More on The Ambassador “Situation”Published by Torrence Glenn on Thursday, April 8, 2010 at 6:07 pm.
Going to keep it honest. I was prepared to ignore this. Was pretty much over to tell the truth. But since the debate on The Ambassador, his “moral failure” and my take on the situation became so intense on this blog, I kind of felt I had to address his recent statement of apology. I’m pretty sure you’ve read the statement on other gospel sites since we were all sent the same thing, but I’ll reprint it here. The statement is pretty long, so I’ll give my SHORT take on it after the statement.
Dear Friends and Supporters:
First I want to thank everyone for your understanding, mercy and grace while my family and I worked on rebuilding our marriage and reconciliation. From the very beginning, I have wanted to communicate with you. However following the advice of the church leadership, and others to whom I entrusted my restoration, I remained silent.
Back in late April 2009, the Lord exposed me and consequently delivered me from being entangled in a season of willful disobedience, deception and darkness. I was involved in a non-sexual but very inappropriate relationship with a woman other than my wife, thereby betraying my Lord, my wife, family, Epiphany Fellowship (the church I love and was instrumental in founding) my co-laborers and ministry supporters like you.
It has often been suggested that no genuine Christian can willfully sin habitually for a prolonged period (1 John 3:6). And that those who do sin cannot do so without some sense of great conviction and internal disturbance. My life is a personal witness to this statement, as I for several months battled great depression, gradual and graphic spiritual deterioration. However, it indeed was God’s mercy that exposed me, breaking sin’s enslaving grip on me. It was also His mercy which used that to lead me to experience what David did when Nathan revealed that the “gig was up” and said, “You are the man!” (2 Samuel 12:7).
Like David, I instantly knew that, “I have sinned against the Lord” (2 Samuel 12:13). I was crushed by an enormous weight of guilt, shame, fear and sorrow, and I knew that the journey back to “ground zero” would be insanely difficult. Even to this day, I wrestle with that shame from time to time, but I also know there is one place I can turn—the gospel! I have to continually contradict my feelings and believe the rest of 2 Samuel 12:13, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.”
After nearly a year of retreat, rehabilitation and intense family focus, God’s grace has me reset on a trajectory toward spiritual wholeness. Like Paul the great apostle I admit, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect…” “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14). God’s grace is teaching me that I am not supposed to attempt to “work” my way back to some supposed level of super-spirituality and then come out feeling “qualified.” But I am to recognize that I am never “sufficient in myself,” but “our sufficiency is from God” (2 Corinthians 3:5). As someone once said “He doesn’t call the qualified, but rather qualifies the called.” I am deeply comforted by this gospel truth and equally dependant on its reality. Without this comforting and affirming word, I might never have come back to the service of our Lord.
So I say now, what I believed then—I sinned greatly against the Lord Jesus, my wife and family, the other woman and her family, my church, and all my ministry co-laborers and supporters. I ask you to forgive me for being a prime example of the spiritual leaders I have often “put on blast” in the past, and further reinforcing the notion that the church is full of hypocrites. Forgive me for how my actions have caused many to be confused and insecure about the faith, and brought disruption to the peace of homes, churches, and ministries. May God give you the grace and the ability to forgive me, “as I have received the Lord’s forgiveness” (Colossians 3:13). By God’s grace, many that I have offended have forgiven me, most notably, my wife and kids. Pray that the Lord will continue to permit us to build on this foundation that will give the Lord Jesus Christ the greatest glory.
This has been an extremely painful time and now I accept the fact that although God’s grace is based on the merit of Christ and not my own performance, favor with man (Luke 2:52) must be gained through consistency over time. All I ask is for the opportunity to get started!
I have spent the past ten months in concentrated prayer, counseling, reading, studying, and fellowshipping with saints, and I am committed to diligently continuing on this course. Unfortunately, the sin has taken a toll and has created some unpleasant consequences. Among many, the one that particularly grieves me is the separation from my church. With regard to the Epiphany Fellowship, I will not be permitted by the leadership to continue in covenant fellowship. This decision brings me much grief. However I trust the Lord Jesus Christ to heal my heart and that of my family and the covenant community.
