T4G and Integrity: Mahaney Is Gone and So Is the Infamous Statement

When it comes to the future, there are three kinds of people: those who let it happen, those who make it happen, and those who wonder what happened. John Richardson link

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1. CJ Mahaney drops out of T4G 2014 conference.

Yesterday, Mahaney withdrew from the conference of the group that he helped to form. He said:

My decision simply reflects the reality that my participation could create a hindrance to this conference and its distinct purpose of serving so many pastors. My strong desire is to make sure this doesn’t happen. I believe the most effective way I can serve my friends who have supported me, and continue to support me, is by not participating in the 2014 conference. Read the rest at this link.

We have saved a screen shot of this statement. Why? Well darned if statements come and statements go when it comes to this group of men who "stand by" their man. What are we talking about?

2.The widely criticized T4G "Mahaney is our BFF" written by Al Mohler, Mark Dever and Ligon Duncan has gone missing!

Deb and I believe that Mahaney's withdrawal from the 2014 conference is significant. His best buddies have stood by his side, studiously ignoring the myriad of complaints, including sex abuse coverup, that have been lodged against Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries. These friends even made up a story that people were upset at Mahaney because he started a great ministry! They then quietly changed the statement when protests were lodged all over the internet stating that the concerns expressed about SGM surrounded the issue of child sexual abuse.

In a show of solidarity, Denny Burke asked that his name be added to the list of men who were standing with their buddy in this post on May 23, 2013. In it, he provided two links to the infamous statement.

Albert Mohler, Mark Dever, and Lig Duncan have issued a statement expressing their love for and confidence in C. J. Mahaney. You need to read the whole thing. Here’s an excerpt:

"We have stood beside our friend, C. J. Mahaney, and we can speak to his personal integrity… A Christian leader, charged with any credible, serious, and direct wrongdoing, would usually be well advised to step down from public ministry. No such accusation of direct wrongdoing was ever made against C. J. Mahaney. Instead, he was charged with founding a ministry and for teaching doctrines and principles that are held to be true by vast millions of American evangelicals. For this reason, we, along with many others, refused to step away from C. J. in any way. We do not regret that decision. We are profoundly thankful for C. J. as friend, and we are equally thankful for the vast influence for good he has been among so many Gospel-minded people."

I am so thankful to see these men release this statement. Consider this my cosign. Read the rest here.

Click on those links and see the following statement

Sorry, the page you requested could not be found.

Deb and I have searched for the statement since late last night to no avail. Poor Denny. I guess his request to cosign the statement has been denied.

TWW wrote a post about the "Where's the statement" debacle here. In that post we provided a link to Bill Kinnon's Evernote capture of the original statement. Guess Bill suspected that such statements have a strange propensity to disappear.

In that same post, we provided a link to the new location of the statement. Of course, it does not work.

The statement by Dever, Duncan, and Mohler that was taken down this morning resurfaced some hours later on the Together for the Gospel website.  You have to click on the small circle located at the top of the T4G website to access it.  Here it is – minus the comments that accompanied it on Facebook.

3. Does integrity have anything to do with biblical manhood in the eyes of T4G?

The three men who signed this statement consider themselves to be experts on what constitutes the actions and attitudes of Christian men of integrity. They have all been involved with the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood which purports to lecture the rest of us on what constitutes biblical gender roles. I have news for them. Biblical men do not play games, quietly removing statements and pretending they don't exist.

I can only hope that the sudden removal of this statement was an error. If not, there appears to be an issue with honor and transparency within this little group of men. Principled men would have explained the removal of a statement that caused a firestorm in the Christian community.The lack of such is an epic man fail.

4. What is going on?

Could it be that the SBC resolution was the straw that broke the camel's back? I am not so sure since various members of the SBC have a long history of ignoring resolutions. 

Could it be that there are some serious revelations that are yet to come? That appears more likely. 

Whatever happens, I am deeply disappointed in the public statements and actions of Christian leaders who claim to be concerned about child sex abuse. These leaders have demonstrated that insulated, authoritarian leadership needs to be seriously challenged.

And, when things disappear, we always dedicate the following song to those who made it dematerialized. We are so grateful for Wayback and Evernote to hold these men accountable. Since these guys like conferences, let's go to a country music "conference." Love the red boots!

Comments

T4G and Integrity: Mahaney Is Gone and So Is the Infamous Statement — 94 Comments

  1. One can only be a leader if people are following that leader. How long do you think it will take for a dribble of followers to become a flood? It stand to reason that in order to lead, somebody must follow.

  2. TWW wrote a post about the “Where’s the statement” debacle here. In that post we provided a link to Bill Kinnon’s Evernote capture of the original statement. Guess Bill suspected that such statements have a strange propensity to disappear.

    Just like those Inner Party members standing next to Comrade Stalin in all the official pictures of the year before.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship_of_images_in_the_Soviet_Union

  3. So, for months you criticize because they don’t say anything about why Mahaney was still included in their circle, then you criticize because they do say something (even though it showed compassion for the victims, but not what you wanted them to say), and now you criticize because they don’t say anything about why Mahaney is not still included in the circle.

    You criticize the SBC for not doing anything, then criticize the SBC even after passing a resolution seriously expressing its disdain for abuse.

    Sounds like there is one constant…like the dripping of a faucet.

  4. @ Confused: Compassion for the victims? Seriously? One man’s garbage is another man’s floral arrangement.

