Frank Vennes commentary revisited: A needed apology

In a previous commentary, this writer referred to Mr. Frank Vennes Jr. as a potential wolf in sheep’s clothing.  I was wrong to have made such an assertion.  In looking back, the impetus for making such a comment stemmed from anger.  Anger at so many people being deceived and good ministries being put in harms way.  Now, I tried to temper my anger and recognized that what I was attending to is no different then the rest of us.  In my anger, I certainly jumped to conclusions based on a small report of the facts. My anger in turn minimized the importance of the points I was trying to make about things each of us need to examine.

The first point was about true repentance.  In reading the initial article about Mr. Vennes my attention was drawn toward and apparent lack of repentance.  Only God and Mr. Vennes know the truth of this matter. The way I commented about it was wrong.  We all need to constantly evaluate and recheck to see if we are holding on to things we should not be.   It really comes to a matter of forgiveness coupled with repentance.  We all need to forgive those who have wronged us. Only God knows for each of us if we reached that point.

My second point was about surrender to the King of Kings and not seeking own kingdom.  I saw within the story the ability to again make that point, however I did so while making a judgment again with a partial understanding of the facts and based on how things appear based on evidence.  Again, Mr. Vennes and God know where he is at in his life related to surrender and whether he is pursuing his own interests and wealth or not.  The point to me is we all at times invoke our own will and seek our own kingdom.  We often let stuff that is all ours get mixed in to what God may want to do. My errors in the commentary certainly are evidence of that, and as always I take all expressed concerns to heart. 

The third point was the need for discernment in the church. The overall anger was fueled by the overarching concern for the many ways deception is creeping into the church and the many ways the church does not see clearly and fails to exercise sound judgment or sound discernment. 

So in my anger and in haste to write something of interest to draw people into evaluating themselves, I wronged a brother.  No matter what my concerns are or the rightness of the points I feel led to make, the way I went about it is wrong.  I ask for Mr. Vennes and friends for their forgiveness in the matter and will remember the reactions when writing future commentary.   At some point soon there also will be commentary focusing on all of our tendencies to respond in anger, since there are many things many can get angry about these days, not just the Thomas Petters fraud and those used or conned in implementing it.

15 Responses

  1. peacebringer,

    Don’t be too hard on yourself. The issue here is a huge one. Thanks for bringing it up. There is one thing a wise man told me one time when I was concerned about bringing up issues of possible impropriety in writing and in video productions. That is; our maker can handle it. We might think we are doing a bad thing in vengeance or acting out of anger. I suppose we should always rewrite or at least sleep on it before we publish. Yet, you just have to eventually push the button. Later, you will see where you have to improve.

    I am thankful for those who have the burden of bringing issues forward. It won’t always look or feel peaceful – and people may get hurt, sometimes they may lose a job or a career. This world is a messy one, and you aren’t going to be perfect. But eventually peace comes from such endeavers.

  2. Heh,
    I don’t think I am being hard on myself. After sitting and praying over what to do in response to the comments, I knew I needed to take responsibilty and learn and grow from this. The issues at the heart still stand, it is my pointing directly at Mr. Vennes that was at fault. It is in my letting anger color what I wrote that is at fault.

  3. […] Frank Vennes commentary revisted: A needed apology « The Peacebringer Musings on October 13, 2008 […]

  4. Someone has to tell the truth. I think you were right the first time. This may be the biggest fraud in US history from what I’ve heard. Mr. Vennes owns a large piece of the cash from the fraud as he seems to admit to in the press. My hope is that no one in the community stops the pressure on him until he give back every ounce of
    profit from the scam.

  5. Peacedude:
    Again, I was wrong to point directly at Mr. Vennes. Please know this to be true. Yes, there is a lot about the alleged Petters fraud that stirs anger and cries for justice.

    It is not my or the communities job to pressure Mr. Vennes into any action. The Holy Spirit will direct Mr. Vennes, as long as Mr. Vennes submits to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. I also do not recommend suggesting any particular course of justice as appropriate.

