Danny Edwards to G. Geftakys Nov 9, 2002
Danny Edwards writes to George in the wake of Kirk C.'s letter to the SLO Assembly members.
November 9, 2002
"For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more." Luke 12:48
Dear Brother George,
It has been a whirlwind of activity in the Work in San Luis Obispo. I think it is important to lay out what is currently taking place by beginning with a letter that Kirk and Lynda distributed to all of the saints in fellowship, a five page single-spaced letter communicating his views in light of this ministry and most specifically David. Many saints have been taken aback by this letter and it has caused a tremendous amount of discussion and confusion among the saints who have remained.
The way we have handled it was at the prayer meeting where we read from Matthew 18:15-18. We chose this to begin with because it was the main passage that Kirk used. We showed that the whole end of this passage is forgiveness. As well, David shared what the Lord had given him and thanked the saints for standing with him. At the end of the prayer meeting we invited anybody to come and ask any questions for David or any of the brothers. We met in a separate room and had individuals come in one by one. I think four people came with questions. It was a profitable time and each person was thankful for the opportunity. The saints in general were encouraged with this meeting, but some were confused with what David shared. He was not clear and really could have used that time to humble himself or to show that he has accepted what has happened in his life as from the Lord. All in all, though, many saints were encouraged at his willingness to be approached and we are looking at this as a large step in the right direction. This has helped many saints to lay to rest some of their questions about things they feel are in the dark up here. They have clearly seen that we are all approachable and accessible...
Before this meeting on Tuesday night a few other items are important to discuss as well. Kirk delivered the letter on the previous Thursday. I was up in Arcata at the time. I got a call and was not home until Sunday night. The letter is very damaging at face value and almost all of the saints had read it, so on Sunday morning Jeff and Ray asked David if he could just hold off on preaching that week while we sorted things out with the saints and helped them through their questions. David did not let them even finish their statement and reacted with a lot accusations directed toward the brothers. I was aware of this request to David and in agreement with it. In hind sight we should have paid a visit to him in Morrow Bay to let him know of our request, but at the same time he had been out off and on for several weeks, we thought if he didn’t come he didn’t need to even know about the letter. This would give us time to work with the troubled saints.
David made accusations of this sort: he said that we are not standing with him but are distancing ourselves from him. On the contrary we knew this would happen if we allowed him to preach in the first place and sure enough we have been bombarded continually since David was allowed to preach again. We were in no way saying this was something that was going to be extended, but a very short time while we worked with the saints. He said again that we are responsible for all of the people that have left, and that many people are trying to get him to leave the gathering because of the way we are treating him, and that we are trying to preserve our testimony and that we are ashamed of him.
I bring this up because this is how David looks at the Work in San Luis Obispo. He continues to see that his example played no part in the present struggles. Yes he admits that he is a sinner like everybody else, but that his example and family troubles had nothing to do with the present condition of this Assembly. When I brought a couple of these recent accusations directed towards the Leading Brothers up to him he immediately put the onus on Jeff, because he said that Jeff wasn’t clear when Jeff and Ray asked him not to preach that Sunday. Later, after Roberto and I explained the situation, he said he understood why we made our decision, but never apologized for the accusations. He won’t even admit that he said any of them. This is something we are planning to address with him in light of our recent appeal that he would be entreatable.
I think that David does not understand that his example played a big part in what has happened--not only his example, but the way he handled the Lord’s people. He was sent up here as a full time Worker to be an example, to lead, teach and shepherd this little flock. He needs to understand that much is required. The people that remain can truly identify with some of Kirk's accusations, and are asking very pointed and thought-out questions. It is one thing to be persecuted for righteousness, but another when we bring it on ourselves. The list of people that we are telling the saints to avoid is growing. Yet if we think about it, we have brought much of this on ourselves. We are reaping what we have sown and are experiencing God’s judgment in His house. We are pointing out all of our accusers arguments and how un-biblical they are being, yet not really coming clean ourselves...
The way I see it is the following: First of all, I am fine with how things are at this stage. I am not stumbled by what is occurring, and have been pointing all that ask about these things to the Lord, and I've been calling on them and calling them up. I have been preaching the vision of what God is doing in Christ and have not slacked in any of my responsibilities. I am not taking sides and have remained a peace maker throughout. I do have some observations that I need to say, as I am in this place as a servant of the Lord.
I have been helping in the Work here for one year and have been in the fire with David continually. I have gone out to him, Kimber has done favors for him and all in all we have been consistent in doing so. Not all of the Lord’s people here are doing this, but many of them make efforts to do what they can. The saints are praying for David’s situation with his family weekly and they are standing with him in view of the way he has conducted himself of late. David is at the point now where he is able to preach first or second and share about 20 minutes. This is what all of the brothers have peace about at this time. If David is to be given more responsibilities in the Assembly or added back to the Work I think there are a few things for you to be aware of.
- He has never accepted any responsibility for the condition of the Work up here. As noted above, when it got tense recently he blamed the Leading Brothers for people leaving and said we were treating him just as those who persecuted the Lord Jesus. This is a continual source of difficulty for me. When he talks about the Work up here he always presents the positive ways that he stood; that the brothers wouldn’t listen is usually what follows.
