Covenant Life Church Separates from Sovereign Grace Ministries

"C. J. Mahaney, a charismatic Calvinist and founding pastor of Covenant Life, took Harris under his wing and groomed him to take over the church."

Young, Restless, Reformed – Christianity Today (9/22/06)

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=757

Breaking Heart

It looks like 12.12.12 is a significant date in the history of Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM).  According to a statement from the pastors of Covenant Life Church (CLC), that is when CLC members affirmed their pastors' decision to end the congregation's formal association with SGM.  Here is a portion of that statement posted on the CLC website.

Association with Sovereign Grace Ministries

"For the past 18 months, Covenant Life Church has been going through a time of testing which we see as an expression of the Father’s loving discipline.  Various circumstances have led us to evaluate ourselves and consider how God is calling us to grow.  While we can already see ways in which God has used this experience to teach and help us as a church, it has not come without pain and loss. It has been challenging in many ways.  One of the most difficult aspects of this time has been realizing we find ourselves going in a different direction from that of Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM), the organization that was launched within our church and whose leaders have played a foundational role in the life of our church. 

Over the past year there has been a growing clarity for our pastoral team that our differences with the leadership of SGM make it difficult for us to remain as a member church. After much prayer and sober consideration, the pastoral team presented their perspective and proposed disassociation from SGM to the members of Covenant Life Church at a members meeting on November 4.  On December 12, 2012, the members of Covenant Life Church affirmed the pastors’ decision to end our formal association with SGM…"

Who could have imagined such a tumultuous change just six years after Collin Hansen's landmark article Young, Restless, Reformed, which appeared in Christianity Today?  C.J. Mahaney and Joshua Harris are prominently featured in that piece

In hindsight, the YRR movement appears to have been manufactured at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary by Al Mohler and his cohorts, with C.J. Mahaney playing a prominent role in the movement.  How significant is/was Mahaney?  Peter Smith, a Courier-Journal reporter, gives us some insight in an article he wrote shortly after Mahaney stepped down last year..  

In his article, Smith wrote: 

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

Mohler added: “Any time you’re going to take on the role of leadership, you’re going to have critics.”

Mohler also supported Sovereign Grace’s highly centralized leadership structure in its churches, with “very strong pastoral direction” and internal discipline.

“It’s something clearly called for in the New Testament,” he said.

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

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

In hindsight, it is extremely telling that Mohler, president of the SBC's flagship seminary, supports SGM's "highly centralized leadership structure in its churches, with 'very strong pastoral direction' and internal discipline", while CLC pastors have such serious differences with SGM leadership that it caused a permanent rift.

How interesting that on the heels of this stunning announcement from Covenant Life Church the Fab Four (Mohler, Mahaney, Dever, and Duncan) got together in Louisville (December 18-19) to powwow about Together for the Gospel 2014, notifying their loyal followers via Twitter.  Dever tweeted:  "In Louisville, with T4G friends. Pray for wisdom in fellowship & planning," while Duncan tweeted:  "The @SBTS President's home, at night, at Christmastime. Good times with friends @albertmohler @CJMahaney." 

With Mahaney now in Louisville, his influence on Mohler will likely increase.  As a Southern Baptist, I continue to be concerned with Mahaney's influence at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS).  I have also been concerned with his appearances at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.  He will be returning to speak at the 20/20 Collegiate Conference to be held at SEBTS in February.  I was not happy when Mahaney came to SEBTS in 2009 to speak at that same conference, and I am extremely displeased this time. 

Mark Dever, the one who introduced C.J. Mahaney to Al Mohler and Ligon Duncan, has been fascinating to observe, particularly his fence straddling.  On December 15, he tweeted:  "Just can't stop listening to and singing along with the new T4G Live II album!" and then on December 17 he tweeted: "Last Day for Early-Bird Rate of $49; Speakers Os Guiness; Michael Lawrence, Doll + 10 Practical Breakouts thegospelatwork.com".  CLC is hosting The Gospel Work conference next month, and Dever is one of the speakers.  The T4G Live II album was produced by SGM and recently featured on their website (link)

As SGM continues to face difficult challenges (first the lawsuit and now the loss of CLC), The Gospel Coalition remains silent.  By contrast, Louisville's Courier-Journal has judged CLC's withdrawal from SGM as newsworthy.  Yesterday, it published Peter Smith's article Sovereign Grace loses another church, which begins as follows:

"A Maryland megachurch, which was the cradle and flagship of Sovereign Grace Ministries for almost three decades, has become the latest to leave the Louisville-based denomination amid conflicts over its leadership and direction.

The decision, approved by 93 percent of voting members of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Md., was announced Sunday.

It’s the latest milepost in 11/2 years of conflict involving Sovereign Grace Ministries. Seven smaller congregations have left the denomination in recent months.

Even before Covenant Life left, leaders of Sovereign Grace Ministries relocated its offices and pastor-training program from the Gaithersburg church’s building to Louisville. It also has launched a new pastor-training program in cooperation with Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Sovereign Grace and its president, C.J. Mahaney, are prominent in the multidenominational New Calvinist movement, as is Southern Seminary."

And just today Sovereign Grace Ministries announced Covenant Life Church's departure from its 'family of churches" with this post – Board Update:  Covenant Life Church.  Here are two statements in that announcement that caught our attention:

"We were able to meet with the CLC pastoral team this week and convey to them our respect, affection, and gratitude. We also were able to communicate our desire that they remain or consider returning at some point, trusting that any differences could be resolved…

With sadness but also deep gratefulness and love, we wholeheartedly commend CLC to the Lord…"

Dave Harvey (who served as SGM's interim president last year when Mahaney stepped down) has resigned from SGM's Leadership Team to resume his position at Covenant Fellowship Church (which was planted by CLC back in the 1980s).  Here is an excerpt from that announcement on SGM's website:

Leadership Team Update

"As we work together in our mission to plant and build churches with the gospel of Jesus Christ, we want to inform you of a change in Sovereign Grace Ministries’ Leadership Team. Dave Harvey has made the decision to resign from our Leadership Team so that he can resume his full-time role as an elder at Covenant Fellowship Church. Dave made a public statement yesterday explaining this change on the Covenant Fellowship Church blog."

Rest assured, we will keep you posted on further developments.  In recent days there has been so much change in Sovereign Grace Ministries (yes, change is here to stay) that it does makes us wonder who's on first…

Lydia's Corner:    Numbers 10:1-11:23   Mark 14:1-21   Psalm 51:1-19   Proverbs 10:31-32

Comments

Covenant Life Church Separates from Sovereign Grace Ministries — 116 Comments

  1. Pingback: Covenant Life Church Separates from Sovereign Grace Ministries … | Church Leaders

  2. SGM says "We also were able to communicate our desire that they (CLC) remain or consider returning at some point." I've had my laugh for the day!  What a load of b.s., sugar-coated as only SGM can do it, of course.

  3. Anyone who read the SGM wikileaks docs should have a good idea of how phony these guys really are. I already knew that because I have been around guys like these for the last 20 years as they build their empires. All the cheesy “I love you brother” while they are stabbing each other in the back. It is such a way of life, they don’t even recognize what a load of bs their lives really are. See, if you are doing it for Jesus, it is right, not wrong. They are special and God needs them to lead all those people. What many of us would think is hypocritical and deceptive is business as usual for them.

    What contines to crack me up is people believing the players who split from CJ are the good guys. No. That is not how it works. It is more a fight for power for some and for others sticking fingers in the wind to see where the wind is blowing. All of them need to get out of career ministry. They give Jesus a bad name. These types go to their graves thinking they did it all for Jesus. They will even think they have been persecuted.

  4. Huh, I never read that Christianity Today article before. Thanks Deb for linking it. This paragraph explains to me why I and others have noticed such a TULIP infiltrating our non Calvinist churches right under our pastors’ noses. Piper is teaching the young generation to cause division in the churches that hire them.

    “One of the most common things I deal with in younger pastors is conflict with their senior pastors,” Piper said. “They’re a youth pastor, and they’ve gone to Trinity or read something [R.C.] Sproul or I wrote, and they say, ‘We’re really out of step. What should we do?'”

