At long last T4G 2010 is almost here!  Looks like around 7,000 attendees will be heading to Louisville next week for what will certainly be dubbed as the “best ever Christian pastors’ conference…” 


It’s great when one of the Gospel Coalition bloggers features this upcoming conference on his blog.  Check it out.




According to Kevin’s DeYoung’s post, the planning of Together for the Gospel falls squarely on the shoulders of three key individuals at 9Marks and Sovereign Grace Ministries.  And Joshua Harris confirms this on his blog by writing: “Sovereign Grace Ministries has the privilege of organizing and running the conference.”  Here’s an excerpt from Josh’s blog at the Covenant Life Church website:




"The theme for T4G 2010 is “The (Unadjusted) Gospel”—how Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, proclaims a message that’s the same yesterday, today, and forever—and why we should do likewise.

Main session speakers for the event include R.C. Sproul, John Piper, Al Mohler, C.J. Mahaney, John MacArthur, Ligon Duncan, Mark Dever and Thabiti Anyabwile. The event will be held April 13-15 at the Kentucky International Convention Center.

Sovereign Grace Ministries has the privilege of organizing and running the conference. If you would like to volunteer to serve not only all the pastors of our churches, but the diverse body of believers that will be gathered to celebrate the gospel, contact Paul Medler for more information.”


Based on Josh’s request for church members to “serve”, we wonder how many of the T4G volunteers will be from Covenant Life Church and other SGM churches.  Quite a few we would imagine…  It takes a lot of manpower to run a conference with 7,000 attendees! 

Here’s where many SGM volunteers will likely be positioned – the MEGA T$G (oops, I did it again!) T4G Bookstore.  Someone who attended the 2008 conference was thoughtful enough to record his bookstore experience and post it on YouTube – probably so that those who didn’t attend can see what they’re missing.  As he pans around to show how incredibly HUGE the space is, he comments:  “Now this is what you call a bookstore!”

Each of these videos is around 10 minutes long, but definitely worth watching!  It's just like being there, but much less expensive!  Be sure to see the end of Part 2, starting at the 9-1/2 minute mark.     

Part 1: The Bookstore


Part 2:  More Bookstore


Part 3:  Bookstore to the Sanctuary



We leave you with the following questions:

Do churches pick up 100% of their pastor’s tab?

What happens to the profits from this hugely successful event?

Since T4G is now attracting over 7,000 attendees, why not have it every year?  


T4G BOOKSTORE – CHECK IT OUT!!! — 60 Comments

  1. One has to wonder how much the booths rented for. All the ususal suspects were there including Ligoneir. (Amazing how Ligonier was able to ride out their last financial and legal scandal considering Sprouls own study Bible taught against the very things he did!)

    The reason they do not have this every year is because it would start competing with all their other conferences. Most of them have a conference every year such asdesiringGod, etc.

  2. I was going to post this on the last blog entry, but decided to post here.

    Dee, it is not wrong to know your pastor’s salary.

    It is very easy, especially in Baptist Churches for everyone to have an opinion about how much the pastor should make and to be vocal about it – based basically what they, the lay people make.

    But just because that kind of loud and legalistic culture may exist is no excuse for failure to disclose.

    Having said that, very few people in our church have ever asked. We don’t go over individual salaries in public meetings, but we tell everyone that every check, every penny, every piece of info is available to members. They just never ask.

    Btw, I asked one of the guys in our church about T4G. He is going. I floated the idea of how much it cost $250, and whether that bothered him. He said, “No. They give away about 20 books to each person who attends.” So, he thought it was a good deal.

    I asked him how much money it brings in. He did not know. I said that 5000 at $250 is $1,250,000. He said that 7000 will attend this year. That is not too far from the numbers at the SBC. He did mention that a lot of those attending may be the younger guys who get to go for $90. OK. 7000 at $90 is only $630,000.

    At first he thought that there were lots of expenses. Then I asked if he was paying for his lodging, meals etc. I then suggested that renting out the hall and the cost of the books (which are not doubt at a greatly reduced price – 5000 out of the first print of the book – not sure how much the publisher charges for that) would not be that great. I asked him how much the speakers made. He did not know. I asked him if T4G was a separate legal corporation. He did not know. He thought it was, but that it is run out of Mark Dever’s church.

    “Together for the Gospel” is a Washington, DC registered non- profit corporation. The registered agent is F. Matthew Schmucker. He is also the director of 9 Marks Ministries. So, my friend knew more than I thought. The only copyright for “Together for the Gospel” came back as music, and it was registered to Sovereign Grace Ministries. So, apparently Mahaney let them use the name.

    It’s clear that what drives people to go to conference like this – personal challenge and growth. People will go and will spend money on things that matter to them, and they will not look to hard “under the hood” so to speak unless an issue arises. I am sure that there is much good “under the hood” related to this conference. I respect Dever, Mohler. I don’t know Mahaney or Duncan.

    I believe that all religious organizations would benefit from a culture of disclosure.

  3. Remember the blog discussion about how much booths rent for at FBC Jax Pastors Conference?

    Conferences, conferences, conferences. So many to attend, so little time.

  4. I paid only $160 for T4G registration. I got a couple of discounts (early bird and group discount). The hotel rooms are really the major expense (but T4G has negotiated discounts with the nearby hotels). I am catching a ride with some local pastors for the 1,000 mile roadtrip, and will pay for some of the gas.

