Exit Strategies by C.J. Mahaney and Heroic Protesters at a 9Marks Church Overseas

"As I transition from my role as President on April 12, I am looking forward to a fruitful future for Sovereign Grace Ministries. With our recent church plants and those that are forthcoming, churches requesting to be adopted, the current Pastors College class, and ongoing music projects to serve the church, there is much to be encouraged about."

C.J. Mahaney

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=21433&picture=bampw-sign-exitExit Sign

As you have no doubt heard, C.J. Mahaney will be stepping down for a second time as president of Sovereign Grace Ministries on April 12, 2013.  So much has happened since he took his 'leave of absence' in July 2011.  Perhaps the three most important changes have been:

– SGM has relocated its headquarters to Louisville, Kentucky

– Approximately 20 congregations have left this 'family of churches'

– A class action lawsuit has been filed against SGM and certain individuals 

For a comprehensive review of what has taken place in SGM prior to Mahaney's recently announced resignation, please read Dee's guest post over at Internet Monk

Christianity Today reported on this development on its Gleanings website in a post called C.J. Mahaney Leaves Leadership of Sovereign Grace Ministries.

In his recently published article, Sovereign Grace Denominiation President Resigns, Peter Smith of the Louisville Courier-Journal wrote:

"Pastor C.J. Mahaney is ending his three-decade tenure as president of Sovereign Grace Ministries, a Louisville-based denomination that has faced recent leadership controversies, defections of congregations and an expanding sexual-abuse lawsuit.

Mahaney said he would remain as pastor of Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville, which launched in 2012 when the denomination shifted its headquarters here from Maryland."

As some of you may remember, Smith's July 12, 2011 Courier-Journal article – Mohler Backs Mahaney, dismisses claims of abusive leadership – included some interesting remarks by the president of Southern Seminary.  As we journey back in time, here is what Al Mohler had to say about his buddy Mahaney and SGM:

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.’”

Apparently, Mohler's "I don't like that" comment failed to deter a recent exodus of churches from SGM including Covenant Life, the church Mahaney co-founded and where he 'served' for over 27 years.  That speaks volumes…

As Charles Joseph Mahaney nears his 60th birthday, he plans to focus on 'serving' the Louisville church he planted last year.   No doubt living in Louisville  – Calvinista headquarters –  will provide him with opportunities to speak and write books.  His sycophants will likely continue to flock to hear him speak and salivate over his books, which have purportedly been written by ghost writers. 

Speaking of Mahaney's books, they were the straw that broke the camel's back for a member of a 9Marks friendly church located outside the United States.  As we discovered from some overseas correspondence, the church has a strong affinity for C.J. Mahaney.  The country where the church is located has an international flavor and a large population of Americans.  Here is the e-mail we received (detailed information identifying the church and the pastors has been omitted):

You may remember me from a brief exchange we have had in the past. I am a member of __________. The senior pastor is _________, a disciple of Mark Dever and a former colleague at Capitol Hill Baptist Church.  I am a Care Group Leader at our church.  My church loves all things put out by 9 Marks, T4G, TGC, etc. When all this stuff on SGM started breaking, I started advising my pastors via email of what was going down.  I should add that I attended a Sovereign Grace church in the United States before moving overseas. I had a run in with ___________, an assistant pastor there who headed up CLG's. I now refer to him as the Care Group Nazi, but that is another long story. Suffice it to say I was told (screamed at) that I should find another church to attend because I was not attending Care Group regularly. My care group leader's heart was revealed to me, and I shortly thereafter took his advice to find another church. Imagine my shock when I found out this domineering man was made the senior pastor of another SGM church!

Anyway, when CJ fled to Dever's church I advised my pastor (in the foreign country where I now live) that he may want to advise his close friend Dever to think twice about providing cover for CJ because it could involve him in a messy situation. I believe my message was looked at skeptically. I continued to share information with my pastors via email, and I think I was pretty much ignored. I send stuff to three pastors and only one of them responds, and that rarely. I think this is by design. Well, about a month ago a pastor in my church wanted to meet me for lunch. At that lunch he proposed making me a deacon. He wanted me to take charge of the book ministry. He knows reading is my passion. I said that sounded like something I would be interested in. As we discussed the job he asked if I would have any problem with selling/promoting Mahaney's books. It hadn't crossed my mind until that point, but I told him I absolutely would have problems. There was no way I could, in good conscience, have anything to do with selling/promoting anything authored by Mahaney.

At that point he was somewhat put out and said that would be a problem as they consider a couple of Mahaney's books "go to books" for newer Christians. He said he would have to talk to the elder board and see whether they wanted me to have the job and stop selling books by Mahaney or find someone else for the job. I pretty much knew what the answer would be. I told him whatever they decided was fine with me, but there was no way I would compromise on this.

I never heard back from him until after meeting with another pastor for lunch who said he heard I had turned down the offer to become a deacon. I was a bit aghast. I told him what the pastor had said about discussing it with the elders and asked if that had ever taken place. It had not. Shortly after our lunch, he called me and stated that he had discussed my situation with two or three elders, and they decided not to offer the job to me. I didn't confront him with his dishonesty, but just said I was fine with that.

As they continue to pump Mahaney's books, the pastor recently held up the Humility: True Greatness book from the pulpit and highly recommended it. As the RBDs and my local church leaders refuse to stand in opposition to Mahaney, I have grown more frustrated. The leaders have chosen to remain quiet, while I made the conscious decision to speak out.

Our church has a private Facebook page, so I decided to utilize that forum speak out against CJ. I simply linked to many blog articles that spoke to the facts of the scandal. I included a few from The Wartburg Watch. I figured this would attract the attention of my pastors, and I was correct. Here is an email I received after having posted links:


Dear _________,

As you may have noticed, I have removed several of your past posts from our church's Facebook page. The posts removed deal with the crisis at Sovereign Grace. I sympathize with your concern for these important issues, however, I feel that the posts deal with the issues at play in ways that are unhelpful for our congregation and the members of the Facebook group.

Thank you for your understanding, please feel free to speak with me about any concerns you have!

Your brother in Christ,

________________


My response:

Dear _______,

I am highly disappointed in your action, but not surprised.

Kind Regards,

____________


As Providence would have it, I had scheduled a lunch with the pastor in charge of CLGs.  I informed him that I would be resigning as leader of a CLG effective at the end of this school year. After my information was removed from their FB page, I decided I had enough and informed him I would be quitting effective immediately and also withdrawing from membership of the church.

It is a sad day for me, but I choose to take a stand on this matter. To not do so is deplorable. As you can imagine, there is not an overabundance of churches in our city. I am not sure where I will go now. I suppose for a season I will not go anywhere, but then I feel I must eventually find somewhere I can go. So you see Mahaney's actions have implications half way around the world! (emphasis mine)

God bless you,

______________

"For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ." Galatians 1:10

 


Finally, here is the RESIGNATION LETTER submitted by this couple to their church elders in protest against their insistence to push Mahaney's materials.

"The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures for ever."  Psalm 119:160

 Dear Church Elders,

It is with a heavy heart that I inform you that my wife and I request that you withdraw our names from the membership roll. I have strong issues with the church endorsing and promoting any book authored by C.J. Mahaney. I have shared much information concerning Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries with some of the pastors. These issues include overwhelming evidence of C.J. Mahaney blackmailing the co-founder of his ministry, covering up evidence of sexual predators in his church, and obstructing church members from reporting these incidents to law enforcement.

There is now a class action suit going forward against SGM and Mahaney, As a member of a Sovereign Grace church for a number of years, I have followed this ongoing scandal quite closely. While I am obviously not in a position to dictate church policy, I would think it prudent that, at a minimum for the congregation, you would refrain from endorsing Mahaney's books. That this has not happened has left me disenchanted.

I received an email today from ____________, stating that he had removed some of my recent posts on the church's FB page concerning SGM. I had already determined I would no longer serve as a CLG leader because of issues of conscience on this matter. His email was instrumental in my decision to withdraw our membership.  If you have any questions feel free to contact me.

May the Lord continue to bless your church as you seek to honor Christ in all you do.

Kind Regards,

_________________

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8 ESV)


We are in awe of our brother and sister in Christ, who willingly gave up their comfort, their fellowship with believers, and their church (in a country where evangelical churches are few and far between) for their principles.  It is truly astounding and we applaud their efforts.  This couple has taken a brave and heroic stand, and we only wish there were more Christians in the world who have their integrity.

We can only imagine how their sacrificial stand might encourage those involved in the class action lawsuit against SGM.  We hope the plaintiffs will stumble upon this post and discover that in a distant land there is a Christian couple who resigned from their church in protest because they saw a far greater cause in standing with those who have been hurt in Sovereign Grace Ministries. 


Let's take a step back and reflect on what has been revealed…  So 9Marks pastors outside of the United States are pushing Mahaney's books on new believers?  What is wrong with this picture?

Isn't it enough that Mark Dever provided a safe haven for C.J. Mahaney for months after he stepped down the first time?  Mark Dever has remained silent in the face of the unprecedented turmoil in SGM.  To top it off, we find it deeply disturbing that some 9Marks affiliated churches appear to be functioning as the marketing arm for all things C.J. and SGM. It is truly astounding!  Wonder if they're getting a cut??? 

Gee, all of this really looks good right now with the impending class action lawsuit against Mahaney, SGM, etc.  To our knowledge, Mark Dever has never addressed the hundreds of reports of pain that resulted in the SGM 'family', but he manages to make plans to travel across the world with Mahaney (more on that Wednesday when we discuss our Revolution against the Rezolution).  

I decided to do a little checking on 9Marks affiliated churches here in the United States.  Can you believe that there are 14 churches within a 10-mile radius of my home listed on the 9Marks directory?  I checked the website of the 9Marks church closest to me, and the very first book on the recommended reading list is Mahaney's The Cross Centered Life.  It seems there's no getting away from Mahaney in the conservative circles of Christendom.  How long can this continue?

Getting back to the couple in a far away land who stood boldly against C.J. Mahaney – we are so grateful for you!  Thank you for alerting us about Mahaney's books being pushed.  We are doing our best to alert the worldwide Christian community that these unhealthy alliances are being formed in congregations that claim to practice the Nine Marks of a Healthy Church. 

God bless you, brother, and remember . . . there's always eChurch.  😉

Lydia's Corner:   Joshua 21:1-22:20   Luke 20:1-26   Psalm 89:1-13   Proverbs 13:15-16

Comments

Exit Strategies by C.J. Mahaney and Heroic Protesters at a 9Marks Church Overseas — 238 Comments

  1. AlBudy,

    Yo!

    Basically there are caring people who are very, very uncomfortable with the strong kind of ‘Spiritual Abuse’ that comes through the Sovereign Grace Ministries!?!

    hmmm..

    Whatz up wit dat?

    (sadface)

    Sopy

  2. There was a comment somewhere I read from one of these guys that they intentionally wanted CJ’s brand of Christianity to infiltrate the “system.” I use the word system because this is what is happening. This man’s e-mails prove that SGM’s bully methods go far more than Sovereign Grace Ministries churches.

    People need to take a look at who their pastors are pushing. We had just left BGBC (the church/pastor who sued me) and tried a new church for a month or so. At the same time I was reading SGMSurvivors and strangely enough, this new church was pushing primarily CJ books. The week that we left, they were strongly promoting CJ’s books on small groups and SGMSurvivors was discussing the sin-sniffing, how care group leaders report the sins from the group to pastors. Red flags were going up all over the place in my head. I told my husband I would not be returning, period.

    How could this church all the way in Hillsboro, Oregon, be so influenced by that bald-headed man who seems to do a physical workout with his hands while preaching? It wasn’t a Sovereign Grace church. There were no other connections. Strangely enough, this pastor was also bald headed. Not that I have anything with bald heads, but it seemed to be a Calvinista trendy thing to do. So . . . yes . . . SGM and CJ’s brand of Calvinista have infiltrated the system. Beware – CJ infiltration may be at a non-SGM church near you.

  3. I have been wrestling with SGM stuff for a while. I personally have enjoyed sovereign grace music, and have recommended it to others.

    I was personally blessed by the Mahaney's Cross Centered life in a time where I almost walked away from the faith. His book was very helpful for me. It's been a few years since I have read it, so I'm a bit hazy, but I don't remember any serious theological flaws. I've given copies out where I thought it might be helpful…same thing with 9Marks.

    I'm actually trying to move in that direction not because I love 9 Marks, but because I think the Bible teaches much of what Dever is doing. So my question is: Am I in sin for this? I listened to SGM music the other day. Does this mean I am a cold, heartless calvinista?

    I'm not trying to be condescending or anything like that, I'm just curious as to understand your thoughts.

  4. PP,

    I, too, have read The Cross Centered Life. I even wrote a two-part book review that you might want to read. It should shed some light on why I am speaking out.

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2010/02/10/living-the-cross-centered-life-a-%E2%80%9Cdeficient-gospel%E2%80%9D/

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2010/02/11/what%E2%80%99s-wrong-with-%E2%80%9Cliving-the-cross-centered-life%E2%80%9D/

    I have never listened to Sovereign Grace Music and never plan to because I cannot support a ministry that I believe has harmed so many.

  5. “There was a comment somewhere I read from one of these guys that they intentionally wanted CJ’s brand of Christianity to infiltrate the “system.””

    I have heard that sentiment around ground zero for the last few years and the scandalabra that is CJ has not changed that at all. The difference is now it is a sin to bring him up unless you are saying positive things about him. I have not been able to figure it out. Why isn’t CJ a liability for them. That is the real question and one we really need to seek the answer to because I think the answers reveal how much what passes for Christianity is in trouble.

    I think I have been very naive about this movement. It is just like those who think communism works it just had not had all the right people. These guys are convinced that authoritarianism in the church is the right system. They want the structure CJ had for SGM in churches, denominations, etc. I don’t think folks realize how simple this really is. They want power over people. Period.

    Jeff really nailed it on another thread that of the 9 Marks of a Healthy Church, loving God and loving others is NOT listed. But many of the Marks are ones that give power to a select group.

    It seems everywhere I turn today there are Oligarchs who know what is best for us and we have to go along.

  6. @ PP:
    I think Anon 1 pointed out what concerns me about anyone adopting these teachings:

    “These guys are convinced that authoritarianism in the church is the right system. They want the structure CJ had for SGM in churches, denominations, etc. I don’t think folks realize how simple this really is. They want power over people. Period.”

    I was never in an SGM church, but my former church did have home groups, discipleship, church discipline, accountability, etc., and the authoritarianism it engendered is suffocating. I have yet to meet a minister who demands that members submit to him that will accept responsibility for a crisis when his ministry is wrong or deficient.

