Announcement Regarding C.J.

Mahaney from the Sovereign Grace Ministries Interim Board of Directors
In July 2011, Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM) installed an interim Board of Directors. Our primary task was to determine C.J. Mahaney's fitness to serve SGM as President in light of accusations made against him by a former SGM leader, Brent Detwiler. To accomplish this, we sought to apply the teaching of 1 Timothy 5:19-21 regarding the examination of an elder. As described in our October 28 blog post, we created three panels to review Brent's allegations and report their findings to us, after which we would determine if C.J. was to continue in his role as President. After examining the reports of these three review panels, we find nothing in them that would disqualify C.J. from his role as President, nor do they in any way call into question his fitness for gospel ministry. Therefore the Board has decided unanimously to return C.J. to the office of President, effective immediately. These reports confirm the experience of many people over many years under the ministry of C.J. Mahaney. C.J. is a man and a minister of fundamental integrity who has endeavored to serve SGM with faithfulness and humility since its inception. As with all ministers of the gospel, C.J. is not infallible, and this fact is not lost on him. And so we also affirm that throughout this process of evaluation, C.J. has made genuine confession to the appropriate parties and has demonstrated a desire to grow in areas of weakness. C.J. has demonstrated a commendable trust in the grace and sovereignty of God throughout this entire process. To put our decision in context, shortly before the interim Board began its work, C.J. took a voluntary leave of absence to avoid even the appearance of influencing his evaluation. To further protect the integrity of the process, the interim Board sought the counsel and affirmation of an outside conciliation ministry, Ambassadors of Reconciliation (AOR). With C.J. on leave and AOR involved, the review process took the following form: We commissioned three outside ministers to review Brent's documents in light of C.J.'s confessions and render their judgment on his fitness to serve in ministry. In light of their evaluation, they found him to be completely fit to serve. We then commissioned three panels-each consisting of three SGM pastors-to evaluate C.J.'s involvement in the three central events of Brent's allegations. The panels had complete autonomy to interview any witness and review any evidence. They conducted their reviews and prepared their reports without any outside influence, save for the oversight of an independent facilitator who was responsible to certify the process. As readers will see in the reports, the panels had broad license to issue any individual or organizational recommendations they deemed appropriate in light of their findings. They did an exceptional job with their unenviable assignment and we're grateful to them for the many hours they invested in this process.

This has been a trying season for our family of churches and for C.J. and his family in particular. The recommendations made by the panels delineate some of the weaknesses we see in our ministry, and we expect to learn even more when the separate AOR-Ied Group Reconciliation process is completed this spring. Our hope and prayer is that all of us evaluate these matters humbly, apply the forgiveness that comes through the gospel appropriately, and relate to one another about these matters graciously as we work together to reform what needs reforming, reaffirm the goodness of God in our midst, and continue to plant and build local churches with our chief aim the glory of God through the gospel. You can download the rest of this package, including the panel reports, as a PDF.

Table of Contents
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Statement from the Review Panel Facilitator Report on C.J. Mahaney's Fellowship Report on Brent Detwiler's Dismissal from Grace Community Church Report on Larry Tomczak's Departure from Sovereign Grace Ministries Sovereign Grace Board's Response to the Reports C.J. Mahaney's Response to the Reports Biblical Principles Informing this Process and Our Conclusions Final Comments on the Life and Ministry of C.J. Mahaney

1. Statement from the Review Panel facilitator
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To Dave Harvey, President (Chairman) of the Board of Directors of Sovereign Grace Ministries Re: Review Procedure Involving Three Substantive Accusations by Brent Detwiler against C.J. Mahaney As you know,

was appointed facilitator by the Board of Directors of Sovereign Grace Ministries to

design a review procedure that would provide a fair, biblical, impartial assessment to review the three substantive accusations involving C.J.Mahaney and make recommendations to the Board. Further, I was to oversee the implementation of the review procedure from beginning until each subcommittee presented to this Board its reasoned report. Enclosed are the three reasoned reports each signed by the each of the respective subcommittee members assigned by this Board to answer a particular issue involving the above accusations. I met initially with all subcommittee members briefly and simply gave some general guidelines, without

entertaining any questions or feedback from them. 1followed this up with Independent meetings with each subcommittee in which there was extensive dialogue between subcommittee members and myself about their role. Each subcommittee understood that it was the sole determiner of what information it was to review and who was to appear before it at the hearing stage. This meant that no one else could prevent them from requesting and reviewing any information they deemed appropriate or helpful. likewise, they could ask for any person to appear before them to present information. subcommlttee determined they needed more documentation indicated I would try very hard to make that happen.
I asked Tommy Hill to initially assemble all relevant information

At any stage a

or desired to question additional people, I

to the issue before that subcommittee

Into notebooks to forward to each subcommittee member to begin preparation for his duties. As each subcommittee reviewed this information they began to determine what persons they would llke to appear before them and any additional information they would like to review. Each subcommittee determined the tist of participants to appear before them and present information. I made two decisions early on to protect the process. Those decisions were not to reveal the names of each subcommittee member nor the list of people appearing before each subcommittee. I made this first decision so that no one would attempt to influence any subcommittee member before or during this process. Also, for some appearing before the subcommittees, it was crucial to them have their identity protected. I realize there were good reasons for revealing in advance both of these lists. All things considered, I determined it was better that neither list be revealed. Of course, the members of each subcommittee will be revealed at the time their reasoned report is published. Having been actively involved in ensuring that this review procedure was fair, biblical and Impartial and

keptto the task assigned, I report the following. Each subcommittee was composed of three Godly,
serious minded, grace filled men of SOvereign Grace Ministries. Each diligently abided by the review procedure. Each showed respect, attentiveness and kindness to each person who appeared before them. Every effort was made to work with the schedule needs of a particular participant appearing before them. Every effort was made to keep on time without rushing. At times of subcommittee member demonstrated

senslttvltv, each

compassion and grace. In .surn, although each was diligent in

carrying out their assigned task, no one forgot that the person appearing before them was a brother or sister in Christ. It was clear from the questions asked by the subcommittee that many good questions came from each subcommittee provided. members that they had prepared well and had a clear idea of what needed to be explored or probed. It was additionally clear

member listening well to the information

There were times during the hearing of a particular subcommittee that something emerged that resulted In the subcommittee either asking someone to return to appear before them for additional
questioning or an attempt was made to have a person not previously on the list to either appear live or by telephone and, as I remember, was accomplished. hearings. To the best of my recollection, I was I sat in and participated in each of the three

present during the entire hearing portion of each subcommittee, other than one 15-20 minute segment. During that time, another subcommittee requested my assistance during their deliberation stage. As soon as I completed my duties there, 1 returned to the subcommittee conducting the hearing. It did not appear that any problems had developed in my absence. As I listened to the information imparted at each hearing, It seemed to me
that the list of participants determined by each subcommittee was thoughtfully and thoroughly chosen. major participant was not participation. Prior

Given the documentation reviewed and the participants questioned. it did not appear to me that any asked to be present. Of those asked to participate, there was a high degree of

to arriving,

I had asked each subcommittee to hearing.

stay a day longer upon completion of that

Both of the first two subcommittees decided to rearrange their schedules to be deliberate and draft their reasoned reports. The third subcommittee finished late Saturday afternoon and needed ttl return home for preaching duties the next day and did not have much opportunity to stay to deliberate and draft their reasoned report. Also I servedas facllltator in reviewing each reasoned reportto ensure it was in a form to do what it was supposed to do. But it was not my job to decide the issues each were assigned. No one asked me to do this nor did I attempt to do this. Each reasoned report is the decision of that
subcommittee's allowed to stay 2 full days following the completion of their hearing to subcommittee.

In sum, each subcommittee worked hard, well and sacrificially to serve the Body of Christ of Sovereign Grace Ministries, the Board of Dlrectors of Sovereign Grace Ministries and as well as their Sovereign
God. I am sure some will wish more had been said and done and others less. I am pleased with how well the review procedure was carried out and priviledged to work with 9 subcommittee members. I also do not know how to adequately thank Tommy Hill and Nora Earles for their superb help in making

everything run so seamfessly.
In accordance with the RevieW Procedure, my last duty is to validate the actual process. I hereby validate this process as following and carrying out the Intent and purpose ofthe review procedure.



December 26, 2011

2. Report on C.J. Mahaney's Fellowship
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Review Panel Report and Recommendation November 28-30, 2011 Panel members: Mark Alderton, Rick Gamache, Steve Teter Panel Facilitator: Bryce Thomas Location: Embassy Suites, Concord, NC The Question
This Panel has been asked to look into one of three substantive accusations made by Brent Detwiler against C.J. Mahaney. The question we were asked by the Sovereign Grace Ministries Board to evaluate is: Was C.J. Mahaney's participation in fellowship in 2003-2004, including the giving and receiving of correction. in keeping with the teaching of Scripture? For the purposes of this Panel, the definition of biblical fellowship is: Biblical fellowship is simply the nature of relationship between believers who are walking in Christian life together, humbly opening their lives to one another for prayer, mutual encouragement, counsel, care, confession, correction, and community-all for the purpose of helping each other understand, apply, and rejoice in the grace of God revealed in the gospel of Christ.

The Facts
We have evaluated and reviewed relevant documents written by or quoted by Brent Detwiler, testimony from 11 participants, and additional applicable material totaling over 500 pages. In response, the Panel finds the following to be fact 1. C.J. and Carolyn Mahaney had faithfully participated in biblical fellowship at Covenant life Church (hereafter CLC) in the context of care group for well over two decades before the time period in question. 2. In fall of 2002 lasting until the fall of 2003, the Mahaneys entered a season of life including but not limited to: increasing ministry responsibilities for C.J. as he led both CLC and Sovereign Grace Ministries (hereafter SGM), book deadline for Carolyn, hospitalIzation and near death experience of one daughter (as well as subsequent care), planning the wedding of another daughter, the death of C.J.'s brother in-law, the failing health of Carolyn's father requiring near constant care, Carolyn's prep for a woman's conference for 3000 ladies.