    He tells them to be totally candid and ask permission to teach according to their new found convictions, even if they are in Wesleyan-Arminian churches. Of course, he tells the young pastors to pray that their bosses would come to share their vision.

  5. formersgmnowanon

    Welcome. I think your name says it all.

    We will be devoting this blog to defending the SGM victims and featuring stories of former SGM members and victims in the coming year-stories that have yet to be told. We believe the lawsuit will open up the boarded up windows of SGM to the light. That light will show the pain quite clearly.

    Once again, this blog has a prime directive-keep the victims first. CJ and cohorts have plenty of fawning Christian leaders supporting them. Good night-they all refuse to mention the lawsuit or even the exodus of CLC! I think they all need to read the Gospels and see with whom Jesus spent His time. He was not really fond of the religious leaders.

    We prefer to take a cue from Jesus – to care about and defend the ones who have been ignored. 

  6. I think that for those of us who spent a lot of time in the SGM world, this announcement has been startling–even for those of us who had followed the story and knew it was coming. For so many years, CLC was the epic center of the SGM world…this strikes me as being somewhat like if the city of Mecca announcing that it no longer wanted to be affiliated with Islam. It’s the sort of thing that now cleaves the history of SGM into two parts: pre and post CLC.

    I will be very curious to see what Joshua Harris’ role/influence in the YRR/Calvinista movement will be going forward…I’m personally praying that he becomes a light and a voice against spiritual abuse and authoritarianism within those circles. It’ll be an uphill battle if Mohler et al take Mahaney’s side. Obviously, I can’t pretend to know what the Lord is doing in Harris’ heart and mind, but I’m hoping against hope..

  7. I am hoping that Joshua Harris will examine all of his authoritarian beliefs, including the gender debates. As much as I disagree with him on some doctrinal issues, I respect him for standing up to CJ.

  8. Os Guinness has preached at my Northern Virginia church a number of times over the years; I have great respect for him. Why is he allowing himself to associate with the likes of Mark Dever and Michael Lawrence?

  9. Ryan, I know I will be pilliored for this from many quarters but lots of people are thinking Harris has had some huge change of heart. I doubt it very seriously. It is not that unusual for a protege to turn against their mentor. Happens all the time. Just not in public ministry. Harris might be into some form of a kindler gentler authoritarianism since his go round with Mahaney. But I think that is the extent of it. Harris grew up in the bubble world of patriarchy and authoritarianism. If you really think about it, what “real” world has he lived in daily since he was born?

    “Os Guinness has preached at my Northern Virginia church a number of times over the years; I have great respect for him. Why is he allowing himself to associate with the likes of Mark Dever and Michael Lawrence?”

    Singleman, I cannot get people to understand this. They go where they are asked and where there are audiences. Not too much else really matters. Look at how long it took folks to distance themselves from Driscoll. And it was only when Driscoll made a mass media fool of himself. It is that simple.

  10. @ Anon 1:

    Anon 1, I hear ya… Like I said, I’m hoping against hope. The YRR/Calvinistas are so very insular and spend so much time in their echo chambers, that I do believe the most likely way that change will come about is for one of their own to speak up. And at the moment, I think Harris has a prime opportunity to be such a voice.

    Will he take that opportunity? I have no idea. I don’t see an abundance of indications of that (though there are a few), and I can tend to have a fairly pessimistic outlook on life anyways, so I’m inclined to say probably not. But then again, 18 months ago I couldn’t have even imagined CLC breaking off from SGM, so you never know…

  11. I soon will have been a member of the SBC for 39 years and it is only a shadow of the Great denomination it used to be and I have no hope for it to turn around. Divisiveness is seemingly in all SBC churches.

  12. Ryan, I think it will be interesting to watch. Harris got some fame with his I Kissed Dating Goodbye which became somewhat of a hit and was even being practiced in the seeker churches. But it is dead now. He has to do something to remain relevant to the larger Christian market. It will be interesting how the big dogs treat him. Will he be a regular speaker at any conferences?

    I don’t dismiss the fact that having a famous mentor started to become a problem of overshadowing. Harris comes from a family that made bank off Christendom.

  13. Mot, the tribal divisiveness can be tracked to Mohler. In the old days, many were laughing off Patterson as a bull in a china shop who was one step ahead of the firing ax for 20 years.

    Mohler is no laughing matter. He has been quietly at work affecting his revolution for a long time. He is a strategic thinker and knew what he was doing. The man is diabolically brilliant. We will see how much the Mahaney factor is going to be a problem for him. His trustees for whom he is accountable are yes men.

  14. Anon1: I will definitely be watching Josh. I get the family-integrated church scene, having attended one of his father’s church plants (Household of Faith) for a while and being connected with those folks much longer in the “homeschool movement”. It will be very difficult for Josh to put aside his upbringing and the strong influences he has had. His dad, Gregg Harris, has preached at CLC. Having dad preach brings in one of the key movers/shakers in the homeschool movement, one of the key proponents of the family-integrated movement, patriarchy influence, full-quiver influence, homeschool-only influence, etc.

  15. singleman

    One possible answer is that supposed shared  theology trumps all other considerations.

  16. @ dee:

    Dee, Deb, and Singleman –

    Honestly, to me, it just seems like they use each other to get what they want. That may seem harsh, but it is what I see with these men who, by their positions, should be caring for people and not figuring out how they can get more followers.

    When it comes to Mahaney and Mohler, I’m not sure who is leading who. They are two people who probably shouldn’t be together as cohorts. There doesn’t seem to be iron sharpening iron anywhere in that twosome. They seem more like enablers enabling their personal enabler.

  17. Ryan’s comment made me realize something. And while yes, I agree CLC’s departure from SGM is a big deal, I’m not optimistic about it, and I haven’t been able to give my congratulations.

    I direct a lot of my criticism to SGM’s leadership, and I don’t give a pass to the enabling wives. However, I was equally unimpressed with a lot of the members of CLC. In fact, it was problems with other members that took me to the offices of the various pastors in CLC for counsel and advice, and you can imagine how fruitful that was. Especially as a woman when those visits, which were fairly routine, were often about problems in my marriage. A woman in CLC had no chance of being recognized unless her husband was a pastor or a caregroup leader, in which case, she better not be experiencing any problems in her marriage. That only happened in the more sinful lives of the underlings, whose marriages didn’t meet the standard of being “heaven on earth” (the description all the pastors used to describe their marriages). But I digress…

    It was an everyday occurrence within the church to interact with people who were zoned out. Within the hierarchical ranks, you were valued on the basis of your position which was rewarded with a profile on the back of the Sunday bulletin – CLC’s Who’s Who. I’ve never known so many stuck-up humble people.

    To my shame, I remembering sitting in the new CLC auditorium, listening to CJ say “he would rather DIE than do what Larry Tomczak did” and then instruct everyone to trust the pastors and not ask questions.

    I sat in on care group after care group meeting being led by people who were so controlled that they became clones, subservient to “the leadership.”

    I had numerous run-ins with members, mostly women, who attempted to make me or my kids look bad for something for something their kid did wrong – because their “reputation” in the church was more important than the truth. I lived among these people. I know how they were. They were militant about their image. If their kid did something wrong, they had to find someone to blame it on. They could never be at fault. And if they were at fault, there was no court of appeal. No fairness. No justice. The thing was rigged. And when I finally saw that the problem was systemic, I couldn’t have gotten out of there soon enough.

    But it was systemic. It wasn’t just the pastors. It was the people, the members. They were all part of the problem. And a lot of those people at CLC are the same ones that sat there when CJ told them not to question the leadership. Who blindly followed whatever they were told, and did so with a militancy that equaled that of those in leadership. And if you questioned them, or questioned the leadership, they reacted immediately in self-defence. The amount of pride was palpable. It was leaven. And believe me, it was part of the whole lump.

