Is Steve Estes and Community Free Elders Holding a Repentance Service in the November 14th Business Meeting?

Rumors of a repentance service are addressed in this post. If the church is going to admit their error in the excommunication of an alleged rape victim, then the leadership from Steve Estes, Merle Stoltzufs, all the way to Mike and Kelly Culbert need to admit their error. A repentance service should not be a secret and open to the community. Former members should be able to witness it, individuals in the community like Andrea McHenry should be welcome as well.

 

“A stiff apology is a second insult. The injured party does not want to be compensated because he has been wronged; he wants to be healed because he has been hurt.”

G.K. Chesterton

“So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, 24 leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.

Matthew 5:23-24 NLT

cefcsign

Brock 

These past couple of weeks have been very interesting. It started when I received an email from someone in Elverson who left Community Evangelical Free Church (CEFC) many years ago. A current member told her that CEFC is going to hold a repentance service.  Intrigued I reached out to some of my “inside” sources and inquired.  Steve Estes had allegedly told someone that the church was going to repent. So I called the  church on Friday October 23 and spoke with Nancy and asked her if the church was going to hold a repentance service? She did not know. I then left a voice mail for Al Kimball and am still waiting for him to return my call.  Earlier last week I called the church again and got no response. I called Stoltzfus Enterprises and asked to speak with Merle. Merle refused to speak with me at all. Let me just say that I am disappointed that Merle will refuse to respect or acknowledge another person. In my shoes I have always engaged everyone with the respect I believe they deserve. I’ve spoken to and responded to the emails I receive or the people who want to speak with me. Merle needs to do the same thing. A while back I called Stoltzufs Enterprises and spoke with Dave Stoltzfus. I thanked Dave for the church removing Brock from the Elder candidate list. I respect Dave for taking the phone call and while the conversation was brief, there was a brief conversation. Merle should learn from Dave on how to be diplomatic.

I am deeply troubled that the church will offer a half hearted apology as a means to do damage control and keep a $5 million dollar loan from the Evangelical Free Church of America in Minneapolis. Two more families recently left. I recently obtained the Community Evangelical Free Directory of February 2013. At the time this church had 435 members, and the bleed has been long and painful. While a couple have joined over a 100 members have left. As of today I believe 330 members are on the Community Evangelical Free Church membership roll. Members are asking questions and others are calling on Steve Estes to resign. I am concerned about an apology to placate those members and control those on the membership rolls and keep them in line. At the same time I am concerned that Steve Estes will do an apology that is more about damage control than doing the right thing. That would include a  “service” that appears to be legitimate but that leaves out and doesn’t involve Hurit.

Hurit is key, and any service that takes place, or any effort of apology needs to include her and her family.

Remember Brock Estes allegedly raped his wife. Brock allegedly pointed a loaded gun at his wife. Brock is the one who allegedly engaged in domestic abuse. According to one of the Elders Steve Estes was the quarterback of excommunicating his daughter-in-law. Steve dragged Hurit’s name through the mud in a way that was very public. Steve humiliated his daughter-in-law and drove her out of town. I would go so far as to say that Hurit was allegedly raped twice. First by Brock, second by the church leadership who in the process covered up Brock’s alleged criminal activity because he worked at the Berks County Jail. His Uncle Merle expressed a need to protect his nephew’s job.

If that business meeting occurs on November 14 and an apology is given, but Hurit is left out. Then its a fraud. And those stuck in the church are further being manipulated again. A half hearted apology only adds to the pain and creates further problems. Its insincere, and drags the mess out further. I’ve interacted and met some of the people from Sovereign Grace who are hurt by insincere apologies. In my own story, the point of contention I have with a former Sovereign Grace church (Redeemer Arlington in this case) is over an insincere apology.   I wrote about it here and plan on writing more about it in the future. That is part of the reason why I am animated about this topic because if the church is going to hold a repentance service Nancy would know and Merle would speak about it on the phone. The sources and people I know in Elverson would not be frustrated, but instead relieved that Community Evangelical Free Church is doing the right thing. What is even more frustrating is that a blogger in the Washington, D.C. area who doesn’t have any seminary training at all, has to explain this to a Westminster Theology Professor. If Steve Estes doesn’t know this as a part of practical theology, it begs the next question. Why then is he teaching at Westminster Theological Seminary?

 

What Members Need to Accept and What a Repentance Service Should Include

This is what members of CEFC still there, former members, and the community of Elverson and Morgantown, Pennsylvania should accept.

The leadership of CEFC needs to reach out of Hurit’s family and apologize to them. Hurit, her mother, and her father should receive a sincere and heartfelt apology. In that process Huirt’s mother and father should be able to talk with Steve, David or Merle and ask them, “Do you know what you did to my daughter?” If they did, that is good news. As part of the process whatever Hurit’s mother and father desire should be respected. Maybe Hurit’s mother will forgive them and let it be, maybe she will ask Brock to take domestic abuse counseling.  If Steve, David and Merle are apologetic then they will listen to Hurit’s family and do what they ask.

