Home      Dis: Wilkocz

Pastor Wilkosz

Dear Pastor Schaller,

First of all, I would like to thank you for your letter. As you know I always have respected you and enjoyed a great fellowship with you. I have looked up to you and you have inspired my life to follow Christ. Your counsels have helped me make wise decisions number of times. Nevertheless, I have very deep concerns about the latest developments in GGWO and your part in it. But I also want you to know I do not agree with those who believe you are the only one to be blamed for the crisis in the ministry. I do not believe this crisis has started only recently. It has developed slowly as a result of a twisted teaching and bad practices that we discussed at Sandy Cove. This is why I do not like when some other leaders try to make you a scapegoat while there is no repentance on their part for the participation in the development of the problem which led to this crisis. Everyone of us has had a share in creating it. So far we have exchanged our opinions but as far as I know we have not witnessed anybody's thorough and public repentance. I am personally open to dialogue and correction.

Since your letter was addressed to all the affiliate pastors I feel free to make my response open. The other reason why I do it is because my letter addresses the issues that do not refer only to you but to most of the leaders in GGWO (whether they think differently now or not).
I believe with my whole heart that Christ has given us the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18-19). This is why I have tried to bring peace between different warring factions in GGWO. I think my attitude and testimony I shared at Sandy Cove conference proves it. However, the ministry of reconciliation cannot turn into the ministry of compromise with the Word of God. There comes a point when we have to stand for truth even if it means that the fellowship will be broken. Christ never meant reconciliation to bring false peace, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household." (Matt. 10:34-35)

Let me refer to your letter.

It is very clear from your letter that you still consider pastor Stevens the head of the ministry, " there is a plan for the church in Baltimore to vote to determine who will fill the place of presiding elder... This office is the legal chair of responsibility for the church in Baltimore and would function under the Senior Pastor, Dr. Stevens." You also hold pastor Stevens in a very high esteem. I understand that you have received a lot good things from him but some of your statements and your current attitude towards him does not reflect a clear biblical teaching but rather a sentimental attachment. In your letter you ask a rhetorical question, "Could a follower of Dr. Stevens receive twice his spirit?" Then you add, "Following our teacher is one manifestation of that cross life"; and call him, "our pastor, friend, helper, teacher and guide". I believe such statements reveal an unhealthy relationship to a human leader who is very much fallible. Our teacher, helper, and guide is first of all the Holy Spirit and no man should replace His position or overlap with it. Relating the cross life to the following after a man is a serious misapplication of the Bible and reflects more of a cultic environment than of the healthy fellowship of the Body of Christ. Our Lord taught us clearly something exactly opposite, "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14,26-27). His cross overrules any human attachments, even to one's father, who in those times was a teacher at home. I think we may safely apply this principle to our relationship with a "spiritual father". You have made it very clear, along with many others, that pastor Stevens is your spiritual father. Can we say then, If any man come to me, and hate not his spiritual father... he cannot be my disciple? And if anybody followed the human spiritual father at the expense of following Christ through His Word and the Spirit it would mean he did not take up his cross and therefore would no longer be in the school of Christ. Is this conclusion correct? Should we follow our spiritual father if he goes astray?

I believe it is because of your sentimental and unbiblical attitude toward pastor Stevens that you promote him as a GGWO leader and try with your whole heart to preserve his so called "legacy" (which term is very vague and abstract to me and would need further clarification). The fact is that Pastor Carl Stevens should have stepped down or been removed from his position for at least three reasons even according to his own teaching.

First of all, his involvement with pastor Paul Stevens' affair was extremely unbiblical and sinful. The Bible teaches every pastor, "neither be partaker of other men's sins" (1 Tim 5,22). Pastor Stevens not only knew about his son's sins but did everything in his power to cover it and keep everybody else misinformed to the extent that pastor Paul Stevens was still presented as an expert on human relationships and marriage. Pastor Paul Stevens was forced to step down but his father is still beyond accountability even though there has not been a slightest hint that he is willing to repent of anything.

