Tag Archives: scorning

Thoughts on Sovereign Grace Ministries

*This is a guest post from my husband and I thought it was worth posting. I am very proud of him for breaking away from SGM, and for being able to so clearly see the things that have really damaged a lot of people. I certainly married well, and I love him very much!*

I have spent my entire life in a huge church in the Sovereign Grace Ministries sphere. I’ve personally interacted with almost all of the SGM celebrities at some point in my life. I have personally had over a dozen peers leave SGM for either personal reasons/disagreements or for life changes. Every one of those who have left have been shut out and forgotten about after leaving. Their “friends” discuss rumors and speculation about them “walking away from God” as the motivation behind leaving our SGM church. I grew accustomed to this early on in the youth ministry and didn’t even flinch. I never thought twice about it. I was left with the impression that our church was the BEST church and in CJ’s words “The dearest place on earth.”

I was deceived. I do not blame anyone for this but myself. I want to emphasis that it was I who allowed myself to be deceived. There were several categories that I have fallen under a dangerous philosophy on;

1) When people leave the SGM sphere, they are no longer worthy of acknowledgement. They are ignored publicly, they are judged, and their “friends” openly slander them justifying their words with “We’re burdened by their decision.”

2) Small groups are small churches. The leaders of your small group have the authority of pastors, and the purpose of small groups is to discuss conflicts, sin, and accountability.

3) Humility is present when your words reflect a “humble heart”, control over emotions, and the ability to deflect compliments or encouragement.

The above are all “ideas” or philosophies that are heavily present within the congregation of my church. I say congregation because that’s the majority of the church, and as your peers, there is an overwhelming amount of peer pressure in SGM churches or even ex SGM churches. All in the name of “staying in God’s will”.

This past summer my wife and I left our SGM church. It took me a while. Over two decades in SGM and then leaving. Not as easy as I thought. In the last 3 months of our membership at our church, all of the above things shot up like rockets in our lives and we were overwhelmed by the pain that people under these ideas have caused us and others. Let me walk through each one.;

1) The mindset in issue one is horrible. It’s selfish, arrogant, self righteous, and cult like. I’ve seen it happen to close friends and even to whole families. They leave, whether because of a disagreement or because of a job in a new state, and they’re erased from everyone’s lives. No one will talk to them, and if they see them in public (i’m not making this up) they will refuse to acknowledge their presence. This happened to my wife a week ago. Someone we’ve known for years walked up to the friend my wife was talking with and said hello to the friend and wouldn’t even look at my wife. This is wrong. The greatest strength of the church is community. Just because you don’t go to the same church as someone else or because they disagree with your doctrine, does not give them any right to ignore you publicly  We are called to love and peace and community, not to what could be called persecution. Because of the above mindset, I believe that SGM has a very elitist mindset that is extremely contradictory to the whole message of Jesus and the Bible. It amazes me that members will pride themselves about their outreach groups yet turn around and refuse fellowship and friendship with members of other churches or ex-members of their church. This is very troubling to me. It’s hard enough trying to meet new people or couples in our old church, even though it had over 4000 members. Unless you were part of their Care group, or their clique, you’d either get the “let’s do it” then silence, or you’d never hear from them when you contacted them to get together. This has baffled me since the youth ministry. This is a big reason why we are backing away from large churches and SGM altogether. The elitist mindset is harmful to the community and very hypocritical of the whole idea of what a church is as presented by scripture in the New Testament.

2) I’ve never understood small groups in SGM. Why are there “leaders” when really it’s supposed to be a time set aside for fellowship and Bible study? Instead, it’s a time to share sin, often discourage each other because of your sin, go through marriage books by guys with scary mustaches, and even spend hours discussing a quote from Piper or Mahaney. There’s also this idea that care means pointing out your sin, and then telling you what to do. Questions are asked to “bring sin to the surface” and if you get emotional, you are flat out accused of being in the wrong and having a sinful heart. If you in any way question someone’s rebuke, you are rebuked for being prideful and are “counselled” to pray about what humility looks like. Care in care groups, with the exception of a few I’ve only heard of (I’ve only experienced what I am describing), is about rooting out sin, making judgments on each others’ hearts, and refusing to listen to the person you’re caring for. If you don’t agree, you’ll hear the rebuke over and over again until you say “I’m sorry, I was wrong, you are right.” This is wrong. My wife came from small churches and she immediately explained the problem. No other  “normal church” has pastor established “bible studies” that only specific members can attend based on where your pastor places you. Other churches have open Bible studies that do not discriminate based on season of life or preference for peers. The other problem with the setup of small groups in SGM is the strange misunderstanding on the whole idea of how we should care for one another in Scripture. The Bible nowhere says when we meet we should root out sin, hunt down pride, and rebuke sin on a regular basis. In fact, the New Testament encourages frequent encouragement, sharing scripture in love, seeking peace, and caring by carrying burdens and being understanding. When I read Paul’s letters and the Gospels, I’m at a loss as to where this grave misapplication of a few verses (2 Samuel 12, Matthew 18:15-17, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, and Titus 2:15). Do I think there are times to rebuke? Sure! We’re told that in scripture. But our fellowship should never be known by frequent rebuke and reproof.

