“From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit.They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say,when there is no peace. Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush.(Jeremiah 6:13-15-NIV-Bible Gateway)
Al Mohler, John MacArthur, Thabiti Anyabwile, John Piper, CJ Mahaney, and Kevin DeYoung at T4G (the one CJ was not supposed to speak at.)
(Photo taken by Liigon Duncan's brother)
I just got off the phone talking to a dear friend whose child was sexually abused in an SGM church. She called me about another issue altogether. We have developed a friendship through the last couple of years. Before we finished, she mentioned she had seen Kevin DeYoung's newest blog post and expressed concern about his lack of empathy for those who have been hurt. I told her that the lack of empathy from DeYoung and others in The Gospel™ Coalition has been deeply disturbing. Note the picture above. I wonder if these BFF's of Sovereign Grace Ministries have ever had an abused person sit up front with them?
Today I will be discussing Kevin DeYoung's blog post The God of Justice Hates False Reports which was posted yesterday at The Gospel™ Coalition's website. Please read the following story from the book of John before I begin. Pay particular attention to the bolded words in the account. Jesus goes to visit Mary and Martha whose brother, Lazarus, has just died. It is traditionally believed that this family hda a close friendship with Jesus. Of course, most of us focus on the fact that Jesus would raise Lazarus from he dead. But Jesus did more that that. He cared deeply. In fact, he cried before he raised Lazarus.
Jesus Comforts the Sisters of Lazarus link (John 11:1-38 NIV Gateway)
17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Now Bethany was less than two miles[b] from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him.
31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.
32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
35 Jesus wept.
36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
Jesus Raises Lazarus From the Dead
38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb.
TWW is merely an example of the blogs which focus on abuse.
DeYoung claims his post isn't about any one thing on the Internet so we will assume that he is not pointing the finger specifically at us. However, our blog will serve to be an example with which to evaluate his tirade against those who *spread false reports.*
DeYoung makes a big deal about never lying. At first I drew a sigh of relief because, and I do stress this, TWW never, ever, ever knowingly spreads a lie. In fact, most people in the US are not aware that slander/libel/ defamation laws all center around showing that the purveyor of the lie deliberately told the lie while knowing full well that it was a lie.
It is important to realize that it is NOT against the law to believe one side of an account. So, if I talk with a family who said that The First Gospel™ Church covered up an incident in which their child was molested, I am allowed to believe their account. Our readers can be sure that we read all sides of the matter before we post. In the end, we call it like we see it. When it comes to child sex abuse, the incidence of false reports by children is miniscule- in the 2%-4% range. Needless to say, we tend to believe the victim after we have read extensively on the subject.
Also, an acquittal in a trial does not mean that the abuse did not occur, merely that the amount of evidence was not enough to convict. Who really believes that it would be smart idea to have Casey Anthony babysit their kids? We all make judgments and our government gives us the right to express our opinions so long as we tell what we believe to be true.
DeYoung says it is still a sin to spread *false* reports even when we believe they are *true.* He claims when anyone makes mistakes, they should correct those mistakes. In many instances, such as child sex abuse, no one else witnessed the crime. Pedophiles bank on this. So, everything is based on educated guesses using what little evidence there may be.
But in those unfortunate cases, will we make the announcement that we aired as widespread as the initial dissemination of the error?
Once again, TWW jumps through many hoops to investigate the stories that we speak about. Sometimes, we make an educated guess. There is a reason that we provide so many links in our posts. You may not agree with us but you should be able to see why we believe what we do. From what I can remember, we have yet to make an accusation based on nothing. However, we are quick to apologize for a misquote which we did in this post We Apologize for Misquoting Jonathan Leeman. We inadvertently combined our notes and reminders with his quote. He alerted us to the error and we wrote a post about it immediately as you will see at that link.
Do Not Be a Malicious Witness
Here is where I believe that DeYoung goes off the rails if he is discussing blogs like ours.
There are a great number of indignant truth-tellers–and just as many weeping prophets for the weak and wounded–who would do well to consider whether their real passion is to spite, to malign, to seek vengeance, to devour and destroy more than it is to seek the things that make for unity, purity, and peace. How many “champions of the truth” and “champions for the marginalized” have won their lofty titles by take-downs more than uplift?
The moment any dude bro starts to question motives, he is beginning to infringe on the domain of the Almighty who is the only one who can see into our hearts.
