Timeline of the Liv-n-LetLiv correction of Knox EPC:
November 2005 Knox Missions Committee was given a written report of observations of differences between words and actions.
January 2006 Knox Missions Committee was requested to give a response. They responded that they had yet to review the report.
May 2006 2 Knox Pastors were requested to provide names of people to whom they are accountable. They couldn't provide such information.
July 2006 The Evangelical Presbyterian Church denomination was notified of Board's inquiries into ethical issues.
Letter of Correction to
Knox Evangelical Presbyterian
Church, Ann Arbor
Summary: In this letter, we take issue with the Missions Committee of Knox Evangelical Presbyterian Church which encouraged two of their missionaries to abandon their ministry with a team of Romanians and move from Romania to work with a team of Americans. They also had the couple get more training, which contradicted the guidance. They not only provided no finances to do this or cover the increased expenses, after the missionaries did this, they eliminated their support. Remember that God writes that religious leaders enjoy putting on burdens and then don't lift a finger to support you.
Rev. Charles Jacob
Knox Evangelical Presbyterian Church Session
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48103
Dear Rev. Jacob,
Greetings in the Awesome name of Jesus. You don't know me, but I
was a member and supported missionary of Knox Evangelical Presbyterian
Church until this year when issues in the leadership caused me to
disassociate with them.
My Advisory Board and we have been trying to address issues we see as
unethical, at best. Twice, we asked Bob Lynn for the name and
address of the person to whom he is responsible, but he refused to give
them. Finally, Mr. Glodo of the EPC home office gave me yours.
The issue is the following as I summed it up to them in my request for
support in November 2004:
I was a financial supporter of Knox since joining in 1995 and their
laying hands on me to go into missions in 1996. In 1998, Knox
generously provided my ministry with $1200 and encouraged me to find a
new sending ministry, which I did. In 2000-2003, Knox's
generosity continued with annual support of $3200, $1800, $1800, and
$1800, respectively (an average of 6% of my support).
Always having believed in having an effective team around me, our
ministry expanded to a total of 4 Romanians and me, thanks to the
support of generous supporters, including Knox. Additionally, we
had the support of teams within the Romanian hospitals where we worked
(financed by other sources). In the winter of 2002, Aurelia
and I flew to the US to get our counselors and Knox's approval to take
the biggest step of my Christian life, and in May a teammate became my
helpmate as well. In November 2002, Knox encouraged me to get
"Training - for... long-haul ministry effectiveness" and a "Team -
...to support and sustain" me, and to outline my vision. So, in
January 2003, I took the Perspectives course in missiology and we
outlined our long-term vision and timeline. This, we also
financed with no assistance from Knox, which had put the burden upon
Yet, the most difficult and expensive part was to add the support team
Knox desired to the team we already had. I had thought that my
new helpmate would have fulfilled that job in their minds. The
"support" team I had built up was already absorbing many times more
support than Knox was providing.
While Knox saw me as not having a team and wanted me to get one, my
mission saw me as having a team and encouraging me to remove the three
Romanians I had hired to be on the team. While Knox did not want
me to be church planting, increasingly was pressing us into that.
It came to a head in 2004 and we decided to side with Knox and leave
our sending organization. I knew that following Knox's advice
would increase my financial responsibilities, but I submitted to their
guidance. Nevertheless, support in 2004 was reduced to $1200, and
we decided it was necessary to humble our vision and abandon our work
in Italy, except the Internet bookstore.
Knox has had a difficult few years and we have stood prayerfully with
them. When my Advisory Board and I pursued reasons for their
actions, Janet Chen, a member of the Missions Committee told one Board
member that they had never planned to support us more than one
year. Simultaneously, they were putting financial burdens on
us. This is unethical at best. Although we had been told
that our letter of support and correction was being reviewed. Two
months ago, we finally received a response from Pastor Lynn that
demonstrated that he had not even relayed it to the Committee, nor read
it because of lack of time. His response showed that he still
hadn't read it, although he felt qualified to write a long answer
without reading my Board's issues. (I will enclose the points
from my last message to him which will give a few more details.)
Due to Knox, we have had to leave the mission field. This has
greatly traumatized my wife, causing her depression and stress.
We consider this conduct immoral, if not illegal. Many have been
leaving Knox, and they attribute it to the changes in leadership.
I would disagree. Please inform me how to initiate an
investigation. Thank you and God bless you.
In the name of Christ,
Excerpt from letter to Pastor Bob Lynn:
The lack of communication from Knox spans our whole relationship.
