Saturday, August 18, 2007

Advertising the Kansas City Conference!!

I found this historically interesting and stirring advert within one of the New Wine Magazines advertising the extremely influential and awesomely God-visited Kansas City Conference. I have been in email contact with a man from within SGM and was interested to hear that C J Mahaney and Larry Tomczak were present at the conference. Clearly the influence of the conference spread across charismatic boundaries. Oh that such a unity would come again soon!


Anonymous said...

Interesting you mention Mahaney and Tomczak being at Kansas City. There's an excellent website here that carries some interesting insights into the whole Mahaney/Tomczak dynamic. Here's th site:

i will post a few of the quotes below. it's worth reading for anyone interesting in SGM and the whole Reformed/Charismatic discussion.

Anonymous said...

This was by a guy called Don;

I was in C.J. Mahaney's home church (Covenant Life Church, nee Gathering of Believers 1978) from 1981-2000, and in its predecessor teaching-meeting, so maybe I can add something to this discussion.

CLC grew out of a full-blown charismatic teaching ministry called TAG (Take and Give) in the D.C. area, which ran from the mid-to-late 1970s. C.J. Mahaney and Larry Tomczak became the young teachers, as TAG outgrew Lydia Little's living room and moved from one school auditorium to another before maxing-out at over 2,000 participants & finding its Tuesday-night home at Christ Church on Mass. Ave. in Washington, DC.

Mahaney was a former high-school class clown, pothead and college dropout who was radically saved after being busted for possession of illegal substances. Tomczak, from an industrial immigrant family in Cleveland, had come to Washington DC with plans to become an AFL-CIO labor organizer. However, his life was changed after stumbling into a black church and being confronted about his spiritual condition by an elderly man.

At TAG there was enthusiastic worship, a wide mix of people ranging from high-school hangers-on to all denominations of the churched, including Catholics (I saw some dancing nuns back in those days of joyful worship). The Holy Spirit was present and did baptisms, healings and deliverances. There was excitement and tons of youthful energy. The centerpiece was the teaching, however, which was full of humor but focused on turning scriptural truth into real-life, everyday practice.

CLC was started because Mahaney and Tomczak were being given truths by the Lord that are now taken for granted in much of US Christendom: emphases on belonging to and ministering through a local church of committed believers; small groups as the core unit of the church; family-oriented focus including practical teaching of the Christian roles of husband, wife and child; personal holiness and integrity among leaders and laity; discipleship and development of spiritual giftings, as pastors train the members to do the work of ministry, rather than doing everything themselves. The existing churches had no such vision, so a teaching fellowship turned into a church.

CLC and Terry Virgo's New Frontiers International have been close friends since those early days, with leaders visiting one another's churches and conferences, and input from the late Arthur Wallis another strong influence on both streams.

As CLC became successful in the '80s at pursuing its vision, cassette tapes spread Mahaney and Tomczak's teaching literally around the world. People began coming to Maryland from around the USA to join CLC, which grew from a few hundred in the early 80s to over 2,000 around the year 2000. In the mid-to-late 80s, CLC started planting churches in other cities (Tomczak's Cleveland being the first), and some churches began joining the church-planting ministry, called People of Destiny International (PDI, now Sovereign Grace Ministries).

During this time, CLC and PDI began writing their own worship songs, filled with scripture-based themes, to reflect the movement's vision and understanding of the gospel. Though New Frontiers picked up on these songs, until just the last few years the rich & creative PDI music has been a hidden jewel.

The transition from charismatic to Reformed was gradual but real, as Mahaney and the PDI leadership (Tomczak, Brent Detwiler, Steve Shank and others who were pastoring PDI churches) continued to develop their theology. Over the years, PDI rejected the prosperity gospel, the word-faith gospel, the therapeutic-faith gospel and other fads that tended to diminish the authority and holiness of God, the inherently sinful nature of man, and the individual's responsibility for his own actions and response to the gospel. By the early 90s, however, the Reformed element was beginning to kick in, with more emphasis on the Puritans' and Jonathan Edwards' teachings, and a sudden emphasis on the Puritan teaching of "indwelling sin" rather than a victorious, power-filled faith which had previously shaped the culture.

Also during this time, CLC became not only the home of the movement, but also the home of a new PDI pastors school to train pastors for current and future PDI churches. PDI also began publishing People of Destiny (now Sovereign Grace) magazine, and a series of small books on discipleship, small groups, and other topics. These publications got the movement's ideas known to even more people, leading to more growth in the PDI churches and more established churches' joining the movement.

