Mahaney / SGM – Unprecedented Rescue by the SBC?

"I think preaching and pastoral ministry are where grace is most evident in my life and where my leadership is most effectively expressed. Others seem to agree."

C.J. Mahaney

We believe history is being made as high profile leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention MEDDLE in the affairs of another denomination, which self-identifies as a "family of churches". 

Yes, I'm talking about Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM).  In case you haven't heard, C.J. Mahaney, who was recently reinstated as President of SGM, is assisting with the appointment of his successor and laying the foundation to PLANT a new church in another state. 

As the saying goes, "bloom where you're planted", and the word on the street is that Mahaney is planning to relocate to Kentucky and set down roots there.  There is also speculation that the offices of Sovereign Grace Ministries will be moved from Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland to Kentucky — most likely Louisville.

We have written extensively on C.J. Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries, so if you are new to TWW, you might want to browse through our archives.  Why is Mahaney leaving the state where he grew up and the church he pastored for 27 years?  It appears the accusations of hyper-authoritarianism and spiritual abuse (among other things) by hundreds and hundreds of current and former SGMers (including many pastors) have reached a fevered pitch, and Mahaney believes his best option is to get out of Gaithersburg!  The Ambassadors of Reconciliation have been called in to investigate the accusations, and they will be issuing their findings very soon.  We will be sure to pass along any information that is made public.

What was the straw that broke the camel's back in SGM?  From our vantage point, it appears the 600+ pages of documentation that Brent Detwiler compiled (which an anonymous individual posted on the internet) put all of this in motion.  As soon as Mahaney suspected Detwiler was going public in some way with his incriminating information, Mahaney voluntarily stepped down.  That was in early July 2011.  Seven months later Mahaney was reinstated as president of SGM. 

Perhaps the most damning information that was revealed in Detwiler's documentation was Mahaney's attempt to blackmail his mentor Larry Tomczak if he did not leave the organization quietly back in 1998.  Tomczak had a big problem with the shift toward Calvinistic theology, and Mahaney threatened to go public with the confidentially confessed sins of Tomczak's son if Larry did not go away quietly into the night…   Fifteen years passed, and Mahaney finally made an attempt to patch things up with Tomczak, who had been urging a reconciliation for years. 

Why would Mahaney relocate to another state — Kentucky — as some are speculating?  If the Bluegrass State is the Mahaneys' destination, there is a very good reason…  Dee and I first began investigating C.J. Mahaney and SGM in the fall of 2008 — seven months before we began blogging.  Exactly two months after we launched The Wartburg Watch, we wrote about CJ's significant monetary contributions to Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in a post called The Mahaney Money Machine.  We were so new to blogging that not many people read the following "observation" included in that post: 

"How did C.J. Mahaney become so popular among reformed Christians? As far as we can determine, C.J.’s secret to success is that he has friends in high places. We believe his recognition among the “Reformed Big Dogs” began when he befriended Mark Dever, Senior Pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church, in Washington, D.C. (a church not far from Gaithersburg where CLC is located)."

As Ligon Duncan (a PCA pastor) confirmed in a blog post several years ago on the Together for the Gospel website (which has since been removed), Dever introduced Mahaney to his good friends Ligon and Al Mohler.  Now you know how the T4G friendships (Dever, Duncan, Mahaney and Mohler) came to be…

Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, took such a liking to C.J. Mahaney that he endorsed his book Humility: True Greatness and wrote the Foreward for Living the Cross Centered Life, which I unwittingly purchased at LifeWay in 2006 when I didn't know anything about Mahaney.  I look back to that time and just shake my head.  You see, I was such an enthusiastic Southern Baptist that I often attended chapel services at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary to hear the inspirational speakers who preach during chapel.  I remember going to hear Mohler at SEBTS during this time frame and shaking his hand in the narthex on the way out.  My eyes have definitely been opened!

Mohler is so enamored with his buddy that he relishes opportunities to have Mahaney come and address the students at Southern Seminary and Boyce College.  What follows is an excerpt from a previous blog post  Sovereign Grace Ministsries and the SBC — Is There A Merger in the Works?  that illustrates just how close they are:

"Mohler’s Favorite Homie – C.J. Mahaney

Yes, the SBC/SGM connection is getting stronger by the day. Need proof? Guess who delivered the chapel message at Southern Seminary just last Thursday (2/10/11). Here’s a hint… It was the person who believes Al Mohler is “the smartest man on the planet” and said so at Resolved 2010. Yes, the chapel speaker was none other than C.J. Mahaney. That morning Mohler sent out the following Tweet: “Come hear CJ Mahaney in chapel this morning at 10:00. Don’t miss it. Don’t even think of missing it. Can’t wait to hear his message.”

Mohler’s next Tweet gave the link to streaming video of Mahaney’s talk, which yours truly watched. It was the first time I had ever seen Mahaney in a coat and tie. He began by explaining to the students that he only has a high school education. Perhaps if he had revealed to them that he and Sovereign Grace Ministries combined have made contributions in excess of $200,000 to Southern Seminary, they would have understood why Mohler believes this high school grad is qualified to address them on the topic of “Deflating the Puffed Up Church” .

Then Mohler provided the link to Mahaney’s message on Twitter, along with a Tweet that he was eating dinner with C.J. and that the waiter is a SBTS student. Mahaney continued to be a popular topic in Mohler’s Twitter account the next day. He provided the link to streaming video of Mahaney’s talk at the Recalibrate Conference (for college students), and then tweeted “C.J. Mahaney knocked it out of the park. What a great message. If you missed it, download it. RECALIBRATE.”

The most surprising comment on Mohler’s Twitter feed was as follows:
“RT @drmoore. C.J. Mahaney just asked our server what she would guess he, @almohler, and I (Moore) do for a living. She guessed ‘exotic dancers.’

It boggles the mind…  It really is amazing what you can learn through Twitter…"

Here is the promo piece for the RECALIBRATE conference held at Southern Seminary last year.

Did the $200,000 in the excerpt above jump out at you?  It should have!  Does anyone besides Dee and me find it unusual that Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries have collectively given this amount of moolah to a Southern Baptist seminary?  How do we know they did? 

Back in May 2009 I started wondering why Mahaney and Mohler were so close.  For some reason I decided to investigate whether there was a money trail leading from Mahaney and SGM to Mohler's seminary, and sure enough, there was!  I found the evidence in Southern Seminary publications that were easily accessible via the internet.  I was shocked that Mahaney and his ministry were contributing money to a Southern Baptist seminary when SGM was operating its own training program – the Pastors College.  Our TWW post $$$ The Mahaney Money Machine $$$ (an updated version of the original post) reveals my findings.  Once the exorbitant sums Mahaney and SGM had given to Southern Seminary became public, quite a few SGMers became highly disturbed that a portion of their contributions were being funneled under their noses to an SBC seminary!

We are alarmed by the growing connections between Sovereign Grace Ministries and the Southern Baptist Convention, and we have expressed our concerns in these posts:

Mahaney's Meteoric Rise in the SBC

What the SBC and SGM Aren't Telling Their Members

SGM Leadership Style Coming to an SBC Church Near You

Mark Dever – C.J. Mahaney's BFF

Hoodwinked by Mohler and Mahaney

You may recall that Sovereign Grace Minitries held a Plant Conference last March that featured church planting experts from SGM, Acts 29, the PCA, and the SBC.  Mark Dever represented his denomination – the Southern Baptist Convention.  His presentation was called The Great Commission and Church Planting, and these were Dever's introductory remarks: 

"Thank you for that brief introduction CJ, and uh thank you for the privilege of speaking here.  Uh, I love being able to spend any time I can with the Sovereign Grace part of the family.  Uh, you guys are more exciting than the other parts of the family I'm usually with, so uh, thank you for uh letting me come in and uh be with you and enjoy the Lord with you."

So Mark, what do you REALLY think about those in YOUR denomination?

Now let's talk about recent indicators that may validate the theory that the Mahaneys are headed west to Louisville.

* The Mahaney's daughter Nicole and her husband Steve Whitacre recently relocated to Louisville so that Brian can pursue his M.Div. degree

* The Mahaney's son is attending Cedarville College, which is just three hours from Louisville in Ohio.  He'll be the first in his family to earn a college degree!

