Is C.J. Mahaney Fit For Ministry?

“A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are.” Unknown

 

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Dave Harvey, Acting President of Sovereign Grace Ministries, announced two weeks ago that the SGM Board established a preliminary panel to help them “evaluate C.J. Mahaney’s fitness for ministry”, as stated in this post.  At the beginning of this update, Harvey wrote:

“We invited several men to participate who had basic doctrinal agreement with Sovereign Grace Ministries, biblical/theological expertise, pastoral experience, and perspectives from a variety of evangelical traditions. Kevin DeYoung, Carl Trueman, and Ray Ortlund accepted.”

The identities of these men were not disclosed until after they rendered their finding on whether Mahaney was fit for ministry. And here is the preliminary panel's conclusion (drum roll please)…

“We do not believe C.J. Mahaney’s confessed sins have disqualified him from Christian ministry. Or to put it positively, from all that we have seen, heard, and read, we believe C.J. Mahaney is, at this moment in time and based on those sins which he has acknowledged, still fit to be a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ and a pastor to others.”

Is anyone surprised? Now that we know the identities of these men, I decided to do a little investigating. Let’s look at them one by one.

Kevin DeYoung

Here is what Kevin DeYoung shared about himself at the conclusion of the preliminary panel’s findings (linked above).

“I am the Senior Pastor at University Reformed Church, an RCA congregation in East Lansing, Michigan. The public controversy surrounding C.J. Mahaney and Sovereign Grace has been difficult for many, including myself. I have great affection for Sovereign Grace. I have spoken at various Sovereign Grace events and meet regularly with a local Sovereign Grace pastor in my area. In addition, over the past couple years I have gotten to know various leaders in Sovereign Grace. Joshua Harris is a very good friend. So is C.J. Mahaney. We have had Curtis Allen speak and rap at our church. I have also met with men like Bob Kauflin, Jeff Purswell, Dave Harvey, Grant Layman, and some of the pastors at Covenant Life when I preached there at Joshua Harris’ invitation in the fall of 2010. Honestly, I have experienced nothing but warm, gospel-centered relationships with everyone I have met from Sovereign Grace.”

The word entrenched certainly comes to mind. As I have been following SGM for almost three years, I have taken notice of DeYoung’s close ties with Mahaney and this “family of churches”. And the feeling is obviously mutual. Here is CJ’s interview with Kevin DeYoung on his View From the Cheap Seats blog.

DeYoung has become an increasingly popular speaker at various SGM conferences. For example, he spoke at this year’s Next conference in Orlando, and he was slated to speak at WorshipGod11 conference according to this February announcement:

“Speakers confirmed at the moment are Ray Ortlund, Jr., Bryan Chapell, and Kevin DeYoung. [Ed: see update at the end of this post.] Waiting to hear back from one more…”

Some time later Andrew amended the post, indicating that DeYoung would not be speaking at the upcoming Worship conference.

But don’t worry, he’ll be rubbing elbows with Mahaney and Co. at the Together for the Gospel conference next April. (link)

DeYoung’s books were offered for sale at the Plant conference sponsored by SGM, and they are likely available in the bookstores of all the churches belonging to SGM. It’s not just a ministry; it’s a business…

C.J. Mahaney has been invited to speak at University Reformed Church where DeYoung pastors, and Mahaney addressed that congregation twice in 2010. (link)

 

Ray Ortlund, Jr.

This is what Ray Ortlund, Jr. shared at the conclusion of the preliminary committee’s findings.

“I am Lead Pastor of Immanuel Church, an Acts 29 church in Nashville. I have had two brief conversations with C.J. Mahaney in the past, as I recall, with a few short emails along the way. I preached once at Covenant Life Church at Josh Harris’s invitation, and I will preach there in August, God willing, at the worship conference at Bob Kauflin’s request.”

Oh yes! Ortlund is speaking at the upcoming Worship God conference. Not a conflict of interest there… Who do these guys think they’re kidding?

I sometimes check out Ray Ortlund’s blog that is tied to The Gospel Coalition website. He has some fascinating posts about topics such as “gossip”. (link)

Ortlund allows comments on his blog, and recently I recognized the moniker of one of the commenters on this “gossip” post.
 

Here is the dialogue I read in the comments section:

Steve240 – July 7, 2011 at 8:32 am

“I have seen groups where leaders used their definitions of what “gossip” and “slander” to silence any questioning etc. It was “gossip” or “slander” to question what a leader taught. One wasn’t able to discus their concerns with members.

I have also leaders use these terms to keep regular members in the dark about their questionable actions. Very few people knew of questionable actions that leaders did since they were suppressed under the guise of it being “gossip” or “slander” to do this.

One group that used these tactics recently had their leader C.J. Mahaney step down. He admitted that he had various problems for 5 years. This is one illustration of how teaching on gossip can go overborad and used used wrongly.

Thus people need to be careful of taking the teaching too far”.

Ray Ortlund – July 7, 2011 at 8:39 am

“I wonder, Steve, if your comment might be out of order. It appears you have already arrived at conclusions, when C.J. and his brothers are still exploring the matter before the Lord. Why not hold back from assertions until the facts have been established? Even after agreed-upon facts have been established, insofar as that is possible, it is still brotherly and beautiful, unless you are directly and personally involved, to stay out of it, stay low, stay quiet, and keep ourselves from sin, insofar as we can. God bless you."

Steve240 – July 7, 2011 at 9:33 am

“Ray

Have you read what Mahaney wrote? In that letter Mahaney confessed to problems with himself and SGM. This included the wrong he did to Larry Tomczak in ousting him from the group. The letter though was certainly vague.

You can read these letters at either:

Have read the various allegations that have been brought up on these same blogs? With so many people from different groups bringing up similar concerns seems to indicate that real problems exist vs. possibly exist.”

Ray Ortlund – July 7, 2011 at 9:43 am

“Steve, I prefer not to get involved in an important conversation here in a comment thread. All I am saying is that C.J. is creating a space to seek the Lord, and we should respect that.

In addition, when you say, “With so many people from different groups bringing up similar concerns . . .” I ask you to reconsider that more cautiously. I have seen in the past how accusations can gain momentum not because they have facts behind them but because they are repeated and repeated and repeated. And the people doing this do not realize that they themselves are committing an injustice against a man who may or may not be guilty. Restraint is always wise.”

Ray Ortlund – July 7, 2011 at 10:26 am

“Steve, I have removed the links from your comment. I do not see Jesus in those websites.

Please do not post those links again on my blog. Thank you for understanding. God bless you."

Steve240 – July 7, 2011 at 10:38 am

“Ray

It is your blog and thus your decision.

Do you “see Jesus” in the actions of the SGM Leaders that lead to people writing on these blogs?”

As far as I can tell, this exchange of comments took place between Ray Ortlund and Steve 240 BEFORE the preliminary panel was formed (two weeks ago according to Dave Harvey). Is there any doubt how Ortlund would come down on the issue of whether Mahaney was fit for ministry?

 

Carl Trueman

Here is what Carl Trueman shared at the end of the findings of the preliminary panel.

“I am an ordained minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Westminster Theological Seminary, PA. Neither body has a formal relationship with Sovereign Grace Ministries. While I sit with C.J. Mahaney on the Board of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, I have never attended a Council meeting, nor interacted with him on Alliance business. I have met him three times, once briefly at a group breakfast at the Evangelical Theological Society annual meeting in 2005, once for a brief lunch in 2006 and then when teaching a course for the Pastor’s College in 2007. I have also been interviewed by him for his blog. I will be giving a seminar at T4G next year, but that was at the request of Mark Dever. Beyond that, and the fact that I have appreciated the writings of C.J. Mahaney and others in SGM, I have no personal connection with him and no vested interest in, or extensive knowledge of, the work of SGM.”

If you would like to “Meet Carl Trueman”, just read C.J. Mahaney’s post introducing him. (link)

Even though Trueman tries to insinuate that he and Mahaney have “no personal connection”, here is what Carl wrote about CJ four years ago.

“CJ Mahaney is a pal, but I've always had two problems with his ministry: First, he thinks basketball players are the greatest athletes. As I told him this morning, I won't reply to that, for, as the Bible says, never answer a fool according to his folly.”

It is also very interesting that Carl Trueman includes the interview with Mahaney cited above at the end of his faculty profile at Westminster Theological Seminary.

In February 2008 Trueman focused on his pal in this post about the Super Bowl.

Here is what he wrote:

“I see C J Mahaney is blogging. He has some good thoughts on the `Superbowl' — you know, that ridiculous event where all those overweight people stand around doing nothing for four hours and looking silly in spandex (hasn't anyone ever told them it takes a certain physique to get away with wearing cycling shorts?). But to claim that knowledge of this and basketball constitutes extensive knowledge of `sports' seems somewhat misguided. CJ — God opposes the proud, brother.”

Well, Trueman certainly lived up to his last name in his concluding statement about CJ.

Then in 2009 Mahaney posts an article on The Gospel and Personal Criticism, in which he discusses Martin Luther and his “friend” Carl Trueman. (link)

Check out this excerpt from Mahaney’s post:

“Luther’s reminder of the depth of personal sin has served me on numerous occasions over the years. And recently Luther’s words have served my friend Carl Trueman, too.

Carl is the Professor of Historical Theology and Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary. And he has taught a course on John Owen in the Pastors College. Carl is a gifted, insightful, and witty writer (despite writing with just two fingers). I am a friend and a fan of Carl Trueman.”
(emphasis mine)

Oh, so CJ is a member of the Carl Trueman fan club… He even knows he types with “just two fingers”. No personal connection? Hmmm…..

Josh Harris is noticeably missing from the T4G lineup of Breakout Session speakers, but guess who is included in the list… Carl Trueman!!! (link)

Dave Harvey will be joining Trueman as a breakout speaker.   Let's spell it out:  E-N-T-R-E-N-C-H-E-D!!!