As it grew, PDI's focus seemed always to be on the utterly practical, rather than on impressing anyone outside the movement. When questions needed to be answered regarding how to build a church building, how to organize children's ministry, etc., CLC pastors would visit other churches in other movements (Cho in Korea, Vineyard in Anaheim, CA, etc) to learn from the successful. It seemed that 20 years spent in obscurity, working out their message and methodology, made it possible to emerge in the last few years as something that suprised many people.

In the 90s came a chapter that I wonder if Sovereign Grace would even like to talk about today. In 1994, C.J. Mahaney visited a New Frontiers-related church in Missouri, which Terry Virgo was overseeing personally following a pastoral replacement. As Mahaney began to preach a sober message on the sad ending of Solomon's reign, "holy laughter" began to break out in the church. Mahaney could no longer continue speaking, as the entire congregation was hit with the same renewal that currently was underway in Toronto, and being dispensed by Rodney Howard-Browne. The renewal affected both NFI and PDI, and throughout 1994 renewal -- what PDI called "a time of refreshing" -- held sway at CLC and other PDI churches. The high-water mark came at the Memorial Day 1995 Celebration conference in Indiana, PA (theme "Passion for His Presence"). In addition to prolonged periods of worship before the main evening meetings -- punctuated by powerful prophetic songs -- personal ministry was done after one evening meeting. As at Toronto or other renewal spots, the Holy Spirit came in power, and bodies were on the floor by the hundreds as prayer ministry produced laughter, tears, shaking in most of thoese receiving prayer (including myself).

Though there was never any official public pronouncement given, it appeared that PDI began distancing itself from the Toronto-associated renewal after John Wimber expelled TAVC from the Vineyard in December 1995. While in 1994 and 1995 Mahaney was defending the renewal from its critics, including Hank Hanegraff, within a couple of years a PDI pastor, Craig Cabaniss, stated in a public debate that PDI had chosen "Geneva" (i.e., the Reformation) over "Toronto" (the current renewal/revival, and all the negative connotations associated with it).

By 2000, when I left CLC for a smaller church that was more open to the ongoing move of the Holy Spirit, any participation in the 90s renewal had been officially forgotten, and there was a total emphasis on the Cross of Christ, the writings of C.H. Spurgeon, and on identifying and rooting out "indwelling sin" in each member. There was, to me, an unhealthy, guilt-producing, emotional reminder, nearly every week, of how awful our sins were that nailed Christ to the cross. What was unhealthy, to me, was that we were always left at the cross, whereas the Bible clearly teaches that Jesus rose again (having conquered death and sin) and now sits at the right hand of God -- full of authority which he now shares with redeemed men and women for whom sin is not a continuing stumbling block, but something that should be less and less frequent in a maturing believer's life.

So like the Vineyard, PDI (renamed Sovereign Grace early in the 2000s -- after co-founder Larry Tomczak had been forced from leadership in a dispute over whether he had properly overseen his family) had been established following one charimatic renewal, but had then gone on to reject the following charismatic renewal, instead turning back to a 500-year-old foundation in the Reformation.

Yet PDI/SGM continues to want it both ways: to have charismatic "distinctives" such as believing in the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and charismatic-style worship, while embracing Reformed theology and rejecting the charismatic wing of US Christianity. Today, SGM identifies with Baptist pastor and author John Piper (who, BTW, believes the gifts of the Spirit are for today), and anti-charismatic John MacArthur, while still maintaining contacts with Virgo's NFI (which has maintained more openness to Toronto-associated signs-and-wonders ministry), and having nothing to do with any ministry clearly recognized as charismatic.

All this to say that C.J. Mahaney has not suddenly become a "reformed charismatic." What *is* sudden is the SGM movement's sudden appearance on the "radar screen" of the church, now that his and his wife's books, plus those of grafted-in Joshua Harris, have become Christian bestsellers. In addition, areas in which PDI/SGM were once too out-there for many (local-church & small-group emphasis) are now popular, and SGM has over 20 years of experience to share.

