Brent Detwiler has been one of the foremost whistleblowers pertaining to all things evil in Sovereign Grace Ministries.
His work has been exhaustive and invaluable in understanding the corruption in that group.
According to this story, someone acting as a “source” tried to ruin him by planting a false story complete with fake documentation.
The hoped for result was to destroy Detwiler as a credible reporter and cast doubt on the veracity of his prior writings.
It was the the most detailed, well thought out scam I’ve ever seen.
As bloggers grow in influence and the mainline media continues to sell it’s soul, we will see more and more attempts to cut out our online vocal cords.
Bloggers, beware and be wary.
I have good sources inside Calvary Chapel.
Real good sources.
I like and trust all of them individually, but I never publish on the basis of one source.
This protects me and my sources.
Documentation used to be the exception to the rule…if you had paper, I might run with that if I had other supporting evidence.
No more…I need copies from more than one source.
When we ran the details in the Bob Coy scandal I had enough information by 9:00 AM PST to run the story…I waited until 2:00 PM that afternoon to make sure I had duplicate sources that couldn’t be traced, but could be verified.
We have to make sure that neither our credibility or our sources are compromised.
With great power comes great…you know the drill.
Our power has grown exponentially…our responsibility must as well.
Most bloggers have no money and no organization protecting their rights and no lawyers to defend them against the corporate church…which has all those things in spades.
We only have our names and our credibility.
We must protect both at all costs.
Makes me almost want to start blogging again. 🙂
That’s what happens when you use an Android device to leave a comment.
Hopefully, I can provoke you back to both blogging and Apple… 🙂
I read Brent’s article when it came out and I was greatly saddened for his sake.
Is he going to be okay? Is this attempt to discredit him defeated?
Although I agree one should be careful to verify facts, sources, and documents, I am confused as to how pulling (or rather gleefully admitting to pulling) a scam like that would discredit Brent Detwiler instead of simply providing further evidence that SGM people are lying, duplicitous scumbags.
Well said Michael. The only way I can support you in in prayer…and I try to everyday. Because of your name and credibility, I would never and never do doubt what you have to say.
Thank you, Dusty… 🙂
If he would have ran with the story, he would have been toast.
If he hadn’t found out it was a scam he would have been slimed by the big religious media boys who support Mahaney and SGM and he wouldn’t have been able to get a hearing afterwards.
This will make him a better blogger…he’ll be fine.
I should have started to keep track of all the weird stuff that goes on “behind the scenes.” Bloggers are clearly on the front lines when it comes to exposing clergy abuse/scandals. And churches/pastors have begun to take notice that we are a powerful source.
Another trend I’ve seen, Michael, is mainstream media publishing excerpts from bloggers in their articles. I’ve read articles that have mentioned your blog, CCA, TWW, and mine in popular stories. Some of us bloggers have insider information that reporters have not been able to access. Also, we are getting interviewed by media to hear our perspectives. The difference between us and them – they get a paycheck. However, we get the reward of knowing that hopefully our words have helped shed light in a bad situation so that people are able to make sound choices with that information. I guess you can’t put a price tag on that. That works for me.
Brent is by nature so even tempered and methodical he would never rush to publish a “scoop”. He also has nothing to lose and nothing to hide, which makes him their worst nightmare.
It would have been wise to avoid poking the bear.
What was done to Detwiler is probably criminally actionable…and certainly civilly actionable.
Brent handled it pretty well. I’d have told the person to f off and then I would have called the D.A. in Maryland and pressed charges.
Yeah, best to have all your ducks in a row before publishing something.
Seen people publish accusations that weren’t true lately.
Derek, you’re an idiot. Ducks were in a row, the daughter has a different story than her close friend and several other family sources all of which the sources stories were documented in their writing, from their verifiable accounts, including time-stamped screen shots etc. That’s called “ducks in a row”. It was a legit story, and the daughter’s version was factored in when I finally was able to get that input…largely due to reporting the story per several other sources including the close friend that was confirmed as such by the daughter.
So, posting a story and pulling it down soon afterwards is now “all your ducks in a row”
One big difference in reporting and blogging. Reporter with newspapers or news agencies have editors – who many times act as the gate keeper.
