$$$ THE MAHANEY MONEY MACHINE $$$

As some of our loyal readers know, we changed formats at the beginning of 2010, and our archives  have yet to be transferred over.  Rest assured, we are working on it…

We have received a number of requests for some of our previous articles.  Kris over at sgmsurvivors.com was especially interested in the one we wrote about C.J. Mahaney’s contributions to Southern Baptist Theological Seminary which was posted in late May 2009.  To honor her request, here is an updated version of what we originally posted.     

PLEASE BE SURE TO READ AN IMPORTANT COMMENT I POSTED OVER AT SGM SURVIVORS ALMOST A WEEK AFTER PUBLISHING THIS ARTICLE.

Instead of making changes to “The Mahaney Money Machine” article, I have simply added my comment as an addendum.  It  includes vital information I failed to uncover during my initial research. 

  

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Lack of Balance has been our recent focus, and we conclude this aspect of spiritually abusive systems with a look at C.J. Mahaney, vice-chairman of the Board of Directors of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) and president of Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM).  SGM is a “family of churches” worldwide that claims to be both “reformed” and “charismatic”.  There are approximately 73 SGM churches at the present time.

C.J. Mahaney has risen to power in this religious system despite his lack of education.  He never graduated from college.  Consequently, he did not attend seminary.  Nevertheless, Mahaney sits at the helm of a ministry that is revered by some, particularly those who are “reformed”. 

What’s fascinating about C.J. and SGM is their ability to change.  “Change is here to stay” is a common refrain sung by Mahaney and the leadership in this family of churches, and it’s very true!  Not only has the name of the organization changed a number of times, but the spiritual emphasis has been altered over the years.  We have found Wikipedia to be an excellent resource that describes these changes.  Here’s the link:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sovereign_Grace_Ministries

A cursory review of SGM reveals that this religious “movement” grew out of the charismatic renewal that took place in the 1970s, primarily under the leadership of Larry Tomczak, a Catholic Charismatic.  According to the Wikipedia article, Larry had been asked to take a young C.J. Mahaney under his wing and help him “grow in the faith.”  Mahaney had been a drug user who publicly admits that he was an illicit drug addict.  It appears that C.J. experienced a radical transformation when he became a Christian.

The Gathering of Believers (now Covenant Life Church) in Gaithersburg, Maryland was formally established in 1982 according to the Wikipedia article on SGM; however, the Wikipedia article for Covenant Life Church states that it was established in 1977, so we’re not really sure…  People of Destiny (PDI) was the outreach ministry which began planting churches.  Both Tomczak and Mahaney withdrew from the Charismatic Catholic crowd shortly before establishing the church that would come to be known as Covenant Life Church. 

Toward the latter part of the 1990s, PDI became increasingly Calvinistic in its theology.  In 1998 Tomczak parted ways with Mahaney amid much conflict.  We doubt many have full knowledge of what actually caused a rift between the co-founders of People of Destiny International. Maybe one day the truth will be told.

In 2002 PDI changed its name to “Sovereign Grace Ministries”.  This “family of churches” continues to operate under that ministry name, and gradually a network of churches has been established either through church planting or by adoption.  A turning point for SGM occurred when C.J. Mahaney, Senior Pastor of Covenant Life Church (CLC), turned over the reins to Joshua Harris.  Joshua, who was homeschooled, hails from Oregon.  He relocated to the east coast when he was 23 and moved in with the Mahaney family so he could be mentored by C.J.  He lived with them for approximately one year.  During that time his first book I Kissed Dating Goodbye was published.

When Joshua Harris assumed the position of Senior Pastor of CLC in 2004, C.J. Mahaney began an extensive campaign to advance SGM full-time.  Since 2004, Mahaney has formed some important alliances with leaders of the reformed movement.  Now C.J. shares the stage at various conferences with John Piper, Al Mohler, Mark Driscoll, Ligon Duncan, Mark Dever, and other Calvinists. 

How did this “success story” happen?  As far as we can determine, C.J. Mahaney was not well known until the release of his book Humility: True Greatness in 2005 and the re-release of Living the Cross Centered Life in 2006.  Mahaney seems to have become an overnight success, although it was at least 20 years in the making.