2 3, During this season (fall of 2002 through the fall of 2003) the Mahaneys pulled back from participation in structured care group ministry. though they never pulled back from participation in unstructured. informal fellowship and care. 4. In April 2003 (via Dave Harvey) and then again in the winter of 2003 at a retreat for those then on the SGM Leadership Team (Dave Harvey, Brent Detwiler, Steve Shank), critique was brought to C.J. regarding how he receives correction, his haste in judgment. and his participation in confession and pursuit of evaluation. 5. In September 2003, C.J. joined a monthly Accountability Group at CLC with Josh Harris, Kenneth Maresco, and Grant Layman (with Bob Kauflin joining the group at a later date). 6. In early 2004, the SGM Leadership Team made C.J.'s Accountability Group at CLC aware of the critique they brought in the winter of 2003 in order for the CLC group to provide ongoing, local care and accountability. In the months that followed. there was confusion regarding who was ultimately responsible to follow up on the specific examples of concern raised by the SGM Leadership Team. Each group assumed the other group was or should be providing primary follow up on the specifics of the critique. 7. On August 10,2004, C,J. issued a written confession to the SGM Leadership Team and the CLC Accountability Group stating several broad areas of sin where he was feeling conviction, including areas addressed in the early 2004 critique, 8. This culminated in a face-to-face meeting with both the SGM Leadership Team and CLC Accountability Group along with C.J. on August 20, 2004. At the meeting, Brent Detwiler presented a lengthier list of specific critiques of C.J. expanding on the critiques already brought. 9. In the weeks following the meeting, C,J. began expressing concern with the manner in which the evaluation WaS delivered, in particular in the Aug. 20 meeting. Steve Shank expressed similar concerns; And as C.J. communicated with the CLC Accountability Group. they too began to express their concern with how the process of evaluation was unfolding, even though they agreed that these categories of sin were present in C.J.'s life. 10.0n October 13, 2004, C.J. issued another brief, follow-up confession to both groups of men (the SGM Leadership Team and the ClC Accountability Group) communicating additional areas he became convicted of. 11. On October 19, 2004, the CLC Accountability Group (Joshua, Kenneth, Grant, and Bob) issued a paper to the SGM Leadership Team called uCLC Pastors' Recommendations for Moving Ahead in Caring for C.J." acknowledging areas of change and growth in C.J., as well as areas to more fully explore and evaluate in

3 C.J. It also included a process for C.J. to move ahead in discussing his own concerns and observations he had for Brent Detwiler and Dave Harvey. 12. On January 6, 2005, the CLC Accountability Group sent an update to the SGM Leadership Team regarding C.J.'s care and accountability in which they commend C.J. for his deepening fellowship and responsiveness to the process of evaluation locally, encourage him to pursue further dialogue regarding existing differences between the SGM Leadership Team and C.J., and layout a plan for ongoing care for the Mahaneys-C.J. and Carolyn-locally, 13. Later in 2005, the SGM Leadership Team issued-a document expressing 11 areas celebrating growth and change in C.J. 14. By September 2005, Dave Harvey, according to his testimony before this Panel and documentation at the time, felt he had clarified his concerns for C.J. to the CLC Accountability Group; confessed his own (Dave's) sins committed during the process of critique, and had received enough positive updates on C.J. from the CLC Accountability Group that he had fulfilled his obligation to care for C.J. as a friend and SGM Leadership Team member. Recognizing the limitations of providing care and accountability from a distance, he entrusted C.J. to his local team. 15.ln the spring of 2005, C.J. and Carolyn joined a newly formed care group for Sover~ign Grace Ministries' employees (Pat and Charlotte Ennis, Bob and Julie Kauflin, Gary'and Betsy Ricucci, Jeff and Julie Purswell) and were and have been active in this care group.

The ,Significance of the Facts
There are three main issues (all addressed in the documents written by Brent Detwiler) thai need to be addressed in order to answer the question ofthls Panel, each of which addresses an aspect of biblical fellowship: 1. C.J.'s lack of involvement in care group for an extended period of time 2. The appearance that C.J. manipulated people in order to avoid correction 3. The manner in which C.J. responded to observations of sin in his life 1. C.J.'s lack of involvement in care group for an extended period of time. The lack of involvement in care group was unusual and not according to the historical norm for the Mahaneys or according to the practice of SGM, but there were reasonable explanations for it (see fact 2 above), and fellowship continued through other means. It was inconsistent at times, but not nonexistent. It was informal, but not insignificant. The principle offellowship is commanded in Scripture, but fellowship is not limited to formal care group structures.


2. The appearance that C.J. manipuJated people in order to avoid correction C.J. was involved with two main groups of men who had a platform to speak into his life. One was his CLC Accountability Group, and the other was the 8GM Leadership Team. A list of observations of sin was brought to C.J. and his CLC Accountability Group by the Leadership Team in early 2004. But the follow-up on these issues with C.J. became confused, each team believing the other team was or would be taking care of it. Was this confusion the result of C.J. manipulating the teams in order to avoid correction? We don't believe so. We believe the confusion was the result of several factors including, but not limited to: geographical restraints on relationships and fellowship among the SGM Leadership Team, differing and changing views on what specifically needed to be addressed and by whom, and C.J.'s own failure to pass on some critique from the SGM Leadership Team to the CLC Accountability Group because he had dismissed it as inaccurate. C.J., by his own admission, should have followed up more aggressively with the SGM Leadership Team and kept both teams better informed of evaluation brought by the other for as long as this leadership structure and dual accountability structure was in place. But, after listening to the testimony of those involved and reading relevant documentation from the time, we do not believe that C.J.'s intent was to deceive, manipulate, or control the ongoing process of evaluation in order to avoid correction. 3. The manner in which C.J. responded to observations of sin in his life

The primary categories of sin brought to C.J. during this period involved his own pride and how that affected his relating to others. They are sins that are common to man, yet not to be ignored, particularly in a leader. This Is why they were being brought to C.J. as observations in this time period. Did C.J. respond to these observations in a way that is in keeping with biblical fellowship? There were instances where he did not, and particular people who experienced that more than others. We have more to say about this in the recommendation section. However, we believe C.J:s overall response to observations brought to him during this period was in keeping with participation in biblical fellowship. We say this for the following reasons: • • • • There were instances of C.J. inviting correction and input and responding to it appropriately There were instances of C.J. confessing sins as the Spirit brought conviction The recognition by others of progressive growth and change in C.J. The recognition by others of their experience of grace through C.J. and deep friendship with him, even among those bringing the critique


The Panel answers the issue to be decided not based on individual events, but on the totality of C.J.'s involvement in fellowship over the time period in question, and in the context of his overall life. That said, our answer to the question is: Yes, C.J. IS participation
2003-2004, including giving and receiving correction, of Scripture. in fellowship from

was in keeping with the teaching

We do not believe that C.J.'s practice of biblical fellowship during this season disqualifies him as a minister of the gospel or as the President of Sovereign Grace Ministries. This is not to say, however, that C.J.'s particular sin tendencies should be discounted when considering his future ministry role. On that point, we have recommendations.

On December 16, 2010, after considering his own heart in light of written accusations brought by Brent Detwiler and with the help of several trusted counselors, C.J. Mahaney issued, what this Panel considers to be, a thorough, thoughtful, and heartfelt written confession. In this confession he outlined 7 categories of sins that negatively affected relationships and events during the time period we've been asked to investigate. These include: 1) arrogant confidence in his perception of his own heartand discernment in relation to others; 2) not easy to entreat; 3) sinful judgil1g; 4) lack of specificity in confession of sin; 5) sinful withdraw from those bringing correction; 6) particularly provoked when integrity is caUed into question; 7) lack of follow up on his confessions issued in 2004. The Panel asked C.J. specifidally if he still believes that these categories were at play and affected relationships during 2003-2004. He said "yes." The Panel also asked C.J. whether he believes these sins are still evident in his life since that time period. His answer was that these are "besetting sins in my life." Some of those who testified acknowledged the presence of these sin patterns (to varying degree) in C.J.'s life and relationships. We want to be quick to add that several men closest to C.J. have affirmed the fruit of repentance and sanctification in his life as it pertains to these categories of sin. In other words, C.J. is, like every Christian, both saint and sinner. Though indwelling sin remains, he is right now being "transformed into the same image (of Christ) from one degree of glory to another" (2 Corinthians 3:18).

6 Yet these indwelling sin patterns have historically and may potentially impact negatively C.J.'s experience of biblical fellowship and others' experience of fellowship with C.J. That said, we would like to recommend the following. 1. This Panel recommends that C.J. reconnect with those whom he has served with (particularly the members of the former SGM Leadership Team and CLC Accountability Group) to discover how they may have been impacted by these sin patterns-what they experienced, how it affected them, and what thoughts they would have for him going forward. We recommend this because in some cases we think reconciliation may still need to take place, and this is a necessary step to that end. But also this input would be invaluable to help C.J. as he continues to make progress in sanctification in these areas. Though his sins are common, their effect on others can be magnified because he has been the leader, teacher, and model of the values that these sin patterns violate (e.g. humility, approachability, etc.). We recommend that the comments of those C.J. meets with be shared with the current 8GM Board and discussed as to how they should inform his leadership going forward. 2. This Panel recommends that C.J. view his December 16, 2010 confession as a template for pursuing personal growth in these areas. This confession resonated deeply with those of our participants who have been directly affected by these issues; it confirmed what some of them had seen "in the past and they were greatly helped that C.J. had owned these sin patterns with specificity. We see this as an indication that continuing to pursue growth and accountability in these specific areas (which C.J. is eager to do) would address some of the fundamental issues that have led to the relational struggles some have experienced with C.J. 3. Finally, this Panel recommends that consideration be given by the SGM Board regarding how to provide accountability, input, and leadership structures that guard against and reduce the potential impact of the inevitable sin patterns that tempt leaders. For example, if a leader is resistant to correction, believes his own perspective to be superior to others, and withdraws from those who correct him, his leadership can become unchallengeable and unchangeable, unless there are avenues for recourse. We recognize that the SGM Board is currently reviewing how to restructure the leadership of the ministry, and considering these issues in the reconfiguration will be most helpful.

Concluding Remarks
What this Panel has been investigating is one branch on the tree that the Lord is pruning and beautifying. It's one branch on a tree full of fruitful branches. The sins we've been discussing are sins that need to be and are being addressed with sober earnestness by C.J. But these sins do not represent the totality of the man and his ministry.


Together in Sovereign Grace Ministries we enjoy a rigorous spiritual atmosphere in which sin is taken very seriously, sanctification is pursued with great intentionality, and where relationships and community are vital in helping each other in the pursuit of godliness. Above all, we enjoy a culture where doctrine is taken very seriously, and in which the gospel of Christ is the crown of all doctrine, imbuing the culture with an atmosphere of grace, joy, and generosity. This grace from God has flowed to us primarily through the example and preaching and leadership of C.J. Mahaney. We thank God and everyone who participated in this process of review for the spirit of brotherhood and unity we experienced. We recognize that our unity is anchored in our Brother and Savior, Jesus Christ, by whose perfect life we are declared righteous before God and by whose sacrificial death we are forgiven and set free from sin and by whose glorious resurrection we are guaranteed an eternal life of sinless perfection in the presence of our Sovereign Joy. Sincerely,

Rick Gamache o..-';;',4-il Steve Teter

3. Report on Brent Detwiler's Dismissal from Grace Community Church
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Reasoned Report For Brent Detwiler's Resignation From GCe, Mooresville, NC This report will cover 5 basic items: 1) the charge, 2) the process, 3) the history 4) the conclusions, 5) the recommendations. 1. The Charge This subcommittee was convened to examine the following question:

UDid C.J. Mahaney wrongly influence the process of Brent Detwiler's dismissal from his church in Mooresville, NC?"
In addition the Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM) Interim Board asked us to make any recommendations related to this question. We were charged to do this in an impartial and fair mannerfearing God and applying passages like Micah


2. The Process
Our review of the question began with the reading of several hundred pages of documents provided by Brent Detwiler, the SGM Mooresville Assessment Team, the local Mooresville leaders and others regarding the issue of Brent Detwiler's resiqnatlon from Grace Community Church (GeC) and surrounding issues. Following our reading and review of these documents we met in Charlotte, North Carolina from Thursday, December 1!It - Saturday, December 3m to interview witnesses who had knowledge about this issue" We met with 18 witnesses hearing testimony for approximately 28 hours as well as reading testmonyfrcm 2 additional witnesses. Each subcommittee member was free to ask any questions they desired whether prepared beforehand or during our dialogue with each witness. Each witness was given the opportunity and encouraged to share openly and honestly regarding their experience and we as a subcommittee are grateful for the willingness and forthrightness each witness displayed in our review meetings. Upon completion ofthese interviews additional documentation was also received and read by our subcommittee relating to this issue. This review led us to expand our initial scope to include any indirect influences C. J. Mahaney may have had on the process or any other factors that led to Brent Detwiler's resignation. While there is always more that could be.done, we are convinced we've received the necessary information to process this question. The independent FaCilitator, Bryce Thomas partlcipated in each witness interview and ensured that we completed our task in a fair and impartial way.

