This post illustrates the way Acts 29 responded to Matt Boedy’s situation at Riverside Community Church in Columbia, South Carolina. Matt contacted Brian Lowe the regional director of Acts 29 SE. This is his response.
“Making a wrong decision is understandable. Refusing to search continually for learning is not.”
Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.
Proverbs 9:8 NKJV
This is the second time I have written about Brian Lowe. Brian Lowe is the regional director of Acts 29 SE. I have approached him for a statement on the situation at another Acts 29 church in his district. That involves Acts 29’s Fellowship Memphis. I have written 26 articles about that Acts 29 church. To read the horrific tale of alleged voyeurism and child pornography that was allegedly made in a church restroom you can read about that in, “The Sordid Tale of Rick Trotter, Bryan Loritts, John Bryson and Acts 29 Fellowship Memphis and Downtown Presbyterian Church.” To read Brian Lowe’s statement on that other Acts 29 church situation you can read him here in “Statement from Acts 29 SE Director Brian Lowe on the Situation at John Bryson’s Fellowship Memphis.“
Matt Boedy’s request for help and his dismissal by Brian Lowe stands as a dark warning about getting involved in the Acts 29 network. Quite simply when problems develop which will happen due to the polity, you are ultimately on your own. With that I will publish Matt Boedy’s letter to Brian Lowe and that will be followed by Brian Lowe. After being dismissed by Brian Lowe Matt Boedy worked his way up the Acts 29 network including contacting Matt Chandler’s office as well, Acts 29 never contacted him.
I wrote you and the Acts 29 network some weeks ago about the unethical practices at one of your network churches. I communicated again with the network’s main office and they assured me you would get back with me. I have asked for you as a representative of the network to state your position on the matter. Your initial email did not state such a position.
It is time, now, sir for you as a representative of Acts 29 to speak on this issue. You have all the facts available, have communicated with all parties, and have had time to deliberate.
Your continued silence leads me to believe you support this type of behavior. If you support the move – and so then suggest it is a Christ-like move – so be it.
But as a reminder, while the offending party, Riverside Community Church and its pastor James Walden, claims no membership in the following organizations (as far as I know), their move violated the ethical codes of the NAE, the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, and the American Association of Christian Counselors, according to leaders of those organizations who I have communicated with about this issue.
More importantly, this act is condemned by more than 20 Christian leaders and experts in their field whom I have contacted for their opinion. I will be happy to share with you their names. For now, I want to share with you two:
Dr. Luder Whitlock, former president of Reformed Theological Seminery and chairman of the NAE committee that wrote the organization’s code of ethics for pastors. In response to my story, Rev. Whitlock said is was unethical and added: “It was unjustifiable what he did. He never should have done that. He violated your trust. It was the wrong thing to do. You have done a good thing by getting out of” Riverside. He added Mr. Walden’s move was showed a “pretty callous and arrogant attitude” toward me.
Second is the opinion of Reformed Theological Seminary/Charlotte Associate Professor of Practical Theology Dr. Rod Culbertson, Jr.:
“I think the pastor’s action was totally inappropriate, very unprofessional and under the circumstances absolutely wrong if you asked him not to do so. HE violated your trust. I would say that he sinned against you, needs to confess this sin, owes you an apology on the personal level, might owe the counselor an apology since the pastor has demeaned the reputation of Christ and the church before the counselor. However, under the polity circumstances, it appears as if the pastor ultimately answers to no one. Congregational polity doesn’t usually intervene very well in local church situations, especially in a circumstance like this one. The guy might be into “control” both in his church and possibly in his own members’ lives. Your only recourse is to do what you have done, appeal (or reappeal) to the next level.”
Sadly, Riverside leaders have ignored these opinions and continue to operate in allowing James to act in such an unethical manner, not only directly go against a member’s wishes (for whatever reason they deem), but also not inform them. Indeed as Professor Culbertson implied, this is a move of power and an abuse of power. So I am appealing to key people who have some relationship to Riverside. I hope this information will move you to re-evaluate your relationship with Riverside. But more so, I hope it convinces you that what Riverside and its leaders did was not Christ-like and so move you to confront them. If you agree with me, you have a moral burden to act.
I urge you to lead in this area.
Acts 29 SE Director Brian Lowe’s Response
Date: April 15, 2015 at 9:35:58 AM EDT
To: Matthew Boedy <*******@msn.com>
Subject: Re: Acts 29 church abuse
MatthewI am sorry I was unclear in my previous communication to you. To be more clear, After reading the investigation from James’ denominational leaders, talking with James and some of the Riverside elders, I am in agreement that his actions were not disqualifying nor do they reflect the kind of accusations you have made against him.The letter from EFCA SE said that they found no ethical issues in what James had done. There were also no additional witnesses who shared your assessment of James’ character concerns. For these reasons, I continue to be in agreement with them that James has not operated in an abusive manner nor in a disqualifying one.I know that you will not find this email to your satisfaction. However, it does reflect my opinion in the matter.Finally, please consider this email to be a final communication in any official Acts 29 capacity regarding this issue. I have communicated this to the Board as well.