How did C.J. Mahaney become so popular among reformed Christians?  We believe C.J.’s secret to success is that he has friends in high places.  Here’s what we speculate… We believe his recognition among the “Reformed Big Dogs” began when he befriended Mark Dever, Senior Pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church, in Washington, D.C. (a church not far from Gaithersburg where CLC is located).  C.J. interviewed Mark Dever for 9Marks (a Mark Dever ministry) a couple years ago, and they established during that recorded conversation that they have known each other for 10 years.  We believe that conversation took place in 2008.  Ten years prior to that time would be have been 1998 — the year Mahaney and Tomczak parted ways.  Hmmm……..    

Mark Dever is directly connected with Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) where he serves as a trustee.  Again, mere speculation on our part, but we believe Mark introduced C.J. to Al Mohler fairly early in the Mahaney/Dever friendship because we have discovered that C.J. began making contributions to Southern Seminary in 2002 at the Leaders Associate level (annual gifts of $5,000 to $9,999).  Both C.J. and Covenant Life Church (CLC) gave at the Leaders Associate level in 2003.  From 2004 to 2007, C.J. gave at the Distinguished Associate level (annual gifts over $10,000), while CLC gave at the Leaders Associate level in 2004, 2005, and 2006.  It appears that CLC did not make a contribution in 2007; however, as “Sidney” over at SGM Survivors was quick to point out, Sovereign Grace Ministries, Gaithersburg, Maryland shows up under the heading “Businesses, Denominations and Foundations” for having given at the Distinguished Associate level (annual gifts of $10,000 or more) in 2007.  Let’s see… does SBTS classify SGM as a denomination?  No way!  Everyone knows they are a “family of churches”.  Of course, SGM is not a foundation.  Well, all that’s left is “business”.   Yep, SGM is a business…

Back to the SBTS Roll Call.  C.J. also contributed at the Distinguished Associate level (annual gifts over $10,000) in 2007.  We haven’t bothered to check contributions for subsequent years.  All of this information can be obtained from the SBTS Roll Call by following this link: 

http://www.sbts.edu/media/publications/magazine/2008Spring.pdf  (use the same e-mail address but change the year accordingly going back to 2003 to verify the above information).  Remember that the Roll Call included in the Spring edition of the SBTS magazine is for the previous year.  For example, the 2007 Roll Call is published in the 2008 SBTS magazine.  The information is stored in a PDF file, so allow a few seconds for it to be retrieved.

In addition to the annual gift levels, the SBTS Roll Call includes the “Lifetime Cumulative Gift Levels”.  On the 2005 Roll Call, C.J. Mahaney was listed as a “Patron Member” (cumulative gifts of $25,000 to $49,999).  Check out page 45 at this link:  http://www.sbts.edu/media/publications/magazine/2006Spring.pdf 

Incredibly, on the 2006 Roll Call, Mahaney has quickly risen to the level of “President’s Council” (cumulative gifts of $100,000 or more).  Check out page 43 at this link:  http://www.sbts.edu/media/publications/magazine/2007Spring.pdf

That’s quite commendable to go from being a Patron Member to a member of the President’s Council in JUST ONE YEAR!  In order to accomplish this feat, C.J. had to contribute a MINIMUM of $50,001.00 in 2006. 

Until the cumulative gift levels for the SBTS Roll Call are increased beyond the $100,000 mark, C.J. Mahaney will always be listed under “President’s Council”.  In 2007 he gave at the Distinguished Associate level (annual gifts of over $10,000), so we know that C.J. has given a MIMIMUM of $110,000 to Southern Seminary by year end 2007.  Here’s the link:  http://www.sbts.edu/media/publications/magazine/2008Spring.pdf  (C.J. is listed on page 36 for the annual gift and on page 43 for the “President’s Council”.)

How did he do it?  Here’s our theory.  Books can be BIG BUSINESS with the right endorsements!  C.J. Mahaney’s book Humility: True Greatness  is copyrighted in 2005 and includes this endorsement:

“This is the right book from the right man at the right time.”  R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

When Mahaney’s book Living the Cross Centered Life was published in 2006, Al Mohler wrote the forward.  Dr. Mohler’s endorsement begins as follows:  “The book you now hold in your hands is nothing less than a manifesto for turning your world upside down . . .” 

By following the money trail, we believe we have discovered the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  When a rather obscure charismatic (C.J. Mahaney) receives a glowing endorsement from a well-respected Baptist leader (Al Mohler), the results can be extremely profitable for both Mahaney and Southern Seminary!

