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The Mona Lisa of Spin by Master Harvey

Master Harvey surreptitiously shared his exquisite Mona Lisa of spin with the pastors of SGM on June 11, 2011.  The unveiling would have made Leonardo proud.  It is a brilliant masterpiece certain to be enshrined in the Sovereign Grace Museum of Art which could be moved to Philadelphia.  The combination of tones, shapes, strokes, and blending create an exhilarating work of art that will dazzle patrons for perpetuity.  Indeed, vertigo practically sets in when one gazes upon the intricacies of spin for too long.  It is a powerful piece.  The art novice cannot fully appreciate such a remarkable work.  He needs the help of a curator.      

And so begins my sixth reason for “Why Sending Out ‘The Documents’ Was Not Slanderous But Necessary“ (see blog posts for Sept 22, 24, 30).

Dave is a of master of manipulation.  He has been acclaimed as such by many former church members and at least two former pastors.  He has refined his craft over the years.  It has not always been so evident but he now holds post graduate degrees in the fine art of spin.  No one does it better in SGM.  He’s even expanded his repertoire to include acting.  You can check out his starring role in Video: Answering your questions from upon the reviews, he should probably confine himself to painting.

I find his most eminent and advanced work of spin to be his letter to the SGM pastors.  May I serve as your curator in examining its contents?        

I sent “Concluding Remarks” to C.J., Dave, Jeff and Joshua on June 8, 2011.  It was my third major document.  I said the following at the end of the manuscript.  “Well, we have reached the end of the road.  It is now time for me to share my concerns with the Sovereign Grace pastors” (p. 201).

I also said,

If you ever produce an alternative narrative (e.g. for the SGM pastors), please let me review it before you give it out to anyone.  I’ve afforded you that opportunity throughout this process.  I’ve welcomed your feedback and I’ve included all of it in my documents.  In other words, if you send out a critique of me or my concerns please let me provide an accompanying statement.  That is only right. (p. 193)

Of course that never happened.  I hope people are beginning to realize that C.J., Dave and the SGM Board don’t play by the same rules they insist upon for everyone else.  They’ve learned to play down and dirty. 

I’ve not shared this Mona Lisa of deceit and spin before, because I was promised the opportunity to present my concerns for Dave to an objective panel of outside evaluators.  That commitment was broken when the SGM Board put forward their bogus arbitration agreement on October 1.  It excluded Dave.     

So let’s begin.  Behind my back on June 11, Dave Harvey warned all the SGM pastors about my documents (RRF&D, AFA, CR).  In so doing, he totally ignored my request from two days earlier to please allow me to review their “alternative version” and provide an “accompanying statement.”  Dave wrote the pastors in part, “If you haven’t received them already, you have hundreds of pages of documentation - Brent’s concerns for CJ - coming your way.”  He then proceeded to discredit me and my writings while commending C.J. for his humility. 

I had no idea Dave launched this preemptive strike with laser guided missiles loaded with deadly deceit.  He ended his letter by saying “Gentlemen, it ain’t pretty…but it’s a faithful narrative [i.e., Dave’s perspective] of a sad tale [i.e., my conduct and writing].”   

It is one thing for Tim Challies or Ray Ortlund to claim I slandered C.J. when I sent out The Documents.  They are ignorant of the facts.  They don’t know the inner workings of Sovereign Grace Ministries.  It is a completely different matter when Dave, Jeff Purswell, and Joshua Harris make the same claim.  It was their deceitful gossip and slander in the form of this letter that factored into my decision to send out my writings and they know it.  The holier than thou Board castigated me on July 13 (see Sovereign Grace Ministries Board of Directors announcement regarding C.J. Mahaney) while they broke all the rules.  Dave and the boys feel right at home speaking falsehoods while silencing those who speak truth supported by compelling evidence and labeling them slanderers.

I found out about Dave’s correspondence three weeks after the fact on July 5.  Needless to say, I was shocked, troubled and heartsick by this surprise attack; and more so, because the action was hidden from me both by the SGM Board and the Covenant Life pastors.

During those three weeks (June 11-July 5), I was working with the Covenant Life pastors and appealing for them to follow 1 Timothy 5:19-21. “Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses.  Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning.  I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism.”  I was acting in good faith and intentionally holding back on sending out my documents to the SGM pastors until I received a report on their time with C.J. from June 30.  I was prepared to take no further action if I was assured they were exercising disciplinary oversight in C.J.’s life. 

Instead I had to write this grievous email.

From: Brent Detwiler 

Sent: Tuesday, July 05, 2011 3:30 PM

To: Bo Lotinsky; Bob Kauflin; C. J. Mahaney; Dave Harvey; Gary Ricucci; Gene Emerson; Jeff Purswell; John Loftness; Ken Sande; Pat Ennis; Tommy Hill; Tony Reinke; Adam Malcolm; Ben Wikner; Braden Greer; Brian Chesemore; Corby Megorden; Dave Brewer; Don DeVries; Eric Sheffer; Eric Simmons; Grant Layman; Greg Somerville; Issac Hydoski; Jamie Leach; Joe Lee; Jon Smith; Joshua Harris; Kenneth Maresco; Mark Mitchell; Matt Maka; Mike Bradshaw; Robin Boisvert; Benny Phillips; David Bendinelli; Keith Jacob; Paul Palmer

Subject: Request for Mailing to SGM Pastors

Would some faithful and honest soul, provide me all the material Dave Harvey sent out to the SGM pastors about me around three weeks ago.  Please include the cover letter and documents.  Until this morning, I had absolutely no idea this was done.  It was done behind my back.  I called Dave.  He did not answer so I left a message.  I called the church office and gave the receptionist a message.  I’ve received nothing from them as requested.

