A pastor’s wife stood up during service, grabbed the microphone, and went on to rebuke the congregation and the rest of the leaders and elders for trying to cancel her husband, accusing them of demonstrating false repentance for their role in their treatment of him.
Steve Berger was the pastor of Grace Chapel in Franklin, Tennessee, a church he founded 25 years ago and whose members include Tennessee Governor Bill Lee. Berger attended the capitol hill riots on January 6th and came under sustained criticism after live-streaming the event and reporting that Antifa was there causing all the trouble, an act he later apologized for.
Within weeks he resigned from the church and stepped down, announcing that rather than continue on as their pastor, he would be starting a new ministry for influencers in Washington, D.C. This allegedly has been in the works for a while prior to this. The transition, however, has not been smooth, with conflict arising between Berger and the new pastor, Rob Rogers. Despite resigning, Berger stayed on in some capacity as the transition took place and felt that he was being constantly undermined as he moved out.
It was this conflict between the outgoing and incoming pastor that caused the eruption during the service. During the meeting, multiple elders and pastors came on stage and apologized for the messiness and conflict that has been battering them in the months since. In a message to the church, several minutes before the bulk of the action went down, Pastor Rob Rogers took the mic and said:
In the absence of clarity during this transition period there have been moments where I have pushed too hard and too fast and at the root of that is pride. And as a result I have caused offense to be taken. From me to the family of Grace Chapel I am deeply sorry for any hurt confusion or frustration that my part has caused
…because of the difficulty in the transition, there has been a strain placed on the relationship between Steve and myself. Offenses have been taken, wounding has happened on both sides and there’s been a level of skepticism toward one another in this process that is neither right nor good.”
As the elders and pastors came on stage and each acknowledges their role in how this went down and calling for a time of prayer and repentance, Sarah Berger, Steve’s wife, took the microphone and let loose, saying that their claim to be ‘owning their part’ in the situation and confirming their complicity is different than being ‘repentant.’ Starting at the 9:35 mark.
You guys this is just the truth. You cannot have reconciliation without the truth. It’s impossible. We all know it. Jesus 101: “you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” And then at that point you are in a place of making a decision for yourself. You need to walk in forgiveness, you need to walk into repentance, but let me say right now there was no repentance in what Rob just did up here. He didn’t repent. He said “I own my part.” He didn’t repent for sinning against my husband, okay?
So from the very inception of this transition has been made manifestly evident that there’s been an endeavor to cancel the founding pastor of Grace Chapel…do I have any authority in this place after 26 years? Let me just tell you. There is no way we can remain in this congregation knowing that at the very helm, Rob Rogers and Mark Bright (executive pastor at Grace) have been working behind the scenes to literally cancel us…the tipping point was when a maligning letter went out from Rob Rogers and Bob Bright to all the elders and the financial board maligning my husband as being a “Christian extremist.” That is the truth. You need to know the truth- FEED CUT
In a statement by the Elder board to the church, they “firmly rebuke the outburst” from Sarah Berger and are “deeply disappointed” in the way she conducted herself, noting that they are “embarrassed and ashamed” at how the events unfolded.
Pastor Steve Berger released his own statement on Facebook late last night, explaining they are “fully moving on” from the church and will no longer preach or teach there, as he had been doing.
He says “I stand by my wife, Sarah, who bravely shared a fraction of the truths around the treatment our family has experienced at the hands of the current leadership team” and says he will continue to pray for the church.
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