    I do know that any believer is called to forgive. This includes Mr. Petters, Mr. Vennes and all the others. It is not easy, and not easy to do in this circumstance.

  6. peacebringer

    I am serious when I ask, where was the Holy Spirit in the board meetings such that the directors of these investments missed the boat? I’m almost positive that they prayed for the Holy Spirit to direct them. It’s wonderful to have doctrines and beliefs about to explain how things are supposed to work, but where was the protection? Maybe we are missing something.

    The community provides protection too, maybe even under the direction of the Holy Spirit. Certainly in cases where pastors and leaders are involved, the community has a job to do. As a “church” with so many legal divisions, sometimes it’s hard to work dicipline. People can just join a different church if they are about to be confronted.

    I am working with a couple of guys who got back from military duty in Iraq. These guys have to fire their weapons, and can’t take back what they did. It’s great that we can just say oops I was wrong and erase words. Sorry, but for me, you write it, you eat it. So it makes you lose a little sleep. So you get sued. So you lose your job. So your aspirations go down the drain. So you lose your friends.

    Really, some are called to stir it up a bit. When the system is out of whack, parts of it need to get torn apart and fixed anew. Did Jesus give us an example of how to stand up to hypocrisy? Didn’t he call some religious leaders a nicely painted grave? Did he say he was sorry?
    He didn’t ask for their forgiveness.

    Anyway, peace be with you.

  7. Peacedude.

    I understand your point. At some point there will be a more drawn out article on the nature of deception.

    As to the “changed” or “erased” words. I simply altered what I believed drawn attention to the original article. Yes, I wrote it, I eat it.

    As to where the Holy Spirit was in giving direction, I cannot answer that for those that got involved, but sometimes we pray for God to approve what we already decided on and ignore the red flags or the still small voice.

    Yes, it is really hard to engage in true church discipline.

    I asked for forgiveness because praying over it, God let me know I reacted out of anger and went about making my points in the wrong way. It has nothing to do about what anyone said.

    And some may be called to stir things up. I am called to speak truth, and anything that is stirred up is what God will stir up when I am following him and not my own thoughts. It is really easy to let self get in the way.

    Oh and the only way the “system” will get fixed anew is by surrender to Jesus. There will be many who claim to be working toward “fixing” things anew and it is all false. What has gone on with the Petters fraud is only a shadow of things ahead. Please continue to read the blog. I won’t do or say things perfectly. I may not always handle things the way you would or others would. I am not writing to make anyone happy but to please my Lord, and when I am wrong I will apologize.

  8. peacebringer,

    Good enough!

  9. I think it is important to remember that people are innocent until proven guilty. It is not our place, legally to judge and condemn a man BEFORE he is charged with anything, indicted or whatever. A man is not guilty simply due to association. In addition, he is also not autmatically guilty simply because he did business. Many are quick to jump on the past and that oh he was bad before he’s bad now. In addition, you say we shouldn’t be upset with those who fall back into sin – however you stated it. You have know idea if he’s fallen back into anything. Again, innocent until proven guilty. Instead of jumping to conclusions, stop trying the man in the court of public opinion and press. Let the Government do their job and if it gets to the point the Courts will decide. People are quick to condemn for the past but has anyone even looked into the amazing things this man has done? No and why because IT WON’T make blogs and the news because it’s not fun. How exactly is building off of someone else’s misery God like in any way whatsoever? And Peacedude you are not speaking the truth, you are speaking what is sensationalized in the news and tabloids. Rumor and innuendo is not the truth – wait for the truth THEN speak on it.

  10. Sir or mam,

    Already offered an apology for the initially wrongly flavored commentary I initially wrote. Even had a good exchange between some folks who know Mr. Vennes personally.

    My comments have nothing to do with the legal matters. At no point do I suggest that anyone should not be upset over “sin.”