What's interesting to me is that in rejecting the Toronto-Brownsville style of renewal, PDI/SGM led to the birth of other very successful ministries. Lou Engle and Che Ahn, now leaders at Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena and other related ministries, were both part of TAG and CLC from the earliest days. They moved to Pasadena after Ahn had a dream in which a black man called him to California, much like Paul's dream that led him to Macedonia. Ahn started a PDI church there but was eventually forced out of the movement -- events that Ahn refers to obliquely in his 1998 book, INTO THE FIRE. Ahn and Engle continued to minister in the LA area, however, and when the 90s renewal hit the Vineyard churches, both were radically changed. Locating Harvest Rock Church at Mott Auditorium in Pasadena allowed Ahn to welcome the Toronto and Brownsville streams to California, and HRC hosted a number of Catch the Fire conferences since the late 1990s. Both men went on to found The Call and related youth/revival movements, including a new prayer-based ministry in Washington DC focused on social justice.

Meanwhile, after Tomczak chose to break with PDI rather than continue submitting to a potentially never-ending period of correction, he was welcomed at Brownsville AG and became a member of the teaching staff at their revival school of ministry. He now pastors Christ the King church in Atlanta, and has published books that explore themes he has been advancing since the 1980s -- divine appointments and being a spiritual pioneer.

Anonymous said...

This was a comment by a lady called Diane;

As for the Sovereign Grace people, I jsut am not seeing the Charismatic very strongly

Anonymous said...

This was by the guy Don again who clearly knows a lot about the whole history or has researched it well.

Diane, I found that the way to understand Toronto is not to do objective research, but actually to participate in what the Lord is doing through that renewal. If you want to find problems, you'll find problems -- just as you will with any past revival, going all the way back to the original church of Corinth!

Just because there are problems associated with a revival, doesn't mean the Lord is not at the source of the revival -- or indeed the very source of the revival. In the end, we have to inspect the fruit. I now have 12 years of periodic participation in the Toronto revival, and I'm willing for anyone to inspect the fruit in my life.

RE Che -- yes, he did have a Vineyard church after leaving PDI, and it was through the Vineyard that Che was immersed in the renewal. Che left the Vineyard when Wimber disfellowshipped TACV.

Che Ahn is another person you could ask regarding the validity of the Toronto revival -- he has a doctorate in theology, and had a solid scriptural and doctrinal foundation laid while in PDI. If Ahn is still supporting the Toronto revival, you can be sure he's got some solid reasons that have to do with the revival's bringing people back to their first love, and empowering them to share that first love with others.

Also with Tomczak -- he identified with the Pensacola revival, but just as strongly as Ahn has the Toronto one. You must understand that both of these men pastored churches for years while praying for revival, doing evangelism, and undergoing the very dry period of the 1980s and early 90s. Both are very solid guys, personally and professionally. If they believe that the spirit of Toronto and/or Pensacola is of God, then that should carry some weight.

Do I agree with everything that can be associated with either revival? No, and I doubt they do. But there's been an amazing amount of guilt-by-association smearing done, with little examination of the fruit of these revivals.

Randy Clark, "firestarter" of Toronto, has been doing overseas evangelism for five years now. He reports that in last year's trip to India, his team saw over 200,000 Indians make decisions for Christ, and over 100,000 healings performed by God. That's just one of his many trips last year, and many more are planned for this year. Why hasn't anyone examined this amazing, ongoing outcome of revival power?

Anonymous said...

This was from a guy called Bob;

wonder why you omitted from your history the terrible period when Gathering of Believers implemented the shepherding teaching of Charles Simpson,et al, with the disastrous results in the lives of dozens of people, including my family. CJ and other "elders" may not even know the damage that they did. While my family and I have forgiven them, none of them,except for Roger Dillon who left the church, have asked for forgiveness.

Anonymous said...

Charles Schmidt I think was who you are referring. He came in to GOB and PDI as an "apostle" and I always thought it weird that those who lead this incredibly fruitful TAG ministry would turn over vision to a man who had little background. I knew a personal friend of Charles and we had him come to a Bible Study to discuss what they were doing - it was definitely the "man behind the cutain". -mikes

Anonymous said...

Don, thanks for the excellent synopsis of the charismatic movement and the evolution of the TAG, CLC, PDI & SGM. I would like to share some aspets of our experience in the charismatic movement, PDI, and another five fold ministry, MFI, led by Dick Iverson.

My wife & I were both saved during the heady days of the charismatic renewal and Jesus people movement, circa 1971 in Florida. It was not uncommon for us to attend meetings at a Catholic Charismatic gathering, AOG, Jesus people house ministry at the local Church of God, or just charismatic youth meetings where ever, all in one week!! Eventually, we got planted in an AOG church while frequently attending Full Gospel Businessmens meetings, Jesus festivals, etc. It was at the Jesus festivals we became familiar with the awesome ministry of Dereck Prince, Bob Mumford, and Larry Tomczak & CJ Mahaney, who quickly became our favorites.

