Monday, April 02, 2007

Phil's Confessio (Part 3)

This is the continuing story. You can catch up by reading Part 1 and Part 2.

Is This What is Called a Appeal?

Immediately I prepared a written appeal. I sent it by e-mail, and I sent it by post. With my hard copy letter, I included our nearly 60 page defense of our ministry, and responses to the false allegations.

I received a quick reply that the Senior Supervisor was away on a family emergency, and would not return for another 3-4 days.

During these few days the District Supervisor was pressing me to hold a meeting with the District leaders he wanted to send to speak to me about my "future in the Salem [denominational title here] Church." Since an appeal to his actions was in process, I stalled setting a time for the meeting.

When I finally received a response from the Senior Supervisor in Pennsylvania, he reprimanded me for making serious accusations against the District Supervisor, and said that his position was one of supporting the decisions of the District Supervisor. I had been told by denomination's Vice President and CFO that the Senior Supervisor was the person to whom I should appeal to for my troubles with my own Supervisor, and now the same Senior Supervisor had alerted me that his only position was to defend the actions of the District Supervisors under him.

Some years previous I had heard that theatening a lawsuit was the only way to get the denomination to listen in such cases as I was facing, and rather than listen they would simply back down. I chose to believe that the higher road of relational interaction, and allowing the church to be its own court was the more honorable path, but I would soon discover that the honorable path in the eyes of God would not be honored by the men who claimed to follow Him.

The Senior Supervisor left me one narrow opportunity to have a face to face discussion with the District Leadership on equal terms. The District Supervisor wanted to send two District representatives to talk to me about my "future in the Salem [denomination title here] Church." His superior the Senior District Supervisor told me that I would have the opportunity to voice my concerns about the process which we had been abused by, and the false allegations against us.

The District Supervisor instead was insisting that I would be corrected and forced to follow some strict guidelines of correction for our "aberrant" ways.

When I held my ground, and referred back the Senior Supervisor's words who reassured me that this meeting was intended for us to voice our concerns, I stated that any further corrections would simply be error piled upon error unless we first discussed the original allegations, and what we viewed as abusive methods of correction. Based on this correspondence the District Supervisor cancelled the meeting, and it would be two months before we heard from anyone in denominational authority concerning our appeal.

Harald Bredesen Calls the President's Home

During our uncomfortable wait I received a call from my buddy Steve. Steve was at Harald Bredesen's home. Harald had heard about our dilemma, and having been to our church, and having seen my ministry in action periodically over the course of 22 years, Harald knew that the charges against us were insane.

Steve put Harald on the phone. It was always a pleasure to talk with Harald. Harald was a legend in the Charismatic movement, and had been a catalyst for many large ministries. He spoke with kings, and presidents over the course of his life, and now in his late eighties was still wildly active in ministry. No matter who you were Harald made you feel like a king.

The three of us: Steve Maddox, Harald and myself were on the phone. Harald called to tell me that he had put in a good word for me. He described a message he left on the home phone of the President of our denomination, who also happened to be a friend of his. His words to the denominational President were gracious, yet at the same time strong. His words were this, "If you allow this young man to be rairoaded out of the denomination it will be a black mark on [insert denominational name here]." As he described his actions in my defense, he raised his voice, as he always did when he got excited, and said, "I am so honored to come to your defense!"

Harald honored!? No I was honored I said, but he repeated his words as loudly as before, "I am so honored to defend you my brother!"

Harald was not the only nationally recognized leader who came to our defense, and personally called the President of the denomination. I would like to say that it had some effect, and at the very least allowed our situation to be reviewed, and judged in the light of fuller evidence, but we would not hear from anyone in denominational authority for almost two months after we appealed above our District Supervisor to the Senior Supervisor in Pennsylvania.


Webb Kline said...

I cut and pasted all these chain-of-command references from the post:

District Supervisor
District leaders
Senior Supervisor in Pennsylvania,
District Supervisor
District Supervisor
denomination's Vice President and CFO
Senior Supervisor
my own Supervisor
Senior Supervisor
District Supervisors under him.
Senior Supervisor
District Leadership
The District Supervisor
two District representatives
His superior the Senior District Supervisor
The District Supervisor
the Senior Supervisor's
District Supervisor
denominational authority
the President's
the President of our denomination,
nationally recognized leader
President of the denomination.
denominational authority
District Supervisor to the Senior Supervisor in Pennsylvania.


With that much politics goin' down, it's a miracle that there isn't something going on like what happened to you every day of the week.

My Mom always said, "Too many cooks spoil the broth." If it's any consolation bro, they railroaded the Holy Ghost out of their midst long before they gave you the boot. What a hierarchy. God cannot be mocked. What they sow, they shall reap. No way they won't if that's the way they do religion.

Pastor Phil said...


I enjoyed your little exercise in discovering futility! ;-)