Sovereign Grace Ministries’ 2nd Amended Lawsuit: A House of Horrors? (Graphic)

But if you trust your feelings first and foremost, if you exalt your feelings, if you invest your feelings with final authority–they’ll deposit you on the emotional roller coaster which so often characterizes our lives. CJ Mahaney link

children-hands
Children's Hands

"Character assassination." That is what one megachurch pastor accused us of 2 years ago when we wrote and begged him to talk to his friend, CJ Mahaney. Deb and I had been reading SGM Survivors and SGM Refuge blogs for several years and had become deeply concerned about the numerous reports on those blogs surrounding the response of leadership to reports of child sexual abuse. We had never been a part of SGM but the numbers of stories, which seemed to constantly escalate, indicated to us that there appeared to be a serious problem. You can link to some of these stories on our home page.

Pastor after pastor, along with NeoCalvinist groups have defended and supported CJ Mahaney and SGM despite these allegations. In the meantime, we, at TWW, were roundly condemned for our expressions of concern about this group. Once our readers see these allegations we hope that they might question the discernment of those who accused us, and others, of character assassination.

Today, the 2nd Amendment to the lawsuit has been released. If you think the last one was bad, you are forewarned. What is included in this released suit will turn your stomach. 

We are now left with two diametrically opposed  possibilities. Either these accusations are amongst the greatest, dastardly collusions to ever cast aspersions on a group of churches and pastors or this has to be one of the worst child sexual abuses scandals in current evangelical history. I see no other option but I am sure that our readers will help me out if I am in error.

The allegations are positively sickening-a Law and Order-Special Victims Unit special on steroids. They involve well-known SGM pastors, allegedly performing some of the sickest acts imaginable on young children. Apparently, the defendants believed that they did not have enough details in the original lawsuit. Well, this time they got lots of details and I bet they wished they hadn't asked.

At the same time, several alleged victims and their parents have uncloaked their identities and will now speak on the record. I honor them for their courage because they open themselves up to the inevitable outcries of "traitors" for doing so. Please join with us in praying for these brave people.

Trigger Alert

Descriptors of explicit acts of sexual violence involving young children

We will post a synopsis of the acts and the identities of the alleged perps and then we will post a direct link to the amended lawsuit. This will be upsetting. Today I shall do part of this and will finish up tomorrow in order to get the links up for those who wish to follow this. 

Many will ask why we feel it necessary to post these difficult accusations. We do so because some people do not understand the depth of depravity involved in child sexual abuse. Many prefer to believe in a common caricature of a pedophile as an unkempt old man wearing a dark trench coat who quickly exposes himself to someone or looks under a little girls dress while she swings and then runs away. That is not what we are talking about here.

This past week, I had the opportunity to talk with a group of Christian health professionals. Most of them believe that the problem of pedophilia is found in the Catholic church because priests can't marry. As you will see, marriage does not cure pedophilia. We have far too many incidents within the Protestant tradition to be casting stones at our Catholic brothers and sisters.

For the attorneys: Everything from this point forward is "alleged."

1. Five of the alleged victims have, to use a Star Trek term, uncloaked. TWW recognizes their particular courage while at the same time applauding all who have joined this lawsuit.

2.(32-39) James Roberts was molested by David Adams on CLC property. Roberts, @ 8 yrs old, reported this to John Loftness who was the principal of the church's school, later pastor at CLC, recent member of the SGM Board and current pastor of SGM's Solid Rock Church. He asked the child to reenact the molestation for him. He did not report this to the boy's parents and forced the child to meet and forgive Dave Adams.

Adams, along with Loftness who covered up his actions, would go on to molest other children, including his own daughter. Roberts would go onto be molested again by Nate Morales, who was arrested in Las Vegas recently for this. Apparently, some other teens disclosed to Roberts that they, too, were bothered by Morales at school. Grant Layman was alerted to this discussion and did not report it.

Today, Loftness issued a statement denying any participation in child sexual abuse at this link.

3.(42-46) A daughter of David Adams wife, Peggy, reported that her father molested her from the ages of 11-14. This was reported by her sister Dara Sutherland. The unnamed daughter remains psychologically disabled.Peggy, the mom, reported these assaults to church leader Dave Mays who reported this to John Loftness and Gary Ricucci. Peggy was not informed of the previous molestation of Plaintiff Roberts by Adams.

Ricucci claimed that Adams was not a pedophile because Adams was not attracted to his 11 year old daughter but to the "woman she was becoming." Apparently the defendants then hired an attorney for Adams instead of helping the victims.The defendants even suggested to Peggy that she send her daughter away so that she could bring Adams home as the "head of the household."

Here is the amended lawsuit. Be advised. The details are upsetting. 

Ask your pastors a question. Were they upset over the Dr Kermit Gosnell trial? Did they make statements? If so, how do they defend their silence in this matter.

LINK TO LAWSUIT

Comments

Sovereign Grace Ministries’ 2nd Amended Lawsuit: A House of Horrors? (Graphic) — 195 Comments

  1. I don’t have words to express how sickening these new reports are. Beyond horrible. Children on church property allegedly being molested by multiple church workers. I read the whole document which Brent linked. I am so glad to be out of SGM but that doesn’t give me a pass to shut my eyes.

  2. Dee (and all) – apparently loftness has issued a statement (on the SGM site) stating that he has never abused any child, ever. (It’s been quoted over at Survivors, in the comments.)

    no words

  3. I just finished reading the amendment. It is utterly horrifying.

    I don’t know what else to say.

  4. What has been written in this amendment is nothing less than a terrorization of the children who are the plaintiffs. It reads like a child sex cult.

  5. I just read the court documents. I am physically ill. I would understand why anyone subjected to that kind of abuse in those settings would become nauseous at the thought of “church” or “church leaders.” My heart goes out to the victims.

  6. Sitting here crying and trembling in sadness for those poor children and extreme FURY at those men, according to these alleged events. Dear God. I could not finish reading it. Please God, bring justice.

  7. This is absolutely disgusting. Pure evil. I read the entire report and I’m not certain that a potential jury could come up with a fitting punishment for the alleged crimes. And the fact that other “pastors” have turned a blind eye to these accusations – I can’t begin to fathom that. Is there a way y’all can organize a media blitz similar to what was done for the Calvary Chapel lawsuit? We have got to expose these alleged crimes and let the world know that we will always support and love the victims. I may not be a big name pastor with millions of fans but I will make my voice heard on the victims’ behalf, even if only in my tiny corner of the world.

  8. One Defendant allegedly told a plaintiff that she’d sinned by not telling her mother sooner, and that since she was a sinner also, she needed to forgive her father.
    In case we imagine this sort of thinking to be specific to SGM or times past, this was linked yesterday by blogger xxx:
    “Even if you’ve been wronged, what does your emotional response say about your heart? Is it possible that malice, wrath, or bitterness have snuck in? These things are like alarm systems for your heart, pointing to idolatry, which is often a much bigger issue than whatever your spouse (or brother or friend or boss) has done to you.” (or father-editorial addition)
    Non-SGM mega-pastor we dare not name on TWW- May 9, 2013

  9. Dave A A wrote:

    Non-SGM mega-pastor we dare not name on TWW- May 9, 2013

    Can you send me a link to this dee@thewartburgwatch.com? Believe it or not, I am involved in a bit of a dustup regarding "He whose name must not be spoken." It is absolutely amazing. I will need to tell you about it but definitely offline.

  10. All these cases represent just a fraction of those from 2 churches out of over a hundred. Tip… Of… The… Iceberg.
    One of the most revealing alleged occurrences was when a wealthy perp paid for CJ and Co to go on a retreat while the victim was trying to get them to protect other potential victims.

  11. This needs to go viral. I hesitated to post this on face book for a multiple of reasons, yet I did. These so called men of God need to be exposed!! Let’s get it out there…

  12. Could not even get through the first few pages of that lawsuit.
    Feeling nauseated. Sick. Will there ever be justice for these little ones?

  13. Dave A A wrote:

    “Even if you’ve been wronged, what does your emotional response say about your heart? Is it possible that malice, wrath, or bitterness have snuck in? These things are like alarm systems for your heart, pointing to idolatry, which is often a much bigger issue than whatever your spouse (or brother or friend or boss) has done to you.” (or father-editorial addition)
    Non-SGM mega-pastor we dare not name on TWW- May 9, 2013

    Dave, Do you know how many people have been told something similar to this by mega church pastors? It is boilerplate. It is literally in the playbook. It is meant to keep the bad image stuff under wraps. I even heard one mega church pastor tell a person who had been horribly lied about by a high level staffer: “why not be wronged”? As if being wronged by another believer and not expecting truth to win out was piety even though that person’s reputation was ruined. What about the person who did the evil….their eternal life? What about enabling evil?

    This is where I think the entire concept of Kingdom living NOW is totally misunderstood and wrongly taught by both the seekers and Reformed movements. Character, truth and integrity matters.

    And all those who aligned themselves with SGM will be tainted. They had enough warnings there were serious issues. Including Ambassadors of Reconciliation. Who should be going out of business.

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  15. Rightly or wrongly, I’m praying that the truth will liberate the victims and damn the accused.

    There will be so many in the coming weeks and months who will question and doubt and try to discredit every detail of each plaintiff’s story. God knows what is true. My hope is that truth — however hard or painful or ugly — will rule the day. That truth will continue to be spoken. That truth will continue to be heard.

