I used to go away for weeks in a state of confusion. Albert Einstein link
Update 3/25: Thanks to Ted S. we have the Piper video.
Update 3/26 Please see an update placed in context under the Twitter discussion with Stephen Altrogge.
Update 3/25: We have provided a correction on Carl Trueman under #1 of TGC members who support CJ Mahaney. He is not a member but closely aligned and served on a committee that proclaimed CJ Mahaney fit for ministry. We have links…
Update 3/25 Stephen Altrogge claims that he is not a pastor with SGM.However, he was a pastor with SGM and now appear to work for SGM if his biography posted at SGM Music is correct link. By the way-that bio states he is a pastor at SGM. One things is certain: he has been an SGM pastor.
Last Friday, we discussed a post in which in which Janet Mefferd was identified by Lyall Mercer, a public relations executive, as a possible enemy from inside the church. You can read about this here. Dr Warren Throckmorton covered an interesting aspect of this situation in the following post. I want to add some interesting coincidences to this whole situation after his post. Why is Charisma News Claiming Credit for an Article About Mark Driscoll Authored by Lyall Mercer? Warren Throckmorton link.
Christian News Service admits that the post which mentioned Meffferd is a paid post and that it was not written by Russ Jones. Eventually they removed the entire post. Now comes the Charisma News part.
Charisma News copied the release, placed Bill Roberts name on it as a byline and published it on their website with a modified title, finally ending up with Charisma News staff as a byline.”
To me, it is disappointing that Charisma would publish a complete press release under another writer’s byline. Press releases should be labeled as such so that readers can evaluate the credibility of the “news” in the release. In this case, if the article was properly labeled, readers would know that the author of the “article” cites himself as an expert and paid to have it originally published.
Why is Charisma News stubbornly keeping up a paid PR piece written by a PR executive which unfairly labels Janet Mefferd as an "enemy?"
Christian News Service commendably removed the article when confronted with the facts. (I wrote this two hours ago. However, at 6 PM today, CNS has reposted the entire article link. Shame on them. Their supposed "news service" is merely a repository for paid press releases. They are in it for the money and make no bones about it. Maybe we should all get together and throw in a few dollars and submit a press release saying that we think CNS is a tool?
Charisma News not only kept up the post but removed all comments from the post (most of them critical). Why in the world would they run an article that has received such negative reviews?
Sovereign Grace Ministries enters the fray.
Todd Wilhelm at Thou Art the Man calls attention to an SGM post written by Mark Prater and posted on the SGM website The Surprise Retirement Of A Professional Athlete Is Proof That Our Words Matter which was published on March 12, 2014. Todd says:
Prater, in the longstanding tradition of C.J. Mahaney, chooses to use an athlete to lend credence to the gospelly-centered lesson which he would like the SGM faithful to take to heart. It seems Rashard Mendenhall has chosen to retire from the NFL while in the prime of his career. Mendenhall lists several reasons for the decision; what appears to me to be one of the minor ones, mean-spirited criticism via public internet forums, is the one Prater seizes upon to make his case that our words should always be positive, building people up, not tearing them down, and giving grace to those who hear them.
As many of readers know, SGM has been under fire for allegations of child sex abuse cover up. There is a trial looming in the near future.
…the criminal sexual abuse trial of Nate Morales. This trial threatens to bring to the light of day a host of ugly facts that will not reflect positively on SGM leadership; therefore a preemptive strike, cautioning the rank and file against negative speech, seems like a good strategic maneuver to limit, as much as possible, damaging truths being spread across social media.
Wilhelm points out some significant portions of Prater's post. It is basically a tirade against blogging. Blogging is one way in which the problems at SGM were revealed.
As I read Rashard’s article, I was reminded again that our words matter, especially for Christians. The words that we use whether spoken or written matter to God. Jesus said it this way in Matthew 12:36 “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak.” Words matter so much to God that He will ask us to give an account for them on that Day!
But do we lose that biblical perspective when we communicate our words, as Rashard says, “behind our computers and smartphones?” Living as Christians in a virtual world, we must be vigilant not to be careless with our words, especially when we are sitting behind our computers, or tweeting our thoughts from our phones. In fact, the words we use as Christians are to be distinctly different from the “bold coarseness” culture that Rashard describes on the Internet. Scripture says our words are to build others up, not tear them down as found in passages like Ephesians 4:29, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Our words matter because God uses them to give grace to those who hear.
Rashard’s counter-NFL-culture decision to retire at 26 is an opportunity for all of us to consider whether the words we use are counter-cultural. Do the words we use, whether spoken, written, posted or tweeted build others up? Do they give grace to the hearer?
SGM and Janet Mefferd
Update 3/26: I have been talking with Stephen offline. I believe that he is sorry that this exchange happened. I think he has learned much from this exchange and so have I. So, let's cut him some slack.
It is significant that two major ministries, Mars Hill and SGM, are currently under fire. On Saturday, I became aware of a Twitter comment directed toward Janet Mefferd by Stephen Altrogge. Here are a few screen shots. Please observe the entire exchange @Janet Mefferd.
Some of our long time readers might recognize Stephen's last name. He is the son of Mark Altrogge, a long time SGM pastor. Stephen is SGM born and raised and is now an SGM pastor. I decided to visit his blog and learned something even more interesting. Stephen blogs with his Dad and Barnabas Piper, son of John Piper, at The Blazing Center.
