Subscribe by Email

Brent Detwiler's Tweets

Why Sending Out “The Documents” Was Not Slanderous But Necessary (Part 3)

5. The Denial of Sin Problems in Sovereign Grace Ministries

At the end of my first document, “Response Regarding Friendship and Doctrine,” I said the following to C.J.

I’d love to see our friendship restored.  I’d love to see some acknowledgment of wrong-doing.  I’d love to see issues from the past resolved.  I’d love to be in good standing with Sovereign Grace Ministries.  But all of these hopes and desires are very secondary!  Primarily, I hope and desire to see a restoration of integrity, truth telling and justice in Sovereign Grace so there is no lying, spin, manipulation, lording, cover-up, or partiality.  I am concerned for the movement.  Some men have followed sinful aspects of your example and leadership – the kind referenced in this response.  These men have acted deceitfully, judgmentally, unbiblically, and hypocritically.  Their example in turn, has harmed others and been corrosive in its effect.  These things are not pervasive in their lives, your life or the movement but they are serious.  I know you value integrity but when you feel judged or sinned against it is often subterfuged in your life.  When you become resentful, bitter and angry – grace and integrity often get left behind.  These are fueled by the idols of self-preservation and love of reputation.  As the movement has grown, so has temptation and sin.  (RRF&D, p. 128)

 In my second document, “A Final Appeal,” I followed up on these concerns. 

I wrote RRF&D with you in mind.  I did not elaborate on concerns for others.  I purposely limited the scope of my writing because change in those around you must begin with change in you.  By that I mean, there is little hope you can effectively help Dave, Steve, Bob, Gene, et al. apart from personal illumination and reformation.  They are a reflection of you.  (AFA, p. 75)

You refused to address these concerns in writing.  I followed up on June 21 and asked, “Do you believe there is a need for “a restoration of integrity, truth telling and justice in Sovereign Grace so there is no lying, spin, manipulation, lording, cover-up, or partiality?””  You briefly answered on July 2 and said, “Brent, I don’t think Sovereign Grace in general or anyone I know in particular is “lying, covering up, manipulating, lording, etc.”  I found this statement extremely helpful.  It conveyed your perspective with clarity and conviction.  There was no ambiguity or obtuseness, no doubt or reserve, no hemming or hawing.  Your meaning was clear and that was refreshing.  Let me clarify one point.  My concern has been for “some men,” not all men or most men (i.e., the pastors) in the movement.  Those men I am most concerned about, however, are significant leaders whose example and actions have harmed and injured others.  They are numbered among your inner circle and close friends.  Though I carry concerns for the movement, these concerns are grounded in particular concerns for particular individuals.  But in contradistinction, you don’t know anyone who is guilty of duplicity, dishonesty, injustice, lying, spin, manipulation, lording, cover-up, partiality, deceit, sinful judging, unbiblical actions, or hypocrisy.  All these were included under your “etc.” (lit., “and other things” or “and so on”).  This assertion is alarming.  It is a carte blanche dismissal of each and every one of my concerns.  In other words, no one you know has sinned in any of these ways.  Especially not Dave, Bob, Gene, Mickey, Larry M. and Eric K.  This goes to show how far apart we are on the fundamental issues that separate us.  You are totally unconcerned for my main concerns.  I’m afraid we live in different galaxies separated by light years.  I hope this can be remedied in the future. (AFA, p. 124) 

Justice serves alongside righteousness as the “the foundation of his throne” (Psa 89:14; 97:2).  Like love it rejoices when people are 1) treated fairly and 2) afforded due process.  It 3) shuns hypocrisy and 4) despises partiality.  It 5) plays no favorites and 6) shows no bias.  It 7) holds people accountable and 8) presses for truth.  Yet its 9) judgments are equitable and 10) based on evidence.  It 11) does not turn a blind eye to wrong doing.  It 12) hates the manipulation of others and 13) does not cover up iniquity.  It 14) treats all people the same.  It has 15) no double standards.  It is 16) integrity in heart and 17) truth in action. (AFA, p. 163) 

I sent my third document, “Concluding Remarks,” to C.J., Dave, Jeff and Joshua on June 8, 2011.  I also included newly added footnotes to RRF&D and AFA.  In reference to the paragraph above about justice, here is footnote 175 from AFA. 

