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The Three Years Trying to Help C.J. (Dec. 2000 to Dec. 2003)

I wrote the following comment yesterday regarding developments with the blog.

“I’ve decided to discontinue comments and limit blog posts.  Who knows, I could change my mind in the future.  Here are a few reasons for the decision.  First, I am working on a lengthier piece that will take time and attention to complete.  That must be my focus.  It will be some time before I post again.  Second, I’ve let through almost every comment (97%) I’ve received.  I’ve tried to answers the questions asked of me.  I may put together a Frequently Asked Questions document so I don’t have to re-answer questions.  Third, writing two or three posts a week may not be the best strategy going forward.  I am reassessing.  Fourth, I want to redirect my energies to Aletheia Ministries at some point in the future.  Fifth, SGM and CLC have not taken my concerns seriously.  They have gone out of the way to discredit the documents as nothing but gossip and slander.  Why beat a dead horse? 

“Along with the contributions of others, I hope what I’ve written has helped people grow in discernment, courage, and understanding.  I want to thank to everyone who has sought to help SGM and CLC by sharing their concerns, experiences and observations in an honest, purposeful and firm manner.  That can be very hard to do in SGM.  Choosing to speak up, rather than remain silent, can cost you dearly.”

Here are my thoughts today.  Numerous people have appealed and asked me to continue the blog.  Several recommended I post the most important sections from the 600 pages of documents.  I am going to try that strategy for now.  I’ll add helpful introductions and footnotes (at least I hope they are helpful).  This will take some effort but not as much time as writing from scratch. 

It may also aid people who haven’t read all the documents.  This will be the Reader’s Digest version.

Lastly, if you have been helped by my efforts, would you consider helping us financially.  In the past month we've received $800 in contributions.  Your assistance would be greatly appreciated! Click or see the "Make a donation" button on right side of page.



Because the issues were so serious, we took three years to try and help C.J. as an apostolic team.  We made no progress.  Frustrated and concerned, we reached out to Joshua Harris, Grant Layman, and Kenneth Maresco at Covenant Life Church.  


A 3½ Year Process Starting December 2000

Taken from “Part 1: Response Regarding Friendship & Doctrine,” pp. 5-7.

During a team meeting on December 4, 2000, Dave, Steve and I began to raise issues of concern for you.  For example, we pointed out you were often difficult to correct, became offended when you felt misunderstood or judge by others, quickly and hastily arrived at conclusions about people based on limited information, came to extreme conclusions about people in a presumptive and premature fashion, were  stubborn when you thought God had spoken to you or you had a strong opinion about something, made decisions without adequate appreciation for the personal effect on others, and led the apostolic team more by expedience rather than by process.  We also noted a lack of discussion and involvement as a team in decision making.  These things didn’t happen all the time but tended to be general patterns.  For the next three years, I led a process whereby we consistently tried to help you see these and other issues of character.  Unfortunately, that lengthy process proved unsuccessful.[1]

During 2003 our appeals to you intensified.  For instance, Dave met with you in Baltimore on April 24 and covered numerous concerns.  We took the next team meeting on May 13 to follow up with you.  We talked about “silencing mechanism” you tended to use when someone like Dave attempted to bring you correction (i.e., how you could be “exacting” and take offense, judge, mistrust or adjust a person if they didn’t have the right attitude and use the right words or illustrations when bringing correction to you).  We talked about whether or not you viewed the apostolic team as a venue for confession because we did not know where you struggled with sin and whether you were growing or being evaluated.[2] 

We also reminded you that the absence of confession was raised 1½ years earlier at Celebration United Kingdom.  At that time, you promised to talk about the confession of sin to us as a team.  You never did.[3]  During the May 13 team meeting, I pointed out how this was “uncharitable and irresponsible.”  You asked our forgiveness for not getting back to us but we never talked about the lack of transparency in the ensuing months. 

We also asked if the CLC pastors were speaking into your life.  You assured us they were. (Later we discovered this was untrue.[4]   They were providing very little input.)  If true, we asked why we were not updated on the team level.  We talked about the disconnect between us being evaluated by you, but you not being evaluated by us.[5]  We also talked about other issues and examples but I have not included them here.