The wonderful thing about the charismatic movement in the 70's was the youthful enthusiam and freshness, intimate worship, and the lack of denominational imperatives. However, it was also fraught with potential problems as we all needed to mature in our understanding of leadership and commitment. Someone coined the phrase Crusin Charismatics, as we went from meeting to meeting, seeking fresh outpourings. But lest anyone think this is a condemnation of the charismatic renewal, I would take this experience any day over the critics of the movement, who were shackled in tradition that prohibited them from entering into the wonderful joy and power we experienced.

Along about the early 80's we became aware of the need for more mature expressions of our faith and we had tired of the tradition laden pentacostal movement, desiring to continue in the current move of God. As you pointed out the ministry of Terry Virgo & Arthur Wallis, in England, were pioneering the re-establishment of the five fold ministry, especially the role of apostolic leadership. When I learned through a friend in Virgina of Larry & CJ embracing teh five fold ministry, we wanted in. This led to a visit to the DC area to visit Fairfax Covenant Life Church, pastored by Benny & Sherie Phillips, which was a early church planting of PDI. Long story short, we returned to Florida burning to be a part of this new move of God. Within years we were of the good fortune to become one of the first PDI churches in Florida, circa 1985.

I think you have really done a great job of documenting the evolution of PDI/SGM theology, so I will skip my personal experience as it parallels yours. I concur with your observations as to the wonderful contributions PDI/SGM has made, as well as some of the recent emphasis on indwelling sin.

Due to events that I now see as God ordained, I found myself in a situation where we moved to Albuquerque, and found a church that embraced the five fold ministry but was under the ministry of Dick Iverson and company, out of Portland, Oregon. Reading the writings of one of thier main theologians, Frank DiMarzio, I found a ministry that closely paralled my PDI experience. However, the Iverson organization, Ministers Fellowship International, had two major differences from PDI. First, they don't focus on indwelling sin, but instead focus on the power of grace to motivate believers. Secondly, they only adopt the pastor, serving as a support/resource. Thier view of apostolic ministry is a father. PDI, on the other hand, emphasized the wise master builder aspect of apostolic ministry. Therefore, they adopt whole churches, not just the pastor.

Like Che Ahn, I learned a great deal of excellent things from my experience in PDI. I learned to embrace and understand the role of the five fold ministry. I learned the to respect and submit to leadership, and I learned to move with the Spirit as He unfolds new revelation, while remaining firmly anchored in the Word.

However, I am equally thankful for the MFI vision too. After struggling with the MFI vision, I eventually came to appreciate the wonderful ministry of grace and mercy which they emphasize. I desperately needed this revelation, largely because of personal penchant towards legalism.

At this point I have to admit that I have not adequately researched what the exact doctrine of indwelling sin is, but I could relate to the description about stopping at the cross and not moving on to the resurrection. My experience and study of the Word, as well as my exposure to the MFI ministry, has led me to believe that I probably don't agree with some of the fundamental tenants of indwelling sin. I do believe in the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit and our renewed man, and position seated with Christ in the heavenlies. I believe our victory grows as we focus our hearts and minds on Christ, not on sin. As we spend time with Him and in the word, our Spirit grows strong, eventually overpowering the flesh and obliterating the desire for things of this world as our desire for things of God grows.

I personally believe one of the most remarkable things is that an infalliable, perfect God trusts infalliable man with perfect truth. He knows the risks, yet He does it anyway. I have come to believe that every true movement of God, current and past, has specific areas of truth that they embraced and that God manifested Himself in. I believe we need to hear what God is saying to leaders in the church, even if we don't subscribe to specific aspects of thier theology. But ultimately we have to be planted and submit under a local minstry, and I believe the Lord leads us to places where we can wholeheartedly submit and support the leadership, both giving and receiving.

Interestingly, in recent years we found ourselves in a seeker sensitive church. This lasted a short time due to the lack meat in teaching, and the over emphasis on the impression of the unchurched to charismatic worship and epxressions, while substituting appearence oriented expressions in its place. Whle I believe there are some important lessons that can be learned from the seeker friendly/sensitive movement, I have found it to be empty of the power of God. Eventually, we have ended up in a WOF church. I believe that this is a season that God has ordained to help us understand convenant, and the authority of the believer. However, as with all movements, there are areas where they have some great truth for the church, and areas that could be better. So we are learning what we believe the Lord wants us to understand and we have been quite blessed in the process. However, you are quite right in identifying WOF as a pentacostal derivative, and not charismatic. This is a problem for me, as the ministry style and worship is decidedly dated. I am too charismatic to feel satisfied with that, yet I am benefiting from many areas where they have revelation. My faith has grown, I am no longer pushed around by the enemy, and healing has become a reality in my life. That is good stuff.