    That God will heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds, somehow.

  16. These men are monsters! This is more far-reaching and devious than originally thought…the poor children! I hope these children know that these were not true “godly” men….they were imposters in the faith….self-serving…my prayers and thoughts go to the victims….thank you for telling your story…the truth is out

  17. Do I really have to state the obvious: that these people are so used to employing twisted logic and extreme and grotesque distortions of reality that they can no longer be trusted to interact with people in a way that is safe. They have destroyed reason and destroyed sense; they have preached from ideas that speak of humans beings as that which must be purged from divine presence and themselves as gods. This is the fallout which results from schools of thought which treat the most banal and ridiculous and uneducated opinions as divine speech; the most egregious excuses for criminal behavior as “biblical wisdom”; an un-elect unaccountable slew of anarchist, lawless autocrats whose unholy combination of self-loathing and self-worship turns churches into physical and psychological houses of hell.

    Here’s a tip: If the “woman she is becoming” is 11, YOU ARE A MONSTER!

  18. I read about over half of it word for word but skimmed over other parts. Aspects that stand out to me…
    —–
    -The amount and length of time in the cover-ups is amazing and disgusting (which also enabled more kids to be attacked).

    -A few incidents where the victim was made to confront her attacker face to face to ‘reconcile’ and forgive.

    -One or two victims were given the old standby that because they’re sinners too, they have to forgive the attacker or overlook the offense

    -one pervert had two or three male students beat up and scream humiliating comments at a female victim he had previously molested for years, and he specifically told the boys to scream things at her such as ‘males rule and dominate females’ while they beat her
    —-
    I found that last point very revealing, not just about the abuser and his mind set, but how that church’s teaching on the female gender colors, re-enforces, or in the pervert’s mind, some how excuses, treating girls and women like trash to be exploited.

  19. Argo wrote:

    Here’s a tip: If the “woman she is becoming” is 11, YOU ARE A MONSTER

    I cannot get that one out of my head, Argo. The long term evil thinking processes that have to take place in ones mind to even say such a thing out loud.

    By the way, is the guy who was quoted in the lawsuit saying that, CJ’s brother in law? Is he one that moved to Louisville?

    Keep in mind something….the new SGM “church” was meeting in my daughter’s school when they first came here. Thankfully some people listened and got them out…and it was quick. NO dithering. One cannot have a zero tolerance policy for child abuse and even allow the hint of it to be excused.

  20. Anon 1 wrote:

    By the way, is the guy who was quoted in the lawsuit saying that, CJ’s brother in law? Is he one that moved to Louisville?

    Yep! CJ’s brother in law is Ricucci.
    Anon 1 wrote:

    Thankfully some people listened and got them out…and it was quick. NO dithering. One cannot have a zero tolerance policy for child abuse and even allow the hint of it to be excused.

    I would love to hear the background story on that one. I posted the emails for the trustees of the school in a post.

  21. One of the things I said on the last thread (from things that stood out to me):

    -one pervert had two or three male students beat up and scream humiliating comments at a female victim he had previously molested for years, and he specifically told the boys to scream things at her such as ‘males rule and dominate females’ while they beat her
    —-
    I found that last point very revealing, not just about the abuser and his mind set, but how that church’s teaching on the female gender colors, re-enforces, or in the pervert’s mind, some how excuses, treating girls and women like trash to be exploited.

    Another thing, since the abuse was so extensive – I’m not sure how to ask this- were the pedophiles using these churches/church system as a center for getting and sharing victims?

    Did one pedo guy call up a pedo buddy and invite them over or something like that? It looks like the whole church was one big pedo ring, like the church/religion was just a cover to get access to children.

    There was one story in the amendment of a guy who led one of his victims to the woods, where there was a circle of adults in masks, who were all pedo’s, where the guy handed over children to the adults in the circle.

    It’s bad enough any abuse was going on at all, but if all these people and/or the church staff were using churches as a place, a cover, for people to shop for children, that makes it even more twisted.

    I can’t figure how else there was so much abuse going on for so long, with so many different guys, and the pastors/staff kept covering for them all, unless they were deliberately running a child exploitation ring.

  22. “Defendants met with the mother and told her that Donna Doe had been molested because she was a bad wife who had failed to satisfy her husband sexually. Defendants intimidated the mother by threatening to discipline for ‘gossiping’ and…directed the mother to permit her husband to return to the house because he is the head of the household, and she was required to be a ‘godly wife’ and forgive him for molesting their daughter.”

    “Defendants Vincent Hinders told Donna Doe that she had ‘sinned’ by not telling her mother sooner, and that since Donna Doe was also a ‘sinner’ she needed to ‘forgive’ her father”

    I feel so much rage I don’t even know what to do. Vince Hinders is still a pastor a Sovereign Grace…if there ever was a case for mass public shaming, this is it. I’m pretty sure anything else I could say right now would get me banned from this site so I’ll leave it at that.

  23. No, I cannot read the details — I am way too sickened by the summary.
    I wonderhas it ever occurredtothe high-and-mighty-humble-ones that God is sickened by this too.

    I’m darned if I can see what idolatry they could even imagine the victims are guilty of, the only idolatry I can going on here is pure phallocentrism — the worship of the mighty male member and the determination to keep its privileges intact.

    Jesus said, “Whatsoever you do unto the least of these, you do it unto me”

  24. Daisy – it doesn’t say anything in that part of the amended lawsuit about “woods” – it says the victim was to leave her dorm room that she was staying at during the 3/4 day event called “Celebration” that our churches had around the time of Memorial Day & go to “a certain location”. Since she was pretty young at this time, I imagine this would’ve been at some other room in the dorm, possibly a conference room or some other larger room.

    I, personally, am very concerned about this part of the amended lawsuit since I had young children at Celebration for a number of years. I wonder how many years did this go on for at Celebrations & if children from the other churches were involved.

  25. Daisy wrote:

    There was one story in the amendment of a guy who led one of his victims to the woods, where there was a circle of adults in masks, who were all pedo’s, where the guy handed over children to the adults in the circle.

    Like I said before, that sounds like the stories about Satanist Sex Cults that were being passed around on the Christianese Conspiracy circuit during the Satanic Panic of the Eighties.

    And how much Righteousness did this Soveriegn Pedo Ministries/The Pedo Coalition emit (Humbly, of course) over the Catholic Church’s clergy sex scandal? “I THANK THEE, LORD, THAT I AM NOTHING LIKE THOSE ROMISH PAPISTS OVER THERE….”

  26. How absolutely disgusting and disturbing. May the Lord comfort and heal those who have been so horribly abused, and may he swiftly bring to justice those who are responsible so that no more individuals are put in harm’s way.

    Part of what scares me the most is the consistency of language used by SGM. It sounds so much like what we’ve all heard from the MH/YCC/Acts29/TGC crowd: sin-sniffing, victim-blaming, dont-blame-the-pastor-for-anything. While I don’t think that every Calvinista church is a prime environment for child abuse, I think that many Calvinista churches have the foundations for this sort of thing in place: infallible leaders who cannot be questioned, and a suspicious and condescending attitude toward the “average” church member. All it takes is a certain chain of events and a few specific types of leaders to be in certain places.

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  28. For those of us that were in SGM and left long ago because we knew something was seriously amiss, are not surprised about any of this. Speaking for myself, the feeling was more than something being “off” – it was a distinct impression of systemic corruption. The statement repeated in the lawsuit “a member of the ongoing conspiracy” is an appropriate description of so many members, especially individuals who were involved in SGM “leadership.” All of them were attached to the group by virtue of rebellion. This may be looked at by some as isolated incidents. They are not. SGM’s problems are definitely systemic, and anyone in SGM is part of the problem.

    I’m not surprised about the Griney’s. I never liked them. I thought both of them were creepy and fake and driven by a desire to be recognized. And they were constantly recognized, upheld as saints using the same mantras used to describe others in leadership. They were “such servants, who founded the school through their tireless dedication; creative, amazing, wonderful people.” They were constantly prayed for, and a great deal of money was donated to them to help pay for all Steve’s back surgeries. It was a second marriage for them both, something they avoided discussing. Yet, when it came to other people and their faults, the Griney’s enjoyed bringing “correction” and sharing their “observations.” All from the position CLC leaders afforded them, repeatedly honoring them, because they were just as corrupt as the rest of them.

    Mahaney’s continued confidence stems from his belief that Layman, Loftness & Ricucci will not testify against him, even though everyone who has ever been a part of SGM knows Mahaney knew about everything, and no one acted outside of his will. CJ was the Leader of Leaders and he wouldn’t have tolerated someone exercising authority within the ministry that he didn’t know about. Things were covered up because that’s the way CJ liked it. He covered up his arrogance with a false image of humility. He covered up his inauthenticity with false pronouncements of his authenticity. What aspect of his life isn’t a cover up?

  29. I made the mistake of reading the first page of charges and slept awfully. (I am dumb like that, sometimes, dog/vomit thing. Arg)

    These people do evil. How much was earnest but terrible theology, how much was deliberate, how much was ignorance—it matters not a whit what the reasons behind these actions were. They did evil again and again. They supported evil again and again. And they claim innocence.

    Therefore these people know NOTHING of God. We need to be crystal clear about that. And since they claim God’s authority while knowing nothing and doing evil, they are worse than any in this broad world. If they are not firmly and unequivocably ejected from the church body, the US church is itself corrupted and needs dismantling. If the church body merely sweeps these perpetrators and their victims under the rug, it needs dismantling or the name of God is destroyed.

