Behind the Veil- Enduring HOPE and growing PEACE through and out of toxic FAITH

Martin Herzberg- Start all Over


I had to look up the proper words that would define the statements and events I and others have observed and yes discussed, over the past year and particularly the past 1 to 2 months and these seemed to fit best. Words that define an inability to take into account the pain caused by wholesale shameless self promotion, and unclear, undisclosed ambition.

1. nar·cis·sism (när s -s z m) also nar·cism (-s z m)

As defined by the Mayo Clinic.

Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for admiration. Those with narcissistic personality disorder believe that they’re superior to others and have little regard for other people’s feelings. But behind this mask of ultra-confidence (ultra reformed, I would add) lies a fragile self-esteem, vulnerable to the slightest criticism.

Narcissistic personality disorder is one of several types of personality disorders. Personality disorders are conditions in which people have traits that cause them to feel and behave in socially distressing ways, limiting their ability to function in relationships and in other areas of their life, such as work or school (or church).

Narcissistic personality disorder treatment is centered around psychotherapy.

2. con·tempt
noun \k?n-‘tem(p)t\
: a feeling that someone or something is not worthy of any respect or approval

Out of sadness over the contempt displayed in the past 2 months on Facebook, email and other blog writings of late (during a time where a leader manipulated to have posts or comments not made for 30 days or hopefully removed) that continue to gloss over serious matters regarding people in position of public trust and more importantly spiritual trust, I find it important on this journey of restoration to include an excerpt of a record of testimony and compilation of events containing several previously censored and or unanswered questions. This particular closing excerpt from that record is more to do with me and my families process of recovery toward genuine faith in Christ and the healing that comes from realizing what you have finally walked out from under after 14 years or however many years for others. And that irrelevant of the new charismatic unknown, unvetted ‘intern’ turn ‘team strategist’ thrust in the forefront by the men we did know. With the help of others we (my wife and I) are more able to identify and root out ultra reformed and unhealthy toxic mindsets and doctrinal positions and see it’s remnants lurking in us especially as parents of 4, so as to put it in it’s various forms, to death and liberate our children of it. Which could be years of undoing…and I stress, ‘with qualified help’ from men and women who know (with some degree of qualified education and/or highly referenced and recommended conduct and practice) what it is to care for the person and dignity of the created soul. And yes I use the word dignity because by virtue of being created that gives us dignity not to mention the fact that in Christ’s humble, inglorious and horrific death it gives us all, believer or unbeliever, the understanding of knowing our value to Him and the dignity He carries for us in His heart. Nowhere in the scriptures does it give the indication of what a former leader stated that only He, Christ, bares any real dignity worth speaking of. An ignorant and abusive doctrinal mindset against those who cannot defend or will not challenge such statements coming from people of ‘authority’ within the church. Did He Himself not clarify that with the following profound statement of worth?

Mark 10:45 New International Version (NIV)
45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

I am realizing it’s not simply ‘changing churches’ but for us and possibly others it’s also an indepth process, with help, of changing the mind and heart from that of a religious addict content with favor from God proportionally rooted in my degree of obedience to God through the doctrines of men rather than through freedom to BE and discover Christ for ones self (confirmed by teaching not the other way around) with our minds fully engaged. Uncluttered from the insecure agendas of some who make a living off teaching and preaching and a need to publicly and online shamelessly display their unique ‘gifting’, public Facebook account of ‘good works’ at the expense of the dignity of those being ‘served’ and their ‘governmental’ understanding of Biblical truth to remain reputable and employed. We find acceptance with Christ whether He blesses or takes away His blessings with hands open wide not clenching power at any cost, at that point something else has taken over the heart. Which for Job such ‘measures’ and vanities in the end became irrelevant. A place I long to be.

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”― C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, and Other Addresses

The other 14 to 15 page record of testimony, events and unanswered questions during and after the 5 campaign meetings and several other private Matt 18 attempts with wise and historically respected elders (in age and experience NOT office) in the church, that surround and include this excerpt will be presented as a separate post at a later date due to it’s length. I’ve been instructed to consider releasing it in small dose comments by folks wiser than I. Therefore being not interested in that slow option of breaking things into that many comments, a new post will be made for a public record and reference if or as the appeal goes unanswered. Once again for the 3rd or 4th time, I would be more than happy to meet with you men again AND with all interested parties to have these discussions and answers given properly without foolish, self preserving, unbiblical agreements in place. A very suspect practice for a church and non-profit status organization. By the way David Smith contact me not my pastor this time, I don’t think he’ll go for that twice, but you can try. You are NOT his equal.

Irrelevant of what side we fall on regarding ALL the varied practices that took place in varying degrees by ALL these men and some of their supporters, there is encouraging help in these resources that are slowly crossing my path as I choose to talk about this grieving experience and it’s affects on me and others despite the literal hatred and damnation on record that has come along with it.

The following “Evaluating the Fruit….” is an excerpt of what will be a final record of our journey for the benefit of anyone undergoing this kind of toxic ‘religiously’ addictive environment that so easily appeals to those looking for something genuine and authentic as it did for me. BTW it’s not about what I have to offer but rather compiling resource information and comments from discussions and all we (my wife and I) are benefiting from through qualified shepherds and counselors. Grateful to be on a journey of a process of forgiveness not the preferred hurried manipulated version that appeases and exonerates perpetrators of known wrong but a calculated, thought through and steady process that brings healing to the soul by Christ Himself irrelevant of the perpetrators involved or their labeling of a lack of forgiveness as a ‘sign’ of bitterness. You ought to be ashamed of such defenses, labels and insinuations especially as leaders in this grand and dear institution built on the back of truly great men and women of faith. And for those on the road to forgiveness consider the following- “One of the earmarks of healthy forgiveness is the establishment of new and healthy boundaries.” Boundaries for the protection of ourselves and our families and the unaware that safeguard against abuses by individuals who should never have that kind of religious influence or power over ones life choices and decision making. These boundaries are especially important when the hard road of reconciliation is neither broached or an option. Although these events pale in comparison to other kinds of significant loses and challenges in life, it cannot be underestimated the depth of grief and the death, in some, of something that once was life giving and wholesome…. FAITH in the HEART.
Mark 9:42
New International Version
“If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea.