    You did not engage my critique. “Dripping faucet” …I kind of like that. A dripping faucet gets attention. Plumbers get called to find out what the problem is.

    I am talking about integrity, disappearing statements, and really stupid statements (they do not like Mahaney because he is a leader).

    Look at the two of us. We can apologize for making a mistake on a blog. We allow serious critique of us. Your boys would never let you put a comment on their blog calling them dripping faucets. In fact, they delete all negative comments. We publish all negative comments.

    We have more guts than they do. The problem is, we are women…

  5. I was initially happy to see this move by CJ Mahaney. And then I read his explanation, which has nothing to do with maintaining personal integrity but all about preventing T4G from taking a hit on attendees because of him. And then I hear about the “silent removal” of the T4G endorsement. Life is just a big poker game for these guys, ain’t it?

  6. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Just like those Inner Party members standing next to Comrade Stalin in all the official pictures of the year before.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship_of_images_in_the_Soviet_Union

    For a while now, I’ve been looking for the photo where they attempted to edit the guy out of the picture but forget to edit out his shoes, so that there’s a bunch of people standing around next to a pair of shoes. You wouldn’t happen to have a link to that one, would you?

  7. Sergius Martin-George wrote:

    For a while now, I’ve been looking for the photo where they attempted to edit the guy out of the picture but forget to edit out his shoes, so that there’s a bunch of people standing around next to a pair of shoes. You wouldn’t happen to have a link to that one, would you?

    No, but that’d really be a kicker.

    Come to think of it, Chuck Smith did the same to Lonnie Frisbee in the official history of Calvary Chapel.

  8. Let’s wait and see what happens next. It’s good to note that the post has disappeared, though I think it’s a little early to speculate on the motives behind its disappearance with any certainty. Could be any number of things….up to and including the original writers becoming increasingly uncomfortable defending him. But that is pure speculation.

    And Mr. Confused, nice reference to the Driscoll leaky faucet thing. ARE you Mark Driscoll, or just an admirer of his? 🙂

  9. Again, this is the problem I see, because I offer an observation of how I see the situation, I must be a “fanboy” of Mahaney (which I’m not, however I am SBC and did vote in favor of the resolution on protecting children). As if no logical person could ever see anything the situation differently than the OP I am confused because I’m not sure what is the desired response that would satisfy.

  10. @sad observer…have no idea what Driscoll reference you are alluding to. I was referencing Solomon in Proverbs 27:15

  11. dee wrote:

    You did not engage my critique. “Dripping faucet” …I kind of like that. A dripping faucet gets attention.

    Confused really is confused (because he’s a T4G/Mahaney fanboy as HUG pointed out)

    He called you a dripping faucet, trying to insult you, referring back to the Proverbs. But really you and Deb are like the Widow and the Unrighteous Judge that Jesus talked about (Luke 18:1-5).

    You ladies are perceived (by T4G et al) as having no authority, like the widow in the parable. And the guys at T4G who are born predestined to have all this authority (in their own minds) are like the judge who has the authority but won’t do the right thing until he is worn down by the widow.

    So keep after it gals. The guys lacking integrity are being worn down by the women with no authority.

  12. Mara wrote:

    The guys lacking integrity are being worn down by the women with no authority.

    I can only hope. Its rather humorous. In the church, they can blow you off or discipline you. They have a hard time doing that in the blogosphere although there may have been one or two attempts to “call my pastor.” We keep a step ahead of that stuff as well.

  13. Confused wrote:

    I am SBC and did vote in favor of the resolution on protecting children

    I am glad to hear that you did vote for the resolution. It is difficult to see how any sane person would do otherwise. Can you imagine saying you voted against a child sex abuse resolution?

    Let me make an observation as well. Had it not been for all the “dripping faucets” (I am liking that more and more), the child sex abuse resolution would never have occurred, Mahaney would never have been challenged, and many churches would still be conducting “business as usual.” I think you owe us “drips” a tip of the hat.

  14. sad observer wrote:

    .up to and including the original writers becoming increasingly uncomfortable defending him.

    One can only hope that they have had a change in their internal compass on this matter. I tend to be a bit cynical about certain individuals and should hope for a change of heart.

  15. These men totally don’t get it, or they choose not too. Take you pick.

    Mahaney claims he is withdrawing otherwise his presence would ‘subject my friends to unfair and unwarranted criticism’. Actually, it would be very much warranted criticism.

    When you are involved with a lawsuit, and allegations of a serious matter as they are presented? The biblical thing to do is step down. He and his ‘friends’ would be subject to ‘warranted’ criticism if he didn’t step down.

    Honestly? I don’t get WHY these pack of pastors just don’t grasp this VERY important portion of scripture!

    He isn’t stepping down from this conference because he needs to clean house, and get his walk with God straighten out. He wants to shield his friends? Wrong motivation!

    Men that he ‘loves’ and ‘respects’ need to hold him accountable, because that is what true friend do! According to scripture that is one way of showing love for your friend.

    His friends took a huge shot for him, and the least he can do is step down at this conference. It would be warranted criticism after all if he didn’t!

    Talk about a spiritual spin there!

  16. Dee and Deb, don’t forget to add “Dripping Faucet” to the list of names which you’ve been called. 🙂

  17. “I have news for them. Biblical men do not play games, quietly removing statements and pretending they don’t exist.”