At any rate, thanks for the great post. You really have done a great job!!

Anonymous said...

If Larry Tomczak left PDI due to his differences with them over the Calvinistic theology that they moved toward then it is a shame that other reasons were given at the time for him leaving.

I would doubt that C.J. Mahaney and Larry Tomczak talk that much or anymore than C.J. Mahaney does with Charles Schmidt.

It is sad that even people in the same move of God don't have the unity of Christ.

Anonymous said...

Hi I'm the former Joann F. Emanuele, a core member of the original T.A.G., well that was my maiden name, my married name is Joann F. Cervantes.Core member meaning I went to once a week core meetings of the leadership of T.A.G. which were held at Lydia Littles home. I wrote Larry and CJ 7 years ago sharing some of my life and sending some art, they both graciously sent me a copy of one of their books and CJ sent me a copy of a music CD. I was very disappointed when I called CJ's church and was told they didn't know Larry's address. I consider myself a recovering Catholic,(You can take the Jesus Freak out of the Jesus movement, but you can't take Jesus out of the Jesus Freak) My faith has grown and never stopped since accepting Christ at l9 actually after watching a show called "God's Good News" and later appearing on that show, the only woman ever I was told, appearing along with some T.A.G. men. I have much to share about my own spiritual journey which interestingly took me in another direction, but never away from Christ,,,,,as I have read these comments tonight I find it interesting, first, it's thrilling to see all the original T.A.G. people to still be so devoted to God, A BIG PLUS,,,,,,I very much want to have a reunion. I remember Larry once at a core meeting saying in 30 years or more we need to have a reunion. Wouldn't it be nice to sit around those same original core people and some original T.A.G. people and share our very different journey's in the Lord. I have written and journaled prolifically my spiritual journey. I presently write for my Catholic Church edition of our diocese newspaper, taught CCD (catechism) for l0 years, and currently also bring communion to the sick in a local nursing home. I would love to hear from any old T.A.G. friends my email is I also have a
and a website
I plan to have my own book out someday, but in the meantime continue to rejoice and spend my life for God, through many recent trials. I really wanted to talk to CJ over this past Christmas and tried to contact him through his sister, but never received a return call. I have been in the biggest battle of my life, but will tell my story when the time is right.
Godspeed to anyone of my friends and I would love to hear from anyone. Sincerely, Joann F. Cervantes

Anonymous said...

This one particularly interested me;

Recently I attended Moody Bible Institute's Pastors Conference. Bob Kauflin sang some songs and I had a chance to talk to him. He told me that CJ has no contact with Larry anymore. He wouldn't elaborate but said that Larry was disciplined for something and until he repents things will remain the way they are. He said that CJ is a close friend of his and that God is blessing CJ's ministry. He said since I'm not part of the solution he didn't feel that I needed to know any particulars. I remember CJ and Larry were inseparable for many years. I've heard that Larry desires reconciliation. I guess it's up to CJ. Larry G.

Anonymous said...

What I would question Larry Tomczak being under church "discipline" is who decided this? Was it just C.J. Mahaney's group that decided this or was this "discipline" done just by what is now called Sovereign Grace. It would mean a whole lot more if other respected leaders outside C.J.'s group concurred with this. I really doubt that others outside Sovereign Grace were involved.

I wouldn't assume that just because God is still "blessing" C.J.'s group that it means that one is blameless etc. One other pastor that the same group "disciplined" God blessed and even had church building long before Sovereign Grace's "flagship" church did.

Just my thoughts.

Anonymous said...

think I was the other "apostles and prophets" in the PDI/SG who did the disciplining of Larry. I don't think Larry agreed with Calvinism. I think CJ basically took over the movement and they forced Larry out. I think it started with the doctrinal differences and that probably led to something else but the principles aren't talking so it's just conjecture. One probably shouldn't stay in a movement that moves into a reform theology if you don't move into it with them. Probably was a split similar to Paul and Barnabas. Too Bad. CJ's recently written a book on pride. Hope he and Larry can reconcile and be friends again. I appreciate both of them and wish them the best

Anonymous said...

