Community Evangelical Free Church in Elverson, Pennsylvania has removed Brock Estes’ name from the list of men eligible to be Elder. I am deeply encocuraged by this act and I hope it’s a baby step to the church repenting and doing the right thing. Today’s post is meant to encourage the current leadership of Community down this path towards doing the right thing.
“If you have to do it then you are doing the right thing.”
This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop,[a] he desires a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; 3 not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money,[b] but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; 4 one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence 5 (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); 6 not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
1 Timothy 3:1-8 NKJV
Baby steps toward Community Evangelical Free Church repenting? 🙂
I have been busy writing about an Acts 29 church in Memphis but I am still following the developments in Elverson, Pennsylvania. Earlier in August I published a post called, “A Closer Look at Mike Culbert, Dr. Schrier, Dr. Kenney and the Community Evangelical Free Church Elder Board; Plus do Sexual Assault Allegations Qualify Brock Estes for Elder?” In that post I looked at the Elder Board at Community Evangelical Free Church during the time of Hurit’s excommunication. That post also published and revealed that Brock Estes is on the list of people eligible for the role of Elder. Today’s post is a quick follow up to that prior post. I am committed to writing about Community Evangelical Free Church until this issue is resolved.
It has been brought to my attention that the leadership of Community Evangelical Free Church within the past week rescinded Brock Estes’s name and took him off the list of men eligible to be Elder. I have some thoughts about all that which I want to communicate in this post.
Encouraged by this Development
I was contacted by a number of people in December 2015 about Community Evangelical Free Church. Here at this blog I write about issues in the EFCA denomination and this is one of the many stories I am writing about. Since I started to write about Community Evangelical Free Church last March I have published 31 posts about this church. None of them were easy, it is hard work and dealing with the subject matter has been incredibly difficult. Plus please remember in my story I was unsuccessfully recruited to a Sovereign Grace church where I endured a false accusation. So having been the receiptant of that I am extremely sensitive and know the power of words. I also write this blog while caught up in the Washington, D.C. rat race and I have some very late nights in writing and responding to emails to the best of my ability. Having explained all that this post is one that I am encouraged to write about. I am grateful that the leadership of Community Evangelical Free Church removed Brock Estes name from the list of people eligible to be Elder. That was the right thing to do, and it was the decent thing to do. I have some words that I want to communicate to the leadership of this church.
Some Words Directed at Steve Estes, John Barber, David and Merle Stoltzfus
To Steve Estes, John Barber, David and Merle Stoltzfus I would like to say the following.
Thank you for removing Brock’s name and thank you for doing the right thing. Thank you for having the courage to do the right thing. This has been the most encouraging development that shows the church actually doing the right thing. To the Estes and Stoltzfus families I don’t take pleasure or joy in writing about Brock, I just don’t. To be upfront I have prayed from time to time that you will do the right that so that I won’t have to write about the issues at Community Evangelical Free Church. But I am not someone who salivates to write negative posts who then ignores an opportunity to point out a correct response or doing the right thing.
It is healthy, good and needed to remove Brock from the list of eligible Elder candidates. Removing him showed your error and I am not someone who wants to boast of that, instead I am grateful that the leadership did the right thing. Its refreshing and its encouraging for a change. Plus to be honest its nice to hear a church doing the right thing for a change. This post is designed to be encouraging and to encourage you down this path, as I hope this is the beginning.
To Steve Estes and the leadership of Community I know about the meetings and discussions that have gone on behind the scenes of this church that have involved Eddie Cole and Greg Strand. I have refrained from writing about any of that because I really want to see the Eastern District under Eddie and Greg Strand help resolve this situation. Steve, can I encourage you to please work with the Eastern District leadership? Please go down this path and do the right thing. This path will help you and give you an out from this mess. There is nothing wrong with saying you were wrong to discipline your daughter-in-law. People make mistakes, my life is full of them Steve, but please let’s do the right thing. Please repent of the excommunication of your daughter-in-law and please do it in a public service. There is spiritual life for the leadership if they do the right thing. If you did that I would be willing and eager to get in the car and drive up to Elverson and take a seat in the back and observe a service of repentance. Many people that I have been in touch with want to see this church do the right thing. They have told me in person and on the phone that if Steve sought them out and said, ” I was wrong please forgive me..” they would accept a sincere apology. There are a lot of people who pray for you Steve, I have been one of them.
I also want to extend an olive branch to the leadership of this church. If you do the right thing I would have no problem getting to know and befriending you and walking with your family in both prayer and support. That would be me showing you grace. Plus if at any time you wanted to meet and discuss this in person I would be willing to drive up there and talk with the leadership. This mess that took place doesn’t have to be and it can be resolved in a way that gives the Estes and Stoltzfus families life, honors scripture and the Lord above all.
So to Steve and the leadership I ask the following…please do the right thing. Please work with Eddie Cole and Greg Strand.
What I Would Love to Write About
In addition to Community Evangelical Free Church holding a service of repentance and admitting that they are wrong there is one other thing I would like to write about. I would like to write about people in Elverson healing and of a community coming together. Currently as I understand it this situation of an unjust church discipline has affected businesses in the area, some of the marriages, families and friendships. Its my hope that by the church doing the right thing that all those people can heal. That they can find peace which they so desperately need. I would love to write a post about how many of the people currently estranged get together again, heal and how they discover a richer, deeper friendship than what they had beforehand. I would love to write about how people find peace and how the Estes family finds peace. This blog is not about being negative its about being factual. One of my favorite stories that deals with healing, repentance, grace and life comes out of a tragic drunk driving accident that killed two college kids in 2002 in Florida. I would ask you to read the story of Renee Napier, and Eric Smallridge. The title of the post I did is called, “Renee Napier and Eric Smallridge: An Incredible Story of Grace, Forgiveness and Repentance in Florida.” That is one of my most read posts at this blog. Now can you imagine if that type of healing happens in Elverson? Can you imagine the church healing? Can you imagine how the Lord could be glorified? Can you imagine the tears of joy that people would shed over the new life that they find? If the leadership needs a hand or some help I would be more than willing to assist and be a bridge. Plus let me also say this…if this church did the right thing I in all honesty would be tempted to become a member. 🙂 I could pop up in Al Kimball’s office more. 😉 As I close this out I want to again say thanks to the leadership for removing Brock’s name. While its a baby step its a giant step forward in doing the right thing. Again I ask for the leadership to do the right thing. This can be resolved in a way that is beautiful that could really show a lot as to what faith is about. Again guys I love you!