    Yep. They have no moral credibility. They are playing games, rewriting history without explaining their actions. Trying to wipe them off the face of the earth and pretend it was not so. And guess what? This works for a lot of “confused” people who cannot connect the dots with long time patterns of behavior. I think it is because they have been taught to “believe the best” about the leaders and not look at reality.

    (BTW: We used “believe the best” all the time in the seeker mega world because it works. See, if one doesn’t “believe the best” then they are sinners)

  18. @ dee:

    Yeah…let’s give them a **** (ed) round of applause and throw our tithes and souls at their feet for doing LITERALLY the least they could do by passing a resolution to take action that any common person on the street takes without a stupid resolution.

    Oh…how they are known by their “love”. Oh…how I have the vapors at the thought of their divine wisdom that specially gifts them the perception to finally realize that raping a child isn’t the moral equivalent of forgetting to clean the urinal cake when it was your turn on the Urinal Cake Ministry. Gasp! The novelty!

    (ed)

    What a joke.

  19. @ Confused:

    How about the response that concedes the moral lapse that would cause you to be a member or an organization which VOTES (as if “the nays have it” is somehow the legitimate moral equivalent of actually supporting it…really, I’m going to be sick) on a “resolution” to exercise the most basic form of human decency.

    A CHRISTIAN organization, no less!!

  20. Pingback: C.J. Mahaney withdraws Himself from T4G Conference | Spiritual Sounding Board UNITED STATES

  21. @ Confused:

    I kind of see what you are saying, that it seems these guys are darned if they do, darned if they don’t. If they say nothing, they get criticized, but if they do, they get criticized.

    However – they deserve the criticism. To remain silent or protective of someone who allegedly is covering up a decades long series of child sex abuse is awful.

    If and when they do speak up about it, they should be less defensive and show more compassion to the people claiming to have been sexually abused and then mistreated by their church leaders.

    I think it is fair to criticize them for finally speaking up if the content they finally present to the public when they do speak up does not show sincere concern for the victims but is mostly self serving or out to protect their friends in high places, which their open letter was. Or it struck a lot of people of being that way.

  22. dee wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Chuck Smith did the same to Lonnie Frisbee in the official history of Calvary Chapel.

    That would make for a good post. I forgot about all that!

    Seems to be a common shtick for both Third World Dictators and Pastor/Dictators. Third World Dictators started it in imitation of Stalin, but what excuse do Pastor/Dictators have?

    P.S. My roomie first heard me use the term “Pastor/Dictator” last week and thought it was a real hoot. I suggest TWW start using that term for autocratic/control freak pastor types. You’ve built up a long list of them over the years, and others have commented “these guys act like Third World Dictators over their flocks.”

  23. Daisy wrote:

    This is off topic, but since several of you were discussing Michelangelo’s David a few posts back, I thought you might enjoy this:

    Michelangelo’s David Re-Imagined with Numerous Tiny Faces

    Okay, now that was DISTURBING…

  24. Leila wrote:

    Dee and Deb, don’t forget to add “Dripping Faucet” to the list of names which you’ve been called.

    Thank you. I shall do so immediately.

  25. Argo wrote:

    @ dee:

    Yeah…let’s give them a **** (ed) round of applause and throw our tithes and souls at their feet for doing LITERALLY the least they could do by passing a resolution to take action that any common person on the street takes without a stupid resolution.

    Oh…how they are known by their “love”. Oh…how I have the vapors at the thought of their divine wisdom that specially gifts them the perception to finally realize that raping a child isn’t the moral equivalent of forgetting to clean the urinal cake when it was your turn on the Urinal Cake Ministry. Gasp! The novelty!

    (ed)

    What a joke.

    Or Argo, how about the fact that Mahaney puts a statement on the T4G site backing away AFTER all the negative reaction to the statement supporting him AND the resolution? Do people NOT connect dots? They could not do the right thing all along?

  26. @ Anon 1:

    They are Calvinist divines in the stead. Their own doctrine declares they can never be wrong no matter what they do. Reality is the subjective whore of their enlightened understanding.

  27. @Confused, you know how sometimes you apologize to someone even when you think you’re right but you don’t want to be inconvenienced by a long disagreement? You can’t fully repent of your ways (because you don’t see what you’ve done as wrong) but you want to stop the conflict, y’know? So you say enough to try to satisfy the other party and get back to business as usual. That’s what T4G and Mahaney are trying to do. They refuse to acknowledge the gravity and legitimacy of the allegations against Mahaney. They just want it to all go away.

    I don’t know about you, but I have had people in my life who don’t just turn a blind eye to my weaknesses but confront them until I own them, repent, receive Christ’s forgiveness, and validate those I’ve wronged. I can admit who I really am to them and dont need to put on a holy facade. I’m grateful for them and I’m grateful for those who are holding these public figures to the same level of accountability. It would seem no one in Mahaney’s inner circle has had that same courage.

  28. Santiago wrote:

    I don’t know about you, but I have had people in my life who don’t just turn a blind eye to my weaknesses but confront them until I own them, repent, receive Christ’s forgiveness, and validate those I’ve wronged.

    Santiago — Nicely said.

  29. Hey, does anyone have a screen shot of the original TGC Statement by Carson, DeYoung, and Taylor dated May 14-16 or thereabouts? I wonder if there’s another change. I found a Google Cached version dated June 24, but I’m looking for something older.

  30. I never noticed before that the statement supporting C.J. Mahaney by Don Carson, Kevin DeYoung, and Justin Taylor, also tried to cover up the silence of two pro-neo-Calvinist online news organizations: Christianity Today and World Magazine.

