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Pastor Moon

Mexico City
May 7, 2005

Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.” - Albert Einstein


Dear Rob and all affiliates of GGWO,

In the midst of our work here in Mexico, I have been trying to digest the rash of declarations and semi-disaffiliation letters bombarding Baltimore from various points on the globe. It is an understatement to say that they have caused no little amount of heartache in us. I have written to some that I felt they were way out-of-line with the tone of their letters. I have asked for sources on information based on some of the accusations being made. They were refused with no explanations, leaving open to question the integrity and motives of such sources.

Before I now take a closer look at Pr. Rob’s letter in particular and raise some questions about it as a way to publicly address the general trend amongst the affiliates of GGWO, let me establish a context. I am highly in favor of the Sandy Cove process, with some reservations on minor points on the declaration, as well as to the process itself. I wrote you that I favored the Florida declaration although I was not called upon to sign it. (Though I now have some reservations…explained later.) I have been a pastor who has been “marked” (as the term is currently being used) for at least 15 years not only by Pr. Stevens and certain leaders in Baltimore, but by many affiliate pastors now strangely “marking” Pr. Schaller and Baltimore for having supposedly “marked.” (Go figure.) For many years I have used my liberty in Christ and grave responsibility (Ja 3:1) as a pastor to explore new methods, as well as to change some doctrines I concluded were either not Biblical, or at least not as clear so as to be so dogmatic about them. Hence, I am one pastor/missionary who has been on the outside for many years, without close ties to either Baltimore or affiliates. That gives me some liberty to say what I really think…”Freedom is another word for nothing left to lose,” sang Janis Joplin. Also, I consider Pr. Rob a dear friend and highly esteem his life and work.

Therefore I put forth these comments and questions as to your reasons for disaffiliating for your consideration and response:

A. A serious lack of accountability: …”For example, the vote for the pastorate, in the case of Pastor Stenger, was rendered null and void by the influence of certain individuals; thus the bonafide vote of the Board of Elders was overturned
1. The process for succession, I believe all will agree, was confused and ambiguous to begin with due to mixed communications, and Pr. Stevens’ mental-emotional state.
2. There were reports of carnal animosity in the board of elders, which in my opinion, puts in question their ability for making a decision of such importance.
3. The board of elders were not making themselves accountable to the local church body, voting for their pastor without their consent, simply asking for their affirmation of a decision that did not take into account the clear wishes of the vast majority.
4. I do not think accountability extends to affiliates trying to influence and override the overwhelming decision of a local church as to who their new pastor will be.
5. That local church in particular is a church of many godly, seasoned saints who for many years have given their very lives to that particular local assembly. They have every right to be heard, to choose their pastor, and to not have that choice thwarted or trampled upon by people thousands of miles away.

6. Regardless of the conditions Pr. Stevens is in, physically or spiritually, he too should have a voice in choosing his successor, as perhaps his last act as acting pastor. To deny him that is an undeserved insult, and denial of the years of love and service he has put into that local church, in my opinion. Would any pastor reading this want to be treated like that?

B. A serious lack of biblical ethics:
1. I think we have learned sufficiently that such kinds of volatile charges need to be validated by specific, detailed, accounts WITH THEIR SOURCES. I think to do this in this way is in and of itself a serious lack of biblical ethics, not to speak of lack of accountability. I quote a biblical teaching by Basic Life Principles Institute on How To Protect Yourself from Defilement of an Evil Report:

How to Detect an Evil Report:

Here are five questions to ask before listening to a carrier of an evil report:

1.) "What is your reason for telling me?" Widening the circle of gossip only compounds the problem.

2.) "Where did you get your information?" Refusal to identify the source of information is a sure signal of an evil report.

3.) "Have you gone to those directly involved?" Spirituality is not measured by how well we expose an offender, but by how effectively we restore an offender (Galatians 6:1)

4.) "Have you personally checked out all of the facts?" Even "facts" become distorted when not balanced with other facts or when given with negative motives.

5.) "Can I quote you if I check this out?" Those who give evil reports often claim that they are "misquoted". This is because their words and overriding impressions are reported.

