Marty Machowski is a Family Life Pastor at Covenant Fellowship Church in Glenn Mills, PA. Covenant Fellowship Church (CFC) is arguably now the flagship church in the Sovereign Grace denomination since Covenant Life Church (CLC) of Gaithersburg, MD has withdrawn.
Machowski has recently authored an article, published on the Sovereign Grace Ministries web page, on educating childcare workers, and indeed the membership at large, how to recognize sexual predators.
It is welcome news that CFC and Sovereign Grace Ministries have enlisted the help of the professionals of Ministry Safe. The legal team of Ministry Safe, Gregory Love and Kimberlee Norris, appear to be highly qualified to conduct training on how to recognize sexual predators.
One might legitimately wonder what the driving force to obtain this training for CFC was. (And no matter the reason, I believe it is commendable to receive the training.) Is this an admission of failure by the Sovereign Grace denominational churches to, in the past, adequately protect their children from sexual predators? Or would the Sovereign Grace leadership claim this has nothing to do with their abject failure in this matter in the past, claiming that in today’s society it is wise for churches to conduct this training? I believe both to be the case, but wonder if Sovereign Grace leaders would admit to the first?
One might also question the wisdom of Sovereign Grace Ministries decision to choose Marty Machowski to be the point man on this drive to educate church members on how to recognize sexual predators in their midst. You may recall that Brent Detwiler has documented the short-comings of Machowski in this area. You can read Detwiler’s excellent article, titled “Sex Abuse Victim Asserts Prominent SGM Pastor Marty Machowski “Threw My Children & I to the Wolves” here. One would think you would not need much training to recognize a child predator in your midst when the wife comes to you for help and informs you that her husband has been abusing their children. That might possibly be “a warning sign” Mr. Machowski. But Machowski’s ineptitude apparently qualifies him to be the SGM spokesman on the subject.
Let’s take a look at a few of the email exchanges Brent Detwiler had with this distressed woman:
“Our family is one more Sovereign Grace family in which serious and repeated sexual abuse of our beautiful daughter occurred over the course of about 14 years and with the church’s full knowledge. The abuser was my husband. I only went to the church after years of silence – because our family desperately needed help. The church’s reaction and various responses are hard for me to even grasp. I don’t know if we will ever recover. If you were to read the pastoral records over the past 15 years, detailing the times my daughter and I went to our pastor [Marty Machowski] for help – and the responses our pastor gave us – you would probably be shocked as well. The church forbid my husband to be anywhere near children’s ministry, yet they supported him in his efforts to be around his own children [two of whom he sexually abused], and pressured me to forgive and reconcile with him [just like other victims in SGM]. The message I repeatedly received was the mandate to focus on the sin in my own heart, and forgive my husband. How did our pastor put it… “Reconciliation always honors the Lord.” To which I could only respond, “No, truth is what honors the Lord. Repentance is what honors the Lord.” I have years of emails and letters to document this, as well as pastoral records.”
“I was a committed member of Covenant Fellowship Church for 19 years. I LOVED our church, and focused our entire family life around actively serving the church, raising our children in the church, etc. I believed in Sovereign Grace with my whole heart, and I believed that part of the humility of joining a church is covenanting to submit to leadership that, at times, is imperfect. So I submitted to our pastor [Marty Machowski] and trusted his advice for years. He sure threw my children and I to the wolves. His responses always seemed more like “damage control” to me, than any willingness to hear the truth.” [I’ve read the evidence and agree with her assessment. She and her children were terribly treated.]
“You cannot imagine what I am feeling right now – to discover for the first time that I’m not alone?? [Like so many other victims in SGM who had no idea sexual abuse, and the cover up of sexual abuse, was so widespread.] That there are others who have experienced something similar in a Sovereign Grace Church??? I am not one to jump on a bandwagon. However what has gone on in our church is just plain wrong. And the damage it has done to our family is almost indescribable. We’re still suffering the repercussions of being ostracized from the church – for “resisting efforts to reconcile.”
What has been my response until now? Well, currently, as often as thoughts and memories flash back, I pray for the Lord to HELP me forgive…because I’m willing to forgive. I am also willing, after all these years, to speak up. I’m not out for vengeance. I recognize the evil that has been “winked at” in our own church, the lives that have been destroyed by our church’s actions as well as inactions, and I’m willing to speak up – if it will help others. If there is any sort of class action being taken, I am willing to contribute years of firsthand experiences and documented letters and emails. May God forgive me if it’s wrong to speak the truth in this matter…”
“One brief rabbit trail – Are you familiar with Boz Tchividjian (a grandson of Billy Graham), down in Virginia? He was well known for his work in prosecuting sex offenders as Assistant State Attorney in Florida. He’s presently founder and executive director of GRACE. Anyway, he became involved in our case and offered to talk with our pastors and advise them.
Our pastors turned his offer down. When I asked Marty Machowski how he could turn down an offer to at least communicate with a godly man of Boz’s stature, expertise, and experience, my question met with silence…no response at all. …”
…”Yet, I’m continually amazed when I encounter men who do not appear to be concerned with the truth. I have often observed quietly that the pastors of my former church, Covenant Fellowship, seemed more concerned with “damage control” than with the truth. I never told anyone this before, but in my eyes, it was brutally apparent on numerous occasions.
As I write this, I’m facing renewed pressure from my husband to “reconcile and reunify” (spurred on by Andy Farmer and Marty Machowski). It’s been 8 YEARS since our separation, and about 6 years since I resigned from the church – and the pressure continues. To date, my husband has turned himself inside out to regain his reputation in the eyes of men – and he’s quite smug in his supportive audience of these two pastors. While it’s true that he’s repented of a few general, “peripheral” issues, [he] has yet to repent of the numerous physical and sexual abuse issues that caused me to leave him and leave our church. My lawyer told me recently: “Doesn’t your church get it — that CYS [Child & Youth Services] will take your children away from YOU if you go back to your husband?!??””
“Also, our local county District Attorney’s office has had some run-in’s with Covenant Fellowship pastors in the past over allegations of sexual abuse.
While allegations of this nature are unfortunately commonplace these days, the assistant DA involved expressed his grief over the WAY IN WHICH our church handled the specific situations. In other words, CFC has a history; our family has not been the first nor the last. In our case, the finger-pointing never went back as far as our church…I’m the one who obstructed it and defended our church, believing I was being led by godly men who would do no wrong. I never suspected my pastor [Marty Machowski] would turncoat on the children and me, charging me with “failure to cooperate with reconciliation” of our family and ignoring the facts.”
Here is a comment Brent Detwiler made about Marty Machowski in this article:
“On June 30, 2013, Machowski preached a message entitled, Judas the Betrayer. In an altogether self-righteous manner (listen to the message), he cited Satan as the reason for Dave Harvey’s departure from Covenant Fellowship Church, churches leaving SGM, my blog, and the sex abuse lawsuit against Sovereign Grace Ministries. None of these were due to the sins of SGM leaders, the discipline of God, an effort to see justice and reform in SGM, or the righteous actions of victims seeking redress. They were all the work of the devil.
In fact, Machowski compared these to “the same opposition of the enemy” that Jesus faced when the devil entered Judas Iscariot’s heart (John 13:27). Such is the proud and delusional thinking of Machowski.”
Well perhaps Marty Machowski has seen the error of his ways, asked forgiveness from this woman and numerous others that encountered similar treatment under his pastoral “care” and dedicated his life to now keeping churches safe from sexual predators.
Or maybe not.