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Tuesday
Mar062012

Hardball

I can’t stand the politics of “Hardball with Chris Matthews” but the name of his news program serves well for this post.  Yesterday, Jared Mellinger, senior pastor of Covenant Fellowship Church, sent out the following note to all the SGM pastors.

From: Jared Mellinger
Sent: Monday, March 05, 2012 3:21 PM
To: SGM Pastors
Subject: From Covenant Fellowship

Fellow Sovereign Grace Pastor,

Grace and peace to you.  We are aware that Brent Detwiler sent an email to many pastors throughout Sovereign Grace that speaks against Dave Harvey.  Because Dave is an elder at Covenant Fellowship, and for the sake of Dave’s reputation and the health of Sovereign Grace churches, it seemed appropriate for us to briefly write to you.

We want pastors and churches throughout Sovereign Grace to know that we support Dave and commend him as a man of integrity, humility, and godliness.  Dave has not walked in deceitfulness and has never covered up any issues in his life, leadership, or home.  He has not been abusive in his treatment of former pastors in Covenant Fellowship.  At no time has there been a plan or suggestion from any of the elders that Dave confess sins to the church, nor has he sinned in any ways requiring public rebuke.

It has been our posture as elders, and remains our posture, to not communicate with Brent or respond to him in any way.  He is a divisive man who has unsettled many and continues to tear down the church of Christ.  We pray for his restoration.  But in the meantime, we will continue to give no consideration to his material, continue to have nothing to do with him, continue to protect the church from him where needed, and (in light of 1 Timothy 5:19-20) we will not entertain any of his charges against Dave.

We encourage you to relate to Brent in the same way, so that churches can be protected from him and so we can all carry on with the work of proclaiming and treasuring Christ together.

Thanking God for our partnership in the gospel,

Jared Mellinger and the elders of Covenant Fellowship

This was in response to my blog post from Sunday entitled “Dave Harvey’s Deceitful Leadership Covered Up and Left Uninvestigated – Exposed Tonight at Covenant Fellowship Church” (Mar 4, 2012) 

People should also read “What Does My Website Have in Common with Pornography?  Ask Jared Mellinger!”(Feb 28, 2012) and listen to his message.  Jared’s arrogance and self-righteousness is apparent.  So too the way he covered up for C.J. while manipulating the church.

All of this saddens me but it comes as little surprise.  I taught Jared when he attended the Pastors College in 2006-2007.  He proved to be arrogant then but he was also subversive.  During one of my lectures on 1 Corinthians 12:13, he emailed quotes to the other students in order to undermine my position.  This was brought to my attention.  I talked to Jared and he confessed to the class.  I also brought this to the attention of Dave Harvey.   

In 20 years of teaching theology, I’ve never had a student discredit a teacher in such a devious manner due to intellectual pride and a desire to look good in front of the other students.  Prideful superiority, dishonestly, wanting to impress, and a desire for recognition have always been my concerns for Jared.  It was unwise for C.J. and Dave to make him the sr. pastor 17 months after he graduated from the Pastors College.

From: Jared Mellinger
Sent: Friday, April 07, 2006 7:13 AM
To: Brent Detwiler
Subject: Carson and "baptized in the HS"

1) Under the “positioning myself as a teacher and not a learner” category, I sent out the following quote and the attached document… 

2) Under the “subversive and disrespectful” category (thanks again for forgiving me!) I sent out the following quotes on 1 Cor 12:13... 

Let me know if you have any further questions or thoughts regarding either the content of the quotes or (more importantly) regarding my actions and the sin I confessed (I know that’s not your reason for wanting the quotes, but if any additional counsel or concerns come to mind, please share them!  I need all the help I can get in the fight against pride).

Warmly,

Jared

The kind of duplicity evident in this example is behind Jared statement to the SGM pastors.  “At no time has there been a plan or suggestion from any of the elders that Dave confess sins to the church, nor has he sinned in any ways requiring public rebuke.”  What Jared is not telling you is that other non-elders who are influential men and leaders have asked for Dave to be rebuked, resign, and make a public confession.  Sometime the lies from SGM are brash.  Normally, they are subtle like this one.  Partial truth that covers up the whole truth.

Dave is not “a man of integrity.”  His has repeatedly “walked in deceitfulness.”  A mountain of facts and evidence bear this out.  It is not up for debate in the sight of God.    Jared can protest all he wants but his denials are meaningless.  Worse they are deceptive.

I don’t care how these men treat me but it is important for everyone in SGM to see how these well-known SGM pastors at CFC conduct themselves.  This kind of statement by Jared exposes their heavy-handedness, deceit, and commitment to cover up the truth.  They don’t want justice.  They won’t answer questions.  They loath outside accountability.    