    So, good for CLC for leaving, but I’ve watched the process unfold, and I’ve read what’s been written. I know the leadership and I know the members there who have stuck around, and couldn’t think themselves out of a paperbag unless the instructions to do so were first approved of by someone “in leadership.” I mean seriously, if you had no place else to go and are attached to the church by virtue that you couldn’t leave, that you have no guts, no courage, or convictions that would have lead you to leave AGES AGO, then fine – stick around and stay until the game is over, and you can help pick up the beer cans. But don’t expect anyone to congratulate you and “thank you for serving,” as if youre doing Jesus a favor. Because at that point, you’re only serving yourself imo.

    I wish I could say the members of CLC were staying attached to the group by virtue of their faith in God and their devotion to Christ. But I left because that wasn’t my experience among the membership then, and I doubt that’s the experience there now. If it was, I would have never called it a cult.

    So, forgive me if this seems harsh and unsympathetic, but I think SGM’s problems were totally systemic. I don’t agree with their supposed charismatic reformed calvinistic doctrines. I think its full of heresy, and I haven’t heard anything coming out of CLC that takes issue with SGM’s doctrine. Seems to have been just one big power & personalities clash, by all appearances. You don’t “come out and be separate” in the true sense over that. You identify the theological issues and then come to the realization, like I did, that you can’t reform heresy, you renounce it. And I haven’t heard CLC identifying and rejecting any doctrinal problems. Quite the opposite. They keep emphasizing how much they share in common, their unbroken band of brotherhood. Sounds like CLC is just an offshoot now. A sect of SGM. That how I see it anyway.

  18. Real promotions seen at the mall this week:
    One Day Sale –48 hours only!!
    EVERYTHING 40 PERCENT OFF!! (Exceptions apply)
    EVERYTHING (up to) 50 PERCENT OFF!!
    Is CJ training retailers in SGM-speak?
    You decide!
    Merry Christmas!
    *aPostle* Dave

  19. @ mot:Mot,
    I was in an SBC church before I became a Christian at age 9 (parents had helped it go from independent to SBC) to age 56 or so, although the last few years of that were in dually aligned churches. Last ten years in CBF churches or churches with fuzzy alignment. Mom was state WMU president, Dad was on state board and was chair of deacons in the church more years than not for 32 years. And I can agree fully that the SBC is not the same entity it was in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, when the issues were how to best do missions together, rather than who can we boot because they do not toe our line. And SBC Calvinists were exceedingly rare, most churches were congregationally governed (not CEO pastor types); and even the celebrity preachers were generally careful to avoid unseemly power grabbing and excessive compensation.

  20. Sometimes iron dulls iron. Ever see what a sledge hammer applied to the edge of a blade does to the edge? CJ is a sledge hammer and Mohler is a blade (rapier, I would think); the result will eventually come to light, because no hierarchist as willful as those two are can stand to be tied in authority with someone else, let alone second fiddle.

  21. I have grave doubts as to whether much of anything will change at CLC, or at the Fairfax, VA church, which will be voting on this next month.

    It would take a total “rebuild” for these churches to truly change, and I am not at all optimistic re. that – more than likely, it will be business as usual, but with different people running the show.

  22. “Honestly, to me, it just seems like they use each other to get what they want. That may seem harsh, but it is what I see with these men who, by their positions, should be caring for people and not figuring out how they can get more followers. ”

    I think that is exactly it. They also affirm each other at the same time. Mutual admiration society. It is good for the king to have other kings affirming him, sort of thing.

    It is not unlike some business partnerships at that stratosphere. You ignore a lot of stuff in order foe each side to get what it wants out of the partnership.

    “When it comes to Mahaney and Mohler, I’m not sure who is leading who. They are two people who probably shouldn’t be together as cohorts. There doesn’t seem to be iron sharpening iron anywhere in that twosome. They seem more like enablers enabling their personal enabler.”

    Mohler is in a tricky situation. While he is pope for now and still putting his loyal court ministers in top positions, he cannot take back words he said to reporters about Mahaney. In these situations it often works for a while to pretend like nothing is happening. Mahaney could turn out to be a huge albatross around his neck in Louisville. After all, all of a sudden SGM is no longer meeting at Christian Academy but has moved to a hotel to meet. No one is talking about why which speaks volumes if you know how that sort of thing works. “Move along, nothing to see here”.

    The problem is, can Mohler shut Mahaney’s groveling affirmations up? :o)

  23. “. Mom was state WMU president, Dad was on state board and was chair of deacons in the church more years than not for 32 years. And I can agree fully that the SBC is not the same entity it was in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, when the issues were how to best do missions together, rather than who can we boot because they do not toe our line. And SBC Calvinists were exceedingly rare, most churches were congregationally governed (not CEO pastor types); and even the celebrity preachers were generally careful to avoid unseemly power grabbing and excessive compensation.

    Sounds like my SBC childhood experience, too. The difference? Priesthood of believer and soul competency were not only drilled into our heads back then but lived out in the Body. A wannabe celebrity pastor or one that insists on authority over others would have been considered the height of arrogance and voted out. My how things changed.

    BTW: Do you remember the name of one of the leaders (I think went CBF) back during the CR who warned that the next big fight would be over Calvinism? I think that guy was a prophet.

  24. Patti wrote:

    …Piper is teaching the young generation to cause division in the churches that hire them.
    “One of the most common things I deal with in younger pastors is conflict with their senior pastors,” Piper said. “They’re a youth pastor, and they’ve gone to Trinity or read something [R.C.] Sproul or I wrote, and they say, ‘We’re really out of step. What should we do?’”
    He tells them to be totally candid and ask permission to teach according to their new found convictions, even if they are in Wesleyan-Arminian churches. Of course, he tells the young pastors to pray that their bosses would come to share their vision.

    Two things here.

    First: I haven’t researched John Piper’s influence on congregations with which he has no relationship, so I can’t comment on the above in any detail. But it describes a sad state of affairs: pastors who are, by definition, immature Christians. Hebrews describes such people as “blown and tossed by every wind of doctrine”. A person who reads one book, and as a result: is thrown theologically; becomes embroiled in conflict with the mentor they’re in actual relationship with; runs off and consults with the author who doesn’t know them from Adam – that’s hardly a person you could call established in any kind of faith, and therefore that is not someone who should be shepherding others in the faith – at least, not until they’re older.

    You cannot teach “new-found convictions”; you can only teach established convictions that you have lived with in complex circumstances and tempered with real-life, practical love. And how can you develop a “conviction” merely from reading something that Piper, or Sproul, or Nick Bulbeck, wrote?

  25. Anon1:

    Imo only lip service is given to missions in SBC circles anymore and many sbc churches do not wish to know about the political goings on in the SBC.

  26. As has been shared on other blogs, especially SGMSurvivors.com, it is a shame that Josh Harris/CLC used such flowery, “politically correct” and somewhat evasive language in giving their reasons for leaving.

    In this transcript of a CLC members meeting (that CLC tried to keep private) CLC at least lists some reasons for leaving SGM but barely mentions the integrity issues

    http://www.brentdetwiler.com/brentdetwilercom/2012/12/16/covenant-life-church-severs-ties-with-sovereign-grace-minist.html

    http://sgmrefuge.com/2012/11/30/clc-nov-4-members-meeting/

    Why didn’t CLC spell out the issues they have SGM for the body of Christ to see. This is especially the integrity issues with C.J. Mahaney. They really should have spelled out the reasons.

    Someone posted this on Survivors “Upon reading their announcement, it seems to me that the pastors are not interested in burning any bridges, rather only repainting the bridges with a different color scheme and adding border crossing guards to control the flow of traffic back and forth. The announcement was cordial to a fault.”

    I think that was a good way of summarizing CLC’s approach.

  27. Steve240

    The lawsuit will open the doors that they are trying to keep shut. The worst thing that could happen to this crowd is to get deposed. Right now, it’s just a food fight between a bunch of guys who should ALL be ashamed of themselves for allowing this to continue all these years. Now, the real story will come out. The pain of the victims will not be able to be ignored. Shame on all of them.

