Hoodwinked by Mohler and Mahaney

Where I once believed people were there to be used, I started thinking of other people first. Josh McDowell

 

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Dateline:  Somewhere deep behind enemy lines, Dee and I are embedded with the Assyrian army.

 

One week ago C.J. Mahaney, President of Sovereign Grace Ministries, stepped down from his ‘bully’ pulpit to take a leave of absence amid turmoil in his “family of churches”. There have been quite a few developments in that short time frame, and they have distracted us from keeping the main thing the main thing, which we define as discovering God’s truth.

 

It is rare that your humble blog queens can be described as ‘gullible’ and ‘easily deceived’, but we are willing to admit our own human frailties to you, our dear readers. To put it bluntly, we have been hoodwinked! (Feel free to substitute any of the synonyms listed at the end of this post.)

 

Please accept our sincerest apologizes for falling down on the job and playing into the hands of some scheming ‘master’ minds. FYI — the single quotation marks are significant. As the saying goes, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

 

What tipped us off that we have all been played? Did anyone find it odd that Mahaney announced at CLC last Sunday evening that he would be at the SGM Pastors Conference in November? Here’s what inquiring minds want to know – how did he know that he would be there after stepping down for an indefinite period of time?

 

We also knew we had been duped after the one-two punch delivered by Al Mohler and Ligon Duncan. The scheme was confirmed when Duncan made his pronouncement on the Reformation 21 website. Obviously, the ‘Fab Four’ of ‘T4G’ (Together for the Gospel) are going to stick together no matter what, and The Gospel Coalition has its own agenda. However, we were ‘surprised’ to discover that the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals appears to be in on it, too. After all, Duncan used the blog linked to their website to issue his statement from on “high”.

 

Let’s begin unraveling this carefully crafted scheme by Mohler, Mahaney and Company. First, Mahaney sends out correspondence to the SGM pastors on July 2, informing them that he plans to step down for a time. Then he posts the same information on the Sovereign Grace Ministries website on July 6 for all to read.


Pope Mohler Issues An Edict

 

Just two days later (on July  8 ) the Louisville Courier picks up the story and reports on the controversy with this headline – ‘Serious’ charges vs popular pastor, author Mahaney. Does anyone else find it rather ‘odd’ that a Louisville newspaper was reporting on a ministry based in far away Maryland? Why was the Mahaney debacle newsworthy in Kentucky of all places? And calling Mahaney a ‘popular’ pastor is highly questionable. Popular with whom? We sincerely doubt Christians outside Calvinsta circles have ever heard of him. Here is the article for those who may have missed it.

 

Did you notice that the first word in the headline is in single quotation marks? Why would this journalist find it necessary to put the word ‘serious’ in quotes? Even stranger was the fact that the article contained a hyperlink to an ‘obscure’ blog called The Wartburg Watch. Hmmm….

 

Just who is Peter Smith, the religion reporter at the Louisville-Courier who believed this story to be ‘newsworthy’? It certainly appears that he and Mohler have a symbiotic relationship because Smith reports on every move the Southern Seminary president makes and Mohler, the “culture warrior” craves media attention. We highly doubt Smith knows anything about our ‘obscure’ blog, which begs the question – was the July 8th newspaper article entirely prewritten by ‘certain’ individuals or was Smith ‘allowed’ to collaborate?

 

Why would we even question Peter Smith’s integrity as a journalist? Here’s why. Shortly after he reported on the Mahaney debacle, Smith wrote a follow-up piece entitled: “Mohler backs Mahaney, dismisses accusations of abusive leadership”.

 

Early in the article, Smith quotes Mohler as follows:

 

"I always have had only the highest estimation of C.J. Mahaney as a man and a minister," Mohler said in an interview — his first public comments on the situation involving Mahaney, one of his fellow leaders in the Reformed, neo-Calvinist movement. "That continues absolutely unchanged. There is nothing in this current situation which would leave me to have even the slightest pause of confidence in him."

But Mohler has already drawn his own conclusions.

He based that on hundreds of pages leaked to the Internet last week, detailing correspondence between Mahaney, his main accuser and former colleague, Brent Detwiler, and other Sovereign Grace leaders.

"There is nothing disqualifying in terms of anything that is disclosed in this," said Mohler, who regularly speaks on programs along with Mahaney. "It’s just evidence we knew all along, that C.J. is human but a deeply committed Christian and a visionary Christian leader."

 

Again, why is the Louisville rag the only newspaper in the country (as far as we can tell) reporting on this story?

 

After revealing details of the conflict within SGM, Smith writes:


“Mohler said he saw no reason for Mahaney to take a leave from other leadership positions…

"I assume he would retain every position in leadership," Mohler said. "I expect he should be very quickly returned to leadership of Sovereign Grace."
Mohler contended that Detwiler has "an obvious vendetta" against Mahaney and attributed the document dump on the Internet to him.”

 

If Mohler can so callously judge Brent Detwiler, we seriously doubt he has read through the 600 pages of documentation posted on the internet that bring serious charges against Mahaney. Notice that we do not put the word serious in single quotation marks as Smith did.
Smith goes on to explain:

 

“The Sovereign Grace network is separate from the Southern Baptist Convention, the affiliate of Southern Seminary, but Mohler praised Mahaney’s group as "one of the most vital movements of church planting and evangelism and church development in this generation…"

Mohler said he knew this practice has had online critics for years.

"Basically there are people who are very uncomfortable with the strong kind of spiritual direction that comes through the Sovereign Grace Ministries," Mohler said. "It’s very hard to criticize it on biblical terms, as you’ll see on most of those Web sites. It basically comes down to the criticism, ‘I don’t like that.’"

 

So ‘Pope Mohler’ doesn’t like criticism… And with this pronouncement, Mohler has just marginalized any blogger who would dare criticize Sovereign Grace Ministries. Funny thing, Mohler sure knows how to dish it out himself.

 

Cardinal Duncan Mimicks the Pope

 

As soon as Ligon Duncan, who hails from the Presbyterian Church of America (PCA), weighed in with a statement that mimicked Pope Mohler’s, our suspicions were confirmed. It was no coincidence that these two T4G leaders came out swinging for their pal CJ on the very same day.

 

Here are some of Duncan’s choice words, which you can find here.

 

“I would then encourage you to ignore the assaults of wounded people on attack websites and blogs, and that you discount the opinings of those who have no real knowledge of these matters or relation to SGM or authority to comment upon them, and that you refrain from assuming that you (or they) are in a position to render judgment on these things.”

 

We believe the propaganda put out by Mohler and Duncan was a coordinated effort to: (1) define the issue as merely a theological dispute between Mahaney and a former colleague (2) dilute the testimonies of the hundreds if not thousands of SGM victims and (3) chastise and marginalize anyone who would dare criticize Mahaney’s ministry (i.e. bloggers).

 

Concluding Thoughts

 

Even though Peter Smith ‘appears’ to be in Al Mohler’s back pocket, there is no question that he got one thing right about SGM by confirming – “The movement also emphasizes church discipline and male authority.” That’s what Mohler absolutely LOVES about Mahaney and SGM!!!

 

Is this information coming from Smith or Mohler? If it’s coming from Mohler, then the church is in BIG trouble because it shows the harshness that is about to be unleashed in reformed Baptist circles. They are dividing the church into two classes – the priest and everybody else. Perhaps it’s time to pack up the babies and grab the old ladies and head for the hills. Mohler’s minions will be doing most of the dirty work. After all, a high percentage of Southern Baptist seminary grads identify themselves as “Calvinistic”.

 

Synonyms for ‘hoodwinked’: bamboozled, tricked, fooled, screwed, deceived, ripped off, duped, conned, scammed, cheated, swindled, suckered (and other descriptive words too crude to mention in this forum).