A few days later, Dave e-mailed me on May 16 and asked the following.

“Will CJ be returning to his network (Josh, etc.) to share your concerns for him and observations from that day and also the areas where he repented?  Also, will you be speaking with them about these things?  Lastly, there were a number of things you asked CJ to think about that day.  Should you be expecting to hear back from him on those or only if he feels convicted or desires to pursue it?  Brent, you don’t need to get back to me on this and I don’t feel any need to see these things pressed through.  These are just logical questions that have come to my mind over the past couple of days to ensure we all maximize the time spent and information exchanged.  We covered so much ground with so much being there benefit for you to know where he is going with all of it?  That’s all, you may have considered this already.  Whatever you decide is fine...”

I decided to take no specific action at the time in response to Dave.  I wanted to see if you would voluntarily inform Josh, Kenneth, Grant, etc. of our input and also whether you would get back to us with further updates on your soul.  You did not get back to us and we found out later you did not inform Josh, Kenneth, Grant, etc. of our input.  As a result, I felt the need to broaden the circle and see if the pastors at Covenant Life Church shared our concerns and could identify with our experiences.  I put this on the agenda for our August team meeting.  You responded to me via e-mail on August 14 saying,

“I was going through the agenda with Carolyn last night and realized when we came to your desire to meet with Josh, etc. that I would like to be there whenever there is an evaluation of me.[6]  Two mistakes I made last year were meeting with your [local] team [in Charlotte] and Dave’s [local] team [in Philadelphia] without you guys being present.  For a number of reasons I will never do that again.[7]  I think any communication of this nature should be direct.  We end up talking with all the people involved anyway so it is not only wise it is the best use of time.  And you and Dave should have been present to hear, ask questions, agree or disagree, etc.[8]  So let me know what you have in mind and who you want to be involved so hopefully I can benefit from the time.

I forwarded this to Dave and Steve.  In response, Dave wrote Steve and me on August 28 saying,

“As I’ve considered our conversation the other day, it seems to me that we should at least give CJ an opportunity to share (with all of us in a team meeting) why he doesn’t want Brent to do the review without him present and we should have the opportunity to respond to this.  I think this would serve, not only by giving each of us the opportunity to interact with CJ’s reasons, but also to ensure that this approach (lead guy always present) doesn’t become default policy for us.” 

Steve followed and wrote, “Good Dave...  I would agree...  It would be appropriate for us to understand CJ’s reluctance... Is it the process?  Our assessment of him which he doesn’t feel is valid?  Does he feel our observations of him are a reflection of us instead?  How so?  Etc., etc...”  I responded to both men, “Also concur.  I’ll e-mail him shortly.  Thanks so much.”

On September 8, I wrote you,

“I am not sure how to proceed.  I’d certainly have you present for any evaluation but I am wondering if that is necessary when simply asking questions (gathering information) of an individual.  I think it would be helpful to get Steve and Dave’s thoughts on Wednesday at the [September] team meeting.”

[1] In his March 11, 2011 response to me, C.J. acknowledged he was difficult to correct, easily offended and often stubborn in relation to Dave and me.  Unfortunately, he did not apply this confession to a wider audience of people over three decades.  He limited it to two men at a specific point in time.  He took this approach again at CLC on July 11, 2011.  His confession was extremely narrow.  Truthfully, the way C.J. related to Dave and me (and Steve Shank) in 2003-2004 is the same way he has repeatedly related to others under like circumstances.  In his confessions, he fails to acknowledge the long standing and widespread pattern of sinfully reacting.  Instead he says, “In pages 5-28 of RRF&D you raise your concerns about my behavior in response to your and Dave’s correction beginning December 2000 and culminating in our August 20 meeting in 2004.  You pointed out that I was often difficult to correct and easily offended when I felt I had been judged.  Once again let me state clearly that I agree with that.  You said I was often stubborn when I believed that my perspective or perception was accurate.  I agree with you.”  In his March 11, 2011 confession, C.J. gives no examples of when he was hard to correct or when he became offended.  He provides no definition for “easily offended.”  This is important.  Does he mean easily bitter, resentful or angry?  No specificity or definition is provided.  In addition he confesses no lying, deceit, hypocrisy, independence, lack of accountability, etc.