  7. Why do you assume Dever’s church is healthy? Have you investigated it for yourself? Do you know about la bunch of people who have walked out in the past?
    Also, theology should not be read in absent is from practice. Ask yourself the question ” If this book is so gosh darn good, how did SGM arrive at where it is today.” Is there a fatal flaw in the book. I say there is. Think about where CJ leaves the reader in regards to the Cross.PP:

  8. I am wondering what a church does to become a 9Marks church? Do they check the boxes of the 9Marks? Send in reports? Market the propaganda?

    If you read the 9Marks, you find they are all top down in implementation. There is no “Body” of Christ in this picture.

  9. “I’m actually trying to move in that direction not because I love 9 Marks, but because I think the Bible teaches much of what Dever is doing. So my question is: Am I in sin for this? I listened to SGM music the other day. Does this mean I am a cold, heartless calvinista”

    PP, I hate to sound pedantic but I really think we all need to refocus on what it is all really about. It is about YOUR relationship with Jesus Christ.

    These guys add heavy burdens and what is presented as “biblical” such as discipline, etc, you need to check out for yourself biblically. For example, “discipline” cases in the NT were for the ENTIRE church to be involved in, not a few guys. So make sure what you think is biblical in what they teach is actually handled the same way. Mostly it isn’t. I have even heard them with my own ears add a step to Matt 18 that is not in there. I could not believe a room full of young pastors did not catch it. I was aghast.

  10. “Also, theology should not be read in absent is from practice. Ask yourself the question ” If this book is so gosh darn good, how did SGM arrive at where it is today.” Is there a fatal flaw in the book. I say there is. Think about where CJ leaves the reader in regards to the Cross”

    Thank you! I think a lot of folks do not realize that when you get to that stratosphere these books have an immediate captive audience and go from there. A pbulishers dream. It is a great income stream. And it continues at all the conferences where they hawk each others books.

    I would rather you have a “resurrection” centered life, PP. You have been Justified if you repent and believe, now go and BE the Kingdom.

  11. “It is authoritarianism, not legalism, that has become the biggest challenge Christians face.” Wade Burleson, 26 January 2012.

    Julie Anne, I’m not surprised that the church you visited would be encouraging people to read SGM material. Mahaney and his buddy Mohler are made frequent appearances at the Resolved Conferences in Southern California. Mohler still puts in an appearance at Grace Community Church’s Shepherds Conference. (I don’t recall if Mahaney ever spoke at a Shepherd’s Conference.) Both of these conferences are very popular here on the West Coast, so it’s no wonder that this kind of teaching has infiltrated the system here too. The church we recently left regularly pushes both conferences, and recommends a great seal of Calvinista reading material.

    I quoted Pastor Wade because I think that non-SGM churches with an authoritarian bent are very attracted to this brand of Christianity. You take an inclination to emphasise pastoral/elder “authority” and couple it with

  12. PP, I still listen to SGM music occasionally – most of it is very good! – even though we left in 2010. We sing some in our mellow little PCA church once in a while, too. I think it is entirely up to you and what brings you comfort, joy and inspiration.

  13. Oops—it “post” too soon.

    You take an inclination to emphasise pastor/elder “authority” and couple it with SGM teachings and you end up with a church that for all intents and purposes negates the priesthood of the believer and stifles the work of the Holy Spirit in peoples lives.

  14. Anon 1 wrote:

    It is just like those who think communism works it just had not had all the right people. These guys are convinced that authoritarianism in the church is the right system.

    Considering the obsession with “sin sniffing” and how inherently evil we all are it is almost humorous that these people also think it is a good idea to put a few human begins in absolute authority over everyone else.

  15. That said, I’m not planning on buying more of their CDs. And I pick and choose the songs I like on my iPod so I don’t listen to a lot. Works for me, and I am pretty vocal about issues in SGM. 🙂

  16. Lee wrote:

    Julie Anne, I’m not surprised that the church you visited would be encouraging people to read SGM material. Mahaney and his buddy Mohler are made frequent appearances at the Resolved Conferences in Southern California. Mohler still puts in an appearance at Grace Community Church’s Shepherds Conference. (I don’t recall if Mahaney ever spoke at a Shepherd’s Conference.) Both of these conferences are very popular here on the West Coast, so it’s no wonder that this kind of teaching has infiltrated the system here too. The church we recently left regularly pushes both conferences, and recommends a great seal of Calvinista reading material.

    Lee – I don’t think this particular pastor went to Shepherds’ Conferences. O’Neal who sued me has gone 12 yrs in a row and went this year as evidenced by his Twitter feed – – – seems Phil Johnson and his ilk didn’t have a problem with a pastor who used them to promote his lawsuit or the fact that he has his minister’s license revoked . . . .hmm . . .

    CJ has spoken at the Shepherds’ Conference. And his books have definitely been handed out there as well. My husband came home with them.

  17. @ PP:

    “Wrestling With SGM Stuff ?”

    HowDee, 

    o.k.

    “So my question is: Am I in sin for this? 

    no.

    I listened to SGM music the other day. 

    $ure. 

    Does this mean I am a cold, heartless calvinista? 

    no, Silly.

    I’m not trying to be condescending or anything like that, I’m just curious…” -PP

    con-de-scend-ing?

    hmmm…

    You have gotz ta be kidding?

    “‘Right?'”

    …having a form of godliness, yet denying the power thereof?” What da fat?

    Da Proverbial Sovereign Grace Ministries?

    What?

    “These issues include overwhelming evidence of C.J. Mahaney blackmailing the co-founder of his ministry, covering up evidence of sexual predators in his church, and obstructing church members from reporting these incidents to law enforcement.There is now a class action suit going forward against SGM and Mahaney,” -9Marks Overseas Church Correspondent.

    …it is well, it is well, wit SGM’s soul?

    hmmm…

    doesn’t sound good, none neither…

    Buda Bing, Buda Boom, Z Big Buda Boom!

    Skreeeeeeeeeeeeetch!

    Ole C.J:”I like to dream…”

    (Da Ceege, he’s such a kidder?!?)

    S“㋡”py

  18. Anon1
    The Matt Hill story has been squelched, big time. Deb and I have some ideas but it would not be fair to speculate at this time.@ Anon 1:

  19. Julie Anne, the only reason I didn’t know if Mahaney ever spoke at a Shepherd’s Conference was because I didn’t much care up until about 3 years ago. I started paying attention when I read one of Mahaney’s books, found it to be a little off, and checked into him. When I found out about him having some roots in the old “Shepherding Movement” I became concerned. I had good friends who were caught up in that and I saw a lot of wreckage in their lives as a result of their involvement. That’s when I started listening to the mp3’s of the Sheperd’s conference so I would know what kind of teaching my pastors and elders were being exposed to.

  20. I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to these folks, who have made a stand for truth in a faraway land. They will be looked at as “troublemakers” by their former pastors. I want them to know that they will be rewarded one say in heaven because they cared more for the little guy than for the program and celebrity Christian culture. I am in awe of you! I only hope that I could be so courageous.

  21. I HAD A DREAM!
    Oh, not an MLK-style mountaintop dream– a real one. A very short one. You see, I’d fallen asleep musing on when the Gospel Coalition might say something about CJ’s upcoming resignation.
    As I slept, I dreamt I was searching TGC blogs. I came upon an article, “Caring Enough To Confront”. I didn’t really “read” it– something about the need for church leaders to share their observations with wayward pew-sitters.
    Then I saw it! A comment by an “SGM Survivor”! Before I could “read” it, I woke up!
    What might that comment have said??

  22. @ Lee:

    Lee, you’re smart to check it out when you saw something off. I was just reading SGMSurvivor blog today and 2 individuals are really having a rough time of it – wreckage as you say. It’s really much more than the lawsuit and the cases of sex abuse cover-up. The system of submission and power to church leaders is so out of balance and unhealthy. People have to detox from this environment.

  23. I went over to the 9 Marks website. I find it very alarming. What is the difference between what 9 Marks is proposing and the Shepherding Movement? TWW has already covered how dangerous the Shepherding Movement was/is.

  24. @ PP:
    I would encourage you to think critically through the entire “9marks” apparatus before you place approval upon this system. A few observations:
    1) Lots of happy healthy Christian churches existed before ever hearing about these marks.
    2) We only have it on Dever’s word that these are marks of a healthy church.
    3) The important parts of being Christians – like loving God and neighbor – are conspicuously absent.
    4) Every system ever implemented in a church has been abused at one point or another.

  25. “Let’s move along folks – nothing to see here.”

    So Mr. Humility is stepping down from being the Prez of SGM, eh?
    Well, about a year ago, Mark Driscoll stepped down as Prez of Acts29, but he is still a voting member on its small Board of Directors and still gets all the conference and book endorsements. So the only thing that’s really changed is his title. Smoke and mirrors. Makes you wonder if that is all this is for Mr. Humility as well.

  26. PP-

    I used to be a member at Dever’s church and I can promise you that much of the dysfunction that can be observed in your local SGM brand can also be found there. Not so much all the infighting and backstabbing, or evn paedophilia (that i know of), but the grip-think, control, subjugation of women, marginalization of singles, and more including raxism. yes, racism. It, too, is a high-demand control group. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

    The above church sounds like what’s-his-names church in Dubai that a lot of members would flock to or consider when the hubs decided he wanted to pastor.

  27. What is up with this control thing where, when you ask a question you truly want an answer to, or you disagree with a non-critical point, suddenly pastors remove you from or don’t consider you for leadership, and quickly it’s onto suggesting you find another church. Actually, that happened for me, not in CLC, but in a church I was in two years ago. I still shake my head at the conversation with the pastor. Such deceptive relationship, and suddenly crazy control.

  28. Wow this is really incredible!! I’m so glad your reader took the stand he did together with his wife for what’s right! I wasn’t surprised to read how he was “informed” that he had “rejected” the offer of becoming a deacon even though it wasn’t true. The whole thing has the markings of a set-up! I thought he must be describing his experience in an SGM church! No wonder they sell SGM material there! It leavens any lump it gets into!

    I mean really, they KNEW he disagreed with Mahaney and his books. He had written to numerous, unanswered emails to them about it and posted on the church’s FB page in an effort to help inform his fellow congregants. They KNEW he would would take issue with selling SGM books, so what job do they offer him? BINGO! It was like a page out of the SGM Backhanded Book. Manipulate someone instead of dealing with them honestly. Lie and deceive instead of walking in the light. Someone who didn’t agree with them didn’t deserve the truth and in order to avoid a messy situation, instead they subtly ended up offending the guy and continuing in their own way, without taking into consideration the opinions of a member in good standing. So wrong!!

    I hope more and more and more people start doing what this guy and his wife did. When I read the word “Protesters” in the title of the post, I pictured people people with signs walking back and forth outside, in front of a church.

    I can’t help but think in some places that’s going to happen one of these days.

    I know I’m game to participate.

  29. I think the whole CJ resignation thing is a scam to try and take the heat off CJ and SGM and that CJ will still be pulling the strings.

    Also, I’ve never been in a church with care groups nor done any extensive looking into the issue, but it sure seems like their primary purpose is the creation and control of sheeple, with a heavy dose of sin sniffing (and the sins you confess there will be wielded as a weapon against you should the need arise).

  30. Not an official breaking of TGC silence, but there’s a link from a Wendy Alsup book review to her blog, which has another good SGM-related article. http://www.theologyforwomen.org/ (Sorry if someone’s linked this already.) She deals with the Challies article quite well!

  31. JeffT wrote:

    I think the whole CJ resignation thing is a scam to try and take the heat off CJ and SGM and that CJ will still be pulling the strings.

    That wouldn’t surprise me if it was a scam. Mahaney claimed he wouldn’t be leader and that turned out not to happen. Thus it wouldn’t surprise me if Mahaney stays in power even if it isn’t official power.

  32. Does anyone here remember one of the most basic tenants of our judicial system – “innocent until proven guilty” and a conviction must be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt”? Anyone can say anything they want in a civil lawsuit! You’re going to convict see people and pull their resources before the trial? Are you listening to yourself?

  33. I think it strange that SGM is being held up as a great force of Evangelism and church planting.

    CJ never planted a church until he set off (fled?) to Louisville. Dave Harvey, former head of church planting in SGM, has never planted a church.

    And for a movement that’s been around for 30 years, it only ever had @ 100 churches world wide. Most of them were not mega churches…compare this to Calvary Chapel, Vineyard, CMA, and others, and you see just how small the church planting and evangelism of SGM has been.

    Why does Mohler even bother to brag on SGM’s church plant model when they have done so little of it?

  34. Howard,
    More importantly, are you listening to the victims in this? The men, women, and children thrown under the SGM bus?
    Uhm, no, obviously you aren’t.
    You have stopped up your ears to the cries of the bleeding and dying on the Jericho road.
    Don’t lecture us about whom we are listening to.
    We are listening to the voices that we should be hearing.
    You are just being mesmerized by the spin doctors who have you under their power.

  35. Howard,

    Why didn’t those 20 or so churches that exited SGM hang on til after the trial? And why did CJ run away to CHBC and then to Louisville?

  36. @ Mara:
    How do you know they are genuine victims? Do you have any personal experience with them to know? How do you know they were thrown under the bus – just because they said they were? Have you ever heard of false witnesses? That’s the court’s job to decide, not ours! Please be rational here!

  37. @ Howard:
    How do you know they are NOT genuine victims? Do you have any personal experience with them to know? How do you know they are false witnesses? Why don’t YOU let the courts decide. And a “presumption of innocence” does not mean that one should carry on with “business as usual.”

  38. @ Howard:

    “Do you have any personal experience with them to know?”

    Some of the people here do have personal experience with these families; to my knowledge Dee & Deb vet stories before they post them.

    “Have you ever heard of false witnesses?”

    The Biblical standard is 2-3 witnesses and we already have at least 8 (and that’s only counting the names on the lawsuit, not any family members). That means we are obligated to take this seriously. It’s perfectly “rational” to believe a story that has so much corroboration from multiple sources.

  39. Rationally speaking:

    More than a few of these cases have already been well-documented in the legal system. Some parents went to authorities against the advice of SGM pastors, and the authorities found that crimes had been committed and took action.

    At least one criminal case is working through the courts right now with ample documentation and public admissions not only from victims but from perpetrator and the pastors who negligently mishandled the situation.

    Most of these cases have multiple witnesses who have spoken out and are prepared to testify to the events involving pastoral mismanagement.

    Many of these cases have a common thread that traces back to an unwholesome culture throughout SGM that many people (including me) can attest to.