A. Weeping prophet for the weak and wounded.
I have said this on numerous occasions and I will say it again. There are times when I cry myself to sleep over the pain of our commenters. Even today, speaking with my ex-SGM friend, as I said good-bye, I teared up telling her that she is in my prayers more than she can imagine. However, my willingness to feel for the pain of others should not be a subject of scorn. For if I am to be derided, than so must our Lord. Read again the above verses from John.
- Jesus wept even though he knew he would raise Lazarus.
- When he saw Mary and her friends weeping it said He was *deeply moved.*
- He was *deeply moved* once again as he approached the tomb.
- The people who surrounded Mary and Martha came to *comfort* them as they, too wept.
I do not get DeYoung. To me, it sounds as if he is a cold as a block of ice. The day I make fun of anyone who weeps while caring about the weak and wounded is the day that I need to seek professional help. I will have become a robot.
As for being a *prophet*, that is not a word that either of us or anyone else we know has ever used to refer to themselves. Perhaps he is mistaking commentary on the *profit* made be celebrity pastors on celebrity book tours and conferences?
B. Is our real passion to spite, to malign, to seek vengeance, to devour and destroy?
For those of us who care about the abused, the weak, the marginalized and the "oh so properly" disciplined and booted out of church, I can well assure you that our hearts are filled with love, mercy, and hope for them and their families. Our wish is to expose those leaders and ministries that seek to devour, destroy, and malign those who have committed the unpardonable sin of speaking up about hidden abuse, misuse of money, arrogance and self aggrandizement.
We allow those who have been hurt to tell their stories.
- For them it provides healing.
- For others who have been hurt, those stories provide validation.
- For those who might be hurt, the narratives provide warning.
- And for pastors and leaders who think they control the information flow, it provides a reality check.
When leaders go public with their ministries, they get to be assessed in the public eye and they do not get to control what others see. The pulpit microphone is now in the hands of the little guys as well.
C. Seek the things that make for unity, purity, and peace.
Bad news in the unity, purity and peace department. Peace and unity won't happen because we do not speak about *icky* things that churches do. We must bring that stuff into the light or the unity and peace will only be a sham. And purity? Purity? Covering up child sex abuse, domestic violence, spiritual abuse and arrogance makes for purity? We believe that blogs have been instrumental in bringing the shame of child abuse in the evangelical churches into the public eye. Cleaning out the sin goes a long way in the purity department.
Even Jeremiah knew that superficiality didn't work.
“From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say,when there is no peace. Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. (Jeremiah 6:13-15-NIV-Bible Gateway)
Of course, I am speaking hypothetically since we do not know to whom DeYoung is speaking…
3. Do not assume the majority is always right.
God warns us against siding with the many just because they are many.
I certainly agree with this since we routinely side with the marginalized and the weak who are rarely heard in today's authority driven churches.That is why DeYoung should support social media and blogs. They give the little guy a chance to be heard. The two of us never thought anyone would listen to two middle-aged women without any celebrity connections in today's *it* churches. Boy, were we wrong! The little guy can be heard through our blog now. We happily post their stories.
- We stand with Todd Wilhelm who made a stand in Dubai against 9 Marks and UCCD sales of CJ Mahaney's books.
- We stand with the families of the SGM victims in spite of the relentless support for the SGM pastors by many in the TGC, including DeYoung.
- We stand with two little boys who stood up against a popular Texas football player who abused them and we were called *daughters of Stan(sic)* by members of the community for doing so. (My father is spinning in his grave since I was accused of being *Stan's daughter.* Mom has a lot of 'splaining to do.
4. Do not assume the little guy is always right.
- We stood against a child pornographer who was defended by his local church.
- We helped a neighborhood stand against the convicted child molester who moved back into the neighborhood link and link.
- We stood against a pastor who molested children in his church and was supported by small church and, instead,
- supported the bikers who made sure the abused child had support.
Yep-TWW often stands against the little guy, especially when he is into child sex abuse or child pornography. Keep your eyes peeled for a soon to break story where, once again, we stand against another pedophile.
5. He wants blogs based on knowledge and tweets founded on facts.
Hopefully, he will support TWW because that is what we attempt to do as well.
So why did DeYoung write this post?
I have absolutely no idea. He said the following:
- Please, please, please, let us be more careful with our words.
- Let us not confuse a social media scroll with actual research.
- This post is not about any one thing in particular.
- it is about a great many things that take place on the internet.
