What Kind of Hard Heart?


“His heart is hard as a stone,
hard as the lower millstone.” – Job 41:24

What kind of hard heart are we witnessing in the SGM abuse scandal?


What kind of hard heart sides easily with a wealthy pastor against those who suffered at the hands of sexual abusers under his watch and then does so in the name of the One Who had no place to lay his head?

What kind of hard heart winks at a pastor who demanded an accountability of pastors and then ran from it to a church outside of his network of churches?

What kind of hard heart says we must not believe the accuser against the sexual abuser till all the evidence is put forward?

What kind of hard heart publicly says a pastor has not even been accused of wrongdoing when the truth is the very opposite for all those who are curious enough to see?

What kind of hard heart wants the statute of limitations to be in effect and not hear the evidence from 11 plaintiffs presented?

What kind of hard heart needs it to happen to them or their own children before they speak out?


What kind of hard heart says, “we will not go to the civil authorities for the sake of the abused” and then is relieved when the civil authorities dismiss a case in favor of the alleged abuser?


What kind of hard heart goes and preaches in the pulpit of the accused and seeks no audience with the accusers?

What kind of hard heart refuses to listen and then says those who would cry out for justice and help are divisive and gossips?

What kind of hard heart could read the Second Amended Complaint and not think the leader of such an organization should step out of the limelight?

What kind of heart is so hardened it would publicly insult the blogs that have given a voice to the sexually abused while publicly embracing one who is accused of conspiring to cover up and silence the abused?

What kind of hard heart are we witnessing?






55 thoughts on “What Kind of Hard Heart?

  1. Vicky June 1, 2013 / 10:53 am

    Pardon my poor memory, but doesn’t Jesus say, ‘Whatever you have done to the least of these, you have done to me.’ I know this is taken out of context, but it may apply here as well.

    • mattbredmond June 1, 2013 / 10:57 am

      That verse has been rolling around in my head for days also.

  2. Katie June 1, 2013 / 11:00 am

    Well put! Thank you!

  3. Dee June 1, 2013 / 12:05 pm

    Wow, thank you!

  4. Lori June 1, 2013 / 12:17 pm

    Thank you for your courage to speak out about this and your compassion for the abused. We’re listening.

  5. Boz June 1, 2013 / 1:43 pm

    Powerfully said. Thanks for helping to keep the voices heard…much work ahead.

  6. Lydia June 2, 2013 / 8:51 am

    This is exactly it. It is hard heartedness and your eloquence really communicates it.

  7. 2samuel127 June 2, 2013 / 8:59 am

    I thank God for men like you Matt. Would that there were more of you in the Evangelical church. Let me know if you ever take up full time pastoring again as I would count it a privilege to be in your church whenever I return to the USA.

  8. 2samuel127 June 2, 2013 / 11:40 am

    “To be like Christ is to be a Christian.”

    -Brennan Manning, “Ruthless Trust,” page 129

  9. Chad June 2, 2013 / 12:20 pm

    Sadly…a common one. Not unique in the circle of evangelical churches. A fact of which I have repeated, first hand knowledge. A culture which we have created, and at some point must reform, or destroy.

  10. Puddleglum June 2, 2013 / 1:08 pm

    However eloquent your words, they encourage your readers to contemplate and ascertain degrees of hardness in the hearts of your fellow servants…something clearly forbidden by scripture.

    “It is not the time yet for God to erect the tribunal for the trial of men’s hearts, and the principles of their actions we must not therefore presume to judge the counsels of men’s hearts until God reveals them by opening the treasures of his own knowledge.
    To judge the hearts of others is to ambitiously erect a tribunal equal with God’s and usurp a judicial power belonging only to the Supreme Governor of the world; it is to pretend to be possessed of the perfection of omniscience. We sin against God’s omniscience by censuring the hearts of others.” (Charnock Attributes of God)

    Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God. (Paul)

    • mattbredmond June 2, 2013 / 1:35 pm

      Dear Puddleglum,

      I plan to continue this encouragement for as long as it takes. And I also plan to feel biblical about it. Twice on Sunday.

      • Chad June 2, 2013 / 6:09 pm

        Amen. And correct

      • Anonymous June 2, 2013 / 6:31 pm

        Amen, Matt. Keep it up.