Since I could not get through to Dave, I left a voice message on his cell phone.  I told him, he had become a master manipulator and it broke my heart.  I also wrote the SGM Board and the CLC pastors.

From: Brent Detwiler

Sent: Tuesday, July 05, 2011 4:03 PM

To: Bo Lotinsky; Bob Kauflin; C. J. Mahaney; Dave Harvey; Gary Ricucci; Gene Emerson; Jeff Purswell; John Loftness; Ken Sande; Pat Ennis; Tommy Hill; Tony Reinke; Adam Malcolm; Ben Wikner; Braden Greer; Brian Chesemore; Corby Megorden; Dave Brewer; Don DeVries; Eric Sheffer; Eric Simmons; Grant Layman; Greg Somerville; Issac Hydoski; Jamie Leach; Joe Lee; Jon Smith; Joshua Harris; Kenneth Maresco; Mark Mitchell; Matt Maka; Mike Bradshaw; Robin Boisvert; Benny Phillips; David Bendinelli; Keith Jacob; Paul Palmer

Subject: RE: Request for Mailing to SGM Pastors

I am sorely disappointed that none of you told me about Dave’s mailing against me after I emailed you approximately two weeks later on June 25 (see below).  I graciously withheld sending out my material to all the SGM pastors in hope that you would take action with C.J. in keeping with 1 Timothy 5:19-21.  But now again, I find myself a fool for trusting my SGM friends.

How stupid of me.  I was “relieved, grateful and glad to hold on further action” when action had already been taken against me and no one ever told me so.

Dave, Jeff and Joshua responded with lame excuses.  And of course, the expanded Board killed the prospect of any independent evaluation that included issues like this one.  The “loudest statement” turned out to be no statement.  It was silenced by them.  They deny seeking to attack me but you can decide by evaluating their method, understanding the context and studying the content of Dave’s letter. 

From: Nora Earles 

Sent: Tuesday, July 05, 2011 5:45 PM

To: Brent Detwiler

Cc: Dave Harvey; Jeff Purswell; Joshua Harris

Subject: FW: Request for Mailing to SGM Pastors

Dear Brent, 

We’re sending along the attachments that you are requesting.   

We know this has upset you and we can understand why.  We have struggled for months to know how to effectively communicate with you.  If you believe our sending this letter was unethical or sinful, please submit that issue to the evaluation panel along with the other complaints you have against us.  We welcome the opportunity to have objective eyes and minds examine all we’ve done so we can see our mistakes and make needed changes

In regard to what we mailed three weeks ago, we were not seeking to attack you in that communication to the pastors.  We assumed from your statements that you were sending your documents to the pastors and felt it important that they hear some explanation from us.  Sending C.J.’s confession of sin and stating that you have been sinned against by CJ was an attempt to make clear that there are real issues.  And the loudest statement of this was our decision to involve an independent panel. 

Dave, Jeff & Josh


1.  Confession to Brent - #1 – Dec 16, 2010

2.  Confession to Brent - #2 – Mar 11, 2011

3. SGM Board Letter to Brent – Mar 11, 2011

4.  E-Mail from Ken Sande to Brent – Mar 29, 2011

5.  Letter from Dave and Steve – Apr 1, 2011 

I wrote the following because so much about Dave’s letter to the SGM pastors was devious and misleading.   

From: Brent Detwiler

Sent: Tuesday, July 05, 2011 6:15 PM

To: C.J. Mahaney; Adam Malcolm; Ben Wikner; Braden Greer; Brian Chesemore; Corby Megorden; Dave Brewer; Don DeVries; Eric Sheffer; Eric Simmons; Grant Layman; Greg Somerville; Issac Hydoski; Jamie Leach; Joe Lee; Jon Smith; Joshua Harris; Kenneth Maresco; Mark Mitchell; Matt Maka; Mike Bradshaw; Robin Boisvert; Benny Phillips; David Bendinelli; Keith Jacob; Paul Palmer

Cc: Dave Harvey; Jeff Purswell; Joshua Harris

Subject: RE: Request for Mailing to SGM Pastors

Dave, Jeff and Josh,

If you were interested in justice, you would have included my responses to the documents Dave attached.  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.  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.


In contrast, here is the way I always conducted myself with C.J., Dave and the Board.

From: Brent Detwiler

Sent: Thursday, June 16, 2011 9:46 AM

To: Joshua Harris; Dave Harvey; C.J. Mahaney; Jeff Purswell

Subject: Crucial Comments

…I have done nothing behind your backs.  I’ve been upfront about everything even when that put me at a strategic disadvantage.  For example, I’ll be sending RRF&D, AFA and CR to all the elders at Covenant Life Church and a few others this week….

After my appeal to the elders failed, I sent out RRF&D, AFA, CR, and TUS on July 6 and 7.  Here for example is my email to the pastors in Florida.  I poked fun at Dave’s most famous line.