It is important to understand that Kevin DeYoung opened the door to this discussion. If he hadn't posted this yesterday, I was planning on writing a nifty little post about Peter Wagner's war with the Queen of Heaven( you cannot make this stuff up!)
I think I should end with one observation and a couple of pieces of information.
1. TWW does not accept advertisement or money. We do this out of our wish to show the love of Christ to those who have been abused and to expose those who allow their theology and profit trump their love for the little guy. Look at the blog post by DeYoung and note the advertisements.
2. Kevin DeYoung was on the board that exonerated CJ Mahaney and said he was totally qualified for ministry.
It is written by Dave Harvey and is signed by Carl Trueman, Kevin De Young and Ray Ortlund JR. To my knowledge, none of these men have backed away from this position. (Dee comments)
We are aware that numerous other instances of sin have been alleged against C.J. Mahaney. We have not been asked to look at the evidence for these but would comment that it is highly unusual for a pastor to step aside prior to the institution and completion of a proper church judicial process. To reiterate: nothing to which he has confessed would appear to us to require his stepping aside in advance of such a process.
While we affirm that C.J. Mahaney has not disqualified himself from ministry, we also encourage Sovereign Grace Ministries to address the broader issues to which we alluded at the start as a means of avoiding the current kind of situation in the future.
3. DeYoung, along with Justin Taylor and D.A.Carson, have been awesome friends to CJ Mahaney, keeping their silence in Why We Have Been Silent About the SGM Lawsuit, featured, where else, but on The Gospel Coalition website complete with a listing of DeYoung's books for sale and other advertisements. However, it does not appear that DeYoung, who is into not delivering false reports and demands we apologize for such, applies the same standards to his own writings.
1. The trial did not occur due to the statute of limitations. This following statement by DeYoung is wrong and has not been corrected since 2013. He should apologize for not doing what he wants us to do.
So the entire legal strategy was dependent on a theory of conspiracy that was more hearsay than anything like reasonable demonstration of culpability. As to the specific matter of C.J. participating in some massive cover-up, the legal evidence was so paltry (more like non-existent) that the judge did not think a trial was even warranted.
2. The next statement is just plain silly. Mahaney and others named in the lawsuit, were sued by families and victims who love the Lord. Once again, an apology should be made to the victims and their families for this false report. Some of them attempted to contact Mahaney's BFFs and got no response.
High-profile Christians are sometimes targeted not because they are guilty, but because they are well known. While those who are shown to be guilty should be exposed with rigor and with tears, surely as brothers and sisters in Christ we must understand how much gain there is for those who hate the gospel when Christian leaders are unfairly attacked and diminished.
3. He accuses the people who were upset with Mahaney with libel. Libel is the deliberate telling lies in order to cause harm to another person. No one that I know, including us, ever wrote anything that we believed to be untrue. It is not libel to believe the reports of victims over the reports of celebrity pastors.
This next part of the comment is absolutely sickening. The person who made the comment was allegedly raped during an event at SGM when she was 13 years old. I was so mad about this statement that I wrote an entire post about her rape. Did these men not do their research or do they just not get the horrors of rape on a young teen?
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. He has also been the object of libel and even a Javert-like obsession by some. One of the so-called discernment blogs—often trafficking more in speculation and gossip than edifying discernment—reprinted a comment from a woman who issued this ominous wish, “I hope [this lawsuit] ruins the entire organization [of SGM] and every single perpetrator and co-conspirator financially, mentally and physically.”
4. Well, it looks like DeYoung is still BFFs with Mahaney. Mahaney is so grateful for this friendship that he posts it DeYOung's book on his website at his new church in Louisville. Put in DeYoung (and Taylor's name) over at the the Mahaney's girls Girltalk blog and you will see how much he is appreciated.
We are not ashamed to call C.J. a friend. Our relationship with C.J. is like that with any good friend—full of laughter and sober reflection, encouragement and mutual correction. He has regularly invited—even pursued—correction, and we have given him our perspective when it is warranted. While the admission of friendship may render this entire statement tainted in the eyes of some, we hope most Christians will understand that while friends should never cover for each others’ sins, neither do friends quickly accept the accusations of others when they run counter to everything they have come to see and know about their friend. We are grateful for C.J.’s friendship and his fruitful ministry of the gospel over many decades.
Let me end it like this. Please, please, please, spend more time caring for the forgotten and the abused as opposed to kissing up to the celebrities. It gives a whole new meaning to one's life.
Now, back to my mother's basement, crying…