    If any of the victims ever read this, I salute you, as one to another, for surviving. I salute you for maintaining the courage to get through each day. I dearly hope for you the place of mercy and (relative) peace that I have found, at long last. It is worth the struggle. Please do not give up. All grace, kindness and generosity to you.

    @ Wade Burleson:
    Thank you. I wish there were more pastors like you, who loudly and firmly acknowledge the evil consequences on kids’ lives with a benediction of grace.

  30. A message to the victims

    As Dee explained in this post, she and I have done A LOT of reading on the Survivors and Refuge blogs. We began following these websites in September 2008 (6 months before we started TWW), and we were sickened by what we were reading. Of course, back then that was obviously just the tip of the iceberg.

    The 'alleged' abuse taking place in Sovereign Grace Ministries played a HUGE part in why The Wartburg Watch was launched.

    Please know that Dee and I think of you often, and you are continually in our prayers.

  31. @ Evie:

    I remember that I used to wish we lived in Gaithersburg so our kids could go to the great Christian school and that we could attend CLC. It was touted as the end all, be all. I am checking with my kids about any incidents from celebrations in Indiana during the late 80's early 90's to see if they heard any rumors from other kids at that time.

    Let Light shine into the darkness.

  32. Evie wrote:

    This may be looked at by some as isolated incidents. They are not. SGM’s problems are definitely systemic, and anyone in SGM is part of the problem.

    Yes! ANYONE who is currently in an SGM or formerly SGM church is enabling this behavior and is thus complicit. I know there are those who will disagree, particularly about CLC (because Joshua is just so likeable) but there it is.

  33. I haven’t got words…. my heart is broken for the victims.

    What terrible added pain they must suffer knowing that church leaders who should be speaking out are silent and not only silent, openly supporting CJ Mahaney.

  34. @ Deb:
    It is people like you and Dee and Wade that keep me from complete hopelessness regarding the US church.

    Even so, if I hadn’t discovered the amazing love of the real God through the mess of corruption surrounding His/Her name, I would never have searched online to find you and others who loudly denounce raw evil.

    With all my heart, I hope that all who have been so trashed will be able to find Love. I pray that they, “being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge…”

    And I desperately hope that this will again become true in our country: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

  35. rubytuesday wrote:

    I haven’t got words…. my heart is broken for the victims. What terrible added pain they must suffer knowing that church leaders who should be speaking out are silent and not only silent, openly supporting CJ Mahaney.

    Case in point… check out Kevin DeYoung's blogomercial about the upcoming Transfer Conference, which he posted a few days ago.

    http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2013/05/11/transfer-conference/

    He'll be down in Orlando rubbing elbows with Mahaney, Kauflin, Prater, Purswell and others.

    It's just business as usual with SGM.

  36. I would ask all parents who attended Celebration in the 80′s-90′s to check with their children who were young at that time for any hints of impropriety or anything the kids remembered that was strange or creepy.

    And to call Susan Burke if something comes back to them.

  37. Janey wrote:

    Christianity Today has an online article up: “Lawsuit Claiming Church Conspiracy To Conceal Child Abuse Adds More Names and Charges.” So far no one has commented (or at least no comment has been posted): http://blog.christianitytoday.com/ctliveblog/archives/2013/05/sovereign-grace-ministries-sgm-child-abuse-amended-lawsuit.html#more

    One of our loyal readers sent us an email alerting us about the CT article. It has an interesting conclusion:

    "CT reported when the lawsuit was first filed and added names and charges, as well as SGM's attempt to dismiss it. CT also reported when SGM founder C. J. Mahaney announced his departure from leadership this spring".

    Praise God that Christianity Today is not ignoring the lawsuit…

  38. In the midst of this horror, one point for some reason sticks in my mind. “He was attracted to the woman she was becoming” The woman she was becoming was STILL his daughter! I can’t think I have ever heard of a worse rationalisation for abuse. Who would say such a thing? What kind of mind thinks that statement somehow excuses what was done to that child? How do you think that is an explanation? And the victim blaming!
    I have two daughters and I work with children every day and I cannot begin to describe the anger I feel reading this. Anyone and everyone who played a part in this deserves to rot in prison for the rest of their days.

  39. I still haven't read the whole complaint, but enough to agree with another commenter that this 'alleged' behavior is a pedophile ring. And ….sadly, my own experiences cause me not to be surprised.

    Saddened? Yes. Disgusted? Yes. Angry? Yes. Surprised? No.

    It is a classic setup and they do operate together in this fashion. Abusers of all stripes, whether 'just' hyper-authoritarianism or full blown pedophilia and sexual deviance, will recognize each other and come together and form alliances – you cover my backside, I'll cover yours.

    I've seen it so much. And in the church in especially (but outside of it too) no one wants to believe someone they know and trust could ever do that. It is a pride issue – they don't want to believe they could not know….

  40. Covenent Life School in Gaithersburg, MD 20877 is one of the defendants in the child sexual abuse lawsuit with 11 alleged victims.

    http://www.covenantlifeschool.org/676083.ihtml

    A portion of Paragraph 34 from the lawsuit:

    (James Roberts was 8-years old; Covenant Life School's principal was John Loftness): 34. From the date of this report to present, Defendant Loftness failure to inform Plaintiff Roberts' parents of the molestation. Nor did Defendant Loftness abide by his mandatory reporting obligations to report the molestation of take any step whatsoever to prevent David Adams from having access to children for abusive purposes…

    It goes on and gets even worse…

  41. @ Deb:

    Gee, thanks, Deb. You just gave me more Tweeting fodder, as if I didn’t have enough this morning. I can’t stop tweeting, I am so angry. You know when you are blogging and you have to read through disgusting lawsuit and try to decide which point is the one to discuss because they are all so despicable it just kind of messes with your head. So off I go to let off some steam. I feel a little bit sorry for my followers when I get worked up like this.

  42. I hope and trust that Christianity Today or WORLD magazine or The Aquila Report or Pete Smith from the Louisville newspaper will contact Al Mohler, Mark Dever, and Ligon Duncan (the three that most conspicuously joined arms with Mahaney in their “Together for the Gospel” construct), and also contact other public figures who have lended their public support to Mahaney’s “ministry” in 2013 (John Piper, Kevin DeYoung, Sinclair Ferguson, etc. etc.), and ask for comment. And then I hope and trust that those media outlets will report the names of all those who decline to comment.

  43. You have an excellent point at the end of your piece today. If they cry out about the ‘alleged’ Dr. Gosnell crimes (prior to his conviction), and that is okay. Why the silence – due to the ‘alleged’ crimes on this lawsuit?

    This house of horrors they have been supporting is going to come back and bite them hard. Their credibility is in question BIG TIME! The light of truth is not going to be comfortable for them.

    I couldn’t read the whole lawsuit myself. It made me angry, and I wanted to reach out and hurt someone. Sigh. I’m praying for those involved in this lawsuit, the church in general, and also those alleged criminals and their supporters.

  44. @ pcapastor:  Agreed!

    They should also contact those Christian leaders who have been sermonizing at Mahaney's church plant, namely:   John Piper, Jerry Bridgers, Tom Schreiner, Bruce Ware… Who have I left out?

  45. I've been tagging those people in tweets since last night, and they don't seem to have a thing to say to me. These men are so proud of their manhood and their biblical roles as men, yet when it comes to the things that make God angry, they are so weak. God is surely not amused. @ pcapastor:

  46. This reminds me of all the daddy/daughter teachings that VF and others like to teach. It always made me uncomfortable. The ideas ranged from shaving your daddy to giving him your heart until he GIVES YOU to your husband. cranston wrote:

    In the midst of this horror, one point for some reason sticks in my mind. “He was attracted to the woman she was becoming” The woman she was becoming was STILL his daughter! I can’t think I have ever heard of a worse rationalisation for abuse. Who would say such a thing?

  47. Mr.H wrote:

    Part of what scares me the most is the consistency of language used by SGM.

    This is what got me many years ago when I started reading the SGM Survivor blogs. There appeared to be patterns and that is why Deb and I tried to get people to listen through our blog. We believed something was very, very wrong. It appears that we were right all along and our detractors were not.

  48. cranston wrote:

    He was attracted to the woman she was becoming” The woman she was becoming was STILL his daughter! I can’t think I have ever heard of a worse rationalisation for abuse. Who would say such a thing?

    Either the guy is an idiot or he, deep down inside, does not think pedophilia is abnormal. If it is the latter, it opens one up to all sorts of thoughts. My guess is the lawyers will go for the “idiot”defense.

  49. Mykingdomforahorse wrote:

    This reminds me of all the daddy/daughter teachings that VF and others like to teach. It always made me uncomfortable. The ideas ranged from shaving your daddy to giving him your heart until he GIVES YOU to your husband.

    Incest is Best… (Punch line of a forgotten dirty joke.)

    First mental search engine return — Craster’s Keep in the north of Westeros. Where Craster claimed all his many daughters as wives and kept them breeding more and more wives for himself. (Sacrificing any boy babies/future competition to the White Walkers. My roomie got me hooked on Game of Thrones….)

    “Shaving your Daddy” — mental search engine return from that is the music video for Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “Relax”. The one that showed on Night Flight, not MTV. (ed) With a leather boy (ed) shaving a Baron Harkonnen type in a background balcomy.