I wrote an article some time ago about the ‘cult of personality’ in what we call the Calvinista movement, and in that post I quoted Carl Trueman. At the time, I truly believed he was one of the few with discernment about the downside of the “Young, Restless, and Reformed” movement. Now he’s been sucked into the conference circuit. I am so greatly disappointed…

Here are a few excerpts from Carl Trueman’s 2008 post over at Reformation 21, the blog of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals where he regularly posts (remember, Ligon Duncan used this same blog to defend his buddy CJ). (link)


“In the fall of 2006, Christianity Today's Collin Hansen wrote an article which pointed to the fact that, for all of the hoo-hah about the Emerging/ent Church, there was a growing interest among young Christian people in America in traditional Reformed theology. If Hansen was right, then it was not Brian McLaren who was the man of the moment: more likely contenders included John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, Al Mohler and C J Mahaney.”

“There are causes for concern even amidst all the good news.  At the heart of this revival – and this is both the strength and the weakness of the movements described – are a set of powerful personalities linked to powerful movements or conferences.  The name of John Piper looms large in the narrative, but there are others: R C Sproul, the T4G guys, Joshua Harris, Mark Driscoll etc.  Without such dynamic figureheads and the organizations around them, it is doubtful that the movement would have made the impact on young people which it has done.  Nevertheless, the dangers here are several.  First, there is the absence of the church at key points.  Now, this criticism needs to be nuanced.  All of those mentioned above are churchmen, and none would wish to see their conferences or their personalities becoming in some way substitutes for the institutional church.  Yet the danger is always there whereby people become attached to the man rather than to the message or to the church.”

“This leads to my second concern: how much of this is about personality/movement cults?” 

“These, point to the dilemmas which the new Reformed movement must face: how much is this movement about genuine belief and how much is social belonging?  And for its leadership: how much is about genuine mission, and how much is about self-promotion and self-perpetuation?”

“When does a leader cross the line between promoting the kingdom and promoting himself?  When does a ministry cease to exist for any other reason than providing its leader with a good salary, a flashy car, and a platform for pontification?   Hansen's book makes it clear that powerful personalities have shaped this movement, even at the level of the language used, where the followers have started to use the very turns of phrases which are the hallmarks of their leaders.  Again, there is nothing necessarily wrong with this; but the temptations of leadership are as manifold as the temptations of those looking for a guru to do their thinking for them; and the need for leaders to distinguish between making followers of themselves and forming disciples of Christ…”

Well, there is the evidence I have assembled from the internet in a relatively short amount of time.  I’m sure there is a lot more out there.  

So just how objective can these three men be regarding CJ Mahaney? 

You be the judge…

 

Lydia's Corner:       1 Kings 8:1-66        Acts 7:51-8:13        Psalm 129:1-8        Proverbs 17:1

Comments

Is C.J. Mahaney Fit For Ministry? — 124 Comments

  1. I don’t know about that Steve240 guy. 😉

    That was an interesting discussion I had with Ray Ortlund Jr. I am glad it could be to used to reveal how questionable his impartiality could be. I even sent Ray Ortlund Jr. a private email trying to discuss this with him and he responded with “Please do not contact me. Thank you.” So much for wanting to discuss and reason.

    Earlier this year I had an email discussion with Dane Ortlund who is Ray Ortlund Jr.’s son. I was really shocked to find out that he was an “editor” after seeing how he corresponded with me. Sadly Ray expressed no interest in trying to understand where I was coming from but was immediately accusatory and had a shut mind mentality. One certainly wouldn’t expect to see this displayed by someone who supposedly is an editor. At least I know where Dane got this from. Sadly it looks like he mirrored the example his father displayed.

    Excellent research was done for this blog entry. Someone asked me how I could call two of these three men “friends” of Mahaney. I forwarded to him the link to your blog post. It sure shows it.

    One additional issue I see with these men is that all of them are Reformed/Calvnistic. The reason that Mahaney gave for blackmailing Tomczak was Tomczak stating that he didn’t agree with TULIP and how SGM (PDI at the time) was moving towards Calvinism. Mahaney claimed this was Tomcak’s way of avoiding going through the entire disciplinary process.

    With these men all being Calvinistic, I am sure it would influence their view on how “justified” it was for Mahaney to blackmail when someone was objecting to Calvinism. Just a possibility.

    In their review of this blackmailing the 3 men seemed to be saying that the end justified the means.

  2. Westminster Theological Seminary: Lord preserve us. (I mean that sincerely; it’s painful to see the links between SGM, T4G and Westminster, though I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, what with calvinista-ism being the flavor du jour…).

    Why is is that the US church seems to roll through one crazy “movement” after another?! (Offhand, i can think of plenty, going well back into the 19th century, that seem to be affecting us – and negatively so – to this very day.)

    May God have mercy on us.

  3. I am familiar with Ortlund and DeYoung but not with Trueman. These guys are just a part of the larger problem out there. I am done with anything that resembles credibility with any of them. Anything they teach at this point would be coming from white washed tombs.

    Anytime I have tried to contact any of them about anything that is simply a question or disagreement they shut you down. You see, you are not to question. They know best. I think this is just the logical outcome of seeing oneself as above others. I think they have a huge sin problem.

    Ortlund has some outlandish teaching on women which Cheryl Schatz discussed on her blog a few years back. He views the husband as the prophet, priest and king to his wife.

    DeYoung I know from the book and they are angry, pompous young men. The seminaries are churning them out by the hundreds, so fasten your seat belt.

    For anyone not to see how blatantly obvious this PR campaign is to get Mahaney back on stage quick means they willfully have their head in the sand. They WANT to follow these men at the cost to their souls.

    My question is what does all this mean for the future of Christianity in America? They are gaining followers after themselves very fast.

  4. How About a Curve Ball Guys

    Part of what bugs me about SGM is that they never throw anything but low balls. My mother’s eighth graders could point out the logical fallacies in the interaction between Steve240 and the other dude. “I don’t like what you’re saying so I’ll pretend the problem is that I don’t see Jesus in the links you posted.” Really, that’s the best a grown man can do?

    On that note, I think that the very question “Is C.J. fit for ministry” is a lame rheological ploy/set-up on the part of SGM’s board of enablers designed to distract people from the real issue at hand.

    Anyone can be considered fit for ministry by their friends and family as Fred Phelps, the minister who disrupts military funerals because he believes that homosexuality is destroying the U.S.A., has proven. If I could remember the name of the guy who’s burning Korans I’d throw him in as another example of the fact that anyone can be considered fit for ministry as long as they have a few followers.

    The question these panels should be asking is as follows:

    Is C.J. fit to led SGM irrespective of his qualifications as a minister?

    Given that people have stopped tithing, left SGM, and taken other hostile actions based on the sins C.J. has already confessed to I’d say the answer to that question is a resounding no.

    A no that doesn’t necessitate hiring fake mediators and wasting obscene amounts of money on two Kangaroo courts.

    A no that doesn’t necessitate risking losing an entire denomination because one man prioritizes his career over his church.

    A no that doesn’t make Evangelicals look like the silliest hypocrites on earth.

    Nor does resignation even suggest guilt anymore. Look at Dominique Strauss Kahn, the former head of the IMF who resigned pending some serious questions about his moral conduct and judgment. He has always maintained his innocence yet resigned from his post as one of the world’s foremost bankers because circumstances in his life made him a big distraction to an organization he cared about.

    For the love of heaven, just give C.J. 25 years of severance pay and get rid of him. The Mahaneys will not starve because if nothing else C.J. will be one world-class insurance salesman. Of that I am sure.

    🙂

  5. No Mat. 18 and No Blogging: Celebrity Preachers are Backing Themselves Into a Corner

    Generally – the comments on the SGM site make it sound as though the panel members were told they wouldn’t be bothered by questions from ordinary folks and naively believed this. That might account for some of the grouchiness they’re expressing.

    @Lin – I actually think that these guys are losing followers because they’re boring and people don’t support the lifestyles of boring people in a Web 2.0 world.

    @Steve240 – the e-mail you got illustrates the corner the Extreme Evangelical leadership has backed itself into.

    Ortlund declined to address your issues personally per Mat. 18’s guidelines. Then he proceeded to claim that the blog links you sent were ungodly.

    Well, if he won’t talk to you as Mat. 18 requires him to do, then what business does he have criticizing your decision to post your issues with him on a blog? Or nailing 95 theses to his door for that matter.

    This “blogging is a sin thing” sounded like a good idea, but it’s really back-firing on the powers-that-be.

    😉

  6. Excellent post Deb!!

    This kind of stuff makes me angry. I’m hardly alone. There is so much BS here.

    SGM has been spiritually manipulating people for so long and gotten away with it that they still think it’s a game they can play. That’s obvious. What isn’t obvious to them is how their cup has become full of God’s wrath. Now they assume they can squirm out of His judgments, too. The arrogance of SGM in the face of all this has become totally unmasked. Yet they think they can still put on their masks and continue their play acting. Sorry guys and gals. The show is over!

  7. “We invited several men to participate who had basic doctrinal agreement with Sovereign Grace Ministries, biblical/theological expertise, pastoral experience, and perspectives from a variety of evangelical traditions.”

    Huh?

    What variety of evangelical traditions would agree with SGM?
    The individuals who do have spoken up already, haven’t they?
    (Mohler and Duncan)

    The board had to get three friends of CJ Mahaney – who else could they ask? It’s not like the Calvanista shepherds are a numerous and healthy tribe. They can’t ask women, they can’t ask people who aren’t celebrities, they aren’t going to ask SGM members, they can’t ask moderate Calvanists, and charismatics aren’t going to be to keen to step up after what CJ did to Tomzcak was made public – so it seems to me this was a perfect set-up by SGM leadership.

    The statement (findings) are non-binding, pardon my language, most of us know ass kissing when we see it. Let’s hope SGM members make their decisions with their wallets, their voice, their feet and their prayers.

  8. PS:

    Steve240. Applause!
    You were gracious and it seems to me that you went into that exchange with your eyes open.
    What is Orland going to say? He had probably already been asked, and knew he had to toe the line. Good on you.