Why would reformed leaders like Al Mohler, President of SBTS, endorse C.J. Mahaney who is not a Southern Baptist and who arguably is not a theologian?  We believe one of the secrets is that Mahaney’s ministry has led the way in AUTHORITARIANISM for at least THREE DECADES.  Could it be that reformed leaders are willing to endorse C.J. Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries in exchange for learning how to rule their flocks by implementing SGM’s church polity? 

Here’s where the lack of balance in Sovereign Grace Ministries comes into play.  We have done extensive research on SGM by following two blogs that are speaking out against this “family of churches”.  They are www.sgmsurvivors.com and www.sgmrefuge.com

We have read alarming testimonies written by current and former SGM members, and we have concluded that the pastors in this “family of churches” rule with an iron fist.  Patriarchy is preached and practiced in these churches, and the members are extremely fearful.  We have never seen such heavy-handed control exercised in a church setting.  As we have been following the New Calvinists, it appears they want to implement SGM “management” techniques in their own congregations.  We dare you to read a few entries on either of these anti-SGM blogs.  You will be SHOCKED just as we were.  We are praying fervently that the truth about SGM will be revealed to the entire world because our brothers and sisters in Christ are being victimized in this spiritually abusive system.

Another reason we believe high profile Christian leaders are attracted to C.J. Mahaney and thereby SGM is because they use technology extensively in marketing their ministry.  The internet presence of those associated with Sovereign Grace Ministries is absolutely ASTOUNDING!  Just search “Sovereign Grace Ministries” and you will see how effectively they have utilized the internet.  Not only does C.J. Mahaney have his own blog, but pastors maintain personal blogs which are linked to their church web sites.

Books, CDs, and conferences also play a HUGE role in the promotion of SGM.  For those of you who may not realize it, conferences are EXTREMELY LUCRATIVE!!!  Check out the cost of a ticket to one of SGM’s big events, and remember that the ticket price does not include food and lodging.  Just who is pocketing all that cash?  

It’s been fascinating to observe Christian conferences going mainstream in recent years.  Together for the Gospel (T4G) has become popular among pastor types.  In 2006, four men (the reason for the “4″ in T4G) joined forces and planned a conference in Louisville primarily for pastors.  Mark Dever, Al Mohler, Ligon Duncan (a PCA pastor), and C.J. Mahaney hold these conferences bi-annually.  SGM alternates with T4G and holds its own pastors’ conference every other year. 

In case you haven’t noticed, the number of Christian conferences has been increasing dramatically.  The secret’s out among Christian leaders that conferences are a great way to make some fast cash!  And they are a fantastic way to sell books and resources developed by the speakers.  T4G has quite a spread at each conference, and the Fab Four have brilliantly put together a compilation of what was covered at the previous conference in book form to sell to conference attendees. 

These Christian conferences are being held in select venues for different target audiences (pastors, youth, young adults, women, etc).  Many of the conferences are being used to promote CBMW’s agenda of “Biblical Manhood and Womanhood”.  The MAHANEY MONEY MACHINE is rolling along, and these reformed leaders have jumped on board!!!

C.J. Mahaney is a member of the Gospel Coalition and the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals (both associations of reformed leaders) in addition to his involvement with CBMW, and we are in disbelief that none of C.J.’s colleagues are willing to speak out against the blatant abuses that are taking place within Sovereign Grace Ministries.  When the truth about SGM is FINALLY revealed, it is highly probable that C.J. Mahaney will take some high profile reformed leaders down with him.  God is watching!!!

 

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Remember, this post was first published in May 2009.  Since that time, C.J. Mahaney’s prominence among the Reformed Big Dawgs continues to increase as evidenced by the invitation for him to speak at the 2010 SBC Pastors’ Conference.   If you decide to attend this conference, please ask yourself the following question:

Why have C.J. Mahaney and Covenant Life Church (SGM’s flagship church) contributed so much money to Al Mohler’s seminary since they are not affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention?

For those of you who are not familiar with C.J. Mahaney, check out this YouTube video which features C.J. sharing his personal testimony. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jlTLE41OMFY&feature=related    

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Here’s an extremely important “Correction” to this post, which was first published as Comment #115 at SGM Survivors  http://www.sgmsurvivors.com/?p=1455&cp=3#comments

Deb
February 10th, 2010 at 2:14 pm

Just so no one gets confused, I am the one who investigated and wrote this article about contributions to Southern Baptist Theological Seminary by C.J. Mahaney, CLC, and SGM, which was first posted at The Wartburg Watch in May 2009 and then re-posted last week. Here’s the link:

http://thewartburgwatch.com/2010/02/05/the-mahaney-money-machine/

Kris is not to be blamed in any way for the information provided here. She is simply sharing what I have discovered with her readers.