Source: Urban Dictionary

 

Dee’s favorite: played like a bad violin

 

 

Lydia’s Corner: 2 Samuel 15:23-16:23 John 18:25-19:22 Psalm 119:113-128 Proverbs 16:10-11

Comments

Hoodwinked by Mohler and Mahaney — 111 Comments

  1. Is there any chance Peter Smith would correspond with you?
    Religion reporters are getter rarer than hen’s teeth and if he was doing Mohler’s bidding, he has moved this story forward either way.
    It can be difficult. Sometimes you allow someone to use you when you are reporting in the hope it breaks open or broadens a story. It doesn’t mean you like the person, like being used or agree with what you have to report.
    Smith knows his work is open to criticism, if he doesn’t he doesn’t belong in the news business. He is the only reporter at this time, so he’s sitting pretty on the ground floor, he might be quite amiable to your approach.

    SGM moves have been well laid out, and executed quickly haven’t they?

    For hoodwinked I like ‘I was snowed,’ suits my Canuck sensibilities.:^)

  2. Peter probably got a call. Reporters are notoriously lazy. And Mohler is an icon in Louisville circles. His reach is further than just SBTS. He is “newsworthy” and can easily use that for his own purposes. Just as he used the WSJ after the Homosexual flap at the SBC Convention. He has reach and power.

    The local ‘religion’ reporter at the CJ is not going to ignore something sent him from SBTS/Mohler. (One and the same to many). He was probably sent the inital press release on purpose about Mahaney stepping down so Mohler could respond as he did. Why report on Mahaney in the Lou paper? Because T4G is that big and Mohler needed a safe venue to make the quote. A secular paper is safer than using a Christian venue where anti Calvinists might jump on it. Think about it, mostly reformed types and watchdog blogs are linking to it.

    But I agree with you that it was planned and coordinted long before we even knew about it.

    Yes, the church is in big trouble. It is celebrity driven. The rulers have spoken.

    As Bill Kinnon said, “Nothing to see here. Move on”. That is the message Mohler is sending out… on purpose.

    Mahaney knew he had cover. That is why he dared step down for a while.

  3. In my book, Peter Smith –, then in Louisville where I expect that he still is– is a nice guy. In 2008, he asked to speak to me on the phone concerning my presentation at MBTS for EMDR. He was very interested in my concerns and personal thoughts about professors at Southern Seminary, teachings of whom I’d referenced in my talk and the video of it that went online which EMNR decided to ask me to delete. He’d read in Ethics Daily and on Wade’s blog about the much unanticipated fiasco that ensued. When I said that I had no delusions that anyone at SBTS even knew who I was or had any knowledge of that video or talk in March that year, he assured me that certain professors knew exactly who I was because he’d contacted them.

    I guess he thought there was some kind of big story because of the miserably rude and personal things they had to say about me in addition to the miserable things they had to say about my criticisms of their their teachings. He seemed pretty shocked that I had nothing personal against either of these two, but was merely concerned as a Christian about their teachings and the far reaching effects that they had on Evangelicals in the U.S. through the growing acceptance of patriarchy and complementarianism. He was also shocked to not find me to be some angry, foaming at the mouth feminist who was heterosexual and happily married, etc..

    Why do I think he’s a nice guy? He decided that, after talking to me, that there was not a big story as the people at Southern Seminary lead him to believe. I would not care whether Smith had written and published an article referencing things that people at SBTS had said to him about me (some of which were too inappropriate to repeat, apparently), as it would only serve to galvanize my thesis about how the ecclesiocentrics abuse critics and that they use spiritual abuse to gain power and squelch criticism. But I appreciate how kind Peter was to me, believing after talking to me that I was nothing like the distorted image given to him by more than one complementarian leader. He also listened at length to my thesis about the group, even though he’d already watched the hour long video from the apologetics conference. And based upon the questions he asked, I didn’t get the impression that he was a big fan of complementarianism, patriarchy, ecclesiocentrism, or the authoritarian tactics wielded by those who are affiliated with CBMW/MBTS in Louisville.

  4. I stated above:

    He seemed pretty shocked that I had nothing personal against either of these two,

    I neglected to say that Peter told me that two particular individuals at STBS were quite inflamed about statements I’d made in my presentation, I assume, hoping that their ad hominem comments about me would land in the press and would serve to marginalize my message.

  5. Rereading all of this and the Smith article, I’m still amused by the damage control gymnastics these folks must go through. I agree with Lin above — this was a pretty effortless couple of things to write with all the material given to Smith. An easy to write story is a story. I’d question how much of it is based on a shared idealism.

    I don’t know why on my first read through this that I kept thinking that I understood that Smith’s original article was featured in a Maryland paper, I guess because that would make more sense. But concerning damage control, any fairly credible venue is a way to mount your offense and counter attack.

    What tickles me is that if we “silly women” who have blogs are not respected or permitted to have opinions about doctrine and that such is sinful according to complementarianism, why do these big players care one iota about what any woman blogger has to say? They should consider us jokes and give us the attention that they say we deserve which should be none, according to their theology. So why does Al Mohler care what is written by Dee and Deb?

  6. Cindy, I was a broadcast journalist in Canada. It was not uncommon for MP’s and other high level types to chose a medium market for an interview. As you point out, any fairly credible venue is a way to mount your offense and counter attack (or plant your message in less combative circumstances)

    These men haven’t a clue about conflict resolution, they don’t even know how to talk to each other. What is glaring is the lack of even the mention of women (Detwiler did ask permission to address Mrs. Mahoney in one of his emails at SGM Wikileaks) How do women attending SGM churches stand for this nonsense?

    I’ve no doubt Mr. Smith’s editors are delighted at the traffic from this ‘obscure’ blog.:^) So much so, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if the follow up was ordered.

    Smith is doing his job, he’s all over the latest like white on rice. “Board: Mahaney fit to preach, faced ‘slander’”

    Love the scare quotes, it’s a just the facts ma’am just the facts AP style report. With links. He’ll have material for quite awhile won’t he? He isn’t a commentator, he’s reported straight up.

    I have a feeling Smith has poured over the credible and amazing posts here at the Watch. I’ve learned so much solid background from you and Dee and I’m grateful.

    Deb, God bless you and Dee for your stellar reporting (yes, reporting!) embedded with the Assyrian army. Blog on!

  7. Al Mohler-“Basically there are people who are very uncomfortable with the strong kind of spiritual direction that comes through the Sovereign Grace Ministries,” Mohler said. “It’s very hard to criticize it on biblical terms, as you’ll see on most of those Web sites. It basically comes down to the criticism,”

    Oh really Mr.Al Mohler??? It’s all about the strong spiritual direction we all just can’t handle because after all we are all just looking for a spiritually weak church.That’s a load of crap!! No,we all are just tired of SGM screwing people over,and not giving a rip.Looks to me like he doesn’t really care about the sheep in these churches since he is turning a blind eye to this whole situation.I was there I’ve heard enough of the stories and seen some of them played out in front of me.We can’t go to a place that treats people like that.There is nothing strong spiritually about that.I don’t know why he would think SGM exhibits such sprirtual strength.That’s scary if you call abuse strength.

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  9. Cindy,

    Thanks for your comments regarding Peter Smith. I have no doubt that he is a nice guy. Glad he sought you out after your presentation on patriarchy/complimentarianism at an unnamed seminary. 🙂 I remember when you had to remove the seminary name.

    Not long after you posted those 9 or 10 installments on YouTube, I watched ALL of them. I must say that you really helped open my eyes about patriarchy (which has been cleverly disguised as complimentarianism by Mohler and his ilk).

    You said:

    “I didn’t get the impression that he (Peter Smith) was a big fan of complementarianism, patriarchy, ecclesiocentrism, or the authoritarian tactics wielded by those who are affiliated with CBMW/MBTS in Louisville.”