I also believe Steve Estes, Merle and Dave should apologize to the Eastern District of the EFCA. Steve should apologize to Eddie Cole for what he guided his church through. The Elder Board at the time who was involved in this profound act of injustice needs to admit their error. For example Mike and Kelly Culbert should retract their bastardized prayer to the devil about turning Hurit over to Satan. Those on the Elder Board at the time should each read a brief statement as to why they are wrong. I would also suggest that each member of the Elder Board meet with Hurit’s family and seek their forgiveness individually.

A repentance service should be open to the community and all the people listed below should be able to witness and observe.

  1. Hurit’s family should be able to sit through it. Actually they should sit in the first row and be able to watch and observe Steve  say he and CEFC are in the wrong.
  2. The 100 or so former members who have left CEFC should be able to sit through this and witness this act of repentance.
  3. Eddie Cole and a couple of individuals from the Eastern District should be able to sit through this as observers.
  4. Members of the community who have been affected should be able to sit through this. For example last week Andrea McHenry wrote a post about how this situation has affected her and others. Andrea McHenry should be able to sit through it.
  5. I would also like to sit through this service. I would be happy to drive up from Washington, D.C. and take a seat in the back and watch this. I would like to be an observer to make sure this goes smoothly and is respectful to Hurit and her family.

Hurit is key to the situation if the church repents for how they treated her then the other situations should take care of itself.

What needs to take place next is that those who were hurt and forced to leave who are currently being shunned need to be reached out. The active members there who are shunning the former members should reach out to those former members and apologize. There should be long conversations of why people are admitting why they are wrong. Friendships should be re-born and some of the marriages that have been affected strengthened. If this happens I believe people will find something much deeper, and beautiful than what they knew prior. Many evangelicals use the model of Paul and Barnabas. That is a copout and lazy theology. The model hat many evangelicals should use are Paul and John Mark. There should be healing, closure and unity in the community after all this; and I can finally stop writing about this church. For me my goals in this will have been achieved.

If there is going to be a repentance service, let’s do it right. Let’s do it proper, and let’s make sure that Hurit’s family is included in this act. Anything less is unacceptable and a further act of manipulation and damage control…all to save a $5 million dollar loan from Minneapolis. I am hopeful that Steve Estes will do the right thing. As always guys I love you.

 

15 thoughts on “Is Steve Estes and Community Free Elders Holding a Repentance Service in the November 14th Business Meeting?

  1. It would completely surprise me if this happened! A Miracle of God is the only way a heartfelt an apology will happen. It is my goal to try and see everything from a different perception so that I can be empathetic and understanding. Just thinking that Steve Estes does not think he has done anything wrong. I would imagine that his logic goes something like this- someone has to deliver the word of God and sometimes that includes discipline that is uncomfortable. Not sure what he thinks???? However….the reality of this sickens me. Good for the 100 to leave the church. Now the other 300 should turn around and do the same. There are other churches in the community that don’t hurt people like this or hold the theology of the calvanism cult. Remember….If you attend this church and you don’t make a stand against it than you are supporting it. If you are still attending I plead with you to ask the difficult questions and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you. Read up on calvanism and study what it means and how these leaders have misquoted scripture.

    To HURIT….I LOVE YOU! You have a family of believers that stand beside you. Please write a book. You are an amazing writer! 🙂

    To Eagle…..Thank You for standing up. You have my respect! May God bless you!

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  2. In keeping with the above comment, it is Biblical to warn fellow believers. Thank you Eagle for being one of many doing that. 1 Timothy 5:19-21 “Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning. I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism”.
    I know many the people who still attend CEFC Elverson claim they do not read your blog. But I think that most actually do (I’ve wondered if it might be like people who are going to vote for Tump….they are gonna do it but few will be vocal about it). I mean if someone was writing about my family on the internet you better believe I would be curious enough to read it. But I do understand that for some it is just too hurtful. Even though the intent is not to hurt, it is to expose and warn, it still stings when the truth about wrongs we or those we love have committed are exposed…and even that doesn’t not guarantee repentance. God, nor his faithful followers relish in that “sting”. The goal is restoration. That was supposed to be the goal in what they began on 12/14/14 , rather then a culmination of a discipline process.

    I hope that all of you still attending there will read this link. It is put out by CARM, which stands for Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry.https://carm.org/signs-practices-of-a-cult
    Certainly most of us know the marks of a cult in a doctrinal sense, but here is a list of the types of things to look for in a place that might have the makings of a cult in a “Social” sense. The ones that seems to be present are #s 1 (1&2), 3, 5, 6, 10, 11 (1&2), 12, & 13.
    The danger comes when just a few begin to think it is “their” church. WARNING: God doesn’t like that. The church belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ alone. When families or even tight knit small groups begin to let small thoughts creep in that have a hint of “Our church”, God WILL step in. And I believe that is, in fact, what He has done thus far and is still in the process of doing. He has used you Eagle (a stranger among us), he has used people who have left, and he is still using people who remain. Why? Because God loves His Son, too much and He loves the people of Elverson too much to let it slide. Jesus alone is the head of the body, and He will not tolerate people claiming the church as their own…or their children’s some day. Nope. He won’t. Not in thought word or deed. Thank you Jesus that you retain your church, and that unlike people, you always have the right mix sternness and yet humble gentle loving kindness, and forgiveness with your children.