Secondly, pastor Stevens has not been able to lead the church due to his physical condition for at least two years which has caused huge problems in many people's lives. Every responsible human leader would have resigned if his health had not let him continue in his office. But pastor Stevens has not done that. To me the message is clear: He either esteems his position and authority more than the sheep that have been bestowed under his care or he is totally out of touch with reality. In the latter case the blame for not removing him falls on his closest associates. The church in Baltimore and GGWO is falling apart because of that but pastor Stevens is presented as a vibrant, healthy and dynamic leader in the latest edition of the Wings of Glory which you have published. This is disgrace to the heart of the Good Shepherd.
Thirdly, it was made publicly known that pastor Stevens had stepped down and pastor Rodger Stenger was chosen by the elders as the new chief elder of GGWO in Baltimore. The only thing left was the voting of the congregation. While the casting of ballots was in progress pastor Stevens reappeared on the stage on Easter Sunday, thrashed Sandy Cove conference, the decision of the elders and the voting, and reestablished himself as the chief elder. He also promised he would come to every service and preach (which promise he did not keep). For me this whole activity on Easter Sunday in Baltimore bordered blasphemy. How could anybody dare to promote himself in face of the resurrection of Christ and belittle the orderly efforts of committed Body members who did their best to bring healing and restoration to His Body.
Let me ask you a question: Who does the church in Baltimore and GGWO belong to? To Christ or to pastor Stevens? It reminds me of the story of king Uzziah. He was a very good and successful leader but his success blinded him and he started thinking that the whole Israel, even the temple, belonged to him and he could behave there as he wished. How gravely he was mistaken? Here is his tragic story:

But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed against the LORD his God, and went into the temple of the LORD to burn incense upon the altar of incense. And Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him fourscore priests of the LORD, that were valiant men: And they withstood Uzziah the king, and said unto him, It appertaineth not unto thee, Uzziah, to burn incense unto the LORD, but to the priests the sons of Aaron, that are consecrated to burn incense: go out of the sanctuary; for thou hast trespassed; neither shall it be for thine honour from the LORD God. Then Uzziah was wroth, and had a censer in his hand to burn incense: and while he was wroth with the priests, the leprosy even rose up in his forehead before the priests in the house of the LORD, from beside the incense altar. And Azariah the chief priest, and all the priests, looked upon him, and, behold, he was leprous in his forehead, and they thrust him out from thence; yea, himself hasted also to go out, because the LORD had smitten him. And Uzziah the king was a leper unto the day of his death, and dwelt in a several house, being a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the LORD: and Jotham his son was over the king's house, judging the people of the land. (2 Chronicles 27,16-21)

Another big issue is the constant misinformation about the state of affairs in GGWO that you and other leaders have used to promote your own view of church life. The teaching of our Lord on the way communication should be practiced in His church is crystal clear, "But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil." (Matt. 5,37). Instead, we have witnessed cover ups, half-truths, manipulation, intimidation, and outright lies that according to the above verse come from the demonic source. It was one of the reasons I did not attend the last two conferences in Budapest. Here is the quote from my letter to pastor John Boyce (who organized the last Budapest conference and strongly encouraged us to come) in which I explained my point of view:

"But the last few conferences we attended have been a real disappointment to us. The first one was the Fall Conference of 2003. We were invited to come to listen to Pastor Paul Stevens as the main speaker on relationships. (At that time we did not know about the problems his sin caused in so many lives. When we learnt about it we were shocked he was presented to GGWO worldwide as an expert on marriage.) We came but none of the main speakers showed up. There was a meeting for head pastors at which we were told that everything was fine in Baltimore which was not true. We sensed we were being fooled but we could not prove it at that time. But this meeting reminded us of the way communists used their propaganda to put wool over our eyes.

Then came the Eurocon of 2004. We had already heard that the problems had mounted in the ministry. But at the Conference pastor Scibelli stated publicly at the meeting for leaders, "I believe this is the greatest work on the earth". We believe the Bible clearly teaches we should not make such statements about ourselves and calls it "pride". Pastor Schaller was standing right by pastor Scibelli's side and did not balance it at all. There also were numerous standing ovations which in our estimation did not glorify God.