  28. From the SGM leadership update:
    “Dave Harvey has made the decision to resign from our Leadership Team so that he can resume his full-time role as an elder at Covenant Fellowship Church.”
         I’m trying to imagine what a newer CFC pew sitter might think. “Dave’s resigning from worldwide building and planting SO THAT he can resume shepherding US full time? Wow! that’s great! Has Jared been called elsewhere? No? Well, at least Dave will add greatly to our team…until August 31st… What?! Why only until then? No plans at all after that? Aren’t we tithing enough? I’ll increase my pledge!”
         Or imagine the press release by some other business. “Fred Flintstone, VP of development at Slade Global, is resigning SO THAT he can run a dinosaur in the Bedrock quarry FOR LESS THAN 9 MONTHS! He has expressed hopes of possibly returning to Corporate service someday in the future.” 
         One other oddity: They thank Dave for all his great and varied service over the last 17 years– but fail to mention that he served as acting head aPostle for a prior 9-month stint during CJ’s leave. Did said leave simply never happen?

  29. Dave A A –

    Dave Harvey’s usefulness meter has run out. He did all of CJ’s bidding for six months and will now fade into black.

  30. Dee said: “Right now, it’s just a food fight between a bunch of guys who should ALL be ashamed of themselves for allowing this to continue all these years. ”

    Can you imagine if they do get deposed, Dee? With so many churches cutting ties with SGM, all the information that was kept quiet all these years will have to be discussed. It is going to be a very tense and awkward time with pastors who once were rubbing shoulders with one another, protecting one another and now will have to disclose important information that they’ve known all along. It will be interesting to see who will be BFFs with whom once this thing is all settled.

  31. Pingback: Covenant Life Church Separates from Sovereign Grace Ministries … | Church Ministry

  32. It is going to be a very tense and awkward time with pastors who once were rubbing shoulders with one another, protecting one another and now will have to disclose important information that they’ve known all along. It will be interesting to see who will be BFFs with whom once this thing is all settled.

    My hunch is that with the disclosures, more and more members will leave, regardless of whether their churches still have ties to SGM or not. There are *so* many people in the web (of former “pastors,” etc.) that I can’t help wondering just how many people will end up being named and – possibly – exposed.

  33. Are we talking about a ship [SGM] with buckled plates below the waterline, taking on more water than the pumps can keep up with? And if so, are the denizens [genus Rattus] below decks beginning to abandon ship?

  34. DaveAA

    I think the apostle thing could come back to haunt all of them, especially since they are going for the typical SBC excuse – “Whine….we couldn’t do anything. The churches were all independent. Whine…the degifting thing….whine well they didn’t have to listen to us. Whine…. were were like priests – confidential and all whine…..”

  35. Arce wrote:

    CJ is a sledge hammer and Mohler is a blade (rapier, I would think); the result will eventually come to light, because no hierarchist as willful as those two are can stand to be tied in authority with someone else, let alone second fiddle.

    As in “The Universe cannot have two centers”?

  36. Dave A A wrote: I’m trying to imagine what a newer CFC pew sitter might think. “Dave’s resigning from worldwide building and planting SO THAT he can resume shepherding US full time? Wow! that’s great! Has Jared been called elsewhere? No? Well, at least Dave will add greatly to our team…until August 31st… What?! Why only until then? No plans at all after that? Aren’t we tithing enough? I’ll increase my pledge!”

    deposed

    To me it sounds like some type of “severance” package Dave Harvey has been given. Keep him on the payroll for 8 months so he can find some other type of employment. Weird how CFC is apparently paying this “severance” cost and not SGM.

    Harvey could always talk for the Peacemaker Group like he has done in the past. ;-)

    Possible topics:

    – Your leader has sinned and has been exposed; how to call exposing the leader’s sin “gossip” and “slander”
    – Did Paul really mean in I Tim 5:22 to “to maintain these principles without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality.” What we decided it really meant: Not if he is group’s popeleader.
    – Have a church member who questions too much and want to silence? Label him or her as “divisive.”
    – How to cultivate in your members a “healthy” fear of questioning leadership: teach that members questioning is “gossip” and “slander.” (Test proven in SGM for almost 30 years)

  37. One other “good” topic for Dave Harvey to speak on:

    – How to change rules you imposed on other leaders when you might be subject to them yourself (and avoid not having to step down yourself. (What I needed to do and did when my children had worse problems than other pastors had that I forced to step down).

  38. I have been SBC since 1964. I can’t tell you how different it is now. Now it is like a business. Someplace we lost our missionary drive for saving souls, for a money making, authoritarian denomination…I am afraid it will become like the other mainstream denominations. A dying hulk of its former self….and that may not be such a bad thing…

  39. have nothing extra to add, other than how annoyed I was when I read that

    Duncan tweeted: “The @SBTS President’s home, at night, at Christmastime. Good times with friends @albertmohler @CJMahaney.”

    Never waste an opportunity to shamelessly namedrop. All must know he was “at the President’s home”, and you weren’t. Because “the President” and I are friends, and you aren’t. So I’ll toss out this little teaser to the rifraf to gnaw on.

  40. “Duncan tweeted: “The @SBTS President’s home, at night, at Christmastime. Good times with friends @albertmohler @CJMahaney.”

    Matt23: 5-12:

    “5 But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their [a]phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments. 6 They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, 7 and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men. 8 But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 Do not be called [b]leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. 11 But the greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.”

    A story for Pharisees-

    “There was a man, that we will call Mr. Smith, who was sitting in Church with his wife. He had just dozed off, during the pastor’s sermon, when he awoke to the sound of the collection plate coming around. He watched as the people next to him put in what they could afford, which was very little. When the collection plate reached him, he cleared his throat very loud, as to gain the attention of all those around him, and put a hundred dollar bill into the collection plate. When Church was over, he was edging his way through the crowd towards the front door and saw a statue of Jesus. He thought to himself, “he needs a haircut and a shave” …

    On the way to his favorite restaurant for brunch, he came upon a stoplight and saw one of THOSE people. You know, the ones with a sign that says “will work for food” … This guy had long hair, a beard and very dirty, worn out clothing. As he came to a stop, Mr. Smith rolled up the electric windows in his new Cadillac and turned his head away from the poor looking man, who was now just outside his window, with his hand stretched out towards Mr. Smith. After what seemed like forever, to Mr. Smith, the stoplight turned green. Before Mr. Smith pulled off, he rolled down the window and yelled out, “Hey, ya bum … get a job” and then sped off laughing.

    A few years later, Mr. Smith died of cancer and ended up at God’s Judgment seat. Jesus asked Mr. Smith why it was that he thought he was worthy to get into Heaven. Mr. Smith said proudly that he donated a hundred dollars every time his wife could drag him to Church. Jesus asked if that was the only reason and Mr. Smith said, “Yes, of course, I have paid for my way into Heaven” …

    Jesus looked at Mr. Smith and said … “I disagree … You failed to have compassion and love for your fellow man, when the opportunity arose. You are greedy and selfish and are not worthy to enter Heaven.” Mr. Smith, convicted by Jesus’ Words, turned and started walking away with his head hung low.

    Then Jesus said …

    “And, by the way Mr. Smith … I am no bum and I DO have a JOB.””

    http://www.christianityoasis.com/keyword/Pharisee.htm

  41. Wow, didn’t I see that house on GCB last year? I got bored with that show after a few episodes but I failed to see why so many were so upset about it. I mean it looks like to me their motto is “if you got it, flaunt it.”

  42. One of the perks of a seminary president beside the high salary is getting the Presidents home for free. Mohler has lived there a long time. Since 93, I think. His kids probably don’t remember any other home.

    It was bandied about on blogs a while back that seminary presidents don’t even have to supply their own toilet paper as the home is part of facilities. One can get used to that life including the free labor of students who clean and serve there.

  43. At the risk of double-dipping on a comment I made at Julie Anne’s blog, I look forward to reading Josh Harris’s new book, “I Kissed C.J. Goodbye.”

    I love your comment, but I’ve got my doubts we’ll ever see such a book. I can’t see Josh Harris turning his back on his former mentor to that degree.