    Brent Detwiler posted on his blog:

    “Here’s the stunner! I totally agree with their conclusion! Based on C.J.’s publicly “confessed sins” he is not disqualified. Why? Because he acknowledged next to nothing and nothing specific except for his treatment of Dave and me eight to nine years ago! So based upon his public confessions, the three man panel is correct – C.J. is “still fit to be a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ and a pastor to others.” Thanks Kevin, Ray and Carl for making that clear to all of us.”

    This would be funny if so many wonderful people hadn’t been so terribly wounded by these child-men.

  9. Janna wrote:
    Part of what bugs me about SGM is that they never throw anything but low balls.

    Janna, if you look at my blog, in the sidebar, there is a list of logical fallacies and propaganda techniques that are usually used by these guys. There is good reason why they never state some of these things plainly and directly. If they did, people would not only start thinking, they would never entertain the whole package. It is part of the marketing and sale of ideas.

    In cultic groups (groups that use spiritual abuse to manipulate and exploit followers at their own expense for the benefit of the greater group and for the leadership), there are always two sets of rules and beliefs. First, there are the ones that can be written down. Then, there are the beliefs that are never stated directly but are communicated indirectly through social manipulation, vague inference, unstated assumption, and fuzzy logic. In my own group, they never disclosed their views about women in their membership classes. NEVER. If they had, we never would have joined. (They didn’t tell us that we needed elders to vote and give us permission to leave after we joined, and they never said that the consequences of our leaving would be our destruction, etc..) I only learned about these things into two years of our very active membership there, learning about these rules after violating them and after the group was fairly certain that I had other very good reasons not to leave the group. They leave the more troubling doctrines out of their initial sales pitch and their love bombing. It’s bad for business.

    Also, the “low balls” are part of the unwritten code of conduct at SGM. You can’t ever state anything that sounds like a direct confrontation because confrontation has been cast as a grave sin. Everything is passive and indirect, and this keeps people off balance and causes them to depend more heavily on the group. They use the “low ball” communication system which fosters and capitalizes on shame and confusion to manipulate their members, and it is the behavior that members are also supposed to model.

    If they came right out and started breaking the SGM code of conduct, the members would start doing it, too. They cannot risk that.

    The direct communications tend to backfire also, because people have so much pent up frustration that it is hard to maintain self-control when communications become direct. They can’t risk letting that kind of pent up aggression get out of control. Aggression has to be masked in the sugary sweet facade of love and care. It’s part of the unwritten, unofficial code of conduct.

  10. Lin wrote:

    For anyone not to see how blatently obvious this PR campaign is to get Mahaney back on stage quick, means they willfully have their head in the sand. they WANT to follow these men at the cost to their souls.

    My question is what does all this mean for the future of Christianity in America. They are gaining followers after themselves very fast.

    We all have our idols, and in some ways, life is a process of tearing down the idols that we find that compete with our love for and worship of God. In SGM, the both the system/form and the leaders are worshiped as idols that cannot be “touched.”

    I agree that people do want to follow these men at any cost. SGM created and painted a fantasy world for them. It creates a better place for better Christians who do things in a better way on many levels — that is part of the fantasy. No one else can do it like SGM, and there will never be any place or any church that will ever be as good or wonderful as SGM. People are unwilling to challenge those ideas. Doing so would be painful and it means that they were duped into believing something that was an illusion. Realizing and admitting this and moving past it is tremendously painful and threatening.

    If people do not have a day of reckoning with the fantasy and examine the reasons why they decided to set aside reality in order to believe the illusion, they will find another fantasy.

    You ask what will happen to Christianity if people do not wake up from the dream and renounce it as an idol which distracted them from reality and from true intimacy with God (complete with all of it’s uncertainty, unanswered questions, etc.)? They will recreate or find a different version of SGM. (And they will gain followers after them very fast.)

    There is no way to circumvent the tribulation that we experience in this life. There is no higher level of Christianity in form. There is no higher life that creates multiple levels of Christians. We are all just sinners saved by grace (unmerited favor that is not earned). But those who offer promises of plans for reduced tribulation or for a fool-proof result in living will always have a market. We are human beings who like novelty and are always trying to “build a better mouse trap.” So these illusions and novelty will always sell. There will always be a market for such systems and people and the cult of personality. It is our fallen nature that will be with us until we leave this life.

    “You shall not surely die…” Do it our way, and you’ll see that it will be better for you. It’s the smartest sounding idea in the world, and it feels so good and right.

    There are no perks in what I sell, however! Sign up and realize that you’ve been manipulated and hurt and there are no easy answers. (The payoff comes later, because though we have tribulation now, Jesus has overcome the world. We just have to wait to step into that better place.)

  11. Oh, yeah. Important factoid: I don’t get paid anything. I talk about spiritual abuse because I believe that I have a duty to do so. CJ, Ortland, etc. make a living out of promoting their aberrant systems. I pay out of pocket for everything.

    But to be fair, I did have someone once make me a meal of spaghetti with meat sauce, however.

  12. Steve,

    I’m glad that they left your comments intact. I pray that it makes people think, and I believe that it will spark ideas in their minds eventually. They may not remember it, but the more people challenge these ideas, the bigger the difference that is made. I pray that these seeds of your ideas will produce a great harvest.

  13. Steve240,

    Thanks for representing “the least of these” by providing those links – whatever they were. I’m assuming SGM Survivors and SGM Refuge.

    Shame on Ray Orlund for this response:

    “Steve, I have removed the links from your comment. I do not see Jesus in those websites.”

    Really Ray? You don’t see Jesus in those websites? Then why did Mark Mullery issue a public confession to his congregation admitting that two of the testimonies on the anti-SGM websites were indeed true?

    Confessions of an SGM Pastor

  14. Cindy K said,

    “Important factoid: I don’t get paid anything. I talk about spiritual abuse because I believe that I have a duty to do so. CJ, Ortland, etc. make a living out of promoting their aberrant systems. I pay out of pocket for everything.”

    Ditto! Dee and I have a heart for those who have been harmed by spiritually abusive systems, and this is our ministry to them.

    May God have mercy on the abusers who masquerade as Christian leaders!

  15. After reading the emails from Steve240 I had to laugh! Those guys knew what the outcome of the preliminary panel would be before they met and they knew the first few days in July.

    Thanks for documenting on them Steve240.

    And they should remember that what goes around comes around.

    It’s not only CJ who is being outed, is it?

  16. Thanks for all the time and work it takes to dig up information.

    First of all, Dave Harvey is a known liar.

    Secondly, CJ Mahaney didn’t actually *confess* (publicly) any specific sin. Some of his private misdeeds have come out in the open, but he hasn’t ‘fessed up to those serious sins.

    So, if you want to get away with sins some of which are felonies, just make sure you have a Y chromosome, are in the upper level of an org. that stresses your role (hypocracy) and do lot of blabbering and put on a crying show, wait a few weeks, call in your investments, and get your “friends,” (you know, the people you pay to be your friends in this case, it actually *works*) and they will tell your sheeple that you’re fit to be an alpha male.

    Now, as far as I’m concerned, the ball is in the court of the sheeple.

    What do you say, dear SGM members? Do you like being played a fool, or is this when you vote with your feet?

  17. Not sure what information about Ortlund’s pastorates in the PCA is available on the web, but word on the street is he nearly split one church (First Pres. Augusta, GA), and DID split another (Christ Pres. in Nashville), leading a chunk of people out with him to start his “Acts 29” (what an arrogant name for a movement, when you think about it. Oh, wait, it’s just “clever.” I get it) church in Nashville. These bros all seem cut from the same cloth. So sorry to see Trueman linking arms with them.

  18. They are all part of the food chain. CTrue is a cheeky import that we could do without. Ray and Kev and CTrue are B-listers who appear good when compared with SGM C-listers. Mohler likes the poor quality leadership at SGM because it makes people think that seminary is the solution. CCEF likes SGM because the denomination produces casualties that need counseling. PeaceFakers would be out of business if the SGM model didn’t thrive.

    The evangelical church in the US is a mashup of big business and a ponzi scheme.

    Glad I’m out of it,
    Former SG Pastor

  19. A “pal”,

    Thanks for the scoop on Ortlund. He is just coming on the radar screen for me. Sounds like he has had lots of practice with hyper-authoritarianism. Power is a corrupting force.

  20. FSGP,

    You nailed it! So glad there are some former Sovereign Grace pastors out there who will tell the truth no matter the cost.

    God bless you!

  21. Deb –

    People still ask me about what SG church to attend or what I think of SGM. I say only 2 things:

    1) I’m no longer there and that speaks for itself
    2) Check out Refuge, Survivors, and “the Watch”

    My 10-15 second speech has saved people the trauma of involvement with SGM and has cost SGM speakers a nice chunk of honoraria and travel expenses.

    The truth has set us free,
    Former SG Pastor

  22. Here is yet another tragic testimony of a toddler being molested by a teenage boy – this time at Covenant Life Church in 1993. Although “the pastor” who counseled the victim’s parents is not identified by name, it is not difficult to theorize who it probably was.

    “SGMNot’s” Story

    My heart is breaking once again for an innocent little child who continues to feel emotional pain at the age of 21.

    How many more horrific testimonies have to be shared before the Calvinista leaders see the truth? Is their greed for celebrity, money, and power to promote their narrow doctrine so strong that they will look past the sins of their “friends in high places”?

  23. Deb

    Cue the song “You’ve gotta friend in me.” Told ya this would be a good one! I have a funny video to put with Friday’s post.

    Sad thing is, years ago, when still a relatively young Christian, I used to like some of the stuff from Ortland. That’s when I overlooked that application is the reality of theology. I think it should be interesting to do some research on Ortland due to the reports of turmoil in his ministry.

    BTW these guys don’t blog, they lecture and then hide behind the delete button because they are wussy boys who need a mama to protect them. Their mama is the delete button. We have more guts then any of them. We take our hits and grow. Poor, abusive little babies.

  24. FSGP,

    I like that – “the Watch”.