3. The History
Qualification: We were asked to serve on this subcommittee because we had no known connection with the actual events affecting this issue. We have gathered the facts to the best of our ability but realize some precision of the facts may have been lost, This is the history relative to our assignment as we understand it


In 2006, after faithfully serving on the Sovereign Grace Ministries Leadership Team for many years, Brent Detwiler expressed a desire to lead and pastor a local church and submitted a proposal to plant a Sovereign Grace church in the Mooresville, North Carolina area. Mooresville is about 15 miles away from Crossway Community Church which Brent planted and led until 2002 when Mickey Connelly assumed the role of Sr. Pastor. In 2007 after much discussion the SGM Board along with the Crossway Pastoral Team expressed a faith for Brent to plant the church in Mooresville, NC and thereby both the SGM board and the Crossway Pastoral Team approved the church plant. Upon approval of the church plant, Brent began forming a church planting team which included selecting a governing board made up of two other men; Jonathan Detwiler and Ray Mulligan. In March of 2008, approximately 10 care group leaders and 150 people were sent out from Crossway to plant Grace Community Church in Mooresville. When the church was planted, two key people assumed new roles in Brent's life. Gene Emerson, who was a long standing friend of Brent's and served as a pastor within Brent's region, now assumed the role of providing extra-local care for Grace Community Church on behalf of SGM. Ray Mulligan, who also had a long term relationship with Brent and one of the board members of this new church, assumed the role of providing local pastoral care for the Detwiler's. Brent was initially supportive of both Gene and Ray serving in these roles. In addition, the SGM Board decided to reorganize and place Dave Harvey in the role of overseeing church planting and church care. This new role for Dave involved overseeing the SGM regional leaders and had the effect of removing C.J. Mahaney from direct involvement in local church plants and local church care. By the Fall of 2008 some challenging pastoral situations emerged leading to several households leaving the church. This resulted in a meeting with Gene Emerson, Ray MuUigan and Brent Detwiler to discuss these situations. Brent did not agree with Gene and Ray's assessment, and both Gene and Ray encountered an unwillingness on Brent's part to consider their perspective on the issues surrounding these pastoral situations. In January 2009 Ray Mulligan resigned from the GCe board. There were a number of factors that contributed to Ray's decision to resign, one of them being his frustration with Brent's unentreatability. Eric Kircher, who joined the GCC leadership team in the Fall of 2008 was then asked to provide local pastoral care for the Detwiler's that Ray Mulligan had been providing. At that time Eric expressed an enthusiasm and support of Brent's leadership.


In the Spring of 2009 Eric Kircher's perspective of SGM changed significantly from concerned to favorable and his perspective of Brent Detwiler changed significantly from favorable to concerned. According to Eric he also encountered Brent's unentreatability which led Eric to contact Gene Emerson and appeal for SGM to get involved. Eric's understanding of Gene's counsel was that the only way for SGM to get involved was for the local leaders to call for Brent's resignation. Eric met with three other Gee leaders who made the decision to sign a letter calling for Brent's resignation as Sr. Pastor of GCC. The reason they agreed with Eric's recommendation to involve SGM by calUng for his resignation was 1) Ray Mulligan and Eric Kircher's experience of Brent's unentreatability, 2) Concerns over the number of people that had left the church, 3) Brent expressing the possibility of Gee leaving SGM, and 4) concerns regarding the perceived lack of health of Gee. On June 3, 2009 Eric Kircher called Gene Emerson to inform him that he was on his way to meet with Brent to call for his resignation. Gene called Dave Harvey to inform him of what was taking place. Dave was quick to have Gene seek to persuade them to slow down, ask for SGM's help, and establish a due process. The result was that the demand for Brent's resignation was rescinded a day later and SGM prepared to send in an assessment team to evaluate and help with the situation. It was the hope of all involved, including those who signed the request for Brent's resignation that matters could be worked out so that Brent would be able to remain in his role as Sr. Pastor. An assessment team made up of three SGM pastors was formed; Brent recommending two members \Wayne Brooks and Phil Sasser) and SGM recommending the third (Bob Kauflln), The assessment team spent approximately seven weeks listening to and.caring for many of the people involved. They spent about thirty hours alone with Brent and his wife Jenny, listening, praying, and offering counsel. In addition, they interviewed approximately 35 other people. Through their assessment along with their own experience the assessment team affirmed the findings of the local leaders regarding Brent's unentreatabHity. Their conclusion was that a functional plurality could not exist in this environment. They communicated this to the local leaders, again emphasizing that the final decision belonged to them. The local leaders then concluded that Brent's resignation was appropriate and necessary. The assessment team recommended to SGM that Brent be provided another local church context where he could receive ongoing pastoral care and potential restoration. These options offered to Brent were not agreeable to him and a severance package was offered which he accepted. After Brent's resignation Crossway Community Church offered to send two pastors to serve Grace Community Church so they could remain intact, move ahead and regain their vision for the Mooresville area. After discussion and consideration, the leaders together with the people of Grace Community Church

felt it was best to close the church and incorporate Crossway Community Church. 4. The Conclusions We organized our conclusions into two categories:

the people back into

Conclusions specific to our charge 1. We found no evidence that C.J. Mahaney directly or indirectly wrongly influenced the events leading up to and including the resignation of Brent Detwiler as senior pastor of Gec. 2. We did find evidence that C.J. Mahaney was actively supportive of Brent's desire to plant this church, that Brent receive due process when this crisis developed, and that C.J. Mahaney wanted to preserve Brent's role in ministry. 3. Ifs clear from the evidence that the decision to ask for Brent's resignation was ultimately decided by the local leadership at GCC. Additional Conclusions 1. Given Brent Detwiler's relational history and service to SGM over the years, C.J.'s lack of communication with Brent over the time period of 2007-2009 contributed to Brent's suspicions of C.J.'s wrongful influence regarding his role in ministry. In addition, the fact that CJ and Brent had not fully resolved their relational conflicts at the time of the church ptant also contributed to these suspicions. 2. We affirm and agree with the finding of the SGM Mooresville Assessment Team regarding the advisability of this church plant. They state in their report, "one of the things that stood out to us in our evaluation was that it was very questionable whether this church should have been planted in the first place~at least in the manner it was." Even though the SGM leadership team, the Pastoral Team at Crossway Church and Brent Detwiler had faith for Brent to plant the Mooresville church and were hopeful that the plant would succeed" we found the following: • There appears to be a failure by all those involved to sufficiently consider the implications of the relational difficulties that existed between Brent and SGM as weJl as between Brent and the Pastoral Team at Crossway Church and the effect it would have on the church plant. • There appears to be a failure by the parties involved (SGM leadership, Crossway Pastoral Team, and Brent Detwiler) to adequately inform the members and leaders of the church planting team of these relational issues between Brent and SGM/Crossway at the time the plant was being considered. 3. We affirm the findings ofthe SGM Mooresville Assessment Team that Gene Emerson could have been much clearer to the local leaders regarding the way they could have invited the participation of 8GM in evaluating Brent short of calling for Brent's resignation. We also believe 4

that SGM's lack of clarity on its polity contributed to the confusion as to how GCe could involve SGM. This lack of clarity led to an unwise and premature request for Brent's resignation. This request was hurtful to Brent and was harmful to the process, 4. The evidence demonstrated that the SGM Mooresville Assessment Team of Bob Kauflin, Wayne Brooks, and Phil Sasser were diligent, fair and unbiased in their evaluation of the issues surrounding GCe and did a good job in serving that local church through such a difficult situation. There was no evidence of bias on the team. This Assessment Team was actually hopeful going into this process that Brent would remain as the senior pastor of GCC. Brent also had the opportunity to pick two of these panel members to ensure a non-biased evaluation. The evidence also showed that the Assessment Team sought to serve and care for the' Detwiler's, the Gee leaders and the GCe members they interacted with during this difficult situation. They conducted over 100 hours of interviews with approximately 35 people, 30 hours with the Detwilers alone, and met several times with the leaders of GCe to discuss this matter. However, the evidence also raised questions for us regarding what should be the typical process used in determining how the assessment team members are to be selected. 5. Based on the evidence we would affirm the findings of the SGM Mooresville Assessment team that the reason the local Mooresville leaders asked for Brent's resignation was a consistent pride and lack of entreatability on Brent's part that didn't facilitate the building of a healthy plurality of leadership locally. All the leaders we interviewed lost confidence and trust in Brent's ability to lead this church. 6. Evidence demonstrated that following Brent's resignation SGM was fair, even generous to Brent in his severance package as well as opportunities to go on staff at another SGM church.

5. The Recommendations
1. We recommend that the process of approving a church plant assure the relational unity, trust, and the partnership between SGM, the church planter, and the elders of the sending church and that they not proceed without this being well established. 2. We recommend that the SGM board look for any contribution, and accept responsibility for any flaws, errors or sins in the decision to plant Gee (see additional findings #2) and consider what an appropriate response should be to the former members of Grace Community Church. 3. We recommend that SGM help church planters to establish their early leadership teams in a way that ensures a healthy plurality, explains their relationship with SGM, and establishes clear expectations between the church planter and the leadership team and between the leadership team and SGM. 4. We understand that SGM is in the midst of defining its polity. In light of this we recommend they include the following


Define and establish clearly SGM's relationship with it's local churches • Define and establish SGM's role in helping to resolve and reconcile disputes among local eldersfleadership teams and when a crisis develops in a church. • We recommend that SGM provide trained regional teams to help conciliate/mediate disputes among elders or leadership teams that cannot be resolved and/or reconciled locally. • We recommend a process where the local church can affirm the extra-local leadership involved in serving that church. • We recommend that SGM develop a process for when a dispute, a loss of confidence, or a serious concern arises between the local eldershiplleadership team and the extra-local leader so that the issue can be addressed or another extra-local leader is assigned to serve that church. • We recommend that 8GM develop a grievance policy that local churches can adopt so that all parties know what steps to take when relational difficulties arise at a local or extra-local level. This grievance policy should also be used to address any relational difficulties SGM has at its leadership levels. 5. We recommend that SGM develop a policy for when a charge is brought against an elder that clearly articulates a 1 Timothy 5 process so that members ahd leaders of our churches know what recourse they have in bringing a charge and the elder is either protected should the charge be false or granted a fair, biblical and impartial process to examine and

adjudicate the charge.
6. If in the future an extra-local assessment team is deployed to serve one of our churches. we recommend that the person being assessed partiCipate in choosing the members of the assessment team and participate in defining the assessment process so that trust is engendered by aU involved.