    They wrote:
    “Reports on the lawsuit from Christianity Today and World Magazine (among others) explicitly and repeatedly drew attention to C. J., connecting the suit to recent changes within SGM….”

    Well, that’s not entirely true. Neither of those magazines mentioned anything on their main news sites about the new and horrific allegations that were made public on May 14 in the amended lawsuit. Neither magazine mentioned the T4G or TGC statement on their main news sites. And neither of them mentioned on their main news sites yesterday’s story that C.J. Mahaney stepped aside from the T4G 2014 speaking event.

    Thank goodness for the Huffington Post, Washington Post, ABC TV affiliate WJLA, Associated Baptist Press, and Christian Post. At least they reported on the story (CP was a foot-dragger, but eventually did report once Boz Tchivijian got involved.)

    Pathetic “World Magazine” says this about itself: “WORLD offers hard-hitting, truth-telling, uniquely Christian worldview reporting that stands in stark contrast to the mainstream media in these confusing, chaotic …”

    Yeah, right. [/sarcasm] “Uniquely Christian” must mean “uniquely neo-Calvinist.” (And Marv, that one sentence in Thomas Kidd’s article set for the upcoming July 13. 2013, issue doesn’t count as a news story.)

  31. Argo wrote:

    They are Calvinist divines in the stead. Their own doctrine declares they can never be wrong no matter what they do. Reality is the subjective whore of their enlightened understanding.

    Reality cannot be permitted to interfere with Ideology, Comrade.

  32. Hannah Thomas wrote:

    Mahaney claims he is withdrawing otherwise his presence would ‘subject my friends to unfair and unwarranted criticism’

    In SGM Land..any criticism of a pastor is considered unwarranted. Being a pastor in SGM meant never having to say your sorry.

  33. doubtful

    He is saving them from unwarranted criticism? Unwarranted? Sticking up for system that has been well documented by former members to be seriously problematic, complete with poor responses to child sex abuse is not biblical. Maheney is using double speak. He says the criticim is unwarranted because he knows it is over him and he is just wonderful, thank you very much. He is now going to show all of them that he will take one of the team but stepping down even though it is “unwarranted.” He is showing them all that he is very, very humble.

  34. Dee,

    Apparently, whatever Mahaney says the YRR crowd believes. There's a reason why a predominantly YOUNG crowd flocks to T4G hear these these guys. Quite a few are in the age range of our kids.  

    When they are older and wiser, they will look back and wonder why they fell for it.  It will be at that point when they think about all the money they wasted going to these conferences.

  35. Because of the way all of this has unfolded, I don’t believe that the T4G folks and other Mahaney supporters can say anything that will satisfy. Is that because some folks are beyond being satisfied? For some, perhaps. Confused is partly right there.

    But for the most part, this thing has unfolded over years. You have in T4G a group of people who gather around what they consider to be Gospel essentials (Please let’s don’t have an argument about that. Just humor me, and accept the premise for the sake of discussion.) Polity, church ordinances, and lots of other issues are in the “agree to disagree” category.

    As an example, you have Dever’s and Duncan’s somewhat public discussion about communion etc.

    But with respect to Mahaney, the differences are certainly present. The Charismatic influence, the way his churches operate, Mahaney claiming to be an Apostle etc.

    Problem is, while Dever and Duncan CAN and DO talk about their differences with regard to baptism etc., there is NO discussion about the strange way Mahaney’s churches operate. Mahaney is a apostle. The “Elders” engage in what I have ever heard other members of T4G uncomfortably describe as “heavy handed shepherding.”

    I don’t know when the SGM Survivors and other former SGM blogs start, but they do, and out of them pour a litany of allegations relating to strange behaviors at SGM churches.

    Again, since there is no public discussion by the T4G guys about the church polity differences, these practices never surface for discussion at T4G events etc.

    Things at T4G rock along and the noise from SGM shipwrecked people gets louder. At this point the T4G guys basically decide that their organization is built around the Gospel, and they are going to stick to that.

    Add to that, I am sure, the idea that you don’t throw one of the founders overboard because “his” churches (that’s the problem, right there) have a bunch of disgruntled former members.

    But then things just continue to get worse. You have the document dump. Then Mahaney is basically let go by his own church. And then the lawsuit. Bunches of churches leave SGM And there we are.

    At a point along the way, even though T4G was not supposed to be promoting anything but Gospel essentials, when things get so bad in SGM, it appears that T4G IS supporting and propping up SGM and all the bad stuff that goes with it.

    I am not trying to say what the other 3 should have done or when they should have done it. But I am saying that at some point there was so much smoke and fire that ties were going to be cut.

    The only thing that might satisfy everyone is a complete airing out of the issues, how SGM churches were run, why that’s not healthy, and what happened with regard to molestation at SGM churches and how did SGM handle it.

    But the problem is there is no forum for that to occur. The 3 remaining have ridden the train so long, they can’t jump off now. They don’t even know all of the facts.

    So, there really is nothing that can be said in the short run that will please folks. But that is not because most people are beyond being pleased. It is because this thing was developed and festered and ignored for too long to go backwards in time.

    It is a good lesson in being very careful with whom one affiliates.