If you have a problem with it, then I recommend that you to take it up with me.

Rest assured that the financial information is 100% accurate because I printed out the SBTS Roll Call from 2002 through 2007 and have stored them in a notebook (just in case this information ever mysteriously disappears from the internet). I have not been able to access the Roll Call for 2008 or 2009, although I have tried.

Sidney alerted me to the fact that Sovereign Grace Ministries has also given to SBTS. When I researched this information last May, I was only looking for contributions from C.J. Mahaney and Covenant Life Church. Silly me… SGM gave to SBTS too! Now I have to go back and amend my post at TWW.

Let’s cut to the chase and look strictly at “Lifetime Cumulative Gift Levels” as of year end 2007.

The Roll Call 2007 lists the following contributors and their cumulative contributions:

PRESIDENT’S COUNCIL (Cumulative gifts of $100,000 or more)

Individuals

C.J. Mahaney

Businesses, Denominations and Foundations

Sovereign Grace Ministries
Gaithersburg, Maryland

SUSTAINING MEMBER (Cumulative gifts of $15,000 to $24,999)

Churches

Covenant Life Church
Gaithersburg, Maryland

It’s noteworthy to mention that PDI gave to SBTS in 2002 at the Leader’s Associate level ($5,000 to $9,999). BTW, that was the same year that Sovereign Grace Ministries came into existence.

If you want to see for yourself, go to this link:

http://www.sbts.edu/media/publications/magazine/2008Spring.pdf

Mahaney and SGM are listed on page 43, and CLC is on page 44.

Just follow the money trail…

 

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And finally, here’s a comment I posted here at TWW that confirms my theory regarding how the Mohler/Mahaney friendship came into existence.  Wish I had seen Ligon Duncan’s comment on the T4G blog BEFORE I wrote the “Mahaney Money Machine” article.  Oh well… 

Deb says:

Fri, Feb 12 10:10 p.m.

TWW’s claim in the current post: “Again, mere speculation on our part, but we believe Mark introduced C.J. to Al Mohler fairly early in the Mahaney/Dever friendship…”

Just as we theorized, Mark Dever IS the one who introduced C.J. Mahaney to Al Mohler. See Ligon Duncan’s comment below on the T4G blog at this link:

http://www.t4g.org/blog/page/3/

“T4G is a biennial conference that grew out of a set of (now Gospel friendships. Mark Dever, Al Mohler, C.J. Mahaney and I had all been friends for a number of years (Mark, Al and I have known one another since the 1980s, and Mark introduced Al and me to C.J.).”

Comments

$$$ THE MAHANEY MONEY MACHINE $$$ — 38 Comments

  1. Mahaney is right out of the Shepherding Movement of the 70′s which were horrible cults and many people were hurt. All he did was repackage the principles of that movement into SGM. The man calls himself an Apostle for crying out loud. And he is in charge and no one dares question him. He is all show and his humility is fake.

    If folks would read both SGM refuge and SGM survivors they would see there is constant shake up at SGM churches and stuff is swept under the rug. Mahaney is dangerous. But he fits right in with Mohler and comnpany. He is authoritarian and patriarchal. It is all about controlling people and being in charge. The Nicolatians have taken over.

  2. Oh, and speaking at these conferences brings in more income and sells more books. it is a business.

  3. Junkster

    It’s the aftereffects of the LSD. BTW, there’s a little problem with the LSD history.I will expand on this next week. I wonder if certain things might be exaggerated for a “cooler” testimony.

  4. Hi Lydia

    I find it interesting that there seems to be increasing ties between the Calvinistas of the SBC and Mahaney. Could a merger be in the future? We will speculate on this more in depth next week. I am so glad to have left the SBC and to be back in a Bible believing, non dogmatic on the “b” issues church. I will write more about finding freedom in Christ once again next week.
    Blessings

  5. I find it interesting that there seems to be increasing ties between the Calvinistas of the SBC and Mahaney. Could a merger be in the future?

    I do not know about a merger. But I do know the Calvinistas are big into showing big numbers on their side against the Landmarkers and mainstreamers. They make a pretense of showing unity at the convention.

