"Some life highlights so far: wedding day, birth of my kids, 1st published book, & the day I spent 10 hours with @CJMahaney #Rezolution2013"
REMEMBER THE WOUNDED
In light of ongoing plaintiff depositions in the SGM lawsuit, we believe this story is apropos. We will do a post on Bill Gothard tomorrow.
Several months ago I discovered there was an undercurrent of dissatisfaction in South Africa regarding C.J. Mahaney's upcoming visit. Some believed his conference appearances to be imprudent given the pending class action lawsuit in which he is a named defendant. I decided to write a post called A Resolution Against Rezolution – A Calvinista Conference.
This conference was recently held in a number of South African locations, along with other related events (i.e. 9 Marks). It seems that some were mesmerized by Mahaney and gang (Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan, Kevin DeYoung, and Bob Kauflin), hence the logo above. These men appear to be American Idols to Calvinistas (Neo-Calvinists) around the world.
One such groupie is Clint Archer – teaching pastor at Hillcrest Baptist Church (located on the outskirts of Durban, South Africa). As his Tweet above indicates, hanging out with Mahaney was extremely significant. Perhaps Mahaney's sermon at his church – Called, Loved, Kept (you know, the canned one delivered at Resolved 2011 link, Capitol Hill Baptist Church link and other places link link link and featured on The Gospel Coalition website link) – really resonated with him. (Updated with links – 4/26/13)
Archer wrote about his conference experience in a post entitled: Big in Africa: Evangelical Bigwigs hit Rezolution 2013. The blog post begins as follows:
"Last week, I while I was hanging out with CJ Mahaney, Mark Dever, and Kevin DeYoung…
OK, so I confess I didn’t know where that sentence was heading, just that I wanted to use it sometime this week. For all my disdain of Evangelical hagiolatry (see that snarky rant here) I succumbed to the malady like a giddy schoolgirl with a backstage pass to a Justin Bieber event. The Rezolution
ConcertConference first brought John “I practice karate kata while I preach” Piper to Africa in 2010. This year it drew an unprecedented line-up of Reformed heavies."
Reformed heavies? Archer then wrote:
"Let’s face it, these are articulate, educated leaders with corpulent personalities, well thought out positions, more degrees than Celsius, and impassioned opinions about pretty much anything anyone has ever wondered about. And yet, they were able to focus on the needs for the church in Africa in ways that were immeasurably beneficial.
These are influential men for a reason: they have a life worth emulating and a message worth listening to…"
It was fascinating to see a few commenters challenge him about labeling Mahaney as "educated". In response to this post, Diane wrote:
"Can you please share why you think CJ Mahaney is an Evangelical Bigwig? What makes him one? Does he have an education I am not aware of? You stated, "Let’s face it, these are articulate, educated leaders with corpulent personalities, well thought out positions, more degrees than Celsius,…". I can understand viewing some of the others as such.
Do you consider him an "Evangelical mover and shaker" as well, and, if so, does the fact that 20 plus churches have left his family of churches in the midst of horrible allegations and that fact that his own ministry is undergoing much turmoil affect your opinion?
Thanks for your article. I am very interested in what is going on in SA."
Clint Archer responded to Diane with this comment:
"1. The great thing blogging vs writing a dissertation, is that I can just say who I think is a biwig without needing to cite evidence in the footnotes.
2. I'm pretty sure the guy can read, so he must have had some education we are unaware of. There is a difference, I'm sure you recognize, between being degreed and being educated. Just ask the Apostles and Spurgeon.
3. Allegations are sometimes false; if it were not so we would not have the book of 2 Corinthians. St Paul was considered a mover and shaker in his day, in the midst of heart-breaking accusations. The Bema Seat judgment day will vindicate the faithful. (There's a book I recommend on the topic called "The Preacher's Payday.")
4. Thanks for the fair wording of your question, Diane. I had to delete an unChristian comment earlier, but I believe yours is sincere."
"Thanks for your reply. Of course you can say who is a big wig without a reason. You do not have to tell me, although I would like to know. You seem to greatly admire these men-using the phrases giddy schoolgirl and cling-on groupie, so I just wanted to know what it is that draws you to one man in particular.
You are quite complimentary towards them in your post using such words as movers and shakers, big wigs, and called them influential men with lives worth emulating. I was just wondering what it is that you see in Mahaney that you would emulate?
Yes, I did assume Mahaney could read and write 🙂 but I felt from the post you were including him in the post high school level of education category with the rest of the men: seminary, bible college, etc.