... ~ arran B~'~r ~

, . itll4v . . ' . \,~_.I


Mark Prater SGM Interim Board Covenant Fellowship Church Glen Mills, PA

Sr. Pastor Sovereign Grace Church Marlton, NJ

Ron Boomsma Sr. Pastor Sovereign Grace Church Pasadena, CA


4. Report on Larry Tomczak's Departure from Sovereign Grace Ministries
[ Embedded below]

Reasoned Report Regarding Larry Tomczak's Departure from SGM The Issue The Interim board of directors of Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM) assigned our panel the following question: 'Was Larry Tomczak's departure from Sovereign Grace Ministries handled properly?" We were asked to provide a reasoned report of our findings that would include a description of what happened, an opinion of the significance of what happened, and recommendations to the board based upon our conclusions. The Process The folloWing report is based upon our study of pertinent "items of evidence" and personal interviews. We reviewed more than 100 documents and Interviewed 14 people (12 in person. 2 by phone). Our panel was given the authority to interview anyone we chose. Most. but not everyone. we invited accepted our invitation for an interview. The witnesses we interviewed included people who served on the board of SGM, as an employee of SGM, on the staff of City Church of Atlanta, or on the pastoral staff of Covenant Life Church during the time of Larry Tomczak's departure from SGM in 1997 (Note: the ministry was named "POI" at the time. but for the purpose of this report we will use the current name ·SGM"). Our most extensive interview was a live interview with Larry and Doris Tomczak themselves. We are grateful for all the people who participated in the proceedings and shared their experiences with us. Many traveled considerable distances to meet with us, prepared documents to assist us, and shared their personal correspondence and notes with us. Some revisited difficult memories in responding to our questions. We especially appreciated those participants' testimonies. It is a challenging exercise to reconstruct events that occurred nearly 15 years ago. Memory is limited and selective, so we tried to Confirm details by more than one testimony or source. To fulfill our assignment, we will report some sins that have been both contessed and forgiven. To some this may seem as inappropriately "digging up the past." We are sympathetic to that and only report forgiven sins in the redemptive hope that understanding what happened in the past will help us avoid the same actions in the future. So, what is our answer to the question, 'Was Larry Tomczak's departure from Sovereign Grace Ministries handled properly?" No, It was not handled properly. This is not to say that every part of Tomczak's departure was handled Improperly, but virtually everyone we interviewed identified mistakes, sins, regrets or grievances with the handling of Larry's departure. As in most relational

conflicts, blame is shared. Our report, however, will primarily assess the handling of Tomczak's departure from the SGM side of the ledger. Larry acknowledged some personal fault in his handling of his departure. Our assignment was not to explore his faults, however, but to understand and report SGM's. This is important for the reader to understand at the outset. Since our report will evaluate SGM, our assessment and recommendations will necessarily be one-sided. What Happened? Along with C.J. Mahaney, Larry Tomczak was a co-founder of both Covenant Life Church (CLC) and Sovereign Grl;lce Ministries. He led the Board of SGM from its inception in 1982 until 1991 when C.J. Mahaney took leadership. Larry served at Covenant Life Church in its early days and led SGM's first church plant to Cleveland, Ohio. As the Cleveland church became established, steve Shank became the Senior Pastor and Larry returned to CLC and devoted himself to serving the broader mission of SGM. He later left CLC and relocated to Fairfax Covenant Church (now Sovereign Grace Church) and continued to serve Sovereign Grace from that location. In 1994 he relocated to plant City Church of Atlanta. City Church held its first public service in October of 1994. The church experienced rapid growth, and a leadership team Came together that included Larry MaJament. Tomczak continued to serve on the Board of SGM while planting the new church in Atlanta. From 1995 through early 1997, the SGM board was studying and solidifying their doctrinal position regarding Reformed theology. During this season they were hammering out an "essentially Reformed" understanding of salvation. Reformed teaching was being taught more expliCitly in SGM churches during these years. For some SGM pastors, this represented a clarifying or deepening of their current belief. For others, this marked a departure from previous convictions. For the board, a watershed event occurred in January of 1997. On a retreat together, each board member in the presence of the others was indIvidually asked and voiced agreement to a series of doctrinal questions ihatframed a clear and unified position on Reformed theology which characterizes SGM to this day. The SGM Board Members that we interviewed distinctly remember Tomczak agreeing with the board's doctrinal conclusions at the January retreat. They were convinced that the board was moving forward with doctrinal unity. There is some evidence, however, to indicate that Tomczak was still wrestling with Reformed theology after the January retreat, even though he assented to these doctrinal positions at this retreat. A member of the local eldership at City Church told us that Larry raised some doctrinal concerns with him in the Spring of 1997. In a letter dated April 2,1997 this pastor writes that he was "still not clear where LT stand's concerning reformed theology." One board member we interviewed


communicated that Larry freely acknowledged agreement suspected that Larry wasn't fully on board doctrinally. So indicate that Larry communicated his doctrinal agreement yet at the same time some observed signs that Larry was Reformed theology.

at the retreat, but he the evidence seems to at this January retreat, uncertain about

In mid April 1997. one of the Tomczak children confessed personal sin to a leader at City Church. In short order, the child shared this with Larry and Doris as well. Subsequently, the child confessed sin in greater detail in a meeting with SGM Board Members C.J. Mahaney and Steve Shank present. C.J. and Steve promised the child that they would keep the confession confidential. They even committed to withholding the details from the other board members. The content of these confessions (which would be inappropriate for this report to discuss) led to an evaluation of Larry Tomczak's qualifications for pastoral ministry. The evaluation was conducted by both local leaders of City Church and the SGM board. By mutual decision, the SGM Board, the City Church leadership team, and Larry Tomczak agreed that he should take a leave of absence. In a letter sent out to the members of SGM churches on May 15, 1997. Tomczak wrote, "it is right and necessary for me to step down from the apostolic team (former name of the board) and fulfill what is a mutual decision to take a leave of absence as senior pastor of City Church for six to twelve months." In this letter. Larry identified "the. sins that God is currently revealing in my Ufe" as "pride. selfishness. deficiencies in the famtly and lying." Tomczak communicated that the leave would "enable me to address the areas of concern In a redemptive and concentrated manner," Regarding the length of the leave, Larry stated, "Ultimately. the timing of my return will be determined by the apostolic team and the local leadership." Fellow pastor Larry Matament was chosen to serve as the Senior Pastor of City Church. He with the aid of Steve Shank (WhO served on behalf of the board) soughtto help-the Tomczaks during this time of restoration. It was a difficult time, for the Tomczak family and for City Church. The restoration process lacked a specific plan. Several of those we interviewed acknowledged that the care for the Tomczaks during this leave was deficient in various areas. In September of 1997, Larry raised some doctrinal concerns with Steve Shank. Steve asked Larry to write out his concerns for the purpose of discussion with the board. In response, Tomczak sent a 31 page paper, which not only articulated doctrinal differences, but also announced his departure from 8GM. Tomczak explained that he disagreed with certain tenets of Reformed theology, and he also differed with his local leaders' and the 8GM board's opinion of his readiness to return to ministry. Tomczak thought he was qualified to return to pastoral ministry. As Larry and the board discussed his departure, sharp disagreement arose over his reasons for leaving as well as the public explanation of the reasons for his departure.


A number of the board members contended that Larry was continuing a pattern of deceitfulness by claiming that he wanted to separate because of doctrinal disagreement. They perceived him as removing himself prematurely from the restoration process. According to a letter from Mahaney sent to SGM members explaining Larry's departure, neither the SGM Board nor the City Church leadership team believed that Larry's character warranted his immediate return to ministry. Board member Brent Detwiler wrote in an email to Larry dated September 26, 1997, "This is about character- not calling. not doctrine. Please don't resist the dealing of God and separate yourself from everyone who knows you the best and loves you the most." In fact, in the minutes of a board meeting from September 17,1997 the board recorded, " ... we will not support doctrine as the reason for his departure due to the real reasons behind his decision to leave. We would feel that for larry to do so would be unethical." In early October 1997 several phone conversations took place between the Tomczaks and members of the SGM Board. At leasttwo of those conversations were recorded by the Tornczaks Without the knowledge of the participating board members. On October 3,1997 Larry initiated a call with C.J. Contrary to some claims, this phone call was not recorded, As a result, an exact transcript of the call does not exist. Larry and Doris reconstructed the dialogue after the call from detailed notes they took during the call. According to the Tornczaks' notes, C.J. allowed for the possibility of making known their child's sin if Larry communicated that he was leaving SGM over doctrinal disagreement. If C.J. were to disclose this child's sin and its details, it would have violated the promised confidentiality that he had given the Tomczak child. This amounted to a threat. Doris accused C.J. on the phone of blackmailing thern. In our interview with C.J., he freely admitted that it was wrong for him to even bring up the possibility of breaking his promise to their child. Although he readily admitted that what he did was coercion and wrong, he did not agree with Doris's assessment that this constituted blackmail. Our panel listenedte selected portions of a tape-recorded call that took place on October 7, 1997.between board members (Steve Shank and Paul Palmer) and Larry, Doris and their child. On this call Steve Shank repeatedly held out the possibility to the Tomczak child that the private confession of sin could be disclosed if Larry gave false reasons (from the board's perspective) for hls departure from SGM; that is, if Larry stated that his reason for leaving was doctrinal in nature. Our panel also listened to significant portions of a tape-recorded call from the next day, October 8, 1997 between Larry and Doris and a number of board members. The primary participants on the call were Dave Harvey, Steve Shank and Brent Detwiler. (CJ was not a party on either of the taped calls we heard.) In this conversation, these board members reaffirmed the possibility of divulging something of the child's sin if Larry claimed he was leaving for doctrinal reasons.


Their contention was that the child's sins were relevant to Larry's disqualification for ministry. Later the board retracted its coercive threat, but it is difficult to establish exactly when this retraction occurred. The following items are relevant to determining the time of the retraction: • According to SGM board minutes of October 14, 1997 the board sought legal counsel and received a "strong recommendation we do not divulge (Tomczak's child) sin to any degree in any fashion." According to C.J.'s testimony, "on or around October 14, Steve and' have a vague recollection ,of me calling Larry and assuring him that the specifics of the (Tomczak's child) sins would never be made public." In a December 1998 document written by Larry entitled "An Appeal to the POI Leadership for Repentance, Reconciliation, and Closure," Tomczak claims to have issued a warning about the board's threat. He wrote, "We feel such a sense of anguish in finding ourselves to be the object of outright blackmail (that was only withdrawn after we communicated to you the immorality and illegality of the threat)!" Larry's language indicates that the threat had been withdrawn sometime between the time- of the phone calls and the writing of his paper 14 months later. On Octoberffi, 2002, Mahaney wrote a letter of apology on behalf of the SGM Boardto the Tomczak child. After asking forgiveness, C.J. writes uAs best we can recall, we corrected this soon after the recorded conversation and gave assurance that we would not divulge personal information about you regardless of what your father did or said. Hopefully. this removed the ongoing possibility of disclosure, but it did not cancel the fact that our earlier words had caused you a period of fear and anguish. We failed you, and we are deeply sorry for the affect this had on you." According to Brent Detwiler, in a letter written to Larry in February of 2003, the threat was short lived in the board's mind. He wrote to Larry, 'When you began to misrepresent your departure from POI, we considered for a short period of time, whether or not it might be necessary to divulge information to those being influenced from your misinformation. We decided, however, to honor our commitment to (your child) even though we knew it would limit our ability to explain to others, when necessary, the seriousness of your sin and why we did not believe you were qualified for ministry." Most recently in a summary document-written in November 2011 J Larry and Doris describe the incident as "premeditated blackmail, communicated and reaffirmed on numerous occasions and subsequently left to silence and hang over us for over a decade,"


From the above evidence it seems unlikely that the threat lasted more than 14 months and may have been dealt with in 11 days. So it does not seem that this threat was "left ... to hang over us [the TomczaksJ for over a decade." It was made; it lingered for at least a couple of weeks; it was evidently retracted or understood to be withdrawn sometime within 14 months.