    In fact, sadly, some people posting here DO have first-hand knowledge of these particular sexual and spiritual abuse cases.

    Were it not for not people speaking up on these various blogs, finding they were not the only abuse victims, connecting, and banding together, there would not even BE a court case.

    SGM has never denied that these things occurred. In fact, in several statements they admit to these situations, but seek to minimize the severity and justify their behavior under religious ministerial privilege.

    If SGM gets their way, this case would be dismissed before it could even be heard, or at the very least it will drag on another year or two in delay tactics. SGM creates a cultural code of silence, and the victims have a right to finally be heard and believed.

  40. So indeed you are saying, guilty until proven innocent. You have all the facts you need (somebody said something and someone else agreed), so forget the court!

    How much damage do you think is being done when its just as likely that they are innocent as they are guilty. If they are cleared legally, how many people – like you – will cry “foul” and hang on to their own self-imposed verdict?

  41. Howard wrote:

    So indeed you are saying, guilty until proven innocent. You have all the facts you need (somebody said something and someone else agreed), so forget the court!

    You are the one who is being, as you say, unreasonable. Nobody here said, “forget the court.” It is in fact going to court. It seems you would rather “forget the court.”

  42. Biblically, there are more than enough witnesses to cause great concern. There has already been a pedophile tried and convicted who served time. Here is an account from the lawsuit:

    33. Defendants refused to alert members to the presence of known and convicted pedophiles, instead relying on such persons to “self-report” to church members and instead were participating in church events involving children. Defendants permitted and, as reasonable discovery will show, is continuing to permit, known pedophiles to interact with children without advising the parents of these interactions. For example, Defendants have permitted one known pedophile to homeschool children at his house, and has permitted another to attend a children’s camping trip.

  43. How does Howard explain the statement SGM put out about the 1st Amendment? Thing is, they (SGM) are not denying they did not report pedophiles/molesters. They are claiming they had a right to advise folks to NOT report these things and to claim it is gossip to talk about them with anyone else but a pastor. Then the make matters worse they helped the molesters. Howard forgets the AoR report?

    So it is a civil suit not a criminal suit. I am not sure Howard gets that before he jumped the gun. In the end it is more about telling the world how reprobate SGM really is inside.

  44. Howard wrote:

    So indeed you are saying, guilty until proven innocent. You have all the facts you need (somebody said something and someone else agreed), so forget the court!
    How much damage do you think is being done when its just as likely that they are innocent as they are guilty. If they are cleared legally, how many people – like you – will cry “foul” and hang on to their own self-imposed verdict?

    As has already been said, there have been criminal cases related to this already. So there’s clear crimes that have taken place in terms of those abuses. Secondly, while false accusations of crimes do occur, the rate of false accusations for abuse is quite low, and for child abuse is incredibly small – especially given the fact that most cases are never reported in the first place. And finally, and this really shouldn’t need to be said, child abuse is an extremely serious crime. Churches have a moral (as well as often a legal) obligation to listen to and support the open investigation of all such allegations, suspicions, and occurrences. Yet SGM doesn’t seem to have seen child abuse as that big of a deal. Even if we leave aside the legal specifics, they haven’t treated those affected by these alleged abuses in a loving Christian way.

  45. Howard wrote:

    Does anyone here remember one of the most basic tenants of our judicial system – “innocent until proven guilty” and a conviction must be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt”? Anyone can say anything they want in a civil lawsuit! You’re going to convict see people and pull their resources before the trial? Are you listening to yourself?

    You’re missing the entire point. A number of specific allegations have been made that SGM tolerated and covered up attacks by sexual predators in their churches and SGM couldn’t care less. No concern for the safety of children, no call for changes to procedures, no investigation. Nothing but silence and stonewalling by SGM. That’s why people are outraged, SGM really doesn’t care if the allegations are true.

  46. Howard
    There are victims, that is not the issue. I believe four of the molesters were convicted. Whether there are victims is NOT the issue. It is the response of the church. Whether you like it or not, molesters were in SGM and convicted.@ Howard:

  47. To Our Readers Regarding the Use of the Word “Victims” in This Instance

    We are all able to use the word “victims” without the word alleged because four of the molesters were convicted. Therefore, there are victims. The lawsuit alleges more victims and questions the response of the churches and leaders.

    Do not let anyone try to play the game that there are no victims. There are. The court said “yes” to four of them.

    I believe that this is a concerted effort on the part of the SGM leadership, along with their good buddies “We really hate child molestation, we do, we do” in TGC, etc. to pretend that there are no convictions.

    Dee is staring to get ticked off. So, I do encourage you all to use the word “victims” since the courts and everyone else recognizes it except those who are deliberately blind.

    Rant over. I need more coffee.

  48. Yes, Howard there are systems in place to protect those from false accusations. The Constitution protects everyone, including those who blow off pedophilia as just another sin like speeding in one’s car.

    However, Howard, I bet that you have gotten a “feeling” and expressed an opinion on all sorts of allegations of public figure in the press who have been accused. It’s just that this one rattles your world.

    So, do you believe that OJ Simpson should have been convicted of a crime? How about Casey Anthony? We are all guilty of “believing” what we want to believe .But this one screws up a belief system that CJ’s evaluation of SGM as “the happiest place on earth” might have been a tad overblown, right?@ dee:
    @ Bridget:

  49. Howard, I belive there are two standards for the SGM leadership to be held (or any Christian leadership). Civil authorities are one, but there is a higher moral standard too; that is to be “above reproach.” I agree with you that the pending lawsuit is just pending still (not resolved) so people should withhold judgement from the civil aspect. But it seems evident to me, that there are moral issues with the way the SGM leadership has handled the situation already. I’d say enough moral issues that some should step down and some should take a sabbatical. That hasn’t happened, and I’d have to think that is what is irking a lot of the commentators on this and other sites.

  50. Anon1
    Great point. The class action lawsuit is a civil matter. However, Nate Morales victims, who, as as far as i know at this point, are not part of the class action suit, will be involved in a criminal matter. I have no idea if further criminal charges will be forthcoming. Let me put it this way. If more such charges came out of this, Dee would not blink an eye. @ Anon 1:

  51. Pam
    There is also another factor to consider in your excellent comment. If these things are false accusations, why the heck haven’t the lawyers for the defendants sued for libel and malice? @ Pam:

  52. Pam
    If someone accused me of the things that are alleged in the class action suit, you can be darned sure that I would sue.If someone falsely accused me of making a little girl “forgive” her molester, i would be screaming bloody murder about such an accusation not jetting off to some foreign country to “share the gospel.”@ dee:

  53. Howard
    One further point, how do you know it is just as likely that they are innocent?” The law does not say that the it is 50/50 going into a trial, merely that the charges must be proved.

    For example, there are some terrorists who are going to be tired on uS soil. It is alleged we have videos, correspondence ,etc. Are you truly saying that the evidence is 50/50 and that thy are just as likely innocent as not? @ Howard:

  54. Howard

    Can I ask you a question? Who told you that there are no victims? You do not want to sound foolish when defending your point of view. There are some molesters of the children who were convicted.  Therefore there are vicitms. 

    Here is what you want to say. I do not believe that SGM and the boys covered this up. I do not believe that SGM and the boys did not urge families to avoid the police.  I do not believe that SGM would warn the alleged pedophiles of reports going to the police. etc.I think it is a great idea to hide behind the First Amendment.  I do not believe that Larry Tomczak spanked an adult woman on her bare bittocks. At least argue the points. But do not say that all of the victims are alleged. There are victims of child sex abuse.

  55. doubtful

    It is smoke and mirrors. In CJ’s tome as he steps down, he discussed how churches are trying to become SGM churches, how SGM is planting churches, etc. he absolutely refused to admit there has be an anti-planting movement as churches flee the sysytem. I guess he believes if he says t enough, people will beleive it is true.  

  56. Bridget wrote:

    @ Howard:
    What “that” system is in place to protect victims of false accusations?

    Dee –

    Yes, Howard there are systems in place to protect those from false accusations. The Constitution protects everyone, including those who blow off pedophilia as just another sin like speeding in one’s car

    My point for Howard is that the justice system is in place MAINLY to bring justice to victims of crimes and to protect the public from harm. Secondly, it protects against false accusations. Howard is trying to turn the defendants in this case into the primary victims. There are already real victims in this case.

  57. Has anyone else noticed the way people like Howard say things here. To me it seems they all have the same agenda. To silence and control people. I realize more and more that this is the real issue. We’re not supposed to think for ourselves or have trust in our own beliefs. I remember being told at CLC that I can’t trust my own heart. It’s wicked at best. Well, who do I trust then. This is not true christianity. I am starting to see that this is idolatry. I was manipulated to believe, by CJ and friends, that I can’t live life own my you own. This power structure is, in my opinion, the true problem. They won’t give this up without a war. The lawsuit is a spotlight on the sgm culture. I have a victim in my family of this culture. What happened at Covenant Life School, under Greg Somervilles reign, is criminal. That hasn’t been talked about on the blogs. Covenant Life School now is being run by a sane man who is an educator.
    I don’t know how to explain what I’m trying to say very well. It’s hard to put into words. I’m working on it though.
    If it wasn’t for the blogs I don’t think I would be informed enough to even have these revelations. Thanks dee and deb. Tww is helping me tremendously to be informed.

  58. turtle wrote:

    What happened at Covenant Life School, under Greg Somervilles reign, is criminal.

    Turtle, can you be more specific about this? Even if you describe it in a way that keeps your and your friend’s identity anonymous. Thanks.

  59. “I remember being told at CLC that I can’t trust my own heart. It’s wicked at best”

    Which means you should not trust CJ’s either?

  60. Folks like Howard usually reveal:
    1. They have not taken the time to read through the abuse stories.
    2. They provide more evidence to a cult-like mentality that would defend
    these leaders rather than express compassion for the wounded.

  61. To Al Mohler, Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan, Kevin DeYoung, Carl Trueman, John Piper, Ray Ortlund, and all other ministers of the gospel who have publicly supported C. J. Mahaney to this point:

    I offer the following outline of a statement that I suggest you offer forthwith — feel free to use, amend, adapt, etc. however you would like so as to make this your own. But you have offered public support for C. J. Mahaney (and, in most cases, public condemnation of those who have raised their concerns on behalf of the victims of abuse), and it is not too late to change course.

    “I have had respect for C. J. Mahaney and the work that I understood him to be doing for the advancement of the gospel of Jesus Christ. However, I have come to recognize that, perhaps because of that, perhaps because of my own issues, or perhaps because of my own experiences with having been unjustly accused as a minister of the gospel at various points, I have not been impartial with regard to the concerns raised about his conduct as a minister of the gospel. I do not have first-hand knowledge as to either the truth or falsehood of the charges against him. I desire to continue in my love for C. J. Mahaney, but I now withdraw my public support for him and my public opposition to his accusers, until the justice system brings a just resolution to the serious concerns that have been raised.”

    I am praying for each of you. Truly.

  62. I don’t think CJ has any interest left in SGM, personally. His letter of resignation may have appeared optimistic, but why did I hear a mocking tone to it?

    Things are not happening for CJ the way he planned. He imaged an amazing legacy, which he has talked about for years. His plan was to retire at the age of 60. His early ouster as President of SGM happened as a consequence of his failed leadership – his glorious legacy now tarnished.

    He has no real interest in SGM now that he’s out. He won’t be happy serving as an underling. His pattern has been to rename and retool things in the past, when he’s been in charge. When he was younger. Before the Internet. And when he had a huge fan base. He doesn’t possess those things anymore, and now he can’t hide and reinvent himself because of the Internet. It’s amazing to me to see how this fox has been out foxed. I say well done, God!

    CJ and his wife expected their children to model everything they taught, and held them back from developing their own independent lives, with the promise of provision always being there for them. That’s now coming back to bite him because he banked on SGM being a constant stream of support for his kids grandkids. He assumed SGM churches would always be there, the members would always give, give, give, and they’d all have it made. What he didn’t see coming was the end of SGM, the stream of support is drying up, and his kids without a means of income. He so now he’s having to put his money where his mouth has been and support the whole clan that followed him to Louisville on the assumption they’d all continue to make it big down there.

    But the scandal is starting to drain the style out of their picture perfect lives. Everything worked like a charm when there was plenty of money to go around and the family business was raking in the big bucks. No one had to have a job outside of big daddy’s world, but now that’s not working out so well. The kids are young enough to regroup and find jobs outside of the SGM world, but their bottles were filled with the same kool-aid they’re still drinking, which will immobilize them. But as their buddy John Piper would say to them from behind his pulpit, “Don’t Waste Your Life! ”

    So I have no doubt CJ is trapped. He has been out maneuvered and out manipulated by Someone who saw what was going on and has beat him at his own game. I believe CJ has been defeated and has been forced off the field. The legacy is gone. The family is in turmoil. And he is starting to reap what he has sown. That’s justice at work already, if you ask me.

  63. Muckraker-
    One of my kids was told they couldn’t return to school the next year because the board decided it wasn’t the best for that child. And that I should homeschool. This child was about 13 at the time. Suffice it to say, things went from bad to worse. That child was shunned, parents wouldn’t let their kids hang out with my child. Because of the culture of CLC, when you are out you are out. Not worth being around. There are more details but this sets the stage, I think.
    There are many more stories, much worse than this. Sometimes this child will meet up with some of the other kids and they have a good ol time talking about it. They won’t talk on here because they are done.

  64. Proverbial JackBootz: “Topsy-Tervy ‘Cross’ SGM Church Funny Business Con-tin-ues?”

    @ dee:

    It is ‘All’ smoke and mirrors? 

    Poof?

    “Es ist das absolute Recht der Sovereign Grace Ministerien, die Bildung der öffentlichen Meinung zu überwachen?” (1)

    What?

    In CJ’s tome, as he steps down, he politely discusses how many more churches are trying to become SGM churches, how SGM is planting more churches, etc?

    Again, What?

    That C.J. Mahaney absolutely refuses to admit that there has be an expanding anti-SGM-planting movement, as churches desperately flee the beleaguered SGM church system in record numbers?

    hmmm…

    I guess he (C.J.) believes if he says it long enough, loud enough, kind folk will simply beleive it is true?

    -snicker-

    Are people that gullable?

    huh?

    “Wenn Ihnen sagen, dass eine Lüge groß genug und halten Sie es wiederholen, werden Menschen schließlich kommen, es zu glauben?” (2)

    $ure. -snark-

    Why notz? 

    …Joseph Paul Göebbels thoughtz so: (2) “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” 

    Skreeeeeeeeeeeeetch!