Allegations are what they are, but if one takes the time to read the civil suit, one comes away with more than allegations…"
Clint then wrote the following to Diane:
"The reason I like these men and consider them "movers and shakers" is because of their global influence for the gospel. Jesus said to go into all the antions and make disciples. These men have all written excellent books about how to understand and share the gospel and/or how to apply it to your life and church. For example, CJ's book on the Cross Centered Life has helped many people I've met in various countries. Dever's 9Marks material is the best out there for helping churches become more biblical. DeYoung effectively killed one of the most destructive trends in ecclesiology with his bestseller "Why we are not Emergent"
What so impressed me about CJ, after 10 hours with him, was his obvious humility, deep concern for complete strangers, his pastoral heart and care for my church and for me personally though we had never met before, and evidences of integrity and wisdom. Everyone I know who knows CJ well says he's the real deal, which explains why discerning and cautious men like Mohler, Dever, Piper, and others are willing to stake their reputations on backing him up amidst these allegations.
I hope that fleshes it out a bit better for you. Thanks for your interest."
Sometimes you can gain more insight from comments than from a blog post… This guy must be very perceptive if he can discern someone's humility after spending just 10 hours with him. So everyone Clint knows who knows CJ well says he's the real deal? I am so glad he went on the record with these words:
"discerning and cautious men like Mohler, Dever, Piper, and others are willing to stake their reputations on backing him up amid these allegations."
In the comment section, Jesse Johnson (Clint's blogging colleague) indicates that a portion of Diane's comment was deleted because he deemed it "off topic". Interestingly, Johnson wrote a post when Mahaney first stepped down. He called it: "My thoughts on the CJ fiasco". A lot has happened since he wrote this post back in 2011.
Johnson is the teaching pastor at Immanuel Bible Church in Springfield, Virginia, so he's a lot closer to the SGM situation than his blogging buddy Clint Archer. Both Johnson and Archer did their training at The Master's Seminary, and they blog along with Mike Riccardi and Nathan Busenitz (who is a professor of theology at The Master's Seminary). As you can see, The Cripplegate is directly tied to the seminary which John MacArthur oversees. Did they become Mahaniacs (Mahaney fanatics) because he spoke at every single Resolved conference? And, of course, now he's speaking at "Rezolution", which is an outgrowth of Resolved.
The Cripplegate bloggers deleted a comment from Paul, who posted the same comment over at SGM Survivors (#602 under the Discernment Bloggers post):
"Just posted this on cripplegate: we’ll see how long it lasts.
With respect Clint, I think you are missing the point. CJ Mahaney graduated from High School and attended college for a few months but dropped out without getting any kind of degree. Maybe you consider that to count as “educated” but I don’t (and I think most people in CJ’s own country of the USA would agree with me and not you).
The issue is not whether “allegations are sometimes false”. The issue is whether the allegations against CJ Mahaney are substantially false. I am a complete outsider but I think it is very likely that the allegations against CJ Mahaney are substantially true. First, neither CJ Mahaney nor Sovereign Grace have ever denied that the substance of the allegations is true. If you read the Sovereign Grace press releases about the lawsuit, you will see that they do not say anything like “these allegations are a pack of lies and we look forward to proving that in court”. Instead, the Sovereign Grace press releases say words to the effect of “what we did was legally protected by the first amendment”. In my mind, that’s basically admitting that the allegations are substantially true.
I may be reading the tone of your response to Diane incorrectly, but to me, it seems flippant. Frankly, that’s not an appropriate tone when discussing child sexual abuse (which is what this is about, in case you didn’t know).
FWIW, I agree that CJ Mahaney is an Evangelical Bigwig but again, the issue is whether he should be, not whether he is one"
The next day Paul's comment has been deleted on The Cripplegate blog, as indicated by this comment at SGM Survivors (#611 under Discernment Bloggers):
"Shockingly, my post at cripplegate was deleted and I got an email telling me my post was “sinful”, “slanderous” and “bearing false witness”!!!!"
What must those who have been wounded while in SGM think about all of this breathless adoration for Mahaney and gang? The motto of the church where Clint Archer pastors is "Where Truth Matters". Well, as we see it, the truth is that as the Young Restless and Reformed movement has evolved, it has taken on the appearance of a cult of personality which "arises when an individual uses mass media, propaganda, or other methods, to create an idealized, heroic, and, at times god-like public image, often through unquestioning flattery and praise."
In fact, those who are enamored by the Calvinista leaders remind us so much of this adoring fan of an American Idol (who won an award for the best impersonation of his idol).
REMEMBER THE WOUNDED
Lydia's Corner: 1 Samuel 15:1-16:23 John 8:1-20 Psalm 110:1-7 Proverbs 15:8-10