    What is important to remember is that the pew sitters have no clue about any of it.

    Actually, right now, money is the big problem. They are busy beating folks up with tithing sermons. The gravy train is slowing down

  6. I am wondering whether the members of Covenant Life Church knew that they were giving money to Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, as the SBTS Roll Call clearly shows. There is a church in our area, Providence Baptist Church, that is also included on the SBTS Roll Call. I would post the same question to that congregation.

  7. A merger? What does that even mean in the context of the Southern Baptist Convention?

    Mohler and other Reformed Southern Baptists already enjoy cooperative relationships with non-SBCers like Piper and Mahaney through T4G, CBMW, etc..

    Mahaney could always steer the SGM congregations to affiliate with the SBC similar to how Falwell took Thomas Road to the SBC. But beyond that, I’m not sure what “merger” even means or could mean.

    Regarding Eternal Subordination, the impression I get from reading the last post or two here is that the authors believe that Piper, CBMW & Company pulled that doctrine out of the sky, a modern complementarian invention.

    I definitely do not agree with ES. Nor do I believe that someone with this understanding of the Trinity has to reach the exact same conclusions as Piper & company concerning gender issues. However, I think it’s rather clear that ES has strong roots among Christian theologians throughout history. You might want to check out the compilation of quotes provided by
    Peter Lumpkins

  8. Cliff,

    Thanks for your comments. Dee and I know that there is nothing new about ESS. At some point we will discuss it in depth. I believe it was judged a heresy centuries ago by theologians of that day.

    Truly, there is nothing new under the sun…

  9. Maybe it was. Maybe it wasn’t. I think Lumpkins makes a strong argument that what that the Council of Nicea condemned was something distinctly different from what is today called ESS. It is interesting though that Mr. Soul Competency, E.Y. Mullins employed the language of subordination in terms of the Trinity similar to Dagg, Boyce and curiously Millard Erickson, a prominent centrist evangelical theologian who is a proponent of both open theism and egalitarianism.

  10. Enjoying your comments. Can I put you on the spot?

    Do you believe women will be eternally subordinate to men?

  11. No. I’m an egalitarian.

    But, I also think that one (like Mullins) can arrive at the conclusion that Jesus is sometimes functionally subordinate to the Father (yet equal in essence with the Father) without also arriving at the conclusion that women are eternally subordinate to men. This is a position that a respected egalitarian like Millard Erickson reached too.

  12. My little document on the Trinity shows that all three Persons of the Trinity have “sent” another Person at some time or another, showing that they have overlapping and temporary “roles”, not permanent and mutually exclusive ones. And if God is truly One, there can be no hierarchy that is permanent; One cannot be divided in will or essence. And if there is one will, there cannot be subordination.

    The ONLY aspect in which Jesus submits to God unilaterally is as a human being, as we all submit to God. His having this dual nature is confusing to us but it answers many questions and dispenses with the notion that any divine Person can be permanently subservient to another.

    But the key is permanence. A “role”, by definition, is neither permanent nor involuntary. If someone is designated “second in command” by virtue of intrinsic qualities of being, they cannot be playing a role but instead are forced into a permanent subservience on account of their essence.

  13. Paula

    You have a good point. In fact, mutual submission in marriage is taught by the Bible. “Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church.” This is the best example of submission. Going to the cross out of love for His church. I believe the Trinity shows us the perfect example of mutual submission. Remember, some doctrines are founded as a “proof” to elevate “B” issues to primary importance.In my opinion, in this case. a bunch of men wanted to “prove” that women would always be subordinate to men, even in heaven. Hence, this “new” doctrine.

  14. “Regarding Eternal Subordination, the impression I get from reading the last post or two here is that the authors believe that Piper, CBMW & Company pulled that doctrine out of the sky, a modern complementarian invention.”

    Not at all. Read Kevin Giles’ books on this subject. He writea about the history of this doctrine. He also shows how many of the quotes these guys use from early church fathers ae edited to show ESS for all eternity. The biggest concern of mine from reading them in not only ESS but CBMW and other venues is how easy it is for them to twist quotes and scripture. I really think these men are so arrogant they do not expect folks to test everything they are taught by them. And of course, they will rarely engage anyone whom they think is below them.

  15. I’m glad I’m not the only one who got that.

    And Dee… Vulcans would never say “dudes”. I would think a knowledgeable person such as yourself would know that!