Got this off the web.

Where Are They Now?

Pastor and author Larry Tomczak is now leading a church in Atlanta after surviving an embarrassing libel lawsuit.
When Larry Tomczak was first on our cover in September 1981, he was embroiled in a bitter lawsuit with mainstream author-psychologist Thomas Harris, who had written the best-selling book I'm OK, You're OK.

Rumors had circulated that Harris had committed suicide, which were repeated by leading charismatic ministers. Tomczak heard the rumor and, to his chagrin, repeated it before thousands of people at a Jesus '79 rally in Chico, Calif.

Harris, who was very much alive at the time and fed up with the annoying charge, filed a $22 million lawsuit against Tomczak. It took three years to reach a settlement in the fall of 1983.

"That was a character-building season for me," Tomczak says. "The lesson learned for me was to make sure you always get your facts straight. And second, it's good to say, 'allegedly.'"

Throughout the ordeal, Tomczak, author of Clap Your Hands and Divine Appointments, continued to write books and minister through People of Destiny International, a network of churches he co-founded in 1982 with C.J. Mahaney. But in 1997, Tomczak says, the leadership "refocused," taking on a more Reformed/ Calvinistic theology, and he could no longer align himself with their vision.

"I came to a defining moment where I felt I no longer fit with the direction some of the other men were going with the ministry--doctrinally and directionally," says Tomczak, now 50.

He says he took a step of faith to leave the movement and was seeking the Lord for direction. He planned to start a church in Atlanta, but then he got a call from an old friend, Michael L. Brown, dean of the Brownsville Revival School of Ministry.

The reports of the revival at Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola, Fla.--as well as his own experiences there--reminded him of his original mission: to see revival fill the earth and the hearts of men and women burn with passion for God.

"I felt [God] was recommi ssioning me to the path He had set me on," Tomczak says. "I felt the Lord was returning me to my roots of challenging people to fulfill their destiny while focusing on Jesus Christ and Him alone."

Tomczak joined the staff of Brownsville Revival School of Ministry in 1998 and today teaches church planting and gifts ministries there twice a week. He's also considering some more writing projects. But most of his time is spent in Atlanta, where he is senior pastor of Christ the King Church of Greater Atlanta.

With a few hundred people, the church is growing steadily, Tomczak says. But he doesn't want to focus on the numbers. Helping people develop a more intimate relationship with God is his primary goal.

"I want to see this church established as a New Testament church," he says. "The primary focus has been on Jesus. We simply want to cultivate the life-changing presence of the Lord in our midst."

In 1996, Tomczak called Thomas Harris' home in California and learned that the author had passed away. He spoke with Harris' widow, asking her forgiveness for his misstatement, which he says she graciously granted. --Adrienne S. Gaines

Anonymous said...

Found this too on the web.

Posted on Friday, December 01, 2006 - 11:40 am:

Some of the former MCMers here may be interested in this, given Larry Tomczak's former relationship with MCM...

Larry Tomczak is leaving his Atlanta church and relocating to Nashville to collaborate with Rice Broocks (EN/Bethel World Outreach Center) and Dale Everist (New Song--Foursquare fellowship of churches in Nashville). The International Center for Evangelism, Church-Planting and Prayer (I.C.E.C.A.P.) is scheduled to open in spring 2007.

Its motto is, “It Takes the Whole Church to Reach the Whole World.” This is incidentally also the title of Rice Broocks' talk at the EN International Leadership Conference this past summer.

See here for the Tomczaks' announcement to their home church. Larry Tomczak also spoke at Bethel World Outreach Center on 11/10/2006 - available on BWOC's iTunes podcast page.

(Message edited by ulyankee on December 01, 2006)

Anonymous said...

In 1979, Schmitt (with his family) moved to Wheaton, Maryland to
be a part of a fellowship led by Larry Tomczak and C.J. Mahaney:
Gathering of Believers. After two years, a painful separation took
place between these men. Schmitt, in the process, became convinced
that they had become exclusive and sectarian. In time, he found that
this concern would equally apply to himself and to many fellowships
he had previously ministed in. He recalls reading Witness Lee’s
book, The All-inclusive Christ, and suddenly realizing that although
Lee’s words in the book were inclusive, the author’s followers
nonetheless displayed an exclusive attitude towards others who were
not connected with their local churches. This had also been true of
himself and many he labored with. (In 1998 Schmitt was reconciled
to most of the leaders from the Gathering of Believers fellowship;
among these were Larry Tomczak, Jim Golden, Che Ahn, and
others.) Interestingly, Tomczak has since also severed his ties with
Mahaney and the Gathering of Believers movement (which has gone
through various name changes, first People of Destiny, and later
Sovereign Grace Ministries). The division between Tomczak and
Mahaney, although not referred to explicitly in his book What do you
believe about how people get saved? (1998), which seeks to counter
the Calvinistic view of the way to salvation, nonetheless is hinted at.

