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Saturday
Nov012014

Attacking & Discrediting Opponents “the Darkest, Most Destructive & Most Hurtful Aspect of Mars Hill’s Ministry Culture by Far” – Steve Tompkins

Steve Thompkins is not part of Sovereign Grace Ministries but he perfectly describes the darkest, most destructive and most hurtful aspect of Sovereign Grace Ministries’ culture by far.  That is, the attacking and discrediting of opponents including the victims of sexual abuse.

Mark Driscoll and C.J. Mahaney could have been Twin Brothers.  Their tactics in silencing and destroying critics are near identical.  Both men have repeatedly shown they will use all means necessary to attack and discredit those that correct or reprove them.  This proverb perfectly describes how they respond. 

Proverbs 9:7 Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.

Driscoll and Mahaney abusively scoff at those that correct them.  They wickedly injure those that reprove them.  Thankfully, Driscoll has left Mars Hill and some of its leaders are beginning to respond to the grace of God in humility.  There is reason for hope. 

Unfortunately, there is no reason for hope in Sovereign Grace Ministries.  The attacking and discrediting has only intensified.  Mahaney no longer holds high positions but he carries tremendous clout.  All the men in key leadership positions are his clones and they carry on his deceitful and abusive leadership style. 

To date there are no “Steve Tompkins” in Sovereign Grace Ministries.  Maybe this humble and insightful confession will result in someone’s conversion.  I'd love to see that happen.

Letter from Pastor Steve Tompkins
October 24, 2014  

Dear Former Members and Attenders of Mars Hill Church, especially those of you for whom I have had shepherding responsibility at Mars Hill Shoreline. 

I am deeply sorry that so many people have experienced profound hurt over the years at Mars Hill.  It breaks my heart that many continue to live with deep emotional and spiritual wounds, even long after leaving the church.  I also realize that in my role as an elder, including as Lead Pastor at Shoreline, I share responsibility and complicity in some of the ways you have been hurt, disappointed, and sinned against at Mars Hill.  For me this has been an ongoing process in which the depth of conviction and realization of my own sin seems to grow almost daily as does my sorrow over how people have been hurt.  This has especially been so as I have had opportunity to sit down and hear people’s stories directly.  My purpose in this letter is to share some of the ways my perspective has changed, to confess my sin, to spell out my ongoing process of repentance, and perhaps—should God allow—play some role in his work of healing.  Let me tell you a bit about the journey bringing me to write this letter. 

Eight or nine months ago as I was reflecting on Revelation 2-3 (the letters to the seven churches), I began to feel that Jesus was placing Mars Hill under discipline and calling us to repent.  Over the course of these past months this text of scripture, especially the first and last letters (those to Ephesus and Laodicea), have consistently formed the paradigm through which I have come to view events, attitudes, and decisions at Mars Hill.  In these letters we see Jesus walking among his churches.  He knows what is happening.  He speaks his words of commendation as well as rebuke.  He calls the churches to have ears to hear.  He calls them to repent, and puts them on a timeline of his choosing.  If they prove to have ears to hear, choose to humble themselves, confess their sins and repent, then the corporate outcome is joy and fruitfulness.  If however, they fail to repent then the consequences are serious and severe, including the removal of the lampstand of his presence and his light.  What strikes me as significant is that our sovereign King places the outcome in the hands of the church itself.  This has profound implications. 

First of all it means that what has been happening at Mars Hill is the work of Jesus in our midst.  It means that the root of the problem is not satanic opposition or attack, nor is it social media or vocal online critics, nor is it the members or attenders of the church (past or present).  Nor is it elders, deacons, staff and leaders who have called for change from within.  In fact the root of the problem has been the leadership of the church who have been blindly committed to maintaining the status quo as if we simply need to push through what has so frequently been referred to as a “difficult season.”  All such attempts at crisis management and damage control are futile, foolish, and in fact create more harm since they are the polar opposite of repentance.  I am convinced that Jesus is bringing his word of rebuke to the leadership (including me) through the Spirit.  This is his word of loving discipline.  In Rev 3:19 Jesus says, “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.”  I personally must have ears to hear and a heart to respond. 