- He has blamed the Work in San Luis Obispo and you and Betty for his breakup with Judy. He believes that you need to ask her for forgiveness for some of the comments made during the time of Rachel’s pregnancy and such. I don’t know how, but if somehow the message could get to Judy, Rachel, David Jr. and Rebecca that all parties involved are willing to discuss issues for reconciliation, that would be a great encouragement to the Work here and throughout the country.
- He continues to smoke cigarettes. Roberto asked him point blank about it and he has admitted to it, and another brother recently saw an ashtray full of butts. In other gatherings we have made a clear stand regarding this, even withholding the cup.
- David has a T.V. with a satellite dish on his balcony. This also presents a problem for many of the saints who have heard that we should do otherwise.
- Another thing that continues to come up is David’s outbursts of anger. Many of the saints have experienced this and as Kirk’s letter points to this often it is something that comes up fresh in their minds. I am simply thinking, what a need for humility at such a time. Well over half of this Assembly has departed, another couple is on the verge of leaving and another is starting to have that all-too-familiar ominous sound. Nobody in San Luis Obispo can testify to David’s repentance or humility in his present state. I know that I cannot. It doesn’t seem like he really sees the problems he has created up here. In light of the heavy hand that many experienced in San Luis Obispo and the outbursts of anger that occurred on many occasions, I think of the verses that talk about the servant of the Lord being ‘gentle’, and the wisdom from above is first ‘pure, peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated’. The next item goes along with this.
- What has perplexed a lot of the saints is the accusation of physical abuse by David. What went on in his home has been an occasion for stumbling, though he will not admit this. He has admitted to many people that he on three occasions used an open hand and hit Judy (he uses the word slap), not including other scuffles or wrestling-type matches. The part that bothers people is that he was allowed to preach after these type of episodes. He taught a chapter summary the night of a scuffle in which he had visible cuts on his face, and preached at the Northwest Conference after he hit Rachel. I know that there were some efforts made, with Mike and Cheryl and Mark and Dan, but some form of consequence seems to have been in order. A brother in the Midwest years ago touched a little girl inappropriately in the home he was living in and was severely disciplined, as he should have been. Years later this was still bothering the couple, so the brother was told that he should turn himself in to the authorities even after six years of being clear of the matter. After the couple had a change of heart, he was still taken out of all public responsibilities six years after the crime. I know the offense is not the same, but David was a figure in this Work, and like myself we need to be held to even a higher standard. Even Jim Hayman had to get the repentance correct a second time in front of all of the Workers world-wide. Something like this needs to take place in David’s life, a clearing of himself. Or what was the two years of not being able to preach all about. He even uses this to say that he was treated unfairly
This is very difficult to write, but after seeing the effects of what has taken place up here I believe that I need to give an accurate and faithful description of what some of the struggles are. I don’t know what the answer in the long run is, but I believe that true repentance is needed for further restoration and recovery. I am fine with managing the way it is now as long as David is not given any additional privileges or responsibilities. To be used for itinerant ministry or in any other capacity in this ministry without a true clearing would be tragic. Of course, if he would clear himself and demonstrate humility the sky is the limit...
I believe David sees many spiritual truths clearer than most men in this ministry, I remember the days I looked forward with great expectation of his visits to SF, we insisted on him doing the conferences and other than yourself David has influenced me more than any man in view of the vision. Something happened along the way and it has resulted in a travesty.
My take on what may have happened is this. David has always challenged standards and rules. He had liberty that many did not and in a sense he flaunted that liberty and it caused many to stumble. He truly had the liberty before the Lord, but did not take into consideration others (Romans 14 and I Cor 8). As time went on the liberty turned into carelessness, being out of control and unaccountable. When the brothers tried to hold him accountable he viewed himself as above them and deserving respect, not entreaty. As the brothers raised the flags for some reason they were un-heeded.
In Saint Louis when we asked the brothers to write a letter of contrition for their past behavior and their commitment to the new thing that God was doing, it was a great encouragement to the saints and the start of drastic changes. I remember that it was easier in Saint Louis to get people off of the subject of needed change because I could point to real evidence of change and the Leading Brothers' letter of repentance. It became clear with those who left that they could not forgive. This is not the case, we cannot point to any verifiable clearing because there has been none...
'When thou goest with thine adversary to the magistrate, as thou art in the way, give diligence that thou mayest be delivered from him; lest he hale thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and the officer cast thee into prison,'’ Luke 12:58.
Brother George, I want you to be assured that I am standing strong for what the Lord is doing in this ministry. I have been consistently preaching the need for love and forgiveness, helping the saints in whatever way I can and the Leading Brothers to work together and among the saints in new ways. Our love for David has not lessened at all and nobody in this fellowship that has remained is allowing any root bitterness. A dear brother just wrote us this week that what happened in the past he is forgiving from his heart and is standing with us. Many saints during this week have expressed similar sentiments. It is great to hear. Both campuses are going strong, we have been seeing a renewed burden for evangelism and two new students came out this past Sunday. The brothers do not even know that I am writing these things to you. I am desiring to be truthful with you and by God’s grace have been learning to keep the issues regarding David’s situation and the advance of this ministry and fellowship separated.
In His Grace and Mercy,