Seeking or accepting leadership roles or recognition within the church at almost every turn or opportunity without proper grounding or life experience, seeking proper vetting and confirmation of others and peers, serious self evaluation, combined with rarely being able or wanting to question for what reason am I being selected for leadership consideration other than accepting a gratifying sense of inner privilege all make for, and have proven to be, more often than not, detrimental to the care of people.(“serious charges” I know, I charge myself as well). A process that needs revamping and evaluation. Despite the serious nature of the above verse trained at individuals or leaders who cause reckless harm to the faith of God’s people, He yet is merciful and faithful to bring life (again and again) to a dying, weak and humbled heart within His children, for both victim and perpetrators alike. IF we choose to face and walk into and through the storm, not around it with our minds neither in the clouds nor buried in the sand, with honesty, truth, weakness, transparent vulnerability and HOPE that Christ brings through His Spirit and through others who care for us more than themselves.

182187489_8Evaluating the Fruit of This Unexpected Journey- (summary excerpt)

…..Regaining a footing on Jesus and authentic faith while purging and deconstructing with the help of seasoned pastors and professionals, what is now known as Toxic Faith:-

As recently as 3 to 4 weeks ago after explaining mine and the experience of others I was immediately without hesitation or pause directed to consider reading a book by Dr. Stephen Arterburn aptly titled ‘Toxic Faith’. Upon the recommendation of real and genuine experience, the pages of this book now act as a sign post of what to watch for and a way back, with help, to the child like faith in Jesus I and many once knew very differently at one point. Before, at least for me, a religious addiction of a ‘more superior way of the reformed ‘dead guys’, Puritans and others’ (a great disservice and misrepresentation to that group, I would think) and the fear and desire to please, be respected, have favor with, be noticed, thought well of, come in line with or be applauded by mere men, be recognized and be counted took over.

Be warned and assured that this book Toxic Faith, so far from what I’ve read, IS NOT, I repeat IS NOT light reading and one would have to be prepared for the painful examples given initially to begin to address the subtle yet just as dangerous cultures and practices of religious addictions that affect and manipulate the mind to overlook and defend known wrong, he speaks of quite extensively.

I’ve included below 2 older Youtube links of interviews with the author I could find (about 8 to 10 mins each) that address some core issues in the book (not all, by any means). The short videos explore topics in the book and common practices that were characteristic of some of the experiences of people that no one dared talk to or about (once put out of the inner circle or inevitably forced to leave the church) for fear of being labeled a gossip or slanderer and becoming out of favor with leaders.

Listen or discount it’s content but it would be very difficult to deny the truths presented for consideration. Some of the examples may be different or not relate directly but the controlling ‘handling’ practices and conditioning are much the same and many of you know it, as people have testified to it and I’ve seen it myself firsthand. Are all who choose to speak up about conduct, injustices and manipulation utter liars or bitter and simply ‘against’ you? Surely one doesn’t suppose we all just fell off the turnip truck?

Part 1– Religious Addiction, Outcasts

BTW I am grateful for those he calls Outcasts who spoke up quietly to no avail only to be shamefully handled and having to leave the system yet because of years of relationship never cast me or my family out of their lives. Thank you, you all continue to model Christ as intended.

Part 2– Money and ‘Gospel Distortion’, Help and Health

This individual offers a fairly detailed summary of the book Toxic Faith.  I suppose to help determine whether one may relate and be interested in getting the book:

Sample Excerpts:
a.   Churches and ministries are started and grown through the vision of a strong leader. The authoritarian leader comes to power because a driven personality accompanies talent and charisma. A toxic system arises when that leader moves into a free rein style with no REAL accountability. Often, this ministry is the FIRST experience of authority for the leader
b.   Those who work in this setting find themselves either agreeing with the direction of the ministry or leaving. There is no room for compromise since the dictatorial leader believes that everyone should submit to his rule without question. (remembering questions were permitted but not permitted to be answered) Those who fear for their jobs or feel they may not be able to find similar jobs will comply with the leader rather than challenge certain decisions or actions that appear to be wrong. The leader and the people, therefore, mutually deny their accountability structures and wave the option of having safeguards in the system
4.   An “Us Versus Them” Mentality
a.   Religious addicts are at war with the world to protect their terrain and establish themselves as godly persons who can’t be compared to other persons. They see themselves in the cutting-edge ministry and other people need to come into the light…’

And for those interested I have included a critique I found of the book as well.
Crossway Community Church Culture Surrey , Langley
In fairness to the historic remnants of people still attending, not all members were active participants in this defined culture, but many in positions of authority were to the detriment of those they were over. Here is a sampling of what could be several examples of the outlook and the culture it creates spoken of in the book (Toxic Faith) and briefly in the videos. There are numerous real life offline examples as well as countless Facebook examples that can be pulled from comments and posts made by various people that are an indication of the works laden weighty undeserving perspectives that I participated in by not confronting such mindsets that drove my self righteousness and may even still be at work in me here. I won’t quote people directly who have made these statements publicly online because we consider some still friends while the other ought to be ashamed, but I will quote Crossway the organization:

1.    “The news on the street was, God is serious about his people, his church and he’ll kill you if you treat sin lightly.” regarding Ananias and Sapphira.