The Tomczaks officially departed from City Church and SGM in October of 1997. Mahaney sent a letter to members of SGM churches on October 15 explaining that Larry was leaving and that his local team and the SGM board did not endorse his decision to "abandon the restoration process." Larry produced a sixpage paper dated October 22 offering his alternative explanation of his departure for those who inquired. Tomczak's paper avoided the subject of doctrinal disagreement. Following the Tomczak's departure, Mahaney made a public statement regarding Larry to Covenant Life Church, the church where C.J. served as Senior Pastor. According to the testimony we heard, C.J. had the tape turned off for at least a portion of his comments; there is no recording or transcript of his statements that we are-aware of It has been reported that C;J. said something like, "I'd rather be dead than dolnq what Larry Tomczak is doing." C.J. acknowledged making this comment when we, ihterviewed him. It appears that C.J; also made a reference denigrating Larry's integrity. It is purported that C.J. called Larry a "liar." We could not confirm this actual language, but it does appear that some uncharitable description of Larry- and/or his actions was given. C.J. does not recall saying anything along these lines in his presentation. However, in a document prepared by a board member in 2001 tl1ere is a reference to this statement and a question as to whether C.J. should have communicated that tarry was a liar iI, such "an unqualified way." From the FaU of 1997 until early 2003, Larry and C.J. discussed pursuing reconciliation, yet for various' reasons it did not happen. Unable to agree on a mediator or conditions to be met before meeting (e.g., C.J.'s request that Larry provide a copy of the tapes for the board to hear), reconciliation efforts stalled. On Jan. 25, 2001, Mahaney and Tomczak met for the first time since Larry's departure in 1997. According to Larry's testimony, he played a portion of one of the taped phone conversations for C.J. On May 4,2001 C.J. requested the tapes so that the board could review them in their entirety. Larry did not provide the tapes at that time. In December of 2001, Larry communicated that since the board was not responding to his requests for reconciliation he would "widen the circle" by providing the tapes to six nationally known leaders outside of SGM and one former pastor from SGM for their evaluation. C.J. made another request for the


tapes in January of 2002. Larry sent the tapes to the leaders, gathered their responses, and forwarded their evaluation to C.J. On July 16, 2002, C.J. wrote the seven leaders and requested that they appeal to Larry to send the tapes to him so that the participants on the call could hear it themselves and consider whether they sinned during the conversation. Larry sent the tapes to C.J., and C.J. acknowledged receiving them in a letter dated August 6, 2002. On October 16, 2002 C.J. wrote the Tomczak's child and sought forgiveness for threatening to break the vow of confidentiality. C.J and Larry remained unreconciled, however. We are unaware of any tangible steps toward reconciliation between 2003 and 2010. In the fall of 2010, Larry sent a letter to C.J. asking to meet for the purpose of reconciliation. Mahaney and the Tomczaks met together and then publicly announced their reconciliation In 2011. In a November 2011 document titled, "The Tomczak Departure from S.G.M.What Really Happened?", Larry claims that the vow of confidentiality that had been made to his child in 1997 ''was later broken," We interviewed a person who testified that C.J. told him details of the child's sin in a brief, private conversation in May of 1997. C.J. has no recollection of this conversation.

The Signlflcance of What Happened In this section I we aim to draw out important concerns from the narrative of Larry Tomczak's departure. We are unable to comment on all that occurred. but we seek to identify the salient points and offer our commentary for the SGM board. 1. SGM board members share culpability. Our reading. interviews, and exposure to the recorded conversations convlnce us that this issue is not simply a Mahaney vs. Tomczak matter. More specifically. the coercive threat involved other board members as well as C.J. Every board member may not have been equally knowledgeable or even 'equally involved in the threat, but some board members unquestionably reaffirmed the initial threat to reveal the Sin of the child if Tomczak stated his reason for leaving SGM was doctrinal. Admittedly, we didn't hear either call in its entirety based on time restraints nor were we permitted to keep copies of the tapes or transcripts to review beyond our initial hearing. But we did hear several board members uphold and conflrm the threat. We are left to conclude that there was agreement among some board members to seek to coerce Tomczak by leaving open the possibility of revealing his child's sin if he were to give doctrinal differences as his reason for leaving SGM. We are not, however, certain how participating board members initially arrived at the decision to leave open the possibility of exposing the sin of the


Tomczak child. We can only confirm that the threat was initiated by Mahaney and then later supported by some other board members, thus blame must be shared. 2. The coercive threat was sinful. When Tomczak explained to the board that he desired to leave SGM over doctrinal differences, Mahaney and some board members raised the possibility of publicly disclosing further details of Larry's sins. Why did they consider this? In a letter dated September 26, 1997 Detwiler writes to Tomczak, 'While you are certainly free to change your theological position, the way you have gone about it lacks the most basic kind of integrity or humility. Worse than that, you are now using your new found understanding of these issues as an excuse to run from the dealings of God, break off long standing relationships, and pursue your own ministry." Here Tomczak is accused of using his new doctrinal convictions as an excuse to withdraw from a dlselpllnary process. According to the board minutes of October 14,1997, the board deemed Tomczak disqualified for ministry. Moreover, they believed that Tomczak's introduction of his critique of Reformed theology would confuse and hinder people during a time When the SGM churches were galvanizing around a more clearly defined theology, One board member testified that he believed that Tomczak's doctrinal disagreement was a smokescreen! and the board was resolute in explaining his departure with integrity. larry had previously confessed that he was taking a leave of absence due in part to "deficiencies In his family." While the threat was never spelled out in detail in the phone conversations we heard, board members did leave the clear Impression that the family deficiencies divulged through the child's confession might be disclosed. If larry chose to announce that his departure was driven by doctrinal disagreement, these board members threatened to share a fuller explanation of his family deficiencies that included reference to his child. In our interviews, w~ heard strong opinions as to whether or not this threat constituted blackmail. As a panel, we are not qualified to render a legal assessment. Our primary concern has been working to objectively understand what happened and why it happened. What is evident to us is that the threat was present. and it was wrong. It was coercive. It was sinful. The Tomczak child confessed sins with an assurance that the confession would be held in the strictest confidence. When-the child repeatedly appealed on the phone that the confession of sin remain private regardless.of what the child's father might do, the child was given no assurance that the promise would be kept. Some board members testified that they were only considering sharing the categories and not the details of the child's sin. However, this distinction was


never made to the Tomczaks, so they were led to fear the worst. The Tomczaks were understandably distraught by the possibility that their child's private confession could become public in any way. At the time. some board members thought they were acting to restrain Larry from misrepresenting his departure and possibly splitting his church. They perceived their actions as protecting SGM, However, the net result was that they were manipulating Larry to act in a way they deemed righteous and doing so at the potential expense of his child. As previously recounted, it is uncertain in our minds exactly when this threat was removed, But even in the best-case scenario, allowing the Tomczaks to live for eleven days under this threat is grievous. Leaders must use God glorifying means to achieve a God glorifying end. Ironically, while some board members believed they were attempting to persuade Tomczak to act with integrity, they ended up compromising, their own. Thankfully, each board member we interviewed who had participated in the threat sorrowfully acknowledged his actions and had already reached -out to the Tomczaks pursuing forgiveness. 3. Public critique hurt Tomczak's reputation. In the book of James. the tongue is compared to a fire. James warns, "How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!" (James 3:5). The exhortations of this chapter apply to all believers, but there is an introductory warning to teachers at the beginning. Teachers will be judged with a greater strictness (3:1). Pulpit speech comes under greater scrutiny because preachers are teaching God's word in the context of worship. Both the public environment of the speech and the holy nature of the task elevate the effect and influence of a pastor's words in the Sunday gathering. In the context of Larry Tomczak's departure from 8GM. uncharitable public speech damaged Larry's reputation, Following Tomczak's departure. Mahaney communicated in a public worship service at Covenant Life Church that he would rather be dead than do what Larry Tomczak was doing. One Covenant Life pastor testified that these comments were the death of Larry's reputation at CLeo According to this pastor's testimony. some church members who knewthe Tomczak family stopped interacting with them after C.J.'s comments about Larry. While church members are responsible for their own relationships and their own actions. they certainly could have been influenced by Mahaney's public criticism of Tomczak. Mahaney publicly acknowledged his sinful words about Larry in a confession given to Covenant Life Church in July 2011. He said, "And when Larry dld leave. my public announcement of his departure was self-righteous in attitude and critical of Larry at a very vulnerable time in his life. I highlighted his sin alone, and I was blind to my own. I'm deeply grieved by this."


Broadly speaking, we read and heard uncharitable words by people on both sides of the issue of the Tomczak's departure. The result? Relationships were broken and corrupted. God forbids such speech in Ephesians 4:29, "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." Words that "give grace to those who hear" would likely have made a significant and helpful difference at strategiC moments in this conflict. 4. Fear affected some board decisions. As co-founder of SGM, Tomczak was a high profile leader. Even though his influence had diminished from the days in which he led the board, he was still widely known, dearly loved and held longstanding relationships with many leaders and members in SGM churches. During this time, the board was leading SGM through a period of doctrinal definition. One board member testified that he presumed that Tomczak's departure over doctrinal disagreement would have hindered the unity that was emerging around Reformed theology. Additionally, based on Tomczak's 31-page paper defining his differences, the board was apprehensive that Lany would misrepres.ent their views as he sought to describe his differences with SGM's doctrine. Board members appealed to Tomczak to remain in a restorative process with SGM, so that-they could later commend his character and send him out with a clear statement of doctrinal differences. From the board's perspective, Tomczak cut short his restoration process and was unwilling to remain and work through theological differences. When Tomczak decided to leave. individuals on the board proceeded to make some unwise decisions. Reflecting on this trying season, one boarc member testified that from an ethical standpoint, they had an opportunity to walk a higher road, but they didn't. He contends that they were too concerned about Tomczak's potential to damage SGM, which led them to make some decisions based on fear of what could happen. He said that they didn't trust Larry, but they should have trusted God. We agree with his candid analysis identifying fear as a sinful motive that clouded their Judgment. 5. Deficient processes contributed to the conflict. If the handling of the Tomczak's departure is representative, then SGM lacked SUfficient processes for evaluating a pastor and his fitness for ministry and for prescribing a clear, measurable pathway for restoration. Here are our concerns: a. Evaluation of Tomczak- At the time of Tomczak's leave, there appeared to be unanimous agreement that Tomczak should step down from ministry for a season. Larry himself stated, "I agree completely" and "' totally agree with the


course of action we are taking and view it as God's mercy for me and my family." (Tomczak's May 15, 1997 letter announcing his leave of absence) We do not second-guess the mutual decision for Tomczak to step down. However, we point out that one aspect of the evaluation seemed misguided in our view. As the threat emerged there appeared to be a blurring of responsibility between the child's sins and the father's sins. In fact, in one of the phone calls this point is debated between the child and one of the board members. At one point during the call, the board member said to Larry, "[Your child] is a product of your fatherhood and that disqualifies you from ministry." To be fair, Tomczak publicly admitted to "not effectively training my children In the Lord" and ·concealing sins and problem areas in the family:" (Tomczak's May 15. 1997 letter) Even so, there were some board members at the time who seemed to hold Larry directly responsible for his child's sins. One board member testified that there was too much of a link made between Larry's parenting and his child's sin. The idea that "good pastors =: good kids" represented a kind of thinking that lacked depth in this board members estimation. He went on to express that conclusions should not be drawn too quickly between faithful parenting and the current fruit in a child's life. We think this is a discemingand charitable perspective. b. Inconsistent definition of Tomczak's leave- The nature of Tomczak's leave was unclear at different points in the process. The following examples illustrate the probJem: • Larry's letter announcing his leave of absence (May 15, 1997) describes "some significant dealings of God in my life" which led to the conviction that he was 'not above reproach" (1 Timothy 3:2). Because of this concern. he and the board reached a mutual decision that he should take a "leave of absence." Never in Tomczak's letter is "discipline" or "church dlselpnne" mention-ed. Board minutes from an October 14, 1997 meeting record the following decision, "It was agreed that this situation with Lany and our proposed action would not be viewed as church discipline (Matthew 18), but rather as a disqualification for ministry issue (Hebrews 12)." The 8GM Board's letter announcing Tomczak's departure from 8GM (October 15, 1997) describes his leave as disciplinary. In this letter, Mahaney uses phrases like "disciplinary process" and "discipline" to describe the restoratlon process. Neartya year later in August 1998. Mahaney sent a letter to pastors in