  50. Janey wrote:

    Defendant Loftness failure to inform Plaintiff Roberts’ parents of the molestation.

    I bet these same guys huff and puff about the morning after pill being accessible to younger teens. But, telling parents about a kid who was molested is verboten? Cognitive dissonance or mental illness comes to mind.

  51. Deb wrote:

    John Piper, Jerry Bridgers, Tom Schreiner, Bruce Ware… Who have I left out?

    Most of the members of The Gospel Coalition.

  52. Mykingdomforahorse wrote:

    In the midst of this horror, one point for some reason sticks in my mind. “He was attracted to the woman she was becoming” The woman she was becoming was STILL his daughter! I can’t think I have ever heard of a worse rationalisation for abuse. Who would say such a thing?

    Again, Craster’s Keep in the North of Westeros, near The Wall. All that’s missing are the White Walkers coming around to collect their sacrifices. (And the Night Watch mutiny that put a sword through Craster’s gut…)

  53. It was horrifying enough to think of church leadership preaching Christ one day and failing to protect the innocent the next, but I’m just sick with the realization that this is so much more than a “sin of omission”. This is systematic evil. There are no words. I’m so proud of those who are standing up in the face of shame and fear to pursue justice. I can’t fathom the courage it must take. My prayers are with you! May the richest blessings of God be yours!

    Proverbs 24:24-25

    New International Version (NIV)

    24 Whoever says to the guilty, “You are innocent,”
    will be cursed by peoples and denounced by nations.
    25 But it will go well with those who convict the guilty,
    and rich blessing will come on them.

  54. HUG

    What scares me is that some of these people may have known about such movies and then implemented such things and called it “being a good daughter.” I need to llok into this “shaving your daddy” thing and see how widespread this “teaching” is. It really worries me.

  55. pcapastor wrote:

    I hope and trust that Christianity Today or WORLD magazine or The Aquila Report or Pete Smith from the Louisville newspaper will contact Al Mohler, Mark Dever, and Ligon Duncan (the three that most conspicuously joined arms with Mahaney in their “Together for the Gospel” construct)….

    Or they’ll circle the wagons and rally to their defense against this PERSECUTION! PERSECUTION!!! PERSECUTION!!!!!

    Can CT or WORLD be trusted? After all, this is Together for The GOSPEL(TM) and there’s Tribal Identity to consider. Christians vs Heathen. Culture War Without End.

  56. Question: Does Reform theology have anything to do with Gnosticism? I’m wondering if the Gnostic belief that soul=good/body=evil leads to this kind of thing, believing that it doesn’t matter what you do with or to your body or the bodies of others.

  57. dee wrote:

    Deb wrote:
    John Piper, Jerry Bridgers, Tom Schreiner, Bruce Ware… Who have I left out?
    Most of the members of The Gospel Coalition.

    Don’t forget Team Pyro and their minions . . . never a word could be said about SGM/CJ over there . . . doctrine reigns supreme at that site. Someone needs to remind them that doctrine isn’t the hands that care for the souls of those created in the image of God.

  58. Anon 1 wrote:

    They had enough warnings there were serious issues.

    So did the SGMers they support. Thinking of ExCLCer’s letters and emails for years, with no response until right after CJ stepped down (before he stepped back up!).

  59. Bookbolter

    I believe that it is just plain evil. Pedophilia is everywhere and people with compulsions make excuses all the time for their behavior.I read somewhere, I can’t remember, that one guy (nothing to do with SGM) blamed his compulsion on sunspots.

  60. dee wrote:

    cranston wrote:

    He was attracted to the woman she was becoming” The woman she was becoming was STILL his daughter! I can’t think I have ever heard of a worse rationalisation for abuse. Who would say such a thing?

    Either the guy is an idiot or he, deep down inside, does not think pedophilia is abnormal. If it is the latter, it opens one up to all sorts of thoughts. My guess is the lawyers will go for the “idiot”defense.

    It’s not just this quote that gets me, though it does. It’s also that appalling statement about how teenage boys shouldn’t change nappies as that’s too much temptation to resist…that is the other dead give away tell tale remark about the paedophilic mindset. Actually Mr Pervert Pastor the only thing most teenage boys would be tempted to do when changing a nappy is puke. Normal people, of any age, are not aroused by infant genitals.
    This case is horrifying reading, the levels of sheer hypocrisy are breathtaking, & what was done to those lovely children just devestating. And one of the worst things? There are more kids who were victimised who haven’t spoken out yet, that’s the nature of the beast.

    [[Mod changed quoting per request. Again :)]]

  61. Deb wrote:

    I assume that Tim Challies is still ‘thinking biblically about Mahaney and SGM’ …

    “O Come Let Us Adore Him,
    O Come Let Us Adore Him,
    O COME LET US ADOOOOOORE HIIIIIIM…!”

    After all, the Doctrine is Perfectly-Parsed.
    And they are all God’s Predestined Elect.

    “You rape children and for justification make long prayers, THEREFORE YOU SHALL RECEIVE THE GREATER DAMNATION!” (No matter how Perfectly-Parsed and Biblical(TM) your Doctrine….)

  62. Bridget wrote:

    Don’t forget Team Pyro and their minions . . . never a word could be said about SGM/CJ over there . . . doctrine reigns supreme at that site.

    The Party Can Do No Wrong.
    Ees Party Line, Comrades.

  63. dee wrote:

    I bet these same guys huff and puff about the morning after pill being accessible to younger teens. But, telling parents about a kid who was molested is verboten?

    Because THEY’re the ones gettin’ some, that’s why.

    Hard to preach against something when you’re personally benefiting from it.

  64. dee wrote:

    telling parents about a kid who was molested is verboten? Cognitive dissonance or mental illness comes to mind.

    I doubt it is mental illness. I’ve known two schizophrenics who were deeply ethical people, and one who was a horror of malice. Ethics are separate from mental illness except during a psychotic episode. And if this guy’s words were the result of a psychotic break, it would’ve shown up in other ways since he was in public a lot.

    Maybe it could be considered severe spiritual illness? Cognitive dissonance would be part/parcel of spiritual illness because immoral actions need to rationalized by the (bewildered) mind in order to continue. And it can’t be done, really, which why they come up saying such idiotic things that make no sense.

    ?

  65. Deb wrote:

    Dee,

    I assume that Tim Challies is still ‘thinking biblically about Mahaney and SGM’ …

    If Tim Challies, Mr.-Informing-the-Reformed, does not speak up soon, I think we can just write him off as another star-struck blogger who fears Man rather than God.

    And what a shame because I have two people close to me who think highly of Challies. They will move him down a notch if he keeps silent or if he’s wishy-washy.

    Dee/Deb – Can you or someone else keep a list of top bloggers and Christian websites that have reported on the SGM lawsuit and those that haven’t?

    Here’s the list of top Christian bloggers: http://churchrelevance.com/resources/top-church-blogs/

    Would someone be willing to keep a list?

  66. @ Bookbolter:
    There is no theology that can’t be rationalized by a person who wants to do wrong.

    I do think that there is a system that makes doing this sort of wrong easier, though, and that is one where law and human authority are emphasized.

    Inside a system like that, those in leadership roles sometimes feel free to take liberties and power not allowed to others because they see themselves as special-blessed by God. That supposed blessing can also lead them to believe they do not need to live transparently with others. And since their god is more about Law than Love, they can sometimes believe that whatever they can rationalize by the letter of the law is legitimate.

    There are some wonderful Calvinists out there. Loving, open, hard-working, humble, wise.

  67. @ Patrice: I think that any system of beliefs (not just theology[ies]) can be rationalized in this way.

    We humans are all too able to do this, for supposedly “high-minded” purposes, in many cases. (Like the rationalization for the slave trade and slavery: but we’re bringing these people to xtianity.)

  68. @ Patrice:

    Perhaps it’s boring cowardice (albeit a stunning illustration of it). Disgusting and criminal and there is no word that is too strong.

    But non-glamorous cowardice.

  69. I am hopeful that the referenced alleged email/telephone evidence the plaintiffs’ attorneys have uncovered in discovery will show, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendants attempted to cover this up. This level of proof seems to be what it takes for victims to be believed, especially within the SGM camp. And even then, I’m sure there will still be many doubters.

    God, please help the truth to come to light, whatever that truth is.

  70. Patrice wrote:

    And since their god is more about Law than Love, they can sometimes believe that whatever they can rationalize by the letter of the law is legitimate.

    Like a law firm out here a couple years ago that was running an extortion racket on the side, shaking down small businesses with the threat of lawsuits over OSHA violations. Their defense when they got caught?

    “But Everything We Did Was LEGAL!”

    Didn’t stop the State Bar Association from disbarring them all for “Shady Business Practices.” (And our Bar Association is nationally-famous for winking at corruption among fellow Lawyers…)

  71. dee wrote:

    I believe that it is just plain evil. Pedophilia is everywhere and people with compulsions make excuses all the time for their behavior.I read somewhere, I can’t remember, that one guy (nothing to do with SGM) blamed his compulsion on sunspots.

    That anything like The Twinkie Defense?

  72. From Luke, spoken by Jesus (about unfaithful pastors and leaders it appears):
    45 But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the other servants, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk. 46 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.