“We often treat sin lightly. There’s often falsehood and hypocrisy in our lives. We should be amazed by grace on the one hand but sobered on the other to live a holy life for his glory alone.”

I include this quote in contrast to the foundation upon which Crossway Community Church 2.0 admittedly is unapologetically built upon.

For concerns of being taken out of context, please view and read for yourself and get a general feel (if they haven’t already been completely altered) of their underpinnings and the ‘How To’  liturgy or model of instruction and various calls that  appear to have stopped recently.

If these links are not available then that means they have recently been pulled off their site.

2.    As recorded earlier when an entrenched individual threatened litigation in 3 yet to be published blog comments over having his ridiculous Facebook post image (screenshot and sent by individuals) and associated somewhat smug comment he disseminated over Facebook regarding the church discipline being carried out on a long time member and mother of 4 by these “pastors”, my initial response was as follows:

“Unfortunately not available for a number of hours and you’re right and you know it, I can’t afford it. Do what I suppose you must do till this can be discussed.”

Of which the reply was as follows:

“There will be no discussion. The purpose in blocking you (and many others) on Facebook is to avoid playing your perverse little games.  We had little relationship while we were at the same church and I certainly have no intention now to indulge you in whatever sick pleasure you might enjoy from dragging me unwillingly into your little blog war. I have made my plan of action very clear.” Stephen S

Open communication is all we have to work through very difficult issues. These direct revealing of ones mindset through keystrokes as a modern day alternative to “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” only serve to confirm Dr Stephen Arterburn reference to treating people as below you or 2nd class citizens, mentioned in his interview.

Proverbs 23:7   English Standard Version (ESV)
7 for he is like one who is inwardly calculating.“Eat and drink!” he says to you, but his heart is not with you.

3.    And most notable of late the labeling of individuals as Crossway ‘haters’ and their literal damnation (for my children’s viewing enjoyment) leveled against those who are exposing and giving warning for others while pressing for accountability from ‘their leaders’ and answers to tough questions never answered or accounted for privately. Followed by the shameless banter of commentary by SOME (not all who commented) Crossway member friends and associates on Facebook, professing followers of Christ.

-Granted many small things (if such running of the mind can be considered small) along this journey are  forgiven (as I have been) even when minimized as mere mistakes, however they become part of a testimony and record of an ongoing and consistent culture of what I’m coming to learn is a practice of intoxicating religious addiction that harms others and ourselves.

And as was mentioned earlier this is online activity which pales in comparison to the personal treatment of individuals who dared to question the counsel, actions and motives of leaders against others or against themselves. This is not to say all counsel was unhelpful, but as evidence shows on some serious weighty matters, much was without grace, though much preached about, and at times made no sense, lacked judgement wisdom, and common sense. All under the intent of being a more serious, hard truth, no nonsense, gospel centered church while hard truth could rarely be brought to or stick on them in their model of leadership that is more interested in forward motion without derailing great plans at the expense of the integral care of souls.

To my shame, I participated in so much naive promotion (some not so naive) and find myself in and growing out of some of the pages in this book. Ignoring many little seemingly insignificant questions and signals with some of these leaders and our motives along the way that I now distinctly remember and still see even after the changing of the guard, having remained after the church split or takeover. As Ray stated, the Holy Spirit is faithful.

The church is a person embodied within each believing member where the love of Christ and quiet unannounced service to one another and our community is evidenced by the sacrificial preservation of it’s members and their dignity for the purpose and resourcing of healing, recovery, strengthening, safety, protection, discipleship, and mission by qualified men and women in these fields of gifting. Not a center of ambition and opportunity or a mission center for (much needed financial) visionary growth at the expense of other equally important needs and sadly at the expense of the care of people. I say this not as someone who has anything to do with church leadership but rather a lay member watching the careless carnage, having studied, listened much and pursued counseling, discovering that there are several (not all) churches that do these things well with healthy checks and balances in place outside of themselves. Contrary to the ridiculous notion shared by some of these leaders that there are only a small handful of churches (2 apparently) that they would recommend in all of BC. Or “if you seek counseling outside this church you may as well not attend here”. Nothing could be further from the truth in a healthy church.

Here are some very elaborate reviews of the book Toxic Faith which are lessons and testimonies in themselves that many may identify with:

“Recovery, hope and freedom are available. ‘Overcoming’ starts with ‘understanding’ the truths contained in this book. ”

Grateful that we are able to begin to find a way out of this mire brought about by men (ALL) who obviously lost their way and without question or denial took a church down with them continuing as though nothing happened as though God and His people can be mocked.

noun: mire; plural noun: mires

a situation or state of difficulty, distress, or embarrassment from which it is hard to extricate oneself.

By God’s goodness “the risk of living is the pain” lyrics from a song off Amy Grants album ‘How Mercy Looks from Here’ titled Better Not to Know. Pain I’m grateful to God took place to spare many ongoing anguish and losing heart, spending untold hours second guessing their ability to know truth from lies or wisdom from foolishness for themselves, not 21st century oracles. There is real support, love and help available from many countless qualified men and women, I/ we just have to be willing to recognize my/ our weakness, errors and need. A process I’m coming to terms with after allowing others to think FOR me and ingesting so much toxic manipulative distortion wrapped in so much rich theology and truth which eventually makes the HEART sick and in need of reviving because of lost hope and trust.

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19 Responses to Behind the Veil- Enduring HOPE and growing PEACE through and out of toxic FAITH

  1. Kaz Few says:

    I wonder if you approached someone who was addicted to religion whether or not they would react like any other addict ?
    The screams of litigation or name calling or blame redirection come from people who are worshiping the idol of God.