    Oh and comparing Jean-Luc Piccard to Mahaney? That’s an insult to Jean-Luc!

  16. LIse
    Did you ever see the episode when Spock ( a repeat was also done on Voyager with Tuvok) when they got in touch with their baser emotions? I am sure I heard one of them say “Duuuuuude”. How’s Germany? I know your parents miss you. We are thinking about willing the blog to you in the event of any trials of heresy and subsequent burning by the YE crowd.

  17. Lydia
    Presupposition is the name of the game. My husband and I are teaching a class at our new church on the debate in creationism. Thankfully, our new church is filled with many bright individuals who allow for a variety of beliefs within this subject. (We are finally free of the legalists).

    One thing that jumped out at us is how Ken Ham views everything with his legalist view of wooden interpretation. If astrological data clearly show an expanding universe, he says we are mistaken because the Bible says it can’t be true. I recently heard a YE creationist who said the earth was surrounded by a heavenly ocean of water which was finally cleared out be the flood. They have to come up with bizarre theories in order to hold onto a difficult proposition.

    That is what is happening with ESS. The presupposition is that the Calvinistas wish women to be eternally subordinate to men because they believe that men must always be in a dominant position. So ESS had to be invented to give justification to their restrictive doctrines regarding women. I have an idea that a few of these guys may be quite surprised in heaven.God created women with intellect for a reason and I think He might be upset with those who sought to silence 50% of his people.

  18. I agree that Ham is a hard-core Calvinista and I despise his ties with Vision Forum. He is a legalist, but as a YEC I don’t believe it requires one to be legalistic. It’s a shame that so many are male supremacists, but don’t make the mistake of assigning guilt by association; legalism is not at all related to YEC.

    The literal/historical/grammatical hermeneutic is not “woodenly literal” but considers all aspects of these various layers of context. The Hebrew repetition of “evening and morning, day n” is why I take creation week literally, along with the fact that the 10 C’s and Jesus and all NT references to it treat it literally. To hear some Hebrew-centric teachers, one would think that the Hebrews were incapable of dealing with facts at all, and only ever wrote poetically. I think they were smarter than that.

    As for the expanding universe, there are several verses (mostly Psalms I think) that use the phrase “stretched out the heavens”. And one notable physicist, Dr. Russell Humphreys, has a very interesting theory about how Einstein’s relativity calcs justify the stretching of time as well, such that a billion years of starlight travel could easily happen in one earth rotation. The General Relativity theory depends wholly on one’s starting assumptions, and you can get either an old or young universe depending on where you start. The problem is with those starting assumptions, not the science or math.

    So an expanding universe is no problem at all for YEC. In fact, it’s more of a problem for OEC, because if the universe is billions of years old, then the “arms” of distant galaxies should have dissipated long ago into featureless clouds, to cite just one of the problems. Others have calculated that there is not nearly enough mass in the universe to account for what we find, but I’d have to dig through my old notes to find that. And there is a link I can get to a document signed by many scientists, atheists included, who no longer believe in the Big Bang, but prefer a “plasma” model of the universe.

    I’ve been all over YEC lit for many years, and I have yet to see one reputable YEC claim that science is in conflict with scripture. Rather, they say that science is in conflict with evolutionism. Also, the “water vapor canopy” theory was offered for a time as a possibility, but most have abandoned it. Personally, since there is scriptural mention of “waters above the firmament” after the Flood, I see no reason why it can’t be something like a band of ice in the far reaches of space. I wonder sometimes if this could explain the presence of comets.

    I can supply some excellent links and book titles if anyone is interested.

  19. Paula

    We have no problems whatsoever if anyone wishes to believe the earth is young. My husband has a science background and was the Young Investigator of the Year for the American College of Cardiology. We have many friends, all Christians, all PhDs and all believe in an old earth or theistic evolution.

    Here is the problem. If YE is so easily provable, there would be some nonChristian scientists who would believe in a young earth. Absolutely none do and to paint all of them as politically limited is unfair. Humans love to disagree and there is no doubt that some scientists would challenge the status quo.Also, well over 98% of all Christian scientists believe in, at the minimum, of an old earth. I can also say, many of them, m husband for one, has read extensively the YE position via AIG, Discovery Institute, Kurt Wise, Humphreys, etc.For us and them, the science does not make sense and appears to be based on presuppositions. We have read it all-on both sides.