After all this I have so much more tenderness toward the “fallen,” and an appreciation for the glory of a gospel that is so easily preached but not as easily applied. Lord permitting, I plan to proclaim the gospel with even greater passion than ever before and herald its liberating truth wherever the Lord will allow. The plan is also to musically represent the Lord Jesus so that the “fall of Ambassador” will not end with a period, but rather, with a comma. As you may or may not know Cross Movement the group had retired but as a soloist I was planning to continue as long as the Lord Jesus would provide grace. The release of my third solo album The Chop Chop actually fulfilled my contractual obligation with Cross Movement Records, so now as The Ambassador I’m trusting the Lord for new direction and for what lies ahead.
My experiences during this time of seclusion and obscurity have indeed been very challenging. And, I’m still not clear on all the things that the Lord has been doing. But I plan to leverage every lesson learned and every insight gleaned for the glory of God and the benefit of others.
Since the very beginning, I have been under the care of a restoration team led by Pastors Byron Craig of Macedonia Baptist Church (Norristown, PA) and Zach Ritvalski of Sweet Union Baptist Church (Philadelphia, PA). They have given me the “green light” to move forward in serving the Lord Jesus Christ publically. My wife has also given her blessings and support to this decision. Therefore The UpLift! Group and I are actively seeking God’s direction for new opportunities to honor the name of Jesus Christ.
The nature of my call to be an aroma of Christ (2 Corinthians 2:15), a minister of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18), and his ambassador (2 Corinthians 5:20), compels me to reengage my generation and “proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you (me) out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). This experience has taught me many things but one that will always stand out and I hope to become the embodiment of is God’s grace and mercy is more than sufficient.
William “The Ambassador” Branch
First, I’d like to say congratulations to the Ambassador and wish him the best. I think the statement was rather LONG, but as an artist who hasn’t had a chance to talk to their fans in a year I can see how once you got your shot, you’d be a little wordy.
I was a little taken back by the need to clearly state that the relationship he engaged in was “nonsexual” yet inappropriate. In no way am I saying that sexual contact is required to cheat or betray a relationship, nor do I attempt to excuse it, but it does make me wonder if the level/type of “punishment” and/or restoration was befitting of the issue. Yes, I used the word punishment because that’s really how I see it. There are consequences to everything we do, but when you place the decision on those consequences into the hands of others, it comes off more as a punishment than anything else.
Another thing that stuck out to me from the statement that actually kind of bothered me a bit was his former church’s decision to not allow him to return to ministry there. Real talk, that FOOLISHNESS irks me! If his wife and family have forgiven him and he’s taken what we’d all probably consider reasonable (almost extreme) steps to fixing the situation, why in the world can he not return to ministry? People sin and make mistakes all the time, some more extreme than others but when all is said and done if everyone who did something wrong got sat down FOREVER, there would be no churches anywhere! What kind of crazy is that? Sorry, but Epiphany Fellowship, I think this is a bad lesson to teach folks. Do you sing this modified Donnie McClurkin tune there? “We fall down but we get up. For a saint is just a sinner who fell down, and from there we chained em to a chair.” I’m hoping and praying that Epiphany Fellowship actually has one. I know a lot of you are reading this with a little surprise. Yes, I have strong views on situations like this, but I’m also a stronger believer in forgiveness, especially when someone’s obviously repentant. (Don’t get me wrong, some folks are still worthy of a *side eye* but that’s not for this particular blog post.)
My favorite portion of this statement and probably the most encouraging was this line right here: “I ask you to forgive me for being a prime example of the spiritual leaders I have often “put on blast” in the past..” This is where the real lesson is folks! When as leaders in church, you put folks on blast for their issues and try to act like you don’t have any of your own, this is where I have serious problems. I didn’t follow The Ambassador’s ministry that much so didn’t know him to be that kind of artist, but I have taken issue with artists like Tye Tribbett and Da Truth for putting folks “on blast so strongly” and I’ve made no secret of that. So for The Ambassador to see the error in that kind of self righteous presentation, I think is a great lesson! Yes, we should teach right and wrong but there is a way to do it!
I’m hoping all works out for The Ambassador. Now I will say that I definitely think there were some other motives in the release of this very LONG statement (like letting the gospel industry know he’s a free agent and no longer with his former label) but I’m not tripping. It is what it is. A man’s gotta eat!
What do you think? And oh yeah, I said it would be short and it wasn’t. Sorry, I’ll release a statement tomorrow to officially apologize.