They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. 'Peace, peace,' they say, when there is no peace. Jeremiah 6:14
Susan Burke-The Attorney
Link to biography
Update: How long will it take for The Gospel Coalition/Al Mohler/Ligon Duncan/Mark Dever to mention the SGM/Mahaney 'situation?'
Date of notification of filing 10/17: Day:
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About a year and a half ago, TWW was contacted by a pastor to clear up some “misperceptions” that we might have about his ministry. We happened to know that this pastor was friendly with CJ Mahaney. By this time, we were deeply concerned about SGM and the number of allegations about abuse.
As our readers know, we believe that the needs of the victims of abuse must be prioritized. We went out on a limb and begged the pastor to speak to his buddy, CJ, and ask him to help these people who were members of his churches.
Well, we were slammed hard for our request. We were told that we were guilty of “character assassination.” We were the problems. Not one word was mentioned about the victims. Not one! For that we say, loud and clear, “Shame on you.” And shame on all the people who rallied around CJ and SGM. We may have been ineffective but we, at least, gave a darn-unlike some of these men.
Al Mohler and Ambassadors of "Reconciliation".
Like, for example, Al Mohler, who can be seen in this video, honoring CJ Mahaney. I wonder if Al Mohler has cause to regret this video in which he calls him a man of true humility and a man of truth. There is also footage of John Bettler praising Mahaney as well. Warning: If you have been hurt by SGM, this video could send you over the top
Al Mohler, along with a myriad of other “friends” of CJ vigorously defended him after his last dustup a year ago. So nothing has changed in the past few years. Here is what Al Mohler had to say as quoted by the Courier Journal. Note what is missing. There was not one mention for the victims. No wonder SGM and CJ moved to Louisville.
“I always have had only the highest estimation of C.J. Mahaney as a man and a minister,” Mohler said in an interview — his first public comments on the situation involving Mahaney, one of his fellow leaders in the Reformed, neo-Calvinist movement. “That continues absolutely unchanged. There is nothing in this current situation which would leave me to have even the slightest pause of confidence in him.”
“There is nothing disqualifying in terms of anything that is disclosed in this,” said Mohler, who regularly speaks on programs along with Mahaney. “It’s just evidence we knew all along, that C.J. is human but a deeply committed Christian and a visionary Christian leader.”
Remember, the report did mention the allegations of abuse. Nothing disqualifying? What does it take to get disqualified? Oh right, not agreeing with complementarianism. If you go to the link, you can see a picture of CJ autographing an admirer’s book at a conference.
By the way, TWW does not recommend that any non-leader church member participate in such "reconciliation" meetings. The deck appears stacked against the"little guy" since the church leaders are the ones who call in these groups and pay them. There is no incentive to find in favor of the non-leader. Business 101-follow the money.
A radio interview with Attorney Susan Burke
Yesterday, the assertive and compassionate attorney for the victims, Susan Burke, was interviewed on the Janet Mefferd Show. You can listen to it here. The host, Janet Mefferd, stated that child sex abuse is rampant in today’s church. Burke made the following allegations about those named in the lawsuit. Warning: the second to the last comment may be difficult to read.
- The pastors did not handle the trauma of the victims.
- They protected the perpetrator
- They kept the incidents quiet and did not alert others in the church.
- They used intimidation to enforce the silence.
- It appears they were more concerned about the reputation and the finances of the church.
- They portrayed the civil authorities as untrustworthy.
- They portrayed the pastors as being trustworthy to handle the situation.
- They emphasized homeschooling and created fear and distrust of secular authorities.
- The pastors had little training for their position, either in seminary or otherwise.
- The parents were led to believe that they were the only ones that that had this happen due to the culture of silence.
- The various blogs helped people to find one another and realize that they were not the only ones who experienced these events these events.
- These incidents fall well within the statute of limitations.
- More people are coming forward so the class action suit is the most logical way to help those coming forward.
- She emphasized the story of a 3 year old child who was made to meet with and forgive her abuser. The poor child was so afraid she hid under a chair. (Dee is throwing things and screaming in horror at this point).
- The son of a high level church official was involved in some form of predation.
This lawsuit is gone viral and is bring covered by all of the major media outlets, blogs, television, etc. This time, a little visit by some “peacemaking “ group will not suffice. Had SGM sincerely apologized as much a 6 months ago, I believe that this action would have been averted. Instead, a suspiciously ineffective “reconciliation” group blew it big time, criticizing the blogs and the emotions of the victims and throwing the game in favor of the “leadership.”
How is this alleged abuse playing out in the media? As of 4 PM today, there are 659 comments over at the Huffington Post. The comments are overwhelmingly negative. SGM, along with the all of their supporters, are responsible for allowing this to get this far.Here are three. Link.
“Despite all their prayer and faith in God. These people who claim to be religious can't seem to stop having sex with children. Men that are heterosexual and pedophiles abusing young men and women and having someone cover for them. I don't believe in Hell but if there is a such thing I hope they have a super torture room for them.”
The sexual molestations and bizarre cover-ups / reconciliations are really abuses of power, something that authoritarian, patriarchal, sexually sick religions pursue in many guises, be they fundamentalist or evangelical or Catholic or whatever.
