This is a look at a recent post by Kenneth Maresco at Redeeming Grace Church on showing compassion, mourning with others and caring. This post asks the question did Kenneth Maresco care about those who were abused at either SGM Fairfax or Covenant Life? Does he show empathy, deep concern and a desire to walk with those who were hurt under the leadership or Mark Mullery or other individuals? In the spirit of John Piper Kenneth’s blog post at Redeeming Grace Church is a wasted blog post.
“Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else’s skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too.”
“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.
Galatians 6:2-4 NIV
Redeeming Grace Church in Fairfax, Virginia
Recently I saw a post on the Redeeming Grace Church blog and after the long and tortured existence of Sovereign Grace Fairfax believed that this needed a response. Redeeming Grace Church has had a long history of allegations of child sex abuse cover up. So when I read Kenneth’s posting on the church blog I just had to do a response. But let’s ask the question, who is Kenneth Maresco?
Who is Kenneth Maresco?
Kenneth Maresco comes from the Bronx in New York City. Kenneth attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in History. He then attended the Sovereign Grace Ministries School of Ministry. I would appreciate it if someone could tell me that this is the SGM Pastor’s College. Today he is enrolled in the Reformed Theological Seminary where he is working on his MA. Kenneth was a pastor at Covenant Life Church (CLC) in Gaithersburg, Maryland for 24 years. At CLC he served singles, married life, outreach, college, church planting and leadership development. He also was the Executive Pastor of CLC from 2004 until 2013. Mark Mitchell replaced him I believe. Here at The Wondering Eagle Mark Mitchell is known was the Church Lady of Covenant Life. Every time he is written about the Church Lady will pop up saying, “Could it beeeeeeeeeeeeee Satan? Kenneth Maresco came on staff of Redeeming Grace Church in 2015. At Redeeming Grace Church he is the Community Life Pastor. He develops leaders in the church. (English translation is that he dispenses Mark Mullery’s Kool Aid) Other responsibilities include preaching, discipleship, Care Groups, baby dedications, baptisms, membership issues, biblical counseling and hospital visitation. Mark is married to Valori and they have five kids and two daughters-in-law. I have written about Kenneth before in “From CJ Mahaney to PJ Smyth at Covenant Life Church? Some Thoughts from an Outsider.”
In the Spirit of John Piper – Kenneth’s Wasted Blog Post…
If you are familiar with John Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Life” it came out of a Passion talk I believe about about people who wasted their life collecting shells. You can read the history of it in the following Gospel Coalition post called “How John Piper’s Seashells Swept Over a Generation.” That said let’s have a real talk about what a wasted life is, and I believe Kenneth Maresco displays this well. Contrary to what John Piper has said a wasted life is going to one of the best universities of the country, Northwestern. Then, going to a school that featured incredible historians such as John Bushnell, T.H. Breen, and Peter Hayes in your major; and then spending your life working for a “family of churches” that would become known for allegations of criminal activity, spiritual abuse, and allegations of covering up child sex abuse. Kenneth Maresco really batted a thousand in going from one church that was central to the SGM lawsuit to another church that was ground zero for the lawsuit as well. For Kenneth Maresco to go from Covenant Life to Sovereign Grace Fairfax/Redeeming Grace Church is an epic fail. But to have a degree from Northwestern and to walk away from all the possibilities and go to Sovereign Grace and end up working for Mark Mullery. Now that is a wasted life! In John Piper’s sermon about wasting your life Piper draws from a Readers Digest article published in 1978 that mocks an elderly couple who collect shells. In the old video which I watched years ago, John Pipe gets animated and in imagining what the couple can say while standing before the Lord states; “Look, Lord my shell collection.” Now to use John Piper’s illustration, can you imagine Kenneth saying the following? “Look, Lord I worked for churches that allegedly covered up child sex abuse!”
Yes this may be difficult, but when you think of what Sovereign Grace Fairfax put people through I think some difficult analysis is in order. But the situation gets dark especially when you read this following blog post from the Redeeming Grace Church blog. Its called, “Sorrowful Yet Always Rejoicing: Trusting God in All Situations.” The blog post deals with compassion and walking with people through their suffering. My comments will be below in red.
A few weeks ago, I had a week that was a roller-coaster of emotions. It caused me to stop and reflect on how God is faithful to be with us in the midst of a variety of situations.
I had spoken with a member of the church, who updated me on her struggle with her recent cancer diagnosis. She described how she and her family members are trying to cope with the changes in each one of their lives, even as they are trusting God. It hurts to consider all that they’re going through; I’m deeply saddened. It can be disorienting to me when I watch the people I love, suffer.