[2] The same was true with the Covenant Life pastors even though C.J. was the senior pastor.

[3] This is a factual example of C.J. giving his word and then breaking his word.  C.J. did not address this illustration regarding his lack of integrity in either of his responses to me on December 16, 2010 and March 11, 2011.

[4] C.J. badly misled us in this regard.  Dave and I were shocked by the almost total lack of accountability we later discovered in his life.  This profound lack of authenticity really affected us given C.J.’s teaching on the subject.  C.J. has yet to confess his patterns of hypocrisy or share specific examples.    

[5] C.J. didn’t address or acknowledge this double standard in his responses.  It is another example of hypocrisy that he passed over rather than address.

[6] Something C.J. insisted for himself but never ensured for Dave, me or others.  This requirement effectively shut down the process.  It was part of C.J. taking control.  The CLC men were afraid to provide updates and C.J./they were unwilling to meet with us.  As a result we never met together again (or even had a conference call) after the August 20, 2004 meeting.  Joshua Harris, Kenneth Maresco, Grant Layman and Bob Kauflin “closed circle” and C.J. was leading the wagon train.  C.J. denies taking over the process but the facts show otherwise and Joshua recently admitted as much at the CLC Member’s Meeting on July 10.  This is just one of his comments.  “I think we began to protect C.J. from the kinds of interactions and honest evaluation that would have benefitted him.”  Moreover, C.J. turned Joshua, Grant, Kenneth  and Bob against me.  I came under many false accusations.  It was a terrible experience.  No one has ever gotten back to me.  C.J. denies having a negative impact on any of these men but Joshua tells a completely different story at the Members’ Meeting.  What happened in 2004 is happening again in 2011. 

[7] This was an empty boast.  In the years to follow C.J. repeatedly did evaluations of me without my knowledge or participation.  He even had Larry Malament send him secret reports.  He did this with other pastors also.  He gathered evidence against men who were no longer in his favor.  Some of these men have written C.J. about their mistreatment.  I doubt their letters will ever be released or their injustices every rectified through public confession and restitution.  In my case, Dave, Gene and Bob followed C.J.’s example and excluded me when getting evaluations or giving  evaluations about me.  This has never been acknowledged as wrong.  The SGM Board and CLC pastors are concerned about due process for C.J. and how charges are processed.  That is good but they haven’t applied the same rules to others or acknowledged the abuses that have transpired. 

[8] True but C.J. never talked to us about his hypocrisy in requiring something for himself which he denied to us.  Nor did he ask our forgiveness or clean up the resultant debris.  This same lack of biblical justice occurred again in 2009 during my assessment.  I was not asked or permitted to participate in any meetings about me.  It all happen in secret.  Far too many former pastors (and people) have been harmed in SGM because free and open participation was denied or forbidden.  Attempts to disagreed are quickly labeled as pride, bitterness and self-pity.  Correcting a pastor is often treated like the unpardonable sin.  For my part, I’ve taken the exact opposite approach with C.J. and SGM.  I’ve begged C.J. to defend himself, differ with me, point out my sins, correct my errors, etc.  He has refused to do so.  That may look like humility but it is really avoidance.  It is a lack of honest, humble, and open transparency.  I know, some of you think I am judging.  True enough but in a way the Scripture commends.  It is called assessing, evaluating, thinking, and discerning based upon a preponderance of evidence.  Christians must study jurisprudence.  It teaches you how to weigh evidence, try facts, think logically and evaluate rhetoric.  I added 224 endnotes to “Response Regarding Friendship and Doctrine” and 181 endnotes to “A Final Appeal” to point out this avoidance and lack of transparency.  It is real.  In any case, I will most gladly publish any response C.J. provides me.  But instead, Dave Harvey, Joshua and all the combined resources of SGM/CLC put out the word that poor C.J. has no way to defend his honor against my incessant gossip and slander.  Here is the truth.  If C.J. had provided open, honest and accountable answers to my points, questions and illustrations, none of this would be happening.  That is clear in my documents.  He promised to do this and then reneged.  And of course, the SGM Board failed to hold him accountable to his word.  That’s why we didn’t meet.  Not because I was unwilling which is falsely asserted by SGM.