Sunday, January 6, 2008

Sovereign Grace Ministries

Sovereign Grace Ministries (SG) is a family of churches of the charismatic baptists led by C. J. Maheney, with a reformed theology. That is a reformed baptist outlook that is on the far right but not outside the American Christian mainstream. Pictured at the right is the well known "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" author Joshua Harris, who now leads Covenant Life Church, a flagship church for Sovereign Grace. Recently a discussion board by the name of Sovereign Grace Uncensored has been founded which aims to critique the church without the censorship which the blog maintainer (who goes by krismum7). During a thread Your Questions and Concerns a point was raised about church discipline and one of the posters recommended your humble author. So During the discussion your author actually found himself arguing that he saw no evidence that SG was anything but quite open and upfront that they practiced church discipline and that they expected their discipline to be respected by other churches. I agreed to do an analysis of a church covenant and the one currently pastored by Joshua Harris (hence the choice of pictures).

For readers with no association with the SG the main point of interest is that this covenant was written after the Norman Hancock ruling and thus explicitly comes into compliance with the law in a way that many Southern Baptist churches have not done yet. It also presents an opportunity to teach how one should read through one of these agreements in some detail and read between the lines.

Appendix C which is referred to several times in the document, the "Statement on Church Discipline"
As members of Covenant Life Church we take seriously our responsibility to “restore” members who fail to allow God to discipline them personally for their sins. This means that beginning with private confrontation and, if necessary, leading to public rebuke, we seek to help one another overcome any refusal to repent of those words and actions that the Bible clearly defines as sin. This includes not only sinful words and behavior, but also refusal to turn from heretical doctrine.
Jesus outlined a process for addressing another believer’s sin in Matthew 18:15-17.5 As a church we agree that this is the way for us to approach someone who refuses to appropriate God’s grace for change.
(Appendix C)
Two points worth mentioning:
  1. The church does punish heresy but as indicated below they don't have mechanisms for a heresy trial. Many of the members on SGUncensored complained of the repressive atmosphere regarding teachings and the origin of the problem is here.
  2. Everyone uses the "Matthew 18 process" this is standard and is covered in depth on my walk throughs section.
The document then goes on to describe parts 1 and 2 of Matthew 18. From here there is another clause worth discussing in detail:

When the church begins to formally discipline a member, the church’s pastors inquire with the individual member in question to confirm fact and to appeal for change. If change is not forthcoming, the pastors will inform the church of the member and his sin, urging members to contact the erring member and appeal for repentance. During this time, the member under discipline may not participate in the Lord’s Supper or attend meetings for the purpose of fellowship. Instead, his participation with members should revolve around his need for change. If, after a reasonable period of appeal, no repentance if forthcoming, the pastors will inform the church again, this time announcing that they must revoke membership and that the church must now treat the unrepentant person as they treat unbelievers: in other words, when they interact with this person they should not have “fellowship” as the Bible defines it, but they should appeal for the former member to put his faith in Jesus’ work on the cross for him and turn from his sin.
The Matthew 18 process is quite vague as it names 5 steps yet there is a tradition of a 4 step process:
  1. Individual confrontation
  2. Confrontation by 2 or 3 others
  3. Notification of the church
  4. Suspension of the Lord's supper
  5. Excommunication
Every church has the problem of exactly which steps to combine (interesting the Lutherans do actually make it a 5 step process). In the case of SG steps 3 and 4 are combined which is not unusual. The other common alternative to combine steps 4 and 5 and identify excommunication with suspension from the supper. These two positions have quite different idealogies. Combining 3&4 generally sees the process as progressing through ever increases circles of authority:
  1. Step 1 = an individual Christian, usually a 1st party to the events
  2. Step 2 = a small group of Christians, that is neutral 3rd parties
  3. Step 3,4 = Church leadership
  4. Step 5 = The church session which empowers the leadership
Conversely those that combine 4&5 have an ideology of levels of proof:
  1. Step 1 = An individual makes an accusation (like a complaint to the police)
  2. Step 2 = The accusation has grounds and is of the sort the church address (D.A files)
  3. Step 3 = The accusation has been confirmed by evidence (person is found guilty)
  4. Step 4, 5 = Punishment and then increasing punishment (think probation and then jail after a probation violation).
Both systems are reasonable and backed by centuries of tradition. However both systems have a concern with due process. In the 3&4 system it occurs with a series of very different bodies each examining the case. In the 4&5 system it occurs mainly in Step 3, the trial. To use a 4&5 system without a trial procedure and moreover expect the full session to enforce punishment sounds, quite frankly, like cultic behavior unworthy of a church or organization with close ties to SBC leadership.

Now there does appear to be some sort of a clause here where the leadership meets to "confirm fact" however:
  • What if they don't receive confirmation but they have strong evidence?
  • What if they receive partial confirmation?
  • What if they receive confirmation but there is disagreement on interpretation of fact?
  • What is there is disagreement on law?
  • What is there are complex extenuating circumstances and thus one party sees the acts as situational?
None of this is addressed. A policy like this begs for abuse. I should however mention so far no evidence has been presented as to whether this is an error (an act of ignorance) or a deliberate attempt to create a cultic atmosphere (an act of malice). I will be inviting SG to comment and my hope would be that I am misunderstanding the document or that there is another document which comments in much more detail on these questions, and what is above is a gross simplification of the process.

In the membership agreement the membership specifically agrees to uphold this process, in particular they waive a right to review cases before engaging in corporate punishment:

I will watch out for church members and admonish anyone whose practice of sin requires it. If one of our number requires corporate discipline, I will support the efforts and direction of the church, as led by its pastors, to call that member to repent of his sins. I agree with the church’s doctrine and practice of church discipline. (Appendix A: Membership Agreement)
Now as mentioned above they are in compliance with the law:
At times a member may seek to withdraw from the church to avoid church discipline and its consequences. Just as a good shepherd will go after a sheep that has wandered from the flock (Matt. 18:12-14; Ezek. 34:4,8,16), so shall the pastors and members of this church seek to restore a wandering member to the Lord through biblical discipline. Therefore, discipline may be instituted or continued either before or after a member seeks to withdraw from membership if the Board of Governing Pastors determines that such discipline may serve to guard and preserve the honor of God, protect the purity of the church, or restore the wandering member to the Lord. While the church cannot force a withdrawing member to remain in this congregation, the church has the right and the responsibility to encourage restoration, to bring the disciplinary process to an orderly conclusion, and to make a final determination as to the person’s membership status at the time withdrawal is sought or acknowledged. In doing so, the Board of Governing Pastors, at its discretion, may temporarily suspend further disciplinary proceedings, dismiss any or all charges pending against the accused, or proceed with discipline and pronounce an appropriate censure.
After having blasted them for the above I should mention that this passage is fully compliant with the law, and I applaud SG for that (as I did above). It acknowledges that church membership is a voluntary association which can terminated at will by the member. The church most certainly does have the right to determine status of an exiting member (i.e. they can excommunicate a member who wishes to leave under discipline) but they cannot continue a disciplinary process against their consent to remain a member. If you are an SG member attempting to leave (How to leave a church) addresses your issues, if you want to examine your options (including information on how to circumvent and undermine a disciplinary process, how to survive discipline)

The final section was the point of inquest:
If a member leaves the church while he is under the scrutiny of the disciplinary process or while a censure against him is still in effect, and if the Board of Governing Pastors learns that he is attending another church, the Board may inform that church that the person is currently under church discipline and may ask that church to encourage the accused to repent of his sin and to be restored to the Lord and to any people whom he has offended. Such communications enhance the possibility that a person may finally repent of his sin, and, at the same time, serve to warn the other church to be on guard against the harm that the accused might do to their members (see Matt. 18:12-14; Rom. 16:17; 1 Cor. 5:1-13; 2 Thess. 3:6-14; 2 Tim. 1:15; 2:16-18; 4:9, 14-15; 3 John 9-10).
Once the pastors make a sin publicly known, they commit as well to inform the church of repentance and restoration to fellowship as appropriate to the situation and the good of the church.
Christians who attend Covenant Life Church and have been excluded from fellowship from another church will not be allowed to participate in fellowship in Covenant Life unless they repent of their sins and make confession and restitution with their former church or the pastors of Covenant Life are able to determine that the former church did not apply church discipline according to Scripture.
Basically what this says is that SG respects the discipline of churches provided they would have acted similarly (that is they reserve appellate capacity) and at the same time expect other churches to uphold their excommunications. They also specifically commit to contacting other church to facilitate this. I'm not sure how to expand on my debating point here, SG frankly couldn't be more clear.

So in answer to, "As much as I admired and respected our SGM pastor, would I really want him (or, for that matter, any group of human authorities) to be able to dictate, for the rest of my life, the conditions of my church fellowship ANYWHERE?" that is precisely what this membership agreement asserts. Moreover this is not the only place they assert it, as I mentioned in the discussion on SGUncensored, one of if not the leader in the SBC for bring back pre civil war discipline is Mike Dever of 9Marks and Maheney wrote on the back cover that, "This is the best book I have read on this topic of critical importance.” Dever is also a founder of the "four friends" along with people like McArthur who have been preaching and practicing this sort of discipline for decades.

I find it curious that the SG membership didn't understand this position. Hopefully this point gets addressed in the discussion. And I will welcome SG leadership to comment on the above, in particular the complete lack of due process which neither Dever nor McArthur supports. There is no better way to undermine Church discipline then to create excommunications which the membership does not support but is required to uphold. History is replete with examples of the damage of invalid excommunications(see our QE series for examples). For a person looking to leave the church, a disagreement with these clauses in the membership agreement strike me as a very defensible reason for your letter of disaffiliation.

See also a later article on methodology of abuse.

56 comments:

Krismum7 said...

Thanks much, CD-Host! This is an excellent, clear-cut analysis.

Anonymous said...

What would you recommend that a person do who was not a member of a SG church but who had gone through the membership class who later decided that they did not agree with SG doctrines and/or theology? Nothing was signed.

CD-Host said...

Anonymous --

It would be helpful if you picked a fake name since there is likely to be more than one anonymous and this conversation may go more rounds. If there isn't any discipline then you might ask if they want to be involved in the transfer process or not. You may very well be able to leave under very good terms. If there is a disciplinary process started then I have a defense on exactly this topic: Contest Jurisdiction

jul said...

Just a little side note, I'm quite sure that SGM is not affiliatied with the Southern Baptists, though C.J. is friends with Al Mohler...you might want to double check that point.

CD-Host said...

Jul --

Thank you very much for the correction! I verified and you are correct, I was wrong. I've changed the post to reflect these changes. BTW your blog talks a lot about charasmatic Christianity and grace. I assume you left the SG?

jul said...

yes we did about a year and a half ago. if you scroll down on the left hand side you can find a list of some posts that chronicles our departure a little. I also write quite a bit about legalism vs. grace and also how we came to change our view of the doctrine of indwelling sin as taught by SGM. we were pretty involved for 8 or 9 years and were actually planning to go to the pastor's college but God had different plans!

Anonymous said...

Who disciplines the pastors and elders?

CD-Host said...

Anonymous --

I can understand not wanting to log in but can you please sign with a handle (like anon123) It makes it easier to keep track of threads and know if you are the same anonymous as above for example.

Anyway, I don't understand the context of the question. Do you mean in SG, or in a 3&4 church or in a 4&5 church or...?

Anonymous said...

You stated that SGM is part of the charismatic "Baptist church." Where did you get the information that Reformed Theology stems from the Baptist church? I would not have thought so.

CD-Host said...

Anonymous --

There are Reformed baptists and Arminian baptists. Historically reformed theology most certainly did not develop among the baptists but once developed many baptists groups adopted it during the 16th century. The London confession is the best known Reformed Baptists statement of faith.

In terms of SGM their statement is quite explicit:
Water baptism is intended only for the individual who has received the saving benefits of Christ’s atoning work and become his disciple. Therefore, in obedience to Christ’s command and as a testimony to God, the Church, oneself, and the world, a believer should be immersed in water in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Water baptism is a visual demonstration of a person’s union with Christ in the likeness of his death and resurrection. It signifies that his former way of life has been put to death, and vividly depicts a person’s release from the mastery of sin.

As with water baptism, the Lord’s Supper is to be observed only by those who have become genuine followers of Christ. This ordinance symbolizes the breaking of Christ’s body and the shedding of his blood on our behalf, and is to be observed repeatedly throughout the Christian life as a sign of continued participation in the atoning benefits of Christ’s death. As we partake of the Lord’s Supper with an attitude of faith and self-examination, we remember and proclaim the death of Christ, receive spiritual nourishment for our souls, and signify our unity with other members of Christ’s body.
(from SGM statement of faith).

Anonymous said...

Our family was kicked out of one of these churches many years ago.

They used extra-biblical reasoning.

The main issue was disagreement over parenting practices.

There is serious due process issues involving these churches and legalism is rampant.

Please take complaints seriously.

CD-Host said...

Anonymous --

This is a church with many many complaints and series procedural issues. I have two long posts on them, this one and a later one (which I just linked the main article to). So yes I do take it seriously. My whole point in this article is that they have designed their discipline system to allow for spiritual abuse, and they have designed their culture to support and encourage it.

In terms of your specific case, would you be interested in being more detailed? That is coming forward?

Anonymous said...

Yes, the institutionalized abuse is what we experienced. We noticed a distinction between "members," and "leaders," that wasn't Biblical. "Members," had no other option but to submit to discipline while "leaders," were given a pass. Every time. Aside from the psychological harm done, spiritually, you were not encouraged to think for yourself because the esteemed leaders were so much wiser.

I have multiple personal examples of the tattling phenomonon.

What happened to us happened over ten years ago, I just heard there was a major split (or a split about to happen.) I did a little google search and found this blog.

I simply cannot believe this has continued and metastasized this long.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and to answer your question, yes.

I am Debra Baker and we were kicked out of the Philadelphia church because we didn't agree with the church's parenting philosophy.

We had been members for about ten years.

We were told not to discuss our views with others in the church. We are the parents of eight children who are turning out pretty well so people generally ask us for our opinions.

We were accused of being prideful and unteachable.

I was stunned and argued that our differences did not rise to the level of theological or doctrinal issues, but the pastors decided that, for example, scheduled feedings were Biblical and nursing on cue was unBiblical.

We had our membership revoked and were not allowed to attend meetings, even unofficial gatherings in people's private homes.

As others have noted, we had become isolated with all of our and our children's friends from the church. I had hoped that what we experienced was extreme and isolated, but it seems the rule rather than an exception.

I am not at all shy about discussing my experiences because enough time has passed and they did me a backwards favor by cutting me loose from the chains of their oppressive system.

CD-Host said...

Debra --

First off thank you so much for coming forward. That's very brave of you! I'm sorry for what happened and thank you for filling in some blanks. And yes what happened to you is not exceptional and is still going on quite enthusiastically.

I'd like to ask some follow up questions if that is OK just to help to get a better handle. We can take this to email at any point or stop at any point you want. The reason I'm doing this is to make sure I understand the facts.

It sounds like there are three charges here:

a) Disobedience, "we didn't agree with the church's parenting philosophy... we were told not to discuss our views with others in the church." and you did.

b) Being prideful

c) Being unteachable (I'm not exactly sure what that means).

1) Just to clarify when you were excommunicated where those the 3 charges or just the last 2 or something else?

2) Did they use any sort of more precise phrases than what's above. For example did they consider the parenting to be a ministry and since it was occurring in church an unauthorized ministry...?

3) What acts tied to which charges? For example on pride if they are asserting you have unrepentant pride, they would need statements like you delighting in another family's failures in parenting to charge you. So where there acts associated with the charges?

4) Here is the big one. What were the people and steps taken? IN other words who did the 1,2,3rd and 4th steps in the Matt 18 process.

5) Do you have any paper work from the process?

6) Did you leave the faith afterwards, find another church, or what exactly happened?

7) Have they contacted you since?

Thanks in advance,
I know this is painful but it helps when people step forward to talk about their cases to discredit the church so that others don't have to go through the same abuse.

Anonymous said...

http://www.ezzo.info/Aney/crjparttwo.pdf

This will explain a lot.

We were interviewed for a previous article, the pastors of the church misrepresented the truth, and we had sufficient documentation to defend ourselves.

I may have the letters, but I may have tossed them when I finally felt free of the pain I suffered as a result of this drama. It took many years, but I'm not emotionally invested in the church and I feel bad for the people (especially the women and children,) who are still there.

I lost track of the time and must get my daughter off to school, but I'll return later on today and answer any questions I have.

You asked if they contacted us afterward, do I have a story to tell!

Anonymous said...

Oh, forgot to add, the article is long, scroll down to "released from membership," to read about us.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I got caught up in my daughter's graduation and graduation party and didn't have time until now to respond.

I will cut and paste your questions.

1) Just to clarify when you were excommunicated where those the 3 charges or just the last 2 or something else?

We were telling people that we were excommunicated but the old church took issue with this because we didn't have any official due process. They say they withdrew our membership and banned us from formal and informal church gatherings. We were never given any official charges. I sort of wish I had so I could defend myself.

2) Did they use any sort of more precise phrases than what's above. For example did they consider the parenting to be a ministry and since it was occurring in church an unauthorized ministry...?

They elevated their parenting teaching to docrtine. This was never articulated until we were in a meeting with the pastors and I said something like, "We can agree to disagree because this isn't a major doctrinal issue." To which the pasters stated that they considered it docrtine.

I was shocked to say the least.

We weren't the only ones that were commanded not to discuss parenting techniques or viewpoints. There was another family with lovely well-behaved children whose parents did not spank because the parents had been subjected to abuse when they were children. This family was not permitted to share their views about spanking or even make note of the fact that they didn't spank because this was seen as some sort of threat against the church teachings.

3) What acts tied to which charges? For example on pride if they are asserting you have unrepentant pride, they would need statements like you delighting in another family's failures in parenting to charge you. So where there acts associated with the charges?

They weren't able to support their position with facts. They accused me of talking with others in the nursing mother's room and monopolizing the conversation. Sometimes, I wax long when I warm up to one of my favorite topics of conversation, but I respect other viewpoints.

4) Here is the big one. What were the people and steps taken? IN other words who did the 1,2,3rd and 4th steps in the Matt 18 process.

There was no Matthew 18 sort of due process. The way things worked was a leader would speak correction into a member's life and the member was to humbly accept and embrace the leader's point of view. If you didn't follow the procedure, you would be pestered by other people until you rose to the expectations of leadership. Any variance from that path was regarded as prideful, unteachable, or something similar.

5) Do you have any paper work from the process?

I think the letters are collecting dust in storage.

6) Did you leave the faith afterwards, find another church, or what exactly happened?

We found a more grace-oriented church. We did not leave the faith. We are very wary of church leadership, however, and we are not as willing to be transparent.

7) Have they contacted you since?

Oh, yes. About six months after we were booted out of the church, one of the pastors called because we were being interviewed for an article. The journalist wanted to contact the church to get their perspective. The pastor told my husband that we weren't allowed to discuss the issue with the press.

We were stunned that this pastor had the audacity to tell us what we could or couldn't do after he robbed us of spiritual leadership. My husband responded by saying as much. The same pastor also cursed our marriage by predicting that we wouldn't last another ten years. This was well over ten years ago and we remain happily married.

"hanks in advance,
I know this is painful but it helps when people step forward to talk about their cases to discredit the church so that others don't have to go through the same abuse."

Sorry I wasn't more timely. My fifth born, Jeanette, graduated with honors and we have been somewhat occupied. We had another daughter graduate from medical school earlier this month, so June has been quite an eventful month for our family.

I also hope this will help spare others of a similar experience.

CD-Host said...

Debra --

Thank you for the Q&A and the articles! I wanted to give you a chance to finish. Now I'll talk. First off I'm big opponent of Ezzo as well, he preaches bad parenting at the very least and arguably child abuse. While my personal opinion may not count for anything but I applaud you strongly for publicly attacking Ezzo's teaching! Great job!

Now onto discipline, I have some follow up questions.

We were telling people that we were excommunicated but the old church took issue with this because we didn't have any official due process. They say they withdrew our membership and banned us from formal and informal church gatherings. We were never given any official charges. I sort of wish I had so I could defend myself.

Let me clarify here.

(1) Do they believe they "dropped you from the rolls" without you objecting or with you objecting?

(2) Do they agree you were banned from functions?

A church which withdraws your membership and bans you is excommunicating you. Not calling it an excommunication is just another violation on their part.

They elevated their parenting teaching to docrtine. This was never articulated until we were in a meeting with the pastors and I said something like, "We can agree to disagree because this isn't a major doctrinal issue." To which the pasters stated that they considered it docrtine.

So they asserted that Ezzo was a matter of doctrine not just a matter of interpretation. That's a clear cut heresy incidentally on the pastor's part. Would you be willing to give me his name. I'd like to invite him to respond to this / explain himself. I think this is worth its own thread.

This family was not permitted to share their views about spanking or even make note of the fact that they didn't spank because this was seen as some sort of threat against the church teachings.

Would the other family confirm that? Again that means they are treating spanking as a matter of doctrine, and refusal to spank as a heresy. I'm speechless. This guy could and should his ordination. SGM never ceases to amaze me in how far they step outside the bounds, given how well respected Mahaney is.

There was no Matthew 18 sort of due process. The way things worked was a leader would speak correction into a member's life and the member was to humbly accept and embrace the leader's point of view. If you didn't follow the procedure, you would be pestered by other people until you rose to the expectations of leadership. Any variance from that path was regarded as prideful, unteachable, or something similar.

Slow down a bit here. Pastors talks to you. You disagree. Pastor gets another group of people to talk to you. Who was in this group? How was this group chosen? If you objected to the makeup of the group then what?

Now lets assume the small group doesn't work. There is probably a larger group and/or more influential group. Who is in that group, how are they chosen?

And in your particular case what was the reaction to other people when Ezzo was raised to a matter essential faith or practice? Did they agree, or agree that it was within the pastor's scope of authority over you or...?

Oh, yes. About six months after we were booted out of the church, one of the pastors called because we were being interviewed for an article. The journalist wanted to contact the church to get their perspective. The pastor told my husband that we weren't allowed to discuss the issue with the press.

We were stunned that this pastor had the audacity to tell us what we could or couldn't do after he robbed us of spiritual leadership. My husband responded by saying as much. The same pastor also cursed our marriage by predicting that we wouldn't last another ten years. This was well over ten years ago and we remain happily married.


OK now let me just repeat this back to make sure I understand it. The pastor believed even though you had been erased that you still under his authority? Where did he believe he got this authority from? Is this the same pastor?

Now as for curses. Do SGMers actually believe they have the power to effectively curse or was this unique to the pastor? You are the first person to mention this so I'm trying to get clarification here.


Thank again Debra. I definitely think this is worth an article, if you are game. I'd need to contact the pastor involved but, wow. If half of what you are saying is provable this is a real scandal for SGM. A clear cut documented case of gross abuse. Thank you.

Blessings,
CD-Host

Anonymous said...

I am a bit hesitant to bring up these issues as they are old. To be honest, there is a lot of unrest at my old church and I was curious to see what was going on without asking anyone who was still going to church there so I did a google search and found your blog.

Today is Father's Day and I want to bless dh (he did give me eight kids, after all,) so I won't have available time, but I'll look for the correspondance that would verify some of what I said. Two pastors and several small group leaders were involved. The pastor that cursed our marriage and called up dh is no longer in leadership because their son rebelled (!) but the other one is in a leadership position above the grade of Pastor.

As I said, I'm a bit sensitive because they're going through something over there and I don't want to involve myself in even a small way.

CD-Host said...

Debra --

OK no problem on not going forward. Can you answer the other questions though. I'm still trying to the mechanism by which large groups of people came to believe that Ezzo is a matter of fundamental doctrine and you got illicitly dropped over it.

I Kissed SGM Goodbye said...

It doesn't surprise me that "something is going on over there" - I can tell you what it is, the Lord is blowing the lid off all this authoritarian abuse and shepherding going on in sovereign grace churches and people are starting to come out of the woodwork and talk about their experiences. They are seeing a pattern of behaviors, accusations, etc.

Debra, I left my SGM church two months ago (April 2008) and was accused of the SAME things you were. It is nothing new, and it hasn't changed. Things are about to get really interesting in the "reformed world" when people like Mohler, Dever, Piper become aware of the abuse going on and what former SGM members are saying about dear ol' CJ and his family of churches. You can't ignore hundreds and hundreds of people hurt, and what happened to them as being identical, or darn near close, to each other's experiences. It's truly amazing.

katiekind said...

I happen to know Debra from internet discussions about the Ezzo issue, so in case she doesn't return to the discussion, I can point you to two Christian Research Journal articles that give quite a few details about her situation and in the extensive footnotes of the article, there may be some verifying documentation such as letters and names.

More than a Parenting Ministry:
http://www.equip.org/dg233

The follow up article contains even more, having been written after Gary Ezzo complained that the first article was the product of biased authors twisting the truth.

A Matter of Bias?
http://www.equip.org/dg234

Use your browser's "Find" tool because the articles and footnotes are extensive.

CD-Host said...

Katie --

Welcome and thanks for joining in. Do you know the details of Debra's case first hand or just from her years after leaving SGM? Have you heard any SGM people essentially agree with her recount of events or are there any boards where discussions between SGM members (who know first hand what happened) and Debra are available?

I'm 100% on your side that Ezzo is dangerous. The question I'm looking at was does Debra constitute an absolutely clear cut irrefutable case of church abuse at SGM. It starting to sound very much like it, and I'd like some verifying information if possible.

katiekind said...

My knowledge only comes from what Debra has said, and from reading those articles. Here is a section from "A Matter of Bias," the Christian Research Journal's follow-up article about Growing Families International (referred to as GFI in the quote below -- GFI is Ezzo's organization). The article was written in order to demonstrate that the original article was based on extensive primary-source research, and was not, as Ezzo alleged, arising from bias at CRI due to allegiance to some other way of parenting than Ezzo teaches. (CRI is Hank Hanegraaf's organization...Christian Research Journal is their publication.)

The author of the article cites letters from church leaders and a church financial statement which are noted as numbered footnotes.

-------------

"As an example of division associated with GFI, our original article stated that Debra and Pat Baker were involuntarily released from membership and even barred from unofficial church functions after voicing concerns about PFP at Covenant Fellowship of Philadelphia (CFOP) (11).

GFI challenged this statement, noting that the Bakers had not responded to a letter of concern sent to them from CFOP in a timely manner. GFI stated, CFOP did what many churches do in such cases, drop non-attenders from their membership roles.46

The Bakers contradict GFIs implication. They insist they attended church every Sunday during the months preceding their being released from membership.47 Financial records from the church itself demonstrate that they had consistently given to the church during that period.48

Furthermore, the very letter that GFI selectively quotes from makes it clear the church action was based on the Bakers disagreement with the church's teaching on the family, which included teaching from PFP: "We have released you from membership at Covenant Fellowship. The pastor's philosophy on family life represents many fundamental differences which we will aggressively teach in the future. Wisdom would dictate that you need a church home which supports rather than challenges your strong opinions."49

Finally, while the Bakers had indeed failed to respond to a letter of concern from the church in a timely manner, they also explained and apologized for their late response, reiterated their respect for the church leadership and their desire to continue in membership at the church, and asked the church to reconsider its decision.50 The church replied within two days, refusing to reverse its decision. Later they sent the Bakers a letter barring them from even unofficial church meetings.51

The Journal statement was accurate and based on written documentation from both of the primary sources the Bakers and CFOP. "

The footnotes numbered above refer to a Donor History from the church, two letters from church leaders (whose names are provided in the citation, by the way) to the Bakers and one letter from the Bakers to the church.

I don't know if that helps or is of interest.

CD-Host said...

Katie --

Thank you for the information! When I had read Debra's letters initial I had read the footnotes but forgot the names where there.

For lurkers, the footnotes point to:

Dave Harvey,Alan Redrup and Andy Farmer of Covenant Fellowship of Pennsylvania. Misters Harvey and Farmer are still with the church.

Well I'll see if they have anything else and otherwise I'll write this up. I have a when, who and at least this point a sourced why. An excommunication on the grounds of rejecting the teachings of Ezzo is absolutely amazing. And assuming the quotes are accurate SGM is essentially asserting that a ban from church can occur as part of an erasure.

I'd still like to know more about the cursing issue. A belief that pastors are empowered to cast curses is highly unusual among Christians. Even among those that do they often see Romans 12:14 and Matt 5:44 as forbidding it.

Do you happen to know anything more about this? Also do you have any insight into why the church would be taking such a strong pro Ezzo, pro spanking position?

Thanks for your help,
CD-Host

katiekind said...

No, I don't know why. Keep in mind that this happened quite awhile ago--the dates on those documents are 1993--15 years now.

At that time, the Ezzos' stock was very high--and rising--they were then members in good standing at a solid, well-known church, and there had been little public criticism. The first national article to wave any red flags came out in August of 1993.

That could account for the uncritical acceptance of any particular curriculum by a church. Church leaders at that time were only likely to have heard rave reviews.

Additionally, if the church had authoritarian leanings, or IF the church placed a high priority on values like orderliness, self-discipline, and control, then it might especially gravitate to promoting a parenting curriculum that likewise features a lot of control and promises to impart order and self-discipline.

CD-Host said...

Debra / Katie -- Well I contacted them a few days ago since at this point the names came from a public document and as is usually for SGM absolutely no response. Debra given the public information I think I will post on this at some point since as I mentioned during this thread their actions here are clear cut heresy from SGM regarding Ezzo, and a clear cut violation of acceptable church discipline in your case. I've offered them a chance to explain and they haven't taken me up on it.

So is there anything else you would like in or anything you want to make sure is out?

Anonymous said...

This is Debra Baker.

Quote from cd-host, "I'd still like to know more about the cursing issue. A belief that pastors are empowered to cast curses is highly unusual among Christians. Even among those that do they often see Romans 12:14 and Matt 5:44 as forbidding it."

The person involved with this was Alan Redrup, apparently no longer in a pastoral position in the church because, according to rumor, his children rebelled by going to another church. I honestly do not know any more or more reliable details.

During one of our meetings in which our parenting style was being roundly criticized, we were told our marriage wouldn't last ten years because we didn't follow Ezzo's parent-centered parenting. It was phrased in a way that suggested our marriage was doomed unless we adopted a parent-centered approach. To be honest, we were under a lot of strain at that period of time because I was not able to be sufficiently submissive and dh was not able to be an adequate leader-controller. Also, we had overcome a lot that would bode ill for the longevity of a marriage (we had our first child when we were in our teens and we had endured a lot of poverty.) We didn't need a pastor telling us our marriage was cursed because we did't go out on date nights when we had children in the infant stage.

Yo be fair, he didn't curse it witch-style (I'm not honestly sure what that looks like.)

This spring, we celebrated 28 years of marriage.

Anonymous said...

This is Debra Baker.

Quote from cd-host, "I'd still like to know more about the cursing issue. A belief that pastors are empowered to cast curses is highly unusual among Christians. Even among those that do they often see Romans 12:14 and Matt 5:44 as forbidding it."

The person involved with this was Alan Redrup, apparently no longer in a pastoral position in the church because, according to rumor, his children rebelled by going to another church. I honestly do not know any more or more reliable details.

During one of our meetings in which our parenting style was being roundly criticized, we were told our marriage wouldn't last ten years because we didn't follow Ezzo's parent-centered parenting. It was phrased in a way that suggested our marriage was doomed unless we adopted a parent-centered approach. To be honest, we were under a lot of strain at that period of time because I was not able to be sufficiently submissive and dh was not able to be an adequate leader-controller. Also, we had overcome a lot that would bode ill for the longevity of a marriage (we had our first child when we were in our teens and we had endured a lot of poverty.) We didn't need a pastor telling us our marriage was cursed because we did't go out on date nights when we had children in the infant stage.

Yo be fair, he didn't curse it witch-style (I'm not honestly sure what that looks like.)

This spring, we celebrated 28 years of marriage.

CD-Host said...

Debra --

The difference between a curse and a prediction is the active agent:

i.e.

prediction -- If you take your cows to Jane's field I think they'll die.

curse -- If you take your cows to Jane's field, I hope they die.
-- Since you have taken your cows to Jane's field, may they die.

As for the 28 congratulations!

Anonymous said...

I can appreciate the difference although it felt pretty darn bad at the time.

CD-Host said...

Debra --

Just so I'm clear what the last comment meant. It wasn't actually a curse in that sense, it was a prediction. I read you as saying he was being a rude jerk but didn't actually cross the line into cursing? Is that correct?

Anonymous said...

In spite of everything, he is a Christian man and he didn't curse me in the true sense of the word.

He was, however, not particularly kind to my husband and me at that time. We (the pastors and me as opposed to dh and me,) had serious disagreements with regard to the treatment of infant children. That particular pastor bought into the Ezzo teaching that instructed parents to make sure their infants (from the newborn period on,) knew that the husband-wife relationship took priority over the parent-child relationship.

We, on the other hand, believe that the best way for parents to model "other-centeredness" was to actually defer to the needs of others especially helpless new babies. As children grow older and more independent, they learn how to be unselfish.

To suggest our marriage wouldn't last ten years because we parented our children differently was a low blow.

At this time, our children are older and we are enjoying one another, I think more so because we waited so long to get to this point.

CD-Host said...

Debra --

Trust me I agree with you in terms of philosophy. Both my wife and I, happily married for about 1/2 as long as you have been, put our daughter first. I think he's absolutely 100% wrong in his parenting philosophy. I also am sorry he said something hurtful. The reason I'm trying to clarify is one thing is a clear cut abuse of scriptural authority sin the other is being unpleasant. Thanks for clarifying this for me!

Anonymous said...

I understand.

I'm also fairly relaxed and it takes a lot to offend me. If you have additional questions, please feel free to ask.

Anonymous said...

I've been scanning these posts as a result of a search gone off the original path. :) I can't help but comment.
We have been part of SGM for 21 years. As in any movement or affiliation (or even denomination) of churches, no church is the same, and no group of leaders is perfect. The reason we have chosen joyfully to remain in SG is because every issue we have ever brought up with leadership (three different churches, mind you) has been graciously, thoughtfully, prayerfully, and scripturally addressed.
We did not check our brains at the door. My husband studied theology in graduate school and maintains a working knowledge and growing understanding of evaluating Scripture carefully and exegetically (with more sources than just SG souces).

Over time, SG tendencies toward legalism in certain areas have certainly occurred, yet they have been adjusted and brought into balance. The time-table for these adjustments may not have been as quick as they should have been, but then, we are dealing with mere humans.

We would not be surprised to see more "imbalances" occur over time, but would be even more surprised to see any unscriptural imbalances unaddressed by SG leadership.

We empathize with the difficulties many have faced with SGM, but be aware, that such difficulties occur in any church in any movement. It is the nature of mankind. So we trust in God and continue to pray for wisdom and humility as we seek to serve in faulty local churches for the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is an amazing thing that God desires that we participate in the proclamation of the Gospel at all!

In such a case of parenting philosophies being addressed as unbiblical or of doctrinal importance, you can certainly see in Scripture where the "rod" is referred to many times to bring correction to a sinning child. SG's view of spanking seeks to be in line with biblical passages addressing correction and discipline. If a family chooses not to spank, SG would see that, as would we, as a possible disregard or dismissal of scriptural principles of correction of children.
Our personal experience in SG churches reveals leadership that has been careful not to hastily address such things as "of doctrinal importance," yet careful to address what needs to be addressed to protect the integrity of Scripture. (Yes, folks, God does gift some as pastors and teachers for a reason.) Unfortunately, the world's influence over biblical parenting is evident in today's culture - even Christian culture. SG wishes to guard against that. We are grateful for it.

This desire to "guard" may be out of whack at times, but again, we have not seen over 21 years where issues such as the ones addressed here have not been brought into scrutiny and adjustment in the movement as a whole. Again, "as a whole." You will undoubtedly find pockets of legalism in individual churches. So it goes everywhere.

The unfortunate thing about blogs is the inability of opposing sides to work out conflicts biblically. I doubt SG leaders are spending all their time reading these sorts of blogs - even when invited. They are busy, busy, busy caring for their churches. I do know that when we have taken the time to meet with pastors to work out things we may be in conflict about, that they have been more than willing to hear us, listen, and work through things biblically. Not perfectly, but to the best of their ability. We are not perfect, either. Neither are all of you. Let us not forget.

Many of you have stated that your attempts to work out things biblically have gone awry. I am sad for that. (Again, I am only hearing one side - your side.) I can only leave you all with the reminder that vengeance belongs to the Lord, and he will repay. Sins are sure to be found out - regardless of who committed them; pastors or lay people. Are you willing to trust God to work these things out?

We understand the delicate balance between just letting God and letting go...and personal responsibility.
However, we would appeal that you guard more carefully against slander, seek God more and lean on Him and wait on Him. Waiting often looks like silence and stillness before God. To shift from this to becoming vigilantes of justice is a slippery slope at best. None of us can really pursue such things with pure motives. This post has undoubtedly been posted with impure motives. :(

Ultimately, the reputation of the Gospel will be tarnished in such forums as these if we are careless. The propensity toward carelessness is too great, perhaps.

Imagine how many unbelievers have stumbled upon these sorts of blog sites only to confirm their belief that there is no real difference between believer and unbelievers. Do we really want to portray religion as the Pharisaical institution unbelievers see it as? Backbiting, bashing, sarcasm in the name of God, etc., all confirm this worst of conclusions.

We do not see anywhere in the Bible where slander, gossip, criticism (unconstructive) complaining, etc. is condoned.

Those offended, please consider going back to the offenders. If this seems impossible, please consider submitting the issues to God and God alone. He is capable of far more than we can ever ask or conceive (or DO or blog). A public blog forum for bringing church correction to elders, as "Public" as it may be (according to Matthew), is not limited to addressing a particular church body and over-stretches, perhaps, the boundaries of what Matthew 18 intends. Just my fifty cents.

Respectfully and Not Intending to Comment Again - Anonymous 7 :)

CD-Host said...

Anonymous 7 --

Thank you for using an identifying name. The article addresses a structural problem with SGM caused by leadership throughout the "family of churches" not some individual problem. The discussion with Mrs. Baker involves a specific case where that structural problem had real and damaging impact.

Now you have asked us to turn this over to God and wait. But God doesn't think that is the correct way to deal with false teachers:

Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds (2John 9-11)

"Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil." (Romans 16:17-9)

"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you." (2Cor 6:14-7)

As for some of your other comments, other religious leaders from other denominations have been perfectly capable of working things out on this blog. SGM and NCFIC are the ones that have proven singularly incapable of addressing complaints. Legitimate leaders when they hear about abusive practices want to find out how it happened, and make sure it doesn't happen again.

Finally as far as non believers I have a post with a list of their issues: problems with the church. Honestly addressing problems and working towards solutions I've seen mentioned 0 times as the reason people don't come to Christ. This is frankly a BS excuse that authoritarian churches use so that their misconduct is not publicly addressed.

Anonymous said...

Quote from anonymous 7,

"In such a case of parenting philosophies being addressed as unbiblical or of doctrinal importance, you can certainly see in Scripture where the "rod" is referred to many times to bring correction to a sinning child. SG's view of spanking seeks to be in line with biblical passages addressing correction and discipline. If a family chooses not to spank, SG would see that, as would we, as a possible disregard or dismissal of scriptural principles of correction of children.
Our personal experience in SG churches reveals leadership that has been careful not to hastily address such things as "of doctrinal importance," yet careful to address what needs to be addressed to protect the integrity of Scripture. (Yes, folks, God does gift some as pastors and teachers for a reason.) Unfortunately, the world's influence over biblical parenting is evident in today's culture - even Christian culture. SG wishes to guard against that. We are grateful for it."

Am I reading this correctly?

Are you suggesting that interpreting the verses in Proverbs as anything but literally hitting a child with a literal rod is, “the world's influence over biblical parenting?!”
Are you suggesting that a respected family whose children were well-behaved and well disciplined should be forbidden to share their parenting views with other members of the church? This actually happened to a family I know (not us, by the way.)

I could argue the validity of my views citing scripture and discussing the original Hebrew, but, sadly, I would be traversing beyond the scope of this blog. Suffice to say the word, “rod,” when mentioned in the Proverbial scriptures is modifying the word, “discipline,” which is the main emphasis of the verse. Christian parents are instructed to diligently *discipline* their children. The particular methodology is left to the discretion of the individual parents. In my life, I strive for techniques that are relatively gentle, non-physical, and respectful of the child’s developmental level and temperament.

I do not believe the Bible actually forbids spanking but I do not see a mandate, either. In my world, elevating a pro-spanking stance to a Biblical mandate is an example of a legalistic bent.

CD-Host said...

I'd be happy to open up a thread for Gary Ezzo and /or physical discipline of children and Christianity provided

1) You both want it.
2) You both agree to get accounts on blogger so you are posting with names (they can be fake but just some sort of name).

Anonymous said...

Cd-host,

Although it is very kind of you to offer to help set up another board, I don't feel the need to debate the issue.

Of course, unless someone is itching for a debate in which case, I would oblige.

katiekind said...

"Honestly addressing problems and working towards solutions I've seen mentioned 0 times as the reason people don't come to Christ. This is frankly a BS excuse that authoritarian churches use so that their misconduct is not publicly addressed."

Stands up and cheers!!!!

Legitimate leaders when they hear about abusive practices want to find out how it happened, and make sure it doesn't happen again.

That is very true.

Regarding the Ezzo thing, Anonymous 7 jumped to the conclusion that the Bakers had an issue with spanking.

The Ezzo books are controversial on many levels as well as being a poorly written manipulative presentation which is very confusing to follow because it is self-contradictory and poorly organized. Plenty of people who have no problem with spanking are critical of the Ezzos' approach, including folks like Ted Tripp, Dr. James Dobson, and Ezzo's former pastor, Dr. John MacArthur.

Just thought I would make that clear to readers who may get the wrong impression of the Ezzo issue.

CD-Host said...

Katie --

No doubt even if you took the spanking out of Ezzo's ministries it would still be abusive. The whole system is based on a vicious authoritarianism, hierarchy, a weird sort of deliberate neglect.

Of course the belief that failure to use a literal rod is being disobedient to scripture is just one more reason to reject Ezzo and anonymous7's view

DB said...

Just to clarify, at the time of the Ezzo drama at our former church, dh and I were struggling with our position with regard to spanking. We leaned away from spanking but believed it was ok to have in our parenting toolbox in the form of our, "big guns."

I mentioned another family in the church that did not spank their children, perhaps our guest misunderstood what I had written.

Subsequent to our Ezzo drama, we decided that spanking was neither mandated in the bible nor effective in practice so we abandoned spanking alltogether.

DB said...

Are you aware of Noel's story?

http://www.sgmsurvivors.com/

CD-Host said...

Hi Debra --

Yes I am. I commented on the thread in answer to Kris's questions. If I'm going to do another SGM thread I'd do you with preference because:

1) I owe it to you

2) The abuse in your case is more clear cut. In Noel's case (making out the details that I could) there seemed to be substantial disagreement of fact.

3) You don't have the child sexual molestation angle so there is more light and less heat.

4) Both the victim and assailant were minors at the time, which means I can't document this as clearly as I'd like.

5) I know Kris censors to alter the political content of threads, that is suppress opinions she doesn't agree with. Which means I don't have any idea what I'm not seeing.

Regardless though I like the direction SGM survivors is moving in. The board has gone from slightly hostile i.e. a good institution with minor flaws to an institution with serious structural flaws, to now realizing that this is a cult not a church. When they finally are willing to admit C.J. knows about what's going on and wants it that way, then they really can be an effective rescue group.

Anyway I'm glad for you, as this must be excellent confirmation that they never had any interest in children's welfare!


So, thank you for letting me know. If I can to anything from a legal and/or church law standpoint I'm absolutely willing.

DB said...

I believe their very draconian parenting practices actually endangers the kids to predation. That may sound harsh, but it isn't. These children are beaten into submission. They are forced to cry it out and schedule feed as infants thus conditioned to ignore their internal signals and become pathologically dependent upon authority figures.

It gets worse, these kids are trained (by being beaten into submission,) to obey the first time, immediatedly and cheerfully. They are taught to obey all adult authority in the church.

SGM churches are potentially a pediphile's wet dream. All they need do is engender trust amongst the adults and they have access to children who have no defense against the assaults of an adult.

Their patriarchal nature knee-jerk faovrs the males and so they turn on the victim and protect the perp.

If this doesn't wake up the people in these churches, nothing will.

CD-Host said...

Debra --

Agree with everything you wrote. Yep that's also why they have higher levels of spousal abuse, more teen pregnancy, more incest, a higher likelihood of violence....

They are a destructive cult using parenting techniques which make people more susceptible to any destructive authority. And it starts with the Ezzo techniques which you quite rightly objected to.

As far as pedophiles you should see the patriarchal churches which encourage girls to relate to their fathers as practice husbands. Then they lend the girls off to do babysitting and domestic support to other homes. Talk about really laying down the skids.

Then to compound all that, patriarchy has a problem where the kids who do well in authoritarian structures don't make good patriarchs. In other words beat the kids into sheep they don't turn into lions once they get married. So you have lots of sexual frustrated unmarried 20 something you old men in these environments.

SGM just wants sheep so they don't have the same problems.

Steve said...

CD-Host

Are you aware of any mention of the need to discipline erring SGM Leaders in their documentation. From what I can see all their emphasis is on regular members' sins and not those of leadership. It is as if they are only focusing on actions regular members without also emphasizing the need for disciplining errant leaders if/when they sin.

This certainly seems quite imbalanced to me.

ken said...

I at one point functioned as a member of what has been described as a cult. So what I have to say is experiential and hopefully will be helpful to some, as they read this.I was- when involved in this church, gullable to a great extent and have seen the light. Allow me to make a statement--# 1 If you don't enjoy the fellowship and worship, move on.
#2 If those who are leading can dish it but can't take it -move on.
#3 If the leaders tell you your proud, unteachable, move on

pattij553 said...

My daughter is dating a man from SGM. She did not know what they believed until their relationship became serious. She was happy he was a Christian and like her believes in the traditional 'wait to until' married doctrine. But now they are fighting over doctrines of patriarchy and parental control of adult children. She actually attends a church with female pastors and believes as do I the doctrine of mutual submission in marriage. This young man she is dating seems to be so balanced and smart and educated until we start discussing these religious issues. Until reading blogs like this one I had no idea the hold of brainwashing and fear of what he may lose if he continues this relationship with my daughter. I am not angry with him. I feel sorry for him. He told my daughter it is sin that she and I have been questioning the doctrines by digging into the original scriptures as much as possible with tools online such as scripture4all.com and blueletterbible.com. He brought me Wayne Grudem's doctrinal book and I have been reading CBMW. I also see no encouragement from them or the SGM sites to do individual bible study to see if what they teach is correct. I am asking for advice here if anyone thinks there is any hope for my daughter to pull him away from the SGM. He even attended their schools his whole life and has had a good family experience and sees no reason to change at this point.

CD-Host said...

Pattij553 --

Well that depends. Yes there is hope. There is a heck of a lot of information on the fallacies of complementarianism out there. But their subtle since you mentioned Wayne Grudam here is an example post dealing with his doctrine of the trinity. The problems with the ESV translation are often the heart of where Grudam creates false readings of scripture. So if he is willing to honestly approach scripture she is likely to undermine his faith in SGM.

On the other hand, the more likely outcome is it tears the relationship apart. I guess you need to ask 3 questions:

a) Is he more loyal to SGM or your daughter. If SGM is it close or will easily choose SGM over her?

b) Does your daughter want to go down the road of reading critiques and learning them? This stuff is subtle and complex. In many ways she would be struggling with the same kinds of issues people do in divinity school. Is she invested enough in this guy to do that? Does she have that kind of aptitude? If she had to choose between marrying this guy and being a submissive wife, or not marrying him which would she choose?

c) Is she going to naively believe that she can join SGM, marry this guy and still "be independent" long term?

d) Are you OK with alternate outcomes? Other things might happen when she starts this critique:
a) Her faith could change to agree with his.
b) Her faith could change to become considerably more liberal.
c) They as a couple might come to practical agreements.

etc...

Think about those outcomes which ones are you not OK with? Finally if she does start SGM make sure they both know you are willing to provide a door out if they ever decide to leave.

pattij553 said...

Thank you for that advice. I did not see it until now because I lost where I posted. A blogger at sgmsurvivor.com happened to mention they saw my post here. I posted under Wallace's story over there.

CD-Host said...

pattij553 --

Next time you respond you can set email updates and you'll see when this thread gets comments.

I think Remnant's comment is a very good one. But your daughter is likely more experienced. And I'd be happy to show her where SGM is full of it. SGM Survivors and other related blogs like I kissed SGM Goodbye is excellent is she wants a less academic and more personal approach.

BTW since you say she's graduating, what was her major so I know what sorts of stuff she already knows?

pattij553 said...

 Thanks, my daughter is graduating in media communications and American studies ..She read quite a bit of what SGM believes and the CBMW. she just signed up with cbeinternational.org to read the Mutuality issues which are very refreshing after reading all the oppressive dogma. After reading so much on this site and and other survivors it is looking dismal that he could change his mind any time soon. If anyone has been talked out of the SGM after a lifetime of the church and school and family please let us hear how you 'woke up'. I myself was raised in n IFB school but completely rejected God for the next 13 years.  

Debra Baker said...

Patti, you and your daughter might enjoy this website

http://thewartburgwatch.com/category/sovereign-grace-ministries/sgm/