    My church is not paying for any of my expenses. Some pastors set up a conference expense reimbursement account with their churches, but this usually is deducted from the “total package” that pastors receive. Pastors do this for the tax deduction. I have been a pastor for 12 years, and this will be the first time I have been to a big out-of-state conference.

    Usually at conferences like this it is the publishers who are selling the books, not the conference organization. Usually the publishers give away a lot of free books or sell books at a significant discount. It is a form of loss-leading marketing by the publishers. They get free publicity from blogs like Challies.com, and they get the books into the hands of influential people.

    I am looking forward to getting about 20-25 free books from T4G and Band of Bloggers. I may buy a few books at the conference, but only if the publishers are offering major discounts. I will enjoy looking at the bookstore primarily because it will have a lot of books that are not carried by the average Lifeway or Mardel. I live in an isolated rural area, so this will be a real highlight of the conference for me.

    I doubt that I will get in the habit of going to big out-of-state conferences every year. It is easier and much cheaper simply to download the audio or buy the DVD. Nevertheless, I really look forward to going to T4G this year. I will get to hear some great speakers, and hopefully I will see some old friends that I have seen in several years. Conferences like this are often like class reunions for pastors.

    In recent years, I have had to listen to some really dull and poorly-informed speakers at SBC association meetings and state convention meetings. In contrast, the T4G speakers are all engaging and well-informed. This is the big reason for the success of conferences like T4G – NOT some conspiracy by the conference speakers to get rich off of rich pastors who supposedly manipulate their church members into paying all their expenses.

    Leaders in other professions have trade shows and continuing education courses all the time, and nobody thinks anything of it. But apparently when pastors do it, they are part of some grand conspiracy.

    I will admit that some younger pastors do seem to go to a lot of conferences. I wonder where they get the money, but this probably just reflects poor stewardship on their part – the same guys are also going into debt to buy iPads!

  5. Jeff, If you were a Christian publisher and wanted to sell books, what would be the most effective way to get them sold? Have a pastor tell his sheep what he is reading. It is that simple…and VERY effective. Which is why you get free books.

    And people go to these conferences to be around the celebrities. Would you go to all this trouble and expense to go hear Mark Thomas and Howard Dorchester? Of course not. They are nobodies.

    Continuing ed for any believer is at your finger tips and on your knees. :o)

  6. Anonymous

    Thanks for your input. I think most people are intimidated to ask what their pastor makes. They fact that they have to ask makes them feel that maybe they have no business doing so. I only know one guy who had the guts to ask in a previous church.

    I think that the salaries should be posted in some sort of packet which outlines salary, expense accounts, housing allowance, etc. This should also include the amount of time that the pastor is expected to devote to his congregation in a typical week, how many conferences, speaking engagements, etc he is expected to attend.

    Why should anyone feel uncomfortable about this. They expect their members to contribute generously. And so they should be accountable to those who sacrifice to give. There should be no need to ask what a pastor makes. It should be provided in a regular report to the church.I agree with you that disclosure should be the norm.

    As for T4G, do you feel uncomfortable listening to a man like Mahaney whose ministry has spawned several “survivors” sites? Did you know that Josh Harris said that they are the ones who plan and run the meeting? Do you wonder why Dever and Mohler associate with such a man?

  7. Hi Jeff
    Thank you for your insightful information.

    I am not a conspiracy theorist. In fact, I despise them.However, there are agendas and motives. To quote a favorite pastor of mine, ” On my best days, my motives are mixed.”

    I am no longer a Baptist but would imagine that they have the same number of good speakers and bad speakers just like the Calvinistas. However, does being a good speaker constitute good practice? Take Mahaney, for example. He supposedly speaks well although I do not find him appealing. I have heard him speak in person.Perhaps I see the faces of those who have been hurt so badly by his ministry of Sovereign Grace Ministries or in his previous permutations in PDI or shepherding.

    Do you wonder how such a man who presents himself so well seems to be plagued by so many accusations of abuse within his ministry-see sgmrefuge or survivors. Is it all just “gossip?”

    As for books in a remote area, have you checked out Amazon? They often offer books far cheaper than Lifeway. They also have a great used book section.

    BTW, these guys who are speaking are doing extremely well in the finance department. Do you think that is an unintended consequence? Lydia has a point.

    I think the majority of people who attend are sincere in their intents. I think it is admirable that you are paying your own way.You are sacrificing so much to attend. I would be interested in knowing how much the speakers are being paid and if they are speaking on their own time or the time they are supposed to be leading their church.My guess they are sacrificing far less than you are.

    I would love to hear what you think of the conference. If you have time, let us know. I wish you God’s blessings on your travels and your time at the conference. Perhaps you will prove our concerns unfounded.

  8. ‘As for books in a remote area, have you checked out Amazon? They often offer books far cheaper than Lifeway. They also have a great used book section.’

    Amazon is very cheap, but it is still more fun to browse books at a bookstore than just to look at them online. If the conference bookstore does not offer discounts similar to Amazon, I will probably wait until later to order any books I am interested in.