    What I’d love to see is Josh Harris make a public apology to all those who’ve been hurt at or by CLC, as well as a public renunciation of his first book, “I Kissed Dating Goodbye.” Sadly, I’m not sure if we’ll ever see either of those happen.

  44. Anon 1,

    How did you miss GCB? :-) It stands for two things.

    A TV show that was short-lived called Good Christian B _ _ _ H E S.

    GCB also means Great Commission Baptists. Haven’t heard that one in a while…

  45. Anon 1,
    If you are really curious, you can google some trailers for on youtube. I didn’t want to post a link in case of offending anyone here.

  46. I would have wanted Joshua Harris to explain why CLC left SGM, too. Giving unclear reasons does not help the one leaving. It’s interesting that 93% of CLC would vote to leave, and their be no succinct cause that could be stated in 2 or 3 sentences.

    Someone said that Mohler would be stuck with the words he said about CJ. Don’t be too sure about that. As facts come out in the lawsuit, Mohler can say, “I wasn’t aware of THAT etc.” and do the proper distancing.

    After the Bay of Pigs disaster, Kennedy quoted someone famous (can’t remember whom) who said something like, “Success has many fathers, while failure is an orphan.”

    The Christian community, in situations like this, is sadly, no different.

    As the SGM thing continues to unravel, it will continue to be seen more and more as a failure, and as that happens, SGM’s and CJ’s influence will fade.

    That is the trajectory at this point.

    “I kissed CJ goodbye”, the best comment on the post. Thanks, Sergius.

    Finally, I have a different perspective on the SBC than some of the others posting here.

    I came into a Baptist church as a teenager in the mid 1970s. I attended a Baptist (now formerly) college for 2 years. The 1970s were different than the 1950s and 1960s and before. In the SBC world major doctrinal differences continued to emerge. I saw those clearly at college in the religion department, staffed by professors who all when to SBC seminaries.

    I am glad for the changes in the SBC.

    I personally would not want to affiliate with a denomination that did not have a doctrinal statement, such as the CBF. I know many fine Christians in churches that affiliate with CBF, but I think that the approach of having a clear doctrinal statement affirming Christian essentials is preferable to not having a doctrinal statement.

    I believe this is being faithful to Christ and it is very helpful in practical Christian mission.

  47. @ Deb:

    Now how did I miss that one? Duh.

    And didn’t Mohler tweet that SBTS would become Great Commission Baptist seminary after the vote? I drive past that place several times per week and the signs have not been changed. :o)

  48. “what cracks me up is people believing the players who split from CJ are the good guys”

    Exactly…

  49. “Someone said that Mohler would be stuck with the words he said about CJ. Don’t be too sure about that. As facts come out in the lawsuit, Mohler can say, “I wasn’t aware of THAT etc.” and do the proper distancing.”

    Well, his followers can choose to believe that if they want. But he has a problem in that he specifically mentions bloggers in a negative light as not liking firm leadership to a reporter. How could he do that and then claim he did not know about THE blog? He already looks disingenuous as it is. His followers will be his followers. It is all they know. They choose willful ignorance.

  50. “what cracks me up is people believing the players who split from CJ are the good guys”

    More willful ignorance or false hope?

  51. ” personally would not want to affiliate with a denomination that did not have a doctrinal statement, such as the CBF. I know many fine Christians in churches that affiliate with CBF, but I think that the approach of having a clear doctrinal statement affirming Christian essentials is preferable to not having a doctrinal statement.

    I believe this is being faithful to Christ and it is very helpful in practical Christian mission.”

    Thanks, this brought a huge chuckle. You might convince yourself of but the truth is that right now the BFM2000 is being debated to death by rank and file pastors, seminarians, college professors and lay people who care as to whether or not it communicates the Calvinistic principle of imputed guilt of which the Reformed position hangs. And there are Mohler followers out there actually naive enough to think Mohler, in 2000, would not have dared go along with anything that was not Calvinistic enough. They really think they know him.

    Yeah, watching the acrimonious debate shows how “Christ honoring” such doctrinal statements are. :o)

  52. “Someone said that Mohler would be stuck with the words he said about CJ. Don’t be too sure about that. As facts come out in the lawsuit, Mohler can say, “I wasn’t aware of THAT etc.” and do the proper distancing.”

    One more thing, anonymous. How do both Dever and Mohler “distance” themselves from Mahaney after their very public words and behavior toward him after stepping down? How do they distance themselves while sharing a stage at T4G? After running to Dever’s church and moving to Louisville to plant a church near the seminary? And their screaming silence concerning the lawsuit while they hang with Mahaney?

    Me thinks you are trying to spin for Mohler.

  53. Anon 1, I believe, willful ignorance. A lot of people really don’t care about the truth. They’d rather live in their Christian Disneyland than face reality. They are happy to live in their pretend world.

  54. and, if you dare to disturb their world by trying to get them to see reality, watch out, they’ll let you have it, full board. How dare I try to destroy their pretend world.

  55. Anon1:

    Yes, the BFM has been debated and debated in various points, and will be.

    But it’s better to have a doctrinal statement that affirms things like the deity of Christ, his virgin birth, his work on the cross, his resurrection, salvation in him etc., and debate the meaning or existence of imputed sin etc. than it is to have no doctrinal affirmation at all.

  56. Anon1:

    Just like you – I only try to give my own opinions.

    I did not say it would be easy for Mohler and Dever. But time will tell. And move they will.

    CJ has, or will, also move. On the whole Apostle thing. I know that Mohler and Dever are not down with that.

    The lawsuit will make CJ seriously rethink the Apostle thing.

  57. @ Anon 1:
    Folks Like Mohler do not live as servants but as a King. Which Bible does he read as his guide for Christian living?

  58. Anonymous –

    SGM’s proposed new polity is quiet on the Apostle issue, however, it is very strong on “hierarchy.” It reads more like RCC (that is not meant to upset anyone) than anything. There is no place in their new polity for the believers in the pews to decide any thing. They can only voice their opinions by leaving or staying. Even the local Pastors have little upward input.

  59. Steve240

    Do you think this just has something to do with his kids? SGM has always had two standards: 1 for pastors and 1 for eveyone else. Thoughts?

  60. dee wrote:

    Steve240
    Do you think this just has something to do with his kids? SGM has always had two standards: 1 for pastors and 1 for everyone else. Thoughts?

    Dee

    I assume you are asking about Dave Harvey stepping down. If so, it is no secret that Dave Harvey has had issues with his children (some adult) not behaving as is expected of leader’s children in SGM. It has been reported that Harvey’s kids have had more issues than other pastors that were forced to step down due to those pastors have family issues.

    CFC had some type of meeting even where some type of apology was given to Bill Patton and another former pastor that were forced to step down due to family issues. Apparently it was easy for Harvey to criticize, judge and force other pastors to step down before he had teenagers of his own with their own behavior problems. Harvey’s own children have had their own issues when they became older.

    For a while it was like they were changing the rules for Harvey when Harvey was being trapped by the same standards and consequences he imposed on others.

    If you read Harvey’s statement it does refer to family needs. Thus it is just my hunch that Harvey is stepping down due to needs of his family.

  61. Stormy wrote:

    and, if you dare to disturb their world by trying to get them to see reality, watch out, they’ll let you have it, full board. How dare I try to destroy their pretend world.

    And these are the same ones who’d cheerfully rip into me for reading fantasy, playing D&D, or watching My Little Pony. When you’re denounced for “living in a fantasy world”, that means “how dare you enter a fantasy world other than MINE!”

  62. Anon 1 wrote:

    Thanks, this brought a huge chuckle. You might convince yourself of but the truth is that right now the BFM2000 is being debated to death by rank and file pastors, seminarians, college professors and lay people who care as to whether or not it communicates the Calvinistic principle of imputed guilt of which the Reformed position hangs.

    This reminds me of a short story in the Grantville Gazette, an anthology of stories set in the universe of Eric Flint’s 1632 series, where a contemporary West Virginia town gets kicked one-way into 1632 Central Europe, at the peak of the Thirty Years’ War.