    I have no doubt that you are correct. Smith earned his M.A. from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, which appears to have ties to PCUSA. Furthermore, I believe he attends Highland Baptist Church in Louisville, which broke away from the SBC back in the 1990s. While Smith was in seminary, he wrote a comprehensive history of his church commemorating its 110th anniversary.

    There can be little doubt that Al Mohler and Peter Smith do not share the same theological views; however, I do believe that a symbiotic relationship exists. When in Rome… That’s the cost of being a religion reporter in the SBC’s mecca.

    Blessings to you!

  10. In response to Peter Smith’s articles on the Mahaney mess, a few commenters chimed in asking whether there were any financial ties between Mohler and Mahaney.

    Well, just in case Smith decides to look into his readers’ concerns, I’ve already done his research for him.

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

    For those of you who haven’t read “The Mahaney Money Machine”, the ‘bottom line’ is that C.J. Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries have EACH given at least $100,000 to Southern Seminary in a relatively short period of time. Covenant Life Church and PDI (pre SGM) also contributed to the seminary. We know that these donors have collectively given close to a quarter of a million dollars to SBTS. The question that needs to be addressed is “WHY?”

    Inquiring minds want to know the answer to that question.

  11. The timing is even more interesting when you realize the lag in getting into print at a newspaper, which means the article was likely written the day before print publication. So that plot was hatched with material pre-prepared in order to provide the info to the reporter to read and digest prior to an “interview” with Mohler.

    Would love to see the buried and not readily manipulated time stamps on the emails among the T4G evangelical pope aspirants and the similar data on their phone records. Do not wish to be a “conspiracy theorist”, but that is the simplest explanation. Now Mahaney is primed for a house cleaning of those he does not particularly trust at SGM, and will be even more powerful than before.

  12. Arce,

    Excellent points which further validate that this scheme had been in the works for some time.

    Have you read the statement the SGM board posted yesterday?

    http://www.sovereigngraceministries.org/blogs/sgm/post/Sovereign-Grace-Board-of-Directors-announcement-regarding-CJ-Mahaney.aspx

    I found Item 2 particularly telling:

    “2. That Brent Detwiler’s distribution of written accusations against C.J. Mahaney to all Sovereign Grace pastors constitutes the public slander of Mahaney’s reputation.”

    I believe it’s significant that Joshua Harris did not add his name to this announcement.

    I couldn’t agree more with your comment:

    “Now Mahaney is primed for a house cleaning of those he does not particularly trust at SGM, and will be even more powerful than before.”

    All I can say is that SGMers better get out while the getting is good. When Mahaney reclaims his throne, heads will roll…

  13. Arce/Deb

    Doesn’t the word “slander” imply spoken words? I thought defamation was written.

    It doesn’t really matter. It might appear, according to the SGM statement, that they are going to go after a legal remedy and smack down Dettweiler. Maybe I am wrong.

    SGM prides itself on Scripture so I would think it would be hard to sue a brother but who the heck knows.

  14. Cindy
    I have no doubt that Smith is a great guy. But, it is odd that this was played out in Kentucky. If this was such a big honking story my guess it would have been picked up by the Maryland newspapers where the ministry is based.

    BTW I am so sorry about the way you were treated by these men. It is one of the stories i read when I saw some terrible injustices in a former church. I realized that it wasn’t one church but a huge theology that puts certain people in a position of “authority” that is damaging the church in America.

    OH, well, back to Assyria….

  15. Deb
    My backside is black and blue this morning from realizing how stupid I was. Even the Josh stuff makes sense. He is the one to let the peasants have their say, let it die down, and business as usual.

  16. Hi Deb and Dee,

    This is my first post here, and the reason is, ironically enough, Peter Smith’s blog post on C.J. Mahaney. Thank God for that! Without those two little hyperlinks, I probably would have never found TWW, SGMS, and several other wonderful sites through them. And I’m so very glad I did.

    I must say that if the appearance of the Mahaney story in our local paper (The Curious Urinal, for many of us Louisvillians) was intentional on the part of Dr. Mohler, then it was very foolish on his part. I knew NOTHING about C.J. Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries…but I was quite familiar with John Piper, Dr. Mohler and Josh Harris, among others. So the story intrigued me, and pretty soon I was hooked. So I have been devouring the information and backstory on this stuff for most of the past week. It’s disheartening, but in many ways not surprising. I wonder how many other readers who otherwise would never have known (or cared) about C.J. or SGM are now digging a little deeper into all the little connection points between SGM and SBTS, The Gospel Coalition, etc. And I can’t imagine that’s a happy thought for Dr. Mohler.

    As for Peter Smith, it would truly surprise me if he were in Mohler’s pocket. His attendance at Highland Baptist, for one thing (it’s one of the most liberal churches in the city, and the pastor delights in tweaking Dr. Mohler when given the opportunity). For another, the presence of the hyperlinks suggest Peter was hoping for his readers to do some digging on their own.

    So all in all, if the C.J. story appearing in the C-J was Mohler’s call…well, not a very good call. And his comments there several days later made things worse. My respect for the man went downhill even further and faster after that. So if he’s trying to play a P.R. game he’s doing a fairly miserable job. Just my two cents.

    Keep up the terrific work you’re doing here. I am, again, SO GRATEFUL to have found it through my exposure to the C.J. story. Thanks!

  17. ‘Furthermore, I believe he attends Highland Baptist Church in Louisville, which broke away from the SBC back in the 1990s.’

    Highland is very activist. They are a small church but have a quite a few homosexual couples attending. Phelps, the pastor is a big community activist concerning social justice. And it is a beautiful old church.

    What Mohler says is going to be newsworthy to a Louisville religion reporter. I agree about the symbiotic relationship. Why the Courier Journal? Because it was easy to plant by Mohler and Mahaney has ties becasue of T4G. SBTS dominates the scene in Louisville. Mohler is well known here because of his radio commentary every day on popular stations. So even people not in those circles know of him.

    About Josh Harris: “He is the one to let the peasants have their say, let it die down, and business as usual.”

    Very astute. I totally agree with this. I could be wrong but think Josh is throwing bones to the peasants on purpose. Part of what others are calling the ‘glasnost’. Which is a totally new thing for SGMers.

    I look at at it from another perspective than some one in the system does. he has been around SGM for 14 years. CJ is his mentor. So, we are to expect that Josh would be taking on the entire Reformed movement? Thumbing his nose at Dever, Mohler, Duncan, etc?

    So, where will he go? He does not know how to do anything else as he grew up in a family that made a living off ministry in homeschool circles. Will he go work for Doug Phillips? (tongue in cheek)

    I think the whole thing is planned down to what CJ will wear when he man hugs Larry at the pastors conference for a photo op. It is how these guys operate.

  18. Craig, You are renewing my faith that these big guys can make strategic mistakes. I know Mohler did not give Peter links to TWW ,SGM survivors or sgmwikileaks. Peter surely got those on his own?

    But I think these guys are so used to controlling things in thier ministry circles that they think they can manipulate any fall out. I think they are that arrogant.

    Let us hope some more eyes were opened.

  19. Dee,

    The spin continues…

    Did you know that C.J. Mahaney actually began his leave of absence on June 30, even though he didn’t announce it to SGMers via his blog post until July 6. Here’s what SGM’s blog moderator, Andrew, wrote:

    “Just to clarify, C.J.’s LoA started June 30 and Brent’s documents were published (I think) on July 7. And I’m not exactly sure why Brent sent out the documents when he did.”

