A brief post before Community Evangelical Free’s Spring Congregational meeting on June 12, 2017. There they are supposed to vote on separation from the EFCA. This addresses some of the issues that are being told by the CEFC leadership. Plus this also gives the EFCA’s view on the situation and how the leadership of Steve Estes and the Stoltszufs have rebuffed and rejected the EFCA’s wishes and counsel.
“O, what a tangled web we weave; When first we practice to deceive!”
Sir Walter Scott
“False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.”
The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.
Proverbs 12:22 NIV
***Made a couple of quick edits to the end times theology section 6-10-17 David Bonner ***
I just want to get a quick post up about an ongoing situation regarding Steve Estes Community Evangelical Free Church in Elverson, Pennsylvania. Steve Estes’ church as you know practiced church discipline on an alleged sexual assault victim. They did it to protect the Senior Pastor’s son (Brock Estes) job at the Berks County Jail. This church has been filled with conflict and issues for the past two years. You can read the latest with Community Evangelical Free in “Community Evangelical Free Church Wants to Separate from the Evangelical Free Church of America.” The church under the leadership of Steve Estes brought its problems unto itself. In this update I just want to explain what the EFCA has been trying to do with Community Evangelical Free, and what Steve Estes and the Stoltzfus are refusing to do.
The EFCA Issues with CEFC are Not Over End Times Theology Issues; The EFCA has Many Issues with CEFC
Its my understanding that Steve Estes church is telling the congregation that one of the reasons why they need to leave the EFCA is due to a disagreement over end times theology issues. Quite simply that is not true. End times theology issues are a secondary issue in the EFCA denomination. The EFCA has been moderate with their end times theology issues and quite flexible. That is one of the good things about the EFCA. Actually in a little over a week the EFCA is going to gather at a national theology conference in Austin, Texas. There they are planning to vote on a resolution to amend its statement of faith. The upcoming change has many Neo-Calvinists happy as it plays down the pre-millennial theological return of the Lord. I have actually heard from a couple of Neo-Calvinist pastors personally who welcome this change. You can read the proposed resolution right here. The upcoming change to the EFCA statement of faith will be more in line with Steve Estes’s theology. So Community Evangelical Free can’t state that there is a disagreement over end times theology. That is categorically false. Likewise the EFCA is concerned with how this church is ruled and governed. The EFCA has decided that this is an elder ruled church and not an elder led church, which is what the EFCA as a movement is.
What the EFCA Wanted Steve Estes and the Community Leadership to do
The EFCA is deeply troubled by the leadership of Community Evangelical Free. In addition the EFCA is frustrated and in regular repeated letters to the leadership have documented and communicated their displeasure. As I wrote about last time the EFCA found Community Evangelical Free Church in error and they determined that the excommunication of Hurit was both uncalled and unjust. The EFCA wanted Steve Estes and the leadership to retract the excommunication and repent. Its my understanding that while the leadership personally delivered a letter to the home of Hurit’s family saying she was no longer under church discipline; the church refused to say that they were wrong. The EFCA is bothered and troubled that Steve Estes church will not repent for how they handled the situation. In addition the EFCA has also required that Community Evangelical Free go back to those who were wronged and who left this church and make things right with them. As of today I am going to make an educated guess and say that at least 150 people have left Steve Estes church. The EFCA wanted Steve Estes church to approach former members and say that they were wrong and make amends. As of today Steve Estes and the Stoltzfus leadership refuse to do this.
The EFCA under the leadership of Eastern District Superintendent Eddie Cole and Greg Strand in Minneapolis have worked hard with this church. They have tried to resolve this situation. The problem is that Steve Estes and the Stoltzfus leadership have rebuffed and rejected all their efforts to engage. The EFCA even went so far as to request to speak before the congregation of Community Evangelical Free in Elverson, and the church leadership strongly refused their request. Time and time again every time the EFCA has engaged with this church CEFC refused to co-operate or do the right thing.
The Spring Congregational Meeting on June 12, 2017
This Monday June 12 2017 Community is having their annual Congregational meeting. Its my understanding that this church is going to vote on leaving the EFCA. Please correct me if I am mistaken, but I believe 65% of the membership has to vote in the affirmative to separate from the EFCA. To reach that goal the church leadership has been engaging in a propaganda campaign and aggressively misleading its congregation. Its also my understanding that there are many members who do not want to leave the EFCA. The members of Community Evangelical Free need to know that the church leadership is misleading and lying to its church members in an effort to try and reach that goal. I would encourage all members of Community to reach out to the EFCA for the facts in the situation. You will find a very well run Eastern District Office under Eddie Cole who is very professional. The Eastern District and the EFCA is quite fortunate to have him in a position of leadership. The staff of the Eastern District will tell Community Evangelical Free members a different story. I am calling on the members of Community to reach out and run the information they are being told against the EFCA. The phone number for the Eastern District Office is 610-395-9034. You can also email the office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Before Monday evening’s meeting members of CEFC are free to leave questions below and I am sure people will engage and respond over the weekend and Monday. Its imperative for members of Community to know that they are being deceived by the leadership of Steve Estes and the Stoltzfus clan. And before voting they need to know all the facts. If the church knew the facts they would vote down any desire to leave the EFCA. By the way one other quick note…On Sunday June 11th, there is a picnic and baptism service after the second service if anyone wants to attend.