I have been at Mars Hill for over twelve years, on full time staff for more than eleven, a pastor for ten, and served as Lead Pastor of MH Shoreline for more than eight years.  Jesus’ call to repentance therefore is spoken to me as much as anyone at Mars Hill, for I have helped to build and perpetuate the culture of this church.  Through sins both of commission and omission at various times I have been complicit.  Recognizing this, I have been seeking over the last eight months to respond diligently and humbly.  I have been asking Jesus to reveal my sin and show me where we have gone wrong as a church.  He has proven faithful, progressively removing blinders and exposing my own MH-specific blind spots.  He has been giving me new eyes and I now look back on my years at MH very differently.  I see my sin in ways that previously I simply did not.  It has been simultaneously painful and good. 

For example, if the leadership and ministry culture at Mars Hill has been marked by arrogance (and it has), then I am coming to see how I have been marked by that same arrogance, and how I was blind to it, both in others and in myself.  I now see how my own sin of arrogance within our arrogant culture therefore went unrecognized and unchallenged.  In saying this, I am in no way blaming my sin on others or on the culture. On the contrary, my sin is my own sin which I freely confess.  That is what I am now seeing with painful clarity.  The same is true with the sin of domineering leadership.  In fact, if you mix ministry arrogance together with top-down domineering leadership along with idolatry of church growth and numbers, then inevitably you create a ministry culture where many end up hurt, burned out, feeling used.  I see this now, and I see how I helped to build such a culture.  In fact, I am now beginning to see how my own idolatry of performance and ministry “success” played so well at Mars Hill.  Again, I do not blame my sin on others or our culture.  Rather, I am now seeing how I contributed to the hurt of faithful and trusting members, attenders and leaders.  Please forgive me. 

But there is another—and related—area of great sin and blindness that I need to address.  In fact, I would say I consider this to be the darkest, most destructive and most hurtful aspect of Mars Hill’s ministry culture by far.  I call it the “ad hominem” narrative.  Ad hominem is the Latin term for a tactic used when facing off with an opponent over an issue, whereby one seeks to win by attacking and discrediting their opponent rather that honestly debating the issue at hand.  In one form or another ad hominem narrative (which can sound very reasonable, especially because it can contain elements of truth), has been consistently used for years to discredit voices of dissent and to silence accusation of wrongdoing and sin.  What I have seen on multiple occasions is that when a leader raises an issue with Mars Hill or Mars Hill leadership, they themselves soon become the issue rather than the issue they raised.  What they said, for example, is invalidated by how they said it, or because they did not follow proper procedure or protocol.  Then, almost inevitably it is not long before they are gone from their position, their job, or the church itself.  Often, their integrity was then slandered and their character maligned.  Resorting to ad hominem narrative as a response to conflict is horrible and devastating in the extreme.  Ad hominem narrative is essentially to defensive one’s own righteousness rather than to trust the righteousness of Another.  It never confesses or takes responsibility for sin.  It is inconsistent with humility.  It resists repentance at any cost.  It is therefore antithetical to the gospel. 

Sadly, I confess that I bought into this narrative in many ways and for too long.  I trusted our leadership and sincerely believed their words.  I sincerely led others to believe their words.  Perhaps our leadership believed their own words, but this consistent narrative over the years became woven into the core of the culture of the church.  It is profoundly dark and ugly.  I see that now, but for a long time I was blind to it.  I am so sorry.  I have frequently chosen, when things get hard, to put my head down with my eyes forward, and simply to work hard.  As a result I have had almost no rear view mirror, which I now realize contributed to my blindness.  There are so many things I frankly did not see.  Looking back prayerfully however, I now realize there were also a few situations where I did see but did not speak up or stand up when I should have.  My silence in those situations was sinful and cowardly.  In our coercive culture of fear I gave in to fear of man.  I am so sorry.  Please forgive me.  May God have mercy on us.  With blind Bartimaeus I continue to call out, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” (see Mark 10:46-52).  May God bring true repentance, redemption and healing to me, the church, and indeed all of us. 