SGM regarding Larry. He explained that the board had "made numerous appeals to Larry Tomczak for the purpose of reconciliation. Regrettably, Larry has not responded." The letter then reported that Larry had contacted some SGM pastors as if nothing were wrong. So the board recommended the following: "On behalf of the team (board), I wanted to alert you to the possibility of contact by Larry and ask that you not engage in casual conversation or pursue fellowship with him. Instead appeal that he be reconciled with the team and ask forgiveness for his sins." This sounds like the kind of response appropriate for someone under "church discipline." ("Church discipline" refers toa Matthew 18 process in SGM vemacular. ) To further complicate the matter, C.J. enclosed a separate letter from a SGM pastor to Larry with the above August 1998 letter. Mahaney recommended the pastor's letter as a model approach to Tomczak. In the letter, this pastor corrected Larry for private comments he had made including a claim that his leave wasn't church discipline. This pastor's letter included the following. "It was very much a church discipline issue. This is how it was described both to you and to the church ... I am deeply disappointed and distressed that you so misrepresented the facts to me." Our point is not to critique this pastor who was working off of inaccurate assumptions. Rather, we are making the polnt that including the letter as a sample response was confusing because the letter treated Larry's leave as "church discipline," when we suspect it was not. The problem in all of this is not simply terminology but an inconsistent description of and approach to Tomczak's leave which could confuse people about Larry~s Slanding. Was it a "leave of absence" or a "disciplinary process"? Was it "church discipline"? If not, why is "casual conversation" or pursuing fellowship with Tomczak discouraged? In hindsight, the process lacked a consistently clear

c. Unclear process of restoration- The restoration process lacked specific, measurable markers to determine when Larry was qualified to return to pastoral ministry; A 6,..12month timetable was prescribed, but the leave didn't include objective benchmarks to measure his progress which could have enabled Larry, the local elders and the 80M Board to be on the same page. This proved detrimental when Larry asserted he was ready for restoration after four months and the local elders and 8GM Board disagreed with him. Without clearly outlined steps to measure restoration. "ministry readiness" becomes overly subjective, difficult to determine, and thus open to more than one interpretation. Not only did the restoration process lack defined criteria for evaluation, but even more importantly. it also lacked sufficient gospelMcentered care according to some who testified before this panel. One leader involved in providing care for


the Tornczaks candidly and humbly told us that if he could do it over again, he would have sought to be more gracious. He shared that they lacked compassion at times for the Tomczaks who were walking through difficult circumstances in their family. Another leader reported that at points there was an over emphasis on indwelling sin and the Tomczak's failures when there should have been more supportive pastoral care for the family, A board member shared that he now wishes that he would have more wisely considered the heartbreaking season the Tomczaks were experiencing and responded by giving them more hope in the gospel. The Tomczaks certainly received some wsll-lntentloned and loving care. But from the testimonies we heard the gospel should have been louder, clearer and more frequent in the restoration process. The gospel produces empathy which leads us to come alongside people In the midst of their crisis. Gospel oriented care shouldn't mute legitimate correction, but such care should leave people with a resounding hope. d. No recourse for Tomczak- Whether Larry was right or wrong in his disagreements with the board, he undoubtedly lacked recourse for his grievances. SGM had no defined process for adjudicating disputes among leaders. Answering the question, 'Was Larry Tomczak's departure from Sovereign Grace Ministries handled properly?" is complicated by the reality that we have no standardized procedure by Which to measure the board's handling of Tomczak. Absent policies directing the matter, the board appears to have made ad hoc decisions about his departure, their communication about him. and their approach to reconciliation. We don't expect that policies could have addressed every detail of this case, but the lack of any policy surely contributed to the board's and Tomczak's faitures and sins along the way. Tomczak lacked an avenue of appeal to address his acousanons against the board, 6. Larry Tomczak contributed to the conflict surrounding his departure. In a public document released in November 2011 describing his departure from SGM, Larry writes, "I want to say at the outset that I am not blameless, but I at times yielded to a spirit of fear when told 'I lacked discernment' and was at times cowardly when I should have addressed unrighteous behavior." The SGM Board's sins are not excused because of Tomczak's sins, but his contribution must be acknowledged. In our interview, Larry summarized his shortcomings under the general heading of "the fear of man." Those may indeed be roots underlying 'his actions, but his actions were quite serious and contributed to a breakdown in relationships. By failing to speak his mind, he misled the board who cannot be faulted for taking his agreement at face value. In fact, Larry testified to us that he was uncomfortable with some of what he wrote in his May 1997 letter of confession but felt required to write it as he did. Board members


testified that they believed Larry meant what he wrote. Fear of man can lead to a duplicity that erodes trust in relationships. There was widespread agreement among the board members we interviewed that they didn't trust Larry. In his May 1997 letter announcing his leave, Larry confessed among other things that he had been guilty of lying evidenced by "being deceitful and submitting to fear by concealing sins and problem areas in the family. He went on to write, umy friends and fellow leaders have rightly expressed a lack of trust and confidence in my leadership." Their lack of trust peaked when he announced a few months later that he was leaving SGM for doctrinal reasons. In his May fetter, he soberly reported that he was not above reproach and thus his stepping down was tiright and necessary." Less than five months later he told the local leaders and the board that he must leave because his doctrinal convictions were irreconcilable with SGM's.

The board believed this lacked Integrity. Moreover, they believed that if they supported Larry's claim that doctrinal disagreement was at the heart of his separation they would be breaching their own Integrity. In fact, one board member expressed that had they announced that Tomczak left over doctrinal disagreement it would have appeared as a cover up to some people who knew the details of Larry's sin and the deficiencies in his family. While it is beyond our scope to explore Tomczak's failures, our report would be excessively slanted jf we failed to reference his contribution to the conflict surrounding his departure.

7. The SGM Board failed to aggressively pursue reconciliation
An understandable question that an observer might ask is 'Why did it take almost 14 years to sit down and reconcile over these issues?" Unfortunately; we are unable to supply a satisfying answer to that question. We read numerous letters exchanged between Mahaney and Tomczak during the period of 1997-2003. From those letters, we can infer a few reasons why reconciliation efforts remained stalled. In our mind,jhe reasons offered in the exchanges don't justify the lengthy relational separation. Rather than drilling down into those details, we offer some general observations and concerns. From reading the letters between Mahaney and Tomczak supplied to us, we don't believe that the SGM board was running toward reconciliation with Larry. For the most part; they were unresponsive to him rather than aggressively pursuing reconciliation with him. In Matthew 5:23-24, Jesus says, "So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift." The urgent priority that Christ


assigns to reconciliation seems to be missing from the SGM Board's approach to Tomczak. Additionally, it appears that reconciliation was delayed by a lack of self-critique from those on both sides of the conflict. We didn't see the board pursuing a determined pathway of self-examination nor did we find evidence that they Initially acknowledged their own failure where appropriate when Tomczak voiced his concems and accusations. Jesus teaches in Matthew 7:1-5 that we are to remove the log in our own eye before tending to the speck that is in our brother's eye, From what we have read and heard, we don't believe that this peacemaking principle was always faithfully applied by the board in their dealings with Tomczak. This failure contributed to the delayed reconciliation. Recommendations 1. We recommend that everyone Involved In the events of this report soberly examine their hearts. before the Lord seeking the Holy Spirit's conviction and responding with repentance before God where appropriate. Any changes that we recommend for any individual or for the SGM Board corporately will be worthless apart from the work of the Spirit bringing conviction, forgiveness, renewal and reconciliation. This recommendation is offered with a genuine confidence in the power of the gospel to affect change in our lives as we humble ourselves before the Lord. 2. We recommend that the current SGM board members (C.J. Mahaney, Dave Harvey, Steve Shank) and the key local elder (Larry Malament) who served during the time of Larry Tomczak's departure pursue a mediation process with him. We appreciate that each of these men have recently and i11 some cases repeatedly returned to Tomczak and confessed their sins and sought reconciliation. We are not questioning their efforts or their sincerity. However, based on the testimony we heard, we do not have confidence that these relationships are reconciled. We don't know the:contentofthe private meetings between individual leaders and the Tornczaks, but from what we heard, itseems that neither side believes the other has taken full responsibility for their own faults. Similarly, both sides lack a high degree of trust for those on the other side. In this environment of weakened trust, we believe mediation is essential to bring a God-glorifying reconciliation that will satisfy each party. Mahaney and the Tomczaks publicly reported in 2011 that they had been reconciled. We think their announcement was sincere, but we believe there is more work to be done to secure a bilateral and enduring reconciliation. In the past, Mahaney and Tomczak COUldn't agree on a mediator, so we would like to recommend one. We suggest Ted Kober (or his delegate) from


Ambassadors of Reconciliation serve in this process and that SGM cover all the expenses for the mediation. Finally, we recommend that SGM avoid joint statements and appearances announcing reconciliation with the Tomczaks until a neutral third party mediator supports that statement. Communicating progress is welcomed. Communicating reconciliation should be withheld until it is encouraged by the mediator, in our opinion. Following mediation, the board should consider if any further public communication is warranted. 3. We recommend that the board prioritize the writing of some form of a "book of church order." We know that the board has already announced its intentions to draft such a work. But our immersion in the details of Larry Tomczak's departure from SGM leads us to recognize the serious need for this and recommend that the board expedite this project. We are not fully informed of the intended scope of the "book of church order," and we aren't certain which Issues SGM will leave for the local churches to decide upon. Even so, we recommend that the SGM Board address the prominent deficiencies highlighted in the Tomczaks' case. Both the board and the Tomczaks would have benefitted from well-defined guidelines on the following issues: • • • • • • • • • • Evaluating a pastor's qualifications for ministry The legiti~acy and purpose of a disciplinary of non-dlsclpllnary leave of absence for a pastor or board member A defined grace centered restoration process for a disqualified pastor Standards for public communication regarding the discipline of a pastor Standards for public communication regarding the departure of a disqualified pastor . A grievance policy providing recourse for an offended pastor or board member An explanation of the selection and dismissal procedure for SGM Board members Clarity on the relationship between the SGM Board and the local church A defined accountability for a SGM Board member with his local eldership A policy for mediation between board members or local pastors in conflict