    As fortune would have it, the lie can be maintained only for such time as the proverbial Sovereign Grace Ministries can shield its leadership from the political, civil, judicial, and economic consequences of the lie…thus it becomes vitally important for the proverbial Sovereign Grace Ministries to use all of its powers to repress member dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the ‘truth’ has become the greatest enemy of Soverign Grace Ministries?

    Does da proverbial SGM appear to be saying with their seriously questionable actions?!? : 

    …We enter the religious sanctuary in order to supply ourselves, in the arsenal of Christianity , with its own weapons. If Christianity is so stupid as to give us free tickets and salaries for this bear’s work, that is its own affair. We do not come as friends, nor even as neutrals. We come as enemies. As the wolf bursts into the flock, so we come?

    Is this so?

    (sadface)

    Sopy

    ___
    Notz: (1)  Eng. tr. “It is the absolute right of the Sovereign Grace Ministries to supervise the formation of public opinion?” 

  65. pcapastor,

    I appreciate your comment addressed to the RBDs. if they don’t heed your recommendation, I believe they will suffer the consequences.

  66. Evie, You have no idea how good these guys are at rewriting history and reinventing themselves. As long as the RBD share stages with him, promote his books and I suspect there is going to be more and more intermingling of pc and sbts, he really is embarking on a more free career without the sgm baggage only that lawsuit hanging over him. The SGM board had only great things to say about him.

    All the above will be sufficient for the followers of T4G/GC because they are trained to follow man not Christ. The only thing left to be seen is how the lawsuit goes.

    Now, if Al Mohler gets in trouble it could go South for CJ, yet. But that is not going to happen. The Mohler roots are so deep at SBTS that he has plenty of lapdogs to carry out his mission and CJ’s entourage (hangers on) who are at SBTS right now will be fine.

    CJ is the Bill Clinton of the Reformed movement. He has a history of reinventing himself to fit the times and little sticks.

  67. “Hey, Whatz da Problem, Howy?”

    HowDee,

    It would appear, SGM leadership are claiming they have a right to advise kind folks to NOT report these church pedophile abuse thingys…

    What?

    It would appear, SGM leadership are claiming they have a right to claim it is gossip for kind folk to talk about these church pedophile abuse thingys with anyone else but a pastor…

    huh?

    It would appear, SGM leadership are also claiming they have a right to refuse to talk anyone about these matters.

    (figures!)

    All done…

    (Or so it would seem.)

    hmmm…

    Crack! , Crack! , Crack!

    Will all rise!

    (grin)

    Sopy

  68. Having been at clc for decades I don’t think CJ will let sgm get in his way. I can’t help thinking he’s on to bigger and better things. He just walked out of clc with his cocky walk and never looked back. The SBC could be what he wanted all along. Doesn’t it have millions of members? SGM is just dust on his feet compared to that.

  69. Eagle wrote:

    Um excuse me dear Howard…..there were criminal convictions in these cases to. The civil is about the cover up. So maybe you should research a little more before making such generalizations. Or you can go back to the “happiest place on earth….” and stick your head in the sand.

    Lol Eagle. And what dear Howard is failing to consider, in his big bad emphasis on the court system, is that this should have never gotten this far too begin with. Scripture wants us to be able to settle our differences but SGM obstructed justice and prevented problems from getting solved fair and square. This same kind of thing happened to me on numerous occasions as SGM did nothing in response to real problems, and left me carrying the baggage after providing horrible counsel or simply no help at all. This is entirely SGMs fault because the system was rigged. People have shared enough stories to prove that’s true. If he doesn’t want to listen to the stories and get a perspective on what’s going on, then you’re right, he is sticking his head in the sand! And he’s out of touch with what is being accomplished through the collective power of the blogging world! Power to the people and away from oppressive authoritarian regimes!

  70. I have been reading all that is written about this and thinking about it. I was thinking how it is not going to go well for these “leaders” when they face God on judgement day unless they repent. I had been writing about the body of Christ and the bride radiant. Then I started writing the following. Maybe it just reflects my own inner thoughts or maybe it is more than that. So here it is.

    They have raped the bride radiant. How can she present herself to the groom promised from the beginning if those who have stolen her and defiled her have usurped his position as the source of all that is good. They call themselves pastors and sheppards. But, that is a lie; he alone is the Good Sheppard.

    “Return me to my beloved” cries the bride. “He has redeemed me yet you hold me hostage, cuckolding his authority.”

    Hear her cries in a thousand places of slashing glass and sharpened stones. Release her and do not delay. Release her so that she will be whole, the bride radiant, and not broken and bloody when he comes.

  71. @ Anon 1:
    Good article! I loved this line:

    “. . . to just expect Christians to tune it all out and ignore it sounds quite a bit like what cult leaders would suggest.”

  72. These my thoughts on what the 9 marks of a healthy church should look lke. This is a work in progress.

    Love the Lord God with all your Heart, Soul and Mind. Love your neighbor as yourself.

    Christus Victor – Christ victorious over death, hell and the grave, glorified at the right hand of the Father.

    Grace, Mercy, Compassion exemplified by feeding the hungry, water to thirsty, inviting in the stranger, clothing those in need, looking after the sick, visiting the imprisoned.

    Justice is for the abused, the widow, orphan, the stranger. With passion and zeal we will care for those in need.

    Priesthood of the believer

    Mutual submission and love for one another

    Joyful worship of God in ALL THINGS

    Unity of the body – Each member together with each other, growing the fruits of the spirit, expressing their talents, giftings and love.

    The bride radiant joined in the perichoresis with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

  73. Anon 1 wrote:

    Evie, You have no idea how good these guys are at rewriting history and reinventing themselves. As long as the RBD share stages with him, promote his books and I suspect there is going to be more and more intermingling of pc and sbts, he really is embarking on a more free career without the sgm baggage only that lawsuit hanging over him. The SGM board had only great things to say about him.
    All the above will be sufficient for the followers of T4G/GC because they are trained to follow man not Christ. The only thing left to be seen is how the lawsuit goes.
    Now, if Al Mohler gets in trouble it could go South for CJ, yet. But that is not going to happen. The Mohler roots are so deep at SBTS that he has plenty of lapdogs to carry out his mission and CJ’s entourage (hangers on) who are at SBTS right now will be fine.
    CJ is the Bill Clinton of the Reformed movement. He has a history of reinventing himself to fit the times and little sticks.

    And you could be right. I don’t believe this is how it will play out, personally. But, like you, I’ve seen what you describe happen time and time again. But, there’s something about this time, the time we’re in right now. This present time. I sense we are in a time when this will end up being judged. Monies will stop flowing into the wrong coffers, voices that shouldn’t be heard so loudly will be silenced, agendas that aren’t in harmony with those of the Kingdom will be frustrated, and needless energies that are being invested into supporting these men and their controlling ministries (designed mainly for their own benefit) will be defused and redirected. And the only reason I believe this to be true is because I believe judgment does start in the Kingdom. I have a prophetic sense that God’s hand is against the ministry of SGM, and similarly aligned ones. That what we are seeing play out here is not something par for the course, but rather something profound, something that is, in fact, a sign. I think Joshua Harris got it partly right when he said he thought God was disciplining SGM. I think he’s judging the whole thing, and the thing for us to do is to figure out why, and what is being judged. I believe it goes beyond the lives of individuals and their personal misconduct to systemic issues that are being brought to the surface like dross, so it can be removed, in order to cleanse the church.

    I say that because I believe wholeheartedly that God passionately cares about the lives of the victims individually, and that we have finally arrived at a time when God’s will can effectively be done. It has tarried, and people have often been left wondering, “Does God see? Does God care? Does God know what’s going on?” But it takes time for the right stage to be set. For the right elements to be there. For the readiness and the receptivity of the audience for the story to be told. And I believe things have been made ready for this time, and now God will act. I believe as this SGM drama continues to unfold, we will see God take the stage. In fact I already see him on the stage and it fills me with joy and enthusiasm because I know that all that’s transpired so far will not end up on a like of vain efforts. But rather this time, He will have his way as the Master Director and those that love Him will love him more. And the church he loves will be strengthened.

    That, at least, is my faith. And I hope to God I am right.

  74. I want to add that I don’t think what God is doing is limited to the SGM stage. But rather what’s happening with SGM is similar to what God is doing on a thousand different stages in a myriad of venues all across the world. Things are being shaken, and I don’t mean just California!

  75. @ BeenThereDoneThat:

    Unfortunately, this makes all these organizations (TGC, T4G, Crossway Publishing, CBMW, SBTS, etc., etc.,) seem like one big extended cultish organization. This is based on the fact(s) that they all want to be “together” in the endeavors of their marketing, conferences, and belief systems, yet they close ranks and retreat when anyone questions the “character” of one of the men in their group. The larger group is now exhibiting the same behavior as the smaller (SGM) group has been exhibiting for 30 years. I think they all live in fear of losing something they don’t think they can live without (different things for different folks). It doesn’t seem like they know that they already know the One that can dispel their (man made in many cases) fears. Truth sets people free . . . it’s hard to convince them.

  76. dee wrote:

    doubtful
    It is smoke and mirrors. In CJ’s tome as he steps down, he discussed how churches are trying to become SGM churches, how SGM is planting churches, etc. he absolutely refused to admit there has be an anti-planting movement as churches flee the sysytem. I guess he believes if he says t enough, people will beleive it is true.  

    “Church Planting” is really big with 9 Marks (and they’re far from alone). This recent article by your *favorite* local preacher discusses the future of “church planting”. Question– is it biblical? Jesus and the Apostles certainly “planted” the Word, or the Gospel, but– churches? Is this “church planting” (of which I never heard until about 25 years ago) just a worldly means whereby preachers can expand their influence and revenue streams? Deserving of a post sometime, perhaps!

  77. Bridget wrote:

    Unfortunately, this makes all these organizations (TGC, T4G, Crossway Publishing, CBMW, SBTS, etc., etc.,) seem like one big extended cultish organization. This is based on the fact(s) that they all want to be “together” in the endeavors of their marketing, conferences, and belief systems, yet they close ranks and retreat when anyone questions the “character” of one of the men in their group.

    To put it crudely, it’s all one big circle jerk.

  78. “All the world is an SGM stage?” -Snarkspeare 

    Oh, I hope not!

    (grin)

    hahahahaha 

    Sopy

  79. @ Dave A A:

    I have brought up this same question . . . at my local church. It seems to me that men have confused sharing the Good News with planting churches. The Church will gather where the Gospel has been shared and those who believe gather together. Church leaders today are more concerned with coming in from afar and “ruling over” believers than they are with the mission that Christ actually gave man. Planting “gospel” churches is not the mission of Christ. IMHO – the gospel churches have simply shuffled sheep around under the guise of “real” or “true” churches.

  80. @ Sopwith:

    Sopy –

    This is what I see amongst these groups . . . kind of like a Tower of Babel concept. I by no means imply that God is not also moving or that His Kingdom is not expanding. That is happening despite the tower complex going up 🙂 God cannot be thwarted.

  81. @ Dave A A:
    On church planting… Many of the things that Wisdomchaser noted in his/her version of nine marks of a healthy church, aren’t things that I saw being done when I was at CHBC. In hindsight, church planting boils down to this: It is done to force their version of the “gospel” in communities, regions, and countries that, in their own mind, are doing it wrong, or need 9 Marks help to become “healthy”.

    Overall, it is an arrogant pursuit. But a moneymaking one, too. But not without the support of the local church, CHBC, that is. Because EVERYONE does their part to make the community appear as if those nine marks are in action when the Weekender’s happen to teach, disciple, display and model what those nine marks look like when a church is doing it right.

    Another way to “plant” churches is to send a plethora of your own members to another local church who has asked for your help, and have them infiltrate it and then “model” healthy church membership.

    …and Howard above is just butthurt that his gods are falling and crumbling and nobody believes their ish anymore. Sorry, Howard. Get over it.

  82. Hey Evie, This is not about agreeing with me at all. I just did not want to see you become very disappointed. My take is that it takes people to finally speak out and to do it loud enough and long enough it starts to resonate. And that is tiring. Most won’t until it becomes so obvious to enough people.

    I don’t know I agree with Harris at all. Because I have a different view of what God’s discipline would look like in this sort of situation where we are talking about ruining peoples lives, lying, making merchandise of the Gospel, etc. We may have to wait for truth day to see that. In the meantime, it takes people saying “enough”. And insiders who are just as bad to shine a light. I see Harris and others as having enough patriarchal/authoritarianism/stuck at the cross DNA it will just be a softer version of the old SGM.

    When people stop buying the books, paying to hear him speak even if with other speakers, it will be over.

  83. ‘In hindsight, church planting boils down to this: It is done to force their version of the “gospel” in communities, regions, and countries that, in their own mind, are doing it wrong, or need 9 Marks help to become “healthy”. ”

    Trina, that is exactly what I am seeing, too, with the NC movement across the board.

    Wisdomchaser, you nailed it!

  84. Dave AA – Bridgett

    Much agreement – I can’t seem to find “church planting” in the Bible either.
    Just away for these guys to start ther own business and NOT worry about being fired.
    Not worry about folks dis-agreeing – Their name is on the 501 (c) 3, IRS, corporation papers.

    But – Did Jesus ask any of “His Disciples” to *plant a church?*
    Did Jesus give any instruction on – How to *plant a church?*
    Did Paul give any instruction on – How to *plant a church?*
    Did any “Disciples of Christ” actually *plant a church?*

    Is it – Church Planting? – Or is it – Corporation Planting? – Or is it – Denomination Planting?
    Me thinks all they are doing is opening up another “Franchise” location. Oy Vey!!! 🙁

    When you hear words that are not in the Bible? Don’t you wonder why we use them?
    And where they came from?

    Isn’t it challenge enough understanding? The truth of the words that are written?
    How much harder word’s that we make up?

    Doesn’t the Bible warn us about;
    The commandments of men?
    The doctrines of men?
    The philosophies of men?
    The traditions of men?
    That make the Word of God
    of non effect?

    Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition…
    Mark 7:13

    Hmmm? A simple word, “church.”
    What do most people understand the word “church” to mean?

    Building with a steeple on it?
    Is that in the Bible?

    Paid – Professional – Pastors – in pulpits – preaching – to people – in pews?
    Is that in the Bible?

    That’s what the world thinks, the believer and the unbeliever, isn’t it?

    Isn’t that what these so called “local church plants”
    have accomplished with four buildings on four corners in a lot of “local towns?”

    Haven’t we deceived the people we’re supposed to be reaching out to?

    Does anyone know what the word “church” means?

    Who” The Ekklesia of God” refers to?