    • Rory says:

      I think that is Dr Stephen Arterburns point in one of those interviews and the book…. when we display this kind of fruit we have settled for worshipping a caricature of Christ.

  2. Rory says:
    Great article and even though an Eldership may be apparently striving to work towards such a model, if it’s foundation is rooted in a hidden deposing and unapproved take over by or involving a complete unknown, it’s already sadly too late. Because truth, transparency, integrity and character have already been slain on the streets with the life blood of the church poured out as an offering, irrelevant of the alleged justifications with the Christian foundation of reconciliation through repentance nowhere in sight.

    ” Power and influence in the Christian world must be directly proportional to transparency and public accountability. If not, the result will inevitably tend over time to petty despotism and worrying corruption…………. Anything less, anything other, is simply unbiblical and in the long run a recipe for disaster.” Thank you Mr Carl Trueman.

    The servant is not above the Master… ‘When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.’ – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

    Not… Will YOU die so I can live and survive because our leadership and financial base is too important to fail. That may work for GM, AIG or Lehman Brothers, not the church. AT ALL.

    So good Dan thanks for presenting and often guarding the truth no matter the thoughts of others or it’s impact upon your own practice and life.

  3. By Rory says:

    An extremely educational initial audio segment (0:00-9:02) addressing activities that do not belong anywhere, much less the church (as the guest notably highlights “even in our churches”) . Without all the misinterpreted spiritual components aimed at compelling silence from individuals addressing issues even in and especially in private meetings. Awareness is paramount and puts practitioners at ALL levels on notice. (Aggressive social psychological manipulation ie. Bullying not much different than empty religious Phariseeism) Therefore, be aware.

  4. Rory says:

    “Punishment looks back, discipline however, looks forward “- Boundaries Dr Henry Cloud & Dr John Townsend (reconstructing Biblical living, relationship, child rearing, physiological boundaries and the spiritual connections between them all) Great book.

  5. Rory says:
    A recent article post referenced by a family deeply affected by this church and it’s disguised split.
    I think this article applies to your normal struggling properly trained pastor or pastors, I’m assured that what we had was a very different breed of prideful and unrepentant men rooted in ties to the unhealthy Sovereign Grace Ministries ‘Pastors College’ that they have disassociated themselves from, but will take years to remove SGM out of them as many outsiders can see. So few know of the abuses endured by many at the hands of these people and those who talked back simply left and were pressured to walk away quietly using misinterpreted and manipulated verses. Sorry Pat Sczebel, David JR Smith, Tony Walsh, Marty Jones, not me anymore. Even if Facebook ‘babbling fool’ is the newest label in circulation.
    I will always stand for the perspective of the congregation having seen what this model of “gospel centered” perverted preaching and discipleship looks and behaves like.
    I think this rendition of his initial summaries is equally relevant.
    ‘Pastors in churches will think twice before engaging in things that sink deep into the soul of their congregations.’
    I hear what this gentleman is writing about. But the heart doesn’t bleed, although forgiveness is a work in progress, because specific repentant remorse is nowhere in site when scripture has much to say about such leaders and so much damage is done with no care to the fact that as he states ‘we are a family’ . A nonspecific form letter and a new face does NOT preclude or excuse repentance. I actually believe that if this pastor even came close to what all Crossway pastors devised he may have not dared write anything, rightfully resigned and crawled under a rock for some time. Possibly pursuing another vocation as some of the ones these men have forced out had to do.

  6. Sue says:

    I wish you would be quiet! Your fascination is borderline stalker behaviour. For pity sake Rory, move on, you have no idea what Crossway is like. Your behaviour is far from Christlike, you come across as bitter and arrogant in your rantings, and it is clearly clinically obsessive compulsive in the way you can not put it down. Either deal with this in a Christ like way or get off on your judgemental ravings. I feel very sad that you can not move forward with your life and yet you seem to think you are the one displaying a heart which reflects Christ, this is shocking to me and so many others. The only person coming out looking bad here is you and the embarrassment you are causng yourself and your family. Move on, please!

    • Rory says:

      It’s good Sue to see you finally speak up for SOMETHING after so many missed opportunities with those you follow in exemplary submissive humble obedience. I can understand how I am a bit of a scurge to you and your husband and others I suppose. In the end whether I die tonight or 50 years from now I’m OK with that. Crossway has taught many what Christianity looks like at it’s best. (insert sarcasm) I suppose folks will continue to flock to Crossway in record numbers to the glory of your leaders and their ‘gospel’ strategies.

      So Sue here is the definition of me as a welcomed scurge:

      scurge is like being the scum of the earth. it is when there is nothing worse than you. you are as low as low can get. you are a disgrace to the world. you are nothing to anyone or anything. you are just flat out gross.

      ” the scurge of the earth”

      According to your comment I can’t get any lower than that and it’s all up from here I guess. And yes I am a follower of Christ I just don’t follow Him behind others with my eyes wide shut anymore, as with many others, similar to your claims.

    • Jason says:

      I have to say that I am shocked and disappointed that you (and others) continue to project clinical diagnosis of mental illness onto those who don’t agree with you and choose to speak about it.
      You (and others) may have some experience with mental illness but you do not have the qualifications to make those “clinical” assessments ever! You stated that you are concerned that Rory is not acting in a Christlike manner and is judgementally raving. Your judgemental position of someone’s mental state – in a public (or any) setting is also not acting in a Christlike manner as it is significantly lacking in grace.
      Your choice to project “clinical” judgements of mental illness onto people that attempt to discredit their statements also serves to insult those who live with those same mental illnesses daily. That insult occurs by implying that those with mental illness have nothing relevant to offer on a topic, simply because you disagree with their method or ability to communicate their thoughts.
      I know that you have experience in the area of mental illness (which will likely be your rebuttal), which is why I find it so shocking and disappointing.