    I enjoy Mahaney in small doses, but I have only listened to him about 10 times (usually because he was speaking at a conference I downloaded), while I have listened to guys like Dever and Piper hundreds of times on cassettes or downloads. I became really interested in the Calvinist movement beginning in 1992, and I never heard much about Mahaney until 2004, when he started showing up everywhere. I doubt that I will ever be much of Mahaney fan because I prefer more educated pastors, and Sovereign Grace churches seem to be legalistic about certain things.

  9. If the publishers want to give me free books, I am not going to complain. I rarely recommend books to my church and I don’t have a blog, so the publishers will not get much marketing value out of me.

    Pastors go to conferences partly to hear celebrity pastors. But they also go because they like the idea of a fun road trip with fellow pastors, and because they want to see old friends and network with new acquaintances. It is also fun to look at a well-stocked bookstore. In my case, I live in an isolated rural area where there are very few people interested in Reformed theology, and it is encouraging to see that there is actually a larger movement going on.

    I am too poor and live in too isolated an area to ever become much of a prolific conference attender. But if I have some money saved up and know some people who are going, I will probably go to a conference like T4G once every few years.

  10. Jeff
    Both Dever and Piper maintain a close friendship with Mahaney. They surely know about the issues in his ministry. My question is why these “friends” let Mahaney off the hook. Does it have to do with the fact he pushes their books and conferences? Friends don’t let other friends abuse.And their friendship has been going on for years. Something is wrong and I can’t figure it out. When I found out that a church was treating a wonderful family poorly, my husband and I let them know how we felt and walked out of the church, never to return. Maybe the big boys are just too “godly” for such a stand?

  11. Jeff, you expressed what I have heard from many people who attend t4g. They enjoy it. They enjoy the teaching. I have never heard Mahaney teach. I have heard Mohler and Dever. They are good speakers. They are substantive. They are educated. They have a passion for helping and equipping pastors. From what I have heard about the topics at t4g, it sounds good to me.

    The free books you mentioned are also a draw for my friends, well worth the $250 price, so they say.

    Dee, I have never heard Mahaney, so I can’t answer the first question. I seriously doubt that Mohler and Dever think that Mahaney is “running” the conference. As I mentioned above, “Together for the Gospel” is a DC registered corporation run out of Dever’s church by one of Dever’s staff.

    Mahaney and Harris, I’m sure, enjoy sharing the stage with big brains who have real PhDs. I don’t think that Mohler and Dever need Mahaney. I don’t understand the friendship. But I never understood why Billy Graham let liberals pray and speak at this crusades. He said it was to broaden the tent so he could get more people of different backgrounds to come. But Graham never explained his friendship with these types, much to Bob Jones’ Sr.’s displeasure.

    Maybe the same tradition continues.

  12. Annonymous

    There is a big difference wit having some liberal pray at a conference and having someone lecture on how to be a good pastor/Christian whose churches have been accused of abuse.Please read Noel’s story at sgmsurvivors to get a taste for what I mean.

    Dever is not some distant friend. He is very close friends with Mahaney and has been instrumental in getting him in with the “in crowd.”In fact, Dever would be quite happy to allow Mahaney to run the conference because of their extremely close association.

    Al Mohler’s seminary is taking in lots of money from SGM and Mahaney much to the consternation of SGM members. Why would a nonBaptist being giving money to Mohler’s seminary? Did you know that Mahaney makes graduates of SBC attend his Bible lite (9 month)Pastor’s College) since he obviously feels that the SBC is lacking in training (including Mohler’s seminary)? Follow the money- we have proof for what we say regarding the money flow. Please see our story on the Mahaney Money Machine.

    Mohler’s seminary is also producing some highly questionable doctrine-the Eternal Subordination of the Son (ESS) which is being used to declare that women are therefore eternally subordinated to men throughout eternity. Frankly, this is a bit bizarre and seems to indicate that there is a deeper agenda than producing good pastors. (I am not saying a conspiracy-mind you).

    Once again, I raise the question. Why in the world is Mahaney being allowed so much visibility and influence. Could it be money or could it be that they all agree with Mahaney’s rather dubious methods for “controlling” the flock?

    I beg all pastors and leaders attending this conference to ask these questions.Please do not bury your heads in the sand. You are listening to a man that has a history. There are serious issues being raised in Mahaney’s “family of churches” and these issues are not merely doctrinal disputes. We are talking pain being inflicted on the flock according to the numerous sites dedicated to writing about such matters. There are too many accusations to ignore and the finger points back to Mahaney-“the worst sinner in the world” (his words, not mine).(Mahaney wishes to be thought of as a modern day Paul and in fact is designated the head apostle (yep, that’s right) of his “family of churches.” )

    And just to reiterate, I am not, nor ever have been a member of SGM (thank God) but have read too much and have visited said churches to ignore this stuff. Just remember, Graham was never accused of abuse.

  13. A couple of notes:

    Guys like Piper and Dever have said that they do not spend much time on the internet, and I believe them. I spend a lot of time on the internet, and I was not aware of anti-SGM websites until about a month ago. Do you really think that Piper and Dever have even seen anti-SGM websites? That is a pretty obscure corner of the internet.

    “Why would a nonBaptist being giving money to Mohler’s seminary?”

    Since Mohler came to Southern, a large number of the students have been non-SBC. Mahaney likes what Southern is doing and gives money to it. Seminaries always need more money and will take it from people outside their denomination.