From: Brent Detwiler

Sent: Thursday, July 07, 2011 12:07 AM

To: Phil Courson; Mike Gilland; Shannon Day; John Lenfestey; Wayne Brooks; Jon Morales; David Traugott; Luan Nguyen; Joe Calabello; Ed Edwards; Jerry Cisar; Steve Brunson; Ryan Carver; Daryn Kinney; Danny Jones; Chip Chew; Aaron Law; Mike Nash; Jesse Phillips; Al Pino; Corey Schmatjen; Jason Stubblefield; Brian Brookins; Adam Greenfield; Michael Rizutti; Jesse Jarvis; Tim Merwin; Alex Bowman; Chris Dunlop; Benny Phillips

Subject: A Faithful Narrative of a Sad Tale

I found out this week about Dave’s email to you on June 11 regarding “a faithful narrative of a sad tale.”  In case you’re confused, I am the sad part.  Dave and the guys are the faithful part.  I digress.  Anyway, I’m sorry to keep you waiting.  You can add this stuff to your summer reading list. 

Seriously, I care deeply for my friend C.J. and count it a privilege to have served him and Sovereign Grace for so many years.  I hope you find my writings helpful for the strengthening and preserving of Sovereign Grace Ministries for generations to come.

In conclusion, I present to you the Mona Lisa of spin by Master Harvey.  Learn from it, but don’t imitate it.  And don’t allow other SGM pastors to get away with cheap imitations.  Granted, they are learning from the best but they must not imbibe Dave’s techniques.  The painting is a fake when it comes to the truth.  Look for real masters who are artists of integrity and learn from them.   

Finally, this slanderous letter to all the SGM pastors was another reason I decided to send out The Documents. 

From:  Dave Harvey
Sent: Saturday, June 11, 2011 4:04 PM
To: Jeff Purswee; Joshua Harris; SGM Sr. Pastors
Cc: Tommy Hill
Subject: Confidential - From the SGM Board

Hey guys.  I’ve got some family news I want to pass on, so grab a coffee or whatever cause this is going to take a few minutes.  We (Jeff, Joshua & I - The SGM board) want to bring you in on a very difficult situation that has been unfolding for the last 18 months.[1]  It’s an unfinished story, but I’m confident God is at work in some powerful ways.  Let me explain.

Most of you know Brent Detwiler.  Dear friend to some, faithful comrade to many, my first pastor – it was a sad day for all of us[2] when Brent left the Sovereign Grace family in 2009.  We have spent many months in pursuit of reconciliation with Brent and offering the services of any qualified outside mediator he would prefer.  I’m sad to report that our efforts appear unsuccessful[3] and Brent has informed us that he now wants to share his concerns[4] with the pastors in Sovereign Grace[5] as well as others outside of Sovereign Grace.[6]  If you haven’t received them already, you have hundreds of pages of documentation - Brent’s concerns for CJ[7] - coming your way.  Perhaps a little more context on this development would help.

Some months after Brent’s local leadership team asked him to resign[8] and the church closed down in January of 2010, CJ contacted him.  The reason for this initiative was that in CJ’s ongoing efforts to meet with offended parties, he discovered that Brent had unresolved offenses with him.[9]  CJ contacted Brent with the hope of meeting to discuss any concerns.  But rather than meeting with CJ, Brent sent a 128-page document to convey the ways that he thought CJ had sinned as well as to call upon CJ to publicly confess.[10]  Brent’s document arrived around March 17, 2010.  In the document, Brent declined CJ’s request for a meeting and instead insisted[11] that CJ respond in writing.[12]  At first CJ did not write back,[13] holding out hope for a personal meeting rather than the less personal and, in his and others’ mind, less helpful exchanges of lengthy written documents.[14]  But Brent was reluctant to meet, and CJ decided to accommodate Brent’s request[15] and engage the document to see what God would say.  So this is what transpired.

First CJ took the summer and fall of 2010 to meet with all the principal players involved in the various situations Brent described.[16]  This included the Covenant Life board of elders, the Sovereign Grace leadership teams (the old one and new one), his wife, and others.  In all of this, CJ’s desire was to discover where Brent was remembering accurately or seeing things clearly.  As CJ pursued others’ perspective on Brent’s concerns, he saw with greater clarity ways he had, in fact, sinned against Brent.[17]  Moreover, there were also areas where he had exercised poor leadership.[18]  CJ was seeing some pivotal stuff, which only strengthened his desire to meet with Brent. 

Next the board moved from involvement in the process to taking over the process[19] so that we could help evaluate Brent’s concerns[20] and also help CJ stand accountable for any sins he committed.  In retrospect, we wished we would have done this sooner…this whole process is teaching us much about what it really means to be a board.[21]  But regardless of our slowness,[22] CJ welcomed our role and the additional layer of help and accountability.  Board members were also able to solicit counsel on how to proceed from leaders inside and outside of SGM. 