  73. BeakerJ wrote:

    It’s not just this quote that gets me, though it does. It’s also that appalling statement about how teenage boys shouldn’t change nappies as that’s too much temptation to resist…that is the other dead give away tell tale remark about the paedophilic mindset. Actually Mr Pervert Pastor the only thing most teenage boys would be tempted to do when changing a nappy is puke. Normal people, of any age, are not aroused by infant genitals.

    Can you say “Sexual Obsession”? I know you could…

  74. numo wrote:

    We humans are all too able to do this, for supposedly “high-minded” purposes, in many cases. (Like the rationalization for the slave trade and slavery: but we’re bringing these people to xtianity.)

    Ask any survivor of Cambodia’s Killing Fields how far someone in power can go for “high-minded” purposes (AKA The Goal of the Perfect Utopian Society) and Correct Doctrine (AKA Purity of Ideology).

  75. I also made the mistake of reading this right before I went to bed. As I told my coworker this a.m., I don’t even know how I feel or how to describe what I feel The lawsuit named not only pastors, but people I was acquainted with, people who were my neighbors, and one child of people I used to hang out with before they married. I almost wish I never read it! But I know that, unfortunately, child sexual abuse lurks among us hidden in various places including the church. Part of me wishes that the lawsuit didn’t have to happen, but I know it’s a sinful world we live in. Since all of the horrible situations did happen, I pray that justice is served to the extent it can be in this life.

  76. @ dee:

    As I said in some of my first posts on this blog, there are a lot of contradictory views in Christianity that I don’t think most Christians even recognize as existing, and I see a lot of these topics as being inter-related.

    Like on the singles/marriage topic, most Christians cry and complain about Christians not getting married, and say marriage is wonderful, everyone should want marriage.

    So when a Christian single says, “Hey, I’d like to get married, believe me!,” that same pro-marriage Christian tells the single, “Stop wanting marriage, you’re making it into an idol.”

    I see these sort of contradictions all the time among Christians, in various subjects. I didn’t pick up on them too much until I got older.

  77. @ BeakerJ:

    Beaker, I think the blog automatically makes any text you put into a block quote italic, and your posts appeared in blockquote format.

    Let me do a test:

    This text is in a blockquote and will probably appear in italics

  78. @ Ellie:

    I thought there was some story about kids being in the woods, or fondled while standing behind trees, or whatever, but the thing that concerned me is that kids were being brought out to groups of adults (wearing masks) for those adults to molest, which seems to suggest these churches were not actual churches, but child exploitation rings hiding behind the title of ‘church.’ And if that is the case, who knows how many more churches or kids in those areas have been victimized.

    And how even more twisted is it to hide behind the banner of Jesus Christ to get victims?

    Some of the little girls were pulled out of Sunday School classes and raped or fondled by these perverts, then returned to the class.

  79. @ Dee:

    Per the daughters shaving their dads things – Vision Forum all the way:

    http://thecommandmentsofmen.blogspot.com/2011/02/daughters-shaving-daddies-i-wish-i-were.html

    Also this lovely quote from VF, which was not intended to be sexual but really, guys, think things through before you say them out loud. Grab your barf bags.

    “He [the father] leads her [the daughter], woos her, and wins her with a tenderness and affection unique to the bonds of father and daughter.

    http://rethinkingvisionforum.wordpress.com/2011/09/11/daddys-girls-in-vision-forum/

  80. @ Daisy:

    I think you’re right, there was a story about kids playing hide-and-seek in the woods when some of the abuse happened.

  81. elastigirl wrote:

    @ Debbie Kaufman:
    yeah, i guess you reach a point where the strongest words at your disposal fall short.
    what’s left is a visceral moaning.

    That’s a good description.

  82. First I must apologize to Janey. Your name caused a small trigger. As soon as I saw your name Aerosmith’s Janey Got A Gun started slamming through my brain and out my mouth complete with bolt action sounds of a shot gun. It is still there running through my brain after several hours. For those who don’t know the song, it is about a girl who takes a gun and gruesomely kills her father/rapist. I don’t want to associate your name or you with this song but that is where I am at today. So again, apologies.

  83. numo wrote:

    We humans are all too able to do this, for supposedly “high-minded” purposes, in many cases. (Like the rationalization for the slave trade and slavery: but we’re bringing these people to xtianity.)

    I weary of dumping all humans in one category for evil. I do know and have known quite a few people who rather die trying to protect a child than molesting one for any ‘high minded purpose’. Thank God there are a few left.

  84. Patrice wrote:

    Inside a system like that, those in leadership roles sometimes feel free to take liberties and power not allowed to others because they see themselves as special-blessed by God. That supposed blessing can also lead them to believe they do not need to live transparently with others. And since their god is more about Law than Love, they can sometimes believe that whatever they can rationalize by the letter of the law is legitimate.

    A typical tactic is to redefine “love” to make it fit. Such as ‘correct doctrine” is love. Or ‘obeying your leader” is love.

    The irony is of course, the “law” as defined by Christ was summed up to love God, love others. So our definition would have to fit into what Christ said and did. That is why when you question a Pharisee (religious leader today), he will often accuse you of being a Pharisee. That is his alibi….Jesus was not real nice to the Pharisees. He gets to redefine Pharisee, too. You gotta eat your wheaties to keep up with all the tactics.

    But I do think any Christian leader who communicates some “special knowledge” or insight is using Gnosticism to promote their brand of teaching. Mohler did this when he told young pastors that they are God’s appointed agents to deal with ignorance. Really? The title “pastor’ is an automatic appointment? I think not. I coudl become a pastor as any woman could. OR, was he referring to Mohler approved pastors? Another example would be Mahaney teaching that the leaders are to care for your soul. That would mean these leaders have some sort of special knowledge the pew peasant follower cannot have.

    So God speaks to them or God gives them special understanding of what scripture means that they pass on to us. Quite frankly, Western Christendom is full of Gnosticism. We all have gone to church each week and caste our eyes on some guy on a stage to teach us truth. WE think this is normal and how it is done. We might listen to the same guy year after year.

    The Reformation replaced the sacraments as center stage with “preaching” and it became about the preacher and HIS words. While I am not a sacralist, I do think this switch just brought bigger problems over time.

  85. I began posting on SGM Survivors just a few weeks after it began. How naive we were. Even though we’d all been hurt in some way by leaders of the ministry, nearly all of us still “believed the best.” We were horrified to learn of the sheltering of pedophiles, but even then many of us assumed CJ Mahaney simply mustn’t have known all the details.

    During that 2008-2011 period, if CJ and other leaders had publicly apologized for their obvious mistakes and sinful behavior (and privately apologized to some grievously wounded people), I don’t think this lawsuit would ever have happened. But instead they hardened their hearts.

    Then there were the revelations in July 2011 from Brent’s documents, and “believe the best” died at last. Yet we still hoped and prayed, for a few months, that Mahaney’s reported “repentance” was real, and would lead to some concrete action and redemptive change.

    Now many more awful details – and names of real people many of us knew and highly regarded. I’m simply reeling inside.

    If all these allegations (even most – even half!) are true, then there’s probably more iceberg under the surface. It really means that anything we can imagine about SGM leadership’s evil is not too wild or loony. As Marx wrote, “All that is solid melts into the air.”

    This horrendous info also totally vindicates the internal nudges many of us felt, that led us to leave SGM. The Shepherd was speaking in a voice we heard, though we didn’t understand his purpose. (I guess that’s called faith.)

    How much God’s heart must break for the ones wounded and scarred. It sounds so trite to say this, but: praying for the victims to receive healing and justice, praying for God to reveal truth so the guilty are acknowledged and the innocent are cleared of suspicion.

    I continue to shudder inside, at the deception that keeps people from repenting, and at the holy retribution Jesus will pour out on those who refuse to repent:

    “If anyone causes one of these little ones — those who believe in me — to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea….Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!”

  86. Daisy wrote:

    And how even more twisted is it to hide behind the banner of Jesus Christ to get victims?

    Here’s the Rationale (at least the first one that came into my head):
    It elevates “I WANNA!” to literally Cosmic Importance.
    Cosmically Justifies it as God’s Will. (God’s On MY Side!)
    And anyone who resists is Rebelling Against God.
    And it’s Not My Fault — It’s All Been Predestined!
    And anyway, My Doctrine is Correct where it REALLY matters — Abortion, Evolution, Homosexuality, and Male Supremacy.
    (Come to think of it, you could use the same rationale to Justify 9/11…)

  87. Debbie Kaufman wrote:

    I’ve been trying to think of the right words. There are no words.

    “There are no words in the tongues of Men, Elves, or Ents for such an atrocity…” — Treebeard

  88. Hester wrote:

    “He [the father] leads her [the daughter], woos her, and wins her with a tenderness and affection unique to the bonds of father and daughter.”

    Again, Craster’s Keep in Game of Thrones with more flowery language.

  89. Anon 1 wrote:

    So God speaks to them or God gives them special understanding of what scripture means that they pass on to us. Quite frankly, Western Christendom is full of Gnosticism.

    No, Special SECRET (“Occult”) Knowledge known only to the Gnostic (i.e. “He Who KNOWS Things”).

    Where do you think the term “Occult” came from in the first place?

    That is not just “Gnosticism”, THAT is THE OCCULT in the original meaning of the word! Long before Spiritual/Culture Warriors like Mike Warnke (whose whole shtick was “The Occult” under both definitions) redefined it to mean D&D, Cabbage Patch Dolls, Star Wars, and My Little Pony!