Then I encouraged another pastor to come to Convention in Baltimore. The church in Warsaw decided to send us both to the conference and paid for everything. We did it because I believed we would get definitions about the direction the ministry was heading. The problems had already intensified and I wanted to know what was going on first hand. But there was no definition given by any key leader. Instead we witnessed the once godly ministry going nuts with standing ovations for pastor Stevens and some other men. At one of the evening sessions I counted seven prolonged standing ovations (none of them for Jesus Christ) and not even one prolonged time of prayer! Needless to say, my spirit was grieved and my mind confused.

Then we heard from reliable sources that the problems in Baltimore and in many branch ministries intensified even more and that there was no real action to solve them. So, we decided not to come to the Fall conference of 2004 in Budapest. But we did not interfere with other Polish people going. A group from Warsaw went there. On their way back they stopped at our house and told us that they were officially informed everything was going well in Baltimore. We knew it was not true and it really put us off.

In the meantime many of our friends left the ministry. Actually, very many of the missionaries (including some pastors) that laid their lives down to build the church in Poland, either left GGWO or at least left Baltimore because they did not agree with what was going on there. We know these people very well and are sure they are not evil but actually very godly men and women. Some of them were very deeply hurt by various people from the ministry and were suffering terribly."

Unfortunately, the practice of mishandling information has not stopped after Sandy Cove conference but even intensified. The best example is the way the election of the new chief elder in Baltimore is being presented. Pastor Rodger Stenger was legally chosen by both the elders and the congregation and then everything was thrashed by pastor Stevens and leaders, and people who support you. Yes, pastor Rodger Stenger ultimately resigned but the only reason was he was attacked by his opponents. Otherwise, he would have taken the position that was legally his. Now, this whole thing is presented to the Body worldwide as if nothing ever happened. You wrote, "As I write, there is a plan for the church in Baltimore to vote to determine who will fill the place of presiding elder. I am a candidate for this place as well as Pastor Steve Stevens. This office is the legal chair of responsibility for the church in Baltimore and would function under the Senior Pastor, Dr. Stevens. I have a few reservations about this step in my life but I also sense a definite leading and direction. I cannot deny it. I am unable to direct my footsteps and therefore walk prayerfully. Please pray for me and my family that God would really have His will and His way. I ask for prayer in this regard. Seriously."

Another example is the way the so called "open forum" was held in GGWO in Baltimore last Sunday evening. You and other leaders supporting you have used clear manipulation and intimidation that prevented any real and open exchange of thoughts. It reminded me of the press conferences the Polish communist government held on TV in the 80's. They were to prove to everybody that the government was open and transparent with the people. The government's spokesman was a brilliant man and he was not even the member of the Party! He masterfully twisted the facts and answered only those questions that could prove his point. Everybody in Poland knew he was lying. No one could effectively oppose him or prove he was wrong because the Party's authority stood behind him and the Party was always right even if it put innocent and honest people in prison.

You also wrote concerning Baltimore as home base, "Don’t you agree that this choice for both our missionaries, and the disciples of those missionaries, is voluntary? Are we to tell people what we think of Baltimore or do they decide?" Of course, everybody should decide himself what he thinks about Baltimore. But to make any intelligent, spiritual decision one needs to know what is really going on in Baltimore. But if people hear there is revival in Baltimore while there is warring, divisions, mistrust, and many Body members are leaving deeply hurt and disillusioned then they are misinformed and will make their decision based on a lie. Will we call it a voluntary decision made under the leading of the Holy Spirit?

Jesus said, "Let your yes be yes, and no no."

You also put false hope in people and give them false peace, "I am eager to live and function in a cleaner and more stable environment. I know what that is. I am looking forward to the days when we will all be settled, but that starts in our own hearts. I believe it is possible. Our history declares it, as does our teaching." Who wouldn't want that? But you prove your point by saying, "our history declares it". But our history also includes the CRI report, the scores of godly leaders and Body members who have left the TBS/GGWO churches over the years. Since I came to the ministry I was told the CRI report was evil and those who left were conspirators who were trying to stop God's work. I believed it for a long time because I had an honor to have fellowship with many godly missionaries who came to Poland to start and lead the church. I looked at their lives and saw Christ in them. They were pure, honest, and loving. So I had no need to dig any further. Now, most of them have left the ministry. Will they be presented as evil too in this bright future of our ministry that you are trying to present to us?