After the division with the Gathering of Believers in 1981, several
key local pastors in the Washington D.C. area gathered around
Schmitt and his wife (Dorothy). As close friends, they encouraged
the couple to begin to build a local church. In the fall of 1983 a small
group came together in the Schmitt’s family home to pray. However,
they quickly outgrew their location and moved to a local Seventh
Day Adventist fellowship hall. By 1984 they had grown to over 100
believers and relocated to E. Brooke Lee Middle School in Wheaton,
Maryland. In early 1989, the church purchased property at 16819
New Hampshire Avenue, Silver Springs, Maryland where they
relocated. More than 3,500 believers now consider Immanuel’s
Church their home church.

Immanuel’s Church is an interdenominational ‘Spirit-filled’ church
with ever-increasing relational connections to a wide spectrum of
evangelical-charismatic-revival churches and ministries. One of the
current thrusts in Immanuel’s is home cell groups. The church also
has a Bible school and college, and undergirds a growing network of
so-called ‘apostolic’ missions. Immanuel’s currently supports scores
of missionary families worldwide.

Anonymous said...

know that some of what is being discussed is hearsay. On the other I question when people want to suppress discussion and knowledge of what church leaders have done under the guise of it being gossip. If church leaders have possibly abused their power, don’t the people of God have a right to know this?

If it was Sovereign Grace’s “apostolic team” that “disciplined” Larry Tomczak then I have serious questions over how objective they could be.

First, let me share a little history as I know it. Larry Tomczak was originally the leader of the “apostolic team.” Through some series of events it was decided that C.J. Mahaney should be the leader. After this, this “apostolic team” decided to “discipline” Larry Tomczak for his supposedly not managing his family properly. At the same time Larry Tomczak was differing with the rest of the “team” on the groups moving towards a Calvinistic theology. Thus when this “discipline” occurred, you have a possible power struggle along with a difference in theology between Larry Tomczak and C.J. Mahaney.

From what I have seen and heard, C.J. Mahaney can be quite a dominating figure. With this being the case, it is doubtful that any of the others on the team would have been willing to question what C.J was doing. Thus this became an issue between C.J. Mahaney and Larry Tomczak and a C.J. Mahaney decision in my estimation.

With this history, it is hard to believe that it was fair or proper for C.J. to be the judge. It would have been much more proper if a group of outside leaders that both Larry and C.J. respected were invited in to decide if there was a case of “disciplining” Larry Tomczak. Isn’t doing something like this more appropriate and in line with “The Peacemakers” book that C.J. endorsed?

I certainly hope that Sovereign Grace’s leadership was sincere with what they did to Larry. I pray that it wasn’t something they made up as an excuse to remove Larry Tomczak since he wasn’t going along with the Calvinistic theology that C.J. was moving the organization towards. If they didn’t like the way he was going theologically then why couldn’t they have just agreed to disagree?

It should also be pointed out that accusations of someone not handling their family properly many times can be subjective. Unless there are egregious examples (that I have not heard) that prove what Sovereign Grace alleges then it can be quite subjective. Especially when children are in their teen years it is normal to have some problems.

If you read some of Larry’s biographies where he shares about his family it appears that he has done a good job of raising his children. His oldest has an important position with the state of GA. His second son is now a pastor at his church while his adopted daughter is involved with missions to Africa. If this information is correct, it sounds like Larry and his wife have done a good job of raising his family. As someone else posted here, Che Ahn was also forced out of this same group. I would be curious to hear what caused this.

One other thing to consider is that C.J. Mahaney himself has admitted various times that he has had problems with things such as pride and arrogance. This was around 10 years ago. With him having these problems it was never suggested that C.J. step down from leadership while these issues were dealt with. It does appear that C.J. was quick to have another leader step down. Is it possible that there is a double standard here?

Anonymous said...