    “Mohler’s seminary is also producing some highly questionable doctrine-the Eternal Subordination of the Son (ESS)”

    Egalitarians have been trying to say that eternal subordination of the Son is some recent innovation by complementarians in the last 30 years. This sounded unlikely to me, so I began looking at some older authors on this issue and found that it is not a recent innovation. For example, Charles Hodge was arguing for the eternal subordination of the Son in his Systematic Theology written in the 1870s.

  14. Mahaney would never have been accepted into this group unless they had gone reformed. And this was after they (whatever their name was at the time) had told their folks they were the REAL church. then they went reformed. So were they real before or after the change? It was basically an edict.

    But Mahaney needed some credibility to be accepted. (And yes, it is HIS movement)But that is a problem for thinkers. Who ever heard of a Charismatic Reformed? It is cognative dissonance. Reformed are cessationists. It is part of their doctrine so the ‘prophecy mic’ kinds of fades into the background at SGM where it used to be front and center.

    Nevermind all the sexual abuse and horror stories of how folks were treated. As this blogger http://spiritualtyranny.com/family-member-tomczak-responds/ says:

    Notice how powerful the redefined reality is: two stories of sexual molestation on this blog alone, where the abused were ousted and the offenders were embraced. So potent is this redefinition that as near as I can tell fathers were willing to suck up the injustice, and fade into the background. (As a father I would never sleep, heaping tons of grief on any “leadership” that could justify such insanity. I would rail and expose and expose and rail until they too were awake at night with the clatter, and grieved for having ever met me. And I would revile any preacher who even hints that they get to stand unopposed in their lunacy. But maybe that is just me.)

    For those of you who do not know….Tomczak started PDI with Mahaney years ago and was ousted.

  15. “Guys like Piper and Dever have said that they do not spend much time on the internet, and I believe them. I spend a lot of time on the internet, and I was not aware of anti-SGM websites until about a month ago. Do you really think that Piper and Dever have even seen anti-SGM websites? That is a pretty obscure corner of the internet.”

    Jeff, “They” do not spend a lot of time on the internet but they have guys that do and keep them informed. It takes a while to figure it out but they generically respond to certain things out on the blogpsphere all the time. But they can say with all truthfulness ‘they’ do not read the blogs.I worked with one big wig who had a full time person who did nothing but look for problems/trends on the internet.

    But that still begs the question.Mahaney’s credentials for this club are two things: Calvinism and a big following. Other than that, they simply do not care.

    “Since Mohler came to Southern, a large number of the students have been non-SBC. Mahaney likes what Southern is doing and gives money to it. Seminaries always need more money and will take it from people outside their denomination.”

    boy, this is true. The joke here is that it is the Southern Presbyterian Seminary. Mahaney most likely gives to be accepted even more. But think about this…a group that teaches men to be the leader and wives not to work within the last year laid off quite a few professional husbands. But wait…it gets better. They spent 9 million during the same period on a beautifying program for the campus. And the leaders took NO cuts even though they have quite a few streams of income with books, speaking gigs, etc.

    These husbands laid off had to go on food stamps and several lost their homes. They had good seminary wives who were homeschooling the kids. No health insurance, either. And this was done at the beginning of a very bad economy. But the seminary had 9 mill to spend on landscaping and paint.

    I do NOT call that Christian leadership. Campus image was more important than peoples lives. But I know, business is business, right?

    “Egalitarians have been trying to say that eternal subordination of the Son is some recent innovation by complementarians in the last 30 years. This sounded unlikely to me, so I began looking at some older authors on this issue and found that it is not a recent innovation. For example, Charles Hodge was arguing for the eternal subordination of the Son in his Systematic Theology written in the 1870s.”

    It is older than that…goes back to the Arians.

  16. I am not sure if this is the case with Southern, but often wealthy donors give large donations to seminaries that are designated towards buildings and landscaping and can only be used for that purpose. So it is not uncommon to see seminaries build and remodel buildings and improve landscaping while the operating budget is in a deficit. Many big donors would rather give to something tangible and enduring like a building (on which their name can be displayed) than give to the operating budget.

  17. This blog may try to be anti-fundamentalist, but it really employs the same guilt-by-association logic and second-degree separatism as fundamentalism. In this case, it goes something like this:

    (1) Some anonymous, obscure, bitter-sounding bloggers have said that Mahaney and Sovereign Grace pastors are mean.
    (2) Mahaney is associated with Piper, Dever, Mohler, etc.
    (3) Therefore, people who have followed Piper, Dever, and Mohler since the mid-1990s (10 years before they had even heard of Mahaney) should now disassociate themselves from Piper, Dever, Mohler, etc.

  18. Since I know the situation (a few trustees) I know a few phone calls could have been made. We love our buildings more than people. And the leaders most certainly did NOT take a cut when the money was drying up and they had to lay off 35 people.

    Jeff, I get a bit tired of the excuses. (BTW: Most of the 35 were known to NOT be Calvinists.)

  19. So, I guess you are one of those dads who never says to their kids: Be careful who you associate with.

    SGM pastors are not only mean, they embraced perverts and blamed victims calling them hateful, unforgiving and bitter.

    Now, you are calling the victims and those who blog about them obscure, bitter, etc. You know the drill well. You have learned it well from your masters.

