This is a brief post asking the following question. If Steve Estes Community Evangelical Free Church breaks away from the EFCA, what kind of church will it become? There are at least three possibilities that this post explores. Plus some thoughts on authority which this church demands from its members, but in the end when the EFCA finds this church in error, Steve Estes and the leadership will not respect the EFCA’s authority.
“A divorce is like an amputation: you survive it, but there’s less of you.”
“Divorce is a declaration of independence with only two signers.”
“Like many, I have a great appreciation for David Powlison. He is a world-class counselor, author and speaker, who has taught me about the application of the gospel in life and counseling like no one else.”
C.J. Mahaney singing David Powlison’s praises
Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.
Hebrews 13:17 NIV
One of the most abused verses in the Bible. CEFC is all about authority, and yet they reject the authority of the EFCA’s findings. How convenient!
Barbara Stoltzfus on growing up Amish
For many years Community Evangelical Free Church was all about authority. Submit to the Elders and trust the leadership. Authority is what Steve Estes, Merle and Dave Stoltzfus church is about. And yet when they made a serious error and the EFCA disagreed with them; Steve, Merle or Dave wouldn’t respect the EFCA’s authority. To those in Elverson and Morgantown I have to say the following. The leadership of Community Evangelical Free Church has no authority over you. The only “authority” that exists is if you let them have it. But in the end there is no authority. The EFCA deeply disagreed with what this church did. Steve Estes church is in the wrong. And Greg Strand and Eddie Cole have worked hard in trying to fix the problem. To the members of Community let me say this. This church doesn’t have any authority so do not fall for any garbage that comes from the mouths of either Merle, Dave or Steve Estes.
There is quite a bit about Steve Estes Community Evangelical Free Church in Elverson, Pennsylvania that this blog wants to write about in the near future. The articles coming down the pike includes the following:
- Why Steve Estes needs to resign as the Senior Pastor at Community Evangelical Free Church in Elverson.
- The difference between elder rule and elder led. I need to do some more research on this topic, but this is important because the members and attenders need to understand the difference of the two models. And they need to realize that Community Evangelical Free is at odds with the EFCA.
- Why wasn’t Steve Estes ordained by the EFCA? I would like to look into pastoral credentialing and write about that situation as well.
- I have the updated Constitution and church documents which I need to scan into the blog and publish for members to study. This will be especially important if Steve Estes church is trying to break away from the EFCA.
Previously I wrote about how Community Evangelical Free wants to separate from the EFCA. You can read about that in “Community Evangelical Free Church Wants to Separate from the Evangelical Free Church of America.” Today I want to explore the issue of what kind of church would Community Evangelical Free become if it breaks away from the EFCA? Much of this I would like to turn into a discussion for the people of Elverson and Morgantown to engage in. These are some of the options as I see them.
Possibly Become Affiliated with Ligonier Ministries?
You can do a lot of things with money. The evidence of that is with how Dave Stoltzfus has allegedly used it. Its my understanding that Dave Stoltzfus sits on the board of R.C. Sproul’s Ligonier Ministries. R.C. Sproul founded this ministry in Ligonier Valley, Pennsylvania in 1970. The ministry is today located outside Orlando, Florida. From my understanding this is a ministry that has deep issues and intrinsic problems. The last I heard is that R.C. Sproul Jr was arrested in the state of Indiana for a DUI and the neglect of a dependent. The arrest happened in November of 2016. You can read about it in more detail here. Please correct me if I am wrong, but Ligonier Ministries is not a denomination but it has ties with several I believe. For those of you more in the know about this organization please chime in below. I value your thoughts and knowledge about this organization.
An Independent Reformed Amish Church?
At the top of this post you can watch the video of Barbara Stoltzfus who is Merle and Dave’s mother talk about growing up in the Amish. The Stoltzfus family came from the Amish community and I believe could still be indirectly influenced by that culture. Is that part of the reason why Community Evangelical Free is not involved in the Elverson community and refuses to engage other churches? If this church breaks away could it become an independent church and perhaps attract former Amish and could it become more Amish influenced, and stay Reformed? Could it become an elder ruled Amish influenced church? For those of you in the Elverson area please weigh in on this point, and let me know what you think.
Possibly Affiliate with Sovereign Grace?
Here is another possibility to consider. Steve Estes sits on the board of the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation (CCEF). Yes even after my requests for a statement, and pressing them for more knowledge Steve Estes still remains on the board. Dave Harvey has himself a fine ministry partner! (BTW…Dave Harvey is another piece of work from Sovereign Grace who is exploiting the autonomous nature of the EFCA, in pastoring a church down in Florida) Steve Estes has connections to David Powlison who has connections to C.J. Mahaney. As such I look at CCEF as being a part of Sovereign Grace. For years CCEF had a good business relationship with C.J. Mahaney’s Sovereign Grace. It remains one of the biggest rackets in modern evangelicalism in this writer’s opinion. To read about C.J. Mahaney’s thoughts on David Powlison you can read them here, here, and here. Plus you can read more about that relationship here. So could Community Evangelical Free become a part of Sovereign Grace? There have been other churches that have joined Sovereign Grace despite the corruption pouring out of it. One example is a church in Hastings, Nebraska called Grace Life. You can read about its history here. When I think of things in the bigger picture I believe the Pastor of Grace Life – Chad Haygood to be a fool, and a person lacking in discernment. Why would a pastor point his church toward a wolf, which is what C.J. Mahaney is? To join Sovereign Grace in light of all the corruption, including Mahaney’s alleged blackmail and the alleged cover-up of child sex abuse is awful. Brent Detwiler wrote about C.J. Mahaney approving funds to allegedly bribe a SGM pastor from joining the lawsuit against Sovereign Grace. You can read about that alleged “Gospel Centered” bribe in “Hush Fund Set Up by Top SGM Leaders to Meet the Demands of a SGM Pastor Whose Son Was Sexually Abused. ” C.J. Mahaney and Steve Estes would be a good fit! One allegedly covers up his son’s alleged rape of his wife, and pointing a loaded gun at her; and practices church discipline on an alleged sexual assault victim. The other is corrupt who has allegedly bribed, covered up criminal activity and more.
What do you Think Elverson and Morgantown?
So having presented those options what do you think Elverson and Morgantown? What route do you think Community Evangelical Free will go? For those of you who have lived in the area, and are former members; with the knowledge you have of the Stoltzfus and Estes leadership what will happen? What would you like to see happen? Do any of the above options disturb you? For those of you contemplating this church because of your background in the EFCA, this post I hope will be considered as a warning as to the problems of this church. Again that is it Elverson, please know that I love you!