* The Mahaney's other sons-in-law are affiliated (probably temporarily) with Dever's church – Capitol Hill Baptist (Note:  Dever is a trustee at Southern Seminary)

What else could be drawing the Mahaneys to Louisville?  Oh yes, the Together for the Gospel conference is fast approaching! This event, which is being held for the first time at the KFC Yum! Center, will be bigger and better than ever!  They may be expecting as many as 10,000 conference attendees who will bring a boost to the local economy, not to mention the wallets of the speakers – especially the Fab Four

In case you are wondering about the conference fee, beginning tomorrow ticket prices jump to $329 per person (of course, pastors who attend don't have to worry about the expenses involved – travel, lodging, food, conference fee, and books purchased – because their congregations will most likely be picking up the tab, so don't sweat it!)  Students get in at the bargain price of $99 and can earn academic credit by participating.   And all of those attending will shop at the gynormous T4G bookstore

Here is the bottom line (pun intended) . . .  I believe T$G (OOPS! Why do I hit that blasted dollar sign right above the 4 on the keyboard every time) is all about the GREAT COMI$$ION. In case you haven't heard, Southern Baptists can now identify themselves as "Great Commission Baptists".  Thanks, to Tom Rich whose name is obviously a misnomer! :-)

There is one little clue on the T4G website that may shed some light…  If you click on Shop our books and audio, you are taken directly to the Sovereign Grace Ministries website to place your order.  It appears that Mahaney and SGM play an important role in this T$G "business enterprise".

Getting back to the premise of the post, Sovereign Grace Ministries has been plagued by what appears to be hundreds and hundreds of accusations of abuse, ranging from physical to emotional to spiritual abuse.  A good number of current and former SGMers hold C.J. Mahaney responsible because he sits atop the SGM pyramid and has not been subject to any legitimate accountability.  Why is Mark Driscoll suddenly coming to mind?  Perhaps because CJ was his mentor!

When Mahaney began to feel the wrath of SGMers (both current and former members) as well as SGM pastors whom he hurt through his hyper-authoritarian leadership tactics, did he take it like a man?  NO!  He displayed his cowardice by running away and hiding behind Mark Dever at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in nearby Washington, D.C.  Dever provided a safe haven for Mahaney when he came under fire.  Capitol Hill Baptist for C.J. Mahaney was much like Wartburg Castle, where Martin Luther was forced into hiding because the Pope wanted him killed.  However, Mahaney is no Luther!  He behaved more like Pope Leo and excommunicated any SGM leader that did not meet his rigid standards.  That is just one of the reasons why Mahaney needs to face his accusers. 

Not only that, Al Mohler and Ligon Duncan wasted no time defending Mahaney publicly.  Other Calvinista leaders have come to Mahaney's defense in various high-profile ways.  Some have rendered a judgment that he is fit for ministry, some have defended him on their websites, and others have deleted or not allowed negative comments regarding Mahaney and SGM.  Censorship is the name of the game with this good ole boy club.  To the best of my knowledge, NO ONE has acknowledged SGM's abuse victims, many of whom are "degifted" pastors.

We are absolutely astounded that high profile leaders from the Southern Baptist Convention are disrupting the disciplinary process of a totally separate denomination (err…family of churches).  What is occurring is both historic and unprecedented

For those of you who are sports enthusiasts, here is what Mohler and Dever have done on behalf of pastor-athlete Mahaney.  They have RUN INTERFERENCE, meaning they have protected Mahaney from the criticism and correction he is rightly due from those whom he has hurt in Sovereign Grace Ministries.  To put it another way, Mohler and Dever have done an end run around SGMers and prevented that from occurring.  Now Mahaney is hiding out at Solid Rock Church until he makes the BIG MOVE.

In the meantime, we are all just watching it happen, including the Ambassadors of Reconciliation. 

From our vantage point, it certainly appears that the investment Mahaney made in Southern Seminary is paying off handsomely.  Mohler and Dever are self-appointed interventionists who are propping up their colleague and doing the exact opposite of what is needed.  Can you imagine if the Methodists involved themselves in the affairs of the Lutherans or if the Presbyterians did to the Catholics what Southern Baptists have done to those in the SGM denomination?

United We Stand, which is prominently displayed on the Kentucky flag, is a fitting description for this crowd.  IMHO, they are united in their selfish ambitions no matter how many people they crush in the process.  Mark Dever, who hails from Madisonville, Kentucky, grew up hearing this state motto, and it definitely shows. (Source: 1979-80 Duke University Directory)

Ironically, first thing this morning I saw a news flash on my laptop that I believe applies to these circumstances.  The results of a Gallup survey on the well-being of Americans have just been released, and here is the startling finding about Kentucky residents:

"Emotional health, which included how likely a resident was to say they smiled or laughed a lot yesterday, or whether they had a daily stress or worry. Hawaii ranked the highest in this category, while Kentucky ranked the lowest.”  Source:  States With the Highest and Lowest Well-Being Sub-Index Scores (emotional health category)

History has demonstrated that Christians living in Maryland (and any other state where SGM churches are located) have suffered great emotional distress because of Mahaney and his cohorts.  For those of you living in Kentucky – or wherever Mahaney may decide to plant his church(es), I have just two words. . .  

CAVEAT EMPTOR!

We leave you with a tune the Mahaneys may be singing. . .

Lydia's Corner:  Jeremiah 8:8-9:26  Colossians 3:1-17  Psalm 78:32-55  Proverbs 24:27

Comments

Mahaney / SGM – Unprecedented Rescue by the SBC? — 147 Comments

  1. Deb

    I stand in awe! Well done!!! Did you say that the T4G website takes you directly to SGM???? Let me repeat…Did you say that the T4G website takes you directly to SGM?? Good night! What in the world is going on???

  2. Deb

    Did I mention that I found it fascinating that the T4G booksite takes you to SGM???? Could this be why the Calvinistas are pushing the rehabilitation of CJ Mahaney’s image???

  3. If there is a connection growing between SGM and SBC, and I’m not denying that there is, it will be met with a great deal of resistance. There is still a significant number of SBC theologians who do not support reformed theology. I just read an editorial in the Christian Index ( a GBC publication) on the rise of reformed theology in the SBC and the need to stop it.

    Maybe there is a relationship blooming, but it will be a great while before that flower blossoms.

  4. Dee –

    Maybe that new board they are trying to set up at SGM will be able to bring some clarity to the bookstore link problem with T4G? On second thought . . . I don’t think so :(

  5. Danny
    SBTS, SEBTS, New Orleans, along with a growing number in the SBC are enamored of these guys. The Reformed movement in the SBC will not be stopped and, in fact, I believe that the battle is already over. The Mahaney/Mohler/Dever connection is tight for a number of reasons. Mahaney’s face is all over these seminaries. Why? Get ready. That guy is trouble and has left a slew of broken hearts along the way. Next stop-a whole new field in Kentucky. Don’t forget, we predicted this a long time ago. Oh well, the SBC is used to controversy.

  6. Bridget
    CJ has more lives than a cat and he is a chameleon. Now, he shall be a star rising in the SBC. Mohler loooooves him and Dever hid him so he must looooove him too.

  7. Deb –

    Good article showing the writing on the wall. It will be interesting to see if CJM follows through on the suggestions from the completed panel reports. Likewise with any suggestions from the AoR report. At this point I don’t even know if CJM will read that one. We should have a few copies of it bound in leather and sent to Al Mohler, Mark Dever, T4G members, and Gospel Coalition members just so they’re not deceived about the man and the ministry he was running.

  8. Deb wrote, “Mohler and Dever are self-appointed interventionists who are propping up their colleague and doing the exact opposite of what is needed.”
    In Lydia’s first bible selection, Jeremiah (8:11) wrote
    “They heal the brokenness of the daughter of My people superficially,
             Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’
             But there is no peace.”
    For superficial togetherness and superficial peace, it appears, there’s no place like T$G.

  9. Deb
    I grovel at your feet. You are the one who first tied Mahaney to SBTS with all of his contributions-his and his churches. His own people did not know they were giving money to the SBC!! This thing has been in the works for a long time and things got accelerated when Mahaney’s flock got a little upset with their emperor who definitely has no clothes. Hoo boy, is the SBC in for a ride with this guy.

  10. Bridget
    They are not deceived. This is a business arrangement that is waaay too difficult to untangle. They know who he is. They like it, in fact. My mother used to say that you are known by the company you keep. This was set up a long time ago and the tithes of faithful SGMers were paying for this ride.

  11. DaveAA
    There is no peace and there will be no peace. Hyper-authoritarians in the form of admirals in rowboats are having a ride. My prediction is the SBC will continue to hemorrhage members and so will SGM. In the end, maybe they deserve one another.

  12. If you go to the T$G website tonight (2/29), you’ll see something odd in the “lineup” photo at the top — CJ’s face is covered by a “sticker” advertising the standard registration deadline. It will probably be gone tomorrow. Why cover over one of their “stars”?

  13. To anticipate requests for the “other side” of the Kentucky Connection, I bring you you this old news story out of Tomahawk, KY, 11-30-11:
    (Reuters) – A vote to bar interracial couples from a small church in eastern Kentucky has triggered hand-wringing and embarrassment.
    Nine members of Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church backed their former pastor, with six opposed, in Sunday’s vote to bar interracial couples from church membership and worship activities. Funerals were excluded.

    They could call their conventions, “Segregation for the gOspel– togetherness ok iff’n yur deead.” no need for the yum center fer this crowd….