On October 8, we then received a second document [A Final Appeal] from Brent numbering 165 pages.  In it Brent was more expansive on his concerns about CJ and continued to insist upon a public confession.[23] 

Convicted of his sin and more keenly aware of his weakness, CJ wrote to Brent acknowledging and confessing sin, seeking to address the primary categories,[24] and appealing for a meeting so CJ could convey his heart and seek Brent’s forgiveness.  (This confession was sent on December 11, 2010.  It is the first document attached.)  However, Brent was unsatisfied with CJ’s specificity[25] and felt CJ needed to respond in more detail to Brent’s specific accusations.[26]  Now for the record, because I was right there in all the meetings, CJ and the board were open to a public confession but we did not see the need for a broader confession[27] beyond those immediately affected.[28]  However, before making a final decision on that, we thought, and the counsel we received confirmed this, that a thorough, objective mediation process[29] would be necessary to determine CJ’s culpability and the reasonableness of Brent’s demands.[30]  But Brent still refused to meet with CJ[31] and declined an outside mediator.[32]  He indicated that he would prefer to send along another document.[33] 

Believing that a more thorough confession[34] might be a healthy exercise for CJ’s soul while also supplying Brent with something that seemed important to him,[35] the SGM board directed CJ to create a more extensive confession.[36]  This confession was sent on March 11, 2011 and is the second document attached.  Along with CJ’s confession, the SGM board also sent a communiqué written to (a) detail our perspective on the situation, (b) appeal for Brent to meet with CJ and any outside mediator, and (c) offer other options for meetings with various people (along with a mediator) to Brent.  That document is attached as well.[37] 

But there was also a concern emerging for the board.   We wanted to clearly acknowledge and deal with any of CJ’s sin,[38] but it also seemed important to recognize that the entire situation was being framed by Brent’s sole perspective.[39]  Equally important was that there seemed to be a number of areas[40] where Brent’s take on things was dramatically different than the others involved.[41]    It seemed both biblical and logical to recognize that reconciliation doesn’t come by one man presenting his interpretation and standing on it[42] as the authoritative version of reality[43] but by two parties humbly interacting over recollections with honesty[44] and love.[45]  But despite that concern, the board determined there were certain points of truth[46] in Brent’s documents that CJ needed to process and confess.  CJ agreed with this.  So our letter to Brent acknowledged agreement with some of Brent’s points and reiterated our appeal to pursue mediation.

In short, Brent would not meet.  Out of concern over Brent’s apparent revision of certain points of history, Steve Shank and I sent along a letter to Brent dated April 1, 2011 (attached).[47]  On March 29th, Ken Sande also sent a letter to Brent[48] (attached also).  In all of this, Brent refused to meet with CJ, declined a mediator, and informed us that he would begin to prepare another document.[49]  

Yesterday Brent responded with another 199-page document.  In it he informed us that he would now be conveying his concerns to the pastors of Sovereign Grace and certain others outside of SGM.[50]  So now you know why it’s necessary to download all of this information[51] on you.    

Guys, we want to reiterate something here: there were ways that CJ sinned against Brent.[52]  And we believe this has hurt Brent deeply.  CJ also grieves over this reality, as does the SGM board.  And that’s where we would counsel you not to react hastily to Brent or impulsively come to CJ’s defense.[53]  CJ and the SGM board are not looking for vindication[54] nor do we desire to shift the focus towards Brent.[55]  Our hope is for an open process of reconciliation for the good of God’s glory and all involved.   So if there is any identification with CJ, let it be to identify with the pursuit of humility that he has displayed throughout this process.[56]  And please pray for CJ and Brent as this situation unfolds.

Now it’s important that the board convey something else to you.  The board has spent hundreds of hours examining these documents, meeting together, evaluating CJ[57] and attempting to persuade Brent to meet with a mediator.[58]  We (the board) want you to know that CJ has submitted himself completely to the board and that submission has been evidenced by his vigorous soul-searching, his aggressive pursuit of Brent, and his overall posture of humility through careful listening and transparent confession.[59]  The SGM board can think of nothing more to ask of CJ in the pursuit of reconciliation with Brent.[60]  However, in order to ensure the most thorough and objective process possible, the board has decided to take the additional step of engaging an independent panel of mediators (external to SGM and our relational network) who are trained to evaluate such difficult situations, taking into account all relevant information, considering all perspectives, and providing objective feedback.  We feel this is the best way to bring a God-glorifying resolution to these circumstances.[61]  

As for this e-mail and the accompanying documents, please forward them no further than your pastoral team/elders/leadership team and ask them not to forward them at all. 

Now I know that’s a lot to process so let me just wrap up with the SGM boards commitment to you:

1)  We will be happy to answer any questions about anything.[62]  Give us a few days to consult with the regional leaders (providentially, we have a retreat next week) and figure out the best way to process any questions or feedback.  If you have any immediate or pressing questions though, please contact Jeff, Josh or myself and one of us will be back in contact with you. 

2)  We will continue to appeal to Brent for conciliation and mediation with CJ.[63]  

3)  We will initiate the independent review process to evaluate every piece of information relevant to this situation as referenced above.[64]  

4)  We will seek to faithfully fulfill our role of providing accountability to CJ.[65] 

5) We will appropriately inform you[66] of any important developments and consider how we might use upcoming contexts like the Pastors Conference for an update.

6)  We welcome any insights you have to offer or any counsel on how to proceed.[67]

7) We will continue to treasure[68] the investment that Brent made into SGM during his many years of leadership.    

Gentlemen, it ain’t pretty…but it’s a faithful narrative of a sad tale.[69]  Yet we are learning much and we cherish the hope of restored fellowship with Brent in the future.[70]  Until then we labor, together, as partners, in a family, for the gospel.

On behalf of the board,

[Master] Dave 

[1] “The “very difficult situation” had been unfolding for over a decade not 18 months.  Dave did not provide the SGM pastors with the much larger context. 

