“The problem with chameleoning your way through life is that it gets to the point where nothing is real.” ― John Green link
One of the advantages of blogging for years is that we get to see stories evolve. Through the years, we have followed the Sovereign Grace Ministries (now Sovereign Grace Churches) debacle. We heard the horrific allegations of child sex abuse and watched as this once thriving organization took a nosedive, losing both churches and money.
The Deebs are great believers in the concept of "The Buck Stops Here" and watched the shenanigans as CJ Mahaney and friends ditched the DC area and ran to Louisville where they fell into the protective arms of their dear friend Al Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and the recognized leader of the Neo-Calvinist coup d'é·tat of the SBC.
The Deebs have long predicted that SGM, SGC or whatever they call themselves this year, would eventually merge with the Southern Baptist Convention. We were ridiculed by insiders for our prognostications. So, today, please allow us a brief moment as we smugly say,"We told you so."
Always follow the money!
Both of us have MBAs and we usually like to look at how money flows in organizations. In February of 2010, Deb, following an inexplicable *Wartburg Tingle* decided to research if any SBTS contributions were made by SGM and CJ Mahaney. We knew that the over the top, flowery words passing between Mahaney and Mohler most likely had something to do with some sort of an undiscovered mutual benefit. Even so, we were both shocked when Deb found the following information which we posted in $$$The Mahaney Money Machine$$$
PRESIDENT’S COUNCIL (Cumulative gifts of $100,000 or more)
(1) C.J. Mahaney
Businesses, Denominations and Foundations
(2) Sovereign Grace Ministries
SUSTAINING MEMBER (Cumulative gifts of $15,000 to $24,999)
(3) Covenant Life Church
It’s noteworthy to mention that PDI gave to SBTS in 2002 at the Leader’s Associate level ($5,000 to $9,999). BTW, that was the same year that Sovereign Grace Ministries came into existence.
If you want to see for yourself, go to this link:
http://www.sbts.edu/media/publications/magazine/2008Spring.pdf ( Mahaney and SGM are listed on page 43, and CLC is on page 44.)
Think about this folks. Why would a non SBC entity, which has a vigorous church planting ministry, take their hard earned money and give it to a denomination of which they are not members? Also, why did they bother with a seminary? SGM had its own truncated and questionable Pastors College? At this point, the two of us suspected that some things were going on behind the scenes.
1. Could there be talk of merging SGM into the SBC?
2. If Mahaney, CLC and SGM gave this much money to SBTS, were they giving money to other groups and individuals?
3. Are there any other contributions which might help us understand the reasons why Mahaney and SGM have been held in such high esteem by the Calvinista leaders? Surely it can't be his silly sports ramblings, can it?
The relationships between SBC leaders and CJ Mahaney/SGM appeared to be growing closer.
Later, in 2010, we wrote a post WHAT THE SBC AND SGM AREN’T TELLING THEIR MEMBERS .
We will be discussing the SBC's IMB debacle on Friday. Has SBC church planting in well heeled suburbs contributed to the decline in IMB contributions? Did you know that SGM wasn't really big on foreign missions to the poor?
Now we turn to our members in our former denomination, the SBC. Did you know that most of the members of T4G who are both Baptist and reformed are best buddies with C.J. Mahaney? I know my former pastor is. Did all you good SBC types know that old C.J. doesn’t do much in the way of missions? You see, his churches planted predominantly in suburbia are the missions. Yep, this includes the ones in the rich areas as well. John Piper publicly addressed this issue with C.J. about ten years ago. But C.J. had bigger fish to fry. There is money to be made, doctrine to be made up, and football games to attend. Funny thing about this is that Piper has slowed down on the criticism.
In 2010, again, we noted MAHANEY’S METEORIC RISE IN THE SBC.
Why would CJ be picked as a speaker for SBC pastors? During this time, there was a concerted effort being made to put Calvinista Baptists into positions of influence in the SBC. It would seem they were successful. Why Mahaney?
Surprise, surprise, surprise!!! Guess who’s speaking at the “2010 Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference”?