    Oh yes! We’re definitely ‘watching’ and writing about what we see.

  25. FSGP

    One other thing you should tell is to read their Bibles, start to finish and don’t have some egotistical, self-indulgent pastor telling what to think.

  26. Pal
    I am intrigued with what you wrote. Looks like we have some new directions to investigate. Thank you.

  27. Pal
    SGM is accused of “sin-sniffing.” I think it would be nice for us to be accused of “abuse sniffing.”

  28. Tem
    We wrote a post saying we had been hoodwinked in this situation. I laughed and laughed when I found out who was on this “Let’s help CJ out” committee. The writing was on the wall from square one.

  29. Cindy

    We, too, blog gratis. This is the voice of the people with no obligations to anyone. I ain’t getting no book deal out of this, I can assure you. I am also convinced our pictures have been sent to all bouncers at SGM/Calvinista churches. Maybe someday we can have dinner at an Italian restaurant-Dutch!

  30. Hi Bene D

    I’ve been humming “You’ve gotta friend in me all morning.” Yep, these guys are defending an organization that has had so many people severely damaged by their dadblasted, screwed up theology that it is unbelievable. Here’s my theory: They are all doing this in their own churches. So, when you see the names Ortland, DeYoung and Trueman, find out what church they go and DON’T got there. In fact, set up a nice church next door to catch all the people revolving out the door.

  31. Lin
    I didn’t know much about Trueman. However, it sounds like he is a living, breathing example of The truman Show-performing in a world which is not really there.

  32. Steve240

    You are awesome. Loved the exchange with Ortland. Guess who showed that he was a real man? You keep speaking truth. The Ortland types crack me up. The start blogs and can’t believe it when someone disagrees with them. Then they cry “stop it” and run home to mama. You bad bully, you!

  33. @Cindy K – Thanks for compiling your thoughts on manipulation strategies. I haven’t looked at it yet but such lists are always helpful. Yes SGM can’t say things outright but they could be better at manipulating people by switching things up a bit once in a while by at least throwing a high ball.

    I understand the manipulation techniques – I’m just annoyed that they can’t be a little more challenging to address
    I understand about SGM’s manipulation techniques. What I was complaining about is that they’re so pathetic. When Mohler is playing games I really have to focus on what’s he’s doing because he’s so smart and sneaky. I’ve spent days thinking about how best to respond to a Mohler move in the blogosphere as I can often tackle the problems he poses from many angles.

    By contrast I could practically compose my post above about the SGM statement in my sleep because SGM doesn’t even switch up tactics periodically.

    @FSGM – I love your sense of humor by the way. Could you post your “10 Things C.J. Could Be Doing Now” post that was on Survivors a couple weeks ago? I’m sure it would be appreciated. 🙂

    I also find it interesting that SGM had to go down into the C and D lists to come up with panel members considering that A-listers like Mohler and Piper (I believe be wrong about him in which case substitute his name with that of 3 or 4 other celebrity pastor A-lsiters) initially rushed to C.J.’s defense.

    To me that’s very telling – they’re setting C.J. and SGM loose on this problem at best and expelling SGM from the union all together at worst. Either problem his huge financial implications for SGM.

    Also, I think that the official statement in question above was clearly written by a lawyer. It bears little resemblance to the writing styles of the panel members, in my opinion. They just signed off on whatever C.J.’s lawyer put together after dressing it up a bit in SGM languagese is my guess.

    Best to all – Janna

  34. @Dee – Amen sister about the statement below. When all this secondary and tertiary theology comes into play I like to remind people the reformation was really about.

    dee on Thu, Aug 04 2011 at 09:18 am

    FSGP

    One other thing you should tell is to read their Bibles, start to finish and don’t have some egotistical, self-indulgent pastor telling what to think.

  35. Bless Him and The Train He Came in On

    The original saying is more fun but there are ladies present.

    @Paul – haha…I they’ve confused its meaning with that of RESCUE. But then, as Cindy indirectly pointed out, a person who didn’t have to recuse himself or herself would say, “Why didn’t you kick this guy and the train he came in on to the curb long ago.”

  36. Personally, I like Kevin DeYoung. I first heard of him a couple years ago when his book “Why We’re Not Emergent: By Two Guys Who Should Be” came out, which I thought did a very good job of taking on emergent theology. Since then, I have read a couple of his other books and have added his blog to my eclectic daily reading list. I usually find his material very beneficial to me. Last, but not least, his extensive review and dissection of “Love Wins” was probably the best thing I saw that came out against that book.

    But that is just my opinion.

  37. Here’s the correct answer on whether C.J. Mahaney is fit for the ministry –

    That is up to God alone.

    But humans have to try and figure out what God’s will would be in this area.

    So – It’s up to Mahaney as he communes with God. The doctrine of the Priesthood of the Believer secures this right to Mahaney.

    Now, there are 2 matters that relate to that:

    1. I don’t know whether Mahaney believes in the Priesthood of the Believer. I have never read or heard one way or the other. Whether he does or not doesn’t change the fact, but it might affect whether he feels competent to determine that. He might look to some Board or other body to make that determination. This opens himself up to the possibility that a person in such a situation would try to manipulate the body or board that is going to make that decision.

    2. Even though the Priesthood of the Believer allows Mahaney to make the determination as he communes with God, that DOES NOT mean that everyone has to agree with Mahaney’s determination.

    Any church or body can make its own decision about Mahaney and act accordingly. They have the right to make those same determinations, the same as Mahaney does.

    What if they disagree? The both can’t be right.

    Correct. But we can’t settle that here on earth.

    So, we have to be content to live with our respective conclusions. People can make arguments pro or con, but there is not truly objective determination to be made.

    That’s the way this stuff works.

  38. @Citation Squirrel – I think that De Young has some interesting things to say too and I probably should have called him a B-lister rather than C or D lister. But that doesn’t affect the conflict-of-interest problem he has in evaluating C.J. Mahaney’s qualification to do anything ranging from cleaning out the parking lot to running SGM.

    @Everyone – please forgive the many mechanical errors in my posts. My OCD tendencies used to be so extreme that I couldn’t post anything if I thought a comma could be construed as misplaced if 7/20 grammar books presented different opinions on the matter.

    I do try to proofread everything I write but I have concluded that unless I’m formally writing something that will be published in a formal way, posting ideas is more important than trying to be the perfect writer. Which I will never be anyway. As long as you can understand me, we’re good. If not, please let me know and I’ll do a better job proofreading my posts.

    Regarding Not Getting Paid For Our Work

    We don’t and interestingly Andrew, the moderator for SGM’s site, only approves comments during business hours M-F. As the SGM blog was updated at the close of business day on Friday and he took Monday off, he got a lot flack for not approving comments till Tuesday this week.

    There wasn’t so much as a note at the bottom of Harvey’s post saying “comments will be held till Andrew gets around to his moderating duties” leading many people to speculate that SGM was done allowing comments to appear on its blogs.

    Someone made the general observation that if the people running the anti-SGM blogs can work 24/7 to approve comments without being paid to do so, perhaps SGM could allocate a few bucks to letting someone else moderate the comment board on the weekends/Andrew’s days off.

    The disdain that the SGM leadership has for interacting with its hoi polloi still amazes me. We’ll bill you for a 6 figure Kangaroo court, but spend $15/hour getting someone to answer your questions about said Kangaroo Court in a timely fashion…why on earth would we do that?

    ???

  39. Paul

    Recuse…what an odd idea. Aren’t you supposed to pick your buddies to help you out? Surely that’s in the Bible-two by two, etc 🙂

  40. @Cindy K: “You ask what will happen to Christianity if people do not wake up from the dream and renounce it as an idol which distracted them from reality and from true intimacy with God.”
    Or, as Clifford Bax put it (nearly a hundred years ago):
    “Earth might be fair, and all men glad and wise.
    Age after age their tragic empires rise,
    Built while they dream, and in that dreaming weep:
    Would man but wake from out his haunted sleep,
    Earth might be fair and all men glad and wise.”

  41. Citation Squirrel

    This has nothing to do with whether or not they adhere to some good theology. I am sure all of these guys have strong points when discussing truth. If they didn’t they would have been thrown to the curb a long time ago.

    Here is the problem: theology is cerebral until it is applied. There is absolutely no justification for a buddy of Mahaney’s, and DeYoung fits that category, to make judgments in this situation. DeYoung may be interesting but he is a sinner like the rest of us and subject to the same temptations. How can he even be considered neutral-he’s not? Just like i couldn’t be neutral if my blogging buddy was accused similarly. I would have to, as Paul mentioned above RECUSE myself.

  42. Folks

    I just had a comment removed over at Ray Ortland’s blog post on The Accused. What is interesting is that I did NOT mention the Mahaney mess. I will try to recreate it here but it will be a synopsis.
    His dad, a pastor, had been accused of being a communist in 1961.

    Pastor Ray

    What a divine sovereign opportunity for your father (I was a fan of his). Think of the sermons that he could do (and probably did) on the role of government and the faith, how to love one another, etc.

    The people at that time were understandably concerned about communism due to the Cuban missile crisis which they believed could start WW3. I am sure that your dad had dinner with these folks, sharing his own fears and concerns about the state of the world and listening to them.

    I think we move to quickly towards discipline instead of looking underneath at people’s fears concerns, loneliness, etc. This is what Jesus did. It is an opportunity to share love and understanding instead of self-protection. Transparent vulnerability is a dying art.

    So, folks, can you imagine that encouraging love and understanding is NOT allowed at The Gospel Coalition. Why?

  43. Yes, Only God Can Determine Someone’s Fitness For Ministry So Why is SGM Pretending/Presuming Otherwise

    @Anonymous – thanks for your thoughtful feedback above.

    Your post implies that the process SGM is going through is complex yet it begs the question, “What gives SGM the right to determine anyone’s fitness for ministry?”

    One could argue that all SGM can truly determine is the practical issue of whether or not someone is fit to minister to them.