  14. I have to admit, when you guys first ran your series on Mahaney and the SBC, I thought it was well done and interesting. But I thought it a little far fetched that someday there might be a formal tie between SGM and the SBC.

    Gotta hand it to you-you guys totally called it! Good work….

  15. Only the SBC could endorse Mahaney like this. The SBC is totally autonomous so you can do what you want without too much headache. Oh sure some people can protest but, it would be really difficult to stop. I don’t think it is an accident that a wing of the SBC and Mahaney are uniting. I know there are Presbyterians in T4G however, they have a hierarchy so you can just willy nilly take on this Calvinist charismatic. Notice Mahaney didn’t try to get involved with any of the multiple reformed presbyterian seminaries. Why is that? If you are truly reformed not a TULIPer please tell us why. I think it is because there is more order in those groups. I have heard several things from the John Calvin archives and other than a couple of points these guys harp on he would be shocked that they would use his name to describe themselves. Can any Calvin experts tell us more?

  16. Cobber2076,

    I just checked over at the T$G website, and Mahaney’s face is still completely covered by the red circle advertising the deadline of February 29 to SAVE on the registration fee. That’s a BIG clue for why these guys LOVE CEEJ so much. He’s the comedian who keeps them laughing.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

    Hey all you guys who think you’re “together” for the Gospel, the joke’s on you – you just don’t know it yet. One day your laughter will turn to tears. Just ask Larry Tomczak, Brent Detwiler, Josh Harris and MANY, MANY others.

  17. Pingback: Strange bedfellows | Civil Commotion

  18. Dee,
    You said, “Danny SBTS, SEBTS, New Orleans, along with a growing number in the SBC are enamored of these guys. The Reformed movement in the SBC will not be stopped and, in fact, I believe that the battle is already over. The Mahaney/Mohler/Dever connection is tight for a number of reasons. Mahaney’s face is all over these seminaries. Why? Get ready. That guy is trouble and has left a slew of broken hearts along the way. Next stop-a whole new field in Kentucky. Don’t forget, we predicted this a long time ago. Oh well, the SBC is used to controversy.”

    I apologize for not being clear in my earlier comment. I’m not questioning the rise of Reformed theology within the SBC. Heck, I myself am a pastor of a church that holds closely to most aspects of Reformed theology. I’m also aware that the flagship seminaries are becoming more and more Reformed as we speak.

    The point I’m making is that, as a pastor of an SBC church who attends many SBC events, there is still a great number of individuals who resist Reformed theology.

    That said, with the SBC’s love of ‘cooperation’ I’m hesitant to say that a distaste of Reformed theology necessarily means the lack of a partnership between SBC and SGM. After reading the article and most of your links again, I’m more inclined to say that there may be a partnership forming between SBC and SGM, but for a while they will still battle on the doctrines of theology. You can’t throw a rock in the SBC without finding plenty of people who hate (I use that word purposely) the teachings of Calvin.

  19. The Baptist / Reformed Calvinist would love to be able to have those that they can not control, who speak ills of them, and those that write anonymous letters about them ” BEHEADED ” just as their False God John Calvin did.

    Just one example of what that wonderful man John Calvin has in his theology legacy and what these men subscribe to is;

    “….On the 27th of June, 1546 an unsigned threatening letter in Genevan dialect was found at the pulpit of St. Pierre Cathedral where John Calvin preached. Suspecting a plot against both the church and the state, the council appointed a commission to investigate. Jacques Gruet, a Genevan member of Favre’s group, was arrested and incriminating evidence was found when his house was searched. Under torture, he confessed to several crimes including writing the letter left in the pulpit which threatened God and his ambassadors and endeavoring to subvert church order and with John Calvin’s consent, he was beheaded on 26 July 1546.”

    Be careful blog owners, they do have this appetite for modern day ” beheadings ” of their opposition.

    My question is, why do Baptist~Calvinist~Reformed, follow a Catholic’s theology?

  20. Danny,

    You are looking at this from a TULIP perspective (Total Deparavity, Unconditional election….)

    The Calvinistas don’t look at this way. It is authoritarianism (Christ is subject to the Father, A local pastor is subject to Christ, the elders are subject to the local pastor, each man is subject to the local pastor and the elders, and each wife is subject to her huband)

    It is authoritarianism, not traditional Calvinism. Even those who disagree with TULIP in the convention often agree with the authoritarianism.

  21. GREAT post Deb! It is right on.

    Does anyone see a resemblance or is it just me.

    “….On the 27th of June, 1546 an unsigned threatening letter in Genevan dialect was found at the pulpit of St. Pierre Cathedral where John Calvin preached. Suspecting a plot against both the church and the state, the council appointed a commission to investigate. Jacques Gruet, a Genevan member of Favre’s group, was arrested and incriminating evidence was found when his house was searched. Under torture, he confessed to several crimes including writing the letter left in the pulpit which threatened God and his ambassadors and endeavoring to subvert church order and with John Calvin’s consent, he was beheaded on 26 July 1546.”

    Doesn’t this sound familiar to TOM RICH’S story? Sounds similar to me!

    This is exactly what FBC JAX did to Tom Rich with all their “Investigators” and “Judges” trying to find out who that terrible blogger was threatening and endeavoring their church order….. except, TOM was lucky MAC could not find the “Guillotine” close by so he just had the COPS send him and his innocent family ” DO NOT TRESPASS ” orders.

    SICK Bunch they are!

  22. Cobber
    This intervention on the part of these groups in a “denomination” is historical. This should irritate those members of SGM who have donated time and money to build the SGM name and who now find out that there was more to this game.

  23. Dave
    I know about the story. The church has “apologized” but the mere fact that this thinking still remains in this day and age of appalling.

  24. doubtful

    There is an old saying “Follow the money”. That’s all Deb did.

    We all attempt to “spiritualize” these alliances, etc. It is usually about power and money and both apply here, but especially the money.

  25. Danny
    I know there are many within the SBC who hate Calvinism. I believe that their voices will be drowned out in the emphasis on “missional” projects. This will be used to obfuscate the secondary agenda. But, then again, that is something the SBC does well. Pretend it is about one thing while doing an end run with another. Consider this a prediction.

  26. Dee,

    You never know… It could possibly happen if Mohler’s kids don’t behave.

    History may repeat itself.

  27. It used to be Men and Women were “called” into the ministry or submissive to Christ and his teachings so that others may know him.

    Baptist now are “called” to follow men and their teachings while using Christ for a crutch or marketing material for their own personal agendas and self fulfilling “missions”.

  28. SGM has had an online store set up for years and probably has a good system going. I don’t see what’s wrong with TGC or T4G using them…why would you want to start your own online store and have to oversee it and hire employees, etc if someone else already has a good system going? How is that any different than hiring any other company to do it for you? You wouldn’t be complaining if it were a secular third party company would you?

    Come on guys…you can do it…you can give SGM a compliment. They ARE good organizers.

  29. Allen,
    You’re right. I wasn’t separating the theology from the practice. I completely get the way the SBC will jump on the authoritarian aspect.

  30. Shato said,

    “Come on guys…you can do it…you can give SGM a compliment. They ARE good organizers”.

    You’ve got that right!!!

    SGM is great at the “business” aspects of ministry. When I attended the Sovereign Grace Church in Apex, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw their bookstore prominently featured in the church lobby, just outside the auditorium (or whatever they call their worship area).

    I should have taken a picture of the cash register to feature here. Maybe someone can take a picture of an SGM bookstore and send it to me. I promise I’ll post it!

  31. “I saw their bookstore prominently featured in the church lobby”

    When I was young I had a business/ministry selling inspirational books. I got the ok from the elders to put up a table in the church lobby. But I had a problem– at the same time I was realizing that the best-sellers which could bring the $$ to make my business successful were also the most full of fluff or downright error. So I left it behind before ever doing a table. Good thing, too. A Man may have come round with a whip of small cords and overturned things…

  32. Dee:

    I often wonder what would happen in SB life if the majority of the folks in the pews knew what was really going on in the SB.

  33. Why would Mahaney relocate to another state — Kentucky — as some are speculating?

    Ken Ham and the Kentucky Creation Museum?

  34. It is authoritarianism, not traditional Calvinism. Even those who disagree with TULIP in the convention often agree with the authoritarianism. — Allen

    “For the hearts of Men are easily corrupted; and the Ring of POWER has a will of it’s own.”

  35. Did I mention that I found it fascinating that the T4G booksite takes you to SGM???? Could this be why the Calvinistas are pushing the rehabilitation of CJ Mahaney’s image??? — Dee

    “One Hand Washes the Other…”

  36. H.U.G.

    I did have that thought yesterday but forgot to include it in the post. The Creation Museum is relatively close to MECCA — I mean Southern Seminary.

  37. I think that I concur with much of what Danny has written.

    I don’t care a thing for Mahaney. All I have read about him has been from this site and the various links to all the scandals about his churches.