      • Carrie says:

        I second my husbands comments. I am sitting here is shocked disbelief, anger, and sadness. Having obsessive compulsive disorder does not mean that ones thoughts, feelings, ideas, or opinions are invalid, or should be discredited. As you know, there are many disorders that include OCD tendencies; autism being one of those disorders. So, if I am using Sue’s argument, than all people with disorders that include OCD tendencies (autism as well) have NO valid thoughts, feelings, ideas, or opinions, and should be discredited based on diagnosis alone. According to you Sue, we should not listen to those individuals that have autism, or OCD, etc……

  7. Sue says:

    There you go again, interpreting things people say in a manner that is clearly either delusional or you simply like self flagellating to the point that you must make things up that you, “think” other people say to feel, “got at!” I neither wished you dead, or called you a scurge, your words my friend, NOT MINE! I am just very sad that you continue to go on, ad infinitum, about things long since over. As for me finally speaking up for something. Not really too sure as to why you would make such a comment. I come from a place where by, I feel that you do not always need to talk and give your opinion. However, I do have my own opinions and the only reason I have made a comment at this point is because I truly wish you would stop being so acidic. You acuse the leadership of Crossway over and over again of unChrist like behaviour yet where is yours? I do not hate you Rory, I pity you! I find it sad that you do not chose to move on from this so called terrible experience but instead keep dragging it up again and again. If a wound is infected and full of pus, clean it up, treat it carefully and then allow it to heal. You keep scratching yours and doing that, it will never heal. If it is still infected, then do something about it, scratching will make you miserable and eventually lead to a general full out spiritual type septicaemia of which no one, and I mean no one wants that. You have a beautiful family and good friends. Delight in the gifts God has given you instead of this witch hunt you have been on for over two years. Maybe you are not going to get resolution to a place of your satisfaction, are you really going to keep doing this for the next 30-40 years? If you do you will find your self very lonely, no one, even your most adversarial supporter will stay for that lenght of time when you are steeped in so much hatered and negativity. Please, stop this and find a positive way to lead your family and those that care about you, please. Let peace happen and folk you attack have some peace, most of all Rory, have some peace yourself, aren’t you tired of ranting?

    • Rory says:

      Sorry for the lengthy reply, I suppose I should add a separate post just to dialogue with all that you’re saying Sue.

      I see you have an itch to scratch now and you simply are demonstrating that in reality not much has changed at Crossway. So let’s recap my ongoing OCD delusion as you call it, and BTW please don’t call me a friend for public viewing when it and we mean nothing, literally nothing to you or your husband as clearly stated in his litigation email rants (as you put it). It comes across quite disingenuous.

      Let’s summarize AGAIN for the small handful of viewing public (although that seems to be changing over the past few days) who may be considering attending Crossway 2.0 with a heritage founded on secrecy and practices you simply want to just go away unaccounted for and led by this cadre as they like to call themselves …..

      Sue I’d been in relationship with some of these men long before West Coast Chapel/ Crossway even began, hence long before you ever arrived. In fact we joked at Moxies in New Westminster that ‘if you start a church, we’ll be there’ and we were for over 14 years. Through many great memories and relationships along with questionable behaviors witnessed and reported by others until they ALL (pastors with each of their supporters and enablers many of which were in conflict of interest relationships much like you and Stephen) seem to have lost their way opting for ‘A Way Forward’ & Around rather than ‘A Way Through’ or the much despised option ‘Let’s Show Ourselves The Way Out’. My wife and I wrote letters of encouragement to particular ‘pastors’ during difficult times over the years. But upon their strategic actions behind the new intern front man, as you say over 2 years ago, and after a ridiculous coffee with your husband who was clearly in the know based on his hinted statements and later with a brother who Pat loved (to borrow from scripture), an individual who chuckled and seemed to pride himself without shame before me and 2 others at the ABC Country Restaurant, of how ‘God’ had involved him in 2 if not 3 ‘church splits’ now with no one else at the table laughing, trying to justify their actions in disrupting and dividing the then unity and, more importantly, the multiple years of relationships within the Church. (kept in the dark while the ‘offering’ plates continued to be handed out every week and months of this charade and your sanctioned dog and pony show) And then giving no accountable justification for those decisions or how they managed to arrive at commandeering the existing church leadership, pulpit, services and most importantly funding within a few short months after the arrival of David J R Smith on staff (an unvetted 22/23 year old ‘intern’ at the time). That’s when it became a little too rich for me and many others. All they offered at those ‘A Way Forward’ campaign ‘information sessions’ when asked direct questions was a blank stare at one another and a statement ‘we can’t answer that because of our confidentiality agreement’, ‘but this is what we are planning for this coming year’ in our glossy brochure deferring to the new individual with the ‘governmental mind’ in the room. This was so ridiculous to me that I made sure I recorded all of them. All this with strategically planted family members, their own children, who had no intention of attending the so called church plant, at each opposing parties campaign meetings as ‘listeners’ verifying confidentiality agreements were being held when key questions were asked along with other activities that span back long before this discontent (to use Pat s Facebook post definition of Satanic discontent). Even though this became an affront to many it’s possible that you and Stephen are comfortable with all that, being that while several free thinking individuals not in conflict of interest proximity (union heads, former pastors and government employees who know how these things should work in the real world) were in meetings looking for accountable reasoning for all this nonsense neither of you were in the room at the time. Instead, once you had picked your side with privileged information kept from the ‘paying public’, mitigating damage control seemed to ensue. We have come to learn that this is often common practice within some types of church leadership as we all move around our churches saying nothing, sacrificing truth for counterfeit unreconciled peace allowing this kind of darkness to continue IN THE CHURCH unanswered. All the while attempting to drape beautiful white blankets of hyper spiritualism (aka you know what) , noble doctrinal assent with heady theology and beautifully announced ‘works of service’ over what began as a dung heap (to put it Biblically that may be more acceptable to you) that we were all subject to and had to extricate ourselves from even if they attempt to blame shift to the now struggling SGM Sovereign Grace Ministries. I mean really with all the relational forgiveness being spoken of, has anyone returned to attend? Do you recall Nehemiahs ‘Dung Gate’ preached by David Smith ? Keep it closed, the stench is overwhelming.