    Can I ask what you think of my suggesting above that SGM should therefore be focusing on whether or not C.J. Mahaney is fit to run SGM irrespective of whether he’s fit to be a minister, as you’ve pointed out that only God can answer that question ultimately?

    I realize that there are Biblical issues at hand but corporate boards in the secular world don’t speculate about whether a controversial CEO is fit to be a CEO generally – they question whether he’s (or she in very rare instances) is fit to be THEIR CEO respecting THEIR obligations to THEIR shareholders.

    Perhaps I could suggest that SGM’s congregants function as shareholders in a sense as they certainly pick up the tab for the organization’s existence.

    I’m just curious as I imagine that some people at SGM churches would concur with the idea that C.J. may be fit for ministry but he’s definitely not fit to be ministering to us and we don’t panels of panels to determine that.

  44. The Blacklist

    @Dee – maybe he didn’t like your comments but I think that if you posted under “Dee” the problem is that you and I are on the same blacklist.

    I can’t get any posting through the moderators at SGM-related sites under the name “Janna.” Even a simple, “I’m praying for you Josh” didn’t get through Harris’s website moderator although that person has approved comments that’s content is so awful (the equivalent of your recently deceased mother would be ashamed of you) and mean-spirited I’m not sure I would approve them on my blog.

    They refuse to let us talk to them directly and then slam us for being anonymous.

    Sigh.

  45. It is the typical voir dire dilemma: do you want a juror who knows something (but not too much) or a juror who knows nothing.

    For purposes of full disclosure, I know absolutely nothing about SGM (good or bad). So I’m the last person that should be commenting on this topic. Actually, based on that they should have had me come in and determine if Mr. Mahaney was fit (like I’d really knowingly walk into that).

    Not to defend their actions in anyway (like I said I don’t know enough to do that), but as an ignorant outsider, it doesn’t seem to be a great situation to be in. SGM couldn’t have their board make the determination, since that would have stunk to high heaven of conflict of interest. They could have pulled together a group of ministers and leaders from the backwoods of somewhere to make the determination. But, then you have a recognition issue (i.e., who is this person, how are they qualified, are they being influenced by the parties and the situation). They were probably thinking that there best bet was to get someone who knew Mr. Mahaney (since your talking about a character assessment it might be best not to start from scratch), who wasn’t directly associated with SGM (which is where I think you are raising your issue), and who is well enough known with in the Christian community to carry some weight.

    Now they could have had Dee and Deb come in and make the determination, which would have been fun to watch. (sorry I joke)

    All in all, while I know nothing about it, I know enough to see that it is a big mess. I will now extract myself from said mess and return to the sidelines from where I will watch.

  46. Thanks for the compliments. Again glad that my discussion with Ortlund could be used to question his being impartial.

    I wonder how many SGM Members will accept at face value what both the SGM Board and this first outside group have said about Mahaney? That is will they assume that since both groups of men declare Mahaney isn’t disqualified they will accept that as being good enough for them rather than question if Mahaney should be a leader? I wonder how many, especially SGM members, will accept these statements without questioning?

  47. CitationSquirrel said

    “SGM couldn’t have their board make the determination, since that would have stunk to high heaven of conflict of interest.”

    Actually the SGM Board did issue a statement and it did smell just as you described.

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

    It is especially a conflict of interest for the SGM Board since some of the current board members are who enabled Mahaney to do what he did.

  48. Joey

    I watched my comment go up on the blog. It was close to that time. I then checked that I wanted emails from my comment. Checked back 30 minutes later and it was gone.It would seem to me that they would need to manually delete my comment after I saw it there.

  49. Citation
    (btw-is there a reason for your name?)

    There are plenty of people, outside the Gospel Coalition, that have name recognition. Sometimes, I think this closed little group is like some newspapers which tilt one way or the other and then think that everyone thinks the same way as they do.

    Do you think these guys are so narrow minded that they wouldn’t know of the gazillions of well know preachers that might be more independent?

    Oh, yeah…they are probably heretics for not joining the GC.

  50. Steve

    You scared the daylights out of Ortland. If you note, they do not have many comments on his stuff (actually on a lot of the blogs). They are used to pontificating and not getting a response. They cannot believe that little people out here actually discuss these issues and debate one another. There is no debating this crowd. They do not know how to do it.

    Poor Ortland…he does not know how to dialogue. He needs to come over here and learn from two women..oops, he can’t…unbiblical, you know.

  51. Most likely, though there are some (like Challies’ used to be) where you could see your own comment as if it had been accepted, before it was actually posted. No idea how Ortlund’s works. Since it was close in time there are a number of possibilities (he could have been writing his saying comments were closed and you posted slightly before him so he just deleted it). Or, like you think, he had some other reason to not want to answer. From reading your comment though, I wouldn’t see it as very controversial at all.

  52. It appears commenters are in agreement – objectivity isn’t a factor with this panel. It appears most people are seeing through the process, aware that the structure is so flawed and behaviors so entrenched, outcomes are limited and pre-determined.

  53. Eagle

    All groups which have insulated leaderships will become authoritarian and self-absorbed. That is the fundamental problem with our sin nature. That is why we need to be in an open congregation that oversees leadership and has the will and power to remove those who are drifting dictatorial.

  54. Cindy: I’ve been using your blog as a resource for people who write into mine for a few years now. Keep up the good work!

    You might enjoy this from friend of mine.
    http://coveringandauthority.com/

    As SGM members ponder what is occurring, it’s good to know there are sites like yours available for them as they still their hearts and seek God.

    Blog on!

  55. “They refuse to let us talk to them directly and then slam us for being anonymous”

    And they refuse to talk directly then trot out Matt 18 when you write about them. As if Matt 18 could be follwed in this situation becasue we do not go to the same church!

  56. Numo said, “Why is is that the US church seems to roll through one crazy “movement” after another?! ”

    It’s all about marketing as you know. It never hurts to have a new mantra to spout, one new brand after the other. Why else has organized Churchianity become like the cereal aisle of a grocery store?

    I like what you said here, “I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, what with calvinista-ism being the flavor du jour…”

  57. Citation squirrel,

    I have had the same thoughts on this as you. What would have been the wisest course concerning the panel. But then that thinking is part of the problem. What has been public (and we know has one on for many years is enough to determine he is not qualified.)

    The question of a panel from a spiritual perspective is moot. But we always seem to get caught up in THEIR man made plans, strategies, etc.

    It says a lot about every single person involved in this from Mohler, Duncan, Ortlund, Dever, Peacemakers, Truman, DeYoung and all SGM leaders…..all of them must now take responsibility for the children who were molested and how they were treated by the system of SGM. Yes, that is right, they are endorsing how they have dealt with such things for years. They are endorsing all the excommunications. The blackmail. They deception. They have put their stamp of approval on all of it.

    You can argue they don’t know. Well, if they did not bother to dig then they should not hvae spoken.

    So, the bottomline for me is now I know who the bad guys are. And who I must watch out for a warn others about.

  58. I got my nick in college for my ability to “squirrel” away large amounts of information and specifically citation formats, like those used in footnotes (that comma after the page number needs to be italicized). I kid my wife that she married me because she needed a ringer for her family’s Trivial Pursuit games.

    * * * *

    SGM should have cast a wider net.

  59. @CitationSquirrel:

    I loved your comment about being the perfect juror as you are genuinely disinterested (meaning unbiased rather than not interested). That’s generally how it works in the real world.

    Methinks that SGM is taking the “jury of your peers idea” a little too literally.

  60. Dee,

    I cannot take credit for it. I took it from the comment by Eagle at 11:43 this morning. But I really like it.

  61. Jana:

    Thanks.

    As to what gives SGM the right to determine whether someone is fit for the ministry, it’s really the same answer.

    SGM is just a collection of believers trying to worship as they believe God would have them. They have a right to make determinations about Mahaney.

    But no one else has to agree, obviously.

  62. Dee said:

    “Steve

    You scared the daylights out of Ortland. If you note, they do not have many comments on his stuff (actually on a lot of the blogs). They are used to pontificating and not getting a response. ”

    I imagine Ortlund has developed a following including those in his own church that are similar to a lot of SGM Members. Both have been trained to not question a leader like Ortlund and to question is tantamount to “gossip” or “slander.” I wouldn’t surprise me if he wasn’t use to someone like me questioning as opposed to the usual deference he gets from most people.

    It is sad when one can’t discuss and debate something with someone. When one gets defensive I usually take that as their being fearful that what I am saying might just be right but they don’t want to face that possible truth. It wouldn’t surprise me if Ortlund didn’t want to face an inconvenient truth.

  63. “SGM is just a collection of believers trying to worship as they believe God would have them. They have a right to make determinations about Mahaney”

    Let;s try it this way:

    The Moonies is just a collection of believers trying to worship as they believe god would have them. They have a right to make determinations about Mooney.

    When it is cultish, with a system that protects predators and encouages parents not to report molestation to the authorities, we must warn. shout it from the rooftops if need be.

    And when other celebrities start defending them, they become part of the problem and endorse the system that protects predators.

  64. Janna,

    I’m sorry if I communicated that comment poorly in a way that suggested that you weren’t very familiar with manipulation tactics. I meant to chime in and to follow your lead. It’s also helpful for people who are thinking about this stuff for the first time and are unfamiliar with this stuff.

    In light of the recent thread that quotes Mohler about the “I don’t like that” comment, I hoped to demonstrate that you weren’t just saying “manipulation” without some basis for doing so. The best way to start disarming the tactics used by manipulators involves first learning about what the tactics are, so I saw your comment as a great opportunity to support it by pointing those so interested to resources that demonstrate that the criticisms we hold here are far less nebulous than a statement of general dislike.

    Every little bit counts, I think, and I pray that people will be able to find something that will help them make their way out of the mire. I was just chiming in!

  65. Anonymous wrote:
    “SGM is just a collection of believers trying to worship as they believe God would have them. They have a right to make determinations about Mahaney”

    It isn’t just an issue with Mahaney and “making determinations” about him within their group. The way that they have gone about handling the controversy and their long history of scandals and their long history of manipulation of church members comes into play. The unwritten rules prohibit the members from making any real assessment or voicing any dissent. When they do, they are punished and ostracized, even when they’re the ones who have been hurt and crushed (at a time when the church should be especially supportive and loving with them).