[2] I imagine Dave is in tears as he writes. J  This sentence makes me laugh and cry.  If it was “sad day for all us” you’d think I’d hear from the SG family including C.J.  Not a chance.  With very few exceptions, I heard from no one.  I was cut off by long-time friends who were afraid to contact me.  Given what they were hearing from C.J., Dave, Bob and Gene it was little wonder why.   I was persona non grata.

[3] Out of the gate, Dave puts himself and the Board in a good light and me in a bad light. They are the ones interested in reconciliation but I am not.  He doesn’t say why they were unsuccessful.  It was due to the Board’s and C.J.’s unwillingness to provide a thorough response to my documents as promised and acknowledge the need for C.J. to make a public confession.

[4] Dave doesn’t say why I needed to share my concerns with the SGM pastors.  For instance, “But the most serious issues I’ve brought to your [C.J.] attention have been ignored, repudiated or denied.  Things like deceit, lying, covering-up, hypocrisy, lording, and favoritism.  I take no delight in saying this, but you and Sovereign Grace Ministries cannot be trusted until these things are acknowledged.” (CR, p. 201)

[5] Again, Dave doesn’t explain the long process behind this necessary action.  “Well, we have reached the end of the road.  It is now time for me to share my concerns with the Sovereign Grace pastors.  For the longest time, I never entertained this course of action.  It was inconceivable.  But we are at a different place today.  You [C.J.] have refused to address or acknowledge many sins of a serious nature and the Board of Directors has taken insufficient action in its correction and discipline of you.  Others [like Dave, Bob, Gene] have gone unaddressed as well.” (CR, p. 201)  I had to tell the pastors having exhausted every possible recourse and having kept this information confidential for three decades.

[6] This “as well as others outside of SG” was slander by hype!  Here’s what I wrote, “I also plan to make my thoughts available to a small group of former Sovereign Grace pastors or employees.  Nine to be exact:  Dave Bendinelli, George Harrington, Keith Jacob, Bo Lotinksy, Dan McIntosh, Paul Palmer, Todd Twining, Dan Walsh, Steve Whitman.  I’ll ask everyone not to make hard copies for distribution or electronically forward any of my material” (CR, p. 201, footnote 443).  Dave was trumping up charges.  He tempts them to sin and think, “Can you believe it?  Brent was even going to share with people outside of Sovereign Grace Ministries.  I mean what a slanderous jerk!” In the end, I sent the documents to five of the nine men. 

[7] Concerns not only for C.J. but for the movement and other key individuals in SGM.

[8] This statement was one of the reasons I included “The Untold Story” in the documents I sent the SGM pastors.  Otherwise, they’d have absolutely no idea what really happen in reference to my resignation and the closing of Grace Community Church in Mooresville, NC. 

[9] This is completely misleading.  C.J. already knew there were offenses.  Dave is putting C.J. in a positive light when the facts put him in a deceptive light.  See RRF&D, pp. 1-3, 88-94.

[10] How incredibly callous, unwarranted and extreme of me!  Asking C.J. to make a public confession must be comparable to the unpardonable sin.

[11] This conveys a horrible attitude on my part instead of a reasonable request.

[12] This too is completely misleading.  I was eager to meet with C.J.  Dave makes no mention of this.  Nor does Dave explain why it was so important to me for C.J. to write in preparation for a meeting.  If C.J. had written me in a thorough fashion we would have met.  The reason we did not meet was C.J.’s refusal to be open and honest in print.   

[13] “At first.”  This is misleading also.  It took ten months of constant appeals before C.J. finally wrote me on Dec 16, 2010.

[14] Dave sets this up as an either/or arrangement.  Either a personal meeting or lengthy written documents.  Of course this was a false dichotomy and misleading one.  I wanted both to happen.  First writing.  Second meeting.  Dave leaves this out entirely and deceives his audience in so doing. 

[15] After fighting me tooth and nail.  It was only in desperation and as a last resort that C.J. wrote me because “A Final Appeal” (Oct 8, 2010) was my final appeal.  I was serious about my two conditions being met.     

[16] Dave gives credit to C.J. that is not deserved.  C.J. had no choice.  He had to involve others or his goose was cooked – well done for that matter!  One of the major charges against C.J. was his extreme independence and blatant lack of accountability.  He had no alternative but to contact others.     

[17] And against many others like Larry Tomczak.  Dave minimized the depth and breadth of C.J.’s sins.  He reduced it to Brent and C.J. rather than C.J. and a very long list of people.  Again he misleads the pastors.  It is dishonestly by omission.

[18] “Poor leadership.”  You mean abusive leadership?  You mean independent and self-sufficient leadership.  You mean unaccountable leadership.  Dave uses morally neutral language that doesn’t begin to convey the serious issues surrounding C.J.’s failed leadership.

[19] Dave doesn’t tell the SGM pastors that the Board cut off my access to C.J. and labeled my on-going concerns for C.J. as “fruitless.”  They put C.J. under a gag order and didn’t allow him to answer my hard questions.  C.J. was able to hide behind the Board.

[20] Dave only mentions “Brent’s concerns.”  There is no indication that “Brent’s concerns” were also Dave’s concerns and those of many others over the past decade.  Dave sets it up as Brent against C.J. and doesn’t mention the scores of people who’ve had the same kind of experiences with C.J. including Dave himself.  Spin and more spin. It makes me dizzy.

[21] The real lesson the Board needed to learn was how to deal with C.J. and not treat him in a preferential manner.