Derek, pretend I’m typing this really slowly so you can understand….I pulled the initial story down that sourced multiple Smith family members and a “close friend” of the daughter who all alleged a specific incident occurred. I was finally able to get the daughter’s take and she denied it happened. I reprinted the story, reviewing what was alleged by other sources and then stating what the daughter said.
The “close friend” was in fact a close friend. The other sources were in fact Chuck Smith family members. The allegations were made NOT anonymously. The story was sourced well, the sources were known quantities. Their stories were from their accounts and documented.
The daughter had a different take.
That’s a far cry from a fabricated story.
Yeah, I get it. All your ducks weren’t in a row before publishing.
Must have been very embarrassing, which is probably why no one mentioned it till now.
But, hey it could have been actionable I suppose. I would have pulled it too.
BTW. All your ducks in a row, did not mean fabricated. Just meant you jumped the gun and made accusations that turned out not to be true.
Now, night all.
Derek, the only thing that is embarrassing is what an idiot you are. I’d tried to cover it up more if I were you, but knock yourself out LOL.
We don’t know that the allegations weren’t true…we know the daughter denies it. I denied my abuse for many years before coming forward.
I read the linked article and am blown away that someone who I imagine is a believer could write the letter they did. We’re talking about a large church/ministry and this is what it comes to? I’m sure this has gone on longer and more often than I can imagine.
Along with other scandals and the ministry of exposing other believers it’s no wonder satan adds to cults as he does.
I think about the day of prayer and maybe we should take a day as the church and ask forgiveness for all we have done to discredit the one we serve.
Thank God for those who serve in faith, humility, and integrity. This stuff gets depressing after a while.
RB, I saw the article you pulled and there were some pretty harsh comments involved. Were any apologies extended?
E, apologies for what? There were multiple known sources who alleged a specific incident…and a daughter who denied it happened. The sources were a close friend of the daughter as well as multiple Smith family. The allegations were reported as well as the daughter’s denial. The son didn’t respond, neither did the dad.
“I am aware of the incident. It happened in England.”–close friend of daughter.
The “incident” was specifically what was reported publicly by other Smith family and then corroborated by other Smith family.
But, the daughter denies it happened.
I have my personal belief about it and others will have theirs. I don’t feel any differently, but I did pull the original story and listed the allegations and published the daughter’s take which trumps the other sources….knowing well that many times in abuse situations victims choose to defend the parent…I know I did for many years, so did two of my brothers.
RB, I’m thinking of the article about BB and his daughter. If I recall correctly the article ran stating he hit her and made her ear bleed. The daughter denied it which seemed to discredit the other sources. As I stated I recall some harsh comments responding to the incident as being true and since the daughter seemed to discredit the reports it seemed the comments were out of line if BB was indeed innocent.
E, read my comments above, I think I answered your question already…probably crossed in cyber-space.
I personally don’t believe BB is innocent. I believe his daughter denies any abuse.
So then you hold open the possibility she is covering for her father and is lying? I don’t know it seems you either have to believe her or not believe her but you seem to be taking a middle ground?
So in respect for the daughter you pulled the article? I think I got it.
E, I have my personal belief and opinion about that situation and I have a job to report the story as it happened. I tried many times to get BB and his kids to give their take after multiple known sources who were extended family and close friends gave information. I finally got info from one of the kids and reported that as well and re-reported the story with that info.
The daughter is denying it happened whether I believe she is covering for her dad or not. I reported her clear denial and removed my personal feelings about the situation as much as is possible in reporting it.
E, that was one major factor. The daughter did not want there to be a story.
So, to recap, Derek is an idiot…the ducks were all in a row and it was a legit story. The story had some finality with the daughter’s info (finally) and her not wanting a story about it. End of story…unless the son were to come forward with a different take or someone had a video or recording or pictures or conflicting evidence that couldn’t be refuted. Right now, it’s a dead story.
…or if there were real miracles and BB copped to it, but the devil himself would become a Christian before any CC leader copped to sin w/o a gun to their head.
RB, I’m reading all of the stuff here and I drop in at your blog and I get a bit disillusioned by what I read over and over again.
I don’t mind any of this stuff being covered but I personally believe stories carry much more power depending on how they are reported.
I’m coming to grips with a lot of stuff and it’s not easy. I’ve gone through a lot of change since coming here and I see everything through a different lens now. I imagine some in my circle think I’ve become a friend of the enemy for daring to say some of the things I do. Thanks for the responses.