      Granted that the Directors recent mass exodus after one year from Redemption Hill, Crossway Church s ‘unintended’ deceptive church plant may bring some degree of vindication to you all, in no way does ANY of this pass the smell test in all the discussions that were had where everyone involved were tight lipped about why and how they got here and only would speak of the beautiful future that awaits those who are on board in ‘Rebuilding the walls of Nehemiah’ as significant numbers made and continue to make a similar exodus from Crossway and it’s church plant Redemption Hill Church. What utter nonsense. There are still about 15 to 20 key documented questions and many more, if you consider the questions that come into play when public figures refuse to answer initial questioning, that remain unanswered to this day and some quite serious. Spanning issues from questionable money deals and fiscal accountability to unclear (when questioned) or undisclosed work visa considerations with the unvetted intern Scotsman who then somehow became lead pastor and director without ANY due process involving those who pay their salaries, as well as work visa concerns or hoop jumping that may have played a part in their takeover . All of these men including co-conspirators and enablers are fortunate, as I’ve been told, that Canada Revenue Agency, hasn’t hauled their rear ends in from both these churches to perform a full Audit of the past 16 years including the recent changes (2 years for the church plant) of fiscal activity and ‘Conference’ hopping all over North America while many sacrificed dearly and naively to fund this nonsense. When high ranking government employees in positions of public trust can’t get away with this, why should the church? And for that reason this brand of ‘gospel centered ministry/ church’ is often thought of as a joke by outsiders looking in and rightfully so lest they sacrifice their family needs and well being for such ‘rubbish’, as Paul put it. Not to mention the mercy that God has shown all of them in not having the whole questionable affair brought before the media who would then give them a proper sovereign based ‘Christian’ baptism by fire as some have wanted to do that would make my open discussion here look like child’s play. And there would be no opportunity to lay claim through blogs like ‘Facebook Pastors’ or ‘Confess Before You’re Caught’ or my personal favorites ‘Church Conflict’ oh, and ‘The Treasury of Pastoral Experience’ (written by a young man with less than 5 years experience AFTER an unaccountable well planned secretive divisive hostile church takeover, please correct me where I may be wrong so that this record can be accurate), to borrow from his humorous blog post (aptly dubbed Fakebook at times), Twitter or other media endeavors of enduring heroic ‘persecution’ which is reserved as many understand for real men and women who truly suffer and or die for their faith not ‘suffer’ confrontation because of their conduct and behavior witnessed and experienced firsthand by many.

      You’re right, I am blessed with a beautiful family as you condescend to appeal to my better senses (common practice), and that is precisely why I removed them from that environment (to the cheers and jeers of some) as should you, with men that could not be trusted to divulge truth no matter the cost or sacrifice and others complicit in their plans. Perfection is not the issue, transparent honesty is.

      And it’s pretty common practice with privileged insiders having conveniently dawned ‘transparent blinders’ (to borrow from the book Toxic Faith) to implicate those who have no concern any longer of speaking openly of the very things that began and were heavily in place by those who were enabled and given the open license and freedom to think, act and carry out tragically divisive acidic behaviors as you describe and then try to defensively misdirect or silence people for confronting them along with other witnesses in person and then openly. Who then later state for the record that it was all an ‘unintended mistake’ (despite many recorded warnings and open acknowledgement of sin), AFTER having succeeded in finding ‘A Way Forward’ accomplishing the initial undisclosed intent. Yet a ‘mistake’ nonetheless that seems doesn’t require a full on serious apology to their victims and paying stakeholders and will never be investigated or disclosed as these brand of individuals continue to dare call themselves ‘pastors’, doing a disservice to those who carry out that calling with truth, integrity and transparency. But somehow when questions come, WE (while within that toxic environment) are not permitted to THINK at all and your labels begin to fly in an attempt to humiliate people to ‘just be quiet’. Make no mistake I agree that I and maybe others bewildered by these toxic events are in a process and journey of much needed recovery from it all to find what walking with Christ truly resembles after removing yourself from such toxic faith realizing that there are many properly governed churches that run open and transparent forums where questions are actually answered and due process accountability is respected irrelevant of whether one is a ‘nice guy’.

      Consider the summaries from Toxic Faith if anyone dares read it paying special attention to The Roles of Toxic Faith:

      BTW does any one remember this book A Tale of Three Kings?
      It was circulated to at least one if not all these men and also was not appreciated or well received during the ‘Church Plant’ days?