    But as I have mentioned, I do have positive things to say about Mohler and Dever. I do not care for their association with Mahaney. I see Mahaney as a dangerous combination of anti-intellectualism, charismatic theology and authoritarianism all combined. I see him fitting in well on the TBN network and with guys like Copeland, Duplantis (sp?) and others.

    As for influence that Mahaney may try to have over the SBC, I am not worried about it. At this point, Mahaney has a relationship with some powerful people in the SBC.

    But, as Danny mentioned, there are enough people in the SBC (reformed, semi-reformed, non-reformed, fire breathing anti-reformed) who would oppose the kind of things that Mahaney would bring to the SBC that I don’t see him having a big influence.

    Will Mahaney ever join an SBC church or found a church that becomes an SBC church? Who knows? That part is clearly conceivable because the SBC does not have a really high bar there.

    But possible joining the SBC, being friends with leaders in the SBC, even waggling a speaking invitation to the SBC (if he can ever pull that off) is a far cry from having real, lasting, directional influence. For that, I am thankful.

    I appreciate your keeping people informed of the links between various persons and ministries. That is very helpful.

    The conclusions to draw about these links, and what, if anything, to do about it is going to differ among persons, I suspect.

    Take T4G, for example. I have not been, but it’s conceivable I can go this year. My pastor really enjoys it. He says the registration fee is well worth it because of the amount of free books that he gets. To my knowledge, he hasn’t bought any books, but always brings back a stack of free ones.

    My pastor resonates with Mahaney because of their similar rough backgrounds as young people. I have mentioned to him the stuff that I have read on this site, and he agrees that the church polity and method for handling church life and controversy is weird and not anything we would ever do.

    I suppose that T4G is helping many pastors, like my own, and so that is why people continue to attend. I may go one day. If I do, I will let you know my thoughts.

    But I won’t be attending any seminars on courtship taught by a guy who can barely read!!!

  38. Anonymous,

    Thanks for your input. It is greatly appreciated!

    Why do conference attendees receive FREE books? Here’s my opinion. Christian leaders are blessed with these books so they will read them and recommend them to the flock and to their colleagues. It’s really a no brainer as far as I’m concerned. Get the latest and greatest books into the hands of influential leaders and they will promote them. What a brilliant marketing idea!!! I’m not trying to be snarky, just honest about the reason why this is done.

    Apparently someone is buying books at these conferences because the T4G bookstore is expansive! I hope attendees will take some videos and post them on YouTube so we can see just how BIG it is.

    As far as Mahaney is concerned, the younger generation is quite enamored with him. That’s a frightening thought to me.

  39. Robin,

    You asked above why Mahaney didn’t get involved with a Reformed or Presbyterian denomination or seminary. The simple answer is that they wouldn’t have him.

    The vast majority of conservative Reformed seminaries take the cessation clause in the Westminster Confession very seriously, so taking money from a known charismatic group would be inconceivable (at least for the most part).

    As far as Mahaney joining a Presbyterian denomination…while the Evangelical Presbyterian Church might be willing to take him, his complementarianism wouldn’t fly in the EPC. And if he attempted to go to the PCA or OPC he’d never make it past the Presbytery floor exams, as most presbyteries reserve the right to fully examine any minister transferring his credentials into their denomination.

    I’d actually get a kick out of seeing Mahaney examined on the floor of a conservative, Old School presbytery. He’d get ripped to shreds.

  40. I did have that thought yesterday but forgot to include it in the post. The Creation Museum is relatively close to MECCA — I mean Southern Seminary. — Deb

    With me, it was on the fact that Evolution is right up there with Abortion and Homosexuality as the Born-Again Bright Red Murder Flags, and that Young Earth Creationism Uber Alles has become THE sign that you’re Saved. Therefore, God’s Anointed (like Mahaney) would probably flock to the circled wagons and Defend the Faith. One Hand Washes the Other…

  41. As far as Mahaney is concerned, the younger generation is quite enamored with him. That’s a frightening thought to me.

    “Give me your children until they turn 16. Then you may have them back, but they will always be Mine.” — attributed to Adolf Hitler

    And throughout history, it has always been the starry-eyed youth who become the True Believers for The Cause Which Justifies Anything, whether Red Guard or Talibani.

  42. Anonymous,

    I have three questions for your pastor and anyone else who will be attending the T4G conference.

    1. Who is REALLY being glorified at this conference?

    2. Are attendees blinded to the spiritual abuse that is occurring in the ministries of some of the speakers?

    3. Do they ever contemplate who is being excluded from this kind of gathering?

  43. H.U.G.

    That explains why the students are enticed to attend through a highly reduced conference fee and credit hours.

  44. Sophia,

    Thank you for the link! I just watched it. Dee will be picking up where she left off on Monday and will prominently feature this video in her post.

    Let’s see, now how did this Mars Hill mess catch the media’s attention? Exactly who was behind it?

    B-L-O-G-G-E-R-S

  45. Deb –

    They went after the teenagers (14, 15 and up) in Red China as well. These were the age groups that were used to march in the streets and cause uprisings. Think about “gangs” today. What age groups do they go after? The ones trying to find their identity and wanting to fit in.

    Young people risk being enticed “into” something, not saved by grace into Christ. Sometimes these same people don’t realize what has transpired until much later in life. Some walk away from the faith. It’s possible that some were never believers. I pray they all come to know Him.

  46. Bridget2,

    What you shared really breaks my heart. Parents have to be on guard against this, but some parents are brainwashed themselves. :-(

  47. “As the saying goes, “bloom where you’re planted”, and the word on the street is that Mahaney is planning to relocate to Kentucky and set down roots there. There is also speculation that the offices of Sovereign Grace Ministries will be moved from Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland to Kentucky — most likely Louisville.”

    If this happens, I really believe that you will see an announcement that Covenant Life Church has decided to pull out of SGM and join some other reformed denomination such as EPC, OPC, or APC

  48. I’ve gotta say, as a former SBC’er, we used to watch the demise of the mainline denominations and say that it was the result of their liberal theology. We said it would neve happen to us because we don’t compromise on the Word of God. Now the SBC is starting to decline, and everyone is panicking to figure out why. The ironic things is that in a denomination that prides itself on congregational autonomy, a lead factor in its demise is bureaucratic corruption!

  49. Sophia,

    That KOMO story on Mars Hill was awful. It really said nothing. That was some crappy journalism. They need to read here more often to learn how to tell a story well. I’m sure our Duke grads could teach them a thing or two. I asked myself, if I were someone who read this story, would I get from it what I actually do know about Mars HIll and spiritual abuse? The answer was an emphatic no. Unfortunately, as for the story, I dont believe it will help the people who are speaking out. But the comments section has some nuggets. Man, I wonder how much KOMO is paying because they need a new writer and I could have done a helluva lot better than that. Jus’ sayin’. And I’m no Duke grad… In English.

    I believe if the articel focused on spritiaul abuse, then helped the reader define what that is, what it looks like and the difference between wise biblical application and unwise biblical application, and then got more information from those who told the story, including linking to the stories about others, then it would have made the issue more discoverable for those who have no idea what they are talking about and the issue they want to raise.

  50. oft,

    I can’t speak to the APC as I’m unfamiliar with that denomination, but there’s no way that either the Orthodox Presbyterian Church or the Evangelical Presbyterian Church would consider joining and receiving with SGM – especially the OPC.

    I can’t see SGM joining and receiving with the EPC because it is a self-consciously egalitarian denomination, and I can’t see any of the so-called “elders” in SGM submitting to being questioned on the floor of presbytery by female elders. That’s just not going to happen. Furthermore the confessionalism of both the OPC and the EPC fly in the face of the SGM “no creed but Christ” crowd.

    And the OPC would never consider joining and receiving with SGM; we wouldn’t even join and receive the PCA about 15 years ago! That presbytery floor exam would be a blood-bath. The OPC will not allow a man to take exception to the cessation clause in WCF 1:1, hence charismatics need not apply for licensure and ordination in the OPC. That floor exam would either run very long (6-7 hours), or very short, but either way it would end with, “Brothers, we cannot ordain nor receive these men”.

    Frankly, I don’t any self-consciously confessional Presbyterian denomination would take SGM. The SBC is practically the only option.

  51. “If there is a connection growing between SGM and SBC, and I’m not denying that there is, it will be met with a great deal of resistance. There is still a significant number of SBC theologians who do not support reformed theology. I just read an editorial in the Christian Index ( a GBC publication) on the rise of reformed theology in the SBC and the need to stop it.

    Maybe there is a relationship blooming, but it will be a great while before that flower blossoms.”

    Danny, You have made the classic mistake that this is really about Doctrine. It isn’t. Many a “non Calvinist” SBC mega church pastor/leader is on board with Mohler’s direction for the SBC. They will welcome Mahaney and what numbers he can bring. Not to mention the publishing company he brings with him for when the SBC still questions anything.