Some Symptoms of Infection:

a.) Believing that the evil report is true.
b.) Forming negative opinions based on the report.
c.) Focusing on negative aspects of the person involved.
d.) Interpreting the person’s words and actions as "supporting evidence."
e.) Judging motives on the basis of the evil report.
f.) Backing away from the person in your spirit.
g.) Telling the evil report to others

2. I emphasize again that the process of electing Pr. Stenger was flawed and ignored the discernment and desires of the vast majority of this mature body of believers. That was unethical. While I would follow Pr. Stenger and gladly serve under him anywhere, anytime, it is unfair to also not mention that the vote for Pr. Stenger was based, on some cases, on simple personal animosity towards Pr. Schaller, animosity I have personally witnessed by elders. Now it seems affiliate pastors want to impose their personal animosities upon the local Baltimore church and affiliation as a whole. That too is unethical.

C. A serious lack of proper hermeneutics:

1. This is too ambiguous to consider valid because:

a. Careful review of SC dialogue reveals a general consensus about not transferring OT applications to NT polity, yet that some parallels are valid.
b. The subject of hermeneutics is vastly complicated and requires much more in depth study and analysis.
c. Local churches should have freedom to determine their own styles of leadership, without breaking unity with them. Pr. Schaller has already agreed publicly to a different paradigm for the affiliation. Why was not that statement sufficient?
d. GGWO has always, along with many other churches, emphasized a strong pulpit ministry, a chief elder as opposed to plurality leadership, as well as the vital need for anointing as opposed to simply intellectual biblical discourse. I hardly think we are out of line with most evangelical churches on this, or even most GGWO affiliates. I do not understand this charge.
e. The charge that strong leadership produces co-dependency is vague, unfounded Biblically, and seems based on humanistic psychology, not hermeneutics. Barna and other studies, as well as church history show that strong leadership is essential to church growth. That leaders need to be anointed by the Holy Spirit is obvious and unquestionable. The charge is spurious.

D. A serious lack of “freedom”:
1. As a bit of a maverick in GGWO for many years, I can sympathize with this statement. Yet I can say personally as an open dissident of the charismatic bent, nobody in GGWO has treated me with more respect and equality than Pr. Schaller. While many of those amongst writers of harsh letters to him hardly even spoke to us for many years, while one leader mounting campaigns against him mistreated my family, in our perspective he stands out as one who went out of his way to treat us with dignity, even though we were “marked.”

2. This charge too is ambiguous. In highly volatile situations, in times of turmoil and high emotions, things can very easily be misinterpreted. I assumed the version I heard was true about Pr. Stevens dismissing Sandy Cove on Easter morning service. Weeks later, when I got the tape, I received an entirely different impression. At this time, we need to give more grace, patience and understanding to each other.
3. According to the Bible (I won’t quote Scriptures we’ve all known and applied for years) a pastor has every right and responsibility to discern and warn people if he senses the spirit, the understanding, or the motive of people is wrong.

E. A serious lack of having a “voice”:

1.The innuendoes here are too vague to be considered valid. Who said what and where?
2. Publicly and personally to me Pr. Schaller has declared his support for Sandy Cove. That carries more weight than hearsay.
3. It is a new process and allowances must be made for misunderstandings and miscommunications. After the conference I sat down to lunch with one person in Baltimore who was mentioned in particular by Pr. Marr during SC as accusing the meeting of being “conspiratorial.” After I explained the goals and intents, at least from my perspective, this person seemed relieved and positive towards it.
4. There is nothing wrong with objectively analyzing the SC process itself and determining whether it too is flawed. I sensed at times pressure to conform to the leaders’ consensus there. I sensed time was too short to adequately deal with complex issues and that a consensus of certain leaders was being ramrodded through, whether intentionally or unintentionally. I sometimes felt my voice was not heard or considered. I objected to various statements in the declaration. I nevertheless signed it as a general agreement in principle and desire for unity. I considered the flaws as just bumps in the road. I still am in favor of Sandy Cove II, although I have no idea what the agenda will be, or who is making those vital decisions. I feel I have no voice in the matter. Yet I am not ready to denounce, denigrate, or reject it. I think we need to grease our squeaky wheels with lots of grace at this time before making all-encompassing, volatile statements and decisions.