In all of 2002, before writing your note to slowly lower support you
effectively wrote 0 times (not counting messages like the one giving me
Mike's e-address), ... In an entire year, 0 (zero) messages of
any substance with 0 (zero) questions for clarification. That is
hardly the sign of a church who wanted to make an intelligent decision
not "lightly or quickly." If they would ask a couple questions,
they wouldn't have to "agonize and discuss" as much among themselves!
I will try to make it short and as simple as I possibly can without
sounding too patronizing, which is a danger I've tried to avoid while
we've tried to explain what seems sophomoric to us who have seen and
touched what you don't believe. I have only some questions for
you although they are most likely rhetorical.
1. Do you know that your example of teams of teams in Ukraine is called
the "missionary station" model among other things and has largely (but
granted not totally) been abandoned as a less effective model from the
18th and 19th century? (Just a factoid from missiology training
that I got that you may not have. That is why it was difficult to
find a group that still uses that model and for our sending
organizations was like asking them to use DOS instead of Windows.
They laughed but tried to accommodate Knox's wishes. See below.)
2. I noticed that you didn't respond with the name and contact
information of the person to whom you are accountable. Does that
mean you aren't accountable to anyone?
3. You talk a lot about "feeling" this and that. Instead of
"feeling" why not >>ask<< so you can "think" and
"know?" Isn't that a better way of getting understanding?
That is a basic of communication if you were to get communications
training,but I have asked and understand that nobody in the Missions
Committee has communications training.
4. Don't you remember that the things we discussed as per your
11/4/2002 e-mail were not about focus as you claim 3 years later but
"3) Vision - what is your vision for the future? Having just
looked at your website I can't discern what it is (which may be more a
problem of my being rather dull than a problem with your
website)?" You recognize "But I remember you advising us, in
light of our expressed concerns, to go to your website and we found
that we were more confused and more concerned than ever." I can't
emphasize your words more, "our expressed concerns"--"vision" not
"work" or "focus". Do you know the difference between "vision for
the future" and "work in the present?" Why is it in none of your
conversations or e-mails you mention "focus" until you mentioned it to
Mike? (I have all your e-mails since 2001 with their original
digital signatures to prove their validity if you don't remember these
5. Do you disagree with what Janet Chen told one of my Advisors "she
was saying you never seemed to comprehend that Knox did not promise you
more than one year" which would mean that the decision was made even
before I followed your directions and spent thousands of dollars
following directions which insinuated that I would be kept on support
while I never had a chance?
6. You wrote "It was not clear to us how one man could minister in
three countries." (I'll put aside the confusion of "vision" with
"minister.") Is it still not clear to you that I'm not "one
man?" Do you know I have a wife? Do you know that the
Internet reaches more than one country? Do you know that at on
11/4/2002, just to pick the date you notified me, the composition of
our team was Aurelia, me, Iustin, Erika, Silviu and one of our team
leaders Ionel all in Romania and Angelo in Italy? Did you read
about them in my supporter letters? Can only American males can
make up a Knox team? Do you remember that before 11/4, I had sent
a letter to all donors saying that because Knox directed it, I had
gotten a visa and we were moving to Germany to work on a team with our
mission? What more did you want?
7. Do you know I have a degree in electrical engineering and a
specialization in computer design, so how much more training would I
need to teach typing and Microsoft applications to children? That
I spent hundreds of dollars to go to missions training after we met in
with Phil Wong and I have more missiology training and/or experience
than all the Committee combined? That I am fluent in 4 languages
and Aurelia in 2 and we know more about the southeastern European
cultures than any book-trained American missionary? That I have
been doing websites longer than 95% of the programmers and our websites
were tops in their market segments? That I've been leading Bible
studies probably as you have been a pastor? That I was so
overeducated and overqualified for the ministry I was doing that my
brain would go numb before the end of the day? Why didn't anybody
tell me what further training I needed?
Incidentally, I read recently in the Chicago Tribune that Hollywood, and presumably other politically correct cultures have a passive-aggressive communication style in business. (Hollywood, Land of Creative Pink Slips, by Claire Hoffman and John Horn
) That confirms my experience with Ann Arbor Culture.
The response they wrote us was, briefly, we should all live in peace. They had no interest in investigating the allegations of misconduct. So, we wrote the denomination which had previously implied they'd do something to resolve the issue if Knox didn't. Money is clearly on the side of Knox, so our Advisors and we expect money to talk more loudly than ethics. We'll see.