    Nowadays, you are in the SBC Reformed club if you are a 3pter. The goals keep moving and all are on the new GCB train. Be sure and get your ticket. Patterson got his. Since Mohler claims the SBC has always been Calvinist, founded on Calvinism, everyone in the SBC really is Reformed and just don’t know it. And now they really don’t need messengers anymore and can seal records, the way is clear.

    GBC will be about the mega churches, Reformed, YRR, Acts 29, SGM and probably some others sprinkled in. It will be authoritarian/top down rule (see end run around messengers for studying name change) and many will fall in line. Many still cannot see it because they ‘like the direction”.

  52. Oft and Reformed Rebel, I don’t think CLC baptizes infants, so any Presbyterian denomination is going to reject them. If they want a reformed denomination, to stay complementarian and charismatic, their closest options will be Acts29, EV Free, or the SBC.

  53. Miguel:

    You said: “Now the SBC is starting to decline, and everyone is panicking to figure out why. The ironic things is that in a denomination that prides itself on congregational autonomy, a lead factor in its demise is bureaucratic corruption!”

    I 100% agree. I fail to see democracy at work in the SBC.

  54. Having lived in Louisville for two years while my husband attended Southern Seminary, I can say that the SBC is heavily controlled by Mohler and Dever. The new name change is coming from Mohler and his fellows at Southern. They were the ones that pushed the Great Commission Report a couple of years ago. SGM and Southern are heavily connected. They sing Bob Kauflin’s music in chapel, and Mahaney is a regular chapel speaker. He is highly revered on the campus of Southern.

    I know there are a lot of SBC churches that don’t want to be Calvinist, etc., but they have a small voice in the SBC. If Mohler says something needs to be done, then that is what happens. He is the one who took the convention from being “liberal” to being “conservative”. He has an interesting history. Just look at what happened when he became president of Southern Seminary.

    As for the student rate, that also applies to college and graduate students. A large majority of Southern students will attend the T4G conference.

  55. “Verrrry innteresting” seminar @ T4G will be:

    Russell Moore

    Breakout Session Talk: Mars and Venus at the Cross: Toward a Crucified Vision of Manhood and Womanhood

    Hmmm.. A crucified vision…

  56. I haven’t been in Louisville since all of the stuff came out about C.J. I’m not sure what people at the school actually know. I’m guessing it has all been spun saying that a few bitter people had some bad things happen to them, but C.J. wasn’t responsible. I doubt that the particulars of his situation have been divulged to the students at Southern. Most of them would have to research it for themselves.

  57. Hannah W.

    Welcome to TWW! I am grateful for your testimony about the influence Mahaney is having at Southern Seminary. I find it extremely frightening! I hope you will continue to comment.

    Blessings!

  58. Dave A A,

    Thanks for alerting us about the topic Russell Moore will be discussing. I hadn’t looked that closely at the T4G website.

    Are these guys from another planet?

  59. There’s an old axiom in business….two bankrupt companies normally don’t make a profitable one if they merge…they generally only manage to create one big bankrupt company. SGM and the SBC are both on the decline. God has a way of pruning those portions of the vine that don’t bear fruit. It works at both the local and denominational level. Church history, especially protestant church history, is rife with once large denominations that no longer exist. When was the last time you met an Anabaptist, Huguenot or a Shaker?

  60. Having travelled in charismatic circles for the past 35+ years (my wife and I were saved in the Jesus Movement of the early seventies, and are most definitely NOT “cessationists”), we nevertheless always thought these authoritarian pulpit power-grabber types were mainly found in (thankfully scattered) full-gospel camps.

    But seeing these SGM-Mahaney-Dever shenanigans, especially coming from self-avowed cessationists (whom our Baptist former best friends termed “smarter than you are”), has been an eye-opener.

    Guess neither camp holds the patent on oddball pastors.

  61. Thanks, Deb. I have read your blog for a while. I appreciate the research that you and Dee do for the blog. I grew up in an independent fundamental baptist church and personally understand spiritual abuse. I graduated from a GARB college along with my husband and he graduated from Southern! We are now at a Methodist graduate school for more graduate work. As you can see, we have had quite the spiritual journey and are trying to find our place in the church. :)

    I also have connections to Acts 29 having interacted with the churches in Louisville – Sojourn Ministries. I have been following the Mars Hill situation as well. My husband grew up outside of Seattle. We are very concerned.

    The bottom line for all of these men (Driscoll, Mahaney, Mohler) is the power that they have over people.

  62. Deb: Are these guys from another planet?

    Mars, I suppose. What on this earth could the talk on Venus and Mars at the cross be about? The many female disciples who were at the foot of the cross while most of the male disciples were in hiding?

  63. John R,

    One of our regular commenters, Eagle, asked why people at Southern Seminary aren’t concerned about Mahaney, et al. I ask a similar question about Southern Baptist in general, and I believe the answer is that they have absolutely no idea what is going on in the Mohler/Dever camp. I hope they find out before these guys take over the convention.

    I applaud people like you and Eagle, among others, who take the time to educate yourselves on issues that don’t directly involve you. I wish more Christians would do accordingly.

  64. Hannah W,

    You are well-versed in what we are discussing here. I want to encourage you to share your perspective as often as possible because of your broad understanding of these ministries.

    Thank you so much for your input! You are a great resource.

  65. Jerry,

    Loved your comment! Yes, I once visited the Shaker Village in New England, and they were no where to be found! They had their own problems with sexuality.

    Welcome to TWW! Please keep blessing us with your wisdom.

  66. Jerry,
    Great point about God’s pruning. Could be extended to include movements and popular thoughts of the day. I never met a Huguenot of Shaker, but my wife and I used to know several Anabaptists quite well. We even sat in on a real modern-day Anabaptist baptism.

  67. Jerry – I think you might be getting confused by terminology.

    There are a *lot* of anabaptists around, but they mostly use the names of their denoms (various Mennonites, Church of the Brethren, and even the Amish Mennonites). Keep in mind that most all of these people are descended from German immigrants; some who came in the 18th century, others in the 19th and 20th. So there tends to be a *bit* of separation solely because German – well, various German dialects – were used by many churches. (Some still use them).

    Huguenots – do some checking on the history and you will see that they were murdered in large numbers by express command of various kings of France. Others fled to the Netherlands, parts of what is now Germany, the UK, Ireland, the early colonies (that are now part of the US), etc. etc. iirc – would have to check – a fair number ended up turning Anglican. There actually are a couple of existing Huguenot churches – they switched from using French to English a long time ago, though… At any rate, it’s a case of forced emigration and when that happens, people tend to get absorbed into the culture of the country where they ended up.

    Shakers – They have literally died out. Their leader was Mother Ann Lee, called “the female Christ” by many. So, a breakaway sect, like many others that developed in post-Reformation Europe (and post-civil war England) and in what’s now the US.

  68. More on Huguenots – I think you will find some proud descendants who still use the term “Huguenot” in Charleston, SC and also in some areas right outside of NYC (and no doubt in other places as well).

    I spent some time in a Protestant canton in the French-speaking part of Switzerland back in the late 70s, and there definitely *are* “Huguenot” (French-speaking Reformed) churches there, but then, Calvin lived not far away, down in Geneva.

  69. People shouldn’t expect much from local TV coverage or even national TV coverage. TV’s just not as capable a medium for convery significant information. Radio’s better but print is better still.

  70. Trina,

    I agree. I have spent most of my day posting and reposting links to Kaelee & Kevin’s full self written stories and links to all the other stories at my blog. Hopefully people will read them. Matthew Paul Turner also posted the video and I have been doing the same there as well.

    I could have, and well, have done a better job of telling the story than that :) And I don’t have a college degree in anything, but a masters in the school of hard knocks :)

  71. POST HIGHLIGHTS:

    A) C.J. Mahaney is stepping down from the leadership of S.G.M.
    B) He has decided to move to Kentucky to be nearer to family and to his best friend, Al Mohler.
    C) He may or may not plant a church in Kentucky.
    D) C.J. was invited to speak at a Southern Seminary Chapel last month
    E) S.G.M., probably at the urging of C.J., has given donations to Southern Seminary $200,000 in the past several years.
    F) SGM has a pastor’s training school but no seminary to support.
    G) Together For the Gospel will hold their bi-annual conference in Louisville
    H) Together For the Gospel will be charging a fee to attend their conference.
    I) Surprisingly enough, Al Mohler, Mark Dever and Lig. Duncan have supported their good friend instead of attacking him.
    J) C.J. Mahaney is a sinner.

  72. Deb:

    In response to your questions:

    1. Who is REALLY being glorified at this conference?

    There is no doubt that some amount of hero worship goes on at these conferences. But I don’t get the sense that my pastors senses that it is any different from an SBC meeting, a Graham crusade, a Beth Moore meeting, or a Tony Campolo speech.