Some may wonder why I have stayed at Mars Hill if indeed these are my convictions.  The answer is quite simple and brings me back to Revelation 2-3 where Jesus calls—not just individuals—but entire churches to repentance.  And if Jesus is calling Mars Hill to repent, then it is incumbent upon the elders to lead the way as those who must give an account.  Therefore, I must repent as an elder in the office of elder taking responsibility for my sin as an elder.  I must also seek to lead repentance and call others—especially among the elders—to join me every chance I get.  This is what I am doing within Mars Hill as Jesus graciously continues opening my eyes.  In addition, I have felt conviction before Jesus that I need to apologize and repent personally, face to face when possible, to former members, leaders and staff.  I have therefore been revisiting situations that are years old as well as recent.  I have been seeing them with new eyes and coming face to face with my own sin.  This includes, for example, the events in 2007 ensuing from the (what I now believe to be the unjust and unfair) firing of pastors Paul Petry and Bent Meyer.  I was involved in the subsequent events which included the official investigation process, the trial conducted by the elders, and the official shunning of the Petry family which followed.  These events were profoundly devastating and damaging to both the Petry and Meyer families.  I deeply regret my actions.  I sinned against them through my participation as an elder, and desire to publicly redress these wrongs.  I have recently reached out and apologized, repenting to them and seeking the beginning of reconciliation.  From them I have received only grace and forgiveness.  I am so grateful and humbled. 

In many ways I feel like I am late to the table, but I am grateful to be here now.  I have been reaching out to and meeting with a number of other former members, leaders, and staff as part of this ongoing process.  God’s grace has been profoundly present each time.  Recently, I had the chance to stand on the stage at MH Shoreline, shoulder to shoulder with my fellow elders in front of gathered members as we each expressed our own repentance.  I therefore intend to continue as an elder at Mars Hill as long as the process of repentance continues moving forward, and as long as there is hope for a more biblical and healthy plurality of elders to arise.  In light of Mark Driscoll’s resignation I believe this is a crucial time, representing an opportunity to truthfully acknowledge the destructive elements of the legacy of Mars Hill’s leadership.  Leaders need to confess sin specifically, taking full responsibility.  Apologies need to be given in person where possible.  Now is the time for genuine open-hearted face-to-face repentance.  I would love to see healing come to thousands of former and present members, attenders and leaders so that we can all embrace a more healthy and joyful future.  We have hope for this through him alone who is our loving and risen Savior.  For this reason I intend to continue down this road inviting others to join me.  It is because this is so important that I have decided to put my thoughts in writing at this time. 

I intend to personally send this letter to as many people as I can.  I freely give you permission to forward this to other former members and attenders of Mars Hill. 

Brothers and sisters, I humbly ask your forgiveness for my sin in my role as a Mars Hill elder.  I am deeply sorry for your suffering, and pray that Jesus will grant emotional, spiritual, and relational healing.  I do realize that this letter represents a blanket confession, which in and of itself is inadequate.  I do realize that confession and repentance needs to be specific and personal.  So, I want you to know that I am not simply asking for blanket forgiveness from a distance as if that will result in the healing grace you need and long for.  I do hope to reach out personally to as many as I can, but please know that you are welcome to contact me directly, or through someone you trust (just drop me a line on Facebook).  I would be happy to speak with you or meet with you as soon as our schedules allow.

Sincerely, 
Steve Tompkins
October 27, 2014

 

Friday
Oct312014

Sex Abuse Victim Asserts Prominent SGM Pastor Marty Machowski “Threw My Children & I to the Wolves”

On Wednesday, Marty Machowski promoted Deepak Reju’s book, On Guard – Preventing and Responding to Child Abuse at Church, for the online distributor, Westminster Bookstore.  The next day, Deepak Reju promoted Marty Machowski’s book, Prepare Him Room, for the same distributor.  That’s how it works in evangelical publishing. 

I assume Machowski has written a good book on family devotions for Christmas.  I know Reju has written a good book based upon Boz Tchividjian’s endorsement. 

On Guard should be mandatory reading for every pastor! For too long, the sexual abuse of children has been one of the darkest places inside the Church.  This is the reason I am so excited to endorse this book by Deepak Reju that helps to shine light and brings hope to this issue.  Not only does this book do a thorough job in identifying the complex issues, but it also offers fantastic practical guidance on how to confront and address abuse in a manner that protects children and serves survivors.” –Boz Tchividjian, Executive Director, GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment)

Mr. Tchividjian also provided this statement to blogger, Todd Wilhelm.  It’s important. 