    Source: http://www.sovereigngraceministries.org/blogs/sgm/post/Sovereign-Grace-Board-of-Directors-announcement-regarding-CJ-Mahaney.aspx#disqus_thread

    So C.J. Mahaney stepped down just three days after speaking at the Resolved 2011 Conference which took place June 24-27? Yep, Mahaney and his buddy Al Mohler were “together” at this conference. I guess that’s when CJ and Al put the finishing touches on their clever scheme…

    http://www.resolved.org/conference/

    And did you know that CJ rotated OFF the CBMW board last December?

    Here’s what Peter Smith added to his follow-up article which prominently features Mohler’s commentary:

    “UPDATE: Mahaney rotated off board of the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood in December, which is housed at Southern Seminary and promotes male authority in churches and homes. He is listed on the site as vice-chairman, as an earlier version of this post noted, but the council has not updated its Web site, said Randy Stinson, the council president and a seminary dean. Stinson said the rotation was routine and unrelated to the circumstances of Mahaney’s leave from Sovereign Grace.”

    Source: http://blogs.courier-journal.com/faith/2011/07/12/mohler-backs-mahaney-dismisses-accusations-of-abusive-leadership/

    Yet, as I am posting this comment Mahaney is still listed as Vice Chairman of the Board on the CBMW website…

    http://www.cbmw.org/Board-of-Directors

    Oh, and look who serves as Chairman of the Board of CBMW … Ligon Duncan.

  20. I’m not sure why you think you got hoodwinked. It seems only natural that Mohler and his peeps would circle the wagons in defense of Mahaney, no matter how the damaging documents came to be made public.

    It seems less likely that they planned this from the beginning than that they simply crafted a damage-control strategy designed to put Mahaney in the best possible light (i.e., making him appear cautious and humble and fit to lead, as demonstrated by his supposed willingness to submit to an investigation Mohler is trying to spin as wholly frivolous).

    There are any number of possible explanations for why a distant religion reporter would be interested in the internal politics of SGM.

  21. Psyclo Titz,

    “Distant religion reporter”?

    Peter Smith works for the Louisville rag and he served as Mohler’s mouthpiece.

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  23. ‘Did you know that C.J. Mahaney actually began his leave of absence on June 30, even though he didn’t announce it to SGMers via his blog post until July 6. Here’s what SGM’s blog moderator, Andrew, wrote”

    Yeah, clever huh? From what I can gather on the sgm site where “Andrew” is the Robert Gibbs of sgm spin, this will provide cover that CJ stepped down BEFORE all this went public so they can say he was doing the right thing before it went public.

    Remember, you can ‘time humility’

  24. Lin,

    Perhaps Mahaney was vacationing with Carolyn in California after giving those two exhausting talks at the Resolved conference and backdated his resignation to June 30. Who knows?

    Loved your comment on timing humility!

  25. @ Deb: Okay, then, but I still don’t see how that translates into TWW being hoodwinked.

  26. “The timing is even more interesting when you realize the lag in getting into print at a newspaper, which means the article was likely written the day before print publication.”

    Was it in the print version, too?

  27. This was posted by Peter Smith yesterday:

    http://blogs.courier-journal.com/faith/2011/07/13/board-mahaney-fit-to-preach-faced-slander/

    Note especially the paragraph devoted to Brent Detwiler and the link provided to Brent’s full comments.

    So I suggest another theory. Given Dr. Mohler’s stature and visibility in the Louisville area, Peter Smith may be playing a rather shrewd game with his readership. As has been mentioned, Dr. Mohler is not just highly visible here, he is also highly REGARDED. That regard is not shared by Peter Smith’s pastor (nor by Smith himself?). Mr. Smith, in providing the local Louisville readership a story that, on the surface, is unrelated to any local issues, may be in a subtle way trying to pull back the curtain on Dr. Mohler. The idea here may be for people to start doing some digging and then putting 2 and 2 together. The end effect is (or at least it was for me) “Hmm…this SGM stuff is crazy! And Dr. Mohler thinks that it’s all no big deal? Hmmm….” In the end, it has the potential to damage Dr. Mohler’s credibility ON HIS HOME TURF. And that is not a small deal.

  28. Most newspaper web sites hold release of the items written for print until very late in the evening before the paper comes out the next morning, and then will date them for the date of print publication. 11:00 pm or midnight is common. That way, only the dedicated night owls get it before the morning paper is distributed ca 5:00 am. Occasionally a paper will publish an op-ed piece earlier on its web site, or an important local “breaking news” item, such as a highly visible trial or major accident.

  29. Another thought: The readership of the Courier-Journal includes…SBTS students…SBTS professors…SBTS trustees. Peter Smith is well aware of this. If any of those folks are willing (and I feel fairly certain that many of them are) to dig deeper…well, you can draw your own implications.

  30. Lin,

    I don’t know whether Peter Smith’s articles showed up in print in the newspaper or just featured on the Louisville-Courier website.

  31. Deb,

    I THINK only on the website. I don’t get the print paper, but typically stuff in the blogs doesn’t show up there. I’ll check at my parent’s house and see, or Lin may be able to tell you if she get’s the print edition.

  32. Dee & Deb,
    I don’t know if you noticed this or not. I posted this over on Survivors after the announcement of CJ stepping down. That’s when I knew this “stepping down” stuff was a bunch of ****.

    Just thought you might like to know that the “outside” mediators, Ambassadors of Reconciliation councilors are certified through Peacemakers and their consulting and reconciliation service are provided according to the Rules of Procedure found in the Guidelines for Christian Conciliation published by Peacemaker Ministries. And the vice-president of Peacemakers, David D. Schlachter, is on the Board of Directors.

  33. I am really not understanding at this point.

    You guys think that Mohler planted the article about CJ and his stepping down, and Mohler’s reaction to it, through his connection at the Louisville paper. And you surmise that the reporter is either actively helping Mohler, or unwittingly doing so.

    And then you surmise that you and your blod were hoodwinked.

    I have to say that I am not really following this, but my natural reaction is to believe simple explanations over complex ones.

    Maheney has been having trouble and controversy in SGM, and all of that has appeared on blogs etc. The controvesy gets bigger because of what this Detweiler guy says. Maheney and Mohler and Duncan are friends etc. Maheny tells them his side of the story. Mohler and Duncan believe Maheny and go public with their beliefs.

    Again, there’s no sex, no missing money, none of the stuff that makes for preacher scandals.

    I am not finding fault with you at all for any of your writing. I am just failing to see any bigger picture here other than the one that already existed – Maheny has a strange form of polity and is not a nice guy to work for, Mohler and Duncan like Maheny (but not his polity), so they back him.

    I think that the main thing that you said is questioning the reporter’s description of Maheny as being a big deal.

    I really don’t think he’s that big a deal. But I am glad you write about all this so I have some background and perspective so that if Maheny ever crosses my path, I’ll have a fuller picture.

    Of course, anyone who is calling himself an “Apostle” is the first and only signal I need to make the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

    Keep posting on this, by all means. But I wouldn’t feel duped if I were you.

  34. Anonymous,

    We reported on this last week and didn’t see the BIG PICTURE until Mohler and Duncan came out swinging. We believe a scheme was devised prior to the first inkling that Mahaney was taking his leave of absence. Hope that clears up your confusion.

    Rest assured, we will continue to follow these developments and chime in.

  35. ‘ I’ll check at my parent’s house and see, or Lin may be able to tell you if she get’s the print edition’

    No way I would PAY to read the CJ! :o) However, I know people who keep backissues for the recycling so I will check it out.

  36. I now have doubts it was in the print edition, which makes me wonder why not. I searched the web site and found some references to articles that mention Mahany around the time of the conference, and to the blog post, but not to a recent print item.