The Theological direction the church is moving...........
The church is the Body of Christ, and I add the mystical Body of Christ, it seems to me to be in many colors, and by many names, but all in all it is Christ, his spirit within his bride, us who have received many different gifts, like flowers and gardens, are planted in many different places,
his church is planted in many different places.
He knows, each of us little flowers need only to trust in Him.
Live in Him, one day at a time.
"Beloved let us love one another, for God is Love"

Anonymous said...

Just for clarification. What is now called Sovereign Grace was once called People of Destiny which is the group that C.J. Mahaney now leads.

First we will probably never know this side of eternity what the real truth is with the Tomczak vs. Mananey/Sovereign Grace schism. A couple Scriptures come to mind here.

1 Tim 5:24:

24 The sins of some men are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them.

1 Cor 4:5:
Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.

The only way we will know the truth here is that is one and/or both of these men humble themselves and admit where he/they have done wrong and where necessary agree to disagree. Larry Tomczak and Che Ahn were both able to reconcile with Charles Schmidt so there is hope with Larry and C.J.

If something was done wrong, God can choose to overlook things and still bless a group. If he didn’t we all would be in trouble. Also, sometimes it takes time for judgment to occur. Perhaps a split such as this is what is needed if they have different viewpoints. It is sad if it was done under a false pretense. I imagine sometimes it is hard to be humble when you are blessed as is the apparent case with Sovereign Grace. Perhaps People of Destiny was too small for 2 large egos?

A passage in Acts might be quite appropriate to this situation:

Acts 5:38-39
8 Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone ! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God."

Let them both go there own separate ways and see what God does.

It should be noted that the People of Destiny church in Cleveland severed its ties with People of Destiny around the time that Larry left. That same church also had him speak there after he left People of Destiny. This certainly shows that not all people in that group agreed with what C.J. and his “apostolic team” did to Larry Tomczak. There may have been other churches in the group that did the same thing.

If you want to talk about unruly children, at an annual event People of Destiny had so many problems with children pulling fire alarms at a college campus that the next year they limited this event to only singles. The majority of the children were from the church that C.J. was the senior pastor at. This happened a few years before the schism between C.J. and Larry occurred.

You would think that C.J. would be less apt to throw stones when he was the senior pastor of a church that had problems with their children. Thus if Larry did have a problem with his kids he certainly wasn’t alone. I did hear that after they had this problem C.J. did teach on how to better raise kids to avoid instances such as this.

Just my thoughts.

Anonymous said...

I was there in '78 through '82. I learned many practical gems about life from Larry Tomzcack, which today still guides me. However, everytime they changed the name of the church they prefaced, "God told us to." I questioned why God couldn't make up His mind. I was asked to leave. Looking back I firmly believe this group a typical mix of love (God) and pride (evil). They are more interested in cooking with lamb than tending the lambs. I believe that God is Love. That's the only part of the "Bible" that I know hasn't been polluted by man. They are no different than the Catholic church or any other organized religion. My view of God is like gravity, it exists and it has basic rules. We don't need CJ to discipline us if we defy gravity. It is sovereign, The name sovereign grace is a joke. I watched them butcher Charles Schmitt, it's good thing Larry got out.

Anonymous said...

They have yet to turn water into wine, so far it's just been vinegar.

Anonymous said...

In response to the person commenting on calling things gossip and using it by leaders to hide their "sin." I would say that the word "sin" is probably not the word I would use.

What I would say and have observed is that in some circles the leaders use the term gossip to keep people especially in their church from talking about actions the pastors have taken.

It has the appearance that they do this to keep their actions from being scrutinized or examined by their flock. The pastors want their people to blindly trust the actions they have taken.

Is is sad and can lead to the flock being duped.

Just my thoughts.

Dan Bowen said...

Thanks for all these carefully copied out comments Anonymous. I am guessing you aren't the normal Anonymous visitor. It is indeed interesting to read all this speculation and thoughts about these two men but difficult to know quite what to "do" with it. If there has been a schism then it is the private business of these two men to sort it out and if Larry Tomczak has repented then the onus is on Mahaney to respond.

But thanks for taking the time. I found it interesting reading. You are right by the way that Don knows a great deal about this. He spent many years within Covenant Life Church so has some excellent insight into the development and progression of what has now become SGM.

Anonymous said...

This has been extremely interesting reading. I come from within an SGM church and have asked the leadership about these issues and these things and indeed - what is SGM's heritage. But I think Craig Canabis got it right when he said that we have chosen Geneva over Toronto - SGM don't want to talk about these things and their past anymore. It's almost an embarressment to us. The focus is on fellowship with Reformed churches and whatever that entails. That's just my thoughts from the cheap seats.