F. A serious lack of concern:
1. This charge I can sympathize most with, as we too have been for many years ostracized and have felt “pushed out,” again, in some cases by the very ones lately objecting the loudest to others. Yet I do not, and I doubt that most pastors have enough objective information to truly discern what happened in these recent cases. I personally have heard various versions from various perspectives and am willing as an affiliate thousands of miles away to be concerned yet trust the leadership at Baltimore at this time. I wasn’t there.
2. I would also say that there equally needs to be concern for those that have to deal with situations they did not directly create, as well as for the impact on the testimony of Christ that division, devouring and denigrating one another publicly have.
3. I strongly believe that there needs to be a bit more concern on the part of the affiliate pastors, especially those that wish to publicly express their complaints to Baltimore, on the very influential role they themselves have played in participating, fomenting, and encouraging the culture that created such problems. I am still awaiting a public statement to that effect. I believe taking into account our own culpability will change and soften the tone and direction of the current turmoil.

G. A serious lack of repentance:

1. Agreed as stated above.. Repentance is desperately needed – by the entire leadership, affiliates and Baltimore, of GGWO. All of us. Repentance is preceded by what many term a state called “brokenness” – a willingness to let God examine our own hearts and culpability, a willingness to give lots of grace to others who are guilty, a willingness to share openly about our own guilt, an allowing the trunk to be removed before we stick our finger in some one else’s eye to remove their splinter. So far I sense very little brokenness in these communications (with the exception of Wayne Hogarth’s letter.) I hear lots about “convictions” and proclamations of righteous indignation, but very little true repentance. It does no good to rightly protest about undermining others, about discarding others, about resolving issues, when in the same breathe we are doing exactly the same thing.

As for us, we have stood for unity in brokenness for 20+ years in the midst of rejection and confusion. We continue to do so. We have stood for grace which comes through humility. We continue to do so. We have stood for reform. We continue to do so. We have stood for freedom of conscience of the local church and pastor in exploring methods, in secondary doctrines, in honoring other ministries. We continue to do so. We understand our liberty does not extend to violating basic principles such as unity, love for the brethren, love as defined in 1 Cor 13, and honor, as some contend. We have understood that unity, apart from being a supreme divine command of utmost importance in the Scriptures, is an effective way to testify to the world of God’s grace and to implement a strategy to reach the world with that message. We continue to consider it so. We have understood that anger, passive-aggressive ceding, and the silent treatment, are neither effective nor Biblical means of resolving conflicts. Only long, patient, honest, thorough dialogue in true love and brokenness can achieve true resolution as the Scripture commands us to do. We encourage that process amongst affiliates and Baltimore.

His & yours,

Bruce and Robin Moon
Comunidad de Gracia A.C.
Mexico City

"If there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 2:1-5).

From Peacemakers Ministries :


1. Unity with other believers is more important than the exercise of my personal rights or desires (Ephesians 4:1-6);
2. I never own but am always a stewards of any authority, ministry, property, money and rights God Jehovah entrusts to me (I Peter 4:10);
3. I can trust God to meet my needs no matter what is given or forgiven in the course of this dispute (Matthew 6:33).
4. I have a responsibility to be a peacemaker, healers and reconcilers of my conflict (2 Corinthians 5:18);
5. Reconciliation of conflict between Christians is more important than even worship (Matthew 5:23-24);
6. No matter who is the primary wrongdoer, I have an affirmative duty to initiate efforts at reconciliation (Matthew 18:15, Matthew 5:23-24);
7. I should confess my sins to each other, repent, and pray for one another (James 5:16) even for one who wrongfully persecutes me (Matthew 5:44);
8. I am to bear another Christian's burdens (Galations 6:11), and to forgive one another the way Christ forgives us (Ephesians 4:32);
9. I will leave vengeance and repayment to God (Romans 12:19), and overcome evil with acts of good (Romans 12:21), bless those who might revile against me (I Corinthians 4:12), love my enemies and my neighbors as myself (Luke 6:27);
10. I covenant to exercise patience, kindness, forbearance, gentleness, self-control, endurance, humility, mercy and to be led by prayer, the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit, and mature Christians during the course of this dispute. (Galatians 5:16-26)

OTHER RECONCILIATION-CONFLICT RESOLUTION MINISTRIES( I think its time we should seek their help.)


2.) Ken Newberger
Ph.D.c., Nova Southeastern University (Conflict Analysis & Resolution)
Th.M., Dallas Theological Seminary