  37. ‘You guys think that Mohler planted the article about CJ and his stepping down, and Mohler’s reaction to it, through his connection at the Louisville paper. And you surmise that the reporter is either actively helping Mohler, or unwittingly doing so.’

    anon, Mohler needed a public venue to get out his support of CJ. Unlike Duncan, he has to be more circumspect. Not everyone in the SBC likes Mohler or his Calvinism.

    If he uses internal organs such as SBTS sponsored places, this could be a future problem. But if it goes out in secular media then everything else becomes a “response” and other venues can pick it up. It provides some cover for Mohler supporting his friend but not making it about the SBC, too. In other words, Mohler is not speaking as SBC in that venue.

    Peter is going to print the news but he also gave links for folks to check it out further. I think Craig may be on to something that this will not go over as well as they think. I am so used to these guys getting by with anything, I don’t think guys like Craig exist except for the typical hate Mohler folks here.

    That is my take.

    As to hoodwinked. The timing shows CJ stepped down beforeit was announced. Mohler, Duncan, Dever and the third party folks already knew it was coming. I think they planned for the docs to become public and every move made was to help lessen the blow.

  38. As someone who lived in Kentucky for many years with the last being in central Ky in the later 70s, it is not unusual for the LCJ to report on religion issues in any way related to the SBC or Protestant faiths. People are just more interested in that area than in most of the country.

    Just like in NYC you have daily news about shows and plays. In most of the country outside of a few urban areas, well maybe a blurb in the Sunday arts section.

    Don’t assume that what isn’t news everywhere else can’t be news there.

  39. Ellie
    We will make these connections, and more in a post early next week. This whole accountability thing is another smokescreen. According to the released documents, Peacemakers/Sande are already involved. There is this Biblical thing about giving no appearance of evil. Too many ties which revolve around support…

  40. Lynn

    North Carolina and Texas are also interested in spiritual politics given the seminaries etc. I doubt that Louisville is somehow more interested than other places. However, I will give you one point, Louisville is interested in all things MOHLER. Hence, our suspicion.

  41. BeneD

    This thing is starting to explode and may run out of control which should scare a few people who thought that a few judicious plants would suffice.

  42. Arce
    I think they had hoped that they could control this with a little well controlled submission to the paper. It may come back to bite them in the nose. There is anger beginning to be heard.

  43. psychotitz

    We actually believed it was a purely motivated new story-just good journalistic surprise.The timing is odd for most of this stuff and there appears to be a pattern of cooperation emerging between the Mahaney fan base.

  44. Lin

    ‘Like’ your use of the ‘quote.” Timed humility…it appears to be a big act and we were supposed to be the gullible audience.

  45. Craig
    Thank you for the insight into the Louisville journalistic scene. Actually, you may have a point. It could have been a carefully orchestrated plant by Mohler which has gone wrong. The peasants are upset and this could be very problematic. Thank you for your kind words about our little blog. I intend to use your youtube suggestion today. I had a good laugh, which I needed after getting bamboozled by the good ol boys.

  46. “North Carolina and Texas are also interested in spiritual politics given the seminaries etc. ”

    But it is nowhere near the level of daily discourse that it is in Ky. Or at least it was when I lived there. Ky basketball is way more important in Ky than UNC/Duke basketball is here. At least in terms of local conversation. And Baptist/SBC/etc… issues are not far behind there.

    Now there could be a lot of issues hiding behind the how and where for of this story but in Ky religion is a big topic. Bigger than in most places. At least relative to the population size.

  47. Dee and Deb:

    Thanks. I see what you mean.

    But I would have suspected that Mahaney would have called guys like Mohler and Duncan before he resigned anyway.

    The Gospel Coalition group is apparently important to him. It does not surprise me that he would call those guys and tell them what was about to happen.

    I also suspect the news guy is just that. Based on what others have said here, he may have some antipathy for Southern and Mohler (his alma mater is right across the street from Southern), but as a reporter, he would find this story interesting.

    Take care.

  48. Dee wrote:

    BTW I am so sorry about the way you were treated by these men.

    Dee, that’s kind of you to say, but I was more incredulous than anything else, expecting better of these men. I will not say that my heart rate didn’t pick up when I was on the phone with Peter that first time, but the whole experience turned out to be more enlightening and encouraging than remotely malignant. The fact that powerful individuals at CBMW/SBTS and the machines that they control reacted with such aggression proved my thesis concerning spiritual abuse far beyond my own wildest expectations (even without Peter Smith’s reporting). Ultimately, their behavior ironically served to extend the message that they sought to squelch.

    That same end result is my hope for this blog and the message and mission that you and Deb have here — to encourage all those in the priesthood of all believers to be discerning and to resist religious tyranny. From your Basics page: Our goal is to shine a light into the darkness, exposing hypocrisy, heresy, and arrogance while also examining trends that affect the faith in the public square.

    I hope that you take from this the encouragement that I did from my situation — this blog proves threatening enough that it warranted a mention in the mainstream press. Who goes out of their way to respond to a stimulus that is not a threat? You hit your mark and so many other marks so well that it warranted damage control.

    Peter’s notation and the search engines will draw more people here to this blog to be challenged (and sometimes validated) by what you write here, long after the dust settles from this event. Ironically, Al Mohler and Peter Smith (whether Peter was complicit or not) have only served to further TWW’s mission. You never know, as that may have been Peter’s clever intent.

  49. Lin wrote:

    If he uses internal organs such as SBTS sponsored places, this could be a future problem. But if it goes out in secular media then everything else becomes a “response” and other venues can pick it up. It provides some cover for Mohler supporting his friend but not making it about the SBC, too. In other words, Mohler is not speaking as SBC in that venue.

    A tiny bit off topic —

    In the book Piper edited, Beyond the Bounds: Open Theism and the Undermining of Biblical Christianity, one of the contributors makes a statement about parachurch organizations. (I’ve packed the book away somewhere and thus cannot cite the contributing author/source any better.)

    They state that what has contributed to the lack of submission to God’s authority and the success of the church concerning the development of aberrant to heretical teachings can be partially connected to the development of parachurch organizations in recent years. Certainly, Martin Luther not only freed the Church from tyranny, but he also opened the door for private and corporate interpretation on smaller levels. But in addition, the parachurch organization is a relatively new concept in terms of Christianity, and the Church has felt serious effects as a consequence. I’d like to also add what Neil Postman wrote — that the internet is changing how we learn and communicate in the same way that the printing press changed the world. The printing press propagated the “evils of the Enlightenment” which helped foster the French and the American Revolutions, just as the printing press provided the potent mechanism for the dissemination of the Gospel. It also changed how we educate our children and ourselves.

    Parachurch organizations have no accountability, and they now have ready and affordable access to broadly communicated media by which to disseminate their views which have not been peer reviewed or censored. There are no forces in authority to reign in aberrant or heretical doctrine before it becomes available to virtually everyone. The book noted these effects concerning the development and popularity of open theism.

    Well, considering Lin’s comment, is not Al Mohler taking advantage of exactly this same benefit of venues outside of SBTS? He can make statements that seem to reflect his personal endeavors, and when convenient, he can claim that what he says as an individual does not reflect upon the institution that he represents. But seriously — he would not even have access to the press were it not for his position which SBTS affords him.

    Lin states that he’s making these statements outside the SBC. Somehow that makes him less accountable for the statements, I suppose, if someone would challenge them. So he can do whatever he wants in the For the Gospel venue, and he’s not beholden to the SBC in any way, I suppose? The parachurch group is not accountable to anyone, but it gives all of the appearances of a type of accountability (another point made in Piper’s book). It is misleading to people, because there is no accountability in parachurch groups.

    It’s just a thought about the illusions that power, authority, and status create in cases like this one. It’s interesting.

  50. Cindy, that was not off topic at all. It is a very important point. Mohler cannot speak for the SBC by way of SBTS concerning Mahaney. But he can give his personal opinion to a reporter for a secular paper where he is described as Prez of SBTS part of the SBC.