  85. You know, it is funny when you really take a historical look at how NT churches came about. Paul might stay for a few months and move on. A few months? How on earth did they survive at all given the culture of many gods surrounding them, filled with converted Jews and polythiest Gentiles who were converted without a team of seminary trained church planters? Yes, he sent some back to work for a while with some churches like Ephesus, Crete, etc. But some of them just made it through with brand new converts.

  86. Trina

    A big Amen when you say…

    “Church Planting…
    Overall, it is an arrogant pursuit. But a moneymaking one, too.”

  87. Anon 1

    Oh – what were all these poor little sheepies goin to do with out leaders… Boo Hoo…
    without apostles – to tell them what to do?

    Seems after the persecution began “ALL” left – Except the apostles…

    Acts 8:1
    And Saul was consenting unto his death.
    And at that time there was a great persecution against the church
    which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad
    throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, “except the apostles.”

    And Paul didn’t come on the scene for 10-14 years… Go figure…

    Seems Jesus was serious when He said – “I will build My church.” 😉

  88. A. Amos Love wrote:

    Trina
    A big Amen when you say…
    “Church Planting…
    Overall, it is an arrogant pursuit. But a moneymaking one, too.”

    It’s an interesting observation, this one: Young people move to DC to become whatever (i.e. college/school, jobs on the Hill, politics, government) and end up at this church via campus outreach, discipleship, coercion oops!, I meant proselytizing the neighbors, co-workers, and the token Muslim. Once in, the lovebombing happens. THICK. Then guys are sucked into the whole legion of the brotherhood. While women are sucked into finding a husband (because generally, they already want one, bad. But it gets worse…) The teaching, i.e. ESS, patriarchy, depravity, cult of fertility/family) begins to change one’s thinking or enforce thinking that’s been taught from family, or encounters with cult, oops, church members.

    So women generally rethink their professions, and feel guilt for even wanting one outside of a pursuit of marriage and children. And men often and sometimes, but not all, abandon their careers to become pastors. While they want you to believe the sacrifice is huge, it is yet different. Different because most careers pay well in DC. But so does pastoring. And being a young man, for instance, at such a church, wanting to pastor, if he toes the line and gets in good, and enough of the leadership and men in the brotherhood believe in him, well, his way is almost practically paid. If he has a wife and children in tow, then they are usually provided for as well. And the story continues. But in the end, what you end up with is a lot of people thinking they should be a pastor that should never be. Yet, these guys are pawns too, because if they don’t walk the line straight, then they are dispensable. But if they do it right, then they are used by the system to promote the overall belief that I stated earlier: infiltrating communities, churches, countries, etc… to spread THEIR form of the “gospel”.

    I could say more, but you get my overall idea here.

  89. Evie said: “I believe it goes beyond the lives of individuals and their personal misconduct to systemic issues that are being brought to the surface like dross, so it can be removed, in order to cleanse the church.”

    Interesting that it’s happening during Lent.

    A. Amos Love said: “Doesn’t the Bible warn us about; The commandments of men? The doctrines of men? The philosophies of men? The traditions of men?
    That make the Word of God of non effect?

    Kýrie, eléison …

  90. …and yes, Dee, I do still wonder what happened to Matt Hill. Once they found him, they silenced everyone by sending out a cute little message “asking” people to give him and his family room and subtly demanding that people drop the situation…completely. And you know the sheeple complied. Because compliance is godliness in such a church.

  91. To me, most of what is called church planting is nothing more than a franchise model, straight out of McDonald’s play book.

    Open your franchise, with the latest Church de jour, and your in business!

    People know the name and have an expectation (SGM, Vineyard, Calary Chapel, etc…)of what your church experience will look like…meet those expectations and you have new loyal customers to your franchise. It’s the burger meal mentality for church goers.

  92. Jenny wrote:

    Kýrie, eléison …

    Jenny– I played a song with that title in a Baroque quartet with harpsichord (I play violin) and it was utterly BEAUTIFUL! I just love saying the words. They are beautiful.

  93. doubtful wrote:

    To me, most of what is called church planting is nothing more than a franchise model, straight out of McDonald’s play book.
    Open your franchise, with the latest Church de jour, and your in business!
    People know the name and have an expectation (SGM, Vineyard, Calary Chapel, etc…)of what your church experience will look like…meet those expectations and you have new loyal customers to your franchise. It’s the burger meal mentality for church goers.

    Doubtful that is so true. A friend of mine used to go to Calvary Chapel and I recall her saying to me that all Calvary Chapels preach the same exact sermon on Sundays. What you get at one church, you are sure to get the same thing at another. McDonald’s indeed! (hmmm… except for China maybe) They put mayo on EVERYTHING! lol Ewwww! Just ew. I went to Papa John’s in Shanghai and there was mayo on the pizza. Again, ew! Just Ew! So that’s to show that there might be some differences here and there, but s’all the same.

  94. THIS EXACTLY! But one could easily replace SGM in this instance with CHBC… Thanks to whoever provided this link….

    from this link http://livingtext.blogspot.com/2013/03/tim-challies-bad-advice.html

    “…Institutional arrogance / lack of Catholicity. Jesus said in John 17, “that I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” The exact implication of what this verse demands are of course debated, but the failure to listen to warnings to change on the part of SGM sets a bad precedent. The SGM practice of rebaptism for people baptized as infants is a grievous affront to the catholicity of the Church.
    I question why SGM cannot merge or cross-pollinate with groups like Acts 29, the Grace Network, and others. Does it really require a SGM church in every city, even if there is already a strong Calvinist and/or Reformed Baptist presence?”

  95. Jenny wrote:

    @ Trina:
    Was it from Mozart’s Requiem Mass?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7WZsujX8SA
    This literally gives me chills and brings me to tears …

    I think so. Unfortunately, I cant’ play that Youtube vid at work, but yes, I think it was from Mozart’s Requiem Mass. They DO bring you to tears! I remember just melting as I played them (usually around Christmas time) and often being brought to tears. I loved a lot of his smaller chamber works as well.

  96. Trina wrote:

    THIS EXACTLY! But one could easily replace SGM in this instance with CHBC… Thanks to whoever provided this link….
    from this link http://livingtext.blogspot.com/2013/03/tim-challies-bad-advice.html
    “…Institutional arrogance / lack of Catholicity. Jesus said in John 17, “that I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” The exact implication of what this verse demands are of course debated, but the failure to listen to warnings to change on the part of SGM sets a bad precedent. The SGM practice of rebaptism for people baptized as infants is a grievous affront to the catholicity of the Church.
    I question why SGM cannot merge or cross-pollinate with groups like Acts 29, the Grace Network, and others. Does it really require a SGM church in every city, even if there is already a strong Calvinist and/or Reformed Baptist presence?”

    See Mark Dever re: baptism, infant baptism, etc…

  97. Trina wrote:

    Does it really require a SGM church in every city, even if there is already a strong Calvinist and/or Reformed Baptist presence?”

    See IX Marks…

  98. Eagle wrote:

    Who is Matt Hill? His name has popped up here….

    He is a guy who was part of one of the campus ministries and worked at CHBC in the office doing something (IDK waht it was). Enneweighs, dude left. Didn’t tell nobody. Just left. Was ghost. And all hell broke loose. They thought it was possibel that he had been carjacked or kidnapped. Lots of strangeness going on. So CHBC started this citywide search for the dude, involving law enforcement, and people’s connections in government and on the Hill. Nobody found him. He had last been seen dropping a kid off near the convention center downtown and was supposed to show up for work at CHBC but never did. In the end, they found him several days later (dont quote me on how many), he had “turned himself in”. He had just driven off and went to Asheville to “clear his head”. After it all happened, the church basically shut down the presses and no one was really allowed to ask questions and some people were pissed about it. Especially because they had used their own personal connectiong and “resources” to help find him, then to be told they couldn’t ask any questions.

  99. Eagle wrote:

    I’d rathor have a cathetor the size of a garden hose…
    doubtful wrote:
    Mayo on pizza?! Yuck………@ Trina:

    Oh gawD!!!! Hahahaha! I am crying! iWeep!

  100. So CJ’s books are the go-to books for new Christians?

    There’s this go-to book for Christians of any age that I read one time, and it’s called the Bible. 🙂

    Seriously. Is it just me, or is weird that pastors (and not just in SGM) are quick to recommend books to help people mature in their faith instead of just suggesting Bible study?? I mean, I know you need both, but a new believer who isn’t familiar with scripture needs to familiarize her/himself with scripture FIRST before they start reading someone else’s interpretation of it. Right?

    Right????

  101. And my word, if these guys think that the “only” detractors from their way of church are people who don’t base their complaints on Biblical reasoning, then they are obviously not reading the actual criticisms or interacting with their critics in any way.

  102. Sad, My mom use to keep a box of ‘good news for modern man’ in the trunk of her car for new believers. The translation snobs would have a fit. But it’s not rocket science. If they know how to read the Holy Spirit can use it.

  103. ☺ “The Bride Of Christ: The Bride Radiant!” ☺

    By ‘Wisdomchaser’ ☺

    “They have raped the ‘Bride Radiant’!

    How can she present herself to the Groom promised from the beginning, if those who have stolen her, and defiled her, have usurped his position as the source of all that is good?

    They call themselves Pastors and Sheppards?

    But, that is a lie; He, Jesus, alone is the ‘Good Shepherd’,

    “Return me to my beloved!” , cries the bride!

    “He has redeemed me, yet you hold me hostage, cuckolding His authority.”

    Hear her cries in a thousand places of slashing glass, and sharpened stones!

    Release her, and do not delay!

    Release her! , so that she will be whole, the ‘Bride Radiant’, and not broken and bloody when He comes.

    ‘Christus Victor’ – Christ victorious over Death, Hell and The Grave, glorified at the right hand of the Father!

    (Bride O’ Christ, what doth the Lord requireth of thee?)

    To Love the Lord thy God with all your Heart, Soul and Mind,

    And, To Love your neighbor as yourself…

    To extend Grace, Mercy, Compassion, exemplified in the care and feeding of the hungry, of giving water to thirsty, of inviting in the stranger, of clothing those in need, looking after the sick, and visiting the imprisoned,

    To extend Justice for the abused, the widow, orphan, the stranger; with passion and zeal caring for those in dire need,

    To embrace the Priesthood of the believer,

    To extend mutual submission, and love for one another, being Joyful in the worship of God, in all things…

    Once again! exhibiting the unity of the body ; each member together with each other, growing in the fruits of the Spirit, and with an ever-widening expansion, expressing their talents, their gifts, and their love! Amen! 

    So, Once Again!, the ‘Bride Radiant’ joins in the perichoresis with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit!” *

    hallelujah!  (הַלְּלוּיָהּ)

    Yehaaaaaaaaaa!

    Bravo! ‘Wisdomchaser’ !

    Marvelous!

    “Two thumbs Up!”

    Sopy
    ___
     *Wisdomchaser’s “The Bride Of Christ: The Bride Radiant!”Poem, edited & adapted for repost again here at WartburgWatch.com (used by anticipated permission. ☺☺☺☺☺
    @ Wisdomchaser
    @ Wisdomchaser

  104. Mayo on a pizza – hold on for a minute. A colleague just asked me about the concept of a ruben sandwich (I love them) pizza for St. Patrick’s day. Works for me. The only question I had is whether the Thousand Island sauce would hold up through the baking process.

  105. Anon–it was all creamy gushing in the middle with a layer of white cheese on top. Just UGH!@@@!!!!!

  106. @ dee: Hmm… I knew “From your lips to God’s ear” as a Yiddish saying (translated to English, obvy) as a kid, growing up in a half-Jewish (mostly German and Russian Jewish) ‘hood.

  107. numo wrote:

    @ Trina: I love this setting of the Kyrie, too.
    Do you know the prayer? I learned it in English, growing up in a Lutheran church, where we said it aloud. It comes from very early in church history.
    Lord, have mercy
    Christ, have mercy
    Lord, have mercy
    More than you probably ever wanted to know about the Kyrie and its origins

    Yeah, both versions were sang… First the original and then the English.

    I guess if you wanna sing in tongues, it shoudln’t be done without interpretation. Hahaha! Just kidding. Whew! That made me laugh real hard though.

  108. @ Trina: Uh oh!

    Though I have read about Japanese pizza parlors that use squid ink (which is black) as the sauce… that kinda got me right in the gut, and not in a happy way.

  109. numo wrote:

    @ Trina: Uh oh!
    Though I have read about Japanese pizza parlors that use squid ink (which is black) as the sauce… that kinda got me right in the gut, and not in a happy way.

    Ish!!!!!!!

  110. @ numo:
    But right now I’m listening to Van Morrison, Sweet Thing. Before that, Eric Clapton, Layla and Lonely Stranger. Next, Diamonds, Rhianna. hahaha You never know with me :/

  111. @ Trina: I know. The info. comes from a site (have no idea now of what it’s called) that has articles and stories written by Westerners who are longtime residents in Japan.

    The Japanese pizza article was fascinating until I got to that part…

  112. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll throw in some Brahms concertos just to make my music cake rise just right.

  113. @ Trina: You do have very eclectic tastes (like me, in some ways, although I am way out there wish it – music from Tunisia and Mali and Brazil and the Lord alone knows where all else).

    I do love R&B, soul, neo-soul, some rock/folk-rcok, folk, etc., though, and grew up listening to jazz (my mom wanted to be a jazz pianist) – jazz is one of my fave kinds of music. Much classical, too.

  114. @ Trina: I love Brahms’ chamber music! It’s gorgeous, those string quintets (is that right? or are they sextets?) especially.

    I sold classical discs at Olsson’s in Alexandria (now long gone) back in the day…

  115. numo wrote:

    @ Trina: You do have very eclectic tastes (like me, in some ways, although I am way out there wish it – music from Tunisia and Mali and Brazil and the Lord alone knows where all else).
    I do love R&B, soul, neo-soul, some rock/folk-rcok, folk, etc., though, and grew up listening to jazz (my mom wanted to be a jazz pianist) – jazz is one of my fave kinds of music. Much classical, too.

    I have a lot of music from those countries, but usually in a Putumayo compilation. Unless it’s like Afro-Brazil or French, it’s a compilation. My fave jazz album right now is Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue. It keeps making it’s rounds back to the top of the list every couple of months. Last month, Keith Jarret.

  116. @ Trina: “Kind of Blue” is incredible – you would also like “Somethin’ Else,” which was recorded under Cannonball Adderley’s name, but is actually a Miles-led session, for all intents and purposes.