    My pastor really enjoys the serious theological discussion and the speakers.

    2. Are attendees blinded to the spiritual abuse that is occurring in the ministries of some of the speakers?

    I don’t know what all of the attendees know. They probably don’t keep up.

    I can tell you that my pastor does not blog or read blogs because he is so busy. He has never read your blog. The one or 2 times he has read a blog, he just said it was not very productive. Anyone can come on and say anything. He thinks that is a good thing generally and glad the forum exists, but given the time commitments that he has, he just does not have the time to do it. My pastor is one of those guys who is a good speaker, a good discipler, and a good pastoral care person. And he still does all of that. Keeping up with what is happening in this church or that or who is saying what about whom is just something he cannot keep up with.

    Consequently, he has not investigated the SGM churches or how or whether various scandals at various churches are connected to Mahaney personally.

    3. Do they ever contemplate who is being excluded from this kind of gathering?

    The draw of the meeting is who is there.

    My pastor attended his first Founders’s Conference 20 years ago, and met Dever there, and was very impressed. He has also been impressed with Mohler and the return of Southern to orthodoxy. He has also read Sproul (sp?) and Duncon, and likes what they write.

    My pastor has been in Christian ministry for almost 30 years, and has seen it all. He is not enamored with anyone, and knows that all of these guys have warts personally and that they have things in their ministries that we would not want to emulate.

    Speculating who might like to speak at these conferences, but who is not invited is not what my pastor focuses on. In fact, I think that T4G is pretty much a meeting founded by Mohler, Dever, Mahaney and Duncon, with idea that while they differ in matters of polity, the gifts, denominational affiliation etc., they come together for the Gospel.

    That is very appealing to people of our (your and my) generation, I think. Denominationalism exists because of function (funding methods and stability), not so much because it is believed that one denomination is right and all of the others are wrong (as might have been believed a couple of generations ago).

    I am not aware of a lot of orthodox theological gatherings like this. Large gatherings are usually either denonminationally, evangelistically or semi-politically based. This is one is pure theology from start to finish. I think that there is an appeal to that.

    That’s the best I can do answering. I know you may not agree with the perspective, but maybe the answers will help you understand some of the thinking among some of the attendees I know.

  73. Reformed Rebel:

    Is SGM’s creed really “No creed but Christ”?

    Got to love it.

    That right there allows for more abuse than just about anything, especially if you combine it with charismatic theology where leaders get words from Christ today – about you, about the church, about life, etc.

    It is set up for abuse from the beginning.

  74. One might ask whether CJ’s friends could be supporting the man’s “ministry” to the detriment of the man himself.

  75. Jimmy
    Sometimes you can be so simplistic. Mahaney is a sinner along with the rest of us. But his sinful behavior has affected many, many people and not one of the leaders at T4G or SBTS gives a hoot because they continue to support this man. So, we don’t like it and think they are ignoring those who Jesus called us to serve and, instead, serve one another. How very ordinary, boring and predictable unlike Jesus who was anything but.

  76. Reformed Rebel:

    In describing the OPC’s and the PCA’s examination process, you have just laid out the benefits of church discipline.

    I am not a Presbyterian, but you have to admit, there is theological confessionalism at work that keeps certain elements out of the group.

    In the SBC, the only real test is the contribution of money, and the homosexual issue (yes, that got put in the constitution, not just the BFM, so that issue, when it comes to polity, is unlike any other in the SBC).

  77. Jimmy –

    FYI – The Mahaney clan (and SGM) all possibly ending up in the same city/state would not be because Mr. and Mrs. want to be closer to family. It would be a planned, but slowly unfolding, event that has been in the works since last June or earlier when pressure started mounting and an escape plan was needed. Don’t act so naive about what is clearly “wrong.”

    AND

    I want my good friends to love me by correcting me when necessary, not ENABLE me to continue in deceit. I remember Paul doing likewise with Peter. Paul certainly didn’t sit back and wait for his invitation to dinner as well!

  78. Actually, all we really know is that C.J.’s friends have not publically chastised him.

    That’s all we ACTUALLY know.

    I still don’t know what the big deal is about C.J. moving to Kentucky. It’s been in the planning for awhile? SO?

    He is stepping down from his position with S.G.M. Ministries that can be centered where ever they choose. The next leader may move headquarters somewhere else.

  79. Why aren’t the C.J detractors more excited by his exit? This is what the blogs wanted isn’t it?

  80. There’s a lot in this post. What I took away is the utter hypocrisy of those who espouse church discipline but appear to shield those who are insulated in leadership. That’s preferential treatment. CJ Mahaney is/should be under church discipline (according to their teaching), but isn’t.

    I didn’t see the bookstore on the T4G website, but if you click on register, it certainly takes you to a SGM website.

  81. Bridget2
    I remember also King David’s good friends Nathan and Bathsheba confronting him in love even at the end of his life, when David’s ardent “supporters” Abiathar the priest and Joab commander of the army had abandoned him.

  82. Dave A A –

    They certainly seem to be. Do they want the money and T4G connections more than they want to “love” a brother that needs a public calling out as Paul did with Peter?

  83. Jimmy –

    See that’s where you are dead wrong. What I want, and I assume the blogs want, is for there to be true repentance and the humbling work of reconciliation; and to see God glorified and relationships restored in the process. Do you see that happening? Or do you see a man on the run?

  84. Dave A A –

    Maybe Larry, Brent, and Joshua will be at his side in the end :)

    . . . I just won’t hold my breath in the meantime.

  85. Sorry Bridget, I have seen fierce anger bordering on hatred for C.J. the man and for his family which has also been the butt of written attacks.

    People, they’re going away; Rejoice and be happy.

  86. I want CJ OUT of ministry. And our job is to warn people of his cultish behavior and spiritual abuse. Enough people have been hurt. CJ can deal with his repentance away from anything that has to do with any leadership at all.

    Who would want to restore a relationship with a wolf? One would have to let years go by before one would know if it was real or not. The man loves a stage. How could anyone trust him with all the stuff he pulled while he was supposedly being disciplined? I sometimes wonder what it would take for people to recognize a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

  87. Jimmy, You will have to explain to us why CJ loves and protects predators but not little 3 year olds who were molested.

    Sorry but your accusations of “hatred” for CJ is a typical tactic. Not buying today.

  88. “Ah! I see!! So homosexuality is an unforgivable sin but blackmail and extortion are okay? ”

    Eagle. Don’t you know that we are all sinners? Why would you expect CJ to be any different than anyone else? It is normal for Born Again believers to do such things as CJ did. At least that is what I am hearing over and over everywhere I go.

    That is why so many people are confused. At least the homosexual admits it. The “Christians” are deceptive about their sin and re-define it to make it an act of God.As in God ordains it. And here we thought being Born Again meant we would sin less and less as filled with the Holy Spirit. Nope. Really there is no reason for a watchblog. This stuff is normal.

  89. “Jimmy… Why arn’t more people happy about his exit?”

    Mohler is happy as are other SBC leaders. The goal is most likely to get as many SGM churches to follow Mahaney as possible. It is a numbers game.

  90. Anonymous–

    “It is set up for abuse from the beginning.”

    EXACTLY!!!!!!

    The thing is this, sometimes, and that is people will say or come into the blog and defend SGM or other churches like it and chastise us for seeing that very thing…that it was set up for abuse from the beginning. They say things like you seem to know the intentions or the hearts of the leaders… and blah blah blah. But if you change the words from abuse to other words that lead to it, you still get the same thing. Abuse sounds bad because it sounds intentional. Most people only consider abuse to be intentional. Therefore, unintentional abuse gets excused. Let’s call it misuse or abnormal use. Now, unintentional abnormal use doesn’t really happen that way, does it–except for, adn what we see here mostly, is a misinterpretation of Scripture.

    I believe there is a deep soughtafter measure of control which they label as “care”, or “godly order” or “god-honoring”. But who gets to decide what is and what isn’t?

    I think that those things deeply sought after are the real intentions. I think they also often lead to abuse, and has been the case in these churches. Naturally, a combination of certain elements will always produce the same result. 2 atoms of hydrogen and 1 oxygen combined will always make water, most likely. A system set up to accomplish purity along with a top-down mentality, will generally set us up for domination and control. The idea sought after, purity, drives the intentions of those who desire it so much. Even so much that they get to decide what decides what is pure and what isn’t. And that can’t be everyone, now can it?

    Just like a republic is a real true democracy, a real congregational church is one where the congregants truly make the decisions in concert together and that decision is honored and carries significant weight.

    I dont think CJ/Dever/Mohler and the like all set out to abuse others. But I do believe their desires have changed their intentions, actions and motives. One naturally leads to the other.

  91. Jimmy,
    Not just that confrontation, but in I Kings 1, when David was missing the mark in a more subtle way and didn’t even know what was going on.
    Bridget2 yes– L B & J were just who I had in mind!