“As you know, I have written publicly about the SGM issue and the tragic statements that were posted by members of the Gospel Coalition and Together for the Gospel.  (See:  http://netgrace.org/where-are-the-voices-the-continued-culture-of-silence-and-protection-in-american-evangelicalism/)

I have known Deepak for a number of years and believe the burden he carries on this issue is very genuine.  I believe that Deepak is in a unique position to be able to make a significant difference in the life of CHBC and its leadership as it relates to this incredibly important issue – protecting the lives of children and serving those who have survived abuse.

My endorsement of this book is based upon my conviction that it will ultimately protect children – this includes children from faith communities whose leaders we may strongly disagree with regarding their decisions and associations.  In my opinion, little ones deserve nothing less from all of us.”

Some dots need to be connected in order to understand the significance of this statement.  Deepak Reju works for Mark Dever as an assistant pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist Church (CHBC).  Boz believes Deepak “is in a unique position” to “make a significant difference in the life of CHBC and its leadership” in preventing and responding to child abuse.  Of course, Boz has Mark Dever foremost in mind.  Why?  Because Dever is one the six men who authored “the tragic statements that were posted by members of the Gospel Coalition and Together for the Gospel.”  Mr. Tchividjian passionately spoke out against Dever’s statement.  He provides the link above. 

I’ve also written about these statements and just this week posted evidence that Mark Dever never read The Second Amended Complaint (i.e., lawsuit) before he cleared C.J. Mahaney of all wrong doing in the Seconded Amended Complaint.  

I’m glad Deepak Reju has written this book.  I’m sickened Marty Machowski wrote a featured endorsement.  Mark Dever might have been a better choice.  Here’s why.  

Machowski is a prominent pastor in Sovereign Grace Ministries at Covenant Fellowship Church in Glenn Mills, PA.  He’s has commended C.J. Mahaney as fit for ministry, said all the difficulties in his church are due to the devil, wholeheartedly supported a statement by his friend, Executive Director Mark Prater, that victims of sexual abuse in SGM made up their stories, and badly mistreated adult and child victims of sexual abuse in his own church.  

Machowski writing an endorsement for a book on how to care for victims of sexual abuse is like Mahaney writing an endorsement for a book on reporting suspected pedophiles to law enforcement.  It leads people to believe you have practiced what is taught in the book.  That you are an example.  Nothing could be further from the truth. 

Machowski is a pretender.  I’ve removed the names of the victims and added explanatory comments in brackets [ ]. 

From: [Victim & Mother of Victims]
Sent: Friday, October 19, 2012 2:27 PM
To: ABrentDetwiler@gmail.com
Subject: not knowing where to begin...

Dear Brent,

You don’t know me, and the only things I know of you have come from years of reading things you’ve written, including the 600 or so emails (or pages?) that were posted online a few years ago.  I have also appreciated the times I heard you speak at Covenant Fellowship Church.

I don’t know where to begin, except to tell you that a concerned church member just forwarded something to me regarding something you wrote, regarding a situation with church members who have committed acts of sexual abuse against children.  It’s hard to hold back the tears right now, as I discover, for the first time, that we may not be as alone as I thought we were.

Our family is one more Sovereign Grace family in which serious and repeated sexual abuse of our beautiful daughter occurred over the course of about 14 years and with the church’s full knowledge.  The abuser was my husband.  I only went to the church after years of silence - because our family desperately needed help.  The church’s reaction and various responses are hard for me to even grasp.  I don’t know if we will ever recover.  If you were to read the pastoral records over the past 15 years, detailing the times my daughter and I went to our pastor [Marty Machowski] for help - and the responses our pastor gave us - you would probably be shocked as well.  The church forbid my husband to be anywhere near children’s ministry, yet they supported him in his efforts to be around his own children [two of whom he sexually abused], and pressured me to forgive and reconcile with him [just like other victims in SGM].  The message I repeatedly received was the mandate to focus on the sin in my own heart, and forgive my husband.  How did our pastor put it… “Reconciliation always honors the Lord.”  To which I could only respond, “No, truth is what honors the Lord.  Repentance is what honors the Lord.”  I have years of emails and letters to document this, as well as pastoral records. [Hundreds of pages of documentation were sent to me.]