      Have any of these pastors genuinely reconciled with the many individuals and the pastors that were and have been ousted by their years of authoritarian abuses, culminating in their collective ‘strategic’ ‘governmental’ actions after numerous private meetings (Matthew 18) warning of the ramifications? Or are the cost benefit analysis not worth the risk of embarrassing and disqualifying culpability even though scripture screams and bleeds the opposite from all it’s pages. It all depends on which side of ‘truth’ or ‘privilege’ or ‘entitlement’ or possible ‘new ministry opportunity position’ you’re on or whether ones livelihood is at stake through the ‘troublesome’ questioning and a hurried ‘transition’ or ‘church plant’ that so many bought into that was allowed to be rushed through thereby strategically staying ahead of the serious questions and inquiries.

      UPDATE: The examples abound on a weekly basis in the public service sector of what I am speaking of. But here is an example from just today….

      As I keep saying (OCD apparently makes me delusional), calling for and walking in forgiveness isn’t predicated on the idea that what is forgiven should remain unaccounted for or excuses nondisclosure silence in the midst of the destruction of years of relationships and foul abuses of power, then and now. Nowhere do I see that as being taught in scripture especially where we are instructed to walk in the light as He is in the light (note Sue I did not say as I am in the light either), but I can understand how we would all love that to be the case. These entries are simply an open discussion, review, record and address as encouraged by Matthew 18 and 1 Tim 5:19-21, by someone who is no longer moved by threats, fear, intimidation or ludicrous characterizations, as was with others and specifically Diane (a mother of multiple children driven out by you men), so it isn’t shrouded or lost in congratulatory blogs (closed to comments I might add) or self-congratulatory Facebook posts with works of service advertisements and addresses rather than considering Matthew 6 seriously.

      “Matthew 6
      The Message (MSG)

      The World Is Not a Stage
      6 “Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding.

      2-4 “When you do something for someone else, don’t call attention to yourself. You’ve seen them in action, I’m sure—‘playactors’ I call them—treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds. They get applause, true, but that’s all they get. When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out.”

      As I’ve come to learn open discussion is always good in difficult matters because it shows that we all don’t have to agree and Biblical wisdom and interpretation isn’t reserved for clergy and appointees to simply declare with full confident authority and not be held to task on the serious issues of motive, intent and process in relation to sacrificial ‘paying’ (and ransomed) stakeholders, those centuries are long gone.

      ‘I wish you would just be quiet’ just doesn’t cut it any more Sue. It never should, actually.

      With your privileged proximity to the problem, and the satisfaction that comes from being involved ‘behind the scenes’ that emulated from that coffee session at the Langley Township as well as from your beloved vested ‘intern’ during those mock information sessions, it’s clear how these verses may have no favorable bearing, meaning or value to both of you or some at Crossway:

      Jeremiah 6
      13 “For from the least to the greatest of them,
      everyone is greedy for unjust gain;
      and from prophet to priest,
      everyone deals falsely.
      14 They have healed the wound of my people lightly,
      saying, ‘Peace, peace,’
      when there is no peace.
      15 Were they ashamed when they committed abomination?
      No, they were not at all ashamed;
      they did not know how to blush.

      Ezekiel 34
      New King James Version (NKJV)
      Irresponsible Shepherds
      34 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God to the shepherds: “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? 3 You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. 4 The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them. 5 So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. 6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them.”
      7 ‘Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 8 “AsI live,” says the Lord God, “surely because My flock became a prey, and My flock became food for every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, nor did My shepherds search for My flock, but the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock”— 9 therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the Lord! 10 Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand; I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them.”

      Matthew 18: 15-17

      15 “If your brother or sister[b] sins,[c] go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’[d] 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church;

      1 Timothy 5:19-21

      19 Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. 20 But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning. 21 I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism.

      And of most critical importance…..

      Matthew 18:6

  8. Sue says:

    One more time, again words of mine being twisted and misinterrpreted.
    This week, of all weeks in the Christian year, should be a prime example of how we, as Christians, are to behave. After being whipped, beated, tortured, humiliated, stripped, and nailed to a cross. With those before him, who had done much worse than any of us have ever experienced and he was innocent, simply asked God to forgive them. I am simply saying that carrying this on as long as it hs been is not healthy.
    I appologise and ask for forgivenenss for using comments that would seem to imply I was saying you had a mental illness, I do not have the qualifications to make that judgement, so I am truly sorry my sinful heart got the better of me there, another reason I have not spoken up for all this time, i don’t want to be hateful! This constant attack on certain individuals that I do care about is very upsetting. It is not healthy. There was no sarcastic tone meant in anything I said. I just wish this would all stop. To call me privileged is not true. I was not privy to any “inside information” I never wanted to be and was not aware of anything said in the meeting that occured at the time. I do remember weeks of very high stress in my home as we all walked through this. My kids had a very hard time as they were old enough to see and felt the effects.
    Just stop all this and move on, please for everyones sake. Someone has to take the high road here and chose to move on. If, afer all the crap we pull daily, God chose to fogive and make it still possible for us to be with him inspite of our continuously sinful behaviour, why can’t we?

    • Kaz Few says:

      “I apologize and ask for forgiveness for using comments that would seem to imply I was saying you had a mental illness, I do not have the qualifications to make that judgement, so I am truly sorry my sinful heart got the better of me there, another reason I have not spoken up for all this time, i don’t want to be hateful! ……..”
      Sue if you love and care for your pastors then you should go to them with this example of what you have just done. You saw that you had sinned against another then went on to ask them for forgiveness. You spoke truthfully about your interactions and attitudes without making excuses or blame shifting. You also did not hide in “privacy” but made your appeal for forgiveness publicly.
      Your pastors have not always done these things, which is why many people are concerned about their being in a position to teach others.

    • Rory says:

      Sue, I appreciate and accept your apology in your specific claims alone regarding my mental condition and trust it as genuine.