    The whole system is bad. Members are taught to only accept information from certain sources that are pre-approved, and what is communicated within the group and how it is conveyed is controlled pretty tightly. Failure to comply results in real consequences involving both members and leaders. The language is controlled and monitored, and information about the behavior and circumstances of members is collected and passed up through the grapevine to be used against members. Leadership manipulates the flock, and there is an excessive focus on purity and performance wherein shame is used to control people and situations. I could go on and on.

    SGM can certainly pick leaders and qualify them from within their system. And the rest of the Christian church at large, the Church of which SGM claims to be a part, has a full right and a duty to call things and they see them. I think that they preach another gospel in many cases, particularly concerning matters that touch on gender. Christians are to be living epistles, to be known and read of all men, not even just other Christians in general. It looks very bad for SGM to pick people from a stacked deck, people with major conflicts of interest, to make these determinations about whether CJ is qualified as a leader or not.

  66. You might enjoy this from friend of mine.
    http://coveringandauthority.com/

    Bene D, this site is great! I have not written much on the subject of the whole covering madness, another legacy of shepherding. We are covered by the Blood and the Spirit and the Word (hopefully, if we’re studied well enough!).

    I’m glad to find this resource, and I weep and pray for people at SGM — that they will find exactly what they need when they need it. I’m glad to know that some of the junk I’ve gone through can be of help to them and others. I want to wring out my experience to extract any goodness in it that can be mustered, like wringing water out of a cloth.

  67. Pingback: While We’re Waiting: Thoughts on the SGM Controversy (weeks later) | Think! – Wrestlin’ With Wordz-N-Ideaz UNITED KINGDOM

  68. Ortlund, Trueman and DeYoung. After reading the comments I’m convinced these men are satan’s spawn.

    If only the committee was composed of the unbiased editorial board of the New York Times with a revulsion towards Christianity THEN we would have had truth about C.J. Mahaney – who appears to be basically trailer trash. Gosh, the man is satan incarnate.

    And so it goes.

  69. @Cindy – I understood your comment perfectly and wished I had re-worded what I said after I hit the submit button as I did make it sound as if I thought you were seeming condescending which wasn’t the case at all.

    Sometimes I go on a “why is the SGM leadership team so less-than-intelligent rant” and can’t stop myself. I’m working on it though and my ungodly Jewish therapist’s perspective will be a big part of any improvement on that score, I’m sure. 🙂

    Are we good or do we need to a Mat. 18 pow-wow? If so, I can probably get on a plane and “correct” a fellow believer face-to-face as I’m sure that’s how the Mat. 18-literalism-club would suggest we handle things since GASP sometimes people misunderstand written communication. Funny how God chose to communicate with us in writing given how we have such big issues handling written correspondence.

    Of course, I’m a little booked having apologized at least 70 times for some of my comments in the last couple weeks but banging on someone’s door whenever you need to “correct” them in a Biblical way is still totally doable.

    Paul wrote letters instead of trekking out to see Peter and others directly, but then who takes him seriously in Extreme Evangelical circles?

    Sorry, I know it’s like shooting a dairy cow with a high-powered rifle but sometimes I can’t risk taking a swing at a bat—- stupid idea that’s so off-the-wall that the traditional Luddites would have rejected it. No offense intended if someone is attached to the Luddites – it’s just a figure of speech.

    @anonymous – thanks for your great feedback. I respectfully submit that no church can presume to determine whether anyone is fit for ministry as that’s up to God ultimately and different groups of believers practically.

    For example, some people (a few hundred million at least) think that Katherine Jefforts-Schiori, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in America, is unfit for ministry because she’s a woman. Needless to say, many other people, including me, disagree.

    I guess we could/truthfully have spent lots of time and energy on panels addressing the matter but that’s not going to change her status or how others view her anytime soon. Some think she’s a great heroine leading the church into the 21st century and others think she’s the anti-Christ (or would be if the anti-Christ could possibly be a woman).

    Hence the whole premise around which SGM is evaluating C.J. Mahaney is illogical and therefore any judgments of the panels in question are null and void logically,practically, and spiritually speaking, in my view.

    And yes, I am billing SGM $0 for an observation that a bright high school debate student could have made.

    SGM doesn’t have the right or the need to question C.J. Mahaney’s capacity to be a minister. All they need to worry about is whether he’s qualified to pastor THEM.

    @whomever-was-kind-enough-to-comment-on-my-comment-about-anonymity – sorry that I can’t find your post, clearly.

    I thought and prayed about the pros and cons of becoming Janna L. Chan (the only one on the internet right now although there’s more than one Janna Chan believe it or not).

    Sure enough when someone Googles me this site is one of the first things that come up so anyone wanting to know more about me can get an earful! That may someday work to my disadvantage but Dave Harvey and I are now equals in that we own what we post. If fact, I may be more equal because I’m signing with my full name and there’s more than one Dave Harvey out there.

    So SGM defenders here I am let’s talk but…oh…you’ve blacklisted me now that I’m no longer anonymous. (BTW SGM has not deleted any Janna comments as there haven’t been any submitted but some sites defending SGM seem to know who Janna is.)

    On that note…

    <strong@Dee, I usually save my posts here and at other sites for the sake of future research but perhaps we should keep track of posts we’ve submitted that have either been deleted after appearing in moderation mode or deleted behind the scenes.

    That could be very telling and someone like you could write an article saying, “hey Ray what was wrong with my post? Did your godly masculine moderator pee himself when he saw my name attached to it?”

    That would be funny and the more I think about it the more I think this SGM leadership should be laughed at rather dignified with serious posts written by intelligent serious people.

    And I leave that with you my fellow posters-in-arms.

  70. @Seneca – Hi there again!

    The elocutionary force of your post appears to be disgust that we’re not making any pretense at being objective about our opinions regarding C.J. Mahaney and SGM.

    I’m certainly biased and proud of it. Anyone posting here actually think they’re unbiased or that being unbiased about anything is even possible given how the human mind works?

    Anyone? Anyone? Come on now? I know that Dee and Deb are shy about expressing their opinions, but the rest of you…really.

  71. Janna,

    I can’t stop myself either! We seem to have much in common.

    Since we already have a billion witnesses and since you’ve grovelled and I’ve grovelled and can grovel some more, we can just throw around some more humility rhetoric, and I can say something about having no education, and you can be the smartest person on the planet. Then we can call it even! Oh a pox upon me for sowing discord!

  72. Biased? About a “Christian” system that has consistently protected predators in their churches and tells the parents not to call the police when their 3 year old is raped? In at least 2 testimony’s, I have heard it said that sgm pastors called the rape of little girls by teen boys as “experimentation”.

    I should be UNBIASED about that? I mean, if that is not evil, then what is?

  73. It’s not possible to be unbiased. That’s not to say one cannot be fair.” Elastigirl

    I agree with that.

  74. Talk about clever and cya:

    What the first “independent” panel of C.J.’s buddies agreed on was not that C.J. didn’t DO anything that disqualified him from ministry – it was that he didn’t CONFESS to anything that disqualified him from ministry.

  75. As a professional neutral, I can be unbiased. As a professional representative of the interests of other people, I can be very aggressive in taking a side and arguing it forcefully. In prepping for that, I can take the other side and lay out those arguments as well, so that I can defeat them as necessary. My training as a mediator and as an attorney equip me to do those things, which are necessary to success in the roles that I am employed in. Were I on a panel to make an assessment, I would have to seek out and evaluate information on both sides and weigh it. I could do that for many people, but not involving one who was or had paid me when the other side had not. Had an SGM congregation paid me to investigate and assess and report, I could do that fairly and evenhandedly. But given that these people were previously involved with CJ and had been friends and beneficiaries of his, they cannot be neutral and were probably limited in their investigation by their biases.

  76. @Cindy K – LOL!

    @Elastigirl – thanks for comment. Fair and biased are in the eyes of the beholder in this world yet you’re welcome to tell me if you think I’m being unfair in some way.

    In fact, I beg you to tell me if I’ve made factual misrepresentations at any time.

    I’m welcome to any feedback you might have unless it’s to say that making fun of what I consider to be an appalling church government system is a sin. I’ll have to go with Abe Lincoln’s line “If I didn’t laugh I’d cry” and say that I’m not seriously open to feedback regarding my tone (unless I really have an ass and others I respect agree), tendency to be opinionated, or anything else along those lines.

    Best,

    Janna

  77. @Seneca, Are You Being Fair to Anyone? – You’ve acknowledged previously that you’re not interested in reading any of the primary source materials pertaining to the issues at hand. Thus what you’re doing is tantamount to going to a book club not having read the book and then expecting others to tell you what it’s all about so you can then make snide silly remarks about the comments they’ve taken the time to craft.

    Is that fair?

    I don’t care if you want to throw lowballs once in a while but let’s not pretend you have any interest in fairness, my friend.

    Dee is right. Just keep them coming.

  78. @Elastigirl – regarding the post above. It should read as follows, “unless I have been acting like an ass” as opposed to “unless I have an ass.” Everyone agrees that I have one but I limit my willingness to take seriously the idea that I’m acting like one to people I know and respect.

    🙂

  79. Janna —

    I read (past tense) between the lines.

    I think you’re being perfecly fair, given the circumstances. Situations like these are so extreme that strong reactions are to be expected of a healthy individual.

    I commented on “biased/unbiased” because I’ve given the concept some thought. I yearn for truth. I strive to be objective. And I love news, especially the News Hour on PBS. I love it because it seems to me to be very fair and “unbiased”. I think the reporters, like Arce, are trained to present the information in an unbiased way — although, deep inside not even they are without bias.

    That’s all. Just something that has interested me.

  80. Dee –

    Thanks for the reminder on Bible reading. I’m a huge proponent of that! Also, commuters can listen through the Bible via mp3 or other media (I was able to do that last year and it was amazing).