[22] The real question is “Why was C.J. so slow in responding to me?”  C.J. provided the answer.  He acknowledged he kept the pressure on me for 10 months in hopes I would relinquish my two conditions for meeting.  When this did not happen he finally capitulated and wrote.  He tried to leverage me but I did not give in because I knew an open, honest and accountable response in writing was vital.

[23] Dave never explained why I felt a public confession was incumbent upon C.J.  My request was not unreasonable.  Throughout our history scores of men have confessed in public for far less serious sins.  I needed to know if C.J. saw the serious nature of his sins and was therefore willing to confess them.    

[24] This is entirely untrue.  C.J. completely ignored 10 of the 15 categories of sin I brought to his attention.  See “Concluding Remarks,” pp. 88-89.

[25] For good reason.  See “Concluding Remarks,” pages 90-97.

[26] Why was I “unsatisfied”?  Because C.J. promised to address all the issues I raised.  Instead, he purposely passed over hundreds of important points, illustrations, and questions.  That is why I added 400 endnotes to RRF&D and AFA and sent them to C.J., Dave, Jeff and Joshua on June 8, 2011.  I didn’t expect answers to all 400 but I needed to show that C.J. was being extremely evasive and unaccountable.

[27] Finally, an answer after 16 months of asking.  No public confession was necessary.  I repeatedly asked C.J. and the Board if they felt public repentance was needed.  C.J. never answered me and neither did the Board.  I asked them time and time again but they refused to be open and honest with me.  The same was true for a ton of other issues, questions, and illustrations.  I was promised answers but they never provided them.  That’s why we didn’t meet.  I didn’t care if they disagreed with me.  I repeatedly invited their critique and asked them to defend themselves.  I did all of this with a view to meeting not publishing their answers.  But in the same way they refused to be honest when they saw no need for a public confession, they refused to be honest about so many other things.

[28] “Beyond those immediately affected.”  How many people does that include now?  What is the latest count by AoR?  Hundreds?  This is silly.  C.J. sins have affected all of Sovereign Grace Ministries and people throughout the movement have confessed publicly for far less serious sins for decades.  What an example of favoritism by the Board.  They give C.J. a special exemption.  Even though he doesn’t qualify he still gets to play.  There are no penalties when C.J. breaks the rules.  His sins remain secret.   

[29] That is now a joke.  The adjudication process forced upon me was not “thorough” or “objective.”  It was extremely limited in scope.  Only one issue would be examined.  Is C.J. qualified to be President and Chairman of SGM.  I was promised a complete evaluation of SGM including Harvey, Shank, Kauflin and Emerson.  It was also extremely partial.  I was promised outside evaluators.  Instead, they required  a SGM Board Member be put on the five man panel.  That’s like me putting Jim (Refuge) or Kris (Survivors) on the panel – no offense intended.  Furthermore, a thorough examination of C.J. and SGM would take at least six weeks given the mountains of evidence to be presented.  Not the four days presented in the proposal. 

[30] My demands were horrendous!  Honest answers and acknowledging the need for confession.    

[31] I refused but I also appealed and reiterated my desire to meet.  Of course, Dave does not acknowledge this and he doesn’t say why I refused.  C.J. and the Board were not being open and honest with me.  They would not answer my question about confession and they refused to provide me thorough and accountable answers to so much else. 

[32] I wrote the following to Ken Sande the same day Dave sent this letter to SGM pastors!  I could tell the SGM Board was attempting to frame me but I didn’t know they were about to unveil the Mono Lisa a few hours later.  “Of course, they [the SGM Board] 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.” 

[33] That was Concluding Remarks.  Why?  Because of C.J.’s stubbornness to follow through on his promise and the Board’s unwillingness to require any kind of public confession.  There was also a lot of material left to cover.  That is still the case.  Hundreds and hundreds of pages could be added.

[34] You can’t have a “more thorough confession.”  That’s a contradiction of terms but more importantly, it is another misleading statement.  The facts show C.J.’s response on Dec 16, 2010 was far from thorough. 

[35] Dave makes it sound like they were heroically going out of their way to accommodate me and “do something that seemed important” to me.  “Seemed important?”  Of course it was important and they knew why.  All I was doing was asking C.J. to be a man of his word. 

[36] This is terribly misleading also.  The SGM Board did this in large measure because I was pressing them to hold C.J. accountable to follow through on his promise to provide a thorough response.

[37] This 2½ page response by the SGM Board to my 600 plus pages conveyed no concern for any problems in the movement or with other key individuals in the movement.  It acknowledged no need for a public confession and didn’t address the lack of thoroughness in C.J.’s second confession.  It expressed no concern for Jenny and me and what we’d been through.

[38] This is not true.  Clearly acknowledge?  Not to me.  Not to the CLC pastors.  Not to the SGM pastors.  Not to CLC.  Not to the movement.  The SGM Board has never defined C.J.’s sins let alone made them clear to the public.  Deal with C.J.’s sins?  Really?  By declaring him totally fit for ministry and above reproach a month later on July 13.  The SGM Board has not dealt with C.J.  They’ve coddle him.  They’ve even expressed regret he ever took a leave of absence as President and see that decision as a mistake.  Furthermore, they counseled C.J. to leave Covenant Life Church for Capitol Hill Baptist Church without ever talking to the CLC pastors.  That’s really dealing with C.J. and holding him accountable!  Only C.J. can just pick put and leave his church and pastors without talking to them.  That’s an arrangement no one in the history of SGM has ever been granted. 

