I had decided to let this last post lie, but after a conversation regarding David Simpson with Calvary Chapel Motherwell, I felt it was time to share my final meeting with Jim Nicol (former pastor of Ocean Hills Church) at Starbucks in San Clemente. He met me before his return to Scotland. He was asked to resign from Ocean Hills Church under the same cloud of controversy that he created around me and instructed to focus on his family.
Jim Nicol wanted to meet to apologize for the way he treated me while I was on staff with him at Ocean Hills Church. He admitted that what he did to me was wrong and inexcusable. With tears in his eyes, he asked for forgiveness and apologized. I told him that Roxie and I had forgiven him as soon as it happened because the Lord had already prepared us for what we would go through. He simply commented... such grace, grace.
I then asked if he would do one favor for me. I asked that he would speak to one family on my behalf. It was the family of a guitar student of mine at Ocean Hills. He had recently come back into my life through a mutual friend that was attending Calvary Chapel. Jim Nicol met with his mom and shared with her a 20 or 30 page document filled with falsified events, false accusations and lies. I asked him to go to this family and let them know he admitted his wrong doing and apologized. I wanted to clear the air so that my former student would feel comfortable at our church.
This is when the bait and switch happened. He looked at me and denied the existence of such a document. He said that he knew of no such document. He said the board created a document, but he had nothing to do with it. What Jim Nicol didn't know is I have the document. So I know it does exist and I know it's contents. I also know the names of the people who Jim Nicol used to build a case against me. I have their "confidential" documents and the falsified information they presented. All of which I had no knowledge of until I received this "confidential" document. I also know the names that Jim Nicol proposed as being against me and the reasons they were against me. All of which were fabrications.
Jim then looked at me and said, if I had to do it all over again I would do the same thing. I was dumbfounded. In essence, he took back his apology. I did not give any indication of my surprise. I just listened. He then looked at me, teared up again and said he was wrong for doing what he did and apologized. It left me thinking that he really had no intent of apologizing, but someone asked him to do it and he did it in order to gain something else. Perhaps a stronger platform for his new non-profit venture. Perhaps to get back into good graces with Calvary Chapel. I'm not sure, but I can honestly say after meeting with him that nothing changed and his trail of deceit will continue.
While I was in the midst of dealing with Jim Nicol, I had a conversation with David Simpson. David Simpson was another victim of Jim Nicol's lies and false accusations in Scotland. As I listened to his story, I realized it was exactly like mine. Jim Nicol attempted to tarnish David Simpson's reputation and then led a church split. Although David has moved on, it is something that one never forgets and it can wear on a person's soul.
The unfortunate thing with gossip and slander is once the water is colored, you will always have four groups of people.
Group 1: Those who simply do not believe the bad report. The know you and they stand with you based on friendship and relationship.
Group 2: Those who believe the bad report. They have a blind loyalty to the Jim Nicol's of the world. They are taken by the sociopathic charm and are willing to believe whatever they are told.
Group 3: Those who do not want to get involved. This group usually stays away from the person who is tarnished simply because they do not want the drama. They don't know if it's true or not, but they simply don't care and want to move on. This group is the largest group (at the time of the events) and many will simply find new relationships to grow.
Group 4: Those who are not part of the situation. I thank God for this group. They have no history with the situation and simply judge you based on face value. This is the group we are pastoring at Calvary Chapel San Clemente. There are some in Group 1 with us, but most are in Group 4. The ones in Groups 2 and 3 are in other local churches. We see them around town. They wish us well. But they stay far away and talk about us without our knowledge. They are victims of Jim Nicol as well.
I have chronicled my experience in support of Pastor David Simpson who is a man of God and who suffered as I suffered. Roxie and I are blessed. God has given us a great fellowship with great people who love Jesus and love each other. We have a great community that understands grace and extend God's love. I pray for all those in leadership who are in similar circumstances. God is the One who vindicates. Be faithful to the mission that you've been entrusted. Keep preaching through the storms and God will establish you for if God is for you, who can be against you.