As the title of the post indicates, it’s none other than C.J. Mahaney. Wait a minute!!! Is Mahaney Southern Baptist? Absolutely not! He heads up a “family of churches” known as Sovereign Grace Ministries. Why in the world will Mahaney be addressing Southern Baptists?
In 2011 we wrote (ya gotta love it) Sovereign Grace Ministries and the SBC – Is There a Merger in the Works?
In this post we outlined the apparently deep admiration that Al Mohler had for CJ Mahaney.
Yes, the SBC/SGM connection is getting stronger by the day. Need proof? Guess who delivered the chapel message at Southern Seminary just last Thursday (2/10/11). Here’s a hint… It was the person who believes Al Mohler is “the smartest man on the planet” and said so at Resolved 2010. Yes, the chapel speaker was none other than C.J. Mahaney. That morning Mohler sent out the following Tweet:“Come hear CJ Mahaney in chapel this morning at 10:00. Don’t miss it. Don’t even think of missing it. Can’t wait to hear his message.”
Mohler’s next Tweet gave the link to streaming video of Mahaney’s talk, which yours truly watched. It was the first time I had ever seen Mahaney in a coat and tie. He began by explaining to the students that he only has a high school education. Perhaps if he had revealed to them that he and Sovereign Grace Ministries combined have made contributions in excess of $200,000 to Southern Seminary, they would have understood why Mohler believes this high school grad is qualified to address them on the topic of “Deflating the Puffed Up Church” .
Then Mohler provided the link to Mahaney’s message on Twitter, along with a Tweet that he was eating dinner with C.J. and that the waiter is a SBTS student. Mahaney continued to be a popular topic in Mohler’s Twitter account the next day. He provided the link to streaming video of Mahaney’s talk at the Recalibrate Conference (for college students), and then tweeted “C.J. Mahaney knocked it out of the park. What a great message. If you missed it, download it. RECALIBRATE.”
Further indications that the relationship between CJ Mahaney and the SBC Calvinistas were becoming increasingly cozy in spite of the sex abuse scandal in SGM.
The Calvinista Baptist leaders' unwavering support for the embattled Mahaney
For purposes of this post, we will not be delving into the SGM sex abuse scandal and the lawsuits. However, those scandals were well known throughout the evangelical world. Yet, the Calvinista Baptist leaders stood firmly by CJ's side throughout the awful revelations, even writing missives of their undying belief in the innocence of CJ and expressing little if any empathy for the alleged numerous victims.
Here is a portion of their stated support from our post T4G and Integrity: Mahaney Is Gone and So Is the Infamous Statement.
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.
Why did SBTS offer Baptist tuition breaks to the SGM non-Baptist students?
Many SGM/SBC watchers were startled to learn the Al Mohler's SBTS gave tuition tax breaks to SGM pastors. That's right. The tuition breaks meant for SBC students were allegedly being given to non-SBC students. You can read our post: Did Southern Seminary Give ‘Baptist’ Tuition Breaks and Academic Perks to SGM Pastors?
After the Grant Layman testimony in the Nate Morales trial those tuition breaks were rescinded.
Here are some quotes from this letter sent by SGM to its people.
I’m writing with some disappointing news. Southern Seminary has informed me that it is discontinuing the formal relationship between Southern and Sovereign Grace. This is a rather complex situation, and I’m unable to share all of the internal factors influencing their decision. Suspicions cast upon Sovereign Grace by the ongoing civil suit, and again by the recent Morales case, have unfortunately produced pressures upon various friends and partners of Sovereign Grace. Such factors appear to have played a role in this suspension.
In sum, there is no longer a special agreement between SBTS and Sovereign Grace. Pastors College graduates may pursue degrees, credit-transfers, and financial aid like any other student, just not under the auspices of any agreement with SBTS.
At this point, a number of insiders informed us that it was *all over* for CJ Mahaney and the SBC. Some said that Al Mohler was distancing himself from CJ due to the sex abuse mess. However, your dedicated hosts were suspicious. If money is involved, the ties that bind are often made of steel.