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    • We can only hope and pray for true repentance. Again, God knows the condition of our hearts, and He knows whether we are genuinely repentant or not. God cannot be fooled. I searched up the tenants of Calvinism. One of the core tenants of Calvinism is “Limited Atonement”…..this is the “belief that Jesus did not die to save all humans.” Wow! When I read that it felt like someone punched me in the stomache. Reading that made me want to drop to the ground and weep in repentance for all who believe this. Jesus died for ALL, not just some! Yes, we have a choice to accept the gift of salvation through Him…but to believe He only died for some….Gosh, that breaks my heart that people actually believe that. For the 100 that left, praise God! For the 300 that are still there….what in the world??!! How can people stay? Not standing up against this injustice is just as bad as the one’s who committed this injustice against Hurit. How do they live with themselves? The one’s with the daughters??? HOW DO YOU LIVE WITH YOURSELVES? The one’s with the boys??? WHAT KIND OF MEN DO YOU WANT THEM TO GROW UP TO BE??? How do you cast an alleged rape victim, an alleged victim of a sexual assault and violent crime, an alleged domestic abuse victim that had an alleged gun pointed on her….how do you cast her over to satan?! And you get up every day and live with yourself acting like you are justified in what you did! How dare you! Those people will never “teach” my children anything. Ever. The members of that church need to start asking questions. They need to start seeking answers. They need to educate themselves on sexual, emotional and domestic violence. They need to not allow themselves to be silenced. We follow God…not man! If my pastor got up and told me to not talk about something, to not read someone’s blog, to just blindly keep following him and all the elders…if my pastor told me to shun my church family or people in the community for ANY reason, I would RUN for the nearest exit. You would see a trail of smoke behind me! God gives wisdom. God gives discernment. God gave us a mind to use. He gave us voices to use. We don’t have to walk around like zombies blindly following people. EDUCATE YOURSELVES! READ! GET THE INFORMATION! ASK QUESTIONS! DEMAND ANSWERS! News flash….you are allowed!!! I am continuing to pray. Only the Holy Spirit can convict and turn hearts. Praying hearts rend before God in true repentance because only then can restoration come.

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    • correction to my own post above. In regards to those characteristic traits mentions in the link i included above……I meant # 1 (1&3)….NOT (1&2)

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  3. There is supernatural power in humility. True humility births repentance. Repentance births unity in the body.
    The body welcomes repentant brothers and sisters with open arms. Praying for this wounded body.

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  4. It is good that they are at least repenting. However yes they should say sorry to Hurit directly, as well as many others.

    Honestly if I see my pastor disciplining and excommunicating a rape victim that could have been killed (gun pointed to her head), I would say out loud that they are all Satanists. I don’t care how many good sermons that pastor preached. I don’t care how everyone else in that CULT worship that pastor. His actions spoke louder than words. I am not going to just leave that CULT that call itself a church. I would be making a lot of noise and telling everyone to repent of their sins, before they drag and kick me out.

    Would Jesus see a rape victim with a gun pointed at her head, and tell her she is no longer a believer?

    Nope. That sounds more like Satan.

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    • Yes CEFC had their business meeting. I am learning what is going on and what was said. I hope members of the community can also comment on what they have heard. They can leave comments under a pseudonym.

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  5. I started attending CEFC about a year ago. I had no knowledge of any of this…. I have heard vague references to a church split because of discipline, but believe me, the details are not discussed. I am so confused and overwhelmed. I am just trying to suss it all out.

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    • Hi Flabbergasted. I am sorry for what you are feeling. You are among some very kind, and generous people. But it’s not surprising that they do not discuss the details because that is actually the point of this entire Blog. It is about exposing here what they are intentionally covering up there. That is Biblical. God wants us to expose these things because God does not want his people in confusion. Satan does. That’s why one of his names is “Author of Confusion”. The intentions of exposing here are not to hurt anyone, but rather they are to warn and help people in your very situation. We know that they don’t want the details discussed. They call it “gossiping” and say if you do discuss these things you are not “trusting your elders.”. My advice…DONT trust your elders. Its a misquote of scripture. God tells us to respect out elders. He also says, Trust no man. You are wise to throw this question out there anonymously. Moving forward my best advise to you is to contact Wondering Eagle privately and ask him for some suggestions as to who you might talk to. They pray for discernment, don’t take sides, and just ask God to open your eyes and ears to see Truth. He will be faithful to do that.

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