If these issues are outside the parameters of a "book of church order," then we recommend that they be addressed through another more appropriate means. 4. We recommend that Larry Tomczak be honored for his years of service in Sovereign Grace Ministries. As his departure has been revisited through this review, we have an opportunity to graciously: express our gratitude to him. With one exception, we won't recommend specifics because honor expressed in response to the recommendation of others can ring hollow for the recipient. As a


panel, we were privileged to sit with the Tomczaks and briefly express our gratitude for their years of investment in this family of churches. We are sure others, including board members, have done the same. But a more formal SGM response would be meaningful and appropriate in our estimation. We specifically recommend that the board give a financial gift to the Tomczaks as an expression of gratitude for their years of sacrificial service in SGM. We understand that severance pay is not customary for someone who resigns his employment as Tomczak chose to do. We understand that a financial gift is not customary when someone departs in the midst of a dispute. We also understand that the gospel of grace calls us to a generosity and gratitude that is not customary. If SGM has already given a financial gift to the Tomczaks, then we welcome the board to make that known, as unbecoming as it might seem to publicize such an act. 5. We recommend the SGM Board take steps to improve communication with its pastors. Specifically. we believe the board can grow in the way it updates pastors concerning changes in our policies and practices. During our recent period of difficulty, the board has served pastors well in communication, and we recommend they maintain this present value even when the difficulty subsides and frequent interactions are no longer necessary. This recommendation Isn't so much a specific deficiencies in the handling of Tomczak's departure, but revieWing documents from the time of his departure has made us aware of many changes within 8GM. As we read documents from 15 years ago, we found ourselves thinking, "We don't do things that way anymore." As we asked current leaders about decisions and actions from the past, many testified, ''We would dolt differently today." They weren't only addreSSing mistakes or regrets. They were acknowledging that SGM culture has changed. To us, it seems like changes' in personnel! policy and practice have occurred without much public explanation. This is anobservanon not an accusation. We recommend the board continue to pursue a leadership approach that readily Identifies and explains change where possible. Conclusion To the best of our ability. we have presented the facts. We have sought to objectively critique people we know and love. This has been a difficult report to write for a few reasons. First, we intentionally wrote an imbalanced report. We didn't think the interim board was asking us to even out our analysis. Therefore, we didn't highlight the many ways that 8GM leaders acted wisely and faithfully. Instead we chose to dissect a few failures in the process and make



in light of those failures.

We also found this report difficult to compose because we are writing as panelists critiquing pastors, when in fact we are pastors ourselves who are keenly aware of aur own sins and weaknesses in caring for God's people. This entire investigation and reporting process has led us to a greater fear of the Lord. We don't feel comfortable pointing out others' need for the gospel without loudly acknowledging our own need for that same grace as well. Finally, in evaluating the care offered the Tomczaks, we pointed out that leaders could have. done better at coming alongside Larry and his family and offering them gospel hope during a difficult time. They needed to hear more of the faithfulness of God to forgive and restore according to those we interviewed. It is out hope that we don't repeat this mistake at this time. The facilitator for our review panel, Bryce Thomas, spoke of the need to "breathe grace" to people who find themselves overwhelmed as the Tomczaks did. We hope, that the SGM board, the Tomczak family and others who read our report will adopt Bryce's counsel. May God's immeasurable grace touch everyone mentioned in this report and everyone who reads it, and may we respond with trust in Christ who is working for our good and his glory. "Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint agaihst another, forgiVing each other, as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony." Colossians 3:12;..14


5. Sovereign Grace Board's Response to the Reports
We want to begin by thanking the men who served on these panels for their fair, unflinching, and evenhanded work. They have given us a thorough and objective baseline from which to draw conclusions. We also want to note that C.J. is not being added to the interim Board and he had no influence over the writing of this response. We invited him to write his own response instead, which follows ours.

General Observations All three panels, to varying degrees, mention a lack of organizational guidance and policy for how to evaluate leaders, discipline leaders, and resolve conflict between leaders, and all three recommend change. We acknowledge this deficiency and expect to hear more about this from AOR in their report on broader ministry issues later this spring. With their assistance, we plan to address these things. We also recognize that the panels' comments on organizational guidance and policy suggest a thorough examination of SGM's leadership structure. Because our mandate as an interim Board was to evaluate Brent's allegations, however, we leave that task to the next Board. To confuse the examination of Brent's allegations (which were the occasion for C.J. taking a leave) with our polity or future leadership would reach beyond our assigned task, and quite likely distract us from a biblical due process for evaluating charges against an elder. C.J. initiated his leave solely to allow for a fair examination of Brent's charges, and we have ended his leave solely based on the results of that examination. Long-term questions about organizational guidance are not for the interim Board to address. That's for the permanent Board. Two of the reports also recommend that C.J. pursue mediation with some of the participants in these conflicts. We support the pursuit of mediation whenever it is appropriate. However, our support requires some qualification: mediation requires both parties to agree on the issues to be explored with a goal of reconciliation. No one should be held accountable to participate in mediation unless the other party has a sensible outstanding complaint. Moreover, any other party must enter the mediation process with a willingness to have his own participation in the conflict evaluated. We would ask that any request for mediation with C.J. include notification of the SGM Board so that we can guide him in his participation.

Report Regarding C.J.'s Participation in Fellowship and Correction Brent's allegation here is that C.J. is a hypocrite who teaches others to participate in fellowship and listen to correction but does not do so himself. The panel found no grounds for this characterization of C.J. This is not to overlook personal sins C.J. committed through the course of this conflict, and we join with the panel (and C.J.'s current care group and ministry associates) in affirming his formal and repeated confession related to these sins in 2004, 2010, and 2011 and the growth others have identified in these areas and see no reason for him to make further public confessions. And we affirm both from this report and our own experience that, "these sins do not represent the totality of the man and his ministry." Although we agree with the report that these sins are common, we also affirm that C.J. should make these issues a matter of review in his ministry relationships. But the events portrayed in Brent's documents do not characterize C.J., nor do they represent his commitment to sanctification and fellowship over the span of his ministry.

Report Regarding Brent Detwiler's Dismissal from, Grace Community Church The charge here is that C.J. manipulated a review process which led to Brent's dismissal as the pastor of his church, Grace Community Church of Mooresville, North Carolina. The panel found no evidence for this allegation. Moreover, evidence points to the contrary. The panel wrote: "We did find evidence that C.J. Mahaney was actively supportive of Brent's desire to plant this church, that Brent received due process when this crisis developed, and that C.J. Mahaney wanted to preserve Brent's role in ministry." Although Brent did receive a credible process for reviewing his leadership team's call for his dismissal, we regret that we lacked a defined process, which created confusion for everyone involved. We believe better policy guidance from SGM can rectify similar situations if they arise in the future. We are also tasking a SGM Board member and Senior Pastor Mickey Connolly (of Crossway Community Church which sponsored the church plant) to explore with members of the church plant if there are any outstanding complaints regarding the decision to plant the church.

Report Regarding Larry Tomczak's

Departure from Sovereign Grace Ministries

This report chronicles a very sad chapter in SGM's history. The panel found that, with the then-"apostolic team's" support, C.J. initiated a threat to break a confidence with the Tomczaks in response to Larry's stated reasons for leaving SGM. This was followed by other members of the team affirming the threat if Larry left under the pretense of doctrinal differences. We wholeheartedly agree with the panel's finding of the apostolic team's sin. Although we were glad to learn from the panel report that the threat did not hang over Larry's family for "more than a decade" as Larry stated, it was still unacceptable, even if, at best, it was retracted within eleven days.

These sins were serious and caused real pain to the Tomczaks. This interim Board is not able to speak for all involved in 1997, but Dave Harvey and Steve Shank do join their voices to C.J.'s in a public confession of their sin against the Tomczaks, and likewise have pursued the Tomczaks for their forgiveness. This interim Board along with C.J., Dave, and Steve want to express our sorrow over the pain and confusion this has caused to others. After reviewing these events in context, however, we do not consider the sins SGM leaders committed to be disqualifying. First, far from carrying out the threat, when those involved recognized that it was ethically wrong, they withdrew it. Some have suggested that the long period before C.J. and Larry reconciled reveals a 14-year-long lack of conviction for those involved, but the data does not support that interpretation. During the interim Board's own review, we discovered via testimony and in reading correspondence from the early 2000s that an outside conciliator had advised the leadership team and Larry that meaningful mediation was not possible unless Larry was willing to participate with his own failings subject to review. So the lack of earlier reconciliation appears to be a failure of both parties. And furthermore, in 2002 C.J. sought forgiveness on behalf of the team from the Tomczak family member who would have been harmed had the threat been acted on. Again, this does not comport with suspicion that C.J. failed to recognize his sin until this past year. Second, C.J. has taken responsibility for his failures in the conflict. As mentioned above, nearly ten years ago, he sought the forgiveness of the person who would have been harmed if the threat had been carried out. In 2010, he met with Larry and Doris and sought their forgiveness as well. And on July 10, 2011, C.J. confessed to Covenant Life Church that his announcement of Larry's departure, "was self-righteous in attitude and critical of Larry at a very vulnerable time in his life." He added that, "I am deeply grieved by this." We are grateful that he took responsibility for this before the church, as his statements caused unnecessary damage to Larry's reputation in the church. We are also grateful for Larry's public statement of forgiveness and reconciliation with C.J. Finally, we found no evidence beyond this event that C.J. or any other member of the past leadership teams in SGM has made coercive threats a means of manipulating behavior in the conduct of their ministry. Although the threat was wrong, it does not fit into a pattern of behavior. Regarding the panel's recommendation for mediation: C.J. and the SGM Board stand ready to engage in mediation for reconciliation with any or all of the participants in this conflict. If Larry would like to seek mediation for reconciliation with any or all of the participants in this conflict, we ask that he bring his request to this Board with a clear statement of issues he believes to be outstanding and that he agree to participate according to commonly accepted standards of mediation.

Closing Remarks on Brent Detwiler Finally, a word on Brent. We are heartbroken that a man who was once a dear friend and fellow leader, a man who made many positive contributions to our ministry, is now estranged from us and continues to unfairly criticize many in SGM, which has resulted in the unnecessary damage to the reputations of some. We want Brent and all of SGM to know that given the love of the Savior for us all and the amazing potency of his grace, we still hold out hope that we can be reconciled. Although we consider his charges to be addressed finally and completely, we have communicated to him in private correspondence that we stand ready to meet and discuss our differences if the goal is reconciliation. And we renew our appeal to have his pastor contact us so that we might take the next step towards this goal. Such steps would not only please the Savior but it would bring us great joy.