  36. RE: Confused’s dripping faucet complaint.

    The reason all of us to this point reject the T4G crowd’s statements, whether they concern having MaHaney come to a conference and speak or whether they announce that he has withdrawn from the conference, etc., is that ALL of these actions are driven by the very same consistent malignant motive – self-serving coverup. You would hear nothing but hallelujah’s on this blog if MaHaney or any of these guys actually stood up and came clean. “I did this. You are right. I encouraged the coverup of heinous crimes and I did it out of ignorance and self-protection. I deserve what is coming to me.” The drip, drip, drip will continue until we start hearing statements like that.

  37. Jeff Crippen wrote:

    You would hear nothing but hallelujah’s on this blog if MaHaney or any of these guys actually stood up and came clean.

    Jeff Crippen — Well said.

  38. Dee, Deb, GBTC: It is my experience that the TWW home page search only searches actual posts, not including the comments. Is this correct and if it is, is there a way to search including comments?

    Thanks for all your hard work.

  39. Anonymous wrote:

    But the problem is there is no forum for that to occur. The 3 remaining have ridden the train so long, they can’t jump off now. They don’t even know all of the facts.

    So, there really is nothing that can be said in the short run that will please folks. But that is not because most people are beyond being pleased. It is because this thing was developed and festered and ignored for too long to go backwards in time.

    Anonymous — I like the way you phrased most of your comment above. But I do think there is a “forum” of sorts for solving the problem, and that’s the in the heart of each individual. In my way of thinking, intelligent people cannot withstand cognitive dissonance very long. Eventually they have to either squelch the truth or act on it. Boz T acted and it worked. That opened up many more people and news sources to discuss it. By refusing to act, the other Gospel Coalition council members have left themselves open to devastating criticism, as we have now seen the results of.

  40. You raise some good points Anonymous. I would disagree with a few items. I think 9Marks churches are every bit as heavy-handed and authoritarian as SGM churches. Perhaps even more so. Admittedly I am a slow learner, but I once attended a SGM church for a period of about 5 years. My involvement in Care Groups slowly dwindled because I was quite uncomfortable with their sin-sniffing meetings. Many others must have felt the same as I because our CLG slowly dwindled down to a very meager attendance. Our Care Group members were called into meetings as individual couples with the assistant pastor. The pastor lost his temper with me, I guess because he wasn’t used to having anyone question him, and yelled at me and even asked why I even attended his church. Poignant question. I pondered it for a month or two and decided to move on. I sent them a letter advising them I was withdrawing my membership and never heard a thing back. I did hear that Mr. Temper Tantrum has since been promoted to senior pastor of a Denver area church. I feel sorry for those sheep!

    Fast forward several years and I was now attending a 9Marks church in Dubai. I don’t think all churches involved or affiliated with the 9Marks movement are equally authoritarian in manner, but my pastor was a former assistant at Mark Dever’s Capitol Hill Baptist, so he is pretty hung-ho on all things Dever. As the C.J. Mahaney scandal started to break I kept well informed on the subject. When Ceej fled his church to hang out in his buddies, Mark Dever’s, church I told my pastor he may wish to advise Dever to be careful as this could really have some bad repercussions for him. I left it at that but would send the pastors occasional emails with the SGM news. I got the distinct sense that my pastors were less than receptive to my updates. They would always say, “well a three man panel found nothing that would disqualify C.J from ministry.” And then say the AOR panel basically exonerated Mahaney. I continually said they hadn’t read all the documents and the panel was cursory in nature, not even speaking with Brent Detwiler. As new information came out they switched their tactic to that of “this only affects the church in the USA, it has no bearing on us in Dubai.” This in spite of the fact they continually pumped Mahaneys books, attended T4G conferences and had conferences in Dubai with noted C.J. supporters D.A. Carson, Kevin DeYoung, Mark Dever and Carl Trueman. (Piper will be here in October.) I had finally arrived at a point where I could no longer, in good conscience, remain a member of my church. There are some details I am omitting, but I sent an email to all the elders on March 6th advising them I was withdrawing my membership. It’s not that easy to quit in a heavy handed authoritarian 9Marks church. You can’t quit until they say you can quit. It has been four months and two members meetings now since I sent my letter and they still refuse to remove me from their membership rolls. Why? Because it isn’t clear to them where I am attending church now. I have quit meeting with elders who used to be my friends because all they want to do is attempt to find out where I am attending church.

    All this to say that SGM isn’t alone in their heavy handed, shepherding type of approach. Knowing what I know now I would advise anyone to exercise extreme caution prior to becoming a member of a 9Marks church. These guys seem to be attempting to reinstitute the ecclesiology of the Middle Ages Roman Catholic church. They say their polity is congregationalism, but it is a congregationalism unknown to most congregationalists. The pastor rules. Elders are nominated by the pastor. Independent thinkers will not pass muster. The congregation is basically a rubber stamp to approve new members, discipline and exiting members. I have yet to see them nominate or vote on new pastors.

    Anonymous you asked what these guys in T4G could have said that would satisfy us people out here in blog land. I would say that would be simple. They could have said “Our friend C.J. Mahaney is facing some serious charges. While we will support him as a friend in anyway we can. We think it prudent that he step down from all his duties as a pastor and conference speaker until these matters are concluded. We are dismayed and deeply concerned for the victims of sexual abuse and will gladly donate time, services and money to help these victims on their road to recovery. We urge anyone who has been a victim of abuse or knows of any abuse to go to the authorities with your information. We in no way condone keeping these matters out of the hands of civil authorities.” I guess what would have been nice to see is that the T4G guys followed the advice so freely given by Mohler on what to do in response to the Penn State scandal.