You don’t know me, but I was a committed member of Covenant Fellowship Church for 19 years.  I LOVED our church, and focused our entire family life around actively serving the church, raising our children in the church, etc.  I believed in Sovereign Grace with my whole heart, and I believed that part of the humility of joining a church is covenanting to submit to leadership that, at times, is imperfect.  So I submitted to our pastor [Marty Machowski] and trusted his advice for years.  He sure threw my children and I to the wolves.   His responses always seemed more like “damage control” to me, than any willingness to hear the truth. [I’ve read the evidence and agree with her assessment.  She and her children were terribly treated.]

You cannot imagine what I am feeling right now - to discover for the first time that I’m not alone?? [Like so many other victims in SGM who had no idea sexual abuse, and the cover up of sexual abuse, was so widespread.]  That there are others who have experienced something similar in a Sovereign Grace Church???  I am not one to jump on a bandwagon.  However what has gone on in our church is just plain wrong.  And the damage it has done to our family is almost indescribable.  We’re still suffering the repercussions of being ostracized from the church - for “resisting efforts to reconcile.” (By the way, my husband is happy as a lark that he’s gotten off scott-free and has been reinstated in the church.  Although he admitted to me that his problem of pedophilia has gone on for years, he is still unrepentant.  He says he “gets such pleasure from his sin...he can’t imagine living without it.”

What has been my response until now?  Well, currently, as often as thoughts and memories flash back, I pray for the Lord to HELP me forgive...because I’m willing to forgive.  I am also willing, after all these years, to speak up.  I’m not out for vengeance.   I recognize the evil that has been “winked at” in our own church, the lives that have been destroyed by our church’s actions as well as inactions, and I’m willing to speak up - if it will help others.  If there is any sort of class action being taken, I am willing to contribute years of firsthand experiences and documented letters and emails.  May God forgive me if it’s wrong to speak the truth in this matter...

Respectfully,
XXX

From: [Victim & Mother of Victims]
Sent: Saturday, February 23, 2013 9:57 AM
To: Brent Detwiler
Subject: Re: following up

Hi Brent,

I know you are busy, so I had no expectation of hearing follow-up from you!  However, I will tell you that your support in this matter has been extremely valuable to me.  The Lord has been working on my heart in the past few months. ...

As I have compiled a mountain of previous emails and letters to/from my pastors - and re-read/scanned a few - I find myself feeling anger over the blatant wrongs that were committed by our church leaders.  How I wish I had had more courage and clarity of thought to have spoken up in the past!  While I have no natural desire now to speak against God’s Bride and against specific men of God, my resolve to at least speak the truth is growing stronger.  Simply put, God honors the truth.  My prayer is simply that the Lord would help me guard my heart and my motives, and keep me from a spirit of vengeance, bitterness, or retribution as memories are revived - while equipping me to speak the truth and helping me to remember details that I’ve tried to forget.  (When you and I talked, I briefly shared what my husband had done to my daughter.  I didn’t tell you the things he did to me [or her son].  Sometimes it’s merciful the way our minds are able to block out memories.)

One brief rabbit trail - Are you familiar with Boz Tchividjian (a grandson of Billy Graham), down in Virginia? He was well known for his work in prosecuting sex offenders as Assistant State Attorney in Florida.  He’s presently founder and executive director of GRACE.  Anyway, he became involved in our case and offered to talk with our pastors and advise them.

Our pastors turned his offer down.  When I asked Marty Machowski how he could turn down an offer to at least communicate with a godly man of Boz’s stature, expertise, and experience, my question met with silence...no response at all. …

After 8 years of waiting for [my husband] to confess and repent, I recently took the step of filing for divorce.  Even Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, seemed to show compassion toward women and children who were being harmed by a man’s immorality.

Thank you for following up, Brent.  I do hope and trust that the Lord is at work in your life as well, and that He is equipping you for many good works in the years to come!

Lord bless you, 
XXX

From: [Victim & Mother of Victims]
Sent: Monday, June 24, 2013 1:41 PM
To: abrentdetwiler@gmail.com
Subject: RE: SGM class action lawsuit

Hi Brent,

I hope you are well - and finding the grace to continue bringing the truth into the light.

