It is always the secure who are humble. G K Chesterton
Bluebird eggs in my backyard
Our blogging buddy Steve, who operates a website called I Kissed Dating Goodbye: Wisdom or Foolishness and who also posts comments under the name Steve240, submitted the following article for publication here at The Wartburg Watch. Steve contacted us at our Wartburg Watch e-mail addresses to make a number of astute observations regarding comments C.J. Mahaney has made in the past, particularly on his blog. We found Steve's comments so thought provoking that we asked him to put them in the form of a post so we could share them with our readers. If you have thoughts you'd like to share on any theological topic, please contact us at The Wartburg Watch via our e-mail addresses.
With the recent revelations of what has been going on behind the scenes with SGM especially Mahaney I went back and looked at one of the old SGM Survivors posts titled:
This was a commentary on Installment #8 in Mahaney’s blog series entitled "The Pastor & Personal Criticism'. The post appeared on February 24, 2011, and was entitled: Why Faithful Pastors Will Be Criticized.
It is interesting now to look at Mahaney’s blog entry knowing when Brent started to give Mahaney the various documents that were recently posted for all to see. Mahaney used Calvin’s commentary which can be found here
Mahaney blogged about this Bible passage found in 1 Timothy: “Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses.” (1 Timothy 5:19)
Sadly Mahaney DID NOT comment on these adjoining passages of Scripture:
Verse 20 – Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful /of sinning/.
Verse 21 – I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of /His/ chosen angels, to maintain these /principles/ without bias, doing nothing in a /spirit of/ partiality.
Verse 22 – Do not lay hands upon anyone /too/ hastily and ^[ thereby share ^(/responsibility for/ the sins of others; keep yourself free from sin.
– 1 Timothy 5:20-22
THE NEED TO LOOK AT ALL OF THE VERSES
What I find so revealing, especially now, is how Mahaney so quickly emphasizes the point about “not entertaining”, but chooses not to comment or quote, even in subsequent blog posts, about the verses that follow, which provide a much needed balance. Maybe Mahaney’s blog post revealed his heart including possible self deception?
Certainly there is a need for “not entertaining” but what do you do with pastors who “continue in sin?” Doesn’t the need to rebuke them in the presence of all need to happen? Is that something optional that churches don’t even need to do? With Paul saying that if you do have to rebuke some elders it will serve as a good deterrent so that other elders won’t sin, one would think that it needs to be done when necessary. Also isn’t there a need to rebuke “without bias, doing nothing in a /spirit of/ partiality?” Isn’t that also important?
Could Mahaney have written this blog entry as a means of silencing his critics and trying to get the body of Christ not to even “entertain” accusations against him?
Here are some interesting dates:
Mahaney’s Blog Post: February 24, 2011
Brent Detwiler Began Sending Documents to Mahaney: March 2010
These dates show that Mahaney wrote this blog entry after he was in possession of at least one of Brent Detwiler’s documents. We are able to deduce here that Mahaney wrote this blog entry in the context of reviewing the allegations that Brent was making about Mahaney. The blog entry was not written before Brent Detwiler started sending Mahaney documents
Someone shared with me that Mahaney’s comments within the article are obviously designed to disqualify ANY critic by the simple fact of their “criticism”, which is an absurd standard. Perhaps we now know why? Could it be a ploy to deflect criticism and make people afraid of listening to any criticism about Mahaney, or was Mahaney that deceived as some allege? Both are possible.
HOW MAHANEY COMPARES HIMSELF TO CALVIN (using only verse 19)
If you read Mahaney’s blog post you will see he is implying that he is being criticized due to:
* His furthering the kingdom of God
* Tricks of Satan to bring his message in contempt
* Sincerity of trying to advance God’s kingdom.
* Satan, i.e. Satan makes most people, in fact nearly everyone, over
credulous so that without investigation, they eagerly condemn their pastors whose good name they ought to be defending
Mahaney also implies:
* If this was the criticism Calvin faced, then no pastor (including Mahaney) should be surprised when criticism arrives.
* He is exposed to slander because he is a godly teacher.
* Wrong is done to innocent people whose reputation is undeservedly injured.
WHAT CALVIN WROTE ABOUT VERSE 20 (one of the verses that Mahaney didn’t include):
This is what Calvin’s commentary says about verse 20:
“Those that sin rebuke before all” (vs.20a) 104 *Whenever any measure is taken for the protection of good men, it is immediately seized by bad men to prevent them from being condemned*. Accordingly, what Paul had said about repelling unjust accusations he modifies by this statement, so that *none* may, on this presence, *escape the punishment due to sin*. And, indeed, we see how great and diversified are the privileges by which Popery surrounds its clergy; so that, although their life be ever so wicked, 105 still they are exempted from all reproof. Certainly, if regard be had to the cautions which are collected by Gratian, 106 (Caus. 2, Quest. 4 and Quest. 7,) there will be no danger of their being ever compelled to give an account of their life. Where will they find the seventy-two witnesses for condemning a bishop, which are demanded by the disgusting bull issued by Pope Sylvester? Moreover, seeing that the whole order of laymen is debarred from accusing, and as the inferior orders, even of the clergy, are forbidden to give any annoyance to the higher classes of them, what shall hinder them from fearlessly mocking at all decisions?
Some of Calvin’s points for this verse are:
· “Whenever any measure is taken for the protection of good men, it is immediately seized by bad men to prevent them from being condemned.”