  41. oldJohnJ wrote:

    It is my experience that the TWW home page search only searches actual posts, not including the comments. Is this correct and if it is, is there a way to search including comments?

    Waaaay off topic. But to be honest I don’t know. I’ve never thought about it. We just use the search built into WordPress. But I’ll check it out.

  42. Anonymous wrote:

    Things at T4G rock along and the noise from SGM shipwrecked people gets louder. At this point the T4G guys basically decide that their organization is built around the Gospel, and they are going to stick to that.

    Just curious, how do you know that for a fact? How do you know whether they simply agreed with Mahaney’s tactics or not? Did Dever’s church vote on accepting Mahaney when he was running away ignoring his own polity rules? Why the statements on again off again? Why diss the victims? Why diss the bloggers from day one?

    Why is it we give pastors a pass for being ignorant and not seeking facts or listening to the victims? (Remember the 3 person panel of Reformed celebs? AoR?) How do we know it was not willful ignorance? How do we know they did NOT know both sides? How do we know if they had people keeping track of the survivor blogs for them?

    If you have an inside track to answer some of these questions, let us know. Otherwise I think you are simply spinning for them. They are responsible for their words and NON actions for a long time. And dissing the 13 year old at the time victim who was raped and accusing her of threatening violence on SGM was beyond the pale. I am sad anyone who defend that. Willful ignorance or just plain old cruelty by the YRR movement leaders?

  43. GuyBehindtheCurtain wrote:

    Waaaay off topic.

    Agreed, so much in fact I didn’t see the need to announce it as off topic. Seriously, what is the preferred way to ask a question concerning technical aspects of the blog or how to do something?

  44. TW wrote:

    All this to say that SGM isn’t alone in their heavy handed, shepherding type of approach. Knowing what I know now I would advise anyone to exercise extreme caution prior to becoming a member of a 9Marks church.

    We have some 9 Marks affiliated churches in our area and we have seen similar issues with regard to church membership. One must "leave their church well" whatever that means…

    Before we started blogging, I was involved with a church plant, and we were informed by the pastors that if members did not attend community groups on a regular basis, they would undergo church discipline. That was the last straw.

    If you are considering joining a church, please do some research and check out the church's affiliations. Then ask LOTS of questions. 

  45. Janey:

    Thanks. Good thoughts.

    TW:

    Man, that is awful. What a couple of terrible experiences. I would NEVER remain in a church like that SGM situation you describe.

    Also, I agree with your thoughts about the 9Marks church you describe. It is absolutely ridiculous for that church to maintain the position it has about your membership.

    I and another Elder at my church recently had a conversation with a young guy who is pastoring a new church. I don’t know that it is a “9Marks Church”, but the pastor looks up to Dever and that movement. And there are some good things in that movement.

    But on the discipline thing and the membership thing, they are way off the mark. The other elder and the young pastor were having a conversation when the 3 of us were on a plane and I was in the middle reading. I did not intervene at this point because I wanted to listen. They were discussing the appropriate bounds of shepherding. My co-elder and I are on the same page, but you could tell the younger pastor really wanted to fit in with the 9Marks crowd.

  46. @ Janey:

    “In my way of thinking, intelligent people cannot withstand cognitive dissonance very long. Eventually they have to either squelch the truth or act on it.”
    +++++++++++++++++++

    Well, they can if they simply keep themselves out of the know.

    I know extremely intelligent people who simply welcome info from a variety of Christian sources like they are reading & believing the headlines of the National Enquirer while waiting in line at Wal-Mart.

    No due diligence or scrutiny whatsoever as to what’s behind the “headlines”.

    As long as it fits the their “biblical” bottom lines.

    I almost want to start my own urban legend with a headline that fits any number of popular Christian assumptions, dress it up with smoke-&-mirror credibility and see how long it takes to make its way into the “truth” category of popular Christian thought.

  47. Deb wrote:

    nformed by the pastors that if members did not attend community groups on a regular basis, they would undergo church discipline. That was the last straw.

    In this day and age when people are already pressed for time – some people have to make time to go to a Sunday morning service (I preferred Wed. nights myself) – demanding they attend other things at other times of the week is ridiculous. And then to threaten them with some kind of discipline on top of that if they don’t go is even more insane.

    These churches are lucky if they’re getting anyone in their regular church services, never mind other church groups/functions at other times of the week.

  48. Daisy,

    I was very good friends with the pastor and his wife, and I had been attending community groups regularly in the months leading up to the church launch. However, when given a ridiculous ultimatum like that, I chose to walk away.

    Thank God I had been doing extensive research in the months prior to that extra-biblical demand. Less than 2 months later, Dee and I were in the blogging business.

    The church plant failed. I wonder why…

  49. Deb wrote:

    I chose to walk away.

    I don’t blame you.

    That some churches are placing all these additional rules and burdens on people is ridiculous.

    In the book “Quitting Church,” one reason of several that people cite for dropping out of church is the time crunch.

    They are worn down the rest of the week with full time jobs or other obligations to have the energy to go to church on a Sunday.

    Some mention the church of their choice is a long drive from their home, and they’d rather not sit in traffic. The book says that is one reason why people balk at doing “care group” or “Bible study” groups.

    Some preachers tell Christians who complain about Sun morning services being shallow to join a “small group” (that meets on a week night), but the book says people say once they get home from work, they don’t have the energy or time to gobble up dinner then drive to a church, then have to drive back home.

