Jim Wright’s Deep Roots in The Shepherding Movement
Strong Denial from Jim Wright, was the Tip Off
(Note: On March 5, 2015, Jim Wright’s Facebook Page, Crossroad Junction, was suspended and possibly deleted for multiple Community Guideline violations. Although this deeply impacts and cuts down on the unethical things Jim was doing with that account, such as buying likes and paying for sponsored blog articles to spread his gossip and smear attacks, he still maintains his libelous blog and has in the past week edited articles in the wake of his recent embarrassment. For this reason, both the Crossroad Junction Watch Blog and Facebook Page are remaining up and new articles will be released as warranted.)
The inaugural article of this blog (LINK) tells the story of who Jim Wright is and how at the time, he was masquerading as a network of churches with no other named members, and further masquerading as an organization called Nathan’s Voice, that he tried to pretend was independent of him (he’s the only known contact and spokesperson). He used this network of sock-puppet blogs in a bizarre attempt to accuse multiple people of outrageous things. I made a small comment in that first blog article about Jim Wright’s activities seeming to be pretty similar to something called “The Shepherding Movement” from the 1970s and 1980s. To my surprise, over time, Jim Wright, in some of his subsequent blog posts and on his Crossroad Junction Facebook Page, which was suspended by Facebook on March 5, 2015 for multiple Community Guideline Violations (LINK), made loud protests against this characterization. If I’ve learned anything in dealing with this deceptive man, it’s that the louder he denies something, the more likely there’s something there he’s trying to hide. This proved to be the case this time as well.
Just the Tip of the Iceberg
At the time of that initial article, I was just getting started and didn’t know a lot of what I know now. The reason I even made that observation was based at that time of some communications with 2 men who had been involved in Jim’s claimed “Prison Ministry” and subsequently had worked for Jim helping to convert his home at that time into something of a communications office and headquarters for what Jim apparently envisioned as a network of ministry for all of his grandiose plans to build a network of organizations. Interestingly enough this is a repeat of history and Jim’s father Bob operated in a similar manner and Jim can be seen here to be following a past pattern. Jim apparently planned first to do this locally in Manassas, VA, through what he hoped would be a network of local charismatic, reformed churches. However, these plans went awry about the time Jim was divorced by his first wife.
Failed Efforts in the Past
He made concerted efforts through 2 local churches to become part of the leadership teams to enlist their financial sponsorship and support for his grand designs and when these efforts failed, coincidentally both of these churches became objects of Jim Wright’s wrath, as he sought to destroy and shame them publicly with charges of sexual abuse networking and financial mismanagement.
When these two former prisoners described their relationship with Jim Wright and how he managed them, insisting according to them that they were under his spiritual authority and oversight, it struck me as very much like the Shepherding Movement in terms of the concepts and practices and that was the source of my observations early on. For some reason, this seemingly minor observation struck a nerve with Jim Wright and he’s raised it on a few occasions as an example of the “crazy” accusations of this blog. It struck me as odd how vocal he was in wanting to distance himself from this association. Apparently it struck a nerve and drove him to attempt to cover up and deny it strongly. One person I interviewed who contacted me after reading an article ironically enough by Jim Wright that attacked me, knew Jim well back in the 1980s and said it was common knowledge that Jim Wright and his family were deeply in the Shepherding Movement. He was amazed that Jim Wright would even think of denying that.
New Covenant Churches and The Shepherding Movement
I understand why now, and will take this opportunity to explain the connection in what I anticipate will be a series exposing the history of Jim Wright and his family’s deeply rooted ties to The Shepherding Movement. This ties in as well to a network of about 20 cultish churches and home fellowships in Maryland, which Jim Wright’s father, Robert Wright, aka Bob Wright, was deeply involved in establishing and running and which Jim Wright was deeply involved as an “Elder” and carried himself as the “heir apparent” to his father. Oddly enough, Jim Wright has tried to spin this into a representation that this was actually an early form of “organic church” and has further attempted to claim that he’s carrying on this groundbreaking work by his parents. The truth is quite a bit different than what Jim says, but then it’s hard to know with Jim if he’s knowingly lying or just tied into his own delusions and doesn’t know the difference anymore.
I’ve known of much of this history for quite some time, but I’ve chosen to show some respect to the Wright Family (despite their lack of respect for me and so many others) in postponing my addressing of this history due to Jim’s dad passing away more than 2 months ago after a long illness. Of course, if Jim Wright holds true to past patterns he’ll attempt to use this as an emotional lever to complain about me pointing out this history. It’s well documented however through Newspapers, Social Media History and other Articles which I’ll copy or Link to, and I’ve also had some in depth phone interviews and other communications with people who were part of what became known as the New Covenant Churches (NCC) in the area of Annapolis Maryland in the late 70s and early 80s.