The only true statement by Jared is “We will not entertain any of his [Brent’s] charges against Dave.”  That is exactly the problem.  They have learned well from the SGM Board.  Discredit Brent.  Excommunicate Brent.  Threatened Brent (e.g. “Banned from the Churches” in A Final Appeal, pp. 126-132).  But don’t give Brent any chance to present his charges or defend himself against false witnesses.  I am not tearing down the church, I am exposing deceitful leaders who have become corrupt and played by a different set of rules.    

It turned out Dave was not exposed this past Sunday night, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be exposed in the future.  True, Jared and the CFC pastors are working hard to make sure that does not happen; but at the same time, a lot of people are deciding whether to speak up and speak out.  I hope and pray they pick up their crosses by the power of the Holy Spirit and suffer for Christ by exposing evil. 

In churches like CFC, speaking the truth can cost you dearly and many people have observed or experienced that up close and personal.  The way the CFC pastors have written about me above mirrors their approach with others.  Shunning, discipline, defamation and lies are sure to follow.   

For people who love truth here are some of the questions that need to be answered by Jared, Dave and the CFC pastors.  Let’s get to the bottom of things.  Enough of the cover up.      

  1. In the last two weeks, did well respected men in Covenant Fellowship Church, who know Dave well, ask him to step down and make a public confession?
  2. Did these men tell Dave they would leave the church and expose him publicly if he did not comply?
  3. Have these men been silenced by Dave, Jared and the other pastors?  Have they been coerced?
  4. Did Dave write a rough draft confession for this past Sunday night but decide not to go through with it at the last minute?
  5. Did the sins Dave planned to confess include long standing and serious issues in his family?   
  6. Are these issues well known in the church and have they been brought to Dave and Kimm’s attention for more than a decade?
  7. Are people afraid to speak up regarding Dave’s hypocrisy for fear of being shunned or disciplined?
  8. Are people covering up for the Harvey’s?
  9. Did C.J. suggest in 2004 that Dave may need to step down from ministry or make a public confession due to serious issues with his oldest son?
  10. Is one of Dave’s daughters under church discipline and being divorced by her husband?
  11. Was Matthew 18:15-18 properly followed in her case or was she shown preferential treatment?  Have her sins been told to the church so the church can appeal for her to repent?
  12. Is there a history of sin that has been covered up?
  13. Has her husband been silenced by the Harvey family, friends or pastoral staff?
  14. Has another of Dave’s sons been sent off to a “boot camp” in western PA for behavioral problems they can’t control?
  15. Does another daughter show the same patterns of behavior demonstrated by her three siblings?
  16. Were former pastors at CFC removed from staff in the past when they tried to help Dave in his delinquent role as a father?
  17. Have Dave’s sins been covered up by the pastors around him (i.e., Mark Prater, Andy Farmer, Jim Donahue)?
  18. Do the pastors at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, MD know about all of these issues and events?  If so, what have they done to address them?
  19. Do other SGM pastors know?  What have they done?
  20. Have Dave’s four children obeyed him with proper respect?  1 Tim 3:4-5 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?)
  21. Have Dave’s four children been open to the charge of being wild and disobedient for a long time from a young age?  Titus 1:6 An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.
  22. Has Dave been a hypocrite and taught on family life but not lived it for a long time?
  23. Why did 70 people including close friends of Dave leave CFC in 2007?
  24. Were their charges of manipulation, intimidation, and authoritarianism ever investigated by C.J. and the Board as requested by Brent? 

Most of the answers to these questions have already been answered but I will leave it to the SGM pastors who received this awful letter to press for an investigation or content themsevels with Jared’s lies and the cover up now in progress at Covenant Fellowship Church by its pastors.

No slow pitch softball played in this park!  Time for hardball.

Post Script 1 - March 9, 2012 

I cannot bring charges against Dave without evidence.  His children are an important part of the evidence.  I know the answers to 22 of the 24 questions.  I have been merciful in what I’ve written and not written in this post.   

Every person in SGM has a right to evaluate or know about Dave’s qualifications.  According to SGM polity he was the spiritual leader of the movements as interim President.  The issues I’ve addressed have a bearing on everyone.  Furthermore, Dave has removed men from ministry for marriage and family related issues that are far less serious than his own.  The hypocrisy is an affront.  

Dave has acted with tremendous deceit over the last eight months as interim President for SGM and before that as a Board Member.  For nearly three years, I’ve asked to present my concerns for Dave to objective evaluators.  I was promised this would happen but all those promises were broken in what amounts to a massive cover up.  Others have wanted to do the same.  We’ve all been cut off. 