    The story, “Hobson’s Choice”, centers around London acquiring some “uptimer” books and articles, one of which mentions a “crop failure” with higher yields than “downtimer” agriculture can produce even in bumper years. This attracts the attention of some Oxford students who try to investigate, but come up against the brick wall of their elders, whose main interest in the uptimers is using them to prove their Theological theories re Predestination, Election, Imputed Guilt, Penal Substitutionary Atonement, etc. (Uptimer agriculture meaning an end to downtimer famines is apparently too worldly.) The Oxford students finally make an end run around the establishment and send their own expedition to the uptimer town on the Continent.

  63. Anon 1 wrote:

    It was bandied about on blogs a while back that seminary presidents don’t even have to supply their own toilet paper as the home is part of facilities. One can get used to that life including the free labor of students who clean and serve there.

    Just like the Plantation Big House before the War of Yankee Aggression?

  64. “Yes, the BFM has been debated and debated in various points, and will be.

    But it’s better to have a doctrinal statement that affirms things like the deity of Christ, his virgin birth, his work on the cross, his resurrection, salvation in him etc., and debate the meaning or existence of imputed sin etc. than it is to have no doctrinal affirmation at all.”

    It is sad there are still people around who are so proud of the scortched earth CR. They used a few problems here and there to go on a witch hunt and ruin many people. Oh, and a doctrinal statement did not stop the problem from happening on either side. Funny how that works.

  65. Actually, Anonymous. I think it sounds you see PR as the only problem for Mohler.

    “I did not say it would be easy for Mohler and Dever. But time will tell. And move they will.”

    Move what? More PR BS?

    “CJ has, or will, also move. On the whole Apostle thing. I know that Mohler and Dever are not down with that.”

    That is strange. They were sharing stages and promoting an “Apostle” for quite some time so not sure what planet you are living on. It did not seem to bother them then.

  66. Fendrel,

    I saw a news video on that story yesterday. They didn’t mention anything about “the pastor” but it sounded like a story of church counseling. I wondered if that prompted the firing. I will have to read the link. Although I am not against business owners having the right to run their businesses as they see fit to do, I did find these actions bizarre.

  67. Anon1:

    You said:”It is sad there are still people around who are so proud of the scortched earth CR.”

    Sadly, there are quite a few of these people still around who know the truth about what happened to the Southern Baptist Convention and do not seem to care about the lives they destroyed. I will always argue that while destroying the lives of others in the SBC they destroyed the SBC. I readily recognize that that is my opinion.

  68. What are the details of Dave Harvey’s problems with his adult children? I’m only asking because several families in my former church have had problems with their adult children, and some needed to pay and some it was overlooked. I am asking also to know how better to deal with spiritual issues with my teenage daughter. I’m very confused about these issues, and there is no one I know that I would trust with these issues. Most of the people I know whitewash their pasts and their family issues. To me, this is one of the most destructive reasons of the contemporary church, and a main reason why kids don’t put any effort into their spiritual walk. Hypocrisy reigns.

  69. Mot–I totally agree that the CR destroyed the SBC. I was reading a book the other day and ran across Mohler claiming that before the CR people in the SBC were total Bible illiterates. Don’t know what planet he was on because we REALLY knew our Bibles, not what the guru of the month was touting.

    As to the dentist: on the one hand, I think the whole thing was mishandled. I absolutely have no clue if she was on the make for him or not. He has made it abundantly clear he was succumbing to temptation (even it it arose in his own corrupt heart.)

    But there is something else to consider: we soundly blast all those in whatever positions of leadership that slip sexually. So this guy admits his lust, owns the business so he can’t exactly just quit, fires the woman he feels so much for that his marriage is in trouble, focuses on his wife and his relationship with God, and for that he is a jerk?

    Obviously it would have been better for all if he hadn’t struggled with lust. But since he does have that struggle, not being her employer is probably the RIGHT thing to do in a fallen world. Just he should have handled it with more class.

  70. Linda:

    Supposedly the CR was about getting the Pastors and others out of the SBC who did not believe the Bible. That was 33 years ago and IMO the SBC is like humpty dumpty, it can not be put back together.

  71. “Mot–I totally agree that the CR destroyed the SBC. I was reading a book the other day and ran across Mohler claiming that before the CR people in the SBC were total Bible illiterates. Don’t know what planet he was on because we REALLY knew our Bibles, not what the guru of the month was touting.”

    Hmmm Linda,

    And how many years LATER was it Mohler was saying this to a group of pastors at a conference:

    “The main means by which God saves his people from ignorance is the preaching and teaching of the word of God. That’s why a conference like this is so important. It’s not just because we think of the pastorate as a profession set alongside other professions so that we can gather together for a little professional encouragement to go out and be a little better at what we do.

    No, we’re here because we believe that those who teach and preach the word of God are God-appointed agents to save God’s people from ignorance”

    Evidently, the CR did not help the biblical ignorance. Only the pastors who keep people ignorant? :o)

  72. This weird focus on peoples’ *adult* children is something I’ve never understood – if they’re truly adults, they’re responsible for their behavior, *not* their parents.

    Just another sign of the many illnesses within SGM, I guess… ?

  73. VelvetVoice wrote:What are the details of Dave Harvey’s problems with his adult children? I’m only asking because several families in my former church have had problems with their adult children, and some needed to pay and some it was overlooked. I am asking also to know how better to deal with spiritual issues with my teenage daughter. I’m very confused about these issues, and there is no one I know that I would trust with these issues. Most of the people I know whitewash their pasts and their family issues. To me, this is one of the most destructive reasons of the contemporary church, and a main reason why kids don’t put any effort into their spiritual walk. Hypocrisy reigns.

    What are the details of Dave Harvey’s problems with his adult children? I’m only asking because several families in my former church have had problems with their adult children, and some needed to pay and some it was overlooked. I am asking also to know how better to deal with spiritual issues with my teenage daughter. I’m very confused about these issues, and there is no one I know that I would trust with these issues. Most of the people I know whitewash their pasts and their family issues. To me, this is one of the most destructive reasons of the contemporary church, and a main reason why kids don’t put any effort into their spiritual walk. Hypocrisy reigns.

    Velvet Voice

    I am not fully sure what the issues are with Harvey’s kids. Here are a couple of older SGM Survivors posts that might have some details in the comments:

    http://www.sgmsurvivors.com/?p=3418&cp=all#comments

    http://www.sgmsurvivors.com/?p=3402&cp=all#comments

    Some of the problems with Harvey’s kids (some are adults btw) might not be worse than a lot of other children. A big problem is that Harvey set such a high standard for how SGM leaders’ children should behave that he basically fell into his own trap when his kids had similar if not worse problems. With the reconciliation/apology they gave other leaders like B. Patton it appeared that when Harvey had problems they changed the standards that they used to force other leaders to step down.

    It is easy to criticize teenage parents when your children aren’t teenagers yet like Dave Harvey apparently did. Also, some children tend to be more rebellious than others.

    You make a good point about people whitewashing their past and family issues to make people that there aren’t struggles. Have such high standards is probably why C.J. Mahaney allegedly covered up his own son’s sin:

    http://sguncensored.blogspot.com/2011/02/cj-mahaney-covering-his-sons-sin-and.html

    It is baffling that SGM seems to hold parents accountable for their children’s actions (especially adult children) when SGM claims to believe in Calvinism. The word “sovereign grace” is another word for Calvinism. Calvinism or “sovereign grace” basically teaches that it God who decides who will be saved.

    Calvinism claims that God only gives some an “irresistible grace” while aren’t given this “irresistible grace.” Those given the grace have no choice but become saved while those who aren’t given this grace have no chance of becoming saved. If you supposedly have this belief system, why hold leaders accountable for their children not coming to Christ?

  74. numo: Adult children are property of their parents until they are married = patriarchy movement (part of homeschool movement). Don’t get me going. I still have presents to wrap.

  75. Numo, Steve, et al

    I guess CJ would have to ask God to step down. Adam and Eve rebelled and He is God! 