    Churches/preachers need to face the reality of life that people are living these days, instead of insisting people bend their lives to their church rules/ schedules, IMO.

    Some people still make time for Sun. morning services but find the services at most churches so empty, shallow, or impersonal, they don’t see the point in going, so they decide to use Sunday morning for sleeping in and watching TV.

  50. @ Daisy:
    For me it’s really important to be involved beyond Sunday morning worship service; however, I too would balk at an ultimatum. People have different obligations and sometimes that stuff just might not be possible. The only reason I am able to go to Bible study is because the leader’s wife is willing to watch my son during that time. At my previous church I simply could not go.

    We recently did a book called “Making Room For Life” where the author recommended that people do NO WORK after 6:00. Our bible study leader (who is also the worship leader at the church) encouraged us to try it for a week. I said “fine, but then I can’t make practice on Thursday”. He said “well that’s not work”, and I said “it is to me!’. He’s a good guy, but this is that same attitude that “stuff for the church’ doesn’t count as work. To be fair though, he did not persist in his argument 🙂

    Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE music and leading worship, but it is not fair to myself or my son if I do not regard it as a sacrifice. Some things have to give in order for me to be able to do that. “Work” for the church is still work.

    I go to Bible study and I go to worship practice, but I do so counting the costs. I believe that is a command of Jesus and it shows that these things are worth something to me because I am willing to pay the price. The church does people no favors when they treat church functions as obligations that do not carry a cost.

  51. Jeff Crippen wrote:

    self-serving coverup. You would hear nothing but hallelujah’s on this blog if MaHaney or any of these guys actually stood up and came clean. “I did this. You are right. I encouraged the coverup of heinous crimes and I did it out of ignorance and self-protection. I deserve what is coming to me.” The drip, drip, drip will continue until we start hearing statements like that.

    Welcome to the Land of the Dripping Faucets.

  52. @ Jeff S.:

    “We recently did a book called “Making Room For Life” where the author recommended that people do NO WORK after 6:00. Our bible study leader (who is also the worship leader at the church) encouraged us to try it for a week. I said ‘fine, but then I can’t make practice on Thursday’. He said ‘well that’s not work’, and I said ‘it is to me!’. He’s a good guy, but this is that same attitude that ‘stuff for the church’ doesn’t count as work. … The church does people no favors when they treat church functions as obligations that do not carry a cost.”

    Thank you for this. I’m an organist employed by my church and I still get this from people. Questions like, “When are you going to get a real job” and such like. Then there’s the incredulous folks who don’t think of all the time musicians put into their work, and when they find out I practice 2-3 hours a day they say, “Wow, that’s a lot of practice.” : O It takes work to be good at what you do…and church work is definitely “real work,” whether it’s paid or not.

    The best one was when my grandfather admonished my parents to “not let her get distracted by her toys” after he watched a video of my semi-professional volunteer handbell choir. We might be going on tour next year. Toys my foot.

  53. Also what D&D do here definitely qualifies as “work” also. The # of blog maintenance hours per week is probably way bigger than I can even imagine.

  54. Jeff S wrote:

    We recently did a book called “Making Room For Life” where the author recommended that people do NO WORK after 6:00.

    Define work! 🙂

  55. Hester wrote:

    The # of blog maintenance hours per week is probably way bigger than I can even imagine.

    It is way more than I could ever have imagined. But I love it. The average post takes me 4 1/2 hours to write and that's after some initial research.

  56. Christianity Today’s Gleanings blog did an update today (July 3, 2013) to include C.J. Mahaney stepping down from speaking at the Together for the Gospel 2014 Conference, but they give the impression that the lawsuit was entirely dismissed (2nd sentence of the update):

    Even though the lawsuit against him now has been dismissed, “the lawsuit could prove a distraction from the purpose of this important conference,” Mahaney stated.

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2013/june/in-case-you-missed-it-blogs-we-updated-this-week1.html

    This contradicts the statement in an earlier May 17 Gleanings post:

    A judge has dismissed most of the civil lawsuit against Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM), days after it was amended to add names and charges.

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2013/may/after-judge-dismisses-sovereign-grace-lawsuit-justin.html

    The word “most” is important.

    The article also says Mahaney will no longer “participate in the Together for the Gospel conference,” but that’s also is somewhat misleading. If you look at C.J. Mahaney’s actually statement, he has backed out of speaking at the 2014 event only.

    Homeschool news site, World Magazine, still has not publishing one word about the allegations that were made public on May 14, and have been widely reported in secular and Christian media.

  57. The only person who has to worry about keeping their job in the fab 4 of T$G is Al Mohler. He is the only one who is an “employee” of an SBC entity. The rest of them are dictator…er authoritarian pastors who answer to no one and seem to have loyal but blind followers who are willing to continue to pay their salaries no matter who they hang around with.

    Therefore, I believe that Mahaney was pressured into the statement to take the heat off Mohler. Some on the SBC unity committee might have felt used by Mohler since the T4G statement came out so close to their big unity statement. (they were used, btw, whether they know it or not. They provided cover for Mohler)

    But the outcry did not stop and it became embarrassing. Many in the Reformed movement were starting to wake up, too. They were starting to lose their base of support.

    But I am amused at how Mahaney presents himself as the martyr for his friends. He is “serving” them. The guy has classic narcissistic tactics!