      BTW I do not see difficult discussion or what you, I or others say as hateful, difficult definitely, but not hateful. We may as well call Paul, Jesus, James and many others before us as hateful in some of the things they said in an attempt to thereby relegate them to a degree of not being worth listening to that is in direct proportion to the degree of the intensity of their words that simply rub us the wrong way especially for those alive and in proximity at the time. But I do get it, however when things get very difficult we can’t nor should we just begin to label people as mentally unstable or hateful but rather, armed with the facts and or evidence, have the courage within, along with respect and dignity towards others and sit eye to eye to dialogue and discuss the issues void of a sense of disgust in doing so that some have observed and experienced.
      There are many implications, maybe some precedence and much, in my opinion, to discourse over in response to your last communique and should be given time and further thought. I think Kaz is definitely onto something that warrants further thought, discussion and primarily, a response or non-response.
      And as you referenced Easter it is still very possible to enjoy Easter in the midst of the realities we all just wish or want to simply go away (not like there are options when things seem sideways). For some reason it doesn’t seem the way Jesus dealt with things, although I agree He did give us a glimpse of His humanity in saying ‘if this cup could pass from me, nevertheless not my will’.

      Thanks Sue for being the 1st to eventually engage in discussion here. Although I have heard from some insiders who very much understand and agree with the concerns of others and myself but are too entwined, perplexed, bewildered or afraid to publicly agree or sever that chord requesting that I not quote or name them. However it is being observed that some are still braving the breakaway, likely to the ongoing cries of abandonment, betrayal and a victim complex often played out by your young uproven leaders and often using the pulpit as a means of delivery, one in particular has often been known for that, just listen carefully and you’ll hear what I and others are referring to. It’s not healthy Sue it truly isn’t. Remember the old teaching? One should not be motivated by guilt (read over you and your husbands emails and comments again and listen carefully to the words from the pulpit and go a step further and dare to challenge the intent if their words sound concerning), fear, compulsion or sympathies rather by truth, personal choice (conviction) and facts provided on the foundation Christ has laid down for us if we call Him Lord.

    • Rory says:

      Sue, after all this back and forth about ‘moving on’, ‘once again my words being twisted’ and your clinical diagnosis of my condition as well as apparently ‘knowing nothing about Crossway’, I’m glad and fascinated to hear that since around September October you and your family announced you have ‘moved on’ to a ‘local church’ about 45 to 48 kilometres from the Langley Cloverdale area. Presuming it’s one of the 2, or I guess 3 now, of the current or former Crossway pastor endorsed churches to consider in all of BC. Many view that as a positive and yet somewhat healthy lateral ‘moving on’, time will tell for all of us and our quiet ‘silent’, ‘God made it clear to us’ shufflings within Christendom. Hopefully appointments of ‘model leadership’ or leadership association (rubs with greatness) don’t become the ambitions and aspirations of many one time ‘leaders’ or any of us, coming out of or leaving such a mess and perverse cult like idolatrous culture that future naive or vulnerable mentorees or disciplees (sp) will know nothing about in our new starts without first facing and addressing some of these past issues and behaviours within us. Unfortunately some of that is being witnessed and spoken of in the scattering as we seem to love to build our kingdoms with those who ‘depend’ on or look up to our ‘model leadership example’. Lord help us and those He cares for and loves so deeply and without reservation, those without years of tenure in these entrenched religious circles and beliefs.

      On another note a few are wondering if maybe you both might consider altering or removing your glowing and clearly organized or member orchestrated google review spam of Crossway from around Halloween some time back with the recorded date noted. But then again who really cares, nobody goes there or here anyways. Made that assertion as an added review.

      We’ll probably see you around town (Cranberry Festival, parades and the like) and I know with your very Christ like world view you likely won’t want to talk or discuss much beyond hypocritical pleasantries or acknowledgements, that’s already been made very clear and somewhat understandable with our pious and religious facade history.

      However that withstanding may He truly bless you and your family as you and we all move on from damaging and crippling fundamentalist religious top down viewpoints that were rarely, at its core, Christ’ teachings at all but only serve to perpetuate a culture of codependence (money, reputation and livelihood for partial truth instead of grace AND TRUTH freely while having faith in God to provide the funds, a place where we all live) rather than true freedom in Christ coupled with independent Berean like free thought and study of His life giving words and what it truly is saying to us on our unique journeys and processes of internalizing (renewing) truth by HIS Spirit.
      Faith, freedom and hope through the mind for the heart.

  9. Rory says:

    An excellent article. Issues may differ but the harm, destruction and outcome is the same.

    Why Full and Public Repentance Matters

    “What’s more, unless we pastors engage in public repentance, our “bold” preaching about sin and grace often appears to be little more than window dressing. In other words, what we believe about God, sin and grace is proven true when we treat our own sin as seriously as we say others should.”

  10. Rory says:

    And an excellent follow up and qualifier from the often chosen and much quoted to the previous call to action as proposed by Kaz and somewhat modeled by Sue. An article shared recently by a respected and model seasoned unaffiliated pastor at heart.

    What does or should ‘Genuine Repentance’ look and feel like?

    ” 4. We have a willingness and eagerness to make amends. We will do whatever it takes to make things right and to demonstrate we have changed.”

  11. Rory says:

    A very moving closing night with an incredible group of transparent men. Thank you for your stories and testimonies regarding this critical yet messy and even unfinished journey of and through forgiveness.

    Ask Forgiveness- Ed’s Story a truly incredible account.

    A journey through asking forgiveness toward reconciliation for any situation. As discussed in the meeting tonight, it’s not about who is right or wrong as in a marriage, but that there is SOMETHING wrong that needs to be made right. May the Lord help us all as we simply choose or are forced to move around in our churches.

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