  11. Rebecca June 2, 2013 / 1:56 pm

    You and many like you are bold, to speak for the oppressed and the underdogs when there’s nothing in it for you. I wish that more ministry leaders would do this. Thank you so much.

  12. Stunned June 2, 2013 / 5:02 pm

    The same hard heart which would tell an abused woman that she should “take it” for a night.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy June 7, 2013 / 1:48 pm

      The same hard heart that KNOWS they are God’s Speshul Pet.

      “Nothing’s worse than a monster who thinks he’s right with God.”
      — Captain Mal Reynolds, Free Trader Serenity

  13. Bill Frank June 2, 2013 / 5:26 pm

    I thank God for men like you as well, Matt. Sharing your words with others gladly.

  14. Truther June 2, 2013 / 5:28 pm

    Friends, I know people want the truth exposed and the desire is to right the wrongs, but the Lord has made it clear that this job is his to fight. I know the intent is admirable, but God has made this very clear that we only hurt ourselves while trying to take revenge on another. I felt the need to share these several scriptures that speak to this, please be careful with the motive of your hearts.

    Leviticus 19:18 “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD

    Deuteronomy 32:35 It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them.”

    1 Samuel 26:10 As surely as the LORD lives,” he said, “the LORD himself will strike him, or his time will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish.

    1 Samuel 26:11 But the LORD forbid that I should lay a hand on the LORD’s anointed. Now get the spear and water jug that are near his head, and let’s go.”

    Psalm 94:1 The LORD is a God who avenges. O God who avenges, shine forth.

    Proverbs 20:22 Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!” Wait for the LORD, and
    he will avenge you.

    Proverbs 24:29 Do not say, “I’ll do to them as they have done to me; I’ll pay them back for what they did.”

    Jeremiah 51:36 Therefore this is what the LORD says: “See, I will defend your cause and avenge you; I will dry up her sea and make her springs dry.

    Romans 12:17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.

    Ephesians 4:27 and do not give the devil a foothold.

    1 Thessalonians 4:6 and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before.

    2 Timothy 4:14 Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done.

      • Truther June 2, 2013 / 5:57 pm

        Is this not revenge? The truth has already been exposed, so continuing to go over the same details serves who? What has happened is despicable and there should be punishment under mans law. My concern is that this constant blog battle doesn’t serve anyone. Obviously mans sin is disgusting and thus the reason we need Jesus. Thank you for your thoughts!

      • mattbredmond June 2, 2013 / 6:01 pm

        No, it is not revenge. And it serves more than you could possibly ever imagine.

      • Truther June 2, 2013 / 6:34 pm

        I hope so…and I understand why folks are continuing to get the word out. Lots of hurt and pain and maybe this is a avenue to heal. Maybe I am wrong here and I will think on this. Thanks for the discussion.

    • mattbredmond June 2, 2013 / 5:32 pm

      “learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. “

      • Julie Anne June 2, 2013 / 7:47 pm

        Keep talking, bro.

      • One/eleven June 2, 2013 / 8:17 pm

        If this case opens the door for the statute of limitations to be overturned, it will have been worth the fight.

        If this case opens up the eyes of those in leadership to treat sexual abuse with wisdom and courage in the face of possible unpopularity votes, it will have been worth the fight.

        If this case shows the rest of Christianity how dangerous it is when leadership has no accountability, it will have been worth the fight.

        I can go on, but I won’t. What I will say is that I am not involved with this lawsuit for revenge. It’s the children who have been silenced, and the children who are continually put in danger for reputations sake.

        -one of eleven.

    • redeemed May 15, 2014 / 7:36 pm

      I agree with Truther. Be careful lest you stumble also. By continually blogging about, posting about, and discussing the hardness of others’ hearts after the truth has been exposed and the perpetrators brought to justice in a court of law, it is time to move to a place of healing and building. The scriptures Truther listed are relevant. There is a fine line between pleading the case of the victims of injustice and overstepping our bounds as judges.

    • Kiki Bacaro May 18, 2014 / 7:44 am

      I see no revenge sought here only justice for the victims.

  15. Yellow is a Happy Color June 2, 2013 / 5:28 pm

    Sovereign Grace Ministries has marketed itself as the ‘new and improved’ church, and sadly is no different than Penn State or the Catholic church or the US military……. For shame.

    Thanks for getting the word out for these victims in the lawsuit, and the many other victims who couldn’t even bear to come forward yet….