    Jarret can play, but the noise he makes while doing it can drive me around the bend. I mean, lots of pianists do that (Thelonious Monk, for one, and he was THE man), but Jarrett’s sounds get on my nerves. Thing is, he always has *great* bassists and drummers; I so wish I could like his trio records better than I do…

  117. numo wrote:

    @ Trina: I love Brahms’ chamber music! It’s gorgeous, those string quintets (is that right? or are they sextets?) especially.
    I sold classical discs at Olsson’s in Alexandria (now long gone) back in the day…

    Ha, that’s funny. I heard somebody post on an forum the other day that the last time a certain artist was popular was when they bought their CD at Tower Records in Foggy Bottom. That made me laugh so hard. Talking about slipping into irrelevance, because that was DEF a long time ago, 1999?

  118. @ Trina: There’s some really good stuff on many of the Putumayo and Rough Guide comps, but it can be hard to find the recordings they sample… *very* hard. (Not all, but some – true of European artists, not just folks from Africa and S. America.)

    My favorite Putumayo comp is the original Mexican one, which came out very early on. The music is just amazing, but I think you have to actually travel to Mexico to get tapes and discs with that stuff, even now.

  119. @ Trina: I practically lived in that store when I wasn’t going to classes (I went to grad school at GW).

    used to make many trips to Foggy Bottom just to go there. And further down PA Ave. was Serenade, which had *the* best classical selection (especially obscure and back-catalog) I’ve ever seen, even in NYC.

    My fave thing when traveling used to be going to record stores and book stores, because you neer knew what wonderful things you might find. Sadly, there are almost no record stores left.

    Internet shopping is great, but it’s just NOT the same as browsing around. 🙁

  120. Howard:

    Your point is not a completely illegitimate one. However, even when the lawsuit is over, it may not truly tell us exactly what went on. 12 people (I assume Maryland juries have 12) are going to tell us what they think about the proof. We won’t get to hear all of it, and even if we did, we may not agree with the outcome, as in the O.J. and Casey Anthony cases.

    As one person noted, Mahaney and SGM have not been charged with a crime. So there will be no guilty/innocent verdict. Only a civil jury deciding based on the preponderance of the evidence (that is, is something more likely to have occurred than not.)

    I don’t believe that is going to really give us a perfect standard of justice.

    Then add to that the makeup of the jury. Those 12 folks will be bringing their experiences, prejudicies etc. into the jury room. They will look at the evidence collectively and come to some agreed upon verdict.

    I believe that a better way to look at this is to 1) acknowledge what is known. What is known is that there were pedophiles and child abuse in SGM churches. There are criminal convictions for that; and 2) there are a fairly good number of people who were involved in the incidents (as parents or the abused) and these people are complaining about the way SGM handled it. I believe it is worth reading those stories out there. One cannot know for sure if all of the facts in them are true, but in cases where there was abuse (and everyone agrees on that) it is not inconceivable that these things happened. I also believe that SGM has never really come out and said that the stories are fabricated etc.

    The rest – SGM motives, who said what to whom and who did what – we really can only make educated guesses. And a civil jury trial, as I have stated, may not help settle all of those issues.

    One of the great things about our country is that people can go to the church of their choice. And people make those decisions.

    And the other thing is that people can believe and talk about what they believe.

    People believe that Mahaney’s background does not really qualify him to claim that he is Apostle and leader of churches. People read his material and find that he says things that they disagree with, and people with experience in his family of churches say that they have had abusive experiences.

    The release of emails involving the higher ups at SGM over the years also exposed something about the organization and its leader. The emails clearly reveal that Mahaney blackmailed Tomczak (sp?) about something Tomczak’s son had done.

    It seems unreasonable to require the results of a civil jury trial to come down before anyone makes any judgments about these things.

    There may be some facts that will be clearly established. For example, did SGM churches report the abuse? That’s a pretty easy thing to prove or disprove.

    I already have some strong impressions of Mahaney and his churches. They are not all bad, and there are some things to admire. But they do appear to be controlling and psycholoigcally heavy on people. I also believe that there were pedophiles there. The SGM response seems to have been weak. If they reported the pedophiles to the police, you can be certain they would be shouting that from the rooftops. They are not. I suspect that the trial will confirm that they did not because they had a strong but confused understanding of a Christian’s obligation to civil authority.

    The Bible says that the civil authority bears the sword to punish evildoers and that God has ordained that. Accordingly, the FIRST thing that SGM should have done when learning of pedophilia is to contact the authorities and report the abuse so that God’s ordained authorities could punish evildoers.

    Somehow, SGM got all that turned around and believed that they should actually protect and shield evildoers from God’s ordained authority. I can find no warrant for that in the NT.

    That fact alone, if confirmed (and I don’t believe anyone doubts that won’t be confirmed) exposes SGM churches as places with terrible misunderstandings about the Bible.

    So, I agree that there are somethings that would be better served by withholding our judgment. But that there are other things here that are well known and don’t require additional facts.

    Also, look at the Sandusky case. Some of the very people who caution not saying anything here were quick to jump all over that.

    And finally, whatever is decided about SGM, the real victims here are little children. There is no doubt about that.

    So to many people much of the angst that exists is about whether some human ministry is harmed etc., when there seems to be so little angst about what these children suffered.

  121. numo wrote:

    @ Trina: “Kind of Blue” is incredible – you would also like “Somethin’ Else,” which was recorded under Cannonball Adderley’s name, but is actually a Miles-led session, for all intents and purposes.
    Jarret can play, but the noise he makes while doing it can drive me around the bend. I mean, lots of pianists do that (Thelonious Monk, for one, and he was THE man), but Jarrett’s sounds get on my nerves. Thing is, he always has *great* bassists and drummers; I so wish I could like his trio records better than I do…

    Ha, that is funny. Well, the first time I listened to his live recording, I think it was in Strausburg or something around that or the other, and it scared the hell out of me. I thought somebody was in teh room with me. I’ve heard that on some of Diana Krall’s live recordings as well. Yes, I think artists do weird stuff like that. A lot of string players make these weird pouting movements with their lips while they play, while in my current orchestra, one of our bassists sticks his tongue out. I am NOT mature enough for that! I crack up everytime I see it, so I just have to not look at him, because iCant.

    I dont want to derail the convo much longer, but yes, it’s been great chatting about music. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming. Brought to you by:

    Church Docs…

    Has your church been a lil sickly lately? Or has your church made YOU sick lately? If you’ve got disappearing members, we can help. Missing money? Yep. If your pastor’s a lying bastard, we can unbastardize him (additional fees apply). Has your grandma been perpwalked out of church lately? Tell Grandma don’t worry. We got her covered.

    Call Church Docs! We can help!

    1-800-JesusIsMad or IownKnowWhyYouThinkJesusIsPlayinCauseHeAint.com.

  122. @ Trina: No, it wasn’t that long ago.

    Tower’s going into Chapter 7 was the death knell for so many record stores – local chains, indie stores, the works.

    it’s as if someone kicked the foundation out from under the whole retail side of it. Tower D.C. had superb jazz and classical rooms (I mean, whole BIG rooms). It was a great store.

  123. @ numo:

    Even after two decades in evangelicalism, the echoes of my Anglican childhood remain. I hear them particularly clearly at this time of year, and at Advent.

  124. Jenny wrote:

    @ numo:
    Even after two decades in evangelicalism, the echoes of my Anglican childhood remain. I hear them particularly clearly at this time of year, and at Advent.

    aYE! The trap. I love talking music. I was singing some choral piece the other day at work in this vein and my co-worker starts singing with me, lol. She says do you go to an Anglican church or was raised in one? I said nope. Just love the music. And I know a ton of Baptist hymnals, lol. I actually hated contemporary Christian music. If somebody sang one mo Marantha song in its 1180th revision, I was gonna pull out all of my body hair one by one. Just UGH! To each his own though. And don’t get me started on…. yep, lemme back outta this one. (slides backwards, closes curtains, exits stage left)

  125. Eagle wrote:

    It would be cool if something were started to counter Mark Dever’s Nuremburg agenda. This list is good. Perhaps the name could be 9 Marks of Biblical Christianity. I say Biblical becuase that has to be contested as well. Its like allows, sovereigtny, Gospel, submission, etc…

    Eagle I would like to see others thoughts on this. The 9Marks list is almost totally wrong and must be countered with “real” Biblical teaching. Like I said these were my thoughts and I hope that eventually a truly Christ centered 9 marks list will emerge and become a meme that they cannot stop. Not say mine aren’t Christ centered but there might be more important items to go on such a list.

  126. @ Sopwith: Japanese style, or American? (Warning: has pic of squid-ink pizza, though not til the bottom of the page.)

    There is a pizza topped with lots of mayo, too.

    My fave: actual Italian-style pizza, like pizza Margherita.

  127. @ numo:

    Okay, I agree, pizza with mayo sounds, uuhmm, well, yuk. But, wait, what’s the difference between topped with mayo and dunkin it in ranch? I’m not fond of this option either.

  128. @ Wisdomchaser:
    Wisdomchaser, I liked what you wrote because, in essence, it bears the spirit of what the good news was about and what we can readily see Jesus doing as we read certain narratives of his life, both secular and Christian. I think, for instance, it is the difference between a church teaching that the local church is it’s main ministry, and therefore, focusing so much on the “care” of its members (not altogether a bad thing to care for your members) but so much that these already, generally, fortunate members (by today’s standard, especially in a community like Capitol Hill) don’t need as much help as the homeless (which our city has plenty of), the disenfranchised, the marginalized and so forth. Because their “gospel” already reduces women, singles, children to mere function, it then follows that other people groups would not be so mcuh on their radar, especially the poor. The racism I observed in this church was also very disheartening. It naturally leads me to believe that no further grace, then, would be sought to even consider if their views on LGBT might also be wrong.

    Needless to say, a lack of abundance of charity (which is needed in this world) towards the least of these tends to be more of the major Mark for such a church, with such a gospel that they proclaim that really doesn’t resemble much of a gospel at all. What good news is there to find out that you’re not fully human? Or that you can’t have love because you were born gay? Or that your gender makes you equal in value but “different” in function? Who are they kidding with all that hogwash and spin, but they sure do know how to dress it up and make it all pretty.

    Not that I can blame my own lack of charity on the church, I do feel, though, that had that been a greater focus (without the need for conversion of many) within the church, people would follow suit. But the version of Christianity that I’ve been taught and has been modeled for me really didn’t show me that, other than playing Santa at Christmastime, or some small group or another going to a soup kitchen every so often. Afterall, if your leaders lead well in this regard, naturally it would inspire others to give as much and serve as much OUT IN THE REAL WORLD, where there are VERY REAL needs.

    The church is really the last place I’d look to as an example of charity, OVERWHELMING, heartbending, lifechanging CHARITY.

  129. @ Bridget: Me either.

    However, I do like some of the Japanese topping combos on that page I linked to above, though i think I’ll give the one with “cubed steak” a pass. For the most part, they seem to be using veggies, meat – and some seafood – that aren’t all *that* wildly different than a lot of pizza topping combos that have been dreamed up right here in the US.

  130. “Oh! SGM, Wherze Is Thy Stngy Thing?”

    @ Bridget

    Bridget,

    Hey,

    a Tower of SGM Babel(ers) concept, hmmm…

    …by no means imply’in  dat  God is not also movin’ or dat ‘His’ Kingdom is not stretch’in…Err…expand’in…

    Datz happen(-ing) ‘despite’ da provervial tower(ing)  (inferno) SGM/SBC Calvinesta Religious Industrial Complex going up!

    Yep! U gotz it!

    God cannot be thwarted, push’d, cajoled, or cohered.

    Ect., Ect., Ect.,

    You gotz it, Baby!

    Yep! Da Lord sayz in His word, ‘Bad stull is gonna happen, but ‘My Good Word’ never returns ta me ‘void’, (and of none effect…), but it accomplishes it’s (vg) intended p-u-r-p-o-s-e, in it’s time, and da providential plaze of it’s choos’in!

    Yeppeeeeeeeeeeeee!

    -snort- 

    God’s sovereignty, wit a wonderful purpose?

    Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa?

    Who would’ve guessed it!

    -snark-

    (You betcha!)

    Oh! Proverbial SGM Death, Where Is Thy Sting?

    Later…

    kirrrrrrrrrrk!

    Ssssssssssssssssssss…

    “Cyrus, …my faithful servant, go out dare and fetch some large Pizzaz fo my ‘good n’ faithful’ Wartburg Watch friends!” (…anz don’t you b forgetting doze soft drinks! )

    (grin)

    hahahahaha

    Blessings!  Bridget! ☺

    Pass da Cheeeeeeeeeeeese!

    Sopy 
    ___
    Numo, Italian-style pizza, like pizza Margherita, yum! @ numo

  131. A. Amos Love wrote:

    Me thinks all they are doing is opening up another “Franchise” location. Oy Vey!!!

    Oy vey, indeed.

    Anon 1 wrote:

    You know, it is funny when you really take a historical look at how NT churches came about. Paul might stay for a few months and move on.

    AND Paul worked a real job and … wait for it … made a salary to support himself! :O

  132. “SGM Amelioration?”

    “…to make bedder?” 

    “…to improve upon?”

    huh?

    Why is da proverbial SGM sick or somethin’?

    -s_icker-   _-_-_-_n…

    .. to heal da church plant’land proverbial ‘Busniess’ of SGM? 

    hmmm…

    SGM Amelioration?; an alternative name for SGM’land improvement!

    R U Nutz?

    da Ceege’s resignation?…the introduction of positive connotations or removal of negative ones?

    he, he, he…

    dat one got me…

    there goes ma coffee…

    -snort-

    hahahahaha

    Sopy

  133. One thing I dont have enough of on my iPod is good blues music (BB King and others) and other soul artists like Wilson Picket, Otis Redding and Sam Cooke even though I grew up listening to it.

  134. Trina wrote:

    The church is really the last place I’d look to as an example of charity, OVERWHELMING, heartbending, lifechanging CHARITY.

    Kýrie, eléison – again.

    Shame on us …

  135. @ Trina:

    I think there needs to be a healthy balance there.

    The New Testament says that a Christian’s priorities are to be one’s flesh and blood family and spiritual family (the local church / other Christians- see 1 Timothy 5: 8, Galatians 6:10).

    This is a sticking point for me because at a time in my life I (a Christian) needed Christian love, support, and compassion (my mom died), I instead was ignored and brushed aside by Christians who I went to for help /guidance.

    Or, other Christians actually judged me, shamed me, criticized me, or passed off my grief as supposedly not being so horrible because “homeless people and abused wives in the local shelter have life worse than you.”

    Just be careful when advocating to help non Christians outside the local body, such as the homeless, that you don’t neglect hurting Christians or minimize their pain or struggles by comparing it to homeless people or whomever.