I had a couple of readers email me when they recognized his name. I let them know that I was not going to let SGM Part 2: Juniors Rising get away without being challenged. As I said on Twitter, words can be front loaded and I happen to know that my definition of grace and the SGM definition of grace would have a rather different emphasis.
CJ Mahaney: embattled leader of SGM and John Piper were "appointed" by the "gospel ™ crowd" to be the mentor of Mark Driscoll a number of years ago.
For those of you who are new to all things Mark Driscoll, he has been getting into hot water for many years. We wrote a post in 2009 titled: Smacking Down Mark Driscoll. John MacArthur was critical of Driscoll back then. Remember that.
Why did you single out Driscoll and connect him with the “sex challenges”? Why call him out publicly? He has already repented of his unguarded speech, and he is being privately disciplined by men like John Piper and C. J. Mahaney, who keep him accountable. Did you consult them before calling Driscoll out by name? If the problem is as serious as you claim, why haven’t they said something publicly about it?
Driscoll has been repenting for years.
If you read the above post, it appears that Driscoll was publicly repenting even back then. Now remember this post was written in 2009 when you read this next part. A few years would take us back to 2006. It appears that Mark has been repenting for 8 years with little discernible change. Some would say he kept getting worse.
Mark did indeed express regret a few years ago over the reputation his tongue has earned him. Yet no substantive change is observable. Just a few weeks ago, in an angry diatribe leveled at men in his congregation, Driscoll once again threw in a totally unnecessary expletive. A few weeks before that, he made a public mockery of Ecclesiastes 9:10 (something he has done repeatedly), by making a joke of it on national television.
John Piper loves Mark Driscoll's theology
There is a very well known video with John Piper gushing about how much he "loves" Mark Driscoll's theology. But, of course, it has been "driscollized." However, you can read a transcript of the video at this website.
“I love Mark Driscoll’s theology! That’s bottom line for me. We stand together on glorious truths about God, that’s HUGE to me.”
It is also interesting to note that Piper appears to love CJ Mahaney's theology as well. You can read about this here. He went to speak at Mahaney's new church. Remember, this is after the Second Amended Lawsuit and CJ Mahaney's relocation to the safety of Louisville. Here is a quote.
"I chose to be here. No one forced me. I snatched the opportunity to be here. I love SGM and what God is doing through it across the country and the world."
Charisma and charismatics
It is interesting to note that Charisma News particularly emphasizes charismatic theology. Hillsong and SGM have identified with the charismatic movement. Mark Driscoll and John Piper have been very supportive of charismatics. (Aside: don't misunderstand me. This is NOT a statement on charismatics. My husband became a Christian in one such group. I am merely pointing out potential allegiances.)
The John MacArthur Strange Fire Conference and Mark Driscoll
The Wartburg Watch wrote a couple of posts on the controversial Strange Fire Conference. In John MacArthur Miffs Off Charismatics While Mark Driscoll and James MacDonald Crash the Party will give you a number of links to the story. John MacArthur held a conference in which he discussed his concerns about the charismatic movement. Mark Driscoll, in disagreement with John MacArthur, pulled a "driscoll" in which he crashed the conference attempting to give out copies of his book which support charismatic theology. You cannot make this stuff up.
Here are a few thoughts to ponder.
1. SGM and CJ Mahaney have long received unbelievable support from most of the perceived gospelly leaders at The Gospel Coalition. These would include Kevin DeYoung, Al Mohler, John Piper,
Carl Trueman, Justin Taylor, and many, many others. Update 3/25- Correection: Carl Trueman, who is not an official member of TGC but is closely tied to TGC link (put his name into the search engine) served on a committee which exonerated CJ Mahaney link.
Just recently, Denny Burk tweeted to Zac Hoag that those who support the victims in the SGM disaster are bottom feeders. (PS ,there is no Ephesians 3:31)
2. SGM and CJ Mahaney have had close and friendly contact with Mark Driscoll (I assume a mentor is a friend.)
3. John Piper has gone out of his way to defend both CJ Mahaney and Mark Driscoll.
4. There have been no public statements from any of these leaders that they no longer support their BFFs.
5. A few members of TGC did not like Driscoll's book, Real Marriage. One member, Carl Trueman supports CJ Mahaney but does not support Driscoll, at least for now.
6. Many posts from the Calvinista showing staunch support for Driscoll's apology. They appear to be willing to accept that it is sincere. Frankly, they are obviously choosing to ignore Driscoll's years and years of apologies and crocodile tears. During those years his disturbing behavior only escalated. Could it be that many of these people have founded ministries based on the principles of Mars Hill? How many of them have some common business interests and ties? How many of them want to be the master of a large group of churches just like Mark?
7. Janet Mefferd has long expressed her admiration for John MacArthur and his teachings. She critiqued Driscoll's plagiarism. Could it be that she is perceived by some as being on the wrong side of the charismatic issue? Could this have affected Charisma News' decision to keep up the post and delete the negative comments? Remember, Lyall Mercer is affiliated with Hillsong which is charismatic.
8. Do you think that any persons or groups who are not interested in child sex abuse in ministries will be disturbed by Driscoll throwing people under the bus?
I believe that we will continue to see a big push to marginalize the reports of bloggers. Blogs have been the main source for getting the word out that things are not rosy in churchville. Never forget that the business of large churches is business and there is lots of money to be had. In the end, always follow the money and then follow the theological ties.
Lydia's Corner: Jeremiah 49:23-50:46 Titus 1:1-16 Psalm 97:1-98:9 Proverbs 26:13-16