  76. Iowa dentist fires female staff member because he can’t control his thoughts. She’s worked for him for 10 years, never been an incident. Fired her at his pastor’s suggestion and to appease his wife, court upholds.
    ~ Fendrel’s link ~

    Maybe a more just and equitable solution for the court to rule on, is that said hottie be required to wear a burka during work hours.

    That way she wouldn’t lose her livelihood and the dentist and his fundamentalist pastor could be assured that he’d be protected from those awful & evil feelings of “lust” in his heart.

  77. Muff

    Ah, the difficulties of being adorable! Deb and I know it well….  Merry Christmas-friend!

  78. With regard to the dentist firing his employee, that is something to be careful of. It didn’t sound like the dentist and his assistant were in a potentially dangerous one on one situation like you hear people need to be careful about. (One example is a church where there is one pastor and one church secretary where there is potential for the two to get inappropriately involved.) Especially with the dentist’s wife working in the practice I do wonder what potential there really was for it to get out of hand.

    The dentist should have at least given the fired dental assistant a more generous severance package than one month’s salary (one judge commented on that being stingy) and included some type of agreement to not sue etc. Maybe more like 3-6 months. I am sure it will take her longer to find a new job than just one month. Maybe the dentist could have even kept her employed for a period of time while she looks for a new job rather than immediately firing her.

    Maybe even setting up some strict rules that both the dentist and dental assistant needed to follow to keep their relationship just professional. It was inappropriate for the two to be texting especially the subject of some of their text messages.

  79. Muff Potter wrote:

    Maybe a more just and equitable solution for the court to rule on, is that said hottie be required to wear a burka during work hours.

    That way she wouldn’t lose her livelihood and the dentist and his fundamentalist pastor could be assured that he’d be protected from those awful & evil feelings of “lust” in his heart.

    Look at it this way: At least she wasn’t stoned to death in an Honor Killing (“with small stones, so that she dies slowly” — Ayatollah Khomeini).

  80. VelvetVoice wrote:

    I’m only asking because several families in my former church have had problems with their adult children, and some needed to pay and some it was overlooked.

    Let me guess — those who were overlooked were the kids of the Man-o-Gawd and his court favorites?

    “All Animals Are Equal
    BUT SOME ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS.”
    — G.Orwell, Animal Farm

  81. HUG-you got that right! Let me give you a timeline.

    2008-a man at our church who kept the books had trouble getting voted in as an official deacon. Why? Both adult sons lived at home, one a 28 yo baptized believer and one 32 yo not, and that did not fit the profile of the upstanding family. He was voted in with a 68% margin.

    2009- the baptized believer son went into the army, and when he came back about a year later, he married his long-time Catholic girlfriend before going overseas. They kicked him out of the church.

    2010-the pastor’s daughter is a pretty young college student, she commits a very public sexual sin so unbelievable you have all seen it on the news.. They kicked her out of fellowship for six months. The pastor took no blame for her daughter’s actions, and didnt step down. I blame her father for making her feel like a second class citizen. Luckily, she found another church to attend, to speed up her spiritual healing. The pastor doubled down on telling me that I was an inadequate parent, and I wasn’t teaching her anything feminine, and that I should force her to attend church.

    2011-my 15 yo daughter was harassed and bullied by some kids from a Christian camp. They slandered her on the Internet, called her friends, her school, and our church leaders. They assume that the stories are true, and start the discipline process without even talking to her. We called the police and filed a case. The church assumes that my daughter started the trouble and it is her fault because she goes to public school. She got so anxious she developed a condition called SVT, and had to have surgery.

    2012- the ladies study was looking for a book to do, we had already done The Hidden Art of Homemaking and The Excellent Wife. They picked a book from the sixties, I forget the name, that said women are either depressed and angry or are stoic and holding in their feelings. I objected, because I am a very happy person, and plus I have a great job that I enjoy. They got mad because I don’t act like they do, and I don’t enjoy housework and don’t act feminine enough.

    I still feel bitter and angry, because I sent a nice letter to the leadership to explain the reasons we left. Doctrinal differences was all I said. They never circulated it. They think we are heretics! Luckily, here in the Northeast we don’t have mega churches, so it is not like you are walking out of society. So again I ask, when is the point where the parents are still responsible for what their kids do? Isn’t it how they are raised?

    I hope i didnt bum you out by my story. i am happy with my life and i feel blessed by God to have my family, and all of you to share my trials. Merry Christmas to all!

  82. The big move in Protestantism IS from a “marketing/business” perspective. If I see one more slick web site with a pastor with the “five o’clock shadow” beard and a zippy web presence I am going to get sick. . .

  83. I was shocked but not surprised to see this video of one of CJ. Mahaneys sermons posted:

    http://vimeo.com/56049836

    It was titled “Unit that Comes from Humility” subtitled “Addressing the threat of the church within, C.J. Mahaney preaches a sermon titled “Unity That Comes from Humility” from Philippians 2:1-4.”
    Apparently C.J. Mahaney has no idea that mostly his lack of humility is what has caused a lot of the problems and now the divisions that is occurring withing SGM including various churches leaving. It is quite something for Mahaney to be teaching a message like this after all of his actions. Apparently clear denial or blindness to all he has done.

    This would be like Jim Bakker speaking on the sanctity of marriage and using income the church receives properly right after his fall from leading PDI. It would also be like Jimmy Swaggart talking about sexual purity and doing what you preach after being caught a few times with prostitutes.

    My guess is that C.J. is appalled by people not being humble to him and how their not being humble to C.J. is threatening C.J.’s (not necessarily God’s) “ministry.” I will try and listen to the message but doubt I can stomach it for very long.

  84. Steve: You nailed a very common pattern of abusers. They accuse project their own sin issues onto others, whether it be sexual immorality, pride, etc. My former pastor told the same story of humility probably between 5-10 times and we were there only 2 years. The most bizarre thing is that he used himself in the example of humility as if this was normal behavior.

  85. Steve 240,

    Thanks for sharing that link. I was listening to Christian radio earlier today and heard an advertisement for the SEBTS 20/20 conference to be held in early February. The promo listed the conference speakers, which included Mahaney. So many are fooled…

  86. I was able to stomach listening to Mahaney. Mahaney said a lot of the right things but sadly he hasn’t typically followed what he taught.

    A few things that Mahaney did get right was about the threat that selfish ambition and conceit have to the church. It was sad that Mahaney doesn’t realize the damage his own selfish and ambition has done to the body of Christ. Mahaney also said when selfish ambition and conceit are left unchecked the consequences are most serious; C.J. Mahaney’s an example of what happened when his own selfish ambition and conceit went unchecked for so many years.

    Mahaney also said that these two actions are also an “expression of contending with God for only the glory He is worth of.” Again a shame that Mahaney doesn’t realize his own actions demonstrate that and have for a while. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black as the old phrase goes.

    Mahaney also talked about looking to the interests of others and not being preoccupied with our own interests. Hasn’t Mahaney’s actions since Brent’s documents became public been for the most part shown just how preoccupied Mahaney is with his own interests and not of anyone else’s?

    Just mind boggling how Mahaney could give a message like this.

    Julie Anne

    Can you clarify what you are saying? I think you are saying something along the lines that a common pattern of abusers is for them to speak against actions that they are themselves guilty of. That certainly sounds like C.J. Mahaney.

  87. Steve said: Can you clarify what you are saying? I think you are saying something along the lines that a common pattern of abusers is for them to speak against actions that they are themselves guilty of. That certainly sounds like C.J. Mahaney.

    Yes, Steve – that’s right, (and it looks like I left an extra word “accuse” in the 2nd sentence, so no wonder it was confusing).

    Projection is a psychological term: Psychological projection or projection bias is a psychological defense mechanism where a person subconsciously denies his or her own attributes, thoughts, and emotions, which are then ascribed to the outside world, usually to other people. Thus, projection involves imagining or projecting the belief that others originate those feelings (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_projection)

    The patterns that spiritual abusers use, like projection, are common. Another common pattern among abusive pastors is narcissism. I recently read a report that the job of pastors is in the top 10 professions for narcissists. Narcissism is very dangerous and difficult to treat because they have little to no moral compass for themselves (only for others) – they believe their own lies.