6. C.J. Mahaney's Response to the Reports
Dear Friends, The only appropriate place to begin this letter is by expressing my gratefulness. My heart is filled with gratitude to God for all who are involved in Sovereign Grace Ministries, who have trusted God and patiently endured a difficult season in our history. First, I want to thank the interim board. These men were handed a most unexpected and unappealing assignment, and for the past six months they have served and sacrificed on behalf of all of us in Sovereign Grace. I simply cannot thank these men enough. Many thanks are also due to the wives and children of the board members for supporting them during this challenging time. And I want to thank the panelists who accepted a most unenviable assignment requiring countless hours of complex and concentrated work. Finally, I want to thank each of the pastors and each of the members of Sovereign Grace churches for your patience and trust in God during this process. I know it has been a difficult and confusing time for many of you. And I am sorry for the challenge it has presented to our pastors-the men I respect the mostand the members of our churches-precious ones for whom Christ died and for whom we have the great privilege to serve. I deeply regret where my mistakes, leadership deficiencies, and sins contributed to the relational conflicts detailed in these reports. And I am truly grateful for your support throughout this trying time. So with all my heart I want to say thank you. Over the last six months I've spent many hours reflecting upon Sovereign Grace, our history together, and our purpose and mission. I've also taken time to think and pray about my calling and how I might best serve Sovereign Grace in this new season before us. I have sought counsel from friends and leaders within SGM and in the broader evangelical church. There is much work for SGM to do in the years ahead, and I want to do alii can to make this work fruitful. The opportunities for church planting in this country and throughout the world are numerous. The requests we receive for help exceed our resources. And one can't help but be excited about the immediate future given the present Pastors College class and the church planting ventures we have planned for the next few years. In light of all of this, here is how I think I can best serve you in the days ahead: as I step back into the role as president, I will do so only temporarily. I think it would be wise for SGM to have a new president who has gifts better suited to serve Sovereign Grace in this next season. I love SGM and I want the best for SGM. Lord willing, I look forward to serving SGM more effectively in a different role. So my return will be temporary and with a few important intentions. Let me briefly explain what they are. First, I want to give immediate attention to helping the interim board transfer governance to their successors. In 2010 we began considering how to expand the SGM board and better define their role in evaluating and overseeing the president. Now that the interim board has served its purpose, it is time for us to complete the transition to a more permanent

expanded board. I look forward to seeing this process through and benefitting from the leadership that an expanded board will provide for Sovereign Grace. Despite the many evidences of grace in our midst, I'm aware of a number of present weaknesses in SGM and some past failings; as our president, I take full responsibility for these and I am grateful that with a new board in place we can together continue to address these issues. Second, once the new board is formed I want to assist them however I can in identifying and installing my successor as president, although that decision will be for the board to make. There are a few other matters I want to address in my remaining time as president, all of which is subject to the priorities that the board establishes for me. But I hope these primary goals can be accomplished within the next few months. After supporting the board through these important transitions, I hope to return to what I believe is my primary calling from God - pastoral ministry and the pulpit. This plays a significant role in why my return as president is temporary. Let me explain. I think preaching and pastoral ministry are where grace is most evident in my life and where my leadership is most effectively expressed. Others seem to agree. And I think I have neglected this call to preach for a number of years as I have endeavored to serve as president. Over the past five years many faithful friends have brought this concern to my attention and impressed upon me the importance of preaching as a primary means of my serving and leading. However moved I was by their concerns and encouragement, the many responsibilities of the presidential role would quickly preoccupy me again and the effect of their counsel would subside. Over the past six months I have seen more clearly than ever the wisdom of their counsel. So I think the most effective way I can serve Sovereign Grace is by planting a church and leading a local congregation through faithful expository preaching and teaching, as well as serving Sovereign Grace in other tasks and roles the board might recommend for me. I also hope to continue to serve the broader church where strategic opportunity and invitation present themselves, as I have with my good friends in Together for the Gospel. I simply can't wait to get started. And I can proceed into this future confidently when our new board and president are in place. So that is what I am returning to do and why my return as president will be temporary. I would be most grateful for your support in prayer in this season of transition. For the past 30 years God has been merciful to Sovereign Grace Ministries. This is the theological explanation for any fruitfulness in SGM. And He has not ceased to be merciful to us during this challenging season. His mercy has been evident in countless ways. I wish there was space to rehearse them for you. In God's gracious providence I believe much good and growth will come from this season that will serve us as we move forward, as well as serve a future generation we won't live to see. God is sovereign, good and wise, and His good purpose for His church and for our small contribution to the advance of the gospel cannot ultimately be frustrated. And now I look forward to a new season where we give ourselves to proclaiming the gospel, planting and supporting churches, and caring for pastors in the 22 countries where we presently serve, as well as the different parts of the world God may call us to serve in the days ahead. So let me conclude where I began, by expressing my gratefulness to

you. Thank you for making this mission possible by the way you serve in your local church and support SGM. Thank you. It is an unspeakable honor and joy to serve the Savior with you and be numbered among you. With my gratefulness for each of you,

c. ~.

7. Biblical Principles Informing this Process and Our Conclusions
What are we going to do with C.J.? That is the question that so many within SGM have asked over the last six months, but it is not the core issue that faced the interim Board. The issue we felt we faced, both as a Board and as a movement, was this: "How do we respond biblically when an elder faces serious allegations of wrongdoing?" "What happens with C.J.?" needed to follow from-not establish-the answer to that question. If we handled this situation as though it was fundamentally and personally about C.J., we would have missed the point and risked needlessly distorting our judgment. Although the exact process we used for C.J. does not need to be a template for the future, the principles this situation presented to us are vital and must be applied to any future situation in which a minister of the gospel faces allegations. The Bible gives us clear guidelines for such situations that are timeless and fully sufficient for handling the present situation in a God-honoring manner. Fundamentally, they include: 1. The man being accused should be open to evaluating and addressing possible sins and errors (e.g., Proverbs 9:7-12, Matthew 18:15) 2. In the event there is more than one witness, the allegations should be brought to and heard by the church's leaders (1 Timothy 5:19) 3. In evaluating the allegation, witnesses from both sides should be allowed to testify and share evidence (Proverbs 18: 17) 4. Those hearing the allegations should evaluate the evidence "without bias, doing nothing from a spirit of partiality" (1 Timothy 5:21) 5. Those hearing the allegations should presume innocence until guilt is established (Deuteronomy 17:6, 19:15; 2 Corinthians 13:1; 1 Timothy 5:19; cf. Matt. 18: 16). 6. Those evaluating allegations of wrongdoing should make biblical distinctions between common sins (1 John 1:8) and sins requiring censure or removal from office (1 Tim. 5:20), between confessed sins and a refusal to repent (Matt. 18:1517), between well-intended mistakes and intentional wrongdoing, and between limitations in gifting and corrupt practice. This is the framework into which we needed to fit this assessment process and by which we needed to evaluate C.J.'s future in ministry. Before the panels, here is where we stood with respect to acting on these Scriptural imperatives: 1. Openness to evaluating/addressing sin. Despite Brent's accusations otherwise, C.J. has been leaning into these allegations for well over a year. He has involved a broad circle of people. He has met in person with the men he served closely with,

heard their stories, and confessed to them. He wrote two lengthy confessions to Brent. He has offered to enter mediation with Brent multiple times. 2. Hearing the allegations. Obviously this is what the panels were for-and C.J. was supportive of this evaluation. At no point did he attempt to escape this process or influence it in any way. 3. Hearing both sides. C.J. has been patient to have an appropriate context for sharing his side of the story and bringing witnesses to support him. Despite being broadly slandered by Brent, he stayed silent publicly for months. With a national platform at his disposal, C.J. could have asked for a public, one-sided presentation of facts from his perspective. Instead, he waited to speak his side until there was a context for all sides to be heard at the same time. 4. Doing nothing from partiality. C.J. took a voluntary leave of absence in June so that he would not give even the appearance of influencing the integrity of this process. This was unprecedented and, in the opinion of most outsiders, counterproductive leaving some to presume C.J.'s guilt and unnecessarily limiting C.J. in his ministry. But wise or not, it was his attempt to walk the high road and guard the integrity of this process. And while he was still on the Board, he was strongly supportive of having an evaluation done. 5. Presumption of innocence. The presumption of innocence is afforded someone in Old Testament Israel and the New Testament church. This is even more important in a time when public discussion of allegations can happen round-the-clock in globallyaccessible forums. We realize our communication about this has been poor at many points, but we hope this clarifies in Scripture how we've viewed this. These principles are and always should be central to evaluating a man's qualification for ministry when he faces allegations. That brings us to the panels. On December 26, the Board received their findings and recommendations. The Board gave these panels authority to interview any witness and review any evidence they believed was relevant. We also gave them license to make whatever recommendations for us they saw fit-no individual, policy, or organizational practice was off limits. We did not want the efficacy of this process diminished by any lack of mandate or license. You can see the breadth of their mandate in the recommendations they make, because they are in many cases quite significant and weighty. But of equal significance is that, after interviewing the witnesses and reviewing the documented evidence, not a single panel saw it necessary to declare C.J. disqualified from ministry. And so we returned to our principled approach. Where does Scripture lead us at this point? There are two primary directions we needed to consider.

1. If the man is found to be continuing in his sin, he should be rebuked in the presence of the church (1 Timothy 5:20) 2. If the man is found to be disqualified from ministry, he should be removed from office (1 Timothy 3:1-7) As a Board, we do not see how either of these principles could at this point be interpreted to apply to C.J. We gave full evaluation authority to the panels and none of them found C.J. unrepentant, resistant, or disqualified, and therefore they did not see rebuke or disqualification as the appropriate next step for C.J. Based on our own understanding of Scripture, we agree: 1. Continuing in sin. The panels exonerated C.J. from any charge that the things he did wrong are areas of unrepentant sin. With respect to Larry Tomczak, C.J. repented and apologized to the family; with respect to Brent's dismissal, the panel found that the process was handled appropriately (and did not involve C.J.); and with respect to his practice of fellowship, they found that his practice was in keeping with the teaching of Scripture. 2. Disqualification from ministry. Months ago, an outside panel representing the perspectives of three denominations reviewed the sins C.J. confessed-which includes the most serious allegation against him-and advised that they were not grounds for removal from ministry. And in our own internal review with the three panels (comprised of nine SGM pastors), the same conclusion was reached-not one panel recommended that C.J. be disqualified from ministry. Th is interim Board was convened seven months ago with the primary task of adjudicating Brent's allegations against C.J. We strived to do that in conformity with the teaching of Scripture in these matters, and find at this point that Scripture takes the issue of adjudication no further. We include these comments in hopes that going forward we can continue to make improvements in this area of historical weakness for us. The counsel of Scripture does not leave us in the dark with respect to these issues, and we have sought to conform our actions to that counsel in handling this difficult situation. We hope our efforts prove a helpful starting place as we address this through better policies in the years ahead.

8. Final Comments on the Life and Ministry of C.J. Mahaney
In 1977, C.J. served as one of the three founding pastors of Covenant Life Church. He served that church faithfully for 27 years working hard to see that it was established on biblical foundations. In 1982, he was instrumental in founding SGM. For 20 of our 30 years of existence, he has led this ministry. He has worked hard and by the grace of God his work has been fruitful. He has taught us that every church's focus should center on the grace of God as given to us through the gospel. He has modeled, in his private life and public ministry, a passion for Christ and his cross. He has promoted and established doctrine which has protected our churches from error and excess. He has shown us how, through the grace of the gospel, we can grow in holiness. Our ministry and our churches have gained respect in many parts of the evangelical world for good reason-God has blessed us and given us grace to plant and to build local churches, and he has blessed us through giving us the gift of the ministry of C.J. Mahaney. Every member of every Sovereign Grace church should feel a debt of gratitude for C.J.'s life and ministry. We agree with one panel's comment that the sins and leadership weaknesses recorded in their report "do not represent the totality of the man and his ministry." We would say that is true for all of C.J.'s sins and weaknesses recounted through these panels. And so we restore him to his office believing that he is the best man for this position in this immediate season, and we look forward to many more years of partnership in ministry with him as we strive to plant and build local churches to the glory and praise of God.

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