  92. Anon 1 –

    IMO stepping away from ministry would be the natural beginning of true repentance for CJM.

  93. By purity, I mean so in all respects whether it is purity in polity and church governance, theological/doctrinal purity, sexual purity and holiness and so forth. Purity in practice in all things concerning the life of the church. They put much emphasis on this purity, regardless of how much they confess to know that we are all depraved worthless sinners in sight of a angry holy God. Yea, they dont say he’s angry, but let them describe him for you, you dont come out with the idea of an enveloping, intense, all-encompasing love. Just discipline… and only discipline. Because we deserve much worse. (rolls eyes)

    That never really makes sense with the God in Isaiah. The God of Israel. The God who proclaimed over and over again that “I will be your God and you will be my people.” THAT is LOVE. The God who says he will incline his ear to the brokenhearted. The God who is full of compassion and mercy. The God who loves so great that nothing can snatch us from such love. The God who’s love endures forever. The God who weeps with those who weep. Scripture paints a very different picture of the God of the Calvanists. Scripture paints a God who really held back very often on what he was capable of doing to a sinning humanity, and instead remembered their sins no more and accounted to them righteousness because of his love for them, on their behalf. A God motivated completely by love… and mind you, didn’t always feel the need to tell his people how much they didn’t deserve his goodness because they were depraved.

  94. …and finally, if God chooses not to remind me of that every day, which is EVERY RIGHT TO, then why do they feel the need to? Is His word to me not sufficient to convey what God desires for me to know? He said I was forgiven. That he’d remember my sins no more. That I was good, a good gift. That I am the apple of my Father’s eye. That I am friend’s with Him. That I am redeemed. He didn’t choose to remind us that we were depraved sinners over and over again in Scripture, particularly the NT. Why then, do these men continue to do this?

  95. Thinking more about King David: After Murder one and adultery; God absolutely cleaned his ever-lovin’ clock. For reasons unclear, God did not removed the crown from David; he continued as Israel’s king until the day he died. But besides God bringing about the death of the son from David and Bathsheba’s sin, he also said “the sword” would never leave David’s house. That came true too.

    God brought pretty fierce wrath against His servant David.

  96. I actually own a “Homeboy” Tee Shirt. My “homeboy” is B.B. Warfield actually; long deceased Princeton theologian.

  97. King David and repentance. As we know via Psalm 51; David totally and humbly repented of his sins.

    We also know the family tragedies continued despite David’s quite awesome repentance. God never backed away from His vengeance.

  98. Jimmy, it was a bit more than that, which I’m sure you know. There was other stuff along the way like David not really punishing one of his sons for raping one of his daughters, which led to Absalom killing Amnon and eventually plotting an insurrection. The problem was David used his power and position to please himself and benefit himself rather than use it in service to the people. So the adultery and murder were not just simply about those sins themselves, serious as those were, but about how David used his kingly position to please himself while he let other people actually do his fighting for him. Allusions to David are double-edged blades, aren’t they? :)

    But David certainly is a case study of how God lets people keep their jobs despite hundreds of failures that would seem like disqualifying offenses. Of course not every messiah was a David. Sometimes the annointed one was a Saul or a Mannasah.

  99. Eagle … I don’t mean this in cruel way … but you say you’ve left the faith, so why in the Sam Hill do you keep posting here, in the enemy’s camp? That strikes me as odd in the extreme.

    Back when I was an athiest (before the earth’s crust had completely cooled) the internet didn’t exist. We got our jollies by laughing at Christians from distance; the idea of entering a church (not that this is a church, but the analogy holds) and laughing at them on their home turf wouldn’t have occurred to us. Different times, I guess, and different mores.

    Anyway, this is how things are now, I suppose. These intertoobz thingies are part of a brave new world, and as Pooh said, “I am a bear of little brain.”

  100. “But David certainly is a case study of how God lets people keep their jobs despite hundreds of failures that would seem like disqualifying offenses. Of course not every messiah was a David. Sometimes the annointed one was a Saul or a Mannasah.”

    And now, in the New Covenant, we all have “annointing” if we really belong to Him. (1 John) I am not sure if that includes wolves or not. Can you make a case that it does? References to those who were “set out for condemnation long ago”, wolves, Acts 20 and the Nicolatians, etc, etc. Seems to communicate differently. Not to mention Hebrews 10:26-31. In each case, the references are to those who claim to be Born Again or are in the church.

  101. “God brought pretty fierce wrath against His servant David”

    Jimmy, Are you suggesting that if God does not bring fierce wrath against CJ in this New Covenant such as he did with David, it means CJ did not really sin?

  102. “My prediction is the SBC will continue to hemorrhage members and so will SGM. In the end, maybe they deserve one another”

    I predict it will grow like wildfire. Think of the marketing. No more of that old “racism” from the old name. We have elected a black president (that has already been claimed for June) They claim they have the “truth” and correct doctrine. What young person is not going to want to be involved with all these famous great men of God in this great movement? The YRR will be on fire.

  103. John–

    I think it’s funny that many Christians say that to “atheists” or non-believers who post here. It’s usually implied that they have no business commenting on things that only Christians have a right to discuss amongst one another or would solely understand. I don’t see that you are coming from that angle particularly, but I read your question and I’m like… Well, so what?!? Why does his faith or lack of it matter in regards to what he wishes to add or take away from the discussion.

    Regardless of Eagle’s thoughts about Christians–which are very insightful and a good learning tool for us professing believers–he really has great value and adds such to the discussions here. I believe as well that these conversations also encourage him and help him work through his pain, as there was much of it, with other still professing believers who share a common pain. I’m not purporting to speak for him and his reasons to be here as much as I want to identify and convey the value of his presence. I’ve learned a lot from him, so much that I have ceased to take offense at his remarks about Christianity and listen to recognize how many of his observations and experiences are valid. I think this forum serves all those hurt by the church or wanting to learn of these issues that are going on, regardless of their faith status.

    I hope this is helpful in getting you to think about how that question, although understandable, really inherently challenges such a person to defend or explain why the are here. And frankly, it’s besides the point. Forget about his faith status and listen to his story. It’s very relevant to the discussion and the reason for this blog. I am convinced that Eagle is blessed by this blog in the same ways it validates my hurts and concerns, as well as my knowledge and experience with the church.

  104. Eagle–

    Christianity and its followers need the mirror you hold up. But they are too afraid to examine the real fruit it shows them and escapes popular, relevant opinion by discrediting the one holding up the mirror–even when and especially if this one used to be one of their own. If its the world that we intend to engage and win over to our side and get them all saved, then shouldn’t we allow them to tell us what we really convey?

  105. Trina, one thing I think we could tell Eagle is that “Christians” do not consistently behave that way nor seek power, fame or authority over others. But few will say it. I will, though. And people freak out.

    These power mad “Christian celebrities” are not getting better. They are not getting more humble or holy in their behavior. What are we to make of such fruit? Not only are they going for covenants with people (Let your yes be yes?) but they are redefining Christianity for a whole generation. Look at Piper’s “masculine” Christianity. Where does that leave you? Who is your feminine role model for being like Christ?

    Nope, I cannot dance around it anymore. Run people. Don’t look back. Run to Christ. Warn others You don’t need them. Pray for those who are under their spell.

    I would rather hang out with Eagle who is honest about who he is.

  106. I don’t comment very often, but I had to say I agree with the entire comment by Anon 1@ 6:51. I am running and not looking back…except to educate myself and help warn others.

    I also enjoy reading Eagle’s comments. Eagle, you cause me to think :-) …a good thing to do. I would rather hang out with Eagle, too.

    Thanks for this most excellent article, Deb. I was looking at Southern’s site and see they are having a conference for middle and high school students…Joshua Harris, Russell Moore, and Mohler speaking. I would never hand over my 14 year old to them.

  107. diane,

    I am so glad you enjoyed the post. I am keeping my young adult daughters informed about this nonsense.

    I hope you will comment more often. :-)

  108. Eagle:

    I did not think that the homosexuality issue (the actual issue is whether the church solemnizes homosexual unions or ordains open practicing homosexuals) should have been put in the constitution.

    However, I understood the Convention’s reasons for going in that direction. The reason was that sin is the only one that is trying to be defined as not sin, and the convention was concerned about efforts that could be made by those churches to change convention policies.

    If a church solemnizes homosexual unions or ordains open, practicing homosexuals, the church cannot send messengers to the convention to try and influence the vote of the convention.

    On blackmail, extortion etc., I don’t know of a Baptist church that is openly claiming those are not sinful actions.

    The convention just used this rule last year to kick a church out. Interestingly, the church was really coy and obtuse about its policy regarding homosexual unions and such, but that did not work in the end. The messengers decided to declare them a church that did not qualify under their constitution to send messengers to the convention.

    That church can join the Alliance of Baptists or the CBF. The Alliance openly approves of homosexual unions. The CBF just leaves it to the local church but does not exclude churches based on that issue.