  58. dee wrote:

    Mara wrote:
    The guys lacking integrity are being worn down by the women with no authority.
    I can only hope. Its rather humorous. In the church, they can blow you off or discipline you. They have a hard time doing that in the blogosphere although there may have been one or two attempts to “call my pastor.” We keep a step ahead of that stuff as well.

    I am flabbergasted that people actually call your pastor over a blog. I get calling a person’s pastor if they’re involved in major sin (like child abuse, for example), but calling because you disagree? What the hell. How is that not harassment?

    What a bunch of schoolyard tattletales. How petty and small-minded a mentality do you have to have to run to a person’s pastor in order to get them in trouble? Wow.

  59. elastigirl wrote:

    I almost want to start my own urban legend with a headline that fits any number of popular Christian assumptions, dress it up with smoke-&-mirror credibility and see how long it takes to make its way into the “truth” category of popular Christian thought.

    Try: “How to porno-proof your man and save him from the sex-demon using The Word of God”

    Your pod-casts and DVDs alone would make some handsome bank.

  60. oldJohnJ wrote:

    Seriously, what is the preferred way to ask a question concerning technical aspects of the blog or how to do something?

    Click on the “Contact Us” link in the menu bar under the picture of the castle.

  61. Dis wrote:

    I am flabbergasted that people actually call your pastor over a blog.

    We have to be willing to endure serious criticism that has implications for our activities outside of the blog. I have been called a non-Christian over my activities here.

    But it is worth it. You all are far more fun and interesting than the critics.

  62. dee wrote:

    Dis wrote:
    I am flabbergasted that people actually call your pastor over a blog.
    We have to be willing to endure serious criticism that has implications for our activities outside of the blog. I have been called a non-Christian over my activities here.
    But it is worth it. You all are far more fun and interesting than the critics.

    You guys should write some articles sometime about the side effects running this blog has on your personal lives.

    You usually don’t say much about yourselves as far as that goes, and I’m sure there are reasons. but still, I think it would be very interesting and enlightening.

  63. JustSomeGuy wrote:

    You guys should write some articles sometime about the side effects running this blog has on your personal lives.

    I’m sure this blog is all consuming. I’m not sure how you do it.

  64. @ Dis:

    “I am flabbergasted that people actually call your pastor over a blog. …because you disagree? What the hell. How is that not harassment?

    What a bunch of schoolyard tattletales. How petty and small-minded a mentality do you have to have to run to a person’s pastor in order to get them in trouble?
    +++++++++++++++

    small enough to say “neener neener neener” and feel noble about it.

  65. Dis wrote:

    I am flabbergasted that people actually call your pastor over a blog. I get calling a person’s pastor if they’re involved in major sin (like child abuse, for example), but calling because you disagree? What the hell.

    I guess I shouldn’t find that surprising given the number of threats I’ve see over the years by one Christian to another, but I too find it strange.

    I used to moderate a Christian forum or two, and the irate posters who didn’t like me asking them to play nice (when they were breaking rules), or the ones I had to temp ban for a few days, would shoot back with, “and where to you go to church, I want to call your pastor to hold you accountable.”

    My church attendance is very spotty. I went all the time as a kid, and only a bit as an adult.

    I come from a family where my father’s job kept us moving every 2 – 3 years, and after awhile, you stop going to church because of that. As an adult, I couldn’t find a church where I felt welcomed, or like I felt in. Now, I have additional reasons why I don’t go.

    Anyway, I find it sad, odd, and rather amusing that there are Christians online, who, when they get angry at you over a difference of opinion want to harass you in real life over it, via tattling to your preacher (if you have one).

  66. Daisy wrote:

    or like I felt in

    I meant “fit in.”

    Also to clarify… I’d say the first half of my childhood my parents took me to church a lot, but somewhere around the age of 11, after we moved yet again, we stopped going to church as much. Prior to that, we went every Sunday morning, Sun night, Wed night.

  67. elastigirl wrote:

    @ Dis:
    “I am flabbergasted that people actually call your pastor over a blog. …because you disagree? What the hell. How is that not harassment?
    What a bunch of schoolyard tattletales. How petty and small-minded a mentality do you have to have to run to a person’s pastor in order to get them in trouble?
    +++++++++++++++
    small enough to say “neener neener neener” and feel noble about it.

    LOL, I sometimes wonder if one of them is going to come up to me one day and call me “fartypants”.

  68. Daisy wrote:

    I used to moderate a Christian forum or two, and the irate posters who didn’t like me asking them to play nice (when they were breaking rules), or the ones I had to temp ban for a few days, would shoot back with, “and where to you go to church, I want to call your pastor to hold you accountable.”

    No wonder you’re not a regular church attender. I don’t blame you!

  69. “I want to call your pastor to hold you accountable.”

    This was a constant refrain from Doug Wilson on his blog years back when I used to read it every now and then. If he did not like what someone said, he would insist on calling their pastor to report their thinking.

    Can you say Big Brother?

  70. Jeff S wrote:

    recommended that people do NO WORK after 6:00. Our bible study leader (who is also the worship leader at the church) encouraged us to try it for a week. I said “fine, but then I can’t make practice on Thursday”. He said “well that’s not work”, and I said “it is to me!’.

    So …..
    No grocery shopping after 6PM (encouraging other people to work)
    All lights off (power company employees shouldn’t work
    All airplane flights must land by 5 so everyone can go home by 6PM (yeah right)
    Plumbing backup after 6PM, sorry.

    Some people think everyone works in an office from 9 to 5.

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