  90. @ Anon 1: My intention in stating this is that we have choices.

    I dunno; I grew up with a very intense awareness of the Holocaust and questioning how and why seemingly good people choose to do terrible things.

    So please understand that I’m in no way approaching this in a calvinista fashion, or even a “pulled from the pages of Luther” fashion.

    It just is – same as those who would rather die than allow a person (child or adult) to be harmed by anyone, in any way.

    I still wonder about what it is that causes us to choose these things – and how much of it has to do with societal norms and pressures. (Think Germany in the 30s and 40s, or Russia during Stalin’s reign of terror – the purge trials, etc.)

  91. You all ought to read this comment by Paul K. at SGM Survivors:http://www.sgmsurvivors.com/?p=4156&cp=2#comment-76362

    Paul K. had been using his full name a little while back. He’s a longtime CLC member and has been talking a lot about his experiences with the pastors. In this particular comment, he talks about his relationship with Stephen Griney, who he has known since high school and even lived with him for a time. He says that Griney was molested by his father and also that he was hospitalized for schizophrenia as a young adult. I left a comment encouraging him to share his story with Susan Burke, if he hasn’t already done so. He also makes several other interesting statements about the departure of Chuck Thompson (plaintiff Heather’s dad) and Larry Tomczak, etc.

  92. @ numo: To frame it more positively, what motivated some people to rescue Jewish children and hide them in plain sight, as members of their families? Or to help Jewish people escape Nazi-dominated countries?

    I think it’s much more than altruism.

  93. @ Headless Unicorn Guy: Well, “occult” also means “hidden” – and in a pretty benign way, though of course it’s also true re. “‘hidden knowledge”.”

    Merriam-Webster’s 1st def. of it is to shut off from view or exposure (like planting trees around a house to screen it from view – in their words, “occulted”).

    I don’t think that’s in general usage anymore, and people (including me) tend to assume that “occult” always means something sinister or evil, when it’s not necessarily the case.

    Though with this lawsuit, there’s no question that what’s being talked about is evil.

  94. @ Anon 1:
    “A typical tactic is to redefine “love” to make it fit. Such as ‘correct doctrine” is love. Or ‘obeying your leader” is love…. when you question a Pharisee (religious leader today), he will often accuse you of being a Pharisee….He gets to redefine Pharisee, too. ”

    Yes, and these are fundamental gestures of disregard: drawing focus away from the mutually beneficial *relationship* (respecting/caring for each other’s full beings under a loving and truthful God) and onto something subsidiary.

    “So our definition [of love] would have to fit into what Christ said and did.” And what Christ said/did is what helps us thrive, each and all. Therefore anything that isn’t wholesome and encouraging is pretty well guaranteed to be different than what Christ was and wants for us. Even many outside the faith recognize and maintain respect for the person of Jesus because of what he represents.

  95. @ Anon 1:
    Institutional Christianity has become professional at inculcating guilt and blind obedience. Some parts of it are also expert at conflating love and pain, which is downright bizarre. It encourages members to acquiesce when suffering is handed down by leaders, and also minimizes the results of all suffering. In my opinion, these “professional” heresies are the central triumph of Satan, to befuddle, demean, and dismember the children of God.

    When we live with compassion, properly honoring that which God built into each, we slowly mature and then cannot reconcile to dualism, and will not be puffed up and blown down by special-knowledge or authority-over blowhards.

    Then we can dive down any number of theological rabbit holes and pop back up again unscathed, because we understand from the ends of our hair to the soles of our feet, that nothing can separate us from the love of God, which is reflected and echoed in others/self.

    Preaching as “let me tell you” rather than “let us help one another to deeper understanding and living” it is like using a point to define a multidimensional universe. When that is the case, I completely agree that sacralism is preferable. Thank God that those aren’t the only choices.

    Sorry for the rant. I am, like everyone else, deeply disturbed today. Blech

  96. Some of the alleged abuse, IMO, goes straight back to Glue Stick/PlumbingLine-style punishment at CLC’s school.

  97. @ Anon 1:
    “A typical tactic is to redefine “love” to make it fit.”
    I listened to the first part of Ware’s recent SGM Louisville sermon about love. Will need to hear more to find if he does this.

  98. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:

    HUG: If the state bar got off their duffs in this criminogenic environment, it must have been blazing bad. “But it was leeeeeegal!” The final squirm at the end of the hook.

  99. Anon 1 wrote:

    A typical tactic is to redefine “love” to make it fit. Such as ‘correct doctrine” is love. Or ‘obeying your leader” is love.

    Didn’t Screwtape advise Wormwood in semantics? Something about redefining words into their “diabolical meanings”?

    Nya ha ha, My Dear Wormwood…

  100. Patrice wrote:

    Institutional Christianity has become professional at inculcating guilt and blind obedience. Some parts of it are also expert at conflating love and pain, which is downright bizarre.

    Isn’t “conflating love and pain” usually called Sadomasochism?

  101. Horrible…

    But I have to ask, if leaders want to exercise control over others and if religious leaders in particular accomplish this primarily via emotional manipulation…is their victimizing of children very surprising?

  102. @ numo:
    numo, my abusing pastor-father was a child in Holland during WWII. His parents were among those rescuers, hiding a Jewish girl in plain sight as a family member. During my childhood, we were given books on the Holocaust to read, while he was abusing us and preaching from the pulpit. I do not understand the human heart. I really have no clue.

  103. Patrice wrote:

    HUG: If the state bar got off their duffs in this criminogenic environment, it must have been blazing bad.

    Two afternoon drive-time talk radio guys blew the whistle on them. Got wind of what these guys were doing and had one of their “Hour of the Bullhorn”s in front of the law office, along with several hundred small business owners (most of them interviewed on-the-air speaking broken or accented English) who’d been ripped off, all raising a Big Stink with lotsa local media coverage. Shysters inside the building locked all the doors and called the cops. Cops were not sympathetic. All over afternoon drive-time radio of a major city for three-four hours solid. That’s what probably lit the fire under the bar association’s butts and got these guys shut down.

  104. numo wrote:

    My intention in stating this is that we have choices.
    I dunno; I grew up with a very intense awareness of the Holocaust and questioning how and why seemingly good people choose to do terrible things.

    Oh, I agree about the choices. There were also people who risked their lives to hide Jews or help them escape. And many were not Christians. Too bad they were not the majority. I think it is very hard to make the right choices in many situations. But isn’t that our life as adults within reason…. a series of choices… as in God gave us free will to do so.

  105. Patrice wrote:

    Then we can dive down any number of theological rabbit holes and pop back up again unscathed, because we understand from the ends of our hair to the soles of our feet, that nothing can separate us from the love of God, which is reflected and echoed in others/self.
    Preaching as “let me tell you” rather than “let us help one another to deeper understanding and living” it is like using a point to define a multidimensional universe. When that is the case, I completely agree that sacralism is preferable. Thank God that those aren’t the only choices.

    Precious words, Patrice.

  106. numo wrote:

    think it’s much more than altruism

    Sorry, I did not see this comment earlier about what motivated people to help the Jews. I agree it was more than altruism.

  107. Pingback: The Sovereign Grace Ministries Scandal Continues | The Way Forward

  108. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    and Male Supremacy.

    Did you see where I mentioned that it was alleged that one of the males, who had been sexually abusing a female for years, ordered two male class mates to beat the same girl while screaming comments at he such as “males dominate women.”

    Other than the sexual abuse, which is of course reprehensible, I have to wonder about men who have such low and perverted views of girls and women. There is really something warped in their heads.

    Jesus Christ treated women with respect, not revilement or hatred.

  109. What does everyone think of this idea?

    1. Look up the closest SGM church to you.
    2. Visit their website for a list of all staff members.
    3. Look up the home addresses of the staff members.
    4. Anonymously mail each of them a copy of the lawsuit (or select pages from it) with a trigger warning.
    5. Do the same to anyone you know that attends an SGM church.

    These people are probably not reading the website online. Many have either not heard about it or have been warned away from looking it up (because it is “gossip.”)

  110. @ numo:
    Yah, so the moral of the story is that the human heart can be desperately wicked or astonishingly beautiful. What one person turns into a testimony of love, another will turn into a life of hate. And I choose love, numo, with all my heart, love. My conclusion on the matter.

    But I do not pretend to understand. Kyrie, eleison.

  111. @ Patrice: I think that we’re not fooling anyone when we pretend to understand.

    I’m with you on both choosing love and in prayer…

    Lord, have mercy
    Christ, have mercy
    Lord, have mercy

    (Words for when there just are no words.)

  112. @ numo:
    Lord, have mercy.

    And I pray that these abused people find (or have already found) the wild grace that I so gratefully received, to experience the immense love that God has for them to salve their pain, to fill up the gaping holes inside of them, and to provide them with the nurture that they were starved of.

    Christ, have mercy.

  113. Wade Burleson wrote:

    I just read the court documents. I am physically ill. I would understand why anyone subjected to that kind of abuse in those settings would become nauseous at the thought of “church” or “church leaders.” My heart goes out to the victims.

    I read after work today. I know these are allegations. Some claims may not be completely accurate or provable, yet these experiences are deep offenses against individual image bearers and the God who made them. I left my SGM church a little over a year ago. I’ve met several of the defendants, interacted w/ one accused of abuse at length and knew one of the plaintiffs as a child (I was one of the church members who was not told about the adult abuser being in the church). So very sad for the victims and angry at the cover-ups. Some of those who made wrong choices had to know better.