The first thing I did this summer was pick up an amazing book by Eric Metaxas, entitled “Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy.”  It does inspire me to read of heroes of the faith who have paid a heavy price at the hands of men - for telling the truth and for holding tightly to the Word of God.  Yet, I’m continually amazed when I encounter men who do not appear to be concerned with the truth.  I have often observed quietly that the pastors of my former church, Covenant Fellowship, seemed more concerned with “damage control” than with the truth.  I never told anyone this before, but in my eyes, it was brutally apparent on numerous occasions.

As I write this, I’m facing renewed pressure from my husband to “reconcile and reunify” (spurred on by Andy Farmer and Marty Machowski).  It’s been 8 YEARS since our separation, and about 6 years since I resigned from the church - and the pressure continues. To date, my husband has turned himself inside out to regain his reputation in the eyes of men - and he’s quite smug in his supportive audience of these two pastors.  While it’s true that he’s repented of a few general, “peripheral” issues, [he] has yet to repent of the numerous physical and sexual abuse issues that caused me to leave him and leave our church.  My lawyer told me recently: “Doesn’t your church get it -- that CYS [Child & Youth Services] will take your children away from YOU if you go back to your husband?!??”

Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems to me that reconciliation is being confused with restoration here.  I can reconcile, in the sense that I have a mandate to forgive what he’s asking forgiveness for, but I don’t think it necessarily follows that he should be restored as the leader of our family, with free license to do what he wants to us.

Anyway, Brent, I do want to do what I can to help bring the truth into the light, and I do have some pastoral emails that may be quite helpful.  Would you be willing to share your mailing address, so I can mail them to you?

Also, our local county District Attorney’s office has had some run-in’s with Covenant Fellowship pastors in the past over allegations of sexual abuse.

While allegations of this nature are unfortunately commonplace these days, the assistant DA involved expressed his grief over the WAY IN WHICH our church handled the specific situations.  In other words, CFC has a history; our family has not been the first nor the last.  In our case, the finger-pointing never went back as far as our church...I’m the one who obstructed it and defended our church, believing I was being led by godly men who would do no wrong.  I never suspected my pastor [Marty Machowski] would turncoat on the children and me, charging me with “failure to cooperate with reconciliation” of our family and ignoring the facts.

Here is the contact information for the Assistant District Attorney who’s been involved with CFC in other cases of alleged sexual abuse.  He may be only too glad to offer information.  I know he grieves for the women and children who have been hurt by our church.  Feel free to use my name as a reference. …

It’s a shame that my daughter would be required to testify.  This is MY issue with the church -- which I shielded her from at the time.  Much of what [my husband and her father] did to her, I was an eyewitness to and involved in trying to stop him.  So it’s a shame I can’t testify to those things.  However, perhaps supplying you with emails from the church will be second-best. …

Lord bless you.
XXX

The pretentions of Marty Machowski make me ill!  By endorsing the book, he champions himself as an advocate for victims of sexual abuse, when in fact; he, his church and his denomination have trampled upon the victims of sexual abuse.  The gross hypocrisy angers me.  Westminster Bookstore should pull his endorsement immediately!

I’ve written hundreds of pages on the deceitful and controlling practices of the pastors of Covenant Fellowship Church.  In particular, those of Mark Prater, Jared Mellinger and Dave Harvey before he left the church.  Marty Machowski is a new addition but he’s been on my radar screen for a long time.  Here are a few documented examples of their duplicity and heavy handedness.

What Does My Website Have in Common with Pornography?  Ask Jared Mellinger!
Saturday, February 18, 2012 at 3:10 PM
 
Hardball
Tuesday, March 6, 2012 at 5:56 PM

Dave Harvey, the Number 2 Leader in Sovereign Grace Ministries, Steps Down from All Responsibilities
December 21, 2012 at 2:33 PM

All these men used to be friends and I played a role in their training for ministry.  It is hard to describe how far SGM has fallen.  Those with a semblance of integrity left the denomination.  That includes approximately ten thousand people.  And yet, those leaders that remain continue to commend themselves and condemn any who speak out against them including the victims of sexual abuse.  I am reminded of the Edomites to whom Jeremiah said, “The pride of your hearts has deceived you.” (Jer 49:16) 

On June 30, 2013, Machowski preached a message entitled, Judas the Betrayer.  In an altogether self-righteous manner (listen to the message), he cited Satan as the reason for Dave Harvey’s departure from Covenant Fellowship Church, churches leaving SGM, my blog, and the sex abuse lawsuit against Sovereign Grace Ministries.  None of these were due to the sins of SGM leaders, the discipline of God, an effort to see justice and reform in SGM, or the righteous actions of victims seeking redress.  They were all the work of the devil.  