    Yes, get a Bible that is free of distractions and read, read, read.

    Former SG Pastor

  81. Elastigirl – Thanks for Being So Mature and So Kind– your response to my less-than-not-defensive and less-than-mature remarks humbles me.

    Yes, the issues here are intense and I’ve found myself responding to people based on what I think their bias is instead of really listening to them or inquiring about their true thoughts at times.

    Consider yourself welcome to comment on my tone and whether or not you think I’m being a…donkey.

    🙂

  82. ah tone schmone… no worries. Keep it unvarnished.

    I sense there’s a cloak of over-carefulness-of-what-i-say-&-how-say-it that is hovering around your shoulders, wanting to slip itself on you (it’s black and scary, too). Grab it and put it in the trash, silly old cloak.

    (or maybe I’ve read too far between the lines. Please redefine things if i’ve misrepresented them)

  83. Elastigirl

    Thanks for your incredible insight. You’d be a great therapist and the world needs great Christian therapists. I’d go see you!

    You’re right, I can be very worried about offending people because as someone with an ongoing history of anxiety and depression, I know how much even an innocent comment taken the wrong way can hurt.

    Also, I did a foray into posting on the anti-SGM blogs and had a blast almost literally. I had trolls jumping out of the shadows when they thought they’d found the perfect time to attack me. It appears I had people orchestrating a behind-the-scenes attempt to get a moderator to kick me off a site. I had wonderful folks saying positive things about what I was posting.

    Very rarely is one in a position in which seeing the best of people and the worst of people up close and personal is possible.

    And I’m someone who’s spent a lot of time in the Middle East so that statement coming from me means something.

    Thanks again for kind comments, Dear.

    Best, Janna

  84. Janna L. Chan,

    You wrote, “Sometimes I go on a “why is the SGM leadership team so less-than-intelligent rant” and can’t stop myself. I’m working on it though and my ungodly Jewish therapist’s perspective will be a big part of any improvement on that score, I’m sure. :-)”

    Sorry to go off-subject, but “ungodly Jewish therapist” bothers me, even though you have a smiley-face emoticon (which didn’t copy for me) after the sentence. I’m a Jewish believer in Jesus. If you meant that your therapist is a non-believer in Jesus, you could have written that. “Ungodly” is a much stronger word than “non-believer” (it can even mean “wicked”), and combining it with “Jewish” evokes an attitude that I doubt that you have or wished to convey (except, possibly, ironically), but that, unfortunately, is one of many that results in the slurring of Jews. I suppose I can be accused of being over-sensitive, but I know of too many cases where that attitude is exactly what was meant (contrary to yours) to not point it out.

  85. @Jeff – thanks for giving me a chance to clarify my comments. You’re not being over-sensitive; I very much appreciate it when people give me a chance to explain what I mean as I’m big on humor and humor is a double-edged sword.

    By the way, if you don’t get an answer from me about an issue this important please e-mail Dee for my address. Sometimes I don’t see all the notes left for me.

    God has a sense of humor in that he arranged an exchange between you and me right now. You’re worried I’m slurring Jews when I’ve lived in Israel for six years (3 with diplomat parents and 3 doing things like going to Hebrew U.) and have many Israeli/Jewish friends whom I love as much as I love my family of origin.

    Thus the true irony is that normally I’m defending Jewish Christians from what my Jewish friends have to say about the belief systems of someone like you. You’re walking on a rough road, my friend, I know.

    Pardon the aside, but I attended a church from time to time for Jewish Christians at the YMCA in Jerusalem. Is there any chance you’ve been there? If so, it would just be a remarkable coincidence.

    I did mean it ironically as many Extreme Evangelicals would condemn me for seeing a non-Christian therapist. Interestingly they can’t come up and say something negative about a Jewish person because that would seem anti-Semitic but they’ll slam therapists who subscribe to any number of other belief systems.

    Ungodly is their (I’m not an extreme evangelical) word, not mine. I love my Jewish therapist and see no reason why Christians have to see Christian therapists any more than Christians need to limit themselves to seeing Christian lawyers or doctors.

    Please pardon me for offending you and rest assured that no slur was intended.

    I should have explained myself better. I admire the courage it takes to be a Jewish Christian and you shouldn’t have to worry about anti-Jewish slurs from me of all people.

    Best, Janna

  86. Wow! I happened onto this website. You Evangelicals are a lot of fun to watch. Back-biting, slander and gossip is a really fun game to observe. You guys all deserve each other. My main concern is that if you sink this CJ guy who’s next on your list? If you don’t like this group (SGM?) why not leave and then leave them alone. Start your own cult and get your own butt kicked after you prove to be totally inadequate to lead anything other than a gossip/slander site. Eventually you will come home to Rome.
    Best wishes, Brother Len

  87. Len

    Look, I am getting tired of people utilizing the slander word erroneously. Slander is telling a lie.LIE, not the truth. Do you want to tell all those people over at SGM Survivors that the molestation of their kids, which occurred, even according to some pastors, is slander??? Do you care about them? Small children, hurt and used for someone’s pleasure? You should be ashamed of yourself. How dare you diminish the pain and suffering of children!

    But then again, Rome has had it’s problems in this area as well. Your clergy have had their share of cover ups and massive monetary settlements because of the rape of innocent children. So before you start pointing fingers at the evangelicals, make sure you point fingers at yourself as well.

    Gossip, huh? Was it gossip when people on my street gossiped about the priest, who lived up the street in the rectory for the local Catholic church and school, who had an unhealthy interest in young boys. Was it gossip that one of my friend’s growing up was molested by that pervert? Maybe people, instead of whispering about it, should have shouted it from the rooftops. Too bad blogs weren’t around back then. Maybe some children’s lives wouldn’t have been destroyed by that priest who died of Aids. Or would that have been backbiting, gossip and slander in your book.

    May God have mercy on both Rome and the evangelicals. A pox on both our houses for allowing the pain and suffering of innocents.

    Best wishes to you as well. Sister Dee

  88. @Len Bagley – Yawn. Thanks for being so concerned about what we’ll do after we sink this C.J. guy. We need all the concern we can get although I’d probably prefer coming home to Venice rather than Rome as the food in Rome isn’t as good as the food in other parts of Italy.

    Your name sounds familiar. Been posting on any SGM-related sites lately or did you just use your psychic powers to “happen onto this website?” Interesting that you just happened to find this site as a non-Evangelical yet seem to be very interested in gossip and slander, two big issues on…what’s that organization’s name again…oh…SGM’s list.

    Also interesting that you don’t like Evangelicals but you’ve signed off as “Brother” Len, a title secular folks use all the time when describing themselves to complete strangers.

    I suppose you could be Roman Catholic (which would explain the reference to Rome) rather than an SGM-defender but suggesting that the Roman Catholic Church has no issues with slander and gossip would be a bit strange.

    Well, I’ve just about bored myself to sleep hitting this low ball.

    Best wishes,

    Sister Janna

    Elastigirl

    This is what I had to put with that I’m now decompressing from. 🙂

  89. Len,

    This group is the New Rome. They’ve got all of the essentials, right on down to a male household priest (no more “priesthood of all believers”), demipopes, speaking ex cathedra, catechisms, constrained and submitted women, authoritarian leadership, a disdain for contraception with a reciprocal campaign for young people to marry young and bear lots of children, teaching that marriage is a sacrament, etc.. Ironically, they claim to be “Reformed,” affiliating themselves with those who originally protested the RCC.

    Perhaps you’ll find yourself coming home to their New Rome one day.

  90. @Cindy and @Dee –

    I liked your responses to Mr. Bagley yet I’m always torn about dignifying these hit-and-run posts with an answer.

    I almost always take the bait but if someone is not contributing anything to the discussion because they haven’t bothered to learn anything about the issues at hand and/or they’re not really who they say they are would it better to ignore them?

    What do others think?

  91. Len,

    Since you are admittedly new to this website, you are obviously not clued in to the fact that we cannot be intimidated or bullied. Nice try…

    Have fun at Together for the Gospel in Mecca (Louisville)!

  92. We can’t be bullied or intimated but they can try to bore us to death with the same old schtick, although pretending to be Roman Catholic is a slightly new shade of weirdness I guess.

  93. On a positive Note

    The SGM moderator put through a post submitted by “Janna” that made a very frank point.

    I’ve slammed several sites (not SGM because Janna hasn’t posted there) before for silencing known detractors but I’ll happily give the SGM leadership credit if credit is merited.

    I hope they really are open to hearing the views of everyone affected by their actions.

  94. RE Elastigirl on Thu, Aug 04 2011 at 08:28 pm:

    Well said. You make more sense than I’ve heard in a long while. If I didn’t know better, I’d almost claim you are a trained Bene Gesserit truthsayer (from the pen of Herbert & son) All in good fun! (emoticon goes here)

  95. I’ll have to google that one. But it sounds like something good. Sounds like something light years away from the grouchy buried-in-laundry mom of young kids that I am.

    I’ll try to keep the illusion going.

  96. Philippians 4:8
    Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
    Philippians 4:7-8

  97. shato,

    The truth is EXTREMELY important to me. That’s why I put together this post. Dave Harvey and his cohorts tried to con everyone into believing that the preliminary panel was impartial. I believe the evidence presented here demonstrates otherwise. The internet is such a wonderful tool for discovering the truth!

  98. Elastigirl

    Muff is referring to the mother of Paul Altredies in the Dune science fiction books, movies, and video games. She’s very intuitive as are you although I don’t recommend the movie since it’s in the dictionary under C-list. The book is a little better if you’re into space opera. I do like sci fi often but not when it’s as sexist as the Dune series…I’m going to get hate mail from Muff who clearly likes Dune. 🙂

    I’m comfortable just saying you seem to be 22-27 going on 70 maturity-wise, and I hope you find lots of outlets for that gift.

    Shato First a disclaimer: the verse you quoted is one of my least favorite Bible passages because the inconvenient truths are seldom considered lovely or viewed as anything anyone wants to dwell on in the pop psychology setting in which that verse is frequently quoted.