  20. Jeff-

    And you have just minimized victims by claiming that they are all bitter, obscure (meaning-not important), and anonymous…quite a few of those who post use their full names, have posted their emails, and some have even posted phone numbers….

    Not a fair characterization on your part….

  21. Jeff

    You are taking this in the wrong direction. In fact, you are using the tactics of spiritual abusive churches although I am not saying that you are abusive (repeat the last 7 words a few times).

    1. The tactic of name calling using one of the mandatory top 5 usual words: bitter.(yawn)

    2. Attempting to minimize one who critiques: bitter, anonymous, obscure (ps, if you know about the internet beyond the basics, you know that it is easy to get my full name in about three steps). So take the time to do so,.

    For steps one and two, please read The Subtle Tyranny of Spiritual Abuse and think about it. Then, instead of using the same old ho-hum tactics, become more creative and really think about what we are trying to do. You seem intelligent. Please go beyond the mediocre, Mahaneyesque in your assessment.

    3.Mahaney is not just “associated with” Dever and Mohler. They are good friends and that is their words. Friends, not associates.
    4. I taught Piper’s Desiring God and enjoy it. I do not feel his more recent efforts have been perfect. In fact, neither does he. He has just stepped down to deal with some issues in his own life.
    5. We have never said to disassociate yourself from Piper, Dever, etc. In fact, we want you to do just the opposite. Question them. Question their relationships. Be part of the solution instead of distant admirers.Do the hard thing not the “nice” thing. Or would it be just a little too hard to question one of the men you admire?

    C’mon, Jeff. Give it a break and dialogue. Name calling is usually the last bastion of the unimaginative.

  22. Good one Lydia. They actually deny that this was one of the reason for the big fight at the Council of Nicea. However, that is like calling chickens, poultry, and then denying that they are chickens.

  23. Jeff
    Did you ever think that they could ask the donor to allow the money to be used for faculty and scholarships and still name a building after them? I suspect that many seminaries like the infrastructure to be pretty because it is much easier to beautify the outside instead of cleaning up the inside. (Whoops- call me bitter again).

  24. Musicman
    You are correct. He insults all of you who do identify yourselves.Just remember, insults show an inability t clearly communicate ones ideas something that you have done quite well.

  25. Lydia
    This is an excellent comment. I challenge everyone who dos not like what they read on this blog to read the stories on sexual molestation as well as the ridiculous ouster of Tomcazk. I know of a situation in a previous church that hit the papers around here a month ago. A man who was heavily into child pornography-torture stuff and all- “became a Christian” prior to his sentencing. This church pastor went to court to extoll this man’s good name and how he had turned his life around in just a short number of months. (Egads, how naive are these guys)?! He asked that the man not be sent to jail immediately because he needed to spend more time getting his house in order! Not one word was said about the tortured children. This attitude is sick. When someone smiles sweetly and says “I’m sorry” some pastors think that the “cure” has come.Rehabilitation and payment to society takes years and the man should be glad that he lives here. he would have been executed in some Muslims countries.

  26. Jeff
    Why does Mahaney like what Southern is doing? Think about it and then ask another question. Why does Mohler like what Mahaney is doing? What do they both get out of it. Now, did you know that SGM members have just learned about Mahaney’s donations and are surprised and concerned. You see, Mahaney used to emphasize the charismatic gifts. Now, some have reported there is a subtle shift to deemphasize the gifts and speculation is that it is occurring so Mahaney might “fit in” with his new best friends.Go to sgm survivors and read for yourself.

  27. Jeff
    I have been ordering books on Amazon for about 12 years. What is so interesting is that the Amazon engine watches what you buy and the suggests books in the same genre. it sometimes scares me how well Amazon has me pegged.

    You can also read the first chapter of most books, read reviews, participate in forums that discuss that book, see the front cover, back cover, and flaps. I do far more browsing on Amazon than I do in book stores.


  28. I’d argue, and I’m not alone here, that, at the very least, ESS comes dangerously close to denying the doctrine of the Trinity as outlined in the Nicene Creed. Given that the Nicene Creed is almost universally accepted by Christians, regardless of denomination, as a concise formulation about the Trinity, that’s a pretty serious thing.

  29. Guys:

    I still think that my Billy Graham comparison is appropriate. I agree that distinctions can be made, for sure. But the point remains. Christians in the evangelical community can and do associate with people at conferences, crusades etc. with whom they have significant differences.

    If what you say about Mahaney and his church is accurate, the church certainly would not have the 9 Marks of the Healthy Church! So, maybe Dever’s friendship is, among other things, an effort to influence Mahaney.

    I don’t know. But I am not worried about it at this point. Even as I was not worried about Graham’s associations. I just let Bob Jones deal with that.

  30. It is not about differences. It is about those who sweep sexual molestation, spiritual abuse and perversion in the church…under the rug.

    They cannot question each other for accountability. They have blurbed each others books, written forwards, invited to speak at each others conferences, etc. This is a business partnership and the product they are selling is image. And nothing can dare marr the image because it will hurt them all.

    But then, what is a 3 year old girl worth anyway when one thinks of the glories of CJ and SGM. After all, they say it was ‘dealt’ with and teenboy was only ‘experimenting’. That is what boys do. He was back working in theSGM nursery not long after.