In this case, an offspring has been disciplined by the pastors while her father goes free even though he is the greater sinner.  The CFC pastors have acted with partiality and favoritism.  They have gone public with the family member while they cover up for Daddy.  This is wrong.   

Please understand I am not holding Dave accountable for a well behaved child who became an adult, left home, turned from the Lord, made their own decisions and got into trouble.  I am holding Dave accountable for long term and pervasive family problems going back at least 15 years.  That is what Scripture is talking about in Titus 1:6 and 1 Tim 3:4-5.  There is no getting around it. 

Dave and Kimm have received extensive input and correction regarding their parenting.  Many people have expressed concerns including C.J., the CFC pastors and other friends.  I participated in a few marriage retreats with the Harvey’s.  When family issues came up, I was faithful to speak.  But I was not Dave’s pastor.  I was not closely involved with his family.  C.J. provided him supervision.  If I had known more I would have taken action.  I was not looped in.   

I did however appeal to Dave and Kimm around 2002 when things were coming apart to be more discerning, monitor the kids friendships, set boundaries, not be so permissive, deal with heart issues, use discipline, teach theology, be gospel centered, etc.  I sent Dave outlines of material.  These changes never took root in part because ministry was a higher priority than family.  That is a basis for disqualification. 

1 Tim 3:4-5 and Titus 1:6 are critical requirements for leadership in the church.  Church members must evaluate a pastor’s abilities to govern by observing his family.  They cannot expect perfection from his children but children at home must demonstrate obedience to, and respect for, their father’s leadership.  Paul says to all men, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph 6:4).

William Hendrickson puts it well. “Now this ability to manage or govern well his own family becomes evident when the father keeps his offspring in submission…the so-called ‘progressive’ idea of permitting the child to do as he pleases finds no support in Scripture. But though authority must be exercised, this must be done ‘with true dignity,’ that is, it must be done in such a manner that the father’s firmness makes it advisable for a child to obey, that his wisdom makes it natural for a child to obey, and that his love makes it a pleasure for the child to obey.”

When children are wild and disobedient it reveals disqualifying lacks in the father's character, priorities, wisdom, commitment to lead, and commitment to train.  He must not be an overseer of the church because he has not effectively overseen his family.  This is the clear teaching of Scripture.  

Dave loves his children but he did not manage his family well.  All of these parenting and family issues have been covered up for a long time by the pastors at Covenant Fellowship Church.

What is worse is when a church and its pastors allow this to happen, take no action, cover up the transgressions of parents and children, and content themselves with compromise. As a result, the pastor goes unconfronted and the children go uncontained. Both have a corrupting influence on other children and youth in the church who are tempted to imitate their example. 

Post Script 2 - March 12, 2012 

[Note: When I originally wrote this post I asked 24 questions but then reduced it to 18.   I’ve reinserted the 6 questions I took out.] 

From: Debra
Sent: Monday, March 12, 2012 10:18 AM 
To: Brent Detwiler
Subject: Man up 

Hi Brent, 

If you revised your document entitled “Hardball” because you realized you were very wrong to go public about the private sorrows of the Harvey children (who are not in ministry nor leading public lives), you should demonstrate by example what repentance should look like. 

I have walked through much of what you have cast in an uncharitable light with Kimm and Dave as their home school evaluator, and you don’t have the context nor the facts, Brent.  You are off message here, and appallingly so. 

None of us is walking through this without sin, errors in judgment and mistakes.  So man up. 

Your friend,

Deb  

From: Brent Detwiler
Sent: Monday, March 12, 2012 10:42 AM
To: Debra
Subject: RE: Man up  

I didn’t revise it because of lawsuits, threats, errors, etc.  I think the original version was best for the SGM pastors and the revised version for the churches.  I do have the facts.  Not only recent ones but old ones that I have not revealed.  I’m afraid you are in the dark or at least in the shadows.  

The pastor’s family is a reflection of him.  The qualifications in Timothy and Titus make that clear.  A church must judge whether someone fulfills those qualification.  A movement must do the same with their President.  The church and movement have a right to know about the man’s family especially when the truth about the family is being deceitfully covered up.  

Dave has not managed his family well.  Just the opposite.  I don’t like saying it but that is the unvarnished truth.  He is the one who needs to man up.  So do those around him who have enabled him.  Don’t be one of them.  Don’t cover up for him.  Hold him accountable to the authority of Scripture.  And not only with respect to family life but all the other qualifications.  C.J. and Dave should not be in ministry.  Only those willing to compromise like Ken or Jared would ever allow this to happen. 

I am not going to throw out my Bible.  It is the Word of God.  This is not about me or my opinions.  This about Holy Writ.

Brent

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