New Covenant Churches and the Family Protection Lobby
This was also the base and foundation of some of Jim Wright’s more grandiose claims to be the Director of the Moral Majority in Maryland, until he and his chapter were kicked out in short order and then became the Family Protection Lobby. I didn’t know Jim’s father and for that matter, I’ve never met Jim, other than through Social Media where my daring to stand up to him had predictably resulted in me becoming the latest target in his lifetime pattern of smear campaigns. I don’t really have anything negative to say about Jim’s dad. History however, is what it is, and since I’ve made a personal commitment to expose Jim’s past, to put his smear campaigns into context it’s necessary to do this. If Jim’s embarrassed or ashamed of it, and desperate to attempt to spin it into something else, that’s really his problem and he’ll have to deal with it. He’s the one who’s tried to reinvent and spin it into something quite different than what it actually is.
Why Should Anyone Care?
I recognize that a lot of this is going to be fairly obscure to those who aren’t all that familiar with The Shepherding Movement and the cultish practices of this movement. For that reason, I’ll try to keep things brief and general. I provide links to more in depth articles for those interested.
In a nutshell, The Shepherding Movement is probably the most polar opposite movement to Organic Church that you could ever hope to find. Where Organic Church is based on the idea that Christ is the head of the Church and all are equal under His headship, The Shepherding Movement is the embodiment of the idea that there are Pastors and Elders who are “Shepherds” over the flock, and people come under their anointing and covering and are subject to their authority. Much of this teaching arose in the 1970s under the leadership of 5 men in particular. Those men were Derek Prince, Bob Mumford, Charles Simpson, Don Basham, and Ern Baxter. It spanned across denominations but in particular it was deeply rooted and had great impact within Charismatic circles.
An excellent article on this by Dr. Steven Lambert, ThD, can be found HERE. I’ll explain more of this in the next blog. For now however, especially note in this article by Steven Lambert, the mention of Bob Wright, and the National Leadership Conference (NLC):
The NLC was formed in 1979, largely under the initiative, ironically enough, of one of the staunchest critics of the Discipleship theories, Ken Sumrall of Pensacola, Florida. Yet, clearly the NLC has among its membership today ministers who have been proponents, to varying degrees, of Discipleship beliefs and practices, albeit the original members purported to be opponents.
“NLC brought together leaders whose ministries already served networks of charismatic assemblies, in particular Sumrall of Liberty Church, Pensacola, Florida (now with some 350 to 400 local churches); Gerald Derstine of Bradenton, Florida (who followed Sumrall as president); Bill Ligon of Brunswick, Georgia; Russ Williamson of Hopewell Junction, New York; Ernest Gruen of Kansas City; Bob Heil of Hillsboro, Missouri, and Bob Wright of Davidsonville, Maryland. The director of the NLC is Jim Jackson, of Montreat, North Carolina….NLC is clear that it is not a new denomination, but a fellowship of charismatic leaders with common convictions and a similarity of vision. NLC churches are often named “Community Church” or “Covenant Church”….”6
P.D. Hocken, “Charismatic Movement,” DICTIONARY OF PENTECOSTAL AND CHARISMATIC MOVEMENTS, p. 141, Zondervan
Jim Wright, In the Heart of the New Covenant Churches
Notice the reference to NLC Churches often being named “Covenant Church.” It’s no coincidence that Jim Wright is tied through his father Bob into the “New Covenant Churches” of Maryland. Nor is it a coincidence that Jim Wright posted this a while back in a forum related to a reunion for the New Covenant Churches, which interestingly enough references another prior expulsion from a church in the past.
You’ll also see one of the prior organizations used by Jim Wright prior to his current crop. Fulcrum Express was the name of Jim’s Blog, (Fulcrum Forum prior to that.) Jim eliminated many of his blogs, prior to 2009 after his divorce was finalized. It’s my opinion, based on testimony from people who saw those blogs and also based on court records, that Jim spent a great deal of time and effort for a period of time, slandering his first wife and part of the need for him to change names of his blogs and eliminate his old blogs had to do with him trying to cover his tracks and eliminate these records.
Additional information and mentions of Bob Wright and the New Covenant Churches of Maryland are also present in a comment on a thread in a public forum that discuss the close ties with the Eastern Shore with Sovereign Grace Ministries at the time.
The Next Article in this Series is HERE.