    Now, perhaps Baptist Press will pick it up and Mohler can go from there. In other words, he did not intiate it.

    Christianity Today did a puff piece on it. Written by a former pastor, no less, who admonishes us to pray for the pastor with pride problems. Nevermind those problematic molestation problems and spiritual abuse. Oh, and blackmail.

  51. BTW, Lin, I haven’t seen you on line in about a year. Hope all is well and I’m glad to “see” you again.

    I’ve missed your perspective.

  52. So this has me thinking beyond this whole mess — What’s the real payoff here?

    Maybe there’s a greater threat coming, and this may have been a way for CJ to posture himself so that he can prove his virtue in advance?

  53. Lynn
    Please provide some evidence for your contention that religion is more important in Kentucky than anyplace else in the Unites Staes, including Waco

  54. “Open Theism” as defined by the Calvinists and Calvinistas is a heresy. But the same underlying ideas, in the hands of faithful Christians who are not trying to defend their warped TULIP theology, create an amazingly Biblical theology that appears quite easily aligned with New Testament church practice and preaching. It all boils down to whether the holy grail of one’s theology is SOVEREIGNTY writ large, which is a mis-defined term in Calvinista theology. It is a misreading of the idea that God has the power to do what he CHOOSES to do. Any and all sovereigns exercise power selectively. God cannot be the type of sovereign the Calvinistas posit and, at the same time, be a God of Love, Mercy and Justice. And He is all of those. So they have misinterpreted the Bible as it relates to God’s sovereignty. And that makes them, not the open theists, the heretics.

  55. Karlton,

    You’re really on the ball. Thanks for keeping us informed about the never ending changes in Sovereign Grace Ministries.

    Yes, change is here to stay…

  56. Arce,

    But you have explained in prior posts that the only basis for believing that God can/does override his own sovereignty is simply an emotionally based rejection of what the alternative implies about God’s goodness.

    I would ask, where is the objective (in this case biblical) support for that claim…simply being unwilling to accept the consequences of SOVEREIGNTY, i.e. that God becomes responsible for evil, is not sufficient.

  57. Yesterday ex-CLC member John Immel posted a (typically) long, philosophically slanted article about CJ on his blog:
    http://spiritualtyranny.com/cj-mahaney's-metaphysical-magic-mayhem-2/

    Though it’s long, I really suggest people read it.

    John wrote a long harangue about CLC years ago, called “Blight in the Vineyard,” in which he deconstructed their Calvinism and many other things. As he writes in this post, however, the CLC pastors blew him off after reading it. They did it because John runs rings around them intellectually, they know it, and therefore they don’t want him anywhere near their corporation and customer-employees.

    They treated John the same way they’ve been treating Brent Detwiler: “Don’t dare ask us to take your objections seriously and demand we give you the information you ask of us.” As John writes, “when we want your opinion, we’ll tell you what it is.” (Brilliant!)

    I agree with John’s analysis of CJ’s ridiculous attempts to gloss over not repenting for 5 years. However, I can’t see into CJ’s spirit, so I have no way of knowing just how much the devil has blinded him by playing to his fear of man. Maybe God’s grace couldn’t get through due to the depth of deception CJ tolerates.

    But if a leader of a major Christian organization has that much demonic deception in him, he’s unfit for leadership and needs serious deliverance ministry, followed by accountability similar to that of a new believer. (Heb 6:11-14, esp. 13-14)

    I also agree with John’s conclusions, regarding C.J.’s eventual total vindication. Unless God does some major things in CJ — and I’m praying he does — CJ will announce himself repented-out and will return with many tears and an unassailable reputation for humility. He will take a victory-lap of SGM churches and his friends’ ministries. He will likely write a book about it, which will earn a lot of dough. He will command even higher speaking fees. He will contribute even more money to SBTS and other very-favorite ministries.

    At that point, you will never be able to call him to repentance again. Or, he will fake instant repentance without anything at all happening inside. Either way, he will be beyond actual reproach.

    If he does this, I believe it will indicate he’s truly rejected salvation, and is one of the people the Hebrews writer warned against becoming. (Heb 6:4-7)

    He will be the Ubermensch of Nietzsche: beyond good and evil, following only by “the will to power.” (Bill Clinton is a good example of an Ubermensch.)

    I do pray this won’t happen, but that he will have true repentance, and will actually change — by humbling himself under the mighty hand of God and acknowledging Jesus as his master.

    How will this happen, though, if he doesn’t break out of his current surroundings to find a clean atmosphere of God’s presence? Among his friends, only Terry Virgo of Newfrontiers has the boldness to speak plainly to him, as well as the spiritual discernment and power in his ministry to help God break through all the lies and deception.

    However, as a commenter on another blog said recently, if he does repent how will we tell? He’s been weeping and faking humility for so long, while telling us he’s not humble, that no one will be able to tell if the fruit of repentance is real or wax.

    He would have to do something totally out of character, like STEP DOWN FROM AUTHORITY, or CHANGE SGM’S FOCUS ON SIN-SNIFFING, or START CARING ABOUT SOMEONE OTHER THAN LEADERS, or START CARING ABOUT THE LOST, to make anyone say, “wow, I think God may be working in him enough for me to trust him again.”

    God asks, “Can a nation change in a day?” You know, Lord. But as John Immel asks, if it’s taken 5 years for CJ to gain only limited spiritual clarity, how do we know that — under CJ’s theology — God will ever grant him sufficient grace for full repentance? And how can we trust that CJ’s full repentance — if it every comes — is authentic, given his past statements that no person is qualified to judge his own spiritual condition?

    If he truly believes his own theology — which, John argues, he does not — then CJ is in spiritual checkmate, perhaps forever. Much to consider in John’s article.

  58. I do not believe in proof-texting, which is the selective excerpting of the Bible for the purpose of making an argument that the entirety does not make, taken as a whole. I consider it a misuse of the Bible for political ends. If you cannot get my meaning from reading, say Matthew from 1:1 to 28:20, or similarly the entirety of the other Gospels, then you missed the Master’s teaching. You can’t parse God anymore than you can parse the scriptures by selectively taking small bits out of context. It is a heretical practice in which I will not participate.

  59. Arce,I didn’t want to introduce the topic of open theism at all to derail the thread, but I intended to point out the concept laid out in the book concerning parachurch organizations, although the source makes it all the more interesting, relevant and ironic.

    I read the book because Russell Moore and Bruce Ware at SBTS have made use of the term “open theist” as a pejorative to demean anyone who rejects complementarianism, their version of Calvinism, and the Eternal Subordination of the Son doctrine.

    I hope people don’t let that discussion derail the thread.

  60. Don wrote:

    However, as a commenter on another blog said recently, if he does repent how will we tell? He’s been weeping and faking humility for so long, while telling us he’s not humble, that no one will be able to tell if the fruit of repentance is real or wax.

    Bingo, Don! One encouraging sign might be a repentance of the use of SGM-speak which redefines all in their spiritualized, cultic, loaded language, coating all conflict in schmaltz, “devotion’s visage and pious action.”

    I think that the next sure sign of humility will be to address and make right all of the cases of sexual abuse of children that has taken place at SGM and PDI that has been whispered about in Maryland back to the beginning of the group. That would be a start, anyway. They could start making good on all of their empty promises to parents, making it look like they were going to behave honorably but merely protected abusers. There would be some restitution made to people who were involved at PDI, too. Repentance as merely talk only is always cheap, but restitution of the injured proves the true intent of what is spoken.

  61. Arce,

    Now you have confused me. You said “I do not believe in proof-texting, which is the selective excerpting of the Bible for the purpose of making an argument that the entirety does not make, taken as a whole.”

