Former Harvest Elder Asks for Forgiveness and Posts Public Statement
Mike Dunwoody, who recently came off the elder board at Harvest Bible Chapel when it was reduced in size, called me last night to ask for my forgiveness for his part in supporting the lawsuit against me and the authors of The Elephant’s Debt, Scott Bryant and Ryan Mahoney, and their wives. I sincerely appreciated the call and extended my forgiveness. Today, Dunwoody posted this statement to Facebook and also gave it to me with his permission to post.
Sherry and I have attended Harvest Bible Chapel for the last 19 years. During that time I have served in different roles- small group leader, flock leader, and elder. I have been blessed to see lives changed and for sure my own. We love serving the people at Harvest and often attend more than one service each weekend just to fellowship with them.
For the last six years I served as an elder, which has been a sobering responsibility. I did not take it lightly and I was determined to serve to the best of my ability while seeking God for His help in shepherding His flock. 1 Peter 5:2-3.
I believe I did just that most of the time. I say most of the time, because especially in recent months, there were times when I had a check in my spirit, but failed to speak up out of fear of man. This is not pleasing to God because He has called me to fear the Lord only. Proverbs 1:7 & 1 John 4:18
“It has grieved my heart to know that I have failed the Lord and His church, therefore, I am asking for forgiveness for the following areas . . .”
It is through tears and a humbled heart that I write this. I have sought the Lord and confessed as many specific sins as He has brought to mind. 1 John 1:9, Psalm 139:23-24 I have also begun reaching out to specific people and friends I now realize I have sinned against.
Now I am writing to ask YOU for forgiveness.
It has grieved my heart to know that I have failed the Lord and His church, therefore, I am asking for forgiveness for the following areas
- not speaking up against the decision to discipline 3 elders who I know to be godly men. To Scott, Dan, and Barry, please forgive me for not having your backs. (I have already spoken with all three of these men) To the congregation, forgive me for how this misled and confused
- allowing the lawsuit to take place. To the Bryant’s, Mahoney’s, and Julie, I have reached out personally to ask forgiveness, but I am also doing that here in front of others. To the congregation, forgive me for leading us into an unbiblical lawsuit.
- signing a document that gave unconditional support to James. To the congregation, please forgive me for how this misled you.
- not speaking up against the launch of the Naples campus in the first place. To the people of Naples, please forgive me for the turmoil that’s come out of that decision. To the people of Harvest Chicago, please forgive for the embarrassment this was for us.
- being too quick in attributing to spiritual attack what I now see as consequences of sin, and by doing so, failing to discern the danger and protect the flock. To the congregation, and to my Lord Jesus, forgive me for the shame this has brought on the church and the name of our Savior. To those who have brought up concerns to me personally in years past, forgive me for not digging deeper to find real answers, instead of being satisfied with one side of the story.
Will you please forgive me?
If there are any areas that I have failed you personally, and have not been mentioned here, please reach out to me so I can understand and seek your forgiveness. I desire to honor the Lord with my life, my words, and my actions.
“Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: “I am the Lord, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself, who frustrates the signs of liars and makes fools of diviners, who turns wise men back and makes their knowledge foolish, who confirms the word of his servant and fulfills the counsel of his messengers, who says of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be inhabited,’ and of the cities of Judah, ‘They shall be built, and I will raise up their ruins’;”
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