward reconciliation. Here again is what you said, ‘Although we [Dave, Jeff, Joshua] did not produce a lengthy document [this understatement makes me laugh – you produced less than one page per hundred pages] addressing the hundreds of pages you wrote item-by-item, we never committed to do that, nor did we feel that would contribute to a reconciliation.’
“So, no substantial response [was provided] because it would not contribute to reconciliation. I completely disagree. Have you found my documents detrimental? Of course not. Therefore my request for a full and complete response to RRF&D and AFA was not unreasonable. And please don’t distort or exaggerate what I requested and use it as an excuse for not responding. Your refusal to walk in the light is the only reason we have not met. It is wrong to say I am not willing to pursue reconciliation or that I am not willing to meet in person. That is not true. I’ve been very willing. If you had done your part, like I did my part, we might be reconciled…” (Email to C.J., Dave, Jeff, and Joshua, June 16, 2011)
“If you [Dave, Jeff, Joshua] were interested in justice, you would have included my responses to the documents Dave attached [in his secret letter discrediting me and my documents to all the SGM pastors on June 11, 2011]. In all my writings that is what I’ve done. I’ve never included just material that favors me. I’ve included your best arguments at every point. Dave put me in the worse possible light and C.J. in the best possible light. Dave’s letter is manipulative and misrepresentative.
“Yes, I am upset and the three of you should be convicted. You proceeded when I retreated. That is unethical and you don’t need an evaluation panel to point it out.
“And what possible excuse do you have for not telling me about the mailing to the SGM pastors when I have been acting in good faith and hoping that would not be necessary for the past three weeks. Indeed, I’ve been trusting the CLC elders to do their part and C.J. to do his part. That is, write up “a more thorough report” which was promised so we could meet and proceed toward reconciliation.
“I have repeatedly expressed my desire and commitment to meet from the beginning and Dave deceptively makes no mention of this in his cover letter [to all the SGM pastors]. Would you please include the cover letter from Dave. It was not provided. This kind of activity by you and C.J. is typical, paradigmatic, and systemic.” (Email to Dave, Jeff and Joshua, July 5, 2011)