So, as I started noticing more and more alarming things, I finally read the CRI report only to find it a very balanced, biblically based document written with the purpose to help our ministry rectify some errors. I also noticed the same errors that were pointed out in the report are the current "bone of contention" in our ministry. Shouldn't we finally listen to wise counsel of our brethren from both the outside and inside of our ministry that have been trying to correct us for such a long time? There are grave warnings in the Bible for those who think their way is the best way:

"The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise." (Prov. 12,15)

" There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." (Prov. 14,12; 16,25)

"All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits." (Prov16,2; 21,2)

We have been conditioned by the erroneous teaching on communication in our ministry to think that every critical remark is evil. It seems to me you still have a tendency to think this way. Here are some quotes from your letter: "Imagine how Pastor taught… we think no evil."; "If pride is in the picture, God will resist us. We do not need to put controls on each other. We do not criticize each other." Such statements as "think no evil" or "we do not criticize each other" may seem innocent but if they are taken out of the context of the Bible and put into the context of our current situation they may and do cause a lot of misunderstanding and confusion. We have not been taught a balanced view of communication within the Body of Christ and I know scores of people and pastors who are afraid of any kind of discernment and have no capacity for any sound communication about the problem. Comments like "You are evil", "That is evil", or "Do not be negative", or "I don't want to know anything about it" usually put an end to any attempt to try to solve a problem. If I had a cancer should I think no evil about the cancer or not criticize the doctor who gave the wrong diagnosis and tried hard to convince me it was just a flu? Should I send other patients to this doctor without telling them what mistake he made in my case?

Scores of people and leaders have already left the ministry. There is a real danger many more will follow them soon. I and my wife are also seriously considering disaffiliation from GGWO if there will be no public repentance of the above mentioned sins and practices. You wrote in your letter, "People around the world are looking at us. The smallest church in our ministry is vitally important. All of us have been “fitly framed together.” For that reason, continuing in affiliation is important. Not a person should be lost, not a person out of place." Let me ask you a question: What are you going to do not to lose me and my wife?

For a long time (even many years before CRI report has got into our hands) we have seen warning sings of our ministry heading toward a cultic group focusing their activity around the person and teachings of pastor Stevens. We purposefully have tried to avoid any of those practices and teachings in our lives and ministry. We have hoped this will "die" when pastor Stevens passes away and our ministry will become sound and evangelical. But to our dismay the cultic stream in our ministry has even intensified in recent years and practically has taken over the church in Baltimore. The most terrifying thing for us was to discover that many leaders and church members exalt pastor Stevens above the holiness of God. This is why we firmly believe that:

1. Sandy Cove values, including the biblical teaching on the themes that were reviewed there by us, should be taught and applied worldwide in our ministry, starting from Baltimore.
2. There should be a public repentance of the above mentioned sins.
3. There should be a public repentance to everybody who has been hurt and slandered by the TBS/GGWO ministry.
4. GGWO should stop exalting itself above other Christians and separating itself from them, and humbly receive our place in the Body of Christ that has been apportioned to us by our Lord.
5. Attending certain conferences, sending students to a certain Bible School, having ABD classes, listening to taped messages of certain pastors, and reading Doctrine Weekly should not be the measure of anybody's spirituality and loyalty to the ministry. It should be up to every individual church and Christian to decide in these matters.
6. Pastor Stevens and other leaders should not be elevated to the position that is not according to the servant-model leadership of the New Testament church. Things like standing ovations for leaders are one of the signs of such a practice and they should stop immediately.

If we do not see repentance and real change in these matters we will be bound by our consciences to sever our relationship with GGWO in the near future.

In His grace,

Pastor Maciej Wilkosz