    • Headless Unicorn Guy June 7, 2013 / 1:50 pm

      In many ways, they’re worse for their pretentions of Righteousness.

  16. Heather Halseth June 2, 2013 / 6:05 pm

    Truther, I like how you quote all those scriptures to justify being silent. Why not go look up all the ones that tell us , as Christ’s followers to speak up for the oppressed and to take up the cause of the needy and helpless? Speaking out against abuse of innocents is not revenge!! We are using the voice God gave us to speak up for the oppressed.

    • Truther June 2, 2013 / 6:41 pm

      Heather, just the opposite, my intent was to note that the truth has already been exposed and its absolutely horrible what has happened, in fact, disgusting. My concern is that since the truth has been exposed, we must be careful to check our own pride. These men failed these innocent people because of their pride. I always want to check my own heart to determine the motive for why I am doing something.

      • Julie Anne June 2, 2013 / 7:52 pm

        Motive = pride? Who is Matt speaking for? The defenseless. Those with no voice. Those who cannot utter one more word because of the pain inflicted on them. Those with no hope. For them we speak.

        What is your motive? Would Jesus remain silent?

      • Truther June 2, 2013 / 8:20 pm

        My motive is to question everything…. I left SGM many years ago because I did not like the setup of the church, I did not think it was a biblical setup and many criticized me because I voiced my concerns. My only purpose for commenting was to note that I have learned that these men will get what they deserve. God is the equalizer, so we just need to be careful with our motive so we don’t sin. My intent is not to cause division here, because what Matt says is correct about those he speaks about. I only want to say that we must exercise caution so we don’t sin. God is a big enough God that he can handle any and all situations.

      • Julie Anne June 3, 2013 / 10:15 pm

        Truther: I’m still scratching my head about how it would be a sin to call out abuse – abuse in which victims are silenced.

        I think I counted 5 of your comments on this blog article. Are you currently speaking out on behalf of the survivors? I’m going to be bluntfully (my spell check doesn’t like that word) honest here, but it would sure be cool to see your voice speaking on behalf of victims rather than giving warning to those who are trying to help sound the alarm. I apologize in advance if you are in fact doing this.

      • Lydia May 17, 2014 / 7:35 am

        “I always want to check my own heart to determine the motive for why I am doing something.”

        That is a great idea if you keep it to yourself. However, I am well aware of my motives. Expose evil and let the victims know they are not alone as they were taught to be silenced for so long. They were taught lies. It is good to discuss that.

  17. Heather Halseth June 2, 2013 / 6:06 pm

    BTW, my respect level for you Matt just keeps growing…. God has given you a platform to use to speak out and I am so glad you are using it …

  18. Anonymous June 2, 2013 / 7:58 pm

    Very few people have taken the time to read the entire Sovereign Grace Ministries child sexual abuse and cover up lawsuit. It is a public document.

    This lawsuit is incredibly horrifying. Although several of the alleged victims are now over 21, their attorneys are going back to the judge arguing that some Plaintiffs qualify for a longer 7-year statute of limitations.

    There are more than 200 paragraphs and the vast majority of them include names, locations, and graphic descriptions of child sexual abuse. The alleged victims were as young as age 2.

    For example, here is the summary of just 3 horrifying paragraphs of allegations (Paragraphs #36-38) –
    Youth ministry leader Nate Morales molested several boys. During one youth group discussion about being “pure,” [James Roberts, the teenage boy who had been abused] then openly referred to Morales’ ongoing molestation of boys, stating words to the effect, “yeah, Nate got me too.” This discussion group was headed up by a youth leader…. …[who] cautioned him and the other boys against talking about the facts. [The youth leader] reported it to Grant Layman, one of the defendants. He and other defendants allegedly conspired to cover it up.

    In a different case, Nate Morales was already convicted of child sex crimes and is in jail, according to ABC TV affiliate WJLA.

    About 1/3rd of the defendants have already been convicted. Three have been brought to the attention of the authorities: 2 were convicted and 1 proceeded in the juvenile system. One trial is pending in Montgomery Co., Maryland, according to attorney Bill O’Neil’s interview on a recent Christian radio program.