    If you won’t provide texts to support your idea that God can supersede His own sovereignty because it it “proof-texting”, then given your definition above, are you saying your views are not in line with what the Bible says?

  62. In addition to Galli’s article Christianity Today has another article up by
    Bobby Ross Jr. Quotes Brent Detwiler, Dave Harvey, Tomzcak…it,s a sidebar dealing with very recent events. Harvey mentions the’ surprising sway of anonymous bloggers. Ar arr arrr-blog on!

  63. “Please provide some evidence for your contention that religion is more important in Kentucky than anyplace else in the Unites Staes, including Waco”

    I didn’t say “more important”. Just that in my travels and living there plus Penn, NE, NC, and traveling for business all over the US, I’d say that compared to NC and other places, I felt that SBC and similar topics where much more likely to be overheard at a lunch counter than in many other places. Now in Utah I suspect there to be another bias. And in TN and AR I suspect things are similar to Ky. In central NC, not so much.

    One way I get a feel for this is I’m a talk radio junkie. Which means I scan the dial looking for something to listen to as I drive through different area. A few month ago I was driving through central PA and was surprised by how many Christian themed stations were on the air. I felt like I was back in Ky.

    As to Wacco and Dallas, I don’t know so much.

  64. Jerusalem on the Brazos has ongoing conversations about religion, very Baptist in general. There are more than 250 Baptist churches in a county with about 230,000 people. In the 1/2 mile between my house and where we go to church, we pass three others.

    With a major graduate program in religion, a seminary, and a graduate program in social work, we are replete with people who talk about faith and its role in their lives. Our community development programs are mostly Christian ministries.

    Several major business entities here are religiously driven as well.

  65. Bene

    We are not anonymous, neither is SGM Survivors or Refuge. But, there does seem to be some swaying going on… Carry on, fellow bloggers!!!

  66. Arce
    I love it-Jerusalem on the Brazos. I went to church in North Dallas at Bent Tree Bible Fellowship which, at the time, had 4000 members. Across the street was Prestonwood Baptist which had 15000 members and on the other corner was Prince of Peace Lutheran that had several thousand members. The area was dubbed God’s Green Acres. Texas is the Buckle of the Bible belt.

  67. Cindy

    I think I need to hire a full time person just to watch the updates at SGM. Good night!!! Things are going nuts over there.

  68. Here are a sampling of Peter Smith’s blog post focusing on Dr. Mohler.

    http://blogs.courier-journal.com/faith/2011/01/20/mohler-bible-trumps-science/
    http://blogs.courier-journal.com/faith/2010/11/11/mohler-v-biologos-again/
    http://blogs.courier-journal.com/faith/2010/10/08/ky-author-on-mohler-yoga/
    http://blogs.courier-journal.com/faith/2010/10/07/new-twist-on-yoga-mohler/
    http://blogs.courier-journal.com/faith/2010/10/06/cover-story-on-mohler/

    Based on these, I don’t think it would be accurate to say that Smith is in any way carrying his water. The more I think about it, the more I wonder how it benefits Dr. Mohler to have the CJ/SGM story appear in his hometown paper. It seems to me that (if he was smart) it would have been better to have kept this quiet. Now, thanks to Peter Smith, we have a series of posts that basically say “Check out who Hometown Hero Al Mohler has been keeping company with! Cool huh? And he still fully supports this guy! Woo hoo Al! Keep on wowing us with your crusades to make Young Earth Creationism a test of fellowship and to prevent Christian women from doing yoga! You rock!” Or something to that effect.

  69. Cindy

    Is this true? They use open theism to demean those of us who are against the ESS. If so, they are a bunch of lying twops.

  70. Don
    Thank you so much for this info. i will read it now that I got the post up for today. I agree with many of the conclusions listed here. The one thing that will not change is the Internet. It will continue to dog CJ like a rabid dog.

  71. Dee,

    Remember that old article, “After Patriarchy, What?” by Russell Moore? He builds the argument pretty well there that anyone who disagrees with them on the gender issue is an open theist because they say this rejection likewise reject’s sovereign God’s Lordship on all levels. Moore uses a handful of logical fallacies in this article, including the slippery slope. If you can connect A to B to C to D via strong causal relationships, then A=D can be valid, but if you don’t have strong evidence for the connections, you’ve got a slippery slope. Moore just glosses right over the transitions and says anyone who isn’t complementarian is an open theist.

    To be honest, arminianism and semi-pelagian is a faint shade of open theism by Calvinistic standards, and that debate has raged for a few centuries. That’s how a Calvinist sees things. But to say that a semi-pelagian is tantamount to believing in a God who sits back and keeps His fingers crossed to see how things turn out is very different. So not matter what you are, if you’re not one of them, you’re something else, and that basically reduces to open theism.

    http://www.etsjets.org/…/49/49-3/JETS_49-3_569-576_Moore.pdf

    There are other articles similar to this one by Moore including some on CBMW’s site and an audio download, too. I’ve also heard audio and some YouTube videos wherein Ware argues this same point and others, including his idea that a Calvinist cannot be a political libertarian.

    I guess that they don’t like the Presby oriented Calvinist teachings from a few years back that contend that a Baptist can’t really be a Calvinist. Maybe they didn’t read that press, or maybe they weren’t Calvinists yet? It was before it became all the rage and vogue.

  72. Craig

    You could be right. Time will tell. Have you read out post on The Flintstone Doctrine? We have been chasing Mohler on that one. He said that this would be the year he stressed “creationism.” Not creationism in the fact that God created the heavens and the earth. Oh no. He says you HAVE to believe the earth is young. If not, you might not b a Christian. Well that strikes me out-I am an OE and have no difficulty with TE. But, in Mohler’s world, that puts me in the position of being a suspected heretic.
    So, I am glad he is not in charge of the culture. i would be beheaded.

  73. Karl

    The woman should have been wearing a long jean skirt, polo shirt, have long hair and 20 children.

  74. From Brent Detwiler on SGM Survivors:

    Dear Jim, Kris and Guy,

    I am not a fan of Survivors or Refuge. I’ve been blistered by anonymous writers with no ability to share my perspective or correct libelous statements. I’ve been defenseless. Some bloggers accuse me of abuse while they abuse me from their secret hideouts. Hardly a fair fight. And oh, Jim, I don’t believe I’m the incarnation of Jim Elliot (or Elizabeth for that matter).

    But here’s why I’m writing. Some of the big issues addressed on the blogs are true. SGM is trying to silence my voice. I love those guys. I gave my life to build SGM. I want to see it emerge stronger and better. But I am concern the new Board is up to the same old tricks. I could not have been more disappointed with their post yesterday on the SGM blog. It contained so many untruths.

    So in the days ahead, I will occasionally write you with my perspective. I’d appreciate if you posted my thoughts. I’d also like to ask your writers to work hard at reforming their attitudes. In some cases, they have good things to say. I don’t want new readers to be put off by how they say it. We are all learning from this process.

    Well, thanks for your kind consideration.
    Brent

    Also, here’s a great article in Christianity Today. I think this has a lot more to do with what is going on at SGM than “CJ is a horrible evil Calvinistic person”.

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2011/julyweb-only/mostriskyprofession.html?start=1

  75. Shato

    There is no honor amongst thieves.

    Interesting, when the going gets tough, everyone runs to the blogs for information distribution and the leaders do everything to disparage the blogs. Unlike the weenies who run SGM, I have no difficulty in allowing links to blogs which disagree with us and have done so since this blog started. Truth matters,not the spin.

    I have read the CT article (s). I am still NOT impressed. The apparent abuse within this ministry is legendary if the numbers of posts at the survivors blogs are to be believed. And I believe them. Both my years as a public health nurse following abusive situations combined with a short (thankfully) experience at a former church, lead me to accept those stories as containing much truth.