    That is one reason of several I have come close to leaving the Christian faith, seeing how other Christians don’t really live out the Bible’s teachings on how to treat other Christians.

    It’s inconsistent to show compassion to people you have never met before (e.g., homeless people downtown, or orphans in India,etc) but to tell the hurting Christian who meets with you weekly at church or where ever, that her problems and pain in life are nothing, because she has life “easier” in some ways than homeless people.

    I have been on the receiving end of that sort of rhetoric and attitude, and it wounds and cuts deeply.

  136. Pizza recipe: one rising crust four cheese pizza, cook per directed for 1/2 to 2/3 the recommend time. Meanwhile, stir fry in minimal oil diced onion, mushrooms (fresh is best). Just before time on baking pizza is up, add sliced olives (green or greek) to warm them up. Slide pizza onto warmed pizza pan, spoon onion/mushroom/olive mixture on top. Sprinkle generously with shredded Parmesan. Sprinkle generously with Feta. Put on middle shelf and turn on the broiler at high temp setting for balance of cooking time. Great for a meal, also reheats well. Have to serve with knife and fork.

  137. @ Daisy:

    I think one can have a thriving and lively relationship with God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit minus the institution.

    I get together with 2 friends (each from different churches, 1 is protestant, the other is catholic) once a week for 90 minutes to pray together, and WOW — it’s the most envigorating, powerful, nourishing thing.

    An institution is so unnecessary to knowing God and being his agent in the world. It can be good or bad — but certainly not required. We can take responsibility for our own horizontal human relationships with spiritually like-minded people for support — there is no reason to rely on an institution for that.

    We can also take responsibility for looking after our community (our friends, our neighborhood, peers we come in contact with, people we know at the gym/coffee place/grocery store/post office, etc.

    We can also be involved in making a difference remotely (finding relief orgs and charities that demonstrate accountability and are worthy of our trust and support).

  138. Just to let you know, I sent the petition and signatures to the national evangelical “leaders” today. The petition closed on the 3rd and I had been hoping to get it sent earlier, but I was slightly pre-occupied last week 🙂 and couldn’t get it together until today. If we get any kind of response, I’ll let you know. Don’t hold your breath.

  139. Daisy wrote:

    It’s inconsistent to show compassion to people you have never met before (e.g., homeless people downtown, or orphans in India,etc) but to tell the hurting Christian who meets with you weekly at church or where ever, that her problems and pain in life are nothing, because she has life “easier” in some ways than homeless people.

    Do you think one factor in this might be that you will probably never meet Orphans in India face-to-face? It’s a lot easier to gush over those you will never meet IRL but only in the abstract; Social Activist types do it all the time.

    “The way to love my fellow man
    And hate my next-door neighbor.”
    — G.K.Chesterton

    Or that obvious non-Christians like Orphans in India are potential converts first and foremost, i.e. notches on your Bible/sales figures to present for your salesman’s bonus at the Great White Throne? (I encountered that attitude during my time in-country in the Evangelical Bubble.)

  140. When I was in DC in the late ’70s, loved to eat at a little hole-in-the-wall paisan French restaurant — think the name was “la Ruche” which I think meant something like behive. BYO wine place with great food at price competitive with any cheap sit down place. BTW, also had lobbyist take me out to the 1789 for a $200+ meal for two.

  141. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    “The way to love my fellow man
    And hate my next-door neighbor.”
    – G.K.Chesterton

    Reminds me of this line:

    “Hate your next-door neighbor,
    but don’t forget to say grace”
    – Barry McGuire Eve of Destruction

  142. Trina,
    That is so way cool that you play violin. There’s a particular passage in the finale of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy that brings me to tears every time. It’s after the double basses & the wood winds define the famous tune everybody knows. The violins continue with the sweetest counterpoint harmony there’s ever been in my opinion.

    I am convinced that Beethoven was divinely inspired and that the Almighty himself was his teacher.

    I’m wondering here, is it true that Stradivari completed his last violin when he was in his 90s?

  143. “SGM Exit Strategies? Pt. 1”

    HowDee,

    hmmm…

    Doing da designer-clad, Logos Bible Software-bedecked charlatan’s bidding forces C.J. to weigh doing the  ‘morally right’ thing against “The Firm’s” bottom line?

    hmmm…

    But this anticipated departure, may also help C.J.  devise a ‘foolproof’ exit strategy…with some rather unexpected dividends?

    What?

    Teflon is as Teflon dose…

    -snicker-

    …but I don’t think this tendered resignation will reduce his ‘heat signature’ all dat much.

    Nice try though.

    hum, hum,hum, …Pack ma bags…should’ve quit you SGM, along time ago…

    kirrrrk!

    seats and tables in da uprightz position…

    next stop da proverbial ‘Mohler Zone…’

    do, do do-do, do, do do-do…

    C.J., Have a nice “flight”!

    Don’t worry your widdle head none neither, you’ll cross dat Maryland bridge when ya come to it?

    …don’t forget ta de-ice.

    Sopy

  144. “SGM Board: ‘Cross'(-ing) Dat New Bridge.”

    (SGM Exit Strategies? pt.2)

    HowDee,

    Proverbial SGM Board: 

    “While Da Ceege’s away, have a smidgen of chill’d tropical koolaid and come on down ta Lewisville, and plaze your head in da sand wit us!!! ,

    Da ol’ Squid calls this Ministry his ‘labor of love?’ Da Ceege even swore on King Neptune Rex’s …Ahem! …Albert Mohler’s treasures, that this little family of churches, are da best discovery in paradise! ,

    In fact da Ceege call’s SGM a little piece of heaven: the unspoiled proverbial pirates, Ahem! pastor playground… ,

    So if your brave enough to avoid the rodents down in da CLC basement, or the concrete boots of da proverbial SBTS, try your ‘luck’ with us… ,

    Just get on with it before C.J. returns and makes ye walk da flipp’in plank!”

    *

    (grin)

    hahahahaha

    Sopy

  145. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:

    HUG, I’m not totally sure what their motivations were, the ones who compared what I was going through with orphans in India, or with the homeless.

    My impression is that some of them think it’s more spiritual and more “Christian” to weep for impoverished widows and orphans in third world nations than it is to help or empathize with middle class “John (or Jane) Doe Christian” who attends their church or who lives next door.

    As to your point, do they do it to win more souls. Maybe, but you have to ask yourself, if such Christians ignore you and your pain once you do convert, why would you want to become one in the first place?

    I think it’s a shame to convert someone and then brush them aside like they are nothing, to go chasing after the next potentional convert.

    The sort I kept coming across seem to think that a Christian cannot or should not admit to weakness, pain, or they seem to feel that it is self-centered to seek aid / comfort for himself/ herself.

    Along with this is the idea that you should throw yourself in to service, if you serve others, it will take your mind off your troubles, and you will magically recover or see the brighter side of life. (That idea has never worked for me.)

    Or, some of them seem to think as long as there is someone in the world who has it worse than you (measured by creature comforts, etc, like you have in-door plumbing, some Joe in a hut in South America does not), you don’t have a right to feel pain or hurt, or to express it.

    I guess I was supposed to just suck up the loss and grief and tough it out alone (which is what happenedto me any way).

    My impression from the ones who brushed me aside, wouldn’t return phone calls (or who got me off the phone as quick as they could), etc, was that either they were lazy, didn’t want to invest time in seeing me, or taking my calls. They’d rather spend their time with their friends or watching television.

    (Most of these Christian people I went to are retired, are in average- to- excellent health, etc., so it’s not like I was looking to real busy or sick people for support.)

    During this time, I was actually a source of support and comfort for some long time, online friends of mine who were going through their own problems. Ironically.

    Either way you look at it, other than a few very small acts of kindness from 1 or 2 Christians, I got through the ordeal alone.

    I didn’t have any one to help me through it. Relations with some of my other family (including some siblings) is strained, so I could not turn to them for emotional support.

    I do want to make sure that every one understands I’m not against Christians in the U.S.A. helping people in other nations, evangelization of the un-saved, or helping the homeless, or helping other people who are in severe distress.

    I do, though, find it troubling, and a big turn off, that while many American Christians gush empathy, financial aid, and tears for hurting people in other nations (or the homeless downtown in their city), that often, they can be negligent or cruel towards hurting Christians they know personally and see daily or weekly.

    I’ve noticed this situation is particularly common or bad for Christians who have psychological, emotional problems, or ones, like me, who went through grief over a death.

    There tends to be more sympathy for physically sick Christians than ones who have depression, anxiety attacks, bipolar disorder, etc.- when that sympathy is not being out-poured towards orphans in India or the homeless.

  146. @ Anon 1:I agree with you about Harris. Like others who have placed their confidence in him to lead CLC back into what some members have romantized about from the past, I don’t see that he gets it. Like you said, he’s got too much of that patriarchal, hierarchical DNA.

    Let me ask what you think about something…

    Do you think it’s possible for God to actively be at work against something in such a way as to effectively prevent it from regrouping? And do you think that’s a possibility with CJ and SGM? I think of instances in scripture like the mark of Cain, or when we see the plans of God’s enemies frustrated so that His plans succeed.

    Maybe I’m not expressing myself very well idk. And I’m a patient person. I’ve done plenty of waiting. I know the difference between wishful thinking and like you, I’ve watched plenty of events unfold. I was involved in SGM, so I can understand how it would appear I motivated by a vendetta, but I’m not. Plus, I don’t assign significance to things randomly, and talk like I’ve been talking lately. I probably sound kind of looney almost, and I’m even aware of that. I’ve been waxing pretty spiritual. But I can not shake this impression, so I’m sharing it. And believe me, I’ve been around the block enough times not to get all disappointed if things don’t shake out in ways I sense they will. I’m also aware that what meets the eye, isn’t the reality of the situation. I’ve seen plenty of footage of the incredibly organized Germany army during WWII. You’d think they would have been unstoppable. I’ve watched that footage knowing what was coming. I’ve seen the crowds at Celebration. I’ve recognized the far reaching effects of SGMs publications, music etc. I’m aware of the numbers of people who are out there who have no idea what’s been going on. But in my mind is like watching it all through the lens of history. It’s like I’ve already seen it like it’s a thing of the past. Does that make sense?

  147. Evie, there is nothing wrong with being motivated by Justice! Please do not confuse a vendetta with justice. And justice not just for the spiritual abuse and molestations but also for misrepresenting Jesus Christ and His Good News, too! They need to be out of business. Can you imagine the repercussions for a good portion of the NC movement if most of those guys admitted they were frauds or were sucked into something they now know is wrong and there was stepping down from ministry and public confessions?

    Boy oh boy you are asking me some tough questions. I think God can do anything. I do not think He actively controls every molecule. I do not go to the OT to see how God works today because Jesus Christ sent us an Advocate Who dwells in us, guides us and I think God works through His kingdom people here…. for the most part. I fear hearing folks talk about waiting around on God to do this or that when it is really our responsibility to be truthful, protect people, provide healing, warn of wolves, etc.

    Or the idea of always crediting God with this or that happenings. That sort of thinking can keep us from developing new medicines, discovering new planets even helping folks instead of always saying, “I’ll pray for you, God will protect you”. What about us putting feet/hands to truth and prayers. What is our role in the kingdom?

    And then again, I could be overreacting to stuff I heard for years in the seeker world. Everything was a “God thing”. The invitro worked so it was a God thing. (not a God thing when it didn’t?) He got the job, it as a God thing but not when he did not get the job. And plenty of people had only a few “God things” to report. It was almost a competition. It really was ridiculous.

    I DO believe God is enabling all sorts of people to send huge warning signs for folks to get out of SGM. But I do not think God forces these things.

    Yes, I believe God intervenes and we have little understanding of it. I have heard most of the incredible miracles from family members who were in the wilds of Africa where there was no other way it could have happened and it was too obvious yet they were not exactly the looking for a miracle types if you get my drift.

    I think that when people stop buying the books and supporting SGM types on stages by buying tickets, listening to sermons, it will all be over. I don’t see that happening….yet. It is not just CJ, they are plenty of his clones out there in ministry. Even in the SBC. And they do not seem to be going anywhere. This is going to be a long term problem and I wonder alot about the fall out 20 years from now with the followers.

  148. @ Daisy: I’m so sorry to hear that people weren’t here for you when you were grieving… it’s so wrong.

    The thing is, N. Americans – in general – do VERY badly (imo) on grief and grieving. we tend to think people ought to “get over it,” or somehow that it’s just a short-lived thing.

    Sometimes it is; mostly, though, it isn’t. Once the 1st month is up, and cards and letters and texts aren’t coming anymore, then the hard part really starts. That’s when people need the most support, imo – or rather, they need just as much support as they did in the immediate aftermath of a loss. But we all tend to forget – perhaps partly due to our own need for self-preservation – that others are hurting.

    Me, I wish I lived a lot closer to the daughter of a friend of mine who recently died. I wish I could spend time with her, take her out to dinner – just listen. And remember with her.

    We all need that.

  149. @ Anonymous:
    I hope Howard responds. You did a great job responding to them. Very thoughtful and thorough. I’m guessing Howard was a drive – by shooter though.

  150. @ Anonymous:
    What about Thousand Island Dressing as a dipping sauce? My kids like to use Ranch Dressing for their pizza. Baking it with the sauce would definitely be no bueno. But it’s a great idea for St. Patricks Day. Reuben Pizza & Green Beer!

  151. Wow! I step away from my computer to work a long shift and come back to see that I’ve become public enemy #1! I thought I was being helpful but instead, have been accused of a long list of greivous sins. Is this a place where people allow others to have a different view or even a question? Or is it only for those that think alike? (That’s kind of cultish, isn’t it 🙂

  152. @ Howard:

    All I know is a bunch of children were molested by some so-called “Christians” and rather than report these sins and crimes to the proper authorities and protect the kids, an entire church system of more so-called “Christians” tried to cover it up, all of which is not very “Christian.”

    Some of these “Christians” even forced a small girl who was molested to apologize to her molestor. That is sick and twisted, and not very Christian.

  153. @ Howard:
    Really? You thought you were being helpful? Can you please point us to the long list of “grievous sins” you’ve been accused of? If I remember correctly, you didn’t just have a question, but you questioned our “reasonableness.” Your “concerns” were thoroughly answered up thread.

  154. @ numo:

    Thank you, Numo.

    Yes, it’s true, and it’s backwards on the timing, as you were mentioning.

    I got several sympathy e-mails and cards in the immediate weeks after the death. After that, not much of anything.

    My feelings were numb the first few months after the death.