[39] This was preposterous and Dave knows it.  Many people have registered concerns for C.J. and the number grows every day.

[40] The SGM Board has yet to bring up even one area from “a number of areas.”  This statement discredited the documents on a wide scale basis without offering any proof.  According to Dave, my version was not only different from others but “dramatically different.”  If so, that should be easy to prove.  But where is the evidence?  There is none.  See Concluding Remarks, pp. 193-198.

[41] I have repeatedly asked to be shown where my “my take on things was dramatically different.”  Except for C.J.’s denials and rebuttals which I included in CR, no one has contended with me.  I am also happy to present my case against C.J. and the SGM Board in presence of all the SGM pastors and let them judge for themselves.  I’d also be glad to have it streamed live on the internet for all the SGM churches.  The SGM Board cannot be trusted to righteously decide C.J.’s future.

[42] This was a libelous comment about my supposed pride.  Per Dave, I had the gall to stand against C.J., the Board and others.  How arrogant!  Again, I’ve repeatedly asked to be corrected with primary source material or other reliable evidence.  None has been produced.  I’ve done my best to write accurately and I am happy to be shown any errors.  When shown, I’ll gladly change my perspective and correct my writings.

[43] I don’t think The Documents are infallible but they are credible, reliable, truthful and fundamentally accurate.  I don’t mind someone discrediting me with facts and evidence but not with sweeping statements which are utterly unsupported here or elsewhere.  That is cowardly and unfair.  As the saying goes, put up or shut up.

[44] I’ve repeatedly asked them to be perfectly honest.  Instead C.J. and the SGM Board have been dishonest on many occasions.  That is one reason I asked them to interact with me in print before we met.  And I believe that is one reason they refused to do so.

[45] “Love?”  You mean like I’ve experienced the past 7 years?  Anyway, I asked C.J. to interact “with honesty and love” in writing.  When he did so, I looked forward to interacting with him in person.  If he really wanted to meet in person, he would have followed through on his word to interact in print.  Even if he didn’t prefer print, what harm was there in writing?  I believe he was he afraid to open, honest and accountable.

[46] Wow, after all that how kind of Dave to acknowledge there were at least “certain points of truth ” 

[47] If Dave were concerned about the truth he would have attached my response to his and Steve’s letter (see CR, pp. 197-198).  I’ve always included “evidence” against me in my writings.  Not Dave.  The same thing occurred again with their October 13 blog post, An update on the adjudication processI asked them to include my statement.  They didn’t even mention it.  You got it.  Sovereign Grace Ministries…the most trusted name in Christendom…fair, balanced and unafraid.

[48] I think Ken now understands why I was unwilling to meet with C.J. until he interacted with me in print.  I wonder if Ken hasn’t been troubled by the actions of C.J., Dave and the Board in recent months.    

[49] Once again this is extremely slanted.  I told C.J. and the SGM Board I would love to meet but they must agree to my two simple conditions.  Dave nowhere states this in his letter.

[50] This is a totally misleading and alarming statement that gives the wrong impression.  See endnote #6 for what I actually told Dave.

[51] I think Dave meant to say “propaganda.”

[52] My documents are not simply about how C.J. sinned against me.  Far from it.  They are about how he sinned against Dave Harvey, Paul Palmer, Bo Lotinsky, Larry Tomczak, Kenny Roberts, Joshua Harris, Grant Layman, Kenneth Maresco, to mention a few.  This doesn’t include his sins against CLC and SGM.  And there are so many other individuals C.J. has sinned against that I’ve not included in The Documents.

[53] Of course, this letter had that very effect because it was so misleading.  In fact, pastors in SGM refused to read The Documents because of this letter from Dave.  Some even sent me hate mail.  Many like Mickey Connolly told their churches not to read them.  In the twisted world of SGM, Dave can write a letter like this one, which is genuinely deceitful and slanderous, while condemning people for reading my documents which are credible and necessary given the spin, favoritism, and obstinacy.    

[54] C.J. and the Board are not looking for vindication?  That’s good to know.  That means this letter from Dave has nothing to do with putting C.J. and the Board in a good light and me in a bad light. 

[55] Of course not.  But wait a minute.  Let’s re-read this letter.  It sure seems like the focus is on me.  Oh well, I guess it’s my paranoia.  And if my memory serves me right, didn’t Dave do a SGM blog post on July 13 where the focus was on me?  If I’m not mistaken, I was totally trashed while C.J. was totally vindicated.  I thought they weren’t concerned about vindication?  Well, who knows?  Along with my paranoia, I must be demented and schizoid and, oh no, vertigo is setting in again!  The room is spinning.  In fact, the whole SGM world is starting to spin.  Help!  If you too feel nauseated and want relief see Sovereign Grace Ministries Board of Directors announcement regarding C.J. Mahaney and read The Documents at for the truth.  Praise God, the dizziness is back under control.

[56] C.J.’s actions have been reactive and due to external pressures.  Never proactive.  Dave’s description of C.J.’s initiative is unfounded.  The real C.J. has confessed very little, left his church, repudiated his pastors, blamed Joshua Harris, refused to walk in the light, lined up support from Christian celebrities, blocked a real evaluation by signing the bogus Adjudication Agreement, is headed to a SGM church other than CLC, and may soon come back as President from which he can continue draw a big salary, write books, get royalties, hit the speaking tour, collect honoraria, tell the world how he has been mistreated and be adored in the Reformed world.    