· What “Paul had said about repelling unjust accusations he modifies bythis statement, so that none may, on this presence, escape the punishment due to sin.”
· Talks about the popery and “although their life be ever so wicked, still they are exempted from all reproof.” Sound familiar?
· Additionally about the popery “there will be *no danger of their being ever compelled to give an account of their life*” since Calvin indicates that 72 witnesses are required.
It sure sounds like Mahaney may have been doing what Calvin talks about in the above quote. Let’s check each bullet point:
· Using verse 19 to keep him from being condemned? It sure sounds like it. .
· Escape the punishment due to his sin? Sure sounds like it.
· Trying to be exempt from reproof? Again it sure looks like it.
· Wanting no danger of ever being compelled to give an account? Sadly again it looks like this is the case. It now looks as if Mahaney may be one of these “bad men” that Calvin refers to in his writings, or at least it is a possibility.
THE NEED TO NOT IGNORE BALANCING PASSAGES OF SCRIPTURE
One should be quite careful, and "alarms go off" when someone teaches one passage, but does not include the balancing portion of the same passage.
· If as a leader you teach Hebrews 13 on submission to leadership, you should also teach and act like one day you will have to give an account to God for your actions.
· If you teach that wives should obey their husbands, then you should also teach the part of scripture that commands husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the Church.
· If you teach that children are to obey their parents, then you should also teach the passage that says fathers aren’t to provoke their children.
One should always be worried when someone’s teaching shows an imbalance.
Calvin put the balance this way about I Tim 5:19-20:
“It is therefore proper, carefully to observe this moderation, that insolent tongues shall be restrained from defaming elders by false accusations, and yet that every one of them who conducts himself badly shall be severely corrected; for I understand this injunction to relate to elders, that they who live a dissolute life shall be openly reproved.
WHY DID MAHANEY TEACH ONLY ONE VERSE AND “FORGET” THE OTHERS?
So why did Mahaney teach only this one verse and give an unbalanced view on “entertaining?” I cannot totally answer that question. Some may say he used this teaching as a ploy to try and silence his critics. Others may claim the man was so deceived that he taught this thinking he was doing the right thing. It might even be that Mahaney decided that he was so right in his own mind, he felt he shouldn’t be criticized.
As I shared earlier about a comment someone made to me saying that Mahaney’s comments in his blog posting are obviously designed to disqualify ANY critic by the simple fact of their *criticism* which is an absurd standard. Despite the motives, it certainly appears that Mahaney may have written his blog entry to deflect any criticism. In other words Mahaney appears to be trying to teach that if you are criticizing Mahaney:
· You must be wrong.
· Here is a possible list of why you are wrong.
· See what Calvin said you just might be doing.
With the recent revelations about Mahaney it is no surprise why he blogged like he did. Like Calvin indicated Mahaney has, “*Seized (this) by bad men to prevent them from being condemned.” *
Nice try Mahaney. Maybe Mahaney needs to fully read what Calvin says about the whole passage, and not just the portions he wants to use to protect himself. I could stop here but there are other verses. In these verses Paul explains the needs for publicly rebuking elders.
Verse 20b: So That the Rest Also Will be Fearful /of Sinning
In the second part of verse 20 Paul gives the reason for publicly rebuking an elder who continues in sin: It is a proactive way of making other elders fearful of sinning. Hopefully this won’t be one’s only motivation, but if an elder knows that if he “continues in sin” he will be rebuked in front of everyone, then he will be less likely to commit the sin. Maybe this is another reason you hear of so many cases of elder/pastors abusing people in SGM; SGM doesn’t practice this and thus other elders aren’t fearful.
Verse 21: Do This Without Favoritism
“without bias, doing nothing in a /spirit of/ partiality”
To me it is clearly obvious that this scripture passage is saying rebuking should apply to all elders with no bias and no partiality. Despite how far up a leader is in the hierarchy, including being the group’s head or “pope” this should apply. If one read’s Brent’s documents it appears Mahaney does not believe this.
* Now that the history behind this blog entry is known the “independent” panel should investigate why Mahaney wrote and said this. Was this something Mahaney did in attempt to shield himself from any criticism?
* Sovereign Grace Ministries is quick to quote Jeremiah 17:9 about the heart being “sick” and “deceitful.” Sadly this apparently shows how one leader’s heart apparently can be deceived. If this wasn’t an intentional act then sadly it shows just how deceived Mahaney’s heart became. I guess the rules of not trusting a person’s heart should apply to leaders also.
* This action reminds me of Jimmy Swaggart who was condemning Jim Bakker’s adultery while he was doing something similar. Ironically, I can remember hearing Mahaney say just how bad Jimmy Swaggart’s hypocritical actions were. Sadly Mahaney is doing something similar in terms of hypocrisy.
* Josh Harris said on Sunday 7/10 that C.J. Mahaney still hasn’t seen and acknowledged all of his sin. This certainly looks like a “good” example of this.
* Since other SGM Leaders didn’t notice this possible deception, maybe they were deceived just like Mahaney appears to be.
* When a leader of a group teaches only one side of this passage, it should be no wonder why the leaders below him were afraid to approach him as Brent Detwiler has alleged.
Lydia’s Corner: 2 Samuel 20:14-21:22 Acts 1:1-26 Psalm 121:1-8 Proverbs 16:18