    Frankly, SGM is a hyper-authoritarian, inbred outgrowth of the shepherding movement and none of this is a big surprise. The leaders will fight for control of their rowboat and vilify those looking in. They are so ho-hum in their response-not a clever thinker among them.

    Since freedom allows for a free exchange of ideas and blogging lets the ‘nobody’ post his thoughts, it will be a cold day in hell before information on abuse can be suppressed.

    Since you follow FBC Jax, I think you know what Tom was allowed by a sovereign God to accomplish.He stood up to the admiral of that rowboat and won. FBC is a shadow of its former self, reflecting the steady decline in membership-not unlike KingsWay, et al.

    Here’s the deal. The peasants aren’t buying this nonsense. Authoritarianism went out with J Edgar Hoover, and the doors to churches are now wide open. May your leaders choose to be shining lights on the hill instead of standing at the doors with flyswatters.

  76. Shato, Brent is still trying to shame and control the bloggers in that statement while he uses that platform. He has not changed one bit.

  77. Regarding what Brent said on SGMRefuge, “I’ve been blistered by anonymous writers with no ability to share my perspective or correct libelous statements. I’ve been defenseless.”

    There’s a space for comments under each post at SGMRefuge and SGM Survivors, just like the one I’m using to write this comment. For as long as Brent has been aware of those blogs, he’s been free to post his own comments there. The owners and commenters there would have welcomed his comments, as a way to engage in some kind of dialogue with people who had hurt them.

    His plaint, “no ability to share my perspective or correct libelous statements,” is very hard to swallow. That said, better late than never, big guy! Continue your own revelation-and-repentance process!

  78. The Christianity Today article wasn’t about CJ, but CJ was given as an example. Given the length of that article, I almost wonder if it had already been written before the events of this past week and then edited to include CJ’s name. I think it is a very good article because it explains how our church culture is setting these guys up to fall.

    Let’s be honest. Could you or I face that kind of scrutiny? Could you or I effectively run SGM? Do you and I have pride issues, failure to confess sin issues, etc etc etc? Yes we do. Are we over critical? Is there a difference between the sin sniffing that CJ is accused of and a lot of the criticism on blogs?

    Those who have been personally hurt by discipline or authoritarianism at SGM definitely have a reason to be hurt, to complain, and try to get things made right. But there are thousands of people there who love their churches, love their leaders, and love each other and haven’t been hurt. SGM is not the evil place it’s been portrayed to be. Did you listen to Josh’s sermon from last Sunday? That was an incredible, heart felt and honest sermon. Josh didn’t suddenly become a good guy. He’s always been a good guy. There’s lots of wonderful people in SGM.

    Don’t delight and hope that SGM implodes. I don’t think it’s going to. Josh is exactly right…they are facing the Father’s Discipline because God loves them and wants what is best for them. Personally I think they need to move to a congregation run model similar to the PCA. They tried something, it didn’t work, and now they need to change. SGM has a lot of good things going for it too.

    I’ll bet if we could know the inner workings of almost any group, let’s say Calvary Chapel, you’d find almost the same things.

    Personally I think CJ should step down for quite some time….if for any reason at all it is because it is what he demanded of others.

  79. Shato

    I neither hope nor delight that SGM implodes. I hope that SGM rejects its shepherding past and becomes a real church, not some ubercontrolling entity.

    To say they tried something and it didn’t work is simplistic, dismissing the many claims of serious pain on the part of decent people who came to that denomination (I know) seeking support and love and instead got harshness and control. This wasn’t a lab experiment on a bunch of animals.There are “wonderful” people at SGM and thousands of wonderful people no longer at SGM.

    A for Josh, time will tell. I have no opinion one way or the other at this time. The courtship dating thing went waaaaaay overboard and also led to excesses. Hopefully he has matured.

    As for Calvary Chapel, yod do know that there have been similar concerns raised about that entity.

  80. Shato

    One further question came to me while I was dressing to go out. What in the world do “wonderful people” have to do with anything? Some of the most wonderful people are know are Mormons. I know some wonderful people who are Hindus. Does this make their faith OK?

  81. ‘I’ll bet if we could know the inner workings of almost any group, let’s say Calvary Chapel, you’d find almost the same things’

    Covering up sexual molestation?

  82. A question,

    If there is no God, just consider it a possibility for the moment…then what does that make pastors and church leaders, from the biggest to the tiniest chapel in the woods?

  83. Lin

    TWW has been contacted by several people who have run in the Calvary Chapel circles. It is funny. Hyper-authoriatrian, arrogant pastors all look the same, no matter what umbrella they fall. I never would have believed it until I happened to see it first hand.

  84. I’m putting some feelers out to Rachel at AP as well as a contact at AP. This “Celeb” stuff, mega-dollars, and hyper-authoritarianism needs a public airing. Very, very disappointed in Pope Al and Cardinal Ligon’s premature, uninvestigated, hasty, undeliberative and unscholarly defenses of Mr. Mahaney. 910-229-7914 for anyone wanting to talk. I’m an outsider, as an old school Anglican, a Confessional Calvinist, but there is some “stank on this one.” Keep up the good work. Be of good cheer and faith. Christ alone is sovereign and merciful to all of us, manifold sinners, but justified by faith and grace alone.

  85. I understand that SGM is holding a conference shortly. Expected audience = 3K. Registrant cost is $270. Total receipts = $810K. Anyone have leads on this? This news is just coming in. Form 990 leads with IRS? Honorariums paid? Open books?

  86. “Regarding what Brent said on SGMRefuge, “I’ve been blistered by anonymous writers with no ability to share my perspective or correct libelous statements. I’ve been defenseless.”

    “There’s a space for comments under each post at SGMRefuge and SGM Survivors, just like the one I’m using to write this comment. For as long as Brent has been aware of those blogs, he’s been free to post his own comments there. The owners and commenters there would have welcomed his comments, as a way to engage in some kind of dialogue with people who had hurt them.”

    What an unmitigated crock of admixtures of baloney, malarkey and self-serving nonsense. Caveat emptor with all of them!

  87. Bene D,

    Thanks for the link! Peter Smith has written an excellent article! I hope he will continue to follow this debacle.

    There probably aren’t many comments yet because the piece is so recent. Wait till the SGMers start chiming in.

  88. Donald Philip Veitch said:

    “This “Celeb” stuff, mega-dollars, and hyper-authoritarianism needs a public airing.”

    Yep, the secular media needs to shine the spotlight on this. We have tried to bring attention to it through some of our posts. Here are a couple from our archives.

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2010/04/05/what%E2%80%99s-the-beef-about-christian-conferences/

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2009/06/10/the-best-in-the-world/

    “The Best in the World” post was written a few months after we started blogging when we only had a handful of readers. We’ll be revisiting this topic of lucrative conferences in the near future when we discuss the upcoming Together for the Gospel conference featuring the Fab Four – Mahaney, Mohler, Duncan, and Dever.

    FYI Donald, we both hail from Raleigh so if you’re in the 910 calling area you’re fairly close to us.

    So glad you’re following these developments!

  89. Deb and Dee:

    One of the things about blogging I like is the ability to make corrections and keep up to speed. Blogging gives us the ability to say something like, “perhaps we were a bit hasty”.;^)

  90. Bene D,

    I certainly hope we were hasty in our initial judgment of Peter Smith. We desperately need his journalistic abilities to get the truth out about Mahaney, Mohler, Duncan, SGM. etc.

    I appreciate how Smith continues to follow these developments, and I’m keeping him in my prayers. God is good!

  91. BeneD

    You betcha!

    Boy, things are flying fast and furious. This truly is a fascinating story, almost worthy of People Magazine.

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