First of all I find Kenneth’s comments on cancer interesting especially when you consider what John Piper has taught about cancer. If you want to see how this affected me and my Mom who dealt with pancreatic cancer you can read, “My Mother’s Pancreatic Cancer, John Piper and Me.” But here is the other aspect that I want to focus on. Kenneth Maresco writes about how he is moved by the pain people suffer. Yet does Kenneth really believe that? Does Kenneth have any compassion for the people whose lives included suffering because of allegations child sex abuse in SGM? Is he saddened that some of the people from SGM Fairfax and/or Covenant Life Church most likely engaged in cutting, addiction and other problems because of what they endured and how Mark Mullery treated their families? Is Kenneth Maresco disoriented based upon how some of these families have gone through quite a bit of pain? The question is in the overall picture does Kenneth Maresco actually care like he writes about? I think its a fair question to ask when one considers the history of Sovereign Grace Fairfax and Covenant Life Church. But let’s look at the next section.
Then the same afternoon, I was preparing for the baptism of a new believer from China. Just four months ago, in a Christianity Explored class, this young man had made it clear he was not a believer. But over the course of the class, God moved in his life and he wanted to be baptized that Sunday. He also wanted to join Redeeming Grace Church in the mission Jesus has given us. As I reflected on the power and love of God demonstrated in his transformation, I was flooded with a sense of amazement and joy.
Recently I met a middle aged guy who was once involved in Sovereign Grace Fairfax. He told me how difficult the place was and how cultish it operated. He also told me that he needed to undergo psychological counseling to deal with the spiritual abuse from SGM Fairfax. My question is Kenneth equally concerned with those who outside sexual abuse are harmed and friend by SGM Fairfax or Covenant Life? I have heard a number of stories of kids you grow up in the system who are burned out and fried by fundamentalism. Does Kenneth have compassion and does he care about how the churches he was, or still are, involved in have hurt people?
What a wide range of emotions – from grief and sadness to amazement and joy. As the Apostle Paul put it, “sorrowful yet always rejoicing.” (2 Cor. 6:10)
When you look at the troubled history of SGM Fairfax is this how Kenneth Maresco sticks his head in the sand and says, “suck up?” Quoting “sorrowful yet always rejoicing” in my book is not far from “sinfully craving answers” given some of what he wrote above. This is just my opinion but its a question that I believe is worth asking.
It made me think about all that we are going through as a church family. I kept coming back to the four women who are battling cancer, and several others who are facing significant health and personal struggles in our midst. I don’t understand why they have to go through all that they’ve experienced, but as their church family we are standing with them and their families, in faith that God is aware of their circumstances and his love for them is as consistent and strong as ever.
What about the church family that has been driven from SGM Fairfax because of abuse. Does Kenneth Maresco give a damn? Does he give a rat’s behind? Has Kenneth Maresoc stood alongside people from Covenant Life or SGM Fairfax? Has Kenneth heard their cries, their pain, their trauma and more? This blog was born out of an incident from Eric Simmons Redeemer Arlington. Does Kenneth Maresco honestly care for the people who left SGM Fairfax disillusioned or done with Christianity becuase of how Mark Mullery ran that place? The stench of bullshit in this post by Kenneth really wafts over the D.C. area. That’s pretty impressive considering the politics in this town. Now let’s go to the end of this post.
As we seek to make sense of all that God is doing in our midst, first, let’s remember God is not immune to our pain and suffering, he is with us in it. I’m reminded of a quote from John Stott. He writes in The Cross of Christ (p. 210), “I could never myself believe in God, if it were not for the cross. The only God I believe in is the One Nietzsche ridiculed as ‘God on the cross.’ In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who was immune to it?”
Jesus bore our sins on that cross and that gives me hope. As the author of Hebrews writes, “… we do not have a high priest who us unable to sympathize with our weaknesses …” (Heb. 4:15). The founder of our salvation was made perfect through suffering (Heb. 2:10). “… [H]e himself … partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely … he helps the offspring of Abraham.” (Heb. 2:14-16).
God himself is the one who comforts those who are sad or discouraged (2 Cor. 7:6); he is the “God of all comfort” (2 Cor.1:3).
We have a God who is not immune to our suffering. He is with us in our struggles and he is doing a good work in us as we persevere together (Rom. 5:3-5). So, let’s continue to pray for those suffering in our church family and their families, knowing we serve a God who is in control of every atom in the universe (Eph. 1:11). We can trust him.
Thank you for your prayers, and your fellowship, through hard times and times of rejoicing. Thanks for caring for God’s people. Let’s continue to “bear one another’s burden and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2).
It is a joy to walk this road with you.
Has Sovereign Grace Fairfax helped to carry the burden of those who were harmed there? Has that occurred or is Kenneth blowing smoke up someone’s rear end? What would Noel and and some of the other families say if they were asked? How would they act to what Kenneth is saying? Has Kenneth walked with them, has he tried to make amends or did he play a role in kicking some of them to the curb, and is he doing that today? Is he Mark Mullery’s right hand man? When I saw this post I was stunned by what Kenneth wrote after what I have read at SGM Survivors and other blogs. This was a blog post that I just had to focus on and ask questions about. I mean look at how Kenneth closes his post, “It’s a joy to walk this road with you.” How can a person say that with all sincerity after all that has gone on and his own role in some of this. Kenneth has quite a selective memory when he wrote this post for Redeeming Grace Church. Sometimes I think I have seen it all, and then I see this post. If you think I am too hard, then please correct me and let me know. That’s it guys I will see you later.