3) Finally the one thing everyone can understand coming out of SGM; the humility philosophy. In scripture, humility is all about your heart. In SGM, and churches who have been associated with SGM, Humility is your highest calling in life. To my peers, humility is present when you say words like “I’m saying this with humility” or “I want to be a true friend and be humble by sharing this.” I’ve also been to countless care groups, birthday parties, and events where you’re asked “to bring an encouragement” to share during about an hour long awkward period where everyone puffs up someone else. “You’re so humble” or “You’re so Godly”. This is the most contradictory practice I have ever experienced. It’s actually comical. If you respond to anyone asking a question with any kind of emotion, even if you have been abused, hurt, or scared, you’re not being humble. If you’re not being humble you can’t get married. If you share a viewpoint that’s not in line with your care groups, you’re not being humble. If you have an opinion that is not popular, you are not being humble. From what I can gather, if you are submissive to everyone, conforming, quiet, have low self esteem, and use the right lingo you are humble and things will go well with you. You’re can’t know your own heart, you can’t know yourself better than others, and you can’t disagree because that’s not being humble. After all these years at an SGM church, I don’t want to be humble. I’d rather stand up for my convictions, my faith in God and scripture, and be willing to say “I think you are wrong” than have this false face of humility. Humility is about the heart. Many people like to use the verse about “out of the abundance of your heart, the mouth speaks” to trap anyone who said something that’s not humble enough. I hate that. That makes me mad. It’s irritating. It’s not helpful. Right now, I have no clue what humility is because I’ve been sucked into the weird SGM humility face idea that it’s all about outward stuff.

These are basically my three biggest beefs with SGM churches. I know I am not alone. I’m so relieved to be out of that mess. I hope that my thoughts can give encouragement to others who feel the same way but have been shut down. Speak the truth.

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With that in mind, and without further ado,

Chryssie Rose


The Classic Knee-jerk

I am in a vicious mood tonight, and I believe it is a classic knee-jerk reaction to allowing my mind to accept and revisit pains in my past. My husband and I visited a place today where I have many, many bad memories. Even though this place holds a lot of bad memories, there are also some good ones, and I seriously hadn’t thought about the bad memories at all recently. It helped greatly that my dad was not there, nor were the rest of my family. There was nothing reminding me of those difficult memories, or so I thought.

Events soon followed that brought back everything. And I discovered that I was willing to feel, and feel hard the old bitterness and anger that I first felt when wounded. Memories of past words, comments, manipulations, unhelpful advice, and sad memories were actually felt for the first time today, and it has left me viciously angry and zealous for the well being of myself and a few close friends.

All it really took for me to make the transition from the peaceful, at ease, and comfortable me that I was this morning, to the spitting-nails, boiling frustrated me of this evening, was laying eyes on the one person I realized I have a boat load of serious issues with. As the time got closer to meet up with her, for I hadn’t seen her in a very long time, my hubby and I started wandering around, my thoughts being that maybe I’d run into her. I suddenly saw her, and a shock wave rolled over me. A very vivid memory of being in the same position hit me, and I remembered why I had simply walked away the last time.

[….I have, in a blind rage, stood by and watched this woman tear down one of my closest friends, and scorn her because of a guy. I have had her try to manipulate me into believing that separating from a very bad family situation wasn’t in God’s will, and that I should stay home where I belonged. I have been blatantly ignored while she, and other friends, made plans to go out together, all while I stood or sat there next to her, without being included. I have, on multiple occasions, tried my best to confront her for the offenses I saw, and was shut down before I could get the words fully out. I have been shut out of her life when I bring up concerns, and welcomed warmly when I agree with everything she says. She has discouraged me from believing in a scripture that brought me great hope, instead told me not to get my hopes up that I would ever be healed….]

I finally caught up with her, and my hubsand and I sat down to chat for a few minutes, but I found my mouth glued shut, and only brief answers were allowed past my tightly closed lips. I was inwardly surprised at how simply being in her presence shut me down. Just like that, I was quiet, I felt like I had to defend every thing I said, and was getting riled up at every little nuance of something she said, did, or reacted to. I sat there quietly, inwardly, grappling with my anger and frustration, and felt so unsure of why she was setting me off. Then it hit me. I had never been able to accept that she had hurt me, that she had hurt my friends, and that now I was watching her scorn another friend of mine. I purposefully forgot what she had done so I could keep the friendship, although shaky, that I had with her on a level plane, and that is no longer acceptable to me. I cannot heal from the hurt, anger, and frustration I have felt unless I can accept that she hurt me, and I can move on.

For all of the years that I was under my dad’s influence, and in an unstable emotional environment, it will most likely take just as long for me to relax, and not react, in a stable emotional environment.  Being married to a man who is very stable emotionally, and is willing to chill when I am blowing up, makes a world of difference in how I am reacting now. I am learning to recognize the people who I can’t be around without being reminded of my dad and reacting emotionally to normal things that should not affect me. I cannot be around people who scorn those who don’t agree with them, or call them out on their issues. I cannot be near those who shun family members for choosing to break from from ancient family chains, and who make you feel like you are worth next to nothing when they question your opinions. I cannot be around those who are loving, caring, happy, and accepting one minute, and then the next around cold, rude, and patronizing. I need real people with real feelings who, no matter how ugly or good, will freely share those feelings.  I will not willingly stand by any longer, and watch my friends get treated like crap. If a  family treats one of their children like they are dead to them simply because of differing opinions, then shame on them.  Situations like mine with my dad, and others of my friends, make me very grateful for the band of friends I am forming who are willing to stand by me, and constantly remind me of what is NORMAL, and what is not.

So here’s to all of the fellow Black Sheep out there. I toast to our health, our peace of mind, heart, and body, and to the love that only true friends can give.

With that in mind, and without further ado,

Chryssie Rose


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