This 17 part definition of justice sums up my concerns for you and some key leaders in Sovereign Grace Ministries.   This may be the most important paragraph I have written in either document.  But it is of no relevance to you and receives no comment from you.  Why, because you have little awareness of injustice in your life or the lives of leaders you know in Sovereign Grace Ministries.  How can I say this?  What is the basis for such a statement?  Well it’s simple.  At no point in your Dec. 16, 2010 and Mar. 11, 2011 responses to RRF&D and AFA, do you express the slightest degree of concern for injustice (except sinful judging by you).  Should one conclude then that there is no unjust treatment or denial of due process for critics; no hypocrisy or partiality by leaders; no favoritism between leaders towards those who are liked/well-connected or bias against those who are disliked/less influential; no lack of accountability for senior leaders; no indifference to the truth and its application in leaders lives; no sinful judgments of people bringing correction based upon hearsay evidence; no unwillingness to correct fellow leaders for wrong doing; no spin or love of reputation; no cover up, no preferential treatment of leaders based upon position or social status; no reduction in standards for some well-liked/well positioned leaders; and no lack of integrity or honesty in word or action by you and key leaders in your service?  Of course, I realize you wouldn’t rule out in entirety the possibility of these sins, but they are not a concern to you.  As you’ve said before, you don’t know anyone who is guilty of these sins.         

Lastly, here is a summary comment I made at the end of “Concluding Remarks.” 

C.J., I rejoice in the “thirty-fold” fruit that has been born in your life as a result of this ten year process.  I am glad that friends have finally spoken the truth to you in love.  But the most serious issues I’ve brought to your 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.  I do not mean to imply the ministry is corrupt or completely untrustworthy.  It isn’t.  There are many outstanding people of high moral integrity that work for Sovereign Grace Ministries and serve as pastors in Sovereign Grace churches.  But given a certain set of temptations related to the love of reputation and self-preservation, I have no confidence you, or those around you, will walk in the light, be truthful, or handle people properly.  I’ve said this from the beginning. (CR, June 8, 2011, p. 201) 

Three days before I sent out The Documents to the SGM pastors, I wrote the following to C.J., Dave, Jeff and Joshua. 

From: Brent Detwiler

Sent: Sunday, July 03, 2011 1:38 PM

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

Subject: “Am I Qualified?”

…Back to the original subject.  After all this I am supposed to trust Dave, Joshua and Jeff to determine if you are qualified.  I don’t trust them.  They have been partial and biased since August 2004.  In addition, I’ve addressed serious abuses by Dave, Bob, Steve, Kenneth and Gene.  At no point in time, have any of these abuses been acknowledged, let alone addressed.  No one has ever returned to me.  Not so much as an “I’m sorry.”  On countless matters, these men should have beat down my door by now to ask forgiveness.  But not a word.  And please don’t use the excuse of waiting for a final report from the “independent panel of evaluators…”  

Nothing in Response Regarding Friendship & Doctrine (Mar 17, 2010), A Final Appeal (Oct 8, 2010), Concluding Remarks (Jun 8, 2011), The Untold Story (Jun 25, 2011) or other correspondence caused C.J. or the SGM Board to acknowledge any of the sin problems enumerated above.  They don’t exist in their worldview of SGM.  C.J. continues to maintain that no one he knows is guilty of duplicity, dishonesty, injustice, lying, spin, manipulation, lording, cover-up, partiality, deceit, sinful judging, unbiblical actions, or hypocrisy.  He also maintains his own innocence in all these respects except for sinful judging and one occasion of hypocrisy.  

There is a fourth step in Matthew 18:15-17 that has consequences beyond the church.  When the third step is successful the matter remains confidential among church members.  If, however, the sinner does not listen to the church the matter goes beyond the church and the world becomes aware of the church’s action against the sinning member.  Additional discipline is introduced.  Verse 17 says, “If he refuses to listen to them [two or three witnesses], tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”  The person is put outside the church.  Christian fellowship is cut off.  He is treated as though an unbeliever and the world becomes aware of this action.  It is no longer confined to the church. 

Leaders are called to a higher and stricter standard (James 3:1).  When the President of Sovereign Grace Ministries and his Board of Directors refuse to acknowledge any of these sins problems after many proofs and appeals from many people over many years; does it not become necessary to inform the leaders throughout the movement?  This was another reason factoring into my decision to send out The Documents on July 6 to the SGM pastors.  You can call it slander but I think it was time to stop covering up C.J. sins since he was unwilling to confess his sins and deal with leaders in his ranks.  There were systemic problems in SGM going unadressed.  The heavy handed blog post of Dave Harvey and the SGM Board on July 13 only proved to be another example of the sin problems they deny.  After I sent out The Documents, they immediately attacked me with false charges and commended C.J.  They still fail to realize that a lot of people have been harmed and mistreated in SGM and it is not due to bad polity.  It is due to bad character and it starts at the top.       


PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend