Is Janet Mefferd Being Intimidated by the “Gospel” Mafia to Shut Up About SGM? ~ The Wartburg Watch
Finally, the truth is coming out!
For several years, Marianne and I have been deeply involved behind the scenes in helping victims of the Sovereign Grace Ministries sex abuse scandal. We’ve seen its impact on close friends, while also counseling survivors and their families through Nathan’s Voice.
I also know Boz Tchividjian, who is publicly confronting SGM about its history of sexual abuse and is mentioned in this article.
Although we can’t directly talk about all the underlying facts regarding SGM due to confidentiality, we believe that this exposé by The Wartburg Watch is spot on.
What’s happening in that case is very similar to what’s also happening in the ongoing scandal involving author Frank Viola and his team of self-appointed apostolic “workers” and his additional “accountability team” of other organic church “leaders”.
The problem is not so much that organic church wannabes – who persist in writing, opining and peddling influence on all things organic without actually being part of a healthy, functional, local fellowship – are wrong in theory.
Rather, it’s that their opinions and aspirations lack a sufficient basis for being right in application.
A Sunday morning thought:
How did ministry gifts – given by God so we could serve, equip and edify one another – become titles, offices and corporations?
A friend posted this meme on Facebook, and it was too funny – and disturbingly perceptive – to pass up.
I admit: I have a high tolerance for redemption, a low tolerance for BS, and enough sense to understand the difference.
There’s just too much of this going around these days:
Detached, unaccountable and self-appointed “apostles” who find their credentials in mutual promotion networks of other detached, unaccountable and self-appointed “apostles” – rather than a functional local church.
Whether they go by “apostle”, “worker,” “church planter” or whatever – a local church dud telling you how to be the church is a danger to your church.
A sure sign of a cult: It personally attacks through unsubstantiated innuendo all who raise legitimate concerns about their untouchable “leader”, rather than address the specific merits of those concerns.
There’s a proliferation of authors, bloggers, speakers, e-magazines, online courses and websites telling us how to “be the church” – or promoting this or that aspect of healthy church form and function.
At first, years ago, I was very much enticed by all they had to say.
Among our fellowships, we keep it real.
We have to. We have no choice.
Continually, people are coming to the Lord through us from places of deep bondage and despair.
“For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers.”
1 Cor. 4:15
These days, we are inundated with aspirational books and blogs by articulate but unproven advocates for this and that movement, pet doctrine or agenda …
… while there are too few spiritual moms and dads, quietly laboring without name or fame in committed local fellowships to build strong believers.
Fortunately, God is changing this dynamic.
While some want to instruct and inspire the masses with lofty ideas that have not yet been proven or matured in their own lives …
… effective leaders are content to reproduce in just a few what God has truly taught them.
We all would do well to listen to the latter, and be cautious of the former.
~ Jim Wright
The key to effective ministry is becoming less and less indispensable.
“The more I read, the less I admire modern theology. The more I study the productions of the new schools of theological teachers, the more I marvel that men and women can be satisfied with such writings. There is a vagueness, a mistiness, a shallowness, an indistinctness, a superficiality, an aimlessness, a hollowness [in] the literature of the ‘broader and kinder systems’, as they are called, which to my mind stamps their origin on their face. They are of the earth, earthy.”
~ J.C. Ryle (written in 1864, but how much more true today – especially among those who push their faddish theology under the disingenuous claim that they have no theology, other than their own existential perceptions of Jesus!)
This old-world clematis goes back at least three generations in my family.
It originally grew in my grandmother’s yard in Maryland, then was transplanted to my parent’s home when I was a young man, and finally came with me to Virginia when I moved here with my own family many years ago.
In all, I figure it has been cared for by a Wright, in one place or another, at least sixty years.
The other morning a young man stopped by the house.
He had been struggling with emotional pain and bondage, and said he hadn’t come earlier because he didn’t want to be a burden.
I shocked him by responding that he and his problems were a burden – that there were other things I could be doing that morning. But, I explained with a huge grin, it was my joy to be burdened by him.
He paused and thought about it, then nodded as he realized I was being totally transparent and real with him. Thus started an amazing time of talking, sharing and ministry.
Until they stop excusing a history of sexual predation within their ranks, their blogs and books on sexual equality by self-professed leaders in the organic/simple church community ring hollow.
And until they accept local church accountability and warnings about that abuse, their blogs and books on how to be the church likewise ring hollow.
Perverted Grace: Using God’s love to rationalize vice.
The latest edition of HopeSpeak, a periodical by The Hope of Survivors (a international support network for victims of church sexual abuse), published an article by me on how to deal with leadership sins – including sexual abuse – in the church. It’s titled Leadership Abuses: Private and Public Sins.
I’ve just learned that another international magazine also wants to re-publish it.
Lately, Marianne and I have become involved in more and more church abuse cases – including local private cases and also very public national scandals.
Sometimes our involvement is very confidential, while other times it involves publicly confronting the abuser and warning others under the dictates of 1 Tim. 5:19-21 where there has been no repentance.
So, on Sunday morning, will church about what happens at the front podium, or about being active participants in living community?
God is a polyglot: He speaks to different people different ways.
Some primarily hear Him through the language of their heart and feelings, some analytically through their mind, some through the dynamics of action, some through the identity of relationships, and some through the passion of mercy and justice – among other ways.
Problems often arise among His people, however, when we think that our primary language for hearing God is His only language, or is superior to other languages He uses with others.
When grace become the ends, and not the means, we create yet one more religion – built around yet one more doctrine taken out of context to validate our own agendas.
Cultish movements grow by co-opting emerging leaders through carefully orchestrated attention and recognition that feeds their need for validation.