  31. Food for thought… I just googled Pastor’s College and got to SGM’s website. Follow the money flow huh? Well 1 of 4 criteria on their page for admissions is:

    “The candidate can demonstrate his financial ability to attend.”

    Ho-hum. Follow the money…

  32. On the subject of pastor’s salaries (one of the earlier topics on these replies I think) I will thoroughly enjoy returning to the states and raising a few questions at my “old” church. I find that after living in a foreign country with a church system that is almost completely different gives me quite a decent excuse to ask for some explanations. Starting with, of course, the burning question of us all- how much do they make anyway? I’m sure it will be a lively discussion. And I already have a promise from a youth director for a meeting on SGM.

    Oh and bitter? I can honestly say I was bitter. But not anymore. Now I’m just ready to see some changes made.

  33. I was at CJ Mahaney’s church from 1986-2007. I was there when Larry Tomzcak was disciplined. Larry and CJ are two peas in a pod–proud while talking about how humble they are, boastful of the famous people they meet, and certain about their own specialness in the kingdom. They both promoted shepherding/controlling methods in church and in families–including courtship and obeying “right away, all the way, in a cheerful way” or facing the rod. They both touted lifestyles that were unattainable for those trying just to pay the bills. Larry’s out in part because of shift from Charismatic to “Charismatic Reformed”–as well as the very strong possibility from what I’ve pieced together from both sgmrefuge and sgmsurvivors that his own son sexually abused girls.

    Jeff, I pray you have a great time at T4G, you learn new things about Him,–and that you ask lots of questions about SGM. My extended family is Southern Baptist–pastors, ministers of music, missionaries, Sunday School teachers–and I am so grieved that SGM is influencing SBC, even though while I was still in CLC, I was comforted to know “we” were getting that legitimacy.

  34. Annonymous
    I agree with Lydia. I they are trying to “influence”him, why are the featuring him as an example? Why is he a lead speaker? Why do they let his “denomination” organize these events? Why do they feature, endorse and push his books? Why do they not speak out vigorously on the accusations of sexual misconduct over at sgmsurvivors? Is Lydia right? Are little girls expendable? Are they any different than the Catholic church?

    Billy Graham’s job was to evangelize. he would go anywhere to get people to listen to him. The liberal leaders would be “proud” that they prayed at such a large event and would probably tell their people to come and hear them. He did the same to get into the former Soviet Union. Sly, I would say.

    Did Billy Graham ever endorse books by liberals? Did he ever have them lead seminars on Christianity?

    I am not saying Graham was perfect. I was ticked off over his dismissal of Bill Clinton’s little fling with Monica. But, Graham did not push liberalism like Dever is pushing Mahaney.

    As for Bob Jones, I would rather not go there. Nuff said.

  35. Lise

    I wish I could be under the table when you start asking questions. You probably know more about it than they do.
    On the salary thing make sure to include:
    How many hours are they expected to spend on church business per week?
    Do they have a housing allowance?
    How many conferences do they attend each year?
    How much money do they get to attend conferences and does it include money for the spouse as well?
    If they speak at a conference, who pays for the expenses? Do they get to keep the proceeds?
    How much vacation time a year?
    Can they hold down two jobs and how do they divide their time?
    Do they actually spend time getting to know they people in the congregation or is their time spent on “group” activities?
    I would be interested in other questions folks out there think she should ask.

  36. Jeff

    This morning in church, I spent some time contemplating your “obscure” comment. Obviously, it is meant to be derogatory. Yet the Lord that you serve often sought out the “obscure.” You know, the little guy-tax collector, prostitute, fishermen, the nobodies. Jesus chose to come out of Bethlehem, a no place. In fact, Jesus, for most of His life, was another obscure nobody, wasn’t He?

    Perhaps you feel that notoriety is the key to proven worth????

    I embrace my obscurity and readily admit that I am a nobody in this world. But, praise God, I am somebody to Jesus and He died for me so obviously He cares about the little guy.I think, in heaven, you may see far more nobodies than “somebodies.” You might even be surprised to find out that some of these obscure nobodies are honored above the latest “it” guys.

    I know some of these obscure nobodies. A guy in prison who has come to a startling faith in the Lord and serves Him faithfully. A man and his wife who live amongst the poor in their community and give their lives and possessions to them. But don’t worry. They won’t spoil the T4G conference for you. Your speakers are “somebodies” with plenty of dough, plenty of “cool” friends”(Calvinistas only, of course) and plenty of admirers (to buy their books to keep the big boys in their dough).

    In fact, your comment is so important and so readily illustrates the culture of the rock star “Christian”, that I intend to tie this into the T4G conference next week.

    Jeff, did you really mean to sound this way?

  37. Annonymous said:
    “If what you say about Mahaney and his church is accurate, the church certainly would not have the 9 Marks of the Healthy Church! So, maybe Dever’s friendship is, among other things, an effort to influence Mahaney.”

    Need I remind our readers that C.J. Mahaney will be speaking at the SBC Pastors Conference in June. What a sad commentary on where the Southern Baptist Convention is headed.


  38. acme said:
    “I am so grieved that SGM is influencing SBC”

    My previous comment bears repeating over and over and over again:

    “Need I remind our readers that C.J. Mahaney will be speaking at the SBC Pastors Conference in June. What a sad commentary on where the Southern Baptist Convention is headed.”