    I referenced concerns that apply to each of us as a all and mistakenly made comments and assertions in my intial post that I should not have made.

    Again main points are:
    What is true repentence? If we haven’t let go of things in past have we reached that point?

    We need to continually examine whether we are seeking on building our own kingdom, of which building wealth and reputation are key, or are we truely building the Kingdom of God?

    And thirdly, we all need to operate with more discernment. The large number of people sucked into the ponzi scheme and the alleged fraud conducted by Mr. Petters and Associates, when at least to this naked eye, Mr. Petter making a lot of money initially by selling junk was always a head scratcher.

  11. To comment on this case, which is very complex, with many intertwined people, a Christian foundation and many leading ministries in MN seems a bit brash. The documentation on a case like this will be hundreds of thousands of pages. The intricacies of who did what, who knew what, and who is guilty will be hard for a jury to figure out after dozens of hours of testimony and hundreds of hours of investigation. For you to pass judgment based on a few paragraphs of news, and that of dubious accuracy, might be a bit short-sighted. You may want readership and timeliness, but you’re dealing with people’s lives and reputations. Take a deep breath and count to ten before you write about individuals, please.

  12. Sir, have you read anything I wrote here. I personally have acknowledge my mistake and error and even apologized. Perhaps mr. curmedgeon you may want to take a deep breath and actually read comments and the whole process of events before reacting. I don’t hold to comments others have made proclaiming what Mr. Vennes needs to do, that is between him and God. Please sir in the future read before making a comment.

  13. I am a product of the generoisity of both Mr. Petters and Mr. Vennes through their support of MN Teen Challenge. I am reminded of a story of a great godly man who fell and found himself in prison. Please forgive me, I don’t remember who this man was, but the part of the story I recall was that this man, through tears expressed his gratitude to the Lord for his conviction and prison sentence. Because, the Lord, in His mercy, did not allow this man to continue on as he was and end up in the fires hell.
    I came across this site by accident-or not-and felt I needed to share this. It does not mean that I am convinced of anyone’s wrong doing, but only convinced of the faithfulness of our Lord. I will be praying for both these men.
    Thankyou peacebringer, and God bless!

  14. I would like to state that people who hide behind Christ time after time may fool some of us or rather we are not to judge….but they will have to face their Savior. The final judgment will come. I have myself been deceived by such a person. He has fooled treatment centers he has confessed affairs and then denied them. Been to alcohol treatment, sexual addiction treatment and multiple hours of therapy. All the while espousing a personal relationship with Christ. He has Spent thousands of dollars on treatment and then gone back to his multiple addictions. He has even gone so far as to confess sexual abuse as a child and cut off ties with his family of origin. This has gone on for years. His children and wife have tried to stay faithful to helping him heal and now his eyes and ears are so hardened he believes his own lies. A Christian attorney now represents him and is putty in his hands even going so far to taking him to a bible study and all the while this man is deceiving everyone. Whenever he goes into denial he runs to the church and so many pastors and well meaning Christians buy into his lies. It is so sad what this man has done to his family and to our finances. By the way he has done work for the Vennes and for Mr. Petters. Our finances our a mess and what he did with the money he earned over the years is a mystery that hopefully a good CPA will be able to sort out. Unfortunately this man is a CPA and quite adept at paper trails..he does not want to support his wife of thirty years. Good news….God is faithful and he is forever faithful to his own. The wolves will not get away with sin. The sad part is that Christians today have lost discernment. “WHY?” you ask well maybe it is our own daily sin that keeps us from being able to hear from the holy spirit…it is time for Christians to listen to the prodding of the holy spirit and not blindly believe everything we are told by wolves in sheep’s clothing. In time everything hidden in the darkness WILL come into the light. Our job is to take care of our own personal relationship with Christ and leave all the consequences up to God. Many things are done and said in the name of Christ…but it just may happen that Christ’s response will be “I have not known you”

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