  109. “Consequently, he has not investigated the SGM churches or how or whether various scandals at various churches are connected to Mahaney personally”

    Haven’t you told him how serious the problems are at SGM and why it is enabling sin to go and pay CJ to speak? How could what CJ says have any merit considering all the spiritual abuse at SGM and the churcn discipline. Wouldn’t your pastor believe you enough to check it out for himself? Or will he only believe it if it comes from Mahaney or Mohler or Dever, etc? He would never believe those abused who blogged about it?

    Sounds like he would fit right into T4G group. Perfect follower

  110. “I would never hand over my 14 year old to them”

    Amen. I am already teaching my 11 year old about “Christian” cult tactics and what a real follower of Jesus Christ will seek. (Hint: It is not authority over others or followers)

  111. Anonymous
    I bet you know what i am going to say. The convention has absolutely no trouble allowing churches that have hidden a pedophile in the pastorate in the SBC. This is a topic of shame for the SBC.

  112. Reformed Rebel, thanks for your comments! I was pretty sure that was why CJ didn’t join a presbyterian church.

  113. Anon1, I’m not talking about the presence of the Spirit but about messiahs in within the context of the Mosaic covenant. Scripture makes it clear that God raises up and deposes rulers whether they are people who regard Him or not. So there’s a difficulty in the usual “touch not the Lord’s annointed” since “messiah” in the OT did not take on the meaning most Christians tend to insist it has to have had all across the board.

    I was also pointing out that if Jimmy’s point is given then it means that a guy like Mahaney can’t keep outrunning the consequences of any misuse of a pastoral office. Referring to David is referring to someone who had a divinely appointed job but who was punished for using that job to please himself. I figured that was pretty clear but in case it wasn’t that’s the primary direction I was going. We need to keep in mind that terminology and usage for terms like “messiah” changed significantly and developed in early Christian and pre-Christian Jewish thought. I’m hoping to not necessarily dive into intertestamental literature to explain that part, though. :)

  114. Jimmy

    You said “People, they’re going away; Rejoice and be happy.” Heck, no, they are not going away. They will be given a bigger platform and will be in our faces with the blessings of SBTS.

  115. Jimmy,

    Why are you such a staunch defender of C.J. Mahaney? Is he your homeboy?

    More likely the other way round.

    Jimmy is CJ’s FANBOY. And to a fanboy, the object of his worship Can Do No Wrong. (Look at Twitards and EDWARD…)

  116. H.U.G.

    Thanks for that “observation”. I will substitute FANBOY for sycophant from time to time. :P

  117. Eagle:

    Just caught your comment about your dad. Sorry to hear about that. I hope and pray all goes well for him and your family.

  118. Eagle,

    Thanks for your commentary. I’m keeping your dad in my prayers. I hope the surgery was successful.

  119. Deb –

    In the quote above from Mahaney . . . I would like to know WHO the others are that “seem” to agree. Is it possible he is mistaken about them agreeing?

  120. John Robinson-

    Sigh….so now if you’re a former Christian we are enemies. Eagle has spoken for himself. But if I may….

    In the past, I attended SGM and saw the abusive system from behind the curtain. My motive for being here is not to point out the flaws of Christianity, but to warn believers of the abusive men and systems that run SGM. I may no longer believe, but I saw what I saw, and I began warning people for 12 years before losing my faith….does that mean that I should stop caring about abuse in churches?

    On a different note, Dee/Deb are you guys( I mean gals) cool if I include Wartburgwatch on my blogroll? Or is there a male personage overseeing your efforts that I must ask first (uh-that last part was a joke:) )

  121. Dee and Deb –

    I went to the link Deb referenced to find “Together for the UNDERESTIMATED Gospel” ? Who’s been underestimating it and spewing it that way to thousands of people? I hope they are not going to teach that WE have all been underestimating the Gospel now :( All I can do is guess that they had to come up with a “hook” to get people to register and they gave the job to Piper. He’s a fancy adjective guy.

  122. Bridget2,

    Your comment reminded me of the Resolved 2009 Trailer in which C.J. Mahaney presumes to speak for all of us.

    Resolved 2009 Trailer

    He says: “We are enemies of God. We are God ignoring. We are God defying. We hate God.”

    CJ, speak for yourself. You DO NOT speak for me!!! I love Jesus Christ with all of my heart, and I DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE GOSPEL.

  123. doubtful,

    I’ll be sure to ask “permission” from my husband for you to link to our blog on your blogroll. Thanks for a laugh!

    Dee and I would be honored for you to include TWW.

    I am so sorry for what you experienced in SGM. I have never been a part of Sovereign Grace Ministries, and I’M SPITTING MAD at what they have done to so many of my brothers and sisters in Christ.

    Whenever I go after Mahaney and Co. on this blog, I will remember how they damaged people like you so severely that you became agnostic. I pray that at some point you will be drawn back to our true Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

    May you find peace.

  124. doubtful

    Wow, you are a good writer! i am impressed with your honesty and especially liked your description of the 4 Spiritual Laws as “Amway” inspired. I have subscribed to your blog and will look forward to reading each of your posts. I know that you are no longer a believer and I respect that. I know you have come to your decision after much reading and contemplation. Thank you for being willing to read our blog as well. You are a valued commenter.

  125. All…thanks for the education on church history. I think some folks missed my point. While the denominations I mentioned may technically still exist they are hardly mainstream or exist in their original forms. If they had not we would be discussing the Southern Huegonot Convention and Sovereign Anabaptist Ministries. They have been winnowed, diluted and pruned by splinters and splits. The Lutheran and Anglican churches split off the Catholic church. Does that mean that Lutherans and Anglicans are Catholics? I get that there may be some of thes churches around still. I’m also aware that there are Guideons too…..though I’ve never met one they leave Bibles all over the place:) I think they are like Bible Elves but I digress. My point is that God has a way of moving his church forward. Perhaps it time for the SBC and SGM to fade.

    Dee thanks for the re-welcome….I’ve posted/discussed here in the past and even wrote an article for you guys a few years ago. I still visit the site regularly but I only comment when the article or comments strike close to home. This thread does. You guys keep fighting the good fight!

  126. Jerry
    Divine Amnesia seems to have struck this woman! We have had several Jerrys comment and I rarely check emails, etc. trying to give people their space. Thank you for letting me know. You are so informative. Thanks once again.

  127. Dee….you mean to tell me I’m not the only Jerry in the world! What the….my entire worldview is now shattered!

  128. Jerry
    It all started with Jerry Lewis and then progressed to Ben and Jerry’s. A rose by any other name…

  129. “Larry Tomczak: The SGM Whitewash Is Peeling?”

    HowDee YaAll,

     Many of you may have heard, an 042512 email from the co-founder of Sovereign Grace Ministries seemed to minced no words with the attempt at whitewashing the behavior of SGM’s President C.J. Mahaney. 

    Former PDI/SGM Christian leader Tomczak says (in part): 

    “…Addressing the illegal, immoral and documented blackmail plus the reprehensible conduct that shattered our reputation, relationships and family ties (plus our livelihood) was afforded a dismissive SIX sentences in the report!  Unbelievable….When we shared our experience with Ted (AoR) and his assistant, one wiped away tears and the other dropped his head in shocking dismay at our traumatic experience, manipulation, falsehoods and numerous examples of unChristlike behavior we experienced that could have destroyed our Christian lives as a family of six.  We, like hundreds of others who experienced spiritual abuse from SGM leaders, now wonder if some of the apologies and asking of forgiveness will have to suffice.”

    Many couldn’t agree more. A cursory search of the AOR report for Larry Tomczak’s name surprised many. To see nothing about the blackmail imposed on him. But some were not surprised at the AoR at all…

    Hmmm…

    And the T4G Reformed “big dogs” , , , Dever, Mohler, Duncan, Piper, et all, seem to think that C.J. Mahaney is just fine, …just fine?

    A ‘golden ticket’ for the proverbial  ‘golden boy’?

    …despite Pastor C.J. Mahaney’s long covered up attempted blackmail of thirteen years ago!

    What? Way ta go T4G!

    Should T4G as an organization be taken seriously on much of anything at all?

    You decide.

    Is the SGM Whitewash is peeling? No problemo, it would seem T4Gs got plenty O’ more wherez dat come from?!?

    (grin)

    hahahahahaha

    hum,hum…♫♫♫  “..all else is sinking sand?”

    pr♥ay

    S㋡py 

    ___
    Darlene Zschech – “How Great Is Our God”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yu-2g2K7CEI&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    Comic relief: “Dead Men’s Bones…Woe, Hypocrites?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PEayH0EWQA&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    Reference:
    http://www.sgmsurvivors.com/2012/04/25/from-brent-detwiler-a-response-to-the-ambassadors-of-reconciliation/#comments

    http://livingtext.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/larry-tomczak-on-the-sgm-whitewash/