  39. The $50,000 supposedly includes living expenses for 9 months. One commenter on the above SGM thread indicated that the PC student’s church “put him through Pastors College”. Anyone care to comment on where the funding comes from?

    Another commenter stated that the Pastors College is not accredited and the degree (or whatever the student receives) is only recognized within SGM. What a racket!

  40. Jeff said:
    “Guys like Piper and Dever have said that they do not spend much time on the internet…”

    John Piper stated to his congregation:
    “In this leave, I intend to let go of all of it. No book-writing. No sermon preparation. No preaching. No blogging. No Twitter. No articles. No reports. No papers. And no speaking engagements—with a very few exceptions…”

    If John Piper doesn’t spend much time on the internet, then I wonder why he even mentioned he would be abstaining from blogging.

  41. Jeff said:
    “Some anonymous, obscure, bitter-sounding bloggers have said that Mahaney and Sovereign Grace pastors are mean.”


    Oh, there’s the “B” word again – BITTER. Guess who sounds “bitter” here? It’s certainly not us. I am so BORED with men (especially those in the ministry) trying to intimidate women by calling them “bitter”.

    NEWSFLASH! We don’t care what you call us. Insults and intimidation don’t work here. Dee and I are trying to bring about truth and justice on this “obscure” blog. Sorry you don’t like it.

    Here’a a question for you. If our blog is so obscure, then why do you bother commenting? According to you, no one’s reading our posts or your comments, right?

    Enjoy the conference, Jeff, and be sure to laugh heartily along with everyone else at all of C.J.’ s jokes and antics. After all, he’s the entertainer… And when you do, I hope you’ll remember a little three year old girl in an SGM family who was raped by a 15 year old male babysitter (also SGM) while both sets of parents were at a church leadership meeting. Not long after the crime took place, SGM leadership responded by permitting the perp to work in the church nursery.

    If you have the guts to read the sad account (written by the little girl’s mother), go to sgmsurvivors.com and find Noel’s story. That’s just one of many incidents of abuse that have happened in Sovereign Grace Ministries.

    Hey, maybe you can even get C.J.’s autograph this week. He’s such a celebrity and he’s oh so humble…

  42. “Need I remind our readers that C.J. Mahaney will be speaking at the SBC Pastors Conference in June. What a sad commentary on where the Southern Baptist Convention is headed.”

    This venue is used to specifically promote certain men. If you have ever attended a convention you would know that who preaches at the pastors conference is the talk of the day.

  43. Jeff,

    I decided to investigate just how “obscure” The Wartburg Watch is in the blogosphere, so I conducted a Google search of “T4G Bookstore”.

    You’ll never guess what came up FIRST… Here it is:

    T4G BOOKSTORE – CHECK IT OUT!!! » The Wartburg WatchApr 8, 2010 … T4G Bookstore. Someone who attended the 2008 conference was thoughtful enough to record his bookstore experience and post it on YouTube …

    Well, at least for the moment TWW is on top. Such obscurity…

    Next time you decide to hurl an insult at us, maybe you’d better choose a different adjective.

  44. I went to the SGM Survivors site and read what I think is “Noel’s story.” It’s a long and sort of rambling account of child molestation and the weird efforts of the church to involve themselves in the legal proceedings surrounding the crime.

    Even though it was hard for me to follow all of the details, I am glad that the family went to the authorities. That little girl needed protection and justice. I can’t tell if the conviction was expunged, overturned or what. But I get the sense that it wasn’t, which is good. That kid should be put under the jail for as long as possible, and watched for the rest of his life.

    In criminal or civil legal situations I resent churches trying to insert themselves to help direct or solve the issues.

    The courts provide a neutral forum where people who are not beholden to the church can evaluate legal rights and remedies.

    I don’t favor using the courts to correct problems in the church that are clearly church matters.

    But I am strongly opposed to churches, pastors or elders trying to get involved in criminal prosecutions or civil disputes. It is wrong headed. And in most cases that I have seen, the attempted application of the Bible or church procedures to such situations is an abuse of the Bible.

    I know of one situation where there was a civil lawsuit. The wife of one of the church staff members is a lawyer. She filed a lawsuit on behalf of a person who did not go to the church against a church member. The pastor and leadership in the church tried to get the lawyer to dismiss the lawsuit. They quoted all sorts of Bible verses. They even threatened the staff member who had nothing to do with the suit. It was disgraceful. The most disgraceful part of it was the abuse of scripture in an attempt to say that they were applying scripture.

    So, I hope this Noel girl and her parents got justice.

    And I would advise anyone who goes to a church that tries to use the Bible to solve criminal and civil wrongs and uses church procedures to insert themselves into legal proceedings to get out of those churches.

    Finally, and I am not quibbling, but I did not see Mahaney’s name in the story. Was this his church? Was he involved in this. Or was it one of the family of churches or something like that?

  45. Anonymous,

    Noel’s family were members of a Sovereign Grace Ministries church. As she explained in her story, she and her husband were Care Group Leaders (CGL’s), and that’s why they were required to attend the leadership meetings.

    As you likely know, C.J. Mahaney sits atop the SGM pyramid, so EVERYTHING that happens in Sovereign Grace Ministries inevitably involves him, much like the Pope in the Roman Catholic hierarchy.