  88. Julie

    Thanks for the clarification. Another term is the word “sociopath.” According this author:

    http://www.amazon.com/Sociopath-Next-Door-Martha-Stout/dp/0767915828/ref=la_B001IGQUZO_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1356497235&sr=1-1

    a sociopath isn’t the mass murderer or other that you normally think of when you hear the term “sociopath” but someone without a conscience. One indication of the the sociopath that this author writes about is being a juvinelle delinquent when they are younger which we know C.J. Mahaney was (he use to share about this especially when he spoke at TAG).

    This is shown on the above link:

    “Stout says that as many as 4% of the population are conscienceless sociopaths who have no empathy or affectionate feelings for humans or animals. As Stout (The Myth of Sanity) explains, a sociopath is defined as someone who displays at least three of seven distinguishing characteristics, such as deceitfulness, impulsivity and a lack of remorse. Such people often have a superficial charm, which they exercise ruthlessly in order to get what they want.”

    Sure sounds like they are talking about C.J. Mahaney.

  89. @ Steve240:

    Steve – Now I’m curious. I’ve previously read people saying CJ resembles a narcissist. The difference between the two is that the narcissist relies on the validation by others. He must have his ego stroked – it is the fuel that keeps him going. The sociopath uses his power to exploit and uses others for his own enjoyment/pleasure. He does not require validation or ego stroking.

  90. Julie

    I am sure there is significant overlap between a narcissist and Stout’s definition of what a sociopath is.

    Here are some other characteristics in Stout’s book:

    “Essentially, a sociopath will glibly lie, charm and use others, without a moment’s remorse over hurting anyone. They’re often, but not always, more charismatic, charming and sexy than the average person. …
    Most sociopaths are not murderers, (soley because they don’t want to get caught and go to prison) but will still wreak havoc lying, stealing, and manipulating people.”

    That sure sounds like C.J. Mahaney.

  91. Re the dentist issue: totally agreed it would have been nice for him to give her more severance. However, if her hiring stated she could be fired at any time for any (or no) reason I understand the court backing him as a matter of law.

    The burka comments seem to kind of miss one point: she could have been ugly as a pig and covered from head to foot and if he had a lust issue, he had every right to not continue to employ her in HIS business.

    My personal suspicion is that there is a bit more to the story. Some of his text messages were so over the line and yet she “just thought of him as a father figure?” Gimme a break, not a healthy father/daughter type relationship at least.

    But I freely admit my thoughts are probably tainted by what happened at one church we attended for a while. The pastor and the deacons came up with a good idea: free car care and handyman services for widows and single moms by the men of the church.

    Unfortunate unintended consequences were things like the men of the church finding their wives not too keen on being responsible for cleaning their own gutters, tending to the upkeep and oil changes on their own cars, and spending Saturdays alone so the guys could go take care of these other gal’s gutters, cars, etc and spend the day with the other ladies.

    Then one of the single mom’s did start hitting on any guy that came over to do a chore. Church tried sending teams of guys out. Wive’s still resentful and still some inappropriate actions from the single gals. Tried sending husband/wife teams. Major complaints from the single women, feeling they were treated like Jezebels.

    Finally had a big meeting to discuss the whole issue. What we did was keep sending teams to the older single widows–two guys or a husband and wife team, but only for those in a pickle financially.

    Since the married wives were cleaning their own gutters, changing their own sink faucet washers, arranging their own car care, etc, the consensus was that the single mother’s could take care of their own needs also.

    Those in a financial pickle could still ask for help from the church, which would come as financial aid so the woman could take care of her own issues.

    And we had a week long seminar for the whole church and community on ethical behavior and healthy boundaries.

    Sounds to me like the dentist and his assistant could both have used the seminar.

  92. linda wrote:Re the dentist issue: totally agreed it would have been nice for him to give her more severance. However, if her hiring stated she could be fired at any time for any (or no) reason I understand the court backing him as a matter of law.

    Re the dentist issue: totally agreed it would have been nice for him to give her more severance. However, if her hiring stated she could be fired at any time for any (or no) reason I understand the court backing him as a matter of law.

    My personal suspicion is that there is a bit more to the story.

    In some states the employment laws allow employers to fire an employee at will with no reason etc. Usually the fired employee will get unemployment payments but that is all. If so, it might have been better had then dentist just layed her off and not given the reason for her being “too attractive.”

    Not sure what the law in Iowa is.

    I am sure there is more to the story than reported.

  93. In many states, e.g., Texas, employment is “at will”, which means that an employer may terminate an employee for no reason at all, but may not terminate an employee for a bad reason, such as age, race, gender, being single or married, having a child at home, being attractive or unattractive, or having certain disabilities unrelated to job performance; there are exceptions to all of the above.

  94. Steve240 & Julie Anne,

    As to narcissists versus sociopaths, sociopath is just a spot on the narcissistic continuum. All sociopaths are narcissists. And as you stated, not all sociopaths become serial killers because they weigh the cost/benefit ratio and decide the cost isn’t worth the benefit. So….they specialize in soul murder, instead.

    The description in the quote you posted fits the malignant narcissist perfectly. My study of the subject (to better understand certain family members and their effects on me growing up) informs me that a malignant narcissist will lie and cheat without batting an eyelash – which is why they rarely get caught. They can even fool lie detectors because they don’t have the normal physiological responses that the detectors measure. Scary.

    They are often attracted to religion because it gives a built in source of ego-feeding (narcissistic supply) and they can be very intelligent. The narcissist in my life was a religious guru – the family expert. And NO ONE was a more devout Christian than she was. Practically has the Bible memorized. I have one of her old Bibles (she wears them out frequently) and it is literally covered – every page, including the flyleafs) with her own notes and commentaries and cross-references. Some of them are astounding. But she is still a narcissist. And the damage she inflicted on me growing up is still being untangled. As to her salvation….I honestly don’t know. I hope so, but that is between her and God.

    Narcissists in power positions within a church will wreak havoc. And you won’t find a narcissist hanging around a church long if they can’t get themselves into some position where they have control over others. In my opinion, part of the reason the Institutional Church (especially in America) is in such a mess is because of the culture that was/is developed that makes it taboo to even THINK ill of the church leadership….narcissistic heaven, hell on earth for anyone who gets in the way.

  95. Jeanette

    Thanks for the information you posted. I believe what you meant is that sociopaths are extreme narcissists on the narcissist scale. I would also add that not all sociopaths murder and most probably don’t have the desire to murder. What distinguishs a sociopath (using Stout’s definition) is they don’t have conscience and thus can and typically will do things that someone with a conscience wouldn’t do. The fact that a sociopath can do something that others wouldn’t dream of doing is dangerous since most people that have consciences couldn’t imagine someone doing something that a sociopath has no problem doing.

    You said “In my opinion, part of the reason the Institutional Church (especially in America) is in such a mess is because of the culture that was/is developed that makes it taboo to even THINK ill of the church leadership….narcissistic heaven.” Good point. In general and especially in certain groups like Sovereign Grace Ministries they have for a long time had a culture where questioning leadership or even thinking ill of them was wrong and perhaps even showing rebellion to God since leaders were “God ordained.” Thus as you say produces a “nacissistic heaven” for narcissistic leaders but “hell on earth” for those under these narcissistic leaders.

    What is ironic is that SGM Leaders claim they are “imperfect” and is typically a response a member is trained to use when people bring up issues about them. Sadly few SGM Leaders are willing to admit their “imperfections” and the group maintained a culture where questioning a supposed “imperfect” leader was wrong.

  96. All the comments are very interesting, but it seems more likely that the split was simply a legal maneuver. The separation creates some difficulty and additional work for opposing council and attempts to provide a shield for organizational assets from what may become a substantial settlement or court award for the law suites. This is particularly important if the suite becomes a class action suite.

    Have you noticed the websites are still substantially interlinked. Additionally, I there is no statute of limitations for sexual abuse of minors in Maryland. It is interesting that CJ ET AL left the state. I wonder if there are statutory limitations in Kentucky, or where he is now.

    These are very interesting times.