E, it is what it is. These guys are human just like all of us. Not special. Not anointed. Human. That should be the take-away IMO.
I grew up in CC and they indoctrinate you that the CC pastors and leaders are special and anointed and more godly than you are. That is a myth.
Ask yourself…why do these Pastors never cop to major sin due to their Conscience? Why are the only times you ever get any sort of “repentance” of confession of major sin is when they are caught red-handed with no way to wiggle out of it?…and many don’t even cop to it after they’re caught, they dig in and deny it to their death.
How is that “of God” and what is special or anointed or spiritual about men with that sort of character?
Here’s a clue: Watch what they do, how they do it and what they don’t do etc, not what they profess from their particular celebrity pulpits.
RB, I have seen and heard a lot on a personal level as well as the stuff I read about. I’m at the point nothing surprises me. I have this ideal that the church should be a haven for all of us as we deal with all that life throws our way.
The solution isn’t gimmicks or a watered down gospel or making the tent bigger. It’s Christ and Him crucified. Maybe it boils down to the fact we don’t trust the gospel to be enough. I do know before we go about making pronouncements about the world we need to get our house in order.
More than anything I need to know Christ in a deeper way regardless of what goes on around me. We all do.
E said, ” I do know before we go about making pronouncements about the world we need to get our house in order.”
I think if the “church” focuses on that….and focuses on helping those in “the world” instead of preaching at them…things would be a bit better for all involved.
Those are legit questions RB and I can’t profess to know why. At the same time you and I have deep things we don’t deal with the way God would like. We’re kidding ourselves if we think we don’t. Knowing what we are capable of should cause us to walk circumspectly as well as where we came from. I know the battles I fight that I don’t share as I’m sure many others can attest to.
The thing is we need each other as a body to draw strength and encouragement from. Not ammunition to bring others down. How might I fare if my most private conversations or thoughts were broadcast as what happened to Donald Sterling recently?
The church is for the sick and wounded. A place where the stronger can encourage and teach the weaker through prayer, example and words. An environment where disciples are created. I believe this is where we fail many times.
RB, I hope you don’t give up on the church and the gospel. I understand you’re a smart man but there’s a man at the center of the gospel message who can have it all make sense for you. I thought your rethinking and posting the article about CS was a big deal. It made me look at myself.
I’m right there with you on your 39. Thanks for the dialogue.
Hmm, I can’t really relate to this “How might I fare if my most private conversations or thoughts were broadcast as what happened to Donald Sterling recently?”
I’d have no problem with it, I broadcast what I think and it’s no different than private conversations. What you see is what you get. I have no fear of that, which is actually pretty powerful.
E, thanks for the feedback on the CS article. I couldn’t come to that w/o the new relationship with someone close to him. It made me see a different perspective and also caused me to reconsider that situation. I’m over my personal beef with Chuck.
I don’t know that the Christian* doctrine/theology will ever make sense to me, b/c it isn’t logical and doesn’t add up and there are a lot of anomalies, but I also agree that God most likely exists and I have no problem with a Jesus narrative, especially the bulk of what the Jesus narrative asserts about Love, Servant of All, helping the weak and the poor and the fatherless and standing up for them against the more powerful etc.
“Thanks for the dialogue.”
Likewise, thanks E, TTYL.
I’ll take your word on that RB. I know I would flunk that test.
I see the what you see is what you get a bit differently than you. It’s pretty much why I had called for Michael to ban you because I think some of what came from you was inappropriate and put a lot of people off while causing some to leave.
I figure some things are best left unsaid or stated in a way that doesn’t offend. But you’ve known that for some time now. Having been the victim of abuse I still wish you and yours the best and hope BG comes to his senses.
E, I just say what other people think or only say in private conversations. There are no skeletons in my closet b/c I don’t hide them. That makes some people very uncomfortable, but it allows me to sleep very well at night. I’m a lot of things…but I’m not a hypocrite, I don’t sneak up on anyone. I’m not hiding anything…which makes it unpleasant for some at times…but at least no one will put me on a pedestal and think I’m special or anointed 😉
I’ve come after you hard at times RB but we’ve always been able to keep communication open. Just don’t put me on a pedestal! TTYL 🙂
“Just don’t put me on a pedestal!”