    But, that is fine. The problems with some YE types is the assumption that OE is a sell out. It most certainly is not.And some day, in heaven, the truth will be known. God is far more complex and definitely beyond our wildest imaginings. We all need to get along and respect one another in spite of our disagreement in this area.
    Blessings

  20. Of course I strongly disagree with the claim that few non-Christian scientists disbelieve in an ancient earth. They just don’t “come out” for fear of losing their careers, and this isn’t an idle threat, but the norm. Even atheists who merely express doubt are vilified by their own peers. Truth is not found through popularity or majority vote, as you know. The science of a young earth and universe does “make sense” to many very well-educated and experienced scientists; conversely, we should note that only the old earth side ever resorts to the courts to keep certain embarrassing facts out of the science classroom.

    But that’s all I’ll say.

  21. Paula
    I disagree. Just a few men couldn’t keep Watergate a secret. Here in NC just a couple of folks couldn’t keep John Edwards liasons a secret. I don’t believe that there are a majority of people sitting on and hiding evidence of a young earth. There is always the guy or woman who marches to a different drummer, even amongst the nonChristians. My Christian husband and Christians friends are among them.There simply is not any strong evidence of a young earth.

    But, in my mind, it doesn’t matter if folks want to believe in it. This Sunday I am teaching a class on the conflicts in the creation movement and what the underlying issues are. This has been a hot subject for me since the day a group of angry, ugly YE types invaded a class where we were fairly presenting both sides of this argument and disrupted the class. I know a great deal about this as does my husband.

    We are perfectly willing to listen to all evidence and believe that all evidence should be presented. In fact, I bet our group of friends could clearly express all of the AIGs talking points, studies, etc. In fact, one of our friends knows most of the studies on the site.We just think the science is not strong on the YE side.

    This is the case for the vast majority of Christian scientists. Most of those wish to honor God and his Word. And they do and believe the Bible does not offer contradictory evidence to an ancient universe. We are not deceived, scared to be condemned,etc.All of us would gladly be condemned if we believed the evidence pointed that way. Most of our livelihoods are NOT dependent on the good will of naturalistic atheists and we would willingly make a stand. In fact, we would be appalled to be accused of sitting on the truth. We serve the Truth. We actually believe that evidence simply does not make the case for a young earth.

    Please do not put my husband, my friends, and lots of good Christians into some sort of dumping ground of “those who cave to popularity.” If you knew us you would know that is not the truth. In fact, there are a few pastors who would testify (quite ruefully) that we never take the popular road, only the road that we believe leads to the One who is the Truth.

  22. Dee,

    There are many real and vast conspiracies in the world, and it’s a fact of history that big secrets can be kept by a lot of people for a very long time.

    But this is not a “want to believe” issue, which I feel as insulted by as you do about my allegedly insinuating that you or your husband “cave to popularity”. If you knew me you would know that I am not the type to just “want to believe”, nor to insult people deliberately.

    But I have lost all tolerance for people taking offense at such little things that are misunderstandings. They always assume the worst about me and I’m not taking that anymore. Please forgive any offense, as none was intended, but I will bow out of the conversations here so it can’t happen again.

  23. ROFL!

    If CJ is Picard then Jeff Purswell or Dave Harvey must be Ricker, #2. Let’s make’m both #2.5! Josh Harris would do nicely as Wesley Crusher.

    ‘course humility would prevent CJ from being #1. Drat, the numbering scheme is messed up now!

    Heading for the nearest transporter,
    Former SG Pastor

  24. Hi Former SG Pastor

    At the risk of sounding stupid, wasn’t Riker #1 which would make CJ above #1 which would fit right into his head apostle stance. Also, IMNHO, Picard was the greatest of all captains. One observation though, despite the fact that they can cure cancer in the future, they still haven’t cured male pattern baldness which would make CJ and his bald Mahaniacs quite happy, I think.

    Now, here is a hard one. Who could be the Borg Queen? And one of my all time favorites, Data, the android who wishes he were human? I bet you might have some candidates.

    Agreed on Harris for Crusher. The only thing, though, they got rid of Crusher when he went off with the Time Traveler which probably meant he kissed dating good-bye. Too bad that isn’t possible.

    Finally, who could be Q, the thorn in the side of Picard?
    Now, for a true story, promise, I became a Christian at 17 during an episode of Star Trek. Cross my heart.