CJ Mahaney has done gone Baptist on us.
True confession: The Deebs love to research this stuff. We are weird in that way. We have always found it fascinating and used to meet at Panera bread to discuss our thoughts and findings. We are so grateful that all of you are willing to come along for the ride. Each morning, armed with a strong cup of coffee, Dee spends at least an hour reading various news site, church websites, survivors' blogs and Twitter. The two of us often revisit old stories to see what's happening.
SGC Louisville is an SBC Church.
On Monday morning, Dee rolled on over to the SGC Louisville website ( home of CJ Mahaney) and decided to look closely at the "about us" section. Folks, when you are trying to figure out a church, always read the fine print under these sections. There, I found this statement that made me quite curious. It said that SGC Louisville was
partnering with the SBC for purposes of training and gospel mission.
Huh? I wondered how to SBC felt about this partnership. So, I went on over to SBC.net. There I noted, under the church search section, the following:
The church was now a member of the SBC. But, I still wasn't 100% sure.
CJ Mahaney, Brian Chesemore and Gary Ricucci are Baptists.
Then, to be absolutely sure that I was not hallucinating, I decided to check under the SBC minister search section. There I discovered that CJ is an SBC pastor. (I apologize for the clarity of some of these screen shots.)
He is joined in this solemn conversion process by Brian Chesemore and Gary Ricucci (son in law and brother in law.)
The SBC recognized SGC Louisville as a Baptist church at their 2015 convention.
When the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention are called upon to vote via ballot, the members of the Tellers Committee are responsible for tabulating the outcome of the vote. It is requested of me, as President, to appoint the Tellers Committee.
When a ballot vote occurs, the tellers tabulate the vote under the supervision of the Registration Secretary of the Convention. When messengers complete their registration in Columbus, they will be given printed ballots for voting.
After the tabulation of the ballots, the Chairman of the Tellers Committee reports the outcome of the vote to the secretaries. The results are announced as soon as possible.
By the nature of their responsibility, this committee is very pivotal in conducting business when these moments occur. We must insure it is led by and contains great leaders of integrity.
Questions TWW has for the SBC
- When did SGC Louisville, CJ Mahaney and family become members of the SBC? The membership of the Tellers Committee was named in April 2015 so it must have happened prior to the date.
- Was this move a way to get around the tuition rules for SBTS? if SGC Louisville is a member of the SBC, along with their newly Baptist pastors, could any SGC pastor join SGC Louisville and become Baptist to get Baptist tuition breaks?
- What role did Al Mohler play in all of this?
- Why is SGC Louisville the only SGC church which has *gone* Baptist as far as I can tell?
- Will CJ Mahaney insist that all SGC churches become Baptist like he did when he decided to adopt Calvinism?
Does CJ Mahaney know that the IMB does not allow missionaries to speak in private prayer languages or has he given up charismatic worship?
Update 9/16: Just in time for CJ, missionaries can now speak in private prayer languages.
- Will prophecy microphones still be allowed at SGC churches?
- Did the SBC or SGC publicly announce this addition to their respective organizations?
- Did the newly minted Baptist pastors at SGC Louisville announce this to their members? Do the members now know they are Baptist?
- Does SGC Louisville give to the Lottie Moon Christmas Fund?
- Does SGC Louisville give to the Cooperative Program?
- Has anyone else or any other entity in the SBC received funds from SGM/SGC?
- How does this impact the following resolution offered by Peter Lumpkin and voted on by the SBC? "RESOLVED: that we encourage all denominational leaders and employees of the Southern Baptist Convention to utilize the highest sense of discernment in affiliating with groups and/or individuals that possess questionable policies and practices in protecting our children from criminal abuse…"
- How does this impact the public's view of the SBC which has been dogged by a number of alleged child sex abuse scandals?
Finally, TWW would love to find out how many SGC pastors are now attending SBTS or other Baptist seminaries and receiving tuition breaks because they are now members of SGC Louisville, an SBC church.
Can I get an Amen?!