E, unless you walk on water in front of me or turn my water into a nice bottle of Silver Oak Cab, you will not be on any pedestal of mine 🙂
When all the SGM stuff was breaking I read Brent Detwiler’s documentation it lead to me thinking many of those involved were tools, hucksters and those that shine things on. Basically its a pyramid scheme and people go along to get along. I dont judge doing such is an American sacrament. To quote my favorite line from Copland, “being right is not a bulletproof vest” absolutely and double amen. In my experience in the American Religion it is a target. Maybe it should be as it does protect the revenue stream and that to is holy in some circles.
I was thinking how “team pyro” dealt with it, which was utterly pathetic, go over their and read about it. They were all so gleeful when the judge ruled on the side of the defendant (s). If the defendants had been “enemies” they would have been howling persecution and Satan. Barf. My point try pulling any of that crap SGM did in the secular world, you would have been toast. But this is the anointed crowd and they use their magic incantations and cast their spells and are covered.
Everytime I see C. J. Mahaney appear on stage with the clown car sect it makes me puke. Of course this is all emotionalism, I get that. Just my opinion on the entire situation.
Sourcing things is important. Quoting people accurately and in context and assessing what they actually said rather than what people want them to have said, all by itself, could keep a blogger busy. And if people have read Wenatchee The Hatchet in the last two months they may already know how far-reaching and sweeping the retroactive media purge at MHC and Resurgence has been. It’s kind of amazing and in many ways inexplicable. It’s important to establish how things are documented not just because you should but also because sometimes when an organization purges content there may be no other references left up on the internet as to who said what when.
It’s been kind of a surreal couple of months blogging on the subject of Mars Hill. On the other hand, more people are willing to share things on record with their real names. Compared to two years ago that’s an encouraging development.
Bloggers who decide to wade into blogging about churches and controversial individuals had best approach it as actual journalistic activity and also weigh what NOT to publish as well as what to publish. Refusing to run with something that’s stated by only one source is just a good start. As I hope I’ve demonstrated with some of the more popular misrepresentations about stuff Mark Driscoll supposedly said (but didn’t) even having multiple sources, by itself, doesn’t assure accuracy.
First Wanathchee is very thorough in what they report. As is spiritual sounding board and Michael. Mr. Driscoll is what we call in the trade a tool, I am a tool too, we all cater to our base at time. The difference I make no money at it and I have utterly no influence and if I did and it caused pain I would stop. Pastor Driscoll can’t say the same. Granted he has more market share and that means God loves him more. I get that, well actually I dont but I do. All things spiritual, and I do mean all things, are measured by economic effect as well they should be, that is the only truly pure driving force in humanity. Money. I get that to.
This is pathetic and it makes my puke and absolutely totally disgusted with myself and most likely exposes me as a total God hating reprobate, but I would never subject a woman to the kind of rhetoric his wife experienced with the release of several of his books. I dont think I would subject said wife to some of the “experiences” he did, I won’t go into detail. I always felt that one should fall on one’s proverbial sword for a loved one. I know Gag and I should burn in eternal torment for such pathetic and disgusting emotionalism. I get that too.
If I may wonder down the reprobate rabbit hole a bit more, and I will admit I was a bit ashamed on this level, I pray for Pastor Driscoll and his family. Of course God does not hear the prayers of a God hating universalist such as myself. I get that to. Help me out here, can someone kindly point out where is this “good news” folks keep talking about? Thanks I hope everyone has a nice evening.
Brian, I am praying now for peace in your heart.
Funny, someone who is all about calling out hypocrisy talks about preachers wiggling out after caught in a sin and proceeds to do the same thing in regards to an article that was inflammatory.
No apologies. No admission of wrong doing. Just covering tracks and doubling down.
Now, I understand why others didn’t cover it while after you “broke the story”. My bet is people tried to tell you it wasn’t fully ready for publication.
E is right though, there were some inflammatory comments on that article.
Mostly made by you.
But, when the original article disappears it solves a lot of problems doesn’t it.
Mark Driscoll tactics anyone.
Way to show integrity there.
Derek, you’re either completely misunderstanding why I pulled the original article down and re-wrote it or you are intentionally being a db.
I’m pretty sure most who read this thread get it…but apparently not you.
Yep, I am sure they do. Just not you.