  25. You are right! Riker was #1! He was the 1st Officer. I agree with you; Picard was the best with Sisko from DS9 as a close second for me.

    Borg Queen? Hmmmm …
    Data is easy. He wanted to be like Picard and the rest. Here the ranks run deep at SGM. If you could go to T4G in a couple of months you’d see many CJ wannabes.

    Q – can we nominate a couple or 3 blogs?

    Saved during ST? Do tell, do tell.

    Another bald fictional character worth mentioning – Dr Evil from Austin Powers. Just something to ponder … ROFL!

  26. I think Worf would be a good character to match. “Today is a good day to die.” Who is the SGM character most likely to throw himself under the bus for CJ?

    As a teenager growing up in a nominal religious home, I used to be fascinated by the stars and the universe. I used to think that it would be wonderful to jump on spaceship and just go out into universe, seeing all there was. That is why I loved Star Trek. Underneath it all was a longing to see beauty and to understand what it was all about.

    So, one night I was reading an article in Life magazine called “The Groovy Christians of Rye New York” (now you know how old I am). In the article some teen commented that faith wasn’t a religion but a relationship with Jesus. I was stunned. I was watching Star Trek at the same time. Suddenly it all made sense. This universe was created for a purpose by a God who loved me. That all made sense to a confused teen who loved dreaming of the stars. So, during the episode, I said I believed. It was kind of a simple conversion. I didn’t know about a sinners prayer or even how it all worked. Yet I knew it was about Jesus.

    The following week I went to a small high school Sunday school class I attended off and on in a very dead church. The leaders, however, were two folks from Gordon Conwell that were trying to reach out to some very uninterested teenagers. They read 1 John1 and asked us if we knew what it meant. Until this time, I never understood what I was reading.But, this time I knew. I raised my hand and starting talking about emerging from the darkness into the light. Their jaws dropped and after the class asked if something had happened. In my simple fashion, I said, I believe now.

    I don’t think CJ would have liked this conversion. I didn’t understand the depths of my sin yet I knew He forgave me and that I was free in Christ.

    Someday I hope God will let me see all the awesome sights in the universe.I would love to see what a black hole is all about and see Andromeda. Maybe He will also let me see if He created other beings in other places and what that all means with salvation and the Fall.

    Kind of a unique story, huh?

    I am so sorry for you. A former SGM pastor, huh? I know it must be painful but you have escaped. Don’t forget, no matter what happened, God wanted you to be a pastor no matter what the Mahaniacs have said. And He is the Author of the call, not some egotistical patriarch.

  27. Riker = Al Mohler
    Data = any of the CJ wannabes (young guys who shave their heads & have positronic brains full of mush)
    Borg Queen = symbolic of woman preachers
    Worf = Voddie Baucham

  28. TWW’s claim in the current post: “Again, mere speculation on our part, but we believe Mark introduced C.J. to Al Mohler fairly early in the Mahaney/Dever friendship…”

    Just as we theorized, Mark Dever IS the one who introduced C.J. Mahaney to Al Mohler. See Ligon Duncan’s comment below on the T4G blog at this link:

    http://www.t4g.org/blog/page/3/

    “T4G is a biennial conference that grew out of a set of (now 8) Gospel friendships. Mark Dever, Al Mohler, C.J. Mahaney and I had all been friends for a number of years (Mark, Al and I have known one another since the 1980s, and Mark introduced Al and me to C.J.).”

  29. “The Gathering of Believers (now Covenant Life Church) in Gaithersburg, Maryland was formally established in 1982 according to the Wikipedia article on SGM; however, the Wikipedia article for Covenant Life Church states that it was established in 1977, so we’re not really sure”

    The Gathering of Believers started in 1977 as an extension of the TAG (Take And Give) ministry which was started earlier as a Tuesday night weekly teaching at Christ Church in Washington DC.

    I was there.

    Mark

  30. Thanks for the accurate information, Mark. Are you still involved with what has become Sovereign Grace Ministries?

  31. Deb,

    I left in 1982 in the face of what I felt were growing contradictions in the “movement”. My reasons for leaving were complex, but this was an important factor.

    Mark

  32. Mark,

    Thanks for checking back and answering my question. Tomorrow I’ll be posting about the growing trend of hyper-authoritarianism. I hope you’ll check it out and chime in with any first-hand information that could be beneficial to our readers. It’s with a very heavy heart that I share what I’m discovering.