    Early last year Ken Sande of Peacemaker Ministries contacted Kris who runs the SGM Survivors blog about Noel’s story. Kris responded to him through an open letter which she posted on her blog. Perhaps her response will help you understand SGM’s deep-rooted problems that contributed to this horrific situation.

    Here’s how Kris begins her response:


    An Open Letter to Ken Sande At Peacemaker Ministries
    By Kris, on January 12th, 2009

    “Dear Mr. Sande,

    Thank you for your email.

    Since your initial request was for me to provide you with what I saw as the main issues in “Noel’s story,” I will get that out of the way first.

    Noel’s story, as horrific as it is, is merely one story of MANY that illustrates all of the following:

    Sovereign Grace Ministries’ (“SGM’s”) deep-seated distrust of any outside intervention, from either mental health professionals or even law enforcement, when appropriate.

    Closely connected with that, SGM’s sense of themselves as superior and “above” other organizations (again, including law enforcement and/or mental health professionals), which leads them to attempt to handle all problems “in house,” no matter how deep or outside the pastor’s field of expertise the problem might be.

    SGM’s continual drive to redirect questions about real issues and real concerns back onto the questioner, to where the conversation eventually devolves into a discussion about the questioner’s own “sin issues” and the need for the questioner to “submit” to whatever it is the pastor is saying – with heavy-handed and unreasonable church discipline eventually following if such submission does not occur.

    A culture of secrecy, where what goes on behind closed doors is rarely the same as what is communicated to the average SGM member.

    SGM pastors’ overblown ideas about the finality of their own authority, and their dual identities as (supposedly) the “worst sinners they know,” and yet, somehow, also God’s emissaries who will never make any real mistakes or sin against their parishioners. Normal ministries have real and formal avenues in place so that members’ grievances can be addressed. The very fact that SGM needed to call Peacemaker Ministries into Noel’s situation is enough evidence to prove that members with grievances ultimately have nowhere to turn if their pastors prove to be unaccommodating.”

    Yes, Noel’s story is long and rambling, but I’m glad she had the courage to share it so that others might avoid having their innocent toddlers molested by perverts.

    Dee and I will continue to expose the truth about SGM and other ministries that are bringing great harm to God’s precious flock.

  46. Oh that Mahaney were a leader that believed “The buck stops here.” He is the puppet master. He comes out of the abusive shepherding movement and learned his lessons well.He just keeps changing the names to stay ahead of the issues. Egads, why do those like Piper who seem rather normal tolerate this stuff???? Are they blind???

  47. As for rambling, can you imagine how hard it is to tell a story about your child being molested? I would be a blathering idiot! Rambling and disjointed makes it seem more real, heartfelt as opposed to a cold, careful, rehearsed recounting.

  48. I was merely being descriptive of the narrative that I found. I am not criticizing this woman or her experience. Her writing style was sort of a stream of consciousness style that was hard to follow. That’s why I said it was rambling.

    I would not have responded to Peacemakers. I am surprised the woman did.

  49. Piper has been all over the map as an apologist for Driscoll and now inviting Warren to give the keynote speech at desiringGod.Warren! The same Warren that told Muslims we pray to the same God. The..same Warren who took PDL to Synagogue 2000, the same Warren who told us the Syrian president told him the Christians there are not persecuted in any way and weshould believe him, the same Warren of the PEACE plan and the notriously doctrinal error called PDL.

    Piper? No credibility.

  50. This might explain the rambling stream of consciousness writing of a parent in such a situation many years later:

    The Event of a Tyrannized Life

    The hardest part of talking about any experience of social or spiritual oppression is it is an EVENT that takes place around some of the most personal stuff. By EVENT I mean a longstanding progression of interaction. There is never a single moment, one deciding action where the victim can point and say: “Yup, right there. That is the bad thing I’m talking about.”

    And very often, the victim does not know how much they are being taken advantage of. Or even more insidious: they are told the exploitation is God-intended and God-inspired.

    The abuse and tyranny occur largely in private about things most folk would like to keep private. To get the conflict, you need the details—often embarrassing details. While most people find the details of their life interesting, everybody else finds them tedious or scandalous. So, how do you tell a story that has lots of UGLY, lots of NECESSARY, but oh so boring details?

    The answer is, like you tell all stories that need to be told so that justice and righteousness can prevail. This is a must. It is a dirty, painful path to walk, but it must come forth so that you can be vindicated and that others can gain perspective and empowerment from your experience. There are many just like yourself who are desperately hoping someone out there is like them; that they are not crazy.

    Help them by telling your story. When you get to THE END, I am confident that you will be better for it

    HT http://spiritualtyranny.com/

  51. BTW: I know several folks who have been treated very unfairly by Peacemakers who seem to always side with the authority.

    They get donations from ‘churches’ so they might be unbiased.

  52. Lydia
    We want to look into this matter with Peacemakers a little more. It does seem that they are “pastorcentric”.

  53. Lydia
    I believe that everybody in every church should be aware of the basics of spiritual tyranny. I had been a member in some great churches with wonderful pastors. When I was confronted by some issues in a previous church, I was caught off guard and took me awhile to figure things out. Spiritual tyranny is alive and well in today’s churches and I didn’t even know it until a few years ago.And I thought of myself as well informed. Darn!