  114. If you want to encourage SGM friends to read the Amended lawsuit, you can post it in Facebook, as a Status to “Friends of Friends” Here’s how:
    Copy the link to lawsuit from this post. [See end of post above]
    Paste into your Facebook Status.
    Add a respectful note encouraging folks to read it.
    Click next to the Status “Post” button.
    Select “Custom”.
    Select “Friends of Friends”.
    Save Changes.
    Click “Post”.

    That Status will post to your FB Friends and all of their FB Friends. If you are FB Friends with folks from CLC/SGM, etc. it will go out to many….

    @ HoppyTheToad:

  115. You want to know how cold hearted the Reformed movement really is? How sicko? Read these tweets:

    https://twitter.com/kinnon/status/334706352700157953

    Frank Turk is basically saying that folks could not make the spiritual abuse charges stick so they are coming up with molestations.

    What spiritual abuse “charges”? Those were not civil court charges those were obvious with the way they operated as a shepherding cult. Molestations are also crimes against the state, Frank.

    Blind guides. Totally sold out to doctrine over people cult tactic.

    Julie Anne, I do not know how you do it with such grace!

  116. Over time, as this thing progresses and more facts come out, as is happening now, I suspect that suddenly CJ Mahaney’s faithful backers are going to start bailing out and distancing themselves from him faster than a slippery politician can step back from a social security cut proposal. The question for all of them at that time will be, “why did it take you so long, and why should anyone commend you for doing so now at this late date? Obviously you have been operating all along out of self-serving motives.”

  117. I was thinking about this this afternoon, about how people will claim that the plaintiffs are part of a grand conspiracy to take down SGM…but frankly, no matter how this all falls out once it goes to trial, there’s a conspiracy either way. Either a grand conspiracy to lie about SGM, or a grand conspiracy by SGM to cover its a**. So really, neither side can accuse the other of being paranoid conspiracy theorists. Personally, I’m strongly inclined to put my money on the human instinct to cover one’s a** at all costs – esp. since some of the molestation has already been proven to have occurred.

  118. Anon 1 wrote:

    I weary of dumping all humans in one category for evil. I do know and have known quite a few people who rather die trying to protect a child than molesting one for any ‘high minded purpose’. Thank God there are a few left.

    Ironic, isn’t it. Reminds me of what I was reading about a few days ago – the attitude Paul condemned: “Let us do evil that good may result?” Yet, some would have us believe that it is God himself who ordains/works this same evil with the very same attitude. Madness.

  119. @ Julie Anne:
    In fairness, my even-temperatured, non-smoking spousal unit told me to get off Twitter, in no uncertain terms. So he didn’t drop me, I left. And still managed to not get any work done. :-)

  120. Bill, this is the 2nd time I have laughed out loud at the description of your wife: “even-temperatured, non-smoking spousal unit.” Is she aware that you use this phrase? Hilarious! It’s no fun debating with Turk by myself. Feel free to jump back in :)

  121. @ Julie Anne:

    I wrote this earlier today on another thread regarding Team Pyro.

    @ William Birch:

    “Here is what’s interesting about that article coming out today. Team Pyro has consistently refused (except last year on Mother’s Day weekend, and even then they deleted comments) to allow any discussion of SGM issues on their blog. They have simply not allowed it. Now, the day after the amended complaint is issued against SGM, Team Pyro posts an Open Letter to Mark Driscoll asking him to repent from his wayward actions? I’m not disagreeing with what they have to say about Mark Driscol, but ARGH! Why aren’t Team Pyro and their mighty minions speaking up for ABUSED CHILDREN, instead of worrying about who Driscoll hangs out with? Why the attention on MD now, today, at this moment? It seems out of place and pointing to the wrong concerns in Christendom.”

  122. Julie Anne wrote:

    I could not believe he directed me to his ridiculous post discussing doctrine blaming the SGM problems on being charismatic. It showed his true colors, didn’t it? Wow.

    I will take your word for it, Julie Anne. I stopped visiting the Pyro guys back on 09 or thereabouts when Phil Johnson said in comments that a women should not answer any doctrinal questions from a man. She should always direct him to a man for an answer even if she knows the answer. Another example of Phallocentristic Christianity.

    Just could not take it anymore….the mutual admiration society and bizarre thinking and the adoring fans. Besides, I am probably one of the evil discernment divas in their bizarro world.

    Did anyone see Sergius’ Steam Tunnel on this subject? It is hilarious:

    http://steamtunnelpilot.blogspot.com/2012_06_01_archive.html

  123. Bill Kinnon wrote:

    So he didn’t drop me, I left.

    You guys are too funny. i followed the conversation. You will not win even when you win. He has one of the most convoluted communication styles,ever.

  124. Bridget wrote:

    @ Julie Anne:

    I wrote this earlier today on another thread regarding Team Pyro.

    @ William Birch:

    “Here is what’s interesting about that article coming out today. Team Pyro has consistently refused (except last year on Mother’s Day weekend, and even then they deleted comments) to allow any discussion of SGM issues on their blog. They have simply not allowed it. Now, the day after the amended complaint is issued against SGM, Team Pyro posts an Open Letter to Mark Driscoll asking him to repent from his wayward actions? I’m not disagreeing with what they have to say about Mark Driscol, but ARGH! Why aren’t Team Pyro and their mighty minions speaking up for ABUSED CHILDREN, instead of worrying about who Driscoll hangs out with? Why the attention on MD now, today, at this moment? It seems out of place and pointing to the wrong concerns in Christendom.”

    Bridget, can you say “doctrine over people”? Sheesh! Birch has it right.

  125. Anon 1 wrote:

    Anyone heard from Eagle? Is he ok?

    He is OK. He loves all of us and is working on some things in his life. He will be back after awhile-promise!

  126. dee wrote:

    You guys are too funny. i followed the conversation. You will not win even when you win. He has one of the most convoluted communication styles,ever.

    Of course you’re right. I was stuck for approximately 3 hours on a yellow school bus and had time to kill in between playing piano for a couple high school choir groups.

    I know I won’t win him. I know how this works. Yesterday I told a group that you cannot reason with these guys. They don’t want to hear what you have to say anyway. It’s just a way of releasing your own steam. I had/have a BOATLOAD of steam to release after filling my head with images of that amended lawsuit. Blech.

  127. Bill Kinnon wrote:

    @ dee: Julie Anne and I were talking about the definition of Incorrigible: Not able to be corrected, improved, or reformed.

    Bill, you didn’t answer my tweet. Are you going to use it or am I? One of us MUST :) haha

    I told Bill that is my new favorite word.

  128. @ Bridget:

    Bridget – Someone else sent me the link about Turk going off on Driscoll and I tweeted something like “”how cute” with the link and that’s what got that whole discussion with Bill, Turk and me.

    Anon 1 – Pyro = spiritual bullies. It’s like my Fred Butler/Grace Community pastor experience all over again. I don’t read there, but sometimes searches make me end up there and then I’m reminded why I dislike it so much. That link from Sergius is hilarious – and what’s even more funny is that there’s a Driscoll post right beneath it (considering Turks ranting about Driscoll today).

    This was a new one for me: Phallocentristic Christianity :)

  129. This is from SGM official statement

    “Our careful review of the allegations to date has not produced any evidence of any cover-up or conspiracy. If we discover otherwise, our Board will immediately report it to the authorities and see that it is prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

    Without minimizing the serious nature of these allegations nor the grievous harm individuals may have experienced, we understand that it is possible for people to be wrongly accused. We thank God for the judicial system where these allegations can be brought, a defense made, and a verdict rendered through a fair and just process.”

    / It is sickening to me that this is what SGM puts out as their official statement. Nowhere do they say anything about these poor children who have clearly been harmed, or how they are praying for these victims, or how sickened they are if these types of things occurred in any SGM churches. Instead SGM simply runs the children over in an effort to circle the wagons.
    This is not reflective of the God that we serve or of his heart for the little ones.
    May The Lord bring healing and comfort to these survivors, and may he have mercy and show true grace to these men who have become blind to their sin./

  130. Truthwillout wrote:

    [From Sovereign Grace's response to the lawsuit]: …We thank God for the judicial system where these allegations can be brought, a defense made, and a verdict rendered through a fair and just process.”

    Yes, we’re looking forward to that too, SGM.

  131. cranston wrote:

    In the midst of this horror, one point for some reason sticks in my mind. “He was attracted to the woman she was becoming” The woman she was becoming was STILL his daughter! I can’t think I have ever heard of a worse rationalisation for abuse. Who would say such a thing? What kind of mind thinks that statement somehow excuses what was done to that child? How do you think that is an explanation? And the victim blaming!
    I have two daughters and I work with children every day and I cannot begin to describe the anger I feel reading this. Anyone and everyone who played a part in this deserves to rot in prison for the rest of their days.