  19. Amy Smith (@watchkeep) June 2, 2013 / 8:53 pm

    To those who want us to shut up: NO.
    We see your tactics of trying to shut us up, calling it “blog battles.” You have no idea what survivors are going through. I had one tell me that survivors of abuse are constantly on the lookout for anything that shines the light of truth on their silent suffering.
    First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
    Because I was not a Socialist.
    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
    Because I was not a Jew.
    Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me. – Martin Niemöller

  20. knitemjenny June 3, 2013 / 12:49 am

    Great post, Matt. May the Lord soften all hearts toward the powerless and abused, and may He bring the powerful and abusive to justice and repentance.

  21. Patti Marino June 3, 2013 / 4:50 am

    To those who send verses but have no love, its like taking off a warm blanket on a cold day. To those people who say talking is not right, I would say to them to consider any other offense done and then treated the way SGM is treating people. Crimes covered over, lied about, and then to continue to see that evil still being practiced? And then to see it condoned by others? Would you really :stop talking? Apply what SGM is doing to any other criminal act.. let’s say.. burning down homes, cutting fingers off of children, raping wives, beating wives, and then look at sgms responses to members who come to them seeking HELP from their pastors… They are silent! They admit no wrong. They blame everyone else!! They have to be exposed and people have to learn how to protect themselves and their families. The time for speaking out is NOW. SGM has to be stopped and crimes punished.

  22. Bella June 3, 2013 / 10:46 am

    Thank you for speaking up for those who do not have the courage to speak or have lost their courage due to it being robbed from them at a young age. I think if there is too much silence, God could make the rocks cry out on behalf of abuse victims. Thank you for being a rock.

  23. Becca June 3, 2013 / 5:26 pm

    Thank you. I cannot begin to describe how encouraging it is to hear someone speak up for the defenseless and draw our eyes to what really matters in all this–the heart. As a child who grew up in a spiritually abusive pastor’s home, I’ve had to fight cynicism towards God/the church in my own heart. It’s hard to separate the true God from those who simply use his name to garner power and control. I can only imagine how difficult it is for kids who were sexually abused by “Christian” leaders to separate what was done to them from the true God who says, “let the little children come to me, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Thank you for speaking up for the helpless and defenseless–that is a reflection of the heart of God.

  24. Barbara Roberts June 3, 2013 / 7:44 pm

    Matt Redmond, please keep sounding the bullhorn. The chorus of outrage against SGM leaders and their mates is continuing to grow.

  25. Heather Halseth June 4, 2013 / 4:47 am

    The whole “check your heart” thing is garbage. It’s just another way to tell people to shut up and stop crying out for the victims. If a child (or anyone for that matter) was being harmed in front of you , would you have to “check your heart ” before coming to their aid? It has nothing to do with pride … This is about innocent people that were systematically abused for years , had their faith turned around into something really twisted and used against them to try to keep them silent!!! Do you have any idea Truther , how many long hard years it is going to take to heal from something like that? Years of counseling and still they will never forget what was done to them. I will speak out on behalf of them as much as I feel I need to and I do not need to check my heart for pride. This is what The Lord would want me to do ..

  26. terriergal July 3, 2013 / 2:05 pm

    Matt– thank you so much for speaking up. You have no idea (or maybe you do) how much this little glass of water means to one of the least of these. (no, not me, but anyone who has suffered any kind of coverup like this).

  27. Ellie November 27, 2013 / 5:53 pm

    I’m *really* late to this issue, but I have been out of the loop for a while. Just wanted to say that, sadly, I am very well acquainted with the kind of hard heart about which you write. I was a member of that very hard-hearted church for many years. Coming out of an abusive home myself and very young when I joined that church, I did not recognize how that church and its leaders promoted hard-heartedness in everything they did. I thank God that I made it out of there without being completely devoured and without becoming so jaded to the point where I think being ‘reformed’ and ‘evangelical’ means being a 21st century pharisee (because it shouldn’t mean that even if it looks like it does). Not like anyone will reply to me, but I just wish there were a movement afoot- a movement that gently but persistently spoke up against the poisonous spreading rash of phariseeism and hard-heartedness that finds its source and strength in what should be truly gospel-centered organizations (like the Gospel coalition and Together for the Gospel). Any suggestions on how I can be helpful with this orthodox, biblical movement that lovingly, respectfully, shines the light of the love of Christ on all soul-devastating hard-heartedness, would be appreciated.

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