    Also it’s really helpful to put a context around a Bible verse that can be viewed many different ways even if it seems innocuous, I’ve found. 🙂

    I don’t have to deal with nearly as much wacky feedback as Dee and Deb get, but even I’ve gotten very sensitized to vague posts as many SGM devotees either post things that seem like vague slights or write vague posts designed to fish for info about you so they can pull a “Gotcha” and embarrass you in front of others in some forum.

    One dude lurked in the shadows of one anti-SGM forum waiting for the perfect moment to jump out and say, “She’s never been to an SGM church and doesn’t know any of the precious saints…hehehe.” 1) I’m not making that up and 2) You’d think he’d discovered I was wanted in Maine for a triple homicide given the way he glee with which he expressed himself.

    Tensions are running high my friend so being specific about your intended message helps a lot 🙂

  99. Wish I could say my true identity was someone as interesting as this. But actually what I can do in my red supersuit is pretty good, too. What I do around the house without it by choice is even more noteworthy.

  100. Ms. Chan,

    No hate mail here, I’m just curious as to how you arrive at a conclusion that Herbert’s work is sexist. If anything, Herbert demonstrates by way of the fictional Bene Gesserit sisterhood that women in general are far stronger than men.

    Space opera? Ha! Cute! Now ya got me hearing the stirring strains of Wagner in the background!

  101. @elastigirl

    So you have a great sense of humor, too. 🙂

    Muff Potter

    I wish I could take credit for “space opera” but I’ve seen that term on Amazon many times.

    You have an interesting point about whether or not Dune is sexist on a deeper level. I guess when Paul Altredies is called the ducal heir/pre-destined savior of humanity and his mother is referred to as his father’s concubine because his father was shopping around for a higher profile bride little “that’s sexist” bells start ringing in my head.

    The degree to which his mother emphasized how important it was for his father to have a son rather than a daughter was not endearing either although her Benejesserit mentor sure wanted a girl and was offending by Paul’s mom’s decision to have male offspring.

    Although as a I recall that mentor was convinced that the savior of humanity couldn’t possibly be a woman.

    Six of one, twenty dozen of the other I guess.

    Best,

    Janna

  102. Janna

    I’ve had a lot of distractions over the last few days and only just now read your comment. I thank you for your graciousness. As I wrote, I figured you were being ironic, but, on the slight chance that you weren’t, and out of concern over how others might take it, I decided to plunge ahead.

    I think our senses of humor are similar. A lot of people have misunderstood me, both in person and online. Concerning the latter, one problem is that I refuse to use any of the “just kidding” indicators. Maybe I should rethink that.

    Haven’t been to Israel. Obviously, you have a lot of understanding of, and concern for, the Jewish believer. I thank you for that also.

  103. Dear Jeff:

    No problem. I don’t think anyone can be too sensitive in the sense that if something is bothering you just getting it off your chest rather than harboring resentment or doubt about other people’s intentions is the right thing to do. Some people pretend to be sensitive as a rhetorical strategy but that’s a different issue.

    Another instance of people not being mindful of their words is the use of the term “Sharia law.” Many folks use it pejoratively as a synonym for “unjust law,” in casual conversation. I sometimes let it go and sometimes remind people that Moslem law is no worse than ancient Judeo Christians traditions and laws.

    The Old Testament has people killing the incest victim along with the perpetrator, and Jephte practices human sacrifice because he promised God he’d sacrifice the first thing that greeted him when he got home and that happened to be his daughter.

    Also, context is king and in a forum other than a blog about Evangelical church issues, my comment would have looked strange at best and anti-Semitic at worst. I need to be mindful of that.

    In retrospect, I should have put the quotes around “ungodly” to express my point better.

    I recommend that you use the just kidding indicators even though they look cheesy and many people will rib you for using them.

    Internet conversation presents many communication problems and benefits. If you don’t like the 🙂 I suggest putting (just kidding) or (being sarcastic) in your posts so people get the point you’re making.

    Yes, I was a diplomat’s daughter so I know how it feels to be the outsider in many instances, although I’ve never needed to want to be Jewish because I’ve been loved by my Israeli friends as much as they love their own families.

    If you do make it Israel, you can check out that Jewish Christian Charismatic Church at the YMCA in Jerusalem. It’s quite a trip!

    Best,
    Janna

  104. HowDee YaAll,

    “For Love of the SGM Game” (2011) 

    What?

    (a Pandaemonium film) 

     Plot Summary:

    Sovereign Grace Ministries Veteran President Charles Mahaney[1], (C.J.) Preaching Great, quickly approaching age 60, wants nothing more than to reconnect with his one-time love, Jesus Christ, but has apparently always been better at  “various expressions of pride, unentreatability, deceit, sinful judgment, and hypocrisy”, so the story goes…

    (Well, maybe we should go ask Larry Tomczak, his on-and-off co-founder of PDI/SGM. For that matter lets go ask: Dave Harvey, Steve Shank ,Joshua Harris, Grant Laymen, Kenneth Maresco, or the illustrious Bob Kauflin. “In fact, many others have raised the same kind of concerns over the last thirty years.” Again, so the story goes…)

    So here we have C.J. , a Church legend almost finished with his distinguished career, has one last chance to prove who he is, what he is capable of, and win again the heart of the organization he has loved for the past 30 some years.  

    What?

    After a bad season, on the morning he’s to pitch (ahem! preach) what looks to be the last game of the season, CLC’s actions hint to him their considering leaving the SGM network of churches, he also learns that the Sovereign Grace Ministries new owner may plan to trade him?

    Whew!

    As he pitches (ahem! preaches) that night, he must decide whether to accept the censor or quit the game he loves, and between innings (ahem! speaking engagements), he recalls meeting Larry, their first Tag meeting, happy times, miscommunications, and what may be a final break from the organization he seems to have mis-appropriated.

    (snicker) ha, ha

    Now with his career and reputation in the balance, C.J. battles against his emotional and physical limits as he strives for a Perfect SGM Game…

    The suspense is never drawn back in this heartwarming drama about life, love, and risking it all For Love of the SGM Game. 

    …Meanwhile, with JP announcing, one SGM pastor after another fails to reach first base…

    Can C.J. pitch (ahem, preach) a perfect game, and if so, what does it matter…

    … if he loses Jesus? 

    C.J.  pleeeeeeeze,

    “The deficiencies in leadership, in Sovereign Grace Ministries are due to the deficiencies in character”, fella!

    (sigh)

    …”for the love of the SGM game”?

    … “for the love of Jesus?

    …”for the love of His  Church?

    batter up! [2]

     (manning up seems more like it, IMHO…)

    hahahahahahHa

    Sopy

    ——-

    [1] YouTube clip:

    A lesson in prayer from baseball
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaLdrVWDdQU&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    [2] YouTube clips:

    The ins and outs of baseball (Abbott&Costello)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uH7juVA15Gw&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    The Heater
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjcBsMTdm5k&feature=youtube_gdata_player

  105. I’m a first time commenter here at TWW, but I’ve been quietly watching this scandal develop, both via TWW, as well as SGM Refuge. In the interests of total honest, I’m a flaming 5-point-Calvinist, but I repudiate the so-called “Calvinistas”; I’m what they would disparagingly refer to as one of those “Old Calvinists”, and find myself studying for my Divinity degree these days at a decidedly “Old School” seminary. So be it.
    What’s killed me in watching all of this go down is the high-handed, belligerent manner in which the SGM pastors have handled things. Ideally, in the Presbyterian church government, you have a plurality of elders so that there is someone to put a leash and muzzle on the pastor if he goes bad. It’s clear that in C.J.’s case, he was surrounded by yes men and bozos. Now men that I had a great deal of respect for, like Mohler and Trueman, are circling the wagons. It defies description.
    Deb, and all of the others here, this is my exhortation to you: “The only fair fight is one you win.” I have no desire to maintain “the right perspective” about this tragedy – when children are being hurt and the sheep are being abused, the “right perspective” is to scream your bloody head off and go to war. Ladies, take ’em to the freaking cleaners…

  106. Hutch – great post! (Except the part about you being a flaming 5 point Calvinist) 🙂

  107. Hutch,

    I really appreciate your encouragement! Even though I have never been involved in Sovereign Grace Ministries, my heart goes out to the victims, especially the women and children. That’s why I spent the better part of today researching and writing today’s post about the so-called Ambassadors of Reconciliation. Please be sure to check it out.

    Ambassadors of Reconciliation: Let’s Take a Closer Look

  108. Hutch

    One of our best friends is a flaming 5 point Calvinist. I have no problem with Calvinists; I just don’t trust Calvinistas. Thank you for getting it.

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  110. “Stagger Brent”

    The night was clear and the moon was yellow
    And the leaves came a’ tumbling down
    I was standing on the corner
    When I heard my O’ hound dog bark!

    He was barkin’ at the two men
    Who were arguing in the dark
    It was C.J. Mahaney and Brent
    Two men who were arguing  late…

    C.J. Mahaney wanted his boy’s airfare
    Brent swore that he could not…
    C.J.  Mahaney told Brent
    I can’t let you go with that
    You are try’in ta take all my churches,
    And my brand new stetson hat!

     Stagger Brent went home
    And he got down on his knees
    Said, I’m goin’ to the cheap seats
    Just to pay that debt I owe, if you pleeeze…

    Go Stagger Brent

    [Instrumental Interlude]

    Stagger Brent went to the cheapseats
    And he stood across the cheapseatsdoor
    He said, nobody move
    And he pulled the SGMwikileaks

    http://www.scribd.com/sgmwikileaks 

    Stagger Brent, cried C.J.
    Oh, please don’t take my  reputation away…
    I’ve got plenty O’ child’ren
    And a very lovely wife…

    Stagger Brent, he got Mahaney
    Oh, he got that poor boy so bad…
    Till the blogs we’re a’ tell’in
    Till it broke SGM’s “Class”…

    hahahahahaha

    Sopy ;~)