Here's our (quick) story on why we were drawn in to Sovereign Grace churches – we are a well-educated family, but I suppose we weren't very bright – we let our guard down and wrongly assumed that "this is a group of humble Christian leaders that we can trust." Wrong. We are fortunate to have opened our eyes and are long gone…
And our critics say we are hurting the witness of the church…
Contacts in Louisville
Here is some information that might be of value to some of our readers. It was sent in by Anon1.
The Christian school where the new SGM church is located is called Christian Academy of Louisville, English Station Campus. The Superintendent of Christian Academy is Tim Greener who can be reached at caschools.us
The Board chairman is Mark Lagestee who is Director of People Development at YUM! Brands which includes the Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell franchises. Here is a contact page for that company.
A number of years ago, Dee and Deb were involved in a church that did, in our opinion, an atrocious job of handling a pedophile situation. That experience is the wind beneath of wings. We will do anything in our power to help the victims of child abuse.
When we started this blog, we wrote a letter to the boys called A Memorial Day Apology to a Group of Innocent Boys. We are reprinting part of that here today to stand the courageous people behind this lawsuit. You deserve a standing ovation for your courage. The boys to whom this was addressed were older teens at the time this was written. They were in their early teens at the time of their abuse.
To the victims:
On behalf of the worldwide church of our Lord, I beg you for your forgiveness. Yes, I know it happened at a particular church but the church is not a building or a location. The church is everywhere where there are those who gather to follow the faith of the Scriptures. The church did not protect you and you were horribly injured: physically, psychologically, and spiritually. This pedophile stole the innocence you had as you entered your teen-age years. So, instead of getting up the courage to ask a pretty girl to go to the movies; you were brutalized and forced to perform acts that were confusing.
YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME! You did nothing wrong. The pedophile abused you. I know that there are church leaders who have said or implied that you might bear some fault. Not only are they wrong, they are despicable to have suggested such a thing. You were young teens. He was a manipulative monster who played games with your mind.
Jesus said that anyone who causes a little one to stumble should tie a cement block on his feet and jump into an endlessly deep ocean. Jesus understands and He weeps at what happened to you. The perpetrator and those who treated you callously will stand before Jesus someday and will have to give an account for their contemptible actions.
Why do I apologize? I was there when they told us about what happened. I was also there when they told us they would give you intensive help and that we should not talk about what happened in order to “protect” you. I did something stupid. I believed them and thought I was leaving you all in good hands. I didn’t care enough to ask about you. I refused to remember that even church leaders are sinful and can care more about themselves then those they serve. I should have asked sooner. I should have checked to see if the promised help was being provided. You weren’t helped in any significant way. Many of them never spoke with you. I shall bear that burden for the rest of my life. Please forgive me.
I know that some of your family members have had difficulty dealing with what happened to you. Please understand. They were raised to trust their pastors. Over many years, they have given a lot of time and money to their church. They believed that your involvement with church would bring you closer to God.
When these loathsome events became known, they were shocked and had difficulty imagining the extent of your damage. Believe it or not, parents aren’t given a manual on how to deal with this sort of abuse. This scenario did not fit the beautiful dreams that they imagined for your life.
Some (members of the church) of them were embarrassed. Others blamed themselves and had trouble admitting it. Some of them wanted to pretend this never happened. Others, may God forgive them, actually believed that this monster deserved a second chance and should not go to jail! Your parents were victims of this rapist and the callous church as well. Some of them want to believe that everything is still OK, both at the church and with you, because they can’t deal with the pain.
The pastors and church leaders failed you. They may have been afraid that the church would be sued. They wanted to protect a building instead of openly caring for you, come what may. Some of them said that they were dealing with other more troubling issues. HUH??? Some may have even said that they don’t owe you any apologies! Some may have even lied or claimed that everything was just fine at the church and that they never noticed one little thing until the rapist was exposed. May God forgive them. Your pastors and church leaders sinned against you. You did not deserve to be re-victimized. How strange that a church that says to love your neighbor and to stand as a light upon a hill became secretive and unloving.
Please know that many Christians love you. Some of these folks you have never met. Some have given up their church and have been subjected to ridicule, name-calling, rejection, and even pursued to other churches. They have gladly born the persecution and abuse because they remembered that you experienced far worse trials. Not a day goes by that you aren’t remembered in prayer. You have not been forgotten.
We were the silent church. However, we are finally gaining our voice, and we speak for many. We will no longer be silent or silenced. It is understandable that you might reject the faith due to the actions of an aberrant and callous church leadership. However, in those moments, think of those who also loved you enough to bear the anger of those comfortable in their darkness. We, too, know the Lord and hope you will take some small comfort that there are those who have, and will. sacrifice much to reach out to you in your pain.
We are here for you. Please let us know if we can do anything for you other than firmly standing for the truth. If anyone out there is reading this story and wants help, please contact us through the comment section of this post. We believe you, we don’t blame you and we love you. You do not need to face this alone.
Please join TWW in praying for these families.
We close with a song called Too Late to Apologize. You see, there was time when an apology would have been gladly accepted by some of these folks. Instead of an apology, they were hurt, badly hurt. (The music starts about 10 seconds in)
Lydia's Corner: Leviticus 4:1-5:19 Mark 2:13-3:6 Psalm 36:1-12 Proverbs 10:1-2