Stone Gate Ministries: pastoral care for sinners...

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Harry Schaumburg and Brian Bunn invited a group of pastors and elders up to Port Washington, Wisconsin, this past week. Harry is the author of two classic books written to help Christians on the road of repentance for sexual sin. The books titled False Intimacy and Undefiled are an extension of the one-week Biblical intensive counselling program Harry provides...

singles and couples under the aegis of Stone Gate Resources in Port Washington. Brian Bunn serves as a board member for Stone Gate. A recent graduate of Clearnote Pastors College, Brian and his wife Leeann are working to plant a church in Port Washington.

Harry and Brian's invitation was to provide us training in how to give pastoral care to souls struggling with sexual sin and its destructive fruit. The training was excellent.

For several years, now, Clearnote has been sending individuals and couples up to Stone Gate for the one-week intensive counselling and study. We have seen the good fruit of this work and were thankful for our time there learning more about what Harry teaches and how to apply it to our work as pastors and elders. Speaking personally, I think there are few ministries like Stonegate in our country, today. Harry's decades of experience counselling Christians—including thousands of pastors—is unique and has led to a depth of wisdom in Harry's teaching and counselling that I imagine has few equals.

Beyond his experience, though, are the Reformed Biblical commitments that permeate everything Harry teaches. Repeatedly, during our day and a half of teaching, Harry exhorted us to turn to God and plead for mercy. Repeatedly he declared there to be no hope for any sinner "unless God shows mercy." When he used sources, they were Reformed fathers such as John Owen and Richard Baxter.

But don't think this means Harry is a Reformed talking head celebrity—or even that he knows and talks with them. He doesn't and he doesn't.

Nor is Harry theologically and spiritually safe in the manner of graduates of Westminster, Reformed, and Covenant Seminaries. For example, Harry is as scorching as Hebrews in calling his counselees to search their hearts and lives to see if there is real fruit of the work of the Holy Spirit; or rather, if they are deluded and have no true knowledge of God, no true faith and no true repentance?

In short, we found Harry's doctrine and teaching thoroughly Biblical, and therefore thoroughly Reformed. If you haven't drunk the Kool-Aid of the deadly orthodox men who hate the Puritans, you will understand my saying that Harry struck me as the best sort of Puritan divine providing the kind of searching pastoral care that is the reason so many of us have learned to love and feed on the Puritans. Sadly, Reformed pastors and elders today have been led to believe this sort of pastoral care is destructive because it doesn't avoid talk of sin, instead blathering on about peace—err, I mean grace—all the time.

So how's that for a review? Yes, there are weaknesses in the ministry, but not weaknesses of pandering to the points of rebellion against God our culture is now revelling in. Harry's doctrine is solid on sexuality, total depravity, marriage and family, unconditional election, faith, repentance, the perseverance of the saints, and a whole lot more. There was one interpretive curveball I had to decline to swing at, although I will admit it is plausible. I would have liked a bit more to be said about the purpose of childbearing in the sanctification of husbands and wives. I would have liked my fish to be larger...

We are encouraging Harry and Brian to work to provide this training for more pastors and hope we can help publicize it if and when it happens. Until then, use Stone Gate Resources and you will be grateful to the Lord for it as all of us at Clearnote are, and have been for some time, now.

Speaking of fish, we were treated to a wonderful Nicky Boys Charter fishing trip Tuesday morning, just prior to the beginning of our instruction Tuesday afternoon. Then, Brian's wife, Leeann (with help from our own Eleanor Rice) baked our Coho and King Salmon, and Brown Trout, serving it to us for dinner that night. The hospitality and food were great, leading us into an evening of sweet fellowship.

Personally, I was thankful to get a chance to meet one of Harry's sons, Nate, who was always available to answer any questions we had during our training). I also had the privilege of finally meeting Harry's kind wife Rosemary (who was working in Stone Gate's office behind the training rooms).

I conclude this post with a picture of the sunrise as we cruised out of Port Washington's harbor on the charter boat our first morning.


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(Top pic, left to right; First row: David Bayly, Dan George, Lucas Weeks, Joseph Bayly, Paul Belcher, Stephen Baker; Second row: Brian Bunn, David Abu-Sara, Nathan Bayly, Tim Bayly, Harry Schaumburg, Tyson Turner, Joe Rice, David Curell.)

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

Want to get in touch? Send Tim an email!