    It was after the first several months, for the next three years after that point, thatthe pain hit and I felt all of it. That is when I needed support and got about zero (or judged or lectured).

    I do think Americans are terrible with death and grieving. There is little sympathy or understanding.

    One friend of mine, when I sent a mass e-mail out letting everyone know of the death, this jerk actually made his sympathy e-mail note all about him.

    He said he was sorry of my mother’s passing, but then proceeded to spend the rest of the four or five paragraph sympathy / condolence note going on about his wondeful life, and how great his job was, etc., it was very cheery and… all about him.

    When I brought this up to him a couple years later and how inappropriate and hurtful his “condolence” note was, he didnot apologize, but had the audacity to scold me for my attitude about it (according to him,I was supposed to be more light hearted about my mother’s passing, and bewilling to yuk itup withother people because he was able to ham it up at the funerals of a 90 year old great uant of his once).
    I stopped all correspondence with him.

    But that is, sad to say, pretty typical behavior. I talked online to other people on grief forums two or three years ago, and they related similar experiences to mine, where people said or did inappropriate things to them in their time of grief.

    And that friend of mine who sent me that crummy sympathy note? He’s been a Christian since childhood.

  155. @ Anon 1:
    Thanks for responding. I wish this didn’t end up being such a huge mess. I really hope something very good comes from all this, and that the courts end up putting the screws to SGM.

    You wrote:

    “And justice not just for the spiritual abuse and molestations but also for misrepresenting Jesus Christ and His Good News, too! They need to be out of business.”

    Yes! The misrepresentation of Jesus and the Gospel is what’s so hateful, and what provokes me the most. It’s what’s caused the abuse!

    Or the idea of always crediting God with this or that happenings.

    I agree with you. As it relates to SGM, I know there’s been so many people who attempted to effect change. Each one of those efforts gives substance to the prayers. Without the constant pressure being put on Mahaney and others, they would have continued to elude justice. The longer SGM was able to maintain the culture of silence and submission, the longer they got away with their abuse. No wonder they were so fastidious about their image and controlling the PR. They knew there was something to hide!

    Yes, I believe God intervenes and we have little understanding of it.

    I agree. I probably sound like I presume to know with certainty something that is uncertain. God’s interventions are not common. The flood was global. Sodom & Gomorrah was local. Ananias & Saphira were individuals. Rare interventions. I don’t expect God to intervene in that way, but instead in the sense that everyone’s work of exposing SGMs abuses will end up ruining it because God has been involved in the effort. Quite the opposite message you hear coming out of SGM, that keeps deceiving people about God’s involvement in the ministry.

    I also agree with you about SGM being a big mess that will take a long time to clean up. If only people had acted decisively like PSU did. The RBDs should all be assigned to picking up the trash.

  156. @ numo:

    Numo,

    Pass da Cheeeeeeeeese Pls. 

    *

    confiseries ?

    ☺☺☺☺☺         ☺☺☺☺☺-_-㋡
              ☺☺☺☺☺

    …du Chocolat ?

    La Maison du Chocolat ?

    http://www.lamaisonduchocolat.us/us/en/type/praline

    Praliné ?

    ..Pralinés alléchant ?

    .. .un mélange d’amandes rôties et noisettes, enrobés de chocolat croquant!!!

    aimer les sucreries !

    Oui, comment deviné ?

    ;~)

  157. @ Sopwith:

    Lol I see what you’re saying 😛
    I certainly didn’t mean to characterize things in the sense that its meant to be viewed as entertainment, like theatre. Or that He orchestrates these terrible events. I just believe that there are those moments where things happen to be just right and results in a rare breakout “performance!” But it’s more like a breakthrough. Kinda like what it took to prepare the stage Martin Luther stepped onto, and the breakthrough that resulted from his breakout performance. But we know many years of sorrow and spiritual abuse precipitated the event, and that it was a major move of God that brought about significant change!

  158. Sopwith wrote:

    aimer les sucreries !
    Oui, comment deviné ?
    ;~)

    J’aime les confiseries aussi! Et les boulangeries! Les patisseries sont tres devine aussi! Particulierement avec le buerre! Mmmmmm……

  159. If it hasn’t been posted already, Jerry Bridges another well known “Calvinista” spoke at SGM Louisville. Apparently he was teaching at SGM Pastors College and thus spoke on Sunday. Sad to see another “name” speaker come and show support to Mahaney despite all the sin and hypocrisy of Mahaney.

  160. Steve, in the Calvinista world, Bridges is a big deal. That communicates a lot to the young T4G guys and GC which is where Mahaney wants his reputation to hold.

  161. “I don’t expect God to intervene in that way, but instead in the sense that everyone’s work of exposing SGMs abuses will end up ruining it because God has been involved in the effort. Quite the opposite message you hear coming out of SGM, that keeps deceiving people about God’s involvement in the ministry”

    So true Evie! Thanks for explaining. I mentioned that I might have over reacted because of what I constantly hear from folks attributing everything to God doing this or that. It seems I did. God bless you!!

  162. Muff Potter wrote:

    Trina,
    That is so way cool that you play violin. There’s a particular passage in the finale of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy that brings me to tears every time. It’s after the double basses & the wood winds define the famous tune everybody knows. The violins continue with the sweetest counterpoint harmony there’s ever been in my opinion.
    I am convinced that Beethoven was divinely inspired and that the Almighty himself was his teacher.
    I’m wondering here, is it true that Stradivari completed his last violin when he was in his 90s?

    Muff–I love Beethoven’s 5th. It’s very complex. And the chorus is just absolutely beautiful. It’s one of the hardest pieces I’ve ever had to play aside from a few by Tchaikovsky and others. I think the guy was on acid. I have literally taken my music and thrown it across the floor yelling “I hate you!”.

    I dont know the answer to that piece of trivia about Strad.

  163. Anon 1 wrote:

    “I remember being told at CLC that I can’t trust my own heart. It’s wicked at best”
    Which means you should not trust CJ’s either?

    I was told the same thing in the group I was part of. And Jeremiah 17:9 was used as the proof-text for that statement.

  164. Trina, I now thank them for letting me know about their wicked heart cos if my heart is wicked so is theirs. The only thing that says to me is that we should not listen to them. :o)

  165. @ Evie:

    Evie,  ☺

    Among your words here at Wartburg Watch, are many stunning examples of a precious heart seeking the pursuit of Jesus Christ, with a perceptive distinguished charity: 

    “They will know we are Christians by our love?” 

    What?

    You have determinately dedicatedly demonstrated this ‘love’ for all the world to see.

    Thank-You!

    Sopwith

  166. @ Evie:

    “SGM  Center-Stage: Lightz, Camera, Action?”

    Evie,

    Hay, 

    …a major move of God that brings about significant change?

    hmmm…

    never doubted Him a moment…

    (well, maybe a teensy widdle bit) 

    …almost five years ago a little birdy whispered : “look whatz theyz doin’ to ‘Jesus’ church!” 

    Go! Fish!; ‘little’ did i know…

    Ordo SGM Salutis?

    hmmm… (He knowz)

    God so loved da folks @ SGM so much, dat He’s raising up all kinda folks from a whole plethora of  inter-national public audience(s) ta go getz um! …Judge Judys too!

    Whew!

    Yahooooooo!

    He’s gotz da whole world, in His hands…hum,hum,hum…

    He even rides da wind, yet those of a contrite heart escape not His gaze… 🙂

    daz it, daz it! ☺

    Evie, May He keep you in da hollow of His hands…always!☺ 

    ;~)
    ___
    P.S. Da Ceege will never stand chance… -snicker-
    O’ man o’ SGM, what doth the Lord requireth of thee?
    (was dat thunder?  …no a widdle small gentle voice…)
    …To love mercy, do justice, and ta walk humbly before your God!☺

  167. Spowith and Trina

    My last French class was over 40 years ago. But “je mange les bluets frais chaque de matins”. not quite correct but close and communicating, I think.

  168. @ 56 years a Baptist, mostly SBC:

    Bleuets frais ?

    Bonjour! …taste bourgeons ! Oui ? Sur bran flakes, vous les mettez ? Avec un peu de crème ?  Rafraîchissant !

    Je vous remercie pour votre message.

    Avec les sincères amitiés,

    Le Sopy
    ___
    P.S. 56, Thank you for your contributions here @TWW. I enjoy reading your comments .  ☺

  169. Sopwith wrote:

    Evie, May He keep you in da hollow of His hands…always!☺

    You, sir, have made my day. Such sweet words of comfort. Thank you!!

    “Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
    Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
    Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
    Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
    And He must win the battle.” Martin Luther

  170. Pas de creme pour moi, seulment les bleuets avec le cafe presse.

    Sopy, votre francais est superb! Ou est-ce que vous etudiez le francais? Pardon-moi, je n’ai pas des accents agiu et grave dans ma (keyboard)? ha.

  171. @ Sopwith:
    I read and understand better than I speak or write. Thanks Sopy. Everyday breakfast bowl is some Fiber One original, a little more uncooked slow cook oatmeal, some walnut pieces, blue berries, and no fat milk. Sometimes a little cold milled flax seed in the middle.

  172. The accents can be found as key combinations that result in the letter with the accent. Look at inserting symbols in the word processor. Sometimes, due to frustration with the difficulties my browser sometimes imposes when I read a blog, I write out what I wish to say in a Word document, then copy and paste. Have not tried with accents but will today and will post the accents here if I succeed.

  173. é alt + 0233
    á alt + 0225
    è alt + 0232
    others are available with the insert symbol from the Word menu bar.

  174. Dee, what is wrong with blueberries and walnuts? For breakfast. Evening and afternoon, dark chocolate or SF chocolate cookies.

  175. @ 56 years a Baptist, mostly SBC: You can also go into Control Panel -> keyboard settings (language) and choose an English-language keyboard layout that allows you to create many accents without needing to deal with cut and paste.

    I’ve been using the English (international) keyboard for about 10 years now and find it much more versatile and suite to my needs.

    This is all keystrokes: ç â ë (and so on).

  176. The ones I put up can be done in the comment space on the blog! But finding the codes requires a trip to Word or somewhere like that.

  177. @ dee:

    One of my favorite concoctions is a dish of blueberries and walnut nuggets covered in SF dark chocolate syrup. Surely that is the real ambrosia in heaven.

  178. @ Trina

    Je pense que c’est la suggestion de Mayonnaise pour une garniture sur la pizza…food il apporte juste hors de moi. 

    Bat un repas heureux , mains vers le bas !

    (large sourire)

    Le Sopy

  179. Trina wrote:

    @ Dave A A:
    On church planting… Many of the things that Wisdomchaser noted in his/her version of nine marks of a healthy church, aren’t things that I saw being done when I was at CHBC. In hindsight, church planting boils down to this: It is done to force their version of the “gospel” in communities, regions, and countries that, in their own mind, are doing it wrong, or need 9 Marks help to become “healthy”.

    Another way to “plant” churches is to send a plethora of your own members to another local church who has asked for your help, and have them infiltrate it and then “model” healthy church membership.

    I’ve seen both of these strategies done in SBC church planting for years. The Southern Baptists will go into a town filled with evangelical churches and plant one of their own because they claim the community is “unchurched”.
    I also saw a pastor who was butthurt at one church assume the pastorate of a church in another town. He brought all of his sycophants with him, and it looked like he was “turning the church around.” It came to an end when he tried to oust the old leaders and replace them with his people, particularly his family members. The original church members pushed back and he closed his Sunday morning sermon by leaving in a huff with his followers in tow, who tried to trash the church on their way out tearing posters and things off the walls.

  180. @ dee:

    Comfort? For emergency purposes only:

    roasted vegetable raviolis (fresh, not frozen)
    a multi-cheese sauce that has some tomato in it, too
    parmesan cheese
    red wine
    a candle
    *
    Lindt truffles or Lindt dark chocolate with sea salt
    more red wine
    *
    followed by a tightly well-made bed with clean sheets, your favorite soft blanket bunched up around your chin, and something on the telly to escape into (for me, The Long Long Trailer (Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz), With 6 You Get Eggroll (Doris Day, Brian Keith), Two For The Road (Audrey Hepburn, Albert Finney), or any Vicar of Dibley (Dawn French) episodes)

    Dee, I so appreciate your big time honesty and integrity. This is so striking because (amazingly so) it is so unusual.

    hmph

  181. Calvinesta Clone Warz: “Walk in da Spirit…Sopy!”

    HowDee,

    “The problem with ‘reformed’ Christianity is …to confuse Sovereignty with the ‘use of power’, rather than with ‘having the authority and power’.” – 56 years

    ” ‘Sovereignty’ (in many circles) has become synonymous with ‘force.’ ” – Bridget

    hmmm…

    Calvinesta watch words?: “The use of ‘spiritual’ force is authorized”…

    huh?

    …next stop “temporal pastorial power”, perhaps?

    Ouch!

    And da proverbial Mohler roller Calvinesta JackBootz?

    What?!?

    Pastorial ‘priestly clones’ pursuing ‘providential’ churchly power, presence, and prestige?

    march, march, march… Crunnch!

    Albert Mohler?: ” We simply have to do something?” “Da Christian church is going ta seed…”

    Whatz dat?

    a ‘Calvinesta Jængo Fattz’ will save us?

    (sadface)

    Cloning da proverbial ‘religious’ Calvinesta ‘Jængo Fattz’, is not a very good idea.

    huh?

    Unless you breath hard, and ware a proverbial T4G black cape, and want ta take over da christian religious universe… -snark-

    …and many will come in my (Jesus’) name and mislead many…

    (sadface)

    Dat day is unmistakably here.

    Watchz youze ‘faith’…

    (and your wallet, or purse, kind folks!)

    *

    I came that they might have ‘life’, and that life more abundantly. -Jesus 

    Accept ab-so-lute-ly no substitutes!!!

    Ya might get “spirituallyblast’d.”

    -snicker-

    The only one who can clone Jesus is Jesus.

    And why would He want ta do dat?

    Da Father is giving spiritual birth ta many sons and daughters ta b part of His Eternal household. They will ‘all’ be like Jesus, but they will certainly not be Calvinesta clones.

    ‘Choose this day whom you shall serve’! 

    As fo me and ma house…

    We shall serve Jesus.

    ha!

    ‘Spiritual birth’ is notz a ‘Reformed’ Xbox ““game”“.

    Take doze Calvinesta clones and shove um…

    ‘Walk in da Spirit’…Sopy!

    Yeah! buddy…

    (grin)

    ha ha

    ;~)

  182. JeffT wrote:

    I knew it! It was bound to happen – the TWW cult has started speaking in tongues.

    JeffT, Great comment! Yep, it was just a matter of time…

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