In fact, Machowski compared these to “the same opposition of the enemy” that Jesus faced when the devil entered Judas Iscariot’s heart (John 13:27).  Such is the proud and delusional thinking of Machowski.  

“Our enemy [Satan] prows around like a roaring lion seeking who he may devour.  Have you noticed his handy work in our trials lately?  I’ve been here for 25 years as Jared said and I’ve seen the enemy and his lies and his tricks in season after season come against the church.  And those of you who have been here this whole time, you know exactly some of the events that I am referring to.  But in this last season we have seen raging disease attacking the people that we love and bringing them to premature death.  Marriages in some lives collapsing after years.  Losing two pastors [including Dave Harvey] from our team in two very different situations.  Some churches we love leaving SGM as we clarify our church leadership and our government.  Some of our children rebelling to follow the world.  Seeing gossip and slander [my blog and documents] fill this new cyber world somehow feeling like they are exonerated from the Word of God which says “Do everything without complaining” and “Gossip is wrong.”  Somehow they think that is a place where complaining and criticism is okay.  Those people completely blind to good fruit, they see only trial.  The lawsuit against Sovereign Grace, later then dismissed [but not on its merits].  You know, I’ve talked to some people, being that I’ve been here a while, and they ask me, “What’s going on?  What is going on here?”… I’ll tell you what is going on.  It is the same opposition of the enemy that we saw in that day.  In that day, Jesus knew what was going on.” [Marty Machowski, Judas the Betrayer, Covenant Fellowship Church, June 30, 2013, Minutes 25:45-28:17]

No one in SGM speaks of God’s discipline, judgment, or opposition.  They believe Satan is seeking to destroy them because they are so fruitful and righteous.  Just like he tried to destroy Jesus. 

I have no doubt Satan is at work in Sovereign Grace Ministries but it is due to their disobedience.  Listen to James.

James 4:7-10 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. [8] Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. [9] Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. [10] Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

Only when SGM does what is outlined in this text will any attempt to “resist the devil” be successful.  He needs to be resisted but that occurs when we submit ourselves to God in obedience.  Otherwise, he has access to our lives and churches.

The devil has established a strong hold in SGM because they’ve done nothing in these verses.  His grip has only tightened.  That is why they continue to deceive and be deceived.  Listen to Paul.

Eph 6:11, 14 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil…having fastened on the belt of truth.

The belt of truth is more than doctrinal truth.  It includes ethical truth embodied in honesty, integrity and accountability.  SGM has no belt.  That is one reason why it’s been overwhelmed by “the schemes of the devil.” 

Take for example Machowski’s reference to “The lawsuit against Sovereign Grace, later then dismissed.”  He leads the church to believe the lawsuit was dismissed because it was without merit when he knows full well the dismissal had nothing to do with merits of the lawsuit.  It had to do with statute of limitations and lack of jurisdiction.  I hate deception.

And consider the words of John.

John 8:44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires.  He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him.  When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

When Sovereign Grace Ministries confesses and renounces their lies, the father of lies, will flee.  In the meanwhile, SGM leaders continue to deceive and cover up.  Most recently, Mark Prater put out a statment saying the horrors experienced by multiple victims of sex abuse in SGM were untrue.  He also said C.J. Mahaney and others never covered up those horrors as charged by the victims and their families.  That is a demonic scheme.  The father of lies is hard at work. 

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I continue to hold SGM accountable for its actions, write about lessons to be learned, work for criminal justice, seek reform in the Body of Christ, and care for victims who have been harmed.  Much of what I do is unseen.  Would you please consider a gift or donation?  We are in need of your kind support.  Thanks!

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