[57] And coming up with practically nothing.  They’ve had no serious concerns for C.J. 

[58] While I spent far more time writing the documents and trying to persuade them to provide transparent, revealing, and clear answers in preparation for a meeting.

[59] I sure hope the 18 pastors from CLC give an open and honest report of their dealings with C.J. to combat this hype. 

[60] Put yourself in my gallery seat.  Dave’s brush stroke is amazing.  Breathtaking.  Look, he’s putting the final touches on the ubiquitous eyes of Mona Lisa.  The SGM Board can think of nothing more to ask of C.J.  Every possible remedy has been pursued.  Now the portrait is complete.  The Mona Lisa of spin is finished.  Her eyes of deceit follow you everywhere.  Master Harvey, left out the only two things I ever asked for from C.J., Dave, Jeff and Joshua.  But only the most discerning critic notices what is missing in the  painting.  If only C.J. and the Board had agreed a public confession was good and necessary, and if only the Board had been willing to have C.J. provide a thorough response to RRF&D and AFA, reconciliation could have occurred.  But the novice never notice this accent of truth is famously left out of the portrait.  It is marvelous for what it doesn’t include.  In fact, when I re-read my first document, RRF&D, I am sickened by the extraordinary opportunity C.J. missed because he was unwilling to walk in the light with me and the public.  So look at her eyes.  In one is the love of reputation and in the other is self-preservation.  Gaze in awe at Master Harvey’s Mona Lisa of spin.  It is a work for the ages.      

[61] I am grateful for the AoR Group Reconciliation process but it secures absolutely nothing because the findings and results remain strictly confidential and under the control of the SGM Board.  In my case, I was promised a much different process.  That was the opportunity to make an open and thorough case against C.J. and others within SGM to an outside panel of evaluators with the results published online.  It was promised by the old Board and killed by the new Board.  The “sovereign” Board gives and takes away when self-interest is served.

[62] Of course, this is a great way to do damage control and provide talking points.

[63] They should have been appealing to C.J. to humble himself in writing and in public which would have resulted in conciliation and mediation.

[64] What a cruel joke.  The SGM Board reversed themselves and is no longer doing an independent review process.  Furthermore, they send me an Adjudication Agreement that did not allow a process “to evaluate every piece of information relevant to this situation.”  The situation referred to was my documented concerns for C.J. and other key leaders.  The Board purposely confined the scope of the evaluation.  It was limited to C.J.  More deceit.

[65] By defending him at every turn and allowing him to flee his pastors at Covenant Life Church.

[66] That means a lot of “inappropriate” information will be concealed.  I mean kept confidential. 

[67] C.J. and the Board “welcome” input nowadays.  It’s good for public relations.  They have to appear humble and teachable.  But this can be a con.  C.J. would often “welcome” input but then totally disregard it.  It must going from welcoming to following input and not just the stuff you want to hear.  I don’t see evidence of that happening.  They certainly haven’t acted upon any of my input.  They either headed the other direction or welcomed it initially but only to reject it later. 

[68] This must be a typo.  I think Dave meant to say “trash” not “treasure.”  Here’s why.  During the five years following the August 20, 2004 meeting (see RRF&D, pp. 16-28), I endured harsh criticism and rejection by C.J. and those close to him.  For example, Dave told me in August 2007, I did not represent the values of SGM in my preaching, leadership, or character.  And Jeff Purswell told me in January 2008, there was no need for me to teach in the Pastors College any longer (see RRF&D, pp. 122-125).  Dave and Jeff, and other agents like Bob Kauflin and Gene Emerson, spoke and acted on C.J.’s behalf.  I was not treasure.  I was trash.  That’s why I wrote C.J. on June 21, 2010 and said, “I’d love to return to Sovereign Grace Ministries but change must occur in order to restore my trust and confidence in its integrity.  Nor am I currently welcome by you or acceptable to you.  Gene counseled people to force my resignation before any evaluation, Bob has pronounced me unfit for ministry and in need of a lengthy rehabilitation, Dave has forbidden me from visiting all Sovereign Grace churches until I change, and you have said we cannot serve together because of your disagreements with me over doctrine and practice.  I am also reminded of Dave’s words to Jenny and me that I have not represented the values, leadership or doctrine of Sovereign Grace Ministries’ during my years of service.  As a result, a sense of belonging in Sovereign Grace Ministries escapes me.”       

[69] This famous line summed it all up!  Dave’s account was a “faithful narrative.”  My 600 pages of documentation were a “sad tale.”  All the work, all the research, all the patience, all the appeals, all the documentation derided as a sad tale.  I am now accustomed to this kind of ridicule by Dave but to fully appreciate his brilliance, you must contemplate the purposeful contrast.  Dave’s rendition was faithful to the facts.  His story was true and credible.  My rendition was false and spurious.  And my pathetic tale was also a tall tale.  It was both pitiful and false.  This kind of statement revealed Dave’s true state of heart.  One of arrogance and self-righteousness.

[70] Pardon me but here in NC we have a lot of pig farms and this is pure hogwash.  When I resigned from the apostolic team in November 2007, when my resignation as sr. pastor was unscrupulously demanded in June 2009, and when I left SGM in August 2009, nothing said or done conveyed the cherished hope of fellowship restored.  This gets me laughing.  Everything underscored how glad SGM was I had been fired and left the movement.  Those are just the facts.

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