    Hi Cranston, I agree. This was a calculated, manipulative, deceptive statement directed at someone who was expected to submit to and o ey this attempt to decriminalize the behavior and PREVENT it from being reported to the police. Gary Ricucci acted on the same par as those involved in the Penn State cover-ups, only worse. He was motivated by a desire to protect CLC & SGM from bad press, something we all know these thugs were always keen on protecting, even at the expense of children being further harmed. Meanwhile, knowing this, Gary & Betsy were always so protective of their own children in ways other people likewise would have been if they had known of these dangers. But instead Ricucci protected these people within the confines of the church where he was employed as a PASTOR. There is no way anyone in their right mind can look at this as excusable, especially since he was in a position not only of trust, but of needed to WATCH OUT and WARN OTHERS of DANGERS he was himself was made aware of. This underscores how SELF-SERVING people like the Mahaney’s, Ricucci’s, Loftness’s etc. were. They all point to their own families as evidence of their own qualification for ministry. See how good they are! But that’s not the litmus rest, is it? The litmus test of their qualification is how well they SERVED THE LORD. Ask yourself – does telling someone a man was sexually attracted to the woman his daughter was becoming in light of clear criminal behavior sound to you like it’s coming from the lips of an individual that is dedicated to serving the Lord and ministering as a Family and Marriage Pastor? There is no way this can be interpreted any other way. This was spoken by an individual who is a WOLF in SHEEPS CLOTHING. If he were a GOOD and FAITHFUL SERVANT he would have acted like one. Instead GARY RICUCCI HAS BEEN EXPOSED AS A CUNNING LIAR WHO HAS NO BUSINESS BEING IN ANY POSITION WHERE HE IS LOOKED UP TO AS ANY KIND OF “SPIRITUAL LEADER.” PEOPLE NEED TO BE WARNED ABOUT HIM!

  132. 5/16- I received a call from a very nice man who runs the clown agency that may have hired Defendant Hoffman. He is trying to ascertain if this is the same Hoffman that is named in the lawsuit. If it is, he will deal with this immediately. Until this is corroborated, I have decided to remove the self descriptor from the post. I have referred him to Kris at SGM Survivors who first broke this story.

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  134. GuyBehindtheCurtain wrote:

    BeakerJ wrote:
    Can anyone fix my comment? I could blame my phone but…

    Like that?

    Yup!Big thankyou. That last sentence starting ‘either’ was part if the original quote so if you want extra gold stars that could go back up to join the rest of the quote. I managed to type my bit in the middle of the quote…yup, it was the tiny screen on my phone…:)

  135. Thanks, Dee.

    I had my own experience with leadership at CLC about 5 years ago when a very serious issue transpired with our neighbors who were members at CLC. Convincing any of the elders to meet with me was next to impossible, and when they were done with me (20 minutes or so) they gave me a copy of CJ’s ‘Humility’ book and suggested I had a huge beam in my eye. I read the endorsements of that book and chuckled….they all were stroking his ego and he was allowing it by printing said endorsements. That’s a rather crazy idea of humility.

    I can’t imagine what those families have and will go through.

  136. ken wrote:

    they gave me a copy of CJ’s ‘Humility’ book and suggested I had a huge beam in my eye.

    That is an abusive tactic and they should be ashamed of themselves. But they aren’t because being an SGM “elder” means never having to pretend you are humble.

  137. dee wrote:

    Oops, the clown, was indeed Hoffman of SGM. He has been removed from this agency.

    Dee — Which proves that clown agencies remove alleged predators more quickly and efficiently than Sovereign Grace churches.

  138. I have spent a bit of time watching the news reports, listening to interview with Bill ONeil and reading around and am thinking that PDI/SGM culture and polity will also be on trial in a sense. Bill ONeill mentioned the “isolation” of their culture. Approved venues such as their school, their church, hanging around members, etc, etc. The whole polity thing of obeying the leaders will have to be highlighted.

    but something really grabbed me during his interview. I had no idea that PDI/SGM pastors in some situations actually lied to victims families about court dates, interviews, so they would not show up. They actually inserted themselves between the court and the victim families to try and manipulate the outcome positively for the molester. Folks, this is downright chilling. And the poor victims family believed these monsters.

    May the whole concept of shepherding cult be on trial and more people wake up to the sinister control of many pastors.

  139. Anon 1 wrote:

    I had no idea that PDI/SGM pastors in some situations actually lied to victims families about court dates, interviews, so they would not show up. They actually inserted themselves between the court and the victim families to try and manipulate the outcome positively for the molester. Folks, this is downright chilling. And the poor victims family believed these monsters.

    May the whole concept of shepherding cult be on trial and more people wake up to the sinister control of many pastors.

    Anon 1 — Sick. I feel as though I’m reading something from a cult group, only SGM is a lot more sophisticated than most child abuse cults.

    “The cult leader controlled everything — sex, school, play and even diet.”

    That’s a description ofAnon 1 wrote:

    I have spent a bit of time watching the news reports, listening to interview with Bill ONeil and reading around and am thinking that PDI/SGM culture and polity will also be on trial in a sense. Bill ONeill mentioned the “isolation” of their culture. Approved venues such as their school, their church, hanging around members, etc, etc. The whole polity thing of obeying the leaders will have to be highlighted.
    but something really grabbed me during his interview. I had no idea that PDI/SGM pastors in some situations actually lied to victims families about court dates, interviews, so they would not show up. They actually inserted themselves between the court and the victim families to try and manipulate the outcome positively for the molester. Folks, this is downright chilling. And the poor victims family believed these monsters.
    May the whole concept of shepherding cult be on trial and more people wake up to the sinister control of many pastors.

    Anon 1 – Very sinister and very cult-like.

    “The … leader controlled everything — sex, school, play and even diet.”

    “The report concludes that the children who were released “likely experienced physical punishment as very young children, the girls were likely exposed to inappropriate concepts of sexuality,…”

    That sounds like a description of the Covenant Life School, but that actually is a quote from the report about the children abused by David Koresh.

    http://www.nytimes.com/1993/05/04/us/growing-up-under-koresh-cult-children-tell-of-abuses.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

  140. Anon 1 wrote:

    I had no idea that PDI/SGM pastors in some situations actually lied to victims families about court dates, interviews, so they would not show up. They actually inserted themselves between the court and the victim families to try and manipulate the outcome positively for the molester.

    I believe this is referring to Noel’s Story, which you can read at SGM Survivors. It was at the Fairfax church.

  141. ken wrote:

    Thanks, Dee.
    I had my own experience with leadership at CLC about 5 years ago when a very serious issue transpired with our neighbors who were members at CLC. Convincing any of the elders to meet with me was next to impossible, and when they were done with me (20 minutes or so) they gave me a copy of CJ’s ‘Humility’ book and suggested I had a huge beam in my eye. I read the endorsements of that book and chuckled….they all were stroking his ego and he was allowing it by printing said endorsements. That’s a rather crazy idea of humility.
    I can’t imagine what those families have and will go through.

    The old log trick… Dee did a review of Mahaney’s Humility book, and I still love the title of that post –

    False Humility, True Hypocrisy.

    Classic…

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  143. @ Daisy:

    If pedophiles are using these churches as hunting grounds, I would not be surprised. As early as the late 1990′s I was told that pedophiles might do that, and thus why the church I attended at the time required people to be church members (which could not happen until they had been regular attenders for 6 months) before they could be “leaders” in children’s ministry. It was felt that the 6 month barrier would cause pedophiles to move on to churches with lower barriers. Of course I know now that this idea is short sighted…that a pedophile would simply view the 6 month period as time to start grooming victims.

  144. A concerned mom

    Church membership does little to prevent serious sin. That is why the Scripture warns us of wolves in our midst. But, at least, they tried which is more than has happened here.

  145. Shocking. Just when I begin to acknowledge how sheltered my life is something else occurs to emphasize just how much more so this is true.

    I have not much else to add, except to ask: Why on earth do we not go after groups like the FLDS in northern AZ/southern UT? They are “allegedly” guilty of these same crimes and many, many more.

  146. itsallrelative wrote:

    I have not much else to add, except to ask: Why on earth do we not go after groups like the FLDS in northern AZ/southern UT? They are “allegedly” guilty of these same crimes and many, many more.

    Yes, there are other churches that are “allegedly” guilty. They seem to just fly under the radar even when the local media picks up the story. My hope is that the exposure of SGM will begin to draw more scrutiny to this problem in our churches.

  147. itsallrelative wrote:

    Shocking. Just when I begin to acknowledge how sheltered my life is something else occurs to emphasize just how much more so this is true.

    I have not much else to add, except to ask: Why on earth do we not go after groups like the FLDS in northern AZ/southern UT? They are “allegedly” guilty of these same crimes and many, many more.

    itsallrelative — You are right about the need to shine the light on all such groups. There are many many counter-cult websites that do this very thing with the FLDS. The site apologeticsindex.org has a lot on FLDS. The Wartburg Watch (TWW) is unique in that it shines the light on the Evangelical church, which none of the cult-watching organizations do. Why? Because, in general, they won’t identify an aberrant church if it adheres doctrinally to the Nicene Creed.

    That’s why a lot of us are here on TWW: mainstream Christian media seem to have a “no talk” rule about Christian leaders within their own camp even if they are accused of molesting children and covering it up. You won’t find any of this information (above) on “Christian Post” or “Christian Today” headline sites.

  148. itsallrelative

    It would take some folks impacted by that group to bring a lawsuit against them. I used to live out that way and worked with the Navajo Indians as a nurse. One day, my Navajo guide pointed out a compound in the region of which you speak. He said “Humph-they have many wives and lots of children. I can’t care for my one wife and 3 kids.” I saw a gated